On Wednesday, Congress took up a controversial amendment designed to curb the NSA’s powers, but the bill was defeated in the House of Representatives in a vote of 205-to-217. The legislation would have limited the agency's ability to collect details by cutting funding to the program. Republican Congressman David Schweikert, representing Arizona’s 6th District was one of the bill’s supporters. He joins The Takeaway to discuss his support for the legislation and what the possible next steps may be.
Palm oil is an increasingly ubiquitous, yet nearly invisible, substance. Consumers can find it in everything from Crest toothpaste and Gillette shaving cream to Nestle and Kraft food products. Benjamin Skinner, reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, says that rising demand for the product has masked the severe human rights abuses behind its harvest.
It's a story that has scandalized India—a free school lunch program for poor children may have resulted in the death of more than 20 young students.The possibility of deliberate contamination, or at best reckless disregard of the safety of children, is being reported. Joining us to discuss this is Shoba Narayan a freelance journalist based in India.
The Soviet Union’s first all-women division of fighter-pilots in World War II were called "Night Witches" by the Nazis because their plywood and canvas airplanes sounded like witches’ broomsticks, and because they carried out their raids exclusively at night. Nadezhda Popova flew 852 missions with the group. She died last week at the age of 91. Author Amy Goodpaster Strebe explains Popova's legacy, and the forgotten history of these courageous women fighter pilots.
One of America's longest-running murder mysteries may now be coming to a close as the Boston Strangler case comes one step closer to being solved. Albert DeSalvo had confessed to being the Boston Strangler, but he was never charged and later withdrew his confession. But a newly discovered water bottle has given police the evidence they needed to definitively link him to one murder. Philip Martin is an investigative reporter for our partner WGBH Boston Public Radio. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the latest revelation.
What is the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman story really about? Does it show the strength of our justice system and belief in our institutions, or the weakness of those institutions? Or is it just about race? The Takeaway hosts a round-table discussion with Rich Benjamin, author of “Searching for Whitopia” and senior fellow at Demos; Avis Jones-DeWeever, host of the nationally-syndicated radio show, Focus Point with Avis Jones-DeWeever; and Republican strategist Ron Christie, to get at heart of these issues.
With the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the ruling has brought up questions of our expectations of security, the right to a trial and the judgement of a jury. Sherrilyn Ifil, University of Maryland law professor and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, discusses the legal aspects of the verdict. Lamar Tyler, founder of Black And Married With Kids.com, and Christy Oglesby, quality assurance manager for CNN and mother of a 13-year-old-son, join The Takeaway to discuss the impacts of the verdict for families of color.
U.S. authorities have called on Egyptian's interim leadership to release Morsi and to discontinue with their arbitrary arrests. But Morsi's supporters say the Obama administration's criticism of the arrests and violence against Muslim Brotherhood supporters amounts to lip service. Robin Wright, distinguished scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, weighs in.
In May, British businessman James McCormick was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the sale of fake "bomb-detectors." The gadget he sold was based on a fake golf-ball finder and is actually entirely unable to detect bombs—or anything else for that matter. Adam Higgenbotham, Bloomberg Businessweek reporter writes about McCormick's rise and fall in the latest issue of the magazine. He joins The Takeaway to discuss McCormick's scheme and why it took so long for the law to catch up with him.
Yesterday, The Guardian released a report showing the extent to which Microsoft worked with the NSA to make data from Outlook, Hotmail and Skype accessible. They highlight the complicated business and ethical problems in Silicon Valley. Steve Blank, author of "The Secret History of Silicon Valley," joins us to explain Microsoft's role in circumventing the encryption process.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have offered large financial aid packages in a move to stabilize the uncertain interim government there in Egypt—and it sends a strong signal of influence in the region. The United States is waiting, but should it be doing more? And behind the scenes, is it doing more? P.J. Crowley, a former Department of State spokesperson, joins The Takeaway to discuss what kind of diplomacy could be happening behind closed doors. He’s currently professor at George Washington University.
The legality of waterboarding, the role of state-sponsored surveillance and the importance of whistle-blowers—those were just a few of the major questions thrown at James Comey before a Senate Judiciary Committee. Comey is President Obama's pick to lead the FBI. Former FBI Agent and Division Counsel Coleen Rowley thinks some of Comey's past positions deserve more scrutiny.
Since its inception, American Prairie Reserve has raised $60 million from well-known, ultra-rich donors in an effort to create a national park in Montana that would be about the size of the state of Connecticut, exceeding Yellowstone by a million acres. Pete Geddes is one of the managing directors of the American Prairie Reserve. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the group's efforts and how this privately-backed nature sanctuary would function.
Connected to the question of what policy steps America should take next in Egypt is the question of what—if anything—the United States could have done differently to forestall the current turmoil in the first place. Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University, joins The Takeaway to discuss the current crisis and his predictions for the future.
In the days following the ouster of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a mix of celebrations in support of the change, and demonstrations against it, have filled the streets. Joining us to discuss the situation on the ground and the way forward for Egypt is Mona Makram-Ebeid, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo and a former member of parliament in Egypt—a position she resigned on Saturday. Also on the program is Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center.
For Egyptian-Americans, the definitions and ideas of freedom and independence are being tested as Egypt embarks on a new chapter. To reflect on this future, The Takeaway welcomes three Egyptian-Americans. Nancy Yousef is a professor of English at Baruch College. Sarah McGowan is an Egyptian-American who was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, and Ahmed Soliman is a 37-year-old Egyptian-American attorney born in New York.
While Edward Snowden waits for his application for asylum in Ecuador to be processed, we bring the story back to American soil. Why was the leak such a big deal, and how can we maintain both security and privacy in its wake? Senator Angus King sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and joins us to discuss how lawmakers intend to move forward.
If Congress were to come up with a new formula in the wake of the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act decision, what factors would it take into account? On today's show, we examine the regions that look almost nothing like they did in 1965, and what places might change even more in the next five to 10 years. To help walk us through this we welcome Dante Chinni, director of the American Communities project.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is the only American prisoner of war still being held captive by the Taliban. Last weekend, in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, hundreds of people gathered to show solidarity and rally to support Bergdahl and his family. Colonel Tim Marsano, public affairs officer for the Idaho National Guard who acts as media liaison for the Bergdahl family, joins us on the program to discuss how the town is responding and the family's hope.