UPDATED: 5:15 p.m. Alex Goldmark here as night editor for today.
All of the fine work Anna laid out below is still leading our show tomorrow. Here's how we've rounded out the mix.
A macabre but fascinating case out of Minnesota makes its way to court tomorrow, years late some would say; and it raises chilling questions about freedom of speech on the internet, and culpability in assisted suicide. William F. Melchert-Dinkel allegedly posed as a sympathetic nurse online in suicide-related chat rooms and encouraged people to end their own lives. At least two did. Is he liable? Did he "aid a suicide," a crime in Minnesota? Is there a way to stop this kind of act without limiting free speech? We'll hear from a legal thinker and a crusading grandmother who set out to stop Dinkel.
As words continue to heat up around the Korean peninsula in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean warship, we'll bring some context to the escalations. This current case reminded us of the USS Pueblo Affair so we'll have a little historical discussion on that naval brouhaha.
And in addition to our Gulf oil spill topics listed below, we'll hear from someone who is training to clean oil off of animals.
Pakistan has temporarily blocked access to Facebook and YouTube due to "blasphemy."
Here's the context: It started with South Park. The intentionally incendiary cartoon comedy came under criticism for making an image depicting Mohammed (an act offensive to many Muslims). Comedy Central ran the episode in question, but heavily censored it; among the protests from Muslims was one from a group named "Revolution Muslim." The group posted a lengthy response to the episode, including language bordering on death threats. So another cartoonist came to the defense of free speech, and made a joking proposition that there should be an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."
Earlier this month Tennessee was hit with severe rainfall that left more than a foot of water on the streets of Nashville. The city’s oldest buildings, including the State Capitol, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Schermerhorn Symphony were affected by the storms. And along with them, the Opryland Mills Mall.
We are one step closer to creating synthetic life, and no, this isn’t the plot of a movie. J. Craig Venter synthesized an entire bacterial genome and used it to take over a cell, creating what he called a “synthetic cell.” This is groundbreaking because it’s the first time man has created a self-replicating species “whose parent is a computer,” Venter said at a press conference on Thursday. He hopes it will lead to new vaccines and biofuels. But it raises an interesting philosophical question about who can create life. We’ll have that conversation tomorrow morning, but help us get started. Do you think humans should be creating life and developing new species? You can call our comment line at 877-8-MYTAKE or leave us a comment here.
And while you’re at, tell us how you want “Lost” to end. The ABC hit show ends it’s sixth and final season this Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Henry Ian Cusik, the actor who plays Desmond. Tell us how you think the show should wrap up … we’ll run your predications by Cusik and see if we can’t get him to give us a spoiler or two.
UPDATED 5:22 p.m.
Arwa Gunja here on the evening shift.
Moments ago we learned that the Senate was unable to get enough votes to end debate on a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations. The vote stalls the process of moving toward final passage of the bill. Our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich is on Capitol Hill and tomorrow morning he’ll explain what this may mean for the future of the bill.
In other news, smoking has been on the decline in the U.S. This is a good thing, right? Well, not for tobacco farmers. Farmers in a handful of states, including Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, have just lost their contracts with cigarette companies who say these isn’t enough demand to require the same amount of tobacco to be grown anymore. And according to some of these farmers, they were given no advance warning. We’ll be joined by a tobacco famer tomorrow morning to bring you that story.
And finally, do we share too much over the internet? Tomorrow we’ll be joined by Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?” to talk about the history of privacy and how our notions of privacy have changed with the growth of social media outlets, like Facebook. Our digital editor Jim Colgan went out the other day in New York City and tracked down complete strangers that he was able to locate based on their FourSquare account. How much is too much in the digital age? To send us your comments, call us at 877-8-MYTAKE or leave us a message here on our website. You can also text TAKE to 69866 (standard rates may apply) and send us your response through your mobile phone.
UPDATED 5:10 p.m.
Arwa Gunja here on the night shift.
Moments ago, I got word from our newsroom that the Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shahzad, is due to appear in Manhattan federal court today. WNYC’s Ailsa Chang is at the court, and our team will check in with her later tonight to get the latest. So far, Shahzad has been fairly cooperative with law enforcement and federal investigators so we’ll see if that changes today in the court room.
