First Take: Desperate Financial Times in the Gulf, Homelessness, Documentary on Natural Gas Drilling

Monday, June 21, 2010 - 01:25 PM

UPDATED 6:20pm

Arwa Gunja, here on the evening shift.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled on what many legal experts are calling the most significant decision on free speech in terrorism cases. In a 6-3 ruling, the Court said neither domestic organizations nor individuals can provide “material support” to foreign terrorist groups. It is still unclear what “material support” means and how far-reaching the implications of the ruling may be. Tomorrow morning we’ll talk with David Cole, who provided legal counsel for the Humanitarian Law Project, the plaintiff in the case.

In another court case that began today, a Connecticut judge will soon decide whether cheerleading classifies as a sport. In the case, the Quinnipiac University women’s volleyball team has sued the school for cutting its budget to fund the cheerleading squad. The volleyball team says that cheerleading is not a sport under Title IX, the civil rights law that requires schools to equally allocate resources to men’s and women’s sports teams. Linda Carpenter the author of “Title IX,” will explain how the groundbreaking law works, and whether cheerleading qualifies.

Speaking of higher education, tomorrow we’re asking, is graduate school really worth it? More than a quarter of people graduating with a Bachelors Degree this year will go on to pursue graduate degrees. But do graduate degrees increase your chances of finding a job and does the ratio of debt to salary cancel out of the benefits of the degree? Takeaway work contributor Beth Kobliner will weigh in, along with a former graduate student. What do you think? If you went to graduate school, was it worth it? And if you are currently unemployed, are you thinking about going back to school? To share your comments, call us at 877-8-MYTAKE or leave us a message here on our website.

Noel King, on the day shift, with a couple of stories we’re working on this afternoon.

Kenneth Feinberg, the man President Obama picked to oversee the $20 billion dollar escrow fund for victims of the Gulf oil leak, says people along the gulf are in “desperate financial straits.” Feinberg says he wants to speed up payment of the claims. Our producers have spoken to business owners who are watching their bank accounts dwindle. We’ll share one of their stories. And we’re looking at how Gulf residents go about actually filing one of these claims.

Tomorrow, the Obama administration will unveil a plan to end homelessness in the US altogether — clearly no small feat. Job losses and home foreclosures are sending growing numbers of families to homeless shelters. That’s despite the fact that the number of homeless Americans overall dropped in 2009. We’re asking why families in particular are being hit so hard.

Documentary filmmaker, Josh Fox won the Jury Prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival this year. His controversial film, "Gasland," seeks to indict the onshore natural gas industry by showing what drilling for gas does to the water supply: think of kitchen faucets that run water you can light with a match. That’s what Fox found in rural Colorado — as well as other examples of air and water pollution that may turn your stomach. But the gas drilling industry has repudiated the film, noting that they haven’t broken any laws with the drilling.

 

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