Over the weekend, Taliban bombers and attackers launched their spring offensive with a series of coordinated attacks on Afghan government offices in Kabul and across three eastern provinces. Dozens of fighters assaulted NATO bases, embassies, the Afghan parliament and other government buildings with suicide attacks, rockets and gunfire. In all, the attack lasted more than five hours. NATO forces called the assault “largely ineffective” — saying it caused only "light casualties" to Afghan units. Still, Peter Galbraith, former UN deputy special representative, for Afghanistan says the Taliban’s onslaught emphasizes just how vulnerable the capital has become — and casts new doubts on NATO’s transition plans.
Thumbing their nose at weeks of international warnings early this morning, North Korea launched a test rocket early this morning. American officials maintain the communications satellite was cover for North Korean plans to develop a ballistic missile. David Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent for our partner The New York Times, explains what to expect when the UN Security Council meets to discuss a possible response today.
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen struck a nerve — and rekindled a familiar debate — when she criticized Ann Romney in a CNN appearance earlier this week. Jennifer DeJournett, president and co-founder of VOICES of Conservative Women, says Rosen was right to apologize to Romney. Judith Warner, author of "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" says Rosen's comments are being blown out of proportion. The debate over whether motherhood is "work" is an old one — but a persistent one. Why does it still hit such a nerve?
The Trayvon Martin case caught national attention after the release of the 911 calls George Zimmerman made to police just before the shooting. Those recordings have played a major role in shaping public opinion, throwing into doubt whether Zimmerman will get a fair trial. Sonny Brasfield is executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. He helped draft the 2010 legislation that made Alabama the first state to bar the release of 911 recordings. Wendy Kaminer is a lawyer, social critic and contributing editor at The Atlantic.
Although violent crime has decreased across the country, for one group, the numbers seem to tell a different story. According to statistics compiled by the FBI, the number of police officers killed in 2011 was up by 25 percent from the previous year — and up by 75 percent from 2008. A total of 72 officers were killed in 2011. And for the first time, last year more officers were killed by suspects than by car accidents. Why are more officers losing their lives on the job? Maria Haberfeld, chair of the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice says that while it's hard to pinpoint any one factor behind these numbers, there are some trends that emerge when the statistics are examined closely.
Despite his best efforts, Santorum always seemed to be two steps behind the Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney. And yesterday, he announced that he’d no longer try to catch up. Weighing in on Santorum's decision are Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Ron Christie, Takeaway contributor and Republican political strategist, and Karen Martin, organizer of Spartanburg Tea Party, who previously told us she was hoping for "anyone but Romney" but now her perspective has changed.
According to newly released figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 15,000 weather records were set in the United States last month. John Harold, a farmer in Olathe, Colorado, says it's been hard not to notice the strange weather fluctuations. Andrew Revkin, who writes the "Dot Earth" blog for The New York Times Op-Ed section, says this year's records are an indication of what to expect in the future.
The sinking of the Titanic has long been considered a colossal human failure — a preventable disaster caused largely by ineptitude and misjudgement. A new theory from one British Titanic historian, however, suggests that highly unusual weather conditions are to blame instead. Tim Matlin is the author of three books about the Titanic. His latest, "Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night," argues that icy waters created ideal conditions for a rare type of oceanic mirage that hid icebergs from lookouts and confused would-be rescuers observing from a nearby ship.
The director and studio behind the documentary "Bully" won their battle to have the movie’s rating lowered from the restricted R-rating down to PG-13. Even though it doesn’t have any explicit sex scenes or extreme violence, "Bully" was deemed more risqué than "The Hunger Games," a film about kids killing kids. Ethan Noble, is the chairman of Motion Picture Consulting. He helps filmmakers and studios get the ratings that they want.
Tuesday marks the deadline for the Syrian government to begin drawing back troops as part of a cease-fire agreement with Syrian rebels brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. But on Sunday night, President Bashar al-Assad’s government announced new conditions for the troop pullback. Amr Al Azm is a member of the Syrian opposition and professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University, and Jim Muir is the Baghdad correspondent for the BBC.
