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The American labor movement is in trouble.

05/09/2018: What's Facebook up to?

May 9, 2018

The news coming out of Facebook this week is maybe a bit friendlier than it has been: The company announced some leadership shuffles yesterday, along with a new department focused on blockchain technology. We'll kick off today's show with everything you need to know. Plus, we're still talking all things trade, exploring the effects of new Iranian sanctions and a new bill to give companies a break on tariffs on imported goods. Then: Would you subscribe to a car the way you would subscribe to Netflix? Some brands are offering monthly payments that cover the car, insurance and maintenance.

One by one, in recent months the Trump administration has announced the end to Temporary Protected Status first for Nicaraguans, then Haitians and then Salvadorans.

This caused considerable anxiety for some of the nearly 7,000 Syrians who for several years have also been able to live and work in the US legally.

Amr Sinna is a young software engineer and resident of Watertown, Massachusetts. He says he has been glued to CNN, waiting for word on whether or not the Trump administration will extend TPS for Syrians like himself before it expires in March.

Of the 17 million cars expected to be sold in the U.S. this year, about a third are leased. The rest are purchased. But there’s a new option for drivers coming on strong in 2018 – car subscriptions.

Los Angeles resident Jeremy Irvine has been driving a Ford Focus hatchback for the last five months, but he doesn't own or lease it. He subscribes to his car with a service called Canvas.

“I figured out at 38 years old that I'm not a car person,” Irvine said.

The California Energy Commission is expected to vote today on a proposal that would make the state the first in the country to require new homes be built with solar panels. The proposal, which is expected to pass, would go into effect in 2020 and apply to most new residential buildings of up to three stories. What could the mandate could mean for homeowners?

Click the audio player above for the full story.


Senate Democrats seek vote to restore net neutrality

May 9, 2018

A group of senators — mostly Democrats — plans to file a petition Wednesday to force a Senate vote on restoring net neutrality, the Obama-era rule that said all internet traffic must be treated equally. The Federal Communications Commission repealed the rule late last year. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Bob Iger was less than two years into his role as CEO of Disney in 2007 when he sat down with us to talk about running one of the most well-known companies in the world. But even then, Iger was thinking about making some bold moves that would shape the company's future. For the first time, hear their extended conversation about why Iger wanted to buy Pixar, his reasons for experimenting with streaming early, and who Iger wanted to work with next (including George Lucas).  

The mass exodus of the Rohingyas from Myanmar became international news in August of 2017.

But the military’s campaign against the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, actually began years earlier — and since 2012, a small network of citizen activists have been risking their lives to secretly film its impact.

(Markets Edition) Now that the U.S. is out, it's up to other global forces to make the nuclear agreement survive. We discuss that possibility, and also take a look at the impact the sanctions could have on the markets. Plus, the California Energy Commission is set to vote on a proposal to require solar panels on new single family homes. The construction costs are steep, but could be outweighed by the amount the solar panels could save in utilities costs.

(U.S. Edition) European countries including Russia say they're still in the nuclear agreement, and the U.S. Treasury has given companies 90 or 180 days to wind down business with Iran. This affects banking, finance, commodities, shipping, insurance and, of course, oil exports. But the markets are doing okay so far, meaning maybe everyone's getting used to President Trump's fractious moves being smoothed over later by more reasonable decisions.

The education system drastically needs to be revamped, according to a new book called “What Schools Could Be.”

The author, venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith, visited all 50 states in a single school year, talking to teachers and observing the methods they used to engage students. One big issue that he says he learned more about: the ineffectiveness of testing, whether it's state-mandated tests, Advanced Placement exams, the ACT or the SAT.

Germany: Business as usual with Iran

May 9, 2018

America might be out of the Iran nuclear deal, but Europe hopes to stick with it. The leaders of Germany, France and Britain have urged President Trump not punish countries that do business with Iran. And Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said the agreement still stands, minus America. Michael Tockuss is with the German-Iran Chamber of Commerce Association in Hamburg. German-Iran trade stands at 3 billion euros annually. Anu Anand, host of Marketplace Morning Report from London, asked him if this morning, it’s business as usual for his members. 

Jack Wang remembers an odd new rule written at the bottom of the his high school writing exam in China: no Internet words.

"It's just natural right when we use it," he said. "It's the youth way of expressing ourselves."

What may seem like the petty irritation of an old-fashioned teacher might actually be something bigger. More than 500 million people are online in China. They are microblogging, instant messaging and texting.

And the Chinese language is changing as a result, says David Moser, an American linguist who lives in Beijing.

Iran agreed to a slew of limits on its nuclear program three years ago in exchange for lifting decades of international sanctions from the United States and five other countries. The year after the deal went into place, Iran's real GDP grew by 12.5 percent. Growth has certainly fallen off since then, and there were protests in Iran this winter over economic inequality. Now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the deal and threatened new sanctions, what happens to U.S. companies doing business there? And businesses of other countries in the deal? That's where we're starting today.

Trump announces U.S. will exit nuclear accord with Iran

May 8, 2018

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, declaring he’s making the world safer but dealing a profound blow to allies and deepening the president’s isolation on the world stage.

“The United States does not make empty threats,” he said in a televised address from the White House Diplomatic Room.

62: We could never get free

May 8, 2018

Molly Wood dives even deeper into radical economics this week with Glen Weyl of Microsoft Research, who's also a visiting scholar at Yale and co-author of the new book "Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society." He says inequality is at the root of most problems facing our world, and those problems are worse because our "free" markets are not free enough. So-called "free market champions" used capitalism as a veil to further entrench privilege and power, Weyl says, and a real free market could make things more equitable.

Two of the big media companies are reporting earnings this week. The Walt Disney Co. reports after the close of the bell today and 21st Century Fox's earnings report is expected tomorrow . That means plenty of talk about Disney’s recent box office successes and its pending acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets. But next week, the focus will shift to TV. It’s upfront season, when broadcasters sell most of their commercial slots for the fall season and the coming year.

In the weeks following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there’s been a lot of talk about how such a tragedy might be prevented from happening again. And although much of the discussion has centered around guns, the anxiety over school shootings is also feeding a growing industry for school security products and services.

(Markets Edition) With a decision on the way from Washington about the Iran deal, we look at what's next depending on if President Trump makes a hard or soft exit. If he decides to punish everyone who does business with Iran, it could be a very tricky situation for U.S. allies to negotiate. Plus, there's a liquidity problem in real financial markets, including some bonds. We talk with a chief economist at investment adviser Payden & Rygel about why this is occurring.

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan, tucked away in the Himalayas between China and India, is known for its innovative Gross National Happiness Index, a measurement tool used to incentivize policies that increase the well-being of its people. When Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy 10 years ago, the index was written into the new constitution as a guiding principle of governance, one deeply rooted in Buddhism.

Imagine you have a beautiful ballgown you’re trying to sell, but Congress has outlawed consignment shops, where you'd normally take it.

There, a middle person would be willing to hold onto it until a buyer came around. But without that middle person, the market for used clothing is less liquid. 

"That's what's happening I think writ large in the bond market,” said Jeffrey Cleveland, chief economist at Payden & Rygel in Los Angeles. Cleveland stopped by to talk with us about why trading in financial markets is becoming more difficult. 

Prescription drug wholesalers, who sit between pharmaceutical manufacturers and health care providers, are expected to get an earful about their role in the opioid epidemic Tuesday. Executives from five companies will testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

The meeting room in the basement of the First Congregational Church of Memphis was packed on a recent Saturday morning with clergy members, activists, residents and workers. “It’s gone on far too long. It’s gone on far too long,” they chanted, rocking back and forth to a 1960s civil rights anthem. Their purpose for coming together was a four-hour training session on community building and peaceful protest. 

Ashley Cathey stood in the front of the room to speak, wearing a black shirt that delivered its own statement: “Fight poverty, not the poor.”

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… President Trump today will decide the future of America’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal. Ahead of any announcement, Iran’s president has this morning vowed to continue the country’s domestic development in the face of any possible new sanctions from the US. So if the US exits the pact, how will Iran respond? Then, exporting charcoal from Somalia has been banned since 2012, but the illegal trade and use of the product has led to ongoing environmental destruction in the region and exacerbated a humanitarian crisis.

Say bye-bye to the short-lived fiduciary rule

May 7, 2018

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule was set to disappear Monday. The short-lived, Obama-era regulation required the professionals who give you advice on your retirement investments to put your best interest first. A federal court overturned the fiduciary rule in March, and was expected to make it official today. Also Monday the Department of Labor put out a bulletin on the fiduciary rule, saying it would provide additional guidance to financial advisers in the near future. So what does it all mean for firms that give financial advice? 

On a recent Friday, Jess Phoenix was scheduled to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the home game of the minor league Lancaster JetHawks. In the hours before the game, however, she was canvassing streets in the Southern California district she hopes to win in the upcoming midterm election.

Her pitch to potential voters highlighted her uniqueness as a candidate.

Quiz: Can you guess how many calories are in a meal by looking at it?

May 7, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration is implementing an Obama-era requirement that restaurants and other food outlets with more than 20 locations have to publicly display calorie counts.

Can you guess how many calories are in a meal by looking at it? Check out our quiz below and see how common food chains and their menu items fare against one another.

Or maybe it's a grande deal? Whatever. It's a very big deal. The Swiss food brand is paying more than $7 billion for the rights to distribute Starbucks coffee. We'll talk about what Nestle does (or doesn't) get for its money. Probably it means no one will write "Nestly" on their cups again. Then: Tomorrow is the first big primary day for elections in the country and a preview of what may come in November's midterms. A lot of the people running this year are political newcomers from the science community.

The population of High Point, North Carolina, is about 110,000. Each spring and fall, though, it nearly doubles in size as furniture buyers arrive to scout the latest and greatest chairs, tables and light fixtures on display at the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, the High Point Market. 

Buyers began coming to North Carolina more than a century ago because much of the nation’s furniture was made in the area.  

05/07/2018: Is it worth the calories?

May 7, 2018

(Markets Edition) Starting today, restaurants with more than 20 locations must post calorie counts, meaning we could see companies change up recipes and portion sizes to shave down those numbers. That's what happened when New York started requiring them a decade ago. Plus, what the rising price of oil has to do with sanctions on Iran, industrial material costs and wage stagnation. And later today, we'll hear the Federal Reserve's tally of total consumer debt, which has us wondering... who cares?