Browsing articles from "May, 2019"

‘All In The Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons’ Revival Delivers Nostalgia — For What?

May 24, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘All In The Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons’ Revival Delivers Nostalgia — For What?

Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei starred as Archie and Edith Bunker in ABC’s re-creation of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, a live event staged in front of a studio audience and broadcast in TV’s prime time.

Eric McCandless/ABC


hide caption

toggle caption

Eric McCandless/ABC

Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei starred as Archie and Edith Bunker in ABC’s re-creation of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, a live event staged in front of a studio audience and broadcast in TV’s prime time.

Eric McCandless/ABC

There was a bittersweet quality to ABC’s triumphant two-hour live sitcom special on Wednesday night. At least, for me there was.

On the sweet side, watching talented stars like Jamie Foxx and Woody Harrelson re-create classic scripts from All in the Family and The Jeffersons was a shot of pure, uncut nostalgia. There are few spectacles as entertaining as these guys mugging their ways through impressions of classic characters like George Jefferson and Archie Bunker — in live performance.

For those of us raised on the original stuff — the inspired swagger of Sherman Hemsley as self-made success George; Carroll O’Connor’s vividly authentic, Queens patois as Archie — even the distant echoes evoked by Foxx and Harrelson on ABC’s live special were entertaining. And, of course, Foxx stole the show by improvising his way through an inevitable line flub. (“It’s live,” he said, turning to the audience while his costars struggled to keep straight faces. “Everyone sitting at home … think they TV just messed up.”)

Harrelson actually struggled a bit as Archie; I never quite bought him as a cluelessly bigoted (yet somehow lovable) working-class schlub from Queens. And his labored efforts to make those old-school punch lines sing revealed just how much O’Connor’s grounded performance helped sell the material back in the day.

Marisa Tomei fared much better as well-meaning wife Edith Bunker, smoothing over Archie’s barbs with a manic earnestness very close to the magic Jean Stapleton once managed weekly. Wanda Sykes was earnest, but uncharacteristically subdued as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson.

They, along with a cast of fellow stars, re-created two actual, unchanged scripts from All in the Family and The Jeffersons that originally aired in the 1970s, on sets painstakingly copied from the originals, directed by the great sitcom craftsman James Burrows. Hosted by late-night talker Jimmy Kimmel, who dreamed up this revival, the live event also had the blessing of the TV legend who helped develop both shows: 96-year-old executive producer Norman Lear.

Lear’s benediction came before it all started, delivered while sitting in Archie’s legendary living room chair: “The language and themes from almost 50 years ago can still be jarring today,” he said, as a bit of a warning. “And we are still grappling with many of these same issues.”

It was a loving tribute presented like a Broadway play. So why did watching it make me feel so, well, odd?

Wanda Sykes (from left), Will Ferrell, Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx — playing characters from The Jeffersons — were among many famous actors tapped for ABC’s primetime live special.

Eric McCandless/ABC


hide caption

toggle caption

Eric McCandless/ABC

The two episodes they re-created, “Henry’s Farewell” from All in the Family and “A Friend in Need” from The Jeffersons, centered on a farewell party for George’s brother held at the Bunker home, and an argument between the Jeffersons over whether they should hire a maid.

Part of the problem was the rigidness of the setup. With no changes to the scripts, actors had a tough time delivering a fresh take on their characters. When Archie, Edith, George and Weezy first burst onto TV screens in the early 1970s, no one had seen characters like them on network television. This time, we saw pale imitations through the haze of fond memories.

Frankly, I’m way more interested in seeing Jamie Foxx play a George Jefferson in today’s world than I am in seeing him recreate another actor’s signature character in a way that feels a little too much like an old In Living Color skit.

Also, much as we might despair that the country hasn’t moved far enough on issues of racial equality and fighting prejudice, the fact is: We have changed. As evidence, note that ABC felt the need to insert a lengthy bleep over George Jefferson’s use of the n-word in a scene on Wednesday; that same scene was unbleeped when it originally aired in 1975.

You can grouse that networks are too politically correct these days to air a word contained in quite a few hit rap singles. But back in the 1970s, network TV — the medium of the masses — didn’t seem to care much whether anyone was put off by one of the worst racial slurs in our nation’s history. Changing that attitude sounds like a good thing.

