The FIFA World Cup is just two days away. Thirty-two teams will face off in 65 games over the course of one full month of soccer madness in South Africa. For those of us back here in the USA, we'll have to settle for clustering around television screens or surreptitious web feeds on our work computers.
Sports Illustrated's Jen Chang tells us the most essential games to watch and, ahem, how to do it at work.
Two American citizens were arrested yesterday at New York's JFK airport. The young men from New Jersey, both in their 20s, had been under surveillance since 2006. Law enforcement laid low, gathered evidence and waited until this weekend when the two men were trying to board separate flights to Egypt, and then to Somalia where they were allegedly planning to join al-Shabab, a terrorist group allied with al-Qaida.
UPDATED 7:20 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the night shift.
In addition to what Anna got in motion earlier today (see below), we're planning on a few other stories.
We're looking into how the permitting process works for oil rigs. Is environmental track record taken into consideration when the permits are passed out? We're finding out, and we'll let you know tomorrow morning.
The sports fans around the office are eager to see how the spoiled perfect game might pave the way for instant replay in major league baseball. We'll find out about that, and also, why in the world are there so many perfect games all of a sudden?
Also, is there such a thing as a fair trade iPad? Or any tech gadget considering that they tend to be mass produced in the third world?
On a lighter note, we'll also review a few movies for you. How's that for a potpourri powerhouse?
Here's what we have lined up for tomorrow coming out of our 3:00 p.m. editorial meeting.
Comedian and "Daily Show" star Samantha Bee will join us in studio to explain how a wacky family (wait till you hear how wacky) is what led her down the path of bizarre humor and a genuine wealth of insight into sanity and well being.
But, in serious news ... the nuclear option may be on the table, or heading to the Gulf anyway. With the latest failure to plug the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has sent a team of five nuclear physicist to the region, presumably to consider an option tried and tested in Russia on similar problems: nuking the oil well. We have one producer wishing she spoke a little more Russian right now as she tries to track down someone who has practiced this procedure in the past. If it seems feasible we'll have an explainer for you tomorrow.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the night shift, shifting the show around as the sun sets.
In addition to our planned coverage of the flotilla fall out (see below) around Gaza and Israel, we're also following up on statements from the White House today about possible criminal charges against BP. Would the threat of jail time be a better incentive to prevent catastrophe, or is that placing an unfair burden on individuals within a corporation? And how would it work anyway. So we should have the answers by the morning.
We're also going to hear from the Mayor of Mexico City, a potential presidential candidate, about how he would stop the drug violence and what he sees in store for immigration reform from south of the border.
And finally, for you city dwellers, we'll have recipes for healthy eating from the corner store. Find out how to stay fit and slim on the road, at gas station depots or just when you find Whole Foods is too expensive.
UPDATED: 5:15 p.m. Alex Goldmark here as night editor for today.
All of the fine work Anna laid out below is still leading our show tomorrow. Here's how we've rounded out the mix.
A macabre but fascinating case out of Minnesota makes its way to court tomorrow, years late some would say; and it raises chilling questions about freedom of speech on the internet, and culpability in assisted suicide. William F. Melchert-Dinkel allegedly posed as a sympathetic nurse online in suicide-related chat rooms and encouraged people to end their own lives. At least two did. Is he liable? Did he "aid a suicide," a crime in Minnesota? Is there a way to stop this kind of act without limiting free speech? We'll hear from a legal thinker and a crusading grandmother who set out to stop Dinkel.
As words continue to heat up around the Korean peninsula in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean warship, we'll bring some context to the escalations. This current case reminded us of the USS Pueblo Affair so we'll have a little historical discussion on that naval brouhaha.
And in addition to our Gulf oil spill topics listed below, we'll hear from someone who is training to clean oil off of animals.
Pakistan has temporarily blocked access to Facebook and YouTube due to "blasphemy."
Here's the context: It started with South Park. The intentionally incendiary cartoon comedy came under criticism for making an image depicting Mohammed (an act offensive to many Muslims). Comedy Central ran the episode in question, but heavily censored it; among the protests from Muslims was one from a group named "Revolution Muslim." The group posted a lengthy response to the episode, including language bordering on death threats. So another cartoonist came to the defense of free speech, and made a joking proposition that there should be an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."
Earlier this month Tennessee was hit with severe rainfall that left more than a foot of water on the streets of Nashville. The city’s oldest buildings, including the State Capitol, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Schermerhorn Symphony were affected by the storms. And along with them, the Opryland Mills Mall.
