National News

Veteran Congressman Makes A Career-Threatening Mistake

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 09:48

Democratic Rep. John Conyers failed to submit enough valid signatures to appear on the August primary ballot, a campaign misstep that has some wondering if he's still up to the job.

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Driving While Pregnant Is Riskier Than You Might Think

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 09:30

Expectant mothers are more likely to get into serious car crashes, a study finds. The risk is highest in the second trimester, when accident rates are similar to those for people with sleep apnea.

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Reports: FCC Chairman Revising Net Neutrality Rules

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 09:24

The chairman is weighing whether to allow Internet providers to sell fast lanes to content companies seeking faster delivery to its customers.

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There's more to chlorine than just swimming pools

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 09:21

It keeps your pools clean and safe, it's half of the compound that makes up table salt, and -- in its purest form -- it can kill you.

And those are only three of the things chlorine can do.

"There are something like 15,000 chlorine-based chemicals that are used in industry," says the BBC's Justin Rowlatt.

One of the best examples is PVC--polyvinyl chloride, the durable plastic that the construction industry uses heavily. Over 70 percent of PVC makes up basically everything: drain pipes, vinyl floors, roofing products, and double-glazed window panes.

There's a funny side effect to its ubiquity in construction: Demand is tied to property booms and busts.

And because the supply of sodium is tied to that of chlorine--remember, table salt is made of both--a collapse in the housing market could make staple products that rely on sodium, such as soap and paper, more expensive.

As for the chlorine in swimming pools, it's not actually pure chlorine. It's actually a chlorine compound called "chloramine," which is created when chlorine reacts with organic substances in the water.

Those organic substances? Let's just leave it at this: there's a reason why the chlorine smell in the pool is much stronger when the pool is full of kids.

More Cyclists Can Now Call AAA For Help

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:16

AAA sends mechanics and trucks to help cyclists on the road, in new programs from auto clubs in New England and Colorado. The service was announced in time for this week's Bike to Work Day

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Swimsuit, camping gear, bug spray. A shopping list?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:08

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Tuesday, May 13:

The 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery is marked with a wreath-laying ceremony, the first in a series of commemorative events.

Doing any shopping ahead of summer? Your purchases may be reflected in these numbers. The Commerce Department reports retail sales data for April.

The Senate Budget Committee discusses, "Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families.

Ten years ago, after 11 seasons, the series finale of "Frazier" aired.

And one of the "Girls" has a birthday. Lena Dunham turns 28.

Congressman Clyburn Reflects On A Life Of 'Blessed Experiences'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:06

South Carolina Representative James Clyburn's new memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black shares lessons learned on his way from the Jim Crow South to a top spot on Capitol Hill.

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Clouds Are Convenient, But Be Paranoid To Protect Personal Data

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:06

For many of us, data clouds like Google Drive and Dropbox have replaced clunky hard-drives and easy-to-lose USB sticks. But how secure is our data in these clouds?

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Asian-Americans Are Successful, But No Thanks To Tiger Parenting

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:04

Contrary to popular stereotypes, Asian-Americans don't achieve academic success just because it's just in their genes. These students perform well because of community resources and teacher support.

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Is White House Doing Enough To 'Bring Back Our Girls'?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 08:00

Host Michel Martin talks about the top political headlines with Republican strategist Ron Christie and 'Political Junkie' host Ken Rudin.

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Why you should pay more attention to advertisements

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 07:59

In New York today, the annual television pageant known as the “upfronts” launches its big week. All the major TV networks will throw big parties to introduce their fall schedules to corporate advertisers.

But forget for a moment all the hype around the actual TV shows that will be announced this week. If you want some predictions about the health of the American consumer, pay attention to what will fill the little 30 to 60 second spaces between those shows.

Upfronts are a chance for major brands to lock in the ad dollars they're willing to spend next fall. The amount of those dollars, explains media consultant Jack Myers, “is a reflection of the long term economic prospects, how marketers are looking at the future, and where the growth is.”

Or where the growth isn’t: Brian Steinberg, Senior TV editor at Variety, notes that in the last few weeks several consumer brands—Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Procter & Gamble, Hershey—have announced plans to tamp down marketing spending.

“You have a fragile consumer, and advertisers who are very wary of not pushing them too much because they don't want to turn them off,” Steinberg says.

The stock market may be on an upswing lately, says Steinberg, but advertisers aren't sure average Americans are.

Still, even if advertisers are containing their confidence about consumer spending, it’s not like there will be gaping holes where the commercials are supposed to be when you turn on the TV next fall. 

Michael Learmonth, Advertising Age’s Deputy Managing Editor, says regardless of the economy or the growing importance of advertising on digital platforms from YouTube to Netflix, ultimately, big companies need to build some advertising spending in to premium television. So they can, you know, “do things like – open a movie in the fall, sell a new smartphone or move product off grocery shelves.”

