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The private dollars that help fund our national parks

Oct 25, 2017

The National Park Service released a proposal today that would raise the entrance fee at its 17 most popular parks during peak visiting months. The rates would go from $25 or $30 to $70. They'll use the extra funds to help pay for a $12 billion backlog of maintenance and repairs at national parks across the country, which the agency's $3 billion budget won't cover all on its own. 

Congress is not the only place national parks get their money

Oct 25, 2017

The National Parks Service has its own fundraising arm, tasked with raising private money to keep the parks open and maintained. The National Park Foundation was established by Congress in 1967 in part through the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson and Laurance Rockefeller. CEO Will Shafroth has held the job since 2015. The National Park Foundation gave $126 million to the parks last year, boosting their annual budget of about $3 billion. 

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, nearly 80 percent of the island remains without power.

Typically, power companies rely on “mutual aid” agreements with other utilities following natural disasters — both Texas and Florida recently activated those agreements to help residents get power back.

But the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, has opted out and hired a tiny contracting firm from Montana instead.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

The Senate passed a 2018 budget last week, paving the way for a tax overhaul. The House of Representatives is expected to approve it this week, and then the real show begins.

The House is expected to release its tax plan next week. Somewhere on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee are hammering out a tax plan. And if they aren't sleep deprived now, they're going to be.

(Markets Edition) Congress has quashed a federal rule to stop banks from making consumers go into arbitration when they want to resolve a financial dispute. On today's show, we'll look at the future of the watchdog agency — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — that was behind this regulation. Afterwards, Susan Schmidt from Westwood Holdings Group joins us to chat about the 10-year Treasury yield's rise. And finally, we'll look at why female entrepreneurs get less funding than men, with an eye on the language differences venture capitalists use when speaking to them.

 

How in the world is Twitter still not making any money?

Oct 25, 2017

Over four years ago, in September 2013, Twitter announced that it was going public. While some had expected the news, others were left wondering: How the @### is Twitter going to make money?

This year for the first time, consumers say they’ll spend more shopping online than in physical stores. That’s according to an annual consumer holiday shopping survey by Deloitte. It’s one more data point documenting the march of e-commerce to capture ever more of America’s retail spending. Deloitte’s online survey of more than 5,000 Americans found consumers plan to spend 51 percent of their holiday dollars online this year.

10/25/2017: A key win for the banking industry

Oct 25, 2017

(U.S. Edition) The U.S. Senate has voted to kill a federal rule that banned banks from forcing customers into arbitration, which would then make it easier for consumers to sue their banks in class-action lawsuits.We'll look at what the process of arbitration entails and why Republicans came out strongly against the rule. Afterwards, we'll discuss a new survey that shows Americans, for the first time, will spend more shopping online than in stores. Then, we'll talk to one unauthorized immigrant in Houston about how she's dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

Getting your life together after a major disaster is tough, no matter what. It’s especially hard without one of the major lifelines after disaster in the United States — direct cash assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Unauthorized immigrants don’t qualify. Houston, struck in August by Hurricane Harvey, is home to about 500,000 unauthorized immigrants. 

Can you really make money while doing good?

Oct 25, 2017

We usually assume that investors in the tech industry have one thing on their minds: money. But that's not the only goal of every venture capital firm out there.

Senate GOP votes to repeal consumer rule

Oct 25, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a further rollback of Obama-era regulations, the Republican-led Senate voted narrowly to repeal a banking rule that would have allowed consumers to join together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes.

10/24/2017: The Uber of office space

Oct 24, 2017

Out with the old and in with the new: New York's iconic Lord & Taylor building will become the headquarters of WeWork, a co-working startup that transformed the office leasing business to become the largest leaser of new office space. They're on the up for now, hurtling toward a future as a full-on millenial lifestyle brand with more than 150,000 members worldwide. In other HQ news, we tell a tale of two Dallases, one before and one and after it failed to woo Boeing's corporate headquarters. And there's an uptick in enrollment in historically black colleges and universities.

Jason Margolis/PRI

Steve Lorch is a surgical nurse by profession. His other job, is running a tea farm.

When you think of the world’s great tea-growing regions, you might think of parts of India, Sri Lanka, China or Kenya. Odds are, though, you don’t think of Lorch’s adopted hometown of Pickens, South Carolina — a small, economically-depressed place in Appalachia. But Lorch is on a mission to change that.

The trouble with managing America’s wild horses

Oct 24, 2017

Around 75,000 wild horses roam the valleys and mountain ranges of the American West, descendants of long ago runaways. The horses have been protected by federal law since the early 1970s, but according to the Bureau of Land Management, their numbers are now almost three times what today’s range can support.

