Monthly Archives: June 2013

Affirmative Action After Fisher v. the University of Texas

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down Fisher v. the University of Texas  a highly anticipated affirmative action case.  In a somewhat anticlimactic decision, the High Court remanded “the case back to the lower court to apply “strict scrutiny” to the University’s admissions policy.” NPR’s Talk of the Nation discussed the future of affirmative action after Fisher

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June 27, 2013 · 11:26 pm

Supreme Court Curtail Voting Rights Act

In Shelby County v. Holder, today the Supreme Court struck a key provision of the voting rights act, a provision that required states to get federal permission to change their voting laws. 

For more on this historic case, see the SCOTUS blog coverage

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June 25, 2013 · 11:11 pm

Tires, Tariffs, and Grizz: Oh My!

NPR’s Planet Money recently ran as story answering the question: “why are tire prices so damn high?”  Here is a description of the story: 

The price of tires has risen by about 40 percent in the past five years. That’s partly because rubber prices have gone up. But it’s also due to a tariff the U.S. imposed on Chinese tire imports.

As tire prices have risen, more people have been renting tires rather than buying them outright. And renting tires, it turns out, is often a bad deal in the long run.

On today’s show: How a celebrated attempt to help one group of people ended quietly hurting a much larger group. Also on the show: The Grizz.

For more, see our story Why More People Are Renting Tires. And see the paper we mention on the show, U.S. Tire Tariffs: Saving Few Jobs at High Cost.

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June 23, 2013 · 8:31 am

Why We Are Failing Good Teachers

Last weekend, This American Life ran a story about an award winning teacher who is being forced to quit.  It’s a really exasperating story if you care about the state of American education.  Here is a description of the segment: 

Science teacher Jason Pittman, who teaches pre-school through sixth grade at a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, won a big teaching award this week. In fact, during his ten years teaching, he’s won many, many awards. He loves his job. But this week, he explains to Ira why he’s quitting, even though he doesn’t want to. (6 minutes)

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June 22, 2013 · 12:06 pm

Click Here for FREE PORN…Debate

No, our website was not hacked by spammers. Instead the BBC’s Moral Maze is back . . . and hotter than ever.  Here is a description of the debate: 

The statistics on internet porn are eye-popping enough – it’s claimed that 36% of internet content is pornography, with one in four queries to search engines being porn-related the online porn industry makes more than $3,000 a second. But if that isn’t enough to convince you that pornography has long since abandoned the seedy confines of the top shelves and colonised mainstream media, then perhaps the fact that porn is to get an academic journal devoted to the study of the genre might. Concerns about the volume, nature and easy availability of porn have been growing for some time, but the recent trials of Stuart Hazell, convicted for killing 12-year-old Tia Sharp, and Mark Bridger for killing five year old April Jones have brought the issue in to sharp focus. Both men were found to have violent pornography on their computers and one of them was watching it just hours before he carried out the murder. This week the Culture Secretary Maria Millar and charities held a summit meeting with internet service providers demanding that they do something to reduce access to obscene images, especially by children. The “ban porn/don’t ban porn” argument has raged, perhaps ever since the Lady Chatterley trail. Of course there are the issues of freedom of speech and censorship, but has technology changed so rapidly in recent years that the moral framework of the debate needs to be changed? Do we have the moral language to balance the right of consenting adults to watch other consenting adults having sex against the fact that such hardcore porn is so easily available and consumed, especially by adolescent boys? Is it the job of the state to police what goes online, or should parents be taking more care what their children are doing online? Is the normalisation of porn culture subtly damaging us all by commodifying and brutalising relationships – reducing them to animalistic couplings? Or is that being hopelessly romantic? Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips, Matthew Taylor and Giles Fraser. Witnesses: Jerry Barnett – Former Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association, Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mothers’ Union, Myles Jackman – Solicitor. Sexual freedom and obscenity specialist, Eleanor Mills – Sunday Times campaigning reporter

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June 20, 2013 · 8:09 pm

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

Lost the fervor relating to the gay marriage cases currently pending before the Supreme Court is another fascinating case that will be decided decided this month, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. 

Here is a description of the Radio Lab segment previewing the case: 

This is the story of a three-year-old girl and the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl is a legal battle that has entangled a biological father, a heart-broken couple, and the tragic history of Native American children taken from their families.

When producer Tim Howard first read about this case, it struck him as a sad but seemingly straightforward custody dispute. But, as he started talking to lawyers and historians and the families involved in the case, it became clear that it was much more than that. Because Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl challenges parts of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, this case puts one little girl at the center of a storm of legal intricacies, Native American tribal culture, and heart-wrenching personal stakes.

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June 19, 2013 · 7:40 pm

General Hayden Defends PRISM

On Sunday, General Michael Hayden, former National Security Agency Director, discusses about NSA data collection.

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June 19, 2013 · 4:10 am