Local News
7:01 am
Sun April 28, 2013

What We're Reading | 4.28.13

Eve
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Each week, members of the WFPL News team spotlight interesting stories we've read and enjoyed, for your weekend reading pleasure:

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Education
7:00 am
Sun April 28, 2013

What Would JCPS' District of Innovation Look Like

School of the future, according to the hit children's show The Jetsons.
Credit Hanna-Barbera

Jefferson County Public Schools officials have laid out any early blueprint for what its application for the Kentucky Department of Education's "District of Innovation" designation may look like. So far, the ideas being tossed around include an online classroom available 24 hours a day, Saturday courses and more teacher collaboration.

Under a law passed last year, Kentucky school districts can seek waiver from certain Kentucky Department of Education regulations in order to improve student achievement.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Noise and Notes: Is Kentucky Compatible With Gay Marriage?

Credit Shutterstock.com

When it comes to gay marriage, America is moving in a direction of growing acceptance while Kentucky remains steadfastly opposed.

National figures show a majority in the country back the idea, which has changed at a rapid pace in the past decade.

Rhode Island took a historic step and is set to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. A new lobbying group founded by prominent conservative donor Paul Singer is pushing for gay marriage legislation as more Republicans join the cause to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even two prominent Kentucky Democrats—Auditor Adam Edelen and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson—came out in favor or marriage equality.

But new poll numbers indicate Kentuckians are still overwhelmingly against same-sex couples getting hitched with 65 percent opposed. The opposition isn't based on political party either because the PPP survey shows 54 percent of Democratic voters are against the idea.

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The Two-Way
8:57 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Justice Breyer Fractures Shoulder In (Another) Bike Accident

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer fell from his bike while riding along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Friday. He underwent surgery for a fractured shoulder on Saturday.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 6:23 pm

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is recovering in a Georgetown hospital Saturday, following surgery for a fractured right shoulder.

The 74-year-old justice fell while riding his bike along Washington's National Mall on Friday afternoon, NPR's Nina Totenberg tells our Newscast unit.

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The Two-Way
8:57 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Suspect In Ricin Letters Case Could Face Life In Prison (Updated)

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 6:13 am

Federal agents who are investigating poison-laced letters that were sent to President Obama and others have arrested Everett Dutschke, of Tupelo, Miss. The Daily Journal of Tupelo reports that the arrest occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to the president, letters containing the poison ricin were sent to Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi state judge.

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET. Charges Filed, Court Date Set

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Strange Fruit
11:36 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Strange Fruit: Who Counts as a Terrorist? (Hint: White Guys Don't)

Terrorist.

What image pops up in your mind when you hear that word? "When we think of the word 'terrorism,' most people get an image in their head of somebody who, of course, is a foreign national or somebody who's immigrated to the United States, who's Muslim, typically," explains clinical psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman. "We think of things like violence. Guns. We think of airport screening."

Defining terrorism is challenging (even for the United Nations, apparently), but in common usage, it's an act of violence intended to intimidate or coerce, often for ideological reasons. The word itself has a long and emotional history, but this week, we were interested in how that word is applied, or not applied, following mass killings like the Boston bombing.

"We in America tend to react differently to terrorism depending on the ethnic, demographic, religious, and national profile of the alleged assailant," explains David Sirota. David is a political commentator who wrote a piece for Salon called Let's Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American. In it, he points out the double standard in public reaction to mass killings.

If the perpetrator is white, like in many recent shooting cases, it will be seen as an isolated incident, an aberration, possibly related to mental illness. We'll likely hear folks on TV mention how many hours a day the shooter spent playing video games. Any political fallout will probably be limited to gun control debate and will not involve taking action against the attacker's nation of origin, or adding surveillance against people who share his background. Or as Tim Wise wrote last week, "[I]f he's an Italian American Catholic we won't bomb the Vatican."

We spoke to Sirota this week about his piece, and the fallout from it. "My email box has been filled with the worst kind of anti-Semitic, racial epithets from the n-word to everything, for simply raising a point that should be obvious."

That reaction reveals just how deeply invested some folks are in their need to believe these acts are committed by people who are not like them. To understand what it is in our psychology that spurs this need to categorize "them" and "us," we called on friend to the show Dr. Chapman. "It's human nature to categorize, and unfortunately we dichotomize too often: ingroup, outgroup," he explains.  "We lump groups of individuals and profile them as a result, and that maintains our ingroup ideology."

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Local News
8:38 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Indiana General Assembly Ends With Budget Approval

The Indiana General Assembly has approved a two-year, $30 billion budget that gives Gov. Mike Pence a partial victory in his quest for an income tax cut and restores some money cut from education and transportation.

Lawmakers worked into early Saturday to reach final agreement on the budget and other issues, including an expansion of the state's school voucher program and changes to sentencing laws that would require those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison.

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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
7:14 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Flight Delays Push Congress To End Controller Furloughs

Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. Congress moved quickly this week to give the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to end air traffic controller furloughs that resulted in flight delays at several airports.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:53 pm

The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.

The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.

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Around the Nation
7:14 am
Sat April 27, 2013

30 Years On, Educators Still Divided On Scathing Schools Report

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 5:32 pm

Thirty years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan's administration released "A Nation at Risk," a report warning of "a rising tide of mediocrity" in American public education.

According to the report, only one-third of 17-year-olds in 1983 could solve a math problem requiring two steps or more, and 4 out of 10 teenagers couldn't draw inferences from written material. In an address to the nation, Reagan warned that "about 13 percent of 17-year-olds are functional illiterates and, among minority youth, the rate is closer to 40 percent."

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Theater
7:13 am
Sat April 27, 2013

When Tonys Tap Faves, Look For These Names

Tom Hanks is one to watch at Tuesday's Tony nominations; he's making his Broadway debut in Norah Ephron's final play, Lucky Guy.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 6:42 pm

Nominations for the Tony Awards, Broadway's annual honors, will be announced April 30. Among the shows eligible: loud London transplants like Matilda the Musical, a new play by David Mamet, a revival of David Mamet, two revivals of Clifford Odets and a revival of the '70s musical Pippin.

Lots of Hollywood stars have made the trek to Broadway this season, ranging from Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Tom Hanks in Norah Ephron's last play, Lucky Guy.

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