Melissa Locker

Melissa Locker appears in the following:

The Kindness of Strangers: Stories from 9/11

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thousands of people have stories about September 11th, eight years ago. For many of us these are stories that hang on the profound consequences of one life intersecting with another. Today we take a look at two of these stories, where the significance of a perfect stranger grows more pronounced with each passing year. We speak with Sarah Bunting. She’s a writer and publisher of the blog We also talk to Jim Dwyer, reporter for the New York Times and author of "102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers," which he co-wrote with New York Times editor Kevin Flynn.

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Always Be Closing: Obama to Pitch to Congress, U.S.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

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.

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Staying Abroad: Migration and the Recession

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

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.

For more, read the BBC article on the report itself, as well as several graphic highlights.


Blood in the Water: Glenn Beck Hits Van Jones

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

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.

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Forecasting Fall TV Season

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dust off your remote control and fire up the TiVo, because the fall television season starts this week. We talk to Kim Potts of to find out what to watch, what to miss, and why show choir is on the tip of everyone's tongues.

Watch the director's cut of the pilot episode of Glee here or (if you can) wait until Wednesday when it airs on Fox. To watch previews of some of the other anticipated shows, click below:

Modern Family

Flash Forward


The Middle

Melrose Place

(click through for an extended clip from NBC comedy Community)


From High Waters to High Cuisine: The Resurgence of New Orleans Restaurants

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

When Hurricane Katrina roared through Lousiana, the flood waters rose in New Orleans, costing lives and livelihoods. Lost in the devastation were some of the city's biggest tourist attractions and beloved restaurants. Four years after Katrina, we check in with a few of the city's institutions: famed fried chicken purveyor Willie Mae's Scotch House and classic New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace. Both were closed for months after the hurricane, but with hard work and perseverance their doors have re-opened. We talk to Kerry Seaton, granddaughter of Willie Mae, who now runs the Scotch House, and Tory McPhail, the chef at Commander's Palace, about their experiences in rebuilding. We also have Tom Fitzmorris, a lifelong New Orleans resident and food critic who has made a new hobby of counting the restaurants in the Crescent City.

The resurrection of Willie Mae's Scotch House was a work of love for those involved and it was captured in a documentary produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance called Above the Line: Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House. Watch it below:

Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House from Joe York on Vimeo.

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Testing the First Amendment Online

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.”

Internet radio host Hal Turner wrote those incendiary words on his blog and landed himself in a large and very public pool of hot water. In a case that will once again test the limits of free speech protection, the Justice Department charged that the radio host had crossed the line into hate speech, and that his words were tantamount to death threats. Mr. Turner was already on trial in Connecticut criminal court for comments made against Catholic lawmakers. ...(continue reading)


Dancing with the Stars with Andy Borowitz

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dancing with the Stars is gearing up for its 9th season and while it doesn't begin until September 21st, the drama has already started. Yesterday the show announced the latest contestants who will be vying for the treasured mirror ball trophy. Among the contestants are former teen heartthrob Donny Osmond, former Teenage Witch Melissa Joan Hart, and former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Here to talk about how Dancing with the Stars is a half-way house for fame-addicted celebrities is Andy Borowitz. He's a humorist who writes for New Yorker and at Borowitz Report. He also wrote Who Moved My Soap?: The CEO's Guide to Surviving Prison.

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The Political Effects of the Health Care Debate

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health care, health care, health care. It’s all you see on the news, read in the papers, and hear on the radio. Will it pass? When? What will it look like if it does? What will things look like if it doesn't? We've been looking both at the broad strokes and picayune details of the various plans; today, we take a look at the potential ramifications of this debate on the political landscape.

The Democrats practically swept the 2006 elections and handily won the 2008 presidential elections, while the Republicans struggled with an identity crisis. But with this health care battle, has the G.O.P. found the grounds for a resurgence? Joining us with their take are Reihan Salam, from the New American Foundation, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University.

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The Moral of the Story: Religious Leaders on Health Care Reform

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The U.S. religious left is wading into the health care debate and teaming up with President Obama to help promote his plan that would provide health insurance to roughly 46 million Americans. We speak to two leaders of the religious left, Rev. Jennifer Butler of Faith in Public Life and Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism about their thoughts on service, faith, and the public option.

