Browsing articles from "June, 2019"

Sports Analyst: NBA Reliance On Analytics Hurts Diversity Hiring

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Sports Analyst: NBA Reliance On Analytics Hurts Diversity Hiring



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let’s talk basketball for a minute. The men’s NBA season is officially over. The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA championship. And now the big news in the men’s game is the upcoming draft and the big trades, like Anthony Davis heading to the Lakers. So we thought this might be a good time to explore how teams decide. And while there’s been a lot of talk these days about the growing power of agents and big-name players, increasingly, teams are using advanced analytics, really detailed performance data to determine whom to hire.

And Jalen Rose has some thoughts about that. Jalen Rose is a former college basketball star, a member of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, a former NBA player. And he’s now a prominent sports analyst on multiple shows on ESPN and elsewhere. In a recent conversation with The New Yorker Magazine, Rose argued that the increased reliance on analytics over things like playing experience make it harder for former players, many of whom are minorities, to get high-level positions. I called him to ask him to tell me more.

JALEN ROSE: There became an amazing groundswell of opportunities that presented themselves in powerful positions, whether general manager, president and/or an entire department now that organizations are dedicating themselves to making sure they are on top of the analytics. And they’re able to decipher not only what you see, but obviously they’re able to detect it via the numbers.

So I understand, and I appreciate having all of the information. But at some point, there still has to be some level of logic, expertise. Your eye test has to be something that you’re able to trust along with your instincts to make that big final decision. I just always felt like analytics should be a tool – a wrench, a hammer – that’s a part of the tool box, not necessarily the end-all, be-all to a final decision. And it definitely should not be the sole reason why somebody is put into a powerful position.

MARTIN: In a way, I feel like you’re saying that, well, you’re saying a couple of things that people have seen in other fields. They feel that, say, algorithms are replacing human judgment. And it also – what I hear you saying is that this is a way to kind of keep the club the way it’s always been. Now that more African Americans are getting the experience to move into these front office positions, you have the feeling that perhaps this reliance on data is a way to kind of keep it as the club that it’s always been that has not been particularly diverse. Is that what you see?

ROSE: Well, I’m just really talking about the landscape as I see it and acknowledging how that did take place based on the dynamics you just described. It’s just that what ended up happening with those jobs and the dynamics of professional sports. If you look from the top down, there needs to be more diversity in the powerful positions.

And a lot of times, the numbers became a catalyst to say, here’s an opportunity. Oh, and by the way, since you know analytics, you get pushed to the front of the line. And if you look in the NBA and in many professional sports, there isn’t a lot of diversity amongst those who got their position based on the fact that they were really good at crunching the numbers and doing analytics.

MARTIN: So what kind of reaction are you getting?

ROSE: A lot of support. And the great thing about being open-minded and trying to always be fair, you hear it from all sides. And when people have a good point, you acknowledge it. And when you feel like what you’re saying and what you believe is what it’s going to be, then and you just own it.

MARTIN: That was ESPN analyst former, NBA player Jalen Rose. We’re talking about a piece that just posted in The New Yorker called “Jalen Rose Has A Problem With Basketball Analytics.” And we reached him in Oakland. Jalen Rose, thanks so much for talking to us.

ROSE: Thank you kindly. Have a great day.

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.

Protestors Call For Hong Kong Leader To Step Down

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Protestors Call For Hong Kong Leader To Step Down



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to stay in Hong Kong a little longer to hear from one of the protesters who was out in the streets all day. Galileo Cheng is a social affairs executive for the Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association, and he is with us now.

Welcome. Thanks for talking to us.

GALILEO CHENG: Yes. Thank you.

MARTIN: The government says that they’ve shelved this bill for now. Why is it that so many people still felt they needed to come out to protest?

CHENG: Well, whenever they say they’re suspending it indefinitely, the Hong Kong people are not believing it.

MARTIN: So what is it that the protesters are asking for? They’re asking for the bill to be shelved indefinitely. Is there anything else?

CHENG: Yeah. They’re calling for (unintelligible) responsibility of the police firing tear gas or all kinds of firearms, not arrest and charge for those protester and to release them, and most importantly, to cancel the Hong Kong government’s decision of marking the June 12 protest as a riot and step down for the Carrie Lam.

