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Here & Now

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NPR's midday news magazine.  

It’s a dark, damp November night when Richard Smith gets off a merchant ship in New York in 1746, and heads, with great purpose, into the streets of Manhattan. But it takes 300 pages of treachery, misunderstanding, adultery, dueling, politics and race to find out what that purpose is.

A New Life For Old School Board Games

Jul 28, 2017

Gaming enthusiasts are everywhere. Kickstarter’s most funded category has long been games — especially board and card games — and hobbyists are also breathing new life into so-called “old school games.”

In the startup-savvy San Francisco Bay Area, they’re trying to take them to the next level. Sonia Paul (@sonipaul) reports for KALW.

In May 1969, Jim McCloughan was a 23-year-old private serving as an Army medic in Vietnam. During the ferocious, dayslong battle of Nui Yon Hill, he repeatedly entered the kill zone to rescue wounded soldiers, despite being wounded himself. McCloughan was wounded so badly that an officer suggested he leave the field for treatment. Instead he stayed, risking his life on nine separate occasions to rescue his comrades.

When he was 16 years old, Melvin Caballero left his life of picking coffee in Honduras in search of more opportunity in the United States. Part of the journey involved 36 hours crammed into the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer with one small hole for ventilation.

This weekend, Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts is featuring concerts of the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen and bird walks.

Members of the House Committee on Armed Services meet Thursday to discuss a report from the Government Accountability Office showing lax oversight of the federal program that transfers excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies.

There’s been considerable news coverage of the Trump administration, but less about what’s been going on at the Department of Education since Betsy DeVos became secretary of education.

NPR lead education blogger Anya Kamenetz (@anya1anya) joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to look at the policy changes DeVos has made in K-12 and higher ed, and where the education budget stands.

Bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius made a name for himself during his short and troubled life.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson and KCRW jazz DJ Bo Leibowitz listen back to a 1982 performance that is being reissued. We also hear music from the longtime American jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, among others.

Britain is pledging to ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. Electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars in the U.K. accounted for less than 3 percent of the market in 2015, so the country has a long way to go in phasing out diesel and gas.

A summer hike up to a 13,000-foot alpine meadow can be exhilarating. However the lack of oxygen, frigid temperatures and sparse vegetation would make long-term survival difficult. Archaeologists know hunter-gatherers traversed highland areas thousands of years ago, but presumed they had to spend most of their time in lowland areas.

The new Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo comes to the organization from a background in technology, and she’s introducing new achievement badges and other incentives to encourage girls to discover and pursue careers in science and technology.

In a View From The Top conversation, Acevedo (@SylviaAcevedo) talks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young about her efforts.

California has the largest number of homeless people living without shelter in the country. More than two-thirds of the state’s 118,000 homeless live on the streets or in tent encampments, many in the state’s largest cities. This is certainly true in Oakland, a city that prides itself on its progressive values.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he plans to stay on as the nation’s top prosecutor, despite criticism from President Trump in an interview last week. As attorney general, Sessions has been pursuing a conservative agenda and rolling back Obama-era policies.

President Trump says he wants to let the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, fail. He’s repeated the threat over and over in news conferences and on Twitter.

But NPR’s Alison Kodjak (@alikodjakNPR) reports that the health care law isn’t collapsing on its own: The president and his team are actively undermining the Affordable Care Act markets.

Iraq has declared military victory over ISIS in Mosul, but the painstaking process of rooting out the group’s influence in the devastated city continues.

Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins talks with France 24 journalist Simona Foltyn (@simonafoltyn), who went door to door in Mosul with counterterrorism officials searching for ISIS supporters.

There was a time when Google Glass was deemed the future — one in which people might walk the streets wearing a glass tab over one eye to display information beamed from their smartphones. But after criticism and safety concerns, the idea was killed as a consumer project.

O.J. Simpson Up For Parole

Jul 20, 2017

A parole hearing is slated for this afternoon in Nevada for O.J. Simpson. Simpson, the former football star who was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, is currently serving a nine- to 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping. He was convicted in 2008.

British journalist and scientist Zeeya Merali isn’t content writing about easy subjects. Merali is a theoretical cosmologist, and her latest book tackles the possibility that scientists are getting closer to the day when they may be able to create a tiny universe in the laboratory. She does a deep dive into the implications — about creation, faith and morality.

As our summer lake series continues, we look at families who return to the same treasured lake again and again, summer after summer.

The Ewings from Spokane, Washington, are one such family. They’ve enjoyed rustic cabins on the shores of nearby Newman Lake for over 80 years.

After the latest Senate plan’s failure to move forward, where does the GOP health care overhaul effort stand?

NPR’s Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy’s Hobson to discuss the latest, as well as House Republican leaders releasing a 10-year budget plan that calls for dramatic military spending increases and drastic cuts in social spending.

The bipartisan vote to extend California’s climate change law through 2030 was a major victory for Gov. Jerry Brown. The state’s cap-and-trade program puts a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions and allows businesses to buy credits, essentially allowing them to release pollutants.

Guy Marzorati (@GuyMarzorati) of Here & Now contributor KQED tells Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson how it works.

Although Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, not all people born Muslim remain Muslim. But for many, it’s not easy to leave a religion that is a major part of their lives and communities.

When the Trump administration threatened to take away federal money from “sanctuary cities” earlier this year, many of those jurisdictions doubled down, saying they had no intention of becoming an arm of the federal government by turning people over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has emerged as a fierce critic of President Trump. He’s blasted the president over immigration, health care and climate change. In doing so, Inslee has developed something of a national profile, and soon he’ll likely attract even more attention.

Author Ben H. Winters‘ best-selling 2016 novel “Underground Airlines” is set in present day, but in an America where Abraham Lincoln never took office and slavery is legal in four states.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti revisits a conversation with Winters from last July about the novel, which is out in paperback on July 18, and the difficulties that he had as a white author dealing with such a racially charged topic.

Lessons Learned From Ancient Toilets

Jul 13, 2017

Though it may sound distasteful, the ruins of toilets and sewer systems can be a treasure trove for researchers who want to know how early Romans lived and ate.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with Brandeis classics professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow about her work in archaic sanitation last summer, and today we revisit that conversation.

What's At Stake As Trump Visits France?

Jul 13, 2017

NPR’s Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss the politics around President Trump’s visit to France today.

Two former directors of Medicaid — one who served under a Democrat, the other under a Republican — are asking Congress not to change Medicaid right now.

The avant-garde classical composer Molly Herron doesn't make easy music. It's work that asks the listener to engage, and open up to new ways of hearing sound. At Dartmouth College recently, Herron unveiled a new piece played entirely on homemade instruments.

Todd Bookman (@toddbookman) from Here & Now contributor New Hampshire Public Radio reports.

Godsmack frontman, singer-songwriter Sully Erna, is known for his hard rock sound. Now, he’s out with a different kind of album.

“Hometown Life” is a mix of country, rock and blues, and the song “Different Kind of Tears” is part of an awareness campaign to fight opioid addiction. The song and accompanying video were created in partnership with the Recovery Centers of America and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.

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