OK. In the next few days, cable companies announce how they did financially in 2012. Most industry watchers expect some negative trends to continue. More people are canceling their cable subscriptions. They are called cord cutters, because they are getting TV from the Internet and over the air, not their cable cords. But they're not the only problem the cable industry needs to worry about. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.
The Gallup Organization made its name with landmark public opinion polls. The company surveyed everything from presidential elections to religious preferences, branding itself as the most trusted name in polling.
But lately, Gallup's name has been tarnished by a whistle-blower lawsuit and a suspension from winning federal contracts.
Gallup's roots stretch back to 1922, when its founder, George Gallup, was a college junior. He got a summer job interviewing people in St. Louis.
He couldn't figure out how his wife, who suspected him of having an affair, knew the contents of his private conversations.
"His wife knew things that he said in his car and office, including conversations over the telephone," recalls Qi Hong, a former journalist from Shandong province in eastern China, and a friend of the official.
So Qi asked a buddy who owned bug-detecting equipment to help.
When Secretariat won what was certified to be his last race, I went down onto the track at Woodbine, and gauging where he had crossed the finish line, snatched up the last grass that perhaps the greatest thoroughbred ever had laid hooves to in his career.
In his inaugural address, President Obama talked about a country where even "a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else." But in reality, that's not always the case. A new report finds that one of the biggest obstacles for many Americans is that they don't have the savings or assets they need to help them get ahead.
For a half-century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been in the beach business, dredging up new sand as shorelines wash away. Federal disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy could provide billions more for beach rebuilding, and that has revived an old debate: Is this an effective way to protect against storms, or a counterproductive waste of tax dollars?
On a recent blustery day at Virginia Beach, the latest beach nourishment project is in full swing. A bulldozer smooths out pyramids of sand, and on the horizon, a large, black hopper dredge appears with another load.
Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend. That's why an Oklahoma City house has been dubbed The Twin House, after a third consecutive couple living there had twins - a boy and a girl each. Current tenants, Brady and Chelsea Smith, said they didn't believe in the twin mojo when they moved in. Then an ultrasound showed she was expecting twins. New father Brady Smith told the Oklahoman, now his friends won't even drive down the block.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The city of Timbuktu is free...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...
INSKEEP: ...and residents cheered as French and Malian forces entered the city. Those forces swept aside Islamist rebels who'd controlled the place for months. The Islamists rule included amputations and the destroyed ancient tombs. It ended with the burning of a library housing priceless manuscripts.
An immigration plan announced Monday by a bipartisan group of senators would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and overhaul legal immigration. It also calls for improved border security and better tracking of individuals in the U.S. on visas. Steve Inskeep talks with one of the senators behind the plan, Republican Jeff Flake from Arizona.
Prices on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service increased this week — the price of a first-class stamp now costs 46 cents, up a penny. But for small businesses that ship products overseas, like many independent record labels, the costs could be much larger.
Brian Lowit, who has worked at Washington, D.C.'s Dischord Records for 10 years, says that while a postage rate hike is a familiar bump in the road, "I've never seen one this drastic."
Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with a chance to get your name in stone. A lawmaker in Washington State proposed a way to make extra money: sell corporate naming rights to public buildings. It already happens with sports venues: the Mariners play at Safeco Field. Now, if this plan were to become law, kids could attend Nintendo Elementary School. Or they could drink from the Budweiser Water Tower. People in trouble with the law would of course make an appearance at the Enron Courthouse.
You know, when I was a teenager, I got interested in the Vietnam War. And I found a book in the library, called "Vietnam: A History." It turned out that that searing story of one of America's most tragic wars, was the product of one of the most distinguished reporters in Southeast Asia.
And today's last word in business is, fly like an eagle. Maybe you've seen this viral video. It's of a golden eagle swooping down and snatching up a baby in a park. The bird carries the kid a few feet before dropping him and flying away.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It caused quite a stir online - horrifying many, many viewers before it was revealed as a hoax. The video was a project made by students at a 3-D animation and design school in Montreal.
Many big food companies are caught in a dilemma these days. They want to rebrand themselves as merchants of health — Coca-Cola's new anti-obesity ads are just the latest example — but many of their profits still come from products that make nutritionists scowl.
If there's one person who symbolizes this tension, it's Derek Yach.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Not long ago on this program, we reported that food expiration dates are often meaningless. Let's take that concept into space. Researchers from the University of Hawaii and Cornell University are asking you to send them long-lasting recipes. They want to help NASA determine an extremely durable menu to keep astronauts fed, should the agency send people on a four-month journey to Mars. I got just one word for you, NASA: Cheetos. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently had to make one of the toughest decisions of her political career: Who to root for in the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers. Pelosi was born in Baltimore. Her late father was the mayor there. But she represents San Franciscans in Congress and her kids grew up with the 49ers. So Pelosi says she's rooting for San Francisco but not against Baltimore.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
When and if the U.S. Senate is ready to confirm Mary Jo White to head the SEC, she may find her path somewhat smoother - thanks to a rule change the Senate agreed to last night. The new Senate rule makes it just a little bit harder to block nominations, and a little easier to reach resolution than it was for President Obama's nominees in his first term. It's part of a subtle revision of the most potent weapon of the minority party: the filibuster. Here's NPR's David Welna.
In today's last word in business is: censored, not stirred.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SKYFALL")
DANIEL CRAIG: (as James Bond) Bond, James Bond.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The new Bond film "Skyfall" is now playing in the world's second-largest movie market - that would be China - and some 007 fans are furious about the nips and tucks Chinese censors have made to the movie.
Snow, superstars, and cinema. That combination can mean only one thing at this time of year: The Sundance Film Festival. Our movie reviewer, Kenneth Turan, is on the scene in Park City, Utah, as he is every year, to tell us about some of the movies at Sundance. Good morning.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Let's start with dramas. What really stands out for you, Ken?
Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne with a new invention for the lonely diner - a ramen bowl with a built-in iPhone dock. Eating the popular noodle dish normally requires two hands - one for chopsticks, the other for a spoon. Designers at a Taiwanese company noticed a guy trying to do that while juggling his cell phone. So they came up with a way to slurp it up while watching videos or reading emails hands free.
One flaw - no splash guard for the brothy dish. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers had a terrible NFC championship game. Sure, he ran for two touchdowns. And yes, his team came back to win and made it to the Super Bowl. But pro football officials noticed his socks were sagging. It was his second dress code violation of the season and they fined him $10,500. Imagine what your bank account would like if your mom could do that to you.
You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.