Monthly Archives: June 2013

Florida: Expedites Death Penalty Process Despite Chilling Exoneration Rate

Yesterday, This American Life ran a short story about a recent bill signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott.  Despite the fact that Florida has one of the worst record for poor lawyering in death penalty cases (which only requires a majority vote for death in Florida), the bill would make executions quicker and easier. 

Here is a description of the story:

On Wednesday, Florida executed a death row inmate named William Van Poyck. His execution came the same week that Florida’s governor signed a new law designed to speed up executions in the state. Emily Bazelon, legal affairs editor at Slate, explains that of all the states in the country, Florida is probably the last one where you’d want executions to move faster. (8 minutes)

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June 17, 2013 · 10:14 pm

Rockanomics and the US Economy: “It’s a Long Way to the Top . . .”

“. . . if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.” This quote from AC/DC and Jack Black’s School of Rock is applicable to a short story by NPR’s Weekend Edition.  The segment discusses how the economics of the music industry can teach us lessons about the broader American economy.  Most notably, both are currently in a state of radical inequality. 

Here is a description of the story: 

White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.

“And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: ‘Rockanomics,’ the economics of rock and roll,” the president said. “This is something that Alan actually cares about.”

In fact, Krueger gave a speech this week at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where he said the music business offers valuable lessons about the broader U.S. economy.

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June 16, 2013 · 11:01 am

Father of High-Frequency Trading Advocates Slow Down

NPR’s Planet Money recent re-aired the story of Thomas Peterffy, a financial innovator that helped chang how (fast) stock trading occurs.  Here is a description of the story:

Thomas Peterffy’s life story includes a typing robot, a proto-iPad, and a vast fortune he amassed as one of the first guys to use computers in financial markets.

On today’s show, Peterffy tells us his story — and he explains why he’s worried about the financial world he helped create.

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June 15, 2013 · 2:54 pm

“Sonia from the Bronx”

Don’t be fooled by the jurisprudence that she’s got, she’s still, she’s still “Sonia from the Bronx.”  However, it is unclear whether she know J-Lo personally.  Regardless, 60 Minutes recently re-air its interview Supreme Court Justice Sonio Sotomayor.  Here is a description of the story: 

In the 223 years of the Supreme Court of the United States, it is fair to say there has never been a justice like Sonia Sotomayor. Among other things, she’s the first Hispanic on the court, she’s the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who settled in the Bronx — that New York melting pot that pours out streetwise kids and American success stories.


Sotomayor, now 58 years old, calls the streets of her childhood “my beloved world” and when we aired this story in January, she was about to come out with a memoir of the same name. She told us that, the neighborhood gave a poor girl, with a serious illness, a chance to serve and an opportunity to become one of the most powerful women in America.

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June 14, 2013 · 8:45 pm

Trayvon Martin, Social Media, and Jury Selection

Yesterday, NPR’s Talk of the Nation discussed jury selection in the context of the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin with Corey Dade, contributing editor to The Root magazine, and Karen Fleming-Ginn, jury consultant with Verdix Jury Consulting in Walnut Creek, California.  

Here is a description of the podcast: 

Jury selection is underway in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012. Lawyers on both sides are questioning candidates for the high-profile case.

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June 12, 2013 · 9:29 pm

Wage Inequality 50 Years After the Equal Pay Act

Yesterday, NPR’s Morning Edition commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act and discussed woman in the workplace today.  

Here is an introduction the story: 

On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.

Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it’s most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years.


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June 11, 2013 · 8:54 pm

Sesame Street Helps Kids Understand Incarceration

Yesterday morning,  CBS Sunday Morning featured a segment about a new initiative of Sesame Street to help kids cope with the reality of imprisoned parents.  

Here is an introduction to the story: 

At 24, Francis Adjei is now the head of his household, a role he never imagined having to play.

“One day, we’re all together having dinner; following day, she’s in jail. And we don’t know what to do,” he said.

Two years ago his mother, Jackie Pokuwaah, A Ghanaian immigrant, was convicted of grand larceny, and is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence at a state penitentiary.

Adjei had to drop out of school, and now spends his days managing his siblings’ schedules, trying to keep them in school.

His 7-year-old brother, Tyler, has to catch the school bus by 7:15. His 19-year-old sister, Francisca, who has epilepsy, helps where she can; and Francis spends an hour each way taking his 10-year-old sister, Breanna, on the subway to get her to school.

“My mother, the only person that takes care of all these things, she’s not around. So now, it all falls on me now,” Francis told Doane.

“When the police came and took your mom,” Doane asked Francis, “did anyone ever explain what it meant to be incarcerated?”

“To the children? No,” he replied. “We’ve never went down that direct path, just kind of been beating around the bush.”

“Why was it so difficult to explain, to talk about?”

“I don’t know, it was a very hard position to be in,” he replied. “I didn’t know what to tell them. I didn’t even know how to go about it.”

But soon Adjei and his brothers and sisters will find a little help on a familiar street: Sesame Street.

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June 10, 2013 · 8:56 am