National News

Harbaugh's big Michigan payday

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-30 02:00

The University of Michigan announced a deal Tuesday that makes Jim Harbaugh its next head football coach.

 

 

Harbaugh was an All-American quarterback for Michigan and played 15 years in the NFL in addition to coaching at Stanford University and, most recently, with the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh signed a seven-year deal worth $5 million per year plus increases each season. He also received a $2 million signing bonus.

Even though Michigan has fallen as a football powerhouse, Forbes says only Texas and Notre Dame bring in more revenue. 

"From a strictly financial point of view, it's already paid off, they'll make more money off of him by lunch today," says John U. Bacon, an author and commentator.

Bacon has written has written several books about Michigan football. He says the jump in season-ticket sales alone will more than pay Harbaugh’s contract, and if he can revive the storied Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, the entire Big Ten might profit.

"If you get that going, guess what? TV ratings go up. TV drives all of this. Not some of it, all of it," says Bacon.

These days it isn’t just the University of Michigans of the world that are willing to offer pro money to land a coach. More and more Division One teams are willing to pay millions of dollars to satisfy their fans, which was practically unheard of a decade ago.

"You know, really the theme here is brand revival," says Patrick Rishe, a sports economist at Missouri's Webster University.

Michigan essentially had to offer pro-level dollars, Rishe says, partly to compete for a coach of Harbaugh’s ilk, but more importantly, “to also show their fans they're serious about trying to get back into the fray."

The real question all along wasn’t whether Jim Harbaugh was worth the money Michigan was offering, Rishe says, but whether Harbaugh would leave the NFL.

A very merry Christmas for Apple

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-30 02:00
$8 million

The University of Michigan is expected to announce Tuesday a deal that would make Jim Harbaugh its next head football coach. In addition to his career on the field, Harbaugh has coached for both Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers. His NFL pedigree will earn him a pro-football salary; some estimates put his expected salary as head coach to be in the range of $6 million to $8 million. 

1 of 2

The parts released so far in the Intercept's exclusive and (ahem) serialized interview with Jay Wilds, a key figure in the investigative podcast "Serial." Host Sarah Koenig couldn't get Wilds on tape in her reporting, but he's speaking out now that "Serial" has concluded its first season, giving his side of the cold case Koenig was exploring.

51.3 percent

In its annual Christmas report, Flurry found that 51.3 percent of devices activated over the holiday were Apple products. This compared with 17.7 percent for Samsung, and 5.8 percent for Nokia, as reported by Tech Crunch.

60 million

The rough number of page views the various sites owned by Emerson Spartz rack up in a month. That's according to a recent New Yorker profile, which paints Spartz as the boy king of "viral content."

94 percent

That's the percentage global investment in Japan is down this year; the smallest annual amount since 2008. As Bloomberg reports, the dwindling numbers are mostly due to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics," which have sent Japan into a recession.

Consumer confidence on the rise at year-end

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-30 02:00

Consumer confidence has been trending upward during 2014, with both the Reuters/University of Michigan survey and the Conference Board survey back to pre-recession levels.

“People expect the economy to improve, and their personal finances to improve,” says economist Chris Christopher at IHS Global Insight.

The stock market has recently hit records, boosting higher-income households, many of which have regained and surpassed their level of wealth before the recession. But middle-income households remain in the red, on average, since the recession. Long-term unemployment is still stubbornly high, wages are barely outpacing inflation, and millions of workers have dropped out of the labor force altogether.

But Bernie Baumohl at the Economic Outlook Group says the overall economic picture is still overwhelmingly favorable: “We’ve got the best job growth that we’ve seen in 14 years. Companies as well as consumers are benefiting from lower gas prices, and from the lowest borrowing costs in history.” Baumohl still cautions that until the global economy returns to health and U.S. trading partners rebound, U.S. companies might not feel optimistic enough to go on a big hiring spree or raise wages.

Michigan offers big payday to revive football fortunes

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-30 02:00

The University of Michigan is expected to announce Tuesday a deal that would make Jim Harbaugh its next head football coach.

Harbaugh was an All-American quarterback for Michigan and played 15 years in the NFL, in addition to coaching at Stanford, and most recently with the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh’s contract is expected to make him among the highest paid coaches in college sports, in the range of $6 million to $8 million per year.

Even though Michigan has fallen as a football powerhouse, Forbes says only Texas and Notre Dame bring in more revenue. 

"From a strictly financial point of view, it's already paid off, they'll make more money off of him by lunch today," says author and commentator John U. Bacon.

Bacon has written has written several books about Michigan football. He says the jump in season-ticket sales alone will more than pay Harbaugh’s contract, and if he can revive the storied Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, the entire Big Ten might profit.

"If you get that going, guess what? TV ratings go up. TV drives all of this. Not some of it, all of it," says Bacon.

These days it isn’t just the University of Michigan's of the world that are willing to offer pro money to land their coach. More and more Division One teams are willing to pay millions of dollars to satisfy their fans, which was practically unheard of a decade ago.

"You know, really the theme here is brand revival," says Patrick Rishe, a sports economist at Webster University.

Rishe says Michigan essentially had to offer dollars, partly to compete for a coach of Harbaugh’s ilk, but more importantly, “to also show their fans they're serious about trying to get back into the fray," he says.

Rishe says the real question all along wasn’t whether Jim Harbaugh was worth the money Michigan was offering, but whether he would leave the NFL.

The state of manufacturing in the states

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-30 01:30

Stephan Richter, editor in chief of The Globalist, has a question: What percentage of of U.S. jobs does the manufacturing sector account for today?

