A Cleveland catalog company says jumps in insurance costs may force it to stop offering a group health plan to its 700 workers. But first, the firm is pushing for healthier habits among employees.
China's fast-growing armed forces face increased scrutiny over how they are spending what is now the world's second-largest military budget.
In a city notorious for its murder rate, more than 90 percent of victims are black. To help break the cycle, police are testing a new approach: trying to win the hearts and minds of middle-schoolers.
Here's what I want to know: When did it become August and I missed it?
I mean, yes, there've been a few things happening business- and economy-wise since Monday, but honestly, it's been kind of slow. Sitting here early in May, you'd just think there'd be... more, you know?
So with that, a couple of themes and/or trends I've got my eye on:
- I know I say this on the air all the time, but I'm constantly amazed by how enduring the effects of the financial crisis are. To wit, the announcement Tuesday by Mel Watt, the head of the FHFA, that he's going to make sure there's still plenty of liquidity – money – in the mortgage system. We'll see whether that's a smart idea or not, but it's yet another sign it ain't over yet. See also: Geithner, Tim and his new book, about which you heard... well... elsewhere on public radio.
- Bigger really is better. The Wall Street Journal's been all over this, but apparently AT&T wants to buy DirecTV for $50 billion, in part to keep pace with the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal. Roll that in with the still-burbling Pfizer/Astra Zeneca talks over in London – at $106 billion, if you can believe that – and I think it spells M&A boom.
- Pay no attention to the stock market. That is all.
Special bonus thing: Last week I was talking about going out in Jim Fallows' plane for another installment of the project we've got going with him – American Futures. He flies a Cirrus SR-22, for reasons that'll become clear in about three sentences. Anyway, Jim came and picked me up in Birmingham, Alabama, and flew us back over to Columbus, Mississippi. Nice easy flight, if a little bumpy. But that's not what I wanted to mention. Two days after I got back to Los Angeles, Jim posted this on his blog at the Atlantic. Crazy, huh?
The radio story – about Columbus, Mississippi, and what we found there (not about planes parachuting safely to earth) is set to air next week.
Pvt. Chelsea Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.
AT&T is reportedly close to making an offer to buy DirecTV in a deal that would value the satellite dish TV operator at nearly $50 billion.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
"A deal could boost the flow of cash that AT&T could use to pay its dividend and fund a build out of its broadband Internet infrastructure, analysts have said. It also comes as AT&T increasingly views video—whether via pay TV service or delivered over the Web or its wireless network—as central to its future.
Adding satellite TV capabilities also could allow AT&T to free up valuable bandwidth on its Internet connections to customer homes."
The possible merger has us thinking about the history of media consolidation:
The bitter race highlight fissures within the Republican Party. Also Tuesday, two women set the stage for history-making in West Virginia.
Gay couples can begin to marry as soon as Friday morning unless an appeals court puts a stay on the decision. It was the second state in less than a week to have its ban wiped out by a judge.
Swede Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man, won a Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 2013. He died in Stockholm.
More than 20,000 residents around San Diego have been allowed to return home. In Santa Barbara County, a small number of homes and business still must stay away.
The sanctions against an ex-president of the CAR and four other rebel leaders comes amid escalating sectarian violence.
A local election official says the Detroit Democrat, who has served in the U.S. House since 1965, failed to collect enough valid signatures.