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August 26, 2010

Host: Ted Simons

ASU Human Rights Scholar

  |   Video
  • Meet Daniel Rothenberg, the new Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He comes to ASU from the International Human Rights Law Institute at the De Paul University College of Law in Chicago. Learn about his plans for creating a set of human rights indicators, and hear his take on Arizona’s immigration debate.
  • Daniel Rothenberg - Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Category: Culture

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Ted Simons: Arizona's state university, Sandra Day O'Connor College of law recently established the center for law and global affairs. Anthropologist and human rights scholar, Daniel Rothenberg is the first executive of the officer. His research is focused on human rights, amnesty and rule of law and represent operations and he hopes to make ASU a leader in human rights -- reparations by creating a set of human rights indicators. Here to talk about this is Daniel Rothenberg. Good to see you here. Thanks for joining us.
Daniel Rothenberg: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: What is a human rights indicator project?

Daniel Rothenberg: In any field, an indicator is the means of establishing the conditions of a particular situation. So if we think of human rights indicators, they would be analogous to the public health indicators we use widely to understand the status of children's health or maternal health and we're able to have a good sense of how things are at baseline or how they've improved or gotten worse in any country in the world.
Ted Simons: What rubric would you use?

Daniel Rothenberg: It depends on what area of human rights one wants to focus on it. Covers education and rule of law and healthcare, all sorts of elements of -- of human dignity and the way in which governments treat the people that live under their control.

Ted Simons: Can you give us a example of maybe social, cultural, economic rule of law, these thy kinds of categories you would be liking at?

Daniel Rothenberg: To point out that even though human rights has become a sort of standard ways in which we understand the world around us and more and more we see politicians and other people references human rights when they talk about the world. Particularly situations in other countries, so there's a demand now if we want to talk constructively to be able to make comparisons between one place and another and also to be able to understand how a situation in one place gets better or does not get better, particularly if we're going to invest energy and time in trying to improve the situation.

Ted Simon: I know you said before, and my readings of what you say, that more rigorous research is needed in human rights and what kind of research do we have now?

Daniel Rothenberg: Right now, we have an enormous number -- a diversity of different players out there gathering information. International organizations, human rights watch, amnesty international. The united nations and various bodies and the United States department of state that puts out a human rights report for each country and the human rights discourse has matured where it's time to bring some focus, rigor and coordination between the different efforts. We could do that by first figuring out what area of human rights we want to focus on and particular kinds of investigations. Particular, like for example, rule of law. Try to understand the way in which court systems operate in -- create a rubric for analysis analyzing that in different countries and gather data so we can compare across the board.

Ted Simons: So much of human rights, I would imagine human rights studies and publicity, if you will, seems to be advocacy sort of research. What I'm hearing from you is let's do a little more -- a little less the advocacy and more of the plain kind of research?

Daniel Rothenberg: It's a broad field. So human rights advocates should do advocacy, and that's what we expect of them and the world is a better place because of their efforts. At the Sandra Day O'Connor college of law, one of the areas we're interested in moving forward is to take the special status we have at a university to engage in serious intellectual areas of -- pressing concern, like human rights and try to make progress, because if it's possible to first intellectual where it's good to create a indicator system and then where they ought to be and field test, we -- we'll be able it take this very important area of politics, society, human rights and move it to the next level so it functions in a way that's more proscriptive and identify a problem and come up with an attempted solution and then be able to measure whether or not that solution is actually produced the benefit we hope to achieve.

Ted Simons: You have landed in the belly of the beast when it comes to the immigration debate in America. How does that debate fit into what you're doing, or does it? What do you plan?

Daniel Rothenberg: Well, human rights is fundamentally about human dignity and about the idea that all human beings, regardless of where they live or their specific situation, poor or rich, regardless of race or religion, that all human beings are fundamentally equal and there are obligations that all governments have to seek to provide conditions that allow individuals to maximize their dignity. From that perspective -- that perspective provides a lot of depth, understanding, most social problems and I would argue it's a good time in our country to start to understand a lot of problems from that perspective and it can be very unifying. It's a way to understand all of us as bound by some common structures, bound by common understandings. In terms of the immigration debate, at the moment, our center is really focusing on a lot of international issues but obviously it's one of the questions we run into, I can say, for example, I was just in Latin America where I do a lot of work and when I told people I was moving to Arizona -- it's my second week here -- and virtually everybody referenced the immigration debate here.

