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:
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.
"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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
"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:
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
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
Analysts were expecting Goldman Sachs to post around $2 billion in profit in their second quarter. But when the numbers were released they surprised everyone with a profit of $3.4 billion. If Goldman Sachs is doing so well, does this mean America is on its way out of the recession? Dan Gross, columnist for Newsweek and Slate, and author of Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation joins The Takeaway with his analysis of the financial news.
Goldman Sachs has just released their earnings report showing that they made a jaw-dropping $3.4 billion profit from March through June. How are they doing it while the rest of the nation is facing bleak economic times? And what do record profits mean for the employees of Goldman? Graham Bowley, financial reporter for The New York Times, joins us for a closer look at the numbers.
As the U.S. military continues its operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province to flush out the Taliban and eradicate the area's opium trade, we check in with the troops. Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay of the International Security Assistance Force is watching over the 4,000 Marines there. He joins The Takeaway to talk about progress, casualties, and to provide an overall update on the security situation in Afghanistan. Also joining the conversation is Retired Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl. He’s the President of the Center for a New American Security a national security think-tank in Washington, DC.
Follow the Center for a New American Security on Twitter! Add @CNASdc.
The financial markets were in a frenzy yesterday after rumors started circulating about Goldman Sachs' earnings. Most analysts were expecting a record $2 billion in second quarter profits from the investment bank. Now the numbers are out and Goldman's profits are even bigger than expected: $3.44 billion dollars profit from March through June. Ed Welsch, a markets reporter for the Dow Jones Newswire, joins The Takeaway with more on this story.
Throughout the last century, the struggle of the civil rights movement has been documented in photos, speeches, poems and paintings. Paul Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, mixed clips from the long history of the civil rights movement and created a digital media collage that was commissioned specifically for the NAACP’s centennial. It's called, "Winds of Change: A Composition and Homage to the NAACP on 100 Years of Change." The Takeaway talks to DJ Spooky about his work.
Today, Goldman Sachs announced massive profits from the second quarter— $3.4 billion dollars. But as they announced the good news, they had to brace themselves to deal with some inevitable public outrage. How can Goldman avoid a public relations nightmare? The Takeaway is joined by Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.
"It's a choice: does Goldman Sachs want to be known as successful and arrogant about it or successful and humble? Humble is a lot smarter because their continued success is not guaranteed, and their former arrogance can come back and bite them."
—Jonathan Bernstein, professional crisis manager, on how the banking giant should behave in the face of its record profit
The Takeaway checks in on Sonia Sotomayor's old stomping ground: the Bronx. Joining the conversation are Mary McKinney, founder of the Concerned Residents Organization in the Soundview section of the Bronx; Agnes Rivera, with Community Voices Heard, a low-income public housing campaign; and Orlando Plaza, owner of Camaradas del Barrio restaurant in East Harlem.
Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Republican members of the Senate judiciary committee cautioned that Sotomayor could be an "activist judge," prone to favor minority groups; Democrats emphasized her American dream credentials. Today, Senate Judiciary Committee members will likely grill her on judicial decisions. Joining us for a recap of yesterday's events and a look ahead is Jeffrey Rosen. He is a Professor of Law at George Washington University, and legal affairs editor for The New Republic. He’s also the author of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America.