The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last year brought attention to the safety risks associated with atomic energy. Before Fukushima, nuclear energy was on the rise and many countries developed plans to build more power plants. But after the disaster, nuclear energy became a subject of international debate and countries like Japan and Germany started to shut down reactors. How should the United States deal with nuclear energy?
Since 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been celebrated as a federal holiday. Yet, even from the start, the day was met with controversy: senators Jesse Helms and John McCain fought against the creation of the holiday, and more recently, some major figures —such as Cornel West — have started a campaign against what West called the “Santa-Claus-ification” of Dr. King. Harris Wofford also perceives Dr. King's message as becoming warped over the years, and now advocates for Americans to spending the holiday donating their service instead of just taking off of work.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, people across the country will honor the civil rights leader's memory and legacy in myriad ways. However, this is the first year when crowds seeking to give tribute can gather around the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in the National Mall. The 30-foot tall statue has been controversial because of the labor used to construct it and for its use of a paraphrased quote from Dr. King.
After the Iowa caucuses, a group of high-profile conservatives sent out invitations to evangelical leaders for a gathering at the Texas ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler on January 14 and 15. The summit's purpose is to discuss which GOP candidates they will and will not be supporting in 2012. Evangelicals have been the most significant segment of the Republican base since 1992, so whoever is chosen this weekend could nail the nomination — assuming that there is a candidate they feel represents their values. Despite winning New Hampshire and Iowa, Romney could be blocked due to his Mormonism and weak social conservatism.
Wednesday marks the tenth anniversary of the United States opening a detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The past decade has seen no shortage of controversy about the base, both on legal and moral terms. Barack Obama campaigned for president on the promise to close the base, but signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act on December 31, which includes a provision allowing indefinite military detention without trial. There are currently 171 prisoners being held there, and no signs of shutting the facility down in the near future.
Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have been outspoken critics of income inequality in America. The late aughts were shaped by the subprime mortgage crisis, subsequent stock market crash, international debt problems, and record levels of long-term unemployment. Between 2006 and 2010, there was a 27 percent increase of people living in poverty across the U.S. And despite signs of recovery, growth has been slow and decidedly uneven with Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and California hovering at 12 percent or higher unemployment rates.
Sunday night marked the season finale of TLC's "All-American Muslim." The show followed five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Michigan, and drew a lot of attention when retail chain Lowe’s decided to pull commercials from the program. Both the boycott and the show itself prompted a larger conversation about the portrayal of Muslims in the media, as well as many Americans' private prejudices.
We are accustomed to hearing about violence and instability in Pakistan, yet it remains a faraway place to most Americans. Yet what if Pakistan was home and its violence and uncertainty were part of the fabric of your life? And what if that violence one day claimed someone close to you? As a writer and as a Pakistani, Aatish Taseer has struggled all his life to understand his relationship with his country, with his ethnic homeland Punjab, and with his politically prominent father Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province. A year ago this week his father was assassinated just as he was finishing his first novel "Noon."
December 10, 2010 marked the beginning of the Arab Spring, a series of pro-democracy movements that moved from Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. A little over a year later, violent protests are still happening on the streets of Cairo and Homs, Tunisia and Libya are peaceful, while Bahrain and Yemen remain ominously quiet. So where will 2012 take the Middle East and North Africa?
Louis CK is a veteran stand-up comedian who writes, stars, and frequently directs the cult FX series "Louie." Known among comedy connoisseurs for wittily playing with language and awkward social scenarios, his most recent venture has been to independently produce the feature-length concert film "Live at the Beacon Theatre." Distributed exclusively online, it has earned over one million dollars since its December 10 release. (Watch an outtake from the special after the jump.) Louis CK talks about his special, and gives his predictions for the coming year.
Iman Traina escaped from Libya in April, fleeing on a boat with her baby as Moammar Gadhafi's forces moved on Misrata. When she was last on the program, she reported not having clean water, lack of food and electricity. After spending many months in Ireland, she is home again. Traina says things have gotten much better in Libya and looks and hopes to settle down, raise her children, and rebuild her country.
Some years just seem to have less impact than others. But 2011 held the Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, Occupy Wall Street, protests against austerity measures and the ousting of Berlusconi, as well as the end of the Iraq War. Which events of the past year will make it to the history textbooks, and which will be esoteric stories we confuse our grandkids with?
In September, artist and graphic designer Megan Flood came on The Takeaway to discuss her senior project at the University of Michigan. Through audio and photographs, Living Without Doorknobs documents life in an Ann Arbor, Michigan homeless tent community called Camp Take Notice. One of the homeless men living in Camp Take Notice, Joe Gill, was a major focus of Flood's work, and his photographs of the tent community became an integral part of her project.
Amit Gupta first appeared on The Takeaway in October, three weeks after being diagnosed with leukemia, to discuss his experiences trying to find a bone marrow donor. Amit is of South Indian descent, and South Indians are severely under-represented in the donor pool. His friend Seth Godin, who writes for the popular blog SethGodin.com, offered $10,000 to the first person to be a donor match with Amit.
What do Sony Pictures, A&W Restaurants, Saab, American Apparel, Sears, Kellogg's Corn Pops, MySpace, Soap Opera Digest, and Nokia have in common? They’re ten brands that 24/7 Wall St, a Delaware-based financial news group, says won’t survive through 2012. And it looks like some of those predictions might already be coming true — on Tuesday, Sears announced it will close more than 100 stores after lackluster holiday sales.
A devastating tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, on May 22 of this year. One hundred sixty people were killed, and nearly a thousand were injured. According to the National Weather Service, as much as 75 percent of the city was damaged. Three days later, Susan Moore and Regina Jones, two Joplin public school teachers, joined The Takeaway to discuss its effects on the city's schools, which were closed for the remainder of the school year. Scott Meeker, enterprise editor of the Joplin Globe, also came on the program to discuss his efforts to reconnect people over Facebook. The Takeaway speaks to them again for an update on Joplin many months after the storm.
Americans struggling with the ongoing recession and unemployment has been one of the defining narratives of 2011. Alexandra Jarrin, a regular guest and listener, lost her corporate job and home in 2008 and remained unemployed for nearly three years. She now works as a door-to-door salesperson for commission, but hopes to find a better job soon. Jarrin is 50-years-old and lives in Vermont. She has been on the program before, and gives an update of how her life has changed since The Takeaway last spoke to her.
Economic inequality is the primary motivation for the Occupy protests that began in New York and have since gone global. A clear-cut solution for restoring financial stability and easing public disgruntlement, stateside or in the burgeoning European debt crisis, is nowhere in sight. But one millionaire claims to have an answer.
Tumblr CEO David Karp and Maria Pallante, United States Copyright Office director, join The Takeaway for two very distinct views on the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill's stated purpose is to shut down websites that host or post pirated material and counterfeit goods. Hearings on bill began earlier this week in the House. Another version of the bill, called the PROTECT IP Act, already passed in the Senate.
Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry announced a proposal Tuesday that has been circulated for years in chain emails: cut Congressional pay. It's part of what he calls his plan to "uproot and overhaul Washington." In addition, Perry wants to end lifetime tenure for federal judges. The proposal would drastically re-shape the federal government and may be unconstitutional. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich talks about whether this plan is likely to pass.