President Obama is as likely to be impeached as he is to be a lottery pick in next year's NBA draft. That doesn't mean calls for his impeachment will end anytime soon.
The idea of taking a child to prison for a week may bring to mind visions of "Scared Straight" programs. But the Father to Child Summer Camp Behind Bars does just that — and the goal is to let kids bond with their fathers, who might be incarcerated far from their families.
The Geronimo Hotshots are one of seven elite Native American firefighting teams in the U.S. The pay is good, and firefighting jobs are one of only a few ways for many young men on the reservation to earn a living. And it turns out that much of the community there is dependent on the fire season.
Shipping companies are starting to make some money after a couple of years of very rough waters. One important indicator of the industry’s health, the Baltic Dry Index, is up, and so is the cost of shipping goods like grain and coal.
Those commodities include grain, coal, and especially iron ore, most of which goes to China’s steel industry. The index is up more than 60 percent from a year ago, with much of that growth in the past couple of months.
“In a period of time where most people would say we’re in a global economic malaise or we’re worried about China, the exports of iron ore into China from both Brazil and Australia have been very strong,” says David Beard, managing director of shipping research at Iberia Capital Partners.
Walter Kemmsies, chief economist with the engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol, is a bit cautious. “It’s a tentative positive sign,” Kemmsies says, adding that the index doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, he says, a lot of orders for a few big ships can drive up the numbers, even as smaller ships sit idle.
The Baltic Dry Index doesn’t take into account oil tankers, either. Beard says companies in that line of work are struggling.
“I don’t think it’s down because the global economies are weak, although that’s part of it,” he says. “It’s really down because the U.S. is importing less oil.”
Americans are getting their oil closer to home –- from Canada -– and from the upper Midwest.
In the summer of 1963, Donald Cash Sr. was 18 years old and living at home with his parents in Washington, D.C. He was working fulltime in the warehouse of a women’s clothing store, called Frank R. Jellef Co., earning $1.15 an hour. He says, even then, his wages didn’t afford him much.
“Matter of fact, I remember I used to save everything I could,” Cash said. “I used to walk to 14th and Columbia Road -- it’s about 20-plus blocks -- just to save the bus fare. It was about 20 cents each way.”
On August 28th, he’d started work at 5 a.m., so when he finished his shift early that afternoon, Cash joined the crowd of people headed to the Lincoln Memorial. He says he can still remember the oppressive humidity, and the sea of faces. “It was the first time I had ever seen that many different colors of people. Blacks and whites in harmony, walking together -- I had never seen that before.”
Cash only stayed a few hours, but he was struck by the marchers’ demands for racial and economic equality. Fifty years later, he returned to the National Mall to celebrate the anniversary of the March on Washington with his son and grandson, Donald Cash Jr. and Donald Cash III.
In 1965, Cash become one of the first black meat cutters at Giant, a chain of grocery stores. He started out as an apprentice, earning $95 a week with full benefits -- a huge step up. Cash says, at the time, the only jobs available to African Americans in supermarkets involved loading groceries into cars or cleaning up spilled product in the aisles.
Cash entered the middle class about five years later when he became the first black union organizer for the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America.
“When I was able to buy a house in 1973, I remember the feeling I had,” Cash said. “There is no feeling like that accomplishment. It was the American dream. I thought I had made it.”
Cash was able to give his four kids more than he had growing up, sending two of them to Catholic school and later on, to college.
He would bring his son, Donald Cash Jr., now 43, to labor actions. Cash Jr. remembers one time in particular, when employees were protesting low wages at a furniture store.
“Management just thought they could treat them any kind of way,” Cash Jr. said. “It was really educating me that I had to finish school but also… to try to do my part to help people.”
Cash Jr. ended up following in his fathers’ footsteps -- he’s a union rep for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400.
Cash Jr. says his biggest concern for his kids is that they get a good education and learn to be independent and productive citizens.
Eight-year-old Donald Cash III said his favorite subjects are math and science because he “likes the experiments.”
Cash III wants to be a basketball player when he grows up. When pressed by his father and grandfather to come up with a backup plan, he said, “I like football, but I don’t want to get injured.”
As a grandfather, Cash Sr. says he is concerned for future generations. He’s not sure his grandkids will have the opportunities that he did. And as a longtime labor organizer, he’s also concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor and the poverty rate.
“Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed of, you know, everybody being equal, and race not being an issue,” Cash said. “That sounds great, but in reality, we’re still dreaming. Yes, there has been progress, but there’s a long way to go.”
The nation with the worst HIV epidemic on the planet is finally turning the corner on the disease. South Africa is simplifying AIDS care and giving antiviral drugs to nearly 2 million people every day.
