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Here & Now

Weekdays, noon to 2pm

NPR's midday news magazine.  

Meet The New Voice Of NPR Underwriting

Oct 23, 2013

Big news for NPR junkies: The new voice of NPR funding credits was announced today. Starting next month, you’ll be hearing New York City native Sabrina Farhi on the air.

Farhi will be taking over for Frank Tavares who’s leaving at the end of the year after more than 30 years with NPR.

The new Myspace is hoping the creative community will make the site their space.

Myspace was once the biggest social media network on the web, but with the emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Myspace lost its following when many of the casual users moved to the sleeker new social sites.

In 2011, Myspace was acquired from NewsCorp by singer and actor Justin Timberlake, along with brothers Tim and Chris Vanderhook, owners of the online advertising site Specific Media.

Tonight the Boston Red Sox take on the Saint Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park in Game 1 of the World Series.

Cardinals fans have adopted the 1985 Glenn Frey hit “The Heat is On” as their own. Here & Now takes a quick listen to a much-loved remix of the song, made especially to honor the Cardinals back in the 1980s.

More questions keep coming in about the Affordable Care Act.

One listener named Will wrote in saying that when he signed up, he didn’t appear to be eligible for a subsidy, even though he believes he is. There are also reports of individuals getting insurance cancellations notices due to the Affordable Care Act.

Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to sort through some of the questions.

New Jersey firefighter Capt. Bill Lavin is building 26 playgrounds for each of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in communities that were hit hard by superstorm Sandy last year.

It’s part of his project called The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play. Two of the playgrounds are being built in New Jersey this week.

Maryland Health Exchange Has A Slow Start

Oct 23, 2013

Screenshot of Maryland health connection websiteAs of October 17th, around 2,400 people had signed up for health insurance within the state of Maryland. Those numbers pale in comparison with states like Kentucky, which had enrolled almost 11,000 by October 8th.

Netflix is riding on the success of streaming original television programs, such as “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards.”

The company now has 40 million worldwide subscribers, and its stock has tripled this year. Netflix reported revenue of $1.11 billion in the third quarter.

Today, “Allegiant,” the third book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling “Divergent” trilogy, hits e-readers and book stands.

The young adult (YA) novels are set in a dystopian future in which society has been divided into factions based on personality types. The book’s heroine doesn’t fit within that society’s limitations.

Flesh-Eating Drug 'Krokodil' Hits The U.S.

Oct 22, 2013

A flesh-eating narcotic known as “krokodil” has made its landing in the United States. The drug is injected, leaving the skin with gangrenous wounds and scaly, green flesh — hence the name “crocodile.”

The narcotic, usually created by mixing codeine with household ingredients like gasoline and iodine, emerged in Russia more than 10 years ago during a heroin shortage. Recent cases in the United States have been identified in Arizona, Illinois and Utah.

Carol Burnett

We tip our hat to legendary comedienne Carol Burnett, 80, who was awarded the Mark Twain Award for Comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last night.

Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett and Tina Fey were among those who honored Burnett in the tribute.

As he does every Monday, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings us a new song to kick off our week. This week it’s “This Lonely Morning” by Los Angeles rock duo Best Coast, off their new album “Fade Away.”

Thompson says Best Coast’s latest offering is a good follow up to its album that came out last year, “The Only Place.”

“It’s a really worthy sequel — full of irresistibly summery, beachy songs that are really sad if you scrape just slightly below the surface.”

A growing number of communities are creating places for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia — and their caregivers — to socialize and share a meal.

Among the latest are: Stamford, Conn., Brookfield, Wis., Chalfont, Calif. and Presque Isle, Maine.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Rick Howlett of WFPL reports on the memory cafe in Louisville, Kentucky.

Four Years Later, Army Hero Honored

Oct 18, 2013

This week, retired Army Capt. William Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an intense firefight in Afghanistan in 2009.

His team was conducting meetings with village elders in the village of Ganjar, in Kunar Province, when they were ambushed.

Swenson was honored for risking his life several times to rescue fellow troops and recover bodies during the seven-hour battle.

Mickey Edwards represented Oklahoma’s 5th district for 16 years in Congress. Edwards says the dysfunction in Washington is a “systemic problem,” and can’t be cured until the power of political parties diminishes.

Edwards told Here & Nows Jeremy Hobson that the last impasse in Washington is a result of how the political parties, both the Democrats and the Republicans, operate.

Puerto Rico Struggles With Debt Crisis

Oct 18, 2013

Puerto Rico has about $87 billion of debt — that’s about $23,000 for every resident.

The island nation is a U.S. territory, but it can’t declare bankruptcy.

Puerto Rican politicians are looking to raise taxes and cut pension obligations. 

Kyle Meredith, music director at WFPK public radio in Louisville, Kentucky, says that Louisville’s music scene, like the city, has always had an identity crisis — because Louisville is “not really the South, the East, the West or the North.”

The Sheriff of Polk County, Fla. has arrested two middle school girls for bullying another girl, Rebecca Sedwick, until her suicide earlier this month.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Facebook comments were the last straw after a month long investigation into Sedwick’s death. Two girls were arrested on felony aggravated stalking charges.

A new report by researchers at the University of California Berkeley finds that despite working and taking home a pay-check, more than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps or Medicaid to cover their basic needs.

The Senate is proposing a bipartisan plan that would avoid a default and reopen the federal government, but it remains to be seen whether the Senate plan will pass in the House.

“I am confident and optimistic that the bipartisan, bicameral agreement will be adopted by the House,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson.

He says that there will probably remain stalwarts in his party who will vote against the plan, but remains confident that it will have bipartisan support in the House.

Esther's Follies Take On Washington

Oct 16, 2013

What’s happening in Washington can seem like a joke these days, and Esther’s Follies, the campy political sketch comedy troop from Austin, Texas, is raking in the material.

Interview Highlights: Shannon Sedwick and Ted Meredith

Sedwick on how their comedy show works in Austin:

Picking The Gridiron Contenders

Oct 16, 2013

Next season, there will be a new playoff system for big time college football.

A committee, which includes former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, will select the four teams that will play in the semifinals ahead of the championship game.

That system will replace the Bowl Championship Series which has, until now, determined which college teams play for the national championship.

Amazon Partners With Procter & Gamble

Oct 15, 2013

If you haven’t heard of Ali-Baba, you will soon.

China’s largest e-commerce company recently announced it is going public in 2014, which means it will be the internet’s third largest company, and Amazon’s newest competitor.

Ali Baba’s edge is pricing — it’s able to keep prices super low because it has direct access to seller’s supply chains, which is exactly what Amazon is trying to do, by partnering with the giant like Procter & Gamble.

In the days after the Boston marathon bombings in April — we turned to Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock for reporting and more.

Six months later, he shares his thoughts.

Alex Ashlock is a producer and the director of Here & Now.

Soldier Receives Medal Of Honor Today

Oct 15, 2013

Army Captain William Swenson will be presented with the nation’s highest military honor at the White House today.

When President Obama hangs the medal around his neck it will be the end of a rocky road.

Swenson is credited with risking his life to save fellow troops and recover bodies during a battle in Afghanistan in 2009.

Smooth Sounds From The Twin Cities

Oct 14, 2013

As he does every Monday, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson is here to freshen our playlists and recommend a new song for us.

This week, Thompson bring us a band from the Twin Cities called Poliça.

Thompson describes Poliça’s sound as “very cool, sleek, kinda slinky music.”

He singles out Poliça’s vocalist, Channy Leaneagh.

After the Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that race could be a factor in college admissions in a Michigan case, affirmative action opponents persuaded the state’s voters to outlaw any consideration of race.

Now, the high court is weighing whether that change to Michigan’s constitution is itself discriminatory.

It is a proposition that even the lawyer for civil rights groups in favor of affirmative action acknowledges a tough sell, at first glance.

Electronic Music Pioneer Turns 80

Oct 14, 2013

To call Morton Subotnick a pioneer of electronic music has become commonplace.

What is not so well known about Subotnick, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, is that he had a role in fathering electronic dance music.

His innovations involving new technologies and musical accessibility continue today.

His most recent project is an app for young children to use, with which they can compose essentially by fingerpainting on an iPad.

There was a scarcely a dry eye when the hit show “Glee” paid tribute last night to one of its stars, Cory Monteith, who portrayed football player-turned-singer Finn Hudson.

Monteith died of a drug overdose in July. He was 31.

There had been a lot of speculation about how the show would explain his character’s death, but the program made no mention of how Finn died.

The finalists for the National Book Award for fiction will be announced next week.

With China’s rapid rise as a global economic power, it’s become increasingly fashionable to talk about reviving the Old Silk Road: the interlocking series of routes — dating back to pre-Christian times — along which merchants, pilgrims and soldiers travelled from East to West.

The latest person to talk romantically that period is Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his first visit of neighboring Central Asian states in September.

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