Short selling a stock - betting that it will go down instead of up - is common on Wall Street. But what about placing a bet against a company and then trying to get the government to do things that would drive down the company's share price?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel.
And we begin this hour with the latest on the standoff over Ukraine. Today, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian naval post, military hospital and a missile unit in Crimea. At the same time, Moscow accused Kiev of encouraging right-wing groups and creating lawlessness in eastern Ukraine. This all complicates things on the diplomatic front.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden addressed a large American audience today. He spoke through a video link from Russia where he was given temporary asylum after he leaked thousands of classified NSA documents. The crowd was a friendly one at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. Snowden took some questions and he said technology companies can do more to prevent sweeping surveillance by the U.S. government.
As NPR's Steve Henn reports, the event was moderated by Snowden's attorney.
When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.
It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Now, it's starting to catch on in the United States.
Rebecca Weld of Potsdam, N.Y., makes her living as an architect. But during her free time, she's hunched over the kitchen counter, like an alchemist, dripping food coloring drop by drop into icing to achieve the perfect color.
"I use rich colors for that dated, antique feel," Weld says.
Antique? Perhaps. But certainly not old school. Weld's cookie designs are astonishingly intricate — including a scene from an Adirondacks lake that looks like you could dive right into it.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:19 pm
Our bodies may help us remember our lives, fixing experiences in place. By using virtual reality, scientists can make people feel like they're outside their own bodies. And when they do, the brain struggles to remember what happened.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via videoconference to the attendees of South by Southwest Interactive later this morning, and you can bet a much wider audience than just those here in Austin will be watching.
It's an hour before suppertime, and the line outside Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is wrapped around the building. The people are waiting for more than a Bible sermon; there's a raffle tonight. Twenty-five guns are up for grabs.
There's nothing new about gun raffles in Kentucky, even at a church. Last year, there were 50 events like this one in the state. The Kentucky Baptist Convention says it's a surefire way to get new people through church doors.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:01 am
Too many poor people in the U.S. lack access to lawyers when they confront major life challenges, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence, according to a new report by advocates at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.
William Clay Ford, a descendant of auto industry pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at age 88. He was the son of Edsel Ford.
Ford's death was confirmed by the automaker that bears his family's name Sunday. The company said Ford died at home after suffering from pneumonia. And it said that during his 57 years with the company, Ford led the Design Committee and helped develop cars such as the Continental Mark II, a sleek two-door built in the mid-1950s.
The Conservative Political Action Conference ended in Washington Saturday, after giving Sen. Rand Paul a second consecutive victory in the presidential straw poll that's seen as an indicator of how Republicans see their leaders.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's straw poll victory at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference wasn't unexpected for the presidential contender. In third place, however, was a surprise finisher.
Dr. Ben Carson is one of a handful of black Republicans that conservatives are buzzing about this year. While the GOP has made strides in cultivating viable black candidates, the party still has difficulty resonating with black voters.
He may not have the rock-star status of top conservatives like Paul or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but Carson's following is growing.
Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.
Images of a fallen city have drawn national attention to Detroit. But the focus now is on how to remake Detroit into the grand city it once was.
Part of the recovery process is repairing the bankrupt city's blight.
There are an estimated 80,000 abandoned buildings scattered throughout Detroit. In February, Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager, announced a $500 million project to tear down those structures. Now all kinds of organizations are jockeying for position to win city contracts to do the work.One of those is Reclaim Detroit.
Maureen O'Reilly beams with pride as she shows a visitor around Grafton, N.H., a town so small it doesn't even have a traffic light.
"Have a look at this," O'Reilly says, pointing to a postcard view of hilly rural New England. "How beautiful is this? It's really pretty in the fall, really, really pretty."
But behind the beautiful view, locals are dividing into opposing camps. About 50 Libertarians have moved into Grafton from around the country, splitting the town over their push to shrink its government.
On the No. 34 bus heading out to the suburbs of Detroit, most of the structures are abandoned. But there are people at every stop, still living in the neighborhoods and still trying to get on with their lives during the city's financial troubles and recovery.
Lifelong Detroiter Fred Kidd, a rider on the No. 34, works at a car parts manufacturing plant in another one of Detroit's suburbs. This bus does not make it all the way to the suburbs; it stops at the city line.
Two cyclists walk into a bar. Then they get on stationary bikes and pedal like crazy.
It's called goldsprints, and it is as much a social event as it is an athletic one. Ingredients for a goldsprints event are simple: two bikes, front wheels removed and set into a metal frame, the back wheels on rollers, then add a little music and an emcee.
Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:16 pm
The crowds are so thick in Austin, Texas, that locals are using an Avoid Humans app to find some peace and quiet, and the warning at the convention center of South By Southwest Interactive goes something like this: "Only one person per escalator step OR YOU WILL BREAK IT!"
Toga parties and keg stands have become stereotypes of college fraternities. But Ali Mahmoud had something else in mind when he founded Alpha Lambda Mu, the first social Muslim fraternity in the country.
"I realized that there was this void for Muslims on campus," says Mahmoud, a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Clocks will be set ahead by one hour tonight in much of America, as 2 a.m. will become 3 a.m. early Sunday, March 9. Among the states, only Hawaii and much of Arizona will keep their clocks set to Standard Time. Most of Europe won't begin what it calls "Summer Time" until March 30.
American territories that don't observe Daylight Saving Time include Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona changes its clocks with the rest of the continental U.S.
Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.
For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.
It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.
Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.
President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."
Just a few years ago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra was in bad shape. An auditor predicted they'd be shuttered in months.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: His famous line was we had no business being in business.
SIMON: Tomorrow on WEEKEND EDITION, how after a financial crisis, a bitter contract dispute, and a musicians' strike, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra still plays on. This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.