Every day, there's more news from Capitol Hill on health care reform. Different lawmakers propose changes to three different bills, with updates as key players refine their positions. Last week, some of the "Blue Dog Democrats" succeeded in pushing the vote on healthcare reform until after the Senate's August recess.
Having trouble understanding this complicated process? The Takeaway has a guide for you. (And if you have more questions, get in touch!) Here are the key points to the major health care plans proposed, the stage of the process they're in, and even a bit about how bills become laws. Here's what we know about the House's H.R. 3200, and the Senate's H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee bill. ...(continue reading)
Girl Scouts start selling their best-selling cookies — Thin Mints and Tagalongs — each December. But this year, the Scouts’ annual cookie sales, which add up to $700 million a year, may not be so high. That’s because giant Wal-Mart will start stocking its shelves with its own Great Value brand Fudge Mint and Fudge Covered Peanut Butter Filled cookies next month. Some bloggers who were at the women's BlogHer convention where Wal-Mart debuted its desserts last week are crying foul, saying the retailer is trying to steal the Scouts’ sales. We discuss the cookie war with culture critic Mary Elizabeth Williams and her 9-year old daughter, Lucy, who is, in the interest of full disclosure, a Girl Scout and a darn good little saleswoman.
Last Fourth of July, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint published Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism. Senator DeMint (ranked by National Journal as the Senate’s most conservative member), has been making headlines as one of President Obama's most vocal critics on everything from the economy, health care reform to Cash for Clunkers. He joins The Takeaway with his take on how to correct the country's path.
"Right now we don’t allow insurance companies to compete state to state, so a few insurance companies can essentially monopolize the business in each state. If we created a national market for health care with hundreds of companies competing for our business the price would go down and the variety of products would go up."
—Senator Jim DeMint on health care reform
For more from Senator DeMint, watch his speech on the Senate floor against President Obama's health care plan:
Gun owners across America are carrying guns in record numbers. This June, parts of Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all saw record numbers of applications for concealed weapons, according to a USA Today article. In Clay County, Missouri, the sheriff’s office had to hire two additional staffers to deal with the rush. Clay County is where Don Pind, a firearms instructor at Show Me Shooters Indoor Range, is based; he joins The Takeaway today. We also talk with Kristi Manning, another firearms instructor who teaches at Carter Shooting Supply in Harrison, Tennessee. Manning’s had her class size triple since last November.
In 1936, Atlanta, Georgia, built the nation's first housing project. Soon, more of the city's population lived in the projects than in any other city in the nation. Now, Atlanta is set to knock all the big projects down and become the first big city without projects. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity is holding hearings today on the future of housing. In light of Atlanta's move (and the plans of other big cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles), we are looking at whether public housing projects have a future. To discuss this issue is Renee L. Glover, the president and CEO of Atlanta's Housing Authority, and Representative Maxine Waters, the Democrat from California, who is the Chairwoman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
For more, the AP has put together a video essay on Atlanta's move away from public housing:
In 1990, Congress enacted the Children's Television Act to promote educational children's television programming and to limit marketing to children. The act addresses only broadcast television, not cable, internet, or games. Gary Knell, the President and CEO of Sesame Workshop (the force behind Sesame Street) has been pushing for an update to the bill. He joins The Takeaway before he heads to the Hill to testify on re-booting the Children's Television Act for the 21st century and beyond. Also joining the conversation is Dade Hayes, a father and author of Anytime Playdate: Inside the Preschool Entertainment Boom, or, How Television Became My Baby's Best Friend.
"We're certainly not going to change Elmo...This isn't really about how Sesame Street is going to change. This is really about shining a spotlight on the issues around children's education and children's health, because media plays just an enormous role in impacting children."
—Gary Knell, CEO of Sesame Workshop, on children's programming today
When the original Children's Television Act was being debated, there was one special witness: Mr. Rogers. Here's his testimony:
To commemorate the NAACP's Centennial, we take you to Franklin County, a rural area of 40,000 people in the southern part of Middle Tennessee. In 1958, two black women — Mrs. Johnnie Fowler, and Mickey Marlow — and one white man — Scott Bates — formed the area's first branch of the NAACP, the "Franklin County Branch." It's one of the few branches nationwide where female activists, and not men, led the town's desegregation efforts. One woman is still alive to tell the story of their struggle: Ms. Sarah Staten.
Forty years ago this weekend, while the nation was mourning the death of singer Judy Garland, New York City police raided a gay bar in the West Villiage, The Stonewall Inn. Raids on the bar had happened before but this time gay men, drag queens and a few women fought back. It turned into a six-day rebellion that sparked the modern gay-rights movement.
David Bermudez was there that night. He was 26 years old and joins The Takeaway to talk about those raids. Also joining us is 26-year-old Jason Haas, a civil rights leader in the LGBT community.
"Cops would come in and harass us and push us around and put us in paddy wagons, and use us as pawns. Our crime was just that we were gay."
— David Bermudez remembering Stonewall