Specials

RISE, Climate Change and coastal Communities: Sounding the Waters

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Photo courtesy of http://searise.org/

Photo courtesy of http://searise.org/

Broadcast Sunday, April 6, 2014

Seven million people live in the Bay Area, and millions more come here to work and visit every year. The ability of this region to adapt to climate change affects the world. And the ways its people respond may guide coastal communities elsewhere.

San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Yet it was once much larger – 40% of its waters and wetlands were filled to create real estate. The 29-inch rise of coastal waters predicted by 2050, along with rapid river run-off and flooding due to storm surges, will reclaim some of that land. Among the areas threatened are the airports, Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco financial district.

We visit people who are responding to this oncoming disaster. Mendel Stewart of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is managing the conversion of enclosed salt ponds into open wetlands. These wetlands will serve as flood control while capturing greenhouse gases and providing wildlife habitat. Will Travis directs the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. He is trying to coordinate a regional response to this crisis. And he created a design competition looking for solutions. One idea, contributed by architect Craig Hartman, is to place an inflatable barrier beneath the Golden Gate Bridge to keep storm surges combined with high tides from flooding the land. Brilliantly simple; but realistic?

Grokking Democracy: A Political World Transformed by Digital Technology

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Go to the Spectrum Radio /Grokking Democracy webpage for video.

Click image to go to video page.

Click image to go to video page.

How technology is changing the rules of campaigning and governing in the United States and beyond.

The hour-long radio special “Grokking Democracy” examines how elections and governing have changed in today’s digital world.

Cohosted by political journalist Jonathan Alter and public radio anchor Lisa Mullins, the program looks at social media campaigns, e-voting, and other transformative tools. We hear from campaign managers and political strategists and discover ways that digital technology has changed civil society from Northern Europe to South Asia.

Intelligence Squared Debate:
Is Russia a Marginal Power?

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Russia is a Marginal Power from Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates on FORA.tv

Play along with the audience: decide what you think about the proposition “Russia is a marginal power.” Then listen to the debate and add your thoughts in the comments of this Facebook post.

Illustration by Thomas James

Illustration by Thomas James

Disarming Syria. Asylum for Edward Snowden. Arming Iran. Deploying troops to Crimea. Is Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles, while our own president fades into the background of world politics, or is it all a global game of smoke and mirrors?

Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and has the power of veto on the U.N. Security Council, but it remains an authoritarian state, rife with corruption and economic struggles. Is our toxic relationship something to worry about, or is Putin’s Russia fading in importance?

See: Video / Audio / Results

Intelligence Squared Debate:
Does the President Have the Constitutional Power to Target and Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad?

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Illustration by Thomas James

Illustration by Thomas James

With the drone strike on accused terrorist and New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, President Obama has tested the limits of the executive branch’s powers.

Does the president have constitutional authority under the due process clause to kill U.S. citizens abroad, or is it a violation of this clause to unilaterally decide to target and kill Americans?

Intelligence Squared Debate:
Has the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms Outlived it’s Usefulness?

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Illustration by Thomas James

Illustration by Thomas James

“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” –2nd Amendment

Recent mass shooting tragedies have renewed the national debate over the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership and homicide rates are higher in the U.S. than in any other developed nation, but gun violence has decreased over the last two decades even as gun ownership may be increasing. Over 200 years have passed since James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, the country has changed, and so have its guns. Is the right to bear arms now at odds with the common good, or is it as necessary today as it was in 1789?

Intelligence Squared Debate:
Should You Eat Anything With a Face?

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Illustration by Thomas James

Illustration by Thomas James

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%–more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals.

In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren’t we meant to be carnivores?

Intelligence Squared Debate:
Was Snowden Justified?

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Illustration: Thomas James

Illustration: Thomas James

Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?

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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation

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Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III

The 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation featured Dr. Freeman Hrabowski,III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, since 1992.

In his talk, entitled “The Role of Youth in the Civil Rights Movement: Reflections on Birmingham,” Dr. Hrabowski will share his perspective on the Civil Rights movement – including the experience of being jailed for participating in the Children’s March in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama – and insights from a career in education.

The event was on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

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Intelligence Squared Debate:
Is Obamacare Now Beyond Rescue?

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Illustration by Thomas James

Illustration by Thomas James

With the disastrous launch of the HealthCare.gov website, critics of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” were given more fuel for the fire.

Is this political hot potato’s inevitability once again at stake? And is the medical community really on board with the law, or resisting (rewriting?) it from the sidelines?

New Leaders: A Black History Month Special. Hosted by Al Letson

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Usually during Black History Month, we remember Civil Rights icons and reflect on their legacy. But over the past couple of years, SOTRU has met a new generation of African American leaders, people you may not see on TV specials or making nationally acclaimed speeches. Most of these men and women are on the front lines of their communities, rolling up their selves and diving in to what can be very unglamorous work. In this episode, SOTRU would like to introduce you to this group of leaders and what they’re accomplishing in their various corners of America. Read the full description.