Surely, "hustle" is the single most beloved word associated with sport. As color is to rainbows, as chocolate to the palate, as sweet nothings to love, hustle is to sport.
Hear it now:
Hustle down the line!
Show us more hustle!
And oh, my, how often are you gonna hear this in the weeks ahead during March Madness: They gotta hustle back on defense. That, apparently, is the only way human beings can properly get back on defense.
You can never hustle too much — except perhaps for Pete Rose, who hustled with such ostentation in his salad days that he was derisively tagged "Charlie Hustle." But that soon became a badge of honor.
Just don't mess with hustle. Recently, Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has a very disciplined bunch of fat Southern boys who often win national titles, playing deliberately, tried to get a rule into college football that teams on offense shouldn't be allowed to hustle up the next play in less than 10 seconds. But the NCAA wouldn't even consider it. You can bet a chastened Nick Saban won't ever again be anti-hustle.
Click on the audio link above to hear more of Deford's take on the hustle.
With mild weather ahead, southern Europe is once again bracing for new boatloads of would-be migrants and asylum seekers from North Africa.
Italy has borne the brunt of this migrant flow for two decades and it has responded with one of Europe's most repressive laws on illegal immigration.
But now the Italian parliament is trying to scrap a law that has made migrants vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses. The existing law has also produced detention camps where undocumented migrants are held in harsh conditions.
One example is the Ponte Galeria camp, which is near Rome's international airport, surrounded by open fields. But inside it's grim and gray.
Detainees are locked behind bars in what look like cages. At the sight of visitors they shout their various laments.
The camp has been in the media spotlight since late January when more than a dozen Moroccan migrants staged a demonstration.
The men had been working in Libya. When they asked to be paid, they say their employer forced them onto a rickety vessel headed for Italy where they landed in October.
Three months later, detainee Hicham Marrach said, they resorted to a desperate form of protest: with fishing wire and sewing needles they kept their lips stitched together for a week.
"We ended up in a place where we don't speak the language. We have no idea what will happen to us. We committed no crime and yet we end up in jail," he said. "Sewing our mouths shut was the only way to make ourselves heard."
Evans Omeo and his wife fled inter-religious conflict in their native Nigeria. They were brought to Ponte Galeria after landing in Sicily in December, and placed in segregated male-female sections of the camp.
If they are sent back home, he fears his father-in-law will kill them because they are of different religions.
"I asked for asylum," he said, adding that he is Catholic while his wife is a Muslim.
In a nearby caged area, 10 men live in a barracks-like room, including Bafouday Ceesay, 29, who's from Gambia and has lived in Italy for 7 years. But when he lost his job, he also lost his permit to stay.
"Conditions here are very, very bad," he said. "Sometimes you don't get hot water, the heater it doesn't go on sometimes. So it is cold. There's no nothing here. You don't go to school, you don't get work. You just sleep, eat."
Undocumented immigrants who end up in detention can by law be held for up to 18 months before being expelled. Those who say they are fleeing persecution complain that they're offered little or no assistance in navigating Italy's complex asylum legislation.
Doctors for Human Rights has visited all of Italy's 13 detention camps and issued a scathing report.
"These centers are places generating violence," said Alberto Barbieri, who headed the group's task force. "These centers are useless places of human suffering."
Barbieri said there were an estimated 340,000 undocumented immigrants in Italy in 2012. Of those, some 80,000 were detained, but only 4,000 were actually deported.
"Only one percent is actually expelled every year of total migrants, undocumented migrants, so what is the utility. It is like emptying the sea with a spoon," he said.
Khalid Chaouki is Italian-born of Moroccan parents, and a lawmaker of the governing Democratic Party.
"We are trying reduce the detention period from 18 to two months and radically change management of the centers by establishing specific guidelines," he said.
But Chaouki says steps like demoting illegal immigration from a crime to an administrative violation is only a partial solution.
The real challenge, he said, is to legally recognize the many immigrants who work in agriculture, in factories and as caregivers. Many have formed families, put down roots and contribute to Italian society, he added.
As for the continuing wave of migrants, there are hundreds of thousands of people in Syria and sub-Saharan Africa still trying to escape conflict.
When Italy takes over the EU's rotating chairmanship in June, Chaouki said, it will propose a European Union-wide agreement granting temporary humanitarian visas so that each member state can take in its share of asylum seekers.
2014 is the first year most Americans will have to either have health insurance or face a tax penalty.
But most people who are aware of the penalty think it's pretty small, at least for this first year. And that could turn into an expensive mistake.
"I'd say the vast majority of people I've dealt with really believe that the penalty is only $95, if they know about it at all," says Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. "And when people find out, they're stunned. It's much, much higher than they would expect."
In fact, "the penalty is the maximum of either $95 or 1 percent of taxable income in 2014," according to Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center. "For people with higher incomes it can be much more sizable than $95."
Blumberg says that even for people with more moderate incomes, it's important to remember that the flat fee penalty will be assessed for every family member who lacks health coverage.
"So if it's a two-adult household and both are uninsured, it's twice $95; $190," he says. "Then if there are any children in the family that are uninsured, the penalty for each of them is half of the $95."
The flat fee penalty maxes out at $285 next year. To help people figure out what they might owe, the Tax Policy Center, jointly run by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, just posted an online calculator. And Jackson Hewitt has its own "How much is my tax penalty?" worksheet.
Haile says it's important to remember that even if most of the family has insurance, having just one uninsured member can trigger the penalty.
"If you've got someone who comes home to live it could cost you much more than a spare bedroom," he says. "If you claim that child as a dependent, or could claim that child as a dependent, then you suddenly become liable for penalties if that child lacks minimum essential coverage."
The 1 percent penalty, for those hit with that, also has a cap, but the penalty can still get pretty big. The cap is tied to the cost of the national average bronze level insurance plan. This year's top penalty could be about $3,600 for an individual, and $11,000 for a family of four.
If you're uninsured and earn enough to be potentially liable for penalties, you have to sign up for coverage by the end of this month in order to avoid them.
"Your only chance to buy insurance, unless you have a special qualifying event, is during this open enrollment period," Haile says, "which makes March 31 an incredibly important date for avoiding the penalty. If you want to avoid the penalty, you need to get in and sign up for coverage now."
That's much different than how things were before the law's implementation. But the Urban Institute's Linda Blumberg says it's due to the new rule that protects people with pre-existing health conditions.
"Now the insurance companies can't say no, even if you've had serious health problems in the past, or have a serious health problem today. They can't deny you," she says. "And because of that, people are restricted to obtaining coverage during the open enrollment period or during some other open enrollment period where they've had a change in their family status or income."
Indeed, changes to family status — a birth, divorce, or job change — will allow you to buy or change your coverage outside the open enrollment period. And if you're eligible for Medicaid or your kids are eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program, you can sign up anytime.
There are also lots of exemptions from the penalty itself, Blumberg points out, even for people who remain uninsured. The biggest is having income below the tax filing threshold.
This year that's roughly $10,000 for a single person and $13,000 for a head of household. If you don't have to file income taxes, you won't have to pay a penalty. You also can get an exemption if the cheapest available insurance would cost more than 8 percent of your income, if you have unpaid medical debt, or for any of several other reasons listed on the HealthCare.gov website.
But for most people with incomes above the poverty line, time is running out to either get insurance or prepare to pay up instead.
On a cold, blustery day at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, one of several massive cranes whirs along a rail high above the pier, picks up a heavy container from a ship's deck and loads it on a waiting truck back on land. The truck drives away, another arrives and the whole process starts again.
It's a scene played out every day along America's coasts as massive container ships from across the globe pull into deep-water seaports, waiting to be unloaded. The ships are enormous — some 10 stories high and several football fields long.
Mark Hanafee, director for safety at the terminal, says no one on the pier knows for sure what's inside them.
"We know the contents of anything that's hazardous, but general cargo we don't know. It could be chicken, clothes, auto parts, anything, computers, televisions," Hanafee says. "We're an import society. We import everything."
Chris Koch, president of the World Shipping Council, says demand for cheaper goods over the past couple of decades has driven the shipping industry. He points to Walmart, which he says brings in more than 360,000 of the 40-foot cargo containers each year.
"If you add all that up, that's probably a line of trucks that is somewhere close to 4,000 miles long. That's a lot of cargo," he says.
It doesn't matter where you shop, there's still an excellent chance that virtually everything on or near you arrived in the U.S. by container ship — what we wear, eat and drink, products to entertain us, transport us, fill our living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
Richard Meade, the managing editor of Lloyds List, a shipping industry news provider, says container ships are a critical link in the global supply chain. But Meade says the shipping industry is struggling through an upheaval right now.
"The shipping industry is cyclical by its nature. I think the difference that we're looking at the moment is the sheer epic scale of the cycle that we saw post-2008, when the global economy crashed," he says.
Meade says international trade fell, freight rates plummeted and fuel costs shot up. Some shipping companies went out of business. Other major shipping companies are trying to form alliances to help cut costs.
Nonetheless, analysts expect the industry to rebound. In anticipation of that, they are building bigger ships, ones that will be able to transit the Panama Canal after its multi-billion dollar expansion, due to be completed in late 2015.
Meade says American ports are spending billions of dollars in a race to upgrade their facilities. They are dredging the ports to make them deeper so they can handle the larger ships. They are buying larger cranes to unload these giant ships. He says every port will want to accommodate the largest ships possible.
"They don't want to be effectively designated as the backwater of global trade simply because they can't now accept the global standard," Meade says.
There's also an effort underway to pull the industry into the 21st century. Ken Bloom, CEO of INTTRA, an organization created by six of the largest shipping companies to help streamline and automate logistics, says until recently, everything — from invoicing to booking — was done by phone or with paper and pencil or by fax.
Bloom says INTTRA has devised a computerized system that allows a customer to view the schedules and costs of various shipping companies - something like an Expedia.com of the container shipping world.
"What used to take days, now took a few clicks of the mouse and he has a confirmed container, chassis and slot on the ship," he says.
With more than 5,000 container ships on the water at any given time, the competition is ferocious for shipping companies wanting to fill those slots.
General Motors may be facing a criminal investigation over its delay in recalling vehicles with faulty ignition switches blamed for 13 deaths and 31 accidents, The New York Times and Reuters are reporting.
Both news organizations are quoting a person familiar with the investigation.
As NPR's Sonari Glinton reported, GM is already facing a congressional inquiry into its actions. Allan Kam, a retired senior attorney for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told Sonari that the issue here is that GM knew that its cars had ignition issues for 10 years, yet it only recalled 1.6 million vehicles last month.
The New York Times reports that the NHTSA is also investigating and the company has also launched its own internal review. The Times adds:
"It is rare, but not unprecedented for the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against an auto company for how it handles recalls.
"The department, for example, is currently in discussions with Toyota about settling a four-year criminal probe into how the Japanese automaker disclosed complaints related to unintended acceleration of its vehicles.
"The G.M. probe, while still in its early stages, reflects the escalating reaction among government officials to the company's admission to N.H.T.S.A. on Feb. 24 that it knew of problems with ignition switches at various times over the past ten years, but never moved to fix or replace the parts."
For more background on the story, here is audio of Sonari's story: