• Hawaiian Homeless Solution

    Hawaii is employing one of the more creative ways to save money on housing, food, and other services earmarked for the homeless. They are offering one-way plane tickets to volunteers to ship them out of the state. The “return to home” pilot program, which will be run by the Department of Human Services, is a three-year endeavor that will launch this fiscal year. The state legislature has approved spending $100,000 in the first year. The state, which has an estimated 17,000 homeless, expects to save money even if some people return. To be eligible for the program, individuals must have a support system in their home state and must not be able to afford the airfare on their own.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Do you believe this program is morally sound? Why or why not?
    • Do you think the program will be successful? Why or why not?
  • Motor City Goes Belly Up

    In the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, the emergency manager of Detroit asked a federal judge for permission to put the city into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Governor Rick Snyder said in a letter authorizing the filing that he understood “many will see this as a low point in the city’s history.” Adding: “If so, I think it will also be the foundation of the city’s future." Detroit has been struggling for years, with a deficit that has hit $18 billion, while losing around a quarter-million residents in the past decade. If the filing is approved, the city will be allowed to liquidate assets to repay creditors and city pensioners who’ve lost money from bad bond investments and unpaid contracts.

     

    Discussion Questions:

    • Should cities be able to declare bankruptcy? Why or why not?
    • What do you think will happen to Detroit? Can they recover? If so, how?
  • Zimmerman Not Guilty

    George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday night of all charges relating to the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The jury had deliberated for 16 hours before reaching a verdict. Earlier in the day, the panel of six women asked for clarification on possible manslaughter charges, but were told to ask a more focused question and instead decided to keep deliberating. They came back with their verdict around 9 p.m, acquitting Zimmerman of both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Zimmerman had confessed to shooting the teenager but claimed it was self-defense. However, Zimmerman may not yet be out of the woods, legally speaking. The Justice Department issued a statement on Sunday that indicates it will be reviewing whether Zimmerman can be prosecuted under federal criminal civil rights statutes.

     

    Discussion Questions:

    • Do you agree with the verdict? Why or why not?
    • What role do you believe race played in this case?
  • Perry Out in Texas--No Fourth Term

    Three-term Texas governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry announced that he won't run for reelection in 2014. "The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said in a press conference. Perry has been in office for almost 13 years, making him the longest-serving current governor in the U.S. Regarding his future plans, he said only that he "will also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path" and that "any future considerations I will announce in due time." Perry's 2012 presidential bid collapsed quickly, effectively ending in a primary debate when he forgot the name of the third U.S. department he planned to close.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Should term-limits be placed on the Office of Governor in Texas? Why or why not?
    • Do you think Perry should have run again? Why or why not?
  • Snowden Enters Russia

    Just two days afer U.S. officials filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old NSA leaker reportedly left Hong Kong on a flight bound for Moscow. WikiLeaks issued a statement saying that Snowden is seeking political asylum in Ecuador, which was later confirmed by a foreign minister. It's rumored that he will fly there via Cuba, which has no established extradition policy with the U.S. In the end, Hong Kong concluded that the request "did not fully comply with the legal requirements" under their own law.

    Discussion Questions:

    • Do you think Snowden poses a legitimate threat to our national security? Why or why not?
    • How should Obama respond to Russia? Why?