I don’t usually find fulfillment in straight-up TV nostalgia. I prefer the reboots and reinventions of old TV shows that take classic programs in new directions, like Star Trek: Discovery or the new Latinx-centered Party of Five. So even while I was impressed by the scope of ABC’s revival, I was also a bit disappointed. Is the future of network television really going to be so focused on recreating its past?

Still, there were amazing moments Wednesday. Jennifer Hudson was her usual incandescent self, belting out a voice-and-piano version of The Jeffersons‘ theme “Movin’ On Up” to help transition between the two different episodes. Kerry Washington and Will Ferrell were inspired choices to play the interracial couple Helen and Tom Willis. And bringing in Marla Gibbs to reprise her role as the Jeffersons’ maid Florence was a nice touch.

Given that the special was Wednesday’s most-watched show with more than 10 million viewers, and all the goodwill generated by this experiment, I’m sure there will be more classic sitcom revivals in network TV’s future. But I hope there’s also some energy expended on making the new renditions unique and fresh in their own ways, rather than just recreating shows we originally fell in love with because they were so original in the first place.

Patrick Jarenwattananon and Nina Gregory produced and edited this story.

Facebook Removed Nearly 3.4 Billion Fake Accounts In Last Six Months

May 24, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Facebook Removed Nearly 3.4 Billion Fake Accounts In Last Six Months

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured earlier this month in France, told reporters on Thursday, the tech giant is making great strides in fighting hate speech and crime online.

Francois Mori/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Francois Mori/AP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured earlier this month in France, told reporters on Thursday, the tech giant is making great strides in fighting hate speech and crime online.

Francois Mori/AP

Facebook says it removed 3.39 billion fake accounts from October to March. That’s twice the number of fraudulent accounts deleted in the previous six-month period.

In the company’s latest Community Standards Enforcement Report, released Thursday, Facebook said nearly all of the fake accounts were caught by artificial intelligence and more human monitoring. They also attributed the skyrocketing number to “automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time.”

The fake accounts are roughly a billion more than the 2.4 billion actual people on Facebook worldwide, according to the company’s own count.

“Most of these accounts were blocked within minutes of their creation before they could do any harm,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters in a call on Thursday.

While acknowledging that Facebook “knows that there’s a lot of work ahead,” Zuckerberg also touted the company’s progress in curbing hate speech and graphic violence across the platform.

“We are increasingly catching it before people report it to us,” he said, adding that 65% of the hate speech on the site was removed before any users alerted the company. That is an increase from about 24% a year ago, Zuckerberg said.

During the same period, Facebook identified about 83% of posts and comments trying to sell drugs, before the company was informed about them, he added.

Facebook is facing a number of controversies on its platform including election interference, misinformation and privacy concerns. And a growing number of critics, including politicians and one of its co-founders, are calling for the company to be broken up. They argue Facebook, which has acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in recent years, wields far too much power and has a monopoly in the industry.

Chris Hughes, who co-founded the company in 2004, told NPR earlier this month, Zuckerberg “is unaccountable.”

“He’s unaccountable to his shareholders. He’s unaccountable to his users, and he’s unaccountable to government. And I think that that’s fundamentally un-American. And I think government should step up, break up the company and regulate it,” he said.

He added that the company “totally dominates the social networking space.”

“Of every dollar that’s spent on ads and social networking, 84% goes to Facebook,” Hughes said. “If you look at the time spent on the site, you know, the average user [is] spending an hour on Facebook and another 53 minutes on Instagram, not to mention what they’re spending on WhatsApp.”

Dipayan Ghosh, co-director of the Platform Accountability Project at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School, previously served as Facebook’s privacy and policy advisor. “Without some sort of public transparency into steps the company takes to take down nefarious accounts, we should not conclude it’s doing enough,” he told NPR.

But on Thursday, Zuckerberg argued the new report is evidence of the company’s efforts to be more transparent. He also asserted that breaking up Facebook would only make it harder to quash fake news and phony accounts across the site.

