National News

A Single Insurer Holds Obamacare's Fate In 2 States

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 10:24

Where have the insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act struggled the most? The answer lies in commerce, not politics.

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What have we lost in a world of constant connection?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:55

There was a moment, a few years ago, that Michael Harris felt digitally overloaded.

So Harris quit his job and went offline.

Harris explores this experience in his new book “The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection”.

“Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean?

For future generations, it won’t mean anything very obvious. They will be so immersed in online life that questions about the Internet’s basic purpose or meaning will vanish.

But those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between 'Before and After.' We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, mid-conversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google.”

His Camera Takes Us To The World 'We Must Preserve'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:44

In the new exhibit "Genesis," the noted photographer Sebastiao Salgado shares his vision of "a kind of state of humanity of the planet," from Amazon tribes to frozen Siberia.

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Is the Internet taking us back in time? The return of handmade goods

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:43

Jody Rice fell in love with needlework as a child. After an unfulfilling series of jobs in film, Rice decided to quit her 9-5 life.

Her online business of digital patterns may sound modern, but Jody feels her colorful, geometric graphics actually get back to where cross-stitch started, thousands of years ago. Jody lives off her business full time, and connects to an entire community who appreciate her reinterpretation of this ancient form of decoration. 

Click play above to hear her story

White House Announces Campaign Against Campus Sexual Assault

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:41

In unveiling the "It's On Us" campaign aimed at preventing attacks on college campuses, President Obama said such violence is "an affront to our basic humanity."

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Will Jack Ma’s quirkiness play in the U.S.?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:35

There’s no two ways about it. 

Jack Ma is a quirky guy.

From dressing up like Lady Gaga, to belting out the "Lion King" theme song, to revealing on CNBC that his hero is, the decidedly fictional, Forrest Gump.

Jack Ma is Jack Ma. 

And Jack Ma is not the buttoned up (or turtle-necked up) CEO that we’re accustomed to.

But don’t let his antics fool you.

"Everyone seems to underestimate Jack Ma," says Porter Erisman, former Alibaba VP and director of the documentary 'Crocodile in in the Yangtze.'

He calls Jack Ma "incredibly  innovative, very visionary."

Ma is also ambitious. And to achieve his goal of reaching an audience outside of China, some think he'll need to tone his antics down a bit.

"The particular quirky flamboyance that he has historically displayed seems to sell very well there," says Max Wolff, an economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, which helped institutional investors get Alibaba shares. "It won't sell quite as well for a global audience."

But Ma’s flash doesn't seem to be scaring off investors today. Even though the company is set up in such a way that Ma will be in control, not shareholders.

Alibaba Shares Surge On First Day Of Trading

NPR News - Fri, 2014-09-19 09:32

Shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant opened at $92.70 a share on the New York Stock Exchange today, making it the biggest initial public offering in U.S. history. They were priced at $68 a share.

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Thousands line up to exchange Ray Rice jersey

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 08:43

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a press conference today. He said, again, that he's sorry he handled the Ray Rice incident the way he did, that the NFL will do all it can to assist groups that fight domestic violence and that he hasn't thought about resigning.

But on a day when Apple fans lined up by the thousands to get their hands on the iPhone 6, so too did Ravens fans line up at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Also by the thousands.

To trade in their No. 27 Ray Rice jerseys.

This is not a line for the new #iPhone! Thousands line up to exchange @ravens #RayRice jersey at #M&TBankStadium pic.twitter.com/W3VBwJHjVX

— Kelly Blanco (@KellyNBC6) September 19, 2014

The numbers for September 19, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 07:39

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is having a great morning. After a record-breaking IPO, the Chinese e-commerce company began trading Friday at $92.70, the New York Times reported. That price values the company at more than $228.5 billion.

While we calculate just how much human hair you could buy with that, here are some other stories we're reading — and numbers we're watching — Friday.

55 percent

In a much more decisive vote than expected, the majority of Scots elected to keep the country in the United Kingdom overnight Friday. The full results show a huge turnout, and the BBC reported that the vote has resonated around the world, from secessionists in Spain to state media in China. 

23,000

That's the number of people killed annually by issues stemming form antibiotic-resistance. The White House launched a new initiative to combat the public health threat Thursday, the Times reported, with a $20 million prize for the development of a better resistance test and a suggested $1.7 billion in funding for research and other initiatives.

$400 million

In an unprecedented sponsorship deal, Microsoft reportedly paid the NFL $400 million to get hundreds of its Surface tablets on the sidelines and in coaches booths for the next several seasons. But the Los Angeles Times reported that announcers keep accidentally calling the tablets "iPads," showing just how much Microsoft's key rival owns the tablet industry.

The risks and rewards of Alibaba's IPO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 06:54

Alibaba ticks two boxes that get investors very excited: China and technology.

That has investors “salivating,” says Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor at University of California Berkeley School of Law.

