These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.
If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.
The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.
Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.
An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.
JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.
BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.
The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.
Winston Yellen didn't start singing until he was 18 — he's 23 now — but he's already got one of 2013's most arresting new voices. As the singer for the country-rock group Night Beds, Yellen often performs a cappella, with tremendous soul and nuance.
Formed in 2008, Pickwick members Galen Disston, Michael and Garrett Parker, Cassady Lillstrom, Alex Westcoat, and Kory Kruckenberg forged a path toward neo-soul and in 2011 released a compilation of music from three of their EPs. The result was Myths, released one single at a time on 7" vinyl, which put the band on the map and became one of the most popular albums of the year in Seattle.
The HeLa cell line — one of the most revolutionary tools of biomedical research — has played a part in some of the world's most important medical advances, from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization.
"Many of us spend more than half our waking hours at work," writes Buettner. So he recommends you find the right job, limit your workweek to 40 hours, take vacations and go to happy hour for some satisfying socializing.
Dan Buettner spent years seeking out the happiest populations in the world to try to figure out what characteristics they shared. Tightly knit networks of family and friends were key, he found. In Mexico, for example, Buettner found a "family first" mentality that applied to both immediate and extended family helped Mexicans cope in otherwise stressful circumstances.
Many people believe that happiness comes from money or youth or beauty, but Dan Buettner would respectfully disagree. Buettner visited some of the happiest places on Earth and argues that the real keys to happiness lie in fundamental, permanent changes to the way we live.