Botswana Lifts Its Ban On Elephant Hunting

May 24, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Botswana Lifts Its Ban On Elephant Hunting

Elephants eat foliage at Botswana’s Mashatu game reserve in 2010.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Elephants eat foliage at Botswana’s Mashatu game reserve in 2010.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Botswana’s government is lifting a ban that protected its elephants from being hunted, part of a series of decisions that could have lasting impacts on the country’s conservation efforts.

In a letter to reporters, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism referred to elephants as predators and said their numbers “appear to have increased.” It said a subcommittee found that conflicts between humans and elephants had risen, harming livestock and the livelihoods of Botswana’s people.

The announcement marked a sharp departure from the policies of former President Ian Khama, who suspended elephant hunting after data showed the population in decline. The ban took effect in 2014 but did not stop hunting in registered game ranches.

'A Million Elephants' No More: Conservationists In Laos Rush To Save An Icon

In May, Botswana’s newly elected president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, made international headlines for giving three African leaders stools made of elephant feet.

In June, he requested a review of the ban on hunting elephants.

His study group recommended “regular but limited elephant culling,” in addition to establishing elephant meat canning for pet food and other products. Among other conclusions, it recommended the government expand Botswana’s safari hunting industry.

Authorities said Thursday that the government accepted all recommendations except the regular culling of elephants and the establishment of meat canning. “This was rejected because culling is not considered acceptable given the overall continental status of elephants. Rather, a more sustainable method such as selective cropping should be employed,” the government said.

Conservationists around the world took to social media to denounce the government’s reversal on elephant hunting.

“Horrific beyond imagination,” said Paula Kahumbu, CEO of the Kenya-based WildlifeDirect. She said hunting was an archaic way to address the problems of living with mega fauna. “Africa, we are better than this,” she tweeted.

German organization Pro Wildlife wrote that hunting was a bloody sport, “#cruel, outdated, unethical and often undermining” conservation.

Nearly 90 Elephants Found Dead Near Botswana Sanctuary, Killed By Poachers

Other groups celebrated Botswana’s announcement, including Safari Club International, a U.S.-based organization that supports regulated trophy hunting.

President Paul Babaz called it “heartening” in a statement. “These findings clearly show that hunting bans actually hurt wildlife conservation; hunting is the key to providing the necessary revenue to fund anti-poaching efforts and on-the-ground conservation research,” he said.

Fewer than 400 elephant licenses will be granted annually, the government of Botswana announced on Twitter Thursday. It said it was planning for “strategically placed human wildlife conflict fences” and compensation for damage caused by wildlife. All migratory routes for animals that are not considered “beneficial” to Botswana’s conservation efforts will be closed, including an antelope route to South Africa.

Northern Botswana is home to Africa’s largest elephant population, according to the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service. The population grew steadily from 80,000 in 1996 to 129,000 in 2014.

It happened as habitat loss and poaching devastated elephant populations across Africa. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, poachers slaughtered 100,000 African elephants, National Geographic reported.

Last September, the carcasses of 87 elephants were found close to a protected sanctuary in Botswana. They had been killed for their tusks.

American Man Achieves Dream By Reaching Mount Everest Summit, Then Dies

May 24, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on American Man Achieves Dream By Reaching Mount Everest Summit, Then Dies

A 55-year-old Utah man who told his son that he was “so blessed” to achieve his lifelong dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest, collapsed and died during his descent on Wednesday.

The family of Donald Lynn Cash, of Sandy, Utah, said the software sales executive and mountaineer apparently died of a heart attack. His body is not recoverable.

“The last message he sent to me personally was, ‘I’m so blessed to be on the mountain I have read about for 40 years!’ ” son Tanner Cash told NBC’s Today show.

Cash fell at the top of the summit in the early morning, according to The Himalayan Times, and was brought below the famed Hillary Step on the south side of the mountain by his climbing guides. They tried to save his life by administering oxygen, but he died later in the afternoon.

There are reports that the effort to carry Cash below the Hillary Step was delayed by a traffic jam of other mountaineers trying to reach the summit. Somewhere between 250 to 300 climbers were attempting to reach the summit on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.

