Tue June 19, 2012

Confined To A Thai Fishing Boat, For Three Years

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:46 am

Vannak Prum of Cambodia was sold onto a Thai fishing boat where he was forced to work in miserable conditions for three years before escaping. Thailand's huge fishing industry is coming under increasing criticism for using trafficked workers who have been sold to unscrupulous ship captains.
Becky Palmstrom and Shannon Service for NPR

Thailand supplies a large portion of America's seafood. But Thailand's giant fishing fleet is chronically short of up to 60,000 fishermen per year, leaving captains scrambling to find crew. Human traffickers have stepped in, selling captives from Cambodia and Myanmar to the captains for a few hundred dollars each. Once at sea, the men often go months, or even years, without setting foot on land.

First of two parts

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Tue June 19, 2012

Pentagon Revamps Rules On Reporting Sex Crimes

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:48 am

Producer Amy Ziering and Director Kirby Dick accept an award at this year's Sundance Film Festival for their documentary The Invisible War, which looks at sex crimes in the military.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

The Pentagon has announced new steps to deter assaults and make it easier to prosecute offenders, a move that follows President Obama's recent remark that sexual assault "has no place" in the U.S. military.

Still, many victims believe it will be difficult to change a military culture that makes it tough for the victims to report these crimes.

For victims, the nightmare starts with the attack. Many say that things get worse when they try to do something about it.

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Tue June 19, 2012

Single Dads By Choice: More Men Going It Alone

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 12:22 pm

Brian Tessier, who adopted two children as a single father, with son Ben. Tessier has started a hotline for prospective single dads.
Erika Hart Courtesy of Brian Tessier

B.J. Holt always wanted to be a dad. As he approached 40, with no life partner in sight, he felt a version of the ticking biological clock.

"The 'having the children thing' started to overwhelm the desire to have the relationship first," Holt says. "They sort of switched on me."

So Holt decided to go it alone. A few years ago, he used an egg donor and a surrogate to create a family of his own.

First came Christina, now 4, a strawberry-blond bundle of energy who loves to stage ballet performances in the living room of their New York City apartment.

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Mon June 18, 2012

Today's Your Call: How was the largest stimulus in US history spent?

On today’s Your Call, we’ll speak with ProPublica reporter Michael Grabell about his new book Money Well Spent? The Truth Behind the Trillion-Dollar Stimulus, The Biggest Economic Recovery Plan in History. Grabell visited stimulus projects in 15 states. He reports that good intentions were often wrecked on the rocky shores of bad politics. Where did all the money go? Join us at 10am PST or leave a comment here. What questions do you have about the largest stimulus in US history? It’s Your Call with Rose Aguilar, and you.


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Mon June 18, 2012

Crosscurrents: June 18, 2012

Parents and educators occupy Lakeview Elementary; independent workers seek communal workspaces; as the need for court interpreters grows, who pays?; a jazz pianist is back in town; and local band Blue River.


Mon June 18, 2012

Parents and educators occupy Lakeview Elementary

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes

This past Saturday, over 100 people gathered outside Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland for a rally in support of a sit-in staged by parents, students, and community members. They’re protesting the district’s decision to close five neighborhood elementary schools.

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Mon June 18, 2012
Arts & Culture

Jazz pianist is back in town

Pianist George Cables has an intensely rhythmic style and always comes out swinging. He first became famous as a sideman in the 1970s, playing with such luminaries as Art Blakey and Dexter Gordon.

Some of Cables’ best work in those years came as a sideman with saxophonist Art Pepper. It seems that Cables’ was fond of Pepper. “Art Pepper was a bit eccentric,” says Cables. “He was a great alto player and very warm.”

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Mon June 18, 2012

As need for court interpreters grows, who pays?

Jude Joffe-Block

Like many of the people waiting to turn in paperwork at Clark County’s family court, truck driver Ruben Vargas is here because of a custody battle. Whenever his ex doesn’t let him see their 6-year-old boy, he takes her to court.

But since Vargas only speaks Spanish, he’s had to pay for his own interpreter every time.

“I didn’t expect that I would have to pay,” Vargas said. “I thought it would be free. I thought there were people in the court to help people. But there isn’t.”

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Mon June 18, 2012

Supreme Court Sides With Illinois In DNA Case

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 3:56 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court, headed into the homestretch of its term, once again weighed into the question of whether lab technicians must testify in criminal cases about test results. But in four separate opinions that spanned 92 pages, the justices were anything but clear.

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Mon June 18, 2012
The Two-Way

From Our Readers: The Buckeye Is Only The Beginning

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 3:40 am

Jim Flechtner's satirical letter to The Courier (Findlay, Ohio), pointed out irreconcilable differences between the Holy Bible and the "bisexual" Buckeye and called for grassroots campaign to remove the "shameful" state mascot.

Without reading too much into the author's original intent, the letter does connote a bit of Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal in 1729 and the rich history of subsequent modest proposals since.

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