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.”
Just 90 minutes outside Atlanta, the town of Elberton, GA is home to a mysterious monument: The Georgia Guidestones. The stones consist of two massive granite slabs weighing more than 100 tons, engraved with a few words of advice: Guidelines in eight languages for how to rebuild society after a nuclear attack. Mart Clamp helped his father engrave the stones more than three decades ago. He's hoping to use them to revitalize Elberton’s flagging economy.
“Iran Modern," a new exhibition currently on display at the Asia Society in New York City, paints a vibrant portrait of a country—and time period—that many Americans are entirely unfamiliar with. Melissa Chiu, director of the Asia Society Museum, hopes the exhibit will help an American audience better understand the chapter of Iranian history that immediately preceded that country's 1979 Revolution.
In just a few short weeks, the current fiscal year ends. For now, there is no consensus on how government operations will be funded after September 30. GOP lawmakers are refusing to pass any spending bill that keeps funding for the Affordable Care Act intact. Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich explains how this might be resolved.
According to the UNHCR, the number of Syrians registered as refugees or awaiting registration as refugees has now passed the 2 million mark. Of the 2 million Jordan has taken in more than a half-million displaced Syrians. Andrew Harper, representative for the UNHCR, is based in Jordan. He describes the plight of Syrian refugees there and what the international community is trying to do to bolster support for them.
When Margo Epprecht worked on Wall Street in the 1980s, she noticed that after women rose through the ranks they left. She writes about the phenomenon in a new piece for Quartz. Ginny Clark, a broker at Beech Hill. She was the first ever female trainee at Salomon Brothers, where she was also the first female trader in 1967. She was also the first female block trader at Merrill Lynch in the late 1970s.
Earlier this week the Japanese government announced plans to spend $500 million on a new effort to build a frozen wall to stabilize the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant, the site of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Arjun Makhijani, an engineer specializing in nuclear fission and the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, explains how that frozen wall would work.
Physician Hadi Yaziji was born and raised in Syria. He now lives in Miami, Florida where he’s been following the news in Syria through the press and through conversations with friends and family still living there. As heart-breaking as the humanitarian crisis is, he feels strongly that a U.S. intervention in Syria would be disastrous. He explains why.
Steve Fainaru, senior writer for ESPN has been covering the NFL's battle over concussions extensively. He’s the co-author of the forthcoming book “League of Denial.” He breaks down the implications of the leagues $765 million settlement with players.
Ahmed Daoud, a Takeaway listener in Minneapolis, experienced U.S. intervention firsthand during the Gulf War. That experience has shaped his idea of what U.S. intervention can accomplish. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, however, have changed his perspective.
As Congress contemplates another potential conflict in the Middle East, the next few days will be a moment for you to hear from your elected representatives. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks with Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) discusses his perspective on potential U.S. involvement in Syria. Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) also weighs in on the Syrian conflict, and calls for an international response to the country's civil war.
Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times reflects on the similarities between Iraq and Syria. UPDATE: Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the world on Friday afternoon, saying that the United States has "high confidence" that the regime of Bashar al-Assad carried out a chemical attack last week outside of the Syrian capital of Damascus. Kerry said that the U.S. government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children.
Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death for the 2009 the Ft. Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people. If Hasan is put to death, he would become the first military service member to be executed since 1961. Geoffrey S. Corn, a former Army prosecutor and defense lawyer, looks at why there have been no military executions in the last 50 years—and whether Hasan's case could change history.
In response to reports that the Obama administration was considering military strikes on Syria, Iranian officials issued a stark warning against U.S. involvement in the region, saying any military strike on Syria would lead to Iran launching a retaliatory attack on Israel fanned by “the flames of outrage.” Afshon Ostovar, Iran analyst with CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis organization, explains what's behind this rhetoric.