North Korea continues to raise the stakes in its game of nuclear poker, conducting a second nuclear test in as many days on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a South Korean newspaper has reported that U.S. spy satellites have detected signs that North Korea has started up its nuclear plant again. The international community has condemned Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. But the only country with real clout over North Korea is China: the nation is North Korea’s neighbor and main trading partner. To find out China's take on the North Korea situation, The Takeaway talks to John Pomfret, author of Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China. He writes the blog Pomfret’s China on the Newsweek/Washington Post website.
The California Supreme Court stopped same sex couples from calling themselves married, even though they can have the same rights. But what if society decided that "marriage" is just a word? Conservative law professor Douglas Kmiec is proposing that government get out of the business of marriage altogether and allow gay and straights to have civil unions.
As President Obama puts his mark on the Supreme Court, Republicans are cautioning against a return to a liberal court. But New York Times Magazine contributor – and law professor – Jeffrey Rosen says Obama is redefining the ideological debate.
The Takeaway talks with legendary bluesman Henry Butler. Butler has been blind since birth but that hasn't stopped him from playing to packed houses or from taking up a new craft: photography. Also joining the conversation on art and ability is Charlie Washburn, the Executive Director of VSA Arts of Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to including everyone in the arts.
Watch Henry Butler perform "High Heeled Sneakers" in the video below.
A huge explosion outside a police building in the Pakistani city of Lahore has killed at least 23 people and injured about 250. Officials said gunmen opened fire from a car which drove up to the building, near the provincial headquarters of Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI. After police returned fire, the car exploded, damaging buildings over a wide radius. Rescue workers are digging through the rubble for survivors. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Taliban militants have threatened retaliation for the government's current offensive in the northwest of the country. For more, we turn to Rob Watson, defense correspondent for the BBC World Service, who is following the story.
Two stories in different parts of the country have re-ignited the issue of when the state should step in and take over for parents. Yesterday a Minnesota judge ruled that the parents of thirteen-year old Daniel Hauser can regain custody of their son as long as he gets the cancer treatment that he needs. The Hausers lost custody of Daniel when his mother took him off of his chemotherapy treatments and then fled to California to escape a court order to resume the treatment. And last week the state of South Carolina set out to determine whether a child's morbid obesity is enough to charge the parents with neglect. The Takeaway talks to Kate Dailey, who writes for the Human Condition blog for Newsweek magazine about where we draw the line on negligence.
To watch an interview with the Hausers, click here.
"They're really just looking at: Is the kid getting the treatment they need to live? And if not, that's neglect." —Kate Dailey of Newsweek on state intervention in parenting
After Kate left the studio, she found she had more to say. For her additional thoughts, click here.
President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. His pick is a New York Puerto Rican who is generally considered left-leaning. But once a judge is actually on the court, there's no way of knowing how they will rule. FDR hated Felix Frankfurter's love of judicial restraint. And David Souter, whose seat Sonia Sotomayor is nominated to fill, surprised George H.W. Bush, the president who nominated him, by becoming one of the more liberal justices. Joining us to discuss how Supreme Court justices develop their view is Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, who once clerked for Justice Souter, and John Schwartz, the legal correspondent for The New York Times.
In case you missed it, here's President Obama officially nominating Judge Sotomayor:
Advocates for gay marriage in California hoped the State Supreme Court would overturn last November’s ballot initiative that took away the right to same-sex marriage, but their hopes were dashed yesterday when the court upheld Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Takeaway is joined by John Schwartz, the legal correspondent for The New York Times to discuss the repercussions of this ruling.
"People have a deep emotional tie over generations to the word 'marriage.' People who want to protect marriage feel intensely strongly about it. People who want to get married want to get married." —New York Times writer John Schwartz on Proposition 8 in California
President Obama is about to announce his Supreme Court pick: Sonia Sotomayor, the first American of Puerto Rican descent to be appointed to the Federal bench in New York City, now in the Appeals Court of the 2nd Circuit. Judge Sotomayor earned a reputation as a sharp, outspoken and fearless jurist, someone who does not let powerful interests bully, rush or cow her into a decision. For more about the potential Justice we turn to Jenny Rivera, who clerked for Judge Sotomayor in the Southern District of New York Court in 1992 and is now a professor at the City University of New York Law School and the Director of the Center for Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. We are also joined by Slate Magazine's Senior Legal Correspondent Dahlia Lithwick.
