Indictments for NOLA Police; Strategy in Afghanistan; Familial DNA Testing; Gravity No More?; 'Acting White'

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

stairway, DNA, helix (flickr: liber)

Six former and current New Orleans police officers indicted for shootings on New Orleans' Danziger Bridge in the days after Katrina; ethical concerns with 'familial' DNA testing for felons; in Afghanistan, Gen. Petraeus says Taliban-allied Haqqani network should be classified as terrorists; Dutch scientist questions long-held theory that gravity is its own elemental force; Yankees owner Steinbrenner's legacy for baseball; possible origins of the schoolyard accusation that high-performing black students are 'acting white'; American suburbs.

Top of the Hour: Officers Charged with New Orleans Bridge Shooting, Morning Headlines

Six police officers have been charged in connection with shooting unarmed civilians on New Orleans' Danziger Bridge. ProPublica's A.C. Thompson has been reporting the story. We hear from him and bring you this morning's headlines.

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6 Indicted in New Orleans Danziger Bridge Shooting

Six current and former New Orleans Police Department officers were indicted yesterday in connection with the Danziger Bridge shooting five years ago, amidst the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The indictment charges that NOPD officers shot at unarmed civilians as they crossed the bridge on September 4, 2005, leaving four people wounded and two dead: 17-year-old James Brissette and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man who was shot in the back and, allegedly, kicked and stomped while dying, laid out on the ground.

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Guatemalan Women Could Be Eligible For Asylum Due To Murder Rate

More than 5,000 women have been murdered in Guatemala in the past 10 years and many were tortured and mutilated in the process. Fewer than two percent of those killings have been prosecuted. This week, a federal court decided that these horrible statistics may be enough of a reason to classify all Guatemalan women as a social group eligible for asylum in the U.S.

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Listeners Respond: Having Fewer Kids for Economic Reasons

On Monday, we heard the case that a one-child family is the best decision in these tough economic times. But our listeners shared personal accounts from every side of this complex issue. Some of you sang the praises of your larger families, while others gave reasons of natural resources and money to argue that family size should be limited.

Seth from Hoboken called in to say:

I am an only child and I think it's a great thing for parents to decide to have only one kid, because right now we've got too many people with not enough food and not enough water and too many people using oil. So if every two people makes one person, the world will just have less people and there'll be more resources to go around.

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An Argument Against Gravity

Although gravity has remained an accepted theory and (relatively) free from controversy for centuries, one scientist is rocking the boat when it comes to one of our most basic laws of physics.

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Without Steinbrenner, What's Next for the Yankees?

New York Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 80. He helmed the Yankee ship for 37-plus years, winning seven World Series Championships. Steinbrenner spent a lot of money on the team in order to win and changed the relationship between teams and their owners. The Takeaway's sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin examines Steinbrenner's legacy.

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The Changing Face of Suburbia

Despite the bad rap that suburbs often get for being dull and sterile, more than half of Americans live there. As more people move to the suburbs, the demographics are changing. Urbanization, density, crime, and immigration are now defining factors of the 'burbs. We're joined by Robert Puentes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, and Larry Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.  And we want to hear from you! What do you see as the good parts of the suburbs?»

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Top of the Hour: Remembering Steinbrenner, Morning Headlines

We look back at the legacy of Yankee's owner, George Steinbrenner; headlines.

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Serial Killer Arrest Ignites Ethical Debate Over Familial DNA Searches

Last week, a California serial killer was caught after his son was convicted of a felony weapons charge. A DNA lab was able to discover a genetic link between the son's DNA and evidence from old crime scenes, which led them to investigate Lonnie D. Franklin, Jr.  Franklin has allegedly killed at least 10 people in California over the last 25 years. The police made the connection through the state’s familial search program, which allows police to take DNA from a crime scene and compare it to millions of DNA samples in a database. If there is even a partial match, police can get leads to the criminal by way of a family member.

The search has also raised ethical questions. Critics say it could lead to a form of racial profiling, because a higher proporation of inmates are African American, and linking their DNA to their family members could wrongly lead to suspicions of others in the black community.

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Bush's Tax Cuts: Not Going Away Without a Fight

Remember President George W. Bush's tax cuts back in 2001 and 2003, which were met with much hatred by Democrats? Well, those tax cuts are about to expire. However, this is not necessarily good news for Democrats. Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, sees Democrats somewhere in between a rock and a hard place. They can't easily allow taxes to go back up when the economy is still struggling; at the same time, they can't watch the deficit continue to rise if the cuts stay. To make things more complicated, these tax cut decisions need to be made during an election year.

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Tribal Passports Keep Iroquois From Traveling

The Iroquois lacrosse team will try to board a flight to England today on their way to the world championships. The team was turned away yesterday because the U.S. government says that their Iroquois passports aren't acceptable under new stricter immigration rules. Historically, the tribal passports have been accepted forms of documentation.

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George Steinbrenner and the Man Who Banned Him For Life

George Steinbrenner reigned as the owner of the New York Yankees for 38 years. In that time his team won seven World Series Championships, 11 American League pennants, 16 AL-East titles. But Steinbrenner was also suspended from baseball twice, one time for life. In 1990, "The Boss" was banned for life for paying a small-time gambler who was  paid $40,000 to dig up some dirt on hall-of-famer, Dave Winfield. Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993, and went to win five more championships.

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New Rumors Surround Uganda Attacks

Rumors are circulating in the streets of Kamala, Uganda following yesterday's bomb attack. The New York Times Josh Kron reports that Ugandans were involved in the attack and that Somalis are supsected as well. Earlier today, there were rumors of another pending attack, but so far that seems to be a false alarm. Meanwhile, local officials are telling people to keep their identification cards handy as they investigate the bombings and are no longer allowing Somali refugees to register in the country.

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Race, Academics and 'Acting White'

It has been 56 years since the Supreme Court struck down segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education. A new book, “Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation,” puts forward the notion that desegregation's positive changes have come along with some unintended side effects. Stuart Buck, the book's author, argues that the criticism successful black students often receive from their peers – that they are “acting white” – is largely a consequence of how our schools were desegregated.

 

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Gen. Petraeus Pushes to Designate Haqqani Network as Terrorists

In one the first tests of his military command in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus is pushing the Obama administration to add top leaders of a feared Pakistani insurgent group to the State Department’s list of designated terrorists. The Haqqani network is an insurgent group notorious for suicide attacks, car bombings and kidnappings. But designating the group as a terrorist organization could complicate things for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has been working with the group to reach a political settlement with the network.

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Iroquois General Manager on Trying to Get to Lacrosse Tournament

Ansley Jemison is the general manager of the Iroquois lacrosse team, which is currently stuck in New York due to a dispute over whether they can fly with their tribal passports. Jemison says that the passport issue is important as they are travelling to represent their tribal nation at the tournament and not the U.S. The team is one of the best in the country and is scheduled to play England on Thursday.

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