Planet Money
9:01 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist

Money goes in. More money comes out.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:17 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.

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It's All Politics
9:01 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Rick Santorum: The Underdog With A Loud Bark

Rick Santorum receives a call at his campaign headquarters during his Senate re-election bid in 2006. The former senator was attempting to keep his Pennsylvania Senate seat, which he later lost to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is campaigning in New Hampshire after finishing a very close second in the Iowa caucuses. His success in the Hawkeye State was a surprise because Santorum was polling in the single digits there just a few weeks back.

For Santorum, surprising the political establishment is nothing new. Since he was first elected to Congress in 1990 — at 32 years old — Santorum has made a career out of being the underdog and usually winning.

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The Arab Spring: One Year Later
9:01 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

The Turkish Model: Can It Be Replicated?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) has been enthusiastically received by Arab Spring countries that look to Turkey as a potential model. Here, Erdogan hosts Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, in Istanbul, last month.
Mustafa Ozer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 8:09 am

In the Arab states that have ousted dictators and begun building new political and economic systems, many are looking to Turkey as an example of a modern, moderate Muslim state that works. Perhaps no country has seen its image in the Arab world soar as quickly as Turkey, a secular state that's run by a party with roots in political Islam. As part of our series on the Arab Spring and where it stands today, NPR's Peter Kenyon examines whether the "Turkish model" can be exported.

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All Songs Considered Blog
7:43 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Music To Make You Move: Help NPR Create The Ultimate Workout Mix

Are you ready for another set? Clearly, we're pros at mixing music with getting in shape.
May-Ying Lam NPR

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 8:49 am

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.

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StoryCorps
7:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

CEO Looks At A Veteran, Sees A Business Partner

Craig Williams (left) spoke with his business partner, Richard Bennett, at StoryCorps in Norristown, Pa.
StoryCorps

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."

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It's All Politics
3:25 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Five Days Before New Hampshire Primary, Confident Romney Ventures South

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop with college students Thursday in Concord, N.H.
Jim Cole Associated Press

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 3:53 pm

Most of the Republican presidential candidates are focused on New Hampshire, which holds its primary next Tuesday.

But while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began his day campaigning in New Hampshire, by the afternoon he was in South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21.

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Around the Nation
2:55 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Sinking Ship? Saving The Historic Kalakala Ferry

Not Dead Yet: On July 3, 1935, the Kalakala started daily ferry service between Seattle and Bremerton, Wash. Today, it sits unused in a nearby Tacoma dock.
Martin Kaste NPR

There's an old joke: The two happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.

That's certainly been true for the owners of the Kalakala, a historic art deco ferry that currently resides in the Puget Sound. Launched in 1935, the vessel's trials and tribulations have become the stuff of legend in Seattle.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

New Consumer Czar: 'This Is A Valid Appointment'

Richard Cordray, incoming head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stands offstage after President Obama spoke about the economy in Ohio on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Richard Cordray, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, defended his appointment in an interview with All Things Considered today.

"This is a valid appointment," he told NPR's Robert Siegel. "But, again, I'm not going to be distracted by the details of that. My job is to be the director of this consumer bureau, to look out for consumers across the country and I'm going to focus 100 percent on that job."

Robert asked if he was just going to "ignore whatever litigation might develop from that" and Cordray said, "that's correct."

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Animals
2:11 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Zoo Crafts Love Nest To Save Ozark's Salamanders

An adult Ozark hellbender is typically brown or green with black markings that help it blend in with its rocky river-bottom habitat.
Jeff Briggler Missouri Department of Conservation

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 3:27 pm

It's flat. It's slimy. And it hides under rocks on the river bottom. It's the Ozark hellbender, and at up to two feet in length, it's one of the world's largest salamanders.

But Ozark hellbenders are disappearing: Fewer than 600 are left in the rivers of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Scientists have been making a huge effort to get them to breed in captivity. And now, thanks to a major effort at the Saint Louis Zoo, 2012 could be the year of new hope for hellbenders.

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Planet Money
1:57 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

How A Computer Scientist Tried To Save Greece

Diomidis Spinellis used a mind map like this to find tax cheats.
Flickr user: MyThoughtsMindMaps

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 9:13 am

It's like a bad joke. Why did the Greek government borrow so much money?

Because it couldn't get its own citizens to pay taxes.

The Greek government estimates that one third of taxes owed never get paid. And apparently it was far easier to borrow money even at outrageous rates than to make Greeks pay what they owe.

So in 2009, the Greek finance ministry called in an unlikely hero: A methodical, computer science professor at Athens University, Diomidis Spinellis.

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