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Oh sure, you could argue there are other, more important things happening in the world. And frankly, you'd be right. (For those things, by the way — which some people, in somber tones, might call newsplease see here.)

But sometimes, you just need to watch a big gorilla dance in a small pool.

Andy Slavitt understands the inner workings of the U.S. health care system better than most. From 2015 to 2017, he ran the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Since leaving that post in January, he's been an outspoken critic of the Republican proposals to dismantle it.

Yesterday, shortly after the release of the Senate bill, he tweeted, "It's the ugly step-sibling of the House bill." And this morning his message was, "We must start over. It's too important."

Curtain’s up on the Republican Senate health care bill. The GOP scores in Georgia. Dashcam video of the Philando Castile shooting. Otto Warmbier dies. Our weekly news round table goes behind the headlines.

Pulling Out Of Car Ownership

Jun 23, 2017

Is car ownership going the way of the horse and buggy? We’ll look at how ride sharing and driverless cars are turning the way we move.

July 2, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 20th century: the East St. Louis Race Riots of 1917

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Gregory Carr, an instructor of speech and theater at Harris-Stowe State University, and actress Andrea Purnell joined the program to discuss “Tinderbox,” his play based on the history of the event. 

While college campuses struggle with consent, and when and how "no means no," a nearly 40-year-old court case in North Carolina says a person can't be charged with rape if their partner revokes consent during sex.

Planet Earth is a vast place, with humans scattered all over it.

The U.S. took in more than 96,000 refugees last year, and many were children. Some of those children are finishing their first year in American schools.

Diane Orson from Here & Now contributor WNPR reports on an after-school arts program that’s partnered with a local resettlement agency to create a special violin class for some of the 270 young refugees living in New Haven, Connecticut.

A judge has declared a mistrial in the murder and manslaughter case against former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing over his fatal shooting of black motorist Sam DuBose.

This is the second time the case has ended in a mistrial — the jury was deadlocked in the first trial, which ended last November.

A live Asian carp — an invasive fish so threatening to local U.S. ecosystems that officials have struggled to keep it out of the Great Lakes — has been caught 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond a system of underwater electric barriers.

If you happened to be in the Delmar Loop on Wednesday or in a number of other places in the St. Louis area, it’s likely you heard live music.

Those sounds were part of Make Music Day, an international holiday that’s celebrated in more than 750 cities worldwide including more than 50 in the United States. 

Opera singers Nika Leoni and Kathy Favazza are co-founders of the event in St. Louis.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in watched his military test-fire a ballistic missile on Friday, after a string of North Korean missile tests were blamed for raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The military said the missile, a Hyunmoo-2 with a range of up to 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles), hit its target accurately.

Less than a week after a judge declared a mistrial in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, the comedian's representatives say he intends to host a series of town halls about sexual assault and the legal system.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told the TV show Good Day Alabama that the town halls could start as soon as next month and noted that the issues were particularly important for young athletes.

Could The Best Memory System Be One That Forgets?

Jun 23, 2017

Intuitively, we tend to think of forgetting as failure, as something gone wrong in our ability to remember.

Now, Canadian neuroscientists with the University of Toronto are challenging that notion. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, they review the current research into the neurobiology of forgetting and hypothesize that our brains purposefully work to forget information in order to help us live our lives.

The list of perks Dan Teran's company offers sounds pretty dreamy.

Anyone working 120 hours a month gets employer-sponsored medical, dental and vision insurance. His company, Managed by Q, also offers a matching 401(k) retirement program, paid time off, a stock option program for all employees, and 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

Those are highly unusual perks, considering most are part-time workers who work only when they're available. Also, Teran's company does janitorial, building maintenance and temporary secretarial work, where such benefits are almost unheard of.

If Qatar wants to end a recent diplomatic standoff, all it needs to do is comply with 13 demands. That, at least, is according to the four Arab neighbors — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — that drew up the list and sent it via Kuwaiti mediators on Friday.

