Why is the Taliban resurgent in Pakistan? Some observers point to the influence of the madrassa, or Islamic religious school, as a factor in developing Islamic radicals. Javed Soomro, a senior producer for the BBC's Urdu Service, has heard from people who say a madrassa is simply a religious school and those who see them as incubators for terrorists. He decided to see for himself, so he got permission to spend two weeks at the largest madrassa in Pakistan’s capital, Karachi. He joins The Takeaway with his view from the inside.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday announced more than $100 million in aid to help with the refugee situation in Pakistan. Some two million people have been displaced by anti-Taliban fighting in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, according to the BBC. The government has encouraged refugees to return to their homes and lifted curfews in order to help them, but continuing artillery fire has kept the refugees pinned down. The Takeaway talks with the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones in Pakistan, who has interviewed some of the displaced people in the camps.
General Curtis LeMay is one of the nation’s most controversial military figures. He led the firebombing of Japan which killed 100,000 people but he also headed the Berlin airlift. History has yet to decide if LeMay is a hero or villain. Journalist Warren Kozak has attempted to reconcile these two extremes in a new book, LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay. Warren Kozak joins us in our studio to discuss LeMay’s legacy, and to put it in the context of today’s war on terror.
For Stanley Kubrick's take on General Curtis LeMay, watch the character Buck Turgison from 1964's "Dr. Strangelove" below.
The Senate voted 90 to 5 in favor of putting new restrictions on the credit card industry. In an effort to protect consumers’ rights, the legislation would put an end to some of the practices that have pushed so many Americans into an unprecedented amount of debt. (Today, credit and charge card debt is close to $1 trillion.) For a look at how the new restrictions may affect we got here and what the credit card industry has done to perpetuate this kind of debt The Takeaway is joined by Dan Ariely. He is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. His updated and expanded version of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions is in stores now.
A bill to reform the practices of credit card companies is likely to end up on President Obama's desk before Memorial Day. So what's in this bill, and what does it mean for the average credit card user? To help us understand how this bill will affect consumers, we turn to finance writer Beth Kobliner, author of the book Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties.
"Frankly, a third of people don't carry a balance from month to month. So those people don't care what the interest rate is on their credit card. They're just paying off their bill, using their credit card as a convenience. And those people won't get hurt about it." —"Get a Financial Life" author Beth Kobliner on credit card reforms
Elizabeth Edwards lost her son Wade when he was 16. She is living with terminal cancer. She has been through two presidential campaigns. Now she is, very publicly, coming to terms with her husband’s infidelity. What it takes to get through these tough times is the subject of her new book: Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities. Elizabeth Edwards joins The Takeaway to discuss the message of her book and her decision to write it.
President Obama is set to announce today new fuel efficiency standards for American cars. For the first time ever, auto manufacturers will have to meet a national standard. According to the Obama administration, the standards will be the equivalent of taking 177 million cars off the road by 2016. So what is the new standard and how does it compare with other countries are doing? We turn to Matt McGrath, the BBC's environment correspondent.
Yesterday, the Sri Lankan government declared victory in the 26-year civil war against ethnic Tamil rebels. After such a protracted struggle, many Sri Lankans know nothing but fighting; healing the nation will take a long time. Will the thousands who've fled the country come back? Today The Takeaway looks at the Tamil diaspora here in the U.S. We are joined by Ahilan Kadirgamar, a spokesman with the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum, a diaspora network pushing for a political solution in Sri Lanka. He's also a fellow at the Asia Society.
Here's M.I.A., who is probably the most famous Tamil in the world, on the Tavis Smiley show discussing the civil war in Sri Lanka:
Many Wall Street giants toppled during the financial crisis, but a few giants have been created. One is money manager BlackRock. BlackRock manages $1.3 trillion in assets for a range of big private clients, from hedge funds to foreign governments. But it is the company's role as a major U.S. government adviser and contractor that is now drawing scrutiny. They're involved in everything from the rescue of AIG, Bear Stearns and Citigroup to helping the Federal Reserve stimulate the housing market. Michael de la Merced, finance reporter for the New York Times, joins The Takeaway with more of the story.
The Cold War may be over, but arms control still matters. Russian and U.S. negotiators are beginning talks to make further cuts in nuclear arsenals. The former Cold War rivals are hoping to come to terms on a replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START I, which expires in December. For more, we turn to the BBC's Russia analyst Steven Eke, who's following the story.
Warren Buffett invests like a girl. He’s patient and does thorough research. He doesn’t take huge risks. He waits for the right price to buy, and he hold onto stock a long time. All of which, according to a survey of financial analysts and investment advisers, is generally how women investors behave. The study found that women felt it was much more important than men did to avoid incurring large losses, falling below a target rate of return or acting on incomplete information. In short, women are more risk-averse than men. And that can make them better investors than men. The study found that women’s portfolios gained 1.4% more than men’s portfolios did. (Single women did even better than single men, with 2.3% greater gains.) Now that the economy is showing some faint signs of recovery and many of us might be considering jumping back into the market, we turn to Dr. Ellen Peters, a psychologist from the University of Oregon, who was involved in the original study, for some ideas on what investment strategies will work for everyone.
