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May 23rd, 2019
In this week's playlist you'll find:

1.
The Venn Weekly
A selection of top political podcasts we recommend for enhancing your understanding of the week's news 

2.
The Venn Deep Dive
Three great episodes from the podcast archives exploring our political topic of the week. This week we're focusing on Education Reform: College

3.
2020
The Democrat 2020 Presidential primary debates are in just over a month, and with 24 candidates now vying for the party's nomination, how does anyone stand out? This week we're turning to Elizabeth Warren, the 'policy candidate'
 
LISTEN TO THE FULL PLAYLIST HERE

How to access the podcasts:

Option 1: Click the yellow link above for the full easy-to-use playlist.  To learn how to download into your preferred podcast app follow the tutorial on our Instagram story
Option 2: Click on any of the pictures below to go to the individual episode on the podcast host's website
 


THE VENN WEEKLY

This week we're looking at Amazon and the debate around its facial recognition software, the future of Roe v Wade in light of Alabama's recent abortion bill, and the impact of Trump's trade dispute with China on blue collar workers.

"SMILE! YOU’RE ON AMAZON’S CAMERA”

This week Amazon shareholders voted down two proposals that would have demanded the company stop selling its facial recognition technology to government customers.  
The vote was held amidst growing concerns by civil rights campaigners and researchers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and a number of top universities around the use of facial recognition technology, which they argue is powered by flawed algorithms that are embedded with gender and racial biases. When such technology is adopted by the police, it has the potential to ramp up racial discrimination, create cases of mistaken identity, and encourage greater surveillance of marginalized groups, they suggest. However, law enforcement proponents counter that this technology allows them to catch criminals who might otherwise evade arrest. So, what next for facial recognition software?
In this episode, Slate examines the questions surrounding both the accuracy and legality of these tools and what Amazon might do next. 


00:25:24

WHAT NEXT FOR ROE V WADE?

Last week, the state of Alabama passed what has been called the ‘heartbeat bill’, which would effectively ban abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy when a heartbeat can be detected. It constitutes the strictest abortion legislation in America in half a century and renders performing one a felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The architects of the bill know that it will most likely be struck down in the lower courts, as with recent ‘heartbeat bills’ in states like Kentucky and Iowa, but in continuing to prompt these legal cases their hope is that eventually one will reach the Supreme Court, where the new conservative majority makes the overturning of Roe v Wade more likely.
In this episode, The Daily explores the legal vulnerability of Roe v Wade, putting into context the significance of this latest abortion bill and its potential impact.


00:23:19

WHAT THE TRADE WAR MEANS FOR THE BLUE COLLAR VOTE

The votes of blue-collar workers were key to President Trump’s election to the White House in 2016, as he promised to bring back factory jobs to America. But while the U.S. has added around 454,000 manufacturing jobs since Trump took office (some of the highest gains in twenty years), some economists predict that it will be these same blue-collar workers who are worst hit by Trump’s escalating trade war with China.
So how will this affect people’s views in a key bellwether state ahead of 2020?
In this episode, 1A Across America travels to Michigan to speak to working-class voters on what they make of Trump’s tariff dispute with China.


00:48:02

THE VENN DEEP DIVE

The Democrat primary debates are just over one month away and education is a key issue dividing the now 24-strong field of candidates. This week we're focusing on Education Reform: College.

 

A LIFEBOAT FOR STUDENTS DROWNING IN DEBT?

Should higher education be a basic public good? Yes, says Presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, whose increasingly expansive set of policy proposals now includes a promise to cancel student loan debt for an estimated 42 million Americans. Warren’s plan, which would write off $50,000 in student debt for everyone with an income beneath $100,000, and make higher education free, would help relieve the $1.5 trillion student debt burden that she says is “crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy.” The proposal would be paid for by a new annual wealth-tax targeting so-called ‘ultra millionaires’ with over $50 million in assets. 
But is her plan really feasible? 
In this episode, Today Explained turns to this central debate surrounding the Democrat primary: education reform.


00:22:07

IT’S A RACKET

Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana and President of Purdue University since 2012, recently described higher education as a ‘racket’. It’s a product people feel they need to have, so colleges can effectively charge as much as they want for it, without ever losing customers. At the same time, the U.S. government and private lenders have made loans readily available. 
It is unsurprising then that as college attendance has increased, the annual cost of tuition has shot up with it, doubling from $15,000 per year to nearly $32,000 between 2000 - 2016. A profitable ‘racket’ indeed. 
But with student debt now the highest it’s ever been, this begs the question: is there another way?
In this episode, Mitch Daniels explains the spate of reforms he implemented at Purdue University that allowed him to freeze tuition fees and introduce additional, more affordable courses. There may be lessons here for all universities and for the 2020 candidates looking to reform the U.S. education system.


00:48:02

“IF YOU WANT TO AMOUNT TO ANYTHING, YOU HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE…”

Or do you? While some degrees are incredibly valuable, others are “functionally worthless” and may just saddle you with a debt your education will do little in helping you to pay off. Pick one of the top 20 majors, all of which have engineering, mathematics or economics in the title, and you can expect to earn in excess of $3.5 million over the course of your career, amounting to a 15-20% rate of return on your tuition fee costs. But choose a major in a subject at the other end of the scale, something ending in ‘studies’ or ‘education,’ and the rate of return on your tuition costs drops to around 3%.
So, should everyone go to college? In this episode, the Words & Numbers team suggests: perhaps not.


00:29:11


This rounds up our second deep dive, but stay tuned as we will return to the topic of Education Reform in a future issue.
 

2020

Twenty candidates have now qualified to participate in next month's primary debates by either registering 1% or more in 3 qualifying polls, or receiving donations from 65,000 unique donors, including at least 200 donors in 20 different states. Elizabeth Warren passes on both counts so will be on stage next month. Get to know what she thinks below.

ELIZABETH WARREN: THE POLICY CANDIDATE

Elizabeth Warren has a plan. For virtually everything.
The senior senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard law professor has stood out in the increasingly overcrowded Democrat primary through setting out a broad swathe of complex policy proposals designed to address a litany of problems facing the country. From tackling unaffordable housing, providing universal child-care, and expanding Medicare, to writing off student debt and eliminating college tuition fees. She has carved out her niche on the campaign trail as the policy candidate, best known for her catalog of White Papers and off-the-cuff remark: “I have a plan for that!”.
But does the electorate value such substance over style? Do policy proposals even make a difference in a Presidential race?
In this podcast interview, Senator Warren explains why she thinks her approach is what America both needs and wants, and the team at The Argument debate what really matters to voters when choosing their candidate. 


00:49:35

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