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Los Angeles Times
Classrooms with rats instead of teachers: Is Detroit denying children of color their right to an education?
An op-ed by Laurence Tribe.
In the early days of our nation, it was a crime to teach slaves to read. And through the first half of the 20th century, segregation funneled their descendants into inferior schools. Like the ugly attempts to disenfranchise African Americans through so-called literacy tests calculated to make them seem illiterate, these efforts were a perverse tribute to literacy’s power, which was recognized by the many people of color who fought so hard, against the odds, to educate themselves. Now, at least in theory, literacy is universally regarded as a human right. Every state makes K-12 education mandatory, and basic education has been recognized unanimously by the Supreme Court as “necessary to prepare citizens to participate effectively and intelligently in our open political system if we are to preserve freedom and independence,” to quote what Warren Burger, appointed chief justice by Richard Nixon, wrote in 1972. Yet as a carefully crafted lawsuit filed this month by seven Detroit schoolchildren reveals, deliberate indifference to public schools in already disadvantaged communities means that many children of color still do not receive an education — at least not an education that will prepare them to participate effectively and intelligently in our system.
There’s one piece of tax reform that would have a real impact with little resistance
Corporate tax reform may be the issue with the highest degree of consensus among Republicans and Democrats. But when it comes to most issues regarding personal taxes, it’s been hard for those on both sides of the aisle to agree. That said, in a recent Harvard Business School (HBS) study on competitiveness, professor Mihir Desai
explained there is one key area where both sides seem to agree: a minimum tax on the highest earners. While personal tax reform “cuts a little closer to home” than corporate tax reform, according to Desai, changing the tax brackets at the highest level is something that would have a real revenue impacts without too much resistance. Desai, who is both a business and law professor at Harvard, explained that there is a distinct opportunity for a new top tax bracket, especially given the changing composition of the current brackets.
Prisoners Can’t Vote, But They Can Be Redistricted
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
Prisoners can be counted in population totals for determining a voting district, even though they can’t cast ballots in the place where they’re being held. That's what an appeals court relying on a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last term has said -- even though that case involved noncitizens who are fully members of the community, not inmates who don’t contribute to the city or use local services. Wednesday’s decision casts some doubt on the theory of virtual representation that the justices used, and raises deep issues about the connection between voting and being represented.
A chocolate war is about to heat up in the U.S.
When an Oreo-flavored chocolate bar hits the shelves in the U.S. soon, most consumers will look at it as just another treat. But Wall Street being Wall Street, this innocent indulgence is way more than that. The little chocolate bar is really a howitzer in a rolling 15-year battle by a parade of suitors to take over one of the great iconic brands: Hershey Co...As if that weren’t bad enough, an unusual Pennsylvania law gives the state’s attorney general power to block Hershey takeovers, even when the trust wants to sell. Hershey is a big employer in Pennsylvania. Locals, perhaps rightly, fear that they could lose their jobs in a takeover as a result of cost cutting. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania attorneys general, who oversee the trust by law, have a habit of running for governor. This means they’re often tempted to do what’s “considered expedient locally,” says Harvard Law School professor Robert Sitkoff
, an expert on charitable trusts.
Debating the debates
Whether looking for some reason, any reason, to support one candidate over another, or just wanting to watch high-stakes political mud wrestling, millions of Americans will tune in Monday night to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in the first of three presidential debates...“In my view, they’ve gotten morphed into less about the candidates’ actual substantive views on an issue, and it’s turned into a slugfest and who can have the sound bite for the next morning. And that just seems to me to be counter to helping informed citizens in a democracy make an educated choice about who they might select for their leader,” said Robert Bordone
, Thaddeus R. Beal Clinical Professor of Law and director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program at HLS. “I think most viewers expect to see sound bites and fights, and that sort of expectation sets up the debates. It’s almost like the incentives to have a healthy dialogue between the two, with a debate on issues, are not there,” said lecturer Heather Kulp
, who has co-written with Bordone about the need to overhaul the way presidential debates are run. “I think we underestimate what people would be interested in seeing.”
The Boston Globe
Yahoo hack is one of the largest security breaches of the Internet age
Yahoo Inc. said Thursday that hackers backed by an unnamed foreign government had stolen personal information from more than 500 million of its users’ accounts, one of the largest security breaches of the Internet age...Bruce Schneier
, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said the Yahoo breach was very serious because so many Internet users routinely store sensitive data on Internet-based systems — not on the hard drives in their desktop PCs, for example. “We no longer keep our stuff on our computers,” he said. “We keep our stuff on their computers.”
Daily Record (N.J.)
Circus elephant ban protects humans too
A letter by fellow Delcianna Winders
. Thank you for your editorial on the bill to ban elephants in circuses (“Elephant ban a first to be proud of,” Sept. 21). If passed, it will go far in protecting humans and animals. Abuse is the rule for elephants in circuses...animals subjected to constant abuse sometimes lash out. As the world’s largest land animals, elephants can easily kill a human with a single foot stomp or trunk swipe. They kill about one person every year in the United States — and injure many more.