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The Daily Beat is a daily news podcast inspired by the power of social media to spark social change. Tune in Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. as BTR’s social media director, DJ Jen, culls the “Twitterverse” and “blogosphere” to bring you the top stories regarding social justice and human rights issues.
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Don’t miss a beat!
Yesterday The Atlantic published an article titled “Why ‘Stop and Frisk’ Matters, Even If You Don’t Live in New York.”
The article’s author Andrew Cohen writes:
It’s also easy not to want to spend the time in the middle of August reading a 198-page judicial opinion written by a federal trial judge. But in this case, you should make the time. Everyone in America, white or black, urban or rural, Democrat or Republican, should take the time. Because U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin has just written a ruling about New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy that goes beyond the city, its policies, and its unconstitutional law to the essence of the debate about law and order, crime and punishment. It’s not just about the tension between liberty and security — it’s about simple government competence.
Do, in other words, what so many public officials did not do Monday before pronouncing the opinion right or wrong — read it for yourself, all of it, twice if you must, to understand both what Judge Scheindlin did and did not do. Only then will you be able to understand the magnitude of the NYPD’s failure as well as the opportunity this turning point provides. Despite the hysteria offered by city officials, there is room in New York City, and in this ruling, for a better, smarter, fairer stop-and-frisk policy; the only obstacle to it now is the unremitting pride and stubbornness of the men defending what is essentially indefensible as a matter of law or fact.
Today Salon published an article titled “Fast food strikes to massively expand: ‘They’re thinking much bigger.’”
The article’s author Josh Eidelson writes:
Fast food strikers will escalate their campaign within the next week and a half, according to the key union backing their recent walkouts.
In a Monday interview in her Washington, D.C., office, Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry told Salon that SEIU members “see the fast food workers as standing up for all of us. Because the conditions are exactly the same.” Henry was joined by SEIU assistant to the president for organizing Scott Courtney, who said to expect “a big escalation” from fast food workers in “the next week or 10 days.” Two weeks after one-day strikes by thousands of employees in the growing, non-union, low-wage industry, Courtney said, “I think they’re thinking much bigger, and while the iron’s hot they ought to strike. No pun intended.”
Today Think Progress published an article titled “Why Didn’t The Government Invent The Hyperloop?”
The article’s author Annie-Rose Strasser writes:
Major transportation innovations used to be brainchildren of the American government. Both the interstate highway system and the transcontinental railroad were major projects commissioned or carried to fruition by the public sector. And both revolutionized transportation.
But there’s been a slowdown of innovation by the government. And it’s clear why. While at various times in our nation’s history money was poured into infrastructure projects, that funding has slowed to basically nothing. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped somewhat, but Congress has been at a standstill on infrastructure spending, with Republicans proposing to gut spending even more and mocking any proposed investment.
This gridlock means that we aren’t even thinking about new innovation — we’re simply struggling to keep up. America gets a grade of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers on its roads, bridges, and tunnels. A survey from the Department of Transportation in 2008 found that 72,868 bridges are “structurally deficient” and 89,024 are “functionally obsolete.” The Federal Highway Administration believes we need to be spending nearly double what we do on bridges in order just to get them up to par by 2028.
Today BBC News Middle East provided live coverage of the protests in Egypt.
As of noon today the key developments were:
Security forces move into clear two protest camps in Cairo occupied by supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi. Egyptian authorities declare a month-long state of emergency.
Riot police swept in with armored vehicles, bulldozers and helicopters Wednesday to clear two sprawling encampments of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, sparking running street battles elsewhere in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. At least 149 people were killed nationwide, many of them in the assaults on the protest vigils.
The interim government declared a monthlong state of emergency, ordering the armed forces to support the police in efforts to restore law and order and protect state facilities. A nighttime curfew for Cairo and 10 provinces also was put into effect.
A television cameraman working for Britain’s Sky News was shot and killed in Cairo on Wednesday as violence flared in Egypt, Sky News said.
Cameraman Mick Deane, 61, had worked for the BSkyB owned news channel for 15 years, based in Washington and then Jerusalem. He is married with two sons.
Today AFP published an article titled “Female Afghan MP kidnapped by Taliban.”
The article reads:
Taliban militants have kidnapped a female Afghan member of parliament, officials said Wednesday, in the latest example of prominent women being targeted in the country.
Fariba Ahmadi Kakar and her three children were taken at gunpoint on Saturday in the central province of Ghazni on the main highway from Kandahar city to Kabul.
“The security forces released her children (two girls, one boy) in an operation on Monday. But she has been kept in another location, we are still searching for her,” Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni, told AFP.
IN OTHER NEWS
Today The Atlantic published an article titled “The Quiet Gay-Rights Revolution in America’s Churches.”
The article’s author Molly Ball writes:
Gradually, and largely below the radar, religious Americans have powered this momentous shift. In 2004, just 36 percent of Catholics, the Christian sect most supportive of gay marriage, favored it, along with 34 percent of mainline Protestants; today, it’s 57 percent of Catholics and 55 percent of mainline Protestants. Even among white evangelical Protestants, the most hostile group to gay marriage, support has more than doubled, from 11 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2013. “This debate has gone from a debate between nonreligious and religious Americans to a debate dividing religious Americans,” said Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, who has closely tracked the evolution in public opinion.
This change — from most religious Americans opposing gay rights to many of them supporting it — didn’t happen by accident. It is the fruit of an aggressive campaign by a determined gay-rights movement that realized, particularly in the wake of the 2004 elections, that you cannot win politically in America if you are arguing against religious faith. It is a recent development — Jones dates the “tipping point” to 2011 — and it has helped marginalize gay-marriage opponents by discrediting their most powerful claim: that they speak for the religious community.
Today Think Progress published an article titled “Texas Brags To Court That It Drew District Lines To ‘Increase The Republican Party’s Electoral Prospects.’”
The article’s author Ian Millhiser writes:
It’s not exactly a big secret that Texas Republicans drew their state’s district lines in order to maximize the weight of Republican voters and minimize the voting strength of Democrats. Still, this isn’t normally something that a state’s top legal officer openly admits to in a brief filed with a federal court. Nevertheless, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) is so confident that the courts will let Texas Republicans get away with rigging elections that he openly brags about his fellow Republicans’ efforts to do so in an official court filing. According to a brief Abbott filed earlier this month, “[i]n 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”
Today The Raw Story published an article titled “Right-wing Minnesota lawmaker offers concealed carry permits to campaign donors.”
The article’s author David Ferguson writes:
Republican lawmaker Cindy Pugh, a Minnesota state representative, is offering free concealed carry gun training classes to people who donate $125 or more to her campaign. According to Talking Points Memo, Pugh is holding an event on Saturday, August 17, at which donors without concealed carry permits will be given access to a concealed carry training class. People with permits can donate $100 to have their permit automatically renewed or they can pay for a “carry class scholarship” for people who want to train for a permit but can’t afford it.
Joe Virgillito chats with Prof. Gerald Friedman about COVID-19 and the case for Medicare For All. J. McVay and Jacqueline Soller discuss 2011 movie, ‘Contagion.’ Plus a preview of Scoville Unit’s upcoming BTR Live Studio session. | listen