Weekly Wrap: "The Whole Map." : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders Laurel Wamsley (@laurelwamsley), reporter for NPR's breaking news blog The Two-Way, and NPR Business Reporter Alina Selyukh (@alinaselyukh) join Sam to talk about the week that was, from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to the fallout over the abuse of female gymnasts by Larry Nassar. Also a phone call to a listener in San Francisco, and a look at the relationship between President Trump and big tech. It's all capped off with the best things that happened to listeners all week. Email the show at samsanders@npr.org or tweet @NPRItsBeenAMin with your feedback. Follow Sam on Twitter @samsanders and producers Brent Baughman @brentbaughman and Anjuli Sastry @AnjuliSastry.

Weekly Wrap: "The Whole Map."

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/581215209/581215427" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Hey, a quick announcement. If you stick around to the end of the show, we will announce three winners of our Twitter ticket giveaway for the IT'S BEEN A MINUTE live show that's happening here in D.C. next month. If you still want to come, even if you didn't win a ticket through the raffle, there are still some tickets for sale. Go to nprpresents.org to get you one.

AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, reporter for NPR's breaking news blog The Two-Way, Laurel Wamsley, and NPR's tech and retail reporter, Alina Selyukh. All right. Let's start the show.


50 CENT: (Singing) I get money...

SANDERS: Got it right.

ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: That was amazing.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

SELYUKH: I've been waiting for this day.

SANDERS: She's very meticulous about getting the names right. And she's always proud when she does. Thanks, Betty.

LAUREL WAMSLEY, BYLINE: She's wonderful.

SANDERS: All right. Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. Each week, we start with a different song. But first, two great guests here in studio with me. Both are returning from vacation. And both are fighting some nasty coughs. So thank you for your service.

WAMSLEY: This will be great.

SANDERS: We're going to make it work. NPR news desk reporter, Laurel Wamsley. NPR tech and retail reporter, Alina Selyukh. Glad y'all are here. Where'd you guys go on vacation?

WAMSLEY: I was mostly in Mexico.

SANDERS: Where in Mexico?

WAMSLEY: I went to Mexico City...


WAMSLEY: ...And Oaxaca. And then I visited friends in Tucson, and we also crossed over the border into Nogales. So I got to see a border town.

SANDERS: Nice. So, Alina, where'd you go for your vacation?

SELYUKH: All of my vacations are always taken up by trips to visit my family in Russia.

SANDERS: Where in Russia?

SELYUKH: And - a town called Samara.


SELYUKH: It is southern part of the European part, which is how I usually describe it.

WAMSLEY: All right.

SELYUKH: It was warmer there than here.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

SELYUKH: So I thoroughly enjoyed my time.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. And now you're back in an artificially lit studio in cold Washington, D.C. So much fun.

SELYUKH: I've been looking forward to this.

SANDERS: So this song is by 50 Cent.


50 CENT: (Rapping) Money, money, money - I got...

SANDERS: It is called "I Get Money..."

SELYUKH: I know where you're going with this.

SANDERS: ...Because he got some money this week.

WAMSLEY: This is, like, the best story of the week.

SANDERS: But also I do like this song. I'm playing this song because turns out, for 50 Cent's last album - or 2014 album called "Animal Ambition," which nobody bought, he was...

SELYUKH: Some people bought.

SANDERS: (Laughter). Yeah, he was paid for the album with some bitcoin. And that bitcoin that he was paid is now worth more than $7.5 million.

SELYUKH: And the best part is he forgot about it.


WAMSLEY: That is the best part.

SANDERS: Yes, he said in response to a story about this, I'm going to keep it real. I forgot I did that S (laughter).

WAMSLEY: This is just the best bitcoin story that's ever been written.

SANDERS: It's amazing.

WAMSLEY: I just want someone to come forth and be like, also, Laurel - yeah, I paid you back for that pizza in bitcoin.


50 CENT: (Rapping) I'm heading to the bank right now.

SANDERS: So let's get into it. We are each going to describe how this week of news felt in just three words. I'll go first. They are the whole map.


SANDERS: The whole map - because we have seen leaders from all over the world descend upon Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

SELYUKH: A lot of really powerful people hanging out.

WAMSLEY: The elite of the elite.

SANDERS: The elite of the 1 percent coming together to talk about how they can solve the world's problems. Also, like...

SELYUKH: And hang out.

SANDERS: And hang out.

SELYUKH: I'm just going to keep saying that...


SELYUKH: ...Because it seems to be what they do.

SANDERS: It's what they pretty much do. Yeah. So Trump went to Davos this year, which was the first time a U.S. president has gone since Bill Clinton did many, many years ago. And there was all of this preamble in the run up to him being there about what might be an antagonistic match-up and faceoff between him and this world elite. Turns out the way he was behaving at this conference this week pretty much contradicted all the disdain he claimed to have for the global elite during the campaign.

WAMSLEY: That is so surprising.


WAMSLEY: I cannot believe that the wealthy Donald Trump...

SELYUKH: Sarcasm alert.


WAMSLEY: ...Enjoyed being with other wealthy people.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, he described having a great relationship with Theresa May, Prime Minister of the U.K., after he disparaged her multiple times over the last year for her response to terrorism. He sat down with African leaders after he called a bunch of their countries S-hole countries. He even said that he might be open to entering a trade deal with multiple Asian nations, which sounds a lot like TPP.

SELYUKH: That definitely sounds like a reversal from a few months ago, when exactly that was in the news - the withdrawal from the TPP.

SANDERS: Yeah. And we should clarify TPP stands for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's a regional trade deal with a bunch of Asian nations. And Trump and others campaigned on not having the U.S. in that deal. So he was literally all over the whole map this week. Laurel, you got three words?



