National News

Could Joe Biden Get 'Ready For Biden'?

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:45

It's unusual for a sitting vice president to not be a part of the campaign conversation. One group is urging the vice president to run and holding out hope he hears the call.

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Science Inc. gives startups their big break

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:40

Since serving as CEO of the website Myspace, Mike Jones has spent his time as an angel investor. He says, “When I looked at my track record as an angel, I felt that there was this huge discrepancy between the number of investments and the number of successes I had had.”

So naturally, he raised $10 million and started the company Science Inc., which helps startups from the ground up.

We’ll work with you on strategy, product — if you need developers, we’ll provide technology. If you need designers, we’ll provide great design resources. And then when you’re ready, we’ll go bring you up to Silicon Valley. We’ll help you get funded, we’ll join your board and we’ll be with you for the entire length of your company.

What separates Science Inc. from similar companies is its location in L.A., on Silicon Beach: 

My primary network is here in L.A. For me, that means that I have great access to talent. I can find great people to come work at these businesses, and we also have strong ties to Silicon Valley, so when we have a break out company, we can pair them with the best investors in Silicon Valley. 

Though Science Inc. is located in L.A., the reliance on Silicon Valley is strong: 

The weight that Silicon Valley carries in technology, it’s second to none. There’s Silicon Valley and there’s everywhere else. And we might be in the top of the ‘everywhere else’ category, but we’re not even close to the infrastructure that Silicon Valley provides for the technology businesses.

Jones says it’s not about competing with Silicon Valley, but rather making Los Angeles a welcoming place for startups. He thinks that “we need bigger and bigger companies that will create more wealth in Los Angeles, that will provide more returns back to those investors and then create a larger ecosystem of early stage investment.”

 

Boston's 2024 Olympic Bid Is Over

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:27

The U.S. Olympic Committee had backed Boston over bids from San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. But the mayor now says Bostonians were "rightly hesitant" to commit to the potential cost.

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Cheap Eats: A Cookbook For Eating Well On A Food Stamp Budget

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:22

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.

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Fleeing To Haiti, They Put Their Faith In 'God And Government'

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:21

Thousands of residents of the Dominican Republic — many of Haitian descent — have been stripped of citizenship. Facing deportation, they've moved into camps. Now they're living in limbo.

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What's Silicon Beach?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 12:17

We've heard of Silicon Valley and its New York counterpart, Silicon Alley, but there's a growing group of startups based out of Venice — a.k.a. Silicon Beach. We traveled down there to talk with a few CEOs about the Los Angeles–area tech scene, and we'll be airing those conversations through the rest of the summer. Here's a preview. 

Malaysia, Cuba Taken Off U.S. Human Trafficking Blacklist

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 11:41

Many human rights advocates and U.S. lawmakers say the upgrade has more to do with politics than with the facts on the ground in those countries.

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Major League Soccer Gambles On Star Power Of Aging Foreign Players

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 10:41

Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo is one of a number of older European stars to sign with an MLS team. While their presence may boost the league, it's led to criticism of MLS as a "retirement home."

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Australia's Jehovah's Witnesses Failed To Report 1,006 Alleged Child Sex Abuses

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 10:07

That was the finding presented by a national inquiry on the sexual abuse of children that was launched in 2013. According to the inquiry, church elders also destroyed records about the allegations.

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Journalist tries to take the polish off an NYT series

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 09:40

A New York Times series that unveiled harsh working conditions in New York City nail salons is eliciting criticism from a former Times writer about the report’s methodology.

Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir spoke to more than 150 nail salon workers and owners for a two-part investigation called "Unvarnished," and described the grim conditions to Marketplace back in May when the stories were published. Richard Bernstein, in an article for the New York Review of Books, says that Nir drew a “Dickensian portrait” of the industry, one that doesn’t jibe with his experience as part owner of two Manhattan day spas. In the critique, Bernstein asks, “Is it true?” You’ve figured out his answer to that. Here is a summary of some of Bernstein’s criticisms:
  • According to Bernstein, the New York Times failed to provide sufficient proof about an ad from Chinese-language papers Sing Tao Daily and World Journal that advertised jobs at a rate of $10 a day.
  • In an independent investigation by Bernstein and his wife, the two combed through World Journal issues dating back to March and failed to find the ad the series described. The lowest salary Bernstein says they saw in an ad was $70 a day — prior to the series’ publication. Others salaries ranged from $110 to $130.
  • Bernstein draws from personal anecdotes to refute the low-salary claims found in The Times, saying that they would be unable to find employees willing to work for the wages cited in Nir’s series.  
  • Nir was selective in her presentation of nail salon ads, failing to account for the numerous ads that he and his wife came across that listed higher prices than presented in the article, according to Bernstein. Bernstein also questions why potential nail salon workers would neglect the ads for higher-paying jobs in favor of ones that offer lower wages.
  • Though Nir mentions the infrequency of nail salon inspections by the government, Bernstein says he finds fault with this claim, citing the regular, annual inspections at his own salons. He adds that according to the New York Department of State, between May of last year and this year, there were more than 5,000 “appearance enhancement” business inspections, which included nail salons.   
  • Bernstein says he thinks Nir inaccurately characterizes the working conditions of nail salons by making manicurist Jing Ren, a 20-year-old from China whom she interviews for the story, representative of employees in the industry. He says that there are many nail salon workers who are not “undocumented, untrained, or unlicensed like [Ren].”
  • Though the New York Times provides a searing critique of the industry, Nir says Ren has found a nail salon job that pays a higher wage— a trajectory which Bernstein suggests undermines the article’s claim about the industry’s “rampant exploitation.”
The New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, has not released an official statement on the methods used in the series. However, Nir and several other New York Times reporters and editors have directly and indirectly addressed his claims on social media.

