National News

Leading Ebola Doctor Stricken With The Disease Himself

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 12:15

Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, the head doctor fighting the Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone, has begun to exhibit symptoms of the disease. For more details on the situation, Audie Cornish speaks with Dr. Daniel G. Bausch, a colleague of Khan's and an associate professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

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Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on rural America

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 11:21

The Agricultural Act of 2014 – also known as the Farm Bill – was passed by Congress earlier this year. We talked with Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture about what he thinks should happen next:

On agricultural business in rural America:

“I think it’s important for the folks to understand that there’s great profit opportunity and business opportunity in rural America. We’re about 75 percent of the land mass in the United States. The vast majority of America is located in rural areas. It’s where most of our food comes from, a lot of our water. So there’s an importance to this place and that’s why I think it’s worthy of attention and worthy of investment.”

Vilsack says we need to think more about agricultural products beyond food and fuel. He also said the infrastructure needs of rural America are well documented and need improvement:

“The American Society of Civil Engineers suggests that our infrastructure would rank a D+ - well, that’s not good enough for us to be competitive in a global economy.”

Rural America has had a hard time bouncing back from the recession. He says this bill will supply for jobs in that area:

“There are a lot of people looking for work that maybe have a community college education, maybe a high school education. These construction jobs, these trade jobs are great opportunities for them to rebuild the middle class.”

The Average American Man Is Too Big For His Britches

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 11:10

Growing waistlines, a savvy clothing industry and good old-fashioned stubbornness have kept many men in pants that don't fit. It doesn't have to be this way.

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Are Opponents Of The Death Penalty Contributing To Its Problems?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:38

It's become an article of faith among supporters of capital punishment that abolitionists are doing everything they can to undermine executions, putting up hurdles and then complaining about delays.

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'Ace' Greenberg and the rise (and fall) of Bear Stearns

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:21

Alan “Ace” Greenberg, who rose from a Bear Stearns clerk in 1949 to become the firm’s CEO in 1978, died Friday at 86. The cause was complications from cancer.

When he joined the investment bank, it was a little, scrappy company. It rose to become one of the industry’s biggest, but never lost its outsider image, until it nearly collapsed in 2008. JPMorganChase acquired the company at a bargain basement price, in one of the first moves of the impending financial crisis. 

Ace Greenberg came from another era of Wall Streeters. He had no Ivy League degree. He was born in Kansas, and he grew up in Oklahoma. 

“He liked to gamble, he liked magic, he liked bridge, and, of course, the only way to legally gamble at that time was to go to Wall Street,” says William D. Cohan, author of “House of Cards, A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” a book that chronicles the fall of Bear Stearns.

During his career, Greenberg’s trades made a lot of money, and by 1978, he was the boss, instilling in the company a culture both of risk taking and frugality, reusing envelopes and giving new employees welcome packets with a note and some supplies. 

As former Bear Stearns trader Lee Munson remembers it, the note said, “You have 50 rubber bands and a box of paper clips, and use them wisely throughout your career at Bear Stearns because you’re not going to get any more.”

Greenberg stepped aside as CEO in 1993, making way for his successor, James Cayne. He had first met Cayne playing bridge.

“Bridgeplaying was the Facebook of their time,” says Cohan. 

As Bear Stearns was starting to unravel in 2007, Cohan says Cayne was in communicado at a bridge tournament. And, he says Greenberg developed a grudge against his former friend and successor for driving the firm into the ground.

“That, of course, ignores Ace’s role in it because Ace was part of the firm’s DNA,” Cohan says. 

Greenberg was on the executive committee when the firm was sold to JPMorganChase. Greenberg told host Kai Ryssdal on this program in 2010 that he didn’t have much influence by that point. 

“I did what I could. I tried as hard as I could. Kai, you have to understand that I was a very very small shareholder of Bear Stearns during this period,” Greenberg said. 

He told “Marketplace” that what he regretted most were all the Bear Stearns workers who lost their jobs in 2008.

Sen. John McCain Calls Lengthy Execution In Arizona 'Torture'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:11

The Arizona senator said he believes in the death penalty, but that was not "an acceptable way of carrying it out."

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CEOs get paid a ton, Mary Poppins makes almost none

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 10:00

As the song goes, "Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!" That is, unless you're getting paid the federal minimum wage like Mary Poppins.

Or, rather, Kristen Bell as Mary Poppins in a Funny or Die video poking fun at how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour:

Mary Poppins Quits with Kristen Bell from Funny Or Die

Aside from lamenting that she has to buy her own birds (from Mexico, apparently), Poppins points out the irony of CEOs' growing paychecks, while she can't even live above the poverty line. Our own Paddy Hirsch has a video on this phenomenon. He doesn't sing:

Can't this British nanny catch a break? Or at least get a new umbrella?

Pope Francis To Visit U.S. Next Year

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 09:02

In what will be his first papal visit to the U.S., the pontiff has accepted an invitation to a meeting in Philadelphia and is reportedly considering stops in New York and Washington, D.C.

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The GOP's New Plan To Tackle Poverty: Helpful Or Hurtful?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 08:24

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has a new plan to address poverty. Host Michel Martin talks with commentators Corey Ealons and Ron Christie about it and other political stories of the week.

