On Memorial Day, President Barack Obama announced his nomination for two top military positions. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey will replace Navy Adm. Michael Mullen as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey would be joined in the Pentagon by Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., who would serve as his vice chairman. Also announced, Gen. Ray Odierno was picked to replace Dempsey as Army chief. These choices, especially Dempsey’s nod for the Joint Chiefs assignment, took many military watchers by surprise.
Serving in overseas wars, the men and women of today’s armed forces could easily miss the familiar tastes and luxuries of home. Fortunately for them, the US military has made it a point to make Pizza Huts, Taco Bells, Cinnabons and even beauty parlors common fixtures of their major bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, in order to provide those familiar amenities, the military must staff tens of thousands of international civilian employees. With few oversights, and little accountability, those workers — dubbed “Third Country Nationals” in military parlance — are often subject to terrible living and working conditions.
For millions of Americans, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the Summer. It's a time for backyard barbecues, town parades and family getaways. However, for the men women and families of those who killed serving their country, Memorial Day weekend resonates more deeply. William Brown is a former Navy Seal and currently a law student at Rutgers. Mary Galeti is the wife of First Lieutenant Russell Galeti of the National Guard.
Toyota announced that it would suspend U.S. production for one week beginning today. The car maker's decision in part due to problems with the Toyota supply chain, which was disrupted by March’s Sendai earthquake. However, it is unclear exactly what is causing the shutdown. To get to the bottom of the announcement, is Paul Eisenstein, publisher of website TheDetroitBureau.com.
As memorial day approaches, Americans are topping off their gas tanks and getting ready for a long weekend away from home. But with gas prices creeping up across the country, American travel patterns are beginning to shift accordingly. For just over a week now, The Takeaway has been asking listeners to text us the price at their local pump. We’ve collated the information on an interactive map. In this conversation we discuss some of our findings with Andrea Bernstein, Director of the Transportation Nation project and senior correspondent for our flagship station WNYC.
On the Senate floor, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky sought to single-handedly block a vote which would extend two sections of the Patriot Act and a related intelligence law set to expire on Thursday night. The Senator's opinion stood in opposition to the majority of both parties who hoped to approve a four year extension. Senator Paul objected to majority leader Harry Reid’s "hurry-up" vote, which would not allow votes on several proposed amendments. Julian Sanchez is a research fellow at the CATO institute where he focuses primarily on issues of civil liberty, surveillance, intelligence and national security. He drills down into the Patriot Act renewal.
Fighting has intensified in the capital city of Yemen, Sanaa, where parts of the city are being called “a warzone” by international journalists. There are reports that at least 100 people have been killed in the violence. On Wednesday, opposition tribesmen controlled at least the trade and tourism ministries as well as the building which houses the country's state-run news agency, Saba. Is it possible that President Ali Abdullah Saleh will weather the storm? Robert Worth, correspondent for The New York Times, has been following the crisis. Hakim Almasmari, editor of the Yemen Post reports in Sanaa.
The age-old, personal finance rule-of-thumb is that every American household should have about three months salary tucked away in savings in the case of a really rainy day. In the the best of times, Americans are pretty poor savers; so, how feasible is a three-month financial cushion in these troubled economic times? A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research decided to find out. Researchers asked Americans whether or not they would be able to raise $2,000 in cash within thirty days. The results of the poll may surprise you.
Sunday’s massive tornado left six miles of roads, buildings and homes flattened by 200 mile per hour winds and killed at least 122 people. With over 2000 damaged buildings, including a complete shutdown of Joplin’s St. John’s Medical Center, the municipality is facing fiscal damages of at least $3 billion. Through it all, Joplin citizens are still trying to rebuild their lives. Rod Pace, helicopter medic for St. John's, is still working despite the damage done to his place of work. Rob O'Brian, president of the city's Chamber of Commerce discusses the impact on local businesses.
