National News

A Bear On The Loose In Washington

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:32

There's a bear roaming the streets of the nation's capital. Not an actual bear, just a president who describes his recent efforts to escape the White House bubble in ursine terms.

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Measles Outbreak In Ohio Leads Amish To Reconsider Vaccines

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:31

Amish country in Ohio is being hit hard by a measles outbreak. Most Amish aren't vaccinated, so the disease has spread quickly. But a push for vaccination has found many takers.

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Tequila Nation: Mexico Reckons With Its Complicated Spirit

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:28

Some of tequila's oldest traditions are fast being erased as international spirit conglomerates take over family businesses. And tequila makers are worried about their impact on the environment.

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As Sea Levels Rise, Norfolk Is Sinking And Planning

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:27

Rising waters are threatening the giant naval base in Norfolk, Va., as well as the local businesses. The community is beginning to grapple with the reality, but many owners say they're staying put.

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With Cash And Fat Fryers, Americans Feed Cuba's Growing Free Market

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 23:26

With more people traveling between Cuba and the U.S., money and goods are moving, too. The influx has allowed Cuban-Americans to become investors in the island's emerging private sector.

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IRS Head Says No Obstruction Of Congress In Probe

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 22:09

Commissioner John Koskinen brushed aside accusations Monday evening that the agency has obstructed investigations into the targeting of Tea Party and other political groups.

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Explaining the stock split: Some financial gymnastics

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 22:08

There are plenty of financial advisors out there who recommend that their clients take a hands-off approach to investing, and really only check on their portfolio once a quarter or even once a year.

If you're that kind of person, and you're invested in Apple, your latest stock check might have given you a bit of a jolt. That's because in May, Apple shares hit $600. And today they're at $90.

Hold on ... What? NINETY dollars?

Yes, NINETY. But before you break into a cold sweat, check the number of shares you have.

Back in May, you had 100 shares, each of which was trading at $600. Today you've got 700 shares. That's right, you've got seven times the number of shares. And guess what...$90 is about a seventh of $600.

Quick math check: 100 shares x $600 equals $60,000. Which is what you had in May.

And today? You've got 700 shares x $90, which equals $63,000. So, you've got about the same. Phew! In fact, you've got a little more. Yay!

So whatever happened between then and now seems to have done you a favor.

What happened was a stock split, specifically a seven-to-one stock split, which Apple implemented on June 9. The stock split is an interesting piece of gymnastics designed to please the investing crowd.

Specifically, it's designed to make it easier to invest. Not cheaper, because the value of the investment remains the same, but easier. And that makes sense, if you think about it: The mental hurdle involved in buying multiple shares in a company is easier to overcome if those shares are trading at $90 than if they're trading at $600.

So why don't all companies split their stock? The fact is that many do.

When your individual shares have such a high dollar value that you worry they might deter a sector of the public from buying them, it's worth splitting them. That way, your shares are more accessible to more people, and they may attract more investors. And your shares may go up.

It's strategic. But splitting your stock, purely because you feel your company shares  need a bit of a lift that you might get if they look less expensive, is a fool's errand. That's because there's no guarantee that the shares will go up. They could go down. And if they do go down, then suddenly you have a stock that looks not inexpensive, but cheap. And who wants to be seen in a cheap stock?

AP: Parts Of Irish 'Mass Graves' Story Exaggerated By Media

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 17:31

The Associated Press says Irish and American media turned speculation into certainty on some details of infant and child burials at a Catholic home for unwed mothers near Galway city.

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Congressman Rangel Battles For Political Survival

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 15:07

The New York representative runs a real risk of losing to Dominican-American rival Adriano Espaillat in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Rangel is one of the longest-serving members of Congress.

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As Heart Attacks Rise In China, So Does Attention To Quality Of Care

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 15:03

There's been a quadrupling of hospitalizations for heart attacks in China since 2001. An in-depth look finds improvements in some heart attack care and significant quality gaps for others.

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How many schools are ready for digital testing?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 14:44
<a href="">View Survey</a>

Pro-Russian Separatists To Join Ukrainian Cease-Fire

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 14:16

Days after Kiev announced a unilateral weeklong halt in the fighting, forces belonging to the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic" say they will honor it.

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The New American Man Doesn't Look Like His Father

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:55

Over the summer, All Things Considered will explore exactly what it means to be a man in America these days. Today's men have to reconcile old ideas about masculinity with new economic realities.

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You say potato, I say po-tah-toe... in the tech world

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:28

Bloggers at eBay did a poll asking people how they pronounce tech-related words, and the results are fascinating. 

For instance, 55 percent of people pronounce data as 'day-tuh', and 42 percent say 'datt-uh.' Also, 91 percent pronounce wi-fi as 'why-fi' and 8 percent use 'wiffy.' 

And finally, 65 percent of people call a remote control a 'remote' and only 5 percent say clicker.

Doing The Math: How The U.S. Can Advance In The World Cup

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:24

Despite a deflating tie with Portugal, the U.S. is in a good spot: A tie or win against Germany moves them to the round of 16. A loss would unleash a complex scenario.

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The value of 'second-best solutions' to global warming

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:20

Over the weekend a prominent Republican, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, came out for a more-comprehensive attack on global warming than anything the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed: In a New York Times essay, he called for a tax on carbon. Economist and Times columnist Paul Krugman quickly challenged Paulson: A carbon tax won’t happen because of politics, so will Paulson support “second-best” solutions? 