Faithful America is a coalition of faith-based organizations working with President Obama to reform health care. They are sponsoring a call-in program with the president on August 19th. For more information, head to Faithful Here is the ad they have just released to support their cause:

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On the Frontlines of the Flu Fight

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thanks to the prospect of a mutated H1N1, Americans will enter this year's flu season with trepidation. Researchers are closer to developing vaccines, but the only way to verify that the immunizations are safe is to test them on human volunteers. We talk to one such brave subject, Gordon Potts, who got a vaccine yesterday. We also talk to Dr. Mark Mulligan, executive director of the Hope Clinic at the Emory Vaccine Center.


The Future of Public Housing

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In 1936, Atlanta, Georgia, built the nation's first housing project. Soon, more of the city's population lived in the projects than in any other city in the nation. Now, Atlanta is set to knock all the big projects down and become the first big city without projects. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity is holding hearings today on the future of housing. In light of Atlanta's move (and the plans of other big cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles), we are looking at whether public housing projects have a future. To discuss this issue is Renee L. Glover, the president and CEO of Atlanta's Housing Authority, and Representative Maxine Waters, the Democrat from California, who is the Chairwoman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.

For more, the AP has put together a video essay on Atlanta's move away from public housing:

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America, Still Not 'Post-Racial'

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Monday, Henry Louis Gates Jr, one of the nation's pre-eminent African American scholars, was arrested for breaking into his own home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The charges have been dropped against the Harvard professor but the racial questions are still swirling. With the election of the first black man to the White House, many people thought American society was becoming "post racial." Joining The Takeaway to discuss race in America is Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, law professor at George Washington University and author of Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice and our friend David Wall Rice, a psychology professor at Morehouse College.

Read David Wall Rice's blog post, Professor Gates Arrested? No Surprise

"The police engage in these who's-the-man masculinity contests. And you know there are things you can do if you don't want to get locked up: you can not look them in the eye, you can be deferential. But sometimes, when you're a black man who's tried to do the right thing your whole life and still end up getting treated like a you-know-what, you do get loud and tumultuous."
—Law professor and author Paul Butler

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Little Kids, Big Business: Updating the Children's TV Act

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In 1990, Congress enacted the Children's Television Act to promote educational children's television programming and to limit marketing to children. The act addresses only broadcast television, not cable, internet, or games. Gary Knell, the President and CEO of Sesame Workshop (the force behind Sesame Street) has been pushing for an update to the bill. He joins The Takeaway before he heads to the Hill to testify on re-booting the Children's Television Act for the 21st century and beyond. Also joining the conversation is Dade Hayes, a father and author of Anytime Playdate: Inside the Preschool Entertainment Boom, or, How Television Became My Baby's Best Friend.

"We're certainly not going to change Elmo...This isn't really about how Sesame Street is going to change. This is really about shining a spotlight on the issues around children's education and children's health, because media plays just an enormous role in impacting children."
—Gary Knell, CEO of Sesame Workshop, on children's programming today

When the original Children's Television Act was being debated, there was one special witness: Mr. Rogers. Here's his testimony:

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Reforming Afghanistan's Bagram Prison

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pentagon is restructuring the war effort in Afghanistan, flooding the country with more than 20,000 troops. Now the Pentagon is revamping its detention policies in Afghanistan with lessons learned from Iraq. Among the changes: separating extremists from the rest of the Bagram prison population; focusing on education; offering classes on a moderate form of Islam. Is this move good for detainees, or just for the public relations of the U.S. military? To help answer that question The Takeaway talks to Jonathan Hafetz. He is an attorney in the National Security Project at the ACLU who has represented detainees from Iraq and Bagram and Guantanamo.

