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Make Me Smart

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Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams make today make sense. Along with our supersmart listeners, we break down happenings in tech, the economy and culture. Every Tuesday we bring on a guest to dive deeper into one important topic. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

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United States

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Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams make today make sense. Along with our supersmart listeners, we break down happenings in tech, the economy and culture. Every Tuesday we bring on a guest to dive deeper into one important topic. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Biden doubling down on tariffs

5/24/2024
More tariffs from the Joe Biden administration on Chinese goods are on the way, and he gave his blessing to some Trump-era tariffs. We’ll break it down. Plus, why a story about a local public library becoming an adults-only space may be a warning of things to come. Later, we’ll weigh in on Chuck E. Cheese’s animatronic band, whales sinking yachts and “quiet vacationing” during a round of Half Full / Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Biden Extends Tariff Exemptions on Some Imports From China”“Donnelly Public Library announces it will become adults-only library, cites Idaho Legislature’s library bill”“Employers can offer a new benefit: Matching student loan payments with 401(k) contributions”“After Outcry, Chuck E. Cheese Says It Will Keep More Animatronic Bands”“The Mad Scientist and the Killer Whales”“The restaurant reservation resale game is on the rise in New York City”“Some younger workers are ‘quiet vacationing’ rather than using PTO” Time is running out! Donate today to help us reach our fundraising goal and support public service journalism for all: support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

Duration:00:25:34

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How the Palestinian financial system is tied up in Israel

5/23/2024
After Israel threatened to cut ties between Israeli and Palestinian banks, Treasury Secretary Yellen warned it could worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and create economic instability in the West Bank. We’ll also explain one reason why U.S. military spending is so high, get updates on the AI economy’s hot shot, Nvidia, and the U.S. government’s battle against Big Ticket. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Yellen Warns Israel Against Cutting off Palestinian Banks”“Yellen concerned about Israel’s threats to cut off Palestinian banks”“VIRAL MOMENT: Michael Waltz Confronts Air Force Officials With Staggeringly Expensive Components”“Pentagon falling victim to price gouging by military contractors”“New Bipartisan Bill Allows Military Contractors To Fleece Taxpayers”“Nvidia dominates in AI, but others are trying to chip away”“US sues to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation in a groundbreaking monopoly lawsuit” Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks and play a round of Half Full/Ha

Duration:00:11:36

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Private equity, endless shrimp and Red Lobster’s decline

5/22/2024
Red Lobster, the popular seafood chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week after closing dozens of locations. We’ll get into the company’s yearslong troubles and why its unlimited shrimp deal isn’t entirely responsible for the chain’s downfall. Then, we’ll discuss the challenges of battling misinformation in today’s fractured media landscape. Plus, WNBA players are slaying designer looks and defying stereotypes of women in sports. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Tales From the Trenches of Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp.”“Why Red Lobster Filed for Bankruptcy: It Wasn’t the Endless Shrimp”“As Red Lobster files for bankruptcy, changing tastes take a toll on its casual-dining competitors”“Majority of Americans wrongly believe US is in recession – and most blame Biden”“How Arizona is preparing for AI-powered election misinformation”“The WNBA Has Teamed Up With High Fashion. It’s a Slam Dunk”“General election latest: Rishi Sunak announces 4 July vote in Downing Street statement”Video of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing general election We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:16:17

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Neoliberalism’s sleight of hand

5/21/2024
Over the last 50 years, an ideology known as neoliberalism has transformed the American economy — for better or worse. The concept is often associated with Ronald Reagan, free markets and deregulation. But legal scholar Mehrsa Baradaran says there’s a lot we get wrong about the origins of neoliberalism and its true impact on society. On the show today, Baradaran, author of the new book “The Quiet Coup: Neoliberalism and the Looting of America,” explains what neoliberal ideology promised to do for the American economy, what it actually did and why she believes that looking to the free market might, ironically, be the only way forward. Then, why actress Scarlett Johansson isn’t cool with OpenAI’s new chatbot. And we’ll hear the sounds of cicadas! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Opinion | The Neoliberal Looting of America”“What is neoliberalism? A political scientist explains the use and evolution of the term”“Opinion | Time is up for neoliberals”“Learning how to use AI could boost your pay by 25%, study finds”“Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI chatbot voice ‘eerily similar’ to hers” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:39:06

