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WNYC News

Supreme Court Rules Cost Issue in Plant Upgrade

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government may consider cost when deciding if Indian Point and other nuclear power plants must upgrade. Alex Matthiessen is president of Riverkeeper - among the groups that sued the EPA over the plants cooling system. He says ...

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WNYC News

Report: Bias in Hiring Restaurant Workers

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A new report from a restaurant workers group finds deep disparities in who's working in the front and the back of the house.

The report on expensive restaurants in the city shows discrimination and occupational segregation is often the norm. The study sent applicants to apply ...

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WNYC News

NY and NJ See Prison Numbers Drop

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A new report says New York and New Jersey are the only states where inmate populations have dropped. The Sentencing Project, a prison reform group, says New York saw a 12 percent decline, and New Jersey an 11 percent decrease, since 2001. Executive director, Marc ...

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WNYC News

Kelly: Expand the Ring of Steel

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants to expand a security strategy in Lower Manhattan to Midtown. The Ring of Steel is modeled on a London system that networks hundreds of video surveillance cameras and license plate readers to help police monitor traffic for suspicious activity.

KELLY: All ...

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WNYC News

Comptroller: City Jail Contract Process Corrupted

Monday, March 30, 2009

City Comptroller Bill Thompson has halted the filing of a contract to expand a Brooklyn city jail, saying the contracting process was corrupted and he wants more information. Thompson, joined by elated elected officials and community groups, says the city's Department of Design and Construction ...

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Rockefeller Reform

Friday, March 27, 2009

There's an agreement in Albany to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws. WNYC reporter, Elaine Rivera, gives an update on the latest.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Remaking American Freedom

Friday, March 27, 2009

Law professor Jedediah Purdy surveys the ways in which the ideals of individual liberty, dignity and fulfillment have evolved in America in A Tolerable Anarchy.

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The Takeaway

Tax evasion: A crime and an act of conscience

Friday, March 27, 2009

Want to know how to avoid paying taxes on April 15? Jason Zengerle, a senior editor at The New Republic, might be able to give you some ideas— though he may not be able to tell you how to escape from jail when the IRS catches up to you. Jason wrote an article for this Sunday's New York Times Magazine called "Hell Nay, We Won't Pay!" profiling the philosophical movements that argue that despite, you know, the law, you're not actually obligated to pay your taxes. He joins us now to explain.

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WNYC News

Rock Reformed

Friday, March 27, 2009

Governor Paterson and leaders of the Assembly and Senate announced a deal that brings sweeping reforms to New York's 1970s-era Rockefeller drug laws. The bill gives judges the discretion to send addicted, nonviolent offenders to rehab, instead of imposing mandatory prison sentences.

Drug abuse is an ...

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Postindustrial Urban Crisis

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In his book Getting Ghost sociologist Luke Bergmann tells the story of urban decay, crime, and poverty in Detroit though the eyes of two young, black drug dealers.

Event: Luke Bergmann will be speaking
Wednesday, March 25, at 7:00 pm
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street, between Stanton and ...

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The Takeaway

The morning after: Judge rules FDA used politics, not science, to make decisions

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In 2001 dozens of public health groups around the world petitioned the FDA to make emergency contraception available over the counter, but the decision over whether to do that, and especially whether to make it available to women under the age of 18, dragged on for years bogged down in a political quagmire. Dr. Susan Wood worked at the FDA during this period as the assistant FDA Commissioner for Women’s Health. She resigned in protest to the FDA’s handling of Plan B, the brand name of the so-called morning after pill. Now, another four years later, a federal judge has ruled that the FDA wrongly bowed to the pressure of the Bush administration in its decision making process and relied on politics and not science. Susan Wood, now a research professor at the School of Public Health at George Washington University, talks with The Takeaway about where the FDA may go from here.

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WNYC News

Ring of Steel

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Downtown residents have one more day to comment on the NYPD's proposal to install a network of 3,000 security cameras below Canal Street. Police say the cameras are necessary for their counter terrorism efforts, but critics say there's no proof they will prevent crime.

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WNYC News

U.N. Tribute to Slavery Victims

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

That's United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon banging on a ceremonial drum from Cameroon.

He was at the U.N. marking its annual day of remembrance for the victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It's also a day when the organization tries to draw attention to modern-day ...

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The Takeaway

Taxalicious! Getting to know the social contract we all sign

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I got married last year and was actually somewhat excited this month when I arrived at the accountant's office. For some reason, my husband and I were under the shared delusion that we'd be getting a big fat tax refund.

Not so: These wee slips of gold around our ring fingers cost us a fair chunk of money. But the four-hour slog at the accountant's also started me thinking about the social contract hidden within the 17,000 pages of tax code.

Our painful April 15 ritual is arguably the only thing we do together as a country. Undocumented immigrants, conservative Republicans, anarchists, grannies, teenage babysitters, janitors and bankers line up every year, fill out a series of tedious forms, and stand ready to have what they've monetarily accomplished for the year added up and held to account. Of course, people from those same groups also cheat together as a country (joining Tom Daschle and dozens of other nominees to government posts). But cheating is part of the ritual. (As is tax evasion: Leona Helmsley reportedly said, “Only the little people pay taxes.” Then she was audited by the IRS and sentenced to four years in prison.)

Whether you like its priorities or not, the tax code represents our country’s social and political agreement: who should pay and who should pay more; who gets penalized for working or not working; what institutions in our society are valued; and what it means to be a full member of society, or a buyer of the social contract.

Guilt, obligation, bureaucracy, hard labor and relief when it’s finally over — all the same elements as a bad family reunion. As your resident geek at the family dinner table, I’m going to write about some of the most interesting pieces of tax day over the next few weeks. Send any questions along and I'll try to answer them.

Sitara Nieves

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WNYC News

F.B.I. Investigating NJ Developer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WNYC has learned that a controversial project to convert a former landfill in the Jersey Meadowlands into a golf course and luxury housing is now the subject of an FBI probe. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

The project is supposed to the pride of Rutherford and ...

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WNYC News

Report: NY Mistreats Drug-Addicted Inmates

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A human rights group says New York State's prisons engage in cruel and inhuman punishment when it comes to their drug-addicted inmates. Human Rights Watch says inmates found with drugs are put in disciplinary segregation, known as the "box," for 23 hours a day for ...

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Monday, March 23, 2009

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been part of the military for 15 years now and Pres. Obama has said it’s time to repeal it. Drawing on more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, Nathaniel Frank claims "don’t ask, don’t tell" is damaging, not only to ...

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The Takeaway

Are we torturing U.S. prisoners?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The United States holds at least 25,000 prisoners in long-term solitary confinement prisons across the country. They're called "Supermax" prisons, where prisoners are confined without human contact for at least 23 hours every day. Should these isolation cells be considered torture?

The Takeaway is joined by Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of a piece in this week's New Yorker called "Annals of Human Rights". Dr. Gawande writes that we know how monkeys respond when scientists have placed them under solitary confinement: the monkeys become severely disturbed and withdrawn. It's, of course, not ethical to do similar experiments on adult human beings, but Dr. Gawande argues that is exactly what we are doing to tens of thousands of prisoners in Supermax prisons in the United States.

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WNYC News

Dept of Investigation Challenges Budget Cuts

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Commissioner for the City's Department of Investigation is warning that planned budget cuts to the watchdog agency leave the City vulnerable to fraud and corruption. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn told the City Council that the latest cuts would hamper DOI's ...

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WNYC News

300,000 Don't Claim Earned Income Tax Credit

Friday, March 20, 2009

Governor David Paterson is encouraging low income New Yorkers to take advantage of the earned income tax credit available on tax filings. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.

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