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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

$4.5 Million, 30 Seconds, 1 Super Bowl Ad: Priceless?

The Super Bowl ad from the glue maker Loctite involves people dancing with fanny packs. (YouTube)

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:30 am

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Brisket Shortage Has BBQ Lovers Gnashing Their Teeth

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor

Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott listens to questions from the press after a meeting at the White House December 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:57 am

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Proposal Could Open Parts Of Atlantic, Close Parts Of Arctic To Drilling

This 2007 photo provided by Shell Exploration & Production Company shows the Frontier Discoverer drilling rig as it sits in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. (Shell Exploration & Production via AP)

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 2:26 pm

The Obama Administration today is proposing opening up parts of the Eastern seaboard to offshore drilling, while at the same time proposing a ban on drilling along some parts of Alaska’s Arctic coast.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Phil Flynn, an energy market analyst with Price Futures Group, and Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, about the proposal — a win and a loss each for environmentalists and the oil industry

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Report: All 50 States Failing To Help Abused And Neglected Kids

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 2:26 pm

A report released by the Children’s Advocacy Institute today shows that all 50 states have failed to meet minimum federal requirements for the care of abused and neglected kids.

The institute’s executive director Robert Fellmeth tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins that even when the federal government finds that a state is not meeting its requirements, not much changes.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Why Aren't There More Latinos On TV?

Cristela Alonzo stars in the ABC sitcom "Cristela." She also created and writes for the show. (Adam Taylor/ABC)

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 2:26 pm

The big four television networks have made progress in diversifying their casts, but only among African-American actors. That’s according to recent numbers compiled by the Associated Press.

Latinos represent about 17 percent of the American population, but on network T.V., that group represents less than 10 percent of characters.

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Snowy Owls 'Irrupting' In Northern States

A snowy owl is tagged with a transmitter. (Alan Richard)

For a second year in a row, a mass migration of snowy owls from Canada is occurring, and that’s highly unusual. It’s called an irruption and it’s thought to be related to boom and bust cycles of arctic lemmings, the small rodents that snowy owls love to eat.

Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul is co-founder of Project SNOWstorm, which since last year has been using cellphone technology to track these mysterious and majestic birds.

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

'Potentially Historic' Blizzard To Hit Northeast

The snow covered MBTA Griggs St/Long Ave subway stop sits empty on February 9, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston officials have already said the subway will be closed on Tuesday in anticipation of a "potentially historic" storm. ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Across the Northeast, people are gearing up for what forecasters say is likely to be a severe and “potentially historic” blizzard, in which snowfall could be measured in feet.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, about what the state is doing to prepare. Boston officials have already said public transportation will be closed on Tuesday

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NPR Story
1:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Limitations Of Winter Freeze Inspire Maine Chef

Executive Chef David Levi prepares turnips for dinner at Vinland in downtown Portland, Maine. (Peter O'Dowd)

Each year half of the fresh fruit in the United States – and a quarter of the fresh vegetables – are imported from another country. One of the motivations for the local food movement in the U.S.

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NPR Story
12:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

On Stage: Broadway Shows From Vampires To Vegas

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson star in "Constellations" at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

This Friday we go on stage, the ultimate stage perhaps, Broadway. January and February are usually considered the “zombie months” on Broadway, says New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. However, this season is a “surprisingly good one,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. Even better, tickets are still available for some of Brantley’s favorite shows this winter. He shares his four top picks.

Ben Brantley’s 4 Broadway Picks

1. Constellations

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NPR Story
12:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Boyish Engineer-Turned-Protester Could Be Next Greek Prime Minister

Opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras leaves a news conference in Athens January 23, 2015. (MIlos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Greeks will elect a new government on Sunday, and the new prime minister could be a charismatic leftist named Alexis Tsipras, a boyish engineer-turned-protester.

He’s promised to end painful austerity measures while stimulating the country’s ravaged economy, but he may be on a collision course with the Europeans who have lent Greece billions in bailout loans. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

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NPR Story
12:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Ebola Denial Still A 'Huge Problem,' Despite Few New Cases In Guinea

A Guinean student gets his temperature checked on January 19, 2015 as he enters at the Oumou Diaby school in the Ratoma area of Conakry as students head back to school after nearly four months of school recess due to the Ebola outbreak. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 12:15 pm

The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea is dropping steadily. According to the World Health Organization, there were a total of 20 confirmed cases this week, down from 45 last week, the lowest number since August of last year.

The government is shooting for zero Ebola cases by mid-March, and schools are back in session for the first time since July of last year.