WAMSLEY: So these are not uplifting words, I'm afraid to say.


WAMSLEY: The three words this week are culture of abuse. And that comes from an essay that was written by - it was a blog post written by the UCLA Women's Gymnastics coach. Her name is Valorie Kondos Field. And she's coached her teams to multiple NCAA championships. And a number of members on her team are women who went through the USA Gymnastics system, you know...

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.

WAMSLEY: ...Were Olympians. And then they go into college gymnastics after. And she talks about how just for decades, college coaches have basically been picking up the pieces of these just, like, broken, young women...

SANDERS: Oh, my.

WAMSLEY: ...Emerging from the world of elite gymnastics.

SANDERS: Really?

WAMSLEY: So for those who maybe just started following this case this week, Larry Nassar, who is the former USA Gymnastics team doctor and was also a doctor at Michigan State University, was sentenced on Wednesday - to - up to 175 years in prison.


SELYUKH: So he's essentially going to be living out his life in prison.

WAMSLEY: Right. And he'd already received 60 years for a previous child pornography case. And so only a few of the cases - like, seven women were actually a part of this case. But the judge in the case allowed 150 women - anyone who wanted to - to give victim impact statements.

SANDERS: So he molested at least 150 women.

WAMSLEY: There are at least 150 women who accused him of...

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness.

WAMSLEY: Yes. And probably many more.


WAMSLEY: And it's just so frustrating with this case. If you go back and read the articles - just some of these women and girls did speak up, and they were just told by Larry Nassar or by the other adults...


WAMSLEY: ...Around them that this was a legit medical treatment.


WAMSLEY: And so - like, so much of this was just sort of, like, swept under the rug under the guise of, oh, he's a well-respected doctor. You should trust him.

SELYUKH: And the reason, I think, this story has hit me hardest - just because these are girls - this is extra-complicated because these are...

SANDERS: Children.

SELYUKH: ...Twelve-year-olds, 13-year-olds. They don't know how the world is supposed to work.

WAMSLEY: Yeah. And, I mean, in terms of preventing this, it's complicated. In terms of the outrage, this is uniquely uncomplicated...



WAMSLEY: ...Compared to some of the other stuff that's happened. Some of these girls are 6 years old, 10 years old.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

WAMSLEY: It's so crazy. I was a gymnast growing up. I did competitive gymnastics.

SANDERS: Really?

WAMSLEY: And I was never that good, but I loved the sport.


WAMSLEY: And I've still followed the sport all these years. And it's so crazy and sad to me to look back on that time and think, God, I'm glad I wasn't better - because you see...

SANDERS: You would've been in that world.

WAMSLEY: Yeah. And to look back on, like, all these girls who were my peers in terms of age and whose careers I followed - and to look back on memories of those Olympics and now know what they were going through at the time, it's just - it's so troubling. And it's just so...

SELYUKH: Completely changes the picture.

WAMSLEY: It's so sad to have to revise all your memories now that you know.

SANDERS: Yeah. You are listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. We're going to catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders, here with two great guests, Alina Selyukh, who covers tech and retail for NPR, and Laurel Wamsley, who literally covers everything...

WAMSLEY: It's true.

SANDERS: ...For NPR's Two-Way blog. Alina, three words?

SELYUKH: So my three words are power of numbers. And there's two ways I'm looking at this. One is just the extremely powerful context that some numbers provided for me this week of some of the biggest stories - the school shooting in Kentucky.


SELYUKH: And the extremely powerful headline to me from The New York Times was "School Shooting In Kentucky Was Nation's 11th Of Year. It Was Jan. 23." They think it really tells extremely powerful and sad story...


SELYUKH: ...Of how many shootings at schools, around schools and college campuses have happened...


WAMSLEY: ...Before the first month is even over.


WAMSLEY: And then, in my patch, on the business desk here at NPR, we have also been looking at some powerful numbers that are telling the story of the workforce. We had a poll that was conducted by NPR and Marist that looked at the people who are working these days...


SELYUKH: ...And what they're going through. And what we found was that 1 in 5 American workers are contractors.

SANDERS: That's a lot.

SELYUKH: And, of course, it's going to get bigger as time goes by. The predictions are, a few years down the road, we'll be looking at more temp workers than full-time workers. And, of course, there's so much that comes from that.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

SELYUKH: Contract workers don't have reliable benefits like health insurance, retirement savings. More than half of contract workers have no benefits.


SELYUKH: About half of them live month to month on fluctuating income. So one quote that really stuck to me was "feast or famine." Feast or famine, right? So one month, you have a lot of money. You can pay the bills. You can figure out your future. The next month, your contract doesn't come through. You don't have a job. You don't have the money.


SELYUKH: You don't know how you're going to pay the bills. And then there were other elements from that story that I specifically looked at because of my interest in the retail industry. And that was automation, right?


SELYUKH: The more we buy online, the more of our stuff comes from warehouses. And right now warehouses are hiring a ton of people because of our booming online shopping habit.


SELYUKH: Well, if you ask labor economists, automation is the thing that's looming over these warehouses, just like it loomed over manufacturing and factories.

SANDERS: Well, even - just, I mean, thinking like 15 years ago - no one would have ever thought that cars could drive for us. And we're pretty much almost there.

SELYUKH: Almost.

SANDERS: You know?

SELYUKH: The one thing I will say is that automation does take longer.

SANDERS: Than we think it will.

SELYUKH: Tends to be - right now it seems to be taking longer than we thought. I thought - I've been looking forward to a self-driving car...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

SELYUKH: ...For like the last 10 years, and it just hasn't arrived yet. And I think similarly in the warehouses, that's what people feel - it's like, I do want to actually put it into numbers since I am talking about the power of numbers.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

SELYUKH: Our poll asked all workers across all industries whether they would lose a job due to automation.