MARTIN: Tell me about the atmosphere there, if you would. You mentioned – and I think many people saw – that, you know, earlier in the week at earlier protests, there was tear gas. And many people – I think protesters believe that the police reacted kind of harshly. What’s the atmosphere there today?

CHENG: This one is funny. We are – because the police are very restrained, extremely calm. They don’t wear any kind of protective gear or anti-riot gear on the street. Of course, there are numbers, so they are not going to take strong action today.

MARTIN: What is it that you think is giving the protesters the encouragement to come out again now in such large numbers?

CHENG: I think the sentiment has to change. Two years ago, people were very disappointed about the Occupy Movement that after 71 days, and it came back nothing. But now, the Hong Kong person seems to be – Hong Kong people seems to be much more determined, less (unintelligible). So they have been planting the seed in the heart of the young people.

So this time, we see at the midnight of town, you’ve got the 300-somethings young peoples being arrested and 80% of them are just 16 to 25 years old. So that’s – we haven’t been expected. We thought the youngster don’t care about politics anymore. But it turns out that those young guys are coming out and becoming the front line. The seed had grown, and they were out.

MARTIN: That is Galileo Cheng. He’s a social affairs executive for the Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association. He’s been out all day, and he’s giving us a report from the front lines of the protests.

Galileo Cheng, thank you so much for talking with us.

CHENG: 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.

Pompeo Says ‘There’s No Doubt’ Iran Attacked 2 Tankers

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Pompeo Says ‘There’s No Doubt’ Iran Attacked 2 Tankers

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo closes his remarks at the State Department Thursday.

Alex Brandon/AP


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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo closes his remarks at the State Department Thursday.

Alex Brandon/AP

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doubled down Sunday on the claim that Iran was responsible for attacks on two tankers traveling in the Strait of Hormuz, despite furnishing no new evidence beyond a video distributed last week by the Pentagon.

“There’s no doubt,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. “The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it, but the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom have backed up the U.S. claim, which Iran has strenuously denied.

The Norwegian-owned Front Altair caught fire Thursday after what the U.S. described as an attack with mines, The Associated Press reports. Sailors on a passing ship rescued the crew as black smoke billowed off the tanker. The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was also struck, NPR’s Tom Bowman reported, and early assessments suggested the ship was hit by an external explosion.

Crew Of Norwegian-Owned Oil Tanker Arrives In Dubai After 'Hostile Attack'

The Pentagon released a grainy video it says shows an Iranian crew removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers.

Saudi Arabia has joined the United States in blaming Tehran.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, said his country will not hesitate to deal with threats to the kingdom’s interest, NPR’s Deborah Amos reports.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it is “pretty obvious” Iran is to blame, adding, “we actually have video evidence that shows what the Iranians have been doing.”

Iran has dismissed the accusation. NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports Tehran summoned the U.K. ambassador to protest London’s stance on the tanker attacks.

Other Europeans have been skeptical, including Germany’s Foreign Secretary Heiko Maas.

The U.S. military also accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps of trying to shoot down an American drone. The U.S. claims the drone had been observing one of the two tankers that had been attacked when Iran fired a surface to air missile but missed the drone, NPR’s Kenyon reports.

Six tankers have been attacked in the Gulf in recent weeks.

The attacks come as Iran faces renewed U.S. economic pressure. President Trump last year withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama signed in 2015 that lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program. Since then, the Trump administration has reimposed sanctions and and refused to renew waivers allowing other countries to import Iranian oil without incurring U.S. sanctions, NPR’s Bill Chappell has reported.

Associate political scientist Ariane Tabatabai at RAND Corporation told NPR’s Scott Simon that if Iran is to blame, it could be retaliating against the U.S. measures.

“This is one way for the Iranians to showcase that, if they’re going to be paying the costs of sanctions and political isolation, that they can actually begin to impose similar costs on the United States,” she said.

Senior military figures have lent their credence to the Pentagon video.

Speaking to Morning Edition’s Rachel Martin, the former commander of USCENTCOM, Admiral William J. Fallon, said the video is “very convincing to me…this video pretty much nails it.”

