Tag: sentencing

Background Briefing: March 11, 2019


Did Software in Conflict with Human Control Cause the 737 MAX 8 Crashes?

We begin with the second crash of the new Boeing 737 Max 8 which has advanced software know as MACS – Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an anti-stall protection where sensors detect the plane’s AOA – Angle Of Attack leading to a possible stall forcing the autopilot to intervene and push the plane’s nose down. This series of events apparently caused the recent crash of the Lion Air 737 Max 8 in Indonesia which killed 189 people and might be the cause of Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157. James Fallows, an award-winning author and national correspondent for The Atlantic joins us to discuss his latest article at The Atlantic, “Is It Time to Worry About the Boeing 737 Max 8?: No one knows for sure – but here is where experts will be looking for clues.” With 4,761 orders for the plane, Boeing must now have concerns about cancellations, and of the 350 737 Max 8 aircraft in operation worldwide flown by 54 airlines, a few carriers have grounded their fleets while most are flying the aircraft and are confident in its safety. Insufficient training to override MACS software may have caused the crashes, but if it’s a case of software and automation in conflict with human control, then the bigger issue of reliance on robotics and autonomous vehicles comes into play.


Manafort Got off Light, but Us Sentencing Is Harsh

Then we speak with one of the country’s leading experts on sentencing policy, race and the criminal justice system, Marc Mauer, the Executive Director of the Sentencing Project and author of “Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences”. He joins us to discuss how Manafort’s light sentence might bring a needed focus to the disparity between the sentencing of rich white men compared to poor minority offenders, but with sentences in the U.S. so extremely harsh, perhaps we can also look at most advanced countries where you would have to kill somebody to get a 20 year sentence, whereas in the U.S. 20-year sentences for drug crimes are handed out every day of the week.


A Critique of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy

Then finally we get a critique of the foreign policies put forward by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and speak with Daniel Bessner, a professor in American foreign policy at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He joins us to discuss his article at The Nation “Foreign Policy Beyond Good and Evil: Even Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have fallen victim to a simplistic vision of world affairs”.