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In India's Sultry Summer, Bucket Bathing Beats Indoor Showers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 06:27

Our writer hated it as a child. Now she loves it: Fill pitcher, pour over head. It's a great way to stay cool in a place where water isn't always running. Maybe you should put it on your bucket list.

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Indonesia's President-Elect Crowdsources His Cabinet

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 05:57

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made a campaign promise to be a new kind of leader and has now asked ordinary Indonesians to help him choose his government.

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Video Shows Islamic State Blowing Up Iraq's Tomb Of Jonah

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 05:31

The destruction of the holy site has drawn criticism from the Sunni allies of the so-called Islamic State and may cause a rift between the Sunni groups.

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Australia Sending 190 Police To Secure MH17 Wreckage

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 05:01

The Netherlands, which lost 193 of its citizens in the shoot-down of the Malaysia Airlines flight, is also negotiating to send 40 unarmed police to the site in eastern Ukraine.

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Kerry: Gaza Truce Still In Play

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 04:11

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected reports that a proposed seven-day cease-fire had been rebuffed by Israel's Security Cabinet.

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At Jaguars' New Stadium, Come For The Football Or The Swimming

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 03:02

The Jacksonville team revamped its stadium with a record-sized video display and luxury cabanas with swimming pools. The beleaguered team is banking on drawing more fans to its games.

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PODCAST: Starbucks' big ideas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 03:00

Continuing Marketplace's "Big Ideas" series, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz stops by to talk about the principles that guide the coffee company's strategy. Hear the full interview in today's mid-day update.

France Dispatches Military Unit To Site Of Air Algerie Wreck

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 02:56

President François Hollande said that all 116 people died and that one black box had been recovered. France's interior minister said weather likely contributed to the crash.

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Death Penalty Expert On Why Lethal Injection Is So Problematic

NPR News - Fri, 2014-07-25 02:41

In the wake of Arizona's botched execution, Steve Inskeep talks with Amherst professor Austin Sarat, author of the recent book Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty.

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Launching a reusable spacecraft

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 02:00

Private space transport company SpaceX announced a notable success recently: it soft-landed a Falcon 9 rocket in the Atlantic Ocean after it successfuly re-entered earth's atmosphere.

It's a significant development in that spacecrafts tend to be only good for one-time use. SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell is someone who's looking closely at space travel in the future. She says the next step in the evolution of space travel is rapid and complete reusability:

"What would air travel look like if airplanes were thrown out after each flight? No one would be flying in airplanes. We want to be able to re-use rapidly, just like an airplane."

It's a process that Shotwell thinks is inevitable, and in a lot of ways, just makes logical sense:

"From my perspective, it's really risk management, to ensure that humans have the ability to go somewhere else in case there were to be some huge disaster on earth."

Click the media player above to hear SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Gwynne Shotwell's name. The text has been corrected.

4 ways Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz puts employees 1st

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-07-25 02:00

Howard Schultz believes in ensuring his company's success not only in front of the counter with consumers, but also behind it, with his employees.

Schultz is the chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks. He first joined the company in 1982 as the director of operations and marketing. At the time, Starbucks had been around a little over a decade, and was a young company with only four stores. A little more than three decades later, the company has established itself as what Schultz calls "the ultimate purveyor of coffee" with close to 21,000 stores in more than 65 countries.

Schultz's big idea has been to make the people who work for him a priority.

In an interview with Marketplace Morning Report Host David Brancaccio, Schultz shared his belief that a company's responsibility extends beyond ensuring that profits for its shareholders. He says the people who work for companies like Starbucks deserve to be taken care of.

He shared with us four ways he has made his employees a priority in ways that have bolstered Starbucks' success

Idea: Doing the right thing for your people and the communities you serve will ensure greater success for the company.

"I feel strongly that we have demonstrated that we are a performance driven company and organization by providing significant shareholder value," he says.

Schultz realizes that company profits aren't the only way to measure success:

"At the same time, we have done all this through the lens of humanity and that's what I'm most proud of and that's what I believe businesses should be."

Idea: Investing in the education of your employees benefits everyone — the employee and the company.

Schultz and Starbucks recently made headlines by announcing they were partnering with Arizona State University to offer to their employees a four-year college degree at a reduced cost.

"Our responsibility as a company is to recognize that if we could provide a free college education to our employees," he says, "it would help our company and it would help them professionally and personally."

Idea : The status quo is not good enough for a company trying to build a long term, enduring business.

Schultz places a premium on innovation, calling it the key to long-term growth and sustainability.

"The status quo just is not going to be good enough," he says. "We have to push for self-renewal and reinvention and at the heart of that, at the core of that, is innovation.

So, how do you encourage innovation? The answer leads us to Schultz's last big idea....

Idea: Stay curious. Have the courage and conviction to make big bets.

And Schultz should know... He signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey that has the media mogul producing a special line of tea for Starbucks. It's the kind of big bet that most brands could only dream about. One thing is for sure, no matter how much success Starbucks achieves, it hasn't stopped Schultz from planning the company's next move.

"I'm still looking around corners and I'm still trying to put Starbucks in a position to surprise and delight our customers and I think innovation has been the core reason behind our success."

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