National News

Barbie Has Some Royal Competition In Nigeria

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 09:23

The Queens of Africa are based on Nigeria's three largest groups — Igbo, Yuruba and Hausa — and each has traits meant to empower the girls who play with them.

» E-Mail This

State of the Union, by the numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 09:20
33,667

Jimmy Carter's 1981 State of the Union address holds the record for lengthiest speech, in terms of words – it had 33,667 of them. That's only about 10,000 words shy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby." President Obama’s 2014 speech was a relatively concise 6,989 words. George Washington’s 1790 address holds the record for the speech with the fewest words, 1,089. 

 

1923

In 1923, Calvin Coolidge's State of the Union address was the first broadcast on the radio. The New York Times predicted that Coolidge's voice "will be heard by more people than the voice of any man in history.

  

228

Since George Washington’s inaugural speech in 1790, a total of 228 State of the Unions have been delivered. Some were delivered in the form of letters, not speeches. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to present a State of the Union in a letter format, with some historians claiming that Jefferson believed in-person delivery too closely resembled a British monarch addressing parliament and others attributing the outcome to his shyness.

 

43.3 percent

Of the proposals delivered during a speech, 43.3 percent, on average, actually are enacted during the following year, according to data collected from 1965 to 2002. But the actual legislative success varies from year to year.

Senate.gov

26

Since 1972, presidents have mainly worn colored ties along a blue spectrum. Over the ensuing years, the American public has witnessed 26 State of the Unions in which a president has worn a tie in shades of blue and 16 in shades of red. President Clinton must have missed the memo on colored neckwear, pulling off a dark and yellow polka dot number in 1998.

JOE MARQUETTE/AFP/Getty Images

The Inner City Might Not Be To Blame For High Asthma Rates

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 09:11

Children who live in inner cities in the Northeast are much more likely to have asthma. But a wider look finds that poor children in the suburbs are at high risk, too.

» E-Mail This

How Your Food Gets The 'Non-GMO' Label

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 08:48

Demand for foods certified as GMO-free is ballooning. Increasingly, it's conventional companies that want to earn the label. Here's how a company gets into the non-GMO game.

» E-Mail This

Malpractice Changes In Massachusetts Offer Injured Patients New Options

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 08:17

Hospitals in the state are among the leaders in developing alternatives to medical liability litigation. A recently enacted law helps consumers who want to challenge hospitals and doctors.

» E-Mail This

Winner reveals inside scoop on game show prizes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 08:00

Congratulations! You've just won a ton of money and prizes on a game show.

But before you redraw your floor plans to accommodate those new kitchen appliances you won, consider the following:

1. The show may substitute cash for some of your prizes.

The video above shows just one way I got lucky when I won on "The Price is Right" back in 2010. I was quite pleasantly surprised, but still confused, when I was handed my prize paperwork. I discovered that instead of the three-month virtual assistant service, among other things, I had just won in my "showcase," I was getting the cash value instead.

On my prize sheet, certain prizes are labeled "C-I-L": cash in lieu. I wasn't given the option to receive the actual prize instead, and I couldn't trade one of the other prizes I won for their cash value, either.

As Art Alisi explains, that's because the show buys some of their prizes — and there's a way to tell if they did, if you listen closely during the show. "When they say, I’m just gonna say Goodyear tires [as an example], 'You've won a set of Goodyear tires, from the number one store, Goodyear,' then you know that was promoted. If they just said you won a wonderful set of rubber tires, they bought it. So it’s just as easy for them to give you the cash."

Again, not that I'm complaining.

2. Reruns once meant more gifts.

One thing should be made abundantly clear: If your show airs as a rerun during the off-season, you don't get paid a second time.

"Jeopardy!," among many other shows, used to give sponsored parting gifts to departing contestants – the classic Rice-A-Roni comes to mind. They don't do that anymore. My "parting gifts" from "Jeopardy!" amounted to a tote bag, a T-shirt and a glass frame for my photo with Alex Trebek.

When Jerome Vered played in the 1992 Tournament of Champions, he finished in third place and received the announced third-place parting gifts in addition to his runner-up prize of $7,500. What he didn't realize was that when his tournament games aired again over the summer, the show changed the fee plugs at the end of the episode.

"So about a month later, as a loser, I get this huge package from "Jeopardy!" of all these ... left-handed toothbrushes and all these other things they were giving away. I got a whole 'nother set, like a residual, but I didn’t actually get my money again."

These days, all you get for a rerun is a second chance to record your episode.

3. You don't receive your winnings immediately.

You don't get to drive off the set in the new car you just won, nor do they immediately pay you any money you win once you step off the stage. It usually takes between 90 and 150 days to receive your prizes.

Alisi says the prize department needs to verify that you are indeed who you say you are when you go on the show....

Alisi says: "I had one where someone told me he was an admiral, and the FBI came in and wanted to know where we found this man. And they told us, 'He’s not an admiral, he’s been impersonating an admiral for 30 years.' They arrested him, and whatever he won, they took away."

.. .and to make sure you've paid your taxes on your prizes. In the case of "The Price is Right," out-of-state contestants like me have to pay California state taxes before accepting any prize. "Let's say you're in Illinois, and we sent the prizes, and you didn't pay the taxes," Alisi says. "We're liable to pay those taxes. So we make sure you've paid the state taxes before we deliver the prizes."

Once a prize is won, the show contacts the appropriate prize supplier to let them know they'll need to save an extra – let's just say –desk chair for the lucky contestant. "We have to notify the prize providers to say that they’re going to be on the show, and then we send them another certification saying you have 90 days to send the gift," says Alisi.

4. The show isn't the only entity paying out prize money. 

Prizes for our second and third place contestants provided by Aleve.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

Call it a sneaky way to get in some additional advertising, but in the case of the above photo, Aleve will actually cut the runners-up a check for the standard second- and third-place prize.

You see it elsewhere, too. When "Wheel of Fortune" used to have the "Jackpot Round," which would be prefaced by a short plug for the round's sponsor. The arrangement with the show was similar to that of the Aleve plug "Jeopardy!" uses today, but with a significant difference. 

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

Aleve pays out $3,000 an episode, because, unless something strange happens, every show will have someone finishing in both second and third place. However, the sponsor of the "Jackpot Round," says former prize coordinator Adam Nedeff, only had to pay out when the jackpot was won. If it wasn't won, which was most of the time, the sponsor effectively got a free commercial. 

But suppose there was a week when the Jackpot was won every time it was offered. Nedeff says the sponsor only was responsible for paying three of those Jackpots; "Wheel" would pay the rest, and the sponsor would get the free commercial on those nights anyway.

"That was the best way to get the sales pitch," Nedeff says, "because the sponsor of that round is getting a fantastic deal. It’s not, 'Hey, it’s "Wheel of Fortune," it’s this fantastic show that all of America is watching,' it’s, 'You are getting a really, really cheap commercial here.'”

5. Trips aren't always worth as much as the show says they're worth.

It's no secret that game show winners are taxed on whatever they win, and the amount of taxes a contestant has to pay partly depends on the value of the prizes they win.

In the case of trip prizes, though, the value announced on the show may be different from what the player is actually taxed on, because the value announced on the show reflects the price of the trip during the sponsoring hotel's peak season.

"One of the things we have to hammer home is that we have to honor blackout dates," says Nedeff. "A lot of places do not want to offer a trip that’s going to be redeemed during Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks, because that’s the week when the big money is coming in for the hotels."

Contestant paperwork explicitly states that winners of trips have up to 365 days following their airdate to redeem their prize, so the value of the trip can fluctuate depending on when the trip is taken.

"If the person actually did redeem the trip, we would find out what the comparable rate would have been for the time of year that they were staying there," says Nedeff. "And when it came time to pay the taxes for their prizes, the contestant was only taxed on what they would have paid during the offseason."

5 things you didn't know about game show prizes ... unless you've won one

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 08:00

Congratulations! You've just won a ton of money and prizes on a game show.

But before you redraw your floor plans to accommodate those new kitchen appliances you won, consider the following:

1. The show may substitute cash for some of your prizes.

The video above shows just one way I got lucky when I won on "The Price is Right" back in 2010. I was quite pleasantly surprised, but still confused, when I was handed my prize paperwork. I discovered that instead of the three-month virtual assistant service, among other things, I had just won in my "Showcase Showdown," I was getting the cash value instead.