SANDERS: Or they thought they would.

SELYUKH: Whether they expected to lose their job...


SELYUKH: ...Due to automation. Ninety-four percent said no.

SANDERS: Oh, no.



SELYUKH: Almost all of them said, no, it's unlikely I'll lose a job due to automation.

SANDERS: I'm totally OK if a robot hosts this show.

SELYUKH: I wonder if robots will listen to your show.

SANDERS: (Laughter) I hope so.

SELYUKH: I am not looking forward to that.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

WAMSLEY: Will you at least tell me when the robot takes over?

SANDERS: I will. I will.


SANDERS: Yeah. As long as it looks like me.

SELYUKH: Well...

SANDERS: As long as the robot...

SELYUKH: ...I was going to say...

SANDERS: ...Like, looks just like me.

SELYUKH: We'll (laughter) know by Sam just kicking back with his feet on the desk (laughter).

SANDERS: Oh yeah. Yeah. I welcome the day.

WAMSLEY: Sam just eating oatmeal back there.


SANDERS: All right. On that note, as we wait for our robot overlords, time for a quick break. We'll be right back with Long Distance, Who Said That and a big old main story.


SANDERS: We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders, here with two great guests - Alina Selyukh, who covers tech and retail for NPR, Laurel Wamsley, who reports for NPR's breaking news blog, covering literally all the things for The Two-Way. Hello to you both.


SELYUKH: Hey, Sam.

SANDERS: I have a quick yes-or-no question for you guys.

SELYUKH: All right.

SANDERS: It was just announced this week that for season 2 of "Big Little Lies," Meryl Streep will be joining the cast.


SANDERS: I know, right?

SELYUKH: As if that cast couldn't get any...


SELYUKH: ...Stronger.

SANDERS: Does this make you more or less likely to watch?

WAMSLEY: I've never seen this show.


WAMSLEY: (Laughter) I will show myself out.

SANDERS: All right, yeah. Thanks for playing. Have a great day.

SELYUKH: I am still working through Season 1.

SANDERS: What is wrong...

SELYUKH: Hey. Hey. It's been busy.

SANDERS: Oh, my God. Has it?

SELYUKH: It's been a busy year.

SANDERS: It's never too busy for great prestige TV.

SELYUKH: It's true.

SANDERS: All I'm saying is I'm probably taking off a day or two of work when they drop that new season.

SELYUKH: OK. Use that comp time.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. You heard it here first. All right. Now it's time for a segment that we call Long Distance.


SANDERS: Each week, we call up a listener somewhere across the country and ask them how things are going in their neck of the woods. Today on the line from San Francisco, we have Kelly Zweibel (ph). Hey there.


SANDERS: You're on the line with two friends of mine, Alina and Laurel. Say hi, guys.



ZWEIBEL: Hey, guys.

SANDERS: So what do you do there in SF?

ZWEIBEL: I am a travel nurse.

SANDERS: What exactly is a travel nurse?

ZWEIBEL: OK. A travel nurse is a registered nurse that gets licenses in different states and then is contracted from a third-party company to work in different hospitals in different areas depending on the need of a hospital. So right now I'm in California, and I'm covering maternity leave. So I've been out here in SF since August. And I'll be here through April now. I extended a few times because I didn't want to go back East to the bad weather.


WAMSLEY: Good call.

SANDERS: Very good call. Very good call.

ZWEIBEL: Yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: So you wrote us back in November about a story that has been affecting a lot of hospitals all over the country. Turns out the hurricane in Puerto Rico affected some medical supplies for hospitals. Puerto Rico is actually a big manufacturing hub for a certain kind of small-sized IV bag. Who knew? But since...

ZWEIBEL: Yeah, right?

SANDERS: ...Hurricane Maria last year, there's been, like, a nationwide shortage of these small-sized IV bags. And you're telling us that flu season makes it even worse.


SANDERS: Why is that? And, like, how bad is this problem?

ZWEIBEL: So flu season makes the IV bag shortage worse because when someone comes to the emergency room or to the hospital or to the doctor's office with flu symptoms, the first thing you're usually going to do is hang a bag of fluids because they need to get hydrated.


ZWEIBEL: So with more people coming to emergency rooms with flu symptoms, you're going to be hanging more fluids, which puts more pressure on the hospital system to have the bigger bags, which weren't affected by Maria because the bigger bags aren't made in Puerto Rico. So now in addition to having shortages of the small bags, which - we don't have any at my facility - we're also being told to, like, be conservative with the bigger bags because we don't want to be in the same problem where we don't have any of those, either.

SANDERS: How has this affected you and your hospital specifically?

ZWEIBEL: So at my hospital, I am in an outpatient cancer center.


ZWEIBEL: So we've been doing medication safely but in different ways that I had to learn how to do that I never knew how to do before.

SANDERS: Like how?

ZWEIBEL: So instead of hanging a small bag to a patient and letting it sit there for a half hour and run into the patient, we will pull up medications and syringes and directly push them into their IV lines...

SANDERS: Oh, wow.

ZWEIBEL: ...Their central lines over, like, five minutes, eight minutes.

SANDERS: Can you use small bags and big bags interchangeably? It's probably a really dumb question. But, like, if you're out of the small bags, could you just halfway fill up a big bag? Or is it not easy?



SANDERS: OK. All right.

ZWEIBEL: It's not that easy because the small bags are mostly used for mixing medications in.

SANDERS: Got you.

ZWEIBEL: So medications have to be in certain dosages with certain amount of fluids to make the concentrations right.

SANDERS: Got you. Got you.

ZWEIBEL: And usually, too, if somebody's coming in with flu symptoms, they need a lot of hydration.


ZWEIBEL: They need, like, a liter or two. So you can't just give, like - I don't know - 17 small bags instead of one large bag or whatever that math would end up being.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.

WAMSLEY: Have they told you when the shortage might be alleviated?

ZWEIBEL: So my hospital hasn't, but I've been keeping up with it. Just every once in a while, I'll Google what's going on with it. And I think as of last week, the FDA has announced that plants in Puerto Rico were starting to make the small bags again. Usually, when there's bag shortages, the East Coast gets things first because it's coming from Puerto Rico. But apparently, also from a light Google search I did recently...


ZWEIBEL: ...They're opening up the bags - the large bags, the small bags - to other companies in other countries...

SANDERS: Got you.

ZWEIBEL: ...Because in the United States, we could only - FDA approved only one company...


WAMSLEY: Oh, that explains it.

ZWEIBEL: ...To make our bags. So there was a pretty large monopoly.

SANDERS: That seems problematic in cases like this.


SELYUKH: I have an unrelated question real quick. We were just talking - I was just telling Sam and Laurel here about a project that we did here at NPR studying the contract force in the U.S. And we found that 1 in 5 Americans are contractors. And it sounds like you're in that pool.

ZWEIBEL: Yes, I am.

SELYUKH: How long have you been working in contracts? And was that sort of your personal choice, or did you just fall into it?

ZWEIBEL: It's something I've always wanted to do. There are a lot of travel nurses kind of throughout the country. I graduated nursing school. I worked for four years in New York City. And I loved my job.


ZWEIBEL: But I have a travel bug. And I wanted to see some other places and be able to, on my days off, feel like I had to go have adventures every day.


ZWEIBEL: So since moving out here, I have had adventures every day on my day off, which is really fun.

SANDERS: Can I be a travel nurse?

WAMSLEY: Please.

SELYUKH: And do you get benefits?

ZWEIBEL: Yeah. I get health benefits.



ZWEIBEL: When I drove here from New York...

SANDERS: Oh, wow.

ZWEIBEL: ...I got a stipend for gas and hotel. So there is a lot of nice...

SANDERS: I want to be a travel radio host.

ZWEIBEL: (Laughter) Yes, that would be awesome.


SANDERS: So what are your plans for the weekend? You going to have some fun?

ZWEIBEL: I actually am. I'm going to Reno this afternoon. I have a friend from the East Coast who lives out there.


ZWEIBEL: So we're going to go see him. We were supposed to go skiing, but it looks like it might be close to 50 degrees tomorrow in the Tahoe-ish (ph) area...


ZWEIBEL: ...So there's no snow. So we might not. But I'm really excited. It will be fun.

SANDERS: Nice. Nice. Well, I hope you enjoy it. All the best.

ZWEIBEL: Thanks, guys. Have a good weekend.

SANDERS: Thank you, Kelly.

SELYUKH: Thank you.

SANDERS: Have a good weekend.

WAMSLEY: Thanks, Kelly.


SANDERS: All right. Listeners, I want to hear from you for this segment. If you want us to call you and talk about what's going on in your neck of the woods, hit us up. Send me a note - samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. I also seriously, though - like, travel radio host. That'd be so much fun.

WAMSLEY: I just - like, I'm picturing your little mobile studio...


WAMSLEY: ...In the back of a little air stream.

SANDERS: In the back of my Prius.


SELYUKH: Not to be a downer here, but I think there's a much greater need for travel nurses than travel hosts.



SANDERS: OK. All righty (ph). All righty.


SANDERS: So, guys, it is now time for our main story. And the team behind the show allowed me to really geek out on an issue that I've been kind of obsessed with for the last week. It actually came up today in Donald Trump's speech at Davos. He talked about Apple announcing last week it's going to move a lot of money back to the States and pay a pretty hefty tax fine on the money - $38 billion in taxes on a total of $252 billion that they have been keeping overseas. So I want to talk about that deal and what it and the tax overhaul say about the relationship between Donald Trump and big tech one year in.

SELYUKH: There's a really big word for what you're describing - bringing in the money from overseas.

SANDERS: Repatriation.

SELYUKH: That's the one.

SANDERS: It sounds quite complex. It's really quite simple. We'll get into all of that, but I want us first to flash back...

SELYUKH: Oh, no.

SANDERS: ...To the heat of the campaign. And it seemed like every tech leader that you could imagine was coming out against Donald Trump. But it got even more sour afterwards. You'll recall after the Charlottesville tragedy, he said some comments that led many tech leaders to leave his tech advisory council and denounce him in very, very strong words.

SELYUKH: There is a big exodus. This was following his immigration stand. And the companies in Silicon Valley were looking at their staff. And the staff and the employees...

SANDERS: Immigrants work there.

SELYUKH: Many of them are. And they were up in arms. I think Uber took a big hit at the time. But, also, Apple and Facebook and others felt like they needed to take a strong stance in support of their employees. Microsoft spoke to my colleague Aarti Shahani and basically said, if you want to deport our people, you have to go through us first.

SANDERS: Wow. Yeah. And so you see that rhetoric, that level of tension. Meanwhile, those big tech companies spent some $50 million last year lobbying the government, lobbying Capitol Hill, lobbying Congress and the White House. And one of the big things that they were active on in their lobbying was having a say in this tax overhaul. And one of the biggest examples of how the tax overhaul affected tech was in this talk, like you said, of repatriation.

So basically, big global companies like Apple stored a lot of their profits and their money overseas because they didn't want to have the money come back into the States and have it be taxed at a rate that was some 35 percent.

