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April 3, 2017
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Does Race Matter? Ferguson, Missouri Re-elects a White Mayor

The “Black Lives Matter” campaign began after a police officer killed a young unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri and the District Attorney did not charge the police officer. True or false? [True.]

Some observers believe that the culture of blacks may lead them to believe that having blacks in power will not make a difference because racism is an entrenched part of the system. What do readers believe?

The defeated black woman candidate in Ferguson was not happy with black voters. What did she say? [She said black voters must be willing to work to change the system.]

What might be some of reasons (other than racism) why the white Ferguson mayor was re-elected? [Some suggested that taxes and other civic issues made a difference. Others suggested that some blacks thought the city might be a less attractive place to live with a black mayor.]

Because President Obama is bi-racial and calls himself a black man, many thought his election would put an end to racism by making the U.S. “post-racial.” What did readers think would happen in the U.S. after the Obama became president?

How has the re-elected Ferguson mayor responded to his win? [He says big changes have taken place in Ferguson, that blacks have made a big difference in how the city is changing and that changes are for the better.]

Monday, April 10, 2017 Syria: The Feel Good Moment — What Happens Next?

What made President Trump change his mind about intervening in Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s assaults against the Syrian people? [Trump looked at pictures of Syrian children injured and murdered by chemical weapons unleashed by Assad.]

Officials said the U.S. missiles made the point they wanted them to make. What was that point? [The point is that use chemical weapons may bring retaliation.]

Both Russia and Iran have big investments, including military forces, in Syria. True or false? [True.]

Did the U.S. missile attack strike fear in North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un? What do readers think?

When Syria used chemical weapons in 2013, President Obama made a deal with the Russians. What was the nature of the deal with Russia? [Russia guaranteed that the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile would be removed.] 

Which country should Americans be more worried about … Syria or North Korea? What do readers think?

Thursday, April 6, 2017 Syria Murders its Citizens, World Outrage, Diplomacy. Will Anything Happen?

What are some of the ways the use of force ends? [Some conflicts have ended with treaties, some with standoffs, some with withdrawals and some with agreements among nations.]

What are some differences about the Syrian use of force? [It is a civil war, using poisoned gas against its own people. The brutality of the Syrian President ranks with the worst tyrants. There is no clear solution to the conflict.]

President Obama said he would act if Syria used chemical weapons. Syria did indeed use chemical weapons. Did President Obama act? [No, he did not.]

The Russians oversaw the removal of “most’ of the chemicals weapons in Syria. They then became the biggest supporters of Syrian President Assad. True or false? [True.]

At the U.N., recently, Trump’s ambassador says the U.S may now act on its own. How will the U.S. act? What do readers think Trump will do?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 The H-1B Visa: Good idea or Scam?

The H-1B visa program started in 1990. What was it intended to do? [It was intended to address the shortage of skilled workers in the U.S. by helping companies and other workplaces hire foreign skilled workers.]

The government limits the number of H-1B visas granted. What is the current annual number of grants? [The annual number is about 80,000.]

Candidate Trump has said he will have the government increase their scrutiny of the companies who use the program and their applications. True or false? [True.]

The H-1B winners are picked by lottery. What does simple math suggest is the way for companies to win the most H-1B workers? [The more applications submitted by an employer, the more likely the employer is to win H-1B workers.]

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 The Politics of ‘Comfort Women’

During World War II Japan forced Korean women to become ‘comfort women.’ What were these comfort women forced to do? [They were forced have sex with Japanese soldiers.]

After years of denial, Japan confessed that it forced Korean women to become comfort women. What did Japan do to improve the strained relations between the two countries? [Japan agreed to pay millions of dollars into a fund for the surviving Korean comfort women.]

South Korea, Japan and the United States now are working closely together. What “show of strength” against North Korea are they conducting? [They are conducting a three-day naval exercise.]

North Korea has posted an ad to sell lithium. Lithium is used to make hydrogen bombs. Why sell it? [Selling lithium shows that North Korea has nuclear strength.]

Monday, April 3, 2017 Democracy or Populism as Venezuela Continues to Slide

 In what ways is Venezuela a failing country? [Its people have little food to eat. There are few jobs. The economy is sinking as oil prices fall. People want to get out.]

Venezuela’s economy, although enriched by oil revenue, began to fail during the presidency of Hugo Chavez. What happened? [The country became a welfare state, class warfare was promoted, Chavez gained more power, and petty corruption grew. Most important, oil prices fell.]

When opponents of President Maduro took over the Congress, he succeeded in stripping Congress of its power. After protests, the court changed its ruling.True or false? [True.]

How are populism and populists described in the article? [Populism is a “win or lose” battle. Populists say they represent the will of the people. Populists regard those who are against them as the enemy.]

Is democracy dead or alive in Venezuela? Is the country a lesson for the world? Are populism and democracy natural enemies? What do readers think?

Friday, March 31, 2017 Racism in India

There was a recent rumor in India that African students had sold drugs to a young Indian student who later died from an overdose. What happened during a candlelight vigil for the dead student? [Troublemakers convinced the mourners to charge into a mall and attack Nigerian students.]

What recent Indian actions make experts worry that lawlessness is part of Indian life? [Mobs have attacked members of minority groups. Attacks are often based on unfounded or untrue rumors.]

The police chief of Greater Noida said no African students were involved in the death of the young Indian student. He said the student may not have died from a drug overdose. True or false? [True.]

Some people worry about the ease with which mobs are formed and how quickly mobs can become violent. Do readers share these concerns?

Thursday, March 30, 2017 How to Get Ahead in a Community College

Remedial courses are intended to help students who do not meet the standard of readiness for college-level work. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the “problems” associated with remedial courses? [Remedial courses cost money and take time. The dropout rates are high.]

To reduce the dropout rate, CUNY focused on students who had not passed, but almost passed, the readiness test for credit courses. What did CUNY do next and what was the outcome? [They let students who almost passed retake the test. About half passed on the second try.]

CUNY students taking remedial courses still must take the test at the end of the course. The test result is now only 35 percent of the final grade. What else do the students have to do? [They must pass the course.]

What is a “co-requisite” course? A co-requisite course is the pairing of a remedial course with a credit course. The remedial course in intended to help students pass the credit course. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 One Expensive President

The Secret Service has asked for a $60 million increase in the next Secret Service budget. About how much of the increase is related to the “White House level” security needed to protect Trump Tower in New York City and the Trump home in Mar-a-Largo in Palm Beach, Florida? [About $27 million is related to Secret Security protection.]

In his first nine weeks in office, how many times has President Trump gone to his home in Mar-a-Largo, Florida and at what cost to taxpayers? [He has gone four times, costing taxpayers about $3 million each time.]

President Trump has been critical of the number of days that President Obama spent playing golf. How many rounds of golf has Trump played since he became president? [He played twelve rounds of golf in his first nine weeks.]

 The term ‘plutocrat’ describes someone whose power comes from wealth. Many critics say Trump, his cabinet (most of whom are rich white men with little, if any, political experience) and his lifestyle meet that definition. What do readers think?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 The Biggest Difference Between Russia and America: Freedom

The right to petition our government is written in the U.S. Constitution. How are demonstrations in a public square described in Russia? [They are called “unsanctioned stationary gatherings.” They are not allowed in Russia.]

Recently thousands of Russian protesters staged a “walk” to protest corruption by public figures. Who were they afraid to publically name? [It is dangerous to name President Vladimir Putin as corrupt.]

The recent Russian “walk” took place in 99 cities across the country and resulted in more than one-thousand arrests. True or false? [True.]

How did the Russian protesters hope to escape punishment for “unsanctioned stationary gatherings?” [They called their protest a “walk” in order to escape the terms “stationary.”]

What about the protest surprised many experts in and out of Russia? [The surprise was the large number and youthful age of the protesters.]

Some protesters in 2011 were sent to jail for three years. If jail sentences are handed out this time, it means things have not changed in Russia. If they are not, it is a good sign. What do readers think will happen now?

Monday, March 27, 2017 The American Health Care “System”

Obamacare is intended to extend health care coverage to people who do not have insurance. True or false? [True.]

Medicare is a single-payer program covering the old and disabled. Medicaid is an “income-tested” program covering the poor. How can you “lose” Medicaid coverage? [You will lose coverage if you make or have too much money.

 What is meant by “universal” health care coverage? [Universal health care coverage would mean everyone is covered.]

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a subsidy program for families. What is the federal government’s role in ACA? [The government helps eligible families who do not have insurance pay for their insurance.]

To pay for ACA, the young and healthy had to buy health insurance. The ACA requires them to do so or else they have to pay a fine. Do readers think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

What reason is given by Republicans wanting to repeal “Obamacare” and make health care insurance more private and less public? [They believe competition in the private sector “market” will lower health care costs.]

Candidate Trump swore he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare as soon as he became president. Congress recently had a bill before them to do just that. Then what happened? [The bill died before a vote was taken.]

Thursday, March 23, 2017 China Out to Rule the World – With Influence and Money

Some experts believe America is turning its back on Asia. What is one reason why they believe that? [President Trump tore up a plan to expand trade agreements with Asian nations.]

China is investing in American companies that are designing products for military use. What are some examples of such products? [Such products include designs for spacecraft rocket engines, and sensors for ships.

China is becoming the big power in the Pacific. China is not a democracy. Australia is. Many Australians worry about that. Can China and Australia be close allies when they differ so much?What do readers think?

About how many billions of dollars were invested by China in U.S. start-ups in 2015? [China invested about ten billion dollars in U.S. start-ups in 2015.]

Tech start-ups are always looking for money. Chinese companies are investing in U.S. firms.

The Pentagon is worrying. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 China Going to Market – The U.S.A.

In the past, what were some of the reasons that U.S. companies set up factories in China? [China has skilled workers and paid low wages to those skilled workers.]

It is expected that many of the workers in the factories to be built by China in the U.S. will be robots. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the reasons why a company in China might consider moving, or building, a factory in the U.S? [Taxes and wages are rising in China. Chinese companies are interested in automation. Shipping goods from China to the U.S. is expensive and takes a long time.]

 Skilled workers are needed to run factories. Experts say 3.5 million factory jobs are coming in the next ten years. What is the projected “shortfall” of skilled workers for these jobs? [Experts says the shortfall will be about two million skilled workers.]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Trump Foreign Policy Takes Shape – A Rough Start

What is the name of the new U.S. Secretary of State and what countries did he recently visit? [His name is Rex Tillerson and he recently visited South Korea and China.]

Tillerson said “All options are on the table.” What do some experts think that means? [Some think it means the U.S. might strike North Korea if it felt North Korea was going to launch a strike against the U.S.]

China does not want the U.S. to attack North Korea. Why not? [If the North Korean regime fell, millions of North Koreans would flee to China.]

Do readers think North Korea will launch missiles carrying nuclear weapons against the U.S.? If no, why not? If yes, why yes?

When Tillerson agreed with China that the U.S. will be “cool headed” toward North Korea, it suggests that the U.S. would not threaten a first strike. True or false? [True.]

Monday, March 20, 2017 Voters Reject the “Dutch Trump”

Recently, far-right candidates have emerged in elections in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain and the United States. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the views held by the Dutch candidate Geert Wilders? [He indicated that he loathed Muslims and immigrants. He wanted the Netherlands to leave the European Union. He was “Netherlands First.”]

The party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte did well in the recent Dutch election. What may have helped him with moderate voters? [He moved his party toward the political center.]

 People in both Great Britain and the U.S. have some common concerns. What are some of those concerns? [People in both countries worry about immigration and about stagnant job growth.]

Thursday, March 16, 2017 America’s School Wars (1)

What were some the changes after World War II that changed America’s education system? [Public schools became crowded. Teachers formed trade unions, fighting for higher pay and better working conditions. The cost of schools went up.]

President George W. Bush proposed the “No Child Left Behind” bill. What was the most significant aspect of the bill? [It used testing results as a measure how well a school was teaching its pupils.]

You are a school district in which your pupils did not do well in testing. What can you expect from the “No Child Left Behind” law?  [You will receive goals to improve student outcomes and you may receive other incentives to improve your school.]

The emphasis on tests led some schools to begin ‘teaching to the test.’ What do readers think that means?

Private schools and charter schools are both ways to improve education. Both use taxpayer money. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Republican Health Care Plan Saves Money

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) provides lower-income people with a subsidy to help pay for their health insurance. What does the Republican American Health Plan offer? [It offers everyone a tax credit.]

 Medicaid is health insurance for people who have low incomes. What does the Republican plan do with regard to Medicaid? [The plan reduces federal spending on Medicaid.]

The savings cited in the Republican report are based on the reduction of federal spending on Medicaid. True or false? [True.]

No one will lose their health insurance if they can pay for it. Money will still buy health care. So what is the problem? [People who have lower incomes will spend more of their income on insurance. Richer people will spend less.]

The Republican plan says that over time the plan would save money. This is big news. What is the bad news? [The report says that 24 million Americans will not have health insurance when the plan is fully implemented.]

The Republican plan turns Medicaid over to the states. The states would receive federal support in the form of a block grant. The grant would be for a fixed, amount. Do readers think this is a good idea?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Turkey Headed to Authoritarian Government

The upcoming referendum in Turkey, if passed, would give the Turkish president much more power than he has now. True or false? [True.]

After the recent failed military coup, President Erdogan has taken some strong steps. What are some of those steps? [He is shutting down the free press, arresting teachers, closing schools and jailing political opponents.]

Why would Erdogan send his ministers to France, Germany and the Netherlands? [Thousands of Turks live outside of Turkey but can vote in Turkey’s elections.]

Who supports Assad? Who opposes Assad? [Russia supports Assad. The U.S., Iraq, the Kurds, and Turkey oppose Assad.]

If the referendum in Turkey passes, Erdogan will assert more control over the country. Who will find this outcome particularly alarming? [It will be alarming to people who think of Turkey as a Western democracy with a large role to play in the Middle East and Europe.]

Monday, March 13, 2017 Impact of the Great Scandal in South Korea

Park Geun-hye was the first woman president of South Korea. Now she is the first president forced out of power. True or false? [True.]

Why were most South Korean crowds against Park? [South Koreans are tired of corrupt South Korean business and government systems.]

What dangerous activity is currently being conducted on the Korean peninsula? [North Korea is testing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.]

 What was an important part of Ms. Park strong stance against North Korea? [She agreed to allow the U.S. to add more firepower to South Korea’s defense system.]

The South Korean liberal candidate, Moon Jae-in, is likely to become the next president. In what important ways does he differ from Ms. Park? [He favors a softer approach to North Korea. He wants to “embrace and be united with” North Korea.]

It is hard to know how Moon’s leadership will affect America. Moon wants to work with North Korea. He may want to delay the new U.S. missiles added to the defense system. What do readers think will happen to South Korean/American relations?

Friday, March 10, 2017 Republican Health Care for Lower-Income People

Every state is in the current Medicaid program. Who pays for the program? [Federal and state governments pay for the program.]

In what way did the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) expand the Medicaid program?  [It made more people eligible for the program.]

About how many people are covered by the Medicaid health insurance program in the U.S.? [The program covers about seventy-million Americans.]

When the U.S. Supreme Court said the states were not required to participate in the expanded Medicaid program, some Southern and Western states chose not to participate. True or false? [True.]

Some Republicans have a new idea about Medicaid. What is that “new idea”? [They want block grants limiting the total amount of money going to the states.]

Some Republicans believe block grants will give the states more control over how they spend money on health care. What would the states be able to decide? [States could decide who gets care and how much care each person gets.]

Thursday, March 9, 2017 Republicans Roll Out Obamacare Repeal

Some people think it is right for people to pay for most of their own health expenses. What do they think this will accomplish? [They believe that, if people are paying for their own their health insurance with their own money, they will have more control over their health decisions.]

Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), how were lower-income people helped with medical expenses?  [Those with lower incomes were provided with a subsidy in the form of a tax credit.]

What is the value of a tax credit? [A tax credit reduces the amount of taxes paid by the amount of the credit.]

In the ACA, the amount of the subsidy was based on income. In the Republican plan, what is the amount of the subsidy based upon? [It is based on age.]

The Republican plan provides “fixed” tax credit based on age. Those with lower incomes and those with higher incomes would get the same “fixed” tax credit amount. True or false? [True.]

Who is most likely to benefit from a fixed flat tax credit based on age? [More likely to benefit are those with higher incomes (who tend to be older)]

What are some elements of the ACA program that have been kept in the Republican plan? [Insurance companies are required to cover pre-existing conditions and to cover young adults living with their parents.]

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Presidential Chaos – In France!

In the current presidential campaign in France, the conservative Republican Party candidate has a big problem. What is it? [He is accused of embezzling public funds by puting his wife and children on the public payroll.]

 The candidate on the French political right has been compared to what American political figure? [She has been called the “Donald Trump candidate.”]

If candidate Le Pen wins the upcoming election, the French people may be given the opportunity to vote France out of the European Union. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 Troubles’ in Northern Ireland 

The two primary parties in Northern Ireland are the Catholic Sinn Fein and the Protestant Union. True or false? [True.]

What issue has resulted in the need to form a new Northern Ireland government? [In an election after the resignation of the top Sinn Fein member, there is no clear majority party.]

What happens if the two Northern Ireland parties do not form a new government within the next three weeks? [Without a new election, there will be a return to a period of “direct rule” from Britain.]

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement ended many years of the ‘Troubles.’ What was the Troubles? [The Troubles were an era when Protestants and Catholics warred with each other. There was a great deal of violence.]

During the Troubles, who wanted Northern Ireland to become part of Ireland and who wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of Great Britain? [The Catholics wanted Northern Ireland to become part of Ireland. The Protestants wanted to remain a part of Great Britain.]

Most Northern Ireland political leaders are calling for the country to stay calm while they form a new government. No one wants a return to violence. What do readers think will happen next?

Monday, March 6, 2017 Undocumented: Confusion and Fear

About how many deportation orders have already been issued for adults living in America? [Almost one million adults have deportation orders already issued against them.]

China, India, Brazil and Haiti have said they will not take back their people who have been deported by America. True or false? [True.]

When countries said, they would not take back their people who have been deported by America, what did President Trump say? [He said he would just dump them on the Mexican side of the border.]

 The “Dreamers” seem to be Trump’s only soft spot. Who are the Dreamers? [They are good kids in school and or working who were brought by their undocumented  parents to the U.S. as youngsters.]

The deportation system is built on American law. What are some of the problems in the system of hearings in court? [There are language problems. People change their names and where they live. There are not enough lawyers and judges to move cases efficiently along.]

Detainees have a right to appeal their deportation case if it is lost in court. What about the appeal process can be troublesome in some cases? [The appeal process takes time.]

Friday, March 3, 2017 Waging Peace in Colombia is Not Easy

The fifty-year war in Colombia was declared to be over. What are some of the peace goals? [Goals include creating development, ending violence and curbing the production of drugs.]

Twenty zones in Columbia, containing about 7,000 guerillas, were selected to become communities. What are some of the goals for the communities? [Housing was to go up. Classrooms were to be opened. Rebels were to turn in their arms.]

 What kinds of crimes had FARC (the Rebel group) engaged in before the “end” of the war? [Crimes included the coca trade, illegal mining and extortion.]

