Marketplace - American Public Media

Syndicate content
Updated: 55 min 36 sec ago

MayDay PAC: The end of the Super PAC era?

Mon, 2014-07-07 12:17

Money plays a crucial role during the political campaign season. The amount of money backing your campaign could mean a win or loss in a seat in Congress. And when Super PACs were deemed legal by the Supreme Court in 2010, the game changed.

Before Super PACs were "super", a PAC was limited to spending no more than $2,500, with corporations and unions strictly forbidden from making donations. Now corporations and unions are allowed to make donations and the limit to spending? Well there is none.

Fair or not, this is one issue that is set in stone... or at least was. Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, wants to take down these Super PACs... by creating one of his own. This past weekend, the MayDay PAC reached its fund raising goal of $5 million. Lessig plans to start the anti-Super PAC campaign for this year's House of Representative election.

"We want to win five seats so we can convince the people of Washington that this issue really matters to voters so that we can build the campaign we have to have for 2016 that will win a Congress that is committed to changing the way that elections are funded."

This goal isn't an easy feat. The elections take place in a few months and the majority of people who donated are from areas that have a Democratic seat in the House, according to a map from the MayDay website. But Lessig says this issue is as important to people on the right as well as the left.

"You know, when Dave Brat beat Eric Cantor, the number two issue he talked about was that Eric Cantor had become a Crony Capitalist. So our view is this is cross partisan and we can talk about this in a way that gets people on the right and people on the left to recognize that though they don't have a common end, they have a common enemy. And the common enemy is the way we fund campaigns today."

Now that Lessig has done his part to raise money for the MayDay PAC, he'll hand it over to the campaign shops "that are experts at winning campaigns" and wait until November to see if it was all worth it. 

Your Wallet: What would you tell your 18-year-old self about money?

Mon, 2014-07-07 12:06

We're asking listeners about what they could tell their 18-year-old selves about money if they had the opportunity to:

 

New question for next week's @MarketplaceWknd: what would you tell your 18-year-old self about money?

— Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) July 3, 2014

 

Here's a few of your responses:

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd Don't sell that Apple stock you bought for $36.

— Andy Lancaster (@andylancaster) July 3, 2014

 

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd loans are not evil. That 2nd job will burn u out. Drink at home. Stop wearing nautical-themed polos.

— Trevtor (@Trevtor) July 3, 2014

 

@lizzieohreally @MarketplaceWknd consider a life of crime

— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) July 4, 2014

So what would you tell yourself if you had the chance? Let us know in the comments!