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Getting deep about deepfakes

5/20/2024
Today, we’re talking about the different efforts to invest in artificial intelligence. First up, guest host Lily Jamali breaks down Argentina’s endeavor to turn the country into an AI hub. Then, we’ll discuss the use of AI and deepfakes in India’s election in an attempt to reach voters. Later, we’ll smile about America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally taking a trip to space. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Argentina’s Milei Plans to Meet With Zuckerberg at End of May” from Bloomberg “Indian Voters Are Being Bombarded With Millions of Deepfakes. Political Candidates Approve” from WiredDecoding Democracy“Dirty Dancing, Back to the Future and E.T. Voted Best 80s Films: Poll Reveals Top 40 Movies From Big-Hair Days” from Good News Network“Ed Dwight Goes to Space 63 Years After Training as 1st Black Astronaut” from The New York Times“Can life exist on Europa, Jupiter’s moon?” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:20:29

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The price tag on friendship

5/17/2024
Prices have been rising for pretty much everything these days. And for some, it’s raising the cost of making friends as more folks turn to paid activities like art classes and happy hours to socialize. We’ll get into it. And, we’ll explain the latest scandal that’s left the Supreme Court in a bind. Plus, we’ll weigh in on Chuck E. Cheese animatronics and bridesmaid debt during a round of Half Full/Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Supreme Court Justice Alito’s House Displayed a ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag After Jan. 6” “Want to Make a New Friend? How Much Money Have You Got?” “Watching the NFL This Season? You’ll Need at Least 5 Streaming Services” “Chuck E. Cheese saying goodbye to animatronic band” “The Bridesmaids Going Into Debt for Their Friends’ Weddings” “Mindy Kaling Shares Her Simple but Important Advice for The Office Spinoff’s New Cast: ‘I Was Not Professional'” “The days of free refills may be over” “It was a classic rap beef. Then Drake revived Tupac with AI and Congress got involved” Donate $10 or more to get a Shrinkflation mini tote bag and do your part to keep our public service journalism going strong.

Duration:00:26:22

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Whaddya wanna know about key inflation measures?

5/16/2024
Inflation isn’t going anywhere, and listeners wanna know what’s up with two of the government’s inflation measures. Today, we’re answering some nerdy econ questions about the consumer price index and personal consumption expenditures price index. We’ll also answer questions about how the Supreme Court gets funded and the ins and outs of joint fundraising committees. Got a question you’d like us to answer? Email makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voice mail at 508-U-B-SMART! Here’s everything we talked about today: “How does the government measure inflation?” “Why the PCE is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation” “What is the Core PCE price index?” “Courts, Programs, and Other Items Funded by Congressional Appropriations for the Federal Judiciary” “US judiciary set to receive modest spending boost from Congress” “Judicial Compensation” “Inside the Rent Inflation Measure That Economics Nerds Love to Hate” “A guide to political money: campaigns, PACs, super PACs” “Joint fundraising: A campaign strategy to increase contributions” “Fundraising for Super PACs by federal candidates” Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks and play a round of Half Full/Half Empty.

Duration:00:16:47

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The great Bumble fumble

5/15/2024
Today, we’re diving into Bumble’s controversial anti-celibacy ad campaign, what it says about the state of dating apps and why some women are joining the anti-patriarchy movement. It’s time for a Kimberly rant. Plus, more updates on the Baltimore bridge collapse. Later, we’ll get queasy about cicadas and smiley about puppies! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Bumble’s billboard ads sneered at celibacy as an alternative to dating — and the company got stung” from The Associated Press“The Controversy Around Bumble’s Anti-Celibacy Billboards” from The Cut“Singles done with dating apps opt for speed-dating, matchmaking” from MarketplaceApology from Bumble on Instagram“What the 4B movement and boycotting men tells American women about where we are” from USA TodayPreliminary Report on Baltimore Bridge Collapse from The National Transportation Safety Board“It’s on (for now): Biden and Trump agree to 2 debates” from Politico“Cicadas Are Here in St. Louis, and Here’s What You Need to Know” from The Riverfront Times“We tried to pet all 200 breeds at the Westminster dog show” We want to hear your cicada stories! Share them with us at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:17:37

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From “Million Bazillion”: What are labor unions?

