Current Event March 14, 2016
Countries such as Germany, the Philippines, Argentina and Great Britain have elected women leaders, but the United States has never elected a woman president. Sexism and legal discrimination have stopped women from gaining leadership positions for the past 200 years, but things have changed recently. Women have been supporting each other to gain elected positions, and have proven that women are capable leaders. Listen to hear more about the history of women leaders in the United States.
Current Event March 7, 2016
Voter anger is the news story of this Presidential election. It’s fueling support for candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Anger at the government has been present for years, as seen in the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements. There is a strong anti-establishment sentiment, especially among Republicans, about the way things are going and many voters want a change. Listen to these political reporters as they reflect on the current voter sentiment.
Current Event March 1, 2016
Super Tuesday, the day when 12 states hold their presidential primaries, is today. Texas has a big race, with the possible prize of 155 delegates. One of the Republican candidates, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is hoping to win his home state. While Cruz has many supporters, some are having a hard time trusting him. His main rival, billionaire Donald Trump, is surging in popularity, even in Cruz’s home state. Listen to hear more about the Republican primary race in Texas.
Current Event February 29, 2016
President Obama has wanted to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay since his second day in office. Now, the President has announced a plan to transfer prisoners to the U.S. and other countries before his term ends. He faces resistance from members of Congress who are trying to block the closure of Guantanamo. Many are concerned about bringing known terrorists to U.S. soil. While the Administration hopes to work with lawmakers, it argues that the President does have the authority to act on his own in this matter. Listen to learn more about arguments for and against the President’s plans.
Current Event February 23, 2016
As we head into Women’s History month in March, one woman stands out as an early pioneer for women’s rights, Susan B. Anthony. Her birthday is remembered this month, but she is known for a November day in 1872, when she and other women registered to vote. When Anthony attempted to vote, she was arrested and convicted of the crime of illegal voting. She was also an anti-slavery activist and joined forces with abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. Although it wasn’t legal for women to vote until 1920, Susan B. Anthony led the campaign to for women’s suffrage. Listen to hear more about her legacy as an advocate for women’s rights in the United States.
Current Event February 18, 2016
After a pro-Beijing official was appointed to the University of Hong Kong, students protested. Nearly 20 years ago Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control. This protest shows it’s still an uneasy arrangement. Students boycotted classes for one week to push for more democratic leadership of their University. The new chairman of the University said that the students have been acting like they are on drugs. The chairman is a member of the Communist-controlled advisory body of China and also sits on Hong Kong’s Cabinet. Listen to this story to hear more about what is threatened in the mixing of politics, academics and the relationship between China and Hong Kong.
Current Event February 15, 2016
As the presidential primaries continue, voters in the Democratic party are split between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Next up to vote: South Carolina. An important voting block for the Democratic party in the south is African Americans. And in South Carolina, as this story explains, black voters appear to be split between Sanders and Clinton. Listen to this story to hear from college students who are still undecided about who to support.
Current Event February 9, 2016
Today voters go to the polls in the New Hampshire primary. Both parties have hotly contested primary races that are expected to continue through the spring. The Republican Party is having difficulty defining what it means to be a Republican, but the Democratic Party is also struggling to shape the future of its party. Candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have very different visions of what the Democratic Party can do for the country. Listen to a variety of opinions from voters and discuss the differences between these candidates.
Current Event January 31, 2016
The first votes in the 2016 presidential election will take place today in the Iowa caucus. As this important election event and other primaries approach, voters and candidates are expressing powerful emotions about the state of the country. Democrats are upset about the economic divide between the rich and poor, while Republicans fault President Obama’s policies on immigration and healthcare. Meanwhile, many voters feel anxious about terrorism and personal finances. Listen to this story to hear the feelings that are defining this election.
Current Event January 20, 2016
Iowa plays a big role in the Presidential election process because it’s the first state to cast its vote for a presidential nominee. The state is overwhelmingly white, but has a growing Latino population. The caucus process is complicated and meetings are held at night, which discourages some Latinos from participating. But efforts are being made to include Latinos in the caucus process. This story looks at how Latinos play a key role in the upcoming elections.
