Since a NATO airstrike on November 26 accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two military check points along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the United States has had a difficult time maintaining its already strained relationship with Pakistan. "We’ve closed the chapter on the post-9/11 period," an anonymous senior United States official was quoted telling The New York Times. "Pakistan has told us very clearly that they are re-evaluating the entire relationship."
With Christmas rapidly approaching, The Takeaway asked you to help us craft the ultimate holiday song. Listeners submitted their lyrics, and Takeaway producer Hsi-Chang Lin and former interim digital editor Ben Brock Johnson composed the music and performed it. Happy holidays from everyone at The Takeaway! (Download the song after the jump.)
The uneasy embrace of slavery in colonial America produced an economic boom, rendered the founder's debates over freedom from kings and despots questionable distortions of truth and logic, slavery enshrined rascism in the U.S. Constitution and made the Civil War inevitable. The War itself created an identity for the United States from which there was no escape, even though it seems from time to time that the Civil War blinks out in relevance. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates says this narrative has to change. In a piece in this month's Atlantic, Coates says more black Americans need to study the war and their role in it in order to understand their place in history.
One of the bright spots in the American economy right now is coming from the manufacturing sector. According to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey of purchasing and supply executives, activity at U.S. factories has grown at its fastest rate in five months. And in the automobile sector, the growth rate is translating into new jobs.
After four years of economic downturns, there's finally some good news: in the past 3 months, 650,000 workers aged 16 to 24 have found jobs. This age group, dubbed by some as "the lost generation," have been hit hardest by these ongoing problems: in 2010, only 16.9 million of them were employed.
In an effort to help alleviate the symptoms of Europe's debt crisis, the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and other international banks funneled U.S. dollars into European financial systems on Wednesday. The move helped markets by making American dollars more easily available outside the U.S. Stocks shot up in reaction to the news. The increased liquidity had the immediate effect of boosting the Dow Jones industrial average by 484 points. It was the biggest single day gain since March 2009. Some wondered, however, whether the move was a smart long-term investment, or just a temporary fix.
In Cleveland, Ohio an 8-year-old boy was removed from his home on the grounds that his severe obesity was the fault of his parental care. The young boy weighed over 200 pounds. For comparison, the average weight of an 8-year-old boy is about 60 pounds. The question isn't whether the boy was overweight, or whether his family could have done more in the 20 months that they were notified that his weight was a serious problem under consideration by the state. The question is whether or not foster care is really the best way to solve extreme obesity.
Every holiday season, many Americans feel the compulsion to shop for themselves and their loved ones. George W. Bush famously encouraged the nation to go shopping during his presidency, reminding Americans that 70 percent of the economy is derived from personal spending. This year, the economic engine went into overdrive during Black Friday and Cyber Monday; but, does that indicate signs of a looming economic recovery?
It's everywhere in the air right now — at the supermarket, the pharmacy, in elevators, and in streets of cities across the country — not good cheer, but that endless loop of holiday music. Aside from annoying cynics or providing a soundtrack to Norman Rockwell-times around the dinner table, well-worn tunes like "White Christmas" or "Here Comes Santa Clause" mostly mean big business for bands releasing Christmas albums.
For more than two months The Takeaway has been looking at news from various, loosely connected protests known as Occupy Wall Street. In that time the movement grew from a group of non-violent sit-ins at New York’s Zuccotti Park; to the violent images of downtown Oakland California on November 2, when protesters shut down the Port of Oakland; to the now-infamous pepper spray events of last week at UC Davis. But, what about the origins and the future of this movement?
One of the most difficult conversations we can have in our society has to do with race. In some ways the conversation is complicated by recent milestone events in racial equality like the election of President Barack Obama. But, Jay Smooth says that milestones like that are exactly the reason why we need to think and communicate more effectively about race as such milestones can obfuscate the real inequalities that still remain in our society.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians flooded into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday night for a third day of protests against the country's transitional military leaders. Activists hope to capitalize of the resignation of Egypt's civilian cabinet, calling for a million-strong demonstration on Tuesday. Security forces and protesters have clashed violently, recalling the events that led to the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. Elections scheduled for next week are now uncertain.
Thanksgiving typically conjures images of spending time with family, savoring long meals, and watching sports. For those working at the Target corporation this year, they will remain only images. The mega-chain store has just asked many of its employees to put on their work clothes at midnight on Thanksgiving night to prepare for Black Friday shopping. However, many are not looking forward to the extra hours.
The Arab League has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until Saturday to cease his bloody crackdown on protesters and allow a monitoring team into the country. To date, some estimate that Bashar al-Assad’s regime is responsible for the death of up to 3,500 citizens since the Spring. Are the proposed sanctions and suspension by the Arab League enough to convince Bashar al-Assad to step down from power? And if that were to happen is that even the best outcome for the country?
Everybody knows the riffs from Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and "Paranoid." They may seem timid by today's standards but in 1970, when the songs were released, they displayed the most ferocious sound in all the music world. Black Sabbath inspired legions of metal and hard rock musicians in the coming years. The good news for metal fans is that the original line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Tony Iommi will get back together for a new album in 2012. This will be the first time that the band has recorded together since 1978's "Never Say Die!"
Since Alabama introduced the nation's toughest anti-illegal immigration law, "unintended consequences" has mace life more difficult not only for undocumented immigrants, but also to documented, legal residents of the state. The new law, known as HB 56, has made every day activities like renewing a driver's license, teaching in public schools, or even helping an illegal immigrant with charity difficult or potentially criminal activities.
The recession may have officially ended in June 2009, but consumer confidence remains at recession levels heading into holiday shopping season. In fact, the most recent Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board went down 6.6 points for the month of November to 39.8 percent. By comparison, the Confidence Index was 70.4 percent in February of 2011.
President Bashar Assad of Syria is facing increasing pressure now that Jordan’s King Abdullah II voiced his desire to see Assad's regime to step down for the good of the country. King Abdullah was the first Arab leader to make such a call but he did so amid increasing violence within the country between anti-government protesters and soldiers still loyal to Assad. Dr. Zaher Sahloul has seen the Assad’s violent methods of tamping down civilian protest first hand.
On August 8, 1974, then President Nixon bid adieu to the White House staff with the famous words, "Au revoir. You’ll see us again." With a tacit acknowledgement of his role in the Watergate scandal that brought down members of his presidential staff, Richard Nixon resigned at noon the next morning. His resignation was a first time a president left office in the nation's history, and so was his appearance before a grand jury in June of 1975.
When the Census Bureau announced that a record number of Americans live below the poverty line it did so using an old metric that has not been changed, apart from adjustments for inflation, since it was hastily conceived in 1963. Starting Monday, the Census Bureau will use a new metric — taking into account such federal assistance like food stamps and such costs as rent, medical and child care, for the first time.