How does the universe create itself out of nothing, then keep going for billions of remarkable, evolving millennia? Can you even have "nothing," or do you have to bring God into the equation? These are the kinds of questions that arise when you're trying to explain the origin of life in the universe. Questions that Howard Bloom — science prodigy, former PR man for Prince, friend of Buzz Aldrin — tackles in his new book, “The God Problem.”
This 1865 celebration of emancipation by artist Thomas Nast portrays an optimistic view of the future of blacks in the US. Strong families were considered important to reconstruction. But gathering around the hearth with family was in reality much more complicated. Slave holders had routinely broken up families, and the dislocated slaves often remarried. This legacy complicated family structure so much that the federal government had to step in to help sort out who was married to whom.
Before emancipation, slaves couldn’t legally marry other slaves. Of course, that didn’t stop them from getting married in their own way. But those informal marriages were seldom recognized by slave holders, who broke up families regularly as they bought and sold individuals. After being dislocated, many slaves settled down with new families, often getting married several times.
After the civil war, blacks gained the right to legally marry. But the patchwork of local and state laws regulating marriage made it nearly impossible to sort out the undocumented and often conflicting claims about which former slaves were married to whom. So on behalf of ex-slaves, the federal government stepped in, setting up bureaus to help sort out the mess.
After reconstruction, federal authorities handed control of marriage back to the states. But this episode from history helps frame the current debate on same-sex marriage. History’s lesson: Usually, the federal government will leave things to the states. But if the federal government decides things have become too messy or inequitable, it may step in.
After the Sandy Hook school shooting when 20 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old were killed in Newtown, Connecticut, some organizations, including the National Rifle Association, recommended armed guards.
Snohomish County is putting armed police officers in county schools, but the Snohomish County Sheriff says this decision is not influenced by the NRA. Ross Reynolds and Sheriff John Lovick discuss how six armed officers rotating through more than 100 schools spread out over 2,000 square miles will potentially work.
Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada. Film critic Robert Horton reviews what's happening on the silver screen. Then, Michael Parks wraps up the region's recent economic news.
NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)
There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.
But there's a big "if."
As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.
Seattle is nearing the end of a years-long process to rezone its South Lake Union neighborhood. One of the final points of discussion is whether to increase a fee paid by developers in order to build taller than the city’s height limits. The money pays for affordable housing in the city. Some Seattle City Council members support a fee increase, but opponents say it’s too late in the game to make changes and risk cooling off growth in one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. We talk it over with Councilmember Nick Licata and developer A-P Hurd.
In her poem "What Stays Here," Colleen McElroy imagines life as a female soldier who must choose between loyalty to herself, and loyalty to a military code that says "keep quiet" and "get along." Like many of the poems in McElroy's ninth collection, "Here I Throw Down My Heart," (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) the poem awakens us to voices and stories we might otherwise never hear with such intimacy and power.
Over 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Most of us can agree that’s high. But we don’t agree how to fix it, nor can we agree on who is responsible for the problem. Is it time for the government to step in and step up food regulation in the United States? Ross Reynolds and Dr. William Hallman discuss the challenges facing out food system when it comes to advertising, warning labels and regulation.
For almost 2 years the homeless camp known as Nickelsville has been located in West Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn has not approved the camp but has said that he has no plan to evict the camp either. Well, the unsanctioned camp that is normally relatively quiet is causing a bit of a stir this last week.
For weeks you couldn’t seem to escape the word sequester and day by day the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect are being felt. Most recently here in Washington state the closure of five airport control towers were announced, including the Tacoma Narrows Airport control tower. Ross Reynolds discussed the potential impacts of the closing of the Tacoma Narrows Airport tower with Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy.
With temperatures near 60 in the forecast, gardening season is in full swing. Did your plants survive last week's cold snap and snow? How do you keep your garden alive in the ever-changing weather? Our experts are here to answer your questions. Call us at 206.543.5869 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Seattle City Council has delayed a vote on a contract to send the city's food and yard waste to Kittitas County after residents in Cle Elum made it known they were less than thrilled about the plan. With the pushback against taking in Seattle’s compostable waste, what's a garbage planner to do? Seattle Public Utilities Solid Waste Director Tim Croll joins us.