Today on the show, Kai Ryssdal sits down with "Breaking Bad" actor Bob Odenkirk and "Arrested Development"'s David Cross to talk about a new book they've written together: "Hollywood Said No!" Odenkirk and Cross first teamed up way back in history -- we're talking pre-iPod and DVR here people -- on the HBO sketch comedy series "Mr. Show." Their new book is made up of a number of sketch scripts written back then that didn't quite make it to the big screen. Or the little one.
But while they each have extensive resumes (writing for a little show called "Saturday Night Live," among others), both are in the spotlight now for very different projects.
All those "Breaking Bad" fans out there -- and there are many in public radio land -- will know Odenkirk plays lawyer Saul Goodman on the show As the latest season wraps up, there's been rampant rumors of a spin-off show. Kai dug up the dirt:
Breaking Bad isn't the only show that made headlines over the summer. There was just as much, or even more excitement over Arrested Development, which stars a dazzling David Cross as the hapless Tobias Funke. We can thank Netflix for resuscitating the show, and a few months back, we asked Netflix's chief content officer whether he'd make all our dreams come true and release another season of the cult hit. Cross is with us on this one:
Listen to the full interview with Cross and Odenkirk about failures in the entertainment industry, covered in their new book, "Hollywood said No!"
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gets some reshuffling--Alcoa, Hewlett Packard, and Bank of America will be taken off the index and companies like Visa and Nike are being added on.
The AFL-CIO votes on whether to broaden membership to include non-union workers and even other organizations.
Stephen Hawking wrote the best-selling popular science book of all time, creating a brand for himself and physics.
There’s a shakeup in the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Alcoa, Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard will be out of the mix later this month. Nike, Goldman Sachs and Visa will be in.
The Dow bills itself as a broad benchmark, a listing of America's most prominent firms, says Bill Chambers, who teaches finance at Boston University. But there are disclaimers. Plenty of them.
“No group of 30 companies is ever going to reflect what is happening in the country," Chambers says. "They still are really quite underweighted in terms of the technology side of things."
Chambers says one of the biggest problems is that the Dow values companies based on their stock price, not on their total market capitalization. And the Dow is old, antiquated even, says Tim Ghriskey, the chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management.
“It really was your grandmother's index," he says. "It’s not what institutional investors use today.”
Then why pay attention to the Dow at all? Well, because it’s old, it’s a way to compare the past and present. Consumers follow the Dow closely. They use it as a benchmark. And consumers have a huge impact on the economy.
“All you need to do is see a five-inch high newspaper headline that says Dow falls 500 points to ruin retail sales in a given weekend,” says Mark Hamrick of bankrate.com.
Apple will unveil new hardware and software at its live product announcement event on Tuesday. Eric Limer, staff writer at Gizmodo, joins Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson to give a preview of what to expect.
Click the audio player above to hear more.
2,100 Bank of America employees are losing their jobs. This follows 2,300 layoffs at Wells Fargo announced in August. A sagging mortgage refinancing market is getting the blame.
With mortgage rates on the rise, refinancing is no longer a good deal for millions of Americans. That means banks are losing business in an area that has been extremely important lately.
“Refinancings have been critical to the banking industry,” says Columbia Business School real estate professor Chris Mayer. “Because purchase mortgages have maintained at such a low level, most of the activity has been refinancing.”
The latest numbers from the Mortgage Bankers Association show the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan at 4.73 percent. That’s more than a full percentage point jump from just a few months ago.
Numbers like those mean a large chunk of the population won’t refinance their mortgages. Banks are losing a lot of business and warning Wall Street of a rough ride ahead in the mortgage business. And unfortunately, many bank employees are losing their jobs.
Click the audio player above to hear Marketplace's Mark Garrison talk about this story with Morning Report host David Brancaccio.
Oil investors have global politics on their minds these days. Crude prices, and prices at the gas pump, have been rising, right along with President Barack Obama’s threats to retaliate against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin’s vow to help Syria if that happens. Then when it sounded like a military strike might be averted, prices fell. This is all very curious because Syria doesn’t produce much oil. It accounts for less than a tenth percent of the world’s total production.
So why do traders flip out when the U.S. saber-rattles a two-bit oil producer like Syria? “I think the markets freak out because they think the sabers are going to be extended beyond Syria into some bordering countries,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for GasBuddy.
Kloza and other analysts say the markets factor in a “worry premium” to oil prices. In this case, the fear is that a U.S. strike could spark a wider war in the Middle East and eventually disrupt oil supplies. “And I think yes, it is quite rational to say there’s at least that possibility,” says University of California, San Diego economist James Hamilton.
Hamilton blogs that the political situations in both Libya and Egypt remain highly unstable and if Iran and Saudi Arabia, who back different sides in Syria’s civil war, are drawn into a wider conflict, the flow of oil could threaten Middle Eastern crude exports.
Market analyst Stephen Schork thinks that fear is overblown. The oil market’s reaction is “just driven by fear and greed on the slight, slight, slight chance that dropping a couple of cruise missiles on Damascus will lead to some sort of broader regional conflict,” Schork says. “It’s a very limited proposition, yet we can never underestimate the stupidity of Wall Street money piling into this market.”
Other analysts point out that world oil supplies are fairly tight right now, and suggest that has factored into rising prices recently as well. Labor strikes and pipeline attacks in oil centers like Libya, Iraq and Nigeria have contributed to the problem. Analysts say if a military strike on Syria were to occur, it’s not clear how high oil prices would go. But Hamilton says a good rule of thumb is that for every dollar rise in the cost of a barrel of oil, gasoline prices will rise 2.5 cents.
They're struggling to reconcile the man they see presiding over the herky-jerky move to military action in Syria with the young anti-war senator they worked tirelessly to put in office. And they'll be watching his speech Tuesday night.