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The Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday about diversity in higher education and how much of a role, if any, the courts should have in determining how admissions officers consider race in their college acceptance decisions, our colleague Adam Liptak reports:
The questioning was exceptionally sharp, but the member of the court who probably holds the decisive vote, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, tipped his hand only a little, asking a few questions that indicated discomfort with at least some race-conscious admissions programs. He told a lawyer for the University of Texas at Austin, which was challenged over its policies, that he was uncomfortable with its efforts to attract privileged minorities.
“What you’re saying,” Justice Kennedy said, “is what counts is race above all.”
He asked a lawyer for Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the university, whether the modest racial preferences used by the university crossed a constitutional line. Then he proposed an answer to his own question.
“Are you saying that you shouldn’t impose this hurt, this injury, for so little benefit?” he asked.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor summarized the central question in the case. “At what point — when — do we stop deferring to the university’s judgment that race is still necessary?” she asked. “That’s the bottom line of this case.”
There are four basic possible outcomes in the case, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 11-345, Mr. Liptak reports:
- The Supreme Court could decline to make a decision if it agrees with the University of Texas that the plaintiff, Ms. Fisher, did not suffer legitimate injuries from its admissions policy and therefore does not have grounds to sue.
- The court could uphold affirmative action by determining that the admissions policy at the University of Texas is constitutional.
- The justices could decide that institutions may not make race-conscious admissions decisions if their race-neutral admissions choices have already created a substantially diverse student body.
- The Supreme Court could ban affirmative action in college admissions, a decision that would overrule the 2003 decision Grutter v. Bollinger.
If the justices decide to strike down the longstanding practice of affirmative action in college admissions, it could greatly affect whom colleges choose to admit and why, as The Choice reported on Tuesday.
With nearly half of all suicides in the military having been committed with privately owned firearms, the Pentagon and Congress are moving to establish policies intended to separate at-risk service members from their personal weapons.
The issue is a thorny one for the Pentagon, with gun-rights advocates and many service members fiercely opposing any policies that could be construed as limiting the private ownership of firearms.
But with suicides continuing to rise this year, senior Defense Department officials are developing a suicide prevention campaign that will encourage friends and families of potentially suicidal service members to safely store or voluntarily remove personal firearms from their homes.
“This is not about authoritarian regulation,” Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in an interview. “It is about the spouse understanding warning signs and, if there are firearms in the home, responsibly separating the individual at risk from the firearm.”
Dr. Woodson, who declined to provide details, said the campaign would be introduced over the coming months. He said that it would also include measures to encourage service members, their friends and relatives to remove possibly dangerous prescription drugs from the home of potentially suicidal troops.
In another step considered significant by suicide-prevention advocates, Congress appears poised to enact legislation that would allow military mental health counselors and commanders to talk to troops about their private firearms. The measure, which is promoted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, would amend a law enacted in 2011 that prohibited the Defense Department from collecting information from service members about lawfully owned firearms kept at home.
The e-book has been in existence as early as the mid 90s, though the popularity of digital book publication has recently skyrocketed in a generation where the internet is the way of the future.
In the United States, in September 2009, Amazon launched the Amazon Kindle—a free for all in digital media via wireless networking. Sony had a dominant an e-reader of its own during the time period and by March of 2010, the Barnes & Noble Nook was rumored to have been outselling the Kindle. The Nook itself is based on the popular Android operating system and in April of this year, entered a partnership with Microsoft.
Apple notably surged in recognition on the e-book scene with its 2010 launched, multi-functional device, the iPad. Apple obtained agreements with major publishers to allow them permission to distribute e-books. The iPad also boasts of an app for e-books under the collective identity of the iBookstore.
Not only are e-books selling, writers who are most affected by the movement are now taking to self-publishing online through channels such as Amazon.com.
Which brings up the obvious debate—will hardback and printed books soon go out of style?
According to a recent article published in the Huffington Post UK, “Ebooks appear to be winning the race against print. According to stats released by Amazon, marking the second anniversary of the Kindle launching in the UK, it now sells more ebooks than printed books. Amazon Kindle books now out-sell paperbacks and hardbacks combined. The retailer said 114 ebooks are sold for every 100 print books. It also revealed that Kindle readers buy four times as many books after they buy an e-reader.
Meanwhile it also said that more independent authors are trying to find an audience online than ever before.
In the last 12 months there has been a 400% increase in indie authors using the Amazon store to released self-penned works.”
The trickle down effect from leisure to practical is also underway. Hoover High School in Alabama has recently launched an e-book library and while sales for digital textbooks still make up a small fraction of purchases at colleges, studies predict by 2015, 1 in 4 textbooks will be digital and will continue to increase for years to come. The advantages of digital reading are numerous:
However, the traditional paperbacks and hardcovers also hold economical benefits:
As long as the final factor holds true, the sell and production of traditional books will continue in the United States until the e-book is able to perfect itself and surpass traditional sales. The choice is left in the hands of consumers who become increasingly tech-savvy and dependent on a daily basis.
When it comes down to it, what do you, the readers, favor?
E-books or traditional paperbacks and hardbacks?
Host of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” Daniel Tosh, is feeling the heat after a woman who attended one of his stand-up shows reported that the comedian was making light out of rape.
According to a blog post written by the victim’s friend, “Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how a can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc.” To which the woman in question then shouted out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!” In response, Tosh stated, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
Both stunned and frightened, the woman and her acquaintance for the night then fled the scene of the club.
The owner of the club told BuzzFeed a different side of the story in an interview. Jamie Masada said that Tosh asked the audience, “What you guys want to talk about?” After someone in the front said “rape,” a woman in the audience started screaming, “No, rape is painful, don’t talk about it.” Then, Masada said, “Daniel came in, and he said, ‘Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys’ — something like that. I really didn’t hear properly.”
He emphasized, “It was a comment — it wasn’t a joke at the expense of this girl.”
Masada then claimed that the woman then sat through the rest of Tosh’s set — which received a standing ovation — before complaining to the manager about Tosh’s joke. The manager apologized, Masada said, and offered her tickets to come back to the Laugh Factory for another performance, which she accepted.
In either case, there is reference and dispute towards concept of “rape culture,” the disturbing core issue. As defined by Upsetting Rape Culture, “people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape. Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as ‘just the way things are.’”
Whether this is a case of misconception, perpetuation of female threat (and males who are just as susceptible), or sheer ignorance, what can be agreed on is the fact that a clear level of offense was breached. As said in an article by the pro-feminist site Bitch Media, “the only time a rape joke is truly successful is when rape culture is the butt of it—otherwise it implies that rape and rape culture are inherently funny.” Supposedly, this rape incident was not his first offense, as the aforementioned article provides a clip where Tosh’s punch line indicated that his sister was raped.
Tosh reportedly apologized via Twitter, one of the tweets stating, “all the out of context misquotes aside, i’d like to sincerely apologize.”
Fellow comedians Jim Norton, Dane Cook, Anthony Jeselnik, and Patton Oswalk all have notably defended Tosh in regards to the incident. A petition to take Tosh off the air is also making rounds across the World Wide Web.
It’s amazing to see all of the hard work placed into this study making headlines!