Streams

Todd Zwillich

Washington Correspondent, The Takeaway

Todd Zwillich appears in the following:

Biden in Beirut: America's Stake in the Lebanese Election

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden travels to Lebanon today to meet with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman in Beirut. The meeting is a show of U.S. support for a leader facing tough elections in two weeks. Lebanon's militant Shiite group Hezbollah is expected to make electoral gains. This is the second visit to Lebanon by an American official. (Secretary of State Clinton was there a few weeks ago.) Why is Washington so concerned about this Lebanese vote? The Takeaway turns to Rami Khouri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. He is also the editor-at-large for The Daily Star newspaper in Beirut.

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Stormy Weather? Predictions for the Hurricane Season

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st, with forecasters predicting a near-normal hurricane season. Statistically speaking, "normal" translates into a 70 percent chance of four to seven hurricanes occurring, including as many as three major ones. For a closer look at what hurricane season means for those people who live in a storm's path, we check in with Mark Schleifstein, the environmental reporter for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and Terry Coleman, a tugboat captain and a lifetime resident of New Orleans.

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Cheney On Cheney: Why The Angler Won't Stop Talking

Friday, May 22, 2009

While most presidents, and certainly most vice-presidents retire from the spotlight when their terms of office end, former Vice President Dick Cheney has been everywhere lately. He spoke at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. yesterday, in a speech that immediately followed President Obama’s. He defended his opposing views on National Security and the controversial interrogation tactics he implemented under the Bush administration. To give us his take on the man and his plan, The Takeaway is joined by Jake Bernstein, a reporter for ProPublica and the co-author of the Cheney biography, Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency.
"It's an ideology that he's trying to protect. He believes in a strong executive, he believes in this wartime president that has unfettered power, and he's going to fight for that."
—Author Jake Bernstein on Dick Cheney

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Ending the War On Drugs

Friday, May 15, 2009

President Nixon coined the term "war on drugs" in 1969, and began fighting the problem of drug use with arrests and prison time. Since then every administration has more or less done the same. In what may be a major shift, though, the Obama administration’s new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, says he wants to get rid of the term "war on drugs" altogether, and focus more on treatment instead. To discuss the implications of this possible policy shift is Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for Salon.com and he just wrote a Cato Institute-funded study, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies, published last month.

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Trying to Help Pakistani Refugees

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thousands of people are fleeing the SWAT valley in northwest Pakistan today. The government temporarily lifted a curfew to allow the civilians to flee the intense fighting between government troops and Taliban militants. Thousands of internally displaced civilians — as many as 800,000, says the U.N.— have been living in makeshift refugee camps, where reports say that conditions are harsh. To get the latest on this ongoing crisis, we're joined by Nazes Afroz, South Asia Editor at our partners the BBC.

Our partners at the BBC have a revealing map of the Pakistan conflict. Research by the BBC into the growing strength of Taliban militants in north-western Pakistan shows that only around one-third of the area remains under full government control.

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Is Horse Racing Inhumane?

Friday, May 15, 2009

When we covered the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, a listener criticized us for not addressing charges that breeding practices, drug use, and harmful track surfaces are costing many horses their health or even their lives. The Preakness, the second race of the Triple Crown, is coming up on Saturday. The Takeaway talks to Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist for the Washington Post, and gets her perspective on how the sport could be reformed to make it safer for horses. She wrote a column critical of thoroughbred racing after the filly Eight Belles had to be euthanized on the track at last year's Kentucky Derby.
"It's time to open the books on what trainers are administering these animals. There's medical care, which is one thing, and then there's horse doping which is an entirely different subject."
—Sally Jenkins, Washington Post sports columnist, on the safety of race horses

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Why Ghana is Growing

Friday, May 15, 2009

In the current economic climate, it's hard to imagine a place where the economy is growing by 4, 5, or 6 percent. A place where banks are adding branches and holding onto their deposits. That place exists. Even in the middle of a global recession, Ghana is doing great. The African nation has enjoyed more or less unbroken growth since the 1980s, propped up by gold and cocoa exports and now, oil. BBC Chief Economics Correspondent Hugh Pym has just returned to London from a reporting trip there and he joins us now.

