Russian Spy Ring, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Gen. Petraeus face Senate hearings, DIY health

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The F.B.I. arrests 11 U.S. residents for being involved in what federal prosecutors allege is a complex Russian espionage ring; Solicitor General Elena Kagan heads into her second day of hearings in hopes of becoming the next Supreme Court Justice, but faces what a new study suggests are double standards in front of the Senate; Gen. David Petraeus faces his own Senate hearing, as he replaces Gen. McChrystal as top commander for the war in Afghanistan; Gun violence in Chicago; and our DIY Checkup series continues. 

Elena Kagan May Find Double Standard in Senate Hearing

Senate confirmation hearings for Solicitor General Elena Kagan began yesterday. If confirmed, Kagan would become the fourth woman to sit on the country's highest bench. But before she dons that black robe, Kagan must undergo a week of grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The process of a week-long question-and-answer session for nominees began in 1939. A new study reviewed the hundreds of hours of transcripts from confirmation hearings over the last 70 years and found the process can often produce substantive information indicating the changing of the times. It also shows that women and minority candidates are often questioned more thoroughly and pressed further on their judicial philosophies. 

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Illinois Police Commander Found Guilty of Perjury

Last month, we spoke with Darell Cannon, one of a number of black men in Chicago who claim they were tortured and coerced into confessions during the 70s and 80s by Chicago Police. For men like Cannon, who spent 24 years in prison after being tortured by former police Lieutenant Jon Burge the men he commanded, justice has finally come.

Former Chicago Police Lieutenant Jon Burge was found guilty yesterday on charges of federal perjury and obstruction of justice. He could now face up to 45 years behind bars, after his sentencing hearing in November. Rob Wildeboer, criminal justice reporter for Chicago Public Radio tells us more about the case and the conviction.


Details of Alleged Russian Spy Ring Unfold

The FBI announced yesterday the arrests of 11 people associated with an alleged Russian spy ring. The arrests were made on Sunday in Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Details coming out of the FBI reports read like a Russian spy novel — if not stranger.  Authorities worked for at least seven years to gather information about the suspects, who were all charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and failing to register as guests of a foreign government. The maximum sentences for these crimes are five to 20 years.

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DIY Checkup: How to Find the Perfect Doctor

In our DIY Checkup series we've been talking about simple strategies to help take control of our health. Last week we spoke about setting long term health priorities with Dr. Andrea Price, who said that it is important to get to the doctor for your regular checkups. But for many, just making an appointment can be challenging.

Takeaway listener Hugh Appet responded on our website:

"One of the doctors mentioned as an example, someone who has not been to a doctor in five years. How about 20? Why don't insurance companies make it mandatory? The big thing, for me, is phobia. I tried making an appointment with my forcibly chosen primary care doctor under my health plan. The phone receptionist was so brusk that I couldn't get out what I needed to. So no appointment.

This week, we talk with Newsweek health reporter Kate Dailey and Dr. Pauline Chen about how to navigate the chaotic health system to find the right doctor and how to build a trusting relationship with your doctor once you make it to the office.

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General David Petraeus Faces Senate Confirmation Hearings

General David Petraeus faces the Senate Armed Services Committee today for confirmation hearings. The General is expected to take command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan — after his predecessor Gen. Stanley McChrystal lost his post for making disparaging remarks about the Obama administration in Rolling Stone Magazine. How will General Petraeus do in the hearings, and what challenges does he face in his new position? 

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Listeners Respond: Top Summer Song Picks

Each Friday morning this summer, we're asking musicians, artists and music lovers to weigh in on what makes a perfect summer song. Last week we spoke with "Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen to get his picks. For him, summer music has to be either really upbeat or slow enough to elicit memories of long hot summers of the past. The Takeaway listeners evidently have strong opinions about the topic, as well. Many have called in or written to us to share their ultimate summer songs.

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Supreme Court Overturns Chicago Gun Ban, After Spate of Shootings

Yesterday the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment's gaurantee of the right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws, effectively overturning Chicago’s ban on handguns in a 5-4 decision. The ruling comes after two deadly weekends in Chicago, where over 80 people have been shot and 13 people killed in the city. For decades, Chicago’s homicide rates have soared above other U.S. cities. And gun control advocates worry that the recent Supreme Court case will escalate crime in the city and make Chicago the national epicenter of gun-related violence.

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