Police have charged Darren Osborne with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder over an attack in which investigators say Osborne drove a van into a crowd of people leaving a mosque in north London early Monday.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

President Trump kept one of his campaign promises, signing a bill Friday to make it easier for the secretary of veterans affairs to fire and discipline employees. It came in response to the 2014 VA scandal in which employees covered up long wait times while collecting bonuses.

The bill, which passed earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, also gives the secretary authority to revoke bonuses and protects whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

The fire that devastated a 24-story apartment building last week began by accident — and the source was a refrigerator, London police say. Investigators have also found that materials used on Grenfell Tower's exterior failed safety tests.

"We now have expert evidence that the fire was not started deliberately — the fire started in a fridge-freezer — the make and model is a Hotpoint FF175BP," Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said Friday. She added that the refrigerator, which has a freezer on the bottom and refrigerator on top, has not been recalled.

In Atlanta, the buzzing of dirt bikes and ATVs is loudest on Sundays, when a loose group of riders called ATL Bike Life get together.

About 50 of them showed up outside a park in southwest Atlanta, popping wheelies and revving their engines.

Thirteen chefs divide into teams and begin to prepare appetizers, salads, mains and sides, and desserts. At their disposal are 300 pounds of "ugly" produce just rescued from local farms: purple cauliflower, cherries, shiitake mushrooms, pears, fingerling potatoes, shallots, kale and carrots.

Most of it looks super-fresh, though in some cases the produce is dinged or oddly colored enough to be unappealing to distributors.

On April 30, Francis Rodriguez, the owner of Yaquis on Cherokee, was drawn to his apartment window by a commotion outside on Cherokee Street. Rodriguez lives above the pizza parlor and, as shots rang out, he and his wife dropped to the floor. After a pause, he ran downstairs to check on the restaurant, where people didn’t immediately recognize the sound of gunfire.

“They're still playing music in here. They didn't hear the shots upstairs that are right outside the door,” he said. “But just as I open up the back door from our apartment and hear people start raising the alarm in here [Yaquis] and so people started screaming and falling onto the floor.”

Today we're going to update a story we first brought you back in 2004. That September, NPR set out to document what may be the most important day in any young child's life — the first day of kindergarten. For parents it's a day filled with hope, anxiety and one big question: Is our child ready?

The answer back then, as far as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was, "No, no, no!"

Thirty years after Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong labeled golf a sport for the bourgeois and banned it from his worker's paradise, his successor gave the sport another try.

In 1982, Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old draftsman at an engineering firm living in Detroit. On June 19, the Chinese-American immigrant went out with friends to celebrate his upcoming wedding.

That night at a bar he crossed paths with Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz. The two worked in the auto industry and were angry about recent layoffs which were widely blamed on Japanese imports.

In ordinary times, New York-based Vornado Realty Trust would be a natural candidate to take on a major construction project such as the long-awaited rebuilding of FBI headquarters.

As with so much about the Trump era, however, the ordinary rules don't apply.

A commercial real estate firm, Vornado is widely reported to be a finalist to build a new campus for the FBI somewhere in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. But its financial ties to President Trump are raising concerns about conflicts of interest.

For the first time since it was adopted, Ferguson residents and activists got a chance Thursday to give their take on how the city is doing at making federally mandated changes to its municipal court and police department.

Everyone who spoke appreciated the opportunity to weigh in, but the reviews given to U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry were decidedly mixed. 

Two government watchdog groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump and the Executive Office of the President.

Renee Rabinowitz, a Holocaust survivor in her 80s, was flying from Newark, N.J., to Tel Aviv in 2015, when a flight attendant on Israel's El Al airline asked if she would be willing to change seats. An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man had said he did he not feel comfortable sitting next to her.

Rabinowitz agreed to move. But afterward, she said she felt "deep humiliation" — and sued the airline in Israeli court.

Jerusalem's Magistrate Court ruled Thursday in her favor, saying that asking her to change seats based on her gender was discrimination.

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