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WNYC News

Bloomberg in Viriginia to Rally for Gun Control

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg was in Virginia Monday, to urge that state's lawmakers to close a loophole that allows private sellers at gun shows to skip full background checks. Bloomberg was joined by survivors and victims family members of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. He unveiled ...

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WNYC News

NJ Congressman Safe After Attack in Somalia

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne landed safely in Nairobi Kenya today after the airport he was departing from in Mogadishu, Somalia, came under mortar attack.

Newark Congressman Payne had arranged his Somalia trip as a piracy fact finding mission several weeks ago before the piracy issue ...

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Marbury V. Madison

Thursday, April 09, 2009

In their book The Great Decision, former Supreme Court Clerk Cliff Sloan and veteran political aid David McKean, look at how the landmark Supreme Court Case Marbury V. Madison changed the course of American democracy.

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The Takeaway

U.S. court allows apartheid claims against U.S. corporations

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A U.S. judge has ruled that a class action lawsuit can move ahead against several large companies accused of helping South Africa's apartheid-era government in violation of international human rights law. The case has been going on since 2002 and was initially filed against 50 corporations and involved ten lawsuits claiming more than $400 billion in damages. While the cases have been consolidated to only two lawsuits against five companies, the corporations are a who's who of American companies: the computer giant IBM, Ford and General Motors are among the U.S. companies facing demands for damages from thousands of apartheid's victims. The BBC's Lucy Bailey has more.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Toxic Lead

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In the 1970’s lead was everywhere, from gasoline and paint to toothpaste tubes and toys. In her book Toxic TruthLydia Denworth tells the story of two men- Clair Patterson and Herbert Neddleman- who fought a bitter, three decade long struggle to protect children from lead exposure.

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The Takeaway

American Violet: A story of race, drugs and Texas justice

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In 2000, in the tiny Central Texas town of Hearne, a military-style drug sweep sent 27 people to jail on felony charges of distributing crack cocaine. Nearly all of them were African American. One of them was Regina Kelly, who at the time was a 24-year-old waitress and single mother of four who refused to plead guilty. The film American Violet, a dramatization of the events in Hearne, will be released next week. The Takeaway talks to Bill Haney, the writer and producer of the film, and Nicole Beharie who stars in the movie.

Want to see the trailer? Here it is:

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The Takeaway

Madoff frontman Merkin gets hit with a lawsuit by New York State

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

At this point everyone has heard of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, but the name J. Ezra Merkin may still be unknown. That is about to change. In a lawsuit filed Monday by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, it is alleged that Mr. Merkin convinced his clients to invest with him and then funneled all their money into Madoff's scheme. Mr. Merkin's private clients lost over $2 billion in the collapse of Madoff's Ponzi scheme and most did not realize they had ever invested with him. New York Times reporter Diana Henriques is covering the story and she joins us now with the details on these new "feeder fund" lawsuits.

For more, read Diana B. Henriques' article, Cuomo Sues Over Madoff Investments in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Minnesota's Senate race goes on (and on and on)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Minnesota state panel is set today to begin a final recount of contested ballots in the state’s epic Senate race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. At stake in today’s recount are 387 absentee ballots, which probably won’t be enough to swing the election in Coleman's favor, but Coleman says he's not backing down. The Takeaway talks to Minnesota Public Radio reporter and Polinaut blogger Tom Scheck. Again.

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The Takeaway

The sad nexus of medical ethics and torture: A look at a new Red Cross report

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross reveals the unsavory fact that medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogations of terror suspects held overseas by the CIA in so-called Black Sites. These medical personnel witnessed waterboarding, slamming of prisoners into walls, hanging shackled prisoners from the ceiling, among other tortures. While unfortunately the reports of torture are not new, this report from the ICRC digs deep into the medical ethics of the workers involved. New York Times reporter Scott Shane has been following this story and he and Gregg Bloche, visiting law professor at the University of Chicago join The Takeaway to discuss these findings.