“There’s a long queue of climbers above Camp IV,” Gyanendra Shrestha, a liaison officer at the Everest base camp, told The Himalayan Times. “Everyone seems in a hurry to reach the summit point when the weather is clear.”

Cash died as he achieved his goal of climbing highest summits on all seven continents.

“I am truly blessed to be able to take the next 5 months off on a sabbatical to finish the last 2 remaining mountains on my Seven Summits Club dream,” he wrote on his LinkedIn page. “Mt. Vinson-Masiff in Antarctica Jan 7-26th, 2019 and then Mt. Everest in Nepal April/May 2019. I’m excited to look for the next chapter of my career in June when I return. Safely. With all my digits.”

I think there’s just so much peace that comes from knowing that he didn’t suffer,” Cash’s daughter Brandalin told NBC’s Today show. “That it was the best way to go.”

Cash is the 12th mountaineer to die on Himalayan mountains above 25,000 feet in the spring climbing season, The Himalayan Times reports.

Conditions Are Deteriorating At Syria Camp Where ISIS Families Are Being Held

May 23, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Conditions Are Deteriorating At Syria Camp Where ISIS Families Are Being Held



MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now for a rare look at what could be a crisis in the making in northeastern Syria. It’s part of the aftermath of the fight against ISIS there. Thousands of foreign wives and children of ISIS fighters, people from the west and from around the world who went to Syria, they’re being held in one section of a much larger displacement camp. Health conditions at the camp are deteriorating, security is tenuous, so journalists are rarely allowed in. NPR’s Jane Arraf was. She was there today, and she joins me now from the region. Hey, Jane.

JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: Hey, just describe what you were able to see. What’s this camp like?

ARRAF: So this is actually a camp within a camp, and it’s known as the annex. It’s where non-Iraqis and non-Syrians are kept. And it’s heavily guarded. There’s a wire fence, a steel gate – a couple of them actually – and armed guards keeping watch. And it’s kind of like a railway station. This is what it sounded like when I was there earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARRAF: People from everywhere coming and going. Their kids hauling carts with supplies. It’s kind of dusty, gravelly, this field with white tents, children playing with toy guns. At the gate, there are dozens of women pressed against that wire fence. They want to go out to go to the market and do other things, but for the most part, they’re being told they can’t. These are the wives of foreign ISIS fighters, who flocked to the caliphate, and their children. And they’re kept under tight security.

KELLY: I can picture it. I can hear it. These women who were pressed against the gate and the others there, were you able to speak to any of them?

ARRAF: I did speak to a few. We were allowed to walk through the camp with the Kurdish guards. But we weren’t allowed to talk to everybody we wanted. The guards said one path that we wanted to take was too dangerous. And definitely there was hostility towards the guards, not so much against us.

One woman who didn’t want to be named or have her nationality noted said that at night in the camp where she was, everyone was afraid. She said they were afraid of the guards, who would do raids to search for phones or other contraband. And they were afraid as well of some of the other women, women even more extreme than ISIS, whose husbands were executed. I spoke to one woman from Chechnya who asked me in broken Arabic if it was true Russia was taking children back.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Arabic).

ARRAF: She said are 14-year-old son badly needed an operation. And she wanted the Russian government to take him out. It’s a huge problem in that part of the camp, that lack of medical care.

KELLY: You said this is non-Syrians, non-Iraqis being held here. Is that right?

ARRAF: Yes. These are foreigners mostly from Europe and North Africa.

KELLY: What about Americans? Are Americans there?

ARRAF: So not in that camp according to officials. I have met an American in another smaller camp. But the interesting thing is that there weren’t a lot of Americans or Canadians who actually went to join ISIS. Most of them were from North Africa, Eastern and Western Europe. The Americans that have been there have generally been taken out, although there are few thought to be left here.

KELLY: What is the future for people in this camp? Do the countries they came from say that they will ever be allowed to go home?

ARRAF: That is a huge and controversial question. For the women, it’s really iffy. For the children, some of the countries have started to take back orphans – for instance, Sweden and Russia. I met two orphans in that foreigner section. There were two boys, maybe 13 or 14, one from Trinidad, one from Pakistan. They said they had no parents. They had nothing. They were looking for help. And pretty much everyone there is looking for help because it’s a really big question, what happens to kids like that.

