The Air Force says retiring the Cold War-era A-10 could help it balance its budget and focus on developing more versatile aircraft. But the military encounters resistance whenever it tries to mothball any weapon, and the case of the plane known as the Warthog is no exception.
Target Corp. said Monday that the Department of Justice is investigating the credit and debit card security breach at the retailer. Security experts say it's the second-largest theft of card accounts in U.S. history.
The British mathematician, also considered the father of modern computing, committed suicide in 1954 after being convicted of "gross indecency" with another man.
The Pentagon says it's sending the Marines for a possible mission to evacuate Americans inside South Sudan, where political and ethnic violence has claimed hundreds of lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
What is your favorite Christmas song? Okay, now what is your favorite recent Christmas song? Tougher question, isn't it?
Artists write Christmas songs and record holiday albums every year. This year alone there's releases from artists like Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, and Mary J. Blige covering the classics. But why do we always wind up hearing the same songs over and over again?
Chris Klimek wrote about that very topic in Slate and says while some people feel there are enough standards to fill the holiday season airwaves, it seems like Christmas music has a remake habit that rivals Hollywood.
Is there hope for a new Christmas classic?
This final note today, in which the McDonalds website puts its foot firmly in the corporate mouth.
The site advises on nutrition as well and says, "Although not impossible, it is more of a challenge to eat healthy when going to a fast food place," accompanied by a picture of what looks a whole lot like a Big Mac and fries labeled, "unhealthy choice."
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula says one of its fighters disobeyed orders and targeted a hospital during an attack on Yemen's Defense Ministry complex.
Since the start of its financial crisis, Greece has been exporting some of its most highly trained professionals. Thanos Ntoumanis is just one of thousands of medical professionals who have left their struggling homeland for jobs in Western Europe.
Host Carmen Wong Ulrich is joined by three journalists to talk about some of the biggest news stories of 2013 that affected our wallets. Marketplace's David Gura, Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times and LA Times consumer columnist David Lazarus make up the roundtable.
Certified financial planner Barry Glassman joins host Carmen Wong Ulrich to talk about getting prepared for tax season with tips for planning.
Blogger Joe Udo, author of the site RetireByForty.org shares a story of successfully keeping one of his major financial resolutions during a tumultuous year for his family.
The pay increase is the first across-the-board raise the federal workforce has gotten since 2010.
We asked some civil engineers to help us end that yearly holiday housing crisis: collapsing gingerbread homes. With this design, gingerbread families everywhere can enjoy the holidays without having to worry about their roofs caving in.
The iconic photo taken on Christmas Eve 1968 "came about by accident," says space writer and historian Andrew Chaikin. A new NASA animation shows just how close the astronauts came to missing the shot.
Taxes have been part of health plan costs for decades, but they're not usually itemized on customers' bills. But a leading insurer in Alabama has calculated its customers' shares of taxes being paid by the company under the Affordable Care Act.
Just how big a deal is 760 million potential customers? Some are putting it in US terms. "China Mobile by itself is more than seven times larger than the biggest US carrier – AT&T or Verizon," says Philip Elmer-Dewitt, a writer for Fortune, who has been writing about Apple since 1982. "So this is just a huge get for Apple, and I’m sure Steve Jobs would’ve loved to have had it before he died."
But for years, there was hesitation on both sides. Apple didn’t want to modify the iPhone to conform to China Mobile’s nonstandard wireless protocol, and China Mobile didn’t want to budge. But now, with China Mobile losing market share to competitors, the deal was inked on Sunday night in China, and the iPhone will be released on the company’s new 4G network in January.
Some analysts predict Apple will sell as many as thirty million iPhones. Shaun Rein, author of “The End of Cheap China,” thinks it’ll be closer to ten million. Rein says the bulk of China Mobile’s customer base isn’t going to shell out money for a new, fast iPhone. "80% of them are still using the old, outdated 2G network," says Rein, "So it’s going to be very difficult to convince Chinese consumers to leapfrog from 2G to 4G, which is an unproven technology."
Here’s another problem - the iPhone has a fraction of the market share (6%) that the Samsung Galaxy (22%) has in the China market. Apple does have impeccable timing though – China Mobile subscribers will be able to buy their new iPhones in mid-January; Just in time for Chinese New Year.
Apple received an early Christmas gift this year: 760 million potential consumers. That's how many Chinese people subscribe to China Mobile, the world's largest cell phone carrier. Last night, Apple and China Mobile signed a long-awaited deal to sell iPhones to this pool of nearly a billion new customers.
"China Mobile by itself is more than seven times larger than the biggest US carrier – AT&T or Verizon," says Philip Elmer-Dewitt, a journalist for Fortune who's been writing about Apple since 1982. "So this is just a huge get for Apple, and I’m sure Steve Jobs would’ve loved to have had it before he died."
