Views of the Middle from Across America | Panel Tells White House to Curb NSA Spy Program | As Culture Shifts, New Discussions For Teens & Marijuana

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

For many, being in the middle is a balancing act.

Views of the Middle from Across America | Gov. John Hickenlooper's Year on the National Stage | Crisis Averted in the South China Sea | Panel Tells White House to Curb NSA Spy Program |  As Culture Shifts, New Discussions For Teens & Marijuana | Eleanor Catton's "The Luminaries" Lights Up the Literary Skies

Views of the Middle from Across America

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on median household income levels for every community across America. The Takeaway set out to find ordinary "median earners" from different Census tracts around the county—folks whose household income matches the median for their neighborhoods. Javes Cruthird of Florida; Tim Wood of Massachusetts; Margaret McGlynn of North Dakota; and Tanya Lundberg of Michigan, join The Takeaway to describe what it's like to live in the middle.

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Gov. Hickenlooper's Year on the National Stage

John Hickenlooper, Democratic Governor of Colorado, has had quite a year on the national stage. From extreme weather that caused deadly landslides, to becoming one of two states that voted to legalize marijuana, Gov. Hickenlooper has been the center for high praise and high criticism. His state has also become a political battleground, even as Hickenlooper famously campaigned to stay above the partisan fray. Hickenlooper joins us to take a look back at 2013.

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Crisis Averted in the South China Sea

Looks like there’s been another “near-miss” in the South China Sea. Though just reported, a near collision between a Chinese warship and a U.S. guided missile cruiser on December 5 has ruffled the feathers of Chinese officials, who claim the U.S. boat had been “harassing” China’s aircraft carrier. Joining The Takeaway to explain is Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, director of the Asia-Pacific Program at the United States Institute of Peace.

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Panel Tells White House to Curb NSA Spy Program

Yesterday, a panel of presidential advisers released its recommendations on the NSA's mass data collection program. The panel urged President Barack Obama to end the government's systematic collection of logs of all Americans' phone calls and refrain from tapping into any commercial or private efforts to collect data. David Sanger, National Security Correspondent for our partner The New York Times, helps unpack the report.

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As Culture Shifts, New Marijuana Talks For Teens

With medical marijuana legal in 20 states and recreational pot legal in Washington and Colorado, the national conversation around marijuana is changing rapidly. And many are wary about what this means for teens. Roger Roffman, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington School of Social Work, helps us wade through this shifting culture around marijuana and what it means for adolescents. Alex Szablya Ramdin, a Washington state parent of two kids, weighs in on how the conversation is changing.

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"The Luminaries" Lights Up the Literary Skies

"The Luminaries" is the fascinating new novel written by Eleanor Catton, the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner. Described by the New York Times as "doing a Charlotte Bronte-Themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board," the novel is wildly unique. Catton is the youngest person to win the Prize and only the second to win from New Zealand, and she joins The Takeaway to discuss the wild wave of enthusiasm for her work.

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