Current Event August 17, 2018
The State of Nevada recently had to postpone a scheduled execution of a convicted criminal because it could no longer use one of the drugs it had planned to put in the lethal injection. This case highlights a variety of issues surrounding the substances used in lethal cocktails, including their legality, proper protocol, and potential alternatives. It also raises important questions about the death penalty in general. Listen to learn more about this case and then debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?
Current Event August 28, 2018
Although it seems to be everywhere, sand is actually running out. This might not seem like a problem, but you probably don’t realize how important sand really is. We use it to make concrete, silicone, and even artificial islands. Unfortunately, environmental factors are making it harder and harder to get, like many other natural resources today. Listen to learn the untold story of sand.
Current Event September 5, 2018
Republican Senator John McCain died at 81 of brain cancer on August 25th, 2018. In addition to representing Arizona for six terms in the U.S. Senate, his legacy includes serving in the U.S. Navy as a pilot during the Vietnam War, where his plane was shot down and he was captured and held as a POW or prisoner of war for five and a half years. Listen to hear how that experience influenced his views and his career.
Current Event September 7, 2018
The future of the nuclear power industry is an issue that generates controversy. Some argue that nuclear energy is an important resource in addressing problems associated with climate change. Others are concerned that the safety of nuclear power plants still presents a serious risk. Listen to experts discussing developments in nuclear engineering and debate whether nuclear power plants should be recognized as a source of clean energy.
Current Event July 16, 2018
After months of being caught up in various ethical scandals, Scott Pruitt recently stepped down as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Despite the criticism Pruitt faced, President Trump and many conservative groups supported his work in this position. Andrew Wheeler, a lawyer and former lobbyist for the coal industry, will replace Pruitt as the leader of the EPA. Listen to learn more about Pruitt’s decision, Wheeler’s approach to his new job, and what the future holds for the EPA.
Current Event August 6, 2018
The Trump administration recently raised tariffs, or fees, on many things the U.S. imports from countries like China. In response to this, some countries have put their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, like hogs and soybeans. These new fees are hurting U.S. farmers because they can’t sell as much overseas. Now, the Trump administration has decided to offer billions of dollars in federal aid to the farmers who are struggling with these new tariffs. Listen to learn more about the governmental assistance the Trump administration is offering farmers.
Current Event August 22, 2018
Facebook is only 14 years old, but it’s the dominant social network used by two-thirds of American adults. With news about it sharing private information or spreading fake news, some are calling on users to boycott Facebook and turn to other social networks. But which ones? Listen to this story to learn why Facebook is so dominant and how it would be very difficult for any new social network to overtake Facebook’s popularity.
Current Event August 31, 2018
A group of students recently sued the state of Michigan for failing to teach them to read in their public schools. The students argue that literacy is a constitutional right. A federal judge dismissed their case because literacy is not explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution. However, the case is being appealed, making the argument that students should have equal opportunities to learn, no matter which school they attend. Listen to an interview with one of the lawyers working on this case, and then debate whether students have a legal right to learn how to read.
Current Event May 18, 2018
In the wake of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, discussions about how to keep students safe have resurfaced. One approach is to employ school resource officers (SROs), police who monitor school grounds and respond to any threats. About 30 percent of all schools utilize SROs, but studies reveal that having dedicated police officers on campus doesn’t improve safety. In addition, SROs can actually cause issues for students, making their suspension, expulsion, or even arrest more likely. This is particularly problematic for students of color. For these reasons, some students argue that the money spent on SROs should be directed to other programs. Listen to hear more about the SRO debate: Do Police in Schools Make it Safer?
Current Event May 25, 2018
Some California school districts recently tried providing the SAT for free during the school day for high school juniors. While the cost for this first year was funded by a grant, future years of free SATs could be provided by a California bill that would allow school districts to to pay for the SAT or ACT rather than standardized tests. Supporters of this bill think it is important to reduce barriers to taking the SAT, while opponents argue that standardized tests are absolutely necessary. Listen to this story about how one high school is offering the SAT for free and then debate: Should the SAT be free in schools?
