CNN-March 13, 2011
Japanese Prime Minister Naota Kan stated that the earthquake/tsunami disaster is the most difficult crisis Japan has faced since World War II. Currently, there are about 2.5 million households without electricity, which is only 4% of the total in Japan. The death toll is at 1,600 people, with more than 1,900 injured and nearly 1,500 missing. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, triggering massive waves that ravaged everything in their path. To add to the catastrophic results, there was also a widespread release of radiation from nuclear power plants damaged by the quake. Over the next three days, geologists suggest that due to tectonic activity, Japan could expect another earthquake that could reach magnitudes of 7.0.
The Washington Post-March 10, 2011
Vivian Schiller, NPR’s top officer, was forced out of her job after two years due to pressure she received from a leaked video. In the video, the former head of NPR’s fundraising arm said that members of the tea party movement are xenophobic and racist and that NPR would prefer to do without subsidies provided by the federal government. NPR executive Ron Schiller went on to say that some of its followers are part of an “anti-intellectual” movement. He apologized for his remarks, even though others also privately believe him, and resigned immediately. The pressure that she received was most likely due to Congress’s decision over funding for public radio and TV stations.
FoxNews.com-March 12, 2011
Washington D.C. lawmakers are slated to approve a short-term federal spending plan this coming week, but conservative and freshman lawmakers refuse to do so. According to Mitch McConnell, conservative senators will refuse to vote in order to increase the federal debt limit until a cut in federal spending is made.
The Los Angeles Times-March 8, 2011
The Obama administration is moving backward in its plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Instead of continuing with the plan, the president is planning to continue trials for the prison’s suspected terrorist detainees. American legal groups are calling these most recent actions “unlawful…and un-American.”
NPR-March 9, 2011
With the fear of terrorism looming large in the minds of public officials, it has been necessary for American police officers, firefighters, and federal agents to receive training in the field of counterterrorism. However, it has come to the attention of some instructors that a number of their colleagues are not only not qualified to teach public servants about combating terrorism, but also construct their classes around identifying possible terrorists based on stereotypes and little else.
PBS NewsHour-March 2, 2011
The Supreme Court case Snyder v. Phelps was emotionally charged to say the least. The Westboro Baptist Church protesters at the funeral of a U.S. Marine in Topeka Kansas sparked this debate over the first amendment versus personal privacy. The anti-gay protesters picketed at this fallen Marine’s small town funeral, and although his father sued the Westboro protesters for $5 million, the Supreme Court has ruled 8 to 1 in favor of the protesters. It seems that the First Amendment has to come before personal privacy, even if that amendment is protecting immoral behavior.
The Los Angeles Times-March 9, 2011
The “No Child Left Behind” federal law has a failure rate of 82% and the U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging Congress amend the current federal standards. “No Child Left Behind is broken, and we need to fix it now,” Duncan was quoted saying. Duncan and the Obama administration want to change the law so that schools have more help to succeed and less help in failing their students; Duncan wants to change standards so failing grades are given to schools in need of the most help. Democrats and Republicans alike agree. Who knew?
WSJ.com-March 10, 2011
The FDA has just approved the first new drug from lupus treatment in more than 50 years; a medicine that took more than two decades to develop. The disease lupus is “a chronic, potentially life threatening disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue, causing debilitating joint pain, organ damage, and skin rashes.” About 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed, and researchers hope that that amount of people are eligible for use of this treatment. Although it is expensive, $35,000 per year per patient, this is not out of the range of other biologic therapies on the market. The discovery of the BLyS gene is responsible for the creation of this new miracle drug treatment.
MSNBC.com – March 9, 2011
Last Wednesday, Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill to abolish the death penalty, making Illinois the 16th state without a death penalty. This decision is expected to encourage other states to follow suit. The 15 men remaining on death row will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole.
BBC.com – March 11, 2011
The revolution in Libya has turned into a civil war as Gaddafi’s supporters attempt to take back Libyan cities that had been captured by rebel forces. The article explains the current stalemate and also answers questions about possible outcomes if the rebels or Gaddafi win.