National News

The logistics (and costs) of moving an NFL game

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:00

The Buffalo Bills were supposed to play a home game this weekend against the New York Jets, until a snowstorm blew through this week dumping more than six feet of snow.

The NFL has moved the game to Monday night in Detroit. And the Buffalo Bills were scrambling Friday with last-minute travel arrangements, before their departure from their snow-burried hometown earlier this afternoon. 

Next stop, Detroit! ✈️ pic.twitter.com/VAxmmSbZ4D

— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) November 21, 2014 The costs of the last-minute change are likely adding up for the Bills: from refunding tickets to short-notice hotel bookings.

In fact, the team is likely paying as much as a 30 percent premium on travel costs, says Kevin Green, director of football operations for the University of Kansas, where sports programs boast big budgets.  

Green says, when traveling, he typically has to account for anywhere from 100 to 170 people between players, coaches, staff and others. Typical travel arrangements are made well in advance, Green says: a year in advance for hotel reservations, several months in advance for flight charters, and a week advance for food preparation. 

And teams have very specific needs. Not just any hotel will do. And not just any food will do. 

“The hotel has to have conference space available for meetings, that typically limits those hotels to Hiltons, Marriotts, traditional business hotels,” Green says. "The food is very specific to individual players, positions. You’re looking for specific cuts of meat, proteins, carbs. That usually has to be ordered a week in advance.”

So, vendors are likely benefiting from the Bills’ sudden venue change. And if fans make sudden travel plans, too, the city of Detroit could see a windfall. 

“We foresee the direct spending to be around $3 million,” says Deanna Majchrzak of the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That will benefit our local hotels, restaurants, bars and other retailers.”

The Bureau is basing that figure on an estimate that some 30,000 fans will visit Detroit for the game. In 2010, when Detroit was last host to an unscheduled game, some 46,000 fans showed up to see the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants play, Majchrzak says.

Professional cuddlers for hire in Portland

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:00

A woman in Portland, Oregon, named Samantha Hess has opened a new business called Cuddle Up to Me. It is, just like it sounds, a professional cuddling establishment.

For $60, Hess says you get "the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves," according to People magazine. The session includes an hour of spooning, hair strokes, hand-holding and an assortment of positions. Hess maintains that her shop is not "adult oriented."

Call it commentary on the lack of human contact in today's society. Call it a ludicrous endeavor.

I call it entrepreneurship. Hess told her local Fox affiliate she's gotten as many as 10,000 emails in the first week. 

Your Wallet: Giving versus getting

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 09:54

The holidays are a season for giving. Many of you are buying gifts, donating to charity, helping someone, or someone is helping you.

How do you balance helping others with your personal financial needs?

We want to hear your stories.

Send us an email, or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND

Coming out at work, in context

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 09:11

This past week, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT rights organization, released its Corporate Equality Index which measures how Fortune 500 companies treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees in the workplace.

Things have changed a lot over the 10-plus years the group has released its annual report. Same sex marriage is now legal in more than thirty states, there are more rights for LGBT people in the workplace, and many big businesses have increased their protections for employees, introducing non-discrimination clauses, and partner benefits. This year, 366 Fortune 500 companies got a perfect score on the index, up from only 13 in 2002. 

Deena Fidas, director of Workplace Equality for the HRC, says the change is based in societal shifts and finances. "So many businesses have come to the realization that being an LGBT inclusive employer isn't just the right thing to do, it's actually smart business," she says.

But despite new workplace protections and benefits, "still, a little over half of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in this country remain closeted on the job," Fidas says, "and so quite literally people are getting married on the weekends and not talking about it come Monday morning." 

In 29 states, there are still no legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Legal issues definitely come into play in the decision to be out at work, Fidas says "but it's also the everyday environment." HRC survey responses indicated that LGBT people who aren't out at work feared that they'd make people uncomfortable. 

But staying closeted on the job may have some drawbacks, for LGBT and the companies they work for. Fidas says that people who aren't out at work may be less engaged with their jobs and their colleagues, and less likely to stay with one employer. Not being out at work could also mean fewer opportunities to make friends, or find valuable mentorship. 

Even millennials, typically known for their openness about sexuality, are aren't always out at work. "We find that actually, many of the youngest workers are out to their friends and family, they're out in their school environments, and yet they're going back in the closet when they get their first jobs," Fidas says.

