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Marketplace for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

3 hours ago

As candidates hit the campaign trail, NPR looks at four major issues the next president will face from Day 1 in office.

When President Obama took office back in 2009, "cybersecurity" was not a word that everyday people used. It wasn't debated. Then, mega-breaches against consumers, businesses and the federal government changed that.

I confess. I'm a notebook nut. I own dozens and dozens of them. Everything from cheap reporter's notebooks to hand-crafted Italian leather beauties.

I wondered: Am I an analog dinosaur, or are there others out there like me?

The first stop in my investigation was, frankly, discouraging.

At first glance, a Starbucks on the campus of George Washington University points to the dinosaur conclusion. So plentiful are the laptops and tablets that they outnumber the double-mocha-half-caf-triple-shot-Frappuccinos.

In Texas floods, homeowners count the cost

14 hours ago
Nova Safo

Floods in Oklahoma and Texas have claimed lives and destroyed numerous homes.

Rebuilding those homes and reimbursing homeowners will take months, if not a year or more. But some of those homeowners may not get all the help they will need, because they don't have flood insurance.

In Wimberley, a vacation town in between San Antonio and Austin which is situated on a river that rose 40 feet, flood waters washed away hundreds of homes and businesses.

The financial backdrop to Postal Service union talks

14 hours ago
Annie Baxter

Wednesday is the deadline for negotiators at the U.S. Postal Service to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the American Postal Workers Union, which represents nearly 200,000 workers, including clerks, mechanics and vehicle drivers.

The talks are unfolding against a bleak financial backdrop. USPS’s financial losses have moderated a bit recently, but it’s still very much in the red. It reported a $1.5 billion net loss in the second quarter of the year, compared to a $1.9 billion loss in the period a year earlier.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Presidential candidates are doing what they have to do at this point in the campaign season — they're raising money and strutting their biographies and electoral viability to voters. We haven't heard much yet about policy papers or what they would actually do if they win. But those policy issues will matter — as the campaign picks up steam and especially once the next president steps into the Oval Office on Day 1.

As candidates hit the campaign trail, NPR looks at four major issues the next president will face from Day 1 in office.

For seven years, Michael Hall has been guiding tourists to the top of Seattle's Space Needle and back. It's a unique vantage point from which to watch the ups and downs of Americans' paychecks.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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When people call up Leigh Jerrard, founder of Greywater Corps, they're greeted with a recorded message: "Note that we are overwhelmed with inquiries right now, so it may be a while before we get back to you. But have faith."

Jerrard's company helps homeowners with the complicated process of installing their own Greywater systems. The system takes drainage from showers or washing machines and uses it to water lawns.

It sounds like a great idea now but six years ago, when Jerrard started the company, few people were interested.

Texas floods have business owners singing the blues

May 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal and Alberta Cross

Flooding has disrupted life for many in the Lone Star State. Kellie Moore was at her bakery in Austin yesterday when the water levels began to rise.

"It was crazy," Moore told Kai Ryssdal. "I looked in the back room and I noticed that water was coming through the building ... [I] was trying to sop it up, but then it started coming into the kitchen and into the front of our showroom, and there was no way to stop the water."

Press the play button above to hear more of Kellie's story. 

Kai Ryssdal

This story comes as, I guess you might say, a mea culpa for the aspersions I cast on millennials the other day.

Maybe this'll ring a bell: 

There are 14,000 lobbying groups in Washington

May 26, 2015
Nancy Marshall-Genzer

To see just how ubiquitous lobbying has become in Washington, I make an appointment for lunch with Lee Drutman. He's a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of "The Business of America is Lobbying."

He’s waiting for me at the buffet, and we're about to zero in on the food business: loading up our plates, then dissecting them to see which foods have lobbyists at the table. 

