THE WASHINGTON POST, 1 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. LIBBA PATTERSON:
When the government last shut down, in 2013, Mick Mulvaney considered himself part of “the Shutdown Caucus” — a group of conservative House Republicans who held such a hard line that they were willing to let the lights go out.
Now, four years later, Mulvaney is on a collision course with his former comrades, responsible for convincing intransigent House Republicans to make a different kind of choice and pass a new spending bill by April 28 to avert another shutdown.
The former South Carolina congressman — who was elected in the tea party wave of 2010 and took pride in rejecting his own party’s budget proposals, one after another — now serves as President Trump’s budget director, making him the administration’s chief salesman over the next month on spending matters.
NPR, 25 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:
For three days last summer, many of us watched as TV and computer screens showed violence between police and civilians. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were shot and killed by police. Then a gunman killed five police officers in Dallas.
That week made clear just how much these videos of police violence have become part of our lives.
The videos are not new, of course — the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police was filmed in 1991. But from dashcams to body cameras to bystanders’ cellphones, more and more interactions between civilians and police are being captured on camera.
NPR, 3 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:
An accident last month in Tempe, Ariz., involving a self-driving Uber car highlighted some novel new issues regarding fault and liability that experts say will come up more often as autonomous vehicles hit the road.
And that will have an increasing impact on an insurance industry that so far has no road map for how to deal with the new technologies.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns the insurance giant Geico, told CNBC in a February interview: “If the day comes when a significant portion of the cars on the road are autonomous, it will hurt Geico’s business very significantly.”
That would seem to make sense. If humans aren’t driving the cars, who needs a car insurance policy?
SOUTH CAROLINA RADIO NETWORK, 21 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:
President Donald Trump’s budget plan would be felt deeply via program cuts and eliminations proposed for education in South Carolina.
University of South Carolina education law professor Derek Black told South Carolina Radio Network that the President’s budget does cut money for some education-related programs that would benefit students in poorer districts. “21st Century Learning Center Programs support after-school, before-school and summer school programs and would see funding cuts,” Black said. “ Well, we have a lot of low income students here. These programs are crucial to giving those kids a safe place to go before and after school.”
Black said the cuts to general education funding would adversely impact South Carolina because the state is still funding public education below pre-recession levels. “So we’re still in the whole when it comes to school funding and this new budget just makes matters worse.”
THE ROANOKE TIMES, 19 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:
One security service that many police departments offer, but that often goes unnoticed, is off-duty work.
Officers direct traffic near construction sites. They greet people coming in and out of bars. They walk the Berglund Center’s concourse during concerts.
They offer additional security at stores, serving as a deterrent to would-be thieves. Last month, when someone photographed a uniformed Roanoke officer outside Wal-Mart on Dale Avenue Southeast apparently sleeping in his patrol car and posted it on Facebook, people chimed in with a range of responses. Some expressed sympathy that officers work long hours, others questioned whether he was on duty — and, if not, what were the policies on uniforms and vehicles?
THE HERALD, 19 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. MARCIA ZUG:
Debra Parks wanted to be treated the same as anybody else by the courts. At 62, she’s disabled, and split from her partner of almost four decades. She filed a lawsuit because she wanted her relationship, which ended last year, to be considered a common law marriage under South Carolina law.
Parks is gay. But until 2015, same-sex marriage was illegal.
“I was in a same-sex relationship for all those years,” Parks said. “We owned a house together. We were a family, even when society didn’t accept it.”
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 26 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:
Three cheers for Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.
“I am saddened, I’m disappointed, and I’ll tell you I’m disgusted by any use of a tragedy to further some kind of political agenda around body cameras,” an angry Sauschuck said Tuesday – one day before a protester at City Hall called him “murderer” to his face.
The source of the chief’s frustration: painfully predictable demands for body cameras on Portland police officers – right now – after last weekend’s fatal police shooting of Chance David Baker in the Union Station Plaza parking lot on St. John Street.
According to police and eyewitnesses, Baker, 22, brandished what looked very much like a rifle. It turned out to be a pellet gun.
C-SPAN, 9 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. MARCIA ZUG:
Professor Marcia Zug talked about her book Buying A Bride: An Engaging History of Mail-Order Matches, in which she discusses how 19th century California gold rush pioneers encouraged single women to move west and marry the state’s bachelors with promises of protecting women’s rights. However, Professor Zug argued that when brides increasingly came from Asia, America’s acceptance of mail-order marriages evaporated.
WIRED, 11 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:
IF YOU LIVE in California, chances are you’ve spotted a self-driving car—some 271 companies are testing tech in the Golden State, and they’ve running around all over the place. But those sightings are never quite as futuristic as they could be. These cars aren’t really driverless, and they’re not for public use. State law requires a trained human sit behind the wheel, and restricts the technology to testing only.
Now, Silicon Valley’s home state is ready to toss the bag of flesh and bones and replace it with a big sack of cash. The California Department of Motor Vehicles today proposed new regulations that will finally prepare for the move from testing to commercialization. That’ll make for even better photo ops if you see one, and eventually some interesting ride-sharing experiences—definitely no unwanted chit chat if a robocar picks you up.
California’s got good reason to welcome this tech. Some 3,000 people die on its roads every year, and self-driving cars could eliminate the human error that causes 90 percent of crashes. They could make more people more mobile, reduce emissions (maybe), and boost the economy.
FORTUNE, 8 MARCH 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:
No matter what you’ve been told—and told, and told again—our self-driving future is a long and uncharted ways off. Pretending otherwise might have dire consequences. Here’s an unvarnished look at the current reality.
You can be forgiven for thinking that autonomous cars, the all-seeing, self-driving, accident-free future of human transportation, have already arrived on a road near you. After all, the media have been writing headlines to that effect for years now: “Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of the Future is Here” (Wired, January 2012); “Like it or Not, the Autonomous Car Is Here—Almost” (Autoweek, May 2013); “The Driverless Car Comes to Washington” (The Washington Post video, August 2014); “Driverless Cars Are Already Here” (TechCrunch, June 2015); “Driverless Cars Are Here—Now What?” (The Hill, September 2016); “Self Driving Cars Are Here, Are You Ready?” (Tech.Co, December 2016).
And so on.
But this is, at best, only partially true. While a number of automakers have engineered vehicles that can pilot themselves with an ability unfathomable even a decade ago, after months of interviews with the people shaping the self-driving car industry it’s clear that our autonomous future—the one where you take a nap as your vehicle whisks you to your destination in comfort and safety—is not in any real sense here now, nor around the corner, but likely decades away. All claims to the contrary are either based on misunderstanding or are intentionally misleading.