Country music has enjoyed a long tradition of reflecting the everyday concerns of working men and women, good times and bad times. With 14 million Americans currently out of work, a crippling national debt, and a record number of people living below the poverty line, country music may be going through a sea change. Call it an indicator of economic times but in the time it took pickup trucks to go from stripped down working class boxes of mud and steel to plush seated luxury vehicles, country music went from the folksy tinny common man voice of Woody Guthrie to the likes of Tim McGraw singing about the perils of being rich.
It was supposed to help pregnant women deal with their morning sickness. But when the women who took thalidomide gave birth they were confronted with a horror story. Children were born with a birth defects and other problems that could be fatal. It was 50 years ago the drug Thalidomide was withdrawn after it became clear it was causing serious and sometimes fatal harm to the unborn babies of thousands of women in Europe and around the world.
Much of the political turmoil surrounding the euro zone crisis has centered around the question of whether fiscally stronger nations, such as Germany and France, should have to bail out Greece and other struggling economies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held the purse strings along with other leaders who have demanded strict austerity measures in those countries receiving assistance. Merkel is under political pressure at home with many in her government feeling that the Greeks, like the German people, should have lived within their means.
During a visit to Australian on Wednesday, President Obama announced that 2,500 U.S. troops will be sent to the country to boost security in the Pacific region. The move is seen as a strategy to counter China's increased influence. He spoke strongly on China's rising responsibilities and the U.S. perspective on its growing strength. China responded by saying that it "may not be quite appropriate" to expand U.S. military in the region.
A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday to uphold New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from their camp in Zuccotti Park. It was a setback that some worry the movement cannot recover from. Yet, protesters themselves remained upbeat yesterday claiming evictions will only make them stronger. But perhaps instead of quelling the movement as he intended, Bloomberg actually reinvigorated it.
The issue of how the U.S. should control migration on the border with Mexico is politically sensitive and emotionally charged. It’s formed a major focus for the Obama administration and a key question for the Republican candidates. But the latest data from both sides of the border suggest that, in fact, Mexicans are no longer migrating to the U.S. in the way they once were. This year's net migration will be close to zero. They are either not crossing the border, or if they do, many end up returning to Mexico.
In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement yesterday the Senate passed a small segment of President Obama's jobs package that aims to help unemployed veterans seeking jobs. Financial incentives of up to $5,600 will be offered to employers who hire veterans unemployed for longer than six months. The hope is that it will help the thousands of veterans unable to find employment.
The roller coaster that is Greek politics continued Wednesday. Talks between the three main political parties forming the new unity government remained deadlocked. The most dramatic moment came when Giorgios Karatzaferis, leader of the smallest party walked out of negotiations. He told reporters it was sad that games were taking place between outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras. The two men are known to be bitter rivals — but it wasn’t always this way.
The Republican presidential candidates met for another debate last night in Rochester, Michigan. Herman Cain was in the hot seat over accusations of sexual harassment from four women. But the crowd was supportive as he tried move on from the many allegations which were made against him this week. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had entered the debate hoping to get his campaign back on track, suffered the night's worst humiliation when he asserted that he would abolish three federal agencies, but failed to remember the third.
The calls are getting louder for longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno to step down over over allegations he knew an assistant coach sexually abused young boys for a decade. Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator, is being accused of sexually abusing at least eight boys over a 15-year period. The question now becomes who knew about the incidents and why they went unreported. Penn State is reportedly figuring out an exit plan for Paterno, who is in his 46th season as head coach. A crowd of fans gathered outside his house to show their support on Tuesday night.
In the age of slick PR machines, it is difficult to get a sense of a candidate's real personality or feelings on an issue. But with microphones all around them, private conversations and off the cuff remarks sometimes slip out. On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the most recent leader to land in hot water. The Takeaway looks at some of the biggest political gaffes made when the microphones were left on.
2011 has been a year of sweeping changes in leadership worldwide. The Arab Spring meant the end of decades-long dictatorships across the middle east, and now threats of default have forced Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign. As the European debt crisis continues to unfold, more changes--including a shift which countries step up to deal with these problems--are assuredly ahead.
It sounds like quite an unlikely collaboration — rock legend Lou Reed making a record backed the massively successful heavy metal group Metallica. Their new concept album, "Lulu," is out today in North America, and has left some music fans a bit bemused. A recent review in The Washington Post called it a "multi-headed hydra of unpleasantness." Ben Sisario, music journalist and reporter for The New York Times, met with "Loutallica" recently, and has a more nuanced view of the new record.
As part of The Takeaway's innovation discussion the program looks at how new cell phone technology is having some big implications for the developing world. It’s a powerful tool because of its prevalence — cell phone use in the developing world has surged in recent years, meaning it could be the gateway to solving long standing challenges. Dr. Ashifi Gogo is CEO of Sproxil, a multi-national company that uses cell phones to help consumers spot counterfeit drugs in the developing world. Ramesh Raskar is an associate professor at MIT Media Lab.
The NBA remains stuck in a lockout this morning as negotiations between players and owners have failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement. Tomorrow is scheduled be the first day of the 66th season, but instead the stadiums will remain closed and fans will stay at home. It’s a big disappointment for fans, but for many people, their livelihoods are on the line too.
All month we’ve been talking about innovation — speaking to innovative people and discussing innovative ideas. Now we hear from a woman who has designed a product for diabetics that not only solves a problem but is changing attitudes too. Jessica Floeh is the creator of Hanky Pancreas, a line of insulin pump accessories — scarves, neck pieces and other decorative items — that make the functional medical device fashionable.
The world’s population is set to reach seven billion on Monday. And all this week, we’ve been talking about what this monumental number means for our people, resources and our planet. Should we be concerned about our booming population? Will we be able to feed a more populated World whilst protecting the environment? And how will global economies adjust?
Abigail Breslin was just 10 years old when she got the breakthrough role that changed her life. She appeared in the cult film "Little Miss Sunshine" as the youngest of a very dysfunctional family who pull together to help her achieve her dream of entering a beauty pageant. As a result, she became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. She’s now fifteen years old and is starring in "Janie Jones," an independent film about another dysfunctional family.
According to the United Nations, the world's population is set to hit seven billion on October 31st. And all this week The Takeaway is talking about what this monumental number means. Some Western countries are seeing a decline in the number of babies born leaving many governments worried about the future age and strength of their populations. Some rich nations like Germany, are offering financial and practical incentives to encourage women to have children.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have been gaining momentum since they began in downtown Manhattan two weeks ago. More than a few pundits have noted the leaderless movement is using Arab Spring-style tactics as their inspiration. Like the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Occupy Wall Street supporters are extremely adept at using social media to spread their message. Their camp in the Financial District's Zuccotti Park is impressively organized, with a reception area, media zone, medical clinic, library and cafeteria. But despite structure on the ground, one criticism that’s been repeatedly levied at them is their lack of unified demands. The protesters want to end greed and corruption but don’t necessarily agree as to what that means in practice.