Abbie Fentress Swanson is Harvest Public Media's reporter based at KBIA in Columbia, Mo.
Follow her on Twitter @dearabbie.
Riots broke out in Detroit this week, when tens of thousands of residents lined up to apply for federal help to pay their rent, mortgages and utilities. We'll hear from the former police commander of the precinct where the mayhem happened, Gary Brown, who is running for the Detroit City Council, and Cheryl Johnson, CEO of the Coalition for Temporary Shelter, who was also on the scene. We'll also hear from Andrew Stettner, a deputy director for the National Employment Law Project, to see how this incident fits into the national economic picture.
It's no secret that more low-income American families than ever before are facing foreclosure. But there's a new problem that is making it even tougher for those families to navigate housing court: a national shortage of free legal aid attorneys to represent them. Melanca Clark is an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice, which published a report yesterday called "Foreclosures: A Crisis in Legal Representation." The report discusses the challenges facing homeowners trying to navigate the lending system without legal representation. We also talk to Atlanta legal aid attorney Sarah Bolling about having to turn away clients.
Since the health care debate began, advocacy groups, including the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza, have been arguing for a public option and for health care that's affordable for all their members. But will they be successful in using a civil rights organizing platform to affect the health care debate? For a primer on whether or not affordable health care can be considered a fundamental human right, we turn to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. We also hear from Hilary Shelton, the NAACP's senior vice president for advocacy and policy and director of its Washington bureau. And we talk to Jennifer Ng’andu, deputy director of health policy at the National Council of La Raza.
Conde Nast announced yesterday that it will close Gourmet magazine after nearly 69 years of taste making and recipe writing. The November issue will be its last. The decision came after a three-month study by McKinsey & Co., which looked at cutting the publishing company's costs. Along with Gourmet, Conde Nast is closing Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride. The magazine, headed by longtime editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, has been a gourmet bible for many young chefs and foodies. Joining us to talk about the demise of the magazine is chef and author Mark Bittman.
“It is a tragedy from an editorial point of view, because it was place where probably the most serious food journalism was being done on a regular basis."
—Chef and author Mark Bittman on closing of Gourmet magazine after 69 years of publication.
All this week we will be marking eight years since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001. Today we look at the conflict as seen through the eyes of one community whose sacrifices are difficult to fathom. The 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade is based out of Fort Carson, Colo., near Colorado Springs. The combat unit that lost eight men on Saturday after an attack by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan came from Fort Carson. In both Iraq and Afghanistan the post has lost more than 270 soldiers.
We speak to Sgt. Maj. Terrance McWilliams, who was the highest-ranking enlisted man at Fort Carson. He served as Commander there for five-and-a-half years before retiring in 2007. And he spent 31 years in the Army. He’s now Director of Military Support for the El Pomar Foundation — a private foundation that supports community programs in Colorado. We also speak to Tom Roeder, military correspondent for The Gazette in Colorado Springs.
Observers say the high winds and heavy rain that have ravaged Manila have caused more damage than Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans. Tropical storm Ketsana (locally called Ondoy) hit Manila last month, driving over 80,000 families out of their homes and into evacuation centers on higher ground. To hear what it's currently like in Manila, we talk to Patricia Hizon-Bermudez, a Filipina TV reporter and relief worker currently on the ground there.
"All their clothes are soiled, all their clothes wet, so they're waiting for relief. So you have men wearing blazers for women, you have men wearing cocktail dresses. Anything that will keep them dry for the night."
—Patricia Hizon-Bermudez, a Filipina TV reporter and relief worker in Manila, on the people displaced by the Typhoon
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly unemployment numbers this morning. To tell us what the numbers mean, we’ve got University of Maryland economist and business professor Peter Morici. We’ll also talk with those whose jobs and businesses are represented in these numbers. Michael Powell, the president and founder of Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., joins us to tell us how his business is making it through the recession. We also speak with Sandy Cole, an unemployed office manager who lives in St. Joseph, Mich., and is currently looking for work.
President Obama is in Copenhagen today to make the case that Chicago should be the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. We measure the mood in Denmark with BBC Sports News correspondent Alex Capstick.
And we're asking you, Is the president spending his international political capital on the right issue?
Call it Driving While Distracted, or DWD. It may not sound as serious as DWI, but driving and texting or twittering or "just" checking your email is a serious enough issue that dozens of elected officials, transit groups and law enforcement agencies are gathering in Washington today to look at what can be done about it. We hear from Kristin Backstrom of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, who will be at the conference, New Jersey State Trooper Sergeant Stephen Jones and his daughter Alicia Jones, who admits to texting while driving.
The Department of Transportation is offering a live webcast of the summit. Watch here.
Iran continued its recent run of provocative acts by testing its longest-range missiles on Monday. That came only one day after it tested short-range missiles, and a few days after it came clean about a second uranium enrichment facility it has been secretly building. We look at what America’s priorities should be in light of these events with The New York Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger and three Iranian-Americans: Iraj Mirshahi, Sunshine Royanian Ludder and Rudi Bakhtiar.
