When Wangari Maathai suggested to women in her village that they should plant trees for fire wood and to stop soil erosion, she had no idea that this simple act of planting trees would eventually garner her the Nobel Peace Prize. The Takeaway is joined by Wangari Maathai Nobel Prize winning activist, founder of the Greenbelt Movement, and author of the new book, The Challenge for Africa, about her vision for the future. Her life is subject of the documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, which premiered on the PBS series Independent Lens this week.
The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia started yesterday with a wild start by Chad Campbell who threatened the record books by almost breaking the score for most under par on one of the world's most difficult courses. Campbell ended the day with a seven-under-par 65, which wasn't quite enough to break the record but put him firmly in the lead. It wasn’t as good a day for Tiger Woods who finished the day with a two under par 70 and tied for 20th. Joining us is sports blogger Ibrahim Abdul-Matin to tell us more about what has been happening down there on the green in Georgia.
The Somali pirates seized an American cargo ship a few days ago and while the rest of the crew escaped and took control of the ship, the captain, is still being held prisoner in a small lifeboat. As FBI hostage negotiators rush to the scene off the Somali coast and U.S. Navy destroyer attempts communications with the pirates, more ships are moving into the area. The captain attempted an escape, but the bandits were able to re-capture him before he could reach the Navy vessel. For the latest we turn to the BBC's Africa Editor Mary Harper. We are also joined by Wangari Mathai, the Nobel Prize winning peace activist who can provide an African perspective on the pirates' actions.
Contributor's Note :
When Somali pirates seized a giant Saudi oil tanker, the Sirius Star, last November, I managed to get a hold of a phone number to call them. But every time I rang them, they would put the phone down as soon as I said I was from the BBC. I became so obsessed with calling them that I programmed their number into my mobile phone so that I could ring them anytime, from anywhere. My twelve year old daughter had seen me repeatedly ringing the pirates, and one day, when we were stuck in a long traffic jam, she asked if she could try. I refused, but she eventually wore me down, and I gave her the phone. She pressed P for Pirates and...the phone rang, and a bizarre conversation ensued between her and a pirate. This opened a crucial door, and the next day I was able to get a real scoop by interviewing not only the pirate, but the captain of the ship who had been taken hostage. All thanks to my daughter, who insisted on dialing P for pirates. — Mary Harper, BBC's Africa Editor
Here is the AP's report on the current status of the hostage situation:
Now that the Pentagon has lifted its 18-year ban on press coverage of the return of America's war dead, will the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan return to the national conversation? Or has the moment passed us by? Is the American public war weary and ready to move on? For a look at what exposure to Dover Air Force base means, The Takeaway turns to Kathleen Hall Jamieson. She is Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of numerous books, including Presidents Creating the Presidency and unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation.
"We tend to focus on the financial cost of war when this policy is in place, but to downplay the human cost of war." —Kathleen Hall Jamieson from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, on media coverage of war
Yesterday Vice President Biden announced the federal government is releasing $2.3 billion in recovery act funding for child care and vaccines. The announcement is the latest in a flurry of national and local announcements on how stimulus spending will be spent. Some states, such as Maryland, have immediately jumped on the money and started planning, spending, and even building. Other states (New York, for example) have done next to nothing with the money yet. Joining us to discuss the stimulus spending in the the states is Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein, who is watching stimulus spending for our ShovelWatch Project, and Mark Steiner, host of the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA in Baltimore.
And we're continuing our investigation of the stimulus plan on air and online. What are your elected officials telling you is coming to your area? What do you know about the projects coming to your community? Where should the stimulus money go instead? Crowdsource the stimulus plan.
"There's real conversation going on here in Baltimore about how do you use this money to really stimulate a local economy as opposed to just giving people temporary jobs that'll be over in a year" —Marc Steiner of WEAA on stimulus spending in Baltimore
In October 1975, two of the world's greatest fighters, Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier, battled it out for the title of Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. The fight was one of the most extraordinary fighting bouts of all time and capped off a long rivalry between the two boxers. The heavyweight title was up for grabs because Muhammed Ali was stripped of his title and right to fight after refusing to enlist in the army during the Vietnam War. Ali got his boxing privileges restored only after President Nixon gave into the repeated prodding of none other than Joe Frazier. This set the stage for a series of epic fights between the two champs culminating in the third and final meet up of the two, the Thrilla in Manila. And Frazier was ready to rumble because Ali used his sharp tongue to take harsh racially-charged pot shots at his rival. The fight was close and the legacy is large.
Former heavyweight champion of the world Joe Frazier joins The Takeaway with a look back at one of the most brutal fights in boxing history. On Saturday, HBO will air the documentary "Thrilla in Manila" an analysis of the fight and the racial politics that surrounded it. John Dower, the director of the film, will also be a guest.
Early this morning in L'Aquila, Italy, the funerals began for some of the 289 people killed in Monday's earthquake. While normally in the Catholic tradition no funerals are allowed on Good Friday, the Vatican granted a dispensation for the funeral mass for the earthquake victims. For more on the somber scene, we turn to BBC Correspondent Helen Fawkes joins us from L'Aquila, Italy.
Today the Takeaway is asking, "What are you doing right now and what's on your mind?" When we asked a similar question last week we got hundreds of responses. But some people said they didn’t care. One of those listeners, Christine from Brooklyn, talks to another listener, Richard from Hazel Park, MI, who tells us why he took part and why he wants to hear other listeners "check in".
