The Brian Lehrer Show

Should Pregnant Drug Users Face Jail?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Women who do drugs while pregnant can be charged under a controversial new law in Tennessee.

Comments [9]

The Takeaway

Tennessee Lawmaker Hopes to Regulate Abortion

Thursday, November 06, 2014

On Tuesday, Tennessee voters passed the controversial Amendment 1, giving the legislature greater leeway to regulate abortion. One GOP lawmaker explains what laws she'd like to see.

Comments [10]

The Takeaway

South Unbound: Tennessee as An Abortion Battleground

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The issue most Tennesseans are talking about this election season isn't who to vote for for U.S. Senate or governor—it's the ballot initiative about abortion.

Comments [5]

Slate Political Gabfest

The Political Gabfest: The Conservative Nanny State Edition

Friday, August 08, 2014

Slate's Political Gabfest, featuring Emily Bazelon, David Plotz and John Dickerson. This week: Is the GOP becoming a Party of ideas? Also, the move in Tennesse to toss out the Democratic judges on Tennessee State Supreme Court, and why people panic...


The Takeaway

Tennessee: The Innovation State?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Could Tennessee be a model of future innovation and thinking? We explore how the state is revolutionizing both education and technology. From Chattanooga, Mayor Andy Berke, and Drew Belz, co-founder of Fancy Rhino, a creative agency, talk about the city's success in creating the fastest city wide internet in the country. And Dr. Janice Gilliam, president of Northeast State Community College, weighs in on the state's proposal to make community college and technical schools free for all Tennessee students.

Comments [6]


Valerie June: On A Journey Toward A Dream

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The up-and-coming roots musician Valerie June previews new songs live in the studio.


From the Top

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Saturday, December 01, 2012

This week, From the Top comes to you from the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga, Tenn., where you'll hear a 14-year-old violinist from California perform the glitzy “Carmen Fantasie” by Franz Waxman and enjoy an audio postcard sent in by a 16-year-old bass-baritone from nearby Lookout Mountain, Tenn. You'll also hear the story of a Mongolian teenage cellist who was invited to move to America by a touring musician.


Milo Greene, Meet Milo Greene

Monday, August 20, 2012

There aren’t any people named Milo Greene in the band Milo Greene – it’s just a name the California indie band made up years ago. So when the quintet stopped by our studio to play music from their self-titled new album, we felt it was high time to introduce a real, live Milo Greene into their life. Their reaction: priceless.


It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Transparency and Obama Supporters' Lobbying Ties

Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama "Transparent" About Bundlers: After the New York Times reported last week that donors with clear ties to lobbying are among President Obama campaign donation bundlers — in violation of the spirit of the president's pledge not to take money from lobbyists — Obama campaign strategist argued that ...


Transportation Nation

New Loop Around Memphis Moves Ahead

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation)  In late June, the Mississippi DOT broke ground on another small piece of I-269 -- a new, wide loop a few miles to the north around Memphis, Tennessee. The outer ring highway, twenty-five miles and $669 million worth of which will traverse Mississippi, is part of the Interstate 69 project, sometimes called the “NAFTA Highway.” The loop is Mississippi’s largest active highway project, and I-69 is the nation’s.

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez (far right) helps break ground on the I-269 project in Northern Mississippi (Photograph from USDOT Fast Lane blog).

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez was there, in tie and shirtsleeves, to help shovel ceremonial dirt and to deliver remarks that summed up the sometimes-schizophrenic nature of America’s investment in new road infrastructure.

I-69, Mendez said, will “spur development and economic growth throughout the state,” while also “reducing congestion so people can spend less time in their cars and more time doing things they enjoy.”

This vision of new highways as congestion reduction is, many believe, bunk—especially when paired with the assertion that it will bring enough new traffic to spur economic development. The section of I-69 through Tennessee and Mississippi has met remarkably little organized opposition in the twenty years since it was first proposed, but several organizations around Memphis have spoken out against the new loop for just these reasons. As Tom Jones of Smart City Memphis blog put it, “The blind pursuit of more lanes and more roads without the fuller context for community in time creates an incomplete plan for transportation and replicates the same mistaken policies of the past.”

With transportation funds on the chopping block, it’s gotten harder to justify new roads (or faster trains) with speculative thoughts of economic development. A report released in May by the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Foundation (a supporter of Transportation Nation) called out Mississippi as trailing behind other states when it came to spending and policy decisions.

“Mississippi aims to ‘provide a transportation system that encourages and supports Mississippi’s economic development’ and ‘ensure that transportation system development is sensitive to human and natural environmental concerns,’” the fact sheet (pdf) on the state read, “but it does not have performance measures to gauge progress in those areas.”