5/14/2024
With the big push to unionize auto workers in the South, it looks like it might be another hot labor summer. And if you and your little ones have questions, this episode is for you! Today, we’re bringing you a special episode from Marketplace’s kids podcast, “Million Bazillion,” all about the history of labor unions, collective bargaining and how unions changed the way we work. Plus, how many hours a day should a person work? Kids have thoughts! The next $50,000 in donations to Marketplace will be matched, thanks to a generous gift from Joe Rush in Florida. Give now and double your impact: https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

Duration:00:31:07

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The value of “third places”

5/13/2024
A “third place” is where people hang out when they’re not at home or work, and they’re becoming increasingly important for building community and connection. Guest host Reema Khrais explains why we’re hearing a lot more about them these days and shares the story behind her own third place. But first, we’ll discuss the knock-on effects of falling birth rates across the globe, why some cities are lowering speed limits, and why we don’t recommend throwing darts at stock listings. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Suddenly There Aren’t Enough Babies. The Whole World Is Alarmed.” from The Wall Street Journal“Why New York City is lowering its speed limit” from Vox“Why accidents aren’t accidental” from The Gray Area with Sean Illing “The Random Path to Stock-Market Riches” from The Wall Street Journal“If you want to belong, find a third place” We want to hear about your third place! Tell us about it at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. The next $50,000 in donations to Marketplace will be matched, thanks to a generous gift from Joe Rush in Florida. Give now and double your impact: https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

Duration:00:18:02

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What grocery aisle gossip can tell us about the economy

5/10/2024
The latest survey data from the University of Michigan shows consumer sentiment in the U.S. is at a six-month low. We’ll unpack the numbers and get into what they can and can’t tell us about what’s really going on in the economy. And, a plan to split up U.S. Cellular between T-Mobile and Verizon is in the works. It’s part of a larger fiasco brewing at the Federal Communications Commission. Plus, we’ll play a round of Half Full / Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: Consumer Sentiment Index “T-Mobile, Verizon in Talks to Carve Up U.S. Cellular” “A solar storm could produce northern lights in US” “Apple is revamping Siri with generative AI to catch up with chatbot competitors, report says” “Millions more Americans travel to bird-watch. Texas businesses are cashing in.” “McDonald’s Will Offer a $5 Meal Deal to Lure Customers Back Into Stores” “Bluey Is Back! Disney Announces Collection of New ‘Minisodes’ Are Coming Soon” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. Plus, support our nonprofit newsroom today and pick up a fun thank-you gift like our new Shrinkflation mini tote bag or the fan favorite KaiPA pint glass!

Duration:00:29:59

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The lowdown on joint fundraising committees

5/9/2024
Joint fundraising committees allow aligned political campaigns to raise more money faster. We’ll break down how these operations work and how they’re affecting the cost of elections. Then, guest host Sabri Ben-Achour explains why China’s electric vehicle industry may not be at “overcapacity,” as U.S. and European officials have argued. Plus, artists’ fears summed up in one controversial iPad Pro commercial. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Joint fundraising: A campaign strategy to increase contributions” “U.S., Europe vexed by China’s ‘overcapacity’ of clean-energy goods” “OpenAI’s Brad Lightcap on new content tool, copyright claims and AI outlook” “OpenAI says it’s building a tool to let content creators ‘opt out’ of AI training” “Watch Apple Trash-Compact Human Culture” “Apple’s new iPad ad has struck a nerve online. Here’s why” Shrinkflation tote bags, mini pencils, maybe even some KaiPA glasses — check out our May fundraiser thank-you gifts and make your donation to support our newsroom today: https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

