🎧 ‘The Daily’: Gina Haspel and the Shadow of Torture | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Gina Haspel and the Shadow of Torture by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The Central Intelligence Agency is waging an unusual campaign to make Gina Haspel its next leader, despite her polarizing past. Why do officers see her most controversial quality as her greatest asset?

On today’s episode:

• Adam Goldman, a reporter who covers the intelligence community for The Times.

• John Bennett, a former chief of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service who retired in 2013.

Background reading:

• Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee for C.I.A. director, is expected to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday about her involvement in torture and secret prisons after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

• Ms. Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination last week amid concerns that her role in the brutal interrogation of a Qaeda suspect in Thailand would scuttle her confirmation.

Apparently there’s a broader story to be told about Haspel than the one that’s been circulating recently. Perhaps she’s not as pro-torture as previously indicated?

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Return of Rudy Giuliani | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Return of Rudy Giuliani by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Since joining President Trump’s legal team, Rudolph W. Giuliani has repeatedly made attention-grabbing TV appearances in which he has antagonized Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. The strategy is reminiscent of one that Mr. Giuliani has used before — 30 years ago, as a prosecutor in New York City taking on the Mafia.


On today’s episode:

• Michael Winerip, who covered Mr. Giuliani’s rise as a Manhattan prosecutor in the 1980s for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Mr. Giuliani’s revelation that President Trump reimbursed his personal lawyer for a $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels, may expose the president to new legal and political troubles.

• In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Giuliani suggested it was possible that other women had received hush money on behalf of Mr. Trump and that the president might invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the Russia investigation.

• Mr. Giuliani’s recent criticism of law enforcement has come as a surprise to those who have known him as one of its fiercest advocates.

So the implication here is not so much that Trump is bringing in someone who has been a champion for him, but that he’s brought in someone with experience prosecuting massive corruption and criminal enterprise similar to the mafia.

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🎧 Caliphate – Chapter Three: The Arrival | New York Times

Listened to Caliphate - Chapter Three: The Arrival by Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills from nytimes.com

ISIS turns fantasy into reality for a new recruit.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Paul Holes was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website.

On today’s episode:

• Paul Holes, an investigator in California who helped to crack the case.

Background reading:

• A spate of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for decades. Then, last week, law enforcement officials arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer.

• Investigators submitted DNA collected at a crime scene to the genealogy website GEDmatch, through which they were able to track down distant relatives of the suspect. The method has raised concerns about privacy and ethics.

A stunning story with some ingenious detective work. I worry what the potential privacy problems are off in the future, though one of the ideas here is that it actually helps protect the privacy of some individuals who are wrongly and maliciously accused and thus saves a lot of time and money.

The subtleties will be when we’re using this type of DNA evidence more frequently for lower level crimes while at the same time the technology gets increasingly cheaper to carry out.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

In a case that highlights the economic consequences of sexual harassment and retaliation, Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein for the damage he did to her career after she rebuffed his advances.

And in the second part of the episode, three women who pioneered the language of consent reflect on being far ahead of their time on the politics of sex.

On today’s episode:

• Jodi Kantor, one of the investigative reporters at The New York Times who broke the story about the raft of sexual harassment accusations against Mr. Weinstein, discusses the implications of a new lawsuit.

• We hear from Juliet Brown, Christelle Evans and Bethany Saltman, who helped to establish an affirmative consent policy for sex at Antioch College in 1990.

Background reading:

• Ms. Judd filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Mr. Weinstein of harming her career by spreading lies about her after she rejected his sexual requests. Her claim is corroborated by the director Peter Jackson, who revealed last year that Mr. Weinstein had warned him not to hire the actress for his “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

• Antioch College students developed a sexual consent policy in the 1990s. It was mocked by much of the rest of the world. Since then, campuses across the country have caught up, and a new generation of Antioch students is pushing the conversation further.

• A Times video journalist recalls being asked to sign a verbal consent form during a visit to Antioch College in 2004, long before the language of sexual consent had entered the mainstream.

