The numbers are out: After four months of steadily increasing, home sales tapered off in August. We speak to Nicholas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, for a look at the national housing scene. Then, we take a look at the market from the perspective of three local players: Behrooz Shahidi, a realtor in New Jersey; Ken Ebaugh, a senior mortgage banker with Paramount Bank near Detroit; and Eric Mattinson, who is a first-time home buyer from Greensboro, N.C.
Today, global leaders descend on a small American town known as Pittsburgh, as the G-20 world summit gets underway. Local Pittsburgh residents are happy to have the attention (even if downtown security is a nightmare), but they are eager to note that even when world leaders aren't flocking to the city, there's a lot to do. We hunted down three Steel City locals for their hometown perspective: Justin Strong, Sabina Deitrick and Seán Sebastian.
Estimates say that starting now, the number of people around the world who have dementia will double every 20 years. That means today's caseload of 35 million victims will balloon to 70 million by 2030, then leap to an astounding 115 million by 2050. The news is in a report out yesterday from Alzheimer's Disease International. (Read the report's Executive Summary [PDF, 24 pages, 746KB])
We're left wondering: is the United States prepared for this increase? And why haven't we heard about this before now? We speak to David Shenk, author of the book "The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic," and Renee Packel, a 73-year-old caregiver whose husband has Alzheimer's.
"He was an attorney, he was a very, very brilliant man. Now he's just a shell. He really cannot follow any conversation...He can't see a glass in front of him because it doesn't just affect your memory: it affects how you see, how you think. He basically has to be cared for all the time."
—Renee Packel, 73-year-old caregiver whose husband has Alzheimer's on her husband's condition
Today, at a one-day U.N. summit, President Obama will talk face-to-face with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The two aim to get beyond roiling trade disputes to attempt an agreement on global warming legislation. What factors are separating these two at the table? Here to tell us is David Biello, energy and environmental editor at Scientific American.
NASA has long been the government agency meant to lead the charge to the future, at least in the public's imagination. A report to Congress from an independent body of experts has put NASA's future into question. In a hearing before the U.S. House of Representative's commmittee on science and technology, the panel said the Constellation program, meant to replace the aging space shuttle fleet and drive human space exploration, was "fatally flawed." To explain the issues that the experts found, where the problems come from, and where NASA might go from here is The Takeaway's go-to space expert, Miles O'Brien.
President Obama is traveling across the nation to rally people behind health care reform. One of this biggest stops happened yesterday, with a speech in Pittsburgh before hundreds of members of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor union. The labor movement was one of now-President Obama's biggest supporters during his campaign. How does the group feel about the president, and his policies, eight months in? We talk with Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, and labor journalist Philip Dine about the current relationship between the president and workers.
If you missed the president's speech at the AFL-CIO convention, here it is:
Yesterday, we asked listeners to send us questions about health care. From "insurance co-ops" to "sole proprietorship," our very own Washington correspondent and healthcare whiz Todd Zwillich addresses listeners' queries, conundrums, and confusion over health care reform.
This week, the Senate Finance committee is set to release the first draft of their health care bill. In fact, the proposed legislation was originally slated to be released today ... so what's holding things up? Here to explain the unfinished details is our own Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich. Plus, this bill might contain plans for cooperative health insurance providers. Listeners asked us to explain what these companies look like, so we called up Peter Fallow, CEO of Group Healthcare Cooperative of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Timothy Jost, law professor and health policy expert.
Yesterday, at an otherwise Apple-standard products announcement, the master of ceremonies was someone who has been out of the spotlight for months: Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs had been away from his position as the company's leader on sick leave, for what turned out to be a liver transplant. In an unusually revealing speech at Wednesday's show, Jobs spoke about his illness. We speak to Wired senior editor, Steven Levy, who was at the event.
D. FENCE! D. FENCE! It's that time of year again. Pull out your hoodies and foam fingers; your beer cozies and the ability to clap in sync. It's the first day of the season for the NFL and everyone is talking quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and...Michael Vick. The best competitors at the U.S. Open continue towards the final rounds, but American teenager tennis phenom Melanie Oudin lost last night. Here to tell us what to watch out for out on the field is The Takeaway's sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin. And he's even got some gossip for those of you that don't take a liking to men in helmets and shiny pants. (Gasp!)
