The small town of Greece, New York is thrust into the national spotlight this week as the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the town’s council can open its meetings with Christian prayers. Sarah Barringer Gordon, professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, examines the Greece case and the historical role of religion in public life.
Lonni Sue Johnson suffers from what's called profound amnesia. She can't form new memories or bring up old memories. But while her brain doesn't work the way it should, it does give us profound clues about how our brains work and can be improved. Michael Lemonick is a contributor to Time Magazine, where his piece about Johnson "The Muse of Memory" is published this week.
Once a Republican stronghold, the state of Virginia might be straying from its roots. Thanks to rapidly changing demographics and a strident GOP candidate, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by seven points. Daniel Palazzolo, professor of political science at the University of Richmond, examines what the implications could be if McAuliffe wins.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a vote tonight. ENDA would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and while the bill has little support in the House, advocates are hopeful about its prospects in the Senate, as it's already gained support from several Republican Senators. Sarah Longwell, the treasurer for the Log Cabin Republicans, discusses the GOP interest in ENDA and examines what these crossover votes say about the future of the Republican Party.
On Friday, US fired missiles killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, in what may be a huge development in the war against the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Madiha Tahir is a documentary filmmaker whose film, "Wounds of Waziristan," looks at the impact of drone strikes close to the Afghanistan border. She discusses the significance of Mehsud's death.
Yesterday brought two major legal decisions with big implications in two states. In Texas, a Federal Appeals Court reversed a ruling by a federal judge made just three days prior that would block key components of the state's new restrictive abortion law In New York City, a Federal Appeals Court halted a major decision from August that had deemed stop-and-frisk practices by New York City Police unconstitutional and in violation in the 4th and 14th Amendments. Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for The New Yorker, discusses these rulings.
Americans suffering from mental illness have long faced barriers to treatment, including stigma from their friends, family and peers.
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy sought to change all of that. On October 31, 1963, he signed his last piece of legislation, the Community Mental Health Act, a law that aimed to transform the way mental illness is treated in this country. According to Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a practicing psychiatrist and professor of law, medicine and psychiatry at Columbia University, fifty years later, the Act has a mixed legacy.
One year ago this week, Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard, leaving at least 117 dead, thousands homeless and an estimated $65 billion in damage. President Barack Obama appointed Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to lead the federal response to Sandy. Secretary Donovan examines Sandy's impact, and discusses the state of the recovery effort one year later.
While the science behind climate change may still be controversial in some circles, it's come increasingly difficult to deny that the planet is growing warmer. And though scientists are cautious when it comes to cause and effect, most experts agree there is a link between climate change and storms like Hurricane Sandy. Science Friday's Ira Flatow examines the lessons learned, and the link between climate change and extreme weather.
British Prime Minister David Cameron appears ready to crack down on The Guardian, the news organization at the center of the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks. Louise Mensch is a former conservative member of Parliament. She's called for the government to crack down on The Guardian from the beginning. She explains her stance against The Guardian, and how she hopes the Snowden saga will finally end.
Yesterday marked 10 years since former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's arrest, in October 2003. Khodorkovsky maintains that his subsequent trial and sentencing were politically motivated, serving as punishment for his vocal opposition to what he saw as corruption in the Russian government. Pavel Khodorkovsky, Mikhail’s son, joins The Takeaway.
The Tea Party and its allies may have propelled the Republicans to victory in the 2010 midterm elections, but John G. Taft, great-grandson of 27th President William Howard Taft, is worried about the state of the GOP in the wake of the government shutdown. Taft, the author of "Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street" and CEO of RBC Management USA, examines the GOP's past and present, and shares his hopes for the party's future.
Since 1965, the federal government has redesigned its health policy several times with varying degrees of success. Helen Levy, research associate professor of economics at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and former senior economist to the President's Council of Economic Advisers, compares the ACA rollout to past, present and future federal overhauls.
U.S.- Iran relations might be on the brink of something big when it comes to matters of diplomacy, but a recent easing of tensions between Iran and the West doesn't undo a century of upheaval in the region. Historian James Buchan is the author of a new book entitled "Days of God: The Revolution of Iran and its Consequences," and he spoke with The Takeaway about the transformation of Iran in the past hundred years.
The September jobs report finally arrived today, delayed nearly three weeks because of the government shutdown. Despite the shutdown, the economy kept bumping along without the federal unemployment numbers. Is the private economy really so dependent on government data? Joining The Takeaway to examine the history and credibility of federal economic data is Heidi Moore, finance and economics editor for The Guardian U.S.
The healthcare exchanges officially launched on October 1st, and according to Sarah Kliff, health policy reporter for the Washington Post, at least 200,000 Americans have already applied for health insurance through their state exchange. But glitches in the Obamacare computer system severely delayed many applications. Kliff examines the state of the exchanges and the future of the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act.
It's good for the kids!
This week, a Florida police department charged two girls ages 14 and 12 with aggravated stalking—a third-degree felony—for bullying a peer that eventually committed suicide. As more and more young people define their lives online, stories show that cyberbullying can have devastating consequences. But are felony charges the best way to punish bullies and prevent future incidents? What role should parents and teachers play? Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate and a fellow at Yale Law School, examines all of these questions.
The shutdown continues, the debt ceiling deadline looms and states are scrambling to fill in the gaps. In the wake of the Great Recession, state budgets are already stretched thin—and a federal default could spell catastrophe. Michigan state budget director John Nixon and California budget office deputy director H.D. Palmer discuss how states are coping.
Today, the Supreme Court hears a challenge to Michigan's ban on affirmative action, in the case Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The outcome of this case could have repercussions for five other states that have outlawed affirmative action, including California, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma. University of Michigan law professor Richard Friedman explores the case and its potential impact in Michigan and across the country.