Let's report next on the food supply in this country. With so many Americans out of work, people feel the change in prices at the grocery store. So it's at least a potential relief to learn what the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported about the nation's crop supply the other day. The supply of corn, used in many kinds of food and fuel, is not as tight as expected, so the price of corn quickly fell 50 cents a bushel. But Harvest Public Media's Eric Durban reports it may take time to see a difference.
The St. Louis Rams had a tough football season, tying for the worst record in the NFL. This months' hiring of a new head coach, Jeff Fisher, created a sense of hope. But there are lingering concerns among fans about whether the team will stay in St. Louis.
As they air their disagreements, the Republican presidential candidates agree on one thing: They want to repeal President Obama's health care law.
RENEE MONTAGNE, BYLINE: The biggest part of that law - a requirement that almost everybody must have insurance - does not take effect until well after the election. But any repeal effort would be complicated, because some of the law is already in effect.
INSKEEP: NPR's Julie Rovner is here to talk about how the law is changing the health care landscape. Hi, Julie.
Small business owners say they're getting more optimistic about the economy, and about their own prospects. That's according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an influential business group. And this is among several recent reports suggesting the economy is continuing to improve.
NPR's Chris Arnold has more.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Small businesses are getting more confident. And that's a good sign, says John Silvia, the chief economist at Wells Fargo.
The European company Airbus reports it took a record number of orders in 2011 — more than 1,400. The surge was driven by demand for its revamped A-320 aircraft which is supposed to be more fuel efficient. Meanwhile Boeing sold only about 800 aircraft last year.
Under heavy pressure from his rivals, front-runner Mitt Romney defended his record as a venture capitalist. He also insisted he bears no responsibility for attack ads aired by his allies, and grudgingly said he might release his income tax returns this spring.
The Republican presidential candidates gathered last night In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a debate. Myrtle Beach is also the site for the first convention of the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition.
The brewer of Yuengling based in Pottsville, Pa., is now the largest American beermaker. Other popular beers like Bud are now owned by foreign companies. Yuengling shipments grew last year to about 2.5 million barrels, edging out the maker of Samuel Adams.
Last fall, wealthy Chinese gathered at a Beijing hotel to hear a pitch by Patrick Quinn, the governor of Illinois. He wanted them to invest in a convention center project at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
"You can't have capitalism without capital," Quinn said to the group of potential investors. "So we really are interested in encouraging people from everywhere, particularly here in China ... to consider the state of Illinois as a place to make investments."
The required minimum investment: half a million dollars.