With Labor Day right around the corner, we speak with Annette Bernhardt, one of the authors of a report showing a surge in wage and workplace violations: Confronting the Gloves-Off Economy: America's Broken Labor Standards and How to Fix Them. The report compiled interviews with more than 4000 low-wage workers in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. What they described was an astounding number of violations — from unpaid overtime to employers not paying minimum wage — and an overall lack of enforcement.
Bernhardt is the policy co-director for the advocacy group National Employment Law Project. We also hear from Amy Carroll, an attorney at a community center in Brooklyn, New York: Make the Road New York. The group represents thousands of workers who have seen workplace violations firsthand.
We finish our week-long series of health care roundtables with a look beyond our borders. We speak to three Americans living abroad about the health care systems in other countries. Christina Geyer joins us from Bavaria, Germany, where she has lived since 2002. Lynne Udalov joins us from Moscow, where she has been for over 10 years. And Amanda Graham joins us from Derry, in Northern Ireland, where she moved in May.
Click through for an overview on the health care system of each country, or read the other round tables in this series.
As part of our week-long series of health care roundtables, we’re talking with young people. They're coveted by health insurers, but with low salaries and high resilience, they’re often the least likely to buy in. We hear from Savlan Hauser, an architect in Oakland, California who has been buying her own catastrophic health insurance plan for the last three years; Nik Bonovich, a freelance journalist in Sacramento, California, who’s been buying premium health insurance since February; and Golnar Adili, who's been going without health care coverage for the past three years.
For more on the guests from today's roundtable continue reading...
Pretty in Pink hit the big screen in 1986, signaling that John Hughes had not yet finished with his Brat Pack flicks. Hughes, who died yesterday, wrote the screenplay for the movie. Here to talk to The Takeaway about how this cult classic — starring Molly Ringwald as an unpopular, awkward teenager who falls for a rich, popular guy played by Andrew McCarthy — is Pretty in Pink's director, Howard Deutch.
Here's one of our favorite scenes from Pretty in Pink:
Every day, there's more news from Capitol Hill on health care reform. Different lawmakers propose changes to three different bills, with updates as key players refine their positions. Last week, some of the "Blue Dog Democrats" succeeded in pushing the vote on healthcare reform until after the Senate's August recess.
Having trouble understanding this complicated process? The Takeaway has a guide for you. (And if you have more questions, get in touch!) Here are the key points to the major health care plans proposed, the stage of the process they're in, and even a bit about how bills become laws. Here's what we know about the House's H.R. 3200, and the Senate's H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee bill. ...(continue reading)
Girl Scouts start selling their best-selling cookies — Thin Mints and Tagalongs — each December. But this year, the Scouts’ annual cookie sales, which add up to $700 million a year, may not be so high. That’s because giant Wal-Mart will start stocking its shelves with its own Great Value brand Fudge Mint and Fudge Covered Peanut Butter Filled cookies next month. Some bloggers who were at the women's BlogHer convention where Wal-Mart debuted its desserts last week are crying foul, saying the retailer is trying to steal the Scouts’ sales. We discuss the cookie war with culture critic Mary Elizabeth Williams and her 9-year old daughter, Lucy, who is, in the interest of full disclosure, a Girl Scout and a darn good little saleswoman.
Last Fourth of July, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint published Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism. Senator DeMint (ranked by National Journal as the Senate’s most conservative member), has been making headlines as one of President Obama's most vocal critics on everything from the economy, health care reform to Cash for Clunkers. He joins The Takeaway with his take on how to correct the country's path.
"Right now we don’t allow insurance companies to compete state to state, so a few insurance companies can essentially monopolize the business in each state. If we created a national market for health care with hundreds of companies competing for our business the price would go down and the variety of products would go up."
—Senator Jim DeMint on health care reform
For more from Senator DeMint, watch his speech on the Senate floor against President Obama's health care plan:
Gun owners across America are carrying guns in record numbers. This June, parts of Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all saw record numbers of applications for concealed weapons, according to a USA Today article. In Clay County, Missouri, the sheriff’s office had to hire two additional staffers to deal with the rush. Clay County is where Don Pind, a firearms instructor at Show Me Shooters Indoor Range, is based; he joins The Takeaway today. We also talk with Kristi Manning, another firearms instructor who teaches at Carter Shooting Supply in Harrison, Tennessee. Manning’s had her class size triple since last November.
In 1936, Atlanta, Georgia, built the nation's first housing project. Soon, more of the city's population lived in the projects than in any other city in the nation. Now, Atlanta is set to knock all the big projects down and become the first big city without projects. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity is holding hearings today on the future of housing. In light of Atlanta's move (and the plans of other big cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles), we are looking at whether public housing projects have a future. To discuss this issue is Renee L. Glover, the president and CEO of Atlanta's Housing Authority, and Representative Maxine Waters, the Democrat from California, who is the Chairwoman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
For more, the AP has put together a video essay on Atlanta's move away from public housing: