South Sudan gained its independence nearly three years ago, but as the country marks its third birthday, few have reason to celebrate. Violence erupted in the world's newest nation earlier this month. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and a Distinguished Public Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, examines the origins of the conflict in South Sudan, and how the international community should move forward.
As we look back at 2013, perhaps the most important story of this year, if not of this decade, may be the revelations of the surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. It's a story that, thanks to Edward Snowden, has forever changed the way we Americans think about our privacy. Joel Brenner, Susan Crawford and Nita Farahany weigh in on changing norms of privacy when it comes to issues of the internet, medicine and national security.
"I can't walk down the street without people stopping me to say thank you," says the 84-year-old, who shot to stardom this year after winning the Supreme Court Case that made gay marriage legal. "It's thrilling."
The Supreme Court's ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, the case that declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, marked just one of the many milestones in LGBT rights this year. Dale Carpenter, author of "Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas - How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans" and professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, examines the state of same-sex marriage rights as 2013 draws to a close, and looks ahead at what to expect in 2014.
As Gary Walsh on "Veep" and Buster Bluth in "Arrested Development," actor Tony Hale has perfected the art of sycophancy. Gary and Buster each desperately, hilariously, seek acceptance from the powerful women in their lives: Gary is at Vice President Selina Meyer's beck and call, while Buster caters to the ultimate matriarch, Lucille Bluth. Hale reflects on his banner year, reprising the role of Buster in Netflix's reboot of "Arrested Development," and winning his first Emmy for "Veep."
The past year was pivotal for Syria. As President Bashar al-Assad fought to control the country's future, rebel groups splintered, and the West looked for diplomatic options in an increasingly complicated conflict. Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor for the Stimson Center's Middle East Program and project director for the Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity and Change in the Middle East initiative, reflects on the Syrian conflict in 2013 and looks forward to how the U.S. should move forward in 2014.
Members of Congress are enjoying their first, full Christmas recess since President Obama took office. Over the last five years, the legislative branch has delayed its holiday break or returned early for major votes over Christmas and New Year's, on divisive issues like health care, the fiscal cliff and unemployment benefits. In 2013, Congress managed to fight its battles earlier in the year. Gregory Downs, professor of history at the City University of New York, reviews of the highlights of the year in Congress and looks ahead to changes in 2014.
"The Luminaries" is the fascinating new novel written by Eleanor Catton, the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner. Described by the New York Times as "doing a Charlotte Bronte-Themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board," the novel is wildly unique. Catton is the youngest person to win the Prize and only the second to win from New Zealand, and she joins The Takeaway to discuss the wild wave of enthusiasm for her work.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who helped Edward Snowden break news of the NSA’s mas surveillance apparatus, has found himself in the middle one of the year’s biggest news stories. In this second half of a two-part interview with The Takeaway, Greenwald shifts his focus from national security issues to the meaning of responsible journalism. “The public will ultimately judge what it is that I do just like anybody else who’s acting in a way that affects public life, and I think that’s how it should be,” he says.
“I think what we did made the threat much, much worse, and at the same time, destroyed many of the freedoms that we’ve all been taught define what the United States is all about,” says the investigative journalist.
One of the things that ran through many of our minds after the tragedy of Sandy Hook was, "How could this happen—at an elementary school?" Now school doors have been locked. Shades have been drawn. Teachers are now equal parts protectors and educators. Joining The Takeaway to talk about the changing sense of safety and shelter in elementary schools is Lindsay Gerakaris, a fourth grade teacher at P.S. 124 in New York City.
"A lot of these people are people who had one good year," says Harvard Business Professor Michael Norton on Americans considered "rich."
On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ousted his uncle and mentor Jang Song-thaek from office, for what the ruling party described as “criminal acts that baffle imagination." Joining The Takeaway to weigh in on the significance of this disruption to the reclusive state’s power structure is Thomas Hubbard, former Ambassador to South Korea from 2001 to 2004 and chairman of the Korea Society.
This week, financial regulatory agencies officially approved the Volcker Rule, passed as the centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank Act in June 2010. Kathryn Wylde, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Federal Reserve of New York, compares the final iteration of the Volcker Rule to what Volcker originally devised, and describes how the Rule might influence the U.S.'s economic future.
Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case Environmental Protection Agency vs. EME Homer City Generation. At the heart of the case is the question of who has the power to act on issues of controlling environmental hazards. Jeff Holmstead is a former assistant administrator for the E.P.A. who is now an attorney with the firm Bracewell and Giuliani. While the Obama Administration defends the E.P.A.'s right to regulation, Holmstead disagrees.
Revelations by former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden have set of a fierce debate over national security and personal privacy, and the debate has become particularly intense for the Senate Intelligence Committee itself. Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, discusses the past, present and possible future of the N.S.A. in his piece that appears in the latest issue of the magazine.
Race is embedded the fabric of American culture, and racial categories and their implications persist today. In "A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America," Jacqueline Jones, professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin, argues against our continued use of racial categories—at least in the ways Americans have used these categories since the country's founding.
On Tuesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will accept their Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm. Last month, they triumphantly met their deadline for the removal of Syria’s weapons cache. Though much progress has been made, there is still a great deal of work left to be done. Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator of the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, provides a look ahead at the OPCW's timeline for destroying all of the weapons.
As the president and Congress debate the minimum wage and the efficacy of food stamps, a new book by Dr. Mical Raz challenges the underpinnings of our understanding of poverty and how best to combat it. In "What's Wrong with the Poor?: Psychiatry, Race and the War on Poverty," Dr. Raz argues that the theory of deprivation—which drove the Johnson Administration's approach to policy-making—led policy-makers to ignore structural inequality.
President Barack Obama has revived his populist message and made a case for the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle to reduce income inequality. Jonathan Alter, journalist and author of "The Center Holds: Obama and his Enemies," explores the president's rebranding efforts. He notes that as Obama dusts off his brand of populism, his core base—millennials—seems to be abandoning him. Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and outreach at Demos, examines how the President's message about income inequality resonate with the youngest voters.