This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we want to know how the federal health care website is working today after the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to get HealthCare.gov running smoothly. We'll check in later. But first, Americans are heading online today for another reason. It is Cyber Monday and retailers are offering bargains to kick off the holiday shopping season or so they tell us.
"Every measure of well-being and opportunity, the foundation is where you live...cancer rates, asthma rates, infant mortality, unemployment, education, access to fresh food, access to parks, whether or not the city repairs the roads in your neighborhood," ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones said.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:08 pm
It's not something we think about a lot or something that gets reported on often, but once you start digging around some, it's hard not to see the consequences of our country's long, sordid history of housing discrimination everywhere racial disparities manifest. The giant wealth gap between black and Latino Americans and white folks. Shorter life expectancies. Worse educational outcomes. Mass incarceration.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:07 am
Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.
Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.
Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.
In an image taken of a test flight, an Amazon Prime Air drone carries a package. The online retailer could begin 30-minute deliveries within four to five years, CEO Jeff Bezos told <em><em>60 Minutes</em></em> Sunday.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:21 am
Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.
That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.
Our Planet Money team is making a T-shirt and following the shirt around the world as it gets manufactured — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. All this week on Morning Edition and All Things Considered we'll be hearing stories about the fascinating world behind that T-shirt.
NPR's business news starts with fracking leftovers.
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INSKEEP: Fracking, I said fracking. The controversial process used to extract natural gas produces millions of gallons of wastewater. Now to cut costs, energy companies want to transport that leftover water on barges. But, the U.S. Coast Guard has concerns.
Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.
In just a couple of months, the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will host the Winter Olympics. Russia is reportedly spending nearly $50 billion on those games, which would be an Olympic record. To finance venues and housing, one of Russia's state-owned banks lent about $7.5 billion to an elite group of industrialists who are helping bankroll the games. Now, those investors are getting a little nervous.
Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.
Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Earlier this year, NPR's Planet Money team decided to make a T-shirt for their fans.
ZOE CHANCE, BYLINE: What does it say?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Let meput it on. Planet Money. Wow.
MARTIN: But this bit of public radio garb was different. This shirt would come with an autobiography. The Planet Money team set out to understand how the T-shirt was made and just who made it - from cotton field to final stitch. Alex Blumberg of Planet Money explains.
It doesn't matter if you're a surgeon, a banker or a fisherman — if you're a woman in the United States, you're probably paid less than a man. That hasn't changed with federal laws or the feminist movement.
But now, Boston thinks it has a solution to completely erase the gender wage gap.
Back in September, poet and novelist Sherman Alexie wrote an open letter to a group of people whom he called the "gorgeous book nerds" of the world, asking them to become "superheroes" for independent bookstores.
Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?
We're not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.
"This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed," says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He's pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.
President Obama often talks about making sure American students graduate high school ready for college. But one program in Oregon is reaching out to the shop class crowd of students who would rather learn a paying trade right away than stay in a classroom. Manufacturers there are using a new internship program to recruit and train teenagers straight out of high school to be machinists, welders and painters. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning reports.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is one the busiest, most hectic shopping day of the year. But how important is it for retailers and as an indicator of the strength of the holiday shopping season?
In Traverse City, which has hosted the National Cherry Festival since 1926, some residents say festivals occupy the public park too much, while others say it's a reasonable price to pay for the money it brings to businesses.
Many small towns across the country are using special events to attract visitors and commerce. The strategy has been a big hit in places like Aspen, Colo., and Park City, Utah, whose names have become synonymous with major festivals.
But it can take a toll. Some residents in the northern Michigan town of Traverse City complain that they're suffering from festival fatigue and would like a little less excitement.
Now, we'll introduce you to someone who did successfully sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov. Michael Lappin of Atlanta, Georgia had a reason to shop for insurance early. His husband has health care needs that made buying their insurance on the individual market difficult and expensive.
Jim Burress, from WABE in Atlanta, profiles the small business owner.
And today's last word in business is: trademarked tartan.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Officially, it's called Haymarket Check. But the iconic tan, black and red tartan is best known as the symbol of the Burberry brand. The British fashion house came up with it at its Haymarket shop in London over a century ago.
WERTHEIMER: But Chinese officials are not impressed. They've decided to revoke Burberry's tartan trademark in China.
No surprise. NPR's business news begins with Black Friday.
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GREENE: Yes, this is the day when retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. But, the deals and door buster sales keep getting earlier and earlier each year. And that's actually beginning to cut into profits.
Movies and books have long been used to advocate for causes, such as climate change or breast cancer. As video games become more mainstream, advocates are beginning to see how this art form can be a new way to reach out and get people engaged in a cause.