What Congress Knew About N.S.A. Surveillance, Background Checks and Racial Discrimination, Sexual Assault in the Military

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

National Security Agency (NSA) (Chris Hardie/flickr)

How Much Did Congress Know About N.S.A. Surveillance? | Major Companies Accused of Racial Discrimination | The End of Unpaid Internships? | Raha Moharrak: First Saudi Woman to Reach Mount Everest Summit

How Much Did Congress Know About N.S.A. Surveillance?

According to President Obama, even if you didn't know about the N.S.A.'s phone-and-Internet data collection programs your Congressman did. Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich has been making the rounds on the Hill to find out who knew and who says they didn't know about the program.


Supreme Court Ruling: Gene Patent Compromise

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that naturally occurring human genes can not be patented. All nine justices agreed that while naturally occurring D.N.A. cannot be patented, synthetic D.N.A. can. The case at hand involves Myriad Genetics, the company that patented the BCRA-1 and BCRA-2 genes, which indicate an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Robert Blackburn is a former Vice President and Chief Patent Counsel of Chiron Corporation, an American multinational biotechnology firm.


Sexual Assault Cases to Remain in the Military Chain of Command

The persistent problem of sexual assault in the military has been a major issue on Capitol Hill this month. A compromise this week in the Senate Armed Services Committee would trigger an automatic review of cases when a commander overrules a military lawyer's advice to prosecute sexual assault cases. Susan Burke, an attorney who represents military personnel who have been sexually assaulted, weighs in on the decision and what it means for victims.

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Major Companies Accused of Racial Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has brought two separate lawsuits against two major companies: discount retailer Dollar General and car-maker BMW. The E.E.O.C. alleges that these companies used criminal background checks to screen out workers who have a criminal record of any kind. The suits were brought under the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against job seekers on the basis of race.

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Federal Data Shows More Americans Graduating From College

Bad economic times make for good students. What gets people to sit up and pay attention in class is knowing that unemployment is the most likely career path out there. That's the conclusion from new federal data showing that the number of Americans graduating from college has jumped in recent years with more students enrolling in school and more actually graduating. Claudia Goldin is a professor of economics at Harvard University. 


The End of Unpaid Internships?

After months of working as an unpaid accounting intern on the film “Black Swan,” Eric Glatt came to believe something was terribly wrong with the whole internship system. And so he and fellow intern Alexander Footman sued Fox Searchlight, the production company behind the film, and late Tuesday afternoon, in a landmark decision, a federal judge ruled in their favor.

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Raha Moharrak: First Saudi Woman to Reach Mount Everest Summit

On May 18th, Raha Moharrak, a university graduate from Saudi Arabia made history as the first Saudi woman, as well as the youngest Arab to have scaled the summit of Mount Everest. She accomplished this feat at the age of 25, despite the familial and social pressures of a country where women's sports are still actively dissuaded by government policy.

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Lessons From a Complicated Father

Heading into Father's Day this weekend we talk with someone as far away from the cliche father as you can get. In the words of his son, Deni Bechard's Father was absent, even crazy, but he is still a magnificent presence in his own life as a man in his late thirties. Deni Bechard is the author of “Cures for Hunger” and “Vandal Love,” books that are in many ways all about his own relationship with his father.