Long-time Washington reporter, columnist and political pundit Robert Novak died yesterday after losing a battle to brain cancer. His five-decade-long career as a journalist and man-about-town may be forever tarnished by his involvement in the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity in 2003. Joining us to discuss Robert Novak's illustrious career and dubious legacy is Michael Calderone, media reporter for Politico, and Albert Hunt, a friend of Mr. Novak's and the executive Washington editor of Bloomberg News.
For more, read Michael Calderone's article, CNN remembers Novak, at Politico.com.
Here's CNN's look at the life and legacy of Robert Novak:
Older members of our society are the biggest consumers of medical care, and they have been vocal participants in the debate over reforming the health care system. What do the elderly think of the president's plan? The Takeaway talks to Trevor Hughes, a 77-year-old Jamaican immigrant and retired optician, who says the government should "butt out" of the health care. He recently underwent major spinal surgery which was covered by the insurance Hughes pays for out of his own pocket; he says that we can't afford to re-configure a system that just needs minor tweaks.
The facts. The skinny. The straight dope. If you're talking about health care reform (and who isn't, these days?), the truth has been thoroughly muddled lately with a lot of buzzwords, misnomers and outright fabrication. That's why The Takeaway is talking to Art Caplan. He's the director of the Center of Bio-Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and he's going to put the health care debate and such concepts as the potential "co-operative insurance consortia" into plain-speak.
Over the weekend, representatives of the Obama administration started signaling that various aspects of proposals to reform health care may be more negotiable than previously expected. Teddy Roosevelt first inserted national health coverage as a party plank 97 years ago, in 1912 – as the debate grinds on in D.C., on the air, and across the country, is it "déjà vu all over again?"
In a town hall debate symbolically held in Grand Junction, Colorado, the President gave signs that the public option, previously cited as a critical piece of any reform of the health care system, may not be an absolute deal breaker. We talk to Julie Mason, White House reporter for the Washington Examiner and Dr. Michael Pramenko, a family physician in Grand Junction.
Les Paul, the man known as "the father of the electric guitar,” passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Paul was inducted in to the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005 for the innovations he brought to the science of recording. We speak to three-time Grammy nominated recording engineer Mark Rubel about the legacy Les Paul leaves behind.
On Wednesday this week, we speculated on what would happen next in the career of former NFL star-turned-rehabilitated-felon, Michael Vick. Coincidentally, on Thursday his next step was announced: he will return to professional football after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Takeaway's sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin joins us to forecast how the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will fare in his new job, along with some notes on the PGA.
For many musicians, Les Paul 's name is synonymous with electric guitars and modern studio techniques. We talk to Nels Cline, lead guitarist for the band Wilco about the impact Paul has on his music.
To hear Les Paul's influence on Nels Cline, watch him play at a Wilco show in Germany:
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and sentenced to life in prison in a Scottish jail. Now suffering from terminal cancer, he is expected to be released on compassionate grounds next week. How are the families of the victims reacting to the news? The Takeaway speaks with Susan Cohen, mother of 20-year old victim Theodora Cohen and co-author of Pan Am 103: The Bombing, the Betrayals, and a Bereaved Family's Search for Justice.
Representative Eric Massa (D-NY) has held 40 town hall-style meetings in New York's 29th congressional district about health care reform, speaking to constituents all across southwestern New York. The congressman tells The Takeaway what it’s been like on the speaker's side of the podium, and what the protesters represent for American democracy. (click through for the full interview transcript)
"I get paid to be yelled at. So, it's OK. My job is to put myself out there and listen as much as possible and try to keep the group respectful of each other. They don't have to be respectful of me. That's not part of the job title. But I do very much try to keep people respectful of each other. "
– Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY)
Here's Rep. Massa at one of his health care town halls:
The folks at the Royal Opera House in London are trying to bring opera to the masses. And they are using very tech savvy means: they're letting any and everybody in the Twitter-sphere compose a collaborative masterpiece. The premise is simple: You tweet it, they sing it. For more about the ambitious project, we talk to Alison Duthie, the head of the Royal Opera House, about the world's first operatic tweet.
Listen to John and Celeste perform their own "Twitter Opera" based on Ashton Kutcher's tweets below:
Michael Vick is out of jail but, he’s also out of work. At least for the time being. After filing for bankruptcy and spending the last two years in prison for operating an unlawful interstate dog fighting ring, the question for future employers is: Has he repaid his debts to society? Takeaway sports correspondent Ibrahim Abdul-Matin tells us about the embattled QB's future prospects.
