National News

Violence Returns To Eastern Ukraine

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 12:59

A day after Ukraine's tumultuous elections, pro-Russian militants in the country's east took over part of an airport in Donetsk, prompting airstrikes by the government.

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Mass Collection Of Student Data Raises Privacy Concerns

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 12:59

States are centralizing record-keeping and tracking student progress, while online educational software sheds light on how students learn. But many worry about how this information could be misused.

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The Man Who Brought G.I. Joe To Children Dies At 86

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 12:28

Donald Levine brought the first G.I. Joe action figures to U.S. shelves 50 years ago after rejecting other possible names for military figures, like Salty the Sailor.

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The Blind Woman Who Sees Rain, But Not Her Daughter's Smile

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 12:07

When Milena Channing was 29 years old she was blinded by a stroke. But the injury left her with connections from her eyes to the part of the brain that detects motion.

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In California, Life With Parole Increasingly Leads To Freedom

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 12:06

Until recently, inmates with life sentences — most for murder — were rarely released from prison, regardless of their behavior. But a 2008 court case and a new governor have changed their odds.

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Brad Paisley Leaves 'Southern Comfort Zone' For Troops In Afghanistan

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 10:54

The country music star rescheduled an Iowa gig so he could travel to Bagram Airfield with the president. Paisley's change of plans turned out to be a boon for vendors at the Tree Town Music Festival.

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Why a lot of military vets like farming

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 10:11

The first time Sonia Kendrick got out in her fields of tomatoes, cucumbers and corn, something magical happened. “It was as if the earth had grounded me,” she says.

Kendrick served in the Army and National Guard for nine years, including eight months in Afghanistan. She has PTSD. Around 2009, she started farming in her hometown near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kendrick says veterans like her don’t want office jobs. She says, when you’ve almost lost your life repeatedly, it’s hard to care about office rules. So farming’s perfect.

“You're not in a cubicle playing bureaucratic rules, I don’t think we enjoy,” she explains.

So many veterans have turned to farming, the Agriculture Department has created special programs to help them. The department says 45 percent of service members are from rural areas. Non-profits are springing up to teach them how to farm -- groups like Growing Warriors, based on a 286-acre spread in eastern Kentucky.

Kevin Lanzi is the farm manager. He’s been farming for about five years. He’s a former Marine who spent almost 10 months in Iraq. He’s also got PTSD. He says he spent years trying to find himself after leaving the military.

“I finally found farming and, ever since I’ve never looked back," Lanzi says. "Just seeing what you’re making. The responsibility is all you. It’s awesome.”

Why does farming seem to help veterans with PTSD?

“They’re distracted. They’re engaged in something that’s fun and they don’t necessarily have to think about or it’s easier to avoid those memories and thoughts of the traumatic event,” says Craig Bryan, head of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

But Bryan says farming offers only temporary relief from PTSD symptoms. Veterans suffering from it still need therapy. Those I talked to all have done therapy. They say it helps.  But only if they can farm, too.

Parents Of Elliot Rodger Heard Of Attack As They Tried To Stop Him

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 10:03

The 22-year-old's parents were rushing to stop him from hurting anyone Friday night when they heard news of a shooting and feared their son was involved.

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Starting the craft beer revolution

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:49

Fritz Maytag, an heir to the Maytag family fortune, saved the Anchor Brewing Company from bankruptcy back in 1965. And he did it by making beers that were, shall we say, more complex than what was widely available back then.

Steve Hindy credits Maytag with starting, "The Craft Beer Revolution." That's the title of his new book.

And Steve isn't just an author; he's the co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery.

Click play on the audio player above to hear the whole interview.

Showcasing different lifestyles through advertising

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:48

There’s only so much excitement you can squeeze out of an ad for a mop, says Jen Drexler, Senior Vice President of Insight Strategy Group, a market research firm.

“You can only show how many after-pictures of a clean floor and a dirty mop,” she says.

But Swiffer, the company that promises it’s “built smarter”, is taking a swipe at reinvigorating its advertising with a new campaign featuring real married couples, one of which is biracial with a husband who lost part of his arm to cancer. 

When you only have one hand,” he says in an online spot, “you’re not doing anything as fast as you used to. Which is funny cause I still do it better than her.”

Swiffer says the Rukavinas, the couple in the ad, represent the evolution of the American family. 

The ads, says, Drexler, show something a different side than a typical commercial does.

“A real like, advertising catching up with demographics, of these interesting families,” she says.  “There’s something so great about the emotional connection that goes way beyond what the product benefit is of a mop.”

Ads, says Drexler, used to be testimonials, but that’s old. Now they have to move beyond the functional – like Swiffer’s do - to emotionally connect with consumers.

“This is so different,” she says. “It’s not testimonials, it is real life situations, that have humor and a level of gravity to it that reflect what’s happening for all of us.”

