National News

Liberia's Information Minister Admits Mistakes, Defends Actions

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 07:40

In efforts to defeat Ebola, the government could have done better, says Lewis Brown. But he stands by the tough calls that have been made — including the controversial quarantine in West Point.

» E-Mail This

The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 07:20

Whatever your pleasure — crispy, soft, gooey or nicely tanned — it's easy to customize the classic Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie. Just follow these expert tips.

» E-Mail This

European Central Bank cuts interest rates

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 07:00

Very few were predicting the European Central Bank would cut interest rates today, but cut they did. The benchmark rate went from a super-low 0.15 percent to just 0.05 percent. 

Brenda Kelly, Chief Market Strategist at London-based IG Group, joined us to offer some context on the surprising move.

Click the media player above to hear Brenda Kelly in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

As fast-food workers strike, unions get redefined

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 07:00

Fast-food workers in more than 100 cities plan to walk off the job Thursday. The goal is a higher wage: $15 an hour. The Service Employees International Union, the SEIU, is backing the workers.

“They are not giving up until they are heard, and $15 and a union becomes a standard of practice in all fast-food restaurants in the United States,” says Mary Kay Henry, the union’s president. Corporations argue that would be bad for business.

The SEIU has spent millions of dollars getting the word out, but it has also asked home-care workers, a group it recently unionized, to strike in solidarity with the fast-food workers.

“I think it is part of the redefinition of what a union really is and how unions operate,” says Thomas Kochan, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

According to Ruth Milkman, a sociologist at The Graduate Center, CUNY, this push for a higher minimum wage is part of “a comprehensive campaign with lots of different pieces” born out of necessity.

“The traditional approach to unionization that SEIU and other unions have used isn’t really working too well these days, and they recognize that, and they are interested in experimenting with new approaches and new methods,” she says, noting that less than 7 percent of private-sector employees are unionized.

The real question, argues Harry Holzer, a labor economist at Georgetown University, is: “Is there really pressure on employers to raise wages?” Sure, a daylong strike affects the bottom line, but, he points out, that is nothing compared to what it would cost them to raise wages and offer better benefits.

BP Acted With Gross Negligence In Gulf Oil Spill, Federal Judge Rules

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 06:59

The ruling could cost BP billions of dollars. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier found that BP acted recklessly and was mostly responsible for the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

» E-Mail This

After A 35-Year Run, NPR's Programming Chief Is Leaving

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 06:39

Ellen McDonnell worked her way from overnight producer to overseeing all of the network's news programs. Her departure closely follows that of NPR's senior vice president for news.

» E-Mail This

Dry, Scratchy Eyes? Staring At Screens Is Driving This Trend

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 06:10

It used to be that dry eye syndrome was considered a problem for middle-aged women. But with all those screens we're staring at, that nasty sandy feeling is becoming much more common.

» E-Mail This

In A Los Angeles Suburb, The Hunt Is On For An Albino Cobra

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 05:52

The cobra was likely kept as a pet. Authorities warned residents to watch their children closely and tell them to avoid snakes.

» E-Mail This

The Myth Of The Superstar Superintendent?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 05:16

Superintendents make almost no difference when it comes to student success, according to a new report.

» E-Mail This

Job Growth Continues At Healthy Pace, Survey Finds

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 04:53

For the fifth straight month private companies added more than 200,000 jobs, according to the ADP National Employment Report. That's usually enough to keep pushing down the unemployment rate.

» E-Mail This

Russians React To Western Food Ban With Pride, Resignation

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 04:42

As NATO discusses the crisis in Ukraine this week, Russia's ban on Western imports of fresh food marches on. For now, Moscow's grocery shelves are still stocked, and citizens are stoic.

» E-Mail This

Riot Breaks Out At Tennessee Detention Center Where 32 Teens Escaped

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 04:38

By morning, order had been restored. Authorities said some of the teens involved in the overnight riot were the same ones who escaped earlier this week.

» E-Mail This

Al-Qaida Leader Says The Group Has Expanded To India

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 03:57

In a video, Ayman al-Zawahri said its aim was to bring Islamic law to the entire subcontinent. The expansion, he said, was more than two years in the making.

» E-Mail This

At NATO Summit, Allies Consider Lethal, Nonlethal Aid To Ukraine

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 03:05

The alliance's supreme allied commander in Europe says what Russia is doing in Ukraine is something "we thought would never happen again." Meanwhile, Russia warned Ukraine against trying to join NATO.

» E-Mail This

Glenn Gould In Rapture

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 03:03

You don't get to see this too often: a man (in this case, a very talented man) totally possessed by his muse. Watch pianist Glenn Gould deep in what psychologists call "a flow state."

» E-Mail This

PODCAST: Fast-food strike

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 03:00

First up, more on the surprise move from European Central Bank, which cut key interest rates from pretty low to really, really low. And fast-food workers in more than a hundred cities plan to walk off the job today. The goal: the desire to get paid $15 an hour. Plus, an example of the consumer becoming the advertiser. In India, there's a trend that goes way beyond, say, wearing a hat with the logo of some brand you like. 

How reading on screens is rewiring our brains

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 02:00

Dr. Maryanne Wolf says that reading isn't something we're born to do — it's something we train our brain to do.

Wolf is the director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, and the author of "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain." She says we rewire parts of our brain and build new circuits as we learn to read.

But something interesting is happening as we use new technology for the process of reading: The circuits we're building in our brain are different than those we build when we read books. And some of the implications are worrisome for our ability for deep thought.

Following other discussions for this week's series on technology and reading education, Wolf joins us to talk about reading, new tech and their impact on the brain.

Click the media player above to hear Dr. Maryanne Wolf in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.

The jobs report: strong, steady job growth takes hold

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 02:00

The U.S. Labor Department's monthly employment report for August is expected to show some improvement in the job market from July. The consensus among economists is for 230,000 jobs to have been added to private and public-sector payrolls, and for the unemployment rate to have declined 0.1 percent to 6.1 percent.

The trend is now stable and well-established after five years of labor-market improvement that only came in fits and starts, says economist Gary Burtless at the Brookings Institution.

Burtless points out that private businesses have been adding more than 200,000 jobs per month.

“In the last six months, the government has joined the party,” Burtless said. “Public employment is now rising again, although very slowly. As long as these jobs reports continue, I think everyone should be heartened.”

Burtless and other economists are discouraged by anemic wage growth, though. In the years since the recession ended, paychecks for most Americans have just barely kept pace with inflation.

Economist Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute says that shows there’s still significant slack in the labor market. Employers don’t have to offer higher pay to attract and retain workers, and workers don’t have much bargaining power.

“Workers are really not seeing the growing productivity, the growing economy, in higher wages,” Gould said.

Americans face food insecurity despite economic growth

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-04 02:00

The number of American households suffering from food insecurity is down from its peak in 2011, the USDA said in a report released this week.

The decline was a modest 2.7 percent — bringing the number down to 17.5 million households where access to enough food for healthy and active living (how the USDA defines food security) was inconsistent or not dependable.

The report also said the number of households with severe food insecurity, including one member of the household who is going hungry, remained unchanged at almost 7 million. One out of five of these homes include children.

While researchers report that parents often shield their children from hunger, in 360,000 households, food availability was so poor that children were also affected.

“In these households, with very low food security among children, parents reported that children were hungry, but they just didn’t have enough money for food or that children were skipping meals, and in the most extreme situations going the whole day without eating,” says Alisha Coleman-Jensen, co-author of the USDA study.

Nevertheless, the number of extreme food instability households dropped from 1.2 to 0.9 percent.

Households with food instability are not evenly spread out around the country. There are more of them in urban and rural areas, and fewer in the suburbs. Southern states are hit hardest, while North Dakota, which is in the middle of an oil boom, has the lowest rate at 8.7 percent.

The nationwide numbers are grim, despite the fact that the economy has been improving, albeit modestly, and unemployment is decreasing. Coleman-Jensen says when researchers took into account employment, income and other factors, the most significant barrier for improved food security in the U.S. appeared to be inflation in food costs.

Graphic courtesy of USDA Economic Research Service.

“In certain categories, like proteins and dairy, they’ve been incurring double-digit inflation. You also have increasing demand for select commodities around the world, and that’s likely to keep an overall upward pressure on costs,” says Erin Lash, a consumer products analyst with the Chicago-based research firm MorningStar.

Lash says droughts are also partly to blame for higher food prices in certain categories. For example, beef prices rose 10 percent last year, and pork prices rose as much as 7.5 percent. Both meats will likely see price increases this year as well, as consumers feel the effects of a drought in Texas and Oklahoma, and a Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that killed 7 million piglets last year.

In 2015, the USDA predicts food prices overall will see more normal levels of inflation, around 2 to 3 percent. But USDA co-author Coleman-Jensen says it is too early to predict whether that will significantly improve America’s household food security problem.

Gentlemen, Preschool Is Calling

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-04 00:41

New York City is scrambling to make good on its promise to provide preschool for all. That means hiring roughly 1,000 new teachers. But few will likely be men.

» E-Mail This

ON THE AIR

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4