Wallace was one of the original co-hosts of CBS’ “60 Minutes” when it debuted in 1968. In his nearly four decades with the program, he became one of the country’s best-known broadcast journalists. Former CBS Moscow Bureau Chief Beth Knobel co-authored the book "Heat and Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists" with Wallace. She remembers Wallace not just as pioneering broadcast journalist — but as a warm, inspired colleague.
Last year more than a hundred thousand active-duty Army troops had been prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, anti-psychotics or anti-anxiety drugs. Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress, says an over-reliance on medication can have dangerous consequences. However David Rudd, Director of National Center for Veterans Studies believes that it is important for soldiers to have access to these kinds of drugs.
Today’s political candidates are increasingly savvy in their attempts to targeting Spanish-speaking voters. But as attempts to court Latino voters have become increasingly commonplace, so have cultural blunders. Jude Joffe-Block is senior field correspondent for Fronteras, a multimedia collaboration focusing on the southwestern border between Mexico and the United States. Ruben Navarette is a nationally-syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
Among Florida cities, Sanford has a remarkable amount of green space. As WMFE reporter Matthew Peddie noted for WNYC’s Transportation Nation blog, Sanford has spent more than $20 million in the last two decades creating more than 30 parks and green spaces. However, Sanford is also notable for being home to numerous gated communities — like The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the neighborhood where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked back from 7-Eleven.
The commonalities and tensions between the black and Latino communities in the United States — and in particular, in the American south — have been a source of much discussion in the Trayvon Martin case. On yesterday's program, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson mentioned some dramatic statistics on how blacks and Latinos in the American south perceive one another. Duke researchers found that an overwhelming majority of Latinos in Durham, North Carolina, 78 percent, felt they had the most in common with whites. What’s more, nearly 60 percent of Latinos surveyed reported they believed that few or almost no blacks were hard-working or could be trusted.
Instead of just measuring economic health, should we be measuring our levels of happiness? That’s a question the United Nations is taking up this week in a session called "Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm." But how worthwhile is the "pursuit of happiness" in the first place? Wake Forest English professor Eric G. Wilson is the author of "Against Happiness: In Defense of Melancholy." He argues that Americans' fixation on happiness comes at a cost.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that authorities may strip-search people arrested for any offense — no matter how minor — before they are admitted to jail. In Florence v. County of Burlington, Albert Florence argued that he was subjected to humiliating strip searches after he was mistakenly arrested in 2005. However, according to the court's majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the need to protect the safety of prison inmates justifies the use of "thorough searches at intake for disease, gang affiliation, and contraband" by correctional officials. Anita Allen, professor of law and philosophy at University of Pennsylvania explains how the court reached its decision.
Tonight, Kansas and Kentucky face off in New Orleans for the NCAA Championship. Over the weekend, Kentucky beat Louisville in an intra-state match while Kansas rallied against Ohio State to win 64-62. Today two super-fans argue their case for each team. Kim Parks roots for Kentucky, and she's ready to defend the Wildcats against Mark Domitrovich, a Kansas Jayhawks fan. Also with us for NCAA analysis and more on the latest in sports news is Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Takeaway sports contributor.
Over the weekend, pro-democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to Myanmar’s parliament in a landmark vote. It’s a historic moment for the country; after years of house arrest, Suu Kyi appears poised to finally step into a role of real power. What's the best way to build a real democracy? Do events in Myanmar offer a model for democratic transitions elsewhere? Suzanne DiMaggio is Vice President for global policy programs at the Asia Society. Robert Lieber is professor of government and international affairs at Georgetown University.
In the biggest Supreme Court cases, Justice Anthony Kennedy, more often that not, is the key swing vote. As the Supreme Court deliberates over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, once again all eyes are on Justice Kennedy. Adam Liptak is the Supreme Court Correspondent for The New York Times.