Your job in 5 words

Mon, 2014-07-07 11:07

We asked President Barack Obama to describe his job in five words or less. He couldn't do it. But our listeners could. Here's what you do, in (give or take) five words: [<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/your-job-in-five-words" target="_blank">View the story "Your job in five words" on Storify</a>]   And hey? .sxsw-box { position:relative; text-align: left; height:auto; min-height: 250px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; border-color:#777777; background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000; padding: 25px; font-size: 1em; font-style: heavy; font-family: arial; } .sxsw-button { width: 31%; margin:0 1% .5em; display:inline-block; height: 50px; border:none; color: #ffffff; background-color: #00c7e1; font-size: 1.5em; font-family: arial; font-weight: 500; cursor: pointer; } .sxsw-button:hover { background-color: #19bcd1; } #sxsw-panel { font-size: 2em; font-weight: 900; line-height:1.2; color: #333; margin: auto; font-family:Georgia, serif; padding:1em 1em 0; display:block; text-align:center; } #sxsw-social { display: none; text-decoration: none; margin-top: 25px; line-height: 25px; } #sxsw-twitter-anchor { text-decoration: none; color: #666666; font-size: .85em; font-weight: 200; } #sxsw-twitter-anchor:hover { color: #222222 } #sxsw-twitter-icon { padding-right: 6px; vertical-align: middle; } .sxsw-logo { position:absolute; width:140px; right:4%; bottom:10px; } #happy {background-color:#5FCBF3;margin-left:0;width:100%} #happy:hover {background-color:#4089A4;} #part-one, a#first-handle {color:#34B24F;} #part-two, a#second-handle {color:#BED440;} #quote-link-1, #quote-link-2 {text-decoration:none;} #reveal {display:none;} @media screen and (max-width:586px) { #sxsw-panel { font-size:1.5em; } .sxsw-box {padding:25px 10px;} .sxsw-button {width:30%;} } var NUMBER_OF_SENTENCES; var SECOND_NUMBER_OF_SENTENCES; var my_job_1 = ["I build", "I'm amazed", "To help", "Create fun", "Training dancers", "Make it", "Build infrastructure", "Create music", "I educate", "I draw", "Megaphone", "Make the best", "I make", "Get wasted", "I do", "Dubious medicine", "Sit", "Organizing and supporting", "I teach people", "I count", "Whine, assign blame", "Delivering pizzas", "Draw pipes", "Teach tweens", "I save", "I nurture", "I teach", "Cut, retract", "Keep airplanes", "I have", "Helps people", "Write emails", "Play on", "Struggle to", "Ensure safe", "Help pastors", "Ensure opportunities", "Keep kids", "Help hotel"]; var handle_1 = ["@adviserdavid", "@adviserdavid", "@gringocameraman", "@winkiewinx", "@matthewdonnell", "@BandHouser", "@the_tlover", "@ZachMarshMusic", "@Cavalier1313", "@annaraffNYC", "@goodpointco", "@bigspooners", "@seemomster", "@GroovyyDhruvy", "@bbaumgartner", "@RotatingBacon", "@KBIAThinking", "@meg_kaye", "@circusharmony", "@Clarkiclarki", "@schwingcat", "@CrbnBsdBpd", "@Hailtheyounger", "Cynthia Almy Savage", "Alice Rupp Bennett", "Karen Locke", "Kerstin Thompson", "Don Daubman", "John Strickler", "Ariel Abuel", "Eric Warner", "Lorene Lynn", "Sean Guilly", "Russ Fortson", "Ann Catherine Keirns", "Gregory R. Sudderth", "Margo Lalich", "Lisa Sommer Devlin"]; var link_1 = ["https://twitter.com/adviserdavid/status/484880027859685377", "https://twitter.com/adviserdavid/status/485085641592418304", "https://twitter.com/gringocameraman/status/484826368098590720", "https://twitter.com/winkiewinx/status/484826928843481088", "https://twitter.com/matthewdonnell/status/484826575943520256", "https://twitter.com/BandHouser/status/484826685842259968", "https://twitter.com/the_tlover/status/484826535321292800", "https://twitter.com/ZachMarshMusic/status/484827040382603265", "https://twitter.com/Cavalier1313/status/484826539628847104", "https://twitter.com/annaraffNYC/status/484834236382597120", "https://twitter.com/GoodPointCo/status/484834081176162304", "https://twitter.com/RotatingBacon/status/484978130499538944", "https://twitter.com/RotatingBacon/status/484978130499538944", "https://twitter.com/KBIAThinking/status/485041664264646656", "https://twitter.com/meg_kaye/status/485785557847396355", "https://twitter.com/circusharmony/status/484946079461302274", "https://twitter.com/Clarkiclarki/status/484894305106944002", "https://twitter.com/schwingcat/status/484860921970302976", "https://twitter.com/CrbnBsdBpd/status/484864364801826816", "https://twitter.com/Hailtheyounger/status/484870643414880257", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560154720148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559103805148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558907315148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558928340148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558909990148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559102220148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558927600148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559006235148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559143120148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559306690148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152561125570148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152561041900148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560563775148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560473870148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560321210148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560187110148&offset=0&total_comments=102"]; var my_job_2 = ["community with journalism", "but like it", "my family survive", "whilst creating profit", "of tomorrow", "sound good", "for inspired learning", "America's future!", "books for kids", "for good businesspeople.", "Nutter Butters!", "jewlery", "at 5pm :p", "ALL the things.", "to avoid litigation", "and visit with friends", "a team", "to defy gravity!", "art", "salmon", "[and] play golf.", "to hungry jerks", "old ladies happy", "old ladies angry", "to think critically", "people from themselves", "teach and encourage", "assist [and] close", "in the sky", "or the highway", "the next generation", "horses sound", "like food fights", "develop accounting