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Washington

The Takeaway

Rep. Barney Frank On Marriage and Retirement

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rep. Barney Frank, who will be the first member of Congress to marry a same-sex partner, discusses his upcoming wedding and retirement plans with Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich.

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Transportation Nation

Washington-DC Area Planning Board Approves Complete Streets Policy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, representing the nation's capital and 22 counties in Maryland and Virginia has voted to approve a complete streets policy.

Though it does not contain the force of law, the vote pushes local governments to:

"create or adapt transportation facilities that safely and appropriately accommodate motorized and non-motorized users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, freight vehicles, emergency vehicles, and transit riders of all ages and abilities."

Only one member of the 35-member board voted against the recommendation.

Lewis Miller, a board spokesman, says some initial opposition fell away after board members, who are appointed by the local governments, realized the proposal was a best practices recommendation, not a mandate.

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The Takeaway

The Republican Problem for Republicans

Friday, March 23, 2012

WNYC

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is leading the pack of GOP hopefuls, but that doesn't mean he's escaped criticism for not being able to unify the Republican party: some say he's not conservative enough, or that he's not likable. Of course, the perceived inability to unify the party isn't unique to Romney.

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World Weekly with Gideon Rachman

Putin faces a a growing Russian protest movement, Xi Jinping visits Washington, and emissions trading causes friction at the EU-China summit

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Putin faces a a growing Russian protest movement, Xi Jingping visits Washington, and emissions trading causes friction at the EU-China summit

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Schoolbook

In Washington, Mayor Bloomberg Makes His Case for Teacher Evaluations

Friday, January 20, 2012

Speaking in Washington at a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called on the teachers' union to stop blocking a new system of evaluations.

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The Takeaway

House and Senate Wrangle Over Payroll Tax Cut

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The House of Representatives passed a bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits Tuesday night, despite a warning by The White House that the bill would be vetoed for a provision that forces work on the Keystone XL pipeline. Construction of the pipeline, which is opposed by environmentalists, was delayed by the State Department until after the 2012 elections. President Obama, who has advocated both measures in recent weeks, vowed to veto any bill that was attached to other measures. Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the bill "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

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The Takeaway

120,000 Jobs Added in November, Unemployment Drops Below 9 Percent

Friday, December 02, 2011

Since President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act in September of this year, he has spoken publicly about it more than 50 times. The jobs report for November comes out this morning and the consensus call is that 125,000 new jobs were created this month. Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC, speaks about the latest jobs numbers as well as specific economic and educational reforms that are trying — with mixed success — to remedy the situation.

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The Takeaway

Friday Follow: Newt is Up, Cain is Down, Barney Says Goodbye

Friday, December 02, 2011

This week, we've seen Newt Gingrich continue to climb in the Republican polls as Herman Cain has continued to falter. Also out of Washington, Rep. Barney Frank announced his intention to not seek re-election after his fiery 32-year career. And, a new study rejuvenates the perennial debate about legalizing marijuana.

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The Takeaway

Some in Congress Move to Ban Insider Trading

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Congressional approval in the U.S. is at embarrassingly low levels. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found Americans' approval of Congress in the single digits. And a story that aired on "60 Minutes" last weekend is not likely to improve Congress's standing with the public. Insider trading is a crime in the U.S., but the laws that apply to most Americans do not apply to their lawmakers. According to the report, powerful members of Congress and their staffs have used their knowledge of privileged information to make vast sums of money in the stock market.

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The Takeaway

Super Committee Deadline Approaching

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With just under ten days to go until the "super committee" reaches its deadline, the 12 Republicans and Democrats that make up the group will have to agree on $1.2 trillion of deficit reduction or else face automatic cuts in integral areas such as defense spending. Republican Eric Cantor believes a deal is close. "Yes, I do think that the joint select committee will be successful," he said in an interview on the Fox News. But many are worried a compromise will not be reached in time.

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The Takeaway

The Country Meets The Woman Behind Herman Cain

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The public got its first introduction to Gloria Cain, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, on Monday night in an exclusive interview with Fox News. The wife of the embattled candidate took to the airwaves to defend her husband against complaints of inappropriate behavior during his time at the National Restaurant Association.

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Transportation Nation

In Key Measure of How Voters Feel on Transpo Spending, Washington Voters To Decide On Tolls

Friday, November 04, 2011

2011 is a light year for transit and transportation ballot measures, but one in Washington State has transportation advocates nervous.

And it's a key bellwether for how voters are feeling about spending on big transportation projects a year after midterm elections saw big gains for candidates vowing to curb spending.  Many of those candidates are now part of the powerful Tea Party caucus in Washington, which has blocked any new taxes and pushed huge spending cuts.

Sponsored by a conservative activist, Tim Eyman, the Washington ballot measure would curtail how tolls could be spent, limiting toll collections for only the specific project being tolled.   The measure would also halt variable tolling, seen as a key tool by transportation planners to ease congestion at peak times, but seen as inherently unfair by the measure's sponsors, who tout the measure by saying "Tolls do not vary.  They are the same 24/7 and everyone pays."

Measure 1125  would also bar the expansion of Seattle's light rail across the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington, which was approved by a ballot measure last year.

According to the 'Yes on 1125'  homepage, the measure "stands up for the 97 percent of us who chose to drive everyday."

The measure has opponents trying to cough up that chicken-bone, and furiously fundraising.  So far, Microsoft (based in Washington) employees, including Bill Gates himself, have contributed $700,000 to fund more than 2 million worth of television ads to block the proposal.

The Seattle City Council recently voted 9-0 to oppose the measure, arguing it would excessive drain funding for key transportation projects.

Proponents have far fewer resources, but the "I'm Mad As Hell But Not Going To Take it Anymore"-inspired measure is so far even in the poll.

The vote next week comes as Washington, DC politicians are grappling with how to fund the transportation bill.  The results could be used as ammo by either side in an argument about how transpo should be funded -- and how big its dreams should be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Takeaway

Super Committee Comes Up For Air

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Joint Deficit Reduction "Super Committee," put in charge with finding $4 trillion to cut from the deficit, held their fifth public meeting on Tuesday. But the fate of the Super Committee remains unclear as it is unlikely they will come to consensus any time soon. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, says the hearing was both a pep talk to the committee but also partly a threat. There is a lot riding on them to succeed and a lot of heads could roll if they fail.

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The Takeaway

Senate Blocks Obama Jobs Bill Again

Friday, October 21, 2011

Democrats were once again unable to overcome a Republican filibuster of President Obama's jobs bill on Thursday. It was the second time in 10 days the Senate refused to take up the bill. This version was scaled down to a $35 billion plan to help states and local governments avoid laying off teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The bill would have been paid for by a 0.5 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million to start in 2013. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, reports on the latest developments on Capitol Hill.

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The Takeaway

Boston Man Accused of Bomb Plot in Washington

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Law enforcement officials accused a 26-year-old man from a town west of Boston of plotting to blow up the Pentagon and the Capitol Building with a remote-controlled aircraft fitted with explosives. Officials said Rezwan Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University, has also provided resources to Al Qaida to aid in attacks on American soldiers overseas.

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Transportation Nation

Study: Motorists Spend Most Time in Traffic in DC, Chicago, and LA

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photo Courtesy of Armando Trull

(Washington, DC)

The Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst commute in the country. Drivers in the metro D.C. area spend an average of three days per year in bumper to bumper traffic, according to 2011 rankings from Texas A&M University released this morning.

Chicago and and Los Angeles ranked second and third in the traffic congestion study, with 71 hours and 64 hours, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 list are Houston (57), New York (54), Baltimore (52), San Francisco (50), Denver (49), Boston (47) and Dallas (45).

The TTI survey shows nationally, commuters spend 34 hours sitting in traffic. That means both Chicago and Washington motorists are stuck in traffic at more than double the national average.

What does all this mean?

For one, it means that some 37 gallons of fuel per car are being wasted in traffic jams in the Washington Area. The cost of that fuel, added to wages lost, hits Washington area commuters in the wallet to the tune of nearly $1500 a year. That’s not to mention the cost of lost productivity and the effect that highway stress can have on individuals.

2010’s rate of 74 hours lost on the roadways is an improvement over the 2007 number, when commuters were left idling an average of 89 hours.

There are efforts underway to create some congestion relief in the DC area, the Intercounty Connector in Maryland, the Beltway high-occupancy toll lanes and the extension of transit rail in Virginia and several smaller projects, but officials fear that none of it is enough.

Projections by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and its transportation oversight committee, suggest that without significant investment in highways and transit, congestion could stifle the region’s desire to grow. By 2030, the regional population is estimated to increase by 1.2 million, newcomers drawn by 874,000 new jobs.

And with Congress in a belt-tightening mood, it seems that there will be little in the way of funding support to move meaningful projects forward.

The TTI report says congestion cost Americans more than $100 billion in 2010. That compares to an inflation adjusted $24 billion in 1982. Engines idling in traffic burned 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline. The researchers suggest that the number would increase to 2.5 billion gallons and delays would cost $133 billion by 2015.

 

 

 

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The Takeaway

Congressional Showdown Over FEMA Funding

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A vote scheduled by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on a stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, to keep the government funded through November 18 has become unexpectedly controversial. The government could be headed for a shutdown, as Democrats have vowed to block a provision of the bill concerning funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The bill includes $1 billion in immediate funding for cash-strapped FEMA, but offsets the spending with cuts to the Energy Department's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, has the latest on the story.

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The Takeaway

GOP Candidate Bob Turner Nabs Weiner's Congressional Seat

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yesterday, there was a special election for the New York Congressional seat left vacant by disgraced Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. The largely Democratic district would logically have gone to Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin, but due to myriad political factors Republican businessman Bob Turner won the race.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Obama's Jobs Tour, First Tea Party Debate

Monday, September 12, 2011

President Barack Obama continues his jobs tour this week, with stops in Columbus, Ohio and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., rallying support for his jobs plan. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to speak at a conference on regulation of systemic risk on Thursday, five days before the Federal Open Market Committee begins its meetings next week. Tonight, is the first Tea Party debate, which GOP presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are expected to attend. And Anthony Weiner's old Congressional seat in New York's ninth district is up for grabs in a special election tomorrow.

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The Takeaway

The Economic Cost of 9/11

Friday, September 09, 2011

The events of September 11, 2001 amounted to unfathomable costs, in terms of lives and families forever torn apart, not to mention the physical and emotion after effects that continue to haunt the survivors of 9/11. In addition to that, there was an economic cost to 9/11 — one that is almost equally unfathomable.

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