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Environment: 'Cap and Trade' and Climate Change

Friday, May 15, 2009

Regulating greenhouse gases has been one of the most contentious issues for the EPA. In 2003, the agency ruled that carbon dioxide could not be regulated as a pollutant. A 2007 Supreme Court decision ordered the EPA to review the scientific case for that decision, but the Bush administration ignored that ruling. With the new administration in place, things are expected to change. Lisa Jackson, the new Administrator of the EPA, joins The Takeaway to explain the Agency's plans. Also joining the conversation is Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican Congressman from Michigan, who is the Ranking member of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee. He's one of the leading opponents of cap-and-trade and the Waxman-Markey climate bill working its way through Congress. He joins The Takeaway with his opposition to the bill and why he thinks it would mortgage our future.
"The biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are in our transportation sector, the cars and trucks on the road, and then utilities, the way we generate power."
—EPA administrator Lisa Jackson

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What Would the Torture Photos Tell Us?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Last Wednesday, President Obama reversed his position and decided to block the release of photographs documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel. His change of mind on the issue came after commanders warned that the images could set off a deadly backlash against American troops. The change in position was sharply criticized by the A.C.L.U.. Obama says he doesn't want the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan imperiled by an old fight. He may not prevail, but he has, importantly, shown solidarity with his military's view on this controversial issue.

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Dancing Queen: Eurovision and the Gay-Rights Debate

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Europe-wide song contest Eurovision isn't just about music anymore. The event is turning out to be one of the biggest landmarks in Russia's gay-rights movement. Joining us from Moscow with a report is the BBC's Paul Henley.

For more of The Takeaway's coverage of Eurovision, click here.

Here's a recap of the Eurovision Grand Final:

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Mom, Is My Bedroom Still Available? Life After College

Friday, May 15, 2009

All week in our series Pomp in these Circumstances, we've been looking at life after graduation. Many young adults will be going out into the real world, trying to get jobs and to live on their own. But in this economy, many graduating students will be moving back in with their parents. How much financial help should you give your children? Here to advise us is Beth Kobliner, is a personal finance expert and author of The New York Times best-seller Get a Financial Life.
"People at this age are so concerned right now. And you think about it: They're graduating with, on average, $22,000 in student loans, $4,100 in credit card debt, and it's the worst job market in 25 years. Their pomp is being tempered by lousy circumstances."
—Personal finance expert Beth Kobliner on the challenges for college graduates

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Pomp and Controversy: President Obama at Notre Dame

Friday, May 15, 2009

This Sunday President Obama will deliver the commencement address at The University of Notre Dame. Given his support for abortion rights and stem cell research, his upcoming appearance has inflamed what has long been a heated debate among American Catholics, especially religious leaders and alumni of the Catholic university. But what do the students think? For a look at how the national conversation is dovetailing with a very local one, we are joined by Aaron Steiner. Steiner is a junior at Notre Dame where he is also the Assistant Managing Editor of the independent daily, The Observer.

In the video below, one Notre Dame alum gives his take on Obama giving the commencement speech.

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The Torture Debate Ensnares the President

Friday, May 15, 2009



Bush administration policies on the treatment of detainees have now embroiled President Obama in a growing controversy.

News broke last night that the U.S. will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees (fewer than 20 of the 241 detainees in the prison). Obama had suspended the tribunals within hours of taking office in January. The military trials will remain frozen for another four months as the administration adjusts the legal system. Those changes to the system will be announced later today. Obama's new rules for military tribunals will reportedly include a ban on any statements made under so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

The torture controversy has also spread to Congress. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi acknowledged that in 2003 she was informed by an aide that the CIA had used waterboarding during interrogation, which is an adjustment from Pelosi's previous statements. She claims the CIA misled the Congress.

