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Strange Fruit: The Controversy Over The West Louisville Methane Plant Plans

J. Tyler Franklin

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Since we spoke last week about University of Louisville President James Ramsey's poor treatment of Latino students on campus, racial tension has come to a head on other campuses across the country, most notably at the University of Missouri.

And while we'd all like to think of college campuses as free from harassment and racism, banning certain speech outright brings up First Amendment issues. Some say it can dampen the free exchange of ideas that should be a hallmark of educational environments.

We talk about that this week with attorney A. Holland Houston. We also turn to her for perspective on Judge Olu Steven's recent dismissal of an all-white jury in the trial of a black defendant, and how the demographic makeup of a jury can affect the outcome of a trial.

And she weighs in on the assault-by-twerking case, which sounds comical but does bring up some serious issues of gender and sexual assault.

One woman has been arrested, and another is still sought by police after allegedly forcibly dancing against (and groping) a man who was waiting in the checkout line of a bodega. We discuss whether people would be more upset and less amused if the genders in the case were reversed.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," Houston said. "What happens if women are the ones who are the aggressors, and if it crosses the line of, 'this is not the behavior that I want?'"

Then WFPL's political reporter, Ashley Lopez, joins us to catch us up on a hot topic that's closer to home: the proposed methane plant in West Louisville. The story is complicated, and the players are familiar to most of us who live in Louisville.

The ultimate question is: Did West Louisville leaders sell out the health and needs of their neighbors in exchange for a payout? Or was the plant inevitable anyway, so it was pragmatic to bring some money from the company back into the community?

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.

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