Today's Takeaway: Historic Vote in Tunisia

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Young Tunisian girls hold a giant flag as people demonstrate. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty)

Tunisian Elections and the Fate of the Arab Spring; The Rooney Rule Outside the NFL; Banks New Problem: Too Much Cash; John Grisham on Writing and Criminal Justice Reform; Obama Administration Changes Mortgage Refinance Program; New Exhibit Explores How We Talk to Objects; Sununu Endorses Romney; Perry To Unveil Flat Tax Plan; What Lessons Should the US Take from Libya?; Who Will Be the World's Seven Billionth Person?

Top of the Hour: Gadhafi Buried in Secret Location, Morning Headlines

The bodies of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, his son Muatassim, and former Defense Minister Abu Bakr Younis were buried at dawn on Tuesday in a secret location, according to a Libyan spokesman.


An Islamist Victory in Tunisia and the Fate of the Arab Spring

Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party appears to be the clear victor of Sunday's election, winning about a 40 percent plurality of the vote. In the first democratic election in the nation that ignited the Arab Spring, 90 percent of Tunisians took to the polls to vote on a r a 217 member assembly that will draft a new constitution and appoint a new caretaker government. An Islamist victory in secular Tunisia could point to a trend in the region. Islamists are poised to make electoral gains in Egypt, and have been dominate in post-Gadhafi Libya.

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New Exhibit Explores How We Talk to Objects

Whether you know it or not, you speak with objects every day. You put the coffee machine on and tell it to make the beverage you want, your cell phone rings and it lets you who's calling and you treat your computer as a gateway to the online world. Essentially, you are interacting and communicating with the objects around you in a way that goes way beyond their obvious function. That relationship is the subject of a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City called "Talk to Me."


Could the Rooney Rule Work Outside the NFL?

The NFL has in place a regulation called the Rooney Rule, which demands that every team must interview a minority candidate if a coaching or general manger's position is open. Many would like to see that rule in place in other venues. Robert Johnson, founder of BET, proposed on The Takeaway that if corporate America installed the Rooney Rule, it would "change the number of African Americans employed in higher echelons of corporate America."


Banks' New Problem: Too Much Cash

Banks were in dire trouble back in 2008, when the financial crisis hit. Stalwarts like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers kicked the bucket and other banks like Citigroup still haven't fully recovered. It appears though that banks may have a new problem: too much money. Many people, with no safe alternatives, are depositing their money into banks, but the banks have no where to invest it, so they are trying to deter consumers from giving them their money.

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John Grisham on 'The Litigators,' Writing and Criminal Justice

Author John Grisham has leveraged his career by doing what few in the legal profession can. He has made subjects usually relegated to the law school classroom — topics like torts and case law — into fascinating, suspenseful literature. While he is best known as a bestselling author, John Grisham has also become an advocate for criminal justice reform. He serves on the board of the Innocence Project, a public policy organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully-convicted.

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Top of the Hour: Moderate Islamist Party Claims Victory in Tunisia, Morning Headlines

Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, has emerged as the clear victor from Tunisia's first democratic election held over the weekend. The group has begun talks with a coalition of liberals to lead the country.


Obama Administration Expands Mortgage Assistance Program

The Obama administration announced Monday that it will try and expand HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, to reach to at least one million more people. HARP was introduced in 2009 to help underwater borrowers refinance their mortgages. At the time the administration predicted HARP would help millions of homeowners. But after two and a half years, less than 900,000 homeowners have refinanced under HARP. New changes to HARP will make it possible for homeowners whose mortgages are severely underwater to participate.

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Anne-Marie Slaughter on Lessons the US Should Take From Libya

When Anne-Marie Slaughter joined the Obama administration as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's director of policy planning she became the first woman to hold the position. In February, Slaughter left the job as protests were beginning in Libya. Since leaving office, she's been very vocal about her concerns regarding the U.S. approach to Libya through blogging for The Atlantic, appearing on many news outlets, and maintaining an active presence on Twitter


John H. Sununu on Why He's Endorsing Romney

Mitt Romney lost the New Hampshire GOP primary to John McCain in 2008, but he's hoping 2012's primary will be different. Romney received a key endorsement from the granite state's former governor, John H. Sununu. New Hampshire will hold the first presidential primary in the nation in January after the Iowa caucuses. While Romney continues to be the front runner in the GOP race, support for the former Massachusetts governor remains tepid at best. With a history of modified positions and the albatross of "Romneycare," the Massachusetts health care reform legislation that served as a model for President Obama's health care reform, hanging around his neck, many in the GOP base question Romney's conservatism.

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Gadhafi Buried in Secret Location at Dawn

Libyan officials confirmed on Tuesday that the body of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, his son Muatassim, and former Defense Minister Abu Bakr Younis were buried at dawn in a secret location. Questions over how and when to dispose of the former dictator's body created a challenge for Libya's transitional government. Islamic law dictates that burial should happen within a day after death, but Libya's National Transitional Council took several days to decided how to act. Katya Adler, correspondent for the BBC, reports on the latest from Tripoli.

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Who Will Be the World's Seven Billionth Person?

The world’s population is set to reach seven billion on Monday, October 31, 2011. The Takeaway is talking about what this monumental number means for people, resources and the planet. One of the biggest questions is who exactly the seven billionth person will be and what his or her life will be like. Suzanne Petroni is vice president for global health at the Public Health Institute, and she has some surprising predictions on who this person might be.


White House Weighs Testing Anthrax Vaccine on Children

A working group of The National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) has endorsed a plan to test anthrax vaccines on healthy children. The NBSB, which advises the federal government, says scientist should inject healthy children with BioThrax, the anthrax vaccine, to see if it is as effective on children as it is in adults. The Obama administration is now weighing the controversial step of subjecting children to possibly risky medical testing against waiting for an attack to happen and collecting data afterwards.

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US Has Network of Informants in Mexican Drug Cartels

In an exclusive story, The New York Times reports today that the United States has a network of highly placed informants in Mexican drug cartels, often operating without the knowledge of the Mexican government. The informants have been instrumental in capturing or killing a number of important traffickers. Eric Olson, senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, comments on what this revelation means for U.S.-Mexican relations.