There's no evidence of benefit for many of the procedures surgeons subject patients to. A few hospitals are getting rid of time-honored practices, like fasting before an operation, because studies have found that patients come out stronger and happier without them. But traditions are hard to change.
If punishment is the objective, said Clark, the mission can be short. The most appropriate parallel, he added, is a 1993 U.S. strike against Iraq.
Sen. Patrick Leahy is asking the Justice Department to clarify its policy on state marijuana laws that clash with stricter federal rules. Leahy's been seeking answers ever since Washington and Colorado voters approved marijuana for recreational use last year.
The crisis in Syria deepens as reports arise that the government is using chemical weapons against its civilians. Syria denies the allegations, but that hasn't stopped the international community from making swift response.
President Obama has not made a final decision on military intervention in the country, but senior American officials say that missile strikes could be ordered as early as Thursday.
"There needs to be a signal sent to the international community that the use of these types of weapons are beyond the pale and that there would indeed be consquences as a result of using them," says Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Although military intervention would be a dramatic move for the U.S. administration, the airstrikes would probably only last two or three days.
Cook says the time constraint is meant to signal to the American people that the United States is not getting too heavily involved in the Middle East again. But Cook says, the Obama administration also doesn't want to get too deeply entrenched.
"This is a brutal, terrible civil war with many different factions fighting and it's clear that the President has put restrictions on the military operations in hopes of not being drawn further into the conflict," Cook says.
Governments in 74 countries wanted information on 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, according to a report released by the social media giant.
Many Syrians believe a U.S. military strike is coming, but few believe it will alter the course of the war in a country that has already been ravaged by more than two years of fighting.
As developers "follow the money," they've got their eye on the location in Arlington, Va. It will be several years before all the approvals come in, but it's expected that the garage will soon be just a part of history, not something to see.
Citing evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack against civilians outside of Damascus last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration would hold the Syria responsible for "indiscriminate slaughter of civilians" on Monday. Kerry's words seemed to indicate that the United States and its allies are moving closer to military intervention in the three year old conflict between Bashar al-Assad's government and rebels calling for his ouster. The uncertainty over future conflicts has already impacted the markets, driving oil prices in the U.S. and Europe to a five-month high Tuesday morning. And, investors have been buying U.S. dollars as a kind of safe haven.
From Urban Outfitters to Oreo Cookies, a growing number of brands are experimenting with Vine to interact with their customers. The app lets users shoot-and-share six-second videos, and now it’s at the center of a new marketing campaign from Airbnb. The travel accommodations website is asking people to help make the first-ever short film using Vines.
At a private school in Texas, an investment club gives students practice managing a stock portfolio. But unlike so many other student portfolios that are essentially the fantasy football leagues of the stock market, students at the Greenhill School in Dallas have set up a portfolio that uses real money. Yes, real money -- as in 100,000 actual dollars, chipped in by board members and other stakeholders.
A video game classic turns a quarter-century old today, with the release of Madden 25. The football simulation game has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1988 -- then, it was simply called John Madden Football (after the legendary sports announcer) and only worked on PCs.
It didn't even yet have the backing of the professional league, so all the players and teams in the game had to be loosely based off the real ones.
Now, though, the game's expanded to a full-on, highly anticipated annual franchise, featuring some advanced video game graphics and an extremely loyal fanbase to boot. And unlike the first 11 editions, which had John Madden as their cover star, each new installment features the NFL's top players.
This year, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was crowned as Madden 25's cover athlete. (Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was voted on to grace the covers of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions.)
Getting on the cover of such a popular game seems like it should be a great honor, but past experiences may have proved otherwise. In the so-called Madden Curse, players who have been shown on the covers of Madden installments have then suffered through injuries or derailments in the subsequent year.
Here are some of the biggest examples:
- After having a great season in 2000, Daunte Culpepper appeared on the cover for Madden NFL 2002. He ended up hurting his knee in Week 13 and sat out for the rest of the season. Then he threw a career-worst 23 interceptions the next year.
- The St. Louis Rams' Marshall Faulk saw a decline in his career soon after his cover appearance on Madden NFL 2003. He ran only 954 yards in 14 games after previously registering 1,000+ yards a season, and the Rams' record fell from 14-2 in 2001 to 7-9 in 2002. Faulk only played 11 games in 2003 because of continuing knee issues that later led to his retirement.
- Just after his NFL Madden 2004 cover, Michael Vick broke his fibula in a preseason game and didn't return until five games were left in the season.
- The Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee the year after he appeared on Madden NFL '06.
