Auditors for automaker General Motors are raising "substantial doubt" about whether the company will be able to continue operations. They say the company may need to file for bankruptcy protection if it can’t work out a successful restructuring plan in the face of mounting losses and huge debts. This news comes from the annual report GM filed with the SEC today. For what this means for Detroit, the nation, and the car industry, we turn to Jerome Vaughan, our friend and news director at WDET in Detroit.
So there’s this show, you might have heard of it, called Battlestar Galactica. And on the show, the human race is on the hunt for a mystical planet called Earth. Now, we humans today don’t share their problem, because we’re actually on Earth already. But for NASA, that’s not enough. Tomorrow, they are launching a telescope into space that is looking for other sustainable planets. We're checking in with Miles O'Brien, The Takeaway's intergalactic correspondent for more on this mission.
President Obama found a new head for FEMA yesterday: Craig Fugate. Fugate is the Director of Florida Emergency Management and in that role he guided the way through hurricanes and wildfires and everything else nature has thrown at the Sunshine State. Joining us for an overview of the new FEMA leader is Mark Simpson, assistant news director at WMFE and host of the local show Intersection in Orlando, Florida.
All week, we’ve been taking a look at the U.S.-Mexico border, where violence has soared as Mexico’s army battles powerful drug cartels. Today, we turn to a place you may not have heard of: Brownsville, Texas. It’s a small city where most people have family right across the border in Matamoros, Mexico. And they have learned that what happens in Texas can’t be separated from what happens in Mexico. The Takeaway talks to Brownsville judge Carlos Cascos and Brownsville Herald crime reporter Ildefonso Ortiz for their take on life on the border.
For 35 years judges in New York State have had to follow strict sentencing laws for drug offenders. Critics say the Rockefeller Drug Laws, named for the former governor, mete out long prison sentences to small time offenders, and that drug treatment would often be more effective. Now, state lawmakers are poised to reform the laws. Journalist Jennifer Gonnerman wrote about the experience of one woman sentenced under the Rockefeller Drug Laws in her book Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett. She joins Farai and John with a look at the laws and the proposed reforms.
"They essentially establish a blueprint for fighting the so-called war on drugs, that was copied by every corner of the country, and have essentially been the engine that have driven the prison expansion in this country over the last 30 years." — Journalist Jennifer Gonnerman on the strict Rockefeller Drug Laws
Takeaway contributor and personal finance whiz Alvin Hall has been helping homeowners dissect the Obama administration's housing plan. Earlier we heard from Pamela Zombeck, a homeowner in Salem, Massachusetts who was struggling to pay her mortgage. Now we sic Alvin on a more complicated situation: the speculator, the guys who bought homes as investments and now have a lot to lose as mortgage payments escalate and housing prices fall. Scott Mintz of Los Angeles bought four homes and has a lot of questions for Alvin.
There’s huge debate over health care reform in this country and it may come as a surprise that one person in particular is not taking part in it: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As our next guest writes in the New York Times today, Hillary Clinton seems eager to distance herself from her failed attempt at health care reform. We’re joined by the New York Times' White House Correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg for her take on the situation.
The World Baseball Classic kicks off with defending champs Japan against China. It may not be a big deal in the U.S. but in other parts of the globe, this is their World Series. Jorge Pineda is the Editor-in-Chief of Dominican Today. He is following team Dominican Republic and is waiting excitedly for their first game. He joins us now for a trip to the old ballgame.
For NASA, one earth isn't enough. On Friday, the agency is set to launch a giant telescope called Kepler into outer space. Kepler will orbit the sun and sweep it's camcorder-like lens across the Milky Way, looking for planets like Earth, that can sustain life. Here to tell us more is William Borucki, the principal science investigator for the Kepler Mission.
And it wouldn't be a normal week at The Takeaway if we didn't mention Battlestar Galactica at least once. For geeks like us, the Kepler Mission instantly calls Battlestar Galactica and the hunt for a new Earth to mind. In honor of the last three episodes ever of everyone's favorite SciFi series, we'd like to take you all the way back to the beginning. So here's the trailer for Battlestar Galactica, Season One:
Today, California’s Supreme Court takes up the issue of whether Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that effectively banned gay marriage in that state, is legal or not. The hotly-contested proposition passed last year and heads to the court today over questions of constitutionality. The courthouse should be a spectacle as protesters on both sides of the issue rally and even Ken Starr is expected to make an appearance. To tell us more about the gay marriage debate in California and across the country, Kenji Yoshino of New York University Law School joins us.