On the other hand, it’s hard to root against any plan that might light an economic spark in the impoverished Mississippi Delta, and to their credit, local officials in northern Mississippi have been emphasizing transit and compact development and other “livability” issues in their copious public meetings about I-269.

Is I-269 a good investment? Give us your thoughts in the comments section!

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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The Takeaway

Memphis Braces for Mississippi Flooding

Monday, May 09, 2011

Memphis, Tennessee is the next place to be hit by the 100-year flood racing south down the Mississippi. About 1,300 households have been evacuated so far, and 500 people have gone to shelters set up around the city in preparation for the 48 foot high crest expected on Tuesday morning before heading further south into Mississippi. Bill Dries, reporter for the Memphis Daily News, who says that Memphis' commerce will take a hit, but that state and local emergency management authorities in Tennessee have been coordinating successfully.


The Takeaway

Six Tornado States Survey the Damage

Friday, April 29, 2011

This morning, survivors of the six southern states hit by Wednesday's rash of deadly tornadoes continue the hard work of surveying and cleaning the damage. The National Weather Service says it was the deadliest barrage of tornadoes since 1974. Julie Steele, news reporter for WUTC in Chattanooga, Tenn. speaks to us about what the conditions are like there, and John Deblock, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala. gives us a broader look at what's happening in the region.


It's A Free Country ®

Labor Clashes Gain Momentum in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking Wisconsin as an example, several states seeking to close budget gaps have put collective bargaining rights for public employees on the table. Some Governors have also proposed layoffs or the sale of prisons and other government holdings in order to make ends meet.

The unintended consequence of such measures is that public workers have been energized to protest what they call an "assault" on unions. With more budgets and pieces of union-related legislation making the rounds in state capitals this week, here's a look at three states where new standoffs could be on the horizon.


The Takeaway

Midwest and Tennessee Brace for Heavy Snow

Friday, December 24, 2010

People who live in Nashville are likely to witness a rare event this holiday season: A white Christmas. Several inches of snow are expected to reach parts of Tennessee, Georgia and the Midwest this weekend. Up to eight inches could fall in Iowa and six inches in Illinois and Minnesota.  It's been 41 years since  snow accumulated in Tennessee on December 25.

Send us your weather report: Text the word SNOW to 69866.

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The Takeaway

America's Waste Winds Up in Poorest Counties

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On December 22nd, 2008, a Tennessee Valley coal-fired power plant ruptured, sending nearly one billion gallons of coal ash into a nearby river, where it turned to sludge. That hazardous sludge was shipped to a landfill site outside Uniontown, Alabama — an area whose demographic is too poor for the kind of political clout that would block the move. The question is: do communities like Uniontown ever really get a say in where hazardous waste goes?  

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The Takeaway

Spending and Controversy Heat Up Tennessee Primaries

Friday, August 06, 2010

Tennessee held Republican primaries for governor yesterday, along with a number of House primaries. The race for governor got national attention last month when Tennessee's Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey made controversial remarks about Islam in a video later published on YouTube

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it," he continued. "But certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time, this is something we are going to have to face."


Transportation Nation

Senators Now Crossing the Aisle for Electric Car

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Lawmakers are hoping for a chance to give the electric car a jolt in the Senate’s upcoming energy bill.

A bipartisan group of senators are pushing a new round of incentives and cash designed to speed development of long-range batteries and plug-in stations that could finally start to push the US transportation fleet away from fossil fuels.

No one expects it to happen quickly. Most lawmakers and experts expect it will take decades before a significant proportion of Americans are driving plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 throws $1.5 billion in research and development grants to high-tech battery firms.

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The Arts File

How May's Floods Drenched Nashville's Classical Music Scene

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Cumberland River in Nashville swelled to more than 12 feet above flood stage earlier this month. The Tennessean's Peter Cooper talks to WQXR about Nashville's flooded concert halls and damaged instruments.

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

Floods Hit Nashville Music Scene

Friday, May 14, 2010

The devastating floods that hit the South earlier this month are responsible for dozens of deaths and billions of dollars in financial damage. But musicians in Nashville are experiencing a unique loss. Not only were classic music venues, such as the Grand Ole Opry, damaged by the rising water, many of the instruments used to give Music City its reputation were also destroyed.


The Takeaway

Takeouts: Tennessee Floods, The Importance of Being Vigilant

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

  • FLOOD TAKEOUT: 24 people have so far been confirmed dead in the floods that hit the Southeastern United States. More than half of those killed are in Tennessee. We get a live update from WPLN Reporter, Blake Farmer, in Nashville, Tenn.
  • LISTENERS RESPOND: Following an attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square on Saturday, Takeaway listeners write and call in to share their experiences of the importance of being vigilant.

Below: Video from the floods