software", "support my family", "spacecraft life support", "agriculture, grapes, wine", "get stuff done", "leaders with weather", "recommend great books", "boat-a-float", "students for life", "play with fire", "keep 'em flying", "make more money", "execute food experiences", "with relevant information", "all things coffee", "push buttons", "powers that be", "make plants grow", "defend the people", "600 Grumpy Cats"]; var handle_2 = ["@adviserdavid", "@adviserdavid", "@gringocameraman", "@winkiewinx", "@matthewdonnell", "@BandHouser", "@the_tlover", "@Cavalier1313", "@annaraffNYC", "@goodpointco", "@bigspooners", "@seemomster", "@GroovyyDhruvy", "@bbaumgartner", "@RotatingBacon", "@KBIAThinking", "@meg_kaye", "@circusharmony", "@KittsteinerRosa", "@Clarkiclarki", "@schwingcat", "@CrbnBsdBpd", "@loulouhex", "@loulouhex", "Liz Fischenich", "Cynthia Almy Savage", "Alice Rupp Bennett", "Kerstin Thompson", "Don Daubman", "Amy Elise Stoddard", "Teresa Gonsoski", "Alison Kathryn Abbott", "Eddy Dalrymple", "Kristina Callaghan", "Sean Guilly", "Russ Fortson", "Andrew McVay", "Ann Catherine Kerins ", "Zach Hoglund", "Vicki Meyers", "Thea Belecz", "Cathy Yungmann, college professor", "Peggy Prielozny", "Russell D. Oakley", "Prashant Mandare", "Jack Hunt", "Tricia Moore", "Paul Bourque", "Lawrence Daniel Caswell", "Peter Piper", "Kyle Fletcher Baker", "Corinne Cooper", "Elizabeth Platt Hamblin"]; var link_2 = ["https://twitter.com/adviserdavid/status/484880027859685377", "https://twitter.com/adviserdavid/status/485085641592418304", "https://twitter.com/gringocameraman/status/484826368098590720", "https://twitter.com/winkiewinx/status/484826928843481088", "https://twitter.com/matthewdonnell/status/484826575943520256", "https://twitter.com/BandHouser/status/484826685842259968", "https://twitter.com/the_tlover/status/484826535321292800", "https://twitter.com/Cavalier1313/status/484826539628847104", "https://twitter.com/annaraffNYC/status/484834236382597120", "https://twitter.com/GoodPointCo/status/484834081176162304", "https://twitter.com/bigspooners/status/484834049752440833", "https://twitter.com/seemomster/status/484833780322930688", "https://twitter.com/GroovyyDhruvy/status/484833682000465922", "https://twitter.com/bbaumgartner/status/484841554721259520", "https://twitter.com/RotatingBacon/status/484978130499538944", "https://twitter.com/KBIAThinking/status/485041664264646656", "https://twitter.com/meg_kaye/status/485785557847396355", "https://twitter.com/circusharmony/status/484946079461302274", "https://twitter.com/KittsteinerRosa/status/484921130189606912", "https://twitter.com/Clarkiclarki/status/484894305106944002", "https://twitter.com/schwingcat/status/484860921970302976", "https://twitter.com/CrbnBsdBpd/status/484864364801826816", "https://twitter.com/loulouhex/status/484835395235217408", "https://twitter.com/loulouhex/status/484835395235217408", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560154720148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559103805148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558907315148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558909990148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559102220148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560110060148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558903735148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558920480148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559253570148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558989765148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152561125570148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152561041900148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560755665148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560563775148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560538475148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560323595148&offset=0&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560121800148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560080470148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560027470148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559905790148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559276165148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559242535148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559121565148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559098325148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152558883335148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152561020195148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559876035148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152559687890148&offset=50&total_comments=102", "https://www.facebook.com/apmmarketplace/posts/10152558876430148?comment_id=10152560038575148&offset=100&total_comments=102"]; var sentence; var first_number; var second_number; var part_one; var part_two; /* HAPPY */ function happy() { first_number = random_choice(my_job_1); second_number = random_choice(my_job_2); part_one = my_job_1[first_number]; part_two = my_job_2[second_number]; generate(); } /* Functions */ function random_choice(myArray) { return Math.floor(Math.random() * myArray.length); } function generate() { sentence = part_one + " " + part_two; document.getElementById("part-one").innerHTML = part_one; document.getElementById("part-two").innerHTML = part_two; document.getElementById("first-handle").innerHTML = handle_1[first_number]; document.getElementById("first-handle").href = link_1[first_number]; document.getElementById("quote-link-1").href = link_1[first_number]; document.getElementById("second-handle").innerHTML = handle_2[second_number]; document.getElementById("second-handle").href = link_2[second_number]; document.getElementById("quote-link-2").href = link_2[second_number]; document.getElementById("sxsw-social").style.display = 'block'; document.getElementById("reveal").style.display = 'block'; document.getElementById("sxsw-twitter-anchor").href = "https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http://mktplc.org/1k03fiP&text=%23myJobIn5Words%20panel%20is%3A%20" + encodeURIComponent(sentence); }