37.5: Hold on for one more day...

Oct 24, 2017

No podcast today, but there will be one Wednesday. Until then, we've got a little preview of our continuing discussion of moral capitalism to whet your appetite ... or make you run for the hills. You decide. Talk with you soon.

Library of Congress

It’s a trope to say America has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. This is only partially true. It also has a long tradition of treating immigrants with open discrimination and even violent hostility.

The current debate over whether to accept Syrian refugees has echoes of a different time when another wave of people were leaving a Mediterranean country. They were seen by some Americans as being so alien in religion, culture, education, politics and law, that they could never be assimilated. They were even suspected of ties to terrorism. These were the Italians.

After 13 years of teaching, illustrator and graphic designer goes freelance

Oct 24, 2017

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Ron Hill is an illustrator and graphic designer in Cleveland. He is now part of the creative design company Act 3. But his career has taken him down different paths, from teaching to freelancing. 

Hollywood is dealing with a history of sexual harassment

Oct 24, 2017

A new study out today finds that the children of immigrants, especially immigrants of color, face persistent challenges to educational and economic success. The study is from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to at-risk children.

10/24/2017: A better way to detect marijuana

Oct 24, 2017

(Markets Edition) The head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade association that represents tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, will testify before Congress today. CEO Randall Rothenberg has already released a prepared testimony about the rules that govern digital ads, which we'll examine on today's show. Afterwards, we'll discuss a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that looks at the challenges that children of immigrants of color face. Then, we'll talk about the race to get a breathalyzer that can detect marijuana. 

 

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

When Micah White, the co-creator of the Occupy Wall Street movement, received an email from a freelance reporter requesting an interview for the website BlackMattersUS, he didn’t think much of it.

On its website, BlackMattersUS describes itself as a “nonprofit news outlet that delivers raw and original information on the most urgent issues important to the African-American community in America.”

The proposals for Amazon’s second headquarters are now in. Dallas, along with a long list of cities across the country, is trying to win the bid. More than sixteen years ago, North Texas almost won the headquarters of another Seattle-based giant contemplating a move: Boeing. Although Dallas ultimately lost to Chicago, the story didn’t end there. 

On the 150-year-old campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, the band warmed up a crowd before a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $90 million student services building. Then President David Wilson stepped to the podium to welcome the mayor and dozens of other dignitaries and alums.

“Growth is essential to the vibrancy and to the relevancy of a modern university,” Wilson told the crowd. “Morgan must never, ever cease to grow.”

Congress looks at capping your annual 401(k) contribution

Oct 24, 2017

First, there were trial balloons about Republicans paying for a tax cut in part by scaling down the 401(k), tax-free retirement savings system, where you save on taxes now but pay them later at retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket. (The proposed annual contribution limit: $2,400.) 

President Trump is heading to Capitol Hill today. He's scheduled to speak at a lunch for Senate Republicans and lay out his priorities for the rest of the legislative session. With roughly 30 working days left on the calendar, Congress is going to be in a mad dash to get things done. 

Click the audio player to hear the full story.

(U.S. Edition) On Trump's plate when he heads to Capitol Hill today: the legislative agenda. There's a lot for Congress to do in just 30 days. On today's show, we'll look at some of the issues they'll need to tackle. Afterwards, we'll discuss the EU's investigation into the possible collusion of various German car companies, and then visit Houston to find out how one family is coping post-Harvey.

Legal marijuana creates an industry for new breathalyzers

Oct 24, 2017

Starting in January, anyone over the age of 21 will be able to buy recreational marijuana in California. That’s already the case in states like Oregon and Washington. And while buyers will be able to choose from a cornucopia of cannabis products, law enforcement still won’t have a fast, reliable test for intoxication. Standard breathalyzers can’t detect marijuana, and blood and urine tests aren’t sensitive enough to show whether someone consumed marijuana five minutes ago or last week.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … The United States is flexing its financial muscle to isolate Myanmar’s military after more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since August, saying they were targeted by military operations. Next, after a 10-year surge in elephant poaching in Africa, killing for ivory is on the decline….but the gentle giants aren’t out of harm’s way just yet. Then, we’ll take you to Delhi where despite making 1,500 movies each year, theater companies struggle to make money.

A bunch of creatives have already dreamed about what the colonization of Mars would look like. Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson believes the way we colonize Mars will be similar to how we govern Antarctica. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood talks to Robinson, who wrote the Mars trilogy, about his detailed vision for life on the red planet.

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