But more to the point, are those jobs part of an industry renaissance, or are they a new kind of employment that in reality, is not as good as it sounds?

Richter joined Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to talk about the danger of heralding the return of manufacturing to the U.S.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

Searchers Retrieve Six Bodies From Indonesian Waters

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 01:21

The discovery came after several pieces of red, white and black debris were spotted in the Java Sea near Borneo island. AirAsia planes are red and white.

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Here's Why Obama Said The U.S. Is 'Less Racially Divided'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 01:00

The president says incidents in the past year have "surfaced" long-simmering issues between minority communities and authorities, allowing for a healthy airing of grievances.

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The Fleeting Obsessions Of The White House Press Corps

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-30 00:03

From the VA and Secret Service scandals to Ebola, each week brought another hot issue into the White House briefing room. Here's a look at just how short the press corps' attention span was in 2014.

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Traffic Stops Persuade People To Avoid Drinking And Driving

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 23:58

Everyone knows it's dangerous to drink and drive, but a lot of people still do it. Strict enforcement of traffic laws makes it less likely that people will get behind the wheel when soused.

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Big Question For 2015: Will The Supreme Court Rule On Abortion?

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 23:57

States have passed more than 200 abortion regulations since 2010, and the number is expected to rise. Abortion rights supporters say that could cause big geographical variations in access to care.

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A 'Lost Boy' Helps The Girls Of South Sudan Find An Education

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 23:56

Daniel Majok Gai fled South Sudan twice because of war. He wants to return for good. But for now, he's giving back by helping youth there gain an education. His inspiration: a girl named Annah.

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Rep. Grimm To Resign After Guilty Plea On Tax Charge

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 23:02

In a statement reported by CBS and The Associated Press, Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, said he would resign effective Jan. 5. Grimm pleaded guilty last week to filing a false tax return.

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U.S. Warship Joins Hunt For Missing Plane

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 20:06

The search for AirAsia jet is now into its third day with no solid leads. The hunt has expanded to new areas and includes naval ships as well as local fishermen.

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Newly Elected La. Politician Under Fire For Reported Speech To White Supremacists

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 16:50

Republican Congressman Steve Scalise's office says he addressed a gathering but didn't know the ideology of the group founded by former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke.

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How California's New Rules Are Scrambling The Egg Industry

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 14:07

On January 1, all eggs sold in California will have to come from chickens living in more spacious digs. The rules have disrupted the egg industry, and pushed prices up at grocery stores in California.

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As Bourbon Booms, Demand For Barrels Is Overflowing

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 12:38

Distillers must age bourbon in new white oak barrels that are charred inside. But the barrel supply is running low, and new, small craft distillers are having trouble getting any barrels at all.

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AirAsia tragedy introduces U.S. to an iconic CEO

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-29 12:31

The disappearance of AirAsia flight 8501 is a story with lots of sadly familiar questions: What exactly happened, and where and how? Is there any hope for survivors?

One less-familiar element has been the quick response by the company and its CEO, Tony Fernandes, who has been talking to family members and taking to Twitter with the latest news.  For U.S. audiences, the story has been an introduction to an iconic Asian CEO and the innovative company he created.

In Jakarta this morning to communicate with Search and Rescue. All assets now in region. Going back to Surabaya now to be with families.

— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) December 29, 2014

In 2001, Tony Fernandes took over AirAsia and its enormous debts for 29 cents. He had a new idea: a budget airline for Asia.

It’s like Spirit Airlines in the U.S. — super-low fares, zero frills — but without the customer unhappiness that has become almost a trademark for Spirit. AirAsia’s gets great ratings for customer satisfaction. The difference is the customer that AirAsia serves.

"They’re really grabbing passengers who have never flown before," says Vinay Bhaskara, a senior business analyst with Airways News. "And they’re very transparent about their business model. You’re going to have to pay extra if you want extra."

For many AirAsia customers, flying itself is a huge upgrade, as reflected in the airline’s motto: "Now, everyone can fly!"

"That's an amazing concept — bringing air travel to the masses," says aviation consultant Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Group International.

By 2013, AirAsia was a network of regional airlines, and Fernandes was starring on an Asian version of “The Apprentice.” 

"All of these young business people were dying to work with him because of the mystique, and because of what he had actually accomplished," says Richard Turen, a luxury travel agent and a senior contributing editor for Travel Weekly.

Fernandes has branched out in other ways. He has a majority stake in an English Premier League football team and he's opened a chain of budget hotels that Turen says fill a new niche — something like a bridge between a hostel and a resort.

"It's like, 'Yes, you can go to a resort, and no it doesn’t have to be stuffy,'" he says. "'And no, you don’t have to pay $70 for breakfast.'"

As the weekend’s tragedy unfolded, Fernandes sent out multiple emotional tweets, calling the event his worst nightmare.

Argentine President Takes On Godson To Keep Werewolf At Bay

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 12:31

Presidential protection of the seventh son in a family of male children is a tradition in Argentina. According to local legend, the seventh son in a family of boys will assume a lycanthropic form.

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The 2014 Tech Trends We'll Still Be Talking About Next Year

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 12:11

Apple is ending an influential 2014 but faces another big test ahead. And we revisit the mega-hacks of the year and look to a more voice-controlled future.

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James Fallows On The 'Tragedy Of The American Military'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-29 12:11

The gulf between the vast majority of the American public and the nation's military has had a detrimental effect on the U.S. fighting force, according to James Fallows in an Atlantic cover story.

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