Pompeo on Sunday said, “we don’t want war,” but he also said the U.S. would guarantee freedom of navigation on the Strait of Hormuz, a major thoroughfare for the global oil trade.

“This is an international challenge,” Pompeo said on Fox. “This is important to the entire globe. The United States is going to make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that achieve that outcome.”

He also defended the decision to make an emergency U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia, bypassing Congressional approval.

“These past 40 days demonstrate the malign activity that puts Saudis at risk,” Pompeo said. “Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself. The United States wants to support our important defense partner in the region, and I think moving forward, these arms sales made enormous sense and we’re going to continue to push forward with them.”

NPR’s David Welna reports that both Republicans and Democrats are trying to undo the sale. Lawmakers say they are motivated by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which lawmakers have concluded was directed from the top echelons of Riyadh’s leadership. Legislators also oppose providing military support to the Saudi campaign in Yemen, which has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe.

“I’m usually on the other side of this issue,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “I’ve been very supportive of arms sales to our partners throughout the world, including Saudi Arabia. But MBS behavior is a game changer.”

Germany’s Far-Right Party Defeated In Closely Watched Mayoral Election

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Germany’s Far-Right Party Defeated In Closely Watched Mayoral Election

Octavian Ursu of the German Christian Democrats won a runoff for mayor of the small town of Görlitz in the country’s east, beating an opponent from the far-right Alternative for Germany.

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Octavian Ursu of the German Christian Democrats won a runoff for mayor of the small town of Görlitz in the country’s east, beating an opponent from the far-right Alternative for Germany.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has lost its first mayoral contest, handing embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) a solid victory.

In the small eastern town of Görlitz, near the border with Poland, Octavian Ursu, a 51-year-old Romanian immigrant and classical musician, easily won Sunday’s runoff vote against AfD’s Sebastian Wippel, 36, who stood on an anti-immigrant platform.

Ursu won by 55.1 percentage points to Wippel’s 44.9 percent, according to The Associated Press. Görlitz lies in the heart of a region in eastern Germany seen as a stronghold of support for the far-right party.

In the first round of voting on May 26, Wippel won 36.4 percentage points to Ursu’s 30.3 percent.

Germany's Angela Merkel Says She Won't Seek Re-Election, Will Leave Party Role

The election has been closely watched as a possible bellwether for Sept. 1 German state elections in Saxony, where Görlitz is located, and neighboring Brandenburg. Despite Sunday’s outcome in Görlitz, AfD remains neck-and-neck with the CDU in Saxony and the party is polling ahead of the CDU’s ally, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), in the state of Brandenburg.

Elections in Thuringia, another eastern state, are to be held in late October.

Right-wing party AfD candidate Sebastian Wippel reacts after the announcement of the results of the runoff mayoral election in Görlitz, Germany, on Sunday.

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Right-wing party AfD candidate Sebastian Wippel reacts after the announcement of the results of the runoff mayoral election in Görlitz, Germany, on Sunday.

Matthias Rietschel/REUTERS

Wippel was quoted by Reuters as saying Sunday’s loss was “not a vote for Mr. Ursu but more … against me.”

“The CDU had to rely on support from many groups including from the far-left extremists without whom they would not have made it,” he said, predicting that the AfD was still in “a good position” to win in Saxony in September.

A victorious Ursu said Görlitz, a town of just 56,000 that is known for the Hollywood movies shot there, such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inglourious Basterds, had refused to give in to his opponent’s nativist message.

“[I]t is not about two candidates but the orientation of this town to the outside world and that we remain an open society and do not isolate ourselves,” Ursu was quoted by Reuters as saying.

In an open letter published ahead of the election, German and international actors, directors and producers urged the town’s residents not to “give in to hate, hostility strife and marginalization.”

Dean Obeidallah Wins $4.1M In Defamation Suit Against Neo-Nazi Website

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Dean Obeidallah Wins $4.1M In Defamation Suit Against Neo-Nazi Website



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Continuing the conversation about new technologies, this week, lawmakers debated how to deal with information generated by artificial intelligence, which they fear could be used to smear candidates and interfere with elections. A comedian and commentator named Dean Obeidallah decided to tackle this conduct the old-fashioned way. He sued his defamers, and he won. This week, a judge ruled that the publisher of the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer must pay Obeidallah $4.1 million for falsely portraying him as a terrorist. Here to tell us more is Dean Obeidallah. He’s with us from our bureau in New York. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.