Don't like your job description? Let Marketplace generate one for you.

Your Job in 5 Words

Job descriptions contributed by and

#JobIn5Words

Putting online testing to the test

Mon, 2014-07-07 08:38

Forget paper and pencils, and filling in all those little dots.  

Kids are increasingly being asked to take standardized tests on computers .

And those who aren’t, soon will be.

There’s a big push to  get kids online at school, so they will be ready when testing begins on the Common Core standards, which will be implemented in many states over the coming months.

Not all schools are prepared. In some districts, there is a computer for every child - and the bandwidth needed for the tests. 

Other places aren’t close.

A recent survey of K-12 educators, found that 60 percent don’t feel well prepared to administer online tests.

When things are in order, however, kids will probably be fine.

There’s a general sense among educators that kids are way more comfortable online than most of us grownups will ever be… so they have that going for them.

There is one small thing to be concerned about: making sure kids can use a keyboard.  Keyboarding classes are becoming routine in elementary schools.

Schools that don’t get up to speed in time to offer tests online, will still be able to use papers and pencils for the next few years.  

For more about online testing, listen to my conversation with Ben  Johnson, host of Marketplace Tech, by clicking on the audio above. 

Charge your phone, or you can't fly with it

Mon, 2014-07-07 07:50

If you’re traveling abroad soon, make sure to have your electronic devices charged up on the way back to America. If you don’t, your smartphone, tablet, or laptop may not be able to come back with you.

The Transportation Security Administration is announcing new security measures at certain overseas airports with flights to the U.S.

Security screeners will ask flyers to turn their devices on. Those that don’t power up will not be allowed on the plane.

The move is meant to foil plots to use smartphones and tablets to disguise bombs, amid concerns Al Qaeda terrorists are planning to attack airlines. But the new screening procedures are bound to frustrate innocent travelers. They’ll be forced to abandon their cherished electronic devices if they’re unfortunate enough to have dead batteries.

Just like taking off our shoes and limiting the liquids we carry on, we’ve got yet another new security habit to form. The best way to make sure you don’t lose your devices abroad is to have all your chargers packed in carry-on luggage, including any adapters needed for foreign power outlets.

Still, one person’s security hassle is another’s business opportunity. The limiting of carry-on liquids created an expanded market for beverage sellers inside the security checkpoints. This new move may provide similar opportunity for clever entrepreneurs. Soon, before flyers can pass through airport security to buy overpriced bottles of water, they’ll likely see merchants with an array of overpriced chargers and adapters just outside the security gates.

PODCAST: Walmart and women

Mon, 2014-07-07 03:00

With Congress back from recess, one piece of legislation that needs to be hammered out soon involves funding for transportation. With a dwindling Highway Trust Fund, delays to construction projects could be seen as soon as August. Plus, Walmart will be using a new logo to denote products from women-owned companies. But will special labels combat or perpetuate stereotypes? Also, New York's Museum of Modern Art just released Bjork's Biophilia app for $13. It's part of a larger initiative by the museum, treating technology as art.

Congress could hit dead end with highway funding

Mon, 2014-07-07 03:00

Congress is back after the July 4th recess with at least one major piece of legislation that really needs to get worked out: funding for transportation.

The Highway Trust Fund is financed by an 18.4 cent-per-gallon gas tax, which hasn’t increased in 20 years. And that’s just part of the reason there may not enough money.

“Sometime in August, perhaps late July, you’ll see the trust fund running low on fumes to the point where the Federal Highway Administration will have to slow down payments to states,” says Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonprofit based in Washington DC. “The immediate effect would be a slowing down or termination of construction projects around the country.”

That means a possible dip in jobs -- According to the Obama administration, as many as 700,000 jobs in all.

But there’s also a long term reason to be concerned.

“The road network suffers dramatically, the transit systems can’t expand, and all of this really has an economic downside to it," says Jack Basso, a former Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs and CFO at the US Department of Transportation.

Basso says poor infrastructure slows the movement of people and goods. Plus, he says those bridges and roads become even more expensive to fix later on.

 

Walmart to highlight women-owned businesses

Mon, 2014-07-07 03:00

Shoppers at Walmart this Fall might notice something new on some of the products on store shelves: a little logo that says it was made by a women-owned company. It will first appear on Maggie’s Salsa, Anise Cosmetics, the Smart & Sexy brand of underwear, and the household cleaner called CLR. 

“Women in general, if there’s a product that they can tell is a women-owned product, they’ll actually buy that product over the next product,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, one of the organizations working with Walmart on the logo.

Those organizations will be watching closely to see if the logo affects sales in either direction. Women buy more cosmetics, but CLR skews male. It’s an open question whether the logo will help combat gender stereotypes, or perpetuate them. 

In general, though, consumers think highly of women-owned businesses. 

“There might be a sense of trust, and confidence in the fair dealings in the organization,” says Laura Kray, Professor of leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

And, even if consumers have no opinion, just seeing the logo could get consumers to want to learn more about gender issues in business. 

“It brings that issue to the forefront and actually makes people look into it and say what is this and why is it important?” says Marlene Morris Towns, Teaching Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. 

Backers of the symbol are talking with Macy’s and Office Depot about expanding its use to those stores.

 

When is an app art?

Mon, 2014-07-07 02:00

The Museum of Modern Art in New York added the first downloadable app to its collection this month: Björk’s Biophilia, which the singer released in 2011 along with an album of the same name.  

The app opens to a swirling constellation with a brightly colored star for each song from the album. In a recent demo, Paul Galloway, who manages MoMA’s Architecture and Design collection, selects a song called “Virus,” the screen of his iPad filling with gently jostling pink cells

“It’s like looking in a microscope down at cells,” he says, noting that Björk is using the virus as a metaphor for love.

 As the song progresses, small green virus cells come into view and start to attack the existing pink cells.

“Like a virus needs a body, soft tissue, as soft tissue feeds on blood,” Björk sings. “Someday I'll find you, the urge is here.”

If Galloway flicks the green virus cells off screen, the vocals stop.

