The U.S. government is deploying dozens of Drug Enforcement Administration agents to Afghanistan in a new kind of anti-drug surge. It's the biggest expansion in DEA history, but will it help? Joining The Takeaway is Gretchen Peters, former Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent for ABC and author of Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda.
"I have seen video of parents exhaling opium smoke into the mouths of their infants because they don't have any other medicine to give them." —Gretchen Peters on drug use in Afghanistan
"Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" premiered last Wednesday. By Sunday, the film had raked in approximately $160 million—$20 million more than the previous Potter film. To deconstruct the Harry Potter juggernaut, The Takeaway talks to Susan Gunelius, president and CEO of KeySplash Creative, a marketing agency, and author of the book Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon. We're also joined by Ben Maynard, a 17-year-old die-hard Harry Potter fan.
"It seemed like the marketing was being pushed at us using 'push' marketing strategies, but in reality it was 'pull' marketing — consumers demanding more from the brand." —Susan Gunelius of KeySplash Creative, on marketing Harry Potter
A study says that if you're using your cell phone while driving, you're just as likely to crash as someone who has been drinking. But most states don't ban texting while driving. And no state has banned driving while talking on the phone. The New York Times reports that federal agencies withheld studies showing how dangerous texting while driving actually is. Joining The Takeaway is Adam Bryant, New York Times Deputy Business Editor.
"Collectively, we're making all these small little decisions, but across the country I think it's pretty clear that adds up to a safety risk." —Adam Bryant of The New York Times on texting while driving
President Obama wants Congress to agree to at least the outlines of a health care plan before the August recess. But Republicans hope to delay action until the Fall, figuring public opposition to Obama's plan will increase. We get an update on the health care debate with Takeaway Correspondent Todd Zwillich. Also joining the discussion is Representative Bart Stupak from Michigan’s First District.
"Today is the day they're going to twist arms to get people like me and the blue dogs to just go along with the program. And quite frankly, I just don't think it's going to happen." —Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan on the health care reform bill
The World Health Organization reports that one in four pharmaceuticals are fake. The problem hits home in the developing world, where scant regulation lets useless and sometimes dangerous medicine land on store shelves. Some of the drugs most commonly faked are malaria medications. Such scamming can lead to drug resistance, scary side effects, and even death. Here to talk about his job using chemistry to ID fake pharmaceuticals is Facundo M. Fernandez, a Chemistry Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will give lawmakers an update on the economy. Will he say that the recession is coming to an end? Joining The Takeaway with a preview is Dan Gross, columnist for Newsweek and Slate.com.
A large part of the health care debate is about the numbers. How much will health care legislation cost the federal government? Will you be paying more or less? To help figure out what health care would cost for both the average citizen and the U.S. government, The Takeaway talks to David Herzenhorn, congressional reporter for The New York Times.
"The President keeps calling in group after group — the American Medical Association and doctors, the hospitals, the nurses — trying to work out a deal. Every one of these compromises serves to weaken the bill to some degree by pulling it one direction or another." —David Herzenhorn of The New York Times on the health care reform bill
Large banks like Goldman Sachs posted record gains recently. Many smaller regional banks will release their earnings with much less fanfare this week. The Takeaway looks at the state of American banking with Mike Menzies, the president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust in Easton, Maryland.
Taliban attacks today rocked two eastern cities in Afghanistan. In the city of Gardez, Taliban militants dressed as women in burqas tried to set off explosives but were shot before they could do so. The AP reports that 13 Taliban militants and Afghan security forces have died in the attacks. The Takeaway talks to Jill McGivering, a BBC reporter in London.
The Pentagon is restructuring the war effort in Afghanistan, flooding the country with more than 20,000 troops. Now the Pentagon is revamping its detention policies in Afghanistan with lessons learned from Iraq. Among the changes: separating extremists from the rest of the Bagram prison population; focusing on education; offering classes on a moderate form of Islam. Is this move good for detainees, or just for the public relations of the U.S. military? To help answer that question The Takeaway talks to Jonathan Hafetz. He is an attorney in the National Security Project at the ACLU who has represented detainees from Iraq and Bagram and Guantanamo.
