After an initial loss, several recounts, and months of challenges, Al Franken, the humorist turned talk show host turned politician, finally won Minnesota’s Senate race. Republican challenger Norm Coleman conceded the race after Minnesota’s Supreme Court ruled that the recounts were over. The Takeaway talks to Tom Scheck, reporter for Minnesota Public Radio and Polinaut blogger who has seen us all the way through this long race to the U.S. Senate. Also joining the conversation is Jay Newton-Small, Washington reporter for Time Magazine, who will explain the effect on Washington. Can you say "filibuster-proof"?
"Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen. Bob Byrd of West Virginia are both on indefinite medical leave. So at best they only have 58 votes."
— Jay Newton-Small debunking the theory that Al Franken gives Democrats 60 votes in the Senate
Iraqi forces have taken formal control of Baghdad and other cities, following the withdrawal of American troops from urban areas. Iraqis have been celebrating the handover, some gathering in parks to party into the night. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has designated today as National Sovereignty Day. Joining The Takeaway now to discuss this milestone is the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid al-Bayati.
"Everyone also is anticipating or being extremely careful of what is going to happen next. How are the terrorist, how are the extremist groups going to react to the withdraw of American forces?"
Nazar Janabi, formerly of the Iraqi Minister of Defense, on the U.S. troop pullout in Iraq.
Bernie Madoff was sentenced yesterday to the maximum term of 150 years, but what happens to any remaining wealth, and what can his victims do to get some of their money back? Diana Henriques, a senior financial writer for The New York Times has been following this story and joins The Takeaway.
The state of Rhode Island is having an identity crisis. 573 years after Rhode Island was founded, the state is considering changing its name from “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to simply “The State of Rhode Island.” The Takeaway talks to Rhode Island personality Buddy Cianci. He’s a radio host with WPRO and the former Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island.
It’s been almost 40 years since Saddam Hussein told foreign oil companies to leave Iraq. Today, as U.S. troops pull out of Iraqi cities, international oil companies are going back in to bid for contracts to develop oil and gas fields. Carola Hoyos, the chief energy correspondent for the Financial Times, joins The Takeaway to about the amount of money involved and who will get their hands on it.
President Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowski is dealing with a rise in the abuse of prescription drugs, ongoing violence along our border with Mexico and the legacy of the war on drugs. Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks to The Takeaway about fighting drug cartels and the need for public education about the dangers of prescription painkillers.
"Electronic prescription process...cuts down on the potential abuse of a doctor over-prescribing. But it also looks at the patients who are going to multiple doctors which can be incredibly dangerous."
— Gil Kerlikowski of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on electronic prescriptions
Iraqi forces have assumed formal control of security in Baghdad and other cities after U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas, six years after the invasion. Iraqi TV broadcast a countdown-clock as the midnight deadline approached and the country is celebrating National Sovereignty Day. Joining The Takeaway, live from Iraq, are Taghreed, who lives in Erbil, Iraq and Ahmed Ali, who lives in Baghdad.
"I cannot understand if the Americans and Iraqi government think that this is the right time for the leaving of the U.S. because they came in 2003 with no plan and they still don't have a plan yet."
— Taghreed, 35-year-old woman who works in construction project management, had to leave Baghdad because of security threats.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of a group of white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, saying they had been discriminated against. The ruling could have implications for President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Joining The Takeaway to talk about the possible repercussions and the philosophy behind this Supreme Court ruling is Jeffrey Rosen. He is a law professor at Georgetown University and writes for The New York Times Magazine.
For a more detailed look at the New Haven firehouse watch the video below.
Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 30 days ago, leaving its black box somewhere in the middle of the ocean. The device holds important flight data and signals its location, but only for 30 days. Will the mystery of the crash ever be solved? Joining The Takeaway is Todd Curtis, Aviation Safety Analyst and Director of the Airsafe.com Foundation. He is also a former air safety engineer for Boeing.
It was down to the wire on Friday night when the House passed a bill to curb global warming. It took eight Republicans to tip the balance in the Democrats’ favor. One report said Capitol phones were at capacity with so much last-minute jockeying between Congress members. Joining the show is The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich to explain details of the bill.