Duration:00:21:34

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A phantom debt menace

5/8/2024
Increasingly popular buy now, pay later services allow shoppers to split their purchases into smaller, recurring payments. We’ll get into why these loans are blurring economists’ understanding of today’s consumer debt landscape. We’ll also discuss President Joe Biden’s climate and infrastructure spending spree, and the knock-on effects of parents dying from drug overdoses. Plus, singer Tyla’s sandy Met Gala look, and forgotten 100-year-old love letters make us smile. Here’s everything we talked about today: “More than 320000 U.S. children lost a parent to drug overdose from 2011-2021” “Playbook: Biden’s race to Trump-proof his legacy” “Biden’s biggest challenge: How do you even spend $1.6 trillion?” “‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Has Americans Racking Up Phantom Debt” “Video: See moment Tyla is carried up Met Gala steps” “Tyla’s sand-covered Met Gala 2024 gown was chopped in half after the red carpet” “When to use buy now, pay later services” “Hidden love letters spark historical mystery in Baltimore” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:15:56

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The power of college endowments

5/7/2024
College endowment funds are at the center of student protester’s calls for their schools to divest from Israel. Charlie Eaton, a sociology professor at the University of California, Merced, and author of “Bankers in the Ivory Tower,” said the size of these funds have created a moral dilemma for the wealthiest universities. On the show today, Eaton explains how college endowments work, why most universities don’t disclose how those funds are invested, and how colleges could manage their endowments to better align with their values. Then, we’ll check-in on the youths. And, Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, the puppet, answer the Make Me Smart question. Plus, a tribute to Jasper. Here’s everything we talked about today: “University endowments show few signs of direct Israel, defense holdings” “If the divestment movement succeeds, will it have an economic impact?” “Gaza protests: Divestment from Israel becomes focus of student demands” “Students protest Gaza war: The history of divestment protests” “Top companies are on students’ divest list. But does it really work?” “Gen Z Sinks Deeper Into Debt” “Abortion bans drive away up to half of young talent, new CNBC/Generation Lab youth survey finds” “Businesses are speaking out against anti-LGBTQ laws” Want more “Make Me Smart” in your life? Sign up for our newsletter at marketplace.org/smarter.

Duration:00:30:23

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Private equity is coming for pet care

5/6/2024
Private equity plays a major role in lots of sectors across the U.S. economy, and now it’s getting into the veterinary business. Today, Kimberly discusses the rise of these big outside investors in pet care and the financial and emotional decisions we make in caring for our beloved pets. Plus, we bid Jasper goodbye. But first, Amy breaks down a pair of cases involving the popular housing site Redfin and what they mean for how homes are bought and sold. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Redfin to pay $9.25M to settle commission lawsuits” from Inman“Redfin settles commission lawsuits for $9.25 million”“When Buying a Home Is Treated as a National Security Threat”“Vets fret as private equity snaps up clinics, pet care companies”“Why Your Vet Bill Is So High”“Workday Has Become the Most-Hated Workplace, Business Software” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:16:24

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Europe’s new economic engines

5/3/2024
Southern European economies, including Greece, are growing faster than some of Europe’s longtime powerhouses, like Germany. We’ll get into how Greece pulled off an economic turnaround after the devastating 2012 financial crisis. And, Halle Berry’s shouts from the steps of the Capitol are calling attention to the need for more menopause research. Plus, we’ll play a round of Half Full / Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: “Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders” “Halle Berry shouts from the Capitol, ‘I’m in menopause’ as she seeks to end a stigma and win funding” “Dave & Buster’s to let adult customers bet on arcade games” “As work communication migrates to mobile devices, desk phones hang up for good” “Pop-up coworking events are uniting lonely workers” “The conspiracy theory behind Florida’s lab-grown meat ban” “Unfrosted Review: Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop-Tarts Comedy Is Painfully Stale” Want more “Make Me Smart” in your life? Sign up for our newsletter at marketplace.org/smarter.