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:
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.
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
Tomorrow, children across the country head back to school. Today, however, we’re joined by three health care professionals to talk about what school communities are doing to combat the spread of the H1N1 virus. Dr. William Schaffner is the chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt School, Lisa Swank is a public health emergency preparedness coordinator from Maryland, and Carol Johnson is the superintendent for Boston Public Schools.
"Stay home for 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved. And for people, particularly with underlying illnesses, once the systems start, immediately call, you don't visit, but call your doctor because your doctor may want to prescribe an ant-viral medication for you, which will shorten the course of the illness."
—Dr. William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt School,for students who start to feel symptoms
The United Nations says that in 30 years, there may be no ice left in the Arctic if we don’t do more to stop global warming. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was in the Arctic Circle this week, to drive that point home. We talk to the director of the Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team, Janos Pazstor, and Anthony Russell of the U.S. Coast Guard. Russell is part of a team that just returned from the arctic north, as part of a U.S. exploration mission.
Listen to the sound made by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy as it manuevers in the Arctic sea ice:
(click through for a map of America's swath of the Arctic.)
The White House announced an addition to the president's agenda next Wednesday; he will speak about health care reform before a joint session of Congress. Obama's oration skills have long been considered one of his strengths, but pundits wonder if a few words from the bully pulpit can bring about agreement on the challenging health care bill. Joining us with a preview of what the president might say is Jay Newton-Small, Washington reporter for Time Magazine. We also speak to presidential historian Allan Lichtman, from American University, for a look at how presidents have waged their battles with Congress in recent decades.
"The president has got to come up with some kind of plan. And the members of Congress have got to zip their lips, and zip their egos and do one thing and one thing only, get that plan through."
—Presidential historian Allan Lichtman on how President Obama can pass health care reform
From acetaminophen to gargling with salt water, most people we know will do anything to recover from being sick... except skip a day of work. But this attitude won't jibe with the H1N1 virus: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending that Americans who catch swine flu take at least 3-5 days off of work to prevent the illness from spreading. Even the thought of one hour of isolation from our cubicles gives us the jitters, so today, we're sitting down with clinical psychologist Robin Kerner to try to understand exactly why it is that Americans have such a hard time just staying home.
Need additional proof that Americans just don't vacation? Read Why we don't vacation like the French in the American Prospect, Please don't make me go on vacation in the New York Times, and Money vs. Time Off: Why we don't take vacations from The Digerati Life.
Yesterday, the president held a press conference to update the nation about the government's preparedness for an impending outbreak of H1N1, or "swine flu." The briefing was lackluster, to say the least, and it came on the heels of some startling news: there's suspicion that three people in Egypt might have independently come down with both avian flu and H1N1 simultaneously, a viral partnership that could allow H1N1 to become more virulent. (For more, read this article from the International Society for Infectious Diseases.) Are we really prepared for that? To read between the lines of dry bureaucratic-speak, we've called in our swine flu guru, Dr. Richard Wenzler.
Click through for a transcript of the president's remarks or watch his speech below:
After 18 years of being held captive, how will Jaycee Dugard break from the emotional and mental stresses that built up during that time? We talk to Benedict Carey, science reporter for The New York Times, to look at if and how a person begins to return to normalcy after years of torment.
Read Ben's piece on the psychology of recovery on the front page of today's New York Times: "For Longtime Captives, a Complex Road Home."
September begins the official fire season in California, and already, at least eight fires are burning across the state. One in particular, which is blazing on the mountaintops around Pasadena, has fire marshalls worried. California Governor Arnold Schwarzennegar is calling the Pasadena area a disaster area, while fire officials are nervously watching a shifting weather system in fear of increasing winds. Bill Davis, CEO of KPCC public radio in Southern California, gives us an update from his front porch, from where he's watching the fires.
"There are a number of houses in these communities that have been evacuated. And I had an almost surreal experience of going to evacuate a friend’s house, who was on vacation…and going through [it] ... finding wedding albums and things of importance for [my] neighbors." — Bill Davis, CEO of KPCC public radio in Southern California, can see the wildfires from his front porch
KPCC listeners have sent in a series of pictures of the fires: