National News

More Satellite Images, But Still No Sure Sign Of Missing Jet

NPR News - Sat, 2014-03-22 02:21

Images taken four days ago by a Chinese satellite show something large floating in the same general area of the Indian Ocean as in earlier pictures. But searchers didn't find anything Saturday.

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Why Are We Hauling Pennsylvania Coal All The Way To Germany?

NPR News - Sat, 2014-03-22 01:16

Each year, the U.S. loads thousands of tons of coal onto a barge and sends it across the Atlantic. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but no one is trying to end the practice.

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Long-Dead Congressman's Earmark Lives On — In Europe

NPR News - Sat, 2014-03-22 01:16

A little known provision in the budget keeps a U.S. military installation in Germany heated by anthracite coal. The idea doesn't make a lot of sense anymore, but no one is trying to end the practice.

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I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle

NPR News - Sat, 2014-03-22 01:03

A few weeks ago, this little frog was frozen solid, hard like an ashtray, basically dead. And then, we don't know how, this amazing thing happened ...

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Remember Fat-Free Mania? Take Our Survey

NPR News - Sat, 2014-03-22 01:00

Fat-free products exploded onto the market in the 1990s. Did they change how you eat? We want to know. Tell us how the era influenced your eating habits and share your views on low-fat diets.

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Obama Meets With Tech CEOs About Privacy

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 16:25

Facebook said its CEO Mark Zuckerberg had an "honest talk" with the president and was "grateful for his ... personal engagement."

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Keep the change: The psychology of tipping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 16:19

Let's say you walk into Starbucks.

While you're paying, you look down and see that jar:

So what do you do? Do you drop your loose change in it? A dollar? Or do you turn around and drink your soy latte.

Starbucks is trying to make that decision as easy as a text message. This week, the coffee giant changed their app, allowing you to tip directly from your phone.

Which got us wondering, why do we tip in the first place? How do you choose who to tip and who not to tip? 

According to Michael Lynn, professor at the Cornell Hotel School, economists believe tipping comes into play where you, the consumer, are going to be a better judge of how they did in their job. 

 

“We tend to tip service providers more, the less they make, and also more the more the customer makes. So the greater the income disparity between the server and the customer, the more likely you are to tip.”

We are also tend to tip better when there’s some sort of social contact. You're much more likely to tip your hairdresser with whom you've had a conversation with, than someone you only have a few seconds of contact with.

How do you tip? Take our survey here!

Keep the change: The psychology of tipping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 16:19

Let's say you walk into Starbucks.

While you're paying, you look down and see that jar:

So what do you do? Do you drop your loose change in it? A dollar? Or do you turn around and drink your soy latte.

Starbucks is trying to make that decision as easy as a text message. This week, the coffee giant changed their app, allowing you to tip directly from your phone.

Which got us wondering, why do we tip in the first place? How do you choose who to tip and who not to tip? 

According to Michael Lynn, professor at the Cornell Hotel School, economists believe tipping comes into play where you, the consumer, are going to be a better judge of how they did in their job. 

“We tend to tip service providers more, the less they make, and also more the more the customer makes. So the greater the income disparity between the server and the customer, the more likely you are to tip.”

We are also tend to tip better when there’s some sort of social contact. You're much more likely to tip your hairdresser with whom you've had a conversation with, than someone you only have a few seconds of contact with.

How do you tip? Take our survey here!

Keep the change: The psychology of tipping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 16:19

Let's say you walk into Starbucks.

While you're paying, you look down and see that jar:

So what do you do? Do you drop your loose change in it? A dollar? Or do you turn around and drink your soy latte.

Starbucks is trying to make that decision as easy as a text message. This week, the coffee giant changed their app, allowing you to tip directly from your phone.

Which got us wondering, why do we tip in the first place? How do you choose who to tip and who not to tip? 

According to Michael Lynn, professor at the Cornell Hotel School, economists believe tipping comes into play where you, the consumer, are going to be a better judge of how they did in their job. 

“We tend to tip service providers more, the less they make, and also more the more the customer makes. So the greater the income disparity between the server and the customer, the more likely you are to tip.”

We are also tend to tip better when there’s some sort of social contact. You're much more likely to tip your hairdresser with whom you've had a conversation with, than someone you only have a few seconds of contact with.

How do you tip? Take our survey here!

Keep the change: The psychology of tipping

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 16:19

Let's say you walk into Starbucks.

While you're paying, you look down and see that jar:

So what do you do? Do you drop your loose change in it? A dollar? Or do you turn around and drink your soy latte.

Starbucks is trying to make that decision as easy as a text message. This week, the coffee giant changed their app, allowing you to tip directly from your phone.

Which got us wondering, why do we tip in the first place? How do you choose who to tip and who not to tip? 

According to Michael Lynn, professor at the Cornell Hotel School, economists believe tipping comes into play where you, the consumer, are going to be a better judge of how they did in their job. 