For younger workers, the question to come out is a conundrum: they may feel they lack an established professional background, or be searching for a mentor, and want to keep their orientation private.

"Your mentor is somebody who you can confide in, you can talk about personal struggles," Fidas says, "and this is where we get into a bit of a Catch-22." The people who might most need guidance are often afraid to seek it out. One solution to this issue is something that many businesses are introducing: LGBT and allied affinity groups. "[They] provide a tremendously effective platform for young people to find a mentor," Fidas says. 

Some LGBT people are not just out at work, but out on their resumes. Fidas says that some people choose to come out in a resume because they want to highlight leadership experience that involves an LGBT affiliated group. Others choose to come out on a resume, subtly or explicitly, as a way to communicate their expectations to a potential employer that they are completely accepted at work. 

A recent study from Princeton University shows that things are changing for people who do choose to come out in their resume. While past research indicated that mentioning an LGBT group resulted in hiring and salary discrimination, the latest from Princeton shows that for white men, there's little to no impact, and for black men, coming out on a resume may actually result in more interviews and a higher starting salary. 

Still, there's no single, simple solution. "Bias happens," Fidas says, "whether it's conscious or unconscious."

A lot goes into the decision to come out and be out at work. Fidas says it isn't the right choice for everyone, particularly if their workplace doesn't have a nondiscrimination clause. "It's a conversation," she says.

 

Thai Martial Law Will Remain In Place 'Indefinitely,' Minister Says

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 08:43

The comments by the justice minister came in an interview to Reuters news agency nearly six months after the military overthrew the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

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The Viagra Of The Himalayas Brings In Big Bucks And Big Problems

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 08:31

A fungus consumes a worm and sprouts out of its head. The resulting ... thing ... is deemed an aphrodisiac and sells for more than gold. How do you keep people from killing each other to harvest it?

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In The Hospital, There's No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 08:06

People in the LGBT community often have a hard time getting appropriate health care. But the problems aren't unique to them. Doesn't everyone want to have a doctor call them by their preferred name?

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The 3-Bird Turducken Has Nothing On This 17-Bird Royal Roast

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 07:45

The Frenchman who was the world's first restaurant critic launched the world's first serial food journal in 1803. To wow readers, he offered a recipe for for rôti sans pareil, the roast without equal.

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Ex-News Of The World Editor Andy Coulson Freed From Prison

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 07:31

Coulson, who was found guilty of conspiracy to hack personal voicemails, was released today after serving less than five months of his 18-month sentence.

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Republicans File Suit Against Obama Administration Over Health Law

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:54

House Republicans have been threatening to sue Obama over executive actions he's taken on the Affordable Care Act. Today, they pulled the trigger.

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Speaker Boehner Says The House Will Act On Immigration

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:53

Republican Rep. John Boehner delivered a statement Friday in reaction to President Obama's immigration address, saying Obama is damaging the presidency.

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What's with the addiction to subscription boxes?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:49

The DIY movement notwithstanding, many people are so desperate to shed chores they’ve started outsourcing even frivolous shopping. It’s a situation caused by and, in turn, fueling a big retail trend: subscription boxes.

Even if you think you’ve never heard of subscription boxes, you probably have. Years ago, we knew them as the fruit- or cheese-of-the month club. Now they’ve gone upscale, niche – and run amok. 

There are subscription boxes for vegans and carnivores, for the gluten-free and gluten loaders, for people who can’t get enough ostrich jerky or infinity scarves, for preschoolers who insist on sustainably sourced toys – maybe as many as 500.

At this point in the game – about four years since the launch of Birchbox, the beauty-sample site credited with starting the recent surge – almost any American, and her finicky pet, could survive on boxes alone.

Somehow, a nation that endlessly whines about household clutter, and is so prickly about presents that there’s a registry for every gift-giving event, has started paying strangers to pick out — excuse me, curate — random items and ship said items to their homes.

And on those glum days when the mailbox is empty, junkies can fill the void with box-centric YouTube videos, blogs, reviews and discussion boards.

One theory to explain the phenomenon is that we have too much choice – it’s a relief to let someone else paw through all of the junk for you.  Another is that exhausted working women want a gift every month – even if it’s one they’ve sent, and paid for, themselves. Even if they don’t actually like it.

 Oh, really, I shouldn’t have . . .

Subscribers take their deliveries so seriously that blogs warn of “spoilers” before discussing the contents of a particular box. It’s like learning the gender of your unborn baby, only the reveal involves small-batch pistachios.

