National News

Toilets 'R' Him: Jack Sim Wants A Potty In Every Pad

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:43

The Singapore activist created World Toilet Day in 2001, got U.N. sponsorship last year and posed for us on a toilet outdoors on a freezing day. That's how committed he is to bringing toilets to all.

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U.K. To Deny Entry To Controversial U.S. Dating Guru

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:36

The Home Office said Julien Blanc's presence wasn't conducive to the public good. Blanc, a dating coach, makes racist and derogatory references to women, and appears to condone violence toward them.

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You Can Monitor Your Baby's Vital Signs 24/7, But Should You?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:18

A new generation of baby monitors lets new parents track their child's heartbeat and other vital signs. But they're not health devices, a pediatrician warns, and could give a false sense of security.

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How a $150 million investment turned into $3.3 billion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 07:00

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has sold its royalty rights to a powerful game-changing drug that it helped fund and develop.

The national charity has flipped a $150 million dollar investment into a more than $3 billion dollar deal, a figure that’s more than 20 times the organization’s budget last year.

While the windfall means more money for research, the drug itself costs more than $300,000 and has been out of reach for some with this fatal disease.

Let’s face it, it’s a little unusual for national charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to team up with drug makers and start selling royalties.

But Dr. Ahmet Uluer of Boston Children’s Hospital says it’s good they did.

“Without this relationship this drug is not being developed. And we are maybe not where we are right now, looking at this ethical dilemma of pricing and availability to patients,” he says.

The question for some is whether the foundation has put its own health in front of people with this disease.

In Arkansas, Medicaid officials have denied the use of this treatment to three patients in part because the drug – Kalydeco – is so expensive.

University of Massachusetts’ Dr. Brian O’Sullivan says “this is a really thorny issue and certainly some of this money needs to go back to patient care and access to drugs.”

While Kalydeco helps a sliver of patients, O’Sullivan says the next generation of drugs could treat up to 50 percent, and they may be as expensive, so they may not be as effective.

That would mean lots of potential battles between the sick and insurers who are expected to pay the bill.

Vertex says it offers a patient assistance program to help cover costs. The company says virtually every patient who has been prescribed kalydeco in the U.S. has access to it.

 

WATCH: How Carbon Dioxide Travels Around The Globe

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:59

A NASA computer model visualizes in detail where carbon dioxide is released, how it moves across the globe and how it's affected by the seasons.

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L.A.'s the place for YouTube stars seeking wider fame

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers crossing over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'Oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired YouTubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles – which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business – in search of Internet gold.

A college dropout, DeAngelis started making videos in eighth grade when she was into gymnastics. Her early videos show her executing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. They look like clips of a young girl just having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens of thousands of hits, and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A., and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me, too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

So DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who are trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says, showing how she edits her videos. These days, her videos are far more polished and mostly about fashion. One shows DeAngelis modeling fall accessories that she made.

What does it mean to DeAngelis to “make it” as a YouTuber? Would it be a role on television or in a movie?  Being cast on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got on "Dancing with the Stars"? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true often starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West L.A. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network, but at the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers.

Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.” KOPPEL?

When DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers, according to Koppel.

About eight months later, that number has grown to 1.3 million subscribers, Koppel says.

Awesomeness helped DeAngeles accomplish that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty-focused content like "Makeup Mythbusters," that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Many people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” in the Hollywood sense of the word – as in actors, says Lisa Filipelli, a talent agent at Big Frame, an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness.

 

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set, and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is someone who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly get people to buy stuff, too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best-seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen-consumer market, according to Filipelli. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.

With more advertising money moving from television to video, that trend will accelerate, Filipelli says.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. She won’t reveal how much she makes at Awesomeness, but says she mostly lives off her savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent, and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also made money off advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. If she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college, she says. And while she’s hopeful about future opportunities, she is also aware that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

YouTube Stars flock to LA to turn fame into gold

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers have crossed over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired Youtubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles, which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business, in search of Internet gold.

DeAngelis is a college dropout who started making videos in the 8th grade when she was into gymnastics. DeAngelis’ early videos are of her doing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. All in all, they just look like clips of a young girl having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens-of-thousands of hits and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept making and posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A. and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

And so DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who’re trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says showing me how she edits her videos. We’re in the lobby of her apartment and these days, DeAngelis’ videos are way more polished and mostly about fashion. In the one she’s showing me, DeAngelis is modeling fall accessories that she made.