“We tend to tip service providers more, the less they make, and also more the more the customer makes. So the greater the income disparity between the server and the customer, the more likely you are to tip.”

We are also tend to tip better when there’s some sort of social contact. You're much more likely to tip your hairdresser with whom you've had a conversation with, than someone you only have a few seconds of contact with.

How do you tip? Take our survey here!

Satellites' Scope And The Search For A Plane

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 15:57

Satellites have focused the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on the southern Indian Ocean. But without results yet, the effort also highlights the technology's limitations.

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Spooked markets and that sort of thing

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 15:42

Some weeks, it's almost impossible to fit the news into 4 minutes.

We did our best: Cardiff Garcia of the blog FT – Alphaville and  Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post joined Kai to wrap the week's financial headlines. On the agenda: "Is the market an idiot?" 

Defense Of 'Whitey' Bulger Has Cost Taxpayers More Than $3 Million

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 14:49

The notorious Boston gangster was given a public defender for his trial. He was found guilty of multiple murders and racketeering by a federal jury in August.

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Houdini, debt, and dandelions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 14:42

Here’s a look at what’s coming up next week (March 24 - 28):

  • Let’s start things off with some magic. Harry Houdini was born on March 24, 1874. Not an easy guy to lock up. Internet sources say he showed soldiers how to escape from German handcuffs during World War I.
  • On Tuesday—lots of stuff to talk about. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to discuss “Why Debt Matters.”
  • The Conference Board releases its monthly Consumer Confidence Index.
  • They had lots of confidence. The TV series “Cagney and Lacey” premiered in 1982. The crime drama shook up the norm, placing two female detectives in lead roles.
  • And feminist and “Ms Magazine” founder Gloria Steinem turns 80.
  • Mid-week the Commerce Department reports on durable goods orders for February.
  • On March 27, 2006 Graceland, home to Elvis Presley, was declared a national historic landmark. And sixteen years ago on the same date the FDA approved Viagra.
  • Finally now that we’re a week into spring, gardening may be on your to-do list. Well, March 28th is Weed Appreciation Day. Did you know that some weeds are edible? We here at Datebook headquarters say pull those ugly dandelions. 

Caterpillar and crazy tax avoidance contortions

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 14:36

Bloomberg reports that a Senate hearing next month will investigate construction machinery maker Caterpillar on whether it improperly shifted profits abroad to dodge U.S. taxes. Caterpillar isn’t commenting, but often when companies are under fire for avoiding taxes by moving money internationally, they say they pay their share and obey the law. And that’s generally true. Complicated tax laws make it possible for American companies to lower their bills by spreading money around the world.

To make sense of this, you need to understand two things. First, don’t think of these multi-nationals as single companies.

“Whether it’s Apple or General Motors or General Electric, it doesn’t matter,” says Ed Kleinbard, former chief of staff of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation and now a University of Southern California law professor. “These in fact are constellations of hundreds of companies located all over the world.”

Second, remember that companies don’t just make money off stuff. They profit from ideas, in the form of patents, copyrights and other types of what are called intangible assets.

Their intangibility makes them easy to move around the world, including to the foreign arm of a company in a tax haven. With the stroke of a pen, piles of money a drug company, for example, might make from its research are off limits to the IRS.

It’s legal, and critics say the tax code that makes it possible advantages large multinational companies over small businesses and ordinary taxpayers. But unless Congress changes the law, American companies will keep paying accountants to take full advantage.

Mark Garrison: If you wanna make sense of this, understand two things. First, don’t think of these multi-nationals as single companies. Ed Kleinbard is the former chief of staff of Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation.

Ed Kleinbard: Whether it’s Apple or General Motors or General Electric, it doesn’t matter. These in fact are constellations of hundreds of companies located all over the world.

Second, remember, companies don’t just make money off stuff. They profit from ideas.

Kleinbard: What makes a Nike sneaker more valuable than an Acme sneaker? It’s the intangible assets associated with that company. It’s the brand name. It’s the secret sauce. It’s the patents.

An American firm can move those intangible assets to a foreign arm in a tax haven. All with the stroke of a pen. So piles of money a drug company, for example, might make from its research are off limits to the IRS. David Cay Johnston at Syracuse’s law school thinks this is all unfair to small business.

David Cay Johnston: If you own a purely domestic company, and that’s the mom and pop businesses in America, you are not allowed to do this.

Rebecca Wilkins is with Citizens for Tax Justice, which thinks these multi-nationals should pay more. When they say they’re just following the law, that’s not enough for her.

Rebecca Wilkins: They act as if they’re innocent in this whole process and quite the opposite is true. They have lobbied for these tax breaks.

Unless Congress changes the law, American companies will keep paying accountants to take full advantage. In New York, I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.

Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 14:24

Representing U.S. health insurance companies, Karen Ignagni says she would add a "lower tier" to the Affordable Care Act options. That could entice healthier people to join the law's new risk pools.