Even though splinter groups were not part of the peace plan, they are emerging. Why is their emergence of concern? [They are recruiting former rebels, some of whom did not turn in their guns. There is concern that the war could start up again.]

Thursday, March 2, 2017 Who is Targeting American Jews?

Being anti-Semitic means being anti-Jewish. What does being a “white supremacist” mean? [It means being against anyone who is not white, including blacks, Jews and immigrants.]

Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) are the target of a growing number of bomb threats. About how many threats have been made thus far this year? [More than 100 threats have been made since the year began.]

In addition to bomb threats, what other actions have worried Jews and others? [Vandals attacked Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia, overturning headstones.]

About how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust in Germany? [About six million Jews were killed in German concentration camps.

President Trump has said the threats and acts of vandalism were “reprehensible.” Then he said, “It could be the reverse. This could be the reverse, trying to make people looks bad.” What do readers think he meant by this statement?

The F.B.I. is considering the threats and vandalism. Many investigations of the threats are underway. Officials are confident they will find the people making the threats. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 How to Keep Wages Low – American Style

What are “contingent workers”? [Contingent workers are workers who have moved out of the employ of companies and into the employ of temporary-job agencies and contractors.]

Contractor agencies can be big outfits, but their profits are low. How do they make money? [They pay low wages to their workers.]

Why are the wages for full-time workers going up? [In order to be competitive, companies have to pay for the best workers.]

 Hundreds of thousands of workers do not work for the company where they do their jobs. Who do they work for? [They work for contractors that have been hired by the company.]

 What equipment has improved companies’ ability to farm out “noncore” tasks? [Computers make it easier to monitor the quality of noncore work done by noncore workers.]

Temporary-job agencies and contractors compete with one another by having workers at the lowest cost. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 A Police State in the Making?

About how many people in the U.S. are not legal residents? [About eleven million people in the U.S. are not legal residents.]

Among people in the U.S. who are not legal residents, about how many crossed borders without papers and about how many came on visas and stayed after their visas expired? [About half of each group.]

What were the positions of President Obama and many Democrats about illegal people in the U.S.? [They said accept the fact that they were here, find ways to give them legal status, and find and remove the criminals.]

At President Trump’s directive, now every undocumented person in the U.S. can be deported at any time. True or false? [True.]

What is the name of the federal agency charged with deporting undocumented Immigrants? [The agency is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).]

The article says the morale of most ICE workers is high and that they are happy with their new freedom to deport. In contrast, immigration advocates fear a “police state” is taking place. What do readers think?

Monday, February 27, 2017 North Korea – Number One Global Threat

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is the most recent leader from a family that has run North Korea since 1948. True or false? [True.]

At the direction of Jong-un, two women attacked and killed his half-brother. How did they kill him and what does it show about Jong? [The women used a fatal nerve chemical, showing that Jong will kill his enemies, has chemical weapons and will use them.]

How is Jong a threat to the United States? [He soon may have missiles that can reach the U.S with nuclear warheads.]

China supported the U.N. resolutions condemning North Korea, but has done little else. What one step has China taken regarding North Korea? [China said it would stop buying North Korean coal for the rest of the year.]

 Why would China “live in fear” of the downfall of the North Korean regime? [China fears that, of the regime failed, millions of North Koreans would stream into China.]

 Do readers think North Korea’s leader is a mad man?

Friday, February 24, 2017 Trump Introduces Fear into America

What two documents are held by large numbers of Americans? [Many, if not most, Americans hold driver’s licenses and/or passports.]

Which two American presidents tried to find a way to give legal status to the undocumented in the U.S.? {President George Bush and President Barack Obama made such efforts.]

President Trump wants more people deported and he wants more people hired to track them down. True or false? [True.]

Trump says even undocumented people charged with minor crimes should be deported. Who do readers think should be pursued after getting rid of criminals?

The article suggests Trump want to tell Mexico he is sending the chaos back to them in order to push Mexico on some other issues on his agenda. What two issues are mentioned? [Trade and the border wall are mentioned.]

 Some of the undocumented have the hardest jobs. Employers of those people do not want to lose their valued workers. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the protest actions that are likely to occur in the face of the Trump’s deportation goals? [Lawyers and advocates will use the courts. Groups will amass in street protests. There will be protests against legislators for protest. Sanctuary cites, such as New York and Los Angeles, will not cooperate.]

Thursday, February 23, 2017 New Workers Reviving Old Cities, and Yes, They are Refugees

What did refugees “see” when they looked at Buffalo? [They saw that housing was cheap, that shops could be opened, and that schools and colleges were available. They saw a land of opportunity.]

The mayor of Buffalo said his city is growing and getting stronger because of the immigrant and refugee communities within the city. True or false? [True.]

President Trump has said refugees could be “very bad and dangerous people.” Do readers think he will become a refugee-friendly president or stay an anti-refugee president?

Buffalo is a refugee and immigrant city that has always welcomed newcomers. Who were the immigrants who traveled to the west in the 19th and 20th centuries? [They were waves of Italian, Irish and Eastern European immigrants.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Texas Oil Fields Booming, Jobs Not So Much

The article says that oil production is coming back. What primary reason is mentioned for this recovery? [One reason is that the cost of producing oil is going down.]

In the past, oil had to sell for at least $60 a barrel to generate a profit for oil producers. Today, how much does a barrel of oil have to sell for in order to generate a profit? [Oil has to sell for 35$ a barrel to generate a profit.]

The oil production industry is moving to artificial intelligence and algorithms, requiring workers who have more technical skills such as software developers. True or false? [True.]

Why would individuals with good eye-hand coordination have an advantage in seeking work in the current production of oil? [Some of the new technology works like video games. Skill in using a joystick would be an asset.]

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Republican Replacement for Obamacare Taking Shape

Medicaid is the health program for lower-income families. What role does the federal government play in the Medicaid program? [Federal guidelines tell the states who is eligible for care and how much is to be given. The federal government reimburses the states for most of the money they spend on health care.]

By what other name is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known? [It is also called Obamacare.]

The Republican plan would give each state a fixed amount of federal money in the form of ‘block grants.’  What role would the states have? [The states would decide how to spend the money, set guidelines for who gets the care and they could add their own money to make their programs better or to replace federal funds when they run out.]

Republicans say health insurance will be “accessible” to everyone in the block grant program. They do not say it will be “affordable” to all. What do readers think?

The ACA was for uninsured people who did not have enough money to buy health insurance. The federal government helped by giving them tax credits for their health insurance payments. True or false? [True.]

Monday, February 20, 2017 Plain Talk on Mexico and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to see President Trump, he was threatened with tariffs and taxes on Canada. True or false? [False. He was not threated with tariffs and taxes.]

What NAFTA member has been threatened by Trump with tariffs and taxes? [Mexico has been so threatened.]

Who are the three NAFTA members? [The three NAFTA members are Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.]

Why do some U.S. companies build factories in Mexico? [Mexican workers are paid less than American workers. Some critics say Mexico does not follow strict labor and environmental rules.]

American buyers will have to pay more for Mexican goods if tariffs are imposed on Mexico. Do readers think that is a good idea?

What are some of the problems currently faced by Mexico? [There is some corruption in its politics, economy and legal system. It is hard to start new businesses.]

Friday, February 17, 2017 Israelis and Palestinians are at a Crossroads

For nearly thirty years, the U.S. was for “two-state solution” for the Middle East. Who was supposed to get the two states? [One state would be for Palestinians. The other state would be for Israelis.]

The agreement reached in Oslo, Norway in 1993 was to search for a two-state solution for the Middle East. True or false? [True.]

Palestinians blame the Israelis for the delay in resolving the disputed territories in the Middle East. What do they say is the problem? [They blame the Israelis for the expansion of new settlements on West Bank land seized in the six-day war.]

Israelis blame the Palestinians for the delay in resolving the disputed territories in the Middle East. What do they say is the problem? [They blame Palestine for not recognizing the Jewish state and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) for roadblocks set up whenever an agreement is near.]

Thursday, February 16, 2017 North Korea and Russia Testing Trump

Russia is deploying a new cruise missile weapon that could threaten Europe. What recent actions by Russia make this development particularly alarming? [The new cruise missile weapons violates a 1987 treaty, Russia recently annexed the Crimea and it has been interfering in the Ukraine.]

North Korea is trying to build a missile with a nuclear warhead that can reach the United States. What do readers think the U.S. should do to protect itself?

 NATO is a European-American mutual defense treaty. An attack on any NATO member is an attack on all. True or false? [True.]

What does Trump say about Russian President Vladimir Putin? [Trump says he admires the Russian president.]

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 It is Immigration That Can Make ‘America Great Again’

About how many foreigners are in the U.S. labor force and about how much money did they add to the U.S. economy last year? [There are about 26 million foreigners in the U.S. labor force. They added about $2 trillion to the U.S. economy last year.]

How might the economies of poor countries improve if their people migrated to rich countries? [Some experts think that the wages of workers in poor countries would begin to rise in response if the best workers went to other countries.]

What kind of help might be provided to U.S. workers who compete with the migrant workers? [New tax credit policies and better training programs have been suggested to help U.S. workers.]

How might a five-year guest worker program with no path to citizenship be helpful? [The workers in such a program could be tracked to make sure they return home.]

How might a five-year guest worker program with no path to citizenship be helpful to the native countries from which the workers migrated? [The workers would be going home with the skills and experience gained in the U.S., benefitting the countries that sent them.]

Migration means leaving your home country. Are any readers thinking about migrating to or leaving the U.S.?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Trump Hurting His Farm Supporters

The easy back-and-forth flow of workers across the border to pick crops has been one of the reasons that American agriculture has failed. True or false? [False. The flow has been one of the reasons why American agriculture is so strong.]

If undocumented workers are deported or kept from entering the country, the farmers will lose millions. Who else will lose? [American consumers also will lose. They will have to pay more for fruit and vegetables.]

Another idea to solve the agriculture worker problem is to make legal those workers who are already here and who have not committed any crimes. Trump is rejecting this idea. What do readers think of this idea?

What are some of the other challenges faced by farmers and farm workers? [The traditional workforce is aging. The children of farm workers want to go to school not work in the fields.]

Monday, February 13, 2017 Trump Bows to China

When Donald Trump said he would not be bound by the One China Policy, what might have been his thinking? [He might simply have wanted China to see how tough he is.]

How did China react to Trump’s position about the One China Policy? [China shunned Trump after he became president.]

What step did Trump take in his retreat on the One China Policy? [He had his National Security Advisor hand-deliver a letter to the Chinese Ambassador expressing good wishes for the Chinese New Year.]

 What big step did Trump take in his retreat on the One China Policy? [He talked on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He agreed to honor the One China Policy.]

 What are some of the harsh things about China that Trump has previously said? [He said they devalued their currency, tax the U.S. for services and products, are building their forces in the South China Sea and are not helping resolve conflicts with North Korea.]

What American has been working to resolve the One China Policy problem? [Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State has, by emphasizing that relations with China are very important.]

Friday, February 10, 2017 Iranians Fear U.S. Moving Closer to War

What did Iran and the U.S. agree to with regard to the possible development of an Iranian nuclear weapons? [The U.S. said it would reduce its sanctions if Iran stopped moving to a nuclear weapon].

How does Donald Trump regard the U.S./Iran agreement on nuclear weapons? [He thinks it was a bad deal for the U.S. He said he would rip up the deal, but has not done so yet.]

The Trump travel ban includes people from Iran. What signs do the Iranian people see that give them hope for engagement with the U.S.? [Many Iranians have seen that many Americans are against the ban.]

What are some examples of why the outlook of the Iranian Government is not considered Western? [It supports some terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas in the Middle East.]

Some Iranians hope that Russia will be able to convince Trump not to conduct a war with Iran. What do readers think will happen?

Thursday, February 9, 2017 China’s Railroad Investments Changing Africa

A new rail line being built by China is the first electric railway between two countries in Africa. True or false? [True.]

Chinese-built subway cars will soon appear in two American cities. What are those cities? [The subway cars will be used in Chicago and Boston.]

Mr. Obama supported a big project to give electricity to 20 million Africans. What is the current status of that project? [Most agree the project is far behind meeting its goals.]

The article mentions two reasons why many think that Africa is the next place for global investment. What are those two reasons? [There is pent-up demand and there is low-cost labor in Africa.]

Currently, the U.S. is not seeing Africa’s huge potential and African leaders do not see Donald Trump investing in Africa. Do readers think Donald Trump will change that?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 The Damage That Trump Can Do to the American Economy 

Donald Trump won the presidency by making promises. For example, he said factories would come back to towns where they had closed. Are readers following any of the promises he made? If so, how well do they think he is doing?

 Why doesn’t protectionism work in the long run? [It raises prices because it removes competition among providers of goods and services.]

Companies all over the world are using technology to make decisions about how to make a profit. Trump believes that keeping jobs in America is most important above all other goals. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, February 7 2017 Updating the News: Gambia, Myanmar, Colombia

Gambia and Gay People

When the president of Gambia lost an election, what did he do? [He refused to step down until leaders from other African countries convinced him to leave. He left with millions of dollars of stolen goods.]

Former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh made Gambia the most hostile place in Africa for LGBH people. In what ways did he threaten gay people? [He threatened to slit their throats and cut off their heads.]

Colombia and the Rebels

The fifty-year war in Columbia has ended. The government and the rebels are trying to find ways to live together. One strategy is to create housing opportunities for former rebels. What do readers think about this strategy?

The Columbia rebel group now says it will become a political party. What will the party have to overcome? [Some people will have bitter memories. Suspicion is still common. Forgiveness will not come easy.]

 Myanmar and the Rohingyas

A United Nations report condemned the government of Myanmar for attacking the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority within the country. The report called the attacks “war crimes.” True or false? [True.]

Monday, February 6, 2017 Trump’s First Commander in Chief Action Fails

Yemen is said to be the best place to gather intelligence on which terrorist organization? [Yemen is the best place to gather information on Al Qaeda.]

 Who was the president when the Yemen raid was planned? [President Obama was in office when the planning began.]

The raid was to break up an Al Qaeda’s center in Yemen. Why was the plan delayed? [Conditions for implementing the plan were not right until after Trump took office.]

 During the raid, the Al Qaeda fighters used some unusual shields. What and who were some of those shields? [The Al Qaeda fighters used schools, children, a mosque and women as shields.]

At this time, there is no factual evidence that the raid was worth it or that it advanced the interests of America. Yet, President Trump said the operation was a success. True or false? [True.]

Thursday, February 2, 2017 The Awful Plight of the Rohingya People

The U.N. says the Rohingya living in Myanmar are the world’s most persecuted minority group. True or false? [True.]

Bangladesh wants to move the Rohingya refugees to a remote island. What are some of the problems associated with the island? [The island has year-round high tides and it is submerged during the monsoon season.]

 Bangladesh may have a land use reason for wanting to move the Rohingya refugees away from Myanmar. What is that reason? [The biggest refugee camp is in Thengar Char, perhaps the longest beach in the world. The refugees are in the way of development of the beach.]

Experts say money and support from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are helping the Rohingya resistance and that the Rohingya may become a global Muslim cause. What do readers think?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Will Big Business Save America?

The article mentions several large companies that are speaking out against the president’s ban. What are some of those companies? [The companies include ExxonMobil, Ford Motor, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.]

The heads of Ford, Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs all used the same words to explain their opposition to the ban. Those words stressed the importance of diversity in their workforces. True or false? [True.]

Many Americans think the ban means that America is turning its back on its history and its of tradition of welcoming immigrants. What do readers think?

Why should big business care about the ban? [We live in a global economy where the biggest companies have plants, offices and workforces (including Muslims) all over the world.]

The struggle to Make America Decent Again is just beginning. Is it? What do readers think?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 Russian Style Politics at the White House

Donald Trump hired Stephen Bannon during the presidential campaign. How is he described in the article? [He has far right-wing views, he is a nationalist and he is anti-immigrant.]

What two components of the NSC are mentioned in the article? [The Pentagon and The State Department are mentioned.]

What are two of the most important tasks of the Pentagon and the State Department? [They make decisions regarding U.S. foreign policy and the use of the U.S. armed forces.]

Can readers name two examples of President Trump’s battle with the press? [The president has argued about size of the crowds attending the inauguration and he has charged that “millions of illegal immigrants” voted in the election.]

Retired General Michael Flynn was selected to head the NSC. Stephen Bannon has become a full member of the NSC. Now what is happening in the NSC? [A group is trying to take over the NSC. General Flynn is losing influence. Bannon now appears to be running the NSC. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will have less influence in NSC meetings.]

The voices of protest about Trump’s order restricting immigration orders have come from all over the U.S. and the world. True or false? [True.]

Monday, January 30, 2017 Saving America

President Trump as issued an Executive Order stopping people from certain countries from coming here. What are those countries? [They are Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (LIISSSY).]

What do the banned countries have in common? [Their populations include Muslim majorities.]

Most of the banned nations are engaged in war-like conditions and people fleeing from them are trying to come to the U.S. as refugees. True or false? [True.]

Both the Homeland Security and the State Department agencies said they were not consulted before the Executive Order went out. What did the White House say? [It said they were consulted.]

The immediate result of the ban has been massive protests in airports all over the country. What do readers think about these massive protects?

The terrorists who attacked on 9/11 came from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Neither nation is part of the ban. True or false. [True.]

President Trump’s grandfather came to the U.S. in 1885 in order to avoid the draft in Germany. What do readers think about that?

Friday, January 27, 2017 Immigration: Trump Turns the Heat Up

As a candidate, President Trump said “build the wall” on the U.S. Mexican border. What are some of the problems with this simple statement?

President Trump strongly stated that Mexico will “reimburse” the U.S. for the cost of building the wall. What do readers think?

These days, more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than are trying to get into the U.S. True or false? [True.]

Currently, most of the new arrivals at the existing U.S./Mexico wall are young people. Where are most of them coming from (no… it’s not Mexico)?[Most are coming from Central American countries.]

If many of the arrivals at the border wall are not trying to slip into the U.S., what are they doing? [They give themselves up to border guards in order to seek asylum from danger in their countries.]

President Trump wants to move against the “sanctuary cities” that support the undocumented. How does he want to deal with these cities? [He wants to withhold federal funds to the cities.]

What do readers think President Trump should do about the “Dreamers” (children of the undocumented who were brought to the U.S. as children)?

Thursday, January 26, 2017 Populism Moving Dutch Prime Minister to the Right

 Since the beginning of the twentieth century, migration has sped up all over the world. True or false? [True.]

Assimilation is key to the U.S. success as a home for immigrants. What is assimilation? [Assimilation is the process by which newcomers adopt the ways of the people in their new country.]

The article mentions two big reasons why migrants are seeking new places to call home. What are those two reasons? [Millions of migrants have left their homes because of violence and poverty.]

Some people believe that the election victory of Donald Trump was partly due to his frequently-stated negative views of immigrants and Muslims. What do readers think?

The Netherlands Prime Minister said his country would no longer tolerate some migrants. What did he say? [He said some “abuse our freedom” and engage in “antisocial behavior” such as littering and spitting. He said some do not respect women or gay rights.]

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 Where is the World Heading?

Wealthy business people meet annually in Davos, Switzerland to discuss issues of importance to the future well-being of the planet. True or false? [True.]

What is meant by the word “inequality” as used in the article? [Inequality is the difference between the income and wealth of the richest people in the world compared with that of all others.]

