Thousands of students protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court calling to preserve affirmative action; Democrats accuse House Republicans of slashing $15 billion in veterans benefits in favor of tax cuts for the rich: We look at the new House budget; Fragging returns to the frontlines: A U.S. Army Sgt. kills two fellow soldiers in grenade attack in first fragging case since Vietnam
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:11-8:15: Thousands of students from across the country are in Washington today where the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases. Students from more than 200 colleges and universities are expected at today's pro-affirmative action rally organized by students at Howard University. More than six dozen buses have come from Detroit and Ann Arbor alone. It is expected to be one of the largest civil rights rallies since the 1960s. And the case before the court is among the most-watched and most-hyped cases in recent history. * Andrea Van Dorn, Howard student organizer speaking to us from in front of the Supreme Court 8:15-8:30: The vote got little attention. The date was March 20, the invasion of Iraq had just begun. So you might have missed what happened that day in Congress. On a near strict party line, the House of Representatives passed a draft budget for next year. Contained in it are $1.4 trillion in tax cuts. And it has caused a quiet storm of controversy especially among veterans groups which charge the Republican leadership is cutting the Veterans Affair budget by $15 billion. On the floor of Congress, Democrat Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said: Last night, President Bush officially created a whole new group of 250,000 war veterans yet he does not even have enough money in his budget to take care of this country's obligations to veterans of the first Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or World War II. Never before has a President cut taxes in the face of war. According to The New York Times, the Civil War gave birth to an estate tax and World War II expanded the income tax. But during the war in Iraq the Bush administration plans to cut taxes by a total of nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years. This tax cut for the rich is a fiscal MOAB [Mother of All Bombs], pointed right at the heart of the Federal budget. Meanwhile the House Republican leadership countered that Veterans Affairs will not see a budget cut but an increase of $4 billion next year. * Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) * Susan Edgerton, Democratic Staff Director of the House Veterans Affairs Committee * Ashley Decker, sophomore at University of Pittsburg at Johnstown. Ashley wrote an article published last Friday at Commondreams.org called Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits, Her dad, a Vietnam veteran is 100% disabled. Links: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0328-11.htm 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:35 Veterans Benefit 8:35-8:58: Fragging. It is a term that has seldom been heard in a generation. It means to wound or kill a fellow soldier by throwing a grenade or similar explosive at the victim During the Vietnam War there were hundreds of so-called fragging incidences. Last week the term re-entered the headlines when U.S. Army Sgt. Asan Akbar was detained on charges that he threw grenades into tents where his colleagues slept, killing a captain instantly and injuring 15 other members of the 101st Airborne Division, one of whom later died. * Imam Abdul Karim Hasan, is the imam of the Los Angeles mosque where Asan Akbar worshipped as a teenager. * Luke Hiken, who is on the steering committee of Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. He has studied "fragging" cases extensively. * Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author and columnist. He is the author of nine books including "The Crisis in Black and Black. He recently wrote the Army 'Fragging'- Racial Tension Back in Spotlight Link: http://www.thehutchinsonreport.com/8:45 - 8:46 One Minute Music Break 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.