Monday 15 May 2023 NPR’s Morning Edition: Jake’s Takes

1.    As Sudan enters its 5th week of conflict, thousands cross into neighboring Chad. Chad is in the heart of Africa. It is an ethnically diverse country with many subcultures. Local culture is the most influential in the region of Chad. As such, what will happen when a huge number of refugees arrive from neighboring Sudan? Chad is not known for human rights. Women in Chad possess very little autonomy, and female genital mutilation is widely practiced, according to a report published by Unicef. To further complicate this situation, Chad has recently been at war with Sudan. By all measures, this is a terrifying development for the people in the region.

2.    NPR’s new series is called Living Better: How Americans can take back their health. This is an interesting development. More reporting on lifestyle choices that can lead to better health outcomes is certainly a positive development. More vegetables and fruits sounds easy, but in reality it is not. Why? Fresh foods are not always available. There is also the exercise component, and that is critical as well. This is something that will surely become popular and will evolve over time. It is presented in a reactionary way at its present existence, but it can become something very cool and even crucial.

3.    Biden is going to Hiroshima at a moment when nuclear tensions are on the rise. What message is Biden trying to send to the world? Is it a reminder of U.S. capabilities, or a solemn look back at U.S. military history?

4.    Thousands of unregistered weapons are being turned in during Serbia’s gun amnesty. Serbia recently experienced its first school shooting. They held the father of the teenager responsible for his access to firearms. This is an example of a culture that takes guns seriously.

5.    Beefy snapping turtle affectionately named Chonkosaurus becomes a celebrity. Whoever named the turtle Chonkosaurus had the right idea. We need more turtle celebrities.

6.    N.C. Gov. Cooper vetoed a 12-week abortion ban, setting up an override fight. The battles over reproductive rights are taking place at the State level, now, making for some scary showdowns. What a time.

7.    ‘New China Playbook’ has a different view than many Western policymakers do on China. I’m curious to learn more about different ways to approach relations with China. It seems like we have mutual interests and could be strong allies. China owns upwards of $4 trillion of our debt. We should work together.

8.    ‘New York Times’ publisher: journalism should be free of writers’ personal beliefs. I’m not sure how realistic that is as a goal, but certainly we need more accountability in journalism. There can be different kinds of reporting. Including verifiable facts is important, but sharing your opinion about a topic can also be insightful.

9.    How will the end of Title 42 impact the work of asylum and immigration judges? With the end of Title 42, we return to Title 8. This code is somewhat stricter in some regards. Title 42 was stronger in terms of denying access to more people, but it didn’t carry harsh penalties for trying to cross illegally. With Title 8, more people are allowed to enter seeking asylum, but they must qualify under strict conditions and there are more consequences for people who try and subvert the system.

10. 75 years ago: Israel’s triumph became a catastrophe for Palestinians. The 75th anniversary of the State of Israel marks the beginning of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestine existed before Israel was created as a State, but the Palestinians were given two territories: Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The city of Jerusalem was named the capital of Israel in 2017. The city is on the border of the West Bank and is a site of much controversy.

11. Voters in Thailand have spoken — they want change. Even as we see human rights come into jeopardy in the U.S. with recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights, people in other countries such as Thailand are actively fighting for more rights.

12. Norfolk Southern continues to clean up from its February derailment in Ohio. What an absolute travesty. One only hopes that the lawsuits are forthcoming and that they will compensate the people who suffered because of this negligent act and that it will prevent more of them in the future.

13. Liam and Olivia were the most popular baby names in 2022. Olivia is my favorite name. It’s often the case that you name someone something cool and then a decade later it becomes wildly popular making it a common name. This was true with Jake. Liam is my good friend’s son’s name who is also 9 years old. What can you do? Good names are good names.

14. ‘Mattress Mack’ says his bets make furniture buying more interesting. This sounds pretty gross on a lot of levels. Gambling and buying furniture are not an ideal combination no matter how interesting it makes the process. When it comes to mattresses, you don’t want to roll the dice.

15. Final votes are being counted in Turkey’s closely watched presidential election. All eyes on Turkey as it looks like the current president will remain in power despite many predicting otherwise.

16. How would a federal debt default affect your retirement plans? This is for people who are invested, but it would probably affect most people negatively. It would put a lot of things in jeopardy.

17. Congress wants to regulate AI, but it has a lot of catching up to do. First, Congress needs to understand social media and the internet generally and then it can attempt to regulate AI. We will need new laws, and therefore we need media literate law makers.

18. Why hammerhead sharks ‘hold their breath’ in deeper, colder waters. Can all sharks hold their breath? Don’t they breathe underwater? Maybe the cold affects their respiratory system negatively.

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