Cheerios also has an ad with a bi-racial family. And fashion brands are aiming for more reality too. New ads for “Diesel” feature a model with Muscular Dystrophy in a wheelchair. And Barney’s NY uses transgender models. The company even shot a half hour film telling its model’s stories. In the beginning of the trailer for the film we meet a models, Arin Andrews who explains how he came to be he is today.

“I am a guy,” says Andrews. “I just happen to be born a girl.”

The campaign was shot by renowned fashion photographer Bruce Weber. And if you didn’t know the models are transgender you’d think it was just another high fashion photo shoot, but because of all buzz around the campaign, you know it’s not.

Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, says that’s part of the strength of the ads.

“What the Barneys ads are doing is making you pause and look. And that is a real challenge for any brand,” she says.

But against the backdrop of a typical fashion magazine where, as Corlett describes the models they might as well be clones, “just about all the of the models are Caucasian and most of them blond,” she says,  Barney’s models will stand out.

The store says it wants to help break stereotypes. But when you use a model in a wheelchair, or with only one arm,  who really benefits?

Ryley Pogensky, an event promoter, blogger and one of Barney’s new models says, the situation is win-win.

“I think before people are quick to judge what this might mean for Barneys sales, he says, what they should really recognize is that 17 people stepped forward and said, you’re going to accept us for the people we are. Your consumers are going to accept us for the people we are.

Swiffer says we should expect to see more ads with real families. By using everyday people Drexler says brands hope to create a new kind of aspiration -- to live a happy life on our own terms.

Public radio's teachable moment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:39
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 02:32 Philip Bonn, Library of Congress

If public radio sometimes feels a little like a classroom—and we all know it does – there’s a reason.

Or, at least, a convenient excuse.

Public radio got its start in schools. “Broadcasting began in the U.S., largely on university campuses in engineering departments,’’ said Michele Hilmes, a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.  “People were experimenting with radio and building radio sets.” 

By the mid-1920s, those engineering experiments were becoming stations, and broadcasting educational programs. 

The earliest programs were aimed mainly at homemakers and farmers.  Later, said Hilmes, the stations “got into schoolroom broadcasts, where kids in schools could actually listen to things that related to their lessons.” 

Dozens of state universities, departments of education and school boards created shows for kids. 

In Cleveland, for instance,  WBOE was licensed to the local board of education in 1938 (hence the BOE).  The station broadcast instructional programming for nearly 40 years, beginning in the morning—like the school day— and ending in mid-afternoon. 

John Basalla,  an archivist with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, says schools had radios made specially to pick up only WBOE’s frequency.

WHA now a part of Wisconsin Public Radio — had one of the most active “schools of the air.” There were music classes.  Drama classes.  Nature classes. (Check out their 1943 programming schedule. )

The idea was simple.  Broadcasting would transform education by making it possible for students to learn from great teachers wherever they were—so long as there was a radio in the classroom.

There was hype. Hope.

And a lot of money.

Check out these photos and captions from the 1952 book Teaching Through Radio and Television.

Levenson and Stasheff, Teaching through Radio and Television, 1952

But, the revolution never came. Lots of schools didn’t have radios. Those that did, often had trouble coordinating regular lessons with those on the radio.  And many of the shows just weren’t that good. “If you talk to old practitioners in public broadcasting,  they actually use ‘educational radio’ as a pejorative,” said Josh Shepperd, a media studies professor at Catholic University, in Washington, DC.

Commercial broadcasters also took a crack at the classroom.  CBS had the American School of the Air;  NBC broadcast the Music Appreciation Hour.  “The best and most effective educational broadcasts did come out of the networks,” Sheppard said.  But there wasn’t enough money in it, to keep them interested.  Broadcasting education shows to school kids just wasn’t sustainable for commercial radio.

Gradually, public stations that stayed on the air started making better shows.  They started making radio less -geared to students sitting, listening, in circles. 

And more for learners like us.

We’ve got more on the history of radio in the classroom here

Marketplace Morning Report for Thursday May 29, 2014Seven more fun facts about the history of public radioPutting public radio on the mapby Adriene HillStory Type FeatureSyndication PMPApp Respond NoBranded story type News

Seven more fun facts about the history of public radio

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:31
Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 02:22 Library of Congress

We’ve got the audio piece and the 1951 map of instructional radio stations across the country. But there’s only so much ground they can cover. Here are more cool things to know about the history of radio as an education technology.

The hype was huge. In his 1932 book, Radio: The Assistant Teacher, Benjamin Darrow (who founded the Ohio School of the Air) wrote: "The central and dominant aim of education by radio is to bring the world to the classroom, to make universally available the services of the finest teachers, the inspiration of the greatest leaders... and unfolding events which through the radio may come as a vibrant and challenging textbook of the air."

