The Alyona Show: Looking out for Number 1
This weekend China announced in very vague terms, that it would allow greater flexibility to the value of its currency. The yuan had been pegged to the dollar since 2008, a policy that many critiqued as giving China an unfair trade advantage. But have hopes been riding too high on this move? Some would say it's just a political step, carefully timed before this week's G20 summit in Toronto. Alyona talks to Gregory White from the Business Insider.
Then, ICE prisons, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, are facilities that few Americans realize exist. In 2008, Jame Pendergraph, director of ICE's office of State and Local Coordination, said these chilling words: "If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally, but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." And that's exactly what happens: Many people are detained for years while seeking asylum from persecution from their home countries. So Corrections Corporation of America, the largest contractor for ICE, has come up with an agreement to soften confinement, free of charge, at nine facilities, so that those detained could wear their own clothes, participate in movie and bingo nights, eat continental breakfasts, and celebrate holidays with visiting family members. But then will ICE be too nice? The prison guard union definitely thinks so. Alyona talks to Tre Rebstock, president of the Local ICE union in Houston, Texas.
Later, owing money in America, is not a crime; debtors prisons were abolished in the US in the 19th century. And yet these days, people are routinely being thrown into prison for failing to pay debts and some people seem to be on board with the program. Enforcement varies from state to state, county to county. During a recession, what does that mean when poverty becomes criminalized? Alyona talks to Deborah Poplawski, who was thrown in jail over a $250 credit card debt.
Finally, Barack Obama used an address on Fathers' Day to present the multi-pronged, nationwide Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, which will include a Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund -- one that will support programs ranging from job training to parenting skills to domestic violence prevention. Most of all, he called for responsibility. But did he do enough do address the issue of race? Alyona discusses this with Christopher Chambers, Georgetown University professor and the author of the blog Nat Turner's Revenge.