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Valley Public Radio Staff
Quality of Life
Tue July 5, 2011
On Quality of Life; Obesity; Violent Video Games
Part 1: Obesity - We hear the term "obesity epidemic" often in the news these days. It's an issue that hits close to home. About 40 percent of Fresno County kids ages five to 19 are overweight or obese. And so are their parents. 57 percent of Fresno adults are overweight. On this edition of Quality of Life, reporter Lauren Whaley brings us the story of one Fresno teenager who suffers from obesity, and how getting sick changed his life - for the better. We are also are joined in-studio by guests Genoveva Islas-Hooker, Regional Program Coordinator for the Central CA Regional Obesity Prevention Program, and Sara Bosse, Senior Nutrition Program Manager, Family Nutrition Education Program of the UC Davis Cooperative Extension.
Part 2: Video Games - Last week, on a 7-2 decision, the US Supreme Court overturned California's ban on the sale of violent video games to minors. Writing for the majority, justice Antonin Scalia stated "There is no tradition in this country of specially restricting children's access to depictions of violence," noting the violence in more traditional childhood fare, such as Grimm's Fairy Tales. He continued, "like books, plays and movies, video games communicate ideas. The most basic principle of First Amendment law is that government has no power to restrict expression because of its content." Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion wrote, "extremely violent games can harm children by rewarding them for being violently aggressive in play, and thereby often teaching them to be violently aggressive in life". And Justice Thomas, in his own dissenting opinion wrote, "the State is entitled to adjust its legal system to account for children's vulnerability."
Critics of the law hailed the decision as a victory for free speech. Meanwhile parents groups and the law's supporters, including State Senator Leland Yee criticized the court for not taking a stronger stand against violence. Many pointed out the seeming inconsistency of laws that bar minors from access to sexually explicit material, but not depictions of graphic violence. Joining us on this segment to discuss the intersection of violent video games and the first amendment, are former California Attorney General and current California Congressional Representative Dan Lungren; Chris Cruz-Boone, Professor of Mass Communications & Journalism at CSU Bakersfield; and Ed Webb, a former manager of video game retail store.