Last night in front of a rare joint session of Congress, President Obama addressed the issue that has been on everyone's minds: health care reform. His speech was to-the-point, tackling issues such as insurance reforms, pre-existing conditions, malpractice insurance reform, and calling to task members of Congress for their failure to move more quickly. The president seemed to endorse much of the latest draft of a health care reform bill, one being circulated by Sen. Max Baucus, but hinted that he may be willing to pass the bill without bi-partisan support. For more we talk to our Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich as well as David Herszenhorn, the congressional correspondent for the New York Times, who was live blogging the speech.
In case you missed the presidential address, here it is in its entirety:
This morning New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was rescued by military commandos during a raid in Afghanistan. A British soldier and Farrell's translator, Sultan Munadi, were killed during the rescue. Farrell and his translator were kidnapped on Saturday by a group of Afghan fighters calling themselves the Taliban while reporting on a story in the northern province of Kunduz. The story was kept quiet out of concern that media attention would worsen the situation, so most did not know of the kidnapping. For more of the back story, we talk to New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.
All week long we are reviewing the year that was: the year that marked the beginning of the financial meltdown and the recession that we continue to live through. Today we are focusing on the $600 billion collapse of Lehman Brothers — the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. It’s a moment that many believe sent the global economy into crisis. To get a sense of the forces leading up to that day we speak with a Lehman Brothers’ insider, former vice president of distressed debt and convertible securities at Lehman Brothers, Lawrence McDonald. He's the author of the new book, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers.
We also talk to our contributor Louise Story, finance reporter for the New York Times, about the collapse of Lehmann and the ensuing global financial crisis. Louise also tells us about the new spate of corporate mergers that could indicate the nation's economy is making the slow turn towards recovery.
China will be the first country in the world to start a mass vaccination program to inoculate their citizens against the threat of H1N1, commonly known as "swine flu." Shirong Chen, the BBC's China editor, explains that China learned valuable lessons from their experience with the SARS virus. He also offers an explanation for why China has opted to first inoculate the politicians and the participants in the National Day Parade.
A relatively innocuous (albeit negative) documentary on Hillary Clinton released during the 2008 election season may lead to something bigger than itself. Today, the United States Supreme Court will return from its summer vacation to hear a case instigated by the film. It is, in fact, the second time the case has been brought before the nation's highest court, but this time it comes with greater weight: the potential to overturn campaign finance laws that have existed for the last 100 years. To take us from the film to the court case we are joined by Nate Persily, law professor at Columbia University; and Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for our partner the New York Times.
For more, read Adam Liptak's article, Supreme Court to Revisit ‘Hillary’ Documentary, in the New York Times.
Check out some of the documentary, Hillary: The Movie or watch part one below:
Forbes estimates that Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z and the man behind such classic hip-hop songs as "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "Hard Knock Life," rakes in about $82 million a year. Admittedly, a lot of that annual income stems from his former day job as CEO of Def Jam Records and as the owner of the New Jersey Nets. But! The world mostly knows Jay-Z as a rap star. (And maybe as Beyonce's husband.) David Wall Rice, avid hip-hop listener and professor of psychology at Morehouse College, joins us to put the "best rapper alive" into a broader context. (Read Rice's latest blog post, "Jay-Z Grows Us Up," about the new album.)
Tonight, the president will appear before a joint session of Congress—perhaps the grandest setting for such an event—and deliver a speech on the need for health care reform. Among those watching will be Congressmen and Senators, but far beyond the halls of Congress, he will also be addressing Brad Bynum in Oklahoma and Faith Dow in California. As Americans who are still unconvinced on health care reform, they are who President Obama really needs to convince in his speech.
We also talk to New York Times White House correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg about what might be in the president's speech tonight.
There are a lot of buzzwords that come up during conversations about eating responsibly: organic, local, heirloom. Those terms are typically associated with food that is good – both for us and the earth. (Okay, maybe the organic cheese puffs aren't actually good for us.) But how far does local or organic get us in terms of building a globally sustainable food system? To find out more, we speak to James McWilliams, associate professor of history at Texas State University and author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. We also speak with Victor Davis Hanson, a former California raisin farmer and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute.
"If the average meat eater gave up meat once a week that would be the equivalent of eating all of your food local."
—James McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly.
After four years of delay, next Tuesday will see the release of the book "The Lost Symbol," writer Dan Brown's much anticipated follow-up to the "Da Vinci Code." The novel will continue the main story of character Robert Langdon and once again he'll be solving a mystery steeped in art and history this time [SPOILER ALERT!] in Washington, D.C. We speak to Motoko Rich, who covers publishing for our partner the New York Times, about how the release of this book is being seen as a make-or-break moment for the publishing industry during an economic recession.
You can read Motoko Rich's story, "Booksellers anticipate a big week," in the Times.
A raid by commandoes in Afghanistan has freed captured New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell. As is standard practice, the Times did not announce that the reporter had been kidnapped until after his release. Eric Schmitt, terrorism correspondent for the Times, gives us the details of the rescue as well as the back story.
We also speak to Christine Fair, professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University, who has just returned from monitoring the presidential election in Afghanistan. Members of Afghanistan's election commission say they have clear evidence of fraud in the election; they’ve ordered a partial recount.
Cover your ears! Starting today, legions of gamers around the country will be able to sing – and play – their own version of Beatles songs, thanks to a special edition of the game Rock Band. Console-owners may now try their hand at 45 Beatles tracks, and download more of the band's newly remastered tracks in the coming months. We talk with Jeff Howe, contributing editor for Wired magazine, who wrote about the game this month. We also give The Beatles: Rock Band our own test run in the studio.
Watch the intro video for "The Beatles: Rock Band":
President Obama is addressing a joint session of Congress tonight. His mission? To sell health care reform. In what may be the pitch of his presidency, President Obama hopes to jumpstart the debate that has stalled over the summer while critics of his health proposals dominated many public forums and his approval ratings dropped. To help President Obama get in touch with his inner Willie Loman and sell health care reform to a seemingly skeptical audience, we have gathered a roundtable of experts: Ted Widmer is a former speechwriter for Bill Clinton; Lisa Schiffren is a former speechwriter for Vice President Dan Quayle; and Cindy Gallop, an advertising consultant and former chair of ad agency BBH.
All this week, we are looking back at the events that triggered the financial meltdown, one year ago. Today, we focus on the housing market, then and now. We talk to economist Robert Shiller, of the Case-Shiller home-price index, who was among the few experts to warn of the coming housing crisis. We also speak to New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Schack, who has a penchant for halting the bank foreclosures that come before his bench. (Read his profile in the New York Times, "A ‘Little Judge’ Who Rejects Foreclosures, Brooklyn Style") And we also talk to Pamela Zombeck, who is struggling to hold on to her home in Salem, Massachusetts.
Listen to more housing stories in this series.
"A lot of the paperwork I find from banks, is insufficient, it's not accurate, there's sloppiness so I believe there has to be a level playing field for homeowners as well as banks."
—Judge Arthur Schack, New York State Supreme Court judge on one of the reasons why he's thrown out 46 of the 102 foreclosure motions that have come before him.
One year ago, the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers was just the first domino in a string of banking failures that culminated in the financial crisis that has now reverberated around the world today. A new report [1.2 MB, PDF] commissioned by our partners, the BBC World Service, looks at the effect of this crisis on migration patterns around the world. One myth the report debunks is that immigrants are returning home in greater numbers than before the recession; instead, the MPI determined that immigrants are choosing to stay in their adopted countries despite the lack of jobs. For more myth-busting, we talk to the BBC's Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker, and Michael Fix, co-author of the Migration Policy Institute's report.
Takeaway Extra! Report co-author Michael Fix discusses the surprising lack of success with newly-implemented pay-to-go programs, where countries pay immigrants a fixed amount of money to return to their countries of origin.
The Saturday night resignation of White House green jobs advisor Van Jones is as much a story of politics as it is about cable television, as well as the drive and magnetism of Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck. Beck's show on Fox News draws around 3 million viewers a night, and it was his targeting of Van Jones that lead to Jones’ resignation.
While President Obama seems to be struggling to get his message across, Glenn Beck has no problem being heard loud and clear. To understand Glenn Beck's popularity, we speak to Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers Magazine, the leading trade publication for the talking-head set, along with Robert Thompson, professor of Television, Radio and Film at Syracuse University.
In 2007, Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari left the U.S. on an annual visit to her mother in Iran. But when she got to the country, she was promptly arrested and charged with treason. She tells us how she was kept in solitary confinement for more than 100 days and subjected to grueling interrogations. This is all in her new memoir, "My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran".
It has been described as a situation as messy as an 'Animal House' food fight. Obama's decision to talk directly to youngsters today at noon has provoked accusations from critics, including 'indoctrination' and 'politicking' from critics. The fever pitch has gotten high enough that the White House released the text of the speech yesterday in what appeared an attempt to calm critics. This was enough for Newt Gingrich, who said it's a "good speech" and "good for students to hear," but did this quiet the bickering masses? We talk to parents and a public school spokesperson for their impressions. We talk again with Sheri Fowler, from the Rockwall Independent School District in Texas; Brett Curtis, a father of three from Pearland, Texas; and Michael Campo from Chicago, Illinois.
"My reaction is that [the speech] sounds like something a father might say to his child. That's what my job is. I'm a parent and I feel like it's my responsibility to teach my kids the values of education and that my kid goes to school to get the education and not to be lectured by politicians."
—Brett Curtis,father of three in Pearland, Texas after reading text of the President's speech.
"I think that this president just can't cut a break. It's becoming almost offensvive at the way some people are treating [it] and disrespectful to the Office of the Presidency."
—Michael Campo, father of three in Chicago, Illinois
The World Health Organization said last week that within the next 20 years, depression will become the largest health burden on society. But treatment for mental health is often underfunded, despite the fact that it drastically affects productivity in many countries. We talk to Professor Cary Cooper, who teaches psychology and health at Lancaster University in Britain. We also speak with Dr. Shekhar Saxena, program manager of the WHO's Department of mental health and substance abuse.
At the U.S. Open yesterday, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin celebrated yet another victory, this time defeating Russia’s Nadia Petrova. But will the young phenom keep her hot streak and take home the top prize? Takeaway sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin gives us the latest.
The BBC documentary "Aftershock" takes a close up look at how Americans are getting on one year after the economic collapse. To record “Aftershock,” our partners at the BBC World Service asked Steve Evans, the host of BBC show “Business Daily” to go to Nevada and chronicle the lives of those impacted. Steve Evans joins us to talk about the documentary.
Watch a promo video of "Aftershock":