PODCAST: Net Neutrality

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 07:30

This week, the FCC is scheduled to vote on the issue of net neutrality and technology and venture capital firms are asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to reconsider a proposal that would let broadband companies charge content providers for access to internet "fast lanes." Etsy, the online marketplace with over 1 million sellers, says someday its vendors might be able to use video clips to introduce themselves and their handmade goods. If the company had to pay a premium to ensure rapid streaming of that video, it could spell trouble.

Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country's infrastructure a whopping grade of D+. That was actually a step up. It was a D in 2009, says Casey Dinges, senior managing director of public affairs at ASCE. We have a rickety power grid, falling bridges and water mains that date to the 19th century. Groups as diverse as the right-leaning US Chamber of Commerce and the labor union AFL-CIO are spending a few days in Washington this week figuring out how to get more money and attention for our nation's roads, and bridges and everything else that makes the economy run.

The World Cup is set to kick off next month in Rio de Janiero. People who travel to Brazil for the games will see a country with a growing economy, but one with deep inequalities--in income and housing. The BBC's Katy Watson reports from Rio de Janiero and joined us to discuss.

Nereus, 1 Of 4 Submersibles To Reach Depths Of Mariana, Is Lost

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 07:11

The unmanned vehicle was 30 days into a 40-day expedition when it imploded under pressure as great as 16,000 pounds per square inch. Nereus was exploring the Kermadec Trench northeast of New Zealand.

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When you talk about a 'first job,' what do you mean?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 07:08

Graduation season is upon us and many college graduates are relentlessly sending out monotonous cover letters to any and every employer out there -- everyone hoping to land their first “real job.”

But what exactly is a first “real job?” Is it an internship? Is it working as a barista to pay the bills? Is it your first entry-level position on your prospective career path?

The concept of a first “real job” can mean a lot of things nowadays, considering the fact that many new grads are starting out by applying to internships.

And that's probably because you need more than just a college education to get your first "real job”.

A survey conducted by Marketplace and The Chronicle for Higher Education revealed that employers who hire recent graduates prefer on-the-job experience to academic credentials. Marketplace's Amy Scott recently attended an event sponsored by the Student Intern Network to get an insight into the minds of unpaid interns. There, she spoke with its founder, Zachary Huhn, who said, "over 60 percent of employers say that graduates are not prepared for the workforce when they graduate."

Is that true?

Take me, for example. I am an intern at Marketplace today, and when I graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in political science, my big resume bullet points included: two unpaid internships, one in Los Angeles and one in D.C., experience abroad -- living in Germany, to be exact -- and some work experience as a lifeguard.

I felt I was ahead of the game. I felt I was ready for my first career-starting job.

But was I? After applying online to various entry-level positions, I quickly realized I didn't have the qualifications hiring managers believed I needed to secure a full-time position.

Most jobs I applied to required at least one or two years of experience, as opposed to my six months' worth. So I sought out another internship after graduation, and now I am working on my fourth, as a digital intern here at Marketplace. The one-year anniversary of my graduation looms ahead.

How will internship expectations pan out for the class of 2013 graduates, like myself, who have been getting on-the-job experience  in order to get their first "real jobs"? We’re beginning a series of reports asking people: What did it take to get your first “real job”? And what exactly is a “real job” anyway?

As I tried to answer these questions for myself, I realized it's a bigger story. So I went to someone with expertise on the internship process: ProPublica's Project Intern intern, Casey McDermott.

“I don’t think it indicates something wrong with the hiring process. I would hope that hiring managers would be able to look at a student holistically, instead of just looking at the lines on a person's resume," says Casey McDermott. McDermott just got her first "real job" as a reporter for the New Hampshire newspaper, the Concord Monitor.

Prior to getting this latest job, McDermott traveled across the country with ProPublica, taking a closer look at the human impact of internships.

"The project we did was focused on highlighting student voices: How can we spotlight students’ stories who have been interns and how has that either helped them or hurt them or changed their view on the work force?" says McDermott.

In contrast to the survey, however, Casey attributes her success to more than just her internship experiences.

"I think it was a combination of what I learned and what I was able to communicate about my learning experiences in my internships during the application process," she says. "But it was also my experience in college. Working at my college newspaper the Daily Collegian at Penn State was also instrumental in getting me employment."

Lucky for current graduating seniors, the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2014 Spring Update survey is reporting that employers plan to hire 8.6 percent more class of 2014 graduates than they hired from the Class of 2013.

How will this vary among industries? Will this benefit the computer science major more than the liberal arts major?

This series is driven by viewer response, so we want to hear from you. Tweet us, tell us on Facebook or answer in the comments section below.