Do readers agree that the world is becoming wealthier, incomes are rising and health care and education are easier to obtain?

What are some of the strategies mentioned in the article for improving the lives of low-income people? [Strategies include use of tax policies, giving workers better positions at the bargaining table and providing more family benefits such as childcare.]

It is up to each individual to make his or her life better. Education and training will help everyone succeed who is willing to put in the effort. What do readers think?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Gambia: Can Soldiers Make Democracy Work?

What is Gambia? [It is the smallest country in Africa, with fewer than two million people. It is a poor nation.]

After the president of Gambia lost the Gambian election in December 2016, he said he would leave his post. Then what happened? [He changed his mind.]

The article says Russian President Vladimir Putin is an example of an elected official who has become a dictator. What do readers think of President Putin?

 What finally forced Gambian President Jammeh to agree to step down? [Senegal and other African countries wanted Jammeh out. They brought the threat of armed troops to the border of Gambia.]

Why are some Gambians concerned about what happens next to former president Jammeh? [Some Gambians say Jammeh is a criminal, that he abused human rights and that he stole millions of dollars. They think he should pay for these crimes]

Monday, January 23, 2017 The Show Starts

The American presidential inauguration is a great event. What makes it so special? [It is the peaceful transfer of power. The outgoing and the incoming presidents shake hands.]

 President Trump went to the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) to tell them how much he respects them. What was the problem? [He recently charged that the CIA had leaked information about Russian hacking of the Democrats.]

 Why did President Trump call the American media “dishonest?” [He charged that the media reported that fewer people were at his inauguration than were at Obama’s first inauguration.]

President Trump’s Press Secretary told the press that attendance at the Trump inauguration was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Was this statement true or false? [False. The statement was not true.]

When asked why the Press Secretary would make false charges about inauguration attendance, the answer was “alternative facts.” Some think “alternative facts are not facts, they are falsehoods.” What do readers think?

Friday, January 20, 2017 The Bully Takes Over the Pulpit

When Donald Trump thinks he is under attack, he attacks back. Some say he will even tell lies in his attacks. What do readers think?

Now that Trump is president, he will probably become a changed man. True or false. [False. He has said he will be same way today as he was yesterday.]

What are some of the federal departments that may be filled by people who seem intent on destroying them? [The Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Energy are considered at risk.]

Millions of Americans receive Medicare benefits or get health insurance coverage from their employers. Who is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intended to help? [It is intended to help those without health care coverage, including the poor, the young and the sick.]

The proposed replacement program for the ACA requires that all Americans must either buy insurance or pay a penalty. Do readers think that is a problem, and if so, why?

Thursday, January 18, 2017 Getting Ready for Friday No tips.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 The Evil Man Who Made Trump, Trump

It is said that Trump is not like other politicians. What are some of the differences that are mentioned? [Trump insults opponents, lies and repeats lies, tells audiences what they want to hear, plays to their prejudices, and uses Twitter to insult and scold.

This article says a man named Roy Cohn is important to understanding Trump. Who was Roy Cohn? [Roy Cohn was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s lawyer and he was Trump’s lawyer early in Trump’s career. He was one of the most feared lawyers in America,]

Senator McCarthy was famous during the cold war for accusing people in Hollywood and in the State and Defense Departments. What did he accuse them of being? [He accused them of being Communists.]

When Roy Cohn came to New York City, he used the tactics he had learned in Washington. What did he add to his routine? [He added the threat of lawsuits to his tactics.]

Trump was asked if Cohn’s tactics reminded him of anyone. He responded, “It does, come to think of it.” What do readers think Trump meant?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 Morocco Says No to Making or Selling Burqas

What actions has France taken in the last several years with regard to monitoring the clothing worn by its population? [France has banned clothing with religious symbols in schools, banned clothing that hides the face and, in some cases, banned burkinas (burqa swimsuits) on some beaches.]

Burqas are the full-body veils worn by some Muslim women. A religious expert

said she believes that men and women should have the right to choose how to dress. Is wearing the burqa a sign of religious freedom? What do readers think?

The recent ban on making or selling burqas in Morocco is the country’s way of making a point. What does the article suggest is that point? [The point is that Morocco does not want Muslim influence to go too far.]

Most Moroccan women do not wear burqas. Where do most women who wear this kind of attire live? [Women who wear burqas are more likely to live in more conservative Muslim countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.]

Monday, January 16, 2017 Privatization: Remember the Word

In the world of work, what do we mean by the word “privatize?” [To privatize means to take a service or activity currently provided by a government entity and turn the service or activity over to a private company to provide.]

What are some of the problems that have been identified when prisons have been taken over by private companies? [Private companies have more trouble with inmates, go into lockdown more often and have a poor record on health care.]

President-Elect Donald Trump commented that private prisons “seem to work a lot better.” What then happened to the value of prison companies’ stock after his comments? [The stock of such companies rose in value.]

Why might nursing homes be tempted to over-use drugs to sedate patients? [By sedating patients, nursing homes can save staff and programs costs.]

President-Elect Trump says the private sector will deliver better services for less money. What do readers think?

Friday, January 13, 2017 Are Mass Killers Crazy?

What is the usual defense plea whenever a mass murderer is tried? [The defense usually enters a plea of insanity.]

Some experts say all mass murderers are mentally ill and suggest that such murderers should go free when they are “cured.” What do readers think about that?

Recently a man used a gun to kill five people in an airport baggage area. How did he get the gun into a security area of the airport? [He stored the gun in his luggage carried with other luggage on the plane; upon arrival at his destination, he retrieved his luggage; he took out the gun; and he then used the gun to fire on people at random.]

The young white man who shot and killed eight black Americans in their church says that he is a white supremacist, that he had to kill them in order to stir up a race war and that he is sane. What did the jury decide? [The jury agreed with him and recommended the death penalty.]

In this article, what is the “Catch 22” question? [The question is can anyone be a mass murderer or a suicide bomber and not be insane?]

Should murderous acts speak for themselves (it was murder) or should they be tempered by the conditions of those who committed the acts (they were insane)? What do readers think?

Thursday, January 12, 2017 Trump: The Gun Control President?

No other people on earth spends more time and money buying guns than Americans. True or false? [True.]

Why were gun owners alarmed by the election of Barack Obama? [They believed he might change the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make it more difficult for Americans to “keep and bear arms.”]

What did gun owners, and wannabe gun owners do in response to concerns about Obama’s possible actions? [If they had no guns, they purchased guns. If they already had guns, they purchased more guns.]

The article suggests that the decline in gun owners’ fears that their guns would be taken away, and the reduction in the sale of guns, is linked to a recent event. What was that event? [It was the presidential election of Donald Trump.]

America’s anti-gun states fear firearms will make their way from pro-gun states to buyers in the anti-gun states. What do readers think?

Why would the number of arrest record checks done by the FBI when people buy arms be declining? [The number of checks is declining because the number of gun sold has fallen.]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 Hollywood Begins to Look at a President Trump

The Golden Globes Awards host Jimmy Fallon joked that the awards results were tabulated by Putin. True or false? [True.]

When actor Hugh Laurie compared his role in the show “Night Manager” to Trump, on behalf of whom did he accept the award? [He accepted the award “on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere.”]

When Meryl Streep criticized Trump for imitating a disabled reporter, what was his response? [Trump dismissed Streep as a “Hillary lover” and said he was not surprised by an attack from “liberal movie people.”]

Actress Meryl Streep said Hollywood performers come from around the world. What was her point? [She meant that America should not turn its back on its culture of diversity.]

Was the U.S. presidential election a sign that America is no longer a nation of inclusion? What do readers think?

Tuesday, January 10, 2107 Donald Trump Tweets His Supporters

Donald Trump has found a new, successful way to reach American voters who support him? What does he do? [He sends out lots of Twitter messages.]

The U.S. intelligence agencies did say that Russia tried to influence the U.S. election, but did not say that Russia affected the outcome. True or false? [True.]

Do readers think Russia was successful or not in influencing the U.S. election?

When did the Soviet Union collapse and when did Vladimir Putin become president of Russia? [The Soviet Union collapsed around 1989. Vladimir Putin became president in 1999.]

U.S. agencies say Putin continues to support cyber warfare in democratic countries to influence election results. What do readers think?

What are some of Trump’s connections with Russia? [Trump has business interests in Russia and he says nice things about Putin.]

Monday, January 9, 2017 Who is Nafta for? Not Mexican Workers

What does Nafta stand for and who are the participants in Nafta? [Nafta stands for The North American Free Trade Agreement. Participant countries are the United States, Mexico and Canada.]

U.S. experts say that, as a result of Nafta, Mexicans got more jobs and that Americans lost jobs. True or false? [True.]

Why were American companies happy to find lower-wage workers in Mexico? [Stockholders in American companies care about profits. Profits make their shares worth more money.]

Many U.S. pension funds are invested in American companies seeking to make profits. Who are some of those pension funds? [Investors include union pension funds, business pension funds and the pension funds of local and state governments.]

The Nafta goal in Mexico was to build a stronger economy. What has happened since the beginning of Nafta? [Worker wages have not gone up.]

The Nafta goal in the U.S. was to build a stronger economy. What has happened since the beginning of Nafta? [Prices on U.S. cars, appliances and clothing are lower than they might have been.]

Friday, January 6, 2017 Trump’s War with China Gets Underway 

Why was China upset that Donald Trump spoke directly with the president of Taiwan? [The Chinese say Taiwan is a province of China. They believe Trump was upsetting a long-standing understanding of the relationship between China and Taiwan.]

 A town in China erected a statue to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. What does the statue look like? [It looks like Donald Trump.]

Why is Trump’s use of Twitter regarded as a major problem by China? [Twitter is banned in China. The Chinese people cannot see his tweets. The Chinese leadership is against the use of tweets in diplomacy.]

An official newspaper in China said that twitter should not be used to develop foreign policy. What do readers think?

Thursday, January 5, 2017 Breakthroughs in the Skin Disease, Eczema

What are some of the symptoms of the skin disease eczema? [Eczema creates a non-stop, constant itching and oozing rash on the skin.]

The cause of eczema in not known, but people with allergies and asthma get it more often. True or false? [True.]

A recent study had caretakers rub moisturizers on babies’ bodies every day for six months. What were the results of the study? [The study found that moisturizers lowered the risk of developing itchy, dry, scaly patches on the babies’ heads, arms and legs.]

The best moisturizer for lowering the risk of eczema was petroleum jelly. What is a brand of moisturizer that readers may already know about? [Vaseline is a famous brand.]

Most of the adults getting the new drug dupilumab reported positive outcomes. What are some of those positive outcomes? [They reported their itching went down within two weeks and their skin began to clear in a few months. Some said the disease disappeared entirely.]

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Venezuela on the Brink

Why are people streaming out of Venezuela? [There is no food or medicine.]

 To which countries are they going? [Brazil and Colombia.]

What is behind it all? [The country is mismanaged. It is oil rich.]

The article blames the crisis on a program of robbing the rich to give to the poor. What do readers think?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 India Ends ‘Black Money’ What percentage of business in India is done in cash, compared with the percentage of business done in the U.S. in cash? [About 80 percent of all the business in India is in cash, compared with about 20 percent in the U.S.]

In November the Prime Minister of India told his peopl that they could not use their 500 and 1,000 cash rupee notes after 2016. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the problems associated with the ‘black money’ cash in India? [Billions of the cash went untaxed, much did not end up in banks, it led to counterfeiting, it funded terrorists and it encouraged bribery.]

What is the biggest risk Prime Minister Modi took? [That the people and businesses would not have enough cash to manage.]

How will the increased revenue from taxes potentially help India? [It is hoped that India will be able to improve education, health care and its ability to compete in the world economy.]

Monday, January 2, 2017 Is This How America Will Pay for its Future?

The article says that Republicans and Democrats agree that the U.S. has to invest in rebuilding itself because “things get old.” What do readers think?

Four ways to raise money to pay for public works are mentioned. What are those four ways? [Money can be raised by raising taxes, going into debt, charging more for use and selling public works to private owners.]

New York City is selling some of its public housing to private companies who will own and manage the housing. What do the companies promise in return? [They promise there will be protections for the tenants.]

Why do companies who purchase public works frequently then raise the rates or the rents? [They need to make their investors happy by generating a profit.]

 Most things that are fifty or more years old need repair or replacement. True or false? [Probably true.]

Friday, December 30, 2016 How to Get Around the Wall on the Mexican Border

What is the simple answer on how to cross the border between Mexico and the U.S. when it is against the law? [The simple answer is to find a crooked U.S. border agent who will accept a bribe to help you.]

Which U.S. federal government agency is most in charge of protecting the border? [The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is most in charge.]

Smugglers and people called coyotes help people without papers cross the border. So do federal agents who will take bribes. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the ways that a dishonest border agent can help cartels? [The agent can provide maps of hidden underground sensors, combinations to locks along the border and locations of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints.]

Some illegal people and drugs flow into the U.S. by bribing border agents. Unfortunately a lot of agents are willing to take bribes. True or false? [False.] Only a tiny percent of agents take bribes.]

Thursday, December 29, 2016 Israel and American Relations at a Low Point

Israel recently was the subject of a U.N. resolution. What did the resolution do? [The resolution condemned Israel for building settlements on disputed land.]

In the past, what has the U.S. done about resolutions that were negative about Israel and what did the U.S. do this time? [The U.S. vetoed such resolutions. This time the U.S. abstained and the resolution passed.]

Approximately how many Jews live in the United States? [About six million Jews live in the U.S.]

Israel is a small democratic nation of about seven million people, including many Arabs. True or false? [True.]

Maybe the world pays so much attention to Israel because the U.S. and Israel have an historic and close relationship. What do readers think about that idea?

The U.S. supports the “two-state” solution. What actions does the solution require of Israel and the Palestinian Authority? [Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must come to a peace agreement with one another.]

Israeli President Benyamin Netanyahu continues to build settlements in disputed land. What does President Obama think about that? [President Obama thinks Israel should stop building the settlements.]

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 Reducing Poverty, Not Inequality, is the Real Challenge

If money is taken from the rich and given to the poor, it probably will be a one-time, one-year plan. Why is that? [Without their money, the rich will not be able to make more money. Or they will have found a way to keep money from being taken again.]

Incomes, education, healthcare and housing are growing in many countries around the world. True or false? [True.]

The article suggests taxes may not be the best way to reduce income inequity. Do readers have any other ideas that might reduce income inequity?

What might be some negative outcomes if the wealth of the rich is reduced? [They might choose to make less money. There might be fewer inventions. The economy might not grow as fast as it should.]

Tuesday, December 27, Wall Street is Becoming Europe’s Landlord

What does the article say is the primary reason why the housing markets fell apart in America, Ireland and Spain? [Banks made loans to homeowners who could not repay.]

Hedge funds and private equity firms in New York have billions and billions of dollars to manage. Where does their money come? [The money primarily comes from pension funds and investors.]

Goldman Sachs and Blackstone are investment firms mentioned in the article. What other investment entity is mentioned? [Trump also is mentioned.]

What can happen to homeowners and tenants when big firms want to buy properties without tenants? [Homeowners and tenants can face eviction or rent increases to unaffordable levels.]

Even though the governments in Ireland and Spain are trying to protect owners and renters, home prices are up and it is harder to find affordable rentals. True or false? [True.]

Monday, December 26, 2016 When Showing Your Eyes is Illegal

“Bill of the City” rules in Mosul require women’s bodies to be completely covered in black, including their eyes. True or false? [True.]

What happens when the Mosul police catch a woman who is not following the dress code? [The husband has to appear before a judge. His punishment may be a fine. Or he or his wife may be sentenced to a whipping.]

Some experts believe the rules in Mosul have another purpose besides imposing modesty? What might be another purpose? [Some believe that the rules are intended to keep women inside their homes and to make them “invisible.”]

When the jihadists took over Mosul in 2014, how did most women in the city dress? [Most Mosul women already covered their hair with a scarf and covered their arms with long sleeves.]

Friday, December 23, 2016 The Coming Battle Over the Undocumented

Many of the undocumented in the U.S. came from Mexico on visas and did not leave when their visas expired. True or false? [True.]

Many of the undocumented are willing to work in low-wage jobs. Some American workers think that is why wages in some jobs have stayed too low. [What do readers think?]

President Obama tried to help new arrivals stay in the U.S. What has President-elect Trump said he wants to do with the undocumented in the U.S.? [He wants them deported out of America.]

Some cities call themselves ‘sanctuary’ cities and offer to help the undocumented. What is a popular approach? [The provision of identification cards is popular.]

New York City has been providing ID cards to the undocumented. How is it going to resist efforts to deport the undocumented? [It says it will destroy the information provided by people to get the cards.]

Will President-elect Trump try to remove people in the U.S. who do not have proper papers? [What do readers think?]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 The App for Migrants on the Road

What is WhatsApp? [WhatsApp is a way people talk to each other all around the world.]

It is estimated that how many people around the world use WhatsApp? [It is estimated that more than a billion people use WhatsApp.]

When Koum sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion, where did he sign the deal? [He signed the deal in front of the same office where he once got food stamps.]

How much does WhatsApp charge users for the app? [WhatsApp charges $1 for the app.]

How does WhatsApp change the life of immigrants? [It helps them stay connected while on the move, helps them keep in touch with people back home and can ease their sense of isolation.]

The man behind WhatsApp is an immigrant who arrived in American in the early 1990s. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 More Controversy About Sugar

Natural sugar is better. Why is refined sugar worse? [Too much refined sugar leads to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.]

Huge companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hershey’s, Kellogg and Kraft Foods add refined sugar to their foods. True or false? [True.]

Public health programs publish guidelines on how much sugar is wise to consume. Who uses these guidelines? [Health workers all over the world use the guidelines.]

A reputable journal recently published a new study questioning the sugar guidelines. Do readers think that because companies in the sugar industry funded the study, that the results should be questioned?

What is a “peer review?” [It means experts review the article to make sure it is up to professional standards. And is good research.]

You should always read the nutrition labels on foods. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Wages Without Working

The U.S. has programs that cushion the loss of a job. What are those two programs? [Such programs include unemployment payments and welfare payments].

What is the “catch” in the current unemployment and welfare payments programs? [The “catch” is that some or all of these benefits end when you become employed.]

 Critics say that if there are income support programs, people will not look for work and will not try to improve their skills in order to get work. What do readers think?

What is meant by “a basic income?” [A basic income is a financial “floor” that remains in place and be counted upon in the future even if one gets a job.]

Advocates for a basic income believe workers will invest in themselves to get better jobs. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the reasons why U.S. workers should worry? [There are fewer manufacturing jobs, jobs are being sent offshore and robots are replacing workers.]

Monday, December 19, 2016 How and Why Trump Won

The article discusses the importance of where Americans now live. White people live in rural areas. Where do minorities tend to live? [Minorities tend to live in big metropolitan centers like New York and Los Angeles.]

About how many more jobs are there in the U.S. today than there were nine years ago? [There are about nine million more jobs today than there were nine years ago.]

In the last nine years, Hispanics gained three million jobs, Asians gained 1.5 million jobs and Blacks gained one million jobs. True or false? [True.]

How many counties are there in the fifty states of America? [There are 3056 counties.]

The counties won by Hillary Clinton create about two-thirds of America’s economy. Trump won the election. What do readers think Americans were thinking?

Friday, December 16, 2016 Hope Building for Dreamers

Who are the Dreamers? [Dreamers are children brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents. They too are undocumented.]

About how many Dreamers currently live in the U.S.? [There are fewer than one million Dreamers. They are about two-tenths of one percent of the U.S. population]

The undocumented include about the same share of scholars and criminals as are found among the rest of the U.S. population. True or false? [True.]

During the campaign Donald Trump said that he would deport the Dreamers along with their parents. Since the election, what action has he taken that would support that view? [He has chosen an attorney general known to support deporting the undocumented.]

Trump may be changing his mind about deporting the Dreamers. Recently, he said some positive things about them. Do readers think he is “flip-flopping” on his campaign position?

The article suggests a possible compromise for dealing with the Dreamers. What is that possible compromise? [One compromise may be to find and deport only the criminals among the Dreamers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016 After Aleppo The Struggle Will Go On

The battle for Aleppo is over. The Syrian regime has won. True or false? [True, at least for the time being.]

 Some observers say the fight should not be about seizing and holding territory. They say the fight should be about disruption. What do readers think?

Who have Russia and Iran supported in the Syrian struggle? [Russia and Iran have supported Assad, Syria’s dictator.]

What might rebel forces gain by fighting ISIS? [If the rebel forces succeeded, the West would see them as part of the war against ISIS and they would regain some stature.]

What is a sign that the Syrian government is not in full charge? [Large parts of eastern Syrian are in the hands of different groups.]

Will Donald Trump make a difference? [What do readers think?]

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 The Coming Fight (or Love Fest) with Russia

Russia is a weak big power. It has a weak economy. Its military is no match for the United States. It does have Putin, a leader who is a good poker player. He did not believe that President Obama had the nerve to call his bluffs. So far he has been winning.

What are some of the recent Russian military moves that cause concern in the U.S.? [Russia annexed the Crimea, seized parts of Ukraine and moved its forces into Syria.]

America’s intelligence agencies are sure Russia interfered with the recent presidential election. What do they believe Russia did to affect the election outcome? [They believe Russia hacked and then leaked emails from the Democratic Party that hurt the chances of candidate Hillary Clinton.]

Trump wants Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. Who is Tillerson? [He is the head of ExxonMobil, a giant energy company that has had many deals with Russia.]

Trump has said he does not think Russia hacked the Democrats. True or false? [True.]

Will Trump be able to convince the American public that he knows what he is doing? What do readers think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 To Donald Trump, the C.I.A. is the Opposition

The American C.I.A. issued a report that said Russia had hacked into the emails of the Democratic and Republican Parties during the presidential campaign. True or false? [True.]

If Russia was able to interfere in the US presidential election, it might have been able to influence the outcome of the election. What do readers think?

When it was charged that Trump fudged the number of jobs saved at the Carrier plant, what was Trump’s response? [He used Twitter to attack the company’s local union president.]

The US has several agencies that deal with spying. With regard to Russian hacking, what do they generally agree about? [They all agree that Russia was involved in hacking US presidential campaign materials.]

Congress is an equal branch of the US government. The question is will Trump try to keep Congress from investigating the Russian hacks? What do readers think?

Trump could say, “I changed my mind. I believe the C.I.A. Let Congress do its job.” True or false? [Who knows what he will say next.]

Monday, December 12, 2016 More Food for Tourists Means Less Food for Cubans

Most Cubans experience some shortages in their daily lives. What are some of those shortages? [Shortages can include food, electricity and household goods, including toilet paper.]

What has been the relatively recent bright spot in the Cuban economy that is mentioned in the article? [The one bright spot has been tourism.]

Restaurants that feed tourists provide a market for Cuban farmers to sell their vegetables and fruits. True or false? [True.]

Why might ordinary Cubans find there is less food to eat than there was a few years ago? [Cuban farmers are selling their vegetables and fruits to the highest bidder. Restaurants serving tourists are likely to be the highest bidder.]

Do readers have any predictions about what Donald Trump will do with regard to Cuba when he becomes president? If so, what are those predictions?

Friday, December 9, 2016 Trump Continues His Campaign for President

The article comments that Donald Trump likes to make personal attacks on people. Where was that behavior particularly successful? [It worked well in the primary elections.]

Trump tried to save 1,350 jobs at Carrier Corporation in Illinois scheduled to be moved to Mexico. As a result of his efforts, all 1,350 will remain in the US. True or false? [False. 550 jobs will be moved.]

The president of the Boeing Company made a speech in Chicago that Trump did not like. What decision did Trump then make with regard to a new presidential airplane to be built by Boeing? [Trump stated that the project was too expensive and it should be cancelled.]

Do readers think it is likely that Trump will continue to “tweet” attacks on people and things by name when he is president? If so, do they think this approach will continue to be successful?]

Thursday, December 8, 2016 Caliphate Winding Down — What Lies Ahead?

The article discusses “caliphate” countries. What is a caliphate? [A caliphate is a land ruled by Islamic Sharia law].

Experts warn that Syria, Iraq, and Libya face different problems, and that they all also face common problems. True or false? [True.]

Why does Russian President Putin want to play a role in the Middle East? [President Putting wants Russia to be a world power again.]

Saudi Arabia and Iran are enemies. Most of the Saudis are Sunni. Most of the Iranians are Shiite. True or false? [All true.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Pay Attention to Your Child’s Headphones

The wrong headphones can cause permanent hearing loss to children even though most companies say their products are “100 percent safe listening.” True or false? [True.]

Why can headphones be great gifts for children? [They are not too expensive and they are well-liked by children.]

A study reported that half of the headphones did not limit volume as reported and that the worst phones had volume so loud it could damage ears in minutes. Were readers surprised by these findings?

What brand of headphone is most liked by children? [A Bluetooth model called the Puro BT2200 is reported by children as the most liked headphone.]

 Safe listening is about volume and how long you listen. The louder a sound, the more time you should listen to it. True or false? [False. The louder the sound, the less time it should be listened to.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Fidel Castro is Dead, What Happens in Cuba?

Fidel Castro died at the age of ninety. How many years did he rule Cuba as a dictator? [He ruled the country for fifty years.]

The US declared an embargo on goods coming from or going to Cuba. This contributed to the poor condition of the Cuban economy. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the “good” outcomes of the Castro tenure? [Cuba has universal health care for all Cubans and it has good schools.]

President Obama has promised to open trade with Cuba. Who supports, and who is against, that decision? [Many younger Cubans in America support, and many older Cubans in America are against, the decision.]

Monday, December 15, 2016 Trump Makes It All Personal

What are some examples of the names used by Donald Trump during the presidential campaign? [Trump called Senator Ted Cruz “lying Ted,” called Marco Rubio “little Marco” and called Hillary Clinton “crooked Hillary.”

Why would the Carrier Corporation give in to Trump’s demand that at least some Carrier jobs be kept in the US? [Carrier did not like being the target of negative attention.]

Even though Carrier agreed to keep some jobs in the US, many Carrier jobs are still being sent to Mexico. True or false? [True.]

The loss and creation of jobs go on at the same time. About how many US jobs are lost and about how many are created every three months? [About 6.7 million jobs are lost and about 7.2 million jobs are created every three months.]

Why do companies want to keep their costs as low as possible? [Lower costs allow them to price their products to be as competitive as possible.]

Friday, December 2, 2016 Doomed Plane May Have Run Out of Fuel

There were seventy-seven people on the flight of the Chapecoense soccer team to Colombia. How many survived the crash of the airliner into the side of a mountain? [There were six survivors.]

Brazil was proud of this team and their success helped distract them from some of Brazil’s problems. What are most of those problems about? [Most of the problems of Brazil are about corruption.]

What is the most likely reason that the chartered jet plane crashed? [The most likely reason for the crash is that the plane ran out of fuel before reaching its destination.]

Experts say airplanes should have at least thirty minutes of extra fuel between the take-off site and the destination site. True or false? [True.]

Thursday, December 1, 2016 Cities and Schools Prepare to Battle Trump on Undocumented

Candidate Trump vowed to send the undocumented (and their families) back to their home countries. As president-elect, he may say forget it, that it was just campaign talk. What do readers think he will do?

Who benefits from the DACA program? [The program allows certain students to stay, study and work in the US.]

Some colleges with many undocumented students are worried. What are they suggesting their students who are abroad should do? [The colleges are telling students be sure they are in the US before Trump is sworn in as president.]

Sanctuary cities don’t want to help the federal government deport the undocumented, except for some exceptions. Who are those exceptions? [The cities say they would help if the undocumented individuals were criminals.]

The article states that the federal government has many means of enforcement. What is one of those “means” that directly affects cities and states? [The federal government can withhold funds from cities and states.]

Many schools and cities may block enforcement. There could be court battles. There could be civil disobedience.  There will be politics. True or false? [All true.]

Wednesday, Novermber 30, 2016 Syria: A Wasteland with a President?

The long civil war in Syria may be winding down with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still in power. What do readers think about Assad’s survival as president?

What has been President Obama’s position with regard to President Assad and the Syrian rebels? [President Obama was against Assad and supported the Syrian rebels.]

In the domestic struggle occurring in Syria, who did Russia support? [Russia supported Syrian President Assad and fought against the rebels.]

Why are many countries in Europe hoping the Syrian war will end? [Europe wants the flow of migrants from Syria to stop.]

Many people think the US ceded its influence in Syria to Russia. True or false? [True.]

One looming question is what will President-elect Trump do about Syria? Will he focus on the Islamic State or on Syria? What do readers think he will do?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 Colombia and FARC Sign New Peace Deal

Marxist rebels in Colombia have been trying to take over the country for more than fifty years. About how many people have been killed by FARC? [About two hundred thousand people have been killed.]

An earlier agreement was turned down. What are some of the possible reasons why it did not pass? [Low voter turnout, weather, inadequate campaigning and the unpopularity of the president.]

Some families who have lost loved ones may not feel justice is served by this agreement. True or false? [True.]

The article says it is ironic that the last Marxist movement comes to an end just as Fidel Castro dies. What do readers think?

Monday, November 28, 2016 Early Test: Can Trump Make Good on his Pledge to Save Carrier Jobs?

Donald Trump made a campaign promise with regard to the Carrier Company. What did he promise? [He promised that the Carrier Company would not move its factory to Mexico.]

Why would United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, not want to make an enemy of the new president? [The company has contracts with the US Department of Defense.]

Mexican workers have to work a full day to earn as much as US workers earn in an hour. True or false? [True.]

What is the “compromise” suggested in the article to solve the Carrier problem? [Carrier will have to find a way to keep some of the jobs in the US.]

Thursday, November 24, 2016 No tips today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Donald Trump and ‘White Power’

What new group emerged during the recent presidential campaign? [The group is called the ‘alt-right’ movement.]

How does the article describe the alt-right movement? [Alt-right is described as a white nationalist movement that fears that white people are going to become a minority in America.]

 What are some of the goals of the alt-right movement? [It wants the undocumented deported. It wants the children of the undocumented to be deported, including the children born in America.]

Many of the alt-right movement members admire Nazi Germany. Some use German chants such as “Heil the people! Heil victory!” True or false? [True.]

The alt-right movement believes it has found a champion in Donald Trump. They see Trump’s victory as making their movement valid. What has Donald Trump said about the alt-right movement? [Trump has said he does not want the support of the movement.]

It may not be fair to say Donald Trump is for the alt-right movement. It is fair to say this movement is for Donald Trump. What do readers think

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 The Undocumented Face Uncertainty

About how many people are in the U.S. without proper papers? [About eleven million people are undocumented.]

About half of the undocumented came over the Mexican border. Many of the others have visas. What is their problem? [Their visas have expired.]

Dreamers have renewable legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Who are they? [Dreamers are people who were brought to the U.S. as youngsters by their families.]

With DACA status, what kinds of things can Dreamers do? [Dreamers can go to school, get driver’s licenses and work, all without fear of deportation.]

About how many young people are Dreamers? [About 750,000 people are in the program.]

Why will it be easier for federal agents to round up the Dreamers and their families if Trump ends DACA? [DACA youngsters provided information about themselves and their families when they entered the program.]

Trump might end the DACA program by not renewing existing permits. What do supporters of the program fear Trump might do instead? [Many fear he might start mass deportations.]

Monday, November 21, 2016 Trump Takes Credit for Keeping Open an Auto Plant That Was Not Closing

The Ford Motor Company decided to move production some of its Lincoln cars from Kentucky to Mexico. True or false? [False. The company decided not to make the move. The Kentucky plant was and is still in full operation.]

Do readers believe the Ford Motor Company’s decision to keep its Kentucky plant open was a result of Donald Trump’s phone call to the head of the company?

Do readers have thoughts on how to bring jobs back to American workers? If so, what are they?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 How a Few Minutes of Exercise Can Get You in Shape

A new way to exercise is called H.I.I.T. What does H.I.I.T. stand for? [It stands for high-intensity interval training.]

What are some of the aerobic activities that can be used for H.I.I.T. exercise? [Aerobic activities include running, biking, climbing, swimming, jumping rope, rowing, hopping and/or skipping.]

The article states that there are H.I.I.T. workouts for ten, seven and four minutes. Which workout is included in the article? [The article includes the ten-minute workout,]

It is important to make workouts a habit. Three times a week is a good goal. True or false? [True.]

 Establishing workout habits includes having a place to do the workout. What else helps establish workout habits? [Setting a c time for the workout routine also helps.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Watching Trump on the Road Ahead 

Many experts thought Donald Trump was finished as a presidential candidate and that he would not win the election. Do readers think experts should be believed anymore?

All of the US states offer Medicaid to provide health care to many of their poor. True or false? [False. Some states have not included the Medicaid program.]

There is an old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” What do readers think that old saying means?

Is the number of border crossings from Mexico into America higher or lower than it has been in previous years? [Border crossings from Mexico into the US are the lowest they have been for years.]

Relatively few undocumented people were rounded up and sent elsewhere during the tenure of President Obama. True or false? [False. Millions of undocumented people were deported during his presidency.]

President Obama faced a deep recession when he took office. How has the economy fared during the eight years of his presidency? [The American economy has gotten better during the past eight years.] 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016 First Test for Trump: Keep Factory in Indiana Open

What is Donald Trump’s strategy to keep Carrier Company jobs in Indiana from going to Mexico? [He promised to impose a tariff on the company, making it unprofitable to move the plant.]

Who might be hurt by trade wars with countries such as Mexico and China? [American workers who make products for export, and American consumers who buy goods made in other countries could be hurt.]

Why do companies move? [They move to please their investors who want profits that increase the value of their shares.]

Carrier Company workers in Mexico will need to work a full day in order to earn what American Carrier workers earn in an hour. True or false? [True.]

Many new jobs in America are service jobs. Service jobs pay about the same as factory worker jobs. True or false? [False. Workers in service jobs earn about half of what workers in factory jobs earn.]

Some people think President-elect Trump may have bitten off more than he can chew when he promised to keep the Carrier jobs in Indiana. What do readers think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 This is How America Elects a President

The presidential election will be won by the candidate who has the majority of the electoral votes. How many electoral votes does each state have? [A state’s electoral votes include its number of population-based representatives plus its two US Senators.]

The US presidential election will be won by the candidate who gets the most votes. True or false? [Maybe; many not.]

How is the number of representatives in each state determined? [The number of state representatives reflects the state’s population, as determined by the USA 2010 census.] 

There are 538 electoral votes to be counted in the US. How many does it take to win the presidential election? [270 electoral votes are needed to win the election.]

 Voters in Blue states usually vote for the Democratic Party. Voters in Red states usually vote for the Republican Party. True or false? [Usually true.]

Red states are located in the South and Midwest. Where are Blue states located? [Blue states are located on the East and West coasts, in the New York region and the Northwest, and in New England and California.]

The outcome of the elections in ‘battleground’ states are too close to call. What are some of those states? [Battleground states include Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada and Arizona.]

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 The Undocumented are Holding their Breath

President Obama wanted immigration reform but Congress would not pass it. True or false? [True.]

Who are the people in the US known as the “Dreamers?” [Dreamers are children of the undocumented. The children  were not born in the US.]

If Mrs. Clinton wins, she will continue Mr. Obama’s efforts. What has Mr. Trump vowed to do with the undocumented if he wins? [Trump has vowed to deport the undocumented.]

Why is the Latino vote in Arizona important?  [The vote of Latino citizens will be a key to a Clinton victory. Arizona has a large number of Latino voters. Arizona allows early voting. Hispanics in Arizona are voting in record numbers.]

Dreamers are allowed to visit their homelands. Sometimes they come back from these trips full of uncertainty about who they are. How do readers think they would feel under such circumstances?

Monday, November 7, 2016 The Choice

Does it matter who is president? What do readers think?

The article suggests using empathy to understand the immigrants and Muslims who are coming to the US now. What would be the basis of such empathy? [The empathy would be based on the knowledge that your great or great-great grandparents may have faced the same hostility when they arrived in America.]

The goal of the US Constitution is to give rights to everyone in America. What are some of the successes of that goal? [Slavery has ended. Women have won the right to vote.]

Americans are obsessed with gun ownership, yet many oppose gun safety regulations? What do readers think?

Global trade is a reality. The US should implement aggressive plans to retrain workers. True or false? [True.]

Friday, November 4, 2016 The Incredible Shrinking Caliphate

Mosul, Iraq is the capital of the Islamic State. It is held by radical Muslims who are Islamic terrorists. True or false? [True.]

A group of nations is currently trying to retake Mosul. Who are some of those nations? [Nations attempting to retake Mosul include Iraq, Turkey, Iran and America.]

In what ways is America supporting the efforts to retake Mosul from the Islamic terrorists? [The US uses air power to support anti-terrorist forces on the ground.]

Muslim Shiites and Muslim Sunnis are friends, neighbors and sometimes they are religious enemies. What do readers think about this?

It is said that Turks and Kurds fear and loathe one another. Nevertheless, what belief do they share? [Both the Turks and the Kurds know they have to defeat the Islamic State.]

Thursday, November 3, 2016 The World as a Reality Show

Donald Trump’s campaign has been compared to a successful reality show. True or false? [True.]

Why does Trump keep saying the Trump Tower in New York City is 68 stories high when in fact it is 58 stories high? [The actual height of Trump Tower (58 stories) is not as important to him as is his own version of its height (68 stories).]

President Assad of Syria does not accept blame for the mass killings and displacements that have occurred in his country. Who does he blame for these events? [President Assad blames Islamic militants and the US for such occurrences. He says the US wants to impose its form of government on Syria.]

Assad wants people to believe Syria is in charge of its people and that the Syrian people support his regime. What do readers think?

Some examples in the article dispute the statement that Syria is winning its civil war. What are those examples? [The Syria city of Aleppo has not been retaken. The Syrian financial pound is almost worthless. Millions of Syrian children are not in school.]

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Is Donald Trump Guilty of ‘Dangerous’ Speech?

Free speech is protected speech. It includes speech that incites dangerous behavior. True or false? [False. Dangerous speech is not protected speech.]

Dangerous speech can lead to riots and mass killings. Some components of such speech are mentioned in the article. What are some of those components? [Components include powerful influential speakers, already angry listeners, speech urging violence and current powerful feelings.]

Hate speech is ugly speech about people, frequently minority people. Do readers agree that if ugly speech is non-violent, it should be protected under the definition of free speech?

