National News

Chelsea Clinton Says She's Pregnant

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 13:07

The 34-year-old daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she and husband Marc Mezvinsky are "very excited."

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'Consent is a fiction' in consumer contracts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-17 13:06

After Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Professor Imre Szalai's wife gave birth, the Szalais were asked to sign an arbitration clause in the delivery room. That clause stipulated that they would have to settle any disputes with the hospital through arbitration, not in court. 

Because of his professional training, and because he has written a book on the history of arbitration, "Outsourcing Justice: The Rise of Modern Arbitration Laws in America," Szalai had his wife sign the form – his thinking being that, because she’d just gone through labor, a judge evaluating the agreement later would probably find that she was not in a clear state of mind at that time.

Arbitration started out as a business-to-business thing. During prohibition, courts were swamped, and it was a way to clear cases. Since a 2011 Supreme Court decision, arbitration has gained traction as a way for businesses to avoid lawsuits, as The New York Times noted Thursday. And when it comes to how companies are protecting themselves now, "You have to admit that, when it comes to consumer contracts, consent is a fiction," says Brian Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt. 

To wit:

  • From the terms of use at Netflix: “If you are a Netflix member in the United States (including its possessions and territories), you and Netflix agree that any dispute, claim or controversy arising out of or relating in any way to the Netflix service, these Terms of Use and this Arbitration Agreement, shall be determined by binding arbitration or in small claims court.” And, in all caps: “YOU AND NETFLIX AGREE THAT EACH MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN YOUR OR ITS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.”
  • Amazon.com's agreement, which says “Any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court.” And, RE: class actions: “We each agree that any dispute resolution proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class, consolidated or representative action.”
  • There's Electronic Arts ("By accepting these terms, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.”) and StubHub: "You and StubHub each agree that any and all disputes or claims that have arisen or may arise between you and StubHub relating in any way to or arising out of this or previous versions of the User Agreement, your use of or access to StubHub's Site or Services, or any tickets or related passes sold or purchased through StubHub's Site or Services shall be resolved exclusively through final and binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court, if your claims qualify."

For more examples, you can visit the “Forced Arbitration Rogues Gallery,” which the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has created.  

The market's great expectations

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-17 13:03

Goldman Sachs on Thursday told the world its profits fell 11 percent. Yet the bank's stock rose on the news. It may sound odd, but it's perfectly logical on Wall Street. The markets expected Goldman to do even worse, so when the news wasn't as bad as predicted, the stock moved up.

Fine tuning market expectations is important for public companies. It's a lot like a kid who blows a test. It's better to tell mom and dad before the report card comes. If your parents are both accounting professors, they would call that giving guidance.

"If my daughter has a test that's particularly difficult, we hear about it beforehand," says James Myers.

He and his wife Linda Myers study these issues at University of Arkansas. They have two kids and are both quick to say both are good students. But if they ever hit a bump, they say it's wise to dial down their expectations before the report card arrives.

Companies can do the same thing ahead of their own report cards, the quarterly earnings reports. Providing guidance about good or bad times at the company can help keep the stock price under control when the final news comes.

Or, another example, by way of Marketplace's Paddy Hirsch and his Whiteboard:

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Mark Garrison: It’s actually pretty simple, just an expectations game. Amy Hutton is a professor at Boston College’s business school.

Amy Hutton: When Goldman announces their earnings, even if they’re down from last quarter or last year, if they’re higher than the expectation built into the stock price, the stock price is gonna go up.

Bad news can be perversely good, as long as Wall Street expected worse. So it’s important for companies to fine tune those investor expectations. It’s a lot like a kid who blows a test. It’s better to tell the parents before the report card comes. If your parents are both accounting professors, they call that giving guidance.

James Myers: If my daughter has a test that’s particularly difficult, we hear about it beforehand.

James Myers and his wife Linda study these investment issues at University of Arkansas. They say their kids make good grades and rarely need to, but sometimes a warning is wise.

Linda Myers: Because our expectations are a little bit lower, then we wouldn’t be as concerned about the low grade and I think it’s a pretty good analogy of what managers might do.

University of Michigan accounting professor Greg Miller says company guidance can work the same way. Just like parents, investors don’t like surprises.

Greg Miller: If you surprise people, they get madder. And so if there’s something coming that people are gonna be unhappy about, I’d rather own up to it now and let them know because they’re gonna be mad at me either way about the bad news.

Companies try to manage Wall Street’s expectations, to make sure a bad earnings report doesn’t torpedo the stock price. In New York, I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

When Being Pregnant Also Means Being Out Of A Job

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 13:03

Thirty-six years after Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers still have very different interpretations of what they're required to do to accommodate expectant mothers.

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What kind of jewelry goes with a tattoo?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:56

It's a Thursday evening in Beverly Hills and the Gagosian Gallery is hosting a rooftop reception. Price tags on the artwork here go up to several million dollars, but if you're imagining an older crowd filling the space, you'd be wrong. These art lovers are young.