MARTIN: So let me just remind everybody again exactly what happened. What was your specific complaint against The Daily Stormer and its publisher, Andrew Anglin?

OBEIDALLAH: Well, what they did to me and what they wrote about me requires going backwards slightly a little bit. I wrote an article on May 31, 2017, for The Daily Beast, where I’ve been writing weekly for a few years. And in that article, I used the term white supremacist terrorism. And I said, why will Donald Trump not use the term white supremacist terrorism? Because this is three months before Charlottesville. There was already a spike in white supremacist violence going on.

And that so upset Andrew Anglin at The Daily Stormer, the publisher and founder. He wrote an article the next day smearing me. He fabricated tweets that made it look like I was tweeting that I was the mastermind of the bombing, I was cheering for it and I did it the name of Allah and my faith as a Muslim. And they looked exactly real, with retweets and likes and then directed his readership at The Daily Stormer to confront me was the exact term.

MARTIN: And what happened? Did people think this was you?

OBEIDALLAH: Well, yes.

MARTIN: And did people confront you?

OBEIDALLAH: The Daily Stormer readers clearly thought it was me from the comments that were directed at me that very clearly said that I hope – Dean better hope he dies of natural causes before we get him, things like we should hang him from an elm tree. And in their comments, they clearly saw – thought I was a terrorist. And just so it’s clear for people, The Daily Stormer is not your average white supremacist neo-Nazi publication, if there is such one. It is one where readers go to, they exchange information. They animate each other into action.

And readers of The Daily Stormer have committed acts of violence. James Jackson, who I wrote about that May 2017 article, came to New York in March from Maryland to start a race war and killed an elderly African American man and thankfully was arrested before he could kill others. And others have read this publication. So when they say confront you there, it’s not a normal publication saying, go challenge his opinions. It is direct action, encouraging people to literally confront me and to commit acts of violence.

MARTIN: OK. But I’m just curious about why, if you feel that these people are promoting and fomenting violence, why isn’t this a criminal matter as opposed to a civil matter? I mean, a civil matter is between two private parties, and the only consequence could be money, right? That’s the only way it can be a remedy. But if you feel that this group is actually encouraging violence, why isn’t this a criminal complaint?

OBEIDALLAH: It would be a harder case to prove from a criminal point of view because the direct – just as a lawyer, I can say, I mean, speech is protected and has more protections in the criminal setting. So to be charged criminally with inciting violence, you must directly say, go get this person at this place.

MARTIN: Go get him.

OBEIDALLAH: And we’re going to get him. And we’re going to kill him. Instead, it was slightly more ambiguous. But clearly, from a civil point of view, these tweets and this language was not protected by the First Amendment.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, how do you feel? I mean, I know this has not been a – this has not been a pleasant couple of years…

OBEIDALLAH: No.

MARTIN: …Dealing with this and being – first of all, just being falsely defamed for having associated with something, you know, so heinous and then being maligned in this way. I mean, was at least that moment in court when the judge ruled in your favor, like, how did that feel?

OBEIDALLAH: No, that felt great. Did it make up? I can’t go back to my life pre-June 1, 2017, where I’m getting smeared. And as a Muslim, being attacked with the worst anti-Muslim trope you can say is that I’m a Muslim and I’m a terrorist. So it was very painful. It was painful to have friends and family express concerns. It was painful to contact security at Daily Beast and my radio channel to say, hey, we might be visited by white supremacists coming to kill me. And they might kill innocent people I work with. That was all horrible.

But through this all, I’ve never once questioned doing this. This is the right thing to do. It’s the thing we have to do. And I’m happy we got the judgment. And we’re going to continue. And I hope it inspires others and gives them a roadmap to say, don’t be silent. There are lawyers who will represent you – I’m not kidding – free of charge for this kind of work to make it clear that we’re not going to cower from these people. We’re going to sue them. We’re going to win. We’re going to get their money.