- The Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu both appeared on Madden NFL '09, and it appears only one got the rough end of the curse. Fitzgerald started in all games of the season and registered record numbers in receptions and touchdowns. Meanwhile, Polamalu sprained his MCL in the first game and sat out for four weeks. He got injured again after that, and the Steelers missed the playoffs.
- Peyton Hillis had a breakout season before appearing on Madden NFL 2012, but then ran for just 717 yards and three touchdowns for the season. He suffered a hamstring injury and missed multiple games. He also had contentious contract negotiations with the Cleveland Browns, which eventually led to him signing with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent in the offseason. Hillis later reflected: "Things didn't work in my favor this year. There's a few things that happened this year that made me believe in curses. Ain't no doubt about it."
Meanwhile, Madden NFL '13 cover star Calvin Johnson seems to have escaped the Madden Curse so far -- the Detroit Lions wide receiver broke Jerry Rice's single season receiving record of 1,848 yards, coming up short of being the first to have 2,000 yards receiving in a season.
Bad as the Madden Curse seems to be, it might not be as extensive as the Sports Illustrated Curse. That one's been going since 1954.
Many stroke patients are getting treatment with a drug that dissolves blood clots. The approach was once controversial. But giving the drug to eligible patients within a few hours of a stroke's first symptoms can prevent disability.
Javier Sanchez did not admit any guilt, but has agreed to do 32 hours of community work. He was accused of taking $200 in cash from envelopes in the congresswoman's office.
At a private school in Texas, an investment club gives students practice managing a stock portfolio. But unlike so many other student portfolios that are essentially the fantasy football leagues of the stock market, students at the Greenhill School in Dallas have set up a portfolio that uses real money. Yes, real money -- as in 100,000 actual dollars, chipped in by board members and other stakeholders. With Greenhill starting its academic year this morning, Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio speaks with one of the students running the portfolio, Lewis Carlson, an incoming senior.
The season to hunt wild alligators in the Bayou State opens Wednesday. The one-month open season is big business for fishermen and people like Tony Howard, a nuisance alligator hunter. He legally hunts alligators year-round. Inside the walk-in cooler behind his house in rural Sarepta, La., is a mound of neatly coiled and cured alligator skins ready for market.
“Whole alligators are kept in here until they are processed,” Howard says. “This keeps them at a constant temperature, and it gives me more time to skin them.”
Howard runs a processing business on the side. He’ll skin dozens of alligators this season and then sell the hides at the best price. He says the cost of a whole alligator could jump 10 percent over last year. A 10-footer might fetch about $400.
“We’re not out to make a killing," he says. "We’re not out to retire off of it. This is just a commodity, and you have to shop it, and try to get the best price you can out of the commodity."
That’s attracted more alligator buyers to the market, according to Howard. About 34,000 wild alligators will be harvested from Louisiana this year. Meanwhile, luxury goods companies are buying alligator and crocodile farms and tanneries around the world. They want more control over their raw material. Christy Plott Redd, vice president of sales at American Tanning and Leather in Griffin, Ga., says this is good for business.
“Luxury brands that buy tanneries typically use alligator and crocodile every season, year after year, and it lends stability to our industry and also increases demand for the skins,” Redd says.
Demand is strong, and Redd is trying to get an edge over other buyers. Her tannery is awarding $10,000 to the fisherman who brings her the biggest catch and all their alligators for this season -- regardless of what they look like. Like grading diamonds, according to Redd, there are good ones and bad ones. Her tannery will eat the cost on ones that aren’t perfect enough for her fashion house customers.
“Maybe less than 10 percent of the alligators that we buy are really first-grade skins. You sell those at a premium price,” Redd says. “But the ones that are bad, they stack up on your shelves for years and years.”
A typical handbag may take two or three alligators. European craftsmanship drives up the price. There’s also a thriving secondary market for collectors of alligator handbags, according to Thomai Serdari, who teaches luxury marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
“There is a constant exchange in a very small group of people who tend to actually increase the prices," Serdari says. "We have alligator bags that have hit the market that go as high as $130,000, which is absurd.”
Soaring prices are driven by a strong demand from luxury consumers in Asia, Serdari says. But in bayou country, gator hunter Tony Howard just hopes that temperatures remain summerlike so the big ones bite, and the season isn’t a bust.
“The only time that I enjoy this is whenever I’m leaving the buyer with check in hand," Howard says. "The rest of this is all a job.”
His part is not glamorous, but it pays the bills.
Serena Williams dispatched Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1, from the first round of the U.S. Open Monday night, joining her older sister Venus in the second round. It's just the second time this year that both players got past the first round of a Grand Slam event.