Yesterday the Justice Department announced that it will pursue capital punishment for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused of plotting and executing the Boston Marathon bombings. Should Tsarvaev be ultimately sentenced to death? It would mark the most significant death penalty case since Timothy McVeigh, the man behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Vicki Behenna, a former assistant U.S. attorney for Oklahoma, helped prosecute Timothy McVeigh. She joins The Takeaway to explain how the federal government pursues the death penalty.
National Security Agency director Keith Alexander is preapring to step down in March, and according to reports, President Barack Obama is interviewing Alexander's potential successor himself. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Navy cryptologist and Vice Admiral Mike Rogers will take the helm of the NSA as the agency faces renewed public scrutiny. Rogers's former colleague John Nagl, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, counterinsurgency expert and headmaster of the Haverford School, discusses the Vice Admiral's resume and how he might change the NSA.
In the first season of "The West Wing," the White House hosts an open house for "Big Block of Cheese Day," a nod to President Jackson, who hosted a similar event for the American people. This year, the Obama Administration has adopted the tradition. Today the White House is hosting a virtual "Big Block of Cheese Day" over social media. Eli Attie, writer and producer for "The West Wing," discusses the tradition, from the Jacksonian Era to the fictional Bartlet Administration to the Obama White House today.
Artist, composer and performer R. Luke DuBois developed his signature style through data mining. In his 2008 piece, "Hindsight is Always 20/20," DuBois isolates the most frequently mentioned words from State of the Union Addresses that span from George Washington to George W. Bush. As President Barack Obama prepares for the 2014 State of the Union Address, DuBois examines word patterns in State of the Union Addresses over time, and describes how a president's rhetoric reflects their era.
In advance of the State of the Union on Tuesday, we're creating a Takeaway to do list called "SOTU To Do,"—and we need your help. What should be on Obama's to do list? Tweet us @TheTakeaway using #SOTUToDo and we'll make our own, listener-sponsored to do list for the president. But first, Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich examines the topics President Barack Obama will likely cover on Tuesday.
At the end of last year as the federal government allowed long-term unemployment benefits to expire for 1.3 million Americans, and North Carolina led the way in also reducing benefits. Paul Tine is a North Carolina state representative that voted for the unemployment cuts. Jaslyn Roberts is the career center director for Charlotte Works, a job training organization. Together they explain how things have changed in the state since benefits have been cut.
The case of Dennis McGuire has raised questions about the future of death penalty execution in the United States. Ohio officials executed McGuire last Thursday, through a new, two-drug, lethal injection protocol. Eyewitness accounts indicate that McGuire suffered excruciating pain before he died. David Waisel served as an expert witness for McGuire's defense team, and he testified that McGuire would suffer "pain and agony" before he died. By all accounts, he was right.
Since launching their foundation in 2000, Bill and Melinda Gates have granted nearly $30 billion to organizations and individuals working to eradicate poverty. In an interview on Tuesday with Takeaway host John Hockenberry, the couple talk about why poor countries aren't doomed to stay poor.
With less than three weeks until the opening ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been put in the international spotlight. Dmitry Babich is a political analyst for Voice of Russia, the country's state-run radio network. He defends President Putin's actions in the months before the Olympic Games. "Putin just wants the world to see that Russia is a normal country," he tells The Takeaway's John Hockenberry.
President Barack Obama has announced a major overhaul of the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance practices. The president said that in order for the nation's intelligence community to be effective over the long haul, the trust of the American people must be maintained. To maintain that trust, the president said he would end the vast collection of phone data “as it exists” today. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent, Todd Zwillich breaks it down with further NSA analysis from Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright.
How did America’s water system get the way it is today? Martin Melosi, author of The Sanitary City and professor of history at the University of Houston, explains. Jennifer Weidhaas, assistant professor of Environmental Engineering at West Virginia University; Mark Davis, director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy at Tulane University Law School; and David Soll, Assistant Professor in the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, provide a snapshot of what the water is like in three different regions of the U.S.
Cryptologists have their own opinions about how best to protect the American public. And because they design many of the privacy programs that the National Security Agency has thwarted, they have a unique perspective on how best to reform the agency. Joseph Bonneau, a cryptologist and winner of the NSA's Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper award for his work on passwords and encryption, discusses his profession's long history of conflict with the NSA.
While some have criticized the MTV shows "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" for making stars out of very young mothers, a new study co-authored by economist Melissa Kearney indicates that these shows may have helped reduce the teenage pregnancy rate by nearly six percent.
While most economists are still arguing about why our economy still has such a long way to go, Kenneth Rogoff, a professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, says that when comparing past recessions and crashes, the U.S. economy is performing fairly typically. As an economist familiar with controversy, Rogoff joins The Takeaway to discuss his provocative premise.
Al Qaeda flags now fly over Fallujah and Ramadi, two of the major conflict zones for American troops throughout the Iraq War. For U.S. veterans who fought in the region, that news is hard to hear. Marine Michael Zacchea suffered severe injuries in a fire-fight in 2004 during what is known as the second battle of Fallujah. Benjamin Busch served two combat tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry officer. David Retske is a former UAV pilot who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. Together they reflect on Al Qaeda's resurgence.
In the annals of Jersey political history, in the myths and stories explored so well by the likes of Tony Soprano and Nucky Thompson, how does the Chris Christie Administration compare? "I am embarrassed and humiliated," Governor Christie told reporters on Thursday. The 108 minute press conference was just the start of the Governor's apology tour. Congressman Rush Holt, a Democrat representing New Jersey's twelfth Congressional district, puts Christie's latest scandal into perspective.
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and announced "unconditional war on poverty in America." Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, reflects on the 50 years since President Johnson declared the War on Poverty, and discusses the best policy solutions to eliminate poverty today.
The U.S. Supreme Court has hit the pause button on same-sex marriage in Utah. Federal Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban back in December, but yesterday the Supreme Court issued a stay on the decision. Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School, considers whether this latest move is an indication that the Supreme Court is heavily focused on states rights issues.
As many as 200 million Americans are coping with extreme weather this week brought on by what meteorologists are calling a polar vortex. Joining The Takeaway to explain the science behind the polar vortex is Jennifer Francis, research professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. Business owner Richard Thomas of the R. Thomas Deluxe Grill in Atlanta, GA explains how his business is coping in the frigid weather.
A hundred years ago, the Ford Motor Company instituted an eight-hour workday, but in today's world of globalization, smartphones and increasing competition, working only eight hours seems like a dream come true.