It’s long been an open secret in casting related discussions that people’s character and habits are maligned to push decisions in one direction or another, and often in ways that harm not only the person’s career, but their future potential for hiring. In most other industries, this would be easily litigated or at least brought up. I’m glad to see it may be banned outright as a result of cases like these.

Having gone to college in the 90’s myself I also remember the Antioch College agreements. Though they may have gone a bit too far, it’s obvious they were generally right in re-balancing the power in relationships as well as being well ahead of their times.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Taxi Driver’s Plight | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Taxi Driver’s Plight by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

A New York City taxi driver, Nicanor Ochisor, took his own life in March. His family says he grew increasingly hopeless as ride-hailing services like Uber took over the industry. Mr. Ochisor’s suicide is one of several in recent months that have called attention to the economic straits of professional drivers.


On today’s episode:

• Nicolae Hent, who has been a taxi driver in New York City for three decades and was a friend of Mr. Ochisor.

Background reading:

• Four drivers have taken their lives in five months, bringing renewed urgency to calls for stronger regulations on for-hire vehicles in New York City.

• Mr. Ochisor’s family has created a fund-raising website to help pay off the balance on his taxi medallion, the value of which decreased dramatically after 2014.

• Last year, the number of Uber trips surpassed the number of yellow cab rides taken in New York City for the first time.

This has long been a fixable problem. Cities that have or had taxi-cab medallion systems should absolutely be on the hook for buying them back at at-market-level prices if they’re going to allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to enter their jurisdictions. I’m all for disruption, but these services have obviously been skirting or flaunting the law to operate. It should also be permissible for these services to be dinged by these cities for a large share of the loss of value in cities like New York.

I’m surprised that with the amounts of money involved and the fact that there are suicides that no enterprising attorney has taken up cases like these against large municipalities.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Mueller’s Questions for Trump by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The New York Times has obtained the list of questions that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into Russia’s election interference, wants to ask President Trump. The wide-ranging queries offer a rare view into an investigation that has been shrouded in secrecy.


On today’s episode:

• Michael S. Schmidt, who has been covering the Russia investigation for The Times.

Background reading:

• The Times reports that Mr. Mueller’s team shared with the president’s lawyers a list of at least four dozen questions, the majority of which focus on possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

• Here are the questions, along with a look at their context and significance.

If his attorneys couldn’t have guessed all of these questions by themselves, they should be fired. The real secret is to know the hidden questions to things they’re aware of, but no one knows they’re privy to.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Family Divided by the Korean War | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: A Family Divided by the Korean War by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

In a historic summit meeting, North and South Korea vowed to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War after more than 65 years. That could bring reunions for the thousands of families who have been separated since the war broke out.

On today’s episode:

• Sylvia Nam tells the story of her grandfather, who went to North Korea a few months after the Korean War started and never returned.

Background coverage:

• After more than six decades, the Korean War is technically still not over. Here are photographs of the war, and a video explaining what happened— and why it matters.

• At a summit meeting on Friday, the leaders of North and South Korea signed a joint statement affirming that “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” would be a common goal of the two countries.

• The South Korean government said on Sunday that Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, had declared he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to sign a peace treaty and promised not to invade his country. Skeptics warn that North Korea has made similar pledges in the past.

A fascinating story…

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🎧 Caliphate – Chapter Two: Recruitment | New York Times

Listened to Caliphate - Chapter Two: Recruitment by Rukmini Callimachi, Andy Mills from nytimes.com

Who is it that ISIS appeals to, and how? Rukmini speaks with a former ISIS member about how and why he joined the fold.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Cosby Verdict and #MeToo | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Cosby Verdict and #MeToo by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Bill Cosby has been convicted of sexual assault following years of accusations from dozens of women. What changed between the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, and this one?

On today’s episode:

• Graham Bowley, an investigative reporter at The Times, joins us from Norristown, Pa., where he has been covering the Cosby proceedings.

• Lili Bernard, a former guest star on “The Cosby Show” and one of more than 50 women who have spoken out against the entertainer, describes her experience attending the trial.

Background reading:

• In one of the first high-profile court cases of the #MeToo era, a jury convicted Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, a former Temple University staff member who had looked up to him as a mentor.

• We also look at the timeline of events in the Cosby case, and at reactions to the verdict.

