New research raises concerns about low graduations rates for black college football players. Host Michel Martin finds out more from education reporter Emily Richmond, and professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.
The Obama administration has chosen a new head of the glitch-plagued healthcare.gov website. Kurt DelBene is a former Microsoft executive who used to run the company's Microsoft Office division. So for some DelBene's appointment represents the kind of recruitment from the private sector that should have happened a long time ago.
But others argue Microsoft isn't the healthiest tech company at the moment.
"You can make an easy joke that Microsoft Office is an expensive and bloated product, which is kind of the problem with healthcare.gov," says Adrianne Jeffries at The Verge.
But, Jeffries says DelBene will bring an important outside perspective. And as the replacement for Jeff Zients, who came most recently from the Office of Management and Budget, DelBene bring something very important -- that wasn't there before.
"There were 55 contractors involved," Jeffries says. "There were a bunch of different government agencies, and a bunch of people at those government agencies that were sort of responsible for bits and pieces, but nobody was really standing up and taking responsibility for the whole thing."
In 1963, a gang robbed the Glasgow-to-London Royal Mail Train. They got away with millions, but were caught and put in prison. Biggs, though, escaped and spent 36 years living openly in Brazil. The self-styled "lovable rogue" returned to the U.K. in 2001 and spent 8 more years in prison. He was 84.
With the year winding down, Marketplace regular Allan Sloan makes some predictions about business and markets in 2014. Bond funds? Bad. Hedge funds for the masses? Very bad. What about the Federal Reserve? Will the stimulus be withdrawn?
“I think it will finally happen in 2014, and the withdrawal symptoms will probably not be anywhere near as bad as people think,” says Sloan, senior editor-at-large for Fortune magazine. “Just because everyone has been expecting this to happen for so long.”
Chinese authorities' are cracking down on use of the virtual currency. So the value of a bitcoin has plunged. Many experts expect further declines.
JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank are prohibiting the use of some chatrooms amid ongoing investigations of currency manipulation. The move comes after UBS’s investment banking arm did the same last month.
Traders use the chatrooms to coordinate with each other. They say it makes it easier to communicate with colleagues in different buildings or even on different floors of the same building. Traders also use them to communicate with their counterparts at other banks to negotiate prices and execute some trades.
These aren't the sort of chatrooms that most of us are familiar with, but they're not that different either. Many traders use the instant messaging feature on their Bloomberg terminals, which feed them financial data and are used to make trades.
But there have been problems associated with the chatrooms, and abuse of them figured prominently into the LIBOR scandal. Traders have used them to manipulate short interest rates and foreign exchange markets and rig prices. Banks have paid steep fines for these kind of conspiracies. Since last summer, big banks have been penalized nearly $6 billion for rigging interest rates.
Now banks are trying to take away what they see one of the key facilitators behind the problem. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon even took the unusual step of telling employees to watch what they write in instant messages.
Bloomberg LP, which has sold some 300,000 terminals to various Wall Street firms at around $20,000 a piece, is worried about losing business over the abuse and has vowed to tweak messaging features to give banks and financial institutions more control over employees communications.
Thanksgiving came late this year, leading to a compressed gift-buying and sending season. In fact, there are six fewer days to ship presents in 2013 when compared with last year. Some retail analysts think that may lead to more people paying extra for two-day or overnight shipping in order to get gifts to friends and family in time.
That could benefit companies like FedEx and UPS. Jack Atkins, a retail analyst with Stephens Inc., is relying partially on his personal experience. "I have a lot of shopping to do over the next seven days," said Atkins. "I get it done every year, but I always wait until the last minute."
Others aren't convinced that procrastinating shoppers will give shippers a bounce.
"The difference between a four week or a five week or a three week holiday season isn't that big of a deal," said David Ross, a transportation analyst at Stifel.
All this week we're talking about the digital currency Bitcoin. We've learned about what Bitcoin actually is. We've also checked in with Coinbase, the company trying to become a kind of version of PayPal for bitcoin that connects customers to businesses. Today we hear from a business that has started to accept Bitcoin. Dr. Paul Abramson runs a private practice called My Doctor Medical Group in San Francisco. He says that he's actually treated patients for substance abuse who prefer to pay with the cryptocurrency.
Click the audio player above to learn more.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing today titled “What Information Do Data Brokers Have on Consumers and How Do they Use It?”
Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller, IV (D-W. Va.) is already conducting an investigation (launched in October 2012) of nine data brokerage companies that collect information about internet-using consumers, assemble profiles of them, and sell the profiles to media, advertising and retail businesses. He expanded the investigation this fall with inquiries to twelve websites popular with consumers in the areas of personal finance, health and family life (including About.com, Self.com, Ehealthforum.com and Finance.youngmoney.com) asking how those companies collect and share user information with other businesses.
The following scenario will likely be familiar to many consumers:
You log onto Facebook, and an ad appears along the right-hand side for a dating service -- right in the age-bracket you’re looking for. Or it’s for ski-jackets, and you just searched for lift tickets online. Or, an herbal remedy for a slightly embarrassing medical condition you just found out you might have.
These are just some of the ways that so-called "data-brokers" might help deliver your eyeballs to online marketers. But they’re largely invisible to most of us who use the web, says internet privacy activist Adi Kamdar at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “As a consumer, you pretty much never have a direct interaction with a data broker,” he says.
But companies like Acxiom, Rapleaf, Datalogix, Epsiolon, Spokeo and perhaps hundreds of others, have a lot of interaction with us. Based on the websites and stores we visit, DMV and mortgage records, Tweets and Facebook-likes, hundreds of data points on each one of us—they assign us marketing profiles. Examples Sen. Rockefeller has publicized from his investigation include "Rural and Barely Making It" and "Ethnic Second-City Strugglers."
Chris Calabrese is legislative counsel for the ACLU in Washington, and advocates for consumer rights in this burgeoning business. “There are marketing lists of people with Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, people who like to play the lottery,” says Calabrese. “They can use that to serve you ads, to try to interest you in projects, to target people who are vulnerable on the basis of their weakness.”
Calabrese backs more regulation to let consumers check and correct the data, to prevent its use in employment screening, and to allow consumers to opt out of data collection and sharing by brokers and marketers altogether. He thinks controls on data gathering and use should be similar to what already applies to credit-reporting bureaus under federal law.
Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, will testify at the Senate hearing. Cerasale says the DMA represents both marketers and data brokers. He argues the industry’s self-regulation has largely worked to police the behavior of data brokers and online marketers. He believes any government regulation or enforcement should be narrowly targeted to bad actors in the industry, and that a broad expansion of government regulation could make targeted advertising less helpful to consumers, as well as less efficient and effective for those selling products and services to consumers.
Financial Times New Delhi correspondent Amy Kazmin speaks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about the case of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York for allegedly paying her maid below minimum wage. The diplomat was strip-searched and jailed, touching off an angry reaction in India.
Four buildings were evacuated and tensions were high at the university on Monday after officials received messages about "shrapnel bombs." With exams scheduled for that day, many thought that perhaps a nervous student was trying to avoid taking a test. The FBI alleges that's what happened.
The second-largest jackpot in U.S. history — possibly as much as $645 million — is going to be shared. If you know someone in San Jose or Atlanta, now might be a time to be extra nice to them.
What questions do you have about the new national health care law known as Obamacare? Use NPR's interactive guide to answer them.
A German brewers association is seeking UNESCO World Heritage status for a 500-year-old law that dictates how to make beer. The brewers argue that the law ensures purity in German beers. But others say the law is from a bygone era.
A German brewers association is seeking UNESCO World Heritage status for a 500-year-old law that dictates how to make beer. The brewers argue the law ensures purity in German beers. But others say the law is from a bygone era.
Employees at Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook are highly paid and enjoy a wide range of perks on the job. The security guards who watch over their workplaces earn around $16 an hour, a tough wage to get by on in the high-priced San Francisco Bay Area.
Employees at Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook are highly paid and enjoy a wide range of perks on the job. The security guards who watch over their workplaces earn around $16 an hour, a tough wage to get by on in the high priced San Francisco Bay Area.
It became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. Its former mayor was sentenced to 28 years in prison. And a TV personality compared it to Chernobyl. But a new year is on the horizon, and for some parts of Detroit, things are looking up. Really.
These days, with salary caps and benevolent socialism, if a team has wise management, it has a chance, observes Frank Deford — even if it's a franchise in an itsy-bitsy market. That's a big change from when the leagues were invariably dominated by dynasties.
Many can't afford to buy the fresh produce that grows all around them, and some areas that grow enormous amounts of produce are among the highest in the nation when it comes to food insecurity.