Finally, Obama has reversed an earlier decision and said he wouldn't authorize the release of reportedly over 1,000 photos involving abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photographs were scheduled to be released to the American Civil Liberties Union on May 28. Following that story is Scott Shane, a reporter for our partners the New York Times. He joins The Takeaway with a look at whether the president will succeed in suppressing the photos.

For more, read Scott Shane's article, Experts Say Obama May Need to Classify Photos, in the New York Times.

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How to Stop the Climate-Change Bill

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Democratic Congressmen Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts will unveil a bill on climate change as early as today. Waxman and Markey say the bill will create jobs, help end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and combat global warming. But the bill is facing stiff resistance from Republicans and even some key Democrats. The Takeaway talks about the bill and the political strategy involved with Washington Correspondent, Todd Zwillich.

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Torture On Trial

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This morning Congress will hold the first formal hearing over the so-called torture memos since their declassification by the Obama administration. While President Obama has said he won't seek charges, there are still harsh implications for the former Bush administration lawyers who drafted the memos, which document their justification for waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques." There may also be political repercussions for members of Congress who were briefed on the techniques before they were used and apparently did not protest. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent has all the details.

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Obama's Announcement: Trillions in Health Care Savings

Monday, May 11, 2009

President Obama has gathered all the fronts in the health care debate— doctors, drug makers, hospitals, and insurance companies—and persuaded them to play nice for the sake of the nation's economy. These groups are expected to join President Obama today in announcing their commitment to a sharp reduction in the growth of national health spending. The new plan would potentially save a family of four $2,500 and would save the country $2 trillion over the next ten years. The Takeaway's man in Washington, Todd Zwillich, joins us with a report.

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The Republicans' Secret Weapon

Friday, May 08, 2009

Get ready to start hearing about Rule IV. An arcane regulation among the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee has emerged as the best, and probably only, hope for the GOP to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee if they choose to try. How will they use their leverage? Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich explains Rule IV and why it could be even more powerful than the “nuclear option” of a filibuster.

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War in Washington: Budgets and the Supreme Court

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The budget battle is heating up in Washington when House Democrats unveiled a $94.2 billion wartime spending bill yesterday that adds $9.3 billion to White House requests. But the bill also challenges some of President Obama's priorities, especially his plans for closing Guantanamo within a year. Other battle lines are being drawn, too. President Obama has already begun calling senators who will play key roles in the confirmation process of whoever he nominates to replace retiring Justice David Souter. President Obama has said he would like the new justice seated by early October.

To help us map the battle plans, we turn to The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich. Also joining the conversation is Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, the legal affairs editor of The New Republic and the author of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America.

Jeffrey Rosen has started publishing a series of reports in The New Republic about the strengths and weaknesses of the leading candidates on Barack Obama's Supreme Court shortlist. Up first, The Case Against Sotomayor.

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An automobile marriage of Chrysler and Fiat

Friday, May 01, 2009

Chrysler is getting another chance to rewrite its business plan and this time it's with Fiat, the Italian car company known for zippy sports cars that are far from that of Detroit V-8 engines. This is Fiat's way of breaking into the American auto industry and Chrysler's way of keeping its cars on the roadway.

On The Takeaway is Nelson Schwartz, the European economics correspondent for the New York Times who wrote the piece "Chrysler Gets an Italian Accent".

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An extended weekend for Mexico as the country shuts down

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mexican officials announced this week a total shutdown of the entire country in response to the outbreak of influenza A H1-N1, better known as the swine flu. Offices, restaurants, schools, and soccer stadiums will be closed from Friday through Tuesday. Joining The Takeaway is Gustavo Arellano, a writer for the OC Weekly in Orange County, California. He also writes the blog Ask A Mexican.

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