Recently, I flirted with a fashion box but luckily the realization that I’d end up schlepping to return clothes I didn’t choose in the first place kicked in before I'd entered my credit card.

But there is one box I’d love: a subscription that takes a box of stuff from your house every month. Call it the disappearing box.

The subscription box that should be

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:49

The DIY movement notwithstanding, many people are so desperate to shed chores they’ve started outsourcing even frivolous shopping. It’s a situation caused by and, in turn, fueling a big retail trend: subscription boxes.

Even if you think you’ve never heard of subscription boxes, you probably have. Years ago we knew them as the fruit- or cheese-of-the month club. Now they’ve gone upscale, niche — and run amok. 

There are subscription boxes for vegans and carnivores, for the gluten-free and gluten loaders, for people who can’t get enough ostrich jerky or infinity scarves, for preschoolers who insist on sustainably-sourced toys—maybe as many as 500.

At this point in the game — about four years since the launch of Birchbox, the beauty-sample site credited with starting the recent surge — almost any American, and her finicky pet, could survive on boxes alone.

Somehow, a nation that endlessly whines about household clutter, and is so prickly about presents that there’s a registry for every gift-giving event, has started paying strangers to pick out — excuse me, curate — random items and ship said items to their homes.

And on those glum days when the mailbox is empty, junkies can fill the void with box-centric YouTube videos, blogs, reviews, and discussion boards.

One theory to explain the phenomenon is that we have too much choice--it’s a relief to let someone else paw through all of the junk for you.  Another is that exhausted working women want a gift every month — even if it’s one they’ve sent, and paid for, themselves. Even if they don’t actually like it.

Oh, really, I shouldn’t have . . .

Subscribers take their deliveries so seriously that blogs warn of “spoilers” before discussing the contents of a particular box. It’s like learning the gender of your unborn baby, only the reveal involves small-batch pistachios.

Recently I flirted with a fashion box, but luckily the realization that I’d end up schlepping to return clothes I didn’t choose in the first place kicked in before I’d entered my credit card.

But there is one box I’d love: a subscription that takes a box of stuff from your house every month. Call it the disappearing box.

London Mayor Boris Johnson Owes IRS Money, Won't Pay

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:42

Johnson holds dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship, but hasn't lived in the U.S. since he was 5. He told WAMU's Diane Rehm Show that he had been billed for capital gains on the sale of his first home.

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Student data and school attendance

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:35

Schools are gathering data on kids, and as student databases grow, so does the ability of technology to predict how or what a kid might do next.

Marketplace's Adriene Hill has been looking at the ways student data is being used to see into the future, and spoke with David Brancaccio to talk about efforts to predict, and change, attendance patterns.

The 2 Things That Rarely Happen After a Medical Mistake

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:13

When patients are harmed by a medical error, they rarely are told about it or given an apology, according to a study based on results from ProPublica's Patient Harm Questionnaire.

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Holder Calls For Calm As Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Looms

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 06:02

In a newly released video, Holder has messages for law enforcement agents as well as for those protesting the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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Boehner: 'We Will Not Stand Idly By As President Undermines The Rule Of Law'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-11-21 05:26

House Speaker John Boehner said President Obama acted like a king when he deferred the deportation of up to 5 million immigrants.

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Quiz: Have you seen your kid’s data?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 04:36

A majority of states gather data on students over time in longitudinal databases, according to the Data Quality Campaign, but not all of them guarantee parents access to that information.

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Aereo files for Chapter 11 reorganization

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-11-21 04:15

On Friday, the beleaguered television-streaming service Aereo announced it would file for Chapter 11 reorganization. Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia wrote in a blog post that doing so would, "permit Aereo to maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts."

It's been a long journey since the cloud-based television streaming company got started three years ago—Aereo's promise to change the way we watched television was immediately met by a lawsuit brought on by major TV networks.

Aereo celebrated some victories: this year, when ABC's live-stream of the Oscars failed where Aereo's succeeded. But ultimately, a 6-3 vote from the Supreme Court found that the company violated federal copyright law by retransmitting copyrighted programs without paying a fee. In other words, the court didn't buy Aereo's technological argument.

The company was considered a favorite among cord cutters—people who favor streaming services over cable—and there's been a rise in networks jumping on the streaming bandwagon since Aereo lost in the high court. And in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, there have even been companies looking to take Aereo's place.

 

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