We are one step closer to creating synthetic life, and no, this isn’t the plot of a movie. J. Craig Venter synthesized an entire bacterial genome and used it to take over a cell, creating what he called a “synthetic cell.” This is groundbreaking because it’s the first time man has created a self-replicating species “whose parent is a computer,” Venter said at a press conference on Thursday. He hopes it will lead to new vaccines and biofuels. But it raises an interesting philosophical question about who can create life. We’ll have that conversation tomorrow morning, but help us get started. Do you think humans should be creating life and developing new species? You can call our comment line at 877-8-MYTAKE or leave us a comment here.
And while you’re at, tell us how you want “Lost” to end. The ABC hit show ends it’s sixth and final season this Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Henry Ian Cusik, the actor who plays Desmond. Tell us how you think the show should wrap up … we’ll run your predications by Cusik and see if we can’t get him to give us a spoiler or two.
UPDATED 5:22 p.m.
Arwa Gunja here on the evening shift.
Moments ago we learned that the Senate was unable to get enough votes to end debate on a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations. The vote stalls the process of moving toward final passage of the bill. Our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich is on Capitol Hill and tomorrow morning he’ll explain what this may mean for the future of the bill.
In other news, smoking has been on the decline in the U.S. This is a good thing, right? Well, not for tobacco farmers. Farmers in a handful of states, including Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, have just lost their contracts with cigarette companies who say these isn’t enough demand to require the same amount of tobacco to be grown anymore. And according to some of these farmers, they were given no advance warning. We’ll be joined by a tobacco famer tomorrow morning to bring you that story.
And finally, do we share too much over the internet? Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?” to talk about the history of privacy and how our notions of privacy have changed with the growth of social media outlets, like Facebook. Our digital editor Jim Colgan went out the other day in New York City and tracked down complete strangers that he was able to locate based on their FourSquare account. How much is too much in the digital age? To send us your comments, call us at 877-8-MYTAKE or leave us a message here on our website. You can also text TAKE to 69866 (standard rates may apply) and send us your response through your mobile phone.
UPDATED 5:10 p.m.
Arwa Gunja here on the night shift.
Moments ago, I got word from our newsroom that the Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shahzad, is due to appear in Manhattan federal court today. WNYC’s Ailsa Chang is at the court, and our team will check in with her later tonight to get the latest. So far, Shahzad has been fairly cooperative with law enforcement and federal investigators so we’ll see if that changes today in the court room.
In political news, polls close tonight in a handful of states across the country holding primary elections. We’ve closely been monitoring the races in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. These races are important because incumbents may lose their seats and voters may back candidates different from those supported by their national parties. We’ll bring you the results and election analysis tomorrow morning … and we’ve got a nice lineup of guests, including Republican strategist David Frum, Penn. Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Senator Bob Casey also from Pennsylvania.
Tomorrow we will also be covering the death of a seven-year-old girl who was shot by police in her home in Detroit. Takeaway member station WDET is closely following this story and tells us that residents in Detroit are outraged and speaking up about the story. Detroit has had a long history of distrust between the community and the police department. This latest incident may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces real change within the police force, or at least that’s what some in Detroit are hoping for. We’ll talk with WDET station manager Jerome Vaughn to get the latest and hear how the community, local government and the police are reacting.
And after weeks of financial advice, tomorrow we end our Do It Yourself Bailout series with Beth Kobliner. For our final installment, Beth takes on one of the ultimate financial hurdles for many Americans: how do you merge finances when you merge families?
And, all day today we've been asking listeners how they would rebrand their state. Arizona is going through this process right now in anticipation of losing revenue due to their controversial immigration law. If you had to give your state a new slogan, what would it be? To give us your suggestions, call our comment line at 877-8-MYTAKE or you can leave us a message right here on our website. We've also launched our text messaging platform this week. Just text "TAKE" to 69866 (standard rates may apply) and send us your response through your mobile phone.
Alex Goldmark here on the day shift, getting the show ready for tomorrow.
We're looking ahead to tomorrow's tight primary elections in three states. Pundits and political junkies (like some on our staff aka Todd Z.) are specifically looking to see how the results might change the directions of the major parties. The elections will also be a barometer of anti-incumbent sentiment in some key swing districts. We will check in with reporters at polling places throughout the show tomorrow.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m.
It's been a frenetic and fitful evening so far here on the the night shift. (Alex, here enjoying the excitement).
We cast a wide net on all the possible angles to the Arizona ethnic studies law (see below) and so we've already reached out to the Superintendent of the Tuscon School District who supports the law, and a person who wrote one of the books in the Mexican studies curriculum there. And it looks like we will add in Dolores Huerta's take in the morning so that should be a nice segment to check out.
