Ukraine, Cliven Bundy, Edward Snowden, Hank Aaron

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Our first topic is the ongoing situation in Ukraine. This week, armed pro-Russian militia took control of several government buildings in eastern Ukraine, which Ukraine later took back. But it seems clear that Moscow is behind this latest aggression. Clearly, the sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Crimea have not kept Vladimir Putin at bay. So what do we do now? Continue reading

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Gender Wage Gap, Immigration, Mass Violence

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This week marked “Equal Pay Day,” and Congress celebrated by considering and rejecting the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have addressed the so-called gender wage gap–the difference in average pay between men and women. Is the gender wage gap due to bias against women, or are there other explanations?

President Obama also took action on the gender pay gap, signing two executive orders, one of which bars federal contractors from punishing employees who discuss their pay with each other. Now, apart from the gender pay issue, is it smart to let workers discuss compensation with each other? Could it lead to discord in the workplace?

Also this week, former Florida governor and possible Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush caused controversy by calling illegal immigration an “act of love” on the part of the immigrants trying to support their families. Border hawks criticized the remark, saying that breaking immigration law is not an act of love. Is Bush right or wrong?

Finally, we witnessed this week yet another instance of mass violence in America when a teenager went on a stabbing rampage in a Pennsylvania high school. It came less than a week after a soldier opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas. This kind of scene has become all too familiar in the United States. Why are such incidents more common here in America, and what, if anything, can be done about them?

Democratic consultant Mathews Pierson, conservative activist Fredrick Mckinley, and Nick Brana (formerly of the Terry McAuliffe campaign) debate these issues.

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McCutcheon, IPCC, Obamacare, Mozilla CEO

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First up this week is the big decision from the Supreme Court. In McCutcheon vs. FEC, the court struck down limits on the amounts individuals may donate each cycle to candidates, parties, and political action committees, although it left in place limits for individuals to specific candidates. Critics of the decision claim that it’s the death knell for democracy in America, but defenders say it upholds free speech.

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Hobby Lobby case, Obamacare, college athletes, Ron Paul

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The biggest story this week was the high-profile case at the Supreme Court that pitted women’s access to contraception against the religious rights of business owners. The owners of arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby have petitioned for an exemption from Obamacare’s mandate to provide contraception because of the owners’ religious beliefs. The government argues that for-profit corporations have no right to restrict their employees’ access to birth control. Which party is being wronged? Continue reading

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Russia, Common Core, Nate Silver, Ban Bossy

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The Square Circle will be discussing the ongoing situation involving Russia and Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea this week over the protests of America and the West. President Obama’s options are limited, and countries like China, Iran, and North Korea are surely watching closely how the U.S. reacts to Russian aggression. What does this episode portend for U.S. foreign policy over the rest of Obama’s term? Continue reading

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Topics for The Square Circle?

We’d like to request your help. We’re having trouble coming up with topics for The Square Circle this week.

It’s a rather slow news week. Obviously, there’s the ongoing story of the missing Malaysian jetliner, but there’s no real policy angle on it. There’s the situation in Crimea, but we’ve discussed it on the last two shows.

Some other possiblities:

  • St. Patrick’s Day parade: gay groups uninvited, major sponsors pull out
  • Common Core education standards facing resistance, Bill Gates comments

If you have any suggestions, please post them on our Facebook page.

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Ukraine, CIA, Paul Ryan, Sharyl Attkisson

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The situation in Ukraine continues to escalate. After Russia invaded Crimea, claiming to protect its population from what it called a Ukrainian coup, a referendum will be held to determine the fate of the Crimean Peninsula. Meanwhile, President Obama is talking tough, but little action has followed. Is this a sign of American weakness, or is it prudent of the president to keep a safe distance from the situation? Continue reading

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