Current Event March 22, 2017
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups has jumped from 30 to over 100 in the last year, with many new anti-Muslim groups. Now, some Muslim Americans are running for elected office in order to fight back against Islamophobia. Although these candidates face strong resistance, non-profit organizations, such as Jetpac and New American Leaders Project, are supporting their campaigns and training them on how to respond to anti-Muslim rhetoric. Listen to learn more about the rise in anti-Muslim hate groups and how some Muslim-Americans are turning to politics to push back.
Current Event March 21, 2017
During women’s history month, it’s important to look back at the impact of women on history. Madeleine Albright was the first female Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. She directed foreign policy from 1997 until the Clinton administration left office. She is most known for leading diplomatic relations during the Kosovo conflict and being the first U.S. official to travel to North Korea and meet with then leader Kim Jong-il. Listen to learn more about Albright’s behind-the-scenes diplomacy, her impressions on being a woman working in the U.S. government, and her opinions on current events.
Current Event March 20, 2017
Republicans have released a health care bill that will repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This new bill has been reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office, which states in a report that with this plan as many as 14 million Americans will lose health coverage in the next year, with estimates of 24 million people losing health coverage over the next decade. Many Republicans believe these numbers are overestimated. They are focusing instead on how the Republican plan will reduce the federal budget deficit by over $300 billion over ten years. Listen to learn more about the changes to the U.S. health care system proposed in the Republican plan.
Current Event March 15, 2017
One of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Legal professionals believe that hundreds of landowners will bring lawsuits against the U.S. government to stop the wall from being built in their backyards. While George W. Bush was President in 2006, he decided to build a fence along a portion of the border and hundreds of lawsuits were filed by landowners. Listen to learn more about the land disputes surrounding the proposed border wall and how Trump’s wall is likely to affect landowners and courts.
Current Event March 1, 2017
The role of First Lady is one that has been performed very differently by each presidential spouse. Melania Trump is no exception, and has already broken with some of the traditions around being the First Lady. Most notable is the fact that she has chosen to live in New York where her son attends school, rather than move into the White House right away. Listen to learn more about the roles of the first families now and in the past.
Current Event February 27, 2017
It’s a tradition of American democracy that members of Congress who are on recess hold town hall meetings in their districts to hear the concerns of the people they represent. This most recent recess, many Republican members of Congress are facing angry voters who are raising concerns about the Trump Administration’s policies. Most of the criticism has centered around the Republican party’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Listen to learn more about the backlash Republican Congress members are facing in different parts of the country.
Current Event February 22, 2017
Recently President Trump has publicly criticized individual judges who have ordered temporary halts to his travel ban. Trump has questioned judges’ motives, claiming these decisions are political and have nothing to do with actual legal concerns. His personal attacks on individual judges is unprecedented in U.S. history. American democracy rests on a balance of three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial. Although presidents have disagreed with court decisions and complained privately in the past, none have ever made public attacks against individual judges. Listen to learn more about the relationship between presidents and the courts in the past and the implications of Trump’s recent criticisms.
Current Event February 20, 2017
General Michael Flynn has resigned from his position as White House National Security Advisor following controversy surrounding his communication with Russia’s ambassador before he took his post in the Trump Administration. Beyond the violation of diplomatic protocol, Flynn also gave Vice President Mike Pence false information about the content of his conversation with the Russian ambassador. President Trump says this violation of trust is the cause for Flynn’s resignation. Listen to learn more about Flynn’s misconduct and concerns about Russia’s involvement in U.S. politics.
Current Event February 16, 2017
When a new administration takes over the presidency, the first family has the right to make some decorative changes to the White House, including changes to the art that hangs on the walls. The White House is an accredited museum, with a committee of curators that work to select, obtain and pay for new pieces of art. Part of a White House curator's job is to make decisions about how to make a collection that best represents the United States and its history. Listen to learn more about the history of the art collection in the White House and how the curation works today.
Current Event February 14, 2017
North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile recently that few for about 300 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan. The test increases the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The Prime Minister of Japan called the test "absolutely intolerable". If a nuclear warhead can be paired with a missile of this power, North Korea would be able to use the threat of nuclear attack to deter the United States from interfering in its affairs. Listen to learn more about North Korean weapon development and the danger it poses for the United States.