MARTIN: That’s Dean Obeidallah. He’s the host of “The Dean Obeidallah Show” on Sirius XM. He’s a columnist for The Daily Beast. And he’s a comedian and a former lawyer. Dean, thanks so much for talking to us.

OBEIDALLAH: Thanks for having me on, Michel. I appreciate it.

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 Ethical Question Of Running Up The Score

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on The Ethical Question Of Running Up The Score



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Women’s World Cup is underway in France, and as usual in the early rounds, the underdogs have been getting dispatched by the powerhouses pretty handily. But Tuesday’s match between the U.S. and Thailand took this to a new level. The U.S. crushed the Thai opponents 13-0. For some, this was a cause for celebration and vindication, as the U.S. women have been pressing their governing body for better pay and conditions. But for some commentators, the lopsided result raises questions about sportsmanship and even ethics. Should the Americans have kept running up the score against the vastly outmatched Thais?

To settle this, we’ve called Shawn Klein, a lecturer in ethics and philosophy at Arizona State University. And he’s with us now from KJZZ in Arizona.

Thank you so much for joining us.

SHAWN KLEIN: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: And, professor Klein, I want to mention that you teach a class in sports ethics – a class that has a whole section of the syllabus devoted to the ethics of running up the score. So you have thought a lot about this. You watched this game. Did it strike you as unethical in the moment?

KLEIN: I thought it was exciting. I thought it was ridiculous. I kept running to my son and saying, they scored again. They scored again. I didn’t experience it as lacking in sportsmanship.

MARTIN: And when you say ridiculous, you don’t mean that in a bad way. You mean it like, ridiculous – like, wow, this is ridiculous.

KLEIN: Yeah. I mean…

MARTIN: This is crazy (laughter).

KLEIN: Crazy – this is – I’ve never seen this. This is, you know, Michael Jordan leaping over all the defenders in basketball. This is Serena Williams demolishing, you know, her competition in a tennis match. It was a sporting moment that you just don’t see, and so it would – that part was exciting, to see that historical aspect of it.

MARTIN: And so what do you make of the way this has kept bubbling up all week? I just want to note that the U.S. coach, Jill Ellis, said that if this had been a men’s soccer match, these questions would never have come up. I don’t know any way to test that theory. But why do you think this has bubbled up like it has all week?

KLEIN: I mean, I think she’s right to a degree. I do think that the fact that this is the Women’s World Cup is playing a role of why it’s getting the attention it’s getting. At the same time, these questions do get raised in other sports. I mean, I can’t recall it being raised in men’s soccer. Certainly, from the U.S. perspective, the U.S. has never gotten (laughter) close to having this kind of match – at least, on the winning side. But in other sports, whether it’s the NFL, men’s college football, baseball, flipping the bat after a home run, the celebrations – this question does get raised against men’s teams.

MARTIN: You did mention the celebrations. So that is another sportsmanship question that has come out of this match – about the way the U.S. women celebrated their goals – you know, jumping in each other’s arms or rolling on the field. I mean, that’s pretty standard stuff. But I do wonder if you think that the fact that the team kept celebrating when they kept scoring – do you think that’s something that’s pushing people’s buttons?

KLEIN: I do think that that’s the driving force for a lot of the discussions. But what the U.S. players were doing was coming together. In some of the cases – so you take Mallory Pugh, this was her first World Cup goal. Yes, it was the 11th goal that the U.S. scored, but this was her first goal. So of course she’s going to celebrate, and of course the team around her is going to come to her and celebrate.

And that shows great team chemistry – that they’re all so happy for Pugh’s success and achievement – an achievement that she’s been dreaming about since she was 6 years old. So I think that that ability to dream and then celebrate when you have achieved your dream, I think, is one of the magical things of sport. And I would hate to see us not celebrate that.

MARTIN: I wanted to ask you, for the people who think it’s just not a good look or maybe it just makes the U.S. look bad or like bullies, why do you think that it was important from the standpoint of the U.S. women for them to play hard and score as many goals as they could? Like, what point do you think they were making?