The article cites instances in which Trump made statements edging toward dangerous speech. What were some of those statements? [He said his supporters should use the Second Amendment against Hillary Clinton (may be heard by some as a call to violence.) He said Obama and Clinton founded the Islamic State (implies that there are people among us who are trying to destroy this nation.) He said unknown forces are rigging the election (some may hear that as a call to take action to overturn the results if he loses the election.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 The Jobless Do Not Always become Voters for Trump

Many factory jobs in American have been lost. Why has this happened? [Many jobs have been sent overseas. There has been a huge downturn in the economy.]

Many black Americans fear that Donald Trump will create more racism in America. True or false? [True.]

One observer quoted in the article said “Politics is for the very rich and the very poor.” What do readers think?

Trump says law and order matters and he is concerned about voter fraud. What do black voters see? [Black voters see the police killing black men and see their civil rights in danger.]

The article list some of ways that poor blacks differ from poor whites. What are some of those ways? [Poor blacks have fewer homes and less money in the bank, inherit less money, make more use of food pantries and more of their children are raised by single moms and grandparents.]

It has been said that black Americans can now see how much hostility there is in America to them. What do readers think about that?

Monday, October 31, 2016 Is the F.B.I. Director a Hero?

Who is James B. Comey and why is he the subject of this story? [James Comey is the head of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.). He is in charge of a potential investigation into emails in the computer of former congressman Anthony Weiner.]

Why should Americans care what is in the Weiner emails? [Mr. Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin. Abedin is an aide to Hillary Clinton. Some of the emails appear to have been sent by her.]

F.B.I. Director Comey does not know the contents of the Weiner emails. True or false? [True.]

The F.B.I. should not have announced that it was going to launch an investigation into the Weiner emails. Why not? [The F.B.I. should not announce investigations before they begin and they cannot begin until a warrant is issued authorizing them to begin.]

Why are Republicans cheering the announcement of an investigation? [They believe it will help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.]

Why are Democrats furious about the announcement of an investigation? [They believe it will harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.]

The article suggests that Director Comey might have had a good reason for announcing an investigation before obtaining a warrant. What reason is suggested? [It is suggested that he might have done so to avoid damage from a “leak” in the last few days of the campaign.]

Friday, October 28, 2016 Case Study in Domestic Terrorism: Garden City, KansasCase Study in Domestic Terrorism: Garden City, Kansas

There was a plot to bomb the homes of Somali immigrants in Garden City, Kansas. Why did the plot not succeed? [The F.B.I. “foiled” the plot by arresting three terrorists]

The Somalis refugees in Garden City came to the U.S. to seek work. True or false? [False. They came to America to escape wars in their home countries.]

What did the three domestic terrorists arrested in Garden City have against the refugees? [The three Kansas terrorists were anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant.]

Crimes against Muslims and Arabs have soared in the years since the 9/11 attack in New York.  Some think the rise is a backlash against terrorism in the U.S. and Europe. What do readers think?

How have the people and police of Garden City responded to the newcomers? [The people are supporting the refugees and the police are working with them.]

Some say the state of Kansas has not been welcoming to refugees. Why do they say that? [The Kansas governor withdrew the state from a US program to resettle refugees. Kansas state agencies have been ordered not to help Syrian refugees.]

Thursday, October 27, 2016 Good News: Counting on Your Fingers Helps

Do any readers believe that counting on their fingers made them better at doing arithmetic? If so, what was their experience?

The part of the brain that deals with sensations such as pain, pressure and heat also deals with solving math problems when fingers are used for counting. True or false? [True.]

An expert said finger counting is not something about which parents should be alarmed. Why not? [The expert said children will naturally outgrow counting on their fingers when they no longer need it.]

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 France Clearing the “Jungle” of Refugees

The “Jungle” is located in the city of Calais, France. What is it and who lives there? [The Jungle is a refugee camp. Thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa live in the Jungle.]

Life in the Jungle is not that bad and it is improving. True or false? [False. It is miserable. It has poor sanitation, schools and health care.]

France has tried to close the Jungle but has been faced with some critical questions. What are some of those questions? [Critical questions include what to do with the refugees and where to send them.]

Most people in the Jungle want to go to what country and how do they try to get there? [Most want to go to England. They try to sneak there through the tunnel linking France and England.]

In what ways is Great Britain trying to help the French deal with the Jungle? [Great Britain is helping to finance the cleanup operation and has said it will take children who have relatives in England.]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Global Trade May Pass into History

As identified in the article, what are some of the “good” outcomes of global trade? [Millions of people in poor countries have obtained jobs. Big companies have received great profits that potentially can be shared with workers and shareholders.]

What are some of the “bad” outcomes? [Thousands of jobs have been lost to workers in developed countries.]

Much of the vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union was driven by concern about migrants coming into the country and filling low-wage jobs. True or false? [True.]

Approximately how many people are in the European Union? [About 500 million people are in the EU.]

All the countries in the EU must approve any new trade agreements. True or false? [True.]

Canada wanted to make a deal with the European Union to sell dairy exports to Europe. What stopped the deal? [One small province in Belgium vetoed Belgium’s approval. Without the approval of all countries in the EU, the new trade agreement could not be approved by the EU.]

Monday, October 24, 2016 Wells Fargo: The Bank that Cheated its Customers

What is at the “heart” of the current scandal at Wells Fargo Bank? [The driving factor of the scandal is the bank’s efforts to make more money.]

What was Wells Fargo Bank’s strategy for making more money for itself? [It made more money by opening new accounts.]

 Why would college students be among those least able to understand what banks are talking about with regard to opening bank accounts? [Most college students do not have experience in dealing with bank accounts.]

It is likely the college students who opened accounts did so because they trusted the older bank representatives who came to their campuses. True or false? [Probably true.]

How could Wells Fargo Bank make money when people opened more accounts than they could track? [Confusion would occur and subsequently fees could be charged for non-payments and overdrafts.] 

Have any readers been involved with a Wells Fargo Bank, and if so, what were their experiences?

For some Wells Fargo Bank employees, the pressure by management to open new accounts was so intense that it made them ill. True or false? [True.]

Thursday, October 20, 2016 How to Raise the Wages of Workers

What is one of the reasons why a company might choose to pay its workers more than the minimum amount? [It is hoped that paying workers more will result in workers doing a better job.]

Who is likely to object if a company pays workers more and the cost of doing business goes up? [Stockholders are likely to raise concerns.]

Why would stockholders be concerned if the cost of doing business goes up? [Stockholders are primarily interested in the financial returns from their investments.]

In addition to increasing wages, the article mentions three other worker-based strategies taken by Walmart to improve its stores. What are those other three strategies? [Walmart moved to develop better training programs, to provide a path to management positions and to improve the scheduling of workers’ shifts.]

Walmart’s efforts have produced positive results. What are some of those results? [Customer satisfaction is up, worker satisfaction is up and more of worker wages are being spent in the store.]

Who benefits from reducing worker turnover? [Reduced worker turnover is good for workers, customers and the employer.]

The article suggests Walmart’s challenge can be compared to that of a soccer team. Spending more money should result in improved outcomes. What do readers think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 U.S. Elections are Rigged… to Favor the Candidate Who Gets the Most Votes

In the United States, every state has a Board of Elections with an official, usually titled the Secretary of State, who is responsible for making sure the balloting is honest. True or false? [True.]

How does a person become the Secretary of State? [The Secretary of State is appointed by the Governor or is elected by the people of the state.]

Who are “poll watchers” and what are they doing at the polls? [Poll watchers are usually volunteers from the political parties, they want to ensure balloting rules are followed, and they check the names of voters against a list of voters believed to favor their candidate.]

In what ways can an election day be compared to a sporting event? [Challenges to voters at the polling place can become loud arguments and the patience of voters can become frayed.

The U.S. upcoming presidential election has generated considerable controversy. Do readers believe the election outcome can be “rigged” and, if so, for what reason and by whom?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 How Big Business Really Works

Research has shown how harmful sugar is in the diet. What health problems are linked to sugar consumption? [Sugar consumption is related to obesity and diabetes.]

What segments of the U.S. population are most likely to suffer from obesity and diabetes? [Black and Hispanic people are most likely to suffer from obesity and diabetes.]

For many years, tobacco companies said smoking was not a cause of cancer. What did this untrue denial cost them? [It cost them billions of dollars in lawsuits.]

Millions of dollars were given to research groups to study the link between sugar and health. In general, what were the findings from the research? [Findings confirmed the negative impact on health by using too much sugar.]

Businesses hate taxes on their products because it often results in lower sales. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the “lessons” learned from the tobacco scandal? [People should be warned of potential dangers from products, moderation and education should be provided to reduce consumption, and people should know about the pluses and minuses of the products.]

Thursday, October 13, 2016 The Downfall of the Islamic State is Coming: Then What?

The United States and Iraq want to retake the city of Mosul. Where is Mosul and who currently is in control of the city? [Mosul is in Iraq. It now is controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS).]

Control of Mosul by ISIS is strengthening. True or false? [False. The number of ISIS fighters is dropping and new recruits are not arriving.]

Who are some of the partners in the U.S.-backed coalition going into battle in Mosul? [Participating groups include the Iraqi army, Shiite militias and Kurds.]

What will be the hardest challenge after retaking Mosul? [Who will govern Mosul after it is re-taken will be the hardest challenge.]

There are hopes that residents of the city, an expanded local police force and local militias will keep order after Mosul is secure. Do readers think this is likely to happen?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 It Can Get Worse: It Happens in Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere, and its government is the weakest. True or false? [True.]

Just when matters in Haiti could not get worse, they did. What happened? [Hurricane Matthew happened.]

What are some of the damages inflicted by Hurricane Matthew? [Large parts of the country are wiped out. There are food shortages. Thousands of people are living on the streets or are dead or missing.]

The political situation in Haiti was in turmoil before the hurricane. Why is it now even worse? [No one is in charge because elections last Sunday were called off. The interim government does not have the power to speed recovery.]

 Why are teams of Haitian young men in the street with machetes and chainsaws? [They are trying to clear roads blocked by fallen trees.]

What is making it hard to figure out how much damage there is in Haiti? [Traffic cannot get through on many roads.]

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 The Debate From Hell

How did Donald Trump “explain” his words on a videotape about his approach to women? [He said it was “just locker room talk.”]

When Trump charged that Mr. Clinton had sexually assaulted women, how did Mrs. Clinton respond? [Mrs. Clinton did not respond.]

Because of all the recent attention to Trump’s payment of federal taxes, he has now released his tax returns. True or false? [False. He still has not released his tax returns.]

For many years Trump said President Obama was not born in America. In fact, where was the president born? [President Obama was born in the state of Hawaii.]

Some say Trump’s response to the many Republicans who are deserting him is typical of his personality. What is that response? [He says he will get even with them.]

Trump has vowed that he will stay in the race no matter what. True or false? [True.]

Trump said he would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Did he say what with? [He did not.]

Monday, October 10, 2016 Death From Drug Overdoses Can Lead to Longer lives

Deaths from drug overdoses are rising in the United States. True or false? [True.]

What is a likely reason for the increase in available organs? [The increase results from deaths from legal and illegal drugs.]

Doctors are able to use several different organs from each person. On average, about how many organs are harvested from each donor? [About three organs are harvested from each donor.]

Three reasons are mentioned for the increase in organ transplants. What are they? [More people are dying from legal and illegal drugs. More people are living longer. The number of people who need transplants is growing.]

If a person wants to donate their organs, it can be displayed on their driver’s license. True or false? [True.]

New testing and screening programs make the chance of infection from people with diseases much lower. What such diseases are mentioned in the article? [H.I.V. and Hepatitis C. are mentioned in the article.]

Friday, October 7, 22016 Donald Trump’s Wealth Explained, Sort Of

As reflected in tax law, business losses can be used as reasons for not paying taxes. True or false? [True

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reported significant business losses in his 1995 New York tax return. How much were those losses? [The 1995 tax return showed he lost $917 million.]

The huge deduction is considered legal within tax laws and is available to people in the real estate business. True or false? [True.]

Hillary Clinton suggested Trump might have several potential reasons for not releasing his taxes. What did she suggest might be some of those reasons? [She suggested that he may not pay any taxes, that he may give little or nothing to charity, that he may owe money to people in Russia and that his taxes might show he is not as rich as he said he is.]

The next debate is Sunday night. It is sure to be interesting. Will readers watch it? [Discuss.]

Thursday, October 6, 2016 Inside an Immigration Courtroom and Inside the Judge’s Head

In an American courtroom, about how long does it take for asylums seekers to find out if they can stay in the U.S. or if they will have to go back to their home country? [It takes about fifteen minutes to decide in the courtroom.]

Most of the judges only speak English. Most of the undocumented do not speak English. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the problems in the U.S. courts? [The courts are overcrowded, the backlogs are huge and the judges do not have enough staff.]

What is the “help” coming for judges with regard to possible prejudicial attitudes? [Many will get training to recognize when they are not being fair and what they can do about it. They will learn how see the people before them as individuals.]

One idea is to give the Border Patrol more power to deport on the spot. Immigration advocates do not think this is a good idea. What do readers think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 Aleppo Facing Total Human Disaster

What is one likely outcome now that the Unites States and Russia are no longer talking to each other about getting aid to the Syrian city of Aleppo? [It means there probably will be no more efforts to establish a cease-fire in the city.]

Why did the U.S. walk away from talks with Russia about aid to Aleppo? [The U.S. said that the Russians would not commit to stopping their bombing of the city.]

Who is Russia trying to destroy in Syria? [Russia is trying to destroy the forces that threaten the regime of Assad, the Syrian president.]

If the U.S. gives more weapons and support to the rebel groups, what does it have to be careful about? [The U.S. has to be careful that weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorists.]

France wants to get a cease-fire resolution to establish a no-fly zone. What does Russia say about that? [Russia says it will veto any resolution that calls for a no-fly zone.]

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 The People of Colombia Turn Down Peace Treaty

A wide majority of Colombian people voted against the treaty to end a 52-year war. True or false? [False. The vote was split almost 50/50.]

The no-treaty vote was a big defeat for Juan Manuel Santos. Who is he? [He is the president of Colombia.]

FARC, the rebel group, used kidnapping, torture and murder to achieve its goals against the government. What did some voters fear about the treaty? [They feared the FARC leaders would get light sentences and community service. They feared that the rank-and-file fighters were likely to receive amnesty.]

With the help of the United Nations, the agreement called for a program of closing camps and turning over weapons. True or false? [True.]

Monday, October 3, 2016 President Duterte of the Philippines is Strange and Dangerous

Rodrigo Duterte says he is at war with the drug sellers among his own people. How many people have been killed in the last three months? [More than 3,000 people have been killed.]

Duterte has suggested the killing of millions of drug dealers is similar to the killing of millions of others. Who were those others and who was their killer? [He was speaking of the three million Jews who were massacred by Hitler. (Actually, it was six million Jews.)

Duterte said killing the drug users would save the next generation from the hell of drug addiction. True or false? [True.]

Duterte made a remark about President Obama that was considered offensive to many. What was the intention of the remark and how did the president respond? [It was a warning to the president not to bring up the drug deaths at a meeting. Mr. Obama cancelled the meeting.]

 What might stop President Duterte’s threat to end joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States? [The agreements are considered “ironclad.”]

Friday, September 30, 2016 What Does America Owe Black Americans?

What entity just issued a new report that concludes America owes black Americans a lot? [The report was issued by the United Nations.]

The report says that the slave trade was a crime against humanity and that the U.S. should give reparations. True or false? [True.]

Do readers agree that, in general, American blacks are worse off than American whites?

The report recommends reparations to blacks. What other suggestions does it make to aid and support American blacks? [Recommendations include apologies, health, mental health and education programs, training in new skills, and loan or debt forgiveness.]

In which two situations were reparations paid to victims of discrimination? [Germany paid billions to Jewish victims of the Nazis. The U.S. gave money to Japanese Americans who were put in camps during World War II.]

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Donald Trump Lost the Debate: Here is Why

The article mentions some reasons why most observers thought Hillary Clinton won the Monday debate. What are those reasons? [They say she had poise, spoke about the big issues, and had facts.]

Trump supporters said it was not a good show for him because of his preparation for the debate. How has that preparation been described? [His schedule was too crowded, different people provided different advice, he was not focused during preparation, and he did not practice before a podium.]

When Trump started interrupting Mrs. Clinton, some women thought he was showing disrespect for her as a woman. What do readers think?

When Trump realized he had not won, what were his excuses for his loss? [He said any problems were not his fault. That the moderator was aggressive to him. And that the microphone was faulty.]

What are some of the criticisms that have been leveled against Trump? [Critics have said Trump believes he is smarter than anyone else. That it is hard for him to concentrate and to listen. That he does not believe he has to practice. And that he does not believe he has to know a lot.]

When is the next debate between Donald Trump and Mrs. Clinton? [The next debate is October 9, 2016.]

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Can the World Deal With Migration?

What are some of countries that have migration problems? [Turkey, Greece, France, Jordan, Italy and Great Britain all have migration problems.]

Why do many migrants try to reach the city of Calais in France? [From Calais, migrants try reach England by crossing the English Channel.]

What is migrant tent city called? [It is called the “jungle.”]

The article mentions Greece as an example of good intentions. What did Greece want to do with migrant children? [They wanted to place migrant children in local schools.]

Why would many Greek local schools say “no” to accepting migrant children? [Schools say they fear learning may be disrupted by children and families who have come from different backgrounds.]

With regard to migrant students, most Greeks want school progras to proceed with caution. True or false? [True.]

What are the primary reasons why people chose to migrate? [The primary reasons are the need to escape from poverty and violence.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Lost Before You Start Kindergarten 

For those children who will not be ready to do well in kindergarten, what kind of program might improve their chances for success? [Some experts have suggested that pre-kindergarten programs would be helpful.]

What do readers think? Should pre-k be about play and developing social skills or should it be about learning to read and do arithmetic?

With more kids enrolled in pre-k programs, how are many kindergartens changing their programs? [Many kindergartens are becoming more academic, with some even including homework and the use of tests.]

It is in the interest of the school to produce students who test well. True or false? [True.]

Maybe pre-K and kindergarten programs only start the child’s process toward educational success or failure earlier? What do readers think?

Monday, September 26, 2016 ‘From Paradise to Hell’: Syrian Aid Convoy Blown Apart

The article reports on a recent cease-fire in Syria. What was a goal of the cease-fire? [The cease-fire was intended to allow aid to reach the starving people in the Syrian city of Aleppo.]

The Syrian government inspected the cargo to make sure it had no weapons and then allowed the aid trucks to go forward. True or false? [True.]

What happened when the convoy reached its goal and started to unload the trucks? [Experts say the evidence shows that Russia and Syria launched an air attack on the convoy.]

Syria and Russia initially denied responsibility for the attack on the aid convoy. Whom did they blame for the attack? [They blamed the United States for the attack.]

An attack on an aid convoy is terrible, but it is not a war crime. True or false? [False.] It is a war crime.]

Do readers think presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should discuss their ideas about how to help Syria during their upcoming debate?

Friday, September 23, 2016 Study Says: Immigrants Are More a Solution Than a Problem

One finding of the study reported in the article says the availability of immigrant workers did not result in lower wages for, or take away the jobs of lower wage American workers. True or false? [True.]