Duration:00:20:27

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No “stag” no “flation”

5/2/2024
“Spotting tech-driven disinformation isn’t getting easier” Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks and play a round of Half Full/Half Empty. It’s time to rewind and revisit some of the big business stories of the week. First up, stagflation. Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell isn’t seeing signs of it, and neither is Kai Ryssdal. We’ll explain why. Plus, what Walmart’s decision to shut down all of its health clinics says about the U.S. health care system. Also, we’ll break down the latest efforts to restructure the American economy through the CHIPS Act. And, a singer’s plea to protect artists from AI-generated deepfakes. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Fed Holds Rates Steady, Noting Lack of Progress on Inflation” “GDP growth slowed to a 1.6% rate in the first quarter, well below expectations “Walmart to close its 51 health centers and virtual care service” “Walmart shuttering health units, including telehealth and 51 clinics” “Walmart Health Is Closing” “Breaking Ground: A visit to the “Silicon Desert” ”Senate Hearing on Digital Replicas and Artificial Intelligence Concerns” “FKA Twigs Reveals She Developed Her Own Deepfake in Congressional Testimony on AI Regulation With Warner Music CEO” “Spotting tech-driven disinformation isn’t getting easier” Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap! The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks and play a round of Half Full/Half Empty.

Duration:00:11:26

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The rising pressure on poll workers

5/1/2024
With the presidential election less than six months away, election workers are raising concerns about their safety. We’ll get into the rising threats to election offices and how that might affect staffing ahead of November. Also, how Tesla’s disbanding of its Supercharger team could impact the Biden’s administration push to expand electric vehicle use. Plus, how a pest control professional saved a baseball game from a swarm of bees. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Nearly Two-Thirds Of Election Officials Worry Politicians Will Interfere With Their Work: Poll” from HuffPost“Local Election Officials Survey” from the Brennan Center for Justice“They staffed the Jan. 6 committee. Threats still follow them” from Roll Call“Musk Undercuts Tesla Chargers That Biden Lauded as ‘a Big Deal’” from Bloomberg“Pest control ace clears Dodgers-Diamondbacks bee swarm, throws first pitch” We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:09:43

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The trade-offs of the trade deficit

4/30/2024
Today we’re talking about the trade deficit at the request of some of our curious listeners. Since the mid-’70s, the U.S. has persistently been importing more goods than it exports. Is that such a bad thing? We’ll hear from Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, about why the U.S. has a trade deficit, whether it’s a good or bad thing, and why a country’s overall trade deficit matters more than deficits with specific countries. Then, we’ll get into how online political donations are fueling election campaigns this year. Plus, the malleable idea of “old age” and the wonders of happy sheep in a solar field. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Trade deficits aren’t good or bad, just weird” “The U.S. Trade Deficit: How Much Does It Matter?” Historical U.S. Trade Deficits “Chinese Exports Are Threatening Biden’s Industrial Agenda” “Trump promised to rebalance trade in North America. The US trade deficit keeps climbing.” “How online donations are fueling the election” Polling in 2024 Opinion | “What Departing Lawmakers Think About Congress” “Young US adults reach key milestones later in life than in the past like marriage, full-time job, financial independence” Want more “Make Me Smart” in your life? Sigh up for our newsletter at marketplace.org/smarter.

Duration:00:28:29

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Biden’s regulation rush

4/29/2024
Nope. It’s not just your imagination. The Biden administration has been on a roll to finalize several regulations — from changes at nursing homes and updates to Title IX to health care protections for transgender people. Kimberly explains what’s really behind the mad dash. Also, Kai is back with a reminder: Don’t sleep on the foreign exchange market, folks! And we’ll smile about the tales of two cats. Here’s everything we talked about today: “Biden administration strengthens health care protections for LGBTQ+ Americans” from The 19th News“Congressional Review Act Threat Looms Over Biden Administration Rulemakings” from Inside Privacy“A Strong U.S. Dollar Weighs on the World”from The New York Times“Japan Intervenes After Yen Slides Against the Dollar” from The Wall Street Journal“Nebraska’s “Capitol Cat” brings paw-sitivity to politics” from USA Today“Stowaway Cat Gets From Utah to California in Amazon Returns Package” from The New York Times We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Duration:00:14:31