I asked DeAngelis what’s it mean to “make it” as YouTuber? Is it a role on television or a movie?  Maybe on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got onto Dancing with the Stars? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West LA. Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network. At the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers like DeAngelis.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.”

Koppel says when DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers.

“Just about 8 months later, she’s over 1.3 million subscribers,” Koppel says.

She says Awesomeness helped DeAngeles do that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty focused content like Makeup Mythbusters, that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Lisa Filipelli, is a talent agent at Big Frame, which is an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness. She says lots of people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” like in the Hollywood sense of the word as in actors.

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is somebody who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly they’re getting people to buy stuff too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

And she says, YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen consumer market. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.  Filipelli says with more advertising money moving from television to video that trend will accelerate.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. DeAngelis won’t say how much she makes at Awesomeness, but she does say she’s mostly living off savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also, made money off the advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. She says, if she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college. And while she’s hopeful about the opportunities ahead, DeAngelis is also conscious that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

For wannabe YouTube stars, L.A. is the place to be

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 06:32

If you keep track of this stuff, you might have noticed quite a few YouTubers have crossed over into the mainstream lately. They’ve landed network TV deals and spots on reality shows. Then there’s Michelle Phan, who spun her Internet fame into a line of cosmetics for L'oreal.

The success of stars like Phan has inspired Youtubers like Meg DeAngelis to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles, which is emerging as the center of YouTube entertainment business, in search of Internet gold.

DeAngelis is a college dropout who started making videos in the 8th grade when she was into gymnastics. DeAngelis’ early videos are of her doing backflips and other tumbling moves. The videos are washed out, the sound is distant. All in all, they just look like clips of a young girl having fun.

“I started by posting videos that were like my hobbies,” DeAngelis says. “Stuff that wasn’t meant to be like a genre or a channel.”

But the videos got of tens-of-thousands of hits and DeAngelis kept making them. She might have just kept making and posting videos as a hobby,  but things changed last year when she came to Los Angeles to visit a fellow YouTuber.

“She kinda took me around L.A. and I met so many other YouTubers,” DeAngelis says. “It was weird to me too. And to find out they all live close to each other and hang out was really cool. I just wanted to be a part of that whole bubble.”

And so DeAngelis dropped out of college in Florida and moved to L.A. to join a growing community of 20-somethings who’re trying to make it as YouTube stars.

“I like putting an insane amount of music in it,” DeAngelis says showing me how she edits her videos. We’re in the lobby of her apartment and these days, DeAngelis’ videos are way more polished and mostly about fashion. In the one she’s showing me, DeAngelis is modeling fall accessories that she made.

I asked DeAngelis what’s it mean to “make it” as YouTuber? Is it a role on television or a movie?  Maybe on reality TV, like Bethany Mota, who got onto Dancing with the Stars? But DeAngelis says she’s not interested in acting  

“I really want to have a clothing line because so much of my show is about fashion,” she says.

For YouTubers, making those goals come true starts at a place like Awesomeness TV, one of a growing number of multi-channel networks on YouTube.

Awesomeness is housed in a large converted warehouse in West LA. Jackie Koppel, the head of talent development, showed me around. Anybody can start a channel and post videos on the network. At the same time, Awesomeness TV also creates original videos that feature YouTubers like DeAngelis.

“So much of what we do is in-house,” DeAngelis says. “So we have editors, we have a production team, we have reality, the sales team.”

Koppel says when DeAngeles came to Awesomeness, she had about 250,000 subscribers.

“Just about 8 months later, she’s over 1.3 million subscribers,” Koppel says.

She says Awesomeness helped DeAngeles do that by plugging her into its shows.

“We have her in a scripted show with Royal Caribbean, where she went on a cruise,” Koppel says. These “branded shows” are paid for by companies that want to promote their goods.

“And then we also have her in some of our more beauty focused content like Makeup Mythbusters, that’s a show she sorta helms,” Koppel says.

And remember, this isn’t to launch DeAngelis into an acting career but to get her a clothing line.

Lisa Filipelli, is a talent agent at Big Frame, which is an independent subsidiary of Awesomeness. She says lots of people mistakenly think of YouTubers as “talent” like in the Hollywood sense of the word as in actors.

“They’re influencers, not talent,” Filipelli says. “Talent is a person who just shows up to set and they do what they do and then they’re done.”