But the big question is how many of those 760 million people who will soon be eligible to buy iPhones will actually buy them? China Mobile will roll out the iPhone on its new 4G network, and only a fifth of China Mobile subscribers actually use the current 3G network. While that's still a lot of people, it's also an indication that there might not be as many customers in China Mobile's vast network who are willing to pay for faster service.
"Frankly, the China Mobile 3G network has been heavily criticized by users for being slow because they use a homegrown system," says Shaun Rein of the China Market Research Group. "So I expect this to boost sales for Apple -- but not as much as people think in the short term -- because a lot of consumers are going to take a wait and see attitude about whether or not 4G is good."
Rein predicts that Apple may sell 10 million iPhones -- a fraction of what they would have sold had they done this deal few years ago, before the Chinese market was saturated with competing smart phones.
So what took so long to get the iPhone on China Mobile? The two companies both think very highly of themselves, and they're used to getting what they want. Apple didn’t want to modify the iPhone to conform to China Mobile’s nonstandard wireless protocol, and China Mobile didn’t want to budge.
Apple does have impeccable timing, though. China Mobile subscribers will be able to buy their new iPhones in mid-January. Just in time for Chinese New Year.
The ever-changing deadlines of the Affordable Care Act have changed again.
Shoppers will now have until midnight on Christmas Eve to sign up for insurance on the healthcare exchanges and still be covered come Jan. 1.
Procrastinating Americans –including President Barack Obama - have flocked to healthcare.gov and state-run exchanges over the last few days.
It’s what Kevin Teer from Collingswood, N.J., did Sunday afternoon. He found himself a silver plan and he’s got a whole to-do list to go with it.
“It’s the joint pain. And I’ve got terrible ringing in my ears that I constantly live with,” he says.
Until now, Teer hasn’t taken good care of himself because he can’t afford it. The recession hit him and his wife hard. Both have jobs, but earn half what they did five years ago. Teer says just the thought of getting in to see a doctor is already improving his quality of life.
“Every time I walk out the door, I worry about getting hurt and to know that is taken care of is certainly going to give me a great piece of mind,” he says.
Plus, Teer adds, he’ll save $1,000 on health care costs.
“A key goal is to try to reach the Kevin Teers of this world,” says Kevin Counihan, head of Connecticut’s health exchange, Access Health CT.
By Jan. 1, over one million consumers are expected to have insurance through the exchanges or Medicaid.
“We believe we are going to be able to announce in January for the first time ever that our uninsured level will be below nine percent,” says Counihan.
He says more people with insurance, could mean fewer unpaid bills for hospital stays and ER visits; costs that get passed on to all of us.
While Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt agrees there’s promise, he points out that getting people signed up for insurance is only the beginning.
“We’ll see after Jan. 1 people who are now in insurance for the first time, how will they feel having a big deductible that buys them protection but may not pay for their routine doctor’s visits and prescriptions,” he says.
Levitt says what to watch now is how people will use their new insurance.
One of the reasons it was so easy for thieves to steal all those credit card numbers from Target recently is right on the back of the cards we carry. The magnetic strip technology we’re currently using was invented at the same time as the tape recorder -- over forty years ago (can you even think back that far?). In tech years makes that makes magnetic strips practically prehistoric, and, vulnerable. Fraud costs merchants and banks billions a year.
“I think eighty countries use the chip and pin, or EMV technologies,” says Chris Wysopal, co-founder, and CTO of Veracode, which provides security for companies that process credit card transactions. “It’s really cut their fraud in half,” he says. Every time a card with a chip is used, it generates a unique number, a strategy which in theory, says Wysopal, should prevent the type of theft that occurred at Target.
But while people from the EU to Kenya use cards embedded with chips, retailers and credit card processors in the United States are stuck arguing about the best option for using the new technology: chips and pin numbers or chips and signatures.
“We don’t want to spend a fortune to do a half good solution,” says Mallory Duncan, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, for the National Retail Federation. “The legacy systems were based on a magnetic stripe and a signature. If we’re going to move forward we really need a chip and a pin.”
Duncan says retailers want chips and pin numbers which he says is the safer choice. But he says the financial services industry is holding out for the solution that will make it more money – chips and signatures.
“The idea that there’s some economic incentive for card networks to delay the move from magnetic stripe card to EMV, simply doesn’t make any sense,” says Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association. Oxman notes that consumers have grown comfortable with the cards bearing magnetic strips and may be reluctant to change. And the change itself, says Oxman, which would require the vast retail landscape across the country to coordinate an upgrade, will take time and money.
“Merchants have to install new equipment at their premises, and merchants have been hesitant to do so, quite frankly, because they want to wait and see if consumers have cards with chips in them before they make those upgrades,” he says.