KELLY: NPR’s Jane Arraf. Thanks so much, Jane.

ARRAF: Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

‘Nuking The Moon’ Looks At Intelligence And Military Schemes That Didn’t Make It

May 23, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Nuking The Moon’ Looks At Intelligence And Military Schemes That Didn’t Make It



MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale – not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That’s prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

Animal spies may sound wild to casual news consumers, but for Vince Houghton, that idea was not so crazy. Houghton writes about animals that have endured the unimaginable in the name of national security and all kinds of other intelligence and military schemes that never made it off the drawing board.

His new book is “Nuking The Moon,” and he opens with a chapter on house cats. Back in the 1960s, the CIA tried to turn them into covert listening devices.

VINCE HOUGHTON: And that doesn’t mean giving it a collar with a bug on it. It means literally opening it up and putting the electronics inside the cat to wire it up to be a robokitty, essentially, to listen in into conversations.

KELLY: And the plan theoretically was what? They would deploy these acoustic kitties in the Soviet Union or…

HOUGHTON: Or wherever there were embassies. What better way of infiltrating Soviet compounds around the world than things that they just don’t even notice that are there?

KELLY: (Laughter) OK. This is prompting some questions. Cats don’t, in my experience, go where you want them to go. They go wherever they feel like going.

HOUGHTON: And likely, that’s the reason the program was canceled in the end. I think everyone’s laughing out there, thinking about training cats who’s ever been around a cat for 10 seconds.

KELLY: (Laughter).

HOUGHTON: But they made it work. And, in fact, the acoustic part of Acoustic Kitty reportedly had no problems. The cat was a very effective bug, a listening device.

KELLY: So the electronics worked.

HOUGHTON: Right. The electronics worked. The ears were used, essentially, to funnel the noise into the microphone. The tail was the antenna. So part of it worked out pretty well. The problem was, like we mentioned, how do you get it to do what you want it to do?

KELLY: One more animal story to ask you about – Project X-Ray, which I will summarize as strapping bombs onto bats. And the bats would then swoop down onto Japanese cities during World War II. And it sounds like the problem with this one was they actually field-tested it, and it worked too well.

HOUGHTON: Right, too well. And this is something that was field-tested. And it didn’t just burn down the mock Japanese city that was built for the test, but it burned down…

KELLY: This was in the desert…

HOUGHTON: Right, in the desert…

KELLY: …In the Southwest U.S. somewhere.

HOUGHTON: …In Southwest United States.

KELLY: OK.

HOUGHTON: And it burned down the mock city, but it also burned down the working U.S. Army airfield – its control tower and barracks and hangars and everything else.

KELLY: (Laughter) I hate to laugh, but…

HOUGHTON: Yeah, of course. I mean…

KELLY: …You couldn’t make it up.

HOUGHTON: And adding insult to injury is the commander of the airfield was not read into the program. He didn’t have the need to know. So when he showed up with a firetruck to put out the fire of his airfield, he was told he couldn’t go in there and do anything about it because he wasn’t cleared for this top-secret program.

KELLY: Were bat bombs ever deployed actually in the battlefield that we know of?

HOUGHTON: Well, the interesting thing about this is a lot of this research was happening in New Mexico. And eventually, the money needed to come in to make this production line – bat bombs.

And so the chief of naval operations was asked for this money. And in the summer of 1945, asking him for millions of dollars for bat bombs made him scratch his head and said, well, this is not the project in New Mexico that I think is going to help win the war. There’s this thing called the atomic bomb that we’re building, so we don’t need bat bombs.

KELLY: Speaking of atomic bombs, I have to ask about the incident that lent its name to the title of your book, “Nuking The Moon,” an idea seriously considered by the U.S. Air Force back in the ’50s.

HOUGHTON: Absolutely. This is right after Sputnik.

KELLY: Nuking the – blowing up the moon with a nuclear warhead was seriously considered?

HOUGHTON: Well, not blowing up the moon, but detonating a thermonuclear weapon on the moon so that everyone on Earth could watch and ooh and ah as the mushroom cloud popped up on the moon.

