Our friends over at Planet Money produced a delightful podcast last Friday called "Who Killed Lard?" They finger a corporate perp: Proctor and Gamble's brilliant marketing campaign for the original Crisco, an alternative to lard that went on sale in 1911. "It's all vegetable! It's digestible!," it proclaimed.
The Internal Revenue Service is brining back an amnesty program for Americans who have stashed money in offshore accounts in order to dodge taxes. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced the program's renewal on Monday, saying the tax dodgers would have to pay back taxes and penalties but would not face any criminal charges.
Not Giving An Inch: You can expect to see lots of close contact in Monday's BCS national title game. Here, Eric Reid of the LSU Tigers defends against Michael Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The consensus among college football's fans and analysts seems to be that tonight's BCS championship game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 LSU will be a defensive struggle, similar to the touchdown-free game the two teams played on Nov. 5, when LSU won in overtime, 9-6.
"These are the two top defenses in the country," NPR's Tom Goldman told David Greene on today's Morning Edition. "Alabama allows under 9 points a game; LSU is right behind, allowing only 10.5 points a game."
No, it's not quite going down. But health care spending in 2010 rose at the second-slowest rate in the last half-century.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that total health spending in the U.S. increased by 3.9 percent in 2010, just a notch above the slowest rate since the government started keeping track — 3.8 percent in 2009.
Overall, the U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, or $8,402 per person. That's 17.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman campaigns from the counter at the Bean Towne Coffee House & Cafe in Hampstead, N.H., on Jan. 8. Polls show Huntsman gaining on front-runner Mitt Romney ahead of Tuesday's primary.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman campaigns at a house party in Bedford, N.H. on Jan. 8.
Of the six major Republican candidates still in the race, five have either led or flirted with leading the polls. The exception is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Huntsman bypassed Iowa's Jan. 3 primary in order to focus on the competition in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday.
NPR's Robert Siegel caught up with Huntsman on Sunday at the Bean Towne Coffee House & Cafe in Hampstead, N.H.
Credit Lisa Tanner / Courtesy Women Innovate Mobile
The founders of startup accelerator Women Innovate Mobile (clockwise from top right: Deborah Jackson, Kelly Hoey and Veronika Sonsev) aim to boost the profile of tech companies founded by women.
More often than not, when we hear about hot tech companies, all the founders are male (see: Google, Facebook, Twitter and Zynga). But in an effort to change that profile, a new funding source is targeting companies founded by women.
Kelly Hoey thinks a lot of investors may be missing some good business opportunities because they aren't coming from someone who looks like the next Mark Zuckerberg.
"You're looking for a white guy in a hoodie, and that next visionary is ... going to be wearing a skirt and a great pair of shoes," she says. "They're going to look different."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened the first leg of a Latin American tour in Venezuela, today. The visit with President Hugo Chávez came in middle of rising tensions between Iran and the United States. The tensions intensified even further, today, after Iran announced it had sentenced a former U.S. Marine to death.
Revenue earned from the Mint's sale of gold and silver coins.
All the instability in the global economy this year has been good for the United States Mint. People in search of a safe place to put their money have been buying gold and silver coins in record numbers.
"Precious metal coins were up $800 million dollars last year and that's approximately thirty some percent," says Richard Peterson, deputy director of the Mint.
According the the Mint's annual report, they sold 45.2 million ounces of gold and silver coins in 2011.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney talks to the press after speaking at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, N.H., on Jan. 9.
As Mount Washington calmly reigns over much of New Hampshire's geography, Mount Romney smiles down on the last day before the state holds the nation's first presidential primary.
The front-running former governor of neighboring Massachusetts spent the day getting chummy with crowds in Nashua and Hudson and Bedford, reciting his favorite lines from "America the Beautiful" and engaging in other behaviors just as risky. He came out in favor of free enterprise and job creation and got really cross with the Chinese for currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves as he is welcomed by Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua (at right, wearing glasses and tie) at the airport in Caracas on Sunday. Ahmadinejad is on a five-day tour aimed at shoring up ties in Latin America.
Isolated by the West because of Iran's nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is turning to close allies in the Americas for diplomatic support.
He kicked off his four-nation tour of Latin America on Monday in Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, accuses the U.S. of trying to dominate the world. Ahmadinejad's next stops are Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador — all sharply critical of Washington's foreign policy.
A customer walks out of a Walgreens store in New York City.
To life's many small irritations, you might add filling prescriptions.
Starting this year, many Americans may be surprised to find that their local Walgreens pharmacy is no longer in their network. That's because of a contract dispute between the nation's largest drugstore chain and a company that manages prescriptions for health insurance companies.
World Cafe's 20th-anniversary celebration featured two intimate conversations with Cash. The show includes her emotional, candid response to the loss of her famous father, as well as performances of songs from records she made in his memory.
A Jewish settler wears his prayer shawl as he passes one of the structures demolished at the unauthorized Jewish settlement outpost in Ramat Migron, in the West Bank, on Sept. 5, 2011. Israel's radical Hilltop Youth have built numerous such outposts in recent years.
Credit Jim Hollander / EPA/Landov
Jewish settlers, known as the Hilltop Youth, gather at an outpost at Itamar in the West Bank on Sept. 8, 2011. The youths were standing watch to see if Israeli security forces were coming to demolish the outpost.
Israel's Hilltop Youth movement has been active for years, establishing Jewish settlement outposts on barren West Bank hills without bothering to get permission from the Israeli government.
The Hilltop Youth occasionally received attention, usually when they damaged Palestinian property in the West Bank. But now they are in the headlines after a group of Hilltop Youth raided an Israeli military base.
A little sugar can relieve preemies' pain in intensive care.
Premature babies have to endure to a lot of painful medical procedures, from blood draws to throat suctioning. Something as simple as a few drops of sugar water can ease that pain, but many preemies don't get that help. And adding the comfort of touch helps, too.
We're taking a break from the serious news for a bit of baby news: Hip-hop has a new princess. Blue Ivy Carter, the daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles, who are arguably the genre's king and queen.
Now, that was one of the worst kept secrets, since friends and family were tweeting about the birth over the weekend. But, as the AP reports, the couple's reps "repeatedly declined requests for comment."