Current Event May 10, 2015
On April 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of state-level bans on gay marriage. This hearing combined four different cases and tackled two big questions: whether state bans on gay marriage are legal, and whether it is legal for states to not recognize marriages from states where gay marriage is legal. The cases sparked a long and heated Supreme Court session. A decision is expected at the end of June. Listen to hear questions and arguments from the justices on this controversial issue.
Current Event April 26, 2015
Great Britain has a long history as a global power. From colonies around the world to diplomatic leadership, Britain has been a powerful leader through history. But the United Kingdom’s involvement and influence has waned in recent years. Since Britain’s involvement in the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British people and their politicians in Parliament have withdrawn from the world stage and turned their attentions inward. Listen to learn more about the causes and effects of Britain’s surprising absence from the world stage.
Current Event April 21, 2015
Hillary Clinton has officially announced that she is running for president in 2016. Clinton has been in national politics since her husband Bill Clinton became president in 1993 and she became the First Lady. Her image has survived several difficult events in her husband’s presidency. She went on to become a New York Senator and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. Her long career means most voters think they know her, but she is setting out to reintroduce herself to the American people in her upcoming campaign. Listen to learn more about her career and campaign.
Current Event March 29, 2015
The first candidate in the 2016 US presidential race has announced he is running for president. But there could be a major problem with his candidacy. Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz was naturalized at birth because his mother is an American citizen. He renounced his dual US-Canadian citizenship in 2013. But the US Constitution says the US president must be a “natural born citizen.” Listen to learn more about what the Constitution says on this issue and what the founding fathers were protecting against when they included this requirement in Article 2.
Current Event March 26, 2015
In the U.S. all voters are required to cast their ballots in the district that’s been assigned to them by their state legislature. The state has the power to create and change legislative districts. In some states legislative districts look like jigsaw puzzles, created to increase the chance that the party in power remains in power. This process is called gerrymandering. Some states are fighting this practice by creating independent commissions to control redistricting. One case has risen to the U.S. Supreme court, where the constitutionality of independent commissions is being challenged.
Our food supply is considered safe today thanks in large part to a movement to improve safety following the publication of the novel in 1906, "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. It was a vivid portrayal of the lives of immigrant families who worked in a meat-packing plant in Chicago. Americans were shocked and disgusted. This public radio story tells of how "The Jungle" galvanized public support to improve the safety of our food system.
George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” was published in 1945. Its message was explicitly political as a statement and a satire against Stalinism and the dictatorial socialism of the Soviet Union. Understanding this allegory gives deeper meaning to the talking animals who take control of their farm. Seventy years later, does this message of failed revolution resonate in a communist nation with a similar revolution and trajectory? Listen to learn how a later theatrical adaptation of the book is being understood in modern day China.
Current Event June 16, 2014
It has been 40 years since the publication of "All the President's Men" by Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The popular book was made into a movie at the same time. The authors of the book recently reflected on their reporting that revealed President Richard Nixon was trying to rig his re-election campaign. Listen to this radio story to teach your students about Watergate and its place in history.
Current Event June 13, 2014
In a surprise upset, Republican House Leader Eric Cantor lost his re-election bid to a Tea Party-backed candidate. Political analysts say one of the reasons he lost was his moderate stand on immigration reform. Listen to this radio story to find out what this means for immigration reform.
Current Event March 18, 2014
Residents of Crimea, which is a part of Ukraine, voted to secede and join neighboring Russia. In response, citizens in the capital of Ukraine are preparing to use military force to prevent any action by Russia. Citizens are afraid that one day Ukraine will lose more territory to Russia.
Current Event February 12, 2014
In past Olympics, vote trading, where one judge trades for votes with another judge, skewed judging in ice skating; however, when anonymity was enacted, vote trading just got worse. Listen to this story to learn how subjectivity has a role in judging.
Current Event January 16, 2014
This month, 50 years after a war on poverty was declared by President Lyndon Johnson, politicians are still fighting over how to help alleviate poverty. This week the two major political parties in the U.S. agreed they need to do more to help the poor, but differ on how. Republicans call to repeal state aid and Democrats claim that those safety nets saved the economy.