Today's Takeaway: Senate Passes Deal to Avoid Shutdown

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Senate Passes Deal to Avoid Shut Down; Gold Prices Plunge to $1600 Per Ounce; How Will Conservative Candidates Court Hispanic Votes?; New Report Questions Value of Same-Sex Schooling; Unemployment Rates Fall in the Rust Belt, Rise in the Sun Belt; Is New Jersey Governor Christie Reconsidering a Presidential Bid?; New Book Examines the State Department and Iraq; Musician K'Naan Returns to Somalia After Twenty Years

Top of the Hour: Senate Reaches Deal to Avoid Shutdown, Morning Headlines

Congress appears closer to avoiding a government shutdown over disaster funding for FEMA. Senate leaders dropped $1 billion from a bill after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had enough money to cover relief efforts through the end of the week.

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Senate Passes Deal to Avoid Shut Down

The Senate voted 79 to 12 last night in favor of an agreement on spending for disaster relief, that will avert the government shutdown that many feared might happen this week. Funding for government agencies like FEMA will now be extended for six weeks. Senate leaders are hoping the House will pass the deal later this week.

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Gold Prices Plunge to $1600 Per Ounce

For months gold had been on a fantastic run, but last week gold prices plunged 9.6 percent, and then Monday another 2 percent, to $1,600 an ounce. Investors usually consider gold a safe bet, but they may not think of them that way anymore.

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Your Take: Support For the President

On Monday's show, we talked about President Obama's declining poll numbers, especially among blacks and Latinos. We asked our listeners to rate the president's performance. Jake, from Detroit, wrote:

I still like President Obama but regret voting for him. He is the incorrect one to focus on, though — we need to shake off the offshore banking cartels and the ones with interest in the private Federal Reserve.

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How Will Conservative Candidates Court Hispanic Votes?

President Obama's approval ratings are at an all-time low. August's Gallup poll numbers showed that only 41 percent of American adults approve of the way Obama is currently handling his job. Some of the largest declines in approval come from African-American and Hispanic voters — groups that formerly voted for Obama. On Monday, The Takeaway discussed Obama’s increasing problem, which could stem from his positions on immigration reform with Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column "Ask a Mexican."

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New Report Questions Value of Single-Sex Schooling

A new study in Science Magazine is calling into question the logic behind single-sex schooling. The report, "The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling," says that single-sex education is "justified by weak, cherry-picked, or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence." This has stirred up controversy amongst same-sex education advocates.

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Greek PM Asks Germany for Assistance

Greek Prime Minister George Panpandreou is in Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss a new strategy to keep his country from defaulting on its debt. Greece needs a further €8 billion to pay its bills. Without it, hundreds of thousands of civil servants will not get paid. Early Tuesday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his country will receive bailout funds.

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Top of the Hour: Supreme Court May Consider Health Care Law This Term, Morning Headlines

The White House has decided not to ask a federal appeals court in Atlanta to review a ruling that strikes down the centerpiece of President Obama's health care reform law. That means there is an increased possibility that the Supreme Court would hear the case in the current term, and announce its decision during next year's presidential election campaign.

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Unemployment Rates Fall in the Rust Belt, Rise in the Sun Belt

The recession officially ended in June of 2009, but the country is still reeling from a 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Certain areas of the country have seen a gradual recovery, while others continue to struggle or are actually losing jobs. The Rust Belt, which struggled with unemployment before the economic collapse, has seen unemployment dropping. Conversely, the South was prosperous before the recession, with some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but now six southern states have the highest unemployment rates in the country.

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Is Chris Christie Reconsidering a Presidential Bid?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said for months he will not run for president in 2012. But some Republicans have made it clear they would support his bid. As Christie continues to air ads that attempt to boost his approval ratings, with messages like "the model for the way forward," there is speculation that Christie may change his mind. Many eyes will be upon him tonight, as he makes a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and continues his three-state tour of Missouri, Colorado, and California, to raise funds for his party.

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'Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds' in Iraq

The U.S. put much of its global credibility on the line with its invasion and occupation of Iraq. The reconstruction program of subsequent years has been marred by violence, instability in the Iraqi government, the influence of Iran, and millions of American dollars either unaccounted for or wasted. In 2009, Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren spent a year in Baghdad working for the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he oversaw efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure.

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Red Sox Defeated by Baltimore

On Monday, the Boston Red Sox lost the Baltimore Orioles, dropping them into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the America League’s final playoff spot. Frank Schorr, director of the Sports Institute at Boston University and the former executive producer at Channel 7, and Matt Sullivan, superfan and Red Sox blogger, give their analysis of the game.

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Musician K'Naan Returns to Somalia After Twenty Years

Musician and poet K'Naan recently returned to his native Somalia, which is in the grip of a devastating famine and violent civil war. His last memories of the country were twenty years ago, when he fled with other members of his family for safety in Canada.

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