UPDATED: 5:15 p.m.
Alex Goldmark, Senior Producer, here.
All is still rolling along smoothly today. We're still planning on covering the elections in Iraq, and to bring you a slew of entertainment and movie coverage tomorrow ahead of this weekend's Oscars.
With American manufacturing taking an especially big hit this recession, we want to check in on some one-company towns around the country. We'll hear from the Mayors of three small towns that are having different experiences with plant shutdowns, cutbacks and similar dangers to their fragile economies.
UPDATED 8:00 PM
Noel King here on the night shift.
The Gates Foundation has just released a survey of 40,000 public school teachers who shared their thoughts on how to improve our nation's schools. We'll be speaking Jane Hannaway from the Urban Institute who says that right now, it's just impossible to determine what makes a good teacher. Producer Marine Olivesi spent the afternoon trying to track down teachers to join us for their thoughts on improving education - and ended up with dozens of interested folks from across the country. We've narrowed it down to a public high school teacher from Fresno, California and a young man who works at a charter school in Brooklyn, New York.
A striking new government statistic crossed our radar earlier in the day: 1 in 5 people in the U.S. over the age of 65 live in poverty. New York Times reporter Sam Roberts explains why. And of course, we'll go right to the source with 74-year-old Delores Miller who is about to be evicted from her apartment in New York.
And producer Chang Lin has used old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting to track down Bill Bunten, the Mayor of Topeka, Kansas. Bunten is changing the name of the city, at least for a little while, to Google, Kansas. Google's "Fiber for Communities" program is going to give some U.S. cities free broadband internet and Bunten wants Topeka, um, Google, to be in the running.
UPDATED 7:15 p. m.
Alex Goldmark here with the night shift update.
We've lined up our live reporter interviews from Chile for tomorrow morning. We'll get a sense of how the curfews and looting has unfolded as the hunt for water and gas gets more desperate in some areas. But we will stick with our plans to find out the science behind tsunamis and quakes and also the construction techniques that kept the death toll so low.
Other than that, not much has changed, which means that here on the night shift we can get into long debates about the meaning of "999 dead in Operation Enduring Freedom." And should we consider a fallen CIA agent in Afghanistan differently than a troop killed in Somalia? Or across the Afghan border in Uzbekistan? It's all part of Operation Enduring Freedom so what's a radio show to do when covering "The War in Afghanistan." Here's the official count from the DoD with little explanation on how the number is derived. We will hear from the mother of one of the first troops to be killed in Afghanistan on how she marks her loss eight years later.
UPDATED 7:00 p.m
Alex Goldmark, Senior Producer here. The heavy snow here in New York City has knocked our our satellite links; we have no TV, no wire services, but hey, we can blog and make phone calls.
One new addition to the show deals with the shootings after Hurricane Katrina. We're following up on the disturbing revelations out of New Orleans about a police cover-up of shootings. There has been some great reporting from Pro-Publica and The Times Picayune, so we'll hear from one of the reporters and find out what the local reaction has been with a chat with a leader from the local NAACP.
In lighter news, we're compiling a list of Olympic highlights - and lowlights too - to share with you tomorrow. If you have some of your own, leave a comment, or call us at 877-8-MY-TAKE. See which ones we pick tomorrow morning. We'll also have a little number on why curling is all the rage ... on Wall Street.
It's still Friday, so yes, we will have a movie segment a week ahead of the Oscars. We'll tell you what you need to do (instead of watching) to come up to speed on all the nominations by the time the big show hits the stage/screen/etc.
UPDATED at 5:10 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here, coming up to speed for the night shift on a day of congressional hearings, winter sports and a Sea World tragedy.
We have a producer mining the Akio Toyoda hearings for the best and most telling moments from today's congressional oversight hearings on Toyota and highway safety (see below). Since this is the first time the CEO of Toyota has testified on Capitol Hill we wonder what it might mean for him, his company or their share price back in Japan. So that's one thing we're looking into.
Some Haitians are getting scammed here in the US as they seek help applying to immigrate to America. We're finding out who is doing it and who is cracking down, including the New York City District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, who will join us tomorrow.
And my personal favorite, we continue our daily Olympic updates as the sports fade from the speed of skiing to the grace of women's figure skating, among other athletic treats. I am such a smitten fan on this. I have to stop.
UPDATED 7:30 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the Sunday shift. We're rolling ahead and getting excited about our Frustration Nation series (see below for details).