In political news, polls close tonight in a handful of states across the country holding primary elections. We’ve closely been monitoring the races in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. These races are important because incumbents may lose their seats and voters may back candidates different from those supported by their national parties. We’ll bring you the results and election analysis tomorrow morning … and we’ve got a nice lineup of guests, including Republican strategist David Frum, Penn. Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Senator Bob Casey also from Pennsylvania.
Tomorrow we will also be covering the death of a seven-year-old girl who was shot by police in her home in Detroit. Takeaway member station WDET is closely following this story and tells us that residents in Detroit are outraged and speaking up about the story. Detroit has had a long history of distrust between the community and the police department. This latest incident may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces real change within the police force, or at least that’s what some in Detroit are hoping for. We’ll talk with WDET station manager Jerome Vaughn to get the latest and hear how the community, local government and the police are reacting.
And after weeks of financial advice, tomorrow we end our Do It Yourself Bailout series with Beth Kobliner. For our final installment, Beth takes on one of the ultimate financial hurdles for many Americans: how do you merge finances when you merge families?
And, all day today we've been asking listeners how they would rebrand their state. Arizona is going through this process right now in anticipation of losing revenue due to their controversial immigration law. If you had to give your state a new slogan, what would it be? To give us your suggestions, call our comment line at 877-8-MYTAKE or you can leave us a message right here on our website. We've also launched our text messaging platform this week. Just text "TAKE" to 69866 (standard rates may apply) and send us your response through your mobile phone.
Alex Goldmark here on the day shift, getting the show ready for tomorrow.
We're looking ahead to tomorrow's tight primary elections in three states. Pundits and political junkies (like some on our staff aka Todd Z.) are specifically looking to see how the results might change the directions of the major parties. The elections will also be a barometer of anti-incumbent sentiment in some key swing districts. We will check in with reporters at polling places throughout the show tomorrow.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m.
It's been a frenetic and fitful evening so far here on the the night shift. (Alex, here enjoying the excitement).
We cast a wide net on all the possible angles to the Arizona ethnic studies law (see below) and so we've already reached out to the Superintendent of the Tuscon School District who supports the law, and a person who wrote one of the books in the Mexican studies curriculum there. And it looks like we will add in Dolores Huerta's take in the morning so that should be a nice segment to check out.
We also put out some feelers this afternoon to you all about third parties after we read of a new poll that found 31 percent of Americans support them. We asked: What third party would you support? - make up a name! This is, of course, especially interesting to anyone following the British election, which resulted in the first coalition government in 70 years. We've gotten so many of your thoughts already on Facebook and by phone that we're eager to carry the conversation over to the radio show tomorrow. We'll learn from an expert in third parties why they haven't taken off in America, even when enough people support them. You think you know the answer, don't you? Well, see if you are right: Call us at 877-8-MY-TAKE and tell us why. Then listen up tomorrow.
This week is the one year anniversary of a pilot program testing out a health care reform theory. The program allows insurance reimbursement to doctors for outcomes, not just services. So a doctor has incentive to hold a phone or email consultation with a patient, or even to call them up and remind them to exercise if that's the prescription. Some people hope this method will cut down costs and make health care more affordable. Group consultations are also helping patients with the same condition, who can all consult with a doctor or other medical staff at the same time.
Energy reforms are on the minds of politicians following the collapse of the Deepwater Horizons oil rig that spewed more more than 200,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has reversed his position, and come out against off shore oil drilling. Then yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a halt on new drilling permits until his agency determines the cause of the rig collapse. Historically, regulatory and environmental laws follow disasters and regulatory changes, from equipment upgrades to increasing legal liability, are already on the table.
Last night at around 8:00 p.m. the "Joe Griffin," a 280-foot container boat, left Port Fourchoun, Louisiana for a fifty mile trip to the site of the collapsed Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
UPDATED 5:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here picking up the evening duties.
The big thing we have our eye on right now is the anonymously sourced reports from The Washington Post that the Times Square bomb plot may have international links. So far our sources (and most sources) are saying they can't confirm that, nor even comment on it. But as soon as more information becomes available, we'll be ready to share it with you. In the meantime, on the bomb plot, we're also looking into the elaborate CSI style investigation underway by the NYPD an FBI.
Another segment in the works is likely to get you talking, well, at work. Do you know how much your co-workers make? Do you want to find out how you stack up to them? Well, stop wondering, because its only going to lead to heartbreak and frustration according to Beth Kobliner if you start to ask around. Luckily, there are other ways of find out your worth at work. So tune in tomorrow for that.
