For those of us who grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., there are few figures that loom larger than Zozobra. I mean that literally, as much as figuratively: The 50-foot-tall marionette is as familiar as Santa Claus — only, instead of stealing away with cookies and milk, Zozobra ends its holiday each year by being ritualistically burned to death before a crowd of tens of thousands of screaming people.

'Letters from Iraq' told through music

Jun 14, 2017

We're excited to share a new collaboration today. We're calling it "FutureFolk." The series is in partnership with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

To help kick things off, we turn to Rahim AlHaj, an Iraqi-American composer and oud player. He has a new album out called "Letters from Iraq."

AlHaj lives in New Mexico now, but the songs on the album are inspired by actual letters sent by people in Iraq.

All is not gloomy in retail sales

Jun 14, 2017

There are new numbers out today that show just how much we spent on retail last month. And it was not so great. Retail sales were down 0.3 percent, which is the biggest monthly decline in more than a year. Department stores in particular have been struggling, but we wondered if there are any silver linings in retail. Fast fashion and discount stores are among those seeing a bit of sunshine.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The bond market takes interest rate hike in stride

Jun 14, 2017

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates about a quarter percent today, but yields on 10-year Treasury notes have been trading just around their 2017 lows — about 2.21 percent. That's the interest rate paid to the borrower of these notes. Yields rise when traders expect inflation to increase, and, therefore, interest rates climb. So what exactly is the bond market saying?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

A half-dozen Michigan state officials now face criminal charges for their role in the Flint water crisis. The state cut subsidies for Flint water in March, leaving residents to pay for their water at one of the highest rates in the country. Though the city’s water now meets federal quality standards for lead and copper, the water system still needs an expensive overhaul that includes replacing about 20,000 pipes that connect homes to drinking water.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Inside the booming black market for bourbon

Jun 14, 2017
Adam Allington

Bourbon, America’s only “native spirit,” has been riding a wave of popularity like it hasn’t seen in 50 years, driven by a combination of savvy marketing and a resurgence of cocktail culture.

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry

Television isn't just on TV anymore. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube are all creating original shows available on the digital device of your choice. We're watching shows in more ways than ever. Kathleen Grace used to run the YouTube space in LA. Now she's the CEO of New Form Digital, one of the studios that creates for different online platforms. She talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about the new online TV trend and the struggles of making a profit with an internet-based format.

Jana Kasperkevic

On Sunday, 23 percent of Puerto Rico’s eligible citizens went to the polls, and 97 percent of them voted to make Puerto Rico America’s 51st state. That’s about half a million people. The vote was nonbinding, and because of the low turnout, it might not be enough to persuade Congress to convert Puerto Rico from a commonwealth to a state.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has undergone surgery and will need further operations, after being shot by a man who opened fire with a rifle on an early morning baseball practice for Republican members of Congress in Alexandria, Va. Scalise was the most seriously injured of four victims of the shootings.

Is competition the solution to high drug prices?

Jun 14, 2017
D Gorenstein

When it comes to prescription drugs, even some drugmakers agree the cost needs to be reined in.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week unanimously ruled in support of a new class of generic drugs that some argue will inject more competition into the market. The decision coincides with several meetings on the subject of drug pricing — the Senate met on the topic yesterday, while the American Chamber of Commerce will discuss prices today.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, fiercely maintaining he did nothing wrong in meeting twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during President Trump's 2016 campaign and also infuriating Democrats by refusing to detail any conversations he has had with the president.

Macy’s, like so many other department giants, is reeling from falling sales. Dozens of it stores have shut down as it loses foot traffic to online competition. To reboot itself, Macy’s says it has a new strategy: It plans to offer more exclusive lines.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

06/14/2017: About 200 Democrats have decided to sue Trump

Jun 14, 2017

Democrats are suing President Trump for allegedly violating the constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits presidents from taking foreign gifts without permission from Congress. On today's show, we'll look at why they think they have the standing to sue, and other lawsuits that have been filed against Trump over this issue. Afterwards, we'll examine how Macy's is trying to ramp up sales amid the country's retail crisis, and then talk about Arizona's planned partnership with Mexico to bolster its manufacturing industry.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, officials said.

A congressional aide said Scalise was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said several other people also were hit, including two law enforcement officers.

Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as "a hip wound.''

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., said Scalise was standing on second base when he was shot.

JaeRan Kim

The Federal Reserve announced this morning it's raising interest rates by a quarter of a percent. It's the third hike in six months. Higher interest rates mean things are improving, right? Not so fast. 

“For the economy, this is not a bad thing. For consumers with balances, it’s not the best thing," said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub.

She said Americans now have more than a trillion dollars in credit card debt — debt that’s getting more expensive. 

