Let's look now at another side of the economy: manufacturing. The Federal Reserve yesterday said American manufacturing had a very strong finish last year. To find out if that's likely to last and what it means for the big issue of jobs, we turn, as we so often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: So after all the handwringing about the death of U.S. manufacturing, are American factories B-A-C-K?
State and local governments have finally slowed their mass elimination of jobs in recent years. They have repeatedly cut back on services as tax revenues fell.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Many still have cuts to make, but as the economy slowly improves, city governments are looking again to grow their economies. Many of the nation's mayors have been meeting this week in Washington, D.C., and economic growth is on their minds.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
Pakistan's civilian government is in the midst of one of the many dramas that seem to occupy all its time. The prime minister appeared before the country's Supreme Court. He was ordered to explain why he should not be held in contempt. The prime minister has been refusing to prosecute a corruption case against his own boss, President Asif Ali Zardari.
A year has passed since the revolution in Egypt began. Suddenly young people there, like this protestor in Cairo's Tahrir Square, could envision a different future for Egypt.
SAKHI SAHER: So now we're going to witness a new country with new order, with new politeness amongst the people, and no one throwing garbage in the streets. It's going to be a new start, a new beginning.
A candidate forum was held in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday night, sponsored by the anti-abortion rights group Personhood USA. Participating in the event were Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry. Front-runner Mitt Romney did not attend. South Carolina holds its primary on Saturday.
In a moved that had been expected, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday. It raises the specter that the 132-year-old trailblazer could become the most storied casualty of a digital age that has whipped up a maelstrom of economic, social and technological change.
When the Washington Monument was damaged after an earthquake last summer, Congress committed $7.5 million to fix it but expected the public to pay the other $7.5 million. It turns out the public will be just one person. The Washington Post reports billionaire David Rubenstein will make the $7.5 million donation Thursday.
Language Advisory: The songs linked to in this article contain lyrics that some listeners may find offensive.
As many people head back to the gym this month, we're doing our part to help with The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix.
We're asking people what songs make them move, and it turns out music is just as important for motivating professional athletes as it is for the rest of us. We caught up with Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes after a recent practice --he says that before games, it's all about one rapper.
When the New Mexico State Legislature convenes today, the reform of the state's Public Regulation Commission, or PRC, will probably be a topic of debate. As KUNM's Deborah Martinez reports, three constitutional amendments will be introduced to clean up the troubled agency.
Gary Locke is Washington's ambassador to Beijing. He took over the post after Jon Huntsman left. Locke is the first U.S. ambassador to China to have roots in that country — his ancestors hail from a village in southern China. He serves at a time of enormous change, a time when many Americans see China as a threat. Ambassador Locke talks to Steve Inskeep about his impressions of China and its government.
The economy may be improving but state governments are still working to repair the damage to their books. We're keeping track with a series of reports, and we go this morning to the nation's most populous state, which has some of the nation's largest problems.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Here in California today, Governor Jerry Brown gives the State of the State address. He'll outline more cuts to government programs while asking voters to approve a measure to raise taxes. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.
Even if Wikipedia was working, you couldn't use it to locate information about Mitt Romney's most recent tax filings. He has yet to make that tax information public.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Under pressure from his opponents, Romney says he will release information in April.
MONTAGNE: But yesterday, Romney did let slip a provocative tax detail. He acknowledged he's probably paying an effective tax rate of around 15 percent. And that's well below the rate that many middle-class families pay.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
When President Obama met yesterday with the king of Jordan, much of their talk focused on Jordan's neighbor, Syria. Both governments are trying to figure out how to pressure Syria's president to step down. So far, 10 months of protest by Syria's own people hasn't convinced Bashar al-Assad to do that. Instead, he's cracked down.
It's the latest salvo in the two companies' global patent war, according to Bloomberg News. This time Apple is trying to ban sales of 10 Samsung smartphone models, claiming the Korean company copied Apple's design. It's also suing Samsung claiming it copied the iPad.
Let's stay with Internet news for a moment. Yahoo is undergoing another big management shakeup. Yesterday, Jerry Yang, the co-founder and former CEO, said he is stepping down from the company's board of directors.
NPR's Steve Henn has more from Silicon Valley.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: For months late last year, Yahoo's board of directors was mulling a deal that could have sold the Internet company or broken it apart.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Remember life before Wikipedia? Well, I don't, but tomorrow, we'll all get to revisit those days. The English-language version of the online encyclopedia will shut down for 24 hours, protesting an anti-piracy bill in Congress. Visitors to Wikipedia will be encouraged to call Congress. The site's co-founder, Jimmy Wales, tweeted he hopes visitors will melt the phone systems in Washington. He also warned students: Do your homework early. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Alexis Rodriguez was treated for pneumonia, and received a bill for nearly $45 million. Grateful as he was for the care, the unemployed doorman complained. The Daily News reports the billing firm printed the invoice number instead of the price: $300.
Small business owners say they're getting more optimistic about the economy, and about their own prospects. That's according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an influential business group. And this is among several recent reports suggesting the economy is continuing to improve.
NPR's Chris Arnold has more.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Small businesses are getting more confident. And that's a good sign, says John Silvia, the chief economist at Wells Fargo.
There is no law against walking out the door during intermission, but it can be a dilemma. You're at a concert or a play and for whatever reason decide you don't really want to go back for the second half of the performance. If enough people think the same thing, it can mean a lot of empty seats after the break. It's something audience members do think about. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair tells us, so do theaters and orchestras, some of which are tightening up their act.
The European company Airbus reports it took a record number of orders in 2011 — more than 1,400. The surge was driven by demand for its revamped A-320 aircraft which is supposed to be more fuel efficient. Meanwhile Boeing sold only about 800 aircraft last year.
Let's report next on the food supply in this country. With so many Americans out of work, people feel the change in prices at the grocery store. So it's at least a potential relief to learn what the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported about the nation's crop supply the other day. The supply of corn, used in many kinds of food and fuel, is not as tight as expected, so the price of corn quickly fell 50 cents a bushel. But Harvest Public Media's Eric Durban reports it may take time to see a difference.
The Republican presidential candidates gathered last night In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a debate. Myrtle Beach is also the site for the first convention of the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition.
Egyptian cyber activist and former Google executive Wael Ghonim talks to Steve Inskeep about his new book Revolution 2.0, which chronicles his role, and that of social media, in the toppling the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
As they air their disagreements, the Republican presidential candidates agree on one thing: They want to repeal President Obama's health care law.
RENEE MONTAGNE, BYLINE: The biggest part of that law - a requirement that almost everybody must have insurance - does not take effect until well after the election. But any repeal effort would be complicated, because some of the law is already in effect.
INSKEEP: NPR's Julie Rovner is here to talk about how the law is changing the health care landscape. Hi, Julie.
The brewer of Yuengling based in Pottsville, Pa., is now the largest American beermaker. Other popular beers like Bud are now owned by foreign companies. Yuengling shipments grew last year to about 2.5 million barrels, edging out the maker of Samuel Adams.