We're watching a few different stories that might make it into tomorrow's show or later in the week. For one, the U.S. casualty count in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has reached 999 according to icasualties.org. We've always felt very strongly on The Takeaway about supporting our troops and giving voice to the military community. Before that number hits the tragic four digit mark we are opening our airwaves to vets, servicemen and families of the fallen (and anyone else, too) to leave a tribute message to someone who has served in Afghanistan. Call and leave a message at 877-8-MY-TAKE and we'll play them on-air soon.
In Washington, governors from around the country met today and are trying to push the White House to let them in on health care negotiations. If that looks like it might change the game in any major way, we're ready to cover that too.
We'll have our usual Olympic update from Vancouver, which tomorrow might involve the gold medal win of Bode Miller, and possibly an answer to the question how many of the little kids spinning around their living rooms faux figure skating, will actually hit the ice and practice ... or maybe how in the world I can practice curling in New York City.
And finally, we will learn about the modern Brady Bunch family and what new research has to say about blended families and raising healthy and happy step children.
Alex Goldmark here from the night shift, hitting the ground running today.
A few announcements are planned out of Washington that we want to be sure we're ready for. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, is set to comment on rising health care premiums. We're getting responses from some of the health insurance companies most criticized for upping their rates. And, as we are wont to do on this radio show, we're putting out lines to everyday folk about how their lives have been or might be changed by increased health costs and by any potential actions from HHS.
The second political tidbit to keep an eye on is President Obama's new fiscal commission. The Senate wouldn't pass it so he's making it happen by executive order, but still trying to keep the bipartisan mission of debt reduction. What does this new executive style of bipartisanship show us about Washington right now? And will it work?
We would have checked in on the Olympic news anyway, but now that Lindsey Vonn has become the first American to win downhill gold, we will do it with renewed aplomb and national pride. Or love of sport and international fraternity. Or maybe it's just me that has an Olympic obsession this week and the rest of the editorial team will finally tell me to stop watching TV in the office.
UPDATED: 10:25 p.m.
Alex Goldmark (Senior Producer) here, with what's changed recently for tomorrow's Takeaway.
We got to thinking about President Obama's announcement to fund the construction of new nuclear plants that would be the first since the Three Mile Island disaster in 1979. What we started wondering as we always do, is what is the local impact of this national policy. So we'll check in with the Mayor of Waynesboro, Georgia, near a nuclear plant set to expand.
We've got plenty of Olympic coverage lined up too, from the latest medal count to an expert take on the finer side of sport: the fashion of figure skating. Yes, really. And it will be interesting. Trust us.
Then we'll give you some Chinese new year recipes for a lucky year. Who doesn't want delicious luck?
UPDATED: 8:35 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here on the holiday night shift.
Tomorrow we'll continue our ongoing effort to understand as many ripple effects of the Haitian earthquake as possible. We will hear from two doctors, one of them Haitian-American, about the strains and stresses on the medical community and the medical workers administering necessary care in the battered country.
On an uplifting note, it is Mardi Gras time. We'll get Grammy award winning musician Terence Blanchard to tell us about his favorite carnival time music. Good listening will abound.
UPDATED 7:45 p.m.
Alex Goldmark, Senior Producer here ...
Blizzard shmizzard. We've got a great show set for tomorrow.
The Haitian government has been putting out some changing figures on death toll today. But by any account at least 170,000 people have been buried in mass graves already. It is almost certain that the final death toll will match or surpass the Asian Tsunami of 2004. On the occasion of this grim revelation, we going to check in with a United Nations official in Haiti about the scale and scope of the damage. Each time we have an interview like this we do learn of new hopes and new horrors, don't we?
Besides that, most of the major interviews and planning laid out this morning has held up. (That usually means no breaking news during the day, so maybe the snow actually helped us by smothering the news cycle.) On a weather note, we have booked a snow expert. He literally wrote the history book on weather. But he's also stranded in his West Virginia house without power and no working phone because of the weather. So hopefully we'll get his stormy insight topped off with a touch of his personal snow saga.
For you techies wondering what that new doohickey in gmail is, we're gonna give you the lowdown on Google Buzz. Rumors are already flying about some privacy concerns.
UPDATED 8:45 p.m.
Alex Goldmark here with a night shift update.