"[Liberals] don't want cap and trade. They want cap. Then if you're a polluter, you pay for the right to pollute. And that's not really what this bill does at first."
— Todd Zwillich on the new climate bill
President Obama's press conference yesterday touched on a lot of issues facing the nation. To help recap the highlights of the speech and forecast what challenges the President will face in the coming months we turn to The Takeaway's Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich and Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner.
With all the contentious debate over health care right now, Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: they want to encourage disease prevention. This stems from the idea that by investing some money up front, you can keep medical costs lower, saving money (and improving quality of life) down the road. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) authored a portion of a health bill focused on prevention and wellness and he sat down with The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich to discuss his take on health care reform.
Then we turn to Louise Russell. Ms. Russell is a research professor at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her research challenges the idea that preventive medicine lowers the cost of medical care. The money we are investing in prevention may be doing little to improve the nation’s overall health.
"Much of this prevention does save lives, and that's our purpose here: to save lives. But we need to be spending our money as effectively as possible, and that means we need to look at each preventive intervention and say OK, it's usually going to cost us more. If we need to spend more, what's the most important thing to do for people's health?"
— Professor Louise Russell from Rutger's University on preventative healthcare
Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office passed judgment on one of the key bills overhauling the health insurance system. Here with a look at who might get insurance, who won't and what it'll cost is Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent.
"We have 47 million people with no coverage at all. So the net gain is still nowhere even close to universal coverage."
— Takeaway correspondent Todd Zwillich on healthcare reform
Today, President Obama goes to Chicago to address the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, and to hear doctors' views about about healthcare reform. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent, takes a look at what the president is likely to hear.
They say time heals all wounds. In Congress, it can cause some too. Congress usually moves slowly. The Senate is designed for just that purpose. But there are signs now that two partisan fights could turn the already slothful Senate pace downright glacial, and even threaten President Barack Obama’s sweeping domestic agenda.
Take the case of early sparring over Sotomayor’s confirmation. GOP senators say Democrats’ July 13th start-date for hearings doesn’t give them enough time to review the roughly 3,600 cases she’s ruled on. (Plenty of cynics add that the more time they keep Sotomayor on hold, the more time GOP investigators have to dig up damaging dirt on her.) But whatever their motivations, Republicans are hopping mad that the hearings are set for about one month from today. And they’re starting to float warnings that Democrats’ moving too fast might just mean Republicans start moving really, really slowly. ...(continue reading)
This week the Senate is expected to pass a bill to give the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products. The bill does not ban cigarettes, nor does it restrict sales to consenting adults; it largely concentrates on marketing. Terms like "low tar" and "light" are gone, the Surgeon General's warnings will get much larger and brighter-colored, and except for menthol, there will be no more flavored cigarettes. To talk us through the details of the bill, we turn The Takeaway's Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the unemployment numbers for May this morning. The numbers may give a sense of how quickly the U.S. can expect economic recovery. David Leonhardt, who writes about the economy for The New York Times, joins The Takeaway with an analysis.
"The history of stimulus packages is they work, they do create jobs, they don't just disappear into the ether. But they're not going to create enough jobs to get rid of the effects of this recession." —New York Times reporter David Leonhardt on unemployment
Lard was once the most common fat for baking, but came to be seen as dirty and unhealthful. Now, food scientists have shown that home-rendered lard isn't as bad for your health as, say, margarine. And it tastes wonderful! Our guest, discussing the benefits of lard, is food writer Regina Schrambling. Also on the show is chef Zarela Martinez, a self-proclaimed lard crusader. She has been preaching the gospel of lard for over fifteen years and is glad that people are finally listening.
President Obama spoke in Cairo yesterday in an attempt to engage the Muslim world. New York Times reporter Michael Slackman has been collecting responses to the speech and joins The Takeaway from Beirut, Lebanon. What did Palestinians react to? Israelis? Did the president succeed in finding "a new beginning"?
Countrywide was once the nation’s largest sub-prime mortgage lender. But yesterday, its former CEO, Angelo Mozilo, was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC says Mozilo misrepresented Countrywide's shaky business practices to its investors. Joining The Takeaway this morning to go over the details is Tami Luhby, a Senior Writer at CNNMoney.com.
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