College athletic programs are facing a number of efforts to change the way they function, including a “pay to play” push.

The University of Minnesota hosts an event Tuesday night about the impact this type of reform would have on college sports.

On The Daily Circuit, we’ll discuss the issue with the University of Minnesota Deputy Athletic Director Beth Goetz. What are the possible payment plans up for debate and what are their implications for athletes, schools and businesses?

Today’s Question: Should college athletes get paid?

 

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Researchers say there’s plenty the beef industry can do to use less land and water and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions. But producers may need to charge a premium to make those changes. iStockphoto.com

“If you’ve got decisions to make at the meat counter (or at a burger joint) and want to do right by the environment, you have a couple of options,” writes NPR’s Eliza Barclay.

“You could skip the beef entirely, which is what some environmental groups say you should do. Or you could go for meat with a ‘grass-fed’ or ‘organic’ label.

“But a handful of researchers allied with the meat industry say that that those labels don’t actually tell you much about how a producer is raising animals, nor are they really representative of the best environmental practices in the industry.”

Jude Capper, an animal sciences researcher-turned-consultant, has written that “niche production systems” like grass-fed or organic aren’t nearly as efficient as conventional, intensive systems. She says that’s mainly because conventional producers now know how to get more meat out of fewer cows, which ultimately means using less water and land per pound of meat than smaller, niche producers.

That’s a controversial point of view, of course. A lot of environmental (and animal welfare) advocates have railed against industrial beef production as dirty, resource-intensive and inhumane. It’s a huge industry, and even if it’s a lot more efficient than it used to be, its impact on the planet is still massive. Livestock producers have also lately been accused of ignoring pleas to better manage their waste and curb antibiotic use.

But since the beef industry isn’t going to vaporize any time soon — the U.S. produced 26 billion pounds of beef in 2013 alone — there’s a growing movement around the idea of “sustainable” industrial beef. [Read more]

Today’s Question: Should beef carry an ‘environmental impact’ label?

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The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

Legal scholars and courts have been wrangling for more than a year over whether the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records — a program first disclosed to the public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 — violates those protections. Some legal experts disagree over whether the record collection even qualifies as a search or seizure, and, if it does, whether collecting those records is “unreasonable” or requires a warrant.

In a recent Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, two teams of constitutional law experts faced off on the motion “Mass Collection of U.S. Phone Records Violates The Fourth Amendment.” In these Oxford-style debates, the team that sways the most people to its side by the end is the winner.

Today’s Question: Does the mass collection of phone records violate the Fourth Amendment?

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For the first time Minneapolis is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day. In April, the city renamed the holiday commonly known as Columbus Day: “We discovered Columbus, lost on our shores, sick, destitute, and wrapped in rags. We nourished him to health, and the rest is history,” said Lakota activist Bill Means. “He represents the mascot of American colonialism in Read more