In his speech to the nation last Wednesday, announcing troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, President Obama said we needed to refocus on nation-building here at home. This idea echoes the massive ambitions of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. Johnson’s situation seems to somewhat mirror President Obama’s: Johnson brought us the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid, but his broader ambitions were eventually sidelined by the fiscal necessity of Vietnam.
Google's eight-month-old think tank, Google Ideas, is paying for 80 former Muslim extremists, neo-Nazis, U.S. gang members, and other former radicals to gather in Dublin today, to discuss what draws people to violent extremism and how technology can carry out de-radicalization efforts. Google is calling the group "formers," and they'll be participating in the talks with 120 activists and business leaders.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, according to an official statement from the team. The news follows a bitter divorce battle between Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, who reached a settlement earlier this month, and reports last week that Major League Baseball blocked the team from signing a television deal in order to raise funds for their payroll.
Though we're only halfway through 2011, natural disasters have already cost the U.S. $32 billion, and that number will continue to climb. Over the weekend, the Suris River crested in Minot, North Dakota, leaving 4,000 homes underwater. Fewer than 400 residents of the city—the state's fourth largest—have flood insurance. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S., and one of the fastest growing economies.
This morning, the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and Gadhafi's intelligence chief, for crimes against humanity. They are wanted for orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first twelve days of the uprising to topple him from power, and for trying to cover up the alleged crimes. The warrants will complicate efforts to bring an end to more than four months of fighting in Libya.
New data that's just been released from NASA's Mercury Messenger spacecraft could reveal how Mercury formed and changed over the 4.5-billion-year history of the Solar System. The planet appears to have shrunk as it has aged. Denton Ebel is the curator of Meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History and is involved in educational outreach programs for the Mercury Messenger mission at the museum. He explains why scientists are finding new reasons to study the planet.
A former National Security Agency employee who was charged with leaking classified information has brokered a plea deal just days before his trial was set to begin. Thomas Drake pleaded guilty to a minor misdemeanor charge, and will face no jail time. Had he been convicted of the ten felony counts he was indicted for in April under the 1917 Espionage Act, he could have served over 30 years in prison. Drake pleaded guilty to misusing a government computer to share classified information with someone not authorized to receive that information.
American hedge funds are buying massive amounts of land—larger in size than the state of California—in Africa, often without proper contracts, according to the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank. The hedge funds say that it's an effort to uplift the economies of African nations, but some critics say it's a "land grab;" an opportunity to buy cheap land to grow food crops that will be exported to richer countries, ultimately depleting Africa's natural resources and raising global food prices.
Jim Lehrer will no longer be the main face of PBS' "NewsHour." He was the show's anchor for 36 years, but there has not been a lot of fanfare around his departure. "I didn't want to make a big to-do about it," he says. He reflects on reporting on the Kennedy assassination and what he has learned about politics and history. His new book, "Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain" comes out in the Fall; he will continue moderating Shields and Brooks on Fridays. So what's next? "I want to write better books," Lehrer tells us.
The NFL lockout continues, and the real fight now is between each sides' lawyers. The NFL has brought in Paul Clement, while Ted Olsen argues for the players. Both are former Solicitor Generals, and both are experts at arguing before the Supreme Court. Nando di Fino, sports writer for the Wall Street Journal, tells us what happens next.
Germany's "supertoxic" variant of E. coli has infected more than 1,500 people and killed at least 17. Scientists still don't know where the virus came from, why it's so deadly. The outbreak seems to be affecting women more than men, likely because women eat more salads. The strain is also reportedly resistant to 14 different antibiotics.
Shaq told his fans first in a video posted to Twitter, "I'm about to retire... love you!" He and his size 23 basketball shoes are done with the game. "He could dance, he could move, he could pass," says Takeaway Sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin. He explains why Shaq was such a dominant force and what he might do next.
Ratko Mladic was arrested yesterday for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity for his role as Army Chief of Staff during the Balkan wars. 8,000 Muslim men and boys were allegedly executed by Mladic's soldiers during the Srebrenica massacre. Dr. Denisa Kostovicova, Balkans expert and Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics discusses the significance of his arrest and the importance of witness testimony in helping the country reckon with its past. Dejan Anastasijevic is a political journalist with the journal, Vreme in Belgrade. He helps contextualize the international significance of the arrest.
We asked our listeners recently what is the one thing you can't live without. One Takeaway listener, named Mike said, "I absolutely could not live without ice cold beer. God bless America!" Indeed, God bless America, where if you're a beer drinker like Mike, you might find the cost of your pint going up. Is that because of the rice in global food prices? Or an increased supply because of down in the dumps recession times?
The tornado that churned through Joplin Missouri on Sunday left three schools in rubble. School was out at the time the twister hit, but District officials estimate that 3,000 of Joplin's 7,800 students were in the path of destruction, and many teachers are still trying to account for their students — reaching out, says Kindergarten teacher Susan Moore, "through facebook, phone banks, texting... any way we can." Rich Oppel has been reporting on the search for our partner The New York Times.
A vicious series of tornadoes and storms cut across the south yesterday, killing 61 in Alabama alone. As a result of the storms, flood waters are breaching levees across the Midwest.
Street vendors are the eyes and ears of urban society in many cities around the world. In Tunisia, it was a food vendor selling his wares on the street that ignited revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. And here, in America, it was a couple vendors in New York that alerted police to the Times Square bomb – just waiting to explode in an abandoned SUV. Every year, Vendy Awards are handed out to the best vendors in New York. And this year, "best" doesn't just refer to food. Sean Basinski, Director of the Street Vendor Project, which hosts the annual Vendy Awards, explains why they've added a hero category to their roster. We also hear from other vendors.
According to new research, planets with multiple suns may host trees and shrubs that are black or gray instead of the more familiar green, depending on the particulars of light available for photosynthesis.
Cuba made significant changes to its leadership on Tuesday, appointing someone other than a member of the Castro family to the second-highest position in the Communist Party. Raul Castro was named first secretary of the party, and Fidel Castro was not included in the leadership for the first time since the party's creation in 1965. Are we seeing the start of a new era in Cuba?
The National Institute on Aging is releasing new national guidelines to help catch signs of Alzheimer's. Dr. Creighton Phelps, director of the Alzheimer's Disese Centers Program at the National Institute of Aging explains what this means for patients and their doctors. There are changes that occur in the brain that can be seen with imaging and measuring spinal fluid that are like those in people with Alzheimer's and could potentially help the clinicians know the best way to proceed. This also raises the question: Would you want to know if you were likely to get Alzheimer's?