Today's Takeaway: Romney Takes Illinois, Trayvon Martin, Plane Safety, and Part Two of "Incarceration in America"

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Political strategists James O'Toole and Ron Christie will discuss last night's primary results in Illinois, where Mitt Romney took 54 delegates in a double-digit victory over his main opponent Rick Santorum. Several guests join us for a core conversation on the Trayvon Martin case and its implications. Also on The Takeaway we will discuss the digitization of Albert Einstein's papers, possible payments for NCAA basketball players, and a new Israeli law that bans showing overly thin models from advertisements.

Top of the Hour: Standoff with Alleged Shooter in France, Morning Headlines

A stand-off started overnight between French police in Toulouse, France, and the 24-year-old man they believe is responsible for Monday's killing of a rabbi and three Jewish children as well as three French soldiers in earlier attacks. In other headlines, Mitt Romney wins the Illinois primary, President Obama begins a two day trip focusing on energy, and Al-Qaida claims responsibility for yesterday's attacks in Iraq.

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Santorum Focuses on Pennsylvania After Romney Takes Illinois Delegates

The day after Mitt Romney took 54 delegates in Illinois, Rick Santorum has set his sights on Pennsylvania, where he served two terms as Senator. His speech last night from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, sought to define himself as the anti-businessman and the anti-Romney. But even if Santorum wins Pennsylvania on April 24th, would it be enough to win the delegate war?

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Albert Einstein's Documents Going Online

Albert Einstein's entire archive of manuscripts, letters, theoretical musings, and personal correspondences are going online. More than 80,000 pages of material, owned by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will now be digitized and shared on the web. To date, only 900 pages of the brilliant scientist's legacy have ever been available to the public. The digital archive will offer the world an entirely new look at one of the 20th century's most important figures, scientific or otherwise. 

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March Madness Economics

There's a lot of money to be made off March Madness. At $122 billion, the amount of spending the NCAA's annual basketball tournament generates is equal to Iceland's GDP. That total includes $614 million in TV advertising, $300 million in NCAA merchandise, and $185 million in corporate sponsorship. So why aren't the athletes paid?

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Israel Bans Use of Overly Thin Models

Israel passed a law earlier this week that bans local advertisers from using overly thin models in their campaigns. It also requires publications to disclose when images are altered or photoshopped to make models appear thinner. The law's supporters hope it will promote healthier eating habits among models and stop glamorizing extreme thinness among the general population.

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An Introduction to the Supreme Court

Next week the Supreme Court will hear Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, the case that will decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, or health insurance reform. The case includes a number of questions about states' rights, federal jurisdiction, and individual liberty. In addition, it shines a spotlight on the institution that will decide the constitutionality of President Obama's signature legislation. 

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Top of the Hour: Romney Wins Big in Illinois, Morning Headlines

Mitt Romney wins the Illinois primary with almost half the vote, while main rival Rick Santorum received 35 percent of the vote. In other headlines, a standoff continues in Toulouse, France where a gunman who claims to be linked to al-Qaida is barricaded into an apartment; UN Secretary General calls the violence in Syria "extremely dangerous"; and new studies show that a daily dose of aspirin may help prevent some cancers.

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Trayvon Martin Case Prompts Reflections on Law, Order, and Community

By now, most of us have heard of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American boy who was shot and killed while walking through a friend’s gated community in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who is not black, and who thought Martin looked suspicious. Martin had no weapons on him — only a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.

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French Police in Standoff with Suspected Gunman

Police believe they have cornered the gunman in the shooting at a Jewish school earlier this week. Identified as 24-year-old Muhammed Merah, the suspect opened fire when the police tried to raid his home overnight, wounding two officers. The standoff ends one of the largest manhunts in recent French history.

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Does the Boeing 737 Airplane Have Dangerous Structural Problems?

Every 2.5 seconds, somewhere in the world, a Boeing 737 takes off or lands. The Boeing 737 one of the world’s most popular planes, as well as one of the best-selling. But is it also plagued with dangerous structural problems? Last April, a Boeing 737 taking Southwest Airlines passengers from Phoenix to Sacramento had to make an emergency landing when part of the plane's body ripped, leaving a 59-inch hole in the roof of its cabin. It wasn't the first such incident to take place in a Boeing 737 — and a new investigation suggests it might not be the last.

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Incarceration in America: Rethinking Solitary Confinement

All this week we’re talking about incarceration in America. Yesterday we looked at juvenile justice, and whether life-without-parole sentences for teenage murder convicts violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Today, we’re talking about super-maximum-security prisons and the effects of solitary confinement.

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Afghanistan Government Guards Take Over Jobs of Private Security Firms

Afghanistan President Karzai has railed for years against the large number of "guns-for-hire" in the country, arguing that private security companies skirt the law. Today is the deadline for foreign private security firms in Afghanistan to hand over to government forces, meaning a force of 40,000 private guards will be replaced by around 6,000 Afghan government guards. How well trained are these local guards? How is this move being seen by those that have relied on foreign security firms?

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Will the Toulouse Shootings Affect the French Presidential Race?

About 300 police officers have cornered a 24-year old man in the city of Toulouse, France. The man is believed to have murdered three French paratroopers last week and a rabbi and three children at a local school on Monday. How will the upcoming presidential election in France deal with this incident? Will it change the dialogue of the candidates?

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