Ibrahim also discusses the comic strip "Tank McNamara" that caused a controversy when the Washington Post pulled it for a week. In the controversial strip (click here to see), the title character asks former Vice President Dick Cheney for advice on what to do about Michael Vick and the Vice President says, "Kill him." The comic's writer, Jeff Millar spoke to us yesterday to say that he wasn't even talking about Vick:
“Some people have interpreted that as, this is a white man saying ‘kill Michael Vick,' a specific black person. But, this is about a ready solution that people who misuse power keep always at hand to satisfy difficult situations especially when they believe they own the law. Mr. Cheney seems destined, three or four years down the road. He might be on trial himself.”
For more, read the New York Times' coverage of the story, Comic Strips on N.F.L. and Race: Fair Game or Out of Bounds?.
Researchers at DePauw University in Indiana say we’re able to communicate a whole range of emotions with amazing accuracy through the simple act of touching. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, tells us about the potential of touch therapy.
Read more about this in Nicholas Bakalar's piece, "Five-Second Touch Can Convey Specific Emotion, Study Finds," in the science section of this morning's New York Times.
General Motors is trying something new: it's letting consumers buy new cars on the auction site eBay. Will it work? Approximately three million used cars have been sold online in the past, but to-date, no car dealer has sold new cars this way. Louise Story, financial writer for The New York Times, takes a look. We're also joined by John McEleney, chairman of the National Association of Automobile Dealers, as he explains what the GM-eBay partnership means for private dealers across the country.
Yesterday, while on a morning walk in New York City, the acclaimed film director John Hughes, creator of those classic 80's teen angst movies, died after suffering a heart attack. Few American directors have captured and distilled the American teen experience the way John Hughes did. In Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink his protagonists broke down class barriers in high school social circles. Joining The Takeaway to remember the man and his legacy is Wesley Morris, film critic from the Boston Globe, to talk about how Hughes' films influenced a generation.
Watch this tribute to John Hughes made at the height of his career:
If you couldn't get into your Twitter account yesterday, you weren't alone. A massive denial-of-service attack by unknown hackers knocked out the popular micro-blogging site for some 45 million users. Children's book author Laurel Snyder, who normally sends 50 tweets a day, tells us how she survived.
You can follow Laurel's Twitter feed @LaurelSnyder.
The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court this evening. Her confirmation is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but it's expected that all but seven Republican Senators will vote against her. Will the senators' symbolic stand against Sotomayor have repercussions in the voting booth, particularly among Hispanic voters? The Takeaway talks to Leslie Sanchez, former adviser to President George W. Bush and president of Impacto Group, a communications and market research firm; and Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, a non-partisan group that tries to mobilize Hispanic votes in 30 states.
"People will see this as a vote against our community. A vote against a very well-qualified jurist irrespective of a judicial philosophy ...They will see this as a rejection of a presence of the Latino community on the Supreme Court of the United States. That is what Latinos will remember."
—Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, on the political risks of voting against Sonia Sotomayor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court
Earlier this summer, protests spilled onto the streets of Tehran in the days following Iran's June 12 presidential elections. At the time, some voices inside Iran's halls of power alleged that outside influence was to blame for the seemingly spontaneous uprisings. The Iranian intelligence chief claimed Western and "Zionist" forces were somehow behind it all. Crazy talk? The Takeaway talks with Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror who explains that Iran's history with the outside world has left them justifiably paranoid of foreign influence.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially inaugurated to his second term as President of Iran today under a dark cloud of voter irregularity and popular dissent. And that dissent is going all the way up the ranks of power. In silent protest, several senior figures, members of Parliament and high ranking clerics were notably absent at a ceremony where the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei formally approved the 2nd term presidency on Monday. Joining The Takeaway to describe what a second Ahmadinejad term may have in store for Iran and the world is Shaul Bakhash, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Middle East History at George Mason University in Virginia.
Even though he announced intentions to introduce reforms and make a more prosperous economy it seems hardly likely given the policies he pursued in the past, which were based more on the distribution of goodies rather than investment in productive programs.
—Shaul Bakhash on Ahmadenijad's second term as Iran's president