65 has been the standard age for retirement in this country since 1935. But that specific age has come into question as states hit economic hardships and more and more people live longer. Lawmakers in about a dozen states are looking to increase the retirement age or modify the way benefits are given out. These states might increase the qualifying retirement age for state employees, despite the fact that public-sector workers already retire, on average, earlier than workers in the private sector. Is this fair? We're looking into what the "right" retirement age is in this new age of longer life span and tighter budgets.
We want to know from you: Whether you've retired already or are just making plans, what is the retirement age for your household? And if you retired early during the boom years, how has it been going? What's a few extra years?
The oil unleashed into the Gulf of Mexico over the last months is a toxic danger to sea life and wetlands, but in a frustrating Catch-22, so is one of the key methods of fighting the oil. Chemical dispersants, though better (in most cases) for the environment than the oil itself, still pose different environmental hazards. BP says they have only used 1.8 million gallons of the dispersant "Corexit," but a Congressional inquiry may yet call those numbers into doubt. We look at the effects of the dispersant on the environment and talk to a shrimper about whether he's seen any toxicity in his catch as the season begins.
Arizona continues to attract the spotlight in the fiery immigration debate for taking a tough, conservative stance against undocumented immigrants. Their new law is the far end of the spectrum from more liberal reform proposals, like amnesty. It was, however, a conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, who signed the last amnesty into law in 1986.
Three million illegal immigrants were permitted to set roots and build lives in America on the books after the Simpson-Mazzoli Act granted them a path to citizenship while making hiring an undocumented worker a crime. So what happened to those three million? How did their lives unfold after an act of congress and the stroke of a pen protected their presence on our soil?
Just months ago, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) rode to office in a pickup truck powered by Tea Party support for his promise to be the 41st vote against health care reform. Now he's siding with Democrats on financial reform, the president's next big legislative priority. He has extracted concessions for his position, but that's not the reason he's crossing party lines. He's part of a rare breed these days: moderate Northeast Republicans. "41" is no longer the most important number for Scott Brown; it's "2012," when he faces re-election.
Last night, in a prime time spectacle, LeBron James announced which NBA team he's joining: the Miami Heat. He was only a free agent for a few days, but the machinations to woo the best player in basketball have been underway for years. In particular, The New York Knicks have suffered two terrible seasons as they cleared out players to make salary-cap room for big name free agents this signing season. Stocks even moved based on rumors he was coming to New York. Cleveland has calculated the impact of this one player on the downtown economy and regional business. It's in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Millions of migratory birds are getting ready to head south, right into or through the Gulf of Mexico and the biggest environmental disaster in decades. That is a toxic combination. So a little known federal agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is working fast to convert up to 150,000 acres of private land, mostly farm land, into alternative bird habitats. The idea is to lure the loons and mallards away from the tainted waters of the Gulf and threatened surrounding wetlands.
Noel King, here on the night shift.
Call it the “100 gene.” A new study from Boston University has unearthed clues to the genetic makeup of people who live unusually long lives. Scientists there studied the genes of more than 1,000 people who had lived longer than a century. And they say they can tell – with 77 percent accuracy – who will live to be more than 100. But would you want to know if you were going to live that long? We speak to the principal investigator of the study.
The Al Qaeda magazine that Alex referred to earlier has raised lots of questions, lots of eyebrows and even sparked a few uncomfortable jokes. But it’s made Wafa Kanan genuinely angry. She’s the publisher of Alo Magazine – a US based lifestyle magazine for folks of Middle Eastern descent. And Daniel Kimmage of the Homeland Security Policy Institute tells us what the magazine’s design indicates about its target audience.
And that training video for Arizona police officers who’ll be expected to enforce the state’s new immigration law? We’ve got Marshall Larry Talvy from the Tombstone Police Department coming on to share his thoughts and analysis on the video.
Plus, Oakland is on edge awaiting a verdict in the shooting of a black man by a white transit officer back in 2009.
And Pat Benetar weighs in on her picks for the songs of summer.
Alex Goldmark here getting things started for tomorrow's show.
As we head into the weekend its only natural we talk movies and entertainment. Tomorrow, though, we have a veritable bevy of media stories. Some days it just plays out that way. Al-Qaida has launched an English language magazine. They've had some problems distributing the PDF but you can see a few pages here. We're reaching out to magazine folks to get an industry take what appears to be a high quality publication. We want to see if we can find out who their target audience and target demo is. Plus, lets say the English language recruiting magazine works, what happens next? Personally, seems like subscribing to "Inspire" would be the fastest way to get on the no fly list.
This week Alcoholics Anonymous holds its annual meeting where they are celebrating their 75th anniversary. More than a million Americans attend one of the 55,000 meeting groups, and countless more have been through the program since Bill Wilson and and Ebby Thatcher began spreading the gospel of surrender in 1935. What still isn't clear though, is why it works, or more accurately, why it works for some and not for others.
The FAA recently acknowledged that unmanned aircraft, sometimes called drones, are evolving from military assets into potential tools for all manner of civilian and domestic law enforcement uses. In aviation parlance they're now called unmanned aircraft systems or "UASs" and vary widely in size, shape, function and how they are controlled. UASs can have a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737 or just a few feet, smaller than a radio controlled model airplane. But are they safe? And what do they say about issues of privacy?