On Sunday a deadly tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri; in its wake, a six mile path of destruction and at least 116 people dead. Today its people begin to survey the damage, as rescue efforts for those potentially trapped in the rubble continues. Brian Stelter has been reporting on the disaster for The New York Times.
The tornado, which flattened much of Joplin, Missouri also passed through St. Johns Hospital on Sunday evening, leaving all 183 patients, and any incoming tornado victims, without a place to go for help. Fortunately, the Via Christi Hospital in nearby Pittsburg, Kansas was ready to join in the rescue and relief efforts. For more on their interstate relief efforts, we speak to Michael Hayslip, director of public relations for Via Christi Hospital.
When national disaster strikes, it is often members of the National Guard who are tasked with the major search, rescue and relief efforts for victims on the ground. But how do they prepare for devastation like that left in the wake of Sunday's deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri? For more on the relief efforts, and the rigorous training that goes into it, we speak with Major Tammy Spicer, Missouri National Guard State Public Affairs Officer.
Devastated by last month’s tornadoes, communities across the South are working toward recovery. For one small Alabama community help is coming from an unexpected group of benefactors. With a population close to 1000 citizens, Phil Campbell, Alabama was hit hard losing 26 citizens and over 400 town structures. Phil Campbell, organizer of the “I am with Phil” campaign, which draws support from people named Phil Campbell committed to help rebuild the small Alabama community.
Last week, a New York judge ordered Strauss-Kahn released on a bail package that included a $1 million cash bail, a $5 million bond and 24-hour home confinement. Is this justice? How hard is it to sit confined in a multimillion dollar apartment? For a first-hand account, we speak to Nicholas Casale, former detective for the NYPD. Nicholas was assigned to watch over Bernie Madoff when he was under house arrest.
Today President Obama will deliver his first major policy speech to the Muslim World since the beginning popular demonstrations and political revolutions began sweeping across the Middle East and Northern Africa. It's not his first speech on the region. In June, 2009, the president addressed the region from Cairo University, speaking in broad terms in order to reset the relationship with the region following the Bush administration. Today’s Arab world demands a different kind of speech than the one delivered during the commander in chief's first year in office. President Obama will be forced to address specific nations and outline concrete agendas.
On Thursday, President Obama plans to deliver an important speech regarding his Administration’s Middle East policy. For first time since demonstrations and political revolutions began sweeping across the Middle East and Northern Africa, President Obama will likely address specific countries, including Bahrain and Yemen. The Takeaway hosts a round table discussion with Arab-Americans, who share their expectations, and hopes for U.S. involvement in their home countries.
Mississippi floodwaters are forcing a wave of Americans to flee their homes. Fortunately for those living near Magnaville, Louisiana, there is hope for a new beginning. Situated 120 miles Northeast of New Orleans is a planned community created by a Canadian entrepreneur which served as a long-term solution for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Now that Americans living along the Mississippi River face the threat of major flooding, the place known to locals as “Canadaville” is being called on for help once again.
Foreign diplomats have enjoyed diplomatic immunity for centuries. Following the weekend arrest of I.M.F. managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of sexual assault, there have been questions as to whether he could be legally protected by diplomatic immunity. The answer is complicated as is the issue of diplomatic immunity.
Libya's main opposition group, the Libyan Transitional National Council, made significant gains in the last week against pro-Gadhafi forces when they retook the Western port city of Misrata. However, the group faced a political setback on Friday after meeting with members of President Obama's administration in Washington, D.C., and failing to be fully recognized by the United States as Libya's official and legitimate ruling council. The president of the Libyan Transitional National Council, Mahmoud Jibril, said financial constraints could threaten their progress as well.
Former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was found guilty of nearly 30,000 counts of accessory to murder in a German prison. At age 91, Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison, but will be released pending a possible appeal. Demjanjuk is accused of being a prison guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi occupied Poland in 1943. Does he deserve an appeal? David Cesarani, professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London, joins us for more on the story.