Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 1:20 pm
GOP presidential candidates are touring Iowa ahead of next week's caucuses. The main issue for many voters there is the economy, but another hot topic is emerging: overhauling immigration policies. Iowa's Hispanic population is surging, and Republican candidates are struggling with how best to deal with voter concerns.
NPR's business news starts with Iran shaking the oil markets.
Oil prices are higher this morning after a top Iranian official threatened to block a considerable part of the world's oil supply, if new economic sanctions are imposed on his country. The official spoke of blocking oil tankers from moving through the Straits of Hormuz; that's the opening from the Persian Gulf, a major transit route for a number of nations, and it goes right past the Iranian shore.
Reason To Smile: Samuel Palmisano, president and CEO of IBM, walks by an IBM logo at the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany. Palmisano is set to step down later this month, and Virginia Rometty will take over on Jan. 1.
Far from a relic, IBM has been one of the best stocks on the Dow this year, rising more than perennial tech hotshots Google and Apple. The company may be 100, but it has totally remade its business for the 21st century.
The company sold its PC business 6 years ago, and now, more than 83 percent of its business is services and software. Sign a contract with Big Blue and you get consulting, cloud computing, servers, analytics, even financing.
"There is no such thing as an IBM PC," says IBM managing partner Adam Klaber.
Ah, we still do the town on New Year's Eve, but tearing the goal posts down is now verboten. Deemed too dangerous. In fact, as our new year approaches, it's a good time to look back on several other things in sport that have long since faded away.
Who remembers, for example, that at the end of each inning in the field, baseball players would just chuck their gloves onto the grass behind their position, leaving the field littered with mitts. All game long.
As 2011 winds down, Morning Edition is looking at music we missed over the past 12 months. Gregory Douglass is a pianist and guitarist from a small town in Vermont who blends electronic pop with folk and rock. At 31, he has already recorded eight albums, most of them released on a label he founded.
Douglass creates the sort of textured sound that you'd think comes from a big-budget studio, but he's on his own. His fans pre-order his albums before they're recorded, which helps pay his production costs. His latest is titled Lucid.
NPR's business news starts with Sears closing stores.
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INSKEEP: The holiday shopping season has gone well for some retailers, but apparently not for Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart. It plans to shut down up to 120 stores. Sears operates 4,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada right now. The company says Kmart sales of clothing and consumer electronics fell, and at Sears there was not much demand for home appliances.
Isaiah Cutler, 18, is in jail accused of burglarizing a market with three friends and taking thousands in cash and merchandise. An hour later, he supposedly posted pictures of the fellows and their stash on Facebook. A relative saw the photos, alerted grandma and she called the cops.