Despite pledges of transparency, the bailout remains opaque

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Despite pledges of transparency, the bailout remains opaque

Treasury and the Fed said they would be open about where the taxpayers' trillions of dollars are going. But two months into the bailout, we still don't know important details about the government's agreements with financial institutions. Newsweek's Daniel Gross tells The Takeaway what information is being kept under wraps, and why it matters.
"Who in Washington is going to stand up and get red in the face and scream about this?"
— Dan Gross on the secrecy of the bailout


Is national security threatened by a troubled economy?

With unemployment claims at a 16-year high, Detroit looking into the abyss, and the economy in freefall, our national security could be at risk. James Rickards, senior managing director for research at Omnis, an applied research firm, argues that government agencies need to pay attention to the security implications of our economic troubles.
"Four billion seemed like an enormous amount of money. Today it seems like spare change."
— James Rickards on the difference between the collapse of Long Term Capital and today.


Aquatic Harmonics

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed technology that uses tracks movements of fish in a tank by corresponding their movement with musical notes The end result is a polyphonic pleasure that will allow visually impaired people to enjoy aquariums, zoos, and other places of informative learning. What would you call this new instrument and what does it sound like? Bruce Walker of the Georgia Tech Sonification lab joins John and Adaora.

Watch video of the Accessible Aquarium Project (the Associated Press via »


The holiday jukebox from hell

How bad can Christmas songs get? Jack Grace, the Martini Cowboy, explores the lower depths of holiday music hell.

"I'm here to talk about atrocious music, plain and simple. At first it was against my nature to find music I wouldn't want to listen to, then it became a complete joy..."
— Jack Grace

Knight Rider Christmas
"If you have a 1983 mint condition 45 of this song, it's actually worth money, for all those David Hasselhoff fans."
— Jack Grace

"It's So Chic To Be Pregnant At Christmas" by Nancy White
"There is a little bit of relief on this one, in that this woman is a satirist."
— Jack Grace
Read the lyrics »

"Mister Russian, Please Don’t Shoot Down Santa’s Sleigh" by The Sensational Little Shana Lynette
"After lots of research, we're still looking to find out more about her [The Sensational Little Shana Lynette]."
— Jack Grace
Listen at »

"Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk On Christmas)" by John Denver
"This is a little bit different for John Denver."
— Jack Grace
Read the lyrics »

"A Toolbox Christmas" by Woody Phillips
"These are power tools."
— Jack Grace
Preview the CD at »

"Santa Claus Won't You Shoot My Boss" by Jack Grace, the Martini Cowboy
Listen to our own Jack Grace performing the new Christmas classic »

Discover more bad holiday songs at »
And there's more from Jack Grace at »

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Bush pardons man 24 years after his death

Charlie Winters is only the second man to be pardoned posthumously. After he arranged for B-17 bombers to be sent to Israel (and even flew one himself across the Atlantic). He was hailed as a hero by Israel but convicted of violating the 1939 Neutrality Act. Eric Lichtblau from The New York Times discusses the details.
"He was willing to put his own life on the line in flying overseas."
— Eric Lichtblau on Charlie Winters


Chinese students look for jobs as unemployment rises

As China's economy slows, unemployment grows and authorities worry this could mean social unrest. As next year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising, the goverment says that finding jobs for university students is a top priority. Dr. Kerry Brown, a senior fellow in Asia research at Chatham House, joins The Takeaway to discuss the issues.
"If you've got workers and students coming together, that's pretty much a nightmare scenario."
— Dr. Kerry Brown on the potential for social unrest in China


What foodies want from Obama

Advocates for everything from healthier school lunches to more humane treatment of farm animals to sustainable agriculture see an ally in the future President, but so far there's not much evidence that Obama himself is interested in reforming the U.S. food system. Kim Severson of The New York Times joins The Takeaway to talk about what foodies want from the new administration.


Coming to terms with Zimbabwe

To outsiders Zimbabwe seems to be in crisis. A cholera epidemic has killed over 1,000 Zimbabweans and the economy is in collapse. On Monday, the U.S. and Britain demanded that President Mugabe step down but Mugabe says he will never surrender. For insight into this transcontinental power-struggle, we turn to journalist Heidi Holland, the author of "Dinner With Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter Who Became a Tyrant."
"The people who pay for his anger in response to humiliation piled on by the west are the ordinary Zimbabweans."
— Heidi Holland on Robert Mugabe


Bus Chick says public transit is romantic

Seattle native Carla Saulter doesn't have a car, and her city doesn't have a subway, so she gets everywhere by bus. She says it's changed her life--for the better. Carla has become a transit advocate and writes the "Bus Chick" blog for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She joins The Takeaway to tell us how she's getting around in Seattle.
"I met my husband on the bus."
— Carla Saulter on the romance of bus travel

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Tom Brokaw reflects on 2008

2008 was a dynamic year of historic firsts, and who better to sum it up than one of America’s most trusted journalists. The 21-year veteran of NBC Nightly News joins John and Adaora to discuss the passing of his dear friend Tim Russert and why Barack Obama was the post-modern candidate in this year’s election.
"In Tim's case, he wished he'd spent more time at the office. He loved it so much."
— Tom Brokaw on Tim Russert


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