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Farai Chideya

Political Contributor

Farai Chideya appears in the following:

President Obama Sells His Health Care Plan

Thursday, July 16, 2009

President Obama is aggressively selling his health care plan to both the American people and the U.S. Congress. On Tuesday the House unveiled its health care reform bill and yesterday the Senate got its plan through committee—by a slim margin. Both plans guarantee insurance for most Americans. But they raise taxes on high-income people while providing subsidies to Americans at moderate-to low income levels. Both plans also penalize employers who do not provide health benefits to workers. For a look at how the president is selling the plan, The Takeaway talks to Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist and the president of Lake Research.

Here is one way the plan is being sold—Heartfelt advertising:

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Clinton Puts Iran (and Herself) Back on Center Stage

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been out of the media spotlight lately. But yesterday she staged a coming out party in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her speech focused on Iran and she had forceful words for the Islamic nation. Mark Landler is The New York Times Diplomatic Correspondent and he joins The Takeaway with his analysis of Clinton’s speech yesterday. Also joining the conversation is Afshin Molavi, a fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Soul of Iran: A Nation's Journey to Freedom, to help us understand the shifting relationship with the U.S. and a post-crackdown Iran.

Watch Hillary Clinton's speech below:

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Sky High: NASA Looks Back at the Moon Landing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Four decades ago, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and "Buzz" Aldrin took off in the Apollo 11 spacecraft, headed straight to the moon. The tour was one small step for man, and one giant leap for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But once you go to the moon, is the only direction to go...down? To reflect on the moon landing, on NASA today and forty years ago, The Takeaway is joined by NASA's current acting administrator, Christopher Scolese.

For more, head over to NASA's Apollo 11 page and take a tour of the landing site.

Here's a slideshow of Apollo 11 photos and memorabilia:

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Intimidation: A Journalist is Murdered in Chechnya

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Natalya Estemirova, a prominent journalist and human rights activist, was kidnapped yesterday from her home in the Chechen capital of Grozny. She was found a few hours later, dead of gunshot wounds to the head and chest. She spent her career documenting kidnappings and killings in Chechnya and was working on documenting an arson campaign by government-backed militias. Her work frequently pitted her against the Chechen government. Her death raises larger questions of safety for human rights workers and journalists. Joining The Takeaway with more of the story is Dimitri Babitch, political journalist with the Russian news agency Rio Novosti in Moscow.

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Do Senate Confirmation Hearings Matter?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It is Day Four of the U.S. Senate's confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and The Takeaway is asking: are Senate confirmation hearings a chance to explore the intricacies of U.S. jurisprudence and truly assess the character of the nominee? Or just a chance for senators to impress their constituents and for nominees to tell the Senate what they want to hear? The Takeaway talks to Nate Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia University.

Here's Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) taking his turn on the Senatorial stage yesterday:

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Tiny Giants: Netbooks and Personal Computing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop is a nifty gadget called a netbook. It allows you to get online, but has no hard drive so it's ultra-portable. These lightweight internet-only devices have been around since 2007, but are getting more attention as both Google and Microsoft unveil new programs designed specifically for netbooks. Joining us now to talk about why the netbook is so popular, and where it fits in among all the other gadgets out there, is Matt Buchanan, contributing editor for the blog Gizmodo.com.

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Health Care Reform: Change We Can Count On?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

At President Obama’s urging, Democratic congressional leaders made considerable progress this week in reworking the nation’s health care system. On Tuesday, the House unveiled its health care reform bill and yesterday the Senate got its plan through committee. Both plans guarantee insurance for most Americans. They would raise taxes on high-income people while providing subsidies to Americans at moderate to low income levels. Both plans would also penalize employers who do not provide health benefits to their workers.

We turn to Trudy Lieberman for her take on what we could actually end up with. She is the director of the health and medicine reporting program at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism and she is a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. We'll also hear from medical leaders Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and CEO of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital,and Dr. Michael Pramenko. Dr. Pramenko is a family physician. He also serves on the Colorado Medical Society’s Congress for Health Care Reform. We also hear from Michael Fredrich. He is the president of MCM Composites LLCs, who as a small business owner has struggled to provide health care to his employees.

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Don't Panic: Planes Are Still Safer Than Cars

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A fatal plane crash in Northwest Iran has left 168 people dead. The Caspian Air flight was headed from Tehran to the Armenian capital of Yerevan; it crashed 16 minutes after departure. Caspian, a 16-year-old commercial airline, operates within Iran and to Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and Armenia, using Russian-made Tupolev jets. For more, The Takeaway turns to Borzou Daragahi, Beirut bureau chief for the LA Times. Also joining the conversation is Graham Warwick, senior technology editor of Aviation Week. There have been four major crashes in six weeks: are planes not as safe as we think?

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Mexico's Simmering Civil War

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The violence in Mexico has taken a serious uptick. In the last four days, six federal agents have been killed along with a mayor of a small town in Northern Mexico. A series of eight coordinated attacks in Western Mexico has left many more dead and wounded. The violence has increased in response to President Calderón's efforts to crackdown on drug-related crime. He sent 45,000 troops across the country to lessen the grip of organized crime, which reaches into police forces, government institutions, and mountain villas across the country. Some 11,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since 2006. For more of the story The Takeaway turns to Ioan Grillo, Time Magazine's reporter in Mexico City.

Here's a report on the impact of drug violence on the small town of Ascension, Mexico:

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Benjamin Jealous and the Next Generation at the NAACP

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This week the NAACP kicked off a six-day convention celebrating its 100 year anniversary. Even with Barack Obama as our first African American president, the NAACP sees its work as far from finished. Last year, Benjamin Jealous, then 35, became the organization’s youngest president, with a plan to bring the NAACP into the 21st century. Mr. Jealous joins The Takeaway's John Hockenberry and guest-host Farai Chideya to discuss his vision for the NAACP and how he’s taking on the challenges of race relations and equality.