The whole display is oddly beautiful and mesmerizing. Each song has its own unique design and way for users to interact with it.

“You now becomce a part of the team that’s creating Björk’s music,” says Galloway. “That’s a really powerful thing to enable your users to do.”

Beauty and interactivity – these are two elements of Biophilia that make the app art, says Galloway.

“[What] we also look for is this something that’s moving the field forward,” he adds. “Is it a masterpiece? Because we aspire to be a museum that’s chock full of masterpieces.”

Galloway thinks this is Björk’s equivalent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

While it’s the museum’s first downloadable app, it follows other digital acquisitions in typography and video games like Tetris.

It’s the latest example that museums are taking digital art seriously, says Heather Corcoran, the executive director of Rhizome, an art and technology organization. She says it’s natural for artists to work with technology as a medium given its current impact on culture. But even still, she notes this app is part of MoMA’s design department.

“I think that design within museums has a lot more freedom to push boundaries,” she says. “It’s not quite as attached to this really established canon of art history, so a lot of the most adventurous collecting is happening within the design departments.”

Corcoran says digital art can also present new preservation challenges for museums, as technology becomes obsolete very quickly -- much faster than a painting would need restoration.

It’s something MoMA is very aware of.

“This iPad is going to look hilariously dated in five years,” says Galloway. “That’s really soon, so how do we make sure this thing lives and continues to impact people? It’s a headache.”

Allan Sloan is angry about the flight of corporations

Mon, 2014-07-07 02:00

When Bank of America merged with NationsBank and moved out of its headquarters in San Francisco after 94 years to decamp to North Carolina, people said that's just business. When Boeing announced it was moving its headquarters halfway across the country after 85 years as a mainstay of the Seattle economy, people said that's just business, too.

So, isn't it just business when companies move their headquarters to places like Bermuda or Ireland for the purpose of saving on taxes out of the U.S. completely? Executives of the cruise ship company Carnival work out of Miami, but the company's tax home is Panama. The GPS navigation company Garmin has letterhead that reads Kansas, but its tax home is Switzerland. The medical devices company Medtronic is based in St. Paul, but after its planned merger with Covidien, its tax home could also move to a foreign land.

The insider lingo for this tax maneuver is "inversion," and inversions are perfectly legal. Let me say that again: they break no law. But, longtime Marketplace contributor Allan Sloan is angry and thinks companies should stop with the inversions, and stop now.

It may matter that Mr. Sloan is angry. He is senior editor-at-large for Fortune Magazine and a veteran business writer who knows now to kick up a ruckus when he wants to. His Newsweek cover story in 1996 about mass layoffs in corporate America is the stuff of legend. Its headline, "Corporate Killers," drew the ire of many a corporate chief and went on to become a topic of national conversation.

Sloan has written the cover story for the latest Fortune. The article is about these inversions but its headline is in plain English. Sloan's article carries the title: "Positively Un-American." Sloan argues American taxpayers get stuck paying what the companies who shift their tax home to other countries save. By one estimate, we are talking more than $19 billion over 10 years.

Again, Sloan acknowledges that inversions are legal. Companies say they adopt this strategy to increase shareholder value. Sloan rejects that argument, saying long-term shareholder value will come from investing in the USA, not from leaving it. Then, in case anyone has missed that he is angry about this, Sloan calls the companies who switched tax homes "deserters."

Yes, fighting words, I know.

What bugs Sloan most is seeing companies that benefit in so many ways from being in America seeming to abandon it. Sloan told me he is the grandson of immigrants and comes from a family that would have been destroyed if the United States hadn't welcomed them. He thinks it is just plain wrong for companies to switch their tax home just to make more money.

"They don't even leave," Sloan told me. "They just go off and stick you and me with the tab, and that makes me pretty angry." Did I mention he's angry?

Some elected officials are talking about legislation to make switching tax homes less attractive to companies. Many corporations oppose this, arguing a better strategy would be for the U.S. to lower corporate taxes. Sloan is not opposed to comprehensive tax reform, he just doesn't see it happening any time soon. What is happening soon is that more and more U.S. companies are running the numbers on this "inversion" thing and switching to foreign addresses.

Speaking of which, there is a pharmacy on almost every American street corner by the name of Walgreen's. It is a brand so American that you can see a Walgreen's in the background of that famous photo of the sailor kissing a lady on VE day in Times Square. The Walgreen company is now thinking of moving its tax residence out of the United States, with a decision possible any day now.

July 4th is a big beer holiday

Fri, 2014-07-04 13:06

Independence Day is a time for family gatherings, patriotic parades, plus picnics, barbecues, ballgames—and beer.

The July 4th weekend is one of the peak periods for beer-drinking in America—as much as 40 percent higher than normal. Summer is also beer’s big season, with sales up more than 10 percent over the rest of the year.

But it's getting harder for the major beer brands to boost sales in the U.S. market. Americans’ drinking habits are changing—shifting toward fancier, more expensive drinks—away from the standard Buds, Millers and Coors that many beer-drinkers are raised on in their early twenties.

At the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon this weekend, several beers were on sale for thirsty music-lovers: Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon had two ales on tap, and there was also a craft brew from Miller. They were priced around $5-per-cup. Cheaper alcoholic offerings were available from Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Waiting on line, festival-goer Tom Bothwell of Yakima, Washington riffed about beer and the blues: “In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here.”

Tawnya Bothwell had ordered a Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale. “I’m a regular beer drinker,” she said. “Once a week I have a beer on the weekend. Compared to my early twenties, I’m drinking much less. We like to drink the local beer when it’s available to us in restaurants, or if we just go the brewery.”

Graphic courtesy of the Brewers Association.

And therein lies the makings of a slow-rolling market crisis for the big breweries.

Beer drinkers are moving to craft beers—or, as they age, wine. That’s leaving the mass-produced beers like Bud and Miller behind. Beer production peaked in the U.S. in the 1990s and started declining. Sales have been down in four of the past five years.

But craft beer sales are up—nearly 20 percent in 2013. “There’s been a long, slow, and relatively moderate decline,” in the mainstream beer market, said Jim Hertel, a beverage analyst at consulting firm Willard Bishop. “The more popular and premium brands, the heavily-advertised brands, are in that decline.”

Hertel said craft beers are certainly more expensive. But they benefit what marketing pros call “badging,” a kind of cachet for spending more.

“If you’re out in a bar, perhaps you’re on a date trying to impress a girl,” said Hertel. “PBR is probably not what you want to be seen holding. It turns out that the craft beers have a little bit extra panache.”

During Beer Week at neighborhood pub Saraveza in Portland, Oregon, recently, Dave Dalisky was showing off summer beers from Flat Tail Brewing, the microbrewery he works for in Corvallis, Oregon.

“People that are younger, that are 21, 22, 23, are starting to get into craft beer,” said Dalisky. “Also what’s out there, what you can get at your local store, is a huge selection.”

Image courtesy of the Beer Institute.

Young people—especially young men—are still the biggest beer drinkers.

To try to hold onto them, the big multinational brewers are trying everything. Like rolling out their own smaller-run craft-brew varieties. Or creating new citrus brews, like Budweiser's margarita-flavored beer on the market. And even introducting higher-alcohol beers, like Miller Fortune, marketed to be served in a glass on the rocks, like a cocktail.

Teacher tenure under fire

Fri, 2014-07-04 11:38

There's a new challenge to teacher tenure laws in New York. Almost a dozen students -- and their parents -- have filed suit against the city of New York and New York state, along with state and local departments of education.

They argue it's gotten too hard to fire poorly performing teachers and that New York tenure laws violate the state constitution.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

Fast food just got even faster

Fri, 2014-07-04 11:14

The days of waiting in line at your local McDonald's could be over soon.

The fast food chain started a pilot program for an order-ahead app in a limited number of stores around the Columbus, Georgia area -- not to be confused with the "McD App," which offers coupons and loyalty offers in test markets elsewhere in the nation.

"You download it, you place your order, and when you get to the restaurant, you scan in your phone, and at that point the kitchen starts to fire up your meal," says Bloomberg Business reporter Venessa Wong, who adds that the new app is part of an initiative to make things more convenient for customers.

The new app targets the young, tech-savvy customer whose life is, inevitably, tied to his or her smartphone.

"Being able to reach your customers and push out promotions to them on their phone is actually quite valuable," said Wong.

What may be convenient for the customer, however, may be less convenient for the restaurant itself as it may struggle to keep up with the increased speed at which orders are coming in.

"The point is to improve speed and improve service," she said, "but when you have orders coming in from a new and separate stream, the kitchen has to adapt to that."

China levies bribery charges against British drugmaker

Fri, 2014-07-04 10:33

A major scandal engulfing the British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Klein has taken another turn. The Chinese government has accused GSK of systemic bribery and corruption. Its top executive in China is under arrest.

And now, a private investigator Glaxo hired -- who's also been detained -- says he believes these allegations of impropriety are credible.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard has been following the story from London, and says Glaxo's executives recieved emails last year from a self-proclaimed whistle-blower claiming that officials with the company had bribed doctors and hospitals in China to buy Glaxo's drugs at inflated prices. Glaxo investigated the claims, and says that while it uncovered some unrelated fraudulent activity, it did not find any evidence of bribery.

GSK also claims it has been the target of a smear campaign.

"And there does seem to be something in that," says Beard, "Someone, for example, secretly filmed the top Galxo executive in China having sex with a woman who was in that classic tabloid phrase, 'not his wife'."

Beard also says that Glaxo is under a deal of pressure from Chinese authorities to push down the prices it and other Western drug companies charge in the country.