Marketplace for Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015

Shhh ... we're talking about Fight Club

May 26, 2015
Kai Ryssdal, Mukta Mohan and Robert Garrova

The first rule of Fight Club is … do not talk about Fight Club. We’re going to break that rule, because there is now a sequel and it’s written in a completely different style than the original. Author Chuck Palahniuk teamed up with artists David Mack and Cameron Stewart to release a 10-part comic book that brings back Tyler Durden.

Amy Scott

On a spring morning at Oyler Community Learning Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio, an announcement comes over the PA system: "Would the following students please report to the cafeteria..." It sounds like someone's in trouble.

But, it's just the opposite. They're being summoned for a  donut breakfast — a reward for making the honor roll, or missing no more than two days of school during the quarter.

Don't Write Off Paper Just Yet

May 26, 2015

There's a scene in the television series The Office that says all you need to know about the paper industry's image these days. That sad sack of a company Dunder Mifflin is launching an advertising campaign — and just in time, says one of the sad sack employees. Whenever he tells people he works for Dunder Mifflin, they assume the company make mufflers or muffins or mittens, but "frankly all of those sound better than paper, so I let it slide."

PODCAST: Beers and board games

May 26, 2015
David Brancaccio

The guy behind the guy at Apple gets a promotion. Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson explains. Plus, Bernie Sanders officially kicks off his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency on Tuesday. The senator from Vermont describes himself as a “Democratic Socialist”.  We report that while some see socialism as an improbable platform for a U.S.

Where everybody knows your game

May 26, 2015
Elaine Jones

Geek culture is having a bit of a moment. Superheroes are smashing box office records. Comic conventions have become national news. Now, gamers are getting their very own bars. A new pub in Savannah, Georgia is offering a place to throw back a few drinks while you battle it out in video or board games.

Walking into the Chromatic Dragon feels like entering most bars — at first. You decide if you want to sit at the bar or get a table; inside or out. A friendly employee approaches, but he’s not a server. He’s a "game master."

Here's why we care about durable goods

May 26, 2015
Nova Safo

Why do we care about the durable goods report, which the U.S. Census Bureau publishes each month to tell us how big-ticket item sales are going? Let Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, explain: "We get lots of information about what businesses are saying, but they don't always do what they say they're going to do." 

The durable goods report, Shepherdson says, is a hard-data antidote to that problem. "The one thing that businesses don't do if they're worried about the future is invest large amounts in new equipment."

Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26, 2015
Marketplace
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Vista Theatre is a one-screen wonder

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Bridget Bodnar

There aren’t a whole lot of 92-year-old theaters left in the country. For the Vista Theatre in Hollywood, success means walking a fine line: adapt to the changing times while holding on to the motif from days gone by. With just one screen, there’s not a lot of room for error.

Marketplace for Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

My First Job: Printing professional

May 25, 2015
Robert Garrova

When Shahrouz Varshabi was about 17 years old, he was accepted to a college outside of his hometown in Iran.

This was good news for Varshabi, but it also meant a financial strain for his parents.

“I was feeling so bad about the situation because I was coming from a sort of poor family, and I didn’t want to have pressure on my father’s shoulders,” Varshabi says.

A shot of 'America's native spirit'

May 25, 2015
Adrienne Hill and Robert Garrova

During the course of writing his book, “Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of American Whiskey,” Reid Mitenbuler learned a lot about “America’s native spirit,” as it’s known.

According to Mitenbuler — contrary to what you might assume from looking at bottle labels — today’s bourbons aren’t all made by bearded men wearing overalls.

“By the year 2000 you have eight companies, 13 plants, and they make about 99 percent of all the whiskey in America,” Mitebuler says.

Takata, Toyota, GM: How do companies survive recalls?

May 25, 2015
Sabri Ben-Achour

Takata’s recall of defective airbags in 34 million vehicles – equivalent to two years of sales in the entire U.S. auto market – is a juggernaut.  It isn’t the largest, however.  That title belongs to the 2004 recall of 150 million pieces of Chinese-made toy jewelry that had a high risk of containing lead. 

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