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Declined: Visa, MasterCard Freeze Out Targeted Russian Banks

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 14:14

The U.S.-based credit card companies responded to sanctions imposed on Moscow in the wake of its annexation of Crimea.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan Gay-Marriage Ban

NPR News - Fri, 2014-03-21 13:28

The state follows Texas and several others who have seen their same-sex marriage prohibitions overturned in court. Michigan's attorney general has said he will appeal the decision.

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The conversation of gentrification

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 13:15

Gentrification.

It’s one of the most loaded words in our modern vocabulary. It’s an issue with no clear lines. And a tough issue to talk about, for long-time residents and gentrifiers alike.
But we wondered what you would say if we didn’t have that term? We asked our listeners online for words and phrases:

“It simply is displacing people for others with more money.”
“Development over a pre-existing community.”
“Hipsters fixing up run down stores.”
“Urban renewal.”
“More white people, boutique shops, restaurants and high end grocery stores.”
“It looks nicer. Things get cleaned up. Trash and eyesores are removed.”
“Expensive housing.”

We wanted to dig deep on gentrification this week and hear the voices of people who are living that experience, spending their money on rents that may be rising, coming into a new neighborhood, or worrying they’ll have to leave their own.

It’s such a personal issue. Our homes ground us, give us a sense of identity and community. And in cities, we’re constantly overlapping with our neighbors.

In September, I moved to Ft. Greene in Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood saw crime and poverty in late 1960s and 1970s but grew to represent a stronghold of the black middle class. The gentrification debate came early (see this piece from the New York Times in 1984). 

And it comes back all the time. Spike Lee famously spoke about it just a few blocks from where I live, at the Pratt Art Institute in February.

My block has a mix of old and new. Families who have lived here for decades, and newcomers like me, who hope our presence can offer something to the place. It’s a strange thing to carry. Does my willingness or ability to pay a higher rent price out poorer residents? If I’m being honest with myself, yes, it probably does.

And yet, here is the community I want. One I actively sought out. Multi-racial, layered with different people, different classes, the kind of cultural richness that made me want to live in New York City in the first place.

I’ve found a sense of community here. I love the park. The school across my street. A man who lives two houses down from me brought packages of mine into his house from the rain while I was away. I didn’t know him. We greet each other by first name now. In New York!

But none of this is easy or even easy to talk about. Errol Louis, a NY-based journalist, wrote a rebuttal to Spike Lee

‘Gentrification good,’ and ‘gentrification bad,’ are terrible metrics. And far too simple for 2014. We wanted to start a conversation. Give people something to listen to and think about. It’s not an end point, but just a place to jump off into your own thoughts on gentrification and community.

The conversation of gentrification

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-03-21 13:15

Gentrification.

It’s one of the most loaded words in our modern vocabulary. It’s an issue with no clear lines. And a tough issue to talk about, for long-time residents and gentrifiers alike.
But we wondered what you would say if we didn’t have that term? We asked our listeners online for words and phrases:

“It simply is displacing people for others with more money.”
“Development over a pre-existing community.”
“Hipsters fixing up run down stores.”
“Urban renewal.”
“More white people, boutique shops, restaurants and high end grocery stores.”
“It looks nicer. Things get cleaned up. Trash and eyesores are removed.”
“Expensive housing.”

We wanted to dig deep on gentrification this week and hear the voices of people who are living that experience, spending their money on rents that may be rising, coming into a new neighborhood, or worrying they’ll have to leave their own.

It’s such a personal issue. Our homes ground us, give us a sense of identity and community. And in cities, we’re constantly overlapping with our neighbors.

In September, I moved to Ft. Greene in Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood saw crime and poverty in late 1960s and 1970s but grew to represent a stronghold of the black middle class. The gentrification debate came early (see this piece from the New York Times in 1984). 

And it comes back all the time. Spike Lee famously spoke about it just a few blocks from where I live, at the Pratt Art Institute in February.

My block has a mix of old and new. Families who have lived here for decades, and newcomers like me, who hope our presence can offer something to the place. It’s a strange thing to carry. Does my willingness or ability to pay a higher rent price out poorer residents? If I’m being honest with myself, yes, it probably does.

And yet, here is the community I want. One I actively sought out. Multi-racial, layered with different people, different classes, the kind of cultural richness that made me want to live in New York City in the first place.

I’ve found a sense of community here. I love the park. The school across my street. A man who lives two houses down from me brought packages of mine into his house from the rain while I was away. I didn’t know him. We greet each other by first name now. In New York!

But none of this is easy or even easy to talk about. Errol Louis, a NY-based journalist, wrote a rebuttal to Spike Lee

‘Gentrification good,’ and ‘gentrification bad,’ are terrible metrics. And far too simple for 2014. We wanted to start a conversation. Give people something to listen to and think about. It’s not an end point, but just a place to jump off into your own thoughts on gentrification and community.

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