Current Event February 13, 2017
President Trump’s travel ban has already affected tens of thousands of people traveling to and from the United States. Among the affected groups are scientists. Scientific discovery often depends on the ability to communicate and collaborate with experts from around the world. However, with the travel ban in place, many are forgoing the trip to the United States entirely. Listen to learn more about specific examples of affected scientists and the impact the travel ban is having on the scientific community of the United States.
Current Event February 10, 2017
If you look up “lie” in the dictionary, it says a “false statement with the intent to deceive.” At President Trump’s first speech at the CIA headquarters, he made a number of untrue claims including falsely inflated numbers of attendees at his inauguration. Journalists have struggled with how to characterize the President’s wrong facts. NPR reporters used terms like “untrue claims” and “false denials” to describe the inaccuracies in Trump’s speech rather than labeling them as lies. The reporters were criticized for not referring to these falsehoods as lies. Listen to learn how reporters are debating when to use the word lie and then debate in your classroom: What is the difference between a lie and a false statement?
Current Event February 8, 2017
Environmentalists are taking a strong stance against President Trump’s executive order to revive two controversial oil pipelines—Keystone XL and Dakota Access. Several environmental groups have vowed to fight these pipelines in the courts and the streets if they are moving ahead. In addition, there are still hundreds of indigenous protestors at the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota who are committed to blocking construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Backers of the projects say we need pipelines to transport oil more safely and efficiently. Listen to learn more about Trump’s plans to expedite pipeline construction and the groups working to block these projects.
Current Event February 7, 2017
President Donald Trump has selected Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is a respect and deeply conservative justice. It’s expected many Democrats will oppose his nomination, in part because former President Obama had selected another justice to replace Scalia and the Republican majority Congress refused to meet with him for political reasons. Listen to hear about the political battle that is expected over the Supreme Court nominee.
Current Event February 6, 2017
Last week President Trump issued an executive order banning refugees for from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for a 90 day period. The order also prevents all refugees from entering the country for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Some experts fear this policy will have a strongly negative impact on foreign affairs, sending the message that the United States is at war with Islam and willing to restrict immigration based on religious beliefs. Listen to learn more about Trump’s refugee ban and its potential foreign policy consequences.
Current Event February 3, 2017
President Trump has assembled the richest administration in history. With the nomination of Vincent J. Viola as secretary of the Army, Trump’s cabinet now has a combined net worth of about $13 billion and includes four billionaires. Federal ethics regulations require many of these cabinet appointees to sell off some of their investments to avoid conflicts of interest. However, cabinet members who do sell investments are allowed to keep all of the profits without paying a capital gains tax. Listen to learn more about Trump’s cabinet and then debate the benefits and drawbacks of having a very wealthy people in key government positions.
Current Event January 31, 2017
Three countries are watching the policies of President Trump closely, since their relationship to the United States will likely change under this administration: China, Russia and Mexico. In China, they are watching what Trump has said about the One China policy, along with possible trade wars. In Mexico they are worried about the U.S. building a longer border wall and the President’s threat to impose a 20% tax on imported goods. In Russia, they are hoping sanctions will be lifted. Listen to hear three NPR reporters in China, Russia and Mexico talk about perceptions of the new President in each country.
Current Event January 30, 2017
As a part of his campaign promise to re-evaluate America’s free trade commitments, President Trump is pulling the United States out of a negotiated but not ratified agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Trump promised on the campaign trail to withdraw from the TPP. He is also expected to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Listen to one of Trump’s former economic advisors explain the new administration’s views on trade.
Current Event January 26, 2017
Millions of people across the country and around the world marched the day after President Donald Trump took the oath of office. Women, men and children marched in hundreds of cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Chicago, Paris, Delhi and Bangkok. The purpose, marchers say, is to take a stand for women's rights and against Donald Trump's agenda. Climate, science, women's rights, human rights, LGBT rights and minority rights are just a few of the issues that were highlighted by those who attended the women's marches. Listen to hear more about these demonstrations across the country.
Current Event January 25, 2017
Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he laid out his vision for the country. He repeated themes from his campaign saying “Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.” He called these “just and reasonable demands.” And he vowed to always put “America first.” Listen to hear parts of Trump’s inauguration speech.