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FROM THIS EPISODE

Republicans now controlling the House claim the Constitution demands reductions in the size of government. Is America's founding document all that clear?  We get a variety of opinions reflecting how open it is to different interpretations. Also, Obama's economic team and unemployment, and astronomy is an arcane science, but thousands untrained citizens are doing important research.

Banner image: Page One of the (original) US Constitution, 1787

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Gary Scott
Christian Bordal

Main Topic Reading the US Constitution, Then and Now 36 MIN, 11 SEC

The new Republican majority in the House, especially those with Tea Party backing, revere the US Constitution as the last word on American government. But what was read yesterday on the House floor was actually a redacted version, one omission being the reference to a slave as three fifths of a human being. The Founding Fathers themselves disagreed over fundamental principles, and ratification by all 13 colonies was a very close call. So why is the original document treated like holy writ? Did current arguments about government powers originate in 1776?

 

Guests:
Bob Goodlatte, Congressman (R-VA)
Noah Feldman, Professor of Law, Harvard University
Maurice Thompson, Executive Director, 1851 Center for Constitutional Law
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate.com (@DahliaLithwick)
William Pruden, Head of the Upper School, Ravenscroft

Scorpions

Noah Feldman

Reporter's Notebook Citizen Scientists Get Involved in Deep Space Research 7 MIN, 2 SEC

Powerful telescopes on Earth and in orbit are producing thousands of images of stars and galaxies, so many there aren’t enough professional astronomers to interpret them all. You would think they’d turn to computers, but it turns out that the human eye is actually better at detecting minute differences between one photo and the next. At the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, "citizen scientists" are providing important research assistance, not just on faraway galaxies but on the Moon as well. Geza Gyuk is Director of Astronomy at the Adler.

Guests:
Geza Gyuk, Director of Astronomy, Adler Planetarium

Making News Obama's Economic Team and Unemployment 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Unemployment has dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent of the American workforce, and President Obama lost no time in seizing the moment, noting that for the first time since 2006, the US has experienced "twelve straight months of private sector job growth." The President also announced his new economic team, led by Gene Sperling, who will replace Summers as head of the National Economic Council.  Marc Ambinder is White House reporter for the National Journal.

Guests:
Marc Ambinder, The Week (@marcambinder)

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