UPDATED 7:00 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the evening shift. We're adding a few stories to tomorrow's mix. The biggest is the developing story of 11 alleged Russian secret agents arrested on Sunday. The Justice Department announced they have been charged with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation; nine are also charged with money laundering. One of the accused is a long time columnist for El Diario so we're reaching out to reporters who know her, as well as Russian diplomats for comment. We'll round out the details and have the full context for you by showtime.
We'll also get a follow up on a story we covered last month about ex-Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who was accused of torturing suspects into confessing. He has just been convicted of perjury in covering up the torture. Here's our previous interview on the topic with one of the suspects tortured into confessing.
Its time for the U.S. soccer team to take the field again. Riding high off their (lucky, by all accounts) tie with England last week, they now enter their match against Slovenia as favorites and a real shot to make it to the Round of 16.
So the excitement is high for soccer fans around the country. Our own Femi Oke reports live with some die hard boosters as they prepare for today's morning match at Nevada Smith's bar in New York City. Jack Keane, director of football for the bar, has World Cup-proofed the place for the masses expected for the 10:00 a.m. match.
Detroit got a dose of good news, yesterday. For the first time in the 24 year history of the JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Study American car makers beat out imports. Porsche still topped the list, but Ford was in the top five up there, along with luxury brands. That is the only time a mainstream American brand has been in that group.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here picking up the night shift duties today. Not much to update from Anna's post (except the South African goalie getting a red card on the soccer front). In addition to what she laid out, we'll also have look back at 50 years of To Kill a Mockingbird with the actress who played Scout in the film version of the book.
Elsewhere in the news, San Francisco passed a new law requiring stores that sell cell phones to post information on how much radiation the devices emit. We're finding out some answers to the basic health and science questions behind this kind of consumer protection law and we'll have that for you in the show tomorrow as well.
What are you watching for in this World Cup? A favorite team? Hoping for upsets? Our sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin says we might see some young talent emerge while older leaders have to sit out with injuries.
In 1950, the U.S. soccer team took the field in Belo Horizonte, Brazil as 500-1 long shots to win the World Cup. Their opponents were the "Kings of Football," the English, who were 3-1 favorites to win it all. Behind the brilliant goal keeping of Frank Borghi, the U.S. was able to pull off one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, defeating England 1-0. Tomorrow, team USA will try and pull off a similar upset as they begin their World Cup campaign with an opening match against England.
Who are you rooting for and why? How do you celebrate the teams? Special foods? Special rituals? Share your World Cup stories with us.
The FIFA World Cup is just two days away. Thirty-two teams will face off in 65 games over the course of one full month of soccer madness in South Africa. For those of us back here in the USA, we'll have to settle for clustering around television screens or surreptitious web feeds on our work computers.
Sports Illustrated's Jen Chang tells us the most essential games to watch and, ahem, how to do it at work.
Two American citizens were arrested yesterday at New York's JFK airport. The young men from New Jersey, both in their 20s, had been under surveillance since 2006. Law enforcement laid low, gathered evidence and waited until this weekend when the two men were trying to board separate flights to Egypt, and then to Somalia where they were allegedly planning to join al-Shabab, a terrorist group allied with al-Qaida.
UPDATED 7:20 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the night shift.
In addition to what Anna got in motion earlier today (see below), we're planning on a few other stories.
We're looking into how the permitting process works for oil rigs. Is environmental track record taken into consideration when the permits are passed out? We're finding out, and we'll let you know tomorrow morning.
The sports fans around the office are eager to see how the spoiled perfect game might pave the way for instant replay in major league baseball. We'll find out about that, and also, why in the world are there so many perfect games all of a sudden?
Also, is there such a thing as a fair trade iPad? Or any tech gadget considering that they tend to be mass produced in the third world?
On a lighter note, we'll also review a few movies for you. How's that for a potpourri powerhouse?
Here's what we have lined up for tomorrow coming out of our 3:00 p.m. editorial meeting.
Comedian and "Daily Show" star Samantha Bee will join us in studio to explain how a wacky family (wait till you hear how wacky) is what led her down the path of bizarre humor and a genuine wealth of insight into sanity and well being.
But, in serious news ... the nuclear option may be on the table, or heading to the Gulf anyway. With the latest failure to plug the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has sent a team of five nuclear physicist to the region, presumably to consider an option tried and tested in Russia on similar problems: nuking the oil well. We have one producer wishing she spoke a little more Russian right now as she tries to track down someone who has practiced this procedure in the past. If it seems feasible we'll have an explainer for you tomorrow.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the night shift, shifting the show around as the sun sets.
In addition to our planned coverage of the flotilla fall out (see below) around Gaza and Israel, we're also following up on statements from the White House today about possible criminal charges against BP. Would the threat of jail time be a better incentive to prevent catastrophe, or is that placing an unfair burden on individuals within a corporation? And how would it work anyway. So we should have the answers by the morning.
We're also going to hear from the Mayor of Mexico City, a potential presidential candidate, about how he would stop the drug violence and what he sees in store for immigration reform from south of the border.
And finally, for you city dwellers, we'll have recipes for healthy eating from the corner store. Find out how to stay fit and slim on the road, at gas station depots or just when you find Whole Foods is too expensive.