Louisiana and Metro Baton Rouge business news.

President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.

Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.

College Station is right in the middle of Texas — a few hours by car from Austin, Dallas and Houston and home to Texas A&M, a major research university. But if you're in the market for high-speed Internet access, College Station can feel like the middle of nowhere.

"It's been pretty bleak. You get too far from the university, and it's nothing," says Andrew Duggleby, co-founder of Exosent Engineering, a company that designs and builds tanker trucks for the oil industry.

Electronic cigarette makers are getting bold with their advertising, using provocative new print ads and celebrity endorsements on TV. But public health advocates say these images are luring kids to hook them on nicotine.

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.

This week, Watson talks with Arun Rath about an app that's bringing the community hospitality model to the bathroom. They also talk about a project that's made reading a full-body experience and sparked a conversation about the future of books.

Oil business in North Dakota is creating some big headaches for Amtrak travelers. Trains on the popular Empire Builder route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest are often delayed for hours.

One reason for the congestion is an influx of trains hauling crude oil across the Northern Plains.

The delays are becoming so bad that a passenger group now wants the U.S. transportation secretary to intervene.

Frozen Before Ice Fishing

The online superstore Amazon got its start selling books — and it's been getting into the publishing business as well, with imprints for genres like science fiction, romance and mystery.

Until now, though, it hasn't had its fingers in one of the biggest slices of the publishing pie: Christian books. That changed this past week, with the introduction of the Waterfall Press imprint.

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Labor Department says there are nearly four million people in America who've been unemployed for six months or more. That number has remained stubbornly high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen. Yesterday, President Obama met with U.S. business leaders and urged them not to overlook qualified job applicants just because they've been out of work for a while.

Super Bowl suspense is building — for the game and the commercials. With an audience of over 100 million people, advertisers covet this space, but at a reported $4 million a spot, only the mightiest corporations can afford Super Bowl exposure. This year, though, there's an exception. One lucky little business will get one of those primo slots — free.

A large section of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline went into official operation Wednesday, in a move that supporters say will help ease the flow of oil to refineries in the Gulf Coast region. The Obama administration has yet to rule on the project's northern portion.