Stations named themselves after their educational missions. At WABE in Atlanta, the ABE stands for Atlanta Board of Education. The BE in WBEZ (Chicago) stands for Board of Education. Bonus points to anyone who knows what the Z stands for.  Do we need to tell you what Cleveland’s WBOE stood for?  And you might think that the “ED” in KQED stands for “education”?  Turns out KQED comes from the Latin quod erat demonstrandum, “which was to be demonstrated.”

Some classroom-broadcasts were… live. Check out this archival broadcast from WBOE.  Around 0:40, there’s an example of why there’s nothing like live radio.  The clip comes courtesy of John Basalla, archivist at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

It wasn’t all about listening.  Worksheets came with many of the lessons. Here’s one that went  with the radio show “Good Health to You”,  from WBOE in Cleveland.  We found it in Teaching through Radio and Television,  published in 1952,  by William Levenson and Edward Stasheff. Teaching Through Radio and Television, Levenson, 1952

Educational broadcasting was college material.  Ohio State University offered a college class in “Education by Radio” in 1930.  Bonus points for anyone that can dig up a syllabus for us.

Public radio almost got left behind.  The Public Broadcasting Act of 196, which created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, was originally the Public Television Act of 1967.  Jack Mitchell wrote a great history of how radio finagled it’s way into the legislation over on  The story includes Scotch-taping the word “radio” into the law at the last minute.

We want to know what else we should add to this list.  We know you’ll write. From 1930 to 1940 radio listeners sent approximately 225,000,000 fan letters to radio stations. 

MAP: Where did your public-radio station come from?Public radio's teachable momentby Adriene HillStory Type BlogSyndication PMPApp Respond NoBranded story type News

Study: Fairtrade doesn't always yield highest wages

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:25

Consumers who pay extra for coffee or other products with Fairtrade labels may not be helping the lives of the world’s poor, a new study suggests. Researchers from SOAS, University of Londonm spent four years looking at coffee, tea and flower workers in Ethiopia and Uganda. The study finds some at Fairtrade sites earning less than those at workplaces that are not Fairtrade certified.

Fairtrade International, which sets standards, is pushing back, saying the study makes unfair comparisons, though CEO Harriet Lamb does says the study makes valid points about the challenge of making sure Fairtrade money flows all the way through farmers to farm hands.

Christopher Cramer, one of the study’s authors, says Fairtrade does do good. He and his colleagues would like to see consumers get “clearer information about exactly who benefits and how and on the basis of what evidence.”

The conversation the study is provoking about Fairtrade is a reminder for anyone who shops with an eye toward a certain goal, be that supporting local, organic or Fairtrade producers. It’s wise to do a bit of homework to make sure that extra money is doing what is hoped.

Mark Garrison: The study finds some workers at Fairtrade sites earning less than those that aren’t Fairtrade. Economist Christopher Cramer, one of the study’s authors, spoke to our partners at the BBC.

Christopher Cramer: If people think that Fairtrade is in the very best interest of the poorest people, then there are serious problems.

Fairtrade International, which sets standards, is pushing back. CEO Harriet Lamb says the study makes unfair comparisons involving workers on very small plots of land.

Harriet Lamb: It compared the conditions they’re in with those of a plantation run by a multinational in the same area. Now that’s not fair.

Bigger companies can pay better because of their larger scale, though the British researchers say they account for that. They want shoppers to have more information. Cornell economist Arnab Basu studies Fairtrade, but isn’t involved in this research. He says Fairtrade buyers are informed overall, but often don’t know the details.

Arnab Basu: There is a bit of a misperception as to what they’re actually doing and who they’re really helping.

And Lamb at Fairtrade International points out there’s only so much most shoppers can take in.

Lamb: As a busy mother or father going around the supermarket, your kids are screaming and you want to play your part in tackling poverty, there’s really a limit to the amount of information that you can seek out or look for on one small chocolate bar, one small pack of coffee.

Cramer says Fairtrade does do good. And Lamb says his study makes valid points about the challenge of making sure Fairtrade money flows all the way through from farmers to farm hands. I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Inside the economics of the delivery room

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 09:22

Sarah Beth Mathews just can't seem to get comfortable these days. She gets up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom. She's lugging extra weight around. Normal stuff when you're 38 weeks pregnant.

She's come in for a checkup with Sarah Aultman, an obstetrician at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. When it comes time to deliver this baby, Aultman has no plans to rush to do a C-section.

"Now we recognize that it's safe to let a woman continue to try and labor," she says. "And the conversation I have with my patients is as long as mom is safe and baby is safe, I'm happy to continue trying for a vaginal delivery."

That falls right in line with guidelines issued last month by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. They essentially say wait, give moms a chance to deliver vaginally.

"This document is about being patient," says Aaron Caughey, an obstetrician who helped draft the new guidelines.

