Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.
When I was five, my father made a promise he never intended to keep. He had returned from a long trip, with presents. I got a fossilized shark tooth, and spent the next month asking about fossils.
At some point, my father made the mistake of describing a massive fossil bed somewhere in Germany. I begged him to take me. There were good reasons that could never happen. Dad knew nothing about fossils; Germany was far away; I was five. But I would not be deterred.
The U.S. economy is experiencing its strongest across-the-board growth of the year, as private companies hire more people, some manufacturers expand and the stock market surges on a plan to ease Europe's financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 490 points Wednesday, an increase of more than 4 percent.
But analysts say the economy isn't growing robustly enough to lower unemployment, stem government layoffs or revive a housing market that remains extremely weak.
Lexington’s mayor today asked state lawmakers to loosen their reigns on his city so it can enact pension reforms. Like most Kentucky cities and the Commonwealth itself, Lexington needs to fix its pension program. But unlike other Kentucky communities, the state must approve any pension reforms enacted by Lexington’s city leaders. “The headline in all that is we’ve got problems there…you all know about these problems…you’ve got them at the state level to…ours is unique because you have a special legislation associated with Lexington,” said Jim Gray.
It’s not a question of if whether changes will come to Lexington’s Rupp Arena, but it’s a question of when. Rupp, which is the basketball home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, was discussed today by state lawmakers. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told them his city may ask the state to help finance a Rupp Arena project. “What we’re doing is examining our financial options now and that will be part of the financing options that are considered..what would be the sources…how would we encourage funding and support..from private sector and the public sector,” said Gray.
Newt Gingrich traveled across South Carolina this week appearing at a number of town-hall-style meetings where he talked to voters and answered questions — mostly the same questions at every stop. He talked about the improving the economy, creating a new immigration policy, repealing President Obama's health care reform plan and transforming Washington.
This is a pretty heartbreaking story: An 80-year-old man donated a suit to a Goodwill store in western Illinois. The problem is that he didn't realize until it was too late that his $13,000 life savings were in the suit's pocket.
Now, if you've been following events in the eurozone over the past few months with equal parts anxiety and confusion, you're not alone. To help put today's news into a broader debt crisis context, we're joined by Felix Salmon. He blogs about finance for Reuters.com. Felix, welcome.
FELIX SALMON: Thanks, Guy.
RAZ: In your blog today, you call this coordinated action by the central banks, and I'm quoting you, "a holiday greeting card to the financial markets." Why?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Myanmar, also known as Burma, to see if the county's leaders are serious about political reform. Myanmar has long been under international sanctions because of the repressive nature of the military junta that held power until recently. But there are signs that a new civilian government is loosening the military's grip.
The major central banks of the world moved Wednesday to prevent a banking crisis in Europe. They're providing more liquidity to the European banking system in hopes that big banks there will remain solvent and continue to make loans. The coordinated move by the central banks sent stock markets soaring. But it will not even begin to fix Europe's fundamental economic problems.
Melissa Block and Guy Raz read emails from listeners about a report on Kentucky's Berea College, about Melissa's remembrance of Vermont poet Ruth Stone, and about the other person responsible for that mega-hit earworm "Moves Like Jagger."