Last year this time, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was pushing a big income tax increase to help balance the state's budget. This year, Quinn is being pressured to roll part of that increase back. But the state is still months behind in paying its bills, with a pension shortfall looming.
In a wide-ranging discussion with All Things Considered's Robert Siegel, Ron Paul, the Republican congressman from Texas, said of all the GOP hopefuls, he's been the steady one.
"All I know is that the message is powerful," he said in response to a question about the viability of his campaign. "The message is well-received. Our numbers are growing, and we don't go up and down like a yo-yo."
In a statement timed for release at the end of their most recent meetings, Fed policymakers also said they expect economic growth in coming quarters "to be modest," that the jobless rate will "decline only gradually" and that inflation will run "at ... or below" levels the central bank wants to see.
Maybe you've never heard of Kris Kobach. To hear some immigration advocacy groups tell it, however, Kobach is going to cost Mitt Romney the Hispanic vote and — should Romney become the Republican nominee — the election.
Kobach is serving as the Kansas secretary of state. He remains better known in some quarters for his work as an adviser to legislators around the country drafting immigration laws — including the 2010 Arizona law that is being reviewed by the Supreme Court this spring.
Less salt and fat. More whole grains, fruit, veggies and low-fat dairy. This is what kids can expect in the school lunchroom soon, according to new nutrition standards for school meals announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and first lady Michelle Obama.
Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 10:06 am
Mitt Romney hasn't had a lot of good news lately but he did get some positive information Wednesday — a new Univision/ABC News poll gives him a significant lead over Newt Gingrich among Florida Latinos less than a week before the Florida Republican primary.
The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said they would vote for Romney while 21 percent said Gingrich was their choice. Rep. Ron Paul was at six percent and Rick Santorum at seven percent.
The new World War II saga Red Tails exploded across the big screen last week with action-filled scenes of aerial gun fights waged by the Tuskegee Airmen. Amid the battles scenes, the movie presents an equally difficult fight waged by America's first all-black air force fighting group to earn respect for their combat skills.
The film was not only inspired by true events, but the actors were also instructed by real Tuskegee Airmen — many of whom are nearly 100 years old.
There's little doubt that the U.S. wastes a lot of money on unnecessary health care. But pinning down the worst offenders isn't easy, as a fresh analysis of the scientific literature finds.
Published research on overuse is in pretty short supply, so rooting out waste by looking at the existing studies can be a little like limiting your late-night search for lost car keys to the spots right under streetlights.
Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 10:01 am
It was a year ago today that Egyptians started a revolt that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. Marking the day, tens of thousands of people took to the streets both in celebration and in protest of the military rulers that took Mubarak's place.
Reporting from Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent this report to our Newscast unit:
In New York City, the street in front of a high school was painted with big white letters that were supposed to read "school." But the word painted read "shcool." The city says a contractor made the mistake after some street repairs.
Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 3:37 pm
In a daring raid reminiscent of the kind used to kill Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into Somalia Wednesday morning and rescued two aid workers, who had been held by pirates for months.
The New York Times reports the soldiers came in by helicopter and engaged in a firefight that killed nine pirates. The SEALs left with Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and a 60-year-old Dane, Poul Thisted, who were injury free and on their way home.
British adventurer Felicity Aston this week became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica, from one coast to another. It took her 59 days to cover more than 1,000 miles, dragging her supplies behind her on sleds. She talked to Steve Inskeep from the Union Glacier base camp in Antarctica while waiting to go home.
Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 6:48 am
This year's State of the Union address may have set a record for fewest surprises.
The usual elements were all in place, starting with the sergeant at arms shouting across the din of the chamber, quieting the crowd of worthies from both House and Senate, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court.
Then the president made his way down the center aisle, shaking hands with the members who had sent staff members to reserve these favored seats for hours for just this moment.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney earned more than $42 million over the past two years — the bulk of it from an array of stocks and investment funds. And he paid about 15 percent of what he made in taxes. The release of some 500 pages of tax returns give a much fuller picture of how he made his money and what he did with it.
Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 2:24 pm
As the president delivered the final State of the Union address of his term before a looming re-election battle, he looked out at a sea of angry and skeptical Republicans who had fought him on budgets, government shutdowns, and whether or not to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
And what did President Bill Clinton do in 1996?
He delivered his "the era of big government is over" speech, which The Washington Post summed up this way: "Clinton Embraced GOP Themes in Setting Agenda."
NPR's business news starts with a turning point for Japan.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: Tokyo today reported Japan's first trade deficit since 1980. For the last three decades, Japan has exported so many goods to the world, it's run trade surpluses. But last year, Japan imported more than it exported - $32 billion more. The shift in fortunes comes after last year's earthquake and tsunami and nuclear power plant shutdowns.
And today, the Federal Reserve is taking another step in its stated intention to become more transparent. The committee that sets interest rates ends a two-day meeting, and its usual post-meeting announcement will have some unusual information.
For a hint of what we're to learn, we called David Wessel; he's economics editor of the Wall Street Journal. Good morning.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So what is the Fed going to announce today that's so remarkable?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama wants to see more tax breaks for manufacturers and fewer tax breaks for millionaires. Those were among the ideas floated in the president's third State of the Union speech last night. Throughout the morning, we're getting reaction to that address.
Vancouver, Canada, is laying claim to the most expensive hot dog in the world. Chef Dougie Luv of DougieDog Hot Dogs starts serving his $100 Dragon Dog Wednesday. The hot dog features a foot-long bratwurst which is infused with 100-year-old Louis XIII cognac. That cognac costs more than $2,000 a bottle.