Focus

WILL - Focus - March 07, 2013

McCollum v the Board of Education

It’s been 65 years since the US Supreme Court Case McCollum v Board of Education made Vashti McCollum of Champaign one of the most notorious atheists in the country. During this hour, host Jim Meadows talks with filmmaker Jay Rosenstein about his awarding winning documentary “The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today” and Ken Paulson of the First Amendment Center about the case, it’s continuing implications and the now famous phrase “separation of church and state.”

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(Duration: 50:25)

James McCollum and his mother Vashti McCollum are pictured at a court hearing.

Jim Meadows talks with Professor of Journalism at the UIUC and filmmaker Jay Rosenstein about his Peabody and Emmy-Award winning documentary “The Lord is Not On Trial Here Today.” The film takes a never-before-seen look at a landmark First Amendment case that has become famous for the phrase “separation of church and state.” We’ll talk with Rosenstein about the case and how he went about researching and producing the film. Ken Paulson, former editor and Senior Vice President of News for USA Today and President and CEO of the First Amendment Center also joins the conversation.


WILL - Focus - March 06, 2013

Peacebuilding in West Africa

Military coup, Islamic extremists, human rights violations and political unrest… all these things have been part of life for citizens in Mali for more than a year. During this episode of Focus, we talked with Associate Professor of History at Columbia University Gregory Mann about recent happenings in the country and the role the US should play in its recovery.

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(Duration: 49:10)

Gregory Mann

Mali, a former French colony, had long been considered a model for democracy, but that all changed last year in March. Soldiers angry about the government’s handling of a rebellion in the northern desert overthrew the country’s elected government during a coup in Bamako, the country’s capital. Since then, Mali has suffered political unrest, pushing the country to ask for help from the French government early this year. Even though the French have helped Mali’s government regain some control in the northern part of the country, conflict is far from over. According to the United Nations, fighting has displaced more than 430,000 people in the past 13 months in addition to countless reports of rape and human rights violations. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Associate Professor of History at Columbia University Gregory Mann about what has happened in Mali, what lies ahead and what role the US should play moving forward.


WILL - Focus - March 05, 2013

Curating Local History

Are you intrigued by the past? Do you have a favorite factoid about Champaign-Urbana history? Today on Focus, we talked about curating local history.

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(Duration: 49:57)

Early American Museum, Museum of the Grand Prairie, Mahomet IL

During this hour on Focus, we’ll start by looking at history through the lens of a comic book. Amateur historian, artist and Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Kevin Hamilton has just published the comic titled, “A Place in Time, Two Paths to a Television Broadcast.” It chronicles a national television broadcast by Public Broadcasting Lab, the show that later turned into 60 Minutes, which originated in Urbana in 1968. He'll join us to talk about the comic book, what inspired it and why he thinks chronicling events like it give us unique perspective.

Timothy Cain who co-directs the UIUC’s Ethnography of the University Initiative, also joins the conversation. He’ll tell us about the project, how it archives hundreds of research projects every year and provides undergraduates the chance to research university history. We’ll talk about research that has uncovered facts about student sub-cultures and their influence on campus and community life and how displaying history can work to influence a sense of community. Barb Garvey, Assistant Director of the Museum of the Grand Prairie, also joins the conversation to talk about other local history projects and why they’re important.

Categories: Community, History

WILL - Focus - March 04, 2013

Miriam Cooke and Hijab Trendz

Have you ever used writing as an outlet? Today on Focus, we examined stereotypes about Arab women with Professor Miriam Cooke, who studies how Islamic women empower themselves through writing. Then, Mariam Sobh, a native of Champaign and the founder of the fashion blog Hijab Trendz joins the program. 

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(Duration: 50:24)

Mariam Sobh wearing a white hijab

During this hour on Focus, we talk with Professor Miriam Cooke about how she got started studying Muslim women and their writing and why their writings are important. She talks with us about women who inspired the feminist movement in the Middle East and why it became important during the 1990’s. Cooke is a Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University and the Director of the University’s Middle East Studies Center. She’s been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, and Qatar and is one of the foremost scholars on Islamic Feminism and Arab Culture.

Then during the second half of the hour, we talk with Mariam Sobh. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of Hijab Trendz, a fashion blog for Muslim women. Host Jim Meadows talks with Sobh about her decision to cover her hair, what it means and how some Muslim women are choosing not to.


WILL - Focus - March 01, 2013

Filing Your Taxes

The alternative minimum tax was patched in January. But wait, what’s that again? Today on Focus, talked with John Breen and Marty Verdick of McGladrey LLP in Champaign about the things you need to know to file this year’s income tax return. Find the podcat here. 

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(Duration: 50:28)

1040 tax form from 2005

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with John Breen, Tax Director at McGladrey LLP and Marty Verdick, Tax Partner at McGladrey LLP about the so-called fiscal cliff package that was passed in January and how it affects your bottom line. He also asks about the new Medicare surtax for 2013, which tax software to use when preparing your taxes on your own and when it’s a good idea to hire a tax preparer. Also in this episode of Focus – how to choose the best tax preparer for your needs, what questions to ask and the gray areas in the tax code. We also talk about new forms this year for same-sex couples in civil unions.

Tags: taxes

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