An influencer is somebody who is constantly engaging with their audience — whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. And Filipelli says these influencers get their audience to talk about stuff and increasingly they’re getting people to buy stuff too.

“There’s YouTubers on the New York Times best seller list and selling out tours and selling massive amount of product in stores,” Filipelli says. 

And she says, YouTubers are disrupting almost every segment of the teen consumer market. For example, instead of fashion magazines, teens are increasingly turning to YouTubers for beauty and fashion tips.  Filipelli says with more advertising money moving from television to video that trend will accelerate.

Back at DeAngelis’ apartment, she’s still waiting to make it. DeAngelis won’t say how much she makes at Awesomeness, but she does say she’s mostly living off savings.

“When I was living with my parents I didn’t pay rent and so I just saved a lot,” she says.

DeAngelis worked odd jobs and also, made money off the advertisements that ran on her YouTube videos. She says, if she runs out of money, she’ll probably go back to college. And while she’s hopeful about the opportunities ahead, DeAngelis is also conscious that her time might be limited.

“I can’t do Vine, Snapchat or like any of the new apps, like I can only do Twitter and Instagram and the basic ones,” she says. “And it almost feels like I’m getting really old."

How old, exactly?

"I’m 19.”

Amid Scandal, Mexican First Lady Decides To Sell Mansion

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 05:55

The modern structure dubbed "The White House" was owned by a construction company awarded millions in government contracts. Angélica Rivera said she had "nothing to hide."

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6 Pitfalls To Avoid When Picking Insurance On The Job

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 04:59

Even if your health insurance is provided by an employer, your plan may be changing quite a bit in 2015. Here's a guide to the questions you should keep in mind when looking over your options.

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A Day After Attack, Worshippers Return To Jerusalem Synagogue

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 04:14

Israeli troops also razed the home of a Palestinian suspected in the attack that left five dead.

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Quiz: How the recession affected college completion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 04:04

More students enrolled in college for the first time in 2008 than ever before, but the completion rate for those students declined, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Its recent report tracks the postsecondary progress of students who entered college at the start of the recession.

How many college students who started in 2008 received a degree or certificate within six years?

Take The Plunge Into World Toilet Day

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 03:03

They say every dog has its day. So does every toilet. And that day is today: World Toilet Day.

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Historic Snow Storm Buries Western New York; Kills 5

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 03:03

Driven by the Lake Effect, the storm dumped up to 60 inches of snow in some areas, paralyzing an area used to huge snow totals.

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PODCAST: I want a pony!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 03:00

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced Wednesday they've sold royalty rights to a powerful new drug it funded and helped develop. The payout, $3.3 billion, is 20 times last year's budget for the organization, and it dwarfs the money the nonprofit originally gave toward the development of the drug. More on that. And the Carnival Corporation, which owns Carnival and Princess Cruise lines among others, is starting a new social media campaign next week to drum up business from people who've never taken a cruise before. Now, there's an online ad contest, a Twitter campaign, and more designed to change the conversation from norovirus outbreaks on ships or ships that sink. Plus, the government says the cost of raising a child to age 18 in America is up 2 percent to $245,000 this year. What that statistic leaves out, however, is what happens if that child asks for a pony for a birthday or the holidays. This week, we're collaborating with the New York Times on on something called "A Guide to Buying Just About Anything."

Target tries to be cool

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 02:00

It's been almost a year since the data breach that sent some Target customers packing. And Target, which reports earnings Wednesday, is trying a number of strategies to get them back.

For one, it has a new CEO, Brian Cornell. And he’s not above admitting the company has problems. He says Target needs to be cool again.  

“What does it mean to be Target in today’s retail landscape?” says Amy Koo, a senior analyst at Kantar Retail. She says Target is trying to beef up customer service. “They’re doing beauty advisers, they’ve expanded to do baby advisers. You know, ask us if you need help.”

Target is also experimenting with smaller stores in cities.

One experiment that didn’t go so well? Opening stores in Canada. Canadians complained about the prices, and shortages of popular products. Some analysts are weighing whether Target should close those stores.

“If they can’t get it to be a profitable venture then they’re going to do what’s best for the shareholder,” says Sean Naughton, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Naughton has already calculated how much it would cost Target to pull out of Canada: about $1.2 billion.

Carnival Corp. aims for a new set of customers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 02:00

Carnival Corp., which operates nine cruise lines worldwide, plans to launch an online social media campaign next week which it says is aimed at people who are new to cruising.

