Standard & Poor's announced Monday that they have downgraded the United States' credit outlook from “stable” to “negative” for the first time since they began issuing those ratings in 1989. The new rating has been interpreted by many as a direct warning to the U.S. government to come up with an agreement on the debt ceiling and the federal budget — as quickly as possible. David Wyss, Chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, New York, and Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for our partner The New York Times, explain what the rating really means, and what the U.S. can do about it.
Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. All week long on The Takeaway, we'll be speaking to residents of the Gulf region whose lives, businesses and communities were profoundly impacted by the oil gusher that followed the explosion. Dean Blanchard owns a wholesale seafood wholesaling business in Grand Isle, Louisiana and was a frequent guest to the Takeaway in the days and weeks immediately following the Gulf Oil Spill. He endured a blow to his business, a layoff of 65 employees, and has endured a long wait to settle a claim with BP.
The meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin last week solidified the main objective to end Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's regime. But big questions remain — including where Gadhafi could seek refuge if he left Libya. It turns out that the U.S. and its allies have been hard at work to find a country that will accept Gadhafi — and where he might willingly go.
As Congress wrangles over the federal budget, the drama centers around two main characters: President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Forced to compromise against a backdrop of coalitions that refuse to bend, their relationship defines the political moment. Steven Smith, professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis, joins us to add some historical perspective and look at other notable president/speaker relationships, from President Clinton and Newt Gingrich to Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil.
When a Libyan woman burst into the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists convened, her story of rape at the hands of Gadhafi's militia men was heard around the world. Correspondent for The New York Times David Kirkpatrick was there. Her story is that she was abducted and tortured, but government officials are saying that she’s a prostitute with a long criminal record. She was beaten and dragged away by security officials. David Kirkpatrick says that Libyan officials had said that reporters would be able to talk to her again, but that this is unlikely.
The world’s eyes are on the "Faceless 50" workers at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as they struggle to keep potential radiation leaks under control. Though the workers' identities are unknown, their incredibly stressful task has captured our imaginations. The United States also has people working in fields where the willingness to risk your life in a catastrophe is part of the deal. Is it worth it? And who gets left behind to fight the good fight?
In a new book, "Jesus of Nazareth: Part II," Pope Benedict exonerates the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ. But why has it taken thousands of years to absolve the Jewish community of this crime? And does this say something about the evolving relationship between Jews and Catholics? We talk with Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He is also the author of "You Don't Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right."
Since the explosion of the democratic movements in the Arab world, the Western world has gotten a huge dose of information about the countries experiencing revolution. Marius Deeb, Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, explains how looking at Libya's past — before the Gadhafi regime — may give us clues about what could happen should he fall.
The United States is considering a range of options to deal with Libya, including military action and sanctions. However, there's another possibility for Libya: an information campaign and the Pentagon has reportedly explored at the option of jamming Libya's communications so that Gadhafi has a harder time talking to his forces. Matt Armstrong, lecturer on public diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and publisher of the blog MountainRunner.us, takes a closer look at how an information campaign might work in Libya.
The international community delivered strong reactions to Libya over the weekend. While the U.K. stripped the Gadhafi familiy of their diplomatic status, the United Nations' security council imposed a travel ban and asset freezes on Gadhafi. Meanwhile President Obama — who has been accused by some of dragging his heels on the matter — signed an executive order blocking transactions with Libya. While British aircraft continued to pull out people from remote areas, several countries mulled over imposing a 'no-fly' zone over the country to prevent move civilian deaths.
Over 70,000 people gathered in front of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday — the largest crowd since the protests began — to continue decrying Governor Scott Walker's efforts to limit state laborers' collective bargaining rights. Part of the outcry has been that the changes were included in the state's budget bill. It seems highly likely that public workers will have to concede some ground on how much they contribute to pension benefits and health insurance premiums. But what economic effect would those cuts and the collective bargaining changes actually have on the budget or the state economy?
Almost a year ago, key parts of Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law SB 1070 were declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. But this week, more than a dozen anti-immigration bills were introduced in the state. One bill would allow Arizona to build its own wall between it and Mexico. Another would require hospitals to check the legal status of patients. And the bill’s supporters are hoping that this time around, they can face down the feds by asserting state’s rights.
President Obama delivers his 2012 Federal budget proposal today, and already debate is in full swing. Stan Collender, budget expert and writer for the Capital Gains and Games blog, helps us understand what to expect. His prediction? A congressional stalemate the likes of which we haven't seen in over a decade.
President Mubarak's refusal to step down on Thursday turned the mood in Tahrir Square from hopeful anticipation to fury in a matter of minutes. Many see Mubarak's response as a direct rebuff to peaceful protest. Is violence the next (and last) resort?
As reactions spread through the Arab world to the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, there are fears that these shaky transitional governments may go the way of Iran. But Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian, affiliated lecturer at Cambridge University and visiting scholar at the Middle East Center at the University of Utah, thinks that these uprisings are so powerful and demanding of freedoms that they wouldn't accept the repression of Islamist groups.
On Friday, President Hosni Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman as the country's new vice president. And Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei returned to his native country and is adopting a leadership role. One of Egypt's most powerful opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, has increased its presence on the streets of Cairo.As Egypt’s central power wobbles, the global conversation has turned to the big question: who will step in if Mubarak leaves?
The incredibly long lineup for 2011's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was announced this week. A three-day festival in the desert of Indio, California that features some 150 bands, an annual bloom of tents and human civilization, Coachella is one of the biggest contemporary music festivals in America (last year the event drew 75,000 visitors each day). But it's also an event where people expect to see supergroups, up-and-comers, and some of the mainstream acts they've come to love. Does this year's event measure up?
As Washington prepares for a visit from Chinese President Hu Jintao this week, we take a look at what lies ahead in the shifting relationship between superpowers. Should we fear the "waking dragon"? We're joined by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign-affairs commentator for the Financial Times and author of "Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety," and Simon Tay, was an Asia Society 2009 Bernard Schwartz Fellow and is Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is also the author of "Asia Alone: The Dangerous Post-Crisis Divide from America."
As part of our 10 Questions that Count census project, we asked you to Map Your Moves by filling out a survey where you've lived over the last ten years and why you moved. Then we asked all of you graphic designers, mappers, statisticians or any other kind of data visualization gurus, to play with the data and make the information beautiful. (More information about the Map Your Moves challenge here)
Here are the the submissions we've received. Feel free to add your thoughts below. Any favorites? Learn anything new? Share your feedback!