The Great Recession threw huge economic challenges at nearly all Americans – rich and poor. In her book Down the Up Escalator, Barbara Garson writes about how those challenges played out in the lives of real people. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Garson about her book and about what happens to those at the bottom when a society’s organization favors those at the top.
While federal laws against marijuana remain in place, two states of decriminalized its use, and several states have passed laws allowing medicinal use of the drug. Meanwhile, the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a heroin overdose has ignited a conversation about whether heroin use is a criminal issue or a public health issue. Is America starting to reconsider its war on drugs?
This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation with Eugene Jarecki, writer, producer and director for the documentary “The House I Live In.” In the film, Jarecki talks with everyone from a federal judge to an inmate reflecting on his life on the outside.
Football players at Northwestern University in Evanton, Ill., led by senior quarterback Kain Colter, are petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ramogi Huma, President of the College Athletes Players Association, which is representing the players, about what they’re asking for. According to Huma, the players are far more interested in stricter rules from the NCAA protecting them from concussions and extended scholarships, not money.
Then, Northwestern University Labor Law Professor Zev Eigen join us. He says it’s unlikely the players’ union will gain recognition from the National Labor Relations Board but that forming a union isn’t the only avenue to get what they’re asking for.
We spend lots of time caring for artifacts from the past and are always looking for new ways to improve techniques for preserving the history found in our photographs, books and other heirlooms. There are entire industries built on preserving photos in scrapbooks or in digital slideshows, and there are museums and historical societies caring for everything from old pieces of clothing to handwritten letters and books. On an individual level, we all have things that are important enough to invest that kind of energy in caring for, but how do you go about doing so?
In the last decade, craft beer and wine industries across the Midwest have blossomed. This is especially true in Illinois when it comes to the wine industry. New, locally owned distilleries are also starting to pop up. Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. Today on Focus, we’ll investigate. Host Jim Meadows talks with author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen about the changing definition of an “American whiskey” and about his book “American Whiskey Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to The Nation’s Favorite Spirit.”
Usually during Black History Month, we remember Civil Rights icons and reflect on their legacy. But over the past couple of years, State of the Re:Union has met a new generation of African American leaders, people you may not see on TV specials or making nationally acclaimed speeches. Most of these men and women are on the front lines of their communities, rolling up their selves and diving in to what can be very unglamorous work. In this episode, State of the Re:Unionwould like to introduce you to this group of leaders and what they’re accomplishing in their various corners of America.
We are sorry we are unavailable to provide a podcast for this hour.
Bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency, is now being accepted by major online supplier Overstock.com. Sites like Amazon.com are also reported to also be considering accepting bitcoin as payment. There are even bitcoin ATMs starting to pop up in major cities. Locally, Cheese and Crackers, an artisanal deli in Champaign, has been accepting bitcoin for about 6 months. Owner Bart Basi says in his store bitcoin is more of a conversation starter than a currency at this point but that he does get a couple customers every month who pay with it.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Basi about being reimbursed in bitcoin. Jim Angel, Visiting Associate Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania from the School of Business at Georgetown University, also joins the show. Venture capital firms like Anderseen-Horowitz, whose co-founder wrote recently about the potential for bitcoin, say bitcoin is a solution to a lot of technical problems with online payments. Angel isn’t so sure and joins Focus to talk about the merits and problems with bitcoin.
Erika Hayasaki met Professor Norma Bowe while she was covering the Virginia Tech shootings as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. At the time, Hayasaki says she was reporting on a lot of death. It was when she discovered Bowe’s “Death in Perspective” class that she realized how much she had to learn.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Champaign native, Erika Hayasaki about her new book “The Death Class.” Professor Norma Bowe, who teaches one of the most popular courses at Kean University in New Jersey also joins the show. We’ll hear what makes the class worth putting your name on a three year wait list.
Sunday evening when University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise emailed the campus to say that classes would indeed be held despite a predicted below zero temperature with windchills reaching into the double digits, the internet became a way for students to voice their discontent. Within hours, a Twitter hashtag joking about the cold turned into a sexist and racist attack on the Chancellor herself. During this hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Amanda Hess, author of the recent article “Why Aren’t Women Welcome on the Internet” about her experiences with the kind of verbal abuse directed at Chancellor Wise. Hess also talks about the University’s nonresponse to the incident.
Then, host Jim Meadows talks with Kate Clancy, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She blogs for the Scientific American about “human behavior, evolutionary medicine…..and ladybusiness” and recently wrote about the current plight of women in academia. She says the kinds of backhandedness that happens online translates into real life consequences. Emily Graslie, the producer and host of the Field Museum’s behind-the-scenes science vlog “The Brain Scoop,” also joins the show. Her recent post “Where My Ladies At?” questions whether more women would pursue careers in science if they were met with a different kind of judgment from men in the field.
Our current medical system is a business. Should it be? According to filmmaker Susan Parenti and Dr. Patch Adams, the answer to that question is “no.” In her new film “Health Care in All the Wrong Places,” Parenti explores the disconnect between the phrase “health care” and the actual meaning of the word “care.”
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Parenti and with Dr. Adams, who appears in the film as a patient, about what medicine could be. Adams, who is a student of Parenti’s in the Urbana based “School for Designing a Society,” has been working since he entered medical school in the late 1960’s to build a hospital where medical care is free and says that providing care should be, even though it often isn’t, at the heart of medical interaction.
Read more to see the trailer.