The Supreme Court is back in session and two cases involving racial bias in criminal cases are on the docket. In one case, argued Wednesday, racial bias may have been a factor in sentencing a man to death. Then, election spending is cruising toward record highs in California and no one’s spending more than Big Pharma. Pharmaceutical companies have spent more than $85 million to defeat Proposition 61. Also, three years after the Snowden leaks, the FBI has arrested another NSA contractor. They’re investigating whether Harold T. Martin stole and leaked classified computer codes used to hack foreign governments. Next, if attractions like the Door to Hell and Galileo’s Middle Finger sound appealing, plan your next vacation with “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Hidden Wonders.” And finally, 4chan, the web message board sometimes called “the cesspool of the internet,” is broke. Should you care if it’s forced to shut down?
FROM THIS EPISODE
The Supreme Court is back in session and two cases involving racial bias in criminal cases are on the docket. The justices heard arguments in a case on Wednesday where racial bias may have been a factor in sentencing a man to death. Duane Buck was convicted in 1996 of murdering two people and wounding another. His guilt is not being disputed, but his death sentence is. That’s because his own defense team hired an expert witness who testified that he was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black.
Election spending is cruising toward record highs in California, and no one’s making it rain harder than Big Pharma. Pharmaceutical companies have spent more than $85 million to defeat Proposition 61. Prop 61 would peg the price the state pays for drugs to the same price the VA healthcare system pays. The initiative is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, based in Los Angeles.
Three years after the Edward Snowden leaks, the FBI has arrested another National Security Agency contractor. They’re investigating whether 51-year-old Harold T. Martin stole and leaked classified computer codes used to hack foreign governments. It’s not clear what Martin might’ve done with the information or why he would’ve taken it, but this could be a big embarrassment to the NSA, and one that raises questions about the role of its contractors.
Joe Becker, New York Times
Any old vacation might include visits to museums, cathedrals and palaces, but what about some more unusual attractions? Like the “Door to Hell,” the “Everlasting Lightning Storm,” or “Galileo’s Middle Finger.” Those strange sights can be found in the book “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Hidden Wonders,” along with descriptions and pictures of hundreds of other weird and wonderful sights all over the world.
Dylan Thuras, Author
The web message board sometimes called “the cesspool of the internet” is broke. 4chan was launched in 2003 and became the home of racist and sexist hate speech, inappropriate – if not illegal – pictures and memes like Pepe the Frog, now the mascot of the alt-right. To be fair, it has also featured some fun stuff, including lolcats and Rickrolling. So should we care if it’s forced to shut down?
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Does copyright law cover graffiti? Clothing company H&M did a fashion shoot in Brooklyn featuring models standing against a gray wall painted with black waving lines. The graffiti was the work of an LA-based street artist, who wanted compensation. H&M responded by filing a lawsuit against him, then dropped it a few days later.
Taylor Mac takes on U.S. history in 246 songs, two dozen costume changes Taylor Mac will perform his “24-Decade History of Popular Music” starting Thursday in LA. It’s divided into four shows on four separate nights. It’s about this history of oppression and activism in the U.S. -- from 1776 to present day.
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