It could be a tense orchestral crash of instruments ("Thus Sprach Zarathustra"), or held in just a few feverish notes on a piano ("Halloween"). Whatever it is, the music from movies we think of as spooky plays a big part in raising those hairs on our neck and getting us to reach out for a (hopefully live) hand to hold. John Schaefer, host of New York Public Radio’s "Soundcheck" joins us with a playlist of some of the scariest music ever recorded.
Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party appears to be the clear victor of Sunday's election, winning about a 40 percent plurality of the vote. In the first democratic election in the nation that ignited the Arab Spring, 90 percent of Tunisians took to the polls to vote on a r a 217 member assembly that will draft a new constitution and appoint a new caretaker government. An Islamist victory in secular Tunisia could point to a trend in the region. Islamists are poised to make electoral gains in Egypt, and have been dominate in post-Gadhafi Libya.
With unemployment holding steadily at 9 percent and little sign of an upturn, it is hardly surprising that most Americans have a negative outlook on the state of the economy. According to a recent Associated Press poll, more than 7 in 10 Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. Less than 40 percent of respondents feel that President Obama's jobs proposals will significantly raise the unemployment level from its current level.
The national unemployment level continues to hover around 9 percent. But among African-Americans, that number shoots up to about 16 percent. On Friday’s program The Takeaway spoke with Robert Johnson, founder of BET and CEO or RLJ Companies. Johnson, who was the first African-American to become a billionaire, has a new idea for how to get black Americans out of poverty.
All over the news — including here on The Takeaway — we've been hearing about Occupy Wall Street and the complaints of the "99 percent" against politicians and big corporate interests. But what exactly is the Occupy Wall Street movement alleging? One of the protesters' main complaints is that the political system is currently in the grips of corporate financial control. They may have a point, but how strong is their argument? Is our political system truly broken by the amount of money injected to campaign financing or by the lobbyists who peddle influence on K Street? Or, have money and special interests always been part of the political process?
On Christmas day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to detonate an explosive device he hid in his underwear, while flying aboard Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, Mich. Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in court yesterday to all eight charges against him, including conspiracy to commit terrorism, attempted murder on an aircraft, attempted placement of a destructive device, and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Detainees in prisons run by the Afghanistan National Police and the country's intelligence service are routinely abused and subjected to what a new report from the United Nations refers to as "systematic torture." The report details repeated beatings, electric shocks, the use of stress positions and the threat of sexual assault. It is unknown whether American officials were aware of or complicit in the abuse.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is entering its fourth week and showing no signs of slowing down. What began as a loosely organized protest against corporate greed and the growing gap between rich and poor Americans has increased dramatically in terms of supporters, media coverage, and online discussions. Thousands of people have turned out for protests in lower Manhattan, and in dozens of other places across the country, including Boston, Miami, and the District of Columbia. Many media outlets have declared the leaderless Occupy movement to be the left's answer to the Tea Party movement, and others have likened it to the Arab Spring.
One in six Americans are poor, which means 50 million people are living in poverty in the United States. Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, hosts of PRI's "Smiley and West," went on "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience," an 18-city tour of the United States in August, to speak with Americans living in poverty and get a sense of what it's like to be poor in America today. This week, PBS will air the first of five episodes of "The Poverty Tour."
The United States military is increasingly relying upon remotely piloted drones to carry out tactical missions in the war in Afghanistan. Other countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen, are also using drones in battle more often. A drone killed the American-born, Yemen-based al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki last month, and before that the United States used them to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound. With the increasing prevelance of drones, and the fact that they have killed both militants and civilians, some people are worried that a dangerous global drone arms race may be beginning.
Economist Jeffrey Sachs has a new book, "The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity," and the heart of it is a single argument: all of the nation’s current economic, political and productive woes share a similar root cause: that America’s financial and political leaders are failing to take the moral steps necessary to restrain a society of markets, and policies run amok, and that we need to become a "mindful society."
On Thursday, President Obama spoke at a press conference from the White House on his jobs proposal, calling it "an insurance policy against a possible double-dip recession." Obama hopes to fund the plan via a plan pitched by Senate Democrats this week, to tax Americans with incomes above one million dollars per year. Senate Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the jobs bill to the Senate floor next week.
For millions of Americans, debit cards have become a free and easy way to make their purchases. Last week, Bank of America announced that starting next year, it will charge its customers $5 a month to use debit cards. Other banks have begun to follow suit — Wells Fargo and Chase are charging $3 monthly debit card fees, while SunTrust is also charging $5. President Obama has expressed his distaste with this decision, saying "My hope is that you're going to see a bunch of banks say to themselves, 'You know what? This is actually not good business practice.'"
Four million people are starving in Somalia, as the Horn of Africa continues to be ravaged by a combination of low rainfall, political instability, and high food prices. Roughly 750,000 of them are expected to perish if they do not get help soon. All together, there are 13 million people suffering from hunger in the Horn of Africa. The UN says it needs an additional $700 million to get food to them. This news comes as lawmakers in the U.S. are discussing slashing foreign aid from the State Department's budget.
A study released on Monday shows that women using two popular hormonal contraceptives put themselves — and their partners — at greater risk for HIV. While this is a problem for all users of these drugs, it is particularly worrying to people in southern and eastern Africa, where these affordable and easily available contraceptives are used in a very high risk environment.
Senate leaders say the Chinese government's practice of forcing the value of the Yuan artificially low, in comparison to the U.S. dollar, gives Chinese companies an unfair advantage in trade, and is harming the American job market. To combat this, the Senate has passed a bipartisan bill, which the White House is reviewing, to pressure Beijing to alleviate some of those financial controls.
The Supreme Court begins a new term on Monday. Rather than ruling on the rights of corporations, as it has done in recent terms, the Court has criminal justice, free speech, and religion cases on the docket. Cases that are likely to grab headlines include when police can track cars with GPS devices, and whether sexual content may air on television at times when children may be watching. But one case may overshadow all of the others: President Obama's health care policy, which requires that most people buy health insurance by 2014.
Two men are suing Fox Searchlight, saying the company violated minimum wage and overtime laws when they employed the two as interns on the Academy Award-winning film "Black Swan." In these uncertain economic times, many film studios and other employers have been hiring more unpaid interns. For the company that hires interns, the benefit is a free worker, and for the intern the benefit is a learning experience, and possibly a paid job offer in the future. The federal labor department has a set list of rules that unpaid internships must follow: the position should benefit the intern, it should not displace other employees, and it should be educational. Did Fox Searchlight violate these rules?
Presidential candidates put a lot of effort into strategizing their election campaigns, and timing is an important part of that. Republican candidates could find their carefully arranged schedules completely flipped tomorrow, if Florida decides to move its primary election to January 31 — a month earlier than party leaders expected. This could result in other states changing the dates of their primaries, including the traditional early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
President Obama's approval ratings are at an all-time low. August's Gallup poll numbers showed that only 41 percent of American adults approve of the way Obama is currently handling his job. Some of the largest declines in approval come from African-American and Hispanic voters — groups that formerly voted for Obama. On Monday, The Takeaway discussed Obama’s increasing problem, which could stem from his positions on immigration reform with Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column "Ask a Mexican."