Andrew Halper of the international law firm Olswang spoke to the BBC about how non-Chinese corporations in China are vulnerable.

"Foreign companies don't benefit from cover, they don't benefit from connections," says Halper, "They rarely, if ever, will have that sort of thing to protect them; they're exposed."

The twist in the story, however, is that private-eye who turned on Glaxo to say the charges may have merit.

"After recieving the sex tape, Glaxo hired this private eye to find out who was trying to smear the company," says Beard, "He submitted his report, was then in days arrested by the Chinese authorities. But here is, as you say, the latest wrinkle: It's now emerged, having seen some of the whistle-blowing emails, the investigator thinks those bribery allegations are entirely credible."

Since Glaxo only generates about three percent of its revenue from China, it may not suffer a huge amount of damage from this scandal, in terms of its overall business in the region. But the company may be looking at some collatoral damage as British fraud regulators are opening their own investigation. The Department of Justice is rumored to be taking an interest in the case as well.

Why do they still have floor traders at the NYSE?

Fri, 2014-07-04 08:15

Listener John Wang, who dabbles in a little online trading, wrote in to ask this:

“I’ve always wondered why there are still people on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It always seems kind of strange that they're there, now that we have computers and networks for doing all sorts of trades.”

Most of us have a mental picture of floor traders at the stock market – men in blue jackets, shouting at each other, waving bits of paper, gesturing wildly with hand signals.

“Even though it looks chaotic to people, it's actually very crystal clear what was going on to the people down on the floor,” says Johanna Lee, director of a documentary film called The Pit, about a group of floor brokers at the New York Board of Trade.

The guys in her movie dealt in coffee futures. And they used to do something called open outcry, setting the price right then and there in an open pit.

Lee made the film at an interesting time, back in 2011, just as the New York Board of trade – like almost every other exchange – was going electronic.

So what's it like on Wall Street now?

I went to find out at the New York Stock Exchange: the grand stage of American capital markets. It has an impressive carved stone ceiling, in which you can see the nearly 200 years of history – which is totally at odds with the rows of computer screens that line every single booth in the hall.

On the floor, traders in their blue jackets are everywhere.

“I spent my whole career in this building,” says Kenny Polcari, a trader for O'Neill Securities who represents an institutional investor. “For me it's really all I know.”

Polcari, a fast-talker with a big laugh and sense of humor, says things work very differently today from when he first started out in this job 30 years ago.

“Today it's defined by technology. It's defined by high-speed computers that take the emotion out of investing. Some say it's good. I, on the other hand… Listen, part of what investing was about was the emotion. You come down here 25 or 30 years ago, the emotion blew the roof off the building every single day. It was just so exciting.”

But here's the thing - for all the excitement and history and prestige, the NYSE actually handles a tiny amount of the overall volume of trades in the U.S.

So who does the rest of the trading? Robots.

“Robots now do anywhere between 50 and 75 percent of the trades in the United States,” says Bob Ivry, who works for Bloomberg News and wrote a book called The Seven Sins of Wall Street.

Ivry says the real action takes place in a high-security warehouse in a small town in New Jersey. That's where you'll find computers trading at lightning speed. They're also cheaper and more efficient than humans.

Hooray for robots, right? Not quite.

“They are there when the going is good,” says Ivry. “The minute the prices start plummeting, for any reason, what the robots do is they run for the hills. They're nowhere to be seen when that stock is going down.”

Computers have been known to cause a flash crash – where prices tumble uncontrollably, causing a lot of damage. But the reality is, automated trading has taken over.

So does that make traders like Kenny Polcari an endangered species?

Polcari believes there is still a role for human judgement in the system, especially when the market is fragmented. “You almost have to develop a sixth sense, you have to be able to feel the liquidity,” he says.  “Today brokers use that sixth sense to try and assess supply and demand in a fractured market structure. And I think that’s part of the challenge but that’s also part of the key, that’s how you’re able to represent customers.”

“As far as the nuts and bolts of trading are concerned, they're already gone,” says Ivry. “If you consider there's some theatre involved – and I do – then they have a specific and necessary function. They put a face to the battle of the robots. All those traders down there in their blue smocks and their pins – they put a face on trading, on American capitalism.”

Ivry says we need a narrative to tell us how to invest our money in a way that will help communities. Trading algorithms are “a brutal and souless way of allocating capital,” he says.

Back at the New York Stock Exchange, it's a good thing trader Kenny Polcari is a “Type A” personality.                      

“I think that's fair,” Polcari says with a hearty laugh. “I love being the face of Wall Street.”

PODCAST: European banks leery of Bitcoin

Fri, 2014-07-04 07:53

The European Banking Authority is recommending that banks there keep away from Bitcoin, a virtual currency favored by techies, libertarians, and, sometimes, criminals.

Drivers this summer are paying the highest gas prices since 2008, in part because of the turmoil in Iraq. But mass transit riders are also feeling the sting of new rate increases in cities like Boston, St. Louis, and D.C. Some of this is driven by increasing operating costs, but even with these fare hikes, the transit systems will still lose money.

In India poor investment in cold storage warehouses and supply chain infrastructure means that a lot of food is wasted before reaching consumers-- 7 billion dollars every year.

PODCAST: European banks leery of Bitcoin

Fri, 2014-07-04 07:53

The European Banking Authority is recommending that banks there keep away from Bitcoin, a virtual currency favored by techies, libertarians, and, sometimes, criminals.

Drivers this summer are paying the highest gas prices since 2008, in part because of the turmoil in Iraq. But mass transit riders are also feeling the sting of new rate increases in cities like Boston, St. Louis, and D.C. Some of this is driven by increasing operating costs, but even with these fare hikes, the transit systems will still lose money.

In India poor investment in cold storage warehouses and supply chain infrastructure means that a lot of food is wasted before reaching consumers-- 7 billion dollars every year.

How LeBron James is changing how athletes are paid

Fri, 2014-07-04 07:28

There's a huge shift happening this month in the world of sports. We're in the middle of the free agency period, where NBA players are eligible to sign with any team.

And Lebron James, considered the best player in the NBA, is reinventing not only how NBA players get paid, but maybe professional athletes as a whole.

We wanted to explore why, so went down to the legendary West 4th Street basketball courts in New York City to meet up with sports business analyst Keith Reed.

Reed called LeBron maybe "the only truly free athlete in America."

"[LeBron] was an investor in Beats electronics. That just sold for $3 billion. He made $30 million sitting on his couch just from that Beats transaction. And so, when people talk about, 'Why is LeBron opting out of his contract, and what's he going to do?' At that stage of the game, he's made his money."

Brandon Grier is an agent who represents NBA players a little further down in the hierarchy, and sees how contracts go beyond just the single player on the court. "You're dealing with not just an individual's life, but the families that are affected by it as well. A lot of time these guys are the breadwinners as well."

Grier's company Principle Management represents four solid, but not superstar, NBA players. He says the free agency period is important to the average fan — not just the players.

"It affects the product that they consume for their enjoyment. I believe the super teams in big markets are great for the NBA, you either love them or you hate them. But one way or another you're watching. So the better the ratings are for the NBA, the better the business does in general. Because TV is the cash cow now.

And speaking of that cash cow, this weekend's number: 18 million. For 18 million viewers.

That's how many people tuned in to watch the San Antonio Spurs beat Lebron James and his teammates on the Miami Heat in this year's NBA finals, according to Nielsen, up 10 percent from last year.

Fireworks spark up a black market economy

Fri, 2014-07-04 07:24

California bans anything that flies into the air and explodes. Which isn't surprising -- according to the American Pyrotechnics Association, most states have restrictions on this type of firework. 

For Californians who want to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing things up, they could head over the mountains to more firework-friendly Nevada, or head into the virtual black market on your computer.

On Craigslist you’ll find listings like "Air shows Disneyland style cheap" and "I HAVE FIREWORKS FOR SALE WHENEVER YOU NEED THEM."

You can find bottle rockets, roman candles, and mortars with just a mouse click and a phone call. But what’s harder to get is an interview with one of these dealers. Which makes sense, because having a large quantity of illegal fireworks is a felony in California, punishable by a year in jail and up to $50,000 in fines. But one firework dealer in Stockton is willing to take the risk.

"It’s not something I prefer to do, you know there’s always that spice of danger that you have to watch out for," he says.

In a well-lit parking lot at night, the young, friendly man lays out some of his merchandise on the hood of a car. What keeps fireworks coming into California are people like him and his business partner.

"I have a buddy of mine who goes down to Nevada and brings back a U-haul truck that’s full and then basically I just help him distribute it," he explains.

Their truck carries about $2,500 worth of product, and he figures they will double their money on resale. This vendor is relatively small time. In other parts of the state, police recently seized stockpiles of fireworks worth more than half a million dollars .

"If it is that profitable enough, then there are big criminal enterprises working in this area- quite professionalized," says Steve Weber, who teaches at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and co-wrote a book on the Black Market Economy of the 21st Century. "The mistake is to think of this as fly by night stuff- these are really serious people and they are as entrepreneurial, innovative and venturous as anyone you’d meet in Silicon Valley."

Actually, there's a hotbed of illegal firework trafficking just south of  Silicon Valley.  The police department in San Jose says the crime ranks low on its list of priorities.  

But Keith Gilless, chair of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, says it’s a major concern. "California is the most flammable place on earth by most people’s reckoning, we can have 400-500 fires a year whose origin is fireworks."

All those fires can cost millions in damage, and millions more to put them out. Something, Gilless says to consider before lighting up this Fourth of July.

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