On Tuesday night, the Navy's SEAL Team Six rescued a Dutch and an American aid worker who had been held by Somali pirates since October. The pirates had held the aid workers hostage in a desert hide-out since October. SEAL Team Six first came into the general public's awareness last May after leading the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. Along with an increasing reliance on unmanned drone strikes in combat zones, the future of the U.S. military might be a smaller, more covert venture.
A number of political analysts have noted that President Obama has been far more successful in the foreign policy arena than domestically. But the President who managed to find Osama Bin Laden still faces a tough re-election battle this year. David Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent for our partner The New York Times, and contributor to WQXR's The Washington Report gives his thoughts on the foreign policy points made during last night's state of the union address.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle took to the airwaves to attack or defend president Obama's remarks last night, setting the tone for the rest of his first term in office. But perhaps more importantly, the State of the Union informally kicked off the president's reelection campaign. This morning, The Takeaway takes a look at how his words resonated with three voters from across the country.
The Republican candidates kicked off their Florida campaigns at last night's debate in Tampa. Florida is the first Republican presidential battleground with a significant Latino population, and as Mitt Romney battles Newt Gingrich for the lead in the Sunshine State, Latinos across the country are taking note. How the candidates position themselves on immigration and court the highly influential Cuban-American vote remains to be seen.
Over the past ten months, Syrian Security Forces have killed more than 5,000 protestors across the country. But this weekend, two key voices announced their calls to action: the Arab League will seek U.N. Security Council approval to peacefully end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that would block financial aid and create trade sanctions against Syrian leaders involved in the crackdown.
This week, President Obama delivers the State of the Union, then travels to five states that promise to be key battlegrounds for this year's election: Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. As the President begins his swing state tour, Republican candidates will be setting up camp in Florida, preparing for two debates in the next primary state.
Science fiction author Philip K. Dick died in 1983 at 53 years old. His cultural influence is everywhere, from box office hits like "Minority Report," to the novels of the late David Foster Wallace. His dark, twisted stories about drugs, psychological disorders, and government conspiracies have won awards and left an impression on the science fiction landscape.
Over the past few weeks, The Takeaway has reported about student loan debt and rising tuition costs. President Obama recently unveiled a new program that he says will help lower the interest rates on student loans. But his strategy does not help students who graduated before 2012. As cash-strapped states continue to cut funding for public universities, tuition is likely to keep on rising. How should public universities balance budget cuts and tuition hikes?
Last week, The Takeaway reported that student loan debt is rising along with the college tuition rate. According to the College Board, the average cost per year of tuition is up more 8.3 percent for public four year colleges and up 4.5 percent for private schools. The average college student now finishes school with between $22,000 and $28,000 of debt. While President Obama announced a new program that the White House says will help lower student loan interest rates, some students refuse to take on the burden of debt. Celeste is in Los Angeles this week and she spoke to one such student, a UCLA undergraduate who is so concerned about debt, he's decided to finish his education homeless.
Sociologist Amy Schalet was born in the United States, but she grew up in the Netherlands. When she returned to U.S. for college, she was surprised to learn that most of her American-reared peers had never discussed sex with their parents. Most of her Dutch friends had open, long-running discussions with their parents on the topic. This discovery shaped Professor Schalet's research through graduate school and beyond. She's published her findings in a new book, "Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex."
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The road to America’s bloodiest conflict was certainly a long one. But the spark that set the war in motion began on October 16th, 1859. That night, a fierce abolitionist named John Brown staged a bloody raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry. Historians have long cited John Brown's raid as the beginning of the end for slavery in the United States. But little has been known about the man himself, until now.
Ariel Sharon served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006, but Sharon's long career in public service began with Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Sharon suffered a stroke in 2006, leaving him in a coma-like state. While he is now immobilized, Ariel Sharon leaves a legacy that will no doubt affect his country for decades to come.
Gilad Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s youngest son, joins The Takeaway this morning to talk about his new biography of his father. A controversial and polarizing figure, Ariel Sharon dedicated his life to protecting Israel, but how best to preserve his country’s borders became a lifelong question. Sharon lived a life of contradictions. As Minister of Defense in 1982, he was found to be indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon by Lebanese Christians. As prime minister, violence between Israelis and Palestinians skyrocketed. Yet his decision to relinquish control of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 may yet define his legacy.
Author John Grisham has leveraged his career by doing what few in the legal profession can. He has made subjects usually relegated to the law school classroom — topics like torts and case law — into fascinating, suspenseful literature. While he is best known as a bestselling author, John Grisham has also become an advocate for criminal justice reform. He serves on the board of the Innocence Project, a public policy organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully-convicted.
The world's population is expected to reach seven billion on Monday, October 31, 2011. All this week The Takeaway looks at population growth and what it means for natural resources and the planet. High population growth has long concerned politicians and policymakers. The Earth's population first reached 1 billion in 1805, around the midpoint of the industrial revolution. From 1805 it took 123 years for the world's population to reach 2 billion. By contrast, it is estimated that it will only take 15 years until there are 8 million humans living on Earth.
At the age of 27, Jesse Eisenberg tackled the role of a lifetime. Playing Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network," Eisenberg racked up dozens of nominations and awards. But his newest project is off-Broadway at the tiny Cherry Lane Theater here in New York. Jesse Eisenberg wrote and is starring in a new play called "Asuncion." The play explores what happens when a Filipina woman moves in with two ultra-liberal young men. Eisenberg plays Edgar, a bright, young man obsessed with saving the world.
Immigration was a hot topic at the GOP debate on Tuesday. First, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attacked each other on the issue. Representative Michele Bachmann also jumped into the fray to attack President Obama. "I think the person who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is President Obama," she said. "It’s his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens who’ve been allowed to stay in this country despite the fact they're illegal."
Massive labor strikes have turned violent in Greece as thousands of protesters have clashed with police in the streets of Athens. The demonstrators are protesting against proposed austerity measures that would lay off more than 30,000 public sector workers while cutting pensions and salaries for those left with jobs. The Greek Parliament will vote on the final austerity package today.
The State Department has announced that the United States will resume nuclear talks with North Korea next week for the first time since 2005. The talks are welcomed by Kim Jong-il, who even hinted at the possibility of resuming six-party talks to end his country’s nuclear program. Separate negotiations currently taking place in Bangkok will also touch on the remains of American soldiers still missing in action from the Korean War. Almost 8,000 men are still missing from that conflict, and the remains of nearly 5,500 are thought to be in North Korea.
Colson Whitehead has famously tackled topics like a young man's coming of age in "Sag Harbor," the social elevation of African Americans in "The Intuitionist," and America’s industrial age in "John Henry Days." In his new novel, the award-winning Whitehead goes just as large, maybe even larger, with a look at how an imaginary apocalypse might bring out the best and worst in humans and American culture. Also, Whitehead's apocalypse includes zombies. The title of the new book, which hits stores this week, is "Zone One."