We also put out some feelers this afternoon to you all about third parties after we read of a new poll that found 31 percent of Americans support them. We asked: What third party would you support? - make up a name! This is, of course, especially interesting to anyone following the British election, which resulted in the first coalition government in 70 years. We've gotten so many of your thoughts already on Facebook and by phone that we're eager to carry the conversation over to the radio show tomorrow. We'll learn from an expert in third parties why they haven't taken off in America, even when enough people support them. You think you know the answer, don't you? Well, see if you are right: Call us at 877-8-MY-TAKE and tell us why. Then listen up tomorrow.
This week is the one year anniversary of a pilot program testing out a health care reform theory. The program allows insurance reimbursement to doctors for outcomes, not just services. So a doctor has incentive to hold a phone or email consultation with a patient, or even to call them up and remind them to exercise if that's the prescription. Some people hope this method will cut down costs and make health care more affordable. Group consultations are also helping patients with the same condition, who can all consult with a doctor or other medical staff at the same time.
Energy reforms are on the minds of politicians following the collapse of the Deepwater Horizons oil rig that spewed more more than 200,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has reversed his position, and come out against off shore oil drilling. Then yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a halt on new drilling permits until his agency determines the cause of the rig collapse. Historically, regulatory and environmental laws follow disasters and regulatory changes, from equipment upgrades to increasing legal liability, are already on the table.
Last night at around 8:00 p.m. the "Joe Griffin," a 280-foot container boat, left Port Fourchoun, Louisiana for a fifty mile trip to the site of the collapsed Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
UPDATED 5:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here picking up the evening duties.
The big thing we have our eye on right now is the anonymously sourced reports from The Washington Post that the Times Square bomb plot may have international links. So far our sources (and most sources) are saying they can't confirm that, nor even comment on it. But as soon as more information becomes available, we'll be ready to share it with you. In the meantime, on the bomb plot, we're also looking into the elaborate CSI style investigation underway by the NYPD an FBI.
Another segment in the works is likely to get you talking, well, at work. Do you know how much your co-workers make? Do you want to find out how you stack up to them? Well, stop wondering, because its only going to lead to heartbreak and frustration according to Beth Kobliner if you start to ask around. Luckily, there are other ways of find out your worth at work. So tune in tomorrow for that.
Buried below the banner headlines of oil disasters and bomb plots is the tragic deluge in the American south. Tennessee has been hit terribly hard by rain in the past few days. We're going to find out the extent of the damage of the other environmental disaster in American right now.
Oh, and we'll look back at the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings with archival audio.
First, watch a little snippet of the throwdown in Kiev today; there is at least one fist fight, one smoke bomb, and several umbrellas being used to block hurled eggs. After taking in the vitriolic antics displayed by Ukraine's elected leaders you'll probably want to know why they are beating each other up with fists and farm products. It was spurred by a controversial deal, that passed by a narrow margin, to extend an agreement with Russia that gives their neighbor a naval base on the Dead Sea in exchange for discounted natural gas.
UPDATED 5:45 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here, excited about tomorrows show a full 12+ hours ahead of time. Here's why...
We had a good show going already (see below re: Detroit week, Supreme Court fun, and some exotic lunch plans) but we've added some solid international coverage. Former Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will join us to look back on five years of democratic governance in Iraq, and to look ahead on the prospects for the intensifying war in Afghanistan.
Our other international news highlight for tomorrow also has to do with repercussions of decisions made under the George W. Bush administration. At Guantanamo Bay, an Army judge will hear the case of the Canadian man Omar Khadr, who claimed he was tortured by U.S. interrogators. The hearings could establish a precedent of the admissibility of confessions by detainees. We'll get an update from a reporter at the detention facility tomorrow morning.
UPDATED 7:15 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the evening shift.
All is well here with a few changes from Anna's post earlier.
For one, police have seized the computers of the Gizmodo blogger who published reports of a "lost" next generation iPhone. And the legal implications of this for journalists, including shield laws, have us debating way more aspects of this case over the cubicle walls than we'll have time for tomorrow.
We're adding another angle to our coverage of Arizona's new immigration law. We'll hear from law professors who will explain how the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof have evolved over time, and where this new law fits. It won't be the first time a class of free and legal Americans will have to be able to prove their status in order to walk the streets of their city.
And our man in DC, Todd Zwillich, is walking the halls of the Capitol right now, mic in hand, monitoring the preliminary votes and opening shenanigans in the financial regulation reform debate in the Senate.