Here and Now on RIPR

Weekdays, Noon - 2:00 PM
  • Hosted by Robin Young, Jeremy Hobson

Here & Now offers a distinctive mix of hard news and rich conversation featuring interesting players from across the spectrum of arts and culture, business, technology, science and politics.

Most of us are are at least vaguely familiar with this story – Mary and Joseph head to their hometown of Bethlehem to pay taxes to Caesar Augustus. There’s no room at the inn and their baby, a boy named Jesus, is born in a stable among the animals.

What the biblical story doesn’t say much about is life in Bethlehem a few thousand years ago. What did people there do? What did they wear? Wow did they spend their time?

Volkswagen is further shaking up its senior management team in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal. It’s part of an ongoing effort by VW to overhaul what analysts see as a dysfunctional corporate culture.

The company also announced it has retained lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to “design and administer” a claims resolution program for aggrieved VW diesel owners. The European Parliament said today that it will investigate whether European Union regulators were too lax in their oversight.

On Thursday, the House plans to vote on a huge tax package, and then on Friday, vote for a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. That appears to take the budget off the agenda until there is a new president.

Who are the winners and losers? NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax joins Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt with details.

The losers include people who wanted meat labels, debt relief for Puerto Rico and restraints on new Department of Labor regulations involving financial advisors.

DJ Session: Best Music Of 2015

Dec 17, 2015

Travis Holcombe, DJ at KCRW, joins us to share his favorite music of the year, including “Lean On,” by Major Lazer featuring MØ and DJ Snake, and “Here” by Alessia Cara.

“In the past year we’ve seen a lot of blurring of the lines between the underground and mainstream,” Holcombe told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. He says he expects the trend to continue next year.

Exec Who Jacked Up Price Of A Life-Saving Drug Is Arrested

Dec 17, 2015

Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager vilified in nearly every corner of America for buying a pharmaceutical company and jacking up the price of a life-saving drug more than fiftyfold, was arrested Thursday on securities fraud charges unrelated to the furor.

A judge declared a hung jury Wednesday after the panel couldn’t reach a decision in the manslaughter trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, whose injury in police custody sparked weeks of protests and fueled the nation’s scrutiny of how police treat black suspects.

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates after seven years of record lows. But it’s signaling that further rate hikes will likely be made slowly as the economy strengthens further and muted inflation rises.

The Fed’s move Wednesday to lift its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent ends an extraordinary seven-year period of near-zero rates that began at the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. Consumers and businesses could now face modestly higher rates on some loans.

While Force Friday was months ago, toys continue to fly off the shelves for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which comes out this week. More than 70 companies are profiting from their Star Wars toy sales and business is good.

Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt speaks with Juli Lennett, toy analyst for the NPD Group about merchandise sales surrounding the film.

Howard Stern’s voice will continue to ring out on Sirius XM satellite radio. Today, the company announced a new contract with Stern, where he’ll continue to host The Howard Stern Show for five years, and also to develop a new video streaming app.

Jason Bellini, senior producer with The Wall Street Journal, speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about what Stern has meant for Sirius XM.


The Global Threat Of The MERS Virus

Dec 15, 2015

This past spring, when an outbreak of MERS — the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome — sickened 186 people and killed 37 in Seoul, South Korea, global public health officials saw this as evidence of the danger of a virus that many see as underestimated so far. In Seoul, the illness was spread from a single person who had come home ill from the Middle East.

More than half a million students, from the country’s second largest school district, are out of class today after the Los Angeles Unified School District canceled classes because of a bomb threat.

At a news conference today, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stressed to reporters how big an action closing down school for more than 600,000 students is.

Meanwhile, officials in New York City say they received a similar threat today and decided not to cancel classes.

Bittersweet Reunion For Pakistani Family

Dec 15, 2015

On Nov. 23, we brought you the story of a terminally-ill Houston teenager desperate to see her parents. Qirat Chappra, an 18-year-old who has spent most of her life at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, hadn’t seen them in 13 years.

In 1977, former NPR movie critic Tom Shales reviewed “Star Wars,” later renamed “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” That was back in the day when the first Apple II computers went on sale and Space Mountain was opening at Disneyland.

This Thursday, “Star Wars” returns to the big screen for its seventh episode and the first to be directed by J.J. Abrams.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced new regulations today requiring anyone owning a drone between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds to register with the government. With consumer analysts predicting up to one million drones purchased this holiday season, the new rules could affect a lot of people.

But the rules do not include anyone flying for reasons other than recreation – reasons that include business operations – and that is raising question about technology laws across the board and how governments may lag behind the accelerated pace of the technology sector.

In Season 2, Fargo Is Still Fresh

Dec 14, 2015

“Fargo,” the FX show based on the Coen Brothers classic film, will air its second season finale tonight. The show has garnered acclaim from critics with a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans speaks with Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt about what made “Fargo” so successful and how different it is from the film from which it was derived.