A stunning and well-deserved victory. I’m glad to see depraved predators caught and put away.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The Allegations Against Ronny Jackson | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The Allegations Against Ronny Jackson by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The nomination of Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, President Trump’s personal doctor, as the next head of Veterans Affairs has come to an abrupt stop. Now, Congress is beginning to examine several alarming allegations from unidentified whistle-blowers that derailed the doctor’s Senate confirmation process.

On today’s episode:

• Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The Times.

Background reading:

• President Trump hinted at a midday news conference that Dr. Jackson might soon withdraw from consideration for the role of Veterans Affairs secretary. By the evening, however, the White House moved to aggressively defend the doctor, calling his record “impeccable.”

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🎧 Bonus: Malcolm Gladwell debates Adam Grant | Revisionist History

Listened to Bonus: Malcolm Gladwell debates Adam Grant by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

In a special live taping at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Malcolm talks with WorkLife’s Adam Grant about how to avoid doing highly undesirable tasks, what makes an idea interesting, and why Malcolm thinks we shouldn't root for the underdog.

While there was a great conversation here, I was most struck by the incredibly well done and specific nature of the way Gladwell did the embedded advertisement in this episode.

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🎧 Hunger and Malnutrition | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Hunger and malnutrition by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

One week jam, the next global hunger and malnutrition. That’s the joy of Eat This Podcast; I get to present what interests me, in the hope that it interests you too. It also means I sometimes get to talk to my friends about how they see the big picture around food. Dr Jessica Fanzo, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Columbia University’s Insitute of Human Nutrition, Special Advisor on Nutrition Policy at the Earth Institute’s Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, also at Columbia, and much else besides, is one such friend. She was in Rome recently for a preparatory meeting for a big UN conference on nutrition next year, so I took the opportunity to catch up, and to ask some very basic questions about global hunger.

I confess, I have very little time for the global talk shops that meet so that, somehow, magically, the poor can eat. And having attended a few, there does seem to be a dearth of people who have studied malnutrition and hunger first hand, and made a difference. Jess Fanzo has been promoting the idea of nutrition-sensitive agriculture as a way to make a difference locally, while recognizing that there can be no simple, global solutions. You have to see what works in one place, and then adapt it to your own circumstances. There are no simple global solutions. The primary point – that governments have some responsibility for ensuring that their citizens at least have the opportunity to be well-nourished – seems often to be lost in the din of governments talking about other things. And interfering busybodies declaring war on hunger don’t seem to have much luck either. I don’t have any solutions.

Notes

  1. Check out Dr Fanzo’s credentials at the Institute of Human Nutrition and the Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development.
  2. She was also the first winner of the Premio Daniel Carasso; there’s a videoabout that too.
  3. She’s written about her fieldwork and how it informs her global view. (And, as an aside, how come big-shot bloggers don’t care about spam? Come on, people. Your negligence makes life worse for everybody.)
  4. The Integration of Nutrition into Extension and Advisory Services: A Synthesis of Experiences, Lessons, and Recommendations reports on ways to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture. And the research extends to social media.
  5. The paper I mentioned, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is Comparative impact of climatic and nonclimatic factors on global terrestrial carbon and water cycles.
  6. Photo of Jess Fanzo in Timor Leste by Nick Appleby.

I love plumbing the archives of this podcast and relistening to old episodes. This is easily my second time around on this episode.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 10 The Basement Tapes | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 10 The Basement Tapes by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A cardiologist in Minnesota searches through the basement of his childhood home for a missing box of data from a long-ago experiment. What he discovers changes our understanding of the modern American diet — but also teaches us something profound about what really matters when we honor our parents’ legacy.

There’s a little bit of everything here.

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🎧 Season 2 Episode 9 McDonalds Broke My Heart | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 9 McDonalds Broke My Heart by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

McDonald’s used to make the best fast food french fries in the world — until they changed their recipe in 1990. Revisionist History travels to the top food R&D lab in the country to discover what was lost, and why for the past generation we’ve been eating french fries that taste like cardboard.

I love the double entendre “broke my heart”! This does make me curious to try making my own beef tallow french fries.

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