First Take: Turning towards Kandahar, Stimulus for Minority-Owned Businesses, Violin Genius

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UPDATED 5:45 p.m.

Alex Goldmark here. 

We're monitoring the media blitz of Rep. Eric Massa tonight as he heads for the cable news channels to defend himself against ethics accusations. And also to throw a few more parting shots at President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. It's an inside story for Washington, but some valuable insights might come out on how work gets done in the Obama White House. Our partners at The New York Times are covering that here

Also, it is python hunting season in Florida. We'll bring you a sharp shooter. 


POSTED: 12:45 p.m. Anna Sale here on the day producing shift.

We started the week with coverage of the elections in Iraq. As we wait for ballot returns, we'll turn our attention to the next phase of fighting in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is there today, where he is warning of "hard fighting" in the months to come. Preparations are under way for a gradual offensive in Kandahar, and we'll look at how it will work and what's at stake, as troops look to secure ground in the Taliban stronghold.

We will also look at how businesses owned by women and minorities are faring in the competition for federal stimulus contracts. Advocates worry that they're not getting their share. We'll look at the numbers and find out why agencies that have established targets are failing to meet them.

Fresh off of President Obama's interview with America's Most Wanted to mark the show's 1,000th episode, we'll look at the FBI list that proceeded the broadcast. The FBI's 10 Most Wanted list is 60 years old this month, and it's getting an update. It's not just post office fliers anymore — now Facebook, Twitter and IPhone apps are involved.

Finally, we continue our series on our shared potential to be geniuses, with David Shenk, the author of a new book, "The Genius in All of Us." He'll sit in on our interview with violinist Sarah Chang, who was branded a genius by Newsweek at the age of 12. She'll tell us how much of her talent was innate, and how much was slogging through scales and etudes to slowly achieve mastery. As a violinist myself, I can tell you there's a lot of squeak before you hit your peak — but that may just go for us lowly non-geniuses.