Toyota Struggles With Recalls, Competition

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Toyota Struggles With Recalls, Competition

Toyota, as recently as a year ago, looked like it could escape the economic downturn unscathed and remain the auto giant it has been for decades. But recent bad press, including announcements of multiple recalls, may be hurting the Japanese auto maker and its times of dominance may soon be over. Paul Eisenstein is the publisher of The Detroit Bureau, and believes Toyota may be in big trouble. Steven Pecha thinks differently; he says the dealership he works at, Scott Clark's Toyota City in Matthews, N.C., has been doing well and all the bad news about recalls are a thing of the past.

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Takeouts: Yelp Says No, Mojave Preservation, Usain Bolt

  • Money Takeout: Yelp walked away from an acquisition deal from Google worth more than $500 million... why? John Abell, of Wired.com, joins us to put the story in context. 
  • Environment Takeout: Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) is looking to make more than a million acres of the Mojave Desert into a national monument. Daniel Stone of Newsweek explains why this ambitious environmental effort might get government approval. 
  • Sports Takeout: After a brief discussion of the Redskins' trouncing at the Giants' hands last night, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin kicks off our series on the ten most memorable sports stories of 2009 with the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt. Watch him run!

 

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After Death of Opposition Cleric, Iran Cracks Down on Protesters

Since the disputed presidential elections in Iran this past summer, the government has cracked down on protesters, the opposition movement and the media. In the last several days (and since the death of noted cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who had frequently spoken out against the government), protestors have again been taking to the streets. For an update on the political environment in Iran, we call Beirut to talk with Borzou Daragahi, the Middle East correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, who has managed to continue reporting from Tehran.

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BBC Listeners Help Zambian Boy Live Dream to Fly

A 13-year-old boy from a slum in Zambia is on his way to learning how to fly thanks to help from BBC radio listeners who heard his story. Freelance BBC reporter Jo Fidgen tells us about meeting the boy, Joseph Banda, and how she went along for the ride on his very first flight.

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Work: 'Whitening' the Résumé to Get Called Back

Every Thursday, The Takeaway focuses on work issues.  This week we take a look at ethnic and racial discrimination in the hiring process and what some people are doing to better their chances of getting called back for a job.  Takeaway work contributor Chaz Kyser, author of "Embracing the Real World (The Black Woman's Guide to Life After College)," says the practice of "whitening" resumes, i.e. making black names sound less ethnic, is becoming increasinlgy popular in a super-competitive economy.  Tuere Murray, a working mother of two from Oklahoma, explains why she changed her name from "Akanju" to "Murray" after she had problems scoring interviews, despite a competitive resume.

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Small American Bank Owners Meet the President

One week after meeting with the heads of major banks, President Obama is scheduled to meet with the leaders of small and community banks today. He is likely to make the same request to them as he did the big banks: 'Please lend more.' With major banks taking up most of the headlines all year long, we wanted to take a look at how community banks are doing, and the answer may surprise you. Mike Menzies is the president and CEO of a small community bank, Easton Bank and Trust in Easton, M.D. – he says his bank will finish the year with a profit, but fears the next couple of years will be rough. David Gillen is finance editor for The New York Times, and says that community banks have actually done well despite the constant reports of bank closings.

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Takeouts: Trade Wars, Tarmac Waits, Listeners on Health

  • Money Takeout: Louise Story of the New York Times explains why U.S. media companies just scored a victory in the ongoing US-China trade war. 
  • Airline Takeout: New York Times reporter Matthew Wald tells us about a new law intended to prevent airline passengers from being kept on the tarmac for long periods of time while waiting for their flights to leave.
  • Listener Takeout: From health care to holiday songs, Takeaway listeners are coming through loud and clear. 

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New Center Promises Transparency But Delays Declassification

President Obama is expected to sign an executive order before the year is over to create a new National Declassification Center in order to aggressively clear a backlog of classified documents. But, the creation of the center will actually delay the declassification of 400 million pages of Cold War-era documents. We talk with Bryan Bender from the Boston Globe and Jim Harper from the CATO Institute about how this plan fits with the president’s promises for government transparency.

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Mexico City Legalizes Gay Marriage

Mexico City lawmakers Monday voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the capitol – a move that would also give same-sex couples the ability to adopt children. It was a stunning move in a conservative Catholic nation. Ioan Grillo is Mexico Correspondent for Time Magazine; he reports on the reaction in Mexico City and throughout the nation.

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Remixing The Holidays: Brian Stokes Mitchell and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Our "Remixing the Holidays" series continues with Tony Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell, who performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in their 2009 television Christmas special and on the accompanying CD, "Ring Christmas Bells." Also joining us to share their favorite holiday music are two of the choir's dedicated members: Jean Hill and Elliot Clark.

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