On my prize sheet, certain prizes are labeled "C-I-L": cash in lieu. I wasn't given the option to receive the actual prize instead, and I couldn't trade one of the other prizes I won for their cash value, either.

As Art Alisi explains, that's because the show buys some of their prizes — and there's a way to tell if they did, if you listen closely during the show. "When they say, I’m just gonna say Goodyear tires [as an example], 'You've won a set of Goodyear tires, from the number one store, Goodyear,' then you know that was promoted. If they just said you won a wonderful set of rubber tires, they bought it. So it’s just as easy for them to give you the cash."

Again, not that I'm complaining.

2. Reruns once meant more gifts.

One thing should be made abundantly clear: If your show airs as a rerun during the off-season, you don't get paid a second time.

"Jeopardy!," among many other shows, used to give sponsored parting gifts to departing contestants – the classic Rice-A-Roni comes to mind. They don't do that anymore. My "parting gifts" from "Jeopardy!" amounted to a tote bag, a T-shirt and a glass frame for my photo with Alex Trebek.

When Jerome Vered played in the 1992 Tournament of Champions, he finished in third place and received the announced third-place parting gifts in addition to his runner-up prize of $7,500. What he didn't realize was that when his tournament games aired again over the summer, the show changed the fee plugs at the end of the episode.

"So about a month later, as a loser, I get this huge package from "Jeopardy!" of all these ... left-handed toothbrushes and all these other things they were giving away. I got a whole 'nother set, like a residual, but I didn’t actually get my money again."

These days, all you get for a rerun is a second chance to record your episode.

3. You don't receive your winnings immediately.

You don't get to drive off the set in the new car you just won, nor do they immediately pay you any money you win once you step off the stage. It usually takes between 90 and 150 days to receive your prizes.

Alisi says the prize department needs to verify that you are indeed who you say you are when you go on the show....

Alisi says: "I had one where someone told me he was an admiral, and the FBI came in and wanted to know where we found this man. And they told us, 'He’s not an admiral, he’s been impersonating an admiral for 30 years.' They arrested him, and whatever he won, they took away."

.. .and to make sure you've paid your taxes on your prizes. In the case of "The Price is Right," out-of-state contestants like me have to pay California state taxes before accepting any prize. "Let's say you're in Illinois, and we sent the prizes, and you didn't pay the taxes," Alisi says. "We're liable to pay those taxes. So we make sure you've paid the state taxes before we deliver the prizes."

Once a prize is won, the show contacts the appropriate prize supplier to let them know they'll need to save an extra – let's just say –desk chair for the lucky contestant. "We have to notify the prize providers to say that they’re going to be on the show, and then we send them another certification saying you have 90 days to send the gift," says Alisi.

4. The show isn't the only entity paying out prize money. 

Prizes for our second and third place contestants provided by Aleve.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

Call it a sneaky way to get in some additional advertising, but in the case of the above photo, Aleve will actually cut the runners-up a check for the standard second- and third-place prize.

You see it elsewhere, too. When "Wheel of Fortune" used to have the "Jackpot Round," which would be prefaced by a short plug for the round's sponsor. The arrangement with the show was similar to that of the Aleve plug "Jeopardy!" uses today, but with a significant difference. 

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

Aleve pays out $3,000 an episode, because, unless something strange happens, every show will have someone finishing in both second and third place. However, the sponsor of the "Jackpot Round," says former prize coordinator Adam Nedeff, only had to pay out when the jackpot was won. If it wasn't won, which was most of the time, the sponsor effectively got a free commercial. 

But suppose there was a week when the Jackpot was won every time it was offered. Nedeff says the sponsor only was responsible for paying three of those Jackpots; "Wheel" would pay the rest, and the sponsor would get the free commercial on those nights anyway.

"That was the best way to get the sales pitch," Nedeff says, "because the sponsor of that round is getting a fantastic deal. It’s not, 'Hey, it’s "Wheel of Fortune," it’s this fantastic show that all of America is watching,' it’s, 'You are getting a really, really cheap commercial here.'”

5. Trips aren't always worth as much as the show says they're worth.

It's no secret that game show winners are taxed on whatever they win, and the amount of taxes a contestant has to pay partly depends on the value of the prizes they win.

In the case of trip prizes, though, the value announced on the show may be different from what the player is actually taxed on, because the value announced on the show reflects the price of the trip during the sponsoring hotel's peak season.

"One of the things we have to hammer home is that we have to honor blackout dates," says Nedeff. "A lot of places do not want to offer a trip that’s going to be redeemed during Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks, because that’s the week when the big money is coming in for the hotels."

Contestant paperwork explicitly states that winners of trips have up to 365 days following their airdate to redeem their prize, so the value of the trip can fluctuate depending on when the trip is taken.

"If the person actually did redeem the trip, we would find out what the comparable rate would have been for the time of year that they were staying there," says Nedeff. "And when it came time to pay the taxes for their prizes, the contestant was only taxed on what they would have paid during the offseason."

Traces Of Oil Found In Montana Town's Water Supply After Spill

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 07:41

It comes days after up to 50,000 gallons of oil spilled from a break in a pipeline along the Yellowstone River. Saturday's spill is the second in the river since 2011.

» E-Mail This

Shiite Rebels Shell Yemeni Leader's House, Seize Presidential Palace

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 06:34

The Associated Press is calling the "shelling ... a dramatic escalation in the violence that has gripped Sanaa since Monday." Some Yemeni officials are calling the rebels' move "a coup."

» E-Mail This

Quiz: Schools where the underprivileged are few

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 06:08

After being publicly ridiculed, this college says it will double its share of low-income undergrads.

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "schools-where-underprivileged-are-few", placeholder: "pd_1421766428" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

The State Of The Union Is ... 'Free And Restless'?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 05:53

Looking back, presidents have often characterized the state of the union as "strong," but not always. President Ford described it as "not good."

» E-Mail This

White House Seeks More Time From Congress On Iran

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 05:38

There is bipartisan support for sanctions — and a veto threat from the president. His chief of staff, Denis McDonough, says the White House would consider congressional action "later in the year."

» E-Mail This

Jury Selection To Start In Aurora, Colo., Mass Shooting Trial

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 04:36

James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 in the theater shooting in July 2012. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury pool of 9,000 is one of the largest ever.

» E-Mail This

State of the Union Will Tout Progress, But Is The Economy Fixed?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 04:07

The economy has improved greatly since President Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009. But is his economic legacy impressive enough to justify taking a victory lap during his State of the Union address?

» E-Mail This

Beware Of Japanese Balloon Bombs

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 04:00

During World War II, the Japanese aimed thousands of wind-borne explosives at North America. To this day, many have not been accounted for.

» E-Mail This

Beware Of Japanese Balloon Bombs

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 04:00

During World War II, the Japanese aimed thousands of wind-borne explosives at North America. To this day, many have not been accounted for.

» E-Mail This

Islamic State, In Video, Threatens To Kill 2 Japanese Hostages

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 03:48

In a message to Japan's prime minister, the group said it will kill the men unless it gets $200 million — equivalent to Japan's pledge in nonmilitary aid to countries facing threats from the group.

» E-Mail This

State Of The Union: 5 Things To Watch

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 03:05

The prospects for passing major parts of President Obama's agenda slim to none. So what kind of tone will he take toward Congress?

» E-Mail This

PODCAST: Faster, supercomputer! Faster!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-01-20 03:00

Some context on what the President might say tonight in regards to college tuition. Plus, Fidelity will reportedly lead the creation of a new private, stock trading venue, otherwise known as a dark pool. More on that. And Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory may once again be home to the world's fastest supercomputer. Its current machine was the fastest when it went live in 2012. That title only lasted six months - then a computer in China took the top spot. But the U.S. recently put aside more $400 million to keep itself in the race.

Obama, In Tonight's State Of the Union, Will Focus On Middle Class

NPR News - Tue, 2015-01-20 02:48

Despite economic growth and the falling unemployment rate, challenges remain. The president will articulate his vision to a Republican-majority Congress.

» E-Mail This

Pages