In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Obama stepped up to a podium before Congress and the country and declared that the state of our union was strong.
"Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years; a rebounding housing market; a manufacturing sector that's adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s," the president said.
The Keystone XL oil pipeline may be closer to being built. The U.S. State Department's released an environmental impact statement that says the project would not make climate change any worse, and it's now up to President Obama to decide the fate of the pipeline. NPR's Jeff Brady reports that environmental groups and many Democrats want the president to reject the review's findings.
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.
A college education is famously expensive. But what about the tests just to apply? Benjamin Tonelli wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal this week; and he questioned the costs of the SAT and AP tests that students have to take just to be considered for admittance to college, and asked if this doesn't discriminate against poorer families especially. Mr. Tonelli is a senior at Garfield High School in Seattle, and he joins us. Thanks very much for being with us.
Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.
The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama summoned business leaders to the White House today. His message: Hire people who've been out of work for a long time. It's just the latest example of the president trying to get things done without having to turn to Congress. So far, more than 300 companies have promised to re-examine their hiring practices to make sure that they are not discriminating against the long-term unemployed.
Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:11 pm
The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Many of us are continuing to talk about President Obama's State of the Union address. In fact, the Barbershop guys will give us their thoughts about it later this hour. But there was another important speech this week laying out the priorities of the nations within the nation. I'm talking about yesterday's State of Indian Nations address. That speech is a chance for the president of the National Congress of American Indians to lay out his priorities for Indian country.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
President Obama meets with a group of high-powered corporate executives at the White House today. He plans to encourage the CEOs to offer a second chance to job applicants, even if they've been out of work for six months, or even more.
Think your commute is bad? Try 580 miles, one-way.
Door to door, that's how far Rory Richardson travels between his home in western Montana and his job on the oil fields near Williston, N.D. Often, he makes the trip on a plane his company charters to shuttle workers between here and the Northwest.
"It's no fun coming over to North Dakota," he says, clutching a duffel bag and a cooler of food as he walks out of Williston's one-room airport and into the biting North Dakota winter.
The economy of eastern Montana is surging and oil and gas development is the driver. Last year alone, the oil industry brought in $200 million in tax revenue to state and local governments. Unemployment in counties near the oil fields is well below the state average. This week, we're reporting on effects of the fracking boom in the region known as the Bakken. And today, Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce tells us that that activity comes with a cost.
Amy Chua is known as the Tiger Mom. Ever since writing a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother about raising her daughter according to the strict — and very high — expectations of her own Chinese-immigrant parents, she's been a lightning rod for controversy about parenting and our notion of success in this country.
Awful snowstorms and a brutal cold snap dominated the weather news this week. But in the background, a long dry spell in parts of the Central and Western U.S. has now turned into a full scale drought. Farmers and ranchers across 11 states are struggling with a severe lack of rain and snow. Among the hardest hit states, California.
NPR's Nathan Rott traveled to the Central Valley, California's agricultural hub, and has this story.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Let's jump in a truck, and I'll explain as we go.
Throughout the West, bone dry conditions are exacting a toll on places that rely on water to thrive. In southern Oregon, recreation plays an important role in the region's economy. The ongoing drought is drying up streams where fishing once was plentiful and it's left ski resorts wanting for snow.
New York could soon become the first state in the nation to write comprehensive regulations for the largely lawless world of virtual currencies.
The biggest one, Bitcoin, has many boosters, but it has also been connected with some spectacular crimes. On Monday, federal prosecutors announced the arrests of two men accused of using Bitcoin to help their clients buy and sell over $1 million in illegal drugs.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
A passage in President Obama's State of the Union speech promoted job training. He'll promote it again today when visiting a General Electric plant outside Milwaukee. The president is trying to follow up on his address, which is also why he promoted retirement savings while visiting Pittsburgh yesterday.
Delaware's gambling industry is struggling. Revenues at the state's three casinos have steadily declined in recent years, as competition from neighboring states grows. A state task force is set to make recommendations to lawmakers this week to save the troubled casino industry from layoffs - or worse. NPR's Allison Keyes reports.
A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.
North Dakota's oil boom isn't just about oil; a lot of natural gas comes out of the ground at the same time. But there's a problem with that: The state doesn't have the pipelines needed to transport all of that gas to market. There's also no place to store it.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:56 pm
Financial planners all say: The sooner you start saving, the better off you'll be in retirement.
But that advice often goes unheeded by young workers focused on paying down student debt and car loans. And even for those who can afford to set aside a little cash, investing can seem complicated and risky.
Ben Bernanke steps down this week as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The new chair, Janet Yellen, will take over on Saturday. After a two-day meeting, the message today from Fed policymakers was simple: Stay the course. The Fed released a statement saying it will continue dialing-back its stimulus.
NPR's John Ydstie has more on that decision and Bernanke's legacy.
Economic inequality was a key theme of the president's State of the Union address. Clearly, it's a subject that he is determined to get the country talking about and talking about in a different way; more broadening of opportunity, less talk of raising taxes on the rich. Here's part of what he said last night.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:30 pm
If you've seen any coverage of North Dakota's oil boom, you've seen the images — oil rigs, truck traffic, "man camps," miles of temporary housing.
But there is something about this place that just can't be captured by a still photograph. It's a feeling you get when you cruise down an endless highway under a vast, big sky — until suddenly: BOOM. You're wedged between semitrucks dwarfing what was once a quiet farm town.
As we start this next story, let's remember that college football is big business, TV contracts, million dollar coaching salaries, game day revenues and more. Everybody profits except the players who may get treated like royalty and get all sorts of benefits on campus, but technically, are not supposed to be paid. So are they students or are they employees risking their health and the service of a big business?