The week's agenda: Moneypalooza

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Monday, March 23, 2009

The week's agenda: Moneypalooza

Every Monday morning The Takeaway takes a look at the nation's agenda —what will drive the headlines for the week ahead? This week: The government tries to figure out how to deal with toxic assets and toxic AIG, the Democrats wrangle over the new budget, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes to Mexico to talk about trade, and Americans and Indians see a new, cheaper car in their futures. For their predictions, The Takeaway is joined by Marcus Mabry, the international business editor for the New York Times and Jay Newton-Small, Washington correspondent for Time.

"The story this week is going to be Moneypalooza: You got banks, you got budget and you got bailouts."
—Marcus Mabry, New York Times international business editor, on this week in politics


Iranians and Iranian-Americans react to President Obama's video address

Last Friday, President Barack Obama addressed the people of Iran in a video message on Nowruz, the Persian New Year. In his appeal, Obama paid tribute to Iranian history and culture and stressed the need for stronger diplomatic ties. But how did that message resonate with ordinary Iranians and Iranian Americans? To answer that question, The Takeaway talks to Cyrus Razzaghi a marketing consultant from Tehran who joins us from his Nowruz celebration on the Caspian Coast. Also adding his voice to the discussion is Amir Farokhi is an Iranian-American attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who is running for a seat on the Atlanta City Council.

Watch President Obama's Nowruz message to the Iranian people below.


The call for a World Sanitation Day

It's the day after World Water Day, a day highlighting the issues facing countries with scarce water resources. The issue of clean water is clearly important, but Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, suggests we also need a World Sanitation Day.

For more on the importance of clean water and sanitation, watch the video from the International Federation Global Water and Sanitation Initiative (GWSI) in action at the Zambia Red Cross Society:

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A shooting in Oakland sparks new debate over parole

California’s parole system has long been criticized for returning parolees to overcrowded prisons for minor offenses. Reform has been in the works for years. This weekend, though, a parolee shot and killed three police officers in Oakland, and mortally wounded a fourth. Todd Clear, Professor of Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is concerned that people will take away the wrong message about parole reform from this horrible crime. He joins us now to discuss the issue.


Are we torturing U.S. prisoners?

The United States holds at least 25,000 prisoners in long-term solitary confinement prisons across the country. They're called "Supermax" prisons, where prisoners are confined without human contact for at least 23 hours every day. Should these isolation cells be considered torture?

The Takeaway is joined by Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of a piece in this week's New Yorker called "Annals of Human Rights". Dr. Gawande writes that we know how monkeys respond when scientists have placed them under solitary confinement: the monkeys become severely disturbed and withdrawn. It's, of course, not ethical to do similar experiments on adult human beings, but Dr. Gawande argues that is exactly what we are doing to tens of thousands of prisoners in Supermax prisons in the United States.


President Obama: King of all media

He’s the first sitting president to appear on a late-night talk show. He’s been on the cover of GQ and Vanity Fair. His weekly “radio” address airs on YouTube and his emails are still going out regularly to supporters. President Obama is using the media in a way no president ever has. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of Presidents Creating the Presidency, joins John with an analysis of how the President's communication strategy is working.

"Part of the role is functioning as educator-in-chief, explaining to the public what the challenges are and how we're going to get the solution. Mobilizing the public to endorse presidential action is as much a part of the job as taking presidential action."
—Kathleen Hall Jamieson, co-author of Presidents Creating the Presidency, on Obama's recent media appearances

Obama's most recent media appearance was on 60 Minutes last night. The first part of that interview is below.

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The latest from March Madness

We've got the latest on March Madness from Gonzaga's game-winning layup to Missouri's freshman free-throw phenom. The Takeaway is joined by Will Leitch, Contributing Editor and Columnist at New York Magazine and Founder of

Watch Demetri Goodson's final basket for Gonzaga below.


Comfortably numb: Love and antidepressants

It is well known that taking antidepressants can dampen your sex drive, but could they be hindering our ability to fall in love? That’s what Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher is worried about. She gives us the details of her controversial theory.


War at the border

The Takeaway has been following the spillover of Mexico's drug war where the national army is battling powerful cartels from tense border towns in west Texas and Arizona to the violent sisters cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. Our partners the New York Times are beginning a series examining the influence and impact of cartels on both sides of the border. The Takeaway talks to New York Times national correspondent Randy Archibold, who is based in Los Angeles. His story in today's paper kicks off that series.

Read Randy Archibold's article, Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S., in today's New York Times.

For more of The Takeaway's coverage of Mexico and the drug war at the border, click here.


Extreme Ice: A new NOVA film on glacial melting

When we use the metaphor of things moving at a glacial pace, our intention is to describe something progressing very slowly. Well if you were familiar with James Balog and his nature photography, chances are you’d never use that phrase that way again. James Balog is the founder and director of the Extreme Ice Survey. With the use of 26 time-lapse cameras, Balog and his colleagues document the rapid changes on glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere. You can see Balog in action, trekking through treacherous terrain, in a new NOVA and National Geographic documentary, Extreme Ice. You can also check out Balog's photography in his latest book, Extreme Ice Now: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate: A Progress Report.


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