In the middle of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers are making news, and not just for their three-point shots and MVP LeBron James. Over the weekend, the Cavaliers agreed to sell a 15 percent stake in its franchise to a group of Chinese investors. This is the first major Chinese investment in an American sports team. For more we turn to The Takeaway's sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.
President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as his first appointment to the court. New Yorkers have long known this judge who grew up in the Bronx in the shadows of Yankee Stadium. Back in 1995, Judge Sotomayor issued an injunction against major league baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike of nearly eight months. For what the rest of the nation needs to know about this likely pick to fill the seat of retiring Justice David Souter, we turn to New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny.
Here is a clip of Sotomayor speaking at Duke University in 2005, which has stirred some controversy.
Several administration officials say President Obama has settled on his pick for the Supreme Court. The name that's being floated is Sonia Sotomayor, who's been a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998. Joining us to discuss her background and her record as a judge is Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Correspondent for the New York Times.
"There's something wrong with a society that's 50/50 men and women and there's only one woman on the court." —New York Times correspondent Adam Liptak on the Supreme Court nomination
President Obama is expected to announce that he will fill retiring Justice David Souter's seat on the high court with Sonia Sotomayor. She would be the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is a self-described "Newyorkican" who grew up in housing projects in the Bronx after her parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. She attended Princeton University and Yale Law School before becoming a prosecutor and a federal judge. She also has a bipartisan background, having been appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush and then nominated to the appeals court by Bill Clinton. And did we mention that she helped end the baseball strike? For more about the potential Justice we turn to Slate Magazine's Senior Legal Correspondent Dahlia Lithwick.
Early reports say that President Obama has made his choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. The pick to fill retiring Justice Souter's seat appears to be Sonia Sotomayor. She has been a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998. Before joining the appeals court, she served as a United States District Court judge for the Southern District of New York. The Takeaway turns to Columbia Law Professor Nate Persily for more.
To answer what makes us human has long been a scientific quest. It’s one that Dr. Richard Wrangham has been wrestling with since the 1970’s, when he started his career, observing chimps with Dr. Jane Goodall. Then about 10 years ago, while sitting in front of his own fireplace, a theory of human evolution came to him. It’s one that he lays out in his new book: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Richard Wrangham is the Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He joins The Takeaway with his take on human evolution.
When it comes to health care, do you get what you pay for? Dr. Atul Gawande wanted to examine costs -- and quality. In the latest issue of The New Yorker he compares McAllen, Texas, one of the most expensive health care markets in the country, to the Mayo Clinic, one of the country’s most effective, low-cost health systems. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon and writer; his most recent book is Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
Just hours after the U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea's nuclear tests, Pyongyang tested more missiles. President Obama criticized the tests, prompting North Korea to respond that its "army and people are fully ready for battle... against any reckless U.S. attempt for a pre-emptive attack."
An American attack is extremely unlikely. But what clout does the U.S. or the international community have? The Takeaway turns to John Bolton: he served as the Permanent U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 and is
currently a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
"The next step really ought to be the kind of sweeping economic sanctions that were imposed on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. That would be a real sign." —Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton on the U.S. response to North Korea
With shrinking budgets and expanding populations, cities across the globe are desperate for cheap mass transit. From Johannesburg to Jakarta to Cleveland, city governments are choosing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)— a bus system that acts like a train but with no tracks or rails. The Takeaway talks to freelance reporter Steven Dudley, who explored the successful BRT system in Bogota, Colombia, and to Dan Moulthrop, reporter for WCPN, Cleveland Public Radio, where the city has been making the transition to a Bus Rapid Transit system.
North Korea is one of the world's most secretive societies. Curtis Melvin, a PhD student at George Mason University visited the communist nation in 2004 and '05 and was determined to learn even more about the closed kingdom. So he started a hobby, mapping North Korea with the help of Google Earth.
A ruling is expected today from the California Supreme Court that will either uphold Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban, or overturn it as unconstitutional. Whatever the California court decides, gay marriage is now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, and it will be legal in Vermont and Maine in September. And, inevitably, with marriage comes divorce. As couples and attorneys are learning, same sex divorce is at least as complex and controversial as same sex marriage. Frederick Hertz, an attorney in Oakland California and author of Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnership & Civil Unions joins Farai and John with a look at the issue.
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