On Twitter, Nir denounced Bernstein's criticism of the series, calling him "biased."     

In #unvarnished I interviewed over 150 workers&owners whose careers encompassed minimum 700 salons. One biased man renders them voiceless?

— Sarah Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 27, 2015

His power:1) the demographic he comes from 2)his professional background 3)his access to a platform, drowns out the voices of the many&weak?

— Sarah Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 27, 2015
New York Times Deputy Metro Editor Michael Luo — the editor of Nir’s series — has published a Storify post of his tweets responding to criticism against the nail salon series and says the Times has plans to publish a more formal response.

A tweet showing the ad for the $10-a-day nail salon salary mentioned in Nir’s first article in the series:

Re:@R_Bernstein in @nybooks challenging NYT's Unvarnished. Here's ad: $10/day 4 apprentice. http://t.co/XeOfgZRDLE pic.twitter.com/uSiRXxiC2g

— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) July 25, 2015 Some have echoed Bernstein's concerns. Adam Ragusea, the host for Current.org's "The Pub" podcast, criticized the New York Times's presentation of the nail salon industry, using Bernstein’s argument that the $10-a-day ad may be unrepresentative of actual wages offered by nail salon owners.

Michael Powell — a New York Times "Sports of the Times" columnist — responded to Ragusea by suggesting that his criticism was rooted in “self-righteousness,” while Patrick LaForge, the New York Times' editor for news presentation, said his criticism was “off base.”

Ex-writer tries to take the polish off an NYT series

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 09:40

A New York Times series that unveiled harsh working conditions in New York City nail salons is eliciting criticism from a former Times writer about the report’s methodology.

Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir spoke to more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, and described the grim conditions to Marketplace back in May when the piece was published. Richard Bernstein, in an article for the New York Review of Books, says that Nir drew a “Dickensian portrait” of the industry, one that doesn’t jibe with his experience as part owner of two Manhattan day spas.

In the critique, Bernstein asks, “Is it true?” You’ve figured out his answer to that. Here is a summary of some of Bernstein’s criticisms:

According to Bernstein, the New York Times failed to provide sufficient proof about an ad from Chinese-language papers Sing Tao Daily and World Journal that advertised jobs at a rate of $10 a day.

  • In an independent investigation by Bernstein and his wife, the two combed through World Journal issues dating back to March and failed to find the ads the article described. The lowest salary Bernstein says they saw in an ad was $70 a day — prior to the series’ publication. Others salaries ranged from $110 to $130.
  • Bernstein draws from personal anecdotes to refute the low-salary claims found in the article, saying that they would be unable to find employees unwilling to work for the wages cited in Nir’s series.  
  • Nir was selective in her presentation of nail salon ads, failing to account for the numerous ads that he and his wife came across that listed higher prices than presented in the article, according to Bernstein. Bernstein also questions why potential nail salon workers would neglect the ads for higher-paying jobs in favor of ones that offer lower wages.
  • Though Nir mentions the infrequency of nail salon inspections by the government, Bernstein says he finds fault with this claim, citing the regular, annual inspections at his own salon. He adds that according to the New York Department of State, between May of last year and this year, there were more than 5,000 “appearance enhancement” business inspections, which included nail salons.   
  • Bernstein says he thinks Nir inaccurately characterizes the working conditions of nail salons by making manicurist Jing Ren, a 20-year-old from China whom she interviews for the story, representative of the entire industry. He says that there are many nail salon workers who are not “undocumented, untrained, or unlicensed like [Ren].”
  • Though the New York Times provides a searing critique of the industry, the end of the article says Ren has found a nail salon job that pays a higher wage— a trajectory which Bernstein suggests undermines the article’s claim about the industry’s “rampant exploitation.”

The New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, has not released an official statement on the methods used in the piece. However, Nir and several other New York Times reporters and editors have directly and indirectly addressed his claims on social media.

 

Nir calls out Bernstein on Twitter Monday, labeling him "biased": 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

    

In #unvarnished I interviewed over 150 workers&owners whose careers encompassed minimum 700 salons. One biased man renders them voiceless?

— Sarah Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 27, 2015

 

 

 

 

    

His power:1) the demographic he comes from 2)his professional background 3)his access to a platform, drowns out the voices of the many&weak?

