Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 12:53 am
Corporations don't lobby Congress for fun. They lobby because it helps their bottom line. Getting a regulation gutted or a tax loophole created means extra cash for the corporation. But getting laws changed can be very expensive. How much money does a corporation get back from investing in a good lobbyist?
It's a messy, secretive system so it was always hard to study. But in 2004, economists found a bill so simple, so lucrative, that they could finally track the return on lobbying investment.
In author Thomas Caplan's new novel, The Spy Who Jumped Off The Screen, the president asks movie star Ty Hunter to return to action as a secret agent.
Caplan himself is personally acquainted with a former commander in chief. President Clinton and he were once roommates.
"I was a student at Georgetown University. When we arrived as heady freshmen in 1964, because of the alphabet, I was assigned a room next to Bill Clinton," Caplan tells Morning Edition host Linda Wertheimer. "And we've remained friends ever since."
You know it because countless magazines have screamed it at you from the checkout line. Because the gym you walk past every morning is waiving its initiation fee. The holidays are over. It's time to get in shape. So pull on your gym shorts and tighten the laces on your running shoes.
Oh yeah, and don't forget your headphones. You're going to need some motivation, and nothing gets the job done like music. Need proof? We just happen to have some, courtesy of neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, who spoke with Morning Edition's Linda Wertheimer.
In 2008, Richard Bennett had been out of the Marines for nearly three years after being injured in Iraq. That's when he caught the attention of Craig Williams, who was looking for a partner to help expand his successful construction business in Norristown, Pa.
"I had developed a pretty solid construction company, and I wanted a partner," says Williams, 44. "As an African-American businessman, I wanted a young African-American soldier coming home. It seemed like a great opportunity to provide an opportunity."
For 35 years, Willis Welch received a pecan pie every Christmas. From whom? He has no idea. Now the Columbus Dispatch reports the sweet streak is ending. This Christmas, the last pie came with a note explaining "I am a little too fat to fly anymore." Signed, "Pie Fairy."
The Green Bay Packers are favored to repeat as Super Bowl champions, according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. The Denver Broncos are not favorites. Quarterback Tim Tebow's team managed one close victory after another this season. But the odds are 120-1 against Denver winning it all.
President Obama campaigned outside Cleveland, Ohio, Wednesday, where he announced the appointment of a new consumer watchdog. The president used a recess appointment to install Richard Cordray. That might have been routine, but the Senate is not officially in recess.
Residents of Wichita, Kansas, are outraged after Boeing announced Wednesday that it will close a massive defense plant there. More than 2,000 highly skilled jobs will be gone by the end of next year. The announcement sparked considerable frustration among elected officials who had been lead to believe that more Boeing jobs were on the way to Wichita.
Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour performs at a concert in November in Tunisia paying tribute to Tunisian youth and the revolution that inspired the Arab Spring. The popular international celebrity has announced plans to stand in his country's presidential election in February.
Credit Dai Kurokawa / AFP/Getty Images
N'Dour, who was serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador at the time, visits a food distribution center at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya last fall.
N'Dour gained an international audience in 1994 with his hit song "Seven Seconds," with Neneh Cherry. He went on to earn a Grammy in 2004 for the album Egypt, becoming one of Africa's most influential and popular singers.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum finished virtually even in Iowa's caucuses Tuesday, but after Rep. Michele Bachmann's sixth-place finish, she announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign. For more on the GOP race and the next contest — Tuesday's New Hampshire primary — Linda Wertheimer talks with NPR's Brian Naylor, who's in the city of Manchester.
Erik McBee, 15, faced a test of his survival skills. He was traveling on Southwest Airlines, and fell asleep. He slept through the landing at his destination, Tulsa. KPHO TV says he woke up in St. Louis with no contacts, no money and no phone.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. A British woman had a break-in in September. Thieves stole a life-size statue of E.T., the extraterrestrial from the famous film. She thought it was gone for good until last week, when a passerby saw it floating in a river and called the police. They reunited the statue with its owner. So, a little late for the holidays, a little soggy, E.T. finally did phone home. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex is a joint North Korea and South Korea experiment. Every day hundreds of workers from South Korea go to work in North Korea, and thousands of workers from North Korea go to jobs in South Korean factories. Reporter Doualy Xaykaothao has more on what the atmosphere was like there after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died.
The Iowa caucuses — the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating season — were held Tuesday night. President Obama was unopposed, but Democrats met in caucuses across the state for what was essentially a pep rally.
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were the big winners Tuesday night in the Iowa caucuses. They finished first, second and third respectively. Romney won by the narrowest of margins — eight votes.
About 200 miles from Des Moines, the Republican chair of Clinton County was fast asleep as state officials waited for the final votes in the caucuses. As it turns out, the final votes were needed from the second ward, second precinct, the 2-2 in Clinton County.
The Iowa caucuses ended with Mitt Romney's extremely narrow victory over Rick Santorum. The first presidential nominating contest of 2012 played out at hundreds of sites across the state. NPR's Sonari Glinton spent the evening at the Van Meter Secondary School.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been considered a front-runner in this race since before the campaign began. Yet, at the end of voting yesterday, he did no better than he had four years earlier.
NPR's Ari Shapiro was at Romney campaign headquarters in Des Moines, and walks us through that tense and dramatic evening.
In recent weeks a lot of polls and pundits said the Iowa caucuses might be too close to call. But nobody imagined just how close things would turn out Tuesday night in the first voting of the 2012 presidential nominating season. Mitt Romney was declared the winner by just eight votes. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum came in second.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 10:01 pm
We've all been there. Trapped in line at the DMV. Or stuck on hold while trying to call a city agency. It's easy to complain about government bureaucracy. But its the rare person who sees such inefficiency as a business opportunity.
Meet Adam Humphries.
He lives in New York City, and he wanted to travel to China for a vacation. His bureaucratic hassles with the Chinese consulate launched a whole new business.
A maker of Scotch whiskey plans to start selling its product in a can. You can buy a 12 ounce can — 80 shots of 80 proof whiskey — in a container that cannot be re-sealed. The company says it hopes to eventually develop a can you can close.
Bob Anderson was an Olympic fencer, and was a major fight choreographer for saber-rattling movies including: The Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings. He was nearly 60 when he did Darth Vader's light saber fighting. Anderson died Sunday at 89.
Steve Inskeep talks to filmmaker Mike Mills for the latest in the Watch This series about recommended movies and television shows. Mills directed the film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer as an elderly father who comes out of the closet.
Big changes in 2011 — from the Arab Spring to the death of North Korea's dictator — create opportunities for 2012. But change can be scary, even when the regimes to be replaced are unpopular or repressive, because there's never a guarantee the new regime will be better.