The massive Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, using the ticker “BABA.” Shares will start at $68, the top of the company’s price range.

There are more people and companies interested in buying stock than there are shares available, but some experts advise caution.

Davidoff Solomon says investors should be aware that the deal is structured in such a way that they’re actually buying into a Cayman Islands company that will receive profits from Alibaba.

“Let’s say that Alibaba China decides just not to pay on those profits,” he explains. “Shareholders would have to sue a Cayman Islands company, gain control of it, and have that Cayman Islands company sue in China. Good luck with that.”

Second, a small group of insiders will retain control of the company and appoint directors, even though they’ll own a small percentage of its shares.

The question then is whether the price is worth these risks.

Matt Turlip, an analyst with PrivCo, has done his own valuation and thinks Alibaba’s shares are actually worth $100 each.

“It’s a giant, profitable company right now that’s growing like a startup still,” says Turlip.

So buy or buyer beware – you decide.

PODCAST: The nuance of inflation

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 03:00

We have screens at the ready here to watch what happens when stock in the massive Chinese online commerce operation, Alibaba, starts trading in New York. Shares will start at $68, the top of the company's range. But while many investors are eagerly diving in, others are advising caution. Plus, as we've been hearing, the Scots have voted to stay with the United Kingdom, and this--among other things--has a bearing on interest rates. And as Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the surprising, sometimes delightful and sometimes destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century. Last week, we heard a classical definition of inflation from the Harvard professor who literally wrote the textbook definition. But price changes have many causes and can effect people with varying incomes quite differently. Today, we talk to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Weekend Brunch: AliBaba's IPO and the Fed's new normal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 02:12

Venessa Wong from Bloomberg and Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson chat about the week's news. Click play above to hear them break down the Federal Reserve's latest decision and the AliBaba IPO.

Brunch reading list:

Bloomberg: 3 Photos That Help Explain the Frenzy Over Alibaba's IPO

Businessweek: I Used Alibaba to Make 280 Pairs of Brightly Colored Pants

CNBC: Fed will end QE next month, 'considerable time' remains

Washington Post: Federal Reserve details new exit strategy, keeps record-low rate

 

 

 

Want to sell a house? Head West. Want to buy? Go East.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 02:00

Online real estate site Zillow released a study on Friday that listed the markets for sellers and buyers in the United States. 

Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist said the lists show an east/west divide.  

Most of the best markets for sellers, says Humphries, are on the West Coast. Markets like San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle top the list. Most of the cities that favor buyers are in the east and midwest. 

"Markets like Providence, Cleveland and Philadelphia. And it’s not necessarily by historical standards that they’re bad markets," Humphries said. 

He said home prices in many of the buyers' markets haven’t risen as sharply, but that also means that when the market slows, home prices won’t crash as hard.

Kevin Hamilton knows all about seller’s markets. He’s with Red Oak Realty in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"You know a lot people think realtors are really excited about this hot market, and truthfully we’re not," he said. 

Hamilton said right now, buyers are offering way too much for houses. While responsible realtors advise against such irrational behavior, he said, when the market slows and prices crash, clients don’t remember.

"Everyone kinda came back and said, 'Why did you tell me to buy this?'" Hamilton said. "You know, well, if you looked back at that day, we didn’t."

Silicon Tally - Mo Money, Mo Facebook

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 02:00

It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week, we're joined by Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code For America. Pahlka also recently served as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the United States Government.

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Why you'd pay more for a car with hand-crank windows

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-09-19 01:30

As Marketplace celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we are looking at the weird, delightful and destructive ways that prices have changed during that quarter century.

But first, let's take a ride...back to 1989.

Back then, the cheapest Accord sedan had just 98-horsepower, hand-crank windows, no AC, and retailed for $11,770.

A commercial for the popular automobile posits that maybe one day, someone will build a better car than the Accord...maybe.

 

 

Since then, improvements have been made, and the Honda Accord is currently the best-selling car in America.

But how has the price changed? And when you adjust for inflation, is it more or less expensive than back in 1989?

We checked in with Joe Ciaccia, general manager of Honda Manhattan, to see how much the car will set you back with today's prices. And as for how it compares to its 25 year old counterpart, the answer might surprise you.

Click the media player above to hear more on the surprising affect inflation has had on the Honda Accord.

Voters In Scotland Reject Independence With Unprecedented Turnout

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 21:45

The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. Scots voted 55 percent to 45 percent against independence.

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In Scotland History Is Made... But At A Golf Club

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 15:56

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews voted to allow women for the first time in its 260 year history.

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In Sierra Leone, A Lockdown ... Or A Time To Reflect?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 14:41

Sierra Leoneans scramble for supplies as a three-day, countrywide lockdown approaches. International medical professionals doubt the move will do much to halt the spread of Ebola.

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Senate Approves Measure To Arm And Train Syrian Rebels

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-18 14:37

The measure, approved in rare bipartisan fashion by both chambers, is now headed to President Obama's desk.

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