Taxi to the Darkside is a 2007 documentary about the death of an Afghani taxi driver detained at Bagram:
A group of reformist clerics, including former President of Iran Mohammad Khatami, have called for a national referendum on the election process. The group said millions of Iranians had lost confidence in the election process after last month's disputed vote, which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected.
The BBC’s Iran correspondent, Jon Leyne, is currently in London and joins The Takeaway to talk about it.
The world's oldest mother died last week. She was a Spanish woman who gave birth to twins when she was 67. But cancer took her life just three years after giving birth. This week's family segment will explore the issue of starting a family later in life. Joining The Takeaway is Lisa Belkin, who wrote about the issue in The New York Times blog Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting.
Also joining us is journalist Karen Day, a 56-year-old mother of a three-year-old, who also has three other children.
President Obama’s stimulus plan's main goal was to help needy communities build roads and create jobs, to help kick-start the economy. To keep track of how the stimulus money is being spent, ProPublica has asked for volunteers from communities across the country for help. The Adopt-a-Stimulus Program is being launched today. Joining The Takeaway to talk about the program is Amanda Michel, Editor of Distributed Reporting at ProPublica; also joining the show is Geoff Badenoch, a volunteer tracker from Missoula, Montana.
President Obama hoped to have his health care reform plan passed before Congress goes on recess in August, but now that seems unlikely. Over the weekend, the Congressional Budget Office reported that they saw no way that health care spending would decrease, forcing the president to spend the rest of the weekend defending the plan. Joining The Takeway is Trudy Lieberman, Director of the Health and Medicine Reporting Program at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Walter Cronkite, an icon in television news, had retired in 1982. In his post-anchorman career he had become critical of the state of journalism today, even having a few regrets from his own career. Joining The Takeaway to talk about Cronkite's criticism of journalism is The New York Times Media Reporter, Brian Stelter.
Irish Author Frank McCourt died yesterday of cancer in New York City. He was 78. McCourt was best known for his book "Angela's Ashes," a memoir about his impoverished Irish childhood, which sold 4-million hardcover copies. The memoir was published in 1996 and won a Pulitzer Prize. Joining us to talk more about McCourt's influence is New York Times reporter Motoko Rich, who covers the publishing world.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in India today. Joining The Takeaway to talk about Clinton's trip and Washington's challenges in the subcontinent are Linda Blake, Wall Street Journal contributor in Delhi, India, Professor Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research in Delhi and Richard Wolffe, Daily Beast Columnist and political analyst for MSNBC.
"Many people are saying she's just doing the Hillary hokey pokey, left foot in India, right foot in Pakistan, and they feel really left out of the equation." —Wall Street Journal contriburter Linda Blake on Hillary Clinton's trip to India
Watch a clip of Secretary of State Clinton's speech to India on July 15, 2009 below.
For those out of work and looking for a job, staying motivated can be tough. But with a "job search buddy," job-seekers can lean on someone for encouragement. The Takeaway talks to Deborga DiRago, an out-of-work New Yorker, and Marci Alboher, a career expert who writes the blog Working the New Economy.
Michael Vick, the NFL star convicted of running a dog fighting ring, is released today from two months of house arrest, after an 18-month stint behind federal prison bars. Is he heading back to the NFL or will he be shut out? To talk about what is in store for Vick is The Takeaway Sports Contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.
For this Monday's agenda segment, we talk about the Senate Finance Committee's bipartisan plan and President Obama's health care reform. The Takeaway also talks about Hillary Clinton's trip to India, the Taliban video of the captured U.S. soldier and how some banks are making big money again. The Takeway is joined by Marcus Mabry, International Business Editor for The New York Times and Jill McGivering, Asia Editor for the BBC.
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and Public Radio International, as well as a wide range of award-winning local programming. WNYC is a division of New York Public Radio.