Here & Now

Weekdays, noon to 2pm

NPR's midday news magazine.  

Fifty years ago, nearly everyone who died in the United States was buried in a grave. Today, just about half are cremated. Money is the primary reason.

A typical cremation costs nearly $500 less than a typical burial. And, many people move away from their hometowns, where traditional family plots are located.

Here & Now‘s Kristiina Sorenson reports on the mushroom suit, the latest thing in burial trends.

At age 48, former tech entrepreneur and author James Altucher prides himself on owning just 15 things.

It’s not that he can’t afford more. But after a series of financial failures, and hitting bottom emotionally, he realized the best way to heal was to give away everything. Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Altucher living more with less.

Read Altucher’s essay “I Want to Die.”

Yesterday, we looked at a new rail line being constructed in London, a massive project that’s set to be completed on time and under budget.

Today, a look at the challenges of improving and maintaining the New York City subway, operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says that whether you serve them hot or cold, soups are a great addition to any summer meal.

She brings Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson a clam and fish chowder and a potato and leek soup that can be served heated or chilled. Kathy also shares a couple of soup recipes that don’t require cooking.

Millions of people each year visit famous battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. But far fewer visit locations in the Hawaiian Civil War or the French and Indian War. Earlier this summer, the National Park Service awarded more than $1 million in grants to research and protect lesser-known battlefields, including the 19th century Rogue River War in southern Oregon.

Tom Banse from the Northwest News Network reports.

This story contains sensitive sexual information and may not be suitable for all readers.

Juan Guerrero was scared to get out of prison.

He was serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence in Lawton, Oklahoma, for having sex with an underage teenager.

Now, one of about 800,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, Guerrero faces the challenge of assimilating back into society. He was in his mid-30s and asking some pretty daunting questions: Where would he live? Who would hire him? How would he explain his past to people?

Our Here & Now colleague Karyn Miller-Medzon is part of a group of runners trekking through the Andes Mountains, running to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel.

The trip supports and organization called Strive, which takes student-athletes to Peru and Kenya, where they work on infrastructure and teaching projects in small communities. They also get to train at altitude, which can benefit their running when they come home. This is the first time Strive has taken a group of adults abroad.

The New York Times is reporting that Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, received millions in undisclosed cash payments from the pro-Russia political party during his time as a consultant in Ukraine.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Kurt Andersen, host of WNYC’s Studio 360, about his 2012 novel, “True Believers.”

Its main character struggles with Type 1 diabetes, as does Andersen. He talks about the challenges of dealing with his disease.

Read more and see listener comments from our original interview in 2012.

Female Olympians put in years of practice before ultimately achieving gold, silver and bronze medals. But some are finding their accomplishments are being downgraded by commentators who have focused more on their personal lives.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Dana Hooper, a sports agent who works with female Olympians.

Interview Highlights: Dana Hooper

On how media members and commentators talk about female athletes

Gisele Bündchen’s stroll down the opening ceremony runway at the Rio Olympics sent “The Girl From Ipanema” to the top of the iTunes charts.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young takes a musical tour through Brazil with Betto Arcos, host of the podcast “The Cosmic Barrio.” He includes classic samba and bossa nova selections, and a couple of new artists as well.


Music From The Segment

Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto & Stan Getz, “The Girl From Ipanema”

In Iowa’s 3rd Congressional district, Democrat Jim Mowrer, an Iraq War veteran, is challenging Republican incumbent David Young, who is trying to win a second term.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with O. Kay Henderson, news director at Radio Iowa, about the race and its importance.


O. Kay Henderson, news director at Radio Iowa. She tweets @okayhenderson.

The new Netflix original series, “Stranger Things,” features the residents of a small town in Indiana and their search for a middle school boy who mysteriously goes missing. Winona Ryder plays the boy’s frantic mother, but the cast is otherwise a mash of character actors and children.

NPR’s Eric Deggans speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the show’s monumental popularity, Ryder’s performance and a minor character who’s stolen the internet’s heart.


After 27-year-old Seth Rich was shot to death in Washington, D.C. on July 10, rumors started that his death was linked to his work for the Democratic National Committee.

There was even the suggestion that Rich was the source of the emails given to WikiLeaks that embarrassed the DNC as its convention was starting in Philadelphia. WikiLeaks won’t confirm or deny that, but it is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the case.

A fast-moving fire in San Bernardino, California has now engulfed more than 6,000 acres, as two fires in Northern California continue to burn.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with UCLA professor Glen MacDonald about how these fires started and what it means for the rest of 2016.

Donald Trump is planning to roll out a slew of new policy proposals in coming weeks as he continues to try to steady his floundering campaign.

Trump has largely avoided policy specifics in his campaign, focusing instead on broad goals.

Trump says that he will unveil a proposal to reduce the cost of childcare and increase choices for parents.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young recaps Trump’s speech before the Detroit Economics Club with NPR’s Jim Zarroli.

A Hong-Kong bitcoin exchange that was hacked this week may distribute the losses among all of its users, according to a Bloomberg blog post today. Hackers stole about $68 million worth of bitcoin from the exchange, Bitfinex.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Michael Regan of Bloomberg Gadfly about the hack.

A 21-year-old father and his 4-year-old son were shot at in their car in Phoenix and police say its the latest attack by a serial killer who has killed seven people.

The boy and his father were not injured in the attack, which took place last month. Police also say that there was no apparent motive. The attacks have been happening since March, many of them in the low-income neighborhood of Maryvale.

Denis Cuspert, the German-born former rapper known as Deso Dogg and an ISIS recruiter, was declared dead by U.S. officials after an airstrike in October. The claim was disputed and after a profile of Cuspert in The Fader last month, the Pentagon reversed its statement, saying the jihadist survived.

Cuspert’s story offers a window into the work and effect of extremist propaganda, as well as the rise of foreign fighters traveling to Syria.

Although the world’s attention is on the Olympics, there’s plenty going on in the sports world at home.

Baseball’s trading deadline was this week. Some big players got traded, some troublesome ones didn’t. The college football pre-season coaches poll is out. And, Nike is shedding much of its golf gear.

Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt talks with Here & Now sports analyst Mike Pesca.

The Rolling Stones ended their 1969 U.S. tour with a free concert at the old Altamont Speedway in northern California. It was supposed to be a celebration, but it turned into chaos.

A young fan was stabbed to death, allegedly by a member of the Hells Angels, right in front of the stage as the Stones performed. The killing was captured on film because a documentary crew was making the film called “Gimmie Shelter.”

The highway can be a lonely place for truck drivers, who often travel long distances for days and weeks without seeing family and friends. But an organization called Truckstop Ministries offers a sanctuary for tired drivers to reflect, rest and pray.

Saul Gonzalez of Here & Now contributor KCRW in Los Angeles paid a visit to a truck stop church off Interstate 10 in southern California and has our story.

Frank Shorter won the Olympic Marathon in Munich in 1972, and four years later added a silver medal to that gold when he finished second in the marathon at the games in Montreal.

He later helped establish the first anti-doping agency in the U.S. and served as a spokesman against athletes using performance enhancing drugs. But his public persona hid a dark secret: the years of abuse he and his siblings suffered at the hands of their father, Dr. Samuel Shorter.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests the last woolly mammoths died out because they didn’t have enough water to drink. That happened about 6,000 years ago, on St. Paul Island off the coast of Alaska.

Russell Graham, a professor in Penn State’s Department of Geosciences, joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the new finding.

Two weeks of party conventions and back-to-back speeches meant to revel in political ideals also highlighted something else: language.

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic writes that unlike past political cycles, current Republicans and Democrats speak with different sets of vocabulary, even as they discuss the same policy issues.

Shawn Johnson was the sprightly 16-year-old gymnast who charmed the country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, winning a gold on the balance beam, and silver medals for the team, all-around and floor exercise competitions.

For a teenager from Des Moines, Iowa, it sounds like a dream true. But those first years at home after the Games weren’t easy. Johnson struggled with the constant spotlight, and, for a time, with an eating disorder.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel is one of Philadelphia’s most prominent examples of blight.

The late Victorian complex was built in 1894 as a stylish set of apartments. When it changed hands 54 years later, it became the first racially integrated hotel in the city and a symbol of pride and luxury.

The four-day Democratic National Convention put Philadelphia in the spotlight. The world learned of its historic roots, the Liberty Bell, and the city’s food. But what visitors may not have seen are the neighborhoods that make Philadelphia the largest city with the most deep poverty in the country.

Aaron Moselle of Here & Now contributor WHYY explains how it happened.

Pope Francis’s visit to Poland this week celebrates the country’s rich Catholic heritage, but it also highlights tensions with the Polish Catholic culture and the current right-wing government’s anti-immigrant stance.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with historian Piotr H. Kosicki, a University of Maryland professor and a former scholar at the Wilson Center, about Poland’s evolving relationship with Europe and the world.

Farmers are watching the election closely, looking at issues like immigration which could affect farm labor. Today, a look at the dangers of farming.

According to the International Labor Organization, nearly half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities around the world every year take place in agriculture settings.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with David Griffiths and his wife Edie, founders of Seven Stars Farm Organic Yogurt, about the hay bale accident that left him quadriplegic.