KELLY: Why was this thought to be a good idea?

HOUGHTON: Well, because America was terrified after Sputnik. In 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite. It looked as though they were now the world’s leader in science and technology. They’d beat us at our own game. So we needed something big. We needed a big show of force to convince the world that we actually were the scientific powerhouse.

And so this idea wasn’t so crazy that it was a bunch of wacky scientists you’d find in the bowels of the Pentagon. No, these were people who would – the head of the program would later go on to be the deputy director of the Apollo program.

KELLY: So why didn’t we do it?

HOUGHTON: There are about 10 different answers, and they all come from all the different participants. Some people say what you would think, like, you know, we’re going to want to walk people on the moon one day. Let’s not leave radioactive craters there. Some people were saying it didn’t make a lot of economic sense. It’d cost a lot of money to do this. Others were saying, look; we can win the war of minds in science in other ways, without kind of destroying the natural beauty of the moon.

I’m not convinced by any of them. They all kind of come after the fact, so kind of people looking back and saying, well, you know, we wanted to make sure we weren’t doing a bad thing to the moon. I think at the time, they just said, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

KELLY: Some of the plans you document are really not funny to read about. I’m thinking in particular of Operation Northwoods…

HOUGHTON: Right.

KELLY: …Which was a U.S. military plan involving Cuba. It came right after the Bay of Pigs. And one iteration involved targeting Cuban exiles living in the U.S., like violently targeting Cuban exiles, blaming the violence on Fidel Castro and then using that as a pretext for U.S. use of force against Castro’s regime. How close did anybody come to acting on that?

HOUGHTON: Pretty close. This was a bunch of plans that included everything from dressing up Cuban exiles as Cuban soldiers, having them attack Guantanamo, to blowing up a ship in Havana Harbor. But what makes me bristle about this was where they literally talked about doing terrorist acts. They use that word. This is a U.S. military document saying terrorist acts in Miami…

KELLY: Have you seen this document?

HOUGHTON: Yeah, absolutely.

KELLY: Really? Yeah?

HOUGHTON: Yeah. In Miami, in the Cuban exile community, where they would blow up pipe bombs and other things like that to kill, wound, injure – it didn’t really care at the time – Cuban exiles and anyone else who kind of got in the way to try to blame it on Fidel Castro to give a justification for an invasion. This is indicative more than any other of the chapters in this book about how desperate we truly were at the time.

KELLY: In the case of this operation, you document that it made it all the way to the president and that it was John F. Kennedy who said, I don’t think that’s a really good idea.

HOUGHTON: Well, and that’s the crazy thing is that this didn’t die a horrible death at, like, some captain in the Pentagon. This went to the chiefs of all the different Army and Navy and Air Force, went to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to the White House staff, who all said, this is a great idea, finally made it to the White House, finally made it to John F. Kennedy, who finally is the one who said, no, we’re not going to do this. Like, we’re not these guys.

KELLY: I mean, it’s prompting the question for me which must have been going through your head throughout the writing of this book, what were they thinking?

HOUGHTON: Well, that’s what I want people to ask. You’re going to have a knee-jerk reaction to go, what were these guys thinking? This is so stupid. I want you to ask the same question in a different way. I want you to go, what were they thinking?

KELLY: What were they thinking?

HOUGHTON: Yeah. Like, what was the motivation behind these plots and plans? Because as historians, we learn very little about the past by applying 20/20 hindsight to the outcomes. We know we won World War II. We know we ended the Cold War without firing a shot. That’s unfair for us to look at these and evaluate these stories based on our knowledge in 2019.

The best way to do it is to put ourselves in the shoes of the people making the decision at the time and say, OK, what were they afraid of? What were they thinking? What were they trying to do here? Even in that case, we might go, they’re still crazy, but it at least allows us to evaluate them much more fairly than we would if we were applying our 2019 knowledge to these programs.

KELLY: Vince Houghton – he is curator of the International Spy Museum and author of the new book “Nuking The Moon.” Vince Houghton, thanks.