It’s been six months, almost to the day, since the TARP stimulus package was put into law. Last night, the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with monitoring the use of those funds and making sure the Treasury makes the right moves to stabilize the economy and the nation’s financial sector, issued a new report spelling out how the federal government is doing. The Takeaway's Todd Zwillich is here to give us a quick overview and we are pleased to have Richard Neiman, a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel, and the New York State Superintendent of Banks, joining us in the studio.
"We were at a precipice. We were at a risk of financial collapse. We averted that through those actions and now it's up to us to continue to focus on expanding the economy and to get the banks lending." —Richard Neiman of the Congressional Oversight Panel on helping the economy
For more about the COP, here is a video they just released to accompany their report called Assessing Treasury's Strategy: Six Months of TARP.
Democrats are re-tooling President Obama’s budget this week, while the president is pressing Congress hard to preserve his priorities of health care, energy and education. Meanwhile, Republicans are in an uproar over and even some Democrats are pushing back on some of Obama's $3.6 trillion budget. For more, we talk to our friend Todd Zwillich from Capitol News Connection.
"Don't expect any Republicans to sign on to this. This is the major wedge between them. And they use it, both sides, to define what they're about. —Capitol News Connection's Todd Zwillich on President Obama's budget
Democrats are meeting today to hash out preliminary steps towards finalizing a budget before the recess. Republicans are organizing opposition to a spending plan that many in their ranks call irresponsible. Todd Zwillich from Capitol News Connection joins us to talk about the public opinion war being waged on Capitol Hill this week and what the final budget might look like.
"Even if they get this budget passed, that doesn't mean we have a cap and trade system. It doesn't mean we have a health care overhaul. It just means they have the running room to make the policy." —Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection on the new changes to the budget
Yesterday, Ed Liddy, the CEO of embattled insurance giant AIG, went to Capitol Hill to face down a wasps' nest of angry congressmen determined to make him justify the large bonuses company executives received. Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection swings by to give us his account of AIG's harrowing day on the Hill.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are busy pointing fingers in the fallout over the $165 million bailout of AIG and the executive bonuses. There's more to come today, as AIG boss Edward Liddy testifies in front of furious U.S. lawmakers at a House subcommittee. The Takeaway talks to Todd Zwillich from Capitol News Connection for the reaction, the political implications and what's ahead.
"You don't have enough fingers on both your hands to count all the fingers that were pointed yesterday in every direction."
— Todd Zwillich or Capital News Connection on reactions to the AIG bonuses
See reactions from Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chuck Grassley in this clip from Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
The Takeaway covers this week's hot button items. Among these are President Obama's lift on restrictions to federally-funded stem cell research, the government's spending bill, politicizing the recession, mortgage crackdown, market research on China, President Obama's visit to Turkey and a "card check" legislation for unions. Joining the discussion is Marcus Mabry, international business editor at the New York Times and Todd Zwillich, a reporter for Capitol News Connection.
"The Obama administration may start to take some hard hits, not just from Republicans but from outside observers who start to say 'Look at these unemployment numbers we saw. Look at the lack of political leadership and ability for the Democrats to get their own agenda through.' Then the Democrats are going to look like they're ineffectual, and I think that is the real danger of this week." — Marcus Mabry of the New York Times on what President Obama has in store for this week
After duking it out for almost 24 hours, Congress finally passed an economic stimulus bill. The final number? $789 billion, which is big, but is a smaller sum than the original House and Senate versions. The bill is expected to be passed by the House and Senate tomorrow and signed into law by President Obama on Monday. We now turn to Capitol News Connection's Todd Zwillich, who was in the conference committee meeting where the details of the bill were worked out.
The Senate will vote today on the passage of the $838 billion economic stimulus bill. And with Senators expected to pass what has been called President Obama’s New Deal, an old debate about the original New Deal is bubbling up again. Did FDR’s heralded program really drag the U.S. out of the Great Depression or was it World War II that put us back on track? The Takeaway is looking at both sides of that coin with Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, and Nick Taylor author of American Made, a history of FDR's Works Progress Administration.
Israelis are heading to the polls today in an election that only a few weeks ago seemed a decisive win for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, it's too close to call, but Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party looks like the likely winner. For more on what Livni's win could mean, we turn to Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem bureau chief for our partner the New York Times.
Senate Democrats advanced the $800 billion plus stimulus bill yesterday, but just three Republicans voted for the bill in a procedural vote, and no additional Republican support is expected in the final vote today. Even though they don't support the bill, Republican Senators pushed for many changes in it. Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein and Susanna Capelouto, News Director of Georgia Public Broadcasting, join Todd and Katherine to talk through why that might be.
Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.
This week, New York City hosts the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a showcase for best of the best of each breed of dog. But how breeders create those perfect dogs is the subject of much debate and a new documentary by our partners at the BBC is adding flames to the fire. In fact, their research was so provocative that it prompted big changes at the British Kennel Club. Producer Jemima Harrison joins us to explain why what makes for best in show could be the worst for dogs.
For more, turn to the BBC's report documenting how the methods used to produce breeds like the King Charles spaniel, boxers and pugs could cause debilitating inherited genetic problems for the dogs. Watch here.
Should banks be required to explain how they spend taxpayer dollars? That was the 700 billion dollar question the Bush administration struggled with last fall while constructing the TARP. Today as we anticipate the reworked version of the TARP, it seems the Obama administration has a whole new set of questions, like how to restore public faith in the bailout. David Barstow, a New York Times reporter covering the bank bailout, joins us this morning.
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and Public Radio
International, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.