Includes interactive timeline
In a major blow to affirmative action policies nationwide, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 22) upheld a 2006 Michigan voter initiative banning race-conscious admissions policies in public universities. Writing for the majority in the 6-2 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that state voters should have the authority to decide the issue themselves. But in her impassioned dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor insisted the ban unconstitutionally infringed on the rights of minorities. The ruling — the latest in a long string of challenges to race-conscious admissions and hiring practices — doesn’t outlaw affirmative action policies elsewhere, but it does give other states the green light to enact similar bans.
Like this timeline? Learn how to make your own with this tutorial!
Donning a gas mask, a demonstrator participates in the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. (AP)
1. Which labor organization helped fund and organize the first Earth Day celebration?
2. Who said this:
“Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions … It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they, more than we, will wreak the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later.”
Keep reading for answers. Continue reading
When Benjamin Franklin wrote that “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” he left out a third inevitability: fierce disagreements over tax rates and spending.
As long as our government spends a lot more than it takes in, taxation will continue to be a cause of strife between conservatives and liberals, the former fighting for lower taxes and smaller government; the latter for higher taxes on the wealthy and increased revenue for public services. It’s like a boring version of the NeverEnding Story (without cool flying animals). Continue reading
Includes maps, videos, interactive charts
Courtesy of PBS
The wage gap between men and women has gradually narrowed in recent decades, but it remains significant.
According to the Obama Administration, full-time working woman in the US. make, on average, just 77 cents for every dollar that men make. At that rate, it’d take more than 60 additional days for a woman to earn what a man had made at the end of the previous year. Continue reading
Includes cartoon infographic
Distributing enough water to everyone has never been an easy task in perennially thirsty California. But making sure that residents, farms and the environment are all sufficiently hydrated becomes a particularly difficult balancing act during prolonged periods of drought. Simply put, there’s just not enough to go around. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner — whose last piece focused on California agriculture — explains the complicated math of water distribution in the Golden State. View below as a slideshow or full graphic. Continue reading
The Supreme Court on Wednesday removed a 40-year-old cap on the total amount of cash individuals can contribute to political candidates and party committees. The latest in a string of rulings chipping away at longstanding campaign finance limits, the court’s 5-to-4 decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission is expected to let new flood of money pour into America’s already cash-saturated political process.
What the decision actually does
It removes the cap on the combined amount of cash that any one person can directly give to candidates running for federal office, or to political party committees. Continue reading
Includes interactive map and chart
The map below, created by web designer Lewis Lehe, shows abortion rates by state as well as the dizzying patchwork of various state abortion restrictions (note that these are just some of the many state restrictions in place). Select a category tab on the right, and then mouse over each state to see what its restrictions are. In the graph under the map, you can also see the number of abortions in each state per 1,000 women (aged 15 – 44), To compare different states, click on one state and then mouse over (but don’t click) another. Hit the “Compare US Total” button to show the selected state against the national rate.
Note that the ’viability’ of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.
(article continues below visualization)
Includes cartoon infographic
These are bone dry times for California. Even with the recent rains, the state is still mired in one of its worst droughts in recorded history. And that spells trouble for the vast agriculture industry here. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner explains. View it as a slideshow or in full-length format below.
Includes interactive explainer
Do America’s lowest wage earners deserve a raise?
As Congress again delves into the hotly contested perennial debate over raising the federal minimum wage, a growing number of states and cities throughout the country are forging their own paths on the issue, resulting in an uneven national patchwork of wage laws. We dig into the debate over dollars and cents in this interactive explainer, produced by Newsbound. Scroll through the whole presentation at once, or choose specific chapters by selecting the table of contents button on the bottom left of the screen. Sources for each slide are also included at the bottom.
Common Core Connections
Relevant ELA and Social Studies CCSS Anchor Standards
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7: Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Social Studies Integration
Integrate this topic into the following high school social studies units:
(based on:The American Vision, CA Edition (McGraw Hill/Glencoe, 2006)
• Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1933-1939
• The New Frontier and the Great Society, 1961-1968
• The Politics of Protest, 1960-1980
• Politics and Economics, 1971-1980
• Resurgence of Conservatism, 1980-1992
(based on: American Government, Prentice Hall, 2006, CA Edition)
• Unit 2 – Political Behavior: Government by the People
• Unit 3 – The Legislative Branch
• Unit 4 – The Executive Branch
• Unit 6 – Comparative Political and Economic Systems
(based on: Econ Alive! TCI, 2010)
• Unit 4 – Economics of the Public Sector
• Unit 5 – Measuring and Managing the Economy