Today's Takeaway: The East Coast Faces Irene Aftermath

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stranded passengers sleep at JFK International Airport. (Femi Oke)

New York City Airports Ready to Resume Operations after Hurricane Irene; Irene Leaves Cities Flooded In Its Wake; This Week's Agenda: Irene Aftermath, Unemployment, Greece's Bailout; A Radio Revolution in Libya; The Life and Legacy of Stetson Kennedy; Hurricane Irene's Winners and Losers; Education Week: Schools Feeling the Budget Squeeze; Al Qaeda's Number Two Reportedly Killed in Drone Strike; Can Hurricane Hype be a Danger to Public Safety?

New York City Airports Ready to Resume Operations after Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene made landfall in New York Sunday morning, downgraded to a tropical storm after hitting the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Philadelphia, and New Jersey particularly hard over the weekend. Last night, the storm reached New England, triggering floods in Vermont. At least 16 deaths have been reported as a result of the storm. This morning, after being grounded through the weekend for Hurricane Irene, airlines at New York City's three major airports are readying their planes and crews for departures.

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Irene Leaves Cities Flooded In Its Wake

Hurricane Irene left neighborhoods, towns and cities flooded along the eastern seaboard. Philadelphia was one of the worst hit in terms of floods, with bodies of water like the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers climbing to ten feet or more above normal levels. States like New Jersey and Vermont are also experiencing Irene-triggered floods.

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This Week's Agenda: Irene Aftermath, Unemployment, Greece's Bailout

It's Monday morning, which means it's time to take a look at what's on the agenda for the week ahead. President Obama will be preparing his Labor Day speech on the economy this week, and after after Hurricane Irene's chaotic visit to the East Coast, leaving billions of dollars in damage behind, he may have to rethink what he's going to say. Irene hit at a time when the U.S. economy is continuing to slump and millions are jobless. Unemployment figures will be out on Friday, and the Congressional Budget Office is predicting that employment will not return to normal levels until 2017. Meanwhile Greece, may not receive a bailout from the European Union, as Finland hesitates to approve it. All EU members must approve the bailout, for it to go into effect.

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A Radio Revolution in Libya

As the revolution continues in Libya, independent radio stations have begun broadcasting in Benghazi and Tripoli, and the practice is becoming more popular. Without state censors watching their every move, broadcasters are free to spread their message far and wide. Our partner the BBC has been monitoring this and brings us this report on what role the radio is playing in revolutionary Libya.

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The Life and Legacy of Stetson Kennedy

The scars and legacy of racism in America and poverty has ways of bubbling up to the surface in surprising ways.  Today that legacy shows up in the story of the life and death of a famous American folklorist, journalist and author, Stetson Kennedy, who died at the age of 94 over the weekend. Kennedy became famous for allegedly infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan as an undercover journalist, then exposing their secrets in a book, “I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan,” which was published in 1954. He spoke with This American Life's Ira Glass about his experience, in 2005.

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Top of the Hour: East Coast Cleans Up, Morning Headlines

In New Jersey over-flowing rivers have turned city streets into moats, trapping thousands of residents in their homes. Governor Chris Christie said people should stay home and not venture out to check out the damage. But parts of the East Coast will return to normal today. Parts of New York City's subways have re-opened and flights are expected to resume in and out of the city's airports this morning. More than 12,000 flights were cancelled nationwide since Friday, grounding more than 600,000 people.

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Hurricane Irene's Winners and Losers

Hurricane Irene pounded North Carolina early Saturday morning and continued north wrecking havoc all the way up to New England, where floods are reportedly occurring in Vermont. Tomorrow, as residents of cities along the eastern coast of the U.S. attempt clean up Irene's wreckage, the southern U.S. will be reminded of their own recent natural disasters: it's the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to Katrina, and American outrage over certain politicians' reactions to the storm and its aftermath, the northeast's politicians learned to take every precaution necessary as they deal with Irene.

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Education Week: Schools Feeling the Budget Squeeze

All over the country, 50 million public school students will head back to school this week.  And so today, we’re starting a week-long special look into the state of education in America in 2011. Today, we're talking about shrinking school budgets. State budgets have been feeling the squeeze since 2008, and with stimulus money running out, this is the year when schools are really having to tighten their belts. Later this week, we'll talk about the No Child Left Behind Act's looming deadlines, which require that by 2014, 100 percent of students will test at grade level in reading and math.

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Al Qaeda's Number Two Reportedly Killed in Drone Strike

American and Pakistani officials are reporting that a CIA drone strike killed Al Qaeda’s number two man, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, on Saturday. If the news is true, this could be yet another blow to the organization's high command, following the death of Osama bin Laden in May. But a senior Pakistani security official in the region told Agence France yesterday that he doubts the reports are true, and others have been unable to confirm whether Rahman has in fact been killed.

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Human Rights Concerns in Libya

As the Gadhafi regime falls questions still remain about the state of Libya and the future ahead. Where is Moammar Gadhafi, anyway? And what will happen to his loyal supporters? Also, we have been hearing reports of human right atrocities that are coming to light now that the regime of Gadhafi is coming to a close. The AP is reorting that more than 10,000 from Moammar Gadhafi's prisons have been freed since the rebels entered Tripoli last week. In such a chaotic and unstable situation, information can be hard to verify.

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Can Hurricane Hype be a Danger to Public Safety?

Natural disasters require an incredible effort on the part of medical professionals, police, fire departments, Good Samaritans — and the media. Reporting on storms, especially hurricanes, means much more to media outlets than simple public safety information. These storms can mean big ratings, major awards, and they can make or break a reporter's career — as with The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel. Unfortunately, media histrionics can also be counterproductive to public safety.

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Passengers Wait Patiently as Airlines Prepare

Hurricane Irene knocked out public transport from from the Carolinas through New England, and that includes all three of New York’s major airports. A big whack of all commercial flights in the U.S. are routed through New York, as many 12,000 flights have been cancelled. Business was hit as well. Samsung was forced to delay the planned release of it’s newest phone, because it couldn't can get shipments to New York. And on an individual level weddings had to be cancelled, the convention goers got stuck in Vegas for another weekend and then there's those who rode out Irene at JFK.

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Irene Leaves Flooding in Vermont

Some parts of the country are recovering, other parts are still grappling with the consequences of Irene. And nowhere is the problem more acute than in Vermont, rivers are over-flowing some towns entirely covered by water. Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont faces a full-blown flooding catastrophe. We get the latest from there from Mark Bosma, is spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management and Ross Sneyd, is News Editor for Vermont Public Radio.

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