And today, the Federal Reserve is taking another step in its stated intention to become more transparent. The committee that sets interest rates ends a two-day meeting, and its usual post-meeting announcement will have some unusual information.
For a hint of what we're to learn, we called David Wessel; he's economics editor of the Wall Street Journal. Good morning.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So what is the Fed going to announce today that's so remarkable?
NPR's business news starts with a turning point for Japan.
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MONTAGNE: Tokyo today reported Japan's first trade deficit since 1980. For the last three decades, Japan has exported so many goods to the world, it's run trade surpluses. But last year, Japan imported more than it exported - $32 billion more. The shift in fortunes comes after last year's earthquake and tsunami and nuclear power plant shutdowns.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama wants to see more tax breaks for manufacturers and fewer tax breaks for millionaires. Those were among the ideas floated in the president's third State of the Union speech last night. Throughout the morning, we're getting reaction to that address.
Though millions of Americans watched the televised speech, the president's ostensible audience was right in front of him - Congress. His relations with many Republican lawmakers are icy at best. And even his alliances with Democrats had been put under stress at times in the past year.
The lawmakers' responses to the speech ranged from predictable to somewhat surprised. NPR's Andrea Seabrook listened to lawmakers after the speech.
Vancouver, Canada, is laying claim to the most expensive hot dog in the world. Chef Dougie Luv of DougieDog Hot Dogs starts serving his $100 Dragon Dog Wednesday. The hot dog features a foot-long bratwurst which is infused with 100-year-old Louis XIII cognac. That cognac costs more than $2,000 a bottle.
The text of President Obama's State of the Union address, as delivered:
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.
First came sexual-assault allegations against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State. Then, molestation accusations against Bernie Fine, an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse. And now, new details about what led John Chadima, an associate athletic director at Wisconsin, to resign earlier this month.
Hydraulic fracturing wells have been producing a tremendous amount of natural gas — far more than the current demand. Above, a Cabot Oil & Gas natural gas drill at a fracking site in South Montrose, Pa.
The practice of hydraulic fracturing — pumping fluid into underground rock to push up natural gas — has its detractors, especially among environmentalists. But it's becoming clear that whatever its drawbacks, "fracking," as it's called, is producing a lot of gas — maybe too much gas.
Fracking was once a small part of the natural gas industry, a technique to get hard-to-reach deposits in underground shale. Then the technology improved, and the dinner bell rang. Everybody wanted in. Now there's so much gas on the market that the price is at a 10-year low.
After former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's death was announced Sunday, fans paid their respects at a Paterno statue on campus. Paterno exerted a rare amount of control in his decades coaching football, says Frank Deford.
Now that Joe Paterno has passed on from Happy Valley, we must ponder whether we will ever see his like again.
But please: I am now, you understand, talking about Coach Paterno. Let us, for the moment, put aside how the old citizen whose credo was "Success with Honor" acted with regard to pedophilia: so without sensitivity, so irresponsibly, so –– ultimately –– cold-bloodedly. That will sully Paterno's memory forever.