What is an example of the “cost” of immigrants? [Providing education to the children of immigrants is such an example.]

What are the three positive findings for the study reported in the article? [Immigrants bring new ideas, add to the labor force and are part of the growth of America.]

Many who support a path to legal status also think America should control who comes into the country. What do readers think?

In his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has made many statements against immigrants. Do the findings of the research reported in this article support his views or undermine his views? [The research findings undermine his views.]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 Sepsis: A Killer You Want to Know More About

Sepsis is not a disease like cancer. What is it? [Sepsis is the body’s reaction to an infection that is not well treated.]

What is the usual treatment for sepsis? [Proper use of antibiotics is usually the treatment.]

What are some of the symptoms of sepsis? [Symptoms include chills, fever, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin, shortness of breath, a high heart rate, and confusion or disorientation,]

If you think you are experiencing sepsis symptoms, what should you do? [You should not wait to see your doctor. You should go to the emergency room immediately.]

What happens when a person develops septic shock? [With septic shock, blood pressure drops and blood flow to the body’s organs is choked off.]

Most sepsis infections are picked up in hospitals. True or false? [False. Sepsis usually starts when the patient is at home.]

What types of infections are most likely to result in sepsis? [Sepsis often develops from lung, urinary tract, skin and intestinal infections.]

Who needs to be alert to the danger of sepsis? [People most likely to develop sepsis are those who are over age 65, those with diabetes and those with immune system problems.]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Bridgegate” Explained: An American Style Scandal

Forty years ago, Republican workers broke into Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, D.C. What is the scandal still called? [It is called the Watergate scandal.]

What was one of the most dramatic outcomes of the Watergate scandal? [It led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.]

What was Republican Chris Christie unhappy about even though he was re-elected as the governor of New Jersey? [He not happy that some Democratic mayors in the state had not supported him.]

The George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey to New York City is the busiest bridge in the nation. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 A Revolution in Islamic Fashion

What is the hijab? [The hijab is a head scarf worn by observant Muslim women.]

At the Istanbul Modest Fashion Week show in Istanbul, there was a new look. How did one observer describe the look? [The observer said the fashion was high heels, flowing tunics and colorful head scarves.]

Even as Turkey is becoming more fashion aware, some beaches in France are banning burkinis. True or false? [True.]

Can a Muslim woman be fashionable and true to her religion? What do readers think?

One designer has suggested some “simple rules” for the clothing of Muslim women? What are those rules? [The designer suggested that clothes should not be tight, that length and width should be considered and that skin should not be seen.]

Monday, September 19, 2016 The Race for President: Will the Hispanic Vote Matter?

How many Hispanic voters are there in the U.S. and what is their voting behavior? [There are about 27 million Hispanic voters. Relatively few of them vote.]

In what ways are Hispanics who tend to vote like other Americans who vote? [They tend to be older, to be long-time residents and to be college graduates.]

What are some of the characteristics of Hispanics who tend to NOT vote? [They tend to be young, single and to have lower incomes.]

Blacks had the highest voting rate in the nation in 2012. True or false? [True.]

What are some the other reasons mentioned in the article for the low Hispanic voter turnout? [Other possible reasons include difficulty with the English language, historical cultural indifference and reduced teaching of civics in schools.]

What was the intended outcome of the “Voting Rights” laws passed a half-century ago? [The voting rights laws were intended to increase the number of black voters in Southern states.]

Do readers think Latinos should be concerned about comments regarding Hispanics than have been made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Friday, September 16, 2016 The Sugar Industry Made Sure Fat was the Enemy

One of the lead scientists reassured the sugar industry executives, saying the “enemy” was saturated fat and “this is quite what we had in mind.” True or false? [True.]

Obesity is a common medical problem all over the world. Do readers believe that sugar plays a big role in obesity?

Who would benefit from shifting the blame for heart disease from sugar to saturated fat? [The sugar industry would benefit from such a shift.]

 It was common in the old days, and it is still common, for industries to pay for research studies about their products. What is different now? [Now, the sources of funding for such studies are usually disclosed.]

Thursday, September 15, 2016 Big News: The American Economy Got Better!

When did the recent recession begin? [The recession began in 2008.]

What signs did some experts use to explain why good times would not come for a long time? [They pointed out that jobs were going offshore, that robots were replacing people and that people who did not finish college would not be able to find good jobs.]

Last year the number of jobs, wages and family incomes went up. True or false? [True.]

Last year the number of people in poverty and the number of people without health insurance went down. True or false? [True.]

The median income of American households went up by 5.2 percent over the median income 2014. Was that a big increase? [Yes. It is the biggest increase in the last fifty years.]

Do readers feel that their financial situations have improved this year.

In this election year, what are Republicans saying about the good economic news? [Republicans are saying that the recovery would have been faster if they were in power.]

What is the good news was about the poor? [The incomes of the poor went up at a higher rate than the incomes of others. Their incomes remain low, but not as low as before.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Women in China Saying “No” to Marriage

Why are some women in China delaying marriage and resisting having children? [They want opportunities for education, jobs, money, careers and independence.]

What are some of the current outcomes of China’s “one child” policy begun 35 years ago? [There is a surplus of men and fewer people in the primary years of marriage.]

Fewer marriages mean fewer households. What does it mean for the Chinese economy? [It means that purchase of houses, cars, furniture and other household requirements will decrease.]

Many families in the U.S. are struggling to meet both the needs of children as well as the needs of older parents. True or false? [True.]

Why would some Chinese women come to American to freeze their eggs? [They want to delay having children until they are older and have had more opportunities for achievement.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Why Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Love Each Other

What do people want from leaders? [They want leaders to be strong, to keep the country running smoothly and to keep the economy healthy.]

Why does Donald Trump say he admires Putin more than President Obama? [Trump says Putin has been a better leader than President Obama.]

Through the process of checks and balances, the U.S. Constitution limits the control that can be used by any one person. True or false? [True.]

What are the four “branches” of the U.S. government? [The branches include an Executive branch (the president), a Legislative branch (the Congress), a Judicial branch (the courts) and a “Fourth branch” (the free press.)

What some of examples of Putin’s authoritarian style of leadership? [He stifles the Russian press, removes political opposition and has his enemies beaten or killed.]

Some people admire “strong man” leaders like Putin. What do readers think about such leaders?

Monday, September 12, 2016 The Good News: Survey Shows Most Americans Think Their Lives Are Better

The survey reported in the article began in what year and, economically, what was occurring at the time? [The first year of the survey was 2008. America’s economy was in a bad recession.]

Today, six out 10 Americans say their lives have improved and that their standard of living has gotten better. True or false? [True.]

Recently, positive findings were reported for all groups. For which groups was this especially true? [It was especially true for minorities and for all income levels.]

In the first four years of the survey, black Democrats scored high on satisfaction issues. Then what happened? [Their scores dropped.] In the first four years of the survey, white Republicans scored low on satisfaction issues. Then what happened? [Their scores went up.]

Experts say this is because the economy improved. Black people in the survey may have felt their lives were not getting better.

The number of uninsured people has dropped in the past few years. True or false? [True.]

Do readers feel they are more healthy, or less healthy, today than they were eight years ago? If so, or if not, what are the reasons?

Friday, September 9, 2016 Judge Throws Out a State’s Entire School Program

Frequently, plaintiffs want states to increase the amount of money for education in poor districts. True or false? [True.]

The article is about a judge in Connecticut who wants something more than additional money for education. What more does he want? [He wants the entire Connecticut education program to be changed and improved.]

 An observer said the judge’s ruling is a “school reform decision rather than a school funding decision.” What do readers think the observer meant by this statement?

What did the Connecticut judge ask of the state’s attorney general? [He asked that the attorney general return within 180 days with a plan to solve the states’ education problems.]

Thursday, September 8, 2016 Indian Battle Over Pipeline with the U.S. Heating Up

The last big Indian victory against the U.S. was in 1876. In what “war” are they now engaged in North Dakota? [Indians are taking a stand against an oil pipeline.]

What is “special” about the land the pipeline is being built on? [Part of the site is on sacred Indian land where Indians have lived and buried their dead.]

Do readers have any concerns about the safely of oil pipelines? If so, or if not, what are their reasons?

Critics of the North Dakota pipeline say rules have not been followed. Who has not followed the rules? [The Army Corps of Engineers, big business and big labor have been accused of not following the rule.]

In North Dakota, many tribes have sent food and other supplies to the “reservation” that has sprung up on land near the pipeline. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Islamic State Ad: Good Pay, Exciting Work, Long Term Rewards

What is a time-proven way to solicit help and attract recruits? [Effective approaches include offers to pay good salaries and to provide good financial incentives to those who respond]

The Islamic State is using money to attract recruits. From where does its money come? [The Islamic State has revenue that comes from its oil wells and taxes on its people.]

Two targets of the Islamic State are poor college graduates and other young people. True or false? [True.]

Islamic State resources and revenues are sinking. Why are they still successful in their recruitment efforts? [They are successful because the Islamic State is still rich compared to towns in nearby countries.]

Do readers think the Islamic State in growing in its influence, or receeding? What are their reasons for their beliefs?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 President Obama’s Role in Syria is coming to an End

The U.S. and Russia talked about Syria at the G-20 meetings recently held in China. Who is Russia supporting and whom is the U.S. supporting in the war? [Russia supports Syria. The U.S. supports some rebel groups who are being bombed by the Russians.]

 What are the two key points for ending the Syrian war upon which President Obama and President Putin of Russia cannot agree? [They cannot agree upon how to create a cease-fire so aid can reach Aleppo. They cannot agree on how to finally end the war.]

President Obama’s term ends in a little more than four months. Who do readers believe will win the presidential election in November?

What are some of the steps that Hillary Clifton has proposed for addressing the Syrian civil war? [She has called for a buffer zone along the Turkish border, a no-fly zone over the zone and a U.S.-led coalition to protect refugees in Syria.]

Trump is against placing U.S. troops on the ground, but he has said he might make an exception in Syria. True or false? [True.]

Clinton and Trump are not talking about foreign policy in their presidential campaigns. The article suggests a reason why there is little discussion and debate. What is that reason? [The article states Donald Trump’s campaign is all about himself

Monday, September 5, 2016 Coastal Flooding is Climate Change

Do readers believe climate change is real? If so, or if not, what are their reasons for their belief?

What are “sunny day floods?” [They are floods that occur when the tide is high and there is a brisk wind. They result from the warming of the ocean.]

These floods are often just a foot or two deep. So what is the problem? [They can stop traffic, swamp basements and clog the drainage of storm water.]

Miami, Florida is an example of efforts to address climate change. What steps has the city taken? [Sea walls are being built, drainage systems are being enlarged and roads along the coast are being raised to higher levels.]

Climate change has become a partisan issue. Which political party does not believe it is occurring? [Most Republicans do not believe that it is occurring.]

Some fear that federal funds are not going to be spent to deal with climate change. Why would they have such fears? [Skeptical Republicans currently control the Congress and the distribution of federal funds.]

Carbon contributes to global warming. The Chinese and American governments have agreed to reduce carbon emissions. True or false? [True.]

Friday, September 2, 2016 Trump Returns to Anti-Immigrant Views in Arizona

Donald Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. He told the president that he would have to pay for a wall on the border. True or false? [False. The payment for the wall was not discussed.]

If Trump is not changing his position on immigration, what is he doing? [He is changing his words, not his views.]

One of the reasons that Trump went to Mexico was to show that he is thoughtful about immigration. Why was that important to him? [It might help him get the vote of moderate Republicans.]

Do readers think Trump will build a wall if he is elected and, if so, do they think Mexico will pay for the wall?

Trump said that he would deport all undocumented migrants who have criminal records. True or false? [True.]

Many Mexicans were not happy that their president invited Mr. Trump. What else were some unhappy about? [Many were unhappy that he did not tell Trump off.]

Thursday, September 1, 2016 Syrian Refugees Making Their Way Into the United States

Why are so many Syrians fleeing their homes? [They are fleeing violence.]

Why are “these times more difficult” when Americans consider refugee issues? [There is a real fear of terrorists coming into America. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made barring all refugees a major issue of his campaign.]

 Refugees are already vetted today. How long does it typically take to complete the vetting/screening process? [It currently takes between 12 and 18 months to clear the vetting/screening process.]

Why has President Obama been “quiet” about reaching his goal for ten thousand refugees? [The number is low when compared to the size of the resettlement need.]

More than half of the Democrats in the country favor admitting refugees. How many Republicans favor admitting refugees? [Less than one in five Republicans favor doing so.]

Syrians already face a very tough vetting. After the vetting process, the acceptance rate of Syrian families is very high. True or false? [True.]

Most Syrians who are turned away are young adult men. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Muslims Want a Cemetery: There is a Problem

“Land use” and “zoning” laws govern the use of land. What does “environmental review” cover? [It covers water runoff, traffic, noise and pollution.]

Fighting changes in land use is an American tradition. True or false? [True.]

There is tension between Muslims and others in many places in America. What does the article state as a reason for such tension? [The tension is because the Islamic State is Muslim.]

Across the nation, towns oppose the building of mosques. It is hard to prove the reason is opposition to Muslims. What do readers think?

Walmart, the biggest retailer in America, has still not been able to open a store in what major American city? [It has not been able to open a store in New York City.]

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 Peace in Colombia: How It Happened Could Change the World

How long has the war in Colombia between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia been on-going? [The war has been on-going for more than fifty years.]

What was the role families played as a new essential component of the agreement to end the Columbia conflict? [The families of victims were able to talk to leaders about their pain and suffering from losing family members.]

What was the role gender played as a new essential component of the agreement to end the Columbia conflict? [A gender committee was created to bring the rights of others, including women, gays and lesbians, to the table.]

If fighters face severe punishment, they have no reason to stop fighting. If they are not punished, where is the justice? What do readers think?

In Columbia, those who confess to war crimes will face sentences of up to eight years of “effective restriction of movement” as determined by a tribunal. True or false? [True.]

Many believe the Columbia process and outcome can be a solution to conflicts around the world. True or false? [True.]

Monday, August 29, 2016 Trump and Immigration: What Do Words Mean?

What are some of the immigration-related actions that Donald Trump wants to take? [He wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. He wants to deport the undocumented immigrants. He wants to stop Muslim immigration into the U.S.]

Recently, Trump suggested that some of the undocumented could stay in the U.S. without citizenship and by paying taxes. True or false? [True.]

Some observers believe that Mr. Trump is tailoring his positions on immigration to appeal to the audience to whom he is speaking. What do readers think?

Trump may shift his views to appeal to pro-immigration voters. What is the potential problem with that? [He risks losing anti-immigration voters.]

Friday, August 26, 2016 Chinese Students Flocking to U.S. Private High Schools

 Why are Chinese parents sending their children to high school in the U.S.? [to get the best education and get into the best colleges in this country.]

What is the biggest problem many of the students face? [A new culture.]

True or False. It is easy to go back to Chinese schools when returning from America. [False.]

What do readers think are some of the differences in students from different countries?

Thursday, August 25, 2016 Immigration Court: Where Children Are Their Own Lawyers

 If a child crosses the Mexican border into the U.S. without a parent, he is likely to be on his own in a court of law, facing a judge and acting as his own lawyer. True or false? [True.]

Many children detained at the border end up acting as their own lawyers. What do they usually ask for? [They usually plead for asylum or some other type of relief.]

Over the last ten years more than half of the children who faced the immigration court without lawyers were deported. What about those who had a lawyer? [Among those children with lawyers, only one in ten was deported.]

The government and some cities and states are trying to help these children. What are they doing? [They are funding programs for lawyers to help children in immigration courts.]

Why are children fleeing El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala? [Crime and violence make living in these countries unsafe.]

Do readers think children fleeing from violence in their home countries should be treated the same as adults when they approach the U.S.? If yes, or if no, what are the reasons for their position?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Welfare Reform Hurts the Children of Legal Immigrants

 Some U.S. states have chosen not to use the Medicaid part of the Affordable Care Act program. Lower income people in those states probably get poorer health care. True or false? [True.]

Where are most of the states that refuse Medicaid located? [Most are located in the South and the Midwest.]

States that refuse Medicaid are likely to make other supports, such as food stamps, available to immigrant children. True or false? [False.]

What is TANF? [TANF is the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, established twenty years ago for lower income people.]

What was the “leeway” that TANF gave to the states with regard to how they support poor immigrant families? [The states were allowed to use their own money for immigrant services.]

With regard to high school graduation rates, what appears to be the impact of the provision of aid to low-income legal immigrants? [The provision of aid is linked to higher high school graduation rates.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 Trump Makes His Case to Black Voters

Donald Trump says, “America is a country of losers.” Who is by him the largest group of losers? [Trump implies black Americans are the largest group of losers.]

The article says Trump’s view of America is “dystopian.” What does Trump mean? [It means Trump believes America, its people and its role in the world are all heading to disaster.]

Who does Trump blame for America falling apart? [Trump blames China, the Islamic State and the American economy.]

Referring to race, who does Trump blame for the perceived harm inflicted on African Americans? [Trump blames “crooked Hillary” for the perceived plight of than African Americans.]

Do readers believe African Americans will be better off under a Trump presidency? Why or why not?

Polls show that Trump has almost no appeal among black voters. True or false? [True.]

Monday, August 22, 2016 Getting to America: The Latin American Route

Migrants are trying to reach United State over the Mexican border. From where are many of those migrants coming? [Many are migrating from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.]

Most observers agree that most migrants are fleeing hunger and violence, and that they are seeking a better life in the U.S. True or false? [True.]

Many observers also agree that, unfortunately, the new routes can give terrorists other ways to enter this country. True or false? [True.]

What steps is the U.S. taking to deal with the problem of terrorists trying to reach the country? [American agents are being sent to some countries where they are training border workers on how to identify undocumented migrants and how to use databases to check migrant identities.]

 Sometimes it is difficult for Mexico to return refugees to their home countries. Why is that? [Mexico does not have diplomatic relations with many of the countries from which the refugees are fleeing.]

Friday, August 19, 2016 What is a Burkini? Why Are French Towns Banning Them?

What is a burkini? [A burkini is a modest bathing suit worn by Muslim women for social and religious reasons. It covers all of the wearer’s body, and frequently, the head.]

What are some of the criticisms leveled at the burkini? [Some say it is a sign of “enslavement” and a reflection of the oppression of Muslim women.]

What are some of the positive comments about the burkini? [Some say it is a good step forward for Muslim women.]

Americans tend to accept religious garb as within the rights of the individual. True or false? [True.]

Do readers believe that overt symbols of religion beliefs, such as the crosses, Jewish stars and burkinis, should be banned in public places?

Thursday, August 18, 2016 Trump Just Warming Up for the Campaign

Many people say the presidential campaign starts on Labor Day (Monday, September 5th). Do readers think the campaign has already begun, and if so, why do they think that?

Donald Trump feels that reading from teleprompters hampers his style. True or false? [True.]

Who are some of the people who have been insulted by Donald Trump? [He has insulted Mexicans (calling some “rapists and criminals”), a federal judge with Mexican heritage, a Gold Star mother and the Democratic nominee he refers to as “Crooked Hillary.”]

What do readers think Donald Trump meant when he suggested that gun supporters might want to takeaction if Mrs. Clinton wins?