Being in the hospital is bad enough. Then to add insult to whatever injury put you in the hospital, sometimes, you get stuck with a stranger as a roommate. Now a growing body of evidence shows that being alone in a single room helps patients get better, faster. This may seem like a no-brainer, yet few private rooms exist in the standard hospital. That could change due to the new field of “evidence-based hospital design”. Here to explain is Carol Ann Campbell, a medical writer whose story on this movement in health care appears today in the New York Times.
"Natural light, scenes of nature, have been found not just to make people feel better, to actually improve their healing process. And it's no longer a matter of intuition, there's actual data to support many of these conclusions." —New York Times freelancer Carol Ann Campbell on hospital redesigns
The Commerce Department says construction of new homes and apartments fell 12.8 percent last month -- the lowest pace in a half-century. Earlier reports had expected the government to announce a small increase in housing starts. To guide us through the numbers, The Takeaway is joined by Nicolas Retsinas, Director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and former Assistant Secretary of Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has an eye on how housing starts fit into the larger picture of big economic indicators. Also joining the conversation is Mori Hosseini, a homebuilder and CEO of ICI Homes, who sees the housing market first-hand.
The Obama administration is expected to announce new national standards for car emissions and mileage today. The standards are expected to be comparable to the standards California sought, but were delayed by the Bush administration. Under the new standards, new cars and light trucks will have to get 35 miles per gallon by 2016. This will drive up the price of new cars, but drivers may recoup some of that money through savings on gas. Automakers aren't expected to challenge the new rules — but will the new standards help reduce demand for gas or change driver behavior? Joining The Takeaway to debate the new standards are Lisa Margonelli, fellow at the New America Foundation and author of Oil On the Brain: Petroleum's Long Strange Trip to Your Tank and Robert Farago, publisher of the blog The Truth About Cars.
"CAFE doesn't work. It hasn't worked. It will never work. There are too many loopholes now. There will be just as many in the future. The only way to get American's to use less gas is the way that's been proven, and that's to raise gas prices." —Robert Farago of the blog The Truth About Cars on CAFE standards
This weekend, 1,100 auto-dealership owners across the country took in the sobering news that their contracts with GM will disappear in the auto maker's reorganization. A huge blow to the dealers who will be losing their livelihoods, the closings also raise the question of what to do with all the shuttered car dealerships. Most cities have at least one strip of town dedicated to car-dealer row. So what will happen when the dealers close up shop? For a few ideas we turn to Ellen Durham-Jones, Director of the Architecture Program at Georgia Tech and co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs.
Today could be the end for a 25-year struggle in Sri Lanka between the rebel Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government. State television in Sri Lanka says the country's military has reclaimed all land previously held by the rebels and that the Supreme Leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels, or LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has been killed by government forces in fighting in the north of the country. The Northern provinces have been embroiled in escalating violence in recent weeks and thousands of civilians have been displaced. The Takeaway gets the latest update from Sri Lanka from the Head of the BBC’s Tamil Service, Manivannan Thiramalai
The Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic played Game 7 of their NBA series last night, and the Magic played themselves to a 101-82 victory and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. The Magic haven't made it to the Eastern Conference finals since 1996, when Dwight Howard, the Magic's current star dunker, was just 10 years old. But it wasn't just about basketball this weekend. The Preakness Stakes were run and for the fifth time ever, a girl beat the field. For a recap of last night's game, The Preakness, and what to look forward to this week, we turn to The Takeaway's sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.
Watch Rachel Alexandra beat Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Preakness in the video below.
The Republicans' claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed about the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation techniques" placed her and other California politicians under a microscope. Leon Panetta, head of the CIA and a longtime California politician, has been friends with Pelosi for years, but now the two are pitted against each other. And Dianne Feinstein, the California Senator, is siding with Pelosi, cementing her opposition to Panetta. How will these California rivalries affect the national debate over torture? To help us understand the California trio, we talk to Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington Correspondent.
"You can say a lot about Pelosi, but lying is just not really part of her M.O." —Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle on CIA briefings on waterboarding
President Obama has appointed Utah's Republican Governor Jon Huntsman as his Ambassador to China. Many say it’s a politically savvy move that will ensure the moderate Republican Huntsman,a Mormon who co-chaired John McCain's campaign, is out of the running as a candidate for the 2012 presidential election. The Takeaway talks to Alexander Burns, a reporter for Politico.
Here's the President announcing his choice of Jon Huntsman: