Category Archives: Miscellaneous

“Would Lowering The Drunk Driving Threshold Make Us Safer?”

Last week, NPR’s Talk of the Nation discussed the National Transportation Safety Board recommendation of reducing the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05 with LZ Granderson, author of “Don’t Lower Threshold On Drunken Driving.”

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May 29, 2013 · 11:46 pm

Private Prisons: Pernicious Public Policy?

That was the question being debated on Lawyer to Lawyer. Here is a description of the show:

n this edition of Lawyer2Lawyer host Bob Ambrogi discusses private prisons with Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Adrian Moore, vice president of the Reason Foundation, a non-profit in support of libertarian principles and privatization.

  • Susan Herman was elected president of the ACLU in October 2008. As Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, she teaches courses in the area of Criminal Law and Procedure and Constitutional Law. The ACLU has been studying and protesting against private prisons as a for-profit business for decades.
  • Dr. Adrian Moore is vice president of policy at the Reason Foundation. He has conducted studies, written publications and scholarly articles on the privatization of prisons and how they yield quality corrections at a lower cost. He has served on boards and commissions developing or overseeing privatization at the federal, state, and local level.

Tune in to hear Herman and Moore debate and discuss the colossal incarceration rate, the profit motives of private prisons, the politics behind it all, and the impact on prisoners’ rights.

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May 18, 2013 · 8:52 pm

Is Islam More Violent Than Other Major Religions?

This was the topic being debated in the wake of the Boston Bombings on Real Time with Bill Maher. On its face, this proposition appears patently offensive.  However, Maher debated

Brian Levy, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, about the Boston Marathon Bombers’ Muslim faith playing a role in their terrorism

“It’s not like people who are Muslim who do wacky things have a monopoly on it,” Levy claimed. “We have hypocrites across faiths, Jewish, Christian who say they’re out for God and end up doing not so nice things.”

Maher, true to form, called his guest out and said his premise was “liberal bullshit.”

Maher concedes the obvious, that not all Muslims are terrorists.  Instead, Maher makes a slightly more subtle argument, that Islamic extremists are more violent than Christian and Jewish extremists.  

Is this empirically true? If so, does it mean anything? Does admitting this “truth” cause more harm than good? Undoubtedly, Levy’s point is also true, that such a stereotype harms the vast majority of peaceful Muslims.   

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April 27, 2013 · 11:23 am

Boston Bombings Coverage: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Tuesday’s post featured Fareed Zakaria’s take on the Boston bombings, some of the rare “good” coverage of the attack.  Jon Stewart, on the other hand, makes a living covering the “bad” and the “ugly” of American news.  Today’s post features the “bad,” CNN’s embarrassing Boston bombings blunder.  

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April 25, 2013 · 10:36 am

SNL: “Accidental Racist” or Just Racist?

Country singer Brad Paisley and hip hop artist LL Cool J released a duet titled “Accidental Racist.”  The song clumsily discusses racial prejudice in United States.  Since the single’s release, Paisley and LL have been on a media offensive, defending the allegedly offensive track.   

Last weekend, the duo stopped by Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”  

I intended to post a link to the song.  However, it seems that most of the videos on YouTube  have been taken down, will be taken down, or of poor quality.  

My take: the song is bold move, characteristic Paisley’s unconventional lyrics.  While the song certainly seems created a dialogue about race, the song is not very good.  It is a sort of ad hoc mash up musically.  Moreover, the lyrics do not measure up to the gravity issue.  

It reminds me of what I was told in a creative writing class I took in college.  My professor recommended that new writers shouldn’t write about cancer.  She advised that because cancer is such a powerful topic, it is difficult to pull of a story that is fresh and deft.   Having listened to all six plus minutes of “Accidental Racist,” it strikes me as a story about America’s cancer that is neither fresh nor deft.  




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April 15, 2013 · 9:46 am

The Ivory Tower Half Hour: Sequestration and Hugo Chavez’s Death

Hosted by Barbara Fought, Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, this powerhouse panel of Tim Byrnes (Colgate University), Bob Greene (Cazenovia College),  Bob Spitzer (SUNY Cortland), and  Tara Ross (Onondaga County Community College), and discuss the fall out of the Sequester and the death of Hugo Chavez. 

This video runs approximately 27 minutes.

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March 11, 2013 · 6:01 pm

The Ivory Tower Half Hour: The New Post Standard and Fourth Amendment

Hosted by David Rubin, Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, this powerhouse panel of Lisa Dolak (Syracuse University College of Law), Tim Byrnes (Colgate University), Bob Greene (Cazenovia College), Tara Ross (Onondaga County Community College), and  Kristi Andersen (Syracuse University) discuss the new face of the Syracuse Post Standard, Maryland v. King, the pending Supreme Court case concerning  DNA swabbing and the Fourth Amendment, and FEMA dollars going to religious institutions that are rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.  

This video runs approximately 27 minutes.

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March 2, 2013 · 10:26 am