— Sarah Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) July 27, 2015 

New York Times Deputy Metro Editor Michael Luo — the editor of Nir’s series — publishes a Storify post of his tweets responding to criticism against the nail salon series and says that the Times has plans to publish a more formal response.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tweet showing the ad for the $10-a-day nail salon salary mentioned in Nir’s first article in the series:

 

 

 

   

Re:@R_Bernstein in @nybooks challenging NYT's Unvarnished. Here's ad: $10/day 4 apprentice. http://t.co/XeOfgZRDLE pic.twitter.com/uSiRXxiC2g

— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) July 25, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other New York Times reporters have also chimed in on Twitter. Adam Ragusea, the host for Current.org's "The Pub" podcast, criticized the New York Times's presentation of the nail salon industry, using Bernstein’s argument that the $10-a-day ad may be unrepresentative of actual wages offered by nail salon owners.

 

Michael Powell — a New York Times "Sports of the Times" columnist — responded to Ragusea by suggesting that his criticism was “self-righteous,” while Patrick LaForge, the New York Times' editor for news presentation, called his criticism “off base.”

Tweets welcoming #ObamaInEthiopia

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 09:10

One of the many burning questions: "Can we get footage of President Obama eating injera?"

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'Offensive,' 'Sad': Reaction To Huckabee's Holocaust 'Oven' Reference

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 08:28

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said over the weekend that President Obama's Iran deal is so bad it will "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

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Experiment In Coordinated Care For Medicare Failed To Show Savings

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 08:05

The test aimed to help high-risk Medicare patients navigate the health care maze. But after three years, expected improvements in quality and savings failed to materialize.

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New 'Daily Show' Host Trevor Noah Tries Out New Jokes On Racism, Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 07:39

The South African comic, who assumes the reins of the Comedy Central series on September 28, did a show in D.C. this weekend. Here's a sample of his comedy stylings.

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The Toughest Job In Education? Maybe Not

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 07:03

The assistant principal has a lot on her plate. But that job is where future school leaders come from. Some districts are trying to make sure APs get the training they need.

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A Week Later, Milwaukee Police Still On The Hunt For 'Lion-Like' Animal

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 06:34

Police have been receiving reports of a large "lion-like" animal roaming the city, but over the weekend police confirmed a sighting.

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Where you live will cost you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 06:00

Conventional thinking might lead us to believe that people who reside in cities with higher living expenses probably also have the highest debt burdens. But residents of the City by the Bay have the least credit card burden of any major metropolitan city, according to a new study by CreditCards.com.

Using data from credit bureau Experian, CreditCards.com determined how long it would take for residents of 25 of the largest U.S. cities to pay off their current credit card debt. And the results were all over the map.

Metropolitan areas on the coasts tended to have lower credit card burden than elsewhere in the country, while areas of the South were on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Courtney Miller, an economics writer for NerdWallet, says a lot of it comes down to the culture surrounding credit card debt.

"I think there’s a ton of factors that go into it, and part of it is how much people need to rely on credit cards. So a city like San Francisco ... there [are] a lot of cash-only places in that kind of city."

San Antonio came in last place, where residents were projected to take the longest to pay off credit card debt — in fact, of the top 10 cities with the highest debt burden, seven were located in the South. Miller points to lower overall income in those areas, combined with a tendency towards higher credit card debt.

But there are a lot of moving parts to determining credit card debt. Take Alaska for example.

"They tend to have a higher credit card debt, but they actually have a pretty high credit score compared to the rest of the country ... (In Alaska), maybe you have to buy things online more, so you use a credit card more," Miller says.

In Ethiopia, Obama Calls For An End To Oppressive Tactics

NPR News - Mon, 2015-07-27 04:08

During a joint press conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Obama said that a country is more successful when "all voices are being heard."

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Teva agrees to buy Allergan for $40 billion

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2015-07-27 03:00

The world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, Teva, has bagged some big game.

Monday morning, the company announced that it has agreed to buy Allergan’s generic business for a little more than $40 billion.

If approved, the deal places Teva amongst the largest drug companies on the planet.

With just one purchase, the company could bring in new revenue, fend off competition from China and India, and gain even more pull in this $70 billion a year business, says Elizabeth Krutoholow, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

“It’s just a matter of being able to throw around your power in pricing," she says. "So you are trying to get your drugs into the pharmacy. If you have more things in your bag that you can play around with, you certainly have greater leverage there.”

Whether this deal would ratchet up prices depends on how many drugs in Teva’s bag are in direct competition with the one’s in Allegran’s bag, says Yale economist Fiona Scott Morton.

“We really care about the overlaps of these firms. If there is a lot, then there is potential for higher prices when they merge. So ... the regulator needs to go out and look at where these guys overlap,” she says.

While there are a lot of tie ups in healthcare these days, Morton says generics are a different game.

Unlike health insurance, for example, it’s easier to get into generics, making it more likely the small guys will be able to grow and keep competition more robust.

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