Current Event May 29, 2018
A gunman recently shot and killed 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. This event was, unfortunately, one of many school shootings in 2018. One student, Kayte Alford, avoided injury herself, but is now grieving the loss and suffering of her classmates. During this interview just one day after the tragic incident, Alford describes how the shooting has affected her daily life and future plans. She’s afraid to leave the house, attend her high school graduation, and even go to college. Her mother and grandmother also describe their reactions to the disastrous event. Listen to hear Alford’s story.
Current Event June 4, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided that states can decide for themselves whether or not to make sports betting legal. This means that many states will likely legalize gambling on athletic events soon. Some experts suggest that betting will help engage sports fans in games. Gambling will also make sports leagues much more money. However, others are worried that sports betting could lead to corruption, especially for amateur or student athletes. Listen to learn more about the Supreme Court’s ruling on this issue and what legalizing sports betting may mean for American athletics.
Current Event June 7, 2018
Ramadan is a month-long Muslim practice during which observers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Two American Muslim[MB10] women and podcasters recently discussed what it’s like to observe Ramadan in America. They described their coworkers’ reactions to their fasting, their experiences observing Ramadan, and what the holy month means to them. They also provide advice for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the religion from their Muslim friends. Listen to learn more about Ramadan.
Current Event May 15, 2018
The demographic shifts in Texas may preview changes in all of America. More Americans being born and growing up in Texas today are people of color. These populations have experienced economic inequality and lack of opportunities. Making changes and investing in education may help reduce some effects of these inequalities. The growing numbers of Latinos, African Americans and Asians may also change Texas politically as young people become more active in speaking up and voting. Listen to hear about the changes that are seen in Texas demographics and the changes that could help to ensure the success of all Americans.
Current Event May 16, 2018
About 150 migrants have reached the entrance to a U.S. border station in Tijuana, Mexico. They came in a caravan from Central America, sleeping on the tops of trains to escape violence in their own countries. They are applying for political asylum, but U.S. officials say they can only take a limited number of asylum applications. The United States law is intended to provide a safe haven for people who can prove they are fleeing persecution in their home countries. Listen to hear more about migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
Current Event May 22, 2018
The United States recently moved its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump’s reasoning for this move is that the U.S. wants to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. This is a complicated and contentious issue, since the Palestinian people argue that Jerusalem is actually the capital of their nation. The opening of the new Embassy caused protests by Palestinians in Gaza and Israeli troops opened fire killing more than 40 people.
Current Event June 1, 2018
Many police departments already use basic facial recognition software, but more advanced technology in this area is raising new questions about what information law enforcement should or should not be able to instantly access. The latest software can rapidly identify people in all sorts of poses and situations, making it appealing for both businesses and law enforcement. If implemented, experts worry that it could make remaining anonymous in day-to-day life virtually impossible. Listen to this story about real-time facial recognition software and debate: Should police use facial recognition?
Current Event June 18, 2018
President Trump recently met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a long-awaited summit. North Korea’s expanding nuclear program and strained foreign relations with the United States have caused growing concern over the last several months. As a result of their meeting, Kim Jong Un signed a vague agreement committing to peace and denuclearization, while President Trump announced a surprising change in American military cooperation with South Korea against their northern neighbors. These outcomes give some hope, but leave others confused and worried. Listen to learn more about this historic summit.
Current Event June 25, 2018
President Trump recently decided that the U.S. would charge tariffs (taxes added to specific imported goods) on aluminum and steel from certain countries. The nations affected by this decision, such as the European Union and Canada, argue that this breaks agreements the U.S. has made with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. argues that these tariffs protect American national security. If the WTO cannot resolve this conflict, it may lead various countries to begin raising tariffs on each other, ultimately hurting the global economy. Listen to learn more about this possible trade war.
Current Event July 2, 2018
Around national holidays many visitors come to Washington DC, the capital of the federal government. On the National Mall, a large park surrounded by national museums, they shared what they believe defines patriotism. They noted service, sacrifice and freedom. Listen to hear what patriotism means to some Americans.