For a comedic take on the gay marriage battle in California, here's "Prop. 8 The Musical":
The Obama administration has released the details of its housing plan, which is meant to be a finger in the dam for the tidal wave of homes facing foreclosure throughout the U.S. Yesterday the administration launched their website, that will help struggling homeowners determine their eligibility for assistance. We can do one better than that. Joining us is Takeaway contributor and financial adviser Alvin Hall who is here to help homeowner Pamela Zombeck in Salem, Massachusetts sort through it all.
Just this morning, the International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. This is the first warrant ever issued against a sitting head of state and nations neighboring Sudan are nervous about the repercussions. The ICC's warrant could bring al Bashir to trial for his government's actions in Darfur, including seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court did not find enough evidence to bring an indictment on genocide. For more we turn to the BBC's Africa editor Martin Plaut.
This this week, we’ve been taking a look at Mexico’s drug war and the ripple effect being felt throughout the Southwest United States. Perhaps nowhere has this been felt more keenly than in Arizona where drug-related kidnappings have soared over the past year. Adding to the turmoil is the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexican gangs. As jury selection continues in the trial of a Phoenix gun-dealer who allegedly sold hundreds of weapons to Mexican cartel members, the debate rages about how to keep American guns out of Mexico. We are joined by someone who is in the front-line of trying to make that happen, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
Here is Terry Goddard on CNN discussing gun smuggling:
When Barack Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, he left an opening in the U.S. Congress. Voters in Illinois just voted in the primary to choose the Democratic candidate for the seat and there were 23 candidates. While it looks like Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won, for some local insight on the crowded race we turn to Tony Arnold, a reporter for Chicago Public Radio.
Later today the International Criminal Court will announce whether it is issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the western province of Darfur. The warrant is issued, it will be the first time the ICC has sought the arrest of a sitting head of state. While some may think this is a good first step towards justice in Darfur, neighboring nations are urging the court not to act over fears it will worsen tensions in the region. For more we turn to Karen Allen, the BBC's East Africa Correspondent, who is just back from Khartoum, Sudan.
Over the past few years a rash of food-related illnesses caused by everything from tomatoes to spinach to peanut butter has sparked nationwide concern over food safety. Conventional wisdom has always said you can assure your food is safe by buying organic. But New York Times reporter Kim Severson did some digging and she found that organic certification has nothing to do with food safety.
The effects of the housing collapse are being felt acutely, daily, powerfully in Cleveland, Ohio. For a time, it led the nation in foreclosures, and now it’s a city that lives with one out every 13 homes vacant.
Alex Kotlowitz is a contributor to the New York Times magazine and author of the book There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America. He has a story in this weekend’s magazine titled “All Boarded Up,” describing how the next stage of the national foreclosure crisis has already come to Cleveland.
Let's talk about your bottom. When do you think the market can go no lower? Is that when you bail out of the Dow and stick your money under the mattress? There's no sure way to predict the bottom of the market, of course, but history does give some hints. Ben Steverman, a reporter with BusinessWeek.com's investing channel, takes a look at bear markets of the past and what they say about the current market meltdown.
Tell us your version of "the bottom" here or call us at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE.
Professional athletes in just about every sport imaginable are sprinting to new records: passing more accurately, throwing faster, jumping higher, swimming further. But there's one thing in sports that just hasn't changed: the free throw. Basketball players are simply no better at hitting that shot from the line than they ever were. John Branch from our partner The New York Times has been looking into why.
During her first trip to the Middle East as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that the U.S. will be sending two high-level envoys to Syria. This is the latest sign that the Obama administration is willing to engage Damascus on issues of regional and international concern. The two envoys are Jeffrey Feltman (acting assistant secretary of state) and Daniel Shapiro (a senior White House official). They may visit Syria today for "preliminary conversations". To learn what these new envoys will face, we are joined by Richard Murphy, former U.S. ambassador to Syria and former assistant secretary of state for the Near East.