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Planet Money
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

The Porcupine Black Market Comes To Pennsylvania

UWE MEINHOLD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:32 pm

"If you're familiar with porcupines, they can cause an enormous amount of damage to a rural home," Jerry Feaser told me. "They literally chew through things."

Feaser works for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which has lately been wrestling with porcupine trouble. State law lets homeowners kill animals that are causing damage to homes — provided the animals are caught in the act.

"The problem is that porcupines are nocturnal, and the [low] likelihood that someone is actually going to catch them in the act is an obstacle," Feaser told me.

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The Salt
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Settles Lawsuit With His Waitstaff

Chef Mario Batali prepares dishes for the crowd at the world premiere of Volkswagen's new Jetta compact sedan in New York City in 2010.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:26 pm

If he's not at one of his 16 restaurants in New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, Mario Batali is easily found on TV these days.

One day he's making meatloaf with his co-host on the new daytime show The Chew. The next he's having a friendly cook-off with a rival celebrity chef on Good Morning America. Or traipsing through Europe for PBS, sporting his reddish ponytail, baggy shorts and not-so-fashionable clogs with celeb food enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow.

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The Salt
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

A Seed Company That Helped Presidents And Immigrants Garden Falters

D. Landreth Seed Co. President Barbara Melera with a bunch of peanuts at her Philadelphia Flower Show booth.
Max Matza for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 pm

While members of the Constitutional Convention were in Philadelphia back in 1787, many stopped by the D. Landreth Seed Co. store to buy radishes, broccoli and parsley, among other things. Landreth counted American presidents from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt as customers.

But despite its historic significance, one of the country's oldest seed companies has been struggling to survive.

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Monkey See
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Culturetopia: Attacking Everything Edition

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 1:59 pm

"Murga attacks everything," says a Uruguayan choir director during our podcast of the week's best arts stories. Murga is a kind of choral music that sticks it to everyone during competitions that take place as part of Uruguay's Carnaval festivities. They're said to be the longest in the world — the party goes on for well over a month.

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Business
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Small Businesses Staying Lean, Wary Of Hiring

Robby Richardson crafts handmade stirrups for Nettles Country in Madisonville, Texas. The company would like to hire more workers, but can't afford to.
Courtesy of Nettles Country

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 4:11 pm

Optimism is growing about the U.S. jobs market. Fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits, and hiring is up. The lion's share of new jobs are coming from small and medium-sized firms. But even if the economy comes roaring back, many small businesses aren't likely to hire with wild abandon.

"It's a huge commitment, when you're a very small firm, to add someone," says Kate O'Sullivan, director of content for CFO magazine. "And I think that the outlook is still not completely firm."

Doing More With Less

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