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

  1. Families of missing Mexicans have taken over a prominent space in Mexico City. Desperate situations call for drastic actions. It takes courage to make yourself seen, especially in times of grief. It is also the only way to find help. The Americas have been home to far too many tragedies, and standing up to demand some action, some protection against tyranny is part of the story that seeks to counter injustice, that strives for healing and safety for families.

2.    Republicans in several states push for limits on gender-affirming care for adults. Controlling what other people do with their bodies is a disturbing preoccupation. It is the zealot’s job, the vile deeds of puritanical tyrants. Republicans get some things right and some things wrong. Limiting how other adults choose to care for themselves is anti-democratic. It reveals the shameful echo of people who would choose to own other humans as slaves. Personal liberty is supposed to be part of the Republican platform, but these recent actions are anything but that. The evangelical sector of the party has taken control, and it is making a laughing stock out of the Republican Party.

3.    A mannequin in Georgia is one of the first to use AI to help train nurses. Artificial Intelligence only makes people stupid and lazy. We keep looking for quick fixes and low energy alternatives. It is a slave to convenience and ignorance about reality that makes AI dangerous. It is only going to have power among people who do not have will power of their own. People with proper qualifications should be training nurses.

4.    Why are people in Japan getting lessons in how to smile? Japanese culture is something that I would like to explore. There are so many things about the Japanese that intrigue me, and this is another example. It is a culture that values the details and strives for improvement. We can learn a lot from the Japanese.

5.    There are signs Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive may have already started. The Ukrainian people have been put into some incredibly awful positions. They continue to fight back and to assert their independence against a formidable opponent. Surely, this war will be studied by strategists in the future to learn how it was possible for Ukraine to resist invasion by a major military power such as Russia.

6.    Kwame Alexander’s memoir began as a book of love poems but morphed into so much more. I wish that I had time to read all the books that this program covers. I am going to try to read as many as I can, since they sound great, especially this one. We need new writers to share their visions with us, and they need new readers. It’s our main defense against AI.

7.    Biden met again with congressional leaders to negotiate raising the debt limit. In the movie Footloose the new kid in town must play a game of chicken with the local bully to establish himself as someone who will not be pushed around. This game of chicken takes place on tractors and the young man played by Kevin Bacon doesn’t even know how to drive one. It is expected that he will bail early, and the bully will have his victory, and that is what would have happened but for a shoelace that gets stuck around a part of the tractor making it impossible for him to jump off the tractor. Instead, the bully is shocked at his courage and must drive his tractor into a ditch falling into the water running by in an aqueduct. We can only pray at this point that Biden has a similar fate. We are two weeks away from default, but it wouldn’t be a game of chicken if it didn’t get close to disaster. We should remember who set up this dangerous rivalry, and that is none other than McCarthy Speaker of the House, the most unpopular and weak one in my lifetime.

8.    ‘Age of Danger’ explores potential risks because AI doesn’t understand rules of war. Whatever happens because of Artificial Intelligence is our own fault. If we allow our systems to become smarter than us, that’s because we are not very smart. I think that we are smarter than that, though, and if not, we are at least passionate enough about life to get smarter. We need to take control of this situation immediately.

9.    Lifesaving or stigmatizing? Parents wrestle with obesity treatment options for kids. Stigma shouldn’t even be part of this equation, but it is because mental health is affected by public opinion for many if not most people. It takes a rare bird to not care what the public thinks of them. When it comes to obesity, there is stigma to the condition and to the treatment. The only thing that would not be judged as a sign of weakness would be exercising your way to a healthier body. When you are obese, it is unlikely that you will be able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s a tough spot for parents and even harder for the kids. Maybe we should hold some of the food manufacturers who are selling sugary high calorie foods to our kids responsible for some of the health consequences of consuming their products. It’s ridiculous how many products are designed to make people obese. Junk food is the next smoking.

10. Federal appeals court in New Orleans considers the fate of an abortion pill. Making abortion more dangerous is such a disappointing trend in U.S. politics right now. What would possess people to enact such cruel and inhumane laws? Oh right, the same thing that made colonization and slavery ok. It’s part of our national history and some people have been brainwashed into thinking that it is our better part. Those politicians should be held accountable for the deaths that will occur because of the denial of abortions. Women will die because of these laws, and it is not ok.

11. How a European law might get companies around the world to cut climate pollution. Laws are supposed to help prevent harm to citizens. We are all being harmed by companies who pollute our environment. When will we start to punish them for harming us? If we don’t make it economically unviable for them to continue their destructive practices, then we will have to wait until they have a collective crisis of conscience, which has never happened in human history. Making laws that mandate action in accordance with environmental protections is our greatest defense.

12. Workers chase a chicken that recently got loose on a Mexico City subway line. This sounds like a comedy, but in reality that was probably pretty dangerous. It’s amazing how full of peril our collective situation can be.

13. The San Antonio Spurs win the first draft pick. Will they choose Wembanyama? This seems like an obvious outcome. Because there is so much money in professional sports, the scouting of upcoming athletes is creepily effective. They have been watching this teenager for years and he is expected to become an immediate superstar.

14. Biden alters his overseas travel plans because of the debt limit standoff. Biden is not abandoning his schedule, but he cut short his trip overseas due to this game of chicken he is involved in with McCarthy. What an ugly thing it is becoming with so much at stake and so many people positioned to be damaged by their failure to do the right thing.

15. Medicaid has become a key component in negotiations over the debt ceiling. The more details we get about what McCarthy is trying to cut, the more disturbing this standoff becomes. It is hard to believe that a party could be so determined to harm the public. How are they allowed to remain in power? If this process actually pushes us into default and our economy suffers, I would expect there to be violence in the streets.

16. The Codex Sassoon, one of the world’s oldest Hebrew Bibles, is up for auction. This is very interesting, but shouldn’t it be in a museum? I would imagine that there is an institution in Israel that could make good use of this important text.

One thought on “17 May 2023 NPR’s Morning Edition: Jake’s Takes

  1. Great post
    The blog post about families of missing Mexicans taking over a prominent space in Mexico City is really inspiring. It’s so important to stand up against tyranny and demand action, especially in times of grief. My question is, what kind of action are they demanding and have there been any responses from government officials?

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