The plans include a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #LoveCruising and an online ad contest on its new website.

The cruise line shook up its management in 2013 after several high-profile incidents, the biggest of which were the Costa Concordia disaster in which 32 people died and the stranding of the Carnival Triumph at sea after an engine fire. Many of the headlines for the latter incident read "Poop Cruise."

Just last week, Carnival suffered more bad headlines with news of 172 passengers sickened with the norovirus on one of its ships.

In the aftermath of the Concordia and Triumph disasters, Carnival said it expected its image recovery to take two to three years. But Ken Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing for Carnival Corp., insisted that this latest online campaign is not intended to fight negative headlines.

“This campaign is not designed to combat any particular press that’s happened in the past. This campaign is designed to speak for the fact that, for the first time ever, as a corporation, we’re talking about all nine of our brands simultaneously,” said Jones.

The campaign’s efforts are to introduce new customers to its various lines which cater to differing types of customers, Jones said. To that end, the company’s new online website will include a “Cruise-a-nality” interactive tool.

Mitch Joel, president of the digital marketing firm Twist Image, said Carnival’s plans, specifically in terms of the Twitter hashtag, are “not only risky, but I don’t even understand why they would even engage in this.”

Joel said companies that run online campaigns need to know the answers to some crucial questions ahead of time. "Do people really, really care and really want to help us? Or are they going to turn this into a parody and a joke, and make matters a whole lot worse for us,” Joel said.

"There are times that you can do it, if there is strong brand affinity,” said Don Stanley, an online marketing consultant and professor at the University of Wisconsin.

But the Internet is littered with online campaigns that miscalculated, such as a failed McDonald’s hashtag campaign two years ago or a Home Depot tweet that led to apologies from the company.

"The biggest mistake I see companies make is they think through the potential benefits of a campaign, but they don’t plan for potential problems,” said Stanley.

Carnival’s Jones said they’re confident of their Twitter campaign, although they will “curate” the tweets. 

“We’re confident in the cruise public. From what we know they like to speak up about cruising, and we’re excited to hear what we hear,” Jones said.

Counting up votes for NSA reform

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-19 02:00
58-42

That was the final vote in the Senate Tuesday, striking down broad reform of the National Security Administration by two votes. The bill would have stopped the bulk data collection exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year, and it had bipartisan and White House support. Ultimately a divided Republican opposition—some thought the reforms went to far, others wanted them to go further—gathered enough votes to strike down the proposal, Politico reported. The bill is unlikely to come up for debate or vote before Republicans take over the Senate.

172

That's the number of passengers stricken with a norovirus just last week on a Carnival cruise. Reacting to the latest in a series of high-profile incidents, some fatal, Carnival Corp. is attempting to repair its image with a social media campaign.

$2 billion

The average cost of lost tuition after sexual assault, per college graduating class nationwide, the Washington Post calculated by estimating one in 50 victims misses a semester. A blog post explores the many hidden costs to students who were assaulted, from tuition to lost wages to moving costs to counseling.

$3.3 billion

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is set to announce on Wednesday the sale of rights to royalties for drugs it invested in 15 years ago. The initial investment was met with some skepticism: $150 million given to a biotechnology company to develop drugs to treat the disease. But as the New York Times reports, Wednesday's sale will bring in $3.3 billion, which is "20 times the foundation's budget for last year."

1/3 of a horse’s value

That's how much is generally charged in leasing a horse for a year. It's a lot of money when you consider that at a a place like Echo Farm, owner Callie Kuntz-Bauer has horses that range in value from $2,500 to $50,000. And that's just the beginning of the costs you end up paying in taking care of a horse.

U+1F4A9

Not technically a number, but that's unicode designation for the little pile of poo emoji. Special characters and emoticons all have a special designation to keep them consistent across all platforms. Companies have to design the icons themselves and - at least in Google's case with the poo - hide the emoji behind special commands. A new oral history from Fast Company explores not just the story of the poop symbol, but emoji's global appeal and standardization.

Sen. Bernie Sanders On How Democrats Lost White Voters

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-19 01:03

Vermont's Bernie Sanders, an independent in the Senate, says he may run for president. He says Americans "do not see a party representing the working class of this country."

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Outside Of The Games, Are Sports Corrupt?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 23:49

Commentator Frank Deford discusses some recent sports-related scandals, including the abuse of young swimmers by their coaches, and fake classes created for college athletes.

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