Volkswagen will pay up to $14.7 billion to settle for the so-called clean diesel cars it designed to cheat emissions regulations. What impact will the payout have on the German automaker long-term? Then, more and more inmates are serving time in for-profit private prisons in America, and yet, little is known about what actually goes on inside those facilities. To find out, investigative reporter Shane Bauer went undercover as a prison guard at a privately run state prison in Louisiana; and what he saw inside was shocking. Next, the play Disgraced explores what it means to be Muslim in America today in surprising ways, adhering to and undermining stereotypes at the same time. And finally, Independence Day falls on a Monday this year, and that means many people will have a three-day weekend. Since there’s evidence to suggest that American workers would be happier, healthier, and more productive if their workweek was trimmed down, why don’t we have a three-day weekend every week?
FROM THIS EPISODE
Aaron Robinson, Car and Driver magazine
More and more inmates are serving time in private prisons in America. These are facilities run by for-profit companies such as the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America. Yet even though nearly one out of every ten inmates is locked up in a private prison, little is known about what actually goes on inside these facilities. Mother Jones Senior Reporter Shane Bauer wanted to know more about what life is like inside of private prisons, so he went undercover for four months, working as a prison guard at Winn Correctional Center, a privately-run state prison in Louisiana. What Bauer saw inside of Winn was shocking: chaos, beatings, stabbings, overall lawlessness, and even an escape.
The play Disgraced explores what it means to be Muslim in America today. The playwright, Ayad Akhtar, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for it in 2013, and yet the themes are still incredibly relevant in 2016. Over ninety minutes, four main characters at a dinner party grapple with identity, politics and racism in unpredictable ways. The main character, Amir, is a secular lawyer of Pakistani-Muslim descent. His wife is an artist who happens to be white. They host a dinner party for her Jewish art dealer and his African American wife, who’s a lawyer in Amir’s law firm. The characters both adhere to and undermine stereotypes. And the play raises more questions than it answers.
Kimberly Senior, Mark Taper Forum
Independence Day falls on a Monday this year, and that means many people will have a three-day weekend. Studies have shown that working long hours every week can cause health problems; working too much can lead to relationship problems; and some evidence suggests that American employees would be more productive if they worked fewer hours every week. So if Americans would probably be happier, healthier, and more productive if we shrunk the workweek down, why haven’t we done so?
Daniel S. Hamermesh, Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Texas at Austin