KLEIN: One is just internal to their – to the team – that they can play well together in the context of a game in front of fans on international TV. I also think it’s a message to the rest of the field that the U.S. is here to defend their championship, and they’re going to play hard.

I think it’s also important in terms of telling young women that it’s OK to be who they are. It’s OK to be great. It’s OK to pursue greatness and to achieve greatness. And it’s OK to celebrate your achievements and not to run from them and not to hide from it. And I think that’s an important message.

MARTIN: Well, I do want to note the USA plays Chile tomorrow, Sunday. Care to – I don’t know – handicap it for us?

KLEIN: (Laughter) I think that the U.S. will win. I don’t think we’ll get into the double digits again. I’ll say that. It may be more like a – let’s say 6-1 score. Let’s go with that.

MARTIN: OK. That’s Shawn Klein. He hosts a podcast called “The Sports Ethicist” where questions like this one often come up.

Shawn Klein, thanks so much for talking to us.

KLEIN: Thanks for having me.

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.

Barbershop: How Black Votes Frame The Abortion Issue

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Barbershop: How Black Votes Frame The Abortion Issue



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A number of the Democratic presidential hopefuls are in South Carolina this weekend to make a special pitch to African Americans at the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Candidates Forum. The candidates are addressing a range of issues. But right now, we are going to focus on one sensitive matter of public policy. That is abortion, as a number of states are moving to restrict access to the procedure.

Recently, NPR, “PBS NewsHour” and Marist polled Americans about their views. And one finding that stood out is that Republican women tend to be the party’s strongest supporters of restrictions on abortion, and a theory about that being that women tend to be more religious than men, and people tend to oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds.

Well, that got us to thinking. According to the Pew Research Center data, African American adults are more likely than any other racial group to regularly attend religious services. They are also more likely to say religion is very important in their lives. And data from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that just over half of African Americans believe having an abortion is wrong. However, the same data shows 67% of black Americans believe that abortion should still be legal in all or most cases.

And that got us wondering why African American voters, even those who see themselves as deeply religious and even identify as pro-life, tend to frame the issue as voters so differently than similarly religious white voters. So we decided to address this issue with two scholars who’ve studied this topic. Joining me today are Andra Gillespie. She’s a professor of political science at Emory University. She studies black political participation and actually has experience in polling.

Welcome back.

ANDRA GILLESPIE: Thank you.

MARTIN: And also with us – Eddie Glaude, Jr. He is a professor at Princeton University where he teaches courses in religion and African American Studies.

Professor Glaude, welcome back to you as well.

EDDIE GLAUDE JR: Oh, it’s a pleasure.

MARTIN: And I’m going to start with you, professor Gillespie, because we actually talked about this, you and I, a couple of years ago on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. At the time, you were saying that black voters see themselves as conservative, but it doesn’t always manifest itself in voting. So I’m going to ask you, how would you describe how African American voters frame the issue of abortion?

GILLESPIE: I think it’s important to consider the ways that certain issues might be important to voters but may not be salient in terms of making voting decisions. And so the thing that we were talking about a couple of years ago relates to the fact that, you know, a nontrivial portion of African Americans will identify ideologically as conservative, but yet they still vote Democratic. And so part of that is, is that their conservatism looks different than white conservatism.

And the other thing is that race is actually salient, and so they have chosen the political party that they think is best on civil rights issues, and so that party also happens to be the party that’s pro-choice. So they’ve already reconciled that contradiction by thinking about what is going to be better for the black community and not necessarily privileging what their personal opinions are going to be about whether or not they’d personally choose to consider an abortion.

MARTIN: And, professor Glaude, how would you describe how African Americans see this issue theologically, given that African Americans tend to be Protestants, they belong to all different Protestant, you know, traditions. But how would you say how they see it theologically?

GLAUDE: Well, I mean, it would vary. I mean, it would – you know, it would be very difficult to say that African Americans generally hold this view about abortion. You could – I could imagine, say, conservative evangelicals holding a particular view. I could imagine, for example, Reverend Barber, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, but who holds that a woman’s right to choose is extraordinarily important. But I could also imagine someone like T.D. Jakes – right? – who would hold a position that – perhaps that abortion was morally egregious.