Current Event January 15, 2016
The name of President Woodrow Wilson is on programs and buildings at Princeton University and students are calling for its removal. The former president is remembered for his progressive views, but his record on race is divisive as he actively supported segregation. Some think his legacy is now disputed, and his name should be removed. Others think the answer is not to deny history but to understand it. Listen to this story with students and debate the issue of whether historic figures should be held to contemporary standards.
Current Event January 12, 2016
The relationship between two powerhouses in the Middle East is deteriorating. Iran and Saudi Arabia are battling for domination and control of the Middle East. The withdrawal of the United States and the recent collapse of three Arab states has created a void of power. More recently there is also heightened tension between Sunnis and Shiites because Saudi Arabia recently executed a well known Shiite cleric. A mob in Iran then ransacked the Saudi Embassy. Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran and other Gulf states and recalled ambassadors from Shiite Iran. Listen to hear how this affects the United States policies and threatens peace talks in Syria.
Current Event January 11, 2016
With just weeks before the first votes are cast in the 2017 presidential race, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s husband hits the campaign trail. Former President Bill Clinton remains a popular figure among Democrats, but he also comes with a mixed history. Some are worried that he will overshadow Hillary on the campaign trail, but there are positives to having a former President promote a candidate. Listen to hear about the pros and cons of having Bill Clinton on the campaign trail.
Current Event January 4, 2016
In an historic election for women in Saudi Arabia, women won 20 seats out of about 2,000 seats available on local councils. It was historic because even though women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, they were allowed to vote and be candidates for the first time. Women had to be creative in their campaigning to work around rules about women traveling unaccompanied and forced segregation of men and women. Since Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, the royal rulers make all the important political decisions and smaller decisions are left to local councils. Even considering the restrictions on women, this is a step toward women having a voice in Saudi Arabia.
Current Event December 18, 2015
Campaign contributions come in from many sources. There are limits to the amount of money a campaign committee can contribute to support a candidate, but there are no limits on how much money a Super PAC can contribute. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell would like to change the campaign finance law. These laws were put into place to prevent corruption, but both Republicans and Democrats have been working to dismantle campaign finance limits. Listen to this story with your students and debate this question: Should we set limits on campaign contributions?
Current Event December 14, 2015
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, recently called for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. In making this announcement, he cited polls as evidence that large segments of Muslims hate Americans. This has prompted very strong criticism, including from some of his fellow Republican candidates and state party leaders. Trump announced this a day after President Obama urged Americans to reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. Listen to hear about the reactions to Trump’s idea.
Current Event December 8, 2015
Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been campaigning across the country explaining his version of Democratic Socialism. He talks about the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the framework for his own policies, trying to show socialism in a positive light. He states that “real freedom must include economic security.” Sanders is tying his ideas to the politics of the United States of the 1930s through 1960s. Listen to hear more about this version of Democratic Socialism.
Current Event November 18, 2015
In coordinated attacks at six sites across Paris, France, 129 people were killed and more than 200 people were injured. This large-scale terrorist attack is being claimed by the Islamic State, or ISIS. The terrorists used suicide belts and automatic weapons to attack people at a concert, a football game which the President of France attended, restaurants and cafes. Listen to hear what led to this attack and what is being done to prevent future attacks.
Current Event October 2, 2015
During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis delivered a speech before a joint meeting of Congress. The Pope’s message, “Remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” The Pope addressed immigration, protecting human life and climate change- all issues that Congress is divided about. He supported the position of Democrats on some issues and the position of Republicans on others. According to the First Amendment, there should be a separation of church and state, and the government cannot promote a particular religion. Are the Pope’s statements about controversial topics promoting religion in Congress? Should the Pope’s opinion influence U.S. policy? What role do religious leaders in general play in influencing politics? Discuss these issues and debate the role of religious leaders in politics.