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

1.    Turkey’s presidential election is going to a runoff. Many analysts predicted that Erdogan would be voted out of office because of the anger over lives lost to substandard construction codes that caused buildings to collapse during Turkey’s recent devastating earthquake. It appears that a conservative voting block has kept the country from changing leaders. Despite waning support, Erdogan managed to win enough votes to trigger a runoff.

2.    Kia and Hyundai face pressure to stem the rampant thefts of their vehicles. A Tik Tok trend taught people how to steal these push-button-starter equipped cars. It appears that there is a flaw in the security of the starter and thieves have figured out how to hack the system. California’s attorney general Rob Bonta has been beating the drum to get these car manufacturers to take responsibility for the faulty designs. The attorney general is the highest office of law at the state level, and Bonta has been working to protect the Californian public against this threat.

3.    In a Sheep to Shawl competition, you have 5 people, 1 sheep, and 3 hours — good luck!. This is a funny competition. Any kind of work that is done well and with speed can become an interesting event to watch. I think that there is a lot more that happens that we could be impressed by than the usual sporting events we pump so much money to follow.

4.    Pride in the Pews encourages Black churches to welcome LGBTQ people. Whenever marginalized people form coalitions, their power increases. This is a logical move to make, and the only reason it is not more common has to do with cultural biases and prejudices. If this works, then more alliances could follow.

5.    The importance of religion in the lives of Americans is shrinking. This has some potentially powerful upsides. Our democracy has a separation of church and state, and when we have a more secular society, the possibility of working together increases. The risk is that we lose some of the values that religion helps to preserve. We need to replace the importance of religion with important conversations about our vision for the future and the values that will get us moving in the right direction.

6.    Survey on religion finds major ideological differences between Republicans, Democrats. This topic follows up on the ideas presented in the last topic. Indeed, this is why it may be a good thing that the importance of religion is shrinking. It is one of the sources of our division and we live in a very divisive time.

7.    Martha Stewart is the oldest cover model on a ‘Sports Illustrated’ swimsuit issue. This is something strange to say the least. Martha Stewart is a legend, don’t get me wrong. She is one of the pioneers of lifestyle media. I am curious about the styling on this shoot, and what they are saying about it. I’m sure that there will be some moaning from the bros on the Right, but they have Instagram and Twitter filled with women making themselves available to their gaze. This is something different and these legacy institutions need to find new ways to compete with social media. I’m interested.

8.    A sweeping new study sheds light on butterflies’ origins. This has to be interesting. Anything that gives us more insight into the workings of evolution is very cool and I’m curious to see what they have learned.

9.    Jonathan Eig’s new biography examines the life of Martin Luther King Jr.. I’m still learning more about this remarkable U.S. civil rights leader. When we humanize the people who have also been lionized, it makes their accomplishments seem more possible. It inspires people to do similar work.

10. Capitol Hill hearings to take a closer look at guardrails for artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is so many different things, it is hard to really define its limitations. The way Apple’s photo app organizes based on facial recognition is an application of AI. Newer programs like ChatGPT have brought the conversation into the mainstream, and we will see if Congress has the capacity to understand let alone regulate this complicated topic.

11. Runoff will decide Turkey’s presidential election. Who does the U.S. hope will win? This is a good question, and I do not know for certain, but my guess is that we want Erdogan to remain in power. He is a known quantity, and Turkey’s position as a NATO ally with influence in the Middle East is important to our strategy in the region.

12. Los Angeles politician Gloria Molina has died at age 74. Molina had a reputation for fighting on behalf of the working class, so she is a legend. For that, she will be remembered fondly.  

13. America’s debt culture is a complicated journey for some immigrants. It’s complicated for some citizens, too. We need more financial literacy education in our schools to prepare people for their lives. We should also have resources available for free to teach anyone who wants to know the fundamentals of personal finance. If we want to improve mental health, teaching about personal finances is a good place to start.

14. Trump-era special counsel’s final report criticizes FBI’s Russia probe. The use of federal resources to investigate politicians must be done with a respect for the rule of law. When it becomes politicized, the investigation becomes problematic. Everyone is watching everything today, when it comes to our federal politicians, and yet the lies and corruption continue. Where was the scrutiny when it came time to vet George Santos?

15. As Pakistan’s monsoon season nears, some villages are underwater from earlier floods. We are going to have to start investing in ways to deal with natural disasters. Everyone is and will be affected by worsening weather and whatever we can to proactively to mitigate the damage will be better for the public good.

16. A Los Angeles Lakers superfan is cheering them on in a unique way. The Lakers beat the Warriors and now LeBron has a chance at another ring. People get so invested in their teams, and then it is over. It’s a strange thing about our culture, but there are some positives to team sports that we should celebrate. Superfans may be a bit too serious about a sport, in my opinion.

17. Voters in Philadelphia head to the polls to cast ballots in the mayoral primaries. What are the stakes in this election? There have been lots of stories about gun violence in Philadelphia and the effect it has on kids and their ability to focus on education. Hopefully, this election will offer a chance to make some changes that will lead to progress in this regard.

18. Debt ceiling talks to resume between Biden and top congressional leaders. This is one of the stories that is keeping Wall St. on its toes. If they can come to an agreement, then people can go back to worrying about everything else.

19. Congress is holding hearings on how to regulate emerging AI technology. This has to have some comical moments as an older segment of society tries to understand the advancement of machine learning. Unfortunately, the consequences are much more serious.

20. As immigration debate plays out, border towns want to paint a different picture. The GOP congresspeople who were raising fears about the end of Title 42 should be held responsible for some of the problems that anxiety contributed to during the past week. It is wildly irresponsible to fear monger like that, and there is a direct connection to some of the terrible violence that took place.

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