Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:27 pm
MSNBC host Martin Bashir has resigned from the network following controversial remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Some three weeks ago, Bashir referred to Palin as a "world-class idiot" for suggesting that U.S. indebtedness to China was akin to slavery. The television host quoted from plantation owner Thomas Thistlewood's diary describing a punishment for slaves that involved having others defecate in their mouths.
A train leaves the Rangeland Energy company's crude oil loading terminal near Epping, N.D. So far this year, 60 percent of all oil produced in North Dakota left the state by rail. One economist says there aren't enough oil tankers to fill the demand.
The oil boom in the United States is creating another boom — for the railroad industry.
So far this year, in North Dakota alone, 140 million barrels of oil have left on trains. Shipments of crude oil by rail are up almost 50 percent over last year — and this upward trend is expected to continue.
A visit to the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, part of a winding mountain pass in Southern California, demonstrates the scale and reach of the oil boom in the middle of the country. As a train full of oil tanker cars rumbles past, it's hard not to think of it as a pipeline on wheels.
The Planet Money men's T-shirt was made in Bangladesh, by workers who make about $3 a day, with overtime. The Planet Money women's T-shirt was made in Colombia, by workers who make roughly $13 a day, without overtime.
The wages in both places are remarkably low by U.S. standards. But the gap between them is huge. Workers in Colombia make more than four times what their counterparts make in Bangladesh. In our reporting, we saw that the workers in Colombia have a much higher standard of living than the workers in Bangladesh.
Shopping is on everyone's mind during the holiday season — not just what to buy, but where you buy it. Host Michel Martin speaks with columnists David Sirota and Mario Loyola about shopping with your values in mind.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:45 am
European regulators have fined eight large banks a total of more than $2 billion over an illegal cartel scheme to fix interest rates. The fine, the largest ever issued in such a case by the European Union, comes after a two-year investigation into banks' collusion. And the inquiry isn't yet complete.
Two American banks — JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup — are included in the list of financial institutions fined as part of a settlement deal. Several banks that cooperated with investigators saw their fines reduced or eliminated.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:54 am
A report from payroll company ADP finds that "the U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs during November making it the strongest month for job growth in 2013," says the company's president and chief executive, Carlos Rodriguez.
Darth Vader has posted on Instagram a photo of his face — more precisely his iconic black helmet. The photo launched the Star Wars Instagram account — a marketing effort by Disney which has a new release out this month.
Bangladesh is the cheapest place in the world to make a T-shirt. But this month, the minimum wage there will rise from $39 a month to $68 a month. That's got some factory owners nervous about whether Western retailers there will pull out. Our Planet Money team examines the future of the garment industry in Bangladesh.
In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.
1. Categorical Eligibility
People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."
The Obama administration is renewing its sales push for the president's signature health care law. On Wednesday, officials host a "youth summit" at the White House, where young people will be encouraged to sign up for insurance coverage. Their participation is crucial to help balance out the cost of insuring older, sicker people.
If American Mustang fans are hungry to see the new version, European fans are starved. Ford hasn't sold the Mustang there since 1979.
Credit John Swart / AP
Reporters look over the limited edition 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra after its unveiling Feb. 6, 1992, in Chicago. This was part of the third generation of Mustangs that were produced from 1979 to 1993.
Credit Sam Varnhagen / AP
The 2010 Ford Mustang, part of the fifth generation of Mustangs lasting from 2005 to 2014.
Seen here is a new 1976 Ford Mustang, part of the second generation of Mustangs that lasted from 1974 to 1978.
The 2002 Ford Mustang GT Convertible is shown in a handout photo from the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. The fourth generation of Mustangs lasted from 1994 to 2004.
Ford introduced the Mustang, billed as a "low-priced, four-passenger sports car" in April 1964. Its sporty look and peppy performances gave it strong appeal to youthful car buyers. The first generation of Mustangs lasted until 1973.
Just about every Mustang owner has a story about how their love affair with the car began.
Laura Slider's story began the day a red Mustang appeared in the driveway across the street.
"I've wanted one ever since I was 15," she says. "It was owned by a very cute boy that I liked. And then we rode in it and it was very fast and sporty and fun and pretty, and I thought, I want one someday."
Now, decades later, she has one. And, yes, it's red.
Washington is the second state to adopt rules for the recreational sale of marijuana. Some entrepreneurs see state-licensed pot as a golden ticket, but other growers aren't sure applying for a license makes good business sense.
Washington residents thinking about jumping into the state's new legal marijuana industry need to act soon. The deadline to apply for a state license to sell recreational pot is Dec. 19, and the applications are flooding in.
Danielle Rosellison, a loan officer in Bellingham, Wash., applied for her pot-growing license on the first day. "It's so cool," she says, laughing. "We have butterflies in our stomach all the time. I feel like they're all shot up on adrenaline."
To Rosellison and her husband, a stay-at-home dad, legal marijuana is an opportunity to change their lives.
Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:11 pm
Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.
Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.
"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:55 am
The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.
Close to added close to two million jobs to the workforce this year. Not all of fit the nine to five mold. Much of the newly hired are working fragmented, unpredictable hours. From member station WNYC, Ilya Marritz has this report.
Goldman Sachs has given hundreds of millions of dollars to charity in recent years. In part, its effort to do good has been shaped by the battering its reputation took during the financial meltdown in 2008 when Goldman traders were accused of misleading investors.
The efforts of companies to look good in the public eye may seem positive but there is also a disturbing side of doing good work, as NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam tells our own Steve Inskeep.
We begin NPR's business news starts some mobile browsing.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Millions of consumers - maybe including you - went online yesterday searching for deals on Cyber Monday. This is the biggest e-commerce shopping day. Online sales for the day hit $2 billion. That's up nearly 20 percent over last year.
Its open enrollment season at many work places, which means opportunities to make changes in your retirement savings plans. The investment company Charles Schwab has found that many American workers lack the confidence to effectively manage their retirement savings.
In search of advice, we called up The Washington Post's financial columnist Michelle Singletary. Glad to have you back.
MICHELLE SINGLETARY: Oh, it's my pleasure to be here.
NPR's Planet Money team has manufactured a T-shirt. All this week we're following its journey around the globe. Today, the T-shirt makes a detour in the Pacific Ocean. Cotton from America gets shipped to a factory in Indonesia where it gets transformed into yarn.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Workers process applications for Oregon's health exchange program. The state paid tech giant Oracle to build its online exchange, but with the site still not functional, people shopping for insurance have been forced to apply on paper.
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.
More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.
An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.