Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.
In this, the first week of December, the Obama administration says it has met its self-imposed deadline of fixing the troubled healthcare.gov web site. And it says people should be able to sign up for health insurance. So, is it fixed and when will we know for sure?
NPR's business news starts with fracking leftovers.
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INSKEEP: Fracking, I said fracking. The controversial process used to extract natural gas produces millions of gallons of wastewater. Now to cut costs, energy companies want to transport that leftover water on barges. But, the U.S. Coast Guard has concerns.
The wreckage of a Metro-North commuter train, which derailed Sunday just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in Bronx, N.Y., lies on its side. The train was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River.
Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.
Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."
One of the largest obstacles in getting people to bike to work is their fear of getting hit by a car. A new grass-roots project in Los Angeles is helping folks navigate the ins and outs of traffic.
It's 6:45 a.m. and Barbara Insua is busy packing a bag. She will ride seven miles from her home in Pasadena to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, where she works as a graphic designer. She only started doing this ride a few months ago.
"It was kind of daunting," she says, "because seven miles to the lab — I didn't know how to do it. I'm not an avid cyclist."
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.
Now to a mode of transportation better suited to the budget of a public radio reporter - bicycling. If you think cyclists are not among the toughest athletes, well, you haven't been to Pittsburgh. The city has some brutal hills which actually attract a certain breed of cyclists. As Liz Reid from member station WESA reports, cyclists have been attacking those hills for 30 years in an event called the Dirty Dozen.
THRESHOLD CHOIR: (Singing) Can I stand here for you? May I use my heart as a gift?
ARUN RATH, HOST:
Those are the voices of the Northern California Threshold Choir, an a cappella group that brings music to a very specific audience. Kate Munger founded the Threshold Choir, and she explains what the organization does.
KATE MUNGER: Threshold Choir is a group of singers that go, when invited, to bedsides of people who are dying.
Actor Paul Walker has died. He was best known for his role in the "Fast & Furious" movie series. The 40-year-old actor was a passenger in a car that crashed in North Los Angeles. Walker was working on the seventh installment of the "Fast & Furious" series. And as NPR's Nathan Rott reports, he was also working on a life post-acting.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: The Paul Walker that you probably know was this one...
With the last of the autumn leaves clinging to their branches, botanical gardens and even cemeteries are wonderful places to visit. NPR's Noah Adams has a favorite - cemetery, that is - and he takes us there as part of our Wingin' It series, finding places that might surprise you. Here's Noah's postcard from Dayton, Ohio.
American pioneers saw the endless stretches of grassland of the Great Plains as a place to produce grain and beef for a growing country. But one casualty was the native prairie ecosystem and animals that thrived only there.
Some biologists are trying to save the prairies and they've picked a hero to help them: the black-footed ferret. In trying to save this long skinny predator with a raccoon-like mask, the biologists believe they have a chance to right a wrong that nearly wiped a species off the planet.