Today's Takeaway: President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

President Barack Obama speaks on the economy and an extension of the payroll tax cut at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama speaks on the economy in Osawatomie, Kansas. (Mandel Ngan/Getty)

Executives Could Face Charges in West Virginia Mining Explosion; Pearl Harbor Anniversary; NAACP Attacks New Voting Laws; UC Berkeley Astrophysicist on Her Massive Black Hole Discovery; Diners' Guide Gives Working Condition of Restaurants; President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas Speech; Mitt Romney's $100,000 Computer Purge; Green Bay Packers Fans Can Now Buy Stock in Team; Japanese American WWII Veterans Look Back on Pearl Harbor

Top of the Hour: Karzai Returns to Kabul After Attack, Morning Headlines

Afghan President Hamid Karzai cut a trip to Europe short following three sectarian attacks in his country on Tuesday. At least 60 people were killed in bombings on a holy day for Shiite Muslims.

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Record Settlement in West Virginia Mining Explosion

Last April, an explosion at Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 men. According to the federal government, the explosion was an "entirely preventable" tragedy. On Tuesday, the mine's new owners reached a $210 million settlement in connection with the accident. Under the terms of the settlement, the owner of the mine will not be charged with any crimes, but the agreement leaves the door open for individual employees to be prosecuted in the future. But whether anyone will be held accountable, and whether the culture that lead to the lack of safety in the mine will finally change is yet to be seen.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941 was a grim rude awakening for the United States. America was part of a world dissolving into global industrial scale bloodshed. The attack on Pearl Harbor exposed the vulnerability and disarray of the U.S. Military in 1941. But it also motivated a resolve that America had never before experienced — a unity that redefined a nation still simmerring with divisions left over from the Civil War days. America's entry into the Great War of 1914-1919 was an acknowledgement of its arrival as a world power, no longer anyone's former colony. The nation's entry into World War II was a righteous cause to redress a wound everyone in the country felt.

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Your Take: Child Labor Laws

On Tuesday's show, The Takeaway talked about both Newt Gingrich's recent comments about putting poor children to work as janitors in their schools, and the Department of Labor's proposed restrictions on children performing certain kinds of farm work. Many listeners had a lot to say about children working, including Marie from New Jersey, who commented on our Facebook page:

Listening to the show, I heard many callers reasoning that because they have fond memories of working on the family farm, or helping Grandpa sweep the school, that it must be right. Dreadful to think of the dearth of critical thinking skills in the country, if social policy is to be based on anecdotal, personal experiences.

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Russia Seeks to Avoid Arab Spring-Style Protests

Protesters amassed for a second night on Tuesday in Moscow to denounce the results of last weekend's parliamentary elections, which are widely believed to have been rigged. Chanting "Russia without Putin," several hundred demonstrators gathered in the same square where over 5,000 people protested the alleged electoral fraud on Monday. Riot police officers arrested 250 people, bringing the total number of arrests from both protests to around 600, and pro-government activists attempted to drown out the protesters' cries.

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UC Berkeley Astrophysicist on Black Hole Discovery

Astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley announced that they had discovered the two most massive black holes to date. Their findings situate the black holes at between 10 and 21 billion times the mass of the sun. They are being published in journal Nature. Theoretical astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma led the team that made these discoveries, and she joins The Takeaway to discuss what this all means.

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Diners' Guide Gives Working Condition of Restaurants

Restaurant diners across the nation have a new guide to chew on when deciding where to eat out. However the ratings have nothing to do with food and focus more on the labor practices of some of the nation’s 150 top earning eateries. The Takeaway speaks with Saru Jayaraman,  co-founder and director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centre United, a non-profit that helps restaurant workers organize for better working conditions within the industry and Dave Rutigliano owner of the Southport Brewing Company.

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Top of the Hour: US to Promote Global Gay Rights, Says Clinton, Morning Headlines

The Obama administration has announced a high profile effort to promote LGBT rights around the world. "Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, "but in fact they are one and the same." Clinton announced a $3 million campaign to finance gay rights organizations.

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President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas Speech

President Obama called for a shoring up of the country's middle class and criticized the concentration of wealth in the U.S. during a speech Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas. The town was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's famous "New Nationalism" speech, which, a century earlier touched upon many of the same themes as President Obama's address. But Obama's speech comes on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the GOP Primary, and the inception of his 2012 presidential campaign.

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Assad Denies Responsibility in Syrian Crackdown

"We do not kill our people," a defiant President Bashar al-Assad of Syria told ABC News's Barbara Walters in a rare interview broadcast on Wednesday. Assad refused to take responsibility for ordering the bloody crackdown on the protest movement calling for his ouster, which the United Nations estimates has taken the lives of 4,000 people. The increasingly isolated Assad claimed most of the deaths were his own supporters. Now in their ninth month, the Syrian government continues to stubbornly insist the uprisings are fueled by foreign governments like the U.S. and Israel.

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Mitt Romney's $100,000 Computer Purge

In his final days of office, then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spent over $100,000 to replace the computers in the governor's mansion and to wipe the hard drives of existing computers. Not just his own, but those of eleven members of his staff. While not illegal the move is considered "unprecedented" and has been criticized by both the left and the right.  

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Japanese American WWII Veterans Look Back on Pearl Harbor

Seventy years ago today, Japan attacked a naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing and wounding thousands of Americans. The enemy might have been Japan, but in the American melting pot there were many Japanese faces. The Pearl Harbor inspired solidarity in America soon gave way to distrust and a staggering suspension of the U.S. Constitution. "War Relocation Camps" for 100,000 Japanese-Americans were set up, and entire families of American citizens were forced to halt their lives and move. Some of those relocated Japanese-Americans petitioned the U.S. to serve in combat as a way of demonstrating their loyalty. The petitions were accepted, and soon Japanese-Americans were fighting as both volunteers and drafted servicemen.

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NAACP Attacks New Voting Laws

Both parties recognize that minority voters could spell the difference between victory and defeat in next year's election. Changing demographic numbers underscore the importance of Latinos especially on polling day. And there are any number of voter registration efforts going on to try and get more blacks and Latinos to the polls. But in a new reports, according to the NAACP, there is concerted effort to disenfranchise African-American and Latino voters ahead of next year's presidential election. They say that new voting laws are an attack on minority voting rights. In fact, the NAACP will be petitioning the United Nations on Saturday over new laws in 25 states that they say target blacks and unfairly restrict the right to vote.

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Obama, Clinton Call on World to End LGBT Discrimination

In a possibly historic move, the Obama administration announced its dedication to promoting LGBT rights around the world. In a memorandum from the president, and a speech from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the administration equated LGBT rights with human right, vowing to spend $3 million to finance LGBT rights organizations. "In reality, gay people are born into — and belong to — every society in the world," Clinton said to an audience of representatives of 47 nations, who gave her a standing ovation. (Watch the speech after the jump.)

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