And so for years, companies have been doing this, hoping that one day, a Congress favorable to them would change the rules. So in this new tax overhaul, Congress basically said, wherever you've been hiding that money, now you have to pay taxes on it to the U.S., at which point, you can move the money back into the U.S., you can leave it abroad, whatever you want. But that tax rate will only be 15.5 percent.

SELYUKH: Which is, like, half of what it would normally be.

SANDERS: Literally half, yeah. And so I was like, this - it's - what's really going on with this? So I called up a few economists. I talked with Matthew Gardner. He's an analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. And he basically told me, don't let anyone try to tell you that this is a bad deal for Apple.

MATTHEW GARDNER: They're basically having more than half of the tax they owed on these profits forgiven.


GARDNER: In the short run - yeah. In the short run, it looks like and is reported as a tax hit. They're paying a bunch of taxes. But it's a tax break that looks like a tax hike.

SANDERS: And it's a tax break that they wanted. They wanted this for a long time. Tim Cook has said before that this kind of corporate tax rate would help them be competitive. And they got it. But my big question is, like, all right, if they got what they wanted, why are they OK with Donald Trump making it seem like they didn't?

WAMSLEY: But what's the downside?

SANDERS: Right? Yeah.


SELYUKH: I think there's also a bigger context - that this comes as part of a huge wave of corporations announcing these nice things they're doing for their workers and for the American economy.

SANDERS: The bonuses...

SELYUKH: In the wave of - you know, following the tax bill passage. Right, exactly. I mean, I wrote down a shortlist of companies. I'm sure others have come out. AT&T, Comcast, Disney, JetBlue, American Airlines, Boeing, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Verizon...


SELYUKH: ...Walmart - they've all come out and issued some kind of announcement about things they're doing for their workers.

SANDERS: Reinvestment or bonuses or whatever.

SELYUKH: Exactly. They're giving bonuses, raising wages for some folks. They're giving people shares as gifts.


SELYUKH: And all of it comes as this sort of acknowledgement that they are going to benefit quite heavily from the tax - the corporate tax rate...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

SELYUKH: ...Being dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent.


SELYUKH: And so they're getting on this front end to say, look, we're investing in our people, we're investing in the economy.

SANDERS: Yeah. I talked to a tax attorney at USC. His name is Edward Kleinbard. And I was like, why are all these companies, Apple included, really going out of their way to say that this tax bill is so good for all Americans? And he said, part of the reason why is because they know that most Americans who were polled say that they think the tax bill is only helping corporations.

So it is in these companies' best interest to convince America that the tax bill is good for them because they want the tax bill to stick around. And they're very aware that if Democrats take over Congress or the White House, some parts of the tax bill could be rolled back. And he also told me that no matter what the rhetoric was between big tech and Trump before he won, at the end of the day, Trump won, and it's in their best interest to play well with Trump.

EDWARD KLEINBARD: It doesn't cost Apple very much to couch things in these terms. And, in fact, it worked. The president virtually immediately touted, you know, Apple's announcement in a tweet of his own. So why not?

SANDERS: Why not?

SELYUKH: I think there was an interview with Cook a little later where he sort of acknowledged that a lot of the moves that they were announcing - for instance, the second campus...


SELYUKH: ...That sort of investment in the economy - that that was a long time coming.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

SELYUKH: ...That that may or may not have happened regardless of whether the tax bill passed or not.

SANDERS: Exactly.

SELYUKH: But I think there is a really important point about the tech industry broadly and President Trump specifically, and it's that these companies are really large corporations.


SELYUKH: They're not startups anymore.


SELYUKH: And any large corporation worth its salt invests in lobbying, invests in policy debates, gets really heavily involved with politics.


SELYUKH: And that's what we're witnessing.

SANDERS: And, like, at the end of the day, no matter how idealistic companies like Apple purport to be, the money matters first. And they're businesses, and it's about the money.

SELYUKH: It's just sort of par for the course, I think, in Washington.

SANDERS: It's the game you play. It's the game you play.

SELYUKH: ...If you are one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

SANDERS: Yeah. You got to cover your bases. So one of the things I wonder, though, and the skepticism that some economists are placing over this whole tax overhaul situation - well, is the $38 billion good for Apple or bad for Apple? Are the bonuses because of the tax cut or not? At the end of the day, it's $38 billion back into the U.S. It's bonuses going to American workers, what does it matter if Trump did it or not?

SELYUKH: I think it's really hard to talk about the $38 billion one day falling out of the sky into the American land, but it is relatively easy to talk about the bonuses because it's, you know, hard cash.


SELYUKH: ...That is going to be in the hands of...

SANDERS: Real people.

SELYUKH: A lot of - thousands of American workers this year. I do have one point, though, which made me laugh when I covered this. It's not tax-free. The people getting bonuses still have to pay.

SANDERS: The bonuses are taxed.

SELYUKH: (Laughter) Yes, they still have to pay taxes on their bonuses.

SANDERS: That's life (laughter).

WAMSLEY: And it's everybody, right? It's, like, every person at the Genius Bar or whatever.

SELYUKH: Right. Exactly. But it is - I mean, at the end of the day, if I'm a worker for Walmart, and my wage just went up or if I'm a worker for Verizon...

SANDERS: I'm going to spend some more money.

SELYUKH: ...And I have a bunch of Verizon shares...


SELYUKH: Good for me.

SANDERS: Yeah. So one of the biggest questions I was left with was how companies like Apple that have now become truly global - how they fit into Donald Trump's rhetoric of America First. I talked to one economist, Jennifer Blouin. She studies tax Penn's Wharton School. She kind of had a bigger question, basically saying, when you have a company like Apple where two-thirds of their business is taking place outside of the U.S., is that actually an American company?

