The latest revelations from NSA leaker Edwards Snowden about the agency's surveillance practices involve a program called MUSCULAR. By tapping into the data centers that connect Yahoo and Google to users around the world, the program gave the NSA secret access to millions of digital records about who sent or received emails and when. Stewart Baker, former general counsel to the NSA, says that American citizens should be relieved by how closely the agency is tracking potential threats in order to maintain security.
Takeaway listeners share scary Halloween stories from their childhood, and R.L. Stine, the author of several scary series for children, including "Goosebumps," describes one particularly frightful Halloween from his childhood. What's your scary Halloween story? Leave a comment, give us a call at 1-877-869-8253, or record your own message using your computer right here.
President Obama wasn't aware of many of the NSA's surveillance activities, like the one that monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the The Washington Post. Rep. Alan Grayson, Democrat from Florida’s 9th district, argues that he and his colleagues are kept in the dark by the intelligence community, as well. He says that as a result, America's democracy is at risk.
Joshua Greene, author of “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap between Us and Them,” joins The Takeaway to discuss how our collective groupings affect the moral decisions we make.
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.
Three days ahead of its deadline, the Syrian regime submitted a formal declaration of its chemical weapons arsenal and its plans for destroying that stockpile. Is this a sign that change is possible in Syria? Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, weighs in. She's the author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World."
This week, as we mark a year after Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard, our friends at the documentary team Retro Report are looking back at another major storm, and the lessons from its recovery. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, it caught the state of Louisiana complete off-guard. James Perry, director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, examines the lessons from Hurricane Katrina.
After German Chancellor Angela Merkel received intelligence from her government that her phone was under surveillance, President Obama called Chancellor Merkel and reassured her that her phone was not being tapped. That conversation came just a few days after he had to offer similar reassurances to French President François Hollande. David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for our partner The New York Times, joins the Takeaway to discuss this latest diplomatic riff.
The Takeaway travels back in time with our friends at Retro Report, a documentary team focused on shedding new light on stories from the news archives. Today’s report takes us back to 1992 when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, ordered a fateful cup of coffee from a McDonald's drive-through. Lieback's coffee spilled onto her lap, and she sued the fast food chain. Retro Report producer Bonnie Bertram reflects on the case, and explains the details of her investigations.
Congress still has to reach a long-term plan for taxing and spending policies, and once again come to an agreement on raising the debt ceiling in 2014. Otherwise, the Treasury Department will be unable to pay its bills. W. Michael Blumenthal, former Treasury Secretary and author of the new memoir, “From Exile to Washington: A Memoir of Leadership in the Twentieth Century,” reflects on the nation's fiscal climate and his own time in office.
David Pogue hosts the NOVA series "Making Stuff," which begins tonight at 9 PM Eastern on PBS with the episode “Making Stuff: Faster.” Other episodes in the series, produced by our partner WGBH, include "Making Stuff: Wilder," "Making Stuff: Colder," and "Making Stuff: Safer." Pogue, a tech columnist for our partner The New York Times, joins The Takeaway to discuss the latest cutting-edge "stuff" in science and technology innovation.
Newly unearthed letters and diaries of President William Howard Taft show that the famously "corpulent" president pursued several modern dieting techniques, including keeping a food diary and seeking the council of a "physical culture man"—his year's version of a personal trainer. Dr. Deborah Levine, assistant professor of health policy and management at Providence College, discusses her findings about President Taft.
On Thursday morning, the Swedish Academy named Canadian Alice Munro as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. Not a stylist nor a writer of experimental fiction, Munro is a self described old fashioned storyteller. Her disciples and fellow writers describe her as creating small worlds that convey addictive wisdom. Radhika Jones, executive editor at TIME magazine, explains the significance of this choice.
Just around the corner an even bigger national fiscal catastrophe is looming. In September the U.S. Treasury warned Congress that if the nation's debt limit is not raised by October 17th the U.S. will run out of cash to pay off its debts. What exactly is a debt ceiling? And why will so much be at stake in this next political fight? James Surowiecki, a financial columnist for The New Yorker, joins The Takeaway to explain.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires all financial institutions around the world to report to the IRS the earnings and assets of U.S. citizens living abroad in an effort to crack down on tax evasion. But complying with the law is long, complicated, and expensive—and as a result, more Americans abroad are relinquishing their U.S. citizenship. Ruth Freeborn, an American living in Canada, and Jackie Bugnion, tax team director at American Citizens Abroad, explain why.
Over the weekend armed members of the terrorist group Boko Haram are believed to have killed as many as 50 students at a Nigerian University. The massacre comes on the heels of the four-day siege on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, by the Somali terror group Al-Shabab. The Takeaway was joined by David Cook, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University to discuss these most recent events and what it may mean for the region.
As part of our onging partnership with our friends at the documentary team Retro Report, we flip the clock back to 2007. Each week Retro Report brings a fresh look to an archival story. In today’s installment, Retro Report catches up with the soldier who brought Walter Reed Medical Center’s lapses and abuses to national attention six years ago. Harry Hanbury, producer for Retro Report, explains.
Five years ago, Ahmed Jama, a successful restaurant owner in London, left his life in the U.K. to open a restaurant in his hometown of Mogadishu. Jama now owns several popular restaurants across Somalia's capital, but being a restaurant-owner in Mogadishu means contending with constant attacks from Al Shabab. Xan Rice is the West Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. He profiles Jama in this week’s issue of the New Yorker.
This week is Banned Books Week. But how does someone actually ban a book? Today The Takeaway hears from Mike Holzknecht a lawyer and parent who's joined in opposition against certain books. Also weighing in is Sarah Pacheco, the public information officer for the Sierra Vista Unified School District, which is about to hold a hearing on whether a book should be pulled from the curriculum. Finally, Amy Crump, a Library Director at Homewood Public Library in Illinois, discusses the process of banning books.
The NFL gives fans around the nation something to cheer about for several months each year. But the NFL doesn’t just give, they also receive—in some cases millions of dollars in subsidies and tax exemptions. Gregg Easterbrook, contributing editor at The Atlantic, investigates the strange financial operations of the NFL in his new book, “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.”