But experts say that's easier said than done. And for those in the business of delivering babies, the change is going to affect the bottom line.  

Caughey says that recently, hospitals have pushed to cut C-section rates. Hospitals charge more for C-sections, but they also cost more.

"Women stay longer after C-sections. They require more intensive nursing care. They require more intensive O.R. care," he says, referring to the operating room.

So what about obstetricians, who feel pressure to deliver as many babies as they can?

"It does lead to us being patient and waiting for longer periods of time," Caughey says. "So if it's Friday at 8 p.m. and, you know, I could be at home, instead I'm going to hang out and see if someone's cervix will change."

So they might lose a little more sleep, but they're not likely to make much more money, says Neel Shah, a Harvard Medical School obstetrician based at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who has studied the cost of labor.

"The hospital might make more money on a C-section, but the person who decides to do the C-section doesn't necessarily make more money," Shah says.

In fact, one report says out of the private insurance payout on a vaginal birth, doctors get a 25 percent slice of the pie. That's slightly more than the 21 percent they get for a C-section birth.

Still, Shah says, C-sections are faster than vaginal deliveries. So if an obstetrician is paid per delivery, more is better for the bottom line.

"The longer that labor lasts, the more attractive it might be or the stronger the incentive might be to offset your workload by just getting her delivered," he says.

Doctors to test suspended animation

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 08:59

CNET reports that doctors and scientists are beginning to test out suspended animation as a way to keep critically-wounded patients alive. According to the report:

The technique will initially be used on 10 patients whose wounds would otherwise be lethal in an attempt to buy the surgeons some time. It works, as suggested by science fiction, by cooling the body -- but not by applying an external temperature change.

The procedure has been performed on pigs, but this would be the first time the technique is used on humans. 

Dr. Samuel Tisherman told New Scientist, "We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction."

Why the legend of the cupcake is mostly myth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 08:55

Ah yes, the food trend story.

In today's age of Upworthy, Buzzfeed and attention-grabbing viral headlines, we see a lot of them... consider this story from the Huffington Post titled, "We're Just Going To Declare That 2014 Is The Year Of The Sheet Cake."

Here at Marketplace, we're not immune: We've covered the Cronut and the Waffle Taco and Sriracha

And when talking about food trends, it is impossible to ignore the cupcake. The most frequently-told tale about the ascendance of the treat is rooted in a scene in Sex and the City that supposedly launched it into our collective cultural conciousness. Early on in his book, Sax asks a question: "Thousands of years in the future, when archaeologists are cobing through the artificants of our age... will the archaeologists recognize cupcakes?"

"In the first decade of the the twenty-first century there were cakes baked in cups, cakes of every imaginable flavor and combination; that these cakes were covered in sweet frosting, in everything from simple vanilla creams to elaborate artistic 3-D creations, that for more than ten years these little cakes were a subject of great power and fasination all over the world; and that all of that, from the global tribes of devoted bakers to the chroniclers of the phenomenon to the multibillion-dollar cupcake economy, all began here, on this sacred corner of Manhattan, at this small bakery."

But Sax says it's not as simple as Carrie and Miranda eating cupcakes on screen. 

"Sex and the City was distilled down into all these different consumer items that were attached to it. Sex and the City!: Manolo Blahnik heels, Rabbit vibrators, cupcakes and Cosmos, come on ladies!" Sax says. "And when I went on the Sex and City [tourist bus] tour, that was sort of the essence of it... but anytime you read an article about Sex and the City... they all referenced it, 'Go to Magnolia Bakery, because that's where Carrie and Miranda's favorite cupcake place is,' and it just perpetuated itself."

"It was a 20-second scene in one episode of the show. There was never another cupcake in Sex and the City that ever appeared again. And yet it has this incredibly strong association with the show that transformed the cucpake."

PODCAST: Comcast's massive lobbying push

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-26 08:05

Comcast is going to war in its pursuit to merge with Time Warner Cable. The telecom giant has reportedly bought up lobbyists at 40 different firms around Washington.

It turns out anxiety-- that nagging feeling that something, everything might go wrong -- actually has benefits in the business world.

White House Mistakenly Blows Cover Of CIA Officer In Afghanistan

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 07:55

A list of U.S. officials who briefed President Obama on his surprise trip to Bagram air base in Afghanistan this weekend inadvertently included the name of the agency's station chief in Kabul.

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Wash And Deliver: Startups Aim To Solve First World Problems

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 07:49

With services that pick up your laundry, deliver you gourmet food, take you on a cheap ride — all with the tap of an app — many of the hassles of life are disappearing. But can these companies last?

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Dad Catches Son's Home Run Ball At Minor League Game

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-26 06:33

Conrad Gregor thanked his parents for making a five-hour drive to watch him play by driving a home run over the wall to where his father was standing.

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