NPR's business news starts with income inequality.
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INSKEEP: President Obama has dropped a few hints that one of the themes of his State of the Union address tonight will be the growing gap between the rich and the poor. He recently called economic mobility and inequality the defining challenge of our times. So is it?
Harvard researchers have been examining this question, including a co-author of a study, Nathan Hendren.
All that took was a two year delay. House and Senate negotiators last night reached a compromise on the Farm Bill. That legislation deals with agriculture, of course, and also governs the federal food stamp program, from which billions will be cut. Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg News has been covering this story. He's on the line. Welcome to the program.
DAVID WALLBANK: Thank you very much for having me.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:09 pm
Multi-millionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins tried to apologize — kind of — for comparing the protests against the techno-affluent to Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi rampage that led to 91 killings and 30,000 Jews sent to concentration camps.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:53 pm
Internet companies that receive U.S. government requests for information about their customers will be able to disclose more details about surveillance than has been allowed, according to a deal announced today by the Justice Department.
The shift will allow technology and communications companies "to publish the aggregate data ... relating to any orders issued pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" — and in more ways than had been previously allowed.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:26 pm
Within days after each season premiere and season finale of the Discovery Channel's reality show "Moonshiners," they come — a small but perceptible wave of people — to purchase suspiciously large amounts of corn, sugar and hardy strains of fermenting yeast at Austin Homebrew Supply.
"We know what they're up to," says Chris Ellison, the manager of the Texas store.
For decades, American companies have been sending their manufacturing work overseas. Extremely low wages in places like China, Vietnam and the Philippines reduced costs and translated into cheaper prices for consumers wanting flat-screen TVs, dishwashers and a range of gadgets.
But now a growing number of American companies are reversing that trend, bringing manufacturing back to the United States in a trend known as "reshoring."
Federal Reserve officials are meeting this week to decide whether to continue easing up on economic stimulus measures. The pullback by the Fed so far is being felt around the world, especially in some emerging markets.
Ezra Klein and the team behind the Wonkblog at The Washington Post have found a new home. They are joining Vox Media, a digital outfit with sites serving sports fans, foodies and gamers — but little in the way of news about politics. The creation of the new site, tentatively called Project X, demonstrates the pull of digital media for entrepreneurial journalists.
The Internal Revenue Service wants to tighten rules on social welfare groups and it has opened itself up for public comment, giving Americans a chance to sound off. It seems people have a lot to sound off about. The agency has received thousands of comments about the IRS scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status and the hundreds of millions of dollars raised from unnamed donors and spent on the 2012 elections. NPR's Peter Overby has more.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will preside over his last Fed policy-making meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Saturday morning, the first woman ever to lead the nation's central bank, Janet Yellen, will take over.
There's no doubt that during his two terms as chairman, Bernanke faced a challenge unlike any Fed chairman since the Great Depression: a global financial crisis that threatened to become financial Armageddon and followed by a deep recession.
Bernanke talked about how he survived it all during an appearance at the Brookings Institution recently.
Beginning next week, NPR News will be taking an in-depth look at the unprecedented oil drilling boom happening on the Northern Plains, where the state of North Dakota has fast become one of the nation's most productive drilling regions. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with NPR reporter Kirk Siegler, back from a recent reporting trip in North Dakota for the series.
KELLY MCEVERS: It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Kelly McEvers, in for Arun Rath.
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JAY LENO: Welcome to "Tonight Show." Now, folks...
: Next month, a new host will welcome the audience on "The Tonight Show." After two decades of hosting the program, Jay Leno is passing the torch to Jimmy Fallon. Fallon announced NBC's decision to change hosts last spring.
There is a vibrancy and spirit this year that's different than other shows. There's also been a lot more money spent. The tenor of the show is very different than when the federal government had an ownership stake in Chrysler and General Motors.
It's a heavy burden for such a light movie but it's possible that Anchorman 2 is the movie that will ring in the end of film. The L.A. Times reported last week that Paramount Pictures, the studio that made "Anchorman 2," will move to a completely digital format to distribute its films to theaters. It's a shift with huge implications, not just for cinephiles who are attached to the warmth and quality of 35 millimeter film, but for archivists who rely on film as a medium that will stand the test of time.
Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.
Canada reported its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. That has veterinarians worried.
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 guest host Kelly McEvers about a rising star who has made hip-hop serious business, and the advertising tactics that life insurance companies are using to attract young people.
Stock prices soared in the past year, but this was a rough week and prices really tumbled today. The Dow lost 318 points, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ both fell 2.1 percent. This was part of a global sell-off, as investors focus on the growing financial turmoil in the developing world. NPR's Chris Arnold is following this and he joins me now. Chris, the year started off looking like the global economy was more stable. We didn't have a financial crisis unfolding somewhere. So what's going on now?
When I heard late Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder had come out in favor of bank accounts for state-sanctioned pot businesses, I assumed the industry would react with cheers. After all, they've long complained about being black-balled by banks, which are justifiably afraid of violating federal laws against handling drug money.
But when I started calling around today, the reactions ranged from "That's nice" to "Meh."
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.
It may have been a slow news week — no national security flaws or revelations, no more signs that Google is trying to take over the world — but we had plenty of content to feed your tech appetite here on All Tech Considered.
More and more people are buying homes with pure cash. In December, all-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, a company that collects and analyzes housing data.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 8:10 am
Windows XP may have been largely developed in a different millennium, but it's not going into retirement without a fight.
Even as Microsoft promotes Windows 8, its latest operating system, Windows XP is still the second-most used OS on nonmobile computers, according to Net Applications web analytics. Debuting in 2001, XP lasted through three new Microsoft operating systems and the growth of mobile technology.
David's Bridal is famously known for carrying inexpensive bridal dresses, some for less than $100. Now the company wants to offer an elevated experience for brides to be — with chandeliers, marble tiling and plush chairs. There will be price tags to match — as much as 2,000.