Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Small Businesses: Big Concerns And High Hopes

Sep 24, 2013
Originally published on October 16, 2013 4:37 pm

Safe to say, Americans love small business. Or at least the Idea of Small Business.

President Obama once told owners: "What you share is an entrepreneurial spirit, a tireless work ethic and a simple hope for something better that lies at the heart of the American ideal. Businesses like yours are the engines of job growth in America."

At the 2012 Republican convention, presidential nominee Mitt Romney pledged his devotion: "We will champion small businesses, America's engine of job growth."

But while small-business owners get plenty of praise, many struggle to feel the love from customers. The neighborhood hardware store, the cozy diner, the independent bookstore — they have seen customers leave in droves for Lowe's, Starbucks and Amazon.com.

We may love small-business owners, but we crave Big Macs.

And during the Great Recession, life got even tougher for entrepreneurs. The number of new businesses created annually plunged from 560,000 in 2006 to 390,000 in 2010. Job creation at new firms tumbled by 32 percent during that dismal period.

Startups were hurt, not only by big-box competition but by tighter bank lending standards and plunges in home equity — a source of seed money for entrepreneurs.

So are small businesses dying despite our professed love for them?

No. The latest data show a rebound. Beginning in 2011, the country recorded the first annual gain in businesses in five years, and the largest percentage increase in nearly a decade, according to the Kauffman Foundation, which studies small business.

The study said job creation at new firms rose by more than 4 percent in 2011, finally reversing four straight years of losses.

So entrepreneurship is making a bit of a comeback, but the great majority of new businesses don't fit our romantic stereotypes of the beloved local establishment with dozens of loyal employees.

In reality, small firms overwhelmingly are made up of individuals working alone — they are freelance writers, lawn mowers, consultants and housecleaners. The U.S. Census Bureau says 3 out of 4 firms have no payroll, and collectively, they account for only 3.4 percent of all business receipts.

But while most of the nation's roughly 28 million firms have no workers, about 6 million do hire, fire and pay people. Of those, roughly 5 million really are small, with nine or fewer workers.

That leaves those approximately 1 million firms that hire at least 10 people, but not more than the 500 — keeping them within the Small Business Administration's usual definition of "small." Many are headed by hardy entrepreneurs, willing to take the leap by moving into storefronts, leasing office space and launching businesses with big plans to grow and hire.

NPR will take a closer look at small businesses and will explore topics such as:

  • What is a small business? It depends whom you ask: The Small Business Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Federation of Independent Business and others use different measures.
  • Is small business really the engine of the U.S. economy?
  • What are the headwinds facing entrepreneurs?
  • Technology is making it easier to launch a small business: Applications in the cloud, the low cost of shipping and legal tools have all streamlined the process.
  • Thanks to tech innovations, it's easier to become a small manufacturer.
  • Why do many consumers choose big-box stores instead of local businesses?
  • Is operating a franchise different from starting a small business?
  • How will the Affordable Care Act affect small businesses?
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.