For more, read Scott Shane's article, Report Outlines Medical Workers’ Role in Torture in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Awaiting a verdict in human rights trial of Peruvian President Fujimori

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

After a fifteen-month long trial, a verdict is expected today in the trial of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori on charges of human rights abuses. This is the first time an elected Latin American president has been tried for human rights abuse. Fujimori is accused of ordering two massacres that killed 25 people. He denies the charges, but faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Mr. Fujimori is currently serving a six-year prison term for abuse of power. Joining us for more is James Painter, Latin American analyst for the BBC's World Service.

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WNYC News

Schumer and Gillibrand Tour Shooting Site

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Police say they have no reason to doubt the authenticity of a letter sent to an upstate TV station, forecasting last week's mass shooting in Binghampton. Police chief Joe Zikusky says the letter that apparently was written by the shooter, Jiverly Wong, has been handed ...

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WNYC News

NYC Appeals Launches Appeal to Gay and Lesbian Tourists

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New York City is launching a nearly $2 million marketing campaign called the "Rainbow Pilgrimage" to attract more gay and lesbian tourists. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the conflict between gay New Yorkers and the NYPD that sparked the modern ...

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The Takeaway

This one's for you, California: Iowa rules same-sex marriage is legal

Monday, April 06, 2009

Iowans spent the weekend reacting to the Varnum v. Brien court decision that made same-sex marriage legal in their state. On Friday, Iowa's Supreme Court unanimously ruled in a case brought by gay rights group Lambda Legal and threw out a law that said marriage could only be between a man and a woman. The Hawkeye State now joins Massachusetts and Connecticut as the only places in the nation where same-sex marriages are legal. While some Iowans plan their weddings, others plan to launch a campaign to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Iowa Public Radio Statehouse Reporter Joyce Russell joins us with the details.

Read the full opinion of the Iowa Supreme Court.
Read a summary of the decision here.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Following Up: Farms

Friday, April 03, 2009

The issue of how new food safety legislation would affect farms came up earlier this week. Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch, clears up some misunderstandings about the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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WNYC News

Clinics Benefit from Federal Fast-Track Funding

Friday, April 03, 2009

Local health clinics are looking forward to expanding staff and services, thanks to ‘fast-track’ funding from the federal stimulus package. Elizabeth Howell of the Community Healthcare Network says her nine-clinic group hopes to being hiring new doctors with the $500,000 she expects to get in ...

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WNYC News

NYS Senate Rolls Back 70s Drug Laws

Friday, April 03, 2009

The State Senate has approved sweeping changes to the "Rockefeller drug laws," as part of the state budget. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.

REPORTER: The rollback of the strict drug laws on the books since the days of Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the 1970s was accomplished ...

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The Takeaway

Bittersweet news for Alaska's Ted Stevens

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens may walk away from seven felony convictions a free man with a clean record. Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department is seeking to have Stevens’ verdict thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct. It will not pursue a new trial and wants all charges dropped. Stevens, the Senate’s longest serving Republican, was convicted in October for lying on financial disclosure forms about gifts. The Takeaway talks to Libby Casey, reporter for Alaska Public Radio Network in Washington, D.C. who has been following the case since last fall, and Steve Heimel, Host of “Talk of Alaska” in Anchorage, Alaska.

In the video below, Stevens' attorney Brendan Sullivan discusses the case.

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WNYC News

Brooklyn DA Hynes Indicts 43 in Drug Ring

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes has indicted 43 people involved in what he calls a $2 million drug ring. The 26-year-old accused of running the sophisticated drug operation, Eric "Fat Eddy" Rodriguez, was arrested on March 20th when he was heard on a phone tap ...

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Migrant Detention

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Over the past decade, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has accelerated its detention of lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. Many of these detainees wait for months-- or even years-- without a hearing. Larry Cox is Executive Director of Amnesty International. He’ll be joined by Hector Veloz, a U.S. ...

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WNYC News

Supreme Court Rules Cost Issue in Plant Upgrade

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government may consider cost when deciding if Indian Point and other nuclear power plants must upgrade. Alex Matthiessen is president of Riverkeeper - among the groups that sued the EPA over the plants cooling system. He says ...

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