The Senate leadership experienced a minor shakeup this week when Lamar Alexander announced he was giving up his number-three spot. He said he could accomplish more outside leadership than from within. NPR's David Welna explains why such an idea would have been considered outlandish, but not so much now in a highly polarized Senate.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, makes a point as Texas Gov. Rick Perry listens, during a debate in Orlando, Fla.
Credit Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP
Republican presidential candidates at Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 22, 2011.
Accepting the premise that the race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to a two-man contest between the frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the question is which of those two candidates helped himself the most in Thursday evening's debate in Orlando, Fla.?
U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) speaks to French Finance Minister Francois Baroin (right) during talks in Marseille earlier this month. The U.S. is increasingly concerned that the European debt crisis will have an impact on the U.S. economy.
With all the worry over the ailing U.S. economy, Europe's debt crisis may have seemed a long way off.
But not anymore. The faint tinkle of alarm bells a few months ago are now clanging loudly. What began as a crisis in smaller countries, like Greece, Portugal and Ireland, is now creating serious issues in much larger economies like Italy, France and Germany.
Austin Bruns stands on land owned by a contractor for Monsanto, an agriculture corporation. Bruns helps with seed corn production there, and also rents 150 acres elsewhere.
Credit Clay Masters for NPR
Austin Bruns, 25, watches as harvesters bring in corn crops on fields near his hometown of Beaver Crossing, Neb. Bruns currently rents land and would prefer to own, but banks aren't lending to high-risk new farmers.
In farm country, business is still booming. Commodity prices remain high, and investors are funneling millions of dollars into buying farmland, making it quite enticing for the would-be farmer who wants to leave the rat race.
But surprisingly, these factors make it that much harder for the next generation of farmers to secure the financing they need to get on the tractor.