There is a plan in place, says Oxman, for updating our credit cards. He says you can expect to see new cards in the fall of 2015, although the specifics aren’t yet clear.
In the meantime consumers will continue to sign and swipe and try to avoid skimmers and scams.
Chris Wysopal remains skeptical about the reasons given for the process which seems to be dragging on and on. After all, losses like the recent theft at Target cost both the retail and financial services industry alike.
“Think about the cost of an upgrade,” he says, “someone must have done a calculation saying it’s gotta be more expensive than that to upgrade, or it would be a no-brainer.”
The Federal Reserve turns 100 on Monday. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law on Dec. 23, 1913. So, Marketplace threw the Fed a “party” to mark its centennial.
Crane & Co. helped us with the invitations, which were printed on paper made out of old Federal Reserve Notes.
“Unfit bills that were removed from circulation by one of the Federal Reserve banks,” explains Peter Hopkins, who runs the Crane Museum of Papermaking.
Crane & Co. no longer manufactures its “old money” line, but Hopkins “stashed away a few skids just in case.”
Mingle among the guests at our “party,” and you’ll get a good sense of the Federal Reserve’s history. Alice Rivlin was Vice Chair of the Fed from 1996 to 1999.
“We came late, we Americans, to the notion that we needed a central bank,” she says.
We had two national banks early on, but the lawmakers didn’t renew their charters.
“Much of this big country, especially the rural central part, was very suspicious of big banks, of New York, of Wall Street,” Rivlin notes.
It’s amazing how things change…
Of course, our invite list included more than former Federal Reserve officials. Derek Brown, who owns Eat The Rich, a Washington oyster bar, and Samantha Withall, beverage director at The Hamilton, created Fed-themed cocktails.
Brown’s is called “Not So Easy Money.” Its ingredients include bourbon, brandy, sherry, bitters, lemon juice and lemon chartreuse. He garnishes it with a crumpled dollar bill.
“Liquid Net Worth” is Withall’s libation. She went to the history books for inspiration. Around the Fed’s founding, apple cider was very popular.
“It’s kind of like a brûléed apple,” she says. This reporter agrees.
Allan Meltzer, who teaches economics at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, is the author of “A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 1, 1913-1951” and “A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 2, 1951-1986.”
According to Meltzer, Americans warmed to the idea of a Central Bank after a few financial panics.
“Wilson came up with a compromise,” he says. “And the compromise was that we would have these regional banks, and they would be semiautonomous. And there would be a supervisory board in Washington.”
The Fed was designed to be independent, Meltzer says. Not political. In fact, Wilson wouldn’t even invite members of the Fed to his parties at the White House.
“That’s a far cry from where we are now.”
Donald Kohn worked at the Fed for 40 years.
“I started in 1970, so I lived four-tenths of the history myself,” he notes.
The last part of his tenure was during the financial crisis, when the Fed lent billions to big banks and began “quantitative easing” – buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
“We fought the panic, we limited the panic, we limited the damage to the economy from these adverse developments in financial markets,” Kohn says.
On the Fed’s centennial, Kohn raises a glass to the Fed’s future.
“I think it is a chance to reflect on where the Federal Reserve has been, and how to set up for the next 20 to 100 years,” he says.
That chapter begins next month, when Ben Bernanke steps down as chairman, and the Fed begins to scale back its bond-buying program.
Want to try Derek Brown's custom cocktail, “Not So Easy Money"? Here's how you make it:
Derek's inspiration behind his cocktail:
"I started going through some drinks that had some kind of relationship [to the Fed], and there is one I came across called “Easy Money.” So, this is an old cocktail. It was simple. It was just brandy and bourbon.
Now, that’s delicious. I like Bourbon and I like brandy, but I figured that we needed to make this go down a little easier, as the Fed has had a hard time selling a lot of their monetary policies; so, I wanted to help out, but I kept it strong, because I know they have a hard job, and I want to make sure that, in the long run, they have sufficient grease on the wheels of monetary policy so to say."
And here's the recipe for Samantha Withall's creation, made specially for the Fed's special day:
Samantha's inspiration behind her drink:
"It’s kind of like a brûléed apple. I was thinking about what types of spirits were being used at the time, and interestingly enough, apples were a very easy-to-come-by thing, and apple cider in general was really something that was readily available and imbibed throughout the nation. So, maybe not apple brandy, but I was kind of using that as a stretch for the base of this drink, and then, just kinda keeping to that really clean, simple cocktail idea, and not having too many crazy additives and flavoring, colors anything like that. Just focusing on the simple spirits and making it tasty."
And of course, it's not official until it's sung. The Marketplace Staff does it right:
Also, listen to this story about the Fed's secret origins. One hundred years ago, a group of bankers and politicians went to Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia, under the guise of a duck hunting trip. When they came back, America had a central bank.