Ted Simons: I would imagine. Obviously, as time goes on that will be addressed in a variety of ways. You've been to Iraq, Afghanistan, all around the world. Talk about those experiences and how they're shaping what you're trying to do with your research.

Daniel Rothenberg: It's related to the indicators and fundamental question of what human rights is doing in the world. We've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan and been on the front pages of papers and television shows because of the U.S. involvement. I've worked the last seven years working on the rule of law in both countries and it's fascinating to see how basic ideas of human rights are implemented in countries where there's often a great difference between the ideas that the -- those problem, the United States government and the people on the ground. I had a interesting job of evaluating the rule of law efforts in 2007. All the international rule of law for a major conference that was supposed to help guide the future of that country. And since that time, it's gotten more dangerous and problematic. And these efforts which had to do with training judges and building court rooms, that these efforts with out of line with the needs and social reality of people on the ground and I can give countless examples. Going to courtrooms where there were no law books and where the intentions behind the project had little to do with the ground and there's an area where intellectual work and university-sponsored projects can do a great deal to make programs more rational and effective.

Ted Simons: Basically close the disconnect.

Daniel Rothenberg: That's a very good way to put it.

Ted Simons: We've got a minute or so left. What do you have going on here. You've been here a couple of weeks.

Daniel Rothenberg: Yeah.

Ted Simons: What can we expect to see? What's going on.

Daniel Rothenberg: In the short time I've been here, a week and a half working at ASU and we've had at the center three major projects that we're working on which you'll hear more about. One is a major conference on human trafficking. A concern throughout the country and world. And that will can in the spring. And we have another conference bringing together the tomorrow international scholars to the law school and another conference held in D.C. looking at the legal challenges brought on by drone attacks and remote targeting.

Ted Simon: Look forward to hearing some results from the research.

Daniel Rothenberg: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Ted Simon: Thank you.

Motion Theatre Company

  |   Video
  • During the last week of July, Motion Theatre Company performed works of contemporary theater on the METRO light rail. Find out why these performers have spent the last two summers ambushing people with art.
Category: The Arts

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Ted Simons: The valley's metro later does more than connect communities. It unites people and they may board the train with different destinations but share the same journey. Sometimes it's full of surprises when as David Majure reports, passengers were ambushed by art.

David Majure: You're quietly riding the train, off in your own world, and then -- it hits you. An explosion of sound. [Singing]

Mark Jacobson: We're the motion theater company and dedicated to performing work of contemporary theater on the light rail. Our goal is to make it a much more accessible art form so it's not really a privileged thing. My name is mark Jacobson and this was my idea and I have a wonderful group of friend who's embraced my crazy scheme and helped make a silly idea a reality. ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶ We try to ambush people with art.

David Majure: But the element of surprise can be difficult to achieve for a man lugging a piano.

Stephen Schermitzler: There's no secret behind that. I come on with a keyboard and try and look as inconspicuous as possible. I'll usually sit for a while with the keyboard stood up as if I'm traveling with it to some other location and slowly hook a pedal up and turn it right side up and then people know the show is on. ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶

Mark Jacobson: And it comes out of nowhere and people look around, what's going on here? We try and keep it fresh and tight and short. So we have four to five pieces and then we get off the train and get back on another one. We don't do too much. So not to overwhelm those who aren't liking it so much. ¶¶

Katrina Montgomery: I don't want to annoy people. Show tunes can be very annoying. I would be the first to admit that. It surprised me. It's been incredibly surprising to me how -- how receptive people have been and how excited they get. [Applause]

Mark Jacobsen: You like what you're hearing, we're on youtube and facebook and if you don't, we appreciate your patience and tolerance and we only have a couple more for you.

Passenger: We were like -- what's going on? And they were like -- ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶

Jesse Mapstead: It's a blast. So much fun watching people's reactions when they're surprised or shocked or confused. It's a blast.

Stephen Schermitzler: We'll have people that try and take a video of what we do through their cellphones or if they have a camera on board, they'll try and do that.
Katrina Montgomery: We've had people miss their stops several times.

David Majure: Some things are hard to miss, like Katrina letting loose. ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶

Katrina Montgomery: That -- that very widely gets reaction. ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶

Emily Foree: I do musical theater and theater thing when I was a young kid and in high school and I haven't done anything for a number of years and I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed it.

David Majure: They sing, they dance, and they act. But most of the performers are not theater or music majors. Steven has a degree in music composition. A recent ASU graduate who takes pride in making sure everyone hits all the right notes.

Stephen Schermitzler: It can be the difference between somebody wanting to know more about theater and somebody completely dismissing the entire genre of musical theater altogether. So the musical process is incredibly important.

David Majure: Quality is key. That's why the company rehearsed for about a month before taking the show on the road. Performing has challenges. There's noise and other distractions. Limited room or standing room only. And the stopping and starting is a true test of balance. But motion theater company hope it is has the perfect balance of songs and scenes to make a routine ride unforgettable. And if they happen to take you by surprise, you just might be surprised by where their songs will take you. ¶¶ [Music] ¶¶

Emily Foree: I think that art in the community and in the public, for free, is one of the greatest things that a city and community can have. And I think that this adds a different texture to that landscape of art in the community.

Ted Simons: Motion theater company's performers are now back in school. They're from Arizona but attend universities in several states. No word if or when they will return.

Processing Ballots

  |   Video
  • With key primary election races too close to call, election workers continue to process and tabulate thousands of early and provisional ballots. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell discusses the painstaking process.
  • Helen Purcell - Maricopa County Recorder
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Ballots have all been cast but Arizona's primary election is not over in at least a couple of key races. Tom Horn leads Andrew Thomas by 364 votes in the run for Republican nomination for attorney general. There are early and provisional ballots to be counted. That one could swing either way. Apt other is between Felecia Rotellini and David Lujan. Rotellini leaded by a little over 1200 votes. Here to tell me us about the painstaking process of counting ballots is Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell. How many ballots still need to be counted?

Helen Purcell: Well, we had -- this morning, about 94,000, but we have counted 57,000 ballots today. We're a little bit -- under that, we have about 25,000 early ballots left to count and 12,000 provisional’s and as you know we don't count all the provisional’s. About 75%.

Ted Simons: What goes into processing early ballots?

Helen Purcell: When a ballot -- early ballot comes in, you have a signature and date on the outside and if you've got the signature, then you have to make sure the signature match was the signature on the original voter registration. So every single one of those, like we've had, I think, 380,000 of them, every one has to be matched with that signature before it can go to a processing board to look at it.
Ted Simons: When you say they have to match, how do they match those signatures?

Helen Purcell: Because of the technology that we have, it's scanned, the ballot envelope is scanned in, the signature is captured and goes up on the screen and you also on the screen is the signature of the person when they sign the original registration.

Helen Pucell: We're watching that right now. What happens if the signature doesn't look quite right. We put those aside and have a senior supervisor like at those to see if we have matches our staff has been trained to do that so we have a senior manager to look at it to see if the signature might be the same. Sometimes we call the people. We have something that doesn't match and if we hear that -- oh, I broke my arm or had a stroke or something like that, then we can certainly use that signature. But if it doesn't match it, doesn't get counted.

Ted Simons: What about damaged ballots? What happens to those?

Helen Purcell: Any damaged ballots are taken to a citizen board, a dupe board that duplicates the ballot as much as we can and we have to have two people of opposite parties that sit in that dupe board and match that ballot.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask you about these groups because for conspiracists, there's a problem everywhere. Both parties represented. How do you figure out who gets to represent it?

Helen Purcell: Well, we have people we hire to do that and we have to make sure we put them together with two different parties. It could be a Republican and democrat. It could be a democrat and independent, a libertarian, but two different parties in that group.

Ted Simons: We talked about provisional’s early on. What is a provisional ballot?