The car trouble at Toyota motors on. And we at The Takeaway always like to hear from different perspectives affected by the top news stories, so when we heard that Georgetown, Kentucky was rallying behind the Japanese car maker we wanted to add their voice to the national conversation. Now, we know it's to be expected that a town with a Camry plant will root for Toyota, but we still want to hear how the town is "praying" for the company to get back on its feet. We'll talk to a local community leader and a car expert about how Toyota might bounce back from the recall rut they're in.
UPDATED 9:20 p.m.
Alex Goldmark, the Senior Producer on the night duty here.
Well, after a little investigating we're changing our changes. The producer we put on the explosion story out of Connecticut reported back that there don't seem to be all that many incidents involving natural gas plants and safety issues. We didn't want to treat this like shark attacks where we make a bigger deal out of a high profile incident and create the impression there is a trend or persistent danger worthy of panic.
So instead, we're talking about what we do think is a potential real danger (though on a much longer time horizon). Tomorrow we'll try to evaluate the scope and trajectory of Iranian nuclear ambitions. Are sanctions the answer? Is engagement? And how far along is Iran really?
Our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich will also bring us a radio obituary of John Murtha, including a list of all the public buildings already named after the Democratic Congressman in his district. It's way way more than you'd expect.
Right now the center of attention for politically frustrated conservatives is Nashville, Tenn., as the Tea Party Convention rolls on to day two. But back in 2008, the Ron Paul for President campaign was the magnet of libertarians who felt left out of their party. We ask the Texas Congressman what he thinks of the Tea Parties, and what future he sees for them.
UPDATED: 5:40 PM
Alex (Senior Producer) here with some changes to tomorrow's show.
We've booked former Presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul to help us cover the energy, enigma and infighting around the Tea Party convention in Nashville. So that should be interesting.
The Tea Party movement has become catch all for anti-Obama and anti-big government ire. But organizers of the first ever Tea Party Convention are finding that not all Tea Partiers want to be under one umbrella, and they certainly don't want to take marching orders from the Republican Party.
This week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said they are prepared to repeal the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay and lesbian service members. We talk with Michael Hyacinthe, who served in a Navy construction battalion from 1997-2005, about why he thinks the policy should be overturned.
UPDATED: 7:55 PM
Alex Goldmark here watching over the night shift.
A few things have changed since Anna's last post. We've been reading between the lines of some interesting comments about Don't Ask Don't Tell today. General Gates told a Congressional hearing: “If legislation is passed repealing the law, we feel strongly we will need time for implementation of that change.” Well, what changes exactly? How does officially recognizing that someone is gay change the way you treat them or the institutions of the military? And what are the potential ripple effects of altering the way gays are treated in the military that might go beyond life in uniform?
On a side note, we're having a fierce debate here on how much humor is appropriate, if any, for this topic. One producer has concientiously objected to pulling and editing some movie clips that others here think might lighten the tone and mood of the interview tomorrow. Tune in to see who gets their way.
We're also going to hear from the Boy Scouts. They are turning 100 years old this year, and in honor of that milestone they are making a special effort to reach out to hispanic youths.
Our deficit explanations (referenced below) that Anna was hunting down before might have to wait until Thursday. So goes live radio.
A report from Miami on the hospitals there dealing with the influx of evacuees from Haiti, how the president wants to overhaul No Child Left Behind, the religion of "Groundhog Day" (the movie).
Alex Goldmark, on the (hopefully not so late) night shift.
So we've found our guests to discuss the life and legacy of legendary author and recluse, JD Salinger: Jonathan Safran Foer and King Dork author, Frank Portman. It is still State of the Union week here on The Takeaway though, so in addition to the state of foreign (military) affairs from General David Petraeus, we'll get a preview of the state of Native America from the man who will give the state of the Indian union speech tomorrow. Right now, that's the update.
But who knows who will call in to The Takeaway tomorrow, it could be anyone.
Alex here (Senior Producer working the night shift) ... and your six word state of the union "speeches" are pouring in, so that should be fun tomorrow. Other than that, not much has changed since Anna's update around lunch time.
To mark the 65th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz we've recorded the story of an 84-year-old survivor now who's speaking out in response to Holocaust deniers; we'll play that for you tomorrow.
And straddling the worlds of business and film, Avatar has surpassed Titanic as the highest grossing film of all time. internationally anyway. Is it just because tickets have gotten more expensive? Also interesting, Avatar's total ticket sales of $1.859 Billion are more than the GDP of these countries: Belize, Greenland, Guyana, Liberia, Cape Verde, Bhutan, Eritrea.
But really, that's just a tiny part of tomorrow's big show, the rest is all laid out below.