Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Stuff You Should Know

Texas Abortion Clinic Controversy

Some forty years after the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, legalized abortion continues to be a heated topic,  In 2013, Texas’ then-governor (and current Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry) signed a state law that imposed strict requirements on abortion providers in Texas. Under the law, clinics must meet standards that have led to the closure of around 20 abortion clinics in that state (about half of the total) to close. Supporters of the law say that the provisions are there to protect the health of pregnant women, while the opposition claims that the regulations were made to intentionally put clinics out of business.

Earlier this month, abortion providers in that state asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that ruling. The plaintiffs are hoping that their case will serve to strengthen the interpretation of 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That Supreme Court ruling said that the states may not place “undue burdens” on a person’s right to have an abortion. The Texas law requires doctors who perform abortions to obtain “admitting privileges” at local hospitals. Productive rights activists say that this provision is difficult because of the number of Catholic hospitals in the area that oppose abortion.

Dig Deeper Last year, the Supreme Court blocked the Texas law, keeping a number of clinics open. Continue to follow this story, determine if the Supreme Court takes the case, why, and any note any developments.

Uber Lawsuit

McGraw-Hill Education. Mark Dierker, photographer. MHE World.

Photo Credit: McGraw-Hill Education. Mark Dierker, photographer.

Based in San Francisco, Uber is a transportation service/software developer that connects people in need of a ride to available drivers in their area. The service operates like a taxi cab service, but the drivers are independent contractors who use their own vehicles. In 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company. This means that several people with the same issue against a common defendant can file together. In order to proceed with the case, a federal court judge had to officially grant “class-action status.” Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen did so, but limited those involved to drivers hired before 2014.

The plaintiffs claim that they are “misclassified” as independent contractors and are suing Uber for reimbursement for gas and maintenance of their vehicles, as well as any tips received by the company on their behalf. Classifying workers as independent is a great advantage to companies because it considerably reduces labor costs. Uber has spoken out, saying that it is a technology company that provides an online marketplace. Uber has also said that a major benefit to Uber drivers is that they set their own schedules and hours, which makes them different from traditional employees.

What Do You Think? This case is getting a lot of attention for its example of a “1099 economy.” Do some research and find out what that means? Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing? Explain your answer.

Clinton Associates Testify Before House

It’s been a challenging year for Democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton. Once seen as the shoe-in Democratic Party nominee, her polling numbers are down, and the U.S. House of Representatives is conducting an investigation into the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. This includes a focus on Clinton’s controversial decision to use a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State. Earlier this summer, Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time advisor to Clinton and former aide to her husband, former president Bill Clinton, testified before the committee about dozens of intelligence memos he sent, despite no longer working for the administration.

Earlier this month, the House committee called Cheryl Mills, a lawyer and longtime adviser to Clinton, about her knowledge of the email account in question. Mills had requested that her testimony be made public, but the committee declined her request. This caused a lengthy argument between Democrats and Republicans over whether a transcript of Mills’ testimony would be made public. The Democrats believe that an official transcript will keep the remarks from being taken out of context, while Republicans say that they have not released a single transcript from the 40 other similar testimonies already conducted.

Dig Deeper Continue to follow this story, noting who is being questioned, the nature of the testimony, and any insight gained.

VMAs Awe and Offend

If you are even the slightest bit active on social media, you are likely to have heard the high-and-low-lights of MTV’s annual video music awards (VMAs). After two years without an official host, Miley Cyrus (who still gets residual attention for her risqué VMA performance from 2013) hosted this year’s broadcast. The band, The Weeknd, and hip-hop artist Macklemore stood out with their performances.

In addition to the big-name stars–Kanye’ West (who gave a lengthy speech where he allegedly announced his intention to some day make a run for the White House), Taylor Swift (who allegedly made up with Nicki Minaj after an alleged fued), and Justin Bieber (who was so moved by the whole thing that he cried)–the VMA red carpet featured a number of stars of shows that air on MTV. These included the cast from Awkward, The Shannara Chronicles, and an upcoming series adapted from the Scream movie franchise. There were also social media celebrities on hand, such as Amanda Steele, who hosts her own very successful lifestyle channel on YouTube; Vine celebrity Nash Grier; and GiGi Gorgeous, a transgendered YouTube star.

What Do You Think? Around the time of MTV’s 20th anniversary (in 2001), a group of MTV executives told a popular talk show host, “If there’s anyone over the age of 25 watching our channel, we’re doing something wrong.” Do you think that statement still remains relevant? Why or why not?