A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.
Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.
"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.
Host Audie Cornish talks with writer and director Barak Goodman about his latest project, Clinton, part of the American Experience: Presidents series. The first of two installments airs Monday night on PBS.
Voters in Yemen go to the polls on Tuesday in a one-candidate presidential election many hope will lead to a resolution of the nearly year-long crisis there. While most Yemenis support the peaceful transfer of power from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy, many are frustrated that Saleh has immunity for all the protester deaths last year and that his sons and nephews still control the country.
The eurozone crisis has focused attention on debt-burdened Greece spiraling into decline. Meanwhile, Portugal is seen as the international creditors' poster-child for obediently slashing spending and welfare benefits.
Nevertheless, the Portuguese national debt continues to grow, and the country is mired in recession and soaring unemployment.
The Portuguese national character has long been identified with Fado music. Raquel Freire, an activist with the local Occupy movement, says the melancholy style helps explain decades of resignation.
Stories about life on Native American reservations often focus on the hardships â€” alcoholism, drugs, violence and poverty. In Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life, Ojibwe writer David Treuer strives to capture stories about the beauty of life on Indian reservations.
Photojournalist Danfung Dennis has captured the brutalities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for major publications, including The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Inspired by these experiences, Dennis embedded with the U.S. Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan and created the documentary Hell And Back Again.
And now, The Opinion Page. Does freedom of speech include the right to lie? After he boasted about his Medal of Honor, Xavier Alvarez became one of the first people convicted under the Stolen Valor Act, a law that makes it a crime to falsely claim military decorations. The case goes before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. A team of U.N. inspectors has arrived in Tehran, and a few days ago, the Iranian government sent a letter that proposed a new round of talks with the U.S. and five other big powers.
But conditions are so tense right now that some believe the failure of either effort might trigger an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and no one knows what might happen after that.
The Two-Way is formally off-duty for the Presidents' Day holiday. But not only does the news not take a holiday â€” often, holidays are the news. Here's a quick roundup of some of today's important and most-discussed stories:
Syria is reinforcing its military in what seems to be a bid to control Homs. (AP)