Today's Takeaway: Republicans Face Off in Tea Party Debate

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Republicans Face Off in Tea Party Debate; Baha'i Scholars Await Trial in Iran; New Tapes Show a Different Jackie Kennedy, and the Pressures of Being First Lady; Study Says SpongeBob Ruins Attention Spans; Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on "Prohibition"; The Social Security Debate; Democrats May Lose New York, Nevada House Seats Today; Details of Obama's Jobs Bill; African-American Identity in the Age of Obama

Top of the Hour: Taliban Attacks US Embassy in Kabul, Morning Headlines

The Taliban is taking responsibility for an attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul this morning. The Taliban's website is currently running a statement saying "Operation Martyrdom" has begun.

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Republicans Face Off in Tea Party Debate

The GOP presidential candidates faced off last night before an audience of 1,000 Tea Party activists in Tampa, Florida. Gov. Rick Perry, who has surged to the front of the race since entering last month, faced heavy scrutiny from his seven challengers over his record as governor of Texas, including a state order to vaccinate girls against HPV and college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Mitt Romney, the other front runner, criticized Perry over his past assertion that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme."

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Baha'i Scholars Await Trial in Iran

Eight members of the Bahai'i religious minority are awaiting trial in Iran, after organizing the Baha'i Institute for Education, a place where dismissed professors teach Baha'i youth as volunteers. The Iranian government recognizes the Baha'i community as a political organization, rather than a religious group, and declared the center illegal.

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New Tapes Show a Different Jackie Kennedy, and the Pressures of Being First Lady

Newly released interview tapes with Jacqueline Kennedy show a very different side to the resilient and charming first lady who gracefully lead America through one of the nation’s greatest tragedies. The tapes, which will be made publicly available tomorrow, show Kennedy as deeply opinionated, angry, judgemental and even, as our guest says, downright "nasty." Do these tapes shed light on a dark side to Kennedy, or, do they reveal a larger story, of the stress and responsibility that comes with being America’s First Lady?

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Taliban Insurgents Attack US Embassy in Kabul

The Taliban is taking responsibility for coordinated attack on the U.S. embassy and the headquarters for NATO's International Assistance Security Force in Kabul, Afghanistan this morning. Insurgents are said to be firing rockets from a half-completed building near the embassy. On its website Tuesday morning, the Taliban ran a statement saying "Operation Martyrdom" had begun. Bilal Sawary of the BBC reports on the latest from Kabul.

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Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on 'Prohibition'

By today’s standards, the idea of a constitutional amendment banning alcohol in the U.S. seems preposterous, oppressive, and just plain naïve. But 92 years ago, when the National Prohibition Act passed, it was widely backed. Of course, Prohibition was eventually repealed, but not before it had far-reaching consequences on American gender relations, crime, popular culture, and politics. A new three-part documentary series called "Prohibition" tells this uniquely American story on PBS, beginning October 2.

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Top of the Hour: US Embassy in Kabul Under Attack by Taliban, Morning Headlines

The Taliban is taking responsibility for coordinated attack on the U.S. embassy and the headquarters for NATO's International Assistance Security Force in Kabul, Afghanistan this morning. The New York TimesJack Healy, who is reporting from Kabul, says there are new reports of explosions near the Afghan Parliament.

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Is Social Security a 'Ponzi Scheme'?

Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry branded Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and "a monstrous lie" during last week's Republican debate in California. Traditionally, Social Security is usually a topic candidates shy away from, out of fear of losing the support of elderly voters. Perry's fellow candidates used his statements as ammunition against him during last night's Tea Party-sponsored debate.

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Democrats May Lose New York, Nevada House Seats Today

Two special elections for Congressional seats scheduled for today could end in losses for Democrats. In New York City, Rep. Anthony Weiner's old seat is up for grabs. Republican Bob Turner, a 70 year old businessman without any government experience, is facing off against State Assemblyman David Weprin. If Turner is elected, he will be the first Republican to represent this part of Queens in the House since 1920. Acorss the country in Nevada, Republican Mark Amodei is comfortable leading Democrat Kate Marshall in the Second Congressional District.

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Details of Obama's Jobs Bill

Congress received President Obama's jobs bill yesterday, giving them an up-close look at the details of it. Some Republicans are skeptical of the plan, but Obama is urging for a speedy passage of the bill, in order to get unemployed Americans back to work as soon as possible.

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Study Says SpongeBob Ruins Attention Spans

For the past decade, "SpongeBob SquarePants" has been one of the highest rated children's television programs. The show, which centers on a cheerful sea sponge who this in a pineapple on the ocean floor, has become popular with both adults and children, but that may not be a good thing. A new study out yesterday says that the cartoon has an immediate and detrimental impact on kids' attention spans. Is SpongeBob really that bad for kids?

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African-American Identity in the Age of Obama

In a new book, Professor Michael Eric Dyson explains how he described Barack Obama's attitude toward African-American identity during the 2008 election. "[W]hat I've noticed is that he's proud of his race, but that doesn't capture the range of his identity. He's rooted in, but not restricted by, his blackness." A new book, "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?", examines that concept, and the complicated identity of the 40 million African-Americans in the U.S. today.

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Live Update From Kabul

American officials have confirmed a rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan this morning. Authorities say at least four Afghans are wounded, but there have not been any reports of deaths. Ray Rivera of The New York Times reports on the latest from on the ground in Kabul.

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The Fukushima Exclusion Zone: Six Months Later

It's been six months since three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant over-heated following a tsunami, forcing 100,000 people living within a 12 mile radius of the site to evacuate. Today, the reactors are still not fully stabilized, but radiation levels in one area of what has come to be known as the "exclusion zone" have dropped. The BBC's David Shukman is one of the few journalists to venture inside the exclusion zone.

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Abuse Victims Accuse Pope of Crimes Against Humanity

Two American advocacy groups representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, asking it to investigate Pope Benedict and three other top Vatican officials for covering up the rape and sexual assault of children by priests. It is unclear whether the ICC has jurisdiction over this case. The ICC investigates war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed after July 1, 2002, when it was established. The Vatican, like the United States, have not ratified the Rome Statute that created the court, meaning the ICC has no jurisdiction there.

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