Donate today and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the American Public Media Board.
KAI RYSSDAL: Most of what we get is e-mails, not actual letters. But we do get a tremendous amount of spam, too. Much like your mailbox at home. How often do you find yourself sifting through the mail, trying to separate the letter from grandma from all the credit card and loan offers?
We did a story this month about a new way of lending that’s giving banks a run for their money. It’s a website called prosper.com. Borrowers can post their profile and how much they need. Lenders can bid on the amount they want to loan. It sounds innovative enough. But dangerous, too, says Judy Tyrer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
JUDY TYRER: I was intrigued with the story about prosper.com. But it rapidly turned from a fun idea to outrage. They actually expected me to send my social security number and my bank account information. All I could think of was identity theft, and they took how much out of my account and then flew to the Bahamas?
Everybody likes a day off now and then. But for observant orthodox Jews, a day of rest means just that. Rest. No TV, no toaster oven. Nothing remotely technological during the Sabbath. Last Friday, we aired a story on some nifty devices designed to work around some of the restrictions that come with observing the religious ritual. Steve Klein in Oak Park, Michigan, says he liked the piece, but wonders why we picked such a bad day to run it
STEVE KLEIN: You scheduled a story about Jewish Sabbath observers to run on the Jewish Sabbath! The one night during the week when we Sabbath-observant orthodox Jews won’t be listening to the radio. I know I can listen to it on a later date through your website, but I can’t help but think that the story would have been more appropriate to run on some day other than a Friday.
Point taken, Mr. Klein, but here’s another option: You could podcast us, too. Set yourself up with an automatic update and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger.
We’re hearing reports about global warming practically every day. Part of that discussion’s been about alternative energy as one way to fight climate change. Earlier this month, commentator Robert Reich proposed a temporary tax on big oil companies to pay for that research. Heidi Novak from Valley City in Ohio says that’s a pretty good idea.
HEIDI NOVAK: I applaud Mr. Reich’s suggestion to impose a temporary windfall profits tax on oil companies to fund research in alternative energy sources. Perhaps such a tax would also put an end to the wildly fluctuating energy prices that have inhibited growth in other sectors of the U.S. economy.
And finally, this clarification on another climate story from a couple of weeks ago. We told you about the American Enterprise Institute, offering $10,000 to scientists willing to critiqe a big United Nations report on global warming. I said AEI is funded by ExxonMobil. It is, but it’s also funded by plenty of other companies. And we should have called Exxon for their comment.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
Don’t miss this special