Helen Purcell: Well, let's say, Ted, you go into the polling place and your name is not on the poll list. But you swear, I live in this precinct and I'm a registered vote and I should be allowed to vote. You're allowed to vote a provisional ballot. Are or you come in and don't have sufficient I.D. Then you also vote a provisional ballot. Maybe you're in the wrong precinct. We can move that registration to the new precinct but we have to have you vote a provisional and we'll move that in the process.

Ted Simons: That's interesting. As far as conditional provisional ballots, are those different than regular provisional ballots?

Helen Purcell: Yes.

Ted Simons: How?

Helen Purcell: Because you came in without any identification at all and you're given until 5:00 on Friday to come no one of my offices and provide us with the identification we can count that ballot. But without the identification, we can't count it.
Ted Simons: You can't come in today and tomorrow and say I want to vote a provisional ballot. It must have been cast on election day and then the next three days, everyone tries to figure out if you're on the up and up.

Helen Purcell: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: What turnout did we have this election?

Helen Purcell: Well, it looks like we're going to have 25% in Maricopa County. That's kind of at the high end of what we've seen in the primaries. We usually average between 17% and 22%. So this is a little bit higher and I anticipated it would be. I thought it would be higher than this. Because as you mentioned, we have some very tight races. We had a lot of candidates in some of the races so I thought we'd see more interest. Particularly by independents and we did not see that.
Ted Simons: Let's break it down. What did you have see? Can you break them down.
Helen Purcell: We can break it down a little bit. Of there are more Republicans that took part in Maricopa County that ordered early ballots and on election day. We won't have the final figures how many independents went to the polls and picked what ballot. Until we do our final tally.

Ted Simons: That would strike me as -- I don't know if it would strike me as independents. You have both sides with interesting races and who knows? It seems like the turnout for the Republican ballots seemed awful strong.

Helen Purcell: Yes, about 60-some odd percent. That was strong. What concerns me, we have 576,000 people who are not registered with a party. And only 30,000 of them requested a ballot.

Ted Simons: Why is that? Even on the show, a couple programs, we described here's what do you if you're a independent. I think folks any if they ask for a democrat or Republican ballot, they're going to be considered a Republican or democrat like they just reregistered and that's not the case.

Helen Purcell: We send out information to that effect. Every television and radio station, I try to reiterate that. It doesn't change their status. They merely for that date pick that ballot.

Ted Simons: We've got close races. What triggers a recount?

Helen Purcell: The trigger is in statute and for a statewide race, 200 votes. For a legislative race it would be 50. For a local race it, would be 10. It's one half of one percent or that number. Whichever is less and usually turns out to be the 200 and the 50.
Ted Simons: Yeah.

Helen Purcell: We have a legislative race that's quite close as well. So the attorney general's race in both the Republican and Democratic Party that could be -- could fall in that group. I know all of the other counties are doing their processing and trying to finish up. We hope to finish up on Saturday.
Ted Simons: Ok. Let's say it's a statewide race and I've lost by 201 votes, can I demand a recount?

Helen Purcell: I think you would have to go to the court. The secretary of state is the one who calls for a recount with the automatic 200. If the person went to court, whether or not a judge would consider that, I don't know.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Helen Purcell: I think that's something we haven't seen and have to see what happens.

Ted Simons: The -- I was looking around and seeing stories regarding -- it was interesting that some of the responses that I saw, is it true that more men than women go to the wrong polling place?

Helen Purcell: Think in some of the studies we've done in the past, that's the case.

Ted Simons: What's going on?

Helen Purcell: We try to do little things after to figure out. I don't know. I don't know. You went to the same polling place and you want to go to the same one you've gone to but that may not be your precinct anymore. I don't know. You would have to ask.

Helen Purcell: You're right. Oldest and youngest most likely to go to the wrong polling place and actually be involved in provisional ballots if they did so.

Ted Simons: Yes.

Ted Simons: Ok.

Helen Purcell: And we try to convince them to show them where their polling place is where they want to go. If they insist they want to vote right there, we have to give them the provisional ballot. We try to tell them that.

Ted Simons: Last question, we should get all questions answered by Saturday, do you think?

Helen Purcell: I hope so. That we're finished by Saturday.

Ted Simons: Always a pleasure, thanks for joining us.

Helen Purcell: Thank you.