Taxi to the Darkside is a 2007 documentary about the death of an Afghani taxi driver detained at Bagram:


Comic Con: The Place for the Next Big Thing

Friday, July 17, 2009

The words “comic convention” can conjure up images of full grown men dressed as Jedi knights angling for a chance to get an autograph from William Shatner. While that might have been the case a dozen years ago, now Comic Con is the pop culture event of the year. Next week The 'Con opens in San Diego, but it's been sold out for weeks. Luckily, Jeff Yang, the Asian Pop columnist for the SF Chronicle and Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology found himself a ticket. Also joining the conversation is Elisabeth Rappe, blogger for

Here's the trailer for Astro Boy:


Damned If You Do: Profiting in a Recession

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

While much of America remains mired in a recession, Goldman Sachs is booming. The investment bank just paid back the $10 billion loan it took from the federal government last year and today Goldman is expected to announce a $2 billion dollar profit in its second quarter earnings report. How did Goldman go from bust to boom so quickly? Joining The Takeaway with their analysis are Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, who wrote a scathing article on Goldman's practices, and Graham Bowley, a financial reporter for The New York Times. Graham's article on Goldman's expected earnings set off a market buying frenzy.

For more, read Matt Taibbi's article Inside the Great American Bubble Machine, in Rolling Stone. Also, read Graham Bowley's article, For Goldman, a Swift Return to Lofty Profits, in The New York Times.

"The entire Wall Street knows that this bank isn't going to go under because the government just isn't going to allow it."
—Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone on the high earnings of Goldman Sachs


Reincarnating Dinner: The Art and Etiquette of Leftovers

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

You're staring into the refrigerator, wondering what to serve for dinner, and you see it: leftover meatloaf. Can you proudly offer your guests meatloaf sandwiches? Or do you need to keep your leftovers to yourself, like a dark secret? To discuss the etiquette of leftovers, we are joined by Henry Alford, who has an article in today’s New York Times on the kooky behavior leftovers inspire. And Melissa Clark, our friend and food writer for The New York Times, is here to provide some practical options for reincarnating dinner.

For more, read Henry Alford's article, The Question of Leftovers, Ever Fresh, in The New York Times.


Leftover rice or risotto? Try Arancini di Riso

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 cups leftover cooked rice or risotto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

• Stir the eggs, risotto or rice, Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine.

• Place the remaining breadcrumbs into a medium bowl.

• Using about 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture for each ball, form 2-inch-diameter balls.

• Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

• Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, approximately 4 minutes.

• Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

If you have leftover salmon try Red Flannel Salmon Hash

8 ounces leftover salmon

1 medium-size red beet, roasted or boiled until tender, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cups boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil



Heat butter in a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. When melted add olive oil, then onions. Cook onions until soft, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes, garlic, and beet and big pinch of salt and pepper. Break up the salmon into large chunks and add to pan. Stir well and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until a nice brown crust develops on the bottom. Stir well, press down firmly into the pan and allow mixture to form a crust again. Season with salt and pepper. Top with poached eggs for an easy supper.


The Future of Advertising

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

As much as the world of journalism is having to react and evolve quickly due to the proliferation of blogs and social networking sites like Twitter taking over much of the fast-paced reporting, so too does the world of advertising. In the face of technological advances like TiVo, which allow viewers to fast forward over their very bread-and-butter, ad agencies and the companies they represent are having to get very creative to capture consumers' attention. To discuss the brave new world of 30-second spot- free advertising, we turn to advertising consultant and former chairman of ad agency BBH, Cindy Gallop.

Click through for transcript

Here's how one company is handling the change in advertising:


Reinventing American Cuisine

Friday, July 03, 2009

It's the Fourth of July weekend. Since many of us are getting ready to cook-out with friends, we invited chef, author, and eco-activist Bryant Terry to join us. His most recent book, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, re-imagines African-American and Southern food at its healthiest, tastiest, and most sustainable.


Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Soundtrack: "Friends" by Ann Peebles and Don Bryant from Fill this World with Love


  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups loosely packed, flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon mellow white or yellow miso
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt


  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper

For the pesto

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the pine nuts, parsley, garlic, miso, and lemon juice and puree. Slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.

For the salad

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers to the baking sheet and stir to combine. Roast for stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the bell peppers well roasted.
  3. Transfer the potatoes and bell peppers to a large bowl, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of pesto (or more if you want it creamier), stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
  4. Cover the remaining pesto with a film of olive oil in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks (use it for dressing pastas, spreading on toast, or topping fresh tomatoes).

From the book "Vegan Soul Kitchen" by Bryant Terry. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Find out more at

Click through for more recipes