 

"We don't want to get stale," says *Deborah McLeod, director of the gallery. "This is an upwardly mobile group. These people are lighting Silicon Valley on fire. They come into the gallery in tennis shoes and they're still living in their two bedroom apartment, but they've made a mountain of money and they're the idea generation. We want them in the gallery."

 

McLeod says the Gagosian wants to reach a young demographic – specifically Millennials, thus the cocktail reception for the Orange County Museum of Art Contemporaries, a group for art aficionados under forty.

 

The Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2004, are growing up. And marketers are starting to pay attention. The generation is enormous, 97 million in the U.S., and with adulthood comes money, and, the power to make big purchases -- homes, cars and expensive products. But only one millennial was in attendance at the Gagosian. Everyone else was a few years older, bleeding into Generation X. Marketers, it seems, are just beginning to figure out how to reach this age group at it moves into adulthood.

 

Across the country, in midtown Manhattan, Pam Danziger, a luxury marketing consultant, is on stage at the fourth annual Gold Conference. Her Powerpoint presentation is titled "The Allure of Gold, Marketing Luxury to Millennials."

 

"If you believe that the Millennials are going to respond the same as all other generations have done. If you think that the same, the same answers, the same solutions, the same branding propositions are going to work for them, you're sadly mistaken," she says to an audience of jewelers.

 

Danziger says this group does not want its grandparent's luxury.

 

"I think we have to start thinking about - what kind of jewelry goes with a yoga pant? And even more importantly for this generation, what kind of jewelry goes with tattoos?"

 

A few blocks south is the studio of jewelry designer Pamela Love. Love is 32 and she, and all 18 of her employees, except one, are Millennials. What do Millennials really want?

 

"I don't think Millennials want to see anything," says Love. "I think we want to discover it on our own and I think we really want to be treated with the respect of being given the information that we want without being pandered to."

 

And if you think that makes Millennials difficult to market to, Love notes that financially "it's very easy to deal with."

 

Less, she says, accomplished by a marketer, is more. Personally, says Love, she hates being bombarded with emails from a brand. So her company has a light touch. Her new campaign for Barneys hangs posters on the sides of buildings and construction sites so consumers can discover them on their own. Which she says is a lot cheaper than taking out ads in a magazine. There's just one catch.

 

"It's illegal but the only thing that really happens is the guy putting them up could potentially get arrested."

 

Has that happened?

 

No, she says, "Not to us."

 

Love's newest poster is an illustration of a woman standing in front of a map which has jewelry pinned to it. The poster, she hopes, tells a story.

 

MaryLeigh Bliss, a trends editor and strategic consultant with Ypulse, a youth marketing and research firm, says for Millennials, story is key.

 

"Making it more than just a product, you know it gives it a background that you can connect with emotionally rather than it just being a thing," she says.

 

Bliss plays an ad on Youtube with 15 million views. It's a story about a poor boy who steals medicine for his sick mom. It's not in English, but it doesn't need to be.

 

"It's a tear jerker," says Bliss. "We call it tissue box marketing because it really is about evoking that reaction. And, it's so intense, but as you watch it, you don't see a brand."

 

Bliss says Millennials likes to share experiences. They don't like to show off. So her advice to marketers –stop trying to promote your brand, and instead, focus on emotion.

 

From your generation to hers, says Pamela Love, "there's just more, more of everything. Especially with the internet. You can find anything you want and you can find 50 options of it."

 

So Love notes, when she picks something, she picks the one with the story she identifies with. Like the new litter box she recently spent a couple of hours picking out for her cat.

 

"I ended up picking the one that had a really good video that explained why they designed the litter box the way they did and their philosophies on aesthetics, and I cared, ultimately about the people making the damn litter box. So I bought that one."

 

 

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Gagosian Gallery director Deborah McLeod. The text has been corrected.

Nobel Prize-Winning Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dies At 87

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:47

The Colombian-born author of One Hundred Years of Solitude had been in failing health for some time.

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On Russian Call-in Show, Putin Maintains Hard Line Against West

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:12

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he hopes he won't have to move troops into Ukraine to protect the local Russian-speaking population, but he reserves the right to do so.

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Search Continues For Nearly 300 Missing In South Korea Ferry Accident

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:04

The search continues for survivors and answers in the South Korean ferry disaster. NPR's Anthony Kuhn offers details on the latest developments.

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Opposing Protests Pull Eastern Ukraine In Two Directions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:04

In eastern Ukraine, demonstrators supporting a unified Ukraine are rallying just blocks from where pro-Russian militants are occupying a government building.

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Out Of A Tough Day Of Diplomacy, A Surprising Deal On Ukraine

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:04

Diplomats from the United States and Europe gathered in Geneva Thursday to discuss how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union spoke for more than five hours on the issue.