So it all depends. So it’s very difficult to paint particularly African American Christians with these broad brushes, particularly when we move from measuring their voting decision at the booth to what they’re deciding in their personal lives.

MARTIN: But how would you understand the fact that – you know, the fact is, the general public – if you asked people in the general public, most people would say they see themselves as – they have a mixed identity. They see themselves as being, you know, pro-choice and pro-life – I mean, using the terms that people prefer even if those are not necessarily politically neutral terms. But majorities of African Americans identify as both pro-life and pro-choice. How do you – I mean, in fact, like, going back to the Public Religion Research Institute poll that I cited earlier, more than seven in 10 black Americans say that the term pro-life describes them somewhat or very well.

GLAUDE: Right.

MARTIN: But they also say that pro-choice describes them somewhat or very well. So how do you understand that? Do you understand that to mean that people may hold a personal moral conviction, but they don’t think it’s appropriate necessarily to bring that into the public sphere?

GLAUDE: Right. I mean, in one way – on one level, I would echo what professor Gillespie just laid out, right? That is to say that it is very clear that people hold certain commitments that abortion is wrong in their personal lives – that for them, they would not choose to have an abortion. But they may very well not hold the view that government should be denying women the right to choose.

MARTIN: So this leads us to the present moment. There are laws that have been passed in Georgia and Alabama restricting access to abortion. Both of these states have large black populations that are politically engaged. In part – you know, it is understood that part of the reason that these laws have been pushed aggressively is to try to create the political environment that would require the Supreme Court to revisit this issue. Did either of you have a sense of how you feel this issue is going to play out in the African American community, among African American voters in these places?

GILLESPIE: One, I think party is more important here. I think people have already sorted and chosen their party identification based on what ideological commitments they think are most salient. And for people for whom issues related to life and reproductive choice are paramount, they’ve probably already decided to be Democrats or Republicans on that issue. And so their prior partisan identification is likely going to continue to be more predictive of what their vote choice is. It’s already baked into the cake. I mean, I agree that I think abortion is going to be a more salient national issue now than it was in 2016 or in 2012 or even in 2008. But I think people’s commitments are kind of already there.

And for those African Americans who, you know, might be more religiously conservative but who are troubled by, you know, racism, who are troubled by voting rights, who are troubled by the president’s incendiary rhetoric, I think they’ve probably already reconciled the fact that their views on those issues are not necessarily in step with their views on reproductive choice issues.

MARTIN: Both of you have spent a lot of times studying and discussing the ways that African Americans parse and understand and analyze certain issues. I’m wondering if you think this particular group of voters has something to offer other voters about how to discuss this issue. Does that make sense? What do you think, professor Gillespie?

GILLESPIE: So I go back to some of the soundbites of floor debates that we heard in places like Georgia and Alabama and Louisiana over the last few months about this bill. And so, by and large, blacks who are democratic, you know, opposed these bills. But some of the discourse that actually came, particularly from black women legislators, was about kind of calling out the incomplete arguments about trying to preserve a culture of life.

And so when you think about the legislators who came out and spoke about people wanting to protect life in the womb but not having done enough legislatively to try to protect and preserve life outside of the womb – so whether we’re talking about providing prenatal care or providing, you know, health care for children, being able to provide social services for folks who, you know, need a hand up and those kinds of things – I think, you know, that was an attempt to try to shift the conversation to a more holistic discussion of life.

I think that, you know, that’s an important conversation to have. Whether or not it actually resonated and actually penetrated the discussion yet I think is still an open question. But I think that was definitely a call to be consistent and to recognize that, you know, we shouldn’t be using issues like this as kind of pawns to sort of win points, you know, for a short-term – you know, attempt to try to be righteous on one issue when we are ignoring all the other issues that are directly and indirectly related to it.

MARTIN: And Andra Gillespie is a professor of political science at Emory University. She is the author most recently of “Race And The Obama Administration: Substance, Symbols And Hope.” Eddie Glaude, Jr. is a professor at Princeton University. He is the author most recently of “Democracy In Black: How Race Still Enslaves The American Soul.” Thank you both so much for joining us.

GLAUDE: Thank you.

GILLESPIE: 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.

Crew Of Norwegian-Owned Oil