(A new lede was put on this post at 11:30 a.m. ET.)
Saying "the government we have is not the government we need" and that it's still organized for the 20th Century, President Obama is asking Congress to give him the power to do some streamlining and merging of agencies that overlap.
"I'm calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had" to reorganize the government, the president just said at the White House. He pledged to only use the authority to make the government more efficient and leaner.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with a milestone for immigration. Warina Zaya Bahou becomes a U.S. citizen today in Sterling Heights, Michigan. She's an immigrant from Iran. What makes the ceremony remarkable is the birth date of the new citizen. She was born in 1900. Back then, Iran still had kings and William McKinley was president of the United States. Now at age 111 she becomes the second oldest person to be naturalized as an American. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The uproar over a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan continues, and as we reported yesterday investigators believe they've identified two of the men and are vowing that if they're guilty of what seems to have happened they will be brought to justice.
This year, more than 3,100 companies flocked to the Consumer Electronic Show to hawk their wares. Thousands of products are launched at the show and many fail, possibly most. Lots of small companies established just for this show will not be back next year.
But as NPR's Steve Henn reports, their hustle is infectious and some of them become tech stars.
Let's stay on politics and another superPAC making news. Comedian Stephen Colbert made a very important announcement on his Comedy Central show last night.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE COLBERT REPORT")
STEPHEN COLBERT: I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina. I'm doing it.
More than 150 leaders in the conservative evangelical Christian community are getting together Friday and Saturday at a private ranch west of Houston in a last-ditch effort to derail Mitt Romney's march to the Republican nomination.
The meeting, which will feature state and regional leaders as well as prominent pastors and national-profile evangelical stars, is not intended as a Romney-bashing event, says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a big voice among conservative evangelicals.
On Twitter, News Corps. Chief Rupert Murdoch confessed: "We screwed up in every way possible." He added the company learned a lot of valuable and expensive lessons from the purchase of the social networking site.
As Newt Gingrich campaigned in South Carolina yesterday, there were signs he was beginning to soften his critique of the private equity career of rival Mitt Romney. Gingrich had come under fire this week from fellow Republicans for his attack on Romney.
More than 3,100 companies flocked to the Consumer Electronics Show this year to hawk their wares. The show's host, the consumer Electronic Association, estimates roughly 20,000 products were launched at the show this year. And chances are good that many – maybe even most — will fail.
The show will close its doors Friday and there are lots of little companies and entrepreneurs packing up that may not make it back next year. Still, their hustle is infectious. And with luck, a few startups launched here this year could go on to become huge.
For almost 70 years, New York City has been home to two opera companies: the well-heeled Metropolitan Opera and its scrappy younger sibling, the New York City Opera. But City Opera has fallen on hard times, and a bitter labor dispute might mean curtains for this beloved institution.
Was Mitt Romney a job-creating turnaround artist? Or was he, as some on the campaign trail have said, a "vulture capitalist"? That question has become a top issue in the Republican presidential primaries.
In the 1980s, Romney ran a private equity firm called Bain Capital. It's an industry where it's hard to avoid getting your hands dirty.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in December. In the past year, banks in New York and around the country have announced tens of thousands of job cuts, as there isn't the same need for some financial services as before.
It's hard to tell if the Occupy Wall Street protests had much impact on banks, but banks are doing some de-Occupying within their own ranks. It wasn't as bad as the massive layoffs following the 2008 meltdown, but last year was painful for Wall Street. Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman, Morgan Stanley — almost all the big banks — announced big layoffs, totaling more than 60,000 employees.
Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, testifies before Congress on July 14, 2010. He thinks religious conservatives should try to rally behind a candidate other than Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum was fresh off his surprise showing in the Iowa caucuses and fielding questions on a radio program, when a caller challenged the Republican presidential candidate on his overt religiosity.
"He said, 'We don't need a Jesus candidate. We need an economic candidate,' " Santorum recalled later, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. "And my answer to that was, 'We always need a Jesus candidate, right?' "
Compared to many of the dynamic economies in Asia, development is Russia's Far East is limited. Here, men wait for a ferry to take them to Russky Island just off Vladivostok, on Russia's Pacific Coast. In the background, a bridge to the island is being built.
After a train journey of nearly 6,000 miles from Moscow, the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok can feel like a different country. The people and the language are still Russian, but the strong Asian influence is undeniable. And many residents say the bond to the rest of Russia has been growing weaker, while the ties to Asia have been growing stronger since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. NPR's David Greene has this report as he wraps up his journey on the Trans-Siberian railway.
Amid recent reports that Kodak could be headed into bankruptcy, financial advisers in Rochester, N.Y., where the company is based, are seeing more and more Kodak retirees who are anxious about their personal financial futures.
Once upon a time, Kodak provided secure, good-paying jobs to tens of thousands of local residents. For about the past 25 years, the company has been shedding local employees — from a high of more than 60,000 in 1982 to about 6,000 today.
The northern Afghan town of Char Bolak is guarded by the Critical Infrastructure Police, an auxiliary police program. The U.S. is increasingly relying on ad hoc local militias to fight the Taliban, but residents and government officials have concerns about the militias.
NATO officials say they have reversed a disturbing trend in northern Afghanistan.
In 2009 and 2010, Taliban insurgents made inroads across the north of the country, which had been secure for years. NATO says that last year it brought the north back under control, but Afghan officials say it's thanks to one of the most controversial American tactics here: the use of ad hoc local militias.
Nathan Hoskins knew from an early age that he was gay. But when he was growing up in rural Kentucky, his mother took extreme steps to convince him otherwise.
"When I was in sixth grade, I had met a good friend and he wasn't interested in girls," Hoskins, who's now 33, tells his friend Sally Evans. "One day, he said, 'I have a Valentine's Day card for you.'"
"I asked him for it, and he said it was so special that he mailed it," he says. "And he didn't know he'd done a very terrible thing because at my house only one person got the mail — and that was my mother."
A screen shot from Ethical Oil's OurDecision.ca campaign, which calls on Canadians to write to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver asking him to ban foreigners and "their local puppet groups" from appearing before ongoing public hearings for a new pipeline project.
Yet another foreign government has accused Americans of meddling in its internal affairs. It says U.S. donors are bankrolling local political activists, and it may be time for a crackdown on the political influence of outsiders.
The oil industry and environmentalists are fighting over the Keystone XL pipeline, and in this election year, President Obama is caught in the middle.
The industry says the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, would create jobs. Environmentalists worry it will lead to more pollution. Obama has until next month to make a decision, and that has both sides lobbying heavily.