The film 1971 is receiving a screening at the American Film Institute's documentary film festival, AFI DOCS, in Washington. It’s about a group of anti-war activists who broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Media, Pennsylvania, and changed the course of government surveillance.
The files they stole and mailed to journalists exposed rampant domestic surveillance, and led to the formation of the Church Committee, which ultimately led to the FISA court.
Those involved in the break-in practiced lock picking and swore off home phones to stay anonymous. But decades later identities have been revealed.
Click the audio player above to hear two of the involved activists, John and Bonnie Raines, in conversation with host of Marketplace Tech Ben Johnson.
The Raines' were unsure of what they would find in the FBI files, but they quickly discovered many that were damaging in terms of actions to intimidate anyone critical of government policy.
As to their ability to escape cature and remain anonymous for so long, John Raines credits the vastly different technological landscape.
"We were lucky to do this in an era of relative primitivism in terms of the technology of surveillance,” says Raines.
The head of American Apparel, Dov Charney, has been sacked, the board announced in a statement.
Charney built American Apparel – the clothing line known for its racy ad campaigns and emphasis on American-made products – out of a tshirt business in his dorm room at Tufts University. He was an outspoken opponent of sweatshop labor and a prominent advocate for immigration reform.
He was also a weird guy.
“It’s important that every generation there’s going to be people that push boundaries, and those are my people,” Charney told Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal in an interview earlier in 2014. Ryssdal asked Charney what his biggest weakness was, to which he replied: “my biggest weakness is me, lock me up already. It’s obvious! Put me in a cage, I’ll be fine. You know, I’m my own worst enemy. But what can you do, I was born strange.”
Charney has been the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging sexual harassment or mistreatment, including one alleged incident where he rubbed dirt in the face of a store manager. All of the suits, which Charney and American Apparel have previously said were frivolous attempts at extracting money, have been dismissed or settled.
The board, it would appear, got tired of either the negative attention, or Charney’s personal idiosyncrasies, or both. In any case, some event appears to have given them what they needed to make a move; the board cited an “ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.”
For now, the company’s CFO John Luttrell is taking over as interim CEO.
But succession is often difficult for large companies.
“Think about what you learned in history or the Bible,” says Joseph Bower, Baker Foundation professor at Harvard Business School. “How often were successions smooth, as opposed to how often did sons kill fathers, fathers kill sons, wars happen.”
Plus, it’s not every CEO that is cooperative. “Succession is also about power, and you’re asking someone to give up power,” he says.
Whoever takes over American Apparel for the long haul will have a difficult challenge. The company posted a net loss of $106.3 million in 2013, a $ 5.5 million loss for the first quarter of 2014, and is selling $30.5 million in stock to pay its debts.
American Apparel also noted that the change in management may have triggered a default, a status it is negotiating with creditors.
According to a new NPR poll, in the 12 states with competitive Senate races this fall, only 38 percent of likely voters said they approved of the way the president is handling his job.
A controversial practice to tie, hold down or seclude agitated students mostly impacts kids with disabilities. Schools say it's for safety, but opponents say it's dangerous and a civil rights issue.
You’re a high-school senior applying to a competitive college where the SAT and ACT are optional. You want to skip the test, but your inner nag says, “if you don’t submit your scores, you’re not getting in.”
Starting in the fall, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, won’t look at your scores, even if you do submit them. Not for admissions, or to evaluate students for scholarships. The small, liberal-arts college used to make test scores optional.
It was hardly alone. Since 2005 the list of schools switching to test-optional admissions keeps growing. There are 150 top- tier schools on the list now.
But scrapping standardized tests completely can come with a cost. Sarah Lawrence College in New York, stopped collecting SAT scores in 2005 from applicants, but went back to doing it in 2012. Without those stats, it was removed from the U.S. News & World Report college rankings.
In explaining their decision, Hampshire administrators went for the well-worn arguments about the tests’ bias against low-income and disadvantaged students. Administrators also pointed to what they believe is an over reliance on tests, in general, as a means of evaluation:
At Hampshire, students receive detailed evaluations from professors rather than letter grades. Classroom discussions, written work, and projects are evaluated. But not, according to the school, “ through the use of “tests” in the traditional sense.”
Hampshire’s move comes not long before the debut of a revamped SAT in 2016. The new test will put more focus on demonstrating knowledge and skills that the College Board —the test’s creator—believes are most important for college and career readiness.
Federal officials have struck a deal to detain unaccompanied migrant children at an empty college in Lawrenceville, a town of 1,400 people. But local pushback has put the plan on hold.