Click through for a transcript of our discussion with Benjamin Jealous.

 

 

"We’re focused not just on full employment, if you will, but also on job quality. Let’s not forget that slavery was a full employment economy."
—NAACP President Ben Jealous on unemployment numbers in the African-American community

Here's Benjamin Jealous' address at the NAACP's Centennial Celebration:

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Team Lance: No United Front on Tour de France

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

As the Tour de France enters its second week, there is a rift brewing between Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. Which man will cross the finish line first? Joining The Takeaway to talk about the dynamics of the race is The Takeaway’s sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin.

Don't forget to read Ibrahim Abdul-Matin's blog post, Lance Armstrong vs His Own Team.

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Horror Story: A Bizarre Murder Stuns Pensacola

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a murder mystery seemingly ripped from the pages of a crime novel. Who killed Byrd and Melanie Billings, the parents of 17 children—most of them adopted, many with special needs—and why? The suspects who broke into the Billings home in Pensacola, Florida, were dressed as ninjas; they were in and out in ten minutes. Seven men have been arrested so far, but the mystery is far from solved. The Takeaway talks to Tom Ninestine, the breaking news editor at the Pensacola News Journal in Pensacola, Florida. He's been covering the case as it unfolds.

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History in a Pita

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ah, gyros. The giant cones of rotating meat (pronounced YEE-ros, which is Greek for "spin") have been a staple at Greek restaurants and take-out stands. But where do they come from? The meat's uniform shape and source has been a mystery— until now. Intrepid New York Times reporter David Segal tracked down the origins of the U.S. version of the Greek treat in a factory in Chicago. He joins us now with his report.

For more, read David Segal's article, The Gyro's History Unfolds, in The New York Times.

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A Sotomayor Critic Weighs In

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's the third day of Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich joins us with the latest. We are also joined by David Kopel, who will be testifying against the Supreme Court nominee. David Kopel works for the Independence Institute as a researcher and is a policy analyst with the conservative Cato Institute.

Here's Sen. Sessions quizzing Sonia Sotomayor yesterday:

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The Obama Administration and the Legacy of the NAACP

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This week the NAACP is convening for its centennial celebration in New York City and The Takeaway is talking to leaders from around the country about the future of this 100-year old institution. Van Jones, Special Advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems joins the show to discuss the legacy of the NAACP.

Read about what was life was like for black Americans in 1909.

Click through for a transcript of our conversation with Van Jones

 

 

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Afghanistan and Iraq: Now, Sharing the Danger of IEDs

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For soldiers in Afghanistan, the landscape is starting to look a lot like Iraq. There has been a marked increase in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the last few weeks. At least 46 U.S. soldiers have been killed by the bombs so far this year. The military has said the IEDs in Afghanistan are less powerful and complex than those used in Iraq, but that they're becoming more common and more sophisticated with each week. For more, The Takeaway turns to Jeremy Binnie, senior analyst for terrorism and insurgency at Janes Information Group.

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How's the Economy? Business Owners Talk Shop

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reports are trickling out that say the economy is on a slow upswing. But is it really? The Takeaway talks to two small business owners. Jack Bernstein, who owns a corporate catering business and retail sandwich shop owner in Miami, says that business is down. Ed Snively, a real estate broker in El Centro, California, says that business is way up from last year.

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Twitter: The New (and Much Faster) Word of Mouth

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" opened at 12:01 a.m. today. And the critics are already weighing in—on Twitter. The 140-character reviews are quickly changing the way "word of mouth" works. The Twitterati can tweet their response to a film while sitting in the theater. This is having a dramatic effect on the box office. Sasha Baron Cohen's film Bruno drew $14 million on the day of its release, but was panned on Twitter and sales plummeted 40 percent. Sharon Waxman of The Wrap, and a Takeaway contributor, joins us with a look.

"Word-of-mouth flies so fast and grows so exponentially—because of Twitter particularly—that they can't control the message for three whole days. Now it's basically one day. The veil comes off the movie and they're toast if the movie is not good."
—Sharon Waxman of The Wrap on the Twitter challenge for the movie business

Here's the trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, tweet @thetakeaway with your thoughts:

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Judge Sotomayor Speaks: A Recap of Day Two

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yesterday U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor faced a full day of questioning from senators. The Hispanic nominee was grilled on her past decisions, her judicial philosophy, and her now infamous "wise Latina" statement. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich was there for it all. He joins us with all the highlights of Day Two and a look ahead at Day Three of the Senate confirmation hearings.

"Even Lindsey Graham who came at her has, of course, famously now said, 'Unless you have a meltdown, you're going to be confirmed.' And it did appear to a lot of people in the room that he was turning up the heat to see if he could cause the meltdown after he said that."
—Todd Zwillich on Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings

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Are Markets the Best Economic Indicators?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yesterday, Goldman Sachs made headlines with their record quarterly earnings, taking in $3.44 billion in just four months. That may be a sign of a strenthening economy. And yet unemployment has continued rising: nationally 9.5 percent, the highest rate in 26 years. Which of those two numbers tells us where the economy is headed, and which just tells us where its been? Here to help us figure that out is Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), a company that forecasts recessions and recoveries.

"By April it was clear the recession would be over this summer. I don't think the man on the street will feel that until the fall when they're looking in the rear view mirror. Because really your gut feel is the rear view mirror feel."
—Lakshman Achuthan on lagging economic indicators

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