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Following Enrollment Deadline, Health Care Focus Turns To States

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:04

President Obama met Thursday with insurance company executives and a separate group of insurance regulators from the states, discussing their mutual interest in administering the new health care law.

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Unlikely Partnerships Spring From California Water Crisis

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 12:04

Farmers in the parched Central Valley are joining forces with farmworkers and a broad cross section of politicians to pressure the federal government to offer relief.

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Obama: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Hits 8 Million

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:59

At a White House briefing, the president referred to the Affordable Care Act, saying "this thing is working," and urged Republicans to stop trying to repeal the law.

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Hillary Clinton's Presidential Chess Board

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:49

Much of what will happen in the 2016 presidential race — in both political parties — hinges on whether Clinton decides to run. She has said she'll announce by the end of the year.

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Got A Hobby? Might Be A Smart Professional Move

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:46

Workers who have a creative outlet outside the office are more likely to be creative problem solvers on the job, a study suggests. Oh, and they have more fun.

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BP Exec Who Led Cleanup Settles On Charges Of Insider Trading

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:14

Keith A. Seilhan, who was the incident commander directing the company's cleanup effort, allegedly sold $1 million in BP stock based on non-public information about the extent of the spill.

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Malls are dead, long live the mall

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:06

Malls in America have struggled to keep business up since before the recession. They’ve faced competition from online retailers and haven’t found a solution to the loss of big box anchor stores who found they could no longer sustain the square footage they once did. It’s not hard to find an analyst trumpeting the death of the mall as developers look for alternatives.

Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated thinks he has it figured out.

“The most productive retailers and restaurateurs are all on streets, anywhere in the world. There isn’t a mall in New York City that does better than Madison Avenue or 5th Avenue.”

And that’s what he’s tried to imitate at his developments across Southern California. In Los Angeles, his best known properties may be the Grove and the Americana.

Even on an overcast mid-week afternoon, the Americana bustles with families. Caruso believes it’s because of the Americana’s park-like qualities.

“It taps into the natural rhythm of how we all live. Nobody naturally wants to go inside an enclosed box and spend the afternoon.”

He’s found that even bad weather won’t necessarily drive people away.  But he’s offering something more than blue skies.

“An indoor mall has now become a destination. Somebody goes there, shops for what they want and leave…and it’s not a great experience.”

At the Americana, visitors walk their dogs on the sidewalks and kids play on the green. Music piped through loudspeakers is the soundtrack and a red trolley roles by intermittently. Caruso says he doesn’t mind if people come and don’t spend money.

“We’ve created an environment where you can come and enjoy yourself. And I’m going to get you the next time” he jokes.

Shops are seen at the Americana at Brand shopping community in Glendale, California. (Shea Huffman/Marketplace) Caruso emphasizes the strict attention to detail at the Americana.

He’s had a hand in designing everything – from the type of stone used on store fronts to the statues modeled after those in France.

“We’re in the entertainment business. You step on the property in the morning, it’s got to be perfect.”

Marketplace Host Kai Ryssdal interviews Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated, as a trolley carries shoppers in the background at the Americana at Brand shopping community in Glendale, California. (Shea Huffman/Marketplace) And he’s serious about that – just like another entertainment company located not too far away.

“We study Disney and Disney studies us and we spend a lot of time with the Disney folks.”

For the malls that dot the country, Caruso sees a mixed outlook. Not all will survive. Those that do will have to become better at curating the mix of stores that shoppers can find there. They’ll also have to figure out what to do with the large spaces that big box retailers are shifting away from.

Shoppers talk amongst themselves at the Americana at Brand shopping community in Glendale, California. (Shea Huffman/Marketplace) But when it comes to applying what he’s learned in Southern California to the rest of the country – Caruso’s not as interested. He wants to stay in the region. The rest he’ll leave to someone else.

Scientists Spot A Planet That Looks Like 'Earth's Cousin'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 11:01

Kepler-186f is almost the same size as Earth, and it orbits in its star's "Goldilocks zone"-- where temperatures may be just right for life. But much is unknown because it's also 500 light-years away.

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Chili Say What? Linguistics Help Pinpoint Pepper's Origins

NPR News - Thu, 2014-04-17 10:52

It turns out the first chili peppers were grown by humans in eastern Mexico. And it's not the same region where beans and corn were first grown, according to new ways of evaluating evidence.

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What 1717 means: your trolley number guess

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-04-17 10:21

In our interview with Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated and developer of famous Los Angeles malls like the Grove and the Americana, we asked him to divulge his favorite part of the mall. He answered with a riddle:

What does the 1717 number on the trolley at the Americana mean?

Or the 1759 number on the trolley at the Grove?

Caruso says if you guess the right answer, you'll get a free Sprinkles cupcake -- and we'll hold him to it.

Tweet @MarketplaceAPM or answer on our Facebook page.

[<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/1717-and-1759-what-do-they-mean" target="_blank">View the story "1717 and 1759: What do they mean?" on Storify</a>]
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