For this week's movie roundup, contributor Rafer Guzman reviews "Brothers," with Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tobey McGuire; "Everybody's Fine," with Robert DeNiro and Drew Barrymore; and "Up in the Air," with George Clooney.
Last night the storytellers at The Moth in Detroit took on the topic closest to Motor City's heart: cars. Alex Trajano, host of the event, shares the winning story with us and some observations on what happens when you make an open call to Detroiters to tell car stories in public.
Business Takeout: Louise Story tells us about a controversial new procedure at the Dallas Morning News and several other papers owned by the A.H. Belo Corporation, which asks some journalists to run their stories by the paper's sales department as well as by editors.
Sports Takeout: Sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin discusses what's at stake for international soccer teams at the much anticipated World Cup draw, scheduled for later today in Cape Town, South Africa.
"The Waiting Room" Takeout: The Takeaway is staying connected to Americans seeking healthcare with "The Waiting Room," a multimedia project and film documentary that collects interviews with patients at Highland Hospital in Oakland California. Hear Producer/Director Peter Nicks on the genesis of "The Waiting Room." Here's a recent video from the project:
You might call military contractors the absent presence in President Obama’s Tuesday speech announcing his new strategy in Afghanistan. There are currently 104,000 military contractors supporting the American mission there, and those numbers will grow as more troops deploy. Contractors serve meals, deliver munitions, run security for the U.S. Ambassador in Kabul, and help train Afghan police units... and according to an article in Vanity Fair this week, Erik Prince, CEO of Xe – the company formerly known as Blackwater – was involved in assembling hit teams targeting al-Qaida members. Robert Young Pelton, author of "Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror," and Allison Stanger, author of "One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy" join us to discuss how much contractors cost the U.S., and how accountable they are to the government who hired them.
Listener Takeout: Listeners respond to President Obama's speech and plans for the war in Afghanistan, as well as our piece on vinyl records.
Money Takeout: Louise Story of The New York Times explains why Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is taking steps to slow down the re-confirmation of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich offers a wrap-up of Capitol Hill news you may have missed. The focus this week is on our Afghanistan strategy, Ben Bernanke's confirmation hearing, health care reform, and the never-ending saga of the White House party crashers.
In a speech at West Point last night, President Obama announced he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan starting early next year. He also discussed an exit strategy that he hopes to start in July, 2011. In a brief trip through the looking glass, it's the Republicans who (mostly) seem to have Obama's back this time and not the Democrats. Our Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, has reactions on Capitol Hill, from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), to President Obama's Afghanistan policy. We're also joined by Michael Gerson, President George W. Bush's chief speech writer from 2000 to 2006 and now a senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement.
Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich says now that President Obama has laid out his strategy for the war in Afghanistan, another war is beginning: the fight over how we're going to pay for it.
Business Takeout: Louise Story of The New York Times looks at the hard line on debt some governors may take, and tells us what trade-offs that means for cash-strapped state budgets.
Sports Takeout: Now that the Florida Highway Patrol has declared Tiger Woods' car accident a single-car accident worthy of a $164 ticket and 4 points, we ask Ibrahim Abdul-Matin how this will play out for golf's public image.
Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich tells us that for the first time in history, a disclosure on the amount of money that Congress spends on itself is available online. Todd took a look at some of the nearly 3,400 pages that cover the quarter from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2009.
Business Takeout: Louise Story, finance reporter for our partner The New York Times, takes a look at Congress' stalled efforts to pass financial regulatory reform.
Sports Takeout: Takeaway Sports Contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin discusses the latest developments in golf champion Tiger Woods' strange and eventful Thanksgiving weekend.
Congress Takeout: From Washington, Todd Zwillich looks ahead to the continuing tussle over health care reform in the Senate.
Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin discusses half-time Twittering in the NBA and upcoming NFL games.
Media Takeout: The New York Times' Brian Stelter says the couple who crashed President Obama's first state dinner are asking for big bucks for their first interview about the incident, hoping to cash in before everyone stops caring ... unless it's already too late.
We're talking about the costs of caring for Grandma, and whether they're going to get any cheaper with health care reform. The CLASS ACT – short for 'Community Living Assistance Services and Support' – is a section of the Senate's health care bill. It was introduced by the late Senator Edward Kennedy to lower the cost of long term care for sick or aging family members, and would allow people to collect daily cash benefits of about $50 to $70 a day to pay for home care, adult day programs or nursing homes after paying premiums for five years. The goal is offer a voluntary long term care alternative to Medicaid and private nursing home insurance.
On Saturday night, Democrats in the Senate secured the 60 votes necessary to introduce health care legislation to weeks of debate and amendment proposals. The vote signaled a further advance in the movement to overhaul America's ailing health care system and, by extension, its economy. But it seems that the process of fixing things has been going on for an awfully long time now. We discuss the history of big legislative efforts with Theda Skocpol, professor of government and sociology at Harvard University, and our Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich.
The first public hearings on the Fort Hood shootings got underway on Capitol Hill yesterday. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich tells us why the Senate was so focused on the question of terrorism.
Todd also previews an important test vote on health care reform in the Senate happening this weekend. He says there are three holdouts in the party who have not yet said if they'll vote to approve the current bill. Here's who they are:
Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska: Opposes the public option, thinks the bill costs too much, and doesn’t think that the abortion prohibitions are strict enough. However he has left the door open that he may well vote yes.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana: Has similar problems with the bill. She has strongly suggested that she’s for health care reform, but she has not said how she’ll vote yet.
Sen. Blanch Lincoln of Arkansas: The third and most unpredictable holdout. She’s a moderate Democrat facing a tough reelection who opposes the public option and has given no indication of whether she’ll take the politically difficult step of falling in line with Democrats and President Obama.
Attorney General Eric Holder faced energetic questioning from senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday; our own Todd Zwillich was there, and joins us, along with Matthew Waxman, associate professor of national security law at Columbia Law School.
Business Takeout: The House Financial Services Committee passed a measure yesterday that would let the government break up large banks, even if they're healthy. New York Times reporter Louise Story tells us why.
Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin takes a look at baseball's Managers of the year and attempts to predict who could win the NL Cy Young Award.
Senate Democrats unveiled their health care bill [pdf, 2.5mb] yesterday - a massive tome of more than two thousand pages that the non-partisan CBO estimates will cost $849 billion over ten years. That's below the limit of $900 billion that President Obama set - and a figure that would actually decrease the deficit. Drafters of the bill patted themselves on the back during an evening press converence yesterday, breaking into laughter when Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) flahed the "V" for victory sign. But the wrangling and political horse-trading aren't over yet, and that "V" may yet prove premature. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich says fights over abortion and the "public option" just aren't going away. Paul Starr is a veteran of these kind of debates. He is currently a professor of sociology and public policy at Princeton University, and was a senior health policy advisor in the Clinton White House. He wrote the book "The Social Transformation of American Medicine." Starr weighs in on whether the massive bill can slow the rise in health care spending or whether that goal is simply a pipe dream.
Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich was at a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday where Attorney General Eric Holder defended his decision to try confessed 9/11 'mastermind' Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York.
Business Takeout: Retailers are struggling this holiday season, but luxury sellers like Saks Fifth Avenue are cutting inventory, so consumers can't count on blowout sales. New York Times reporter Louise Story explains this novel approach.
Listeners: We received a lot of responses to yesterday's story about a physicians' group recommending people wait for particular cancer screenings.
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