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."
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."
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.
Rick Santorum has been upsetting elections from the beginning.
He was only 32 years old when he toppled a seven-term incumbent in a majority Democratic district in western Pennsylvania.
Just four years later, Santorum rode the Republican wave of 1994 into the Senate representing Pennsylvania. And from the beginning, Santorum has stood for unwavering social conservatism, especially on the issue of abortion.
"Give the baby a chance to live," said Santorum while delivering a speech on the Senate floor in 1997.
A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.
The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.
French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.
Photographer Eve Arnold died Wednesday, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Arnold is best known for her intimate portraits of both the rich and famous — including Marilyn Monroe, Malcolm X and Joan Crawford — and of the down and out.
As Robert Capa, one of the founders of the agency Magnum Photos, once put it: Arnold's work "falls metaphorically between Marlene Dietrich's legs and the bitter lives of migratory potato pickers."
If you direct your browser to TeaParty.com, you will not find a site devoted to the political movement of the same name. What you will find is the Internet home of The Tea Party, a Canadian rock band that has owned the domain name since the early '90s.
Now, with seemingly no shortage of would-be buyers, the band is hoping to cash in.
Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 4:57 pm
Facing the prospect of a recall election in June, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to Washington on Thursday to talk up the merits of the anti-union legislation that has landed him in hot water — and to raise funds to save his job.
Walker said he's certain his opponents will gather the 540,000 signatures they need in time for the Jan. 17 deadline, setting up a recall election in June.
How much lead does it take to ruin a brain? Not much, according to a new standard proposed for lead poisoning in children.
The amount of lead in a child's blood that determines dangerous lead exposure should be cut in half, from the current standard of 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood to 5 micrograms for ages 5 and below, a federal advisory committee said Wednesday.
That in itself would be a big step, and would double the number of young children in the United States officially considered to have lead poisoning to almost 500,000.
Newt Gingrich may have placed fourth in Iowa, but he has come out swinging in New Hampshire. Thursday, he took on Mitt Romney, had even harsher words for President Obama — and toned it down a bit on Rick Santorum.
For lovers of Camembert, the downy white rind is the tart bite that balances out the fat-laden, oozing, pungent layer inside.
For a group of Swiss bioengineers, that moldy rind is one of nature's greatest living surfaces, doing double duty as a shield and a cleaner. The rind allows the cheese's deep flavor and aroma to mature, but also defends it against microorganisms that could spoil it. The cheese repays the fungi on the rind by supplying it with nutrients.
Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 2:11 pm
In its February issue, Vanity Fair has a long report on Jon Corzine, the former head of Goldman Sachs and former Democratic governor of New Jersey. Corzine has been in the news lately for his role in MF Global, which last year collapsed spectacularly and left $1.2 billion in client money missing.
The piece talks to friends and former associates of Corzine and paints a picture of a CEO who took great risks and micromanaged.
As the trial of Egypt's former dictator continued in Cairo, today, one of the prosecutors said Hosni Mubarak should face the death penalty for his role in the killing of protesters during the uprising that toppled his regime, last year.
"Retribution is the solution," Mustafa Khater said on the final day of the prosecution's opening statements. "Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants."
When you visit a doctor and he starts - he or she - starts jotting down notes in your records, do you want to know what they're writing? Over 90 percent of patients do, according to one recent study. But doctors are not as keen on the idea. Many physicians note insights and comments they may not have shared with patients. They report concern that revealing this information could leave a patient confused or frightened.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. This week ushered in the new year, of course, and with it came a raft of new laws from Florida to California. States passed almost 40,000 laws last year. Many of them took effect this week; a host of others will roll out in the coming months.
After more than 20 years as a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pulitzer Prize-winner Cynthia Tucker left to become a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She edited the editorial page for the paper for eight years until she was reassigned as a political columnist.