Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposed slashing state income tax rates this year and eventually phasing out the tax.
Credit Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images
North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom that has filled government coffers, is considering property tax legislation that would cut taxes by $812 million a year, according to the state Tax Department.
Credit John Hanna / AP
Kansas state Rep. Joe Patton, a Topeka Republican, talked about proposals to eliminate the state's income tax during a November news conference.
North Dakota may be about to go where no state has gone before. On June 12, voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would eliminate all property taxes in the state.
"We think it's a horse race," says Bob Harms, spokesman for a coalition of business, local government and farm groups that are opposed to the measure. "It has a real possibility of passing."
A member of the Golden Dawn far-right political organization takes part in a demonstration in Peraia, a suburb outside Thessaloniki, on April 26. Some polls indicate that in the national elections May 6, Golden Dawn may surpass the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament.
Credit Petros Giannakouris / AP
A Nazi-style poster with a Celtic cross replacing the swastika is displayed on the wall as Golden Dawn candidate Giorgos Germanis (right) and an unidentified man are seen at a party office in the suburban town of Artemis, east of Athens.
Credit Petros Giannakouris / AP
Reeling from a vicious financial crisis that has cost them pensions and jobs, Greeks have been turning away in droves from the mainstream politicians they feel have let them down. Here, a member of the far-right Golden Dawn party hands out election pamphlets in Artemis on April 26.
Greeks go to the polls Sunday in a climate of intense voter anger at the politicians they blame for turning their country into an international economic pariah. Protest votes could fill Parliament with an array of new parties, and most surprising is the growing popularity of the xenophobic Golden Dawn, which espouses a neo-Nazi ideology.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a strategic partnership agreement in the Afghan capital Kabul. The deal put a spotlight on a future Afghanistan that does not include a massive number of American and NATO troops.
Let's talk about this more with NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen. She's traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's in Beijing. And Michele, how did this seem to go so wrong so quickly?
NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.
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GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.
As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.
And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)
Newt Gingrich is officially out of the presidential race. The former House speaker said Wednesday that he's suspending his campaign, and he's ready to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, battle President Obama. But Gingrich might have a more pressing problem: His campaign has about $4 million in debt.
In Gingrich's exit speech, he opened by thanking people — first his family, then his financial backers.
"I also want to single out, first of all, the over 179,000 donors who helped us at Newt.org and who helped make the campaign possible," he said.
Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off.
For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average.
The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers.
When I went to see The Avengers the very day it was released, I texted a friend in San Francisco. It seems kind of unfair, I said, that because of the 12-hour time difference, I get to see The Avengers before you do.
Turns out I was a week off. The Avengers actually released in 39 countries around the world, including India, a week before it opens in America.
The African-American experience is reflected, right now, on the walls of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Exuberant dancing in Chicago. Laundry on a line in the nation's capital. A girl smiling out from her father's warm jacket — all captured in photographs, paintings and sculptures from the 1920s through the 1990s.
British artist Jasmine van den Bogaerde — better known as Birdy — is probably best known for her 2011 cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love." The 15-year-old started playing piano at 5, began composing a few years later and won the Open Mic UK competition in 2008 at the age of 12. The win guaranteed the young artist a recording contract, but before releasing her debut, she'd already scored a spot on the U.K. pop chart with her cover of "Skinny Love," making Birdy a household name in the U.K.
A zombie ant with the brain-manipulating fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) having been castrated by an hyperparasite fungus (white with yellow material).
Credit David Hughes / Penn State University
A zombie ant with a mature, healthy fruiting body growing from the ant's neck. Some damage due to a chewing insect is visible, as is a spider making a home beneath the ant.
As you can probably tell, at least one person on this blog's masthead likes ants.
So we've always been bummed that we haven't had the opportunity to tell you about zombie ants, but today we are glad to report there is a new development in the field. Luckily, it's a good-news report about a fungus that limits the fungus that turns ants into zombies.
The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.
The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.
The prosecution at the perjury trial of baseball great Roger Clemens suffered another major setback Wednesday. One of its key witnesses, pitcher Andy Pettitte, conceded that he may have misunderstood his former teammate as saying he used human growth hormone (HGH).
Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he testified before a House committee that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.