Cover your ears! Starting today, legions of gamers around the country will be able to sing – and play – their own version of Beatles songs, thanks to a special edition of the game Rock Band. Console-owners may now try their hand at 45 Beatles tracks, and download more of the band's newly remastered tracks in the coming months. We talk with Jeff Howe, contributing editor for Wired magazine, who wrote about the game this month. We also give The Beatles: Rock Band our own test run in the studio.
Watch the intro video for "The Beatles: Rock Band":
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.
All this week, we are looking back at the events that triggered the financial meltdown, one year ago. Today, we focus on the housing market, then and now. We talk to economist Robert Shiller, of the Case-Shiller home-price index, who was among the few experts to warn of the coming housing crisis. We also speak to New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Schack, who has a penchant for halting the bank foreclosures that come before his bench. (Read his profile in the New York Times, "A ‘Little Judge’ Who Rejects Foreclosures, Brooklyn Style") And we also talk to Pamela Zombeck, who is struggling to hold on to her home in Salem, Massachusetts.
Listen to more housing stories in this series.
"A lot of the paperwork I find from banks, is insufficient, it's not accurate, there's sloppiness so I believe there has to be a level playing field for homeowners as well as banks."
—Judge Arthur Schack, New York State Supreme Court judge on one of the reasons why he's thrown out 46 of the 102 foreclosure motions that have come before him.
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.
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.
In 2007, Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari left the U.S. on an annual visit to her mother in Iran. But when she got to the country, she was promptly arrested and charged with treason. She tells us how she was kept in solitary confinement for more than 100 days and subjected to grueling interrogations. This is all in her new memoir, "My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran".
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
The World Health Organization said last week that within the next 20 years, depression will become the largest health burden on society. But treatment for mental health is often underfunded, despite the fact that it drastically affects productivity in many countries. We talk to Professor Cary Cooper, who teaches psychology and health at Lancaster University in Britain. We also speak with Dr. Shekhar Saxena, program manager of the WHO's Department of mental health and substance abuse.
At the U.S. Open yesterday, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin celebrated yet another victory, this time defeating Russia’s Nadia Petrova. But will the young phenom keep her hot streak and take home the top prize? Takeaway sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin gives us the latest.
The BBC documentary "Aftershock" takes a close up look at how Americans are getting on one year after the economic collapse. To record “Aftershock,” our partners at the BBC World Service asked Steve Evans, the host of BBC show “Business Daily” to go to Nevada and chronicle the lives of those impacted. Steve Evans joins us to talk about the documentary.
Watch a promo video of "Aftershock":
Late Monday afternoon, a London court found three British Muslim men guilty of conspiracy to murder by plotting, three years ago, to blow up planes bound for North America. The men planned to smuggle liquid explosives disguised as soda bottles on board at least seven airplanes. We speak to the BBC’s Defense and Security Correspondent Rob Watson with details about the case.
Unemployment numbers last week showed the U.S. jobless rate at 9.7 percent: the highest since 1983. This number may be misleadingly low, however; the official unemployment rate counts only those who are actively looking for work, not those who have given up on the job search. When positive economic signs tempt those folks back into the job market, the official unemployment rate could actually go up. Louise Story is a Wall Street and finance reporter for our partners The New York Times -- she joins us to tell us more.
It’s official: summer vacation is over and Congress is back in session, preparing to pick up where they left off. This week, President Obama will attempt to take back control of the health care debate in a prime-time speech Wednesday night.
Joining us for a round table discussion on what awaits the President this week – from health care to Afghanistan to the overall happiness of the nation – is Peter Baker, White House correspondent for The New York Times; Jay Newton-Small, Washington reporter for Time Magazine; and Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports.
The United States Senate wrapped up business for the summer yesterday, voting to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who will become the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate also approved another $2 billion for the Cash For Clunkers program. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich is following all of this and more.
During the 2008 presidential election, Indiana turned purple. The formerly solid red Republican state voted for President Obama. Now the President is working to keep the battleground state on his team. He visits Elkhart, Indiana, today, where the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country as the biggest industry in the area, RV manufacturing, is experiencing a downturn. President Obama will speak at the site of the largest RV plant in the region about a new government program that could help the beleaguered area. The Takeaway talks to Tony Krabill, reporter for WVPE public radio, about local anticipation of the president's appearance and to two people who were laid off last year, Ed Neufeldt and Denise Sexton.
On Capitol Hill and across the nation, the debate over the future of American health care rages on. It’s President Obama against the Republicans; the Blue Dogs versus the progressive Democrats. For a view from the Hill as well as the heartland, The Takeaway is joined by our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich and public radio reporters Adam Allington of KWMU in St. Louis, Missouri, and Michael Puente of member station WBEZ in Chicago.
To hear some of the strong emotions surrounding the debate, watch the footage of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Senator Arlen Specter at a health care town hall in Philadelphia yesterday:
We check in with The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich to get the latest from Capitol Hill. The Senate has the outline of a deal which got the Congressional Budget Office on their side with its comparatively modest price tag. But that doesn't mean it's close to passing. On the House side of the Hill, Sen. Henry Waxman, the author of the House's health care bill, has struck a deal with the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats. But that may not be enough to get the bill to a vote.
Health care, health care, health care. President Obama has been pushing his plan, selling it to the nation in a prime time press conference last week and to seniors in a town hall with the AARP yesterday. But is the nation buying it? The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich has been watching; he's not sure everyone in the president's own party are keen on the plan. The Blue Dog Democrats, the fiscally conservative wing of the party, may be starting to work with House Republicans to slow the bill's progress. One of the Blue Dog Democrats, Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper, joins us to explain his position. Rep. Cooper has taught health care policy at Vanderbilt University for 12 years.
"It's not too late right now, we can still get this done. The key is to have an open dialogue with all the American people, not just hardcore Democrats and Republicans, but also the folks in the middle who really are worried and skeptical and want to know more what's in the bill."
—Rep. Jim Cooper on health care reform