Affirmative Action On The Rocks: Another Chapter In A Long Contested History

(Click here to view the timeline in full screen mode)

In an effort to have greater campus diversity, is it fair for universities to give admissions preference to minority applicants?

Abigail Fisher, a white honor student, certainly didn’t think so when she was rejected from the University of Texas back in 2008. She sued the school, claiming that its race-conscious admissions policies unfairly and unconstitutionally favored black and Hispanic applicants over whites and Asians. This week (Oct. 10), the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, the latest in a half-a-century long string of challenges to affirmative action policies. The Court’s eventual ruling on the case will help determine the extent to which race can be used as a factor in admissions and employment decisions.

For more about the case:


Watch Supreme Court Hears Affirmative Action Challenges on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.





Tying The Knot With Same-Sex Marriage: Obama’s Slow Evolution

Includes: interactive timeline (with videos)

The year was 1996, and a political novice named Barack Obama was running for Illinois State Senate – his first bid for public office. Responding to a questionnaire from Outlines, a gay newspaper in Chicago, Obama wrote: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

It took him till now to return to that position.

Just two years later, Obama was deeply steeped in the world of politics. In his re-election bid for state senate, the same newspaper asked the same question. Obama’s position had already shifted, though. In response, he said he was now “undecided.”

Since then, Obama has held fast in his support for civil unions and equal rights for gays and lesbians, but until this week, he never firmly tied the knot in support of same-sex marriage. Scroll through the timeline, and view the clips, to see Obama long “evolving” feelings on this issue.

The Evolution of California’s State Parks


Credit: E. Howe/Flickr

In 2010, California voters rejected Proposition 21, which would have added an $18 annual surcharge to vehicle license fees and raised about $500 million annually to fund state park and wildlife conservation programs. Now, without the funding, nearly a quarter of the entire system’s sites – almost 70 parks – are in danger of being closed down. During difficult economic times, it’s no surprise that public resources like state parks are given low priority, especially compared to more urgent services like public safety. Continue reading