Buried below the banner headlines of oil disasters and bomb plots is the tragic deluge in the American south. Tennessee has been hit terribly hard by rain in the past few days. We're going to find out the extent of the damage of the other environmental disaster in American right now.
Oh, and we'll look back at the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings with archival audio.
First, watch a little snippet of the throwdown in Kiev today; there is at least one fist fight, one smoke bomb, and several umbrellas being used to block hurled eggs. After taking in the vitriolic antics displayed by Ukraine's elected leaders you'll probably want to know why they are beating each other up with fists and farm products. It was spurred by a controversial deal, that passed by a narrow margin, to extend an agreement with Russia that gives their neighbor a naval base on the Dead Sea in exchange for discounted natural gas.
UPDATED 5:45 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here, excited about tomorrows show a full 12+ hours ahead of time. Here's why...
We had a good show going already (see below re: Detroit week, Supreme Court fun, and some exotic lunch plans) but we've added some solid international coverage. Former Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will join us to look back on five years of democratic governance in Iraq, and to look ahead on the prospects for the intensifying war in Afghanistan.
Our other international news highlight for tomorrow also has to do with repercussions of decisions made under the George W. Bush administration. At Guantanamo Bay, an Army judge will hear the case of the Canadian man Omar Khadr, who claimed he was tortured by U.S. interrogators. The hearings could establish a precedent of the admissibility of confessions by detainees. We'll get an update from a reporter at the detention facility tomorrow morning.
UPDATED 7:15 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the evening shift.
All is well here with a few changes from Anna's post earlier.
For one, police have seized the computers of the Gizmodo blogger who published reports of a "lost" next generation iPhone. And the legal implications of this for journalists, including shield laws, have us debating way more aspects of this case over the cubicle walls than we'll have time for tomorrow.
We're adding another angle to our coverage of Arizona's new immigration law. We'll hear from law professors who will explain how the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof have evolved over time, and where this new law fits. It won't be the first time a class of free and legal Americans will have to be able to prove their status in order to walk the streets of their city.
And our man in DC, Todd Zwillich, is walking the halls of the Capitol right now, mic in hand, monitoring the preliminary votes and opening shenanigans in the financial regulation reform debate in the Senate.
Yesterday, we talked about Google's emerging foreign policy, as it deals with take-down requests from governments around the world. Today, we speak to the executive who is in effect the company's "Secretary of State."
Last month Google said enough is enough and moved its search operations out of mainland China, causing noticeable diplomatic waves. Yesterday, the company took another step, revealing some of the extent of its foreign policy. It published this explanation of censorship requests from all the governments with whom they deal.
UPDATE 6:45 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here with the evening update as the sun sets and the news settles in.
As the day rolled on we began to see more and more fertile ground for great conversation in the legacies of historic events (see original post below re: Mariel Boat lift and Dorothy Height). So we will explore how younger generations take lessons from the legacies of these past events. How soon is history forgotten and how does it live on in ways we don't always recognize.
And our partners WGBH along with The Christian Science Monitor have completed an investigative report on carbon offset programs. If you pay a company to plant a tree for you to offset the pollution caused by your lifestyle, you might want to tune in and hear how some offsetting operations aren't what they claim.
And as Louise Story continues her downright outstanding investigative reporting on the suspect dealings at Goldman Sachs for our partner The New York Times and joins us tomorrow to discuss Goldman's earnings and its reaction to allegations of fraud. Good, hard news times as always, on The Takeaway.
Yesterday, at several bus stations and other locations around Arizona, more than 800 law enforcement officials carried out the largest operation against human smuggling in ICE history. The targets were shuttle bus operations that allegedly carry illegal immigrants around the region and across the border. The tactic of targeting the networks of traffickers rather than carrying out workplace raids reveals a shift in strategy under Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama from the policies of the Bush era.
Today is tax day. (So go mail in your paperwork or file for an automatic extension, folks.) It's no surprise that today is the day Tea Party activists have chosen to rally, across the country, against what they call, unnecessary government largess. There will be hundreds of small rallies in cities from Walla Walla, Wash. to Niceville, Fla. They are all loosely related to the Tea Party Express, which arrives in Washington, D.C. at 11:00 a.m., revved up after a speech from Sarah Palin in Boston yesterday.