HOUGHTON: Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE TING TINGS SONG, “SILENCE (BAG RAIDERS REMIX)”)

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Dreamtime

May 23, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The Thistle & Shamrock: Dreamtime

Maire Brennan

Mella Travers/Courtesy of the artist


hide caption

toggle caption

Mella Travers/Courtesy of the artist

Settle into an hour of soothing voices and soaring instrumentals that all go to prove this roots music business needn’t always be high-energy. Featured in this episode are Davy Spillane, William Jackson, Maire Brennan and Dougie MacLean.

Alabama Historians Say The Last Known Slave Ship To U.S. Has Been Found

May 23, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Alabama Historians Say The Last Known Slave Ship To U.S. Has Been Found

Many of the survivors of the Clotilda voyage are buried in Old Plateau Cemetery near Mobile, Ala. The Alabama Historical Commission announced Wednesday that researchers have identified the vessel after months of work.

Julie Bennett/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Julie Bennett/AP

Many of the survivors of the Clotilda voyage are buried in Old Plateau Cemetery near Mobile, Ala. The Alabama Historical Commission announced Wednesday that researchers have identified the vessel after months of work.

Julie Bennett/AP

The Alabama Historical Commission says a wrecked ship off the Gulf Coast is the Clotilda, the last known vessel to bring people from Africa to the United States and into bondage.

At the Robert Hope Community Center in Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday, researchers unveiled their discovery to descendants of that fateful voyage. “They had been waiting for this for a long time,” Alabama Historical Commission Chairman Walter Givhan, a retired major general, told NPR. “They were jubilant.”

Givhan said researchers based their assessment on certain historical information. “You knew certain things about this ship, you knew it had certain characteristics just from the history – how many masts, how long it was, what kind of wood it might have been made of,” Givhan said.

Researchers were also looking for a ship that had been burned and scuttled in the waters around Mobile — reflecting the captain’s attempts to block law enforcement from finding evidence of a crime.

From February to July 1860, the Clotilda carried 110 people from present-day Benin to the shores of Mobile, despite an 1808 U.S. law banning the import of slaves.

The prisoners were among the last known Africans destined for a life in captivity.

Captain William Foster and Timothy Meaher, a wealthy Alabamian, were said to have made a bet that resulted in the voyage.

Wreckage Of WWII Aircraft Carrier Found In The South Pacific Ocean

After the Civil War, some survivors of the Clotilda formed a Mobile community eventually known as Africatown.

The announcement of the ship’s identity comes a year after another claim that the historic vessel had been discovered. AL.com reported that a staff member may have stumbled on remnants of the ship. “I saw this big sort of dinosaur backbone almost, arcing up out of the mud along the shoreline,” Ben Raines told NPR at the time.

But the Alabama Historical Commission ruled out that possibility because of major differences between the two vessels. For one, the wreckage Raines found appeared to lack fire damage.

Researchers said the wreck identified on Wednesday showed signs of burns, matching archival records.

“We are cautious about placing names on shipwrecks that no longer bear a name or something like a bell with the ship’s name on it,” team leader James Delgado said in a statement, “but the physical and forensic evidence powerfully suggests that this is Clotilda.”

Researchers said the conclusions were independently reviewed and agreed upon by international authorities.

The commission said it is coordinating with the governor’s office, law enforcement and the Department of Conservation to keep the site protected.

The work was carried out in collaboration with the Black Heritage Council, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Culture and other organizations.

Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, executive director of the commission, said the “voyage represented one of the darkest eras of modern history.” She added, “This new discovery brings the tragedy of slavery into focus while witnessing the triumph and resilience of the human spirit.”

How Schools Can Support Homeless Teens

May 22, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on How Schools Can Support Homeless Teens

More than 1 million public school students experienced homelessness in the 2016-2017 school year. Those students are less likely to finish high school, but one Illinois teenager beat the odds.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg On Trade, Military Force And More

May 22, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg On Trade, Military Force And More

In a wide-ranging interview with NPR, presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg answers questions about everything from trade and the use of military force to love and marriage.

Categories

Current Times

  • NPT: 2019-05-24 11:46 AM
  • EDT: 2019-05-24 02:01 AM
  • PDT: 2019-05-23 11:01 PM