Today's Takeaway | December 13, 2012

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

kids, classroom, teaching, empathy (Woodley Wonderworks/flickr)

U.S. Debt and Taxes: A History | America's Poor are Left Out of Fiscal Cliff Negotiations | Al Qaeda Scope and Strength Extends to Syria and Beyond | Playing Ebinezer Scrooge in the Age of Income Inequality | How Children Become Good Adults | Violence and Abuse in Insular Communities

We've Run Up the National Debt Before — But It's Different This Time

As the United States teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff, Simon Johnson, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, explores America's love affair with debt, our longstanding hatred of taxes, and what lessons we should take from history.

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America's Poor Left Out of Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

As politicians negotiate how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Tavis Smiley says millions of Americans who are in poverty have already gone over the cliff. According to the radio and television host, the real economic focus should be over austerity and its effect on the poor.

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Al Qaeda's Strength Extends to Syria and Beyond

Despite the significant damage that the core of Al Qaeda has sustained over the past decade, conflict in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East has allowed for a more accessible arena for less organized Al Qaeda affiliates. Daniel Byman, research director and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, explains.

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Is Empathy Inherited or Taught? Listeners Respond

Is empathy inherited? Is it taught? Dr. Perri Klass shared her thoughts and recent findings with the Takeaway and listeners are sharing their opinions.

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Playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a Modern Age of Income Inequality

Actor Brian Cox says today's conversations surrounding debt and fiscal policy help him get into character for his portrayal of the Dickensian Scrooge. Cox will be playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a radio drama of the Christmas Carol tonight.

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How Children Become Good Adults

Do we become empathetic human beings by nature or nurture? Dr. Perri Klass, a primary care pediatrician, explored the topic in "Understanding How Children Develop Empathy," a recent article in The New York Times.

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Violence and Abuse in Insular Communities

On Tuesday, a State Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn convicted 54-year-old Nechemya Weberman on 59 counts of sexual abuse. As an unlicensed therapist in the insular Satmar Hasidic community, Weberman worked with young, Orthodox women. Reporter Sharon Otterman has covered the case and its impact. Deborah Feldman was raised in the Satmar Hasidic community, and she describes her decision to leave the Orthodox world in her memoir, "Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots."

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