JENNIFER BLOUIN: It's fantastic that that started in the United States, and I'm pleased that we can take responsibility for, yeah, that intellectual capital coming out of the United States. I think we should be proud of that. But I don't think we necessarily get to tax every dollar that they ever make in the future forever and ever - right? - which is the way our tax system effectively worked.

SANDERS: And I think that's the question that Apple and Donald Trump don't have an answer to yet. Like, what is an American company anymore when everything is global?

SELYUKH: That is kind of a painful question.


WAMSLEY: But I think Apple also wants to be known as an American company, you know? Like, I feel like on - stamped on all their stuff is made in California, right? Like...

SANDERS: Except for the stuff that's made in China (laughter).

WAMSLEY: Right. But they're still - like, but, like, that idea of California, I mean, I think is part of their branding. And they don't - I don't think they want to be known as some multinational corporation. People don't like multinational corporations. They want to be seen, still, as this, you know, sweet fruit-related company that began in a garage.

SANDERS: Fruit-related - I love that, fruit-related company (laughter).

WAMSLEY: ...You know, with - you know, and that's part of the PR of all these companies.

SANDERS: Yeah. It's interesting. You know, to end this, like, for anyone that would feel bad about Apple having to pay a big repatriation tax, turns out - side note - Apple has eight years to pay back that $38 billion or to pay that tax, and they have no interest or fees or penalties on however they pay it.

SELYUKH: I'll take that deal.




SANDERS: OK. I gave you all the facts I learned this week from talking to smart people.


SANDERS: I think it's time for a break. All right, we're going to take a quick break right now. When we get back, no more economics - some fun stuff - my favorite game, Who Said That, and we'll also hear from our listeners sharing their best parts of their week.


SANDERS: All right, now it's time for my favorite game - my favorite, favorite game - Who Said That.


KANDI BURRUSS: Who has been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

SANDERS: It's so simple, it hurts. I share the quote from...

SELYUKH: I feel...

SANDERS: You feel what?

SELYUKH: I feel utterly unprepared.

SANDERS: It's OK. Everyone freaks out about this game.

WAMSLEY: I crammed.

SANDERS: But here's the thing.

SELYUKH: (Laughter) So did I.

SANDERS: Everyone freaks - you know there's no prize. You know there's no prize.

WAMSLEY: You say that.

SANDERS: No. There's actually no prize (laughter).

SELYUKH: There's the flip side. There's the burned ego.


WAMSLEY: Self-respect.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. It's quite simple. I share a quote from the week. You guys have to guess who said that. We'll do three today. The winner gets absolutely nothing.

WAMSLEY: All right.

SELYUKH: I'm still scared.

SANDERS: First quote - she is not very integrated with the group, as bison act like one organism, and she stands out.

SELYUKH: It's the cow.



SELYUKH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: You're doing good.

WAMSLEY: Aw. I was thinking it was a deer, but you're right. It's the little baby cow.

SELYUKH: (Laughter) It's a cow.

SANDERS: This is the cutest story that I want to be a Pixar film ASAP.

SELYUKH: Which is so wonderful.

SANDERS: A Polish cow on a cow ranch escaped and has been wandering with a herd of wild bison all winter. The photos are so - have you seen the photos?


SANDERS: Google bison cow right now. I want you to see it.

SELYUKH: (Laughter).


SANDERS: And so that quote was from a biologist who was talking about the case of this cow. And someone else said of the cow - she, quote, "chose freedom."

SELYUKH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: So she's been - she ran away from this Polish was farm late last autumn. She's been lingering on the fringes of this herd of some 50 bison in the forest on the Belarusian border. And the thinking is that, like, the herd of bison has actually kept her alive because had she been alone, some wolves might have, like, killed her. But they're going to take her back to the ranch soon.


SANDERS: Here's why, though. If she mates with the bison, the calf will be too big, and it'll kill her.


WAMSLEY: Wait, it's possible?

SANDERS: Yeah. So they got to get her back.


SELYUKH: She's just taking a year off college. It's OK.

SANDERS: That's right.


SANDERS: Alina has one, Laurel has zero. But it doesn't matter, guys.

WAMSLEY: All right.

SELYUKH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: We're all friends here.

WAMSLEY: All right.

SANDERS: Next quote - you ready?


SANDERS: Here it is. Our singular focus will be on the show and delivering the correct envelopes.

WAMSLEY: The Oscars.



SELYUKH: One for one.

SANDERS: One for one. This was Tim Ryan of PricewaterhouseCooper (ph) or PwC. This is the accounting firm that handles the tallying of Oscar votes. They have new rules out for the next Oscars.

WAMSLEY: I hope they do.

SANDERS: ...To prevent the "Moonlight"-"La La Land" fiasco of last year. A celebrity presenter will confirm that they have the right envelope before they step onstage. Well, duh.


SELYUKH: It seems like a reasonable step.

WAMSLEY: You had one job.

SANDERS: You had one job. No. 2, the accounting firm will attend the rehearsals. That's a good thing, too. Yeah. And anyone there from PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC - they are prohibited from using cell phones or social media during the show.

WAMSLEY: It's amazing how, like, everything that goes wrong seems to have been caused by people looking at their phones when they shouldn't have been.

SANDERS: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

WAMSLEY: Like, I don't even understand what that cell phone rule has to do with this. It's like distracted driving.

SANDERS: Apparently, the guy got confused with the envelopes because he was trying to get a selfie with Emma Stone. He was taking an Emma Stone selfie, and in that moment, he got the envelopes mixed up.

WAMSLEY: I mean, who among us?

SANDERS: Who among us? Who among us? Next quote - you guys are tied. This is for all the marbles.

SELYUKH: Oh, no.

SANDERS: Ready? Here we go. I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. I don't have the DNA for it.

WAMSLEY: Oh, Oprah.



WAMSLEY: Sorry, did I - did you know it?

SELYUKH: I did know it, but I was slow.

SANDERS: (Clapping, chanting) Laurel, Laurel, Laurel, Laurel.

WAMSLEY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: This is correct. Oprah spoke to InStyle magazine this week, and she was asked about whether she would run for president. This is in light of her Golden Globe speech that, like, set the left on fire. She said, probably, no. She said, quote, "I have to say, the core of me is about conversations, exploring the depths of our human experiences. This is what I do. That is my calling." I'm glad that we can finally move past this hysteria because it was - people were losing their minds over Oprah.

WAMSLEY: I was out of the country when this happened.

SANDERS: Be glad.

WAMSLEY: And I was shocked. I was like, really? All of America is talking about a speech at the Golden Globes.

SANDERS: All of America.

WAMSLEY: What has happened?

SANDERS: All of America. So fun fact - I know a lot about Oprah, and I watched that show pretty faithfully growing up.

SELYUKH: Surprise (laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah, surprise. When I saw this news that she did not want to run for president, I remembered that one season of "Oprah," her show, she made the theme song herself. She sung the theme song herself.


WAMSLEY: No, really?

SANDERS: And the song was called, ironically, "Run On" (ph).


OPRAH WINFREY: (Singing) Run on, run on.

SELYUKH: There it is.


WINFREY: (Singing) I believe I'll run on.

WAMSLEY: It's jazzy.

SANDERS: That's Oprah.


WINFREY: (Singing) See what the air will be....

SELYUKH: I turned down a job at the Oprah Network once.

SANDERS: Stop. What was the job?

SELYUKH: Production assistant.


SELYUKH: It was very early in my career.

SANDERS: You might've made this song.

SELYUKH: I might've been there.

SANDERS: You got to hear the vocals, though. Oprah's really tried.


WINFREY: (Singing) I see laughing and growing and loving and knowing what life is worth.

SANDERS: (Laughter).


WINFREY: (Singing) So I believe I'll...

WAMSLEY: This is her singing.



WINFREY: (Singing) Run on and see what tomorrow will be.

SELYUKH: I'd listen to this.



SANDERS: On that note...

SELYUKH: (Laughter) You don't know me.


SANDERS: I don't know you. I don't know you. Oh, also, congrats to Laurel. You won. Congrats to Oprah for making that song. Congrats to Alina for just being here.

SELYUKH: For just not failing miserably (laughter).


WINFREY: (Singing) Get a little spirit up in here.

SANDERS: OK guys, I want to invite our listeners to listen to something else in our podcast feed before we end this part of the show. I talked with Yamiche Alcindor of PBS and Nina Totenberg of NPR all about the #MeToo movement now and then. So people might not know Nina Totenberg broke a really, really big story back in 1991. It was the case of Anita Hill, who had accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of some really egregious sexual harassment.

And the dialogue in conversations around that moment have some really interesting parallels to the place we find ourselves in now with the #MeToo movement. The conversation's good. It is a previous episode in your podcast feed. I want to play a bit of it for you now. It's Nina Totenberg talking about how Anita Hill was treated during the Senate hearings all about her accusations.


NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: She was treated as a - by Republicans on the committee - as a delusional person.


JOHN DOGGETT: It was my opinion at the time and is now my opinion that Ms. Hill's fantasies about sexual interest in her were an indication of the fact that she was having a problem being rejected by men she was attracted to.

SANDERS: Oh, wow.

TOTENBERG: For any woman watching the hearings, it was the way rape victims used to be treated 50 years ago.


SANDERS: It's really something. So...

SELYUKH: That sounds awful.

WAMSLEY: I was just listening. I was listening to the episode this morning.


WAMSLEY: And I was hearing that tape and the other tape that's in there from the senators. And, like, my jaw dropped. The stuff that....


SELYUKH: ...You know, where Anita Hill describes what happened and senators turn to her, and says, well, so that's not sexual harassment. She's like, that is sexual harassment.

SANDERS: That is sexual harassment. Yeah.

SELYUKH: It's just - it's fascinating to hear that tape.


WAMSLEY: Are any of those senators still around?

SANDERS: Joe Biden. He was the leader of the committee who chose to not hear more testimony from other women that had really accused Clarence Thomas of some pretty bad stuff. So yeah, a lot of them are. A lot of them are. It's a good episode. Check it out. All right, now it is time to end the Weekly Wrap the way that we always do. Every week, we ask our listeners to send us the sound of their own voices describing to us the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag. They always do. Hit the tape.

HANNAH: Hi, Sam. It's Hannah (ph) calling from Wisconsin. And the best part of my week was that despite being sick and despite having over a week worth of delays in flights and cars breaking down and whatnot, I'm finally home with my family after a 9-month deployment.

SANDERS: Oh, awesome - awesome news.

HANNAH: So thank you for all you do. Have a great week.

JULIA: Hi, Sam. This is Julia (ph) from Philadelphia.

SANDERS: Hi, Julia.

JULIA: This week, I drove home to D.C. to celebrate my family dog's 14th birthday.


JULIA: He's a giant Bernese mountain dog named Rocky, and I'm so happy I got to celebrate another year with him.

SANDERS: Happy Birthday, Rocky.


ERIC: Hey, Sam. This is Eric (ph). The best thing that happened to me this week is I got to see my baby's heartbeat.



LAUREN: For the first time in eight years since I started working full time, I'm getting to go on vacation.

SANDERS: Congrats.

SELYUKH: Congrats.

KELLY: Today is payday Friday, and I'm going to eat brisket from the food trucks.



SELYUKH: (Laughter).

RORICK: Hey, Sam. I'm Rorick (ph). I've been studying abroad in Tokyo for a year now, and this week, we got our first snow day this winter, and I got to play with friends who had never even seen now in their lives. And that was amazing.

SANDERS: Oh, that's so cool.

JAY: Hey, Sam. So the best thing that happened all week is that my girlfriend Melissa (ph) is finally leaving her job to pursue her own business.


JAY: ...Full time making baby onesies with '90s theme.



JAY: Really proud of her. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

SELYUKH: I've been waiting for this.

KENDRA: Hi, Sam. Her whole life, my 70-year-old mother has wanted to visit Italy.


KENDRA: My father even had a secret bank account where he was saving up to surprise her...


KENDRA: ...With a trip for their 40th wedding anniversary.


KENDRA: He passed away one month after their 39th.


WAMSLEY: Oh, my God.

KENDRA: But tonight, my mom and I are boarding a flight.


KENDRA: And we'll land in Venice.

SANDERS: That's awesome.

SELYUKH: Awesome.

RANDY: Hi, Sam. This is Randy (ph) in Bellingham, Wash.

SANDERS: Hey, Randy.

RANDY: My best thing wasn't this week. It was last month. But M - I have MS, and it took my eyesight in 2008.

SANDERS: Oh, my.

RANDY: I thought back then that I would never be able to live independently. But in the years that have passed, I managed to relocate to Bellingham, Wash., from Tucson, Ariz. And I now have a gorgeous little studio apartment.


RANDY: ...That I can afford thanks to a local agency that helps people who are low-income. And I now have my own place and my home. And I have fallen in love with my new city. And...

SANDERS: Wow. That's awesome.

SELYUKH: That's so great.

RANDY: I never thought I would leave Tucson, especially after going blind.


RANDY: But you just never know what can happen when you throw caution to the wind and follow your heart. And...


RANDY: ...Thanks so much for everything that you do.

LAUREN: Thanks.

ERIC: Thanks.

RANDY: And have a great week.


SANDERS: Thank you. Shoutout to all of our listeners for just persevering, you know? Special thanks to Hannah, Julia, Eric, Lauren (ph), Kelly (ph), Rorick, Jay (ph), Kendra (ph) and Randy. We hear all these that come in. We wish we had time to share all of them. We don't, but we listen. We do listen, and they warm our hearts every, every week. Thank you all for sharing. Anyone, at any point throughout any week, let me know your best thing. Email me at samsander@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. I know what 50 Cent's best thing all week was.


50 CENT: (Rapping) I get money.


SANDERS: ...That bitcoin money.

WAMSLEY: Finding those bitcoins in your pocket.

SANDERS: Yeah. Let's go out on 50 Cent.

SELYUKH: Although, who knows? It's 50 Cent. It could be something totally different.

SANDERS: This is the thing. Like, he was never really a good rapper. Listen, he's just been like OK, whatever, he's saying words.

SELYUKH: I don't know.

SANDERS: You were a 50 Cent fan?



SELYUKH: I'm just going to...

SANDERS: OK. All right, it's fine. It's fine. I also don't believe he got shot eight times, but that's just me. Anyway...

WAMSLEY: Sam's hot takes.



SELYUKH: I'm so glad I'm here for this.

SANDERS: Yes. Yes. This week, the show was produced by Brent Baughman and Anjuli Sastry. Steve Nelson is our director of programming, and we had editing help this week from Jeff Rogers. Our big boss is NPR's VP of programming here at NPR, Anya Grundmann. And to our two very special guests who fought back some colds and cough stuff to be here...

SELYUKH: We made it.

SANDERS: Alina, Laurel, thank you guys.

SELYUKH: Thank you.

WAMSLEY: It was a pleasure.

SANDERS: It was really fun. Listeners, refresh your feed Tuesday morning. I will be in conversation with Carrie Brownstein.


SANDERS: We're talking all about "Portlandia." Her final season's coming up. She's delightful.

WAMSLEY: She's the coolest.

SANDERS: She's delightful. I love her. It was really great. So listen to the...

SELYUKH: Is she going to have a podcast voice on?

SANDERS: I hope so. We actually talk about that.

SELYUKH: Have you seen that episode?

SANDERS: ...With the podcast skit.

SELYUKH: It's a wonderful episode.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. It's delightful. It's delightful. All right, listeners, thanks for listening. Until next time, I'm Sam Sanders. Talk soon.


50 CENT: (Rapping) I, I get money. Money I got. Money I got. Money I got. Yeah. Yeah. I run New York. You can call this my new hit, but it ain't new, though. I got rid of my old chick. Now I got new grows (ph). First, it was the Benzo. Now I'm in the Enzo. Ferrari, I'm sorry.

SANDERS: Hey, you're still here. I have an announcement for you guys. We have our live show for IT'S BEEN MINUTE next month, and we raffled off some tickets on the Twitters. And we have the winners. We're going to announce them right now. They were chosen randomly. And they are Twitter user Amy Pendergast, who is @amyepen. Also, Jennifer is a winner. She is @genevive429. And Emma Johnson won as well - @EmmaJoh51844004.

Congratulations to the winners. You will have tickets in the VIP balcony box seats. JK. LOL. There's no balcony in this venue, but you're going to be there for free. It's exciting. I promise. We've tagged you all in a tweet, so send us a direct message on Twitter in, like, 24 hours with your full name, with your email address, and we'll get you those free tickets. Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway. And if you have not gotten your ticket yet to the live show, do so. I have confirmed Aunt Betty's attendance at said event. You'll want to meet her.


Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.