1:46am

Thu July 5, 2012
Business

Business News

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the back story on VIP loans.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: A former mortgage company, Countrywide, used a VIP loan program to buy influence with members of Congress, staffers and other officials, including a number at Fannie Mae, the government backed mortgage giant central to Countrywide's business. That the bottom line of a new report out today from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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12:15am

Thu July 5, 2012
Southword

Meet Al Black: Florida's Prison Painter

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Al Black is one of Florida's 26 officially recognized "Highwaymen" — a loosely affiliated group of artists who began painting in the 1960s, some of whom are still at it today.
Courtesy of Gary Monroe

In the 1960s, Al Black could be found cruising up and down Route 1 in his blue-and-white Ford Galaxy — with a trunk full of wet landscape paintings.

At the time, he was a salesman who could snatch your breath away and sell it back to you. As artist Mary Ann Carroll puts it, he could "sell a jacket to a mosquito in summer."

"A salesman is a con-man," Black readily admits himself today. He's a storyteller. And does he have stories to tell.

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12:13am

Thu July 5, 2012
Dead Stop

Beyond The Music In St. Louis Cemetery No. 2

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Ernie K-Doe poses outside his Mother-In-Law Lounge during Jazz Fest in New Orleans in 2001. He died a few months later and was buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.
Pat Jolly AP

There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground.

Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead. That's how families stay together — in a desiccated jumble of grandpas, grandmas, siblings and cousins.

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12:13am

Thu July 5, 2012
Revolutionary Road Trip

In Libya's Shifting Sands, Kids Try To Find Their Way

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Three students outside the Science College of Benghazi University. They say they expect to have opportunities in Libya that would not have been possible when Moammar Gadhafi was in power.
John W. Poole NPR

In a stretch of sandy wasteland, Hisham Sadowi, 12, smacks a tee shot across a makeshift golf course in Benghazi, Libya.

On this course with no grass, local rules allowed him to place the ball on a little square of artificial turf he carries around.

Hisham dreams of becoming a professional golfer, and he stops briefly to speak to us. We asked him who his favorite golfer is.

"Tiger Woods," he exclaims.

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12:09am

Thu July 5, 2012
Around the Nation

New Orleans Struggles With Murder Rate, And Trust

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Sgt. Miro Brekalo talks with residents in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood, as other officers walk their beat. Their goal isn't only to stop crime; it's also to connect with citizens who are often reluctant to report crimes.
Debbie Elliott NPR

New Orleans now has the highest per capita murder rate in the country. Most of the killings are concentrated in the city's poorest neighborhoods — places like Central City, just a few blocks north of the stately mansions that line St. Charles Avenue.

The city's mayor is launching a new program aimed at cracking what he describes as a deeply rooted culture of violence. But victims complain that a failed criminal justice system has left the streets to vigilante justice, with innocent residents caught in the crossfire.

A Wounded Neighborhood

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12:07am

Thu July 5, 2012
Around the Nation

'Black Eden,' The Town That Segregation Built

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

The Idlewild Club House, Idlewild, Mich., September 1938.
Robert Abbott Sengstacke Getty Images

Sometimes history is made in the most unlikely of places.

This summer, the community of Idlewild, Mich., once known as America's "Black Eden," is celebrating its centennial — and its place in American history.

Located about 30 miles east of the larger resort city of Ludington, tucked away in the woods of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, the town was once a go-to spot for summer vacations. It was a resort unlike any other in the United States, however, and was, in essence, the town that segregation built.

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12:06am

Thu July 5, 2012
Planet Money

The Farmer And The Commerce Clause

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court, 70 years after rejecting Roscoe Filburn's bid to limit the federal government's power to regulate commerce.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Last week's Supreme Court ruling on the health care law might have made Roscoe Filburn a little happier.

Filburn was an Ohio dairy farmer who had a beef with the federal government, one he took to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1942. He lost.

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12:05am

Thu July 5, 2012
Politics

Ohio Senator Vulnerable For Health Law Support

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks in Columbus, Ohio, in May. Brown, who is up for re-election this year, says he wakes up every day "trying to figure out how to create jobs."
Mark Duncan AP

President Obama hits the campaign trail Thursday with a bus tour in Ohio. The state is a crucial battleground not only for the presidential election, but also because it could decide whether Democrats keep control of the Senate.

Up for re-election there is Democrat Sherrod Brown, who is being challenged by the state's Republican treasurer, Josh Mandel. Mandel is highlighting Brown's staunch support of the new health care law — with a big assist from outside groups.

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1:03pm

Wed July 4, 2012
Business

Fear Of Fires Fizzles Some July Fourth Fireworks Fun

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 1:59 pm

Susan Underwood prices fireworks, while her husband Michael (left) and Clint Simmons pace themselves with a snack and TV last month at their tent along Highway 416 in Sevier County, Tenn. Over in Middle Tennessee, the drought has led city leaders to ban fireworks this year.
Curt Habraken AP

Freddie Bowers and his dad, Larry, have sold fireworks in LaVergne, Tenn., for a lifetime. But, the sparklers are off limits this year since the region has had the hottest streak in recorded history and several small fires in the area have been blamed on fireworks.

For people in the fireworks business, Christmas usually comes in July. Only this year, three-quarters of the country are experiencing some level of drought and from the Mountain West to the Southeast, cities are temporarily banning fireworks.

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12:37pm

Wed July 4, 2012
Business

Ex-CEO: Barclays Isn't The Only Bank At Fault

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 2:35 pm

Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond leaves Parliament amid a crowd of reporters in London on Wednesday. Diamond, who resigned Tuesday, was questioned about a growing interest-rate manipulation scandal.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

The fallen leader of Barclays Bank got on the hot seat before members of the British Parliament on Wednesday. Robert Diamond, an American, resigned Tuesday as CEO of the bank — the latest executive to lose his job over an interest-rate manipulation scandal.

The scandal has not only consumed Barclays, it also threatens to engulf other international banks — and high-ranking government officials, too.

Diamond started his career at Barclays on Independence Day, exactly 16 years ago. On Wednesday in London, he set off some fireworks all his own.

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