Martha Stewart took the stand Tuesday in a lawsuit that involves her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Macy's and J.C. Penney Co. Macy's is suing J.C. Penney and Stewart's company for breach of contract.
Benjamin Franklin said the only certain things are death and taxes. Let's add a third thing: Interviews. At many points, starting with school admissions or a new job, you're going to sit down before someone else and answer their questions.
Which is what NPR's Shankar Vedantam is about to do with us because he's got some new research relating to this topic. Hi, Shankar.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.
INSKEEP: And let's begin this interview. What's the new research about?
It may seem like the tech company is squeezing every cent out of you, but our last word in business is the story of a man who let some money go. A University of Delaware student stepped up to an ATM and asked for $40 - two 20s, that's what would normally come out.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Two bills arrived but there were hundred dollar bills, and then more bills arrived, and more. Devon Gluck received $1,800.
What it means to own something in the digital age is being re-negotiated. Few of us own the music we listen or the movies we watch, in the same way as we did a decade ago. And today, if you get a smartphone from a cell phone company what you can legally do with it - how and where you can use it - may be restricted, even if that phone is fully bought and paid for.
NPR's Steve Henn explains. And we'll also find out a little bit about his music taste.
Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce.
Economists look at many tea leaves as they try to determine the health of the economy. One of the most important surrounds vehicle sales, and more specifically pickup truck sales, which are tied to the construction industry. And as last month's sales rose 18 percent, the auto industry is betting big on a real estate rebound.
It's arguable that the Ford F-150 is the most important vehicle to come out of Detroit since the Model-T. It's also built where many parts for the old Model-T were made in Dearborn, Mich.
Federal stimulus money has helped cut the high cost of lithium-ion batteries, but not nearly enough to make electric cars affordable. Now there's an abundance of advanced battery manufacturers and not enough major companies to buy them. Many plants in the United States, South Korean, Japan and China that got government subsidies aren't producing many batteries, if at all. Three years ago Michigan's governor touted the state as the new battery capital of the world. There were five new advanced battery plants in the works, all of which were to get major tax breaks and some federal grants.
Lithium-ion batteries sparked a crisis for Boeing's Dreamliner 787 — but the crisis is not an unprecedented one. Four decades ago, a very similar transition to new battery technology in airplanes yielded similar problems. Audie Cornish describes what happened then — and what lessons might be learned as lithium-ion batteries become the next generation that power planes.
Throwback Brewery in New Hampshire is one of almost 20 New England breweries using malts from Massachusetts' micro-malt house Vally Malt.
Credit Courtesy of Valley Malt
Valley Malt, in Hadley, Mass., works with 25 farmers growing six different types of grain in the Northeast.
Credit Salisbury Post / Karissa Minn
North Carolina farmers Buddy Hoffner (left) and son Chris have been growing barley for Riverbend Malt House in Asheville since 2010. Riverbend then processes the grain into malt for use by local breweries.
Brent Manning is a maltster on a mission. The co-founder of Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, N.C., wants people to be able to taste local grains in North Carolina's beers, just as vino aficionados can identify the provenance of fine wines.
"In the wine industry ... they will tell you that the No. 1 Syrah grape grows on this hillside over here because it's a bit rockier," Manning explains. "It's that very same connection to the soil and the underlying geology that creates these nuances in flavors."
Skipping $4 lattes will save you some money — but buying into bogus financial advice won't. Finance journalist, Helaine Olen says many of the so-called 'financial experts' are selling you advice to make themselves rich. She discusses her book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry with host Michel Martin.
Hi! It's Ask a Banker! Once again, I'm a former banker, current Dealbreaker editor and occasional answerer of questions here. Send more questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with "ask a banker" in the subject line, or ask on Twitter (@planetmoney). This week's question comes from Ellen in Minneapolis and I think you'll like it:
NPR's business news starts with a ketchup jackpot.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Last month, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and a private equity firm announced they were buying Heinz for $29 billion. Now we're learning what the deal means for Heinz's CEO, William Johnson.
And our last word in business is, no more working in your pajamas. Best Buy says it's ending its flexible work program, calling its corporate employees back to the office.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This is getting to be a trend. The move comes after Yahoo stirred debate for ending its work-from-home program. A Best Buy spokesperson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the hope is that quote, "all-hands-on-deck approach will lead to collaboration."
The cost of college can range from $60,000 for a state university to four times as much at some private colleges. The total student debt in the U.S. now tops credit card debt. So a lot of people are asking: Is college really worth it?
There are several famous and staggeringly successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. You may not end up with fat wallets like them, but Dale Stephens says you can find a different education path.
The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.
They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.
Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?
Two recent tallies of the world's richest people agree on the broad points — but not on which continent has the most billionaires. Here, U.S. dollars are counted, with Chinese yuan notes in the background.
There are more than 1,400 billionaires in the world right now, according to two sources — one in the U.S., and one in China. But the tallies by Forbes and Hurun Report differ on key points, including whether there are now more billionaires in Asia than anywhere else.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington; Neal Conan is away. Year by year, cities are raising fees and cutting public services to stay out of financial trouble. For some cities, that's just not enough. Detroit projects a $200 million deficit this year, and the city owes $14 billion in long-term obligations. The state's Republican Governor Rick Snyder says there's probably no city more financially challenged in the entire United States.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, it's been called a landmark in the American literary canon. Certainly it's one of the premier works of Chicano literature. Now it's finally made its way to the big screen. We are going to speak with its star, herself a well-loved pioneer among Latina actresses. Her name is Miriam Colon and she's with us in just a few minutes to tell us about "Bless Me, Ultima."
We are often urged to buy local, but when people say that, we're usually thinking about food. Now it seems you can aim for local furniture and local building materials. Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports on the Minneapolis business that makes everything from hardwood flooring to picture frames from trees cut just down the block.
The housing market is recovering in much of the country, not so much in Idaho. Home prices dropped by 46 percent in the Boise area during the financial crises. Forty-six percent. Today's business bottom line takes us to the home of a family that rode out the crash and are still waiting for better times. Here's Molly Messick of Boise State Public Radio.
President Obama ordered across-the-board federal spending cuts on Friday night. The $85 billion in cuts are spread across much of the government. The president and many Republicans have called the cuts unwise. But Congress passed them and the president signed them in 2011, and in recent days, they did not agree on a plan to revise or replace them.
We turn to David Wessel to find out what happens now. He is economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, welcome back.
Residents of Detroit are absorbing the message sent by Michigan's governor. Rick Snyder swept aside the city's elected officials. He's using his power to appoint an emergency manager to take over city finances. Residents are deeply divided about this move, as we hear from Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody had a comment in regards to the lighting problem?
Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:02 am
Tax day is looming and taxpayers are scrambling to gather receipts, W-2 forms and other documents. For many, gone are the days of paper ledger books and calculators, now that there's software to figure out how much they owe.