If Donald Trump does lose the election, what is he suggesting would be the reason? [He says it will be because Democrats “rigged the election.”]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 The People of Aleppo Suffer While States Battle

Where is Aleppo and what is going on there now? [Aleppo is Syria’s biggest city. A war is occurring in Aleppo.]

Until the war is over, what must happen in Aleppo? [Humanitarian aid must be delivered to stop starvation.]

The U.S. and Europe would like Syrian President Assad to be overthrown. Russia supports Assad. True or false? [True.]

The U.S. and the Russians are trying to find a way to work together to defeat the Islamic State (IS). Do readers think presidents Obama and Putin will be able to work together on this issue?

Turkey, Russia, Iran, the U.S. and European nations disagree about whether or not Assad has to go before there can be peace. What do they all agree about? [They all agree the Islamic State is an enemy.]

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Are Jails Without Air-Conditioning ‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment’?

Some jail officials have suggested cooling approaches other than air conditioning. What are some of those other approaches? [Other approaches include cold showers, fans and liquids such as water.]

In some places air-conditioning is viewed as “coddling the prisoners.” What do readers think?

What is the most likely reason why some jails do not have air conditioning? [The most likely reason is that air-conditioning is expensive.]

Do readers believe that if prisoners are made comfortable by air conditioning, they will “want to come back” to jail?

Courts have said that jails must not be too hot or too cold. True or false? [True.]

Monday, August 15, 2016 Migrants in Despair as Promises Not Kept

 Where do the migrants come from? [Syria and Iraq.]

Why are they trying to get to Europe and the United States? [They are escaping war and terror in their home countries.]

Which two countries are key to managing the migrant challenge? [Greece and Turkey.

What was the commitment of the European countries? [It was to provide the staff necessary to process the migrants.]

What do reader’s think should be done?

Friday, August 12, 2016 Medical Marijuana: Federal Government Says ‘No’

The federal government says medical marijuana remains a “Schedule I” drug. What does that mean? [It means that the government believes that marijuana has not been proven to have any currently accepted medical use.]

Doctors cannot prescribe Schedule I drugs. True or false? [True.]

How many states currently allow marijuana for medical uses? [Twenty-five states permit marijuana for medical uses.]

What are some of the health problems for which marijuana provides relief for many people? [Patients with epilepsy and chronic pain have found the drug helpful.]

Do readers use marijuana for medicinal purposes, and if so, do they believe it is helpful?

Although the government will allow more marijuana plants to be grown for research purposes, why is that a change? [Only one university has a license to grow the plants now.]

Thursday, August 11, 2016 Massachusetts Bars Questions About Salary

What has The Commonwealth of Massachusetts done to try to achieve pay equity? [It has established a new pay equity law that precludes information from applicants about prior salary levels.]

What is the purpose of laws in effect about pay equity? [The purpose is to pay men and women equal wages for the same work.]

The state of Massachusetts is trying a new approach to pay equity. What is it? [Job applicants do not have to reveal their salary histories.]

 The article presents one reason why there is pay inequity between men and women. What is that reason? [Women often start their careers at lower salaries than men. Subsequent raises reflect the earlier salaries.]

Do readers agree that salaries should reflect the value of the job itself, and not the salary history of the applicant? Why or why not?

The Massachusetts pay equity law is the first such law in the nation. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Trump Missteps Keep Piling Up

 Trump said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.” [Do readers think he was making a dangerous remark?]

 Why do many voters not like Hillary Clinton? [Many think she is dishonest.]

 Where did Khizr Khan speak? [He spoke at the Democratic Convention.]

 What are critics of Trumps tax plan saying. [His plans favor the rich.]

 What other group joined the chorus speaking out against Trump? [Republican experts on national security.]

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 No Tips for Teachers today

Monday, August 8, 2016 The Growing Pains of China

What are some of the indications that the lives of many Chinese are improving? [Incomes are rising. People want to buy better products and have a better life.]

The article suggests that Chinese people do not seem to like to shop and buy products made in China. Where is a favorite place to shop and buy? [They like to shop in Japan and buy Japanese-made goods.]

The Chinese government believes the solution to their domestic market problem is to make better products to sell at home. Others aren’t so sure this will work. Why not? [Some experts believe that Chinese consumers have lost faith in made-in-China products.]

If Chinese consumers do not trust Chinese products, why should the rest of the world? What do readers think?

Friday, August 5, 2016 At Long Last, the Truth About Flossing Your Teeth

There is a professional group primarily composed of dentists that is worried about your teeth. What is that group? [The group is the American Dental Association (ADA).]

 For more than the last 100 years, the ADA has recommended that people floss their teeth. True or false? [True.]

When the Associated Press (AP) wanted to know if flossing was a good idea, it looked at hundreds of past studies. What did the AP learn? [They learned that the studies were poorly done; that people in the studies did not have fewer cavities or less gum disease; and that flossing was not proven to improve dental health.]

Flossing can irritate, and sometimes even damage, sore gums. True or false? [True.]

Do any readers floss their teeth, and if so, will this article change their flossing habits? How?

Who no longer recommends flossing… the ADA, big companies like Johnson & Johnson or the federal government? [The federal government no longer recommends flossing.]

Thursday, August 4, 2016 Indian Workers Stranded and Starving in Saudi Arabia

 Companies go to places where the wages are low. Where do migrants go? [Migrants go to places where there are jobs.]

Thousands of migrant workers have been recruited and hired to do construction work in Saudi Arabia. Who recruited and hired them? [The workers were recruited and hired by foreign companies selected to manage the building projects.]

There are thousands of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. Most of them are from what other countries? [Most of the migrant workers come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines.]

Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Middle East. True or false? [True.]

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Trump Digging Deeper Into a Black Hole

Donald Trump has made it clear that if he is attacked, he will respond with an even more personal attack. True or false? [True.]

 How did Donald Trump respond when Khizr Kahn said, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one”? [Trump said he said he had sacrificed in building his businesses.]

 What is a “Gold Star” family? [A Gold Star family is one in which a family member has been lost in combat. These families are honored in the U.S.]

 Trump attacked Mrs. Khan for “not speaking.” What did he suggest was the reason for her silence? [He suggested that “she was not allowed to speak.”]

 Trump has said that Senator John McCain was not a hero because he was captured. What do readers think?

Some observers are suggesting that Trump may not really want to be president and that he may want to lose the race. That he does not really want to be president. Do any readers think his candidacy might be a strategy to gain more name recognition and develop new businesses?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 U.S. Courts Supporting the Right to Vote

The Southern states restricted the voting rights of black people. The Voting Rights Act passed by Congress did not change this. True or false? [False.]

A basic element of The Voting Rights Act was that the justice department would oversee the voting laws in certain Southern states. True or false? [True.]

The article says some states are trying again to restrict the voting rights of black people and poor people. What state is described as an example? [North Carolina is described as an example.]

To what does the term “Jim Crow” refer? It means legal segregation. For example, Jim Crow laws in the South sent black people to “colored” water fountains and made black people sit in the back of the bus.

What are some of the changes enacted by the North Carolina legislature that discourage voting? [Changes include discontinuing same-day registration; reducing early voting; restricting out-of-precinct voting; eliminating one Sunday voting day; and excluding student and public assistance photo IDs.]

Monday, August 1, 2016 Trump Waging Battle Against Union in Las Vegas Hotel

A trade union is a group of workers who can bargain with the owner of a business. Workers have a legal right to form a union. True or false? [True.]

Donald Trump is opposing a union formed in a hotel he owns in Las Vegas. What is his stated reason for his opposition? [He says the union was not legally formed.]

Why is Donald Trump’s opposition to the union of his Las Vegas hotel a big story? [It is a big story because, as a candidate for president, Trump says he is a friend of workers.]

Trump went to court to overturn the union elections in his Las Vegas hotel. What then happened? [The federal agency in charge said the result of the election would stand.]

How might Trump’s fight with the union help elect Hillary Clinton as president? [The fight calls into question Trump’s claim that he is for workers.]

Friday, July 29, 2016 America to be Kinder to Central American Refugees

Drugs are a big part of the crime in Central American countries such as Honduras and El Salvador. True or false? [True.]

The article discusses one reason that the U.S gives some people legal refugee status. What is that reason? [People who prove they are fleeing from danger in their home country are given the status of refugees.]

What would families who are trying to reach the U.S. have to prove in order to enter? [Families must prove they are in danger. They must prove they are not terrorists.]

Most steps for entering the country include a rigorous process through the U.S. court system. True or false? [True.]

Do readers think the U.S. should make it easier for refugee families who already have children in the U.S. to be reunited in the U.S.?

Thursday, July 28, 2016 Candidates Out-of-Date on China and Trade

When companies look for places to manufacture their products, they look for low wages. True or false? [True.]

What conditions in China are impacting on China’s economy? [Economic growth is slowing. Jobs are being lost. Unemployment is rising. There is excess capacity. Jobs are going to other countries.]

The article mentions Foxconn, a large company in China that is opening twelve new plants. Where are those new plants? [The new plants are in India.]

What happens when workers don’t want assembly line jobs? [Factories have to offer higher wages to attract workers.]

What is meant in the article by the term “reshoring”? [Reshoring refers to making products in ways that make it possible to bring jobs back to the United States.]

No tips for Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Democrats Go With Hillary Clinton, the Contest Begins

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Drug Addiction Adding to Woes of Immigrants

As described in the article, immigrant Arab and Russian families in New York City are facing a new problem. What is that problem? [The families are dealing with the drug addiction of their children.]

Why does peer pressure play a big role in the addiction problems of immigrant children? [Immigrant children are trying to “fit in.” Some have reported that they started using drugs with their school friends.] 

Within immigrant Arab families and immigrant Russian families in New York City, drug use is a taboo subject. True or false? [True.]

Why do some parents blame doctors for their children’s addictions? [They blame doctors for starting their children on painkillers, which can lead to heroin use.]

Monday, July 25, 2016 Politics: The Week Past, The Week Ahead

The article says Mr. Trump believes America is on a downward path and that he wants to scare people. How is he doing that? [He has raised fears about terrorism, tensions between blacks and the police, and immigrants overrunning America.]

The Democrats meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They will choose Hillary Clinton to run for president. True or false? [True.]

How long has Mrs. Clinton been in public life and what have been some of her public roles during that time? [She has been in public life for forty years, serving as First Lady during the presidency of Bill Clinton, as a senator from New York and as the Secretary of State for President Obama.]

Who has Hillary Clinton chosen to be her vice president? [Her choice is Tim Kaine, the former governor of Virginia and a current senator from Virginia.]

Who is the man who describes Trump as a “sociopath”? [He is the ghostwriter for Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.”

The election is November 8, 2016. Everyone who can vote… should vote. True or false? [True.]

Friday, July 22, 2016 U.S. Lead Coalition Winning the War Against Islamic State

The U.S. is in the fight with ISIS. How many troops does the U.S. have in Iraq? [The U.S. has about 6,000 troops in Iraq.]

What are some of the problems of Saudi Arabia and Jordan? [Saudi Arabia is tied up in Yemen. Jordan has internal security threats and is dealing with thousands of displaced Syrian refugees.]

After recent terrorists’ attacks in Nice, France is stepping up its forces in the Middle East. True or false? [True.]

Recent events in Great Britain and Turkey have made their contributions to the fight with ISIS uncertain. What are those events? [Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. Turkey experienced an attempted coup that failed.]

The article says the biggest problem facing countries in the Middle East is not the military struggle with the Islamic State. What does it say is the biggest problem? [It says that handling the flood of refugees from the fighting is an even bigger problem.]

The ISIS attacks in the West and Arab countries Indicate that the Islamic State is losing ground. True or false? [True.]

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Why Melania Trump’s Speech is Still a Problem

Melania Trump is Donald Trump’s third wife. True or false? [True.]

Melania Trump is being charged with plagiarism. What is plagiarism? [Plagiarism is to take words written or spoken by another person and pretend that you wrote or spoke them.]

Do readers think Melania Trump plagiarized some of her speech at the current Republican convention by using words and phrases used by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic Convention?

What are some of the key issues used by both Melania Trump and Michelle Obama in their speeches? [Both stressed the importance of values, hard work, keeping promises and respectful treatment of others.]

The plagiarism charge makes both supporters and opponents of Trump question if he is competent to govern. What do readers think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 What the Republican Party and Donald Trump Stand For

What is a political “platform?” [A political platform is a statement of guiding principles issued by the political parties.]

Reviewing political platforms will reveal how the parties different from the other. True or false? [True.]

What is a principle presented in the Republican platform that is related to women’s health? [Abortion is banned. There are no exceptions for rape or women’s health.]

What are the principles presented in the Republican platform related to the rights of gay Americans? [Same-sex marriages should not be allowed. Merchants do not have to sell to gay customers.]

The Republican platform says laws must be guided by religion; judges must support “family values;” and there should be no gun control laws. What do readers think?

Donald Trump has said a wall should be built between the U.S. and Mexico; eleven million undocumented people in America should be deported; and all Muslims should be kept out of the country until “we know more.” What do readers think?

Do readers think that if more people have guns, more lives will be saved?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 In Many States, You Can Carry a Gun to Kill Someone

What is the Second Amendment of the American Constitution about? [The Second Amendment says citizens have the right to protect themselves. It is about the “right to bear arms.”]

 This article says that you can walk up and down the street with a gun at your side in some states. What such states are mentioned in the article? [Texas and Louisiana are mentioned as such states.]

What is the N.R.A.? [The N.R.A. is the National Rifle Association.]

The killers in Dallas and Baton Rouge conducted their assaults in a military way. Where did they learn to use weapons? [They learned how to use weapons in the military.]

The killings of unarmed black men by police have sparked public outrage. True or false? [True.]

The Black Lives Matter movement began as a form of peaceful protest. True or false? [True.]

Monday, July 18, 2016 The Week Past, the Week Ahead

Why is there now so much tension between black people and the police? [Recent shootings of black men found to have no weapons on them seems to have caused two black men to shoot and kill policemen.]

 Two recent attacks have resulted in multiple deaths. Where did they take place? [Orlando, Florida and Nice, France.]

 What just happened in Turkey? [An effort to overthrow the government by force failed.]

 Donald Trump just picked a vice-president. What is his name, where is he from, what is current job? [Mike Pence, Indiana, governor.]

Friday, July 15, 2016 The Islamic State is Backing into a Corner

What does the loss of territory mean to the Islamic State? [The loss will damage their ability to plan and to recruit and train new followers.]

An expert has said al-Qaeda was more controlled while the Islamic State is more like a movement. What is one result of that difference? [It will be harder to know what the Islamic State is planning.]

Rather than gain new territories, the Islamic State terrorists have a new plan. What is that plan? [The plan is to terrorize people around the world through bombings and mass shootings.]

An observer suggested that the terrorists might become “something else.” What might that something else be? [They may become a network with branches and cells throughout the world.]

The terrorists say people are still requesting to join the caliphate. How do the terrorists now respond to such requests? [They tell these people to stay at home and wait to do something in their own country.]

Thursday, July 14, 2016 Say Goodbye to the Dentist’s Drill

Silver diamine fluoride (S.D.F.) is a new way to treat cavities. What is it and how is it used? [It is a liquid that is brushed directly onto cavities.]

What is the U.S. brand name for S.D.F.? [The U.S. brand name is Advantage Arrest.]

Studies have shown that S.D.F. can halt the progression of cavities and prevent them. True or false? [True.]

What are some of the major advantages of S.D.F.? [S.D.F. kills the bacteria that cause decay. It does not require drilling or injections to dull the pain of a drilling.]

What is the “downside” to using S.D.F.? [S.D.F. blackens the brownish decay on a tooth, making the decay more visible.]

Do any readers expect to ask their dentists about potentially using S.D.F. treatment for any cavities?

Among 2-to-5 year olds, how many have cavities? [About one out of every four.]

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Do Police Treat Black People Differently than White People? Yes and No

A new study says the police “push around” black people more than they push around white people. True or false? [True.]

What actions are considered “pushing around?” [Pushing around actions include handcuffing, shoving people to the ground, drawing a weapon, using pepper spray and/or using a baton.

The author of the study reported in the article said, “It is the most surprising result of my career.” What is that result? [The result is that police did not shoot at black people more often than they shot at white people; were less likely to shoot at blacks; and were more likely to fire their weapons when the suspects were white.]

How many cities were included in the study? [Cities included Austin and Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; and Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida.

In general, police do not use their guns. What is one of the reasons for the relatively low number of shootings? [Firing a weapon is traumatic for police officers.]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 A Bad New World for Migrants in Great Britain

What were considered essential benefits that the European Union gave to its members? [People from any E.U. country could move to any other member country. There were would be no borders and no passports.]

Many immigrants from Poland chose to settle in what new country? [A good many moved to Great Britain.]

As the number of Polish immigrants in Boston, Great Briton grew, what else grew? [Resentment against the Poles grew.]

What other “tribal” wars are mentioned in the article to remind us that current hostilities are not new to the world? [The article mentions struggles between Sunni and Shia Muslims, Irish Catholics and Protestants, and Balkan battles over ethnicity and religion.]

Do readers agree that it does not take much for human beings to develop resentment, bigotry and hostility toward others? Why or why not?

Monday, July 11, 2016 Police Killings in Dallas Put Nation on Edge

A recent march in Dallas was intended to protest the killings of unarmed black men. A lone killer fired shots. Who died and who was injured by those shots? [Five policemen died. Seven other police officers and two bystanders were injured.]

The killer was a an army veteran. True or false? [True.]

In the past few years, police have killed a number of unarmed black men. Do readers believe that the police are more likely to kill an unarmed black man than a white, Asian or Hispanic man?

Some suggestions are made in the article to improve the current crises among police and their communities. What are some of those suggestions? [Suggestions include better mental health services, better checks on gun ownership and community censorship of extreme language and actions.]

Friday, July 8, 2016 One Last Chance to Defeat Trump Before the Election

When and where will the Republican Convention be held? [It starts on July 18, 2016 and will take place in Cleveland, Ohio.]

Donald Trump is definitely going to be the Republican candidate for president. True or false? [Well, maybe.]

The rules committee can “unbind the delegates.” What does that mean? [It means that the committee can pass a rule making every delegate free to vote for anyone on the first round of votes.]

At the convention, if no one gets the required number of needed votes in the first round, what happens? [Most delegates then are free to vote for whomever they want in the second round.]

The Rules Committee has 112 members. How many committee votes are needed to place a motion before the full convention? [Only 28 votes are needed.]

Who are some of the groups that have been offended by Donald Trump? [The groups include women, Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants, the handicapped, a war hero, Jews and all the candidates who ran against him.]

Thursday, July 7, 2016, F.B.I. Clears Hillary Clinton of Criminal Charges

The U.S. Secretary of State can send private emails, but those emails must not include classified information. True or false? [True, although it is not clear that this is a good idea.]

The F.B.I. said Mrs. Clinton’s emails did include some classified information. Why did the F.B.I. not indict her? [The F.B.I. said she did not do so in a way that was criminal.]

Mrs. Clinton is free to campaign without worry of an indictment. Now, what is her problem? [Mrs. Clinton’s reputation is in danger over whether her answers about the emails were honest or not honest. Her judgment is also in question ]

Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Terrorism Growing as Terrorists Lose Land

 Some experts believe that hatred and suspicion of others is becoming a part of politics in Western countries including the U.S. What do readers think?

Terrorists are attacking some of the countries that have helped them grow. Where have such attacks taken place? [Attacks have taken place in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.]

The Islamic terrorists are saying that you must not work with the West. They say that if you do, they will go after you. True or false? [True.]

What might be a U.S.-related reason why the Islamic State is losing ground in Iraq and Syria? [The U.S. is getting important intelligence information to make targeted strikes in those countries.]

Terrorist leaders say they are building cells of terrorist recruits in Western cities. Will readers change the way they live?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 U.S. Having Trouble Deporting Immigrant Criminals

If you commit a crime in this country, you go on trial. If you are guilty of that crime, you go to jail. It does not matter if you are a legal or undocumented immigrant. True or false? [True.]

Why would countries say that they do not want to take back ex-convict immigrants? [They do not want these kinds of people back. They may have few resources to deal with criminals.]

What American institution has ruled that detainees cannot be held for an indefinite period of time? [The U.S. Supreme Court has so ruled.]

How many months do immigration people have to return ex-convict immigrants to their home countries? [The return must occur within six months of detaining the immigrant.]

What are some of the countries that make it hard for the U.S. to return criminal immigrants? [Such countries include India, China, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.]

What is a strategy the U.S. can take to encourage other countries to accept returning immigrants? [The U.S. can deny visas to people trying to come to America from those countries.]

More than 8,000 immigrants with criminal convictions have been released in the last few years. Approximately how many of them had been charged with murder? [At least one hundred had been so charged.]

Monday, July 2, 2016 America Declares War on England

What happened on July 4, 1776? [Men from the 13 North American colonies met in Pennsylvania and signed a Declaration of Independence.]

What rights did the Declaration of Independents grant to all men? [The document said all men have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”]

The American Constitution has changed little since it was enacted in 1787. True or false? [False. There have been many actions to extend the Constitution’s liberties to everyone in America.]

What event at the start of the 21st century has been described as the start of the assault on Western values? [The attack on the World Trade Center in New York City has been so described.]

What is meant by the word “caliphate?” [Caliphate describes a world governed by terrorists’ understanding of the teachings of the Muslim religion.]

The vast majority of Muslims reject the terrorists ‘view of Muslim teachings. True or false? [True.]

Friday, July 1, 2016 Trump Taking Any Position He Needs To

Trump has said about many of his statements, “This is just a suggestion.” [What do readers think?]

Do readers think there should be a ban against people coming from countries where there is terrorism? [Why or why not?]

Do readers think Trump supports abortion rights? [Why or why not?]

Trump said that if abortion was illegal, women who got one should face some sort of “punishment.” He then said the doctor, not the woman, should face punishment. [What do readers think?]

 Trump has said he is against same-sex marriage. Then he said people should “love who they want and express their identity.” [What do readers think?]

 Trump said, “I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” He also called for killing of families of terrorists. [What do readers think?]

Trump says, “We are playing with two sets of rules — their rules and our rules.” [What do readers think he means by this statement?]

Thursday, June 30, 2016 Venezuela — the Next Crisis

Venezuela’s economy has counted on the country’s large reserves of oil. Why is this now a problem? [The price of oil has dropped worldwide.]

Hunger can create terror for people who do not have food. True or false? [True.]

Why should Venezuela not be having a food crisis? [Venezuela has huge farms and ranches, an infrastructure for processing food and a system of getting food to stores.]

The Venezuelan government says it is not responsible for the food shortage. Who do they blame for the shortage? [The government blames the shortage on foreign and domestic “enemies.”]

What actions by President Hugo Chávez contributed to the country’s current financial crises? [He spent the country’s oil money and borrowed money to help the poor. He weakened the middle class.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Can the Government Make Us Eat Good Food?

What are the two poor health conditions mentioned in the article as being related to diet? [The two health conditions are obesity and diabetes.]

What was the first goal of the American food programs begun in the Great Depression? [The first goal was to help American farmers get rid of their surplus crops.]

Programs to feed women, infants and children focus the food of low-income families and the importance of nutrition. True or false? [True.]

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) works well for big stores like Walmart. Why does it not work so well for small convenience stores and bodegas? [Smaller stores have difficulty carrying more produce and fresh foods.]

Do readers think the government should be able to tell lower-income people what to eat? Why or why not?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Millions of People are in Servitude; Millions More are on the Move

 What are some of the definitions of ‘modern slavery? [Human trafficking, forced labor, arranged marriages.]

 What country has the most ‘modern slaves?’ [India.]

 Are most migrants still living in their countries or have they left? [Most are still living in their countries.]

 True or false, the vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union was partly due to migrants coming to that country? [True.]

Monday, June 27, 2016 Immigration in the News

What did the Supreme Court do? [It said the president could not protect the undocumented parents of American-born children. He also could not protect a larger group of “Dreamers.”]

Is the president’s program for removing criminals working? [Yes and no. Children and ordinary undocumented people are still being removed, alongside criminals.]

Birth control and abortion services are being offered to all refugees. True or False? [False, some youngsters in Catholic operated shelters are not getting the services.]

Asians are joining Latinos at pro-immigration rallies. Is there a problem? [A small one. The Korean language, for example, does not lend itself to easy-to-use cheers and shouts.]

Thursday, June 23, 2016 Birth Control Now Available Over the Internet

 It is safe and legal for doctors to prescribe birth control pills and other contraceptives through easy-to-use apps. True or false? [True.]

Out of every ten pregnancies in the U.S., how many are likely to be unintended? Experts say four out of the ten are unintended.]

Companies doing birth control business over the Internet try to be responsible by what kinds of actions? [They ask women about their health. M.D.s and other health professionals write the prescriptions.]

App birth control providers can prescribe what kinds of birth control devices? [Prescriptions can be provided for birth control pills, patches, rings and morning-after pills.]

Before reading the article, were any readers aware of the availability of birth control apps, and if so, have they tried to obtain birth control through any such an app?

What are some of the different rules found among the birth control app websites? [Some may not serve all the states. Some may have fees. Some serve different age groups.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Firearms in the United States: The Senate Fails to Act

What is the weapon that killed 49 patrons at a club and 20 children in a school? [Both of the weapons were AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.]

Some people say the National Rifle Association (NRA) “owns” Congress. They say the NRA. does this with contributions of money and threats of reprisal in elections. True or false? [True.]

Do readers believe some people should not be able to own semi-automatic weapons, and if so, whom do they think should not be allowed such ownership?

What is the suggested relationship between the (in)actions of Congress and the successes of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the primary elections? [People are frustrated that Congress has not taken steps to protect citizens. The successes of Sanders and Trump reflect that frustration.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 Trump Finding New Way to Ban Muslims

Donald Trump has proposed banning all people from some countries with a Muslim population. What do readers think?

How might Congress could make it hard to carry out a presidential order on immigration? [Congress could refuse to approve the money needed to carry out the order.]

 How might other countries react to an American ban on their citizens? [They could, in turn, ban U.S. citizens from entering their countries.]

Who might be barred from entering the U.S. under a ban? [Foreign tourists, business people, athletes and performers? Others?]

 The people of what countries are most likely to be affected by the new proposed Trump ban? [The ban would likely affect people from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.]

It is likely that the threat of terrorism will be over soon. True or false? [False.]

Monday, June 20, 2016 Does Congress Care About the Will of the People? 

What weapon was used to kill 49 people in Orlando, Florida and 20 children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut? [The weapons used in both massacres were AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.]

What is the intended purpose of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle? [Its purpose is to kill people in battle.]

What are two of the groups that the U.S. Congress would like to keep from getting semi-automatics rifles? [Such groups include those on F.B.I watch lists and those who are on ‘no-fly’ lists.]

Most Americans say they think anyone who owns a weapon should have to have passed a background check. What do readers think?

The Supreme Court and the National Rifle Association maintain that the Second Amendment means that gun ownership is a basic freedom to which everyone is entitled. What do readers think?

Most states make it easy to own rifles, but not semi-automatic rifles. It is very hard to own handguns in many states. True or false? [True.]

 How would a federal law banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons affect the sale of such weapons at the state level? [It would make it illegal to sell or buy these weapons in any state.]

Friday, June 17, 2016 Coffee is Good for You – Do Not Ask Why

Coffee seems to reduce the risk of developing what diseases? [Coffee seems to reduce the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, brain disorders, chronic liver disease and some cancers, including liver cancer and uterine cancer.]

How many daily cups of coffee now is considered part of a healthy diet? [Three to five cups a day.]

What benefit does decaffeinated coffee seem to present? [It also seems to lower rates of chronic disease.]

What is the risk associated with “very hot beverages”? [Studies have found that it could lead to throat cancer.]

No one can say why coffee is good for you because the studies do not show cause and effect. True or false? [True.]

Moderation in all things, including diet and exercise, provides the best chance for good health. Do readers agree?

Thursday, June 16, 2016 What ‘Non-disparagement’ and ‘Arbitration’ Mean to Workers and Consumers 

Disparagement means to say something bad about something or somebody. True or False? [True.]

 What is a reason companies make workers sign such an agreement that is mentioned in the article? [They are hiring foreign worker to replace American workers.]

 What is arbitration? A dispute is decided on a case-by-case basis.

 Why do banks and credit card companies require people to sign them? [They protect companies from class actions that allow people to join together to sue the companies.]

 How do readers feel about these practices?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 What ‘Brexit’ is About

When are Britain’s going to vote on whether to stay in the European Union (EU)? [The vote is next Thursday, June 23, 2016.]

What was the primary goal of the Common Market and now is the primary goal of the European Union? [The goals are that there never be another war in Europe.]

Currently, how many countries are members of the EU? [There currently are 28 members of the EU.]

What is the common currency of the EU? [The euro (€) is the common currency,]

What are the two events currently challenging the European Union? [Problems include financial difficulties in some EU countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal. Mass migration from the Middle East and Africa is another major problem.]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Orlando Massacre: Mental Illness and Guns

Recently, 49 victims were killed and 53 were wounded in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Most of the people in the club were gays or lesbians. True or false? [True.]

What “facts” do we know about the killer at this time? [He was born in America. His parents emigrated from Afghanistan. He earned a community college degree in criminal justice technology. He was 29 years old. He was a court security guard. He had an ex-wife and a child.]

The weapon used in the Orlando massacre was an AK-15 assault rifle that fires many rounds. The Second Amendment allows people to own one. What do readers think?

Donald Trump say the shooting means he was right to want to ban Muslim immigrants. Do readers think Trump is correct?

The article states that, in this case, mental illness and the easy access to weapons were the likely causes of the massacre. At this point, there is no proof that the Orlando killer was a Muslim terrorist. What do readers think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Money and Lower-Income People in the News

Payday lenders charge very high interest rates on loans. What can be the unfortunate outcome of a payday loan? [Borrowers sometimes have to borrow more to pay off older loans. That means they remain in debt.]

Why are banks not part of the solution to the needs to low-income borrowers? [It costs banks too much to make small loans.]

Have any readers recently tried to send money back home, and if so, what was their experience?

New York State does not allow payday lending or loans obtained from out-of-state banks. True or false? [True.]

A group called “The Faith for Just Lendingis guided by biblical bans on usury. How is the group trying to lessen the problem of high-interest rate borrowings? [They are setting up funds for low-interest lending. They are teaching people how to manage their money.]

Are readers familiar with the play/movie “Fiddler on the Roof” and do they know who Tevye is?

Monday, June 13, 2016 The Undocumented – Waiting and Watching

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have different approaches to dealing with the undocumented in the United States. What are those different approaches? [Donald Trump wants the undocumented to leave the U.S. Hillary Clinton supports a path to citizenship for the undocumented.]

What are the two orders issued by President Obama that involve the undocumented? [One order is targeted to undocumented parents who have children born in American. The other order is targeted to undocumented young people.]

Assuming a president has the power to issue orders, what is the potential danger of that action? [If a president can issue an order, a subsequent president can reverse that order.]

People for and against immigration reform spoke out recently when two young women graduated from a high school in Texas. What was unique about these two young women? [They are undocumented. They also are their class valedictorians.]

The people most against immigration reform are older, less educated white males. The people most supportive of immigration reform are younger and more educated. True or false? [True.]

Why is the Hispanic turnout in the presidential election so important? [A big turnout by Hispanics could shape the vote and decide the election.]

Friday, June 10, 2016 Israel Suspends Ramadan Travel Permits After Attack in Tel Aviv

What is Ramadan, when does it occur and what are Muslims supposed to do during Ramadan? [Ramadan is a Muslim holy month; it occurs in June; and it is a time for visiting relatives.]

Some dispute Israel’s place in the West Bank. What do they some call the Israeli presence? [They call it “the Israeli occupation.”]

Recently, there was an attack in a Tel Aviv restaurant. The two killers are Palestinian cousins from the West Bank town Hebron. True or false. [True.]

Do readers agree that countries, including Israel, have the right to defend themselves?

What happened when Israel turned over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians? [Hamas took control and sent rockets into Israel.]

When did Israel become a nation? [Israel became a nation in 1948.]

Thursday, June 9, 2016 President of Syria Vows to Retake ‘Every Inch’ of Syria

The president of Syria is a dictator who controls only a small part is his country. What is his name? [His name is Bashar al-Assad.]

When Assad’s troops opened fire on the Syrian people, how did the people respond? [The people resisted Assad’s armed forces with armed force their own.]

As a result of the Syrian civil war, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are dead, wounded or have become refugees. True or false? [True.]

Some experts criticize the U.S. for failures in dealing with Assad. What are some of those criticisms? [The U.S. failed to arm Assad’s enemies. It failed to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons.]

As stated in the article, who are the “real” victims of the Syrian conflict? [Real victims are civilians who are not receiving humanitarian aid, and who are starving and dying.]

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 Where Conservatives Are In Charge

What is one reason that state legislatures are busier than ever? [They are places that respond to conservative causes.]

Why do many conservatives believe that they need the protection of state governments? [Many conservatives feel that the federal courts no longer protect their rights.]

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rove vs. Wade ruled that abortion was legal. True or false? [True.]

The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education ruled that segregation in schools was not legal. True or false? [True.]

The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges ruled that states could not ban same-sex marriages. True or false? [True.]

The Supreme Court rulings mentioned in the article were not easy for some people to accept. Why is that? [Some people believe the rulings are against their moral or religious beliefs.]

Some state legislatures have passed laws banning abortions on medical grounds. There is a good chance that federal courts will find those laws violate the Constitution. What do readers think?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Payday Loan Industry Under Attack

The federal government wants to make it harder for lenders to give payday loans. What does the government want lenders to do? [It wants lenders to ensure borrowers have the income to pay back the loans.]

What does it mean to “roll over” a loan? [A “roll over” loan occurs when a borrower can pay back only part of what he owes and then has to borrow more money.]

What is the average weekly interest rate on payday loans? [The interest rate is usually about 15 percent a week.]

Until recently, the states made decisions about regulating the payday loan industry. What approaches have some of them taken? [Some states have banned payday loans. Some states have limited interest rates and imposed other restrictions.]

For some people, some of the time, a payday loan may be their only option for getting money. True or false? [True.]

Monday, June 6, 2016 Senator McCain Supports Donald Trump – No Matter the Insult

What was Donald Trump’s response when John McCain, a long-time senator from Arizona, was referred to as a hero? [Trump said, “McCain’s not a war hero… He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”]

Senator McCain is supporting Trump for president. Why would he do that? [To win re-election in conservative Arizona, McCain needs the votes of Trump supporters and other conservative Republicans.]

What are some of the reasons that Latinos might not want to support Donald Trump [Trump wants to deport immigrants. He talks dismissively about Latinos. He wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.]

Donald Trump says the judge who is hearing the case against Trump University cannot be fair. What is the reason he gives for this statement? [Trump says the judge cannot be fair because he is of Mexican heritage (the judge was born in Indiana)].

Do readers believe some Arizona Latinos will not vote for John McCain because of his support of Donald Trump?

It is likely that some candidates running for office feel they have to support Donald Trump in order to be elected. True or false? [Probably true.]

Friday, June 3, 2016 The Battle for Fallujah is On

Fallujah is an Iraqi city. What fighting is occurring there now? [Iraqi forces are battling Islamic State (IS) fighters.]

After the U.S. left Iraq at the end of 2011, what did the Iraqi Shiite-led government begin to do? [The government began to turn the country into a Shiite nation.]

The Sunnis in Fallujah are trying to escape from Iraq. How is IS treating them? [IS is using them as civilian shields and forcing many to fight on IS’s behalf.]

Ali Sistani is the Grand Ayatollah of Iraq and the top Shiite cleric. In 2014 he asked Shiite men to take up arms against IS. What was the result? [IS was not removed. Cruel treatment of Sunnis increased.]

The Grand Ayatollah now says he does not want sectarian killings between Sunnis and Shiites. True or false? [True.]

Thursday, June 2, 2016 Is Breakfast the Only Way to Start the Day?

You should always eat breakfast even if you are not hungry. True or false? [False.]

Studies of the value of breakfast sometimes can be influenced by the funding source of the study. What are some examples of such sources? [Sources have included cereal companies and nutrition programs.]

What is a control group in a research study? [A control group includes one set of participants who receive the research item (e.g. food, medication) and another set of participants who do not receive the research item. The groups have to be alike in other respects.]

Who should eat breakfast? [People who are hungry in the morning should eat breakfast.]

Why should children who come to school hungry use school breakfast programs? [It is much harder for children to learn on an empty stomach.]

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Early Look at Trump’s Chances in the Presidential Election

Each state has a certain number of “electoral” votes. How is each state’s number of these votes determined? [The votes are the number of the Congressional districts in the state plus two senators.]

How many electoral votes are required to become president? [270 electoral votes are required.]

What are the “battleground” states that are most likely to influence the outcome of the election? [The battleground states are Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arizona.]

Experts believe that voter turnout will be the most important factor in deciding who wins the presidential election. True or false? [True.]

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 The Global Economy and the Rise of Populism

What global events have contributed to the rise of populist political parties? [Most Western nations are not thriving. Global migration is surging.]Populism used to mean that the government should serve the people. What does populism mean now? [It means rallying people against the government.]

The article says populism is rising in the United States. What are some causes of the rise? [Causes include uncertainty about jobs and income. An fear of migrants depressing wages.]

Outsourcing American work and jobs can produce benefits. What, and for whom, are those benefits? [Millions of workers in Asia and Africa make much more money and are no longer poor.]

What does the new book “Global Inequality” say about the middle-class in modern nations? [The book says the middle-class in such nations is getting smaller.]

What are some signs that a government is leaning toward populism? [The government wants to reduce trade, to protect workers and to reduce reliance on free markets.]

Monday, May 30, 2016 We Have Met the Enemy, it is – Saudi Arabia

What is “Wahhabism?” [Wahhabism is a Saudi belief that if people do not follow a strict Muslim regimen, it is permissible to harm or kill them.]

Most of terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in New York City were Saudis. True or false? [True.]

Wahhabism is taking place in Kosovo. What is Kosovo? [Kosovo is a small Balkan nation of 1.8 million people. Its religion is Muslim.]

The U.S. freed Kosovo from Serbia with the hope of creating a new democracy. What isthe hope of Saudi Arabia? [The Saudis hoped to spread Wahhabism and make Kosovo a radical Islamic society.]

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