Carrie Jung

Officials in Arizona have big dreams about turning the region into a manufacturing hub. Their sales pitch to do that? Lots of cheap land, nearby international ports and a budding partnership with supply chains in Sonora, Mexico. But in today’s economic and political climate, turning this dream into a reality is taking some creative solutions.

In the manufacturing world, the buzzword for the relationship that Arizona and Sonora are creating is known as a “mega-region." And one of the first companies to take advantage of it here was electric carmaker Lucid Motors.

Mitchell Hartman

At graduation day for Franklin High, a big urban high school in Portland, Oregon, newly minted graduates milled around in their maroon caps and gowns after the ceremony, hugging friends and posing for family photos.

For 18-year-old Jack Morgan, thoughts were also turning to what comes next this summer: “Work — video, hopefully video production,” said Morgan. He didn’t have a job lined up yet, but was “absolutely confident” he would land one.

06/14/2017: The case of the missing CEO

Jun 14, 2017

The head of the high-profile Chinese company Anbang is no longer running it — and now the public doesn't seem to know where he is. Some speculate that CEO Wu Xiaohui has been detained by anti-corruption investigators. We'll chat with the BBC's Stephen McDonell about what could have happened to him, and learn more about his company's background. Next, we'll discuss the resignation of an Uber board member who made a sexist remark during an all-staff meeting about sexism and harassment, and then take a look at how teens are faring in the summer job market.


Uber has released an external report on its workplace, an environment that some have called abusive. We'll recap the changes that the report proposes, which include the recommendation that HR keep track of complaints and employee data. Afterwards, we'll chat with Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos about how transparent celebrities have to be about ads on their Instagram accounts. And finally, we'll talk with Mozilla's chief marketing officer, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, about the role of ethics and corporate responsibility in the business world.  

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday that any suggestion he colluded with Russia during last year's U.S. presidential campaign was an "appalling and detestable lie."

Sessions spent more than 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included several testy exchanges with Democratic senators who accused him of obstructing their investigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 2:30pm ET today, as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Sessions is expected to take questions about his recusal from the Russia investigation, his own meetings with Russian officials, and what if anything he knew about a private Oval Office meeting between President Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey.

Russia roiled by protests against Putin and corruption

Jun 13, 2017

On Monday, thousands joined protests in cities across the length of Russia — from Vladivostok on the Pacific coast to St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea, and from Murmansk in the Arctic north to the Olympic city of Sochi in the south.

Citizens were protesting against Vladimir Putin’s government and its corruption. 

In Moscow, the protests turned violent, with police using tear gas to try to disperse the demonstrators. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

Just after President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted his displeasure. Now, the blue-blood bank is going green in another way with a big move into wind and solar energy. Not just buying it, but pairing other buyers and sellers in the emerging market of renewable power. Goldman has inked a wind power deal to help run all its buildings and data centers on 100 percent renewable energy eventually.

Pink boxes: the unsung icon of LA's doughnut scene

Jun 13, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst

For all the things written and said about Los Angeles, you may not know that La La Land is also kind of a doughnut town. If you count them on Yelp, there are more doughnut shops in LA County and there are in New York City or in Chicago. But it's not just the numbers that make the LA doughnut scene special.

Kai Ryssdal

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions was testifying today at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, Bloomberg was busy publishing its own investigation into the affair. The piece, co-written by Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson, reports that the Russian intrusion was far more widespread than initially thought, extending to 39 states.

Why the health reform bill is also a tax bill

Jun 13, 2017

Behind closed doors, Republican senators are pushing to get their health care bill written, with a July 4 goal for completion. While they’re at it, they may be trying to get a smidge of tax reform done at the same time. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Laura Benshoff

Each year, farms in and around a place called Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, produce more than half of all mushrooms grown in the United States. The town calls itself the mushroom capital of the world and drops a glowing mushroom cap on New Year's Eve.

But all those baby portobellos and shiitakes are picked by hand and almost entirely by immigrants — many of them undocumented — from Mexico and Guatemala.

Mushroom farm owners, like Chris Alonzo, say fears of immigration enforcement under President Trump may already be hitting their bottom line.

Who in their right mind approved this ad?

Jun 13, 2017
Jana Kasperkevic

This is just one of the stories from our "I've Always Wondered" series, where we tackle all of your questions about the world of business, no matter how big or small. Ever wondered if recycling is worth it? Or how store brands stack up against name brands?  What do you wonder?

The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

Yahoo and AOL will form Oath, a new company, under Verizon

Jun 13, 2017

Verizon is expected to close on its $4.4 billion acquisition of Yahoo today after nearly a year of negotiations. Verizon will combine Yahoo with its property AOL to create Oath, the largest digital media company in the United States, with more visitors than Google. Will Oath have a chance to compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.