12 May 2023 NPR’s Morning Edition: Jake’s Takes

1.    Texas mall shooting revives talk of what attracts a person of color to extremism. Nobody knows what the right thing to do is in the aftermath of a mass shooting. These events are vortexes of trauma, unspeakable black holes of grief. They are attention grabbing and demand response. Too often, however, we are thrown into a blame game scenario where we attack some other ideological side as the root cause of the problem instead of taking the time to wonder what is happening. Why is this a problem here. As is the case in so many of these polarizing issues, I think that it is not an either/or situation, but a yes/and situation. The Right would blame it on mental health, the Left would blame it on guns. It is both. The answer is to act in both directions in a public and visible way. It is not enough to simply say that the state of Texas is doing something about mental health problems. We need to know what that is. We should also be enacting some type of restrictions to gun access. Both sides are right, let’s act accordingly and quit blaming the other side for American tragedies.

2.    Erdogan lashes out at main rival as voters prepare to go to the polls Sunday. I would not pretend to understand what is happening in Turkey. I only know what I have found through quick research into the national development of things. The Republic of Turkiye is another country with ancient roots and has only become a modernized country after WWI. The modern nation of Turkey has gone through four versions of its constitution, with the last version being ratified in 1982. As a democratic republic, Turkey is a young nation, but culturally it is one of the oldest. As with any nation that is transitioning to democracy, there are going to be periods where change is painful. Turkey recently suffered an extreme earthquake that devastated large parts of the region and brought to light some of the substandard building that was allowed by the Erdogan government. It seems likely that he will be voted out of power after having been in power for a long time, and that is a tense moment for a young democracy.

3.    Want your hotel room cleaned every day? Hotel housekeepers hope you say yes. This topic is gross. Hotel housekeepers must deal with people on their absolute worst behavior. When people take the drive it like it’s rented attitude to their room it results in some truly disgusting scenes. Think of Hunter S. Thompson’s hotel debauchery in Fear and Loathing. Now imagine the poor souls who had to clean that mess.

4.    Oregon boy uncovers something prehistoric while exploring his grandma’s backyard. Imagine finding a dinosaur bone in the backyard. I’m not sure that’s what this is but imagine it. This world is full of mystery and all it takes is a little curiosity to bring it to the surface.

5.    Who owns a piece of land is not a simple answer when it comes to adverse possession. This is one of the strangest parts of our legal code. Squatter’s rights are truly something that makes me hopeful. This code derives from John Locke’s labor theory of property that says that mixing your labor with the natural world makes the product of that work your own.

6.    Rapper and TV host Dee Barnes looks back on 50 years of hip-hop. Dee Barnes is infamous for being allegedly slapped by Dr. Dre according to Ice Cube when he was feuding with his former groupmate.

7.    Title 42 ended. How is the Department of Homeland Security handling the situation?. This has been the story of the past couple of weeks, and as it unfolds, we will see if it was being blown out of proportion or if there is truly a problem at the border.

8.    Ukraine’s long-awaited spring counteroffensive against Russia is on hold. War in the digital age must be such a strange thing. It really seems like it should not be possible anymore, but the possession of nuclear weapons makes all things possible, I guess. The strangest thing about this conflict is how well Ukraine is doing in its fight against Russia. It’s terrifying because if it makes Putin desperate enough there’s no saying what he won’t do.

9.    A reminder: It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Don’t forget to give your teachers chocolate! Flowers, too. It’s almost Summer, and you can sense it like pollen in the air. We are itchy for the off season, when kids have more freedom, and the world opens up. It’s a tough time for parents, but hey being a parent is not supposed to be easy. It’s time for the kids to play! But first, let’s thank the teachers.

10. How much learning did students miss during the pandemic? Researchers have an answer. It’s a good question, and it should be weighed and measured and used to adjust the plans moving forward for their educations, but also to consider the cost of shutting down the schools if and when another pandemic arises. There’s no easy answer to that problem, but the cost to kids’ education surely should be a consideration.

11. Woman who had post-partum depression says she attempted suicide 4 times. When people have suicidal ideation, they are caught up in a horrible tornado of emotional despair. They are so far beyond being able to think about others, they are overwhelmed with negative thoughts. It is hard to imagine how a mother could attempt suicide, when there are children who would be affected. That is exactly the thing that needs to be understood: they are beyond the capacity to care what effect their death will have. We need to better understand depression, and especially post-partum depression. It is a dangerous condition and the sooner we move past shame and into a process of understanding the sooner we will be able to come up with viable solutions if not a cure.

12. One way to prevent gun violence? Treat it as a public health issue. Where are the attorney generals on this issue? Who is speaking up against assault rifles as dangerous to the public health? When cars were gross polluters and caused people to drop dead in Los Angeles after the building of the freeways and before any emissions standards, changes had to be made to ensure public safety. The same is true with these guns that can inflict such devastating damage. Sure, other weapons can also create massive damage. It’s not an either-or thing but a yes and issue. Yes, we can do something about this problem, and we should.

13. Voters in Thailand, led by young people, are expected to demand change. Thailand recently went from a place where drugs were extremely illegal to a country with legal cannabis. If their drug policy could change that drastically, there’s no telling what other cultural changes could be in the works. Young people are often the Avant Garde of cultural evolution, and it is exciting to see this happening in Thailand.

14. Police in Oklahoma respond to cries for help. No kidding: They were from a goat. Animals make very human noises sometimes, reminding us that they are our relatives in the grand scheme of things. There is an elderly Dachshund, you know-a weiner dog, who is too old to walk but his owner takes him on walks in a stroller. Well, this old dog barks on a steady basis maybe once every 7 seconds but it sounds like an old man shouting “HEY!” The first time you hear it, it is alarming, but then you get to recognize the sound and it is a welcome and hilarious song.

15. Medicaid’s pandemic-related protections are ending and that’s creating problems. In the aftermath of the pandemic era insanity, we need to do the hard work to make our society safer for everyone, and that means really considering what is best when it comes to the medical system. We need a medical system that serves the people not just the profiteers. WE CAN DO IT!

16. Pandemic border rules known as Title 42 expired — but questions remain. This is a developing story that is made louder by ideological rifts. We need to be able to look at situations that could pose problems with a cool head. Being preemptively upset is only going to muddy the waters and stir up a lot of resentment. Our leaders would do well to calm the rhetoric and look at the issues soberly.

17. Biden and lawmakers postpone debt ceiling meeting as their staffs keep negotiating. If this debt ceiling meeting faceoff results in tipping the economy into a recession, we should sue the people responsible. That is all. This is not a time to be playing with our livelihoods.

18. This duo rehearsed between air raid alarms. Now they’re repping Ukraine at Eurovision. I’m only recently learning about Eurovision, and it sounds kind of interesting. I would like to be more connected to European culture for several reasons. It’s a big world even if it is a small world.

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