Today's Takeaway: Showdown Over Debt Limit on Capitol Hill

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Obama Urges Compromise and "Balanced Approach" to Debt; Number of Americans Taking Vacation Hit a Low Point; Parallels of National Decline: Poland and the US?; The Problem of Anti-Muslim Thought in the U.S.; How Can the US Prepare for a Default?; The Aftermath of Obama and Boehner's Dueling Speeches; Wealth Gap Between Whites and Minorities Increases; NFL Lockout Ends as Players, Owners Agree to Deal; Is the U.S. Too Muslim-Focused in its Counterterrorism Efforts?

Top of the Hour: Parties Showdown Over Debt Ceiling, Morning Headlines

With just seven days left for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner gave dueling speeches last night imploring the other side to agree to a plan.

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Obama Urges Compromise in Debt Talks

President Obama stood before the nation and pleaded with Congress to come to an agreement as soon as possible, in a prime-time speech to the American public last night. "We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare," he said. House Speaker John Boehner immediately followed Obama's speech with his response, agreeing that the debate needs to be resolved, but urging Obama to sign on to the Republican proposal to raise the debt limit.

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Number of Americans Taking Vacation Hit a Low Point

A 2011 poll conducted by Marist found that only 45 percent of respondents plan to take a vacation this summer. That’s the lowest number in the survey’s 11 year history. And only 35 percent of those who are planning getaways will be taking longer trips, as opposed to weekend jaunts. Why aren't more Americans taking vacations? And how does forgoing vacations affect both employers' and employees' bottom lines?

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Parallels of National Decline: Poland and the US?

August 2 is one week away, and Congress still has yet to make a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Both sides of the debt debate are reluctant to compromise — both the Democrats and Republicans have now put forth plans to avoid a default on U.S. loans. The Republican plan includes immediate cuts and caps in discretionary spending, and raising the debt ceiling by less than $1 trillion. The Democratic plan includes a $1.2 trillion reduction in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

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Trinity Mirror Opens Phone Hacking Investigation

Following the phone hacking scandal at its rival News International, the Trinity Mirror newspaper group in the U.K. has announced that it will lead a review into its own editorial practices. The publisher's stock price fell 9.8 percent on Monday, following allegations that phone hacking also took place at The Daily Mirror. Sarah Lyall, who has a front page profile of Rupert Murdoch in today's New York Times, has the latest from London.

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Did Anti-Muslim Extremists in the US Influence Anders Breivik?

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian charged with carrying out a mass killing last week in his home country, told his lawyer he was saving Norway from Muslim domination. Breivik is an anti-Muslim extremist, and it has become clear that he was heavily influenced by American bloggers, who share his fears about the threat of Muslim immigrants on Western culture.

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Top of the Hour: Obama and Boehner Appeal to Americans on Debt Talks, Morning Headlines

In an address to the nation last night, President Obama urged members of Congress to act quickly to raise the nation's debt ceiling, and reminded Americans that the price of not doing so would be catastrophic. In response, Speaker of the House John Boehner agreed that that the nation defaulting on its loans is a non-option, but insisted Congress wouldn't hand the president a "blank check."

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What If Congress Doesn't Raise the Debt Ceiling By Aug. 2?

In his speech last night, President Obama urged the House and Senate to reach a compromise on a debt plan by August 2. "We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare," he said. Immediately afterward, House Speaker John Boehner gave a live speech responding to Obama, in which he pushed for Obama to sign the Republican plan to raise the debt limit. The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House have proposed two vastly different plans. So, what happens if they can’t agree by the deadline? 

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Analyzing Obama and Boehner's Dueling Speeches

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner both addressed the nation last night, explaining where each of their parties stand on the current debate over the debt ceiling. What impact did the speeches have?

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Do US Counter-Terrorism Efforts Focus Too Much On Muslims?

When the bombing and shooting first broke out in Norway last Friday, no one knew the source of the attacks, but a small group of anti-Islamic bloggers in the U.S. were quick to blame Muslim extremists. In the end, a manifesto that Anders Behring Breivik — the man accused of carrying out the killing spree — posted online confirmed that he was not Muslim, but the opposite: an anti-Muslim extremist.

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NFL Lockout Ends as Players, Owners Agree to Deal

The NFL lockout that, for the past five months, had threatened to derail the 2011 season has ended with an agreement between owners and players. Thirty-two player representatives voted unanimously to approve the same labor deal that owners approved last Thursday. Who ultimately "won," the players or the owners?

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Wealth Gap Between Whites and Minorities Increases

The wealth gap between whites and minorities in the United States has ballooned to its largest ratios in decades, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. Hispanics were the hardest hit in the recession, seeing their median wealth shrink 66 percent between 2005 and 2009, while white Americans only saw a dip of 16 percent.

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