First Take: Ending Gridlock, Toyota Investigation, Unemployment, Bill Withers

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Alex (Senior Producer) here with some changes to tomorrow's show.

We've booked former Presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul to help us cover the energy, enigma and infighting around the Tea Party convention in Nashville. So that should be interesting.

From Haiti, the American church group that was arrested over child trafficking allegations has been charged. They face up to 15 years in jail, though it is unlikely that anyone other than the leader will actually serve time. We're wondering what the reaction to this news is back in Idaho. So we have a producer working the phones tyring to find out if it's shock, support, or something else. Also, watch this BBC video of the arrested Baptists and see how happy they seem to be at a time when you'd expect their mood to be a bit more glum. We've also learned that Central Valley Baptist church in Idaho has changed their voicemail greeting to a simple Psalm instead of the directory of employees that was there last time we called earlier in the week.

In other news, our own Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a man of many hats. And he has done some reporting beyond his usual Takeaway sports beat. He's bringing us a story of unemployment in the African-American community ahead of tomorrow's new job numbers.

One business that seems to be doing especially poorly this year is Super Bowl ticket scalping, or reselling, anyway. The prices for tickets to Sunday's big game are way down this year. We'll talk to a legal reseller to find out what a seat goes for now, and why it's a tougher sell than before.


POSTED: 12:30 PM

Jim (the web editor) here with an update on where things stand.

It’s gridlock edition on The Takeaway. Major pieces of legislation are stalled on Capitol Hill. President Obama is resorting to therapeutic dialogues with Republicans to overcome what he calls the “sour climate” in Washington. After so much anticipation, the health care reform bill is going nowhere. Tomorrow we’re asking a huge question: How do you end the gridlock?


We’re reaching out to authors, diplomats, business executives, and anyone with an idea of how to get things done. And we’re looking for your help. Maybe you found a way to get out of an apparent stalemate in your life or work. Maybe Washington lawmakers could use the same trick. We want to hear your ideas on how to move forward!

In other news, we’ll have more on the Toyota recall story. Today we talked about the Japanese government’s investigation into the brake problems with the carmaker's Prius line. This morning the U.S. government announced it would do the same thing. Toyota says it has started to fix the problems, but when will drivers feel safe?

Tomorrow we’ll get a better picture of the employment situation when the monthly numbers come out. You may have seen new figures out today pointing to a rise in jobless claims, but that was from the less significant weekly report. We’ll get a better picture of the recovery tomorrow.

And we got a rare opportunity to talk to soul legend Bill Withers today. Tomorrow we’ll hear what he said about his life and career – and how he came up with the words to “Lean on Me" (maybe Washington could learn a thing or two).

Stay tuned for more updates.