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

1.    Mentors in Alaska work with new teachers in the hope that they’ll stay on the job. Education is the most important topic to discuss in our world today. Education is the great hope for our future. It contains all the potential to prevent problems before they become untenable. If we shifted our priorities and invested in education, then we would do much much better in the coming years. Mentorship is good, but if there is not a viable and desirable lifestyle associated with being a teacher, then we will not attract and retain the level of talent necessary to make education effective.

2.    Backers of Kilicdaroglu aim to improve his chances in Turkey’s presidential runoff. The election in Turkey continues to keep tension high as it has been pushed to a run-off. The top two candidates will now be the only options as voters decide in the narrowed field who will lead Turkey into the next era of their history. Erdogan has been in power for a long time. Kilicdaroglu is going to have a challenging time unseating him, but recent events have made it more possible as people are still grieving and recovering from the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey earlier in the year.

3.    Democrats urge Biden to reject GOP demands for new work requirements for aid programs. In the face-off over the raising of the debt ceiling Speaker McCarthy is trying to attach new work requirements to food stamps for certain categories of people. On its surface, this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but in reality it is a cruel and punitive measure. For those people who are unable to find more work or for whom this is an untenable feat, they will be left with less nutrition and the downward cycle that ensues. Food should be available to everyone especially during a time where inflation is so high following a pandemic.

4.    Sherpa in Nepal reaches the summit of Mount Everest for a record 27th time. The only people who should get credit for reaching the summit of Mount Everest are the Sherpas. For most people, it is a vanity achievement. It is a story they can use to brag about their drive, their ambition. For Sherpas it is a way to earn a living and doing this daunting feat 27 times is beyond amazing.

5.    Wave of criticism follows San Francisco DA’s decision in Walgreens shooting. I have been reading about this tragic case in SF. It is a very troubling situation. First there was the Walgreens’ request that their hired security recover stolen items by using physical measures. That typically has not been protocol as it can quickly escalate into violence, as was the case with this shooting. The person who was murdered was homeless, black, and trans. They were in the process of stealing food from Walgreens when the security guard put them in a choke hold and hit them multiple times. The homeless person attempted to flee, and the security guard shot them dead. The DA ruled that it was done in self-defense, so no charges are filed. People keep trying to paint SF as a lawless failed city, but shoplifting food should not be at the top of the list. People are rightfully upset about this needless loss of life and the unfeeling decision by the DA to not charge the security guard with anything.

6.    Andy Cohen created a reality show empire but being a dad is his biggest challenge yet. The only thing harder than being a dad might be being a mom. Those are the hardest jobs in the world, and the most important.

7.    Accused Pentagon leaker was warned about handling of classified info, prosecutors say. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: this person was too young to have access to critical classified documents. We put too much responsibility in the hands of people who are still developing. We should take this moment to rethink our standards for security with classified documents. We should also consider being more transparent so that we do not have such valuable secrets.

8.    Why there will be 2 commencement ceremonies at New College of Florida. I’m going to guess that this has to do with religion.

9.    Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit by Epstein accusers. Banks who continued to do business with that monster absolutely should be held accountable. Suing the people who profit from highly immoral and criminal activities only makes sense.

10. Striking movie and TV writers worry that they will be replaced by AI. I said this before, that this is a tough time to strike. Too many people are curious about the capabilities of AI to replace writers. The only hope that the writers have at this point is that legal battles will make using AI less affordable than using writers. AI cannot invent, it only recombines. There may be a legal argument against using AI at all, but that will require a lot of money and lawyers to prove. Writers will never be replaced except for crooked and corrupt producers who do not care about their product or the public. It will happen, but it will not become the prevailing model, because true writing requires thought and originality.

11. Pakistani security forces have surrounded Khan’s compound and threaten to storm it. There is more to this story than we are hearing. It sounds like something very serious and menacing. Pakistan is a nuclear power, so that is very worrying.

12. G-7 leaders consider how to counter China’s economic threats. The global market needs to reconsider choosing cheap goods over ethical standards. The Chinese have built up their manufacturing base by providing the west with insanely priced goods produced with substandard labor practices. If we were responsible for the products we sell, then this would not be a problem.

13. Tel Aviv beach seems to be a prime sunbathing spot for an endangered monk seal. If you are a monk seal, you gotta get it where you can. Human politics matter none when it comes to finding a dank spot on the beach to soak up some rays.

14. Some white Oregon homeowners are selling at a loss to Black and Indigenous buyers. This is an interesting headline. Oregon has historically been dominated by white culture since its inception as a state. I wonder what is motivating this positive change.

15. Quad meeting in Australia is canceled after Biden calls off trip to Sydney. Speaker McCarthy is a disgrace to the House. What an embarrassment to U.S. politics. His ham-handed negotiation tactics are causing us a lot of unnecessary problems. Yesterday he was speaking about his intentions in using the raising of the debt ceiling as a negotiating tool, and he said that we need to “curve our spending,” which says so much more than he meant to say. This is not about fiscal responsibility; it is about keeping wealth in the hands of the wealthy and denying poor people the basic aid they need to recover from the pandemic.

16. Montana’s governor signs a measure banning TikTok in his state. I’m guessing that this has more to do with fears about trans-rights than it does anything else. How is a state in the U.S. going to ban a social media platform? This is not China. People are free to express their point of view even if it doesn’t jive with evangelical values. Apparently, in Montana they are not valuing the first amendment. Expect this to end up in the Supreme Court.

17. Democrat upsets DeSantis-backed Republican mayoral candidate in Jacksonville. The thing about Trump is that he has an entertainment value that makes him effective as a politician, sadly. His only value is in his ability to make people laugh. His policies and values are ridiculously bad, and so anyone who took up his values and lacks his charisma is quickly finding out what a bad path that was to travel. Has anyone ever lost more support more quickly than DeSantis?

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