4:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Business

Tax Day Isn't Bad If You're Getting A Refund

The day that many dread is here: It's Tax Day. Of the 143 million federal tax returns filed last year, more than 80 percent qualified for a refund. Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the economics of tax refunds.

4:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:45 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. But half that statement appears to be under challenge by one late rap star and some special effects, which brings us to today's last word in business - virtual comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALIFORNIA LOVE")

TUPAC SHAKUR: (Singing) California love.

Read more

4:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Religion

China's Policy On Tibet 'Must Be Realistic'

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 6:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're going to hear now from a religious leader revered by Tibetan Buddhists and admired by countless others - the 14th Dalai Lama. A year ago he stepped down as the political leader of Tibet's government in exile to devote himself to spreading a spiritual message of compassion and peace. Still, he's been drawn into talking about violence since a wave of deadly protests swept through the Tibetan areas of China.

Read more

4:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Politics

Congressional Panels Probe Lavish GSA Spending

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 6:56 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep, good morning.

Read more

Clay Masters is a reporter for Iowa Public Radio and formerly for Harvest Public Media. His stories have appeared on NPR

3:01am

Tue April 17, 2012
Presidential Race

Did Obama's Policies Help, Or Hinder, The Economy?

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:14 am

President Obama signs the economic stimulus bill in February 2009, as Vice President Biden looks on. Experts disagree over the impact of the administration's economic policies on the recession.
Darin McGregor AP

The 2012 presidential election is approaching, and President Obama's fate may hinge on how well the economy fares over the coming months.

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been highlighting the economy's weaknesses. The former Massachusetts governor has made a similar claim about the president, and the recession, at almost every campaign stop.

"I don't blame the president for the downturn," Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier this year. "He didn't cause it. But he made it worse and made it last longer."

Read more

3:01am

Tue April 17, 2012
Around the Nation

A Poem Store Open For Business, In The Open Air

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:43 am

Poet-for-hire Zach Houston works at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco. Houston says he is paid about $2 to $20 for each poem.
Ralph Wiedemeier NPR

Zach Houston runs his Poem Store (on any given sidewalk) with these items: a manual typewriter, a wooden folding chair, scraps of paper, and a white poster board that reads: "POEMS — Your Topic, Your Price."

Houston usually gets from $2 to $20 for a poem, he says. He's received a $100 bill more than once. The Oakland, Calif., resident has been composing spontaneous street poems in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Five years ago, it became his main source of income.

Read more

3:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Business

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:43 am

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

Read more

2:59am

Tue April 17, 2012
Afghanistan

After The U.S. Leaves, Who Pays For Afghan Forces?

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:14 am

Afghan Army soldiers stand during a security transition ceremony in Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 23, 2011. The Afghan government officially took control of security in the capital of the peaceful northern province of Balkh on July 23, as part of an effort to begin handing over all security responsibilities to Afghan forces by 2014.
S. Sabawoon AP

This week, NATO Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will try to tackle the problem of Afghan security. The basic plan for bringing American troops home from Afghanistan is to let Afghan security forces fight for their own country. But there's a hitch — finding a way to pay for the Afghan army.

Read more

2:53am

Tue April 17, 2012
Election 2012

Democrat Bob Kerrey Faces Uphill Race In Nebraska

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 6:15 pm

Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey campaigns at a Democratic caucus site on April 14 at Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb. Kerrey has decided to run again for his old seat in the U.S. Senate.
Clay Masters for NPR

Former Nebraska Gov. and two-term Sen. Bob Kerrey, who faces long odds in reclaiming the seat left open by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, is in his home state trying to get his old job back.

After a full of morning of shaking hands, smiling and trying to win over voters, Kerrey settles on lunch at the Taqueria Tijuana in south Omaha.

After lunch, he takes off walking down 24th Street, telling his staffers to catch up with him. He says things are different now from when he first sought public office in 1982.

Read more

Pages