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Stimulus Response

Feb 14, 2018

Jared Bernstein has a dilemma. He's a liberal economist, and he's been saying for years that the U.S. needs stimulus — some combination of higher spending and lower taxes — to drive up wages for workers.

Congress and the President recently passed bills to raise spending and cut taxes.

These weren't sold as stimulus packages. They are not Jared Bernstein's dream come true. But they are going to mean lower taxes and higher spending.

Richard Klein switched doctors last year. The new doctor put him on a new blood pressure drug.

But it didn't help.

The failure was entirely predictable.

Klein, an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami, realized later that he had tried the same medicine unsuccessfully a few years before, but he hadn't remembered that fact during the appointment.

It was an understandable mistake for Klein and his doctor.

Oakland is a city that's rapidly gentrifying, shedding much of its African-American population along the way. The California city, which was 47 percent black in 1980, is now divided roughly into a quarter each of black, white, Asian and Hispanic residents.

The sense of the city's changing identity has ended up helping Adrian Henderson's business. He's co-owner of Kingston 11 Cuisine, a Caribbean restaurant in a neighborhood that's changed so much lately that it goes by the dual name of Koreatown Northgate.

YouTube and Instagram are being asked to take down videos and photos at the center of a controversy involving a prominent Russian billionaire and a senior Russian government official.

This follows a high-profile investigation into the men's relationship by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In Arkansas, there is a kind of David vs. Goliath battle underway over a weedkiller.

On one side, there is the giant Monsanto Company. On the other, a committee of 18 people, mostly farmers and small-business owners, that regulates the use of pesticides in the state. It has banned Monsanto's latest way of killing weeds during the growing season.

Terry Fuller is on that committee. He never intended to pick a fight with a billion-dollar company. "I didn't feel like I was leading the charge," he says. "I felt like I was just trying to do my duty."

The head of a major Hispanic business association is stepping aside after allegations of improperly increasing his salary and sexual misconduct.

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said president and CEO Javier Palomarez and its board of directors "have mutually agreed to undergo a leadership transition for the organization effective immediately," the organization said in a statement to NPR.

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Sanctions on Ice

Feb 13, 2018

North Korea has been getting sanctioned for decades. But in spite of the sanctions, North Korea has managed to keep buying fancy stuff for the elites — and fund a nuclear weapons program.

The country has done this by raising money through a clandestine outfit called Office 39. Among other things, Office 39 runs counterfeiting operations, engages in international bank fraud, and sells illegal drugs.

On today's show: sanctions, Office 39 and the North Korean Olympic team

The maker of OxyContin, one of the most prescribed and aggressively marketed opioid painkillers, will no longer tout the drug or any other opioids to doctors.

The announcement, made Saturday, came as drugmaker Purdue Pharma faces lawsuits for deceptive marketing brought by cities and counties across the U.S., including several in Maine. The company said it's cutting its U.S. sales force by more than half.

#MeToo's Next Step

Feb 13, 2018

In just a few months, the #MeToo movement has affected nearly every major institution and industry. It has led to the resignations or firings of men accused of sexual harassment, assault or misconduct in entertainment, government, the military, the church and various other institutions and fields. And it has had effects outside of the United States.

It feels like just yesterday that Chicagoans were told that their prized skyscraper, once the world's tallest building, would no longer be named the Sears Tower.

"Call it the Big Willy," encouraged the CEO of the company that had bought the naming rights. But it's been almost nine years, and while some folks do call it the Willis Tower, few do it with much gusto. And no one calls it Big Willy.

Now Chicagoans are losing the name of another beloved skyscraper: the John Hancock Center.

Twitter has banned Paul Nehlen, a Republican challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan for a congressional seat, for a racist tweet targeting American actress Meghan Markle, the fiancée of Prince Harry.

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The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

It's 5 p.m. on a Friday at a hip bar and hostel in East Austin. Half a dozen people occupy the blue velvet booths and alternative dance music blares overhead. Leigh Salinas walks in carrying a duffel bag. She's there to spend the weekend studying – sort of.

"I was certainly impacted by the presidential election in a lot of the ways that other people were," says the 31-year-old who works as an accountant for a local food company.

Salinas says she wants to run for local office.

Drugmakers gave millions of dollars to pain-treatment advocacy groups over a five-year period beginning in 2012, in effect promoting opioids to individuals most vulnerable to addiction, according to a new report released Monday by a U.S. senator.

It's a year later than first promised, but President Trump finally announced his long-awaited infrastructure plan at the White House today, flanked by governors, mayors, and other state and local leaders. Calling the condition of the country's roads, bridges, ports, tunnels and water systems "horrendous," Trump says his plan "will spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history. The framework will generate an unprecedented $1.5- to $1.7-trillion investment in American infrastructure."

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President Trump released his long-awaited plan to direct $1.5 trillion toward upgrading U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works projects. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with DJ Gribbin, special assistant to the President for infrastructure policy, about Trump's priorities.

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Porn And The Teenage Brain

Feb 12, 2018

There is a lot of pornography on the internet. There are a lot of teenagers with smartphones. It seems obvious that teens would watch.

But maybe it isn’t.

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Senators begin a debate on immigration today. And, Steve, this could sort of be a free for all, right?

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Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis to protect Americans from being ripped off by financial firms.

Now, President Trump's interim appointee to run the bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is making radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission.

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

The wild swings in the stock market in the last two weeks grabbed headlines and were hard to miss for most Americans.

But do those market gyrations actually affect anyone's day-to-day finances?

Relatively few Americans actively trade or own stocks. But a 10 percent drop in the markets can affect our attitudes about the economy, even for those who don't invest, says James Poterba, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research and an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

President Trump will finally be unveiling his long-awaited $1.5 trillion plan to repair and rebuild the nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads, airports, seaports and water systems Monday. But, the proposal will not be one that offers large sums of federal funding to states for infrastructure needs, but it is instead a financing plan that shifts much of the funding burden onto the states and onto local governments.

The Case Of The Mysterious Amazon Packages

Feb 11, 2018

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Now to a mystery. Who sent it? Kelly and Mike Gallivan, a retired couple from Massachusetts, got a package from Amazon back in October.

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