Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:15 am
In the essay "The Myth of Sisyphus," philosopher Albert Camus — who would have turned 100 on Thursday — explored the nature of boring work. There's new psychological research into why people end up in boring jobs.
We tweet. We text. We email. But how often do we really write anymore? Not much, if you look at the business of selling pens — or "fine writing instruments," as shop owners call them. With their writing tools becoming obsolete, pen stores have folded, including a century-old shop in New York.
But despite the tech-heavy trends, a few old-fashioned pen stores are still holding on.
In a global economy, does it make sense to allow workers to move freely?
Letting people go where the jobs are would improve the lives of millions around the world, some argue. But others say an influx of labor into the richest countries would devalue workers' worth and actually hurt more in the long run.
A group of experts recently took on this question in an Oxford-style debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. They faced off two against two on the motion "Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere."
Weeks after denying labor's request to give union members access to health law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law's substantial taxes.
The last will and testament of the man who once conquered much of Europe is being auctioned in Paris. It is expected to go for more than $100,000. The original letter in Napoleon's illegible handwriting is in France's National Archives.
A pay hike for thousands is at the top of NPR's business news.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
In the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, supporters of a ballot initiative implementing a $15 hourly minimum wage are declaring victory. The measure would benefit some 6,300 workers in the travel and hospitality industries around Seattle's main international airport.
A mysterious barge stacked with shipping containers is docked at a pier on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. It's owned by Google but Google isn't revealing the reason the barge is there. The barge has captured the imagination of people around the globe.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:38 am
What makes an initial public offering a success? Twitter is going the old school route, pricing its shares modestly in hopes of a pop in early trading. The company will go public on Thursday, and the banks they've hired to help are some of the oldest and most well established in the country.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Today, President Obama meets some of the volunteers trying to sign up Americans for health insurance. The volunteers work in Texas, where the president is traveling.
MONTAGNE: The trip to Dallas is partly to raise money for Democratic Senate candidates, and partly the promote the new health care law. But in Dallas, it's hard to miss the current gap between that law's ambition and its current execution.
The CEO of the firm that's about to take over the New York Stock Exchange has criticized alternative market trading. Jeffrey Sprecher said equity markets, including the NYSE, allow sophisticated traders to take advantage of small investors. He added such models are destined to fail and that people outside the markets have a sense things aren't fair.
In recent years, companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase to Walmart to Boeing have announced special hiring programs for veterans. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is the latest.
All of these companies are trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But to succeed, companies have to take the time to understand the skills of service members.
Payday lenders made about $49 billion in high-interest loans last year. More than a third of those loans were made online. I wondered what happens when you apply for such a loan, so I decided to find out.
In the course of reporting a story earlier this year, I logged on to a site called eTaxLoan.com and filled out an application.
I asked for $500 and, to be safe, I made up an address, a name (Mary) and a Social Security number. The site asked for more sensitive stuff — a bank account number and a routing number — and I made that up, too.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:10 pm
It's only been hours since Kmart announced its Black Friday plan — to remain open for 41 hours in a row beginning early on Thanksgiving Day. But online critics are throwing a red light on the plan, with some calling the company a Grinch for its aggressive approach to the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Technology giant Apple is buying a large manufacturing space in Arizona, where high-tech glass for its devices will be produced. The move is being hailed in Arizona, where the economy remains slowed by the U.S. housing market crisis.
From Phoenix, Mark Moran of member station KJZZ reports for our Newscast unit:
Big box retailer Target said it will remove questions about prior arrests on its job applications, but many companies still ask. Host Michel Martin speaks with Madeline Neighly from the National Employment Law Project and Elizabeth Milito from the National Federation of Independent Businesses about the pros and cons of the practice.
It's open enrollment time again, the autumn period when many people with job-based health insurance ante up for another year.
Although news reports have fixated on the problems with the online health marketplaces that launched Oct. 1, for the vast majority of people that's a nonissue. If they get insurance through a job at a company that has at least 50 employees, they probably won't be using the marketplaces, also called exchanges.
Johnson & Johnson became the latest drugmaker to reach a costly agreement with the federal government over charges of improper marketing. The widely anticipated settlement, unveiled Monday, covers Natrecor, a drug for congestive heart failure, and antipsychotics Risperdal and Invega.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 3:24 am
Last year, Sacramento Kings fans were saying goodbye, expecting the NBA team to move to Seattle. But new ownership came together just in time, and the Kings stayed put. The new management plans to build the Kings into a contender, and a big part of that blueprint involves building up a fan base in — believe it or not — India.
More than 12 million Americans buy health insurance on their own, and many are getting cancellation notices because their individual coverage does not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. This is causing anxiety and anger — especially since most of these people can't get onto the healthcare.gov website to figure out their options for 2014.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 3:15 am
The world's top 100 billionaires have a combined fortune of $2.1 trillion, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine. In the latest issue out Tuesday, it lists the richest of the rich. Morning Edition's David Greene talked to editor Matthew Miller, who oversees the rankings.
Luxury property in the Big Apple goes for an average of around $2,000 a square foot. Much cheaper than comparable apartments in London at nearly $10,000 a square foot or $8,800 in Hong Kong. But The New York Times reports with the wealthy flocking to Manhattan, prices are going up.
With a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to move forward on legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Monday's vote opens the floor to debate on the bill and the Senate is expected to schedule a full vote by week's end.