'I Was Baited,' Donald Sterling Tells CNN In (Mostly) Apologetic Interview

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 06:15

"I mean, that's not the way I talk," Clippers owner Donald Sterling tells CNN. He also said he doesn't see Magic Johnson as "a good example for the children of Los Angeles."

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Our Sympathies: Winter Hangs On In Colorado And Wyoming

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 04:46

More than a foot of heavy, wet snow blanketed parts of Colorado and Wyoming. The same system spun tornadoes in Nebraska.

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Separatists Vote To Split From Ukraine; Russia 'Respects' Decision

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 03:50

The vote is illegitimate, Ukraine's leaders in Kiev and Western governments say. Separatist leaders say Sunday's referendum shows strong support for secession; recent surveys tell a different story.

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Boko Haram Says Video Shows Missing Nigerian Girls

NPR News - Mon, 2014-05-12 03:13

The group that took more than 200 girls from a Nigerian school last month released what it says is a video of the girls, along with demands that the government release militants from prison.

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Why Etsy is against internet 'fast lanes'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 02:38

This week, the FCC is scheduled to vote on the issue of net neutrality and technology and venture capital firms are asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to reconsider a proposal that would let broadband companies charge content providers for access to internet "fast lanes." 

Etsy, the online marketplace with over 1 million sellers, says someday its vendors might be able to use video clips to introduce themselves and their handmade goods. If the company had to pay a premium to ensure rapid streaming of that video, it could spell trouble. 

"There's no way that we could afford to pay for priority access," said Althea Erickson, a policy director with Etsy. "And that would really hurt the sellers who depend on our platform."

Others predict new rules could kill future tech giants in the cradle.

"I'm concerned that the Kickstarters of tomorrow will be stifled by this telecom tax," said Yancey Strickler, the CEO and co-founder of the crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter. "I'm worried about the entrepreneurs of tomorrow." 

Net neutrality opponents, however, say internet access should, and will, operate like any other marketplace, with competition determing what succeeds and what fails. Jeff Eisenach, who directs the Center for Internet, Communications and Technology at the American Enterprise Institute, says broadband providers will in no way want to strangle content providers. 

"I think for the small companies, what they need to understand, is the last thing in the world that a big company like a broadband ISP wants to do, is discriminate against somebody who's coming up and might be competing," Eisenach said.

Because what they'll be competing for is access to broadband, and that could be a big win for service providers. 

Rethinking the unpaid internship

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-05-12 02:03

At General Assembly, an education/event space in New York, 20-somethings line up to sample gourmet oatmeal with truffle oil and bacon. Representatives from the Food Network and New York Magazine’s Grub Street are on hand. The event is sponsored by the Student Intern Network, to connect college students and recent grads with people in the food media business.

Zachary Huhn, 24, founded the network to help students find those all-important internships.

“Over 60 percent of employers say that graduates are not prepared for the workforce when they graduate,” he says. “I think that students do themselves a huge disservice if they don’t go out of their way to track down and take advantage of their own internships and opportunities, because you just have to do it.”

Skyler Bouchard, a junior at New York University, has done her part. She’s racked up an impressive list of internships, at Bullett Magazine, a food website called the Daily Meal, Hearst Magazines and Entertainment Tonight.

“And now I’m at CNN,” she says.

This summer she’ll add yet another stint, at the local news channel NY1. With the exception of CNN, all of her internships have been unpaid.

Bouchard says what she learned about the business was worth it.

“If I didn’t learn any of that I wouldn’t even be able to get a paying job, so I think it all is a stepping stone to helping you get somewhere bigger,” she says.

The media business has long been a bastion of the unpaid internship, but thanks to a wave of lawsuits, maybe not for much longer. Magazine company Condé Nast—home of Vogue and the New Yorker—just settled a case. Rather than pay its interns minimum wage, the company shut the program down. Other companies have started paying, or even given their interns raises.

“I thought that it was always a little bit unfair that the media businesses or some of the higher profile internship opportunities were only available to folks whose parents could support them over the summer,” says Geoff Bartakovics, CEO of TastingTable.com, an email magazine about food and wine.

Bartakovics, who moved out of his parents’ home at the age of 16, says he could not have afforded to live in New York City and work for free. That’s one reason he’s always paid his interns at least minimum wage. But there’s a more pragmatic reason.

“We just thought that it made more sense to pay people something upfront rather than deal with the possibility that we’d have legal issues later,” Bartakovics says.

Still, the Student Intern Network’s Zachary Huhn says an unpaid opportunity is better than no opportunity. Students may just have to get creative.

“I’ve seen students crowd-fund their internships, collect donations from family and friends, work a part time job,” he says.

Plenty of college students might be considering those options this summer. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers almost two-thirds of last year’s graduating class did some kind of internship while in school. About half of them were unpaid.

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