Every year, 6,000 American babies are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, the genetic cause of Down Syndrome. But this week, doctors at the University of Massachusetts Medical School announced a breakthrough that could have significant implications for how we treat the disease.
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul is backing New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in her effort to curb sexual assault cases inside the military. Paul’s backing could prove critical as Gillibrand attempts to build support for her bill, which will be offered as an amendment to the annual Defense Authorization Act. The Kentucky senator says he sees “no reason why conservatives shouldn't support” Gillibrand’s measure. He joins The Takeaway to discuss his reasons for backing the measure.
Today Congress takes its first step toward devising a new coverage formula for the Voting Rights Act, as the Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony from Civil Rights veteran and Congressman John Lewis and Congressman James Sensenbrenner, among others. Yale Law Professor Heather Gerken, an expert in voting rights and election law, weighs in with her recommendations for a new Voting Rights Act.
After three weeks of silence, NSA leaker Edward Snowden is meeting with international human rights workers today from his base in the Moscow Airport. In an email invitation to groups like Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Snowden wrote that he has "been extremely fortunate to enjoy and accept many offers of support and asylum from brave countries around the world,” according to The New York Times. Joining us is Ellen Barry, Moscow correspondent for our partner The New York Times. She walks us through the possible outcomes this meeting could produce.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began at sundown on Monday night. And with it, millions of Muslims around the world began abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours, in the hopes of finding spiritual growth. But for the Muslims in Guantanamo Bay who’ve been on hunger strike since the spring and regularly face force-feedings, Ramadan is a far more complicated matter. Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald joins The Takeaway to discuss force-feedings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
For nearly five centuries, doctors classified nostalgia as a disease, even a form a psychosis. Recent research has shed new light on nostalgia, John Tierney, science columnist for Takeaway partner The New York Times, explains. Over the last ten years, Tierney says, scientists have found that "people who actually indulge in these wistful memories...actually end up feeling more optimistic and more inspired about the future."
Last month, the Senate passed a sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and passed it on to the House of Representatives. Today House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting to discuss their own bill. U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold is a Republican representing Texas’s 27th district, which is 49 percent Hispanic. Congressman Farenthold joins us to discuss the major points of this closed-door meeting.
Frustrated with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Obama Administration is considering a faster timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan with the option of withdrawing all troops by the end of 2014. Now, as New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg explains, after failed peace talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban, the timetable might be very different, with serious consequences for the future of Afghanistan.
Artist Jackie Sumell was outraged when she learned that a Louisiana state prisoner named Herman Wallace has lived in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for more than 40 years now. He is believed to be the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States. Angad Balla's documentary airing tonight on PBS, "Herman's House," follows Jackie as she raises awareness of long-term solitary confinement through art.
For Egyptian-Americans, the definitions and ideas of freedom and independence are being tested as Egypt embarks on a new chapter. To reflect on this future, The Takeaway welcomes three Egyptian-Americans. Nancy Yousef is a professor of English at Baruch College. Sarah McGowan is an Egyptian-American who was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, and Ahmed Soliman is a 37-year-old Egyptian-American attorney born in New York.
After millions took to the streets on Sunday, protests continue in Egypt where hundreds of thousands continue to demand the ouster of the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. Omar Khalifa is the director of Egypt’s O Media and was skeptical of President Morsi’s regime from the beginning. He's been participating in the protests in Egypt that he says are overwhelming in scale. Khalifa joins The Takeaway to discuss the protests and the possible next steps in Egypt.
When Union and Confederate soldiers clashed at the Battle of Gettysburg, 150 years ago today, The Saturday Evening Post sent reporters to cover the fighting. Today, the Post is one of the few remaining publications that covered the Civil War, as the magazine began printing in 1821. Jeff Nilsson, director of archives for The Saturday Evening Post, remembers the battle and its legacy.
President Obama heads to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania this week for a trip that will focus on trade and investment relations. But not everyone in these countries is excited about his trip. Lerato Mbele is a South African journalist and co-host of BBC's Newsday. She reports from Johannesburg on President Obama's mixed reception and how it compares to the "Obamania" of 5 years ago.
In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court has struck down the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the grounds that it violates the equal protection clause. The ruling says same-sex spouses are entitled to the same federal benefits and protections as opposite-sex couples. The case, United States Vs. Windsor, invalidates the act with a 5-4 decision. "DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal," writes Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion.
Around midnight last night, the Texas Senate shutdown Senator Wendy Davis's (D-Fort Worth) nearly 11 hour filibuster meant to prevent the passage of Senate Bill 5, a restrictive abortion law. Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, was present for entire filibuster. James Henson is the director of the Texas politics project as the University of Texas.
The Supreme Court will soon issue its decisions in the two same-sex marriage cases the Justices heard this term, but same-sex marriage has long divided the African-American community, a fact filmmaker Yoruba Richen explores in her new documentary, "The New Black." She joins us today to discuss her film that examines the history and future of same-sex marriage in the black community and the black church.
In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on Tuesday that strikes down key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 4 was struck down, which had established a formula to identify states that may require extra scrutiny by the federal government and Justice Department when it comes to changing its voting laws.
The Miss You Can Do It pageant gives girls with physical disabilities a chance to achieve and compete. Abbey Curran, a former Miss Iowa, was born with cerebral palsy and created the pageant in 2008. "Miss You Can Do It," the subject of a new HBO documentary, premieres tonight on HBO. John Hockenberry spoke with Curran at an HBO event last week.
It's official: The Miami Heat basketball team has won back-to-back NBA Championship titles. Game 7 of the 18th NBA Finals was finished last night with the Heat winning 95-88 against the San Antonio Spurs. Joining us today to discuss the game is Joey Palacios, reporter for KSTX in San Antonio, and Tim Reynolds, sports writer for the Associated Press.
Jose Antonio Vargas arrived in the United States at the age of 12, but he didn't learn his about his undocumented status until he tried to get his driver's license at the age of 16. Since he revealed his status in a 2011 New York Times Magazine article, Vargas has become an immigration reform activist. He joins us today to discuss his latest project, "Documented," a new film that examines his own immigration story, from his childhood in the Philippines through today.