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NPR Story
12:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

The Playwright Behind 'Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike'

Marcia DeBonia, Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, and Tyler Lansing Weaks in Christopher Durang’s smash-hit Broadway comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, directed by Jessica Stone, based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin, playing January 2 – February 1, 2015 at the BU Theatre / Avenue of the Arts. Photo: Jim Cox

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 2:23 pm

Playwright Christopher Durang‘s Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is currently being performed in 27 regional theaters across the U.S.

Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with Durang in front of an audience at Boston’s Huntington Theater, after a performance of the show.

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NPR Story
12:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Longtime New York Assembly Speaker Arrested On Corruption Charges

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is transported by federal agents to federal court, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 in New York. Silver, who has been one of the most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The FBI today arrested one of the most powerful men in New York, longtime State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on federal corruption charges.

Chief among the charges: that he used the power of his office to solicit millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Just yesterday, even with the news of his imminent arrest swirling, Silver had a prominent seat on the stage at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

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NPR Story
12:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Yemen President Resigns Under Pressure From Rebels

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is pictured on Jan, 21. 2014, in Sanaa, Yemen. Hadi submited his resignation Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, over a standoff with Shiite rebels who control the capital. (Yemen's Defense Ministry via AP)

Yemeni officials say the president has resigned under pressure from Shiite rebels who seized the capital in September and have confined the embattled leader to his home for the past two days.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned after being pressured to make concessions to the rebels, known as Houthis. He had earlier pledged political concessions in return for the rebels withdrawing from his house and the nearby presidential palace, but Houthi fighters remained deployed around both buildings throughout the day.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

What Happens When Your Sibling Makes More Than You?

(adwriter/Flickr)

President Obama in his State of the Union talked a lot about income inequality. But what happens when that income inequality occurs within one’s own family: one sibling is significantly richer or poorer? How does that affect family dynamics?

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Sen. John Thune Criticizes President Obama's Agenda

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) is pictured on November 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In his State Of The Union address, President Obama outlined a program to boost the middle class, in part by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Republican Senator John Thune blasted the president’s plan, calling it an “agenda of top-down policies of the past to tax, spend and regulate.”

He joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with more reaction to the speech.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Wal-Mart To Issue Cash Tax Refunds In Stores

Wal-Mart will offer cash tax refunds to taxpayers this year at all of its stores. And the big box retailer won’t charge customers to pick up their refunds.

Wal-Mart is touting the “Direct2Cash” program as more convenient than cashing a check, but of course it also conveniently puts customers in Wal-Mart with cash in hand.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Moroccan-Dutch Novelist On Growing Up Muslim In Europe

Moroccan-Dutch novelist Abdelkader Benali, pictured here in 2011, recently wrote a New York Times op-ed about the anger of Europe's young marginalized Muslims. (Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons)

The Charlie Hebdo attacks turned a spotlight on a part of France tourists don’t often see: the suburbs or banlieues that ring Paris, many of which are home to high concentrations of young Muslims.

After the attacks, an association representing 120 French mayors issued a statement warning that the economic disparities these young Muslims face must be addressed. Young Muslims were quoted saying they feel like they live in another country, and want to be regarded as truly French.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

New NCAA Policy Hands Over Some Power

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks with reporters during a news conference at the NCAA Convention in Oxon Hill, Md., Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (Cliff Owen/AP)

The organization that governs college sports is allowing five major athletic conferences to make some of their own rules. It’s a major change for an association that’s not known for change.

The conferences approved a new policy at the recent NCAA Convention, which will allow those conferences to fully fund athletic scholarships, because right now those scholarships do not really cover the full cost of attending college.

The NCAA also allowed athletes to participate in the convention for the first time.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

China's Economy Grows At Slowest Rate In 24 Years

A Chinese customer rests as he stands in a store in a shopping district on January 20, 2014 in central Beijing, China. China's economy is still growing, but at its weakest rate in 24 years. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, new data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.3 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

Most countries would welcome growth like that, but for China it represents a slowdown. In fact, according to the new data, China grew at its slowest rate in 24 years last year.

Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal discusses the details of the downturn with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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NPR Story
12:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Revisiting Boris Fishman's 'A Replacement Life'

Boris Fishman‘s “A Replacement Life” comes out in paperback this week. The debut novel was named one of the “100 Notable Books of 2014″ by The New York Times.

“A Replacement Life” centers around Slava, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. Though Slava wants to forget his roots, his grandfather pulls him into a scheme of writing fraudulent petitions for Holocaust reparations.

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NPR Story
12:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Fox News Apologizes After Guest Calls U.K. City 'Totally Muslim'

In an interview with Fox host Jeanine Pirro, Steven Emerson called Birmingham, England, a "totally Muslim" city. (Screenshot from Fox News)

Fox News has apologized for an interview in which the guest called Birmingham, England a “totally Muslim” city, where non-Muslims don’t go.

Fox terrorism expert Steven Emerson used that description about the United Kingdom’s second largest city in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Emerson said there were areas in many parts of Europe where non-Muslims simply don’t go.

The comments were widely ridiculed, and that led Fox host Jeanine Pirro to interrupt a recent broadcast with an apology.

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NPR Story
12:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

A Story Of Kindness In Venice, Italy

View from a Venice footbridge. (Courtesy Sonia Michaels)

As Parkinson’s disease worsened for Bernard Michaels, his family took him on a final trip to Europe. Early in the trip, a slip in Venice, Italy landed him in the hospital.

His daughter, Sonia, set out with a collapsible wheelchair to meet him, but 17 staired footbridges, slick with rain, stood between them. Fortunately, others took notice.

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NPR Story
12:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Cheap Gas And Innovation Bring Optimism To Detroit Auto Show

Toyota shows off its FT-1 concept car during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Saturday marks the public opening of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Following a particularly good year for automakers and the continued drop in gas prices, the mood is optimistic for automakers like Ford, GM, Chrysler and foreign brands across the board. Innovation, both on fuel economy and in tech are also making a splash.

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NPR Story
12:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Is The World Ignoring Nigeria?

This photo combo of images provided by Amnesty International, on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, shows infrared satellite images of the village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria. The top image shows the village on Jan. 2, before it was allegedly attacked by members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. The bottom image, taken on Jan. 7, 2015, shows Doron Baga after the alleged attack. Amnesty International said that in the infrared images, where bright red indicates healthy trees and vegetation, more than 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed. Boko Haram fighters seized a military base in Baga on Jan. 3 and, according to witnesses, and killed hundreds of civilians in the ensuing days. (DigitalGlobe via Amnesty International, Micah Farfour)

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 1:58 pm

Many people have been asking: Why has there been so much coverage of Paris, and so little coverage of Nigeria, where maybe many hundreds died in attacks over the last couple of weeks?

There has been some coverage of new satellite images showing the aftermath of the assault on the town of Baga by Islamic militants from Boko Haram, as well as some coverage of suicide attacks carried out by young girls in the same region.

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NPR Story
12:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Will Supreme Court Weigh In on Four Same-Sex Marriage Cases?

A view of the Supreme Court, January 16, 2015 in Washington, D.C. On Friday, the Supreme Court is meeting in closed conference to decide whether it will take up cases on the issues of same sex-marriage and marriage recognition from several states. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee challenging bans on same-sex marriages. Earlier this week, the court declined to take a same-sex marriage case from Louisiana because an appeals court has not yet ruled on that case.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Wisconsin VA Hospital Investigated For Overprescribing Narcotics

Adam Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting writes that some veterans and staff call Dr. David Houlihan (pictured) the "Candy Man" because of how freely he prescribes narcotic painkillers. (Facebook photo via Center for Investigative Reporting)

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 12:46 pm

The chief of staff at a Wisconsin VA hospital has been temporarily reassigned while the facility is investigated for the overmedication of veterans.

This comes after the Center For Investigative Reporting published a story about the overprescribing of narcotic painkillers at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The facility has gained the reputation of “Candy Land” because of its generous dispensation of drugs. The man in charge of the hospital, Dr. David Houlihan, is called the “Candy Man” by veterans and staff.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

NASA's Pluto Probe Begins Observations

An artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its three moons in summer 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and large moon Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away. (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons officially began its six-month approach to Pluto on Thursday, which is expected to be the first close flyby of the dwarf planet.

After a 3-billion-mile journey that began in 2006, New Horizons is finally collecting scientific data that may shed light on Pluto, its five known moons and the solar system’s “third zone,” known as the Kuiper Belt. The closest approach is expected in July.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Pre-Diabetes Support Groups Aim To Stem The Epidemic

Myriam Coenegrachts, left, listens as group coach Susan Walden talks about the negative metabolic effects of skipping meals. (Carrie Feibel/Houston Public Media)

Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s a startling statistic, but not as alarming as the forecast: if present trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But it’s not inevitable.

There’s a new national program to slow down the epidemic by rolling out hundreds of support groups across the country. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media reports.

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