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State Of The Union To Focus On The Economy

Jan 24, 2012



This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

A string of debates and primaries has kept the Republican presidential candidates in the spotlight this election season. Tonight, it's the president's turn to take center stage. President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union Address, and in many ways kick off his own campaign for re-election. It's a reminder that Mr. Obama is running for president.



All right, so Romney has gone on the attack in Florida, and he'll also be answering a lot of questions today about those taxes that he is releasing. As we heard from Mara, it turns out over the last few years, the effective tax rate Romney has paid is just under 15 percent.

Now, Newt Gingrich has been pressing Romney to publicly disclose the documents. And the former House speaker released his own tax returns, to dramatic effect, during a debate last Thursday.

The hotly-contested Republican primary has gotten a lot of attention lately. Tuesday night, President Obama has a chance to reclaim the spotlight. He's delivering his annual State of the Union address. It's a high-profile platform for the president as he tries to frame the choice facing voters in November.

Seventy-five years ago, before Theodor Geisel rocked the culinary world with green eggs and ham or put a red-and-white striped top hat on a talking cat, Geisel (whom you probably know better as Dr. Seuss) was stuck on a boat, returning from a trip to Europe.

For eight days, he listened to the ship's engine chug away. The sound got stuck in his head, and he started writing to the rhythm. Eventually, those rhythmic lines in his head turned into his first children's book: It was called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

To spend a day in the life of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, there are a few things you have to get used to. Really long drives, for one. Tigers charging at you. And, of course ... well ... messes.

"I'm the only studio portrait photographer I know whose subjects routinely poop and pee on the background right in front of me," he says from behind the lens.

The New York Giants made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over San Francisco. The New England Patriots made the Super Bowl with a three-point win over Baltimore. Now Las Vegas oddsmakers are taking bets on the big game. The Patriots are favored to win by three.

Court opinions are usually not that exciting but a judge in Chicago is trying to liven up his rulings with illustrations. In one, he used an iconic photo of Bob Marley. The case was about a prisoner's right to keep his dreadlocks on religious grounds.

Tens of thousands of people are attending the Jaipur Literature Festival in India — including many international literary stars and Oprah Winfrey. Author Salman Rushdie was invited but decided not to attend after a warning that hit men would be after him. Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses which has been banned in India for more than 20 years.

David Greene checks in with Jennifer Gibbons, editor of "The Cordova Times" in Cordova, Alaska. We last heard from her two weeks ago when her community had declared an emergency during its efforts to dig out of record amounts of snow.

Over the past half-century more than 20 million acres of U.S. farmland were transformed into housing developments. With new home construction all but stopped, farmers in many areas are buying or leasing land once slated for development and planting crops on it.