Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.
But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."
New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.
Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.
David Beck and Paul Cauthen were both playing music around San Marcos, Texas, when they recognized that it might be a good move to combine their talents and became Sons of Fathers. Actually, they originally went by the name Beck and Cauthen until another, more famous Beck took notice.
The sixth season of AMC's Mad Men, which premiered April 7, jumps forward in time a few months from where the fifth season concluded. The first episode of the season comes to a close on New Year's Day 1968. That date was designed to set the tone for the entire season.
That year, says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, is, "as far as I can tell, in the top two or three worst years in U.S. history."
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 1:50 pm
Will history judge George W. Bush more kindly than his contemporaries have?
The man himself seems fairly indifferent.
"I don't think he really cares much at all, to be honest with you," says Kevin Sullivan, who served as White House communications director during Bush's second term. "I think he cares very little about where his approval rating stands today, compared to 2005 or 2008."
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:48 pm
Tough economic times and growing poverty in much of Europe are reviving a humble tradition that began some one-hundred years ago in the Italian city of Naples. It's called caffè sospeso — "suspended coffee": A customer pays in advance for a person who cannot afford a cup of coffee.
The brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in India has caused public outcry there, and led to the arrest of two men. Host Michel Martin explores what the case says about how India handles sexual assault cases. She speaks with Anand Giridharadas, a columnist at The New York Times.
We're going to switch gears now and tell you about a competition that is really about to take off - pun intended. We're talking about the nation's largest rocketry tournament, the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
If you think that making a model rocket is kids' stuff, listen to this: Teams must build a rocket that can fly as close to 800 feet as possible in about 45 seconds. The rockets have to carry two raw eggs into the air and bring them back safely. The top-ranked teams will compete in the national competition on May 11th.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:15 pm
I have a recurring nightmare where I am performing CPR on a patient who turns out to be my husband.
Last Monday, my nightmare nearly came true.
It was 2:50 p.m., and the Massachusetts General Hospital ER was filled to capacity.
In the section where I was working, my patients were critically ill, with strokes, heart attacks and overwhelming infections. Even the hallways were packed with patients receiving emergency treatments.
A call over the loudspeakers announced that there had been two explosions. Many people were injured. That's all we knew.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 12:16 pm
Google has agreed to modify the way it displays search results in Europe as part of a deal to end a probe by the EU's antitrust body. But rivals Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle will first have to sign off on the changes, reports say.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 12:09 pm
A huge fire triggered by explosions aboard two fuel barges moored in Mobile, Ala., has been put out, but three people have been left with critical burns, The Associated Press reports. The blaze forced the evacuation of a nearby cruise ship.
Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said in a statement that the cause of the fires, which broke out Wednesday night on the east side of the Mobile River, had not been determined.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 11:31 pm
Update at 11:28 p.m. ET: Toll At 275
Authorities said early Friday that 275 bodies have been recovered from the site.
Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, head of the rescue operation, said 61 people had been rescued since Thursday afternoon, according to The Associated Press. More than 2,000 people have been rescued since the building's collapse on Wednesday.