Economists agree that regulating carbon-dioxide emissions like other pollutants doesn’t work. Carbon is everywhere: producing energy, driving cars, making cement. "We’re talking about hundreds of millions of sources," says Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard, "so the whole notion of trying to reduce those emissions with source-by-source regulations is simply infeasible."

A carbon tax is a tax on carbon sources, proportionate to how much carbon each source emits. "It provides incentives for everyone" to use less carbon, says Stavins, "from the electical generator, to the cement company, to myself, in terms of running the dishwasher."

So a carbon tax is like a bug bomb. Everything else -- the world of second-best solutions -- is running around your apartment with a flyswatter.

MIT economist Michael Greenstone proposes a different metaphor for second-best solutions. "I like to think of all of these policies as kind of a bank shot in the game of billiards," he says. "You’re shooting the ball to one side of the table, although the pocket is on the other."  So it’s harder to make your shot -- and you may hit something you don’t mean to.  

He uses fuel-efficiency standards for cars as an example. Although the standards "do make cars more fuel-efficient," he says, "they also cause people to drive more. You've reduced the cost of driving."

Similarly, because the EPA’s new power-plant regulations aim at carbon-intensity, not carbon emissions, they produce some unintended effects, says University of Colorado economist Daniel Kaffine.  Because gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, the strategy "sort of acts like a tax on coal and a subsidy to gas," he says. "But what we really want is a tax on both coal and gas."

Meanwhile, evaluating the tradeoffs creates work for economists. "You know, given this menu of second-best policies," says Kaffine, "how do they compare against the reference point of doing nothing?"


Mormon Church Excommunicates Advocate For Female Priests

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:15

An all-male panel has convicted Kate Kelly, a founder of Ordain Women, of apostasy and canceled her church membership.

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Wimbledon: An occasion for white

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:02

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Tuesday, June 24:

In Washington, the Commerce Department lets us know how many new homes were sold in May.

On Capitol Hill, Congress' Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing on "The Economic Impact of Increased Natural Gas Production."

In London, the tennis tournament Wimbledon enters its second day and continues through July 6. Strawberries and cream all around.

The Conference Board issues its monthly Consumer Confidence Index.

And he played Al on TV's "Happy Days." Actor Al Molinaro turns 95.

Pharmaceutical Companies Accuse Hospitals Of Misusing Discounts

NPR News - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:02

Drugmakers offer medicines at a bargain price to hospitals that treat large numbers of poor patients. Hospitals sometimes resell the drugs at full price and make hefty profits.

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Why do marketers want young men so badly?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:58

Listener Brock Groth of San Francisco hit us with this one:

“I've always wondered why marketers care so much about the ‘all-important’ male 21-to-35 demographic. What is so important about that group? As a male in my mid-40s I spend a lot more money than I did back then. What am I missing?”

Short answer is -- it’s actually the opposite sex who marketers spend the most to reach. After all, women are responsible for most consumer spending decisions, especially in families.

But, Brock Groth is also right. Younger men are an 'all-important' marketing target for key consumer categories and brands—everything from late-night TV, to alcoholic beverages, athletic footwear, sports entertainment, and pickup trucks.

Here are some examples:

Here’s one of those super-expensive Super Bowl ads, featuring NFL linebacker Terry Tate, busting office dweebs’ heads . . . for Reebok.

Michael Jordan -- the old, and the young -- battle it out in a one-on-one, for Gatorade.

There’s the battle for ratings on late-night TV:

It’s an insult-a-minute . . . when it’s not a frat-boy comedy-fest featuring various bodily fluids.

And then there’s the attraction of pretty much anything suggesting sex.

Media analyst Jack Myers is author of the forthcoming book 'The Future of Men: End of the Age of Dominant Males,' and he says: “Beer commercials continue to be appealing to men as completely male-focused misogynists who have women around them at bars or sporting events only to serve their needs. Or, men are idiots, they’re the buffoons who aren’t even capable of knowing which analgesic they should take.”

Still, retail-industry expert Patty Edwards at U.S. Bank Wealth Management says it pays to try to grab them now, before they get older -- and likely more mature.

“That 18-to-34-year-old male demographic are either newly married or not yet married,” says Edwards. “In a lot of cases they’re living at home or living with friends. They have a lot of disposable income.”

The so-called Yummies -- “young urban males” -- are getting a lot of attention after a report from HSBC pegged them as the most promising market for luxury goods—things like $1,000-plus briefcases, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, for brands like Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors and Prada.

But Edwards says even young men on a modest salary will spend: “A bottle of aftershave, if it gets you the girl, it’s worth every penny.”

Government consumer spending data show that young men (up to age 34) spend more than young women overall, and also in key categories for marketers—new cars and trucks, alcohol, entertainment. For booze and eating out, they even spend more than older men, who have significantly more disposable income.

Patty Edwards says once women enter the picture, men make fewer consumer purchasing decisions. “It’s actually women who control the majority of spending, even over this demographic,” says Edwards. “And it’s because no guy does much of anything without permission from his wife or girlfriend.”

So why then is the 18-to-34-year-old male still such a key demographic for marketers? Because his wallet’s full. Unlike the typical female consumer, he’s more likely to spend what he wants, without thinking too much about what he needs. So if you’re Bud, or Jeep, or Nike, you want to get him hooked on your brand, before someone with more grown-up spending habits—likely a woman—starts putting him right.

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