Afghan President Hamid Karzai's been surrounding himself with a number of figures with checkered pasts, including his running mate, ex-militia chief Mohammad Fahim. James Risen, investivative reporter for The New York Times, joins us to discuss why the U.S. dislikes Fahim but had no leverage effective enough to prevent Karzai from selecting him as his running mate.
Lucy Marcus, former intern for Senator Ted Kennedy, joins us today to talk about the work she did with him on education policy. She now lives in the United Kingdom, where she runs a company which restructures private equity funds.
When the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says that the situation in Afghanistan is "deteriorating," that's not a good sign. That's exactly what Admiral Mike Mullen said on Sunday, unfortunately, going on to say that the Taliban has gotten "more sophisticated." For a military analysis of America's loosening grip on stability in Afghanistan, we talk with retired U.S. Army Colonel Paul Hughes. He is currently the senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Attorney General Eric Holder will appoint federal prosecutor John Durham to investigate alleged prisoner abuses at CIA prisons during the Bush administration. Durham has a long reputation as a no-nonsense, under-the-radar prosecutor who’s gone after career criminals and corrupt government officials for decades.
For more on this elusive figure, we talk to Durham’s old boss Kevin O'Connor, former U.S. Attorney for the State of Connecticut. And for more on the ramifications of the decision to investigate the CIA's interrogation techniques, we turn to New York Times Reporter Scott Shane.
Today, preliminary results come in from last week's hotly-contested presidential election in Afghanistan. Both leading candidates, current President Hamid Karzai and leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah, have claimed victory by margins large enough to avoid a run-off election. For a look at the potential impact the early results could have both there and in the U.S., we talk to Christine Fair, professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, who is just back from Afghanistan as an election monitor; and Martin Patience, BBC correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"There were a number of reports that Karzai actually cut a deal with different Taliban commanders, whereby the Taliban would get their satisfaction of not having people turn up to the vote, i.e. not having folks with their fingers inked in exchange for letting the ballot boxes return with ballots in them." — Christine Fair, who is just back from Afghanistan, where she served as an election monitor.
Wesley Morris is a film critic for the Boston Globe and he joins us for a look at the movies opening this weekend. Spike Lee is back in theaters, albeit in limited release, with his take on the Broadway play Passing Strange. Will this be the film to bring Lee back into the spotlight? Also returning to screens this week is Quentin Tarantino. Inglourious Basterds is the long awaited film from the creator of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
The BBC's Glen Campbell joins us from Scotland with local reaction to the impending release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted and imprisoned for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. We also talk to New York Times reporter Alan Cowell about the American opposition to the release of the man many view as a fall guy for the attack. The explosion killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans. Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of murder and other charges related to the bombing, but his lawyers have successfully lobbied for his release on compassionate grounds, as he is near death from prostate cancer.
For more, listen to our earlier interview with Susan Cohen, whose daughter Theodora died on the flight.
"We live a crap lifestyle. We eat the wrong food, and we don't have to be this sick. We live on supermarket junk and pharmaceuticals. We're just a slightly healthier version of Michael Jackson."
A Centers for Disease Control advisory panel has recommended that pregnant women get top priority for an H1N1 vaccine when it is expected to become available this fall. How is this recommendation reverberating on the frontlines? The Takeaway turns to Dr. Richard Wenzel, an epidemiologist and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has just returned from studying the spread of the flu in South America. Also joining the conversation are Leila Laniado, an Atlanta resident who is 5 months pregnant and weighing her options, and Dr. Laura Riley, an OB/GYN at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston explains what she is telling her patients about the vaccine.
"It's clear that the CDC suggests that pregnant women be at the top of the list. I think what pregnant women need to do is go into their obstetricians or primary care physicians and say, 'I'm pregnant, I want the vaccine, I understand that there are some safety issues potentially, but I also understand that getting the flu in this situation could be far worse.'"
—Dr. Laura Riley on flu treatment for pregnant women
Health care, health care, health care. President Obama has been pushing his plan, selling it to the nation in a prime time press conference last week and to seniors in a town hall with the AARP yesterday. But is the nation buying it? The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich has been watching; he's not sure everyone in the president's own party are keen on the plan. The Blue Dog Democrats, the fiscally conservative wing of the party, may be starting to work with House Republicans to slow the bill's progress. One of the Blue Dog Democrats, Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper, joins us to explain his position. Rep. Cooper has taught health care policy at Vanderbilt University for 12 years.
"It's not too late right now, we can still get this done. The key is to have an open dialogue with all the American people, not just hardcore Democrats and Republicans, but also the folks in the middle who really are worried and skeptical and want to know more what's in the bill."
—Rep. Jim Cooper on health care reform
Watch a video featuring the Vampire Rights Amendment viral ad campaign:
"One of the problems of making cars that last 20 years, is that cars last 20 years. The rollover rate is so slow."
—Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times on the Cash for Clunkers program
This morning, JP Morgan Chase posted a quarterly profit of $2.7 billion. That's a 36 percent jump from a year ago. It comes just two days after Goldman Sachs announced a quarterly profit of over $3 billion. As the two banks weather a harsh economic climate, they have managed to pay back the huge government loans they took last year and proceed to earn record profits. Joining us to discuss Chase's earnings is Eric Dash, banking reporter for The New York Times.
Google has announced it is planning to launch an operating system for personal computers. This move is seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft's dominance in the PC operating system market. Google's move worries privacy groups—and also competitors—who argue that the online search company could leverage its data stores to quickly grow market share. For more, The Takeaway is joined by Sam Grobart, personal technology editor for The New York Times.
As Han and Uighur Chinese battle each other in a flare up of ancient ethnic tensions, the flashpoint city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang province has been filled with Chinese soldiers trying to quell the violence. The unrest, which may be the worst since the Cultural Revolution, prompted Chinese President Hu Jintao to leave the G8 meeting in Italy to attend to the situation. For the latest, The Takeaway is joined by Ted Plafker, a correspondent in the Beijing Bureau of The Economist who is in Urumqi, China, and Yuwen Wu, the editor of the BBC's Mandarin service.
Josh Rogosin, an independent public radio producer, has been staked out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles since way before the dawn. He's been talking to fans and mourners who have begun to fill the streets of downtown Los Angeles in preparation for Michael Jackson's memorial service. The Takeaway joins Josh on the street along with fans from across the nation; we also talk to Aaron Flournoy, a waiter at Bennigan's in Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana.
View Helmand Province in a larger map
The U.S. has launched a major offensive in a southern province in Afghanistan. The military has sent 4,000 Marines and 650 Afghan soldiers flooding into the Helmand province in one of the largest offensives since the Vietnam War. For more on this story we turn to Sam Gardiner, retired Air Force Colonel who taught strategy at the National War College, and Paul Tait, specialist editor for Reuters based in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"The plan now is to take the ground and to hold it. And by holding it, help Afghan communities rebuild and then move on to construction projects."
— Paul Tait of Reuters on the offensive in Afghanistan
Joining The Takeaway is a man whose organization tracks threats and attacks by hate groups, Mark Potok, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.
In hockey and basketball, the finals continue. The Pittsburgh Penguins grabbed a 2-to-1 victory over Detroit on the ice, forcing a Game 7 in the NHL's Stanley Cup finals. Meanwhile in the NBA, Orlando finally found its Magic touch, winning 108-104 over the Lakers last night. They'll face off in Game 4 on Thursday. We’re getting all the details — and predictions — from The Takeaway sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.
Watch highlights from Game 6 of the hockey final in the video below.
American Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been detained in North Korea since March, after they were accused of illegally crossing the border from China. Their trial was supposed to begin yesterday. If convicted, they could face 10 years of hard labor. The women’s families remained silent for the first two months of their captivity, but this week family members were on the Today Show, Larry King Live, and other programs, appealing for the journalists' release.
Steve Romano, a Former Chief Negotiator for the FBI and now a Senior Advisor with the Center for Personal Protection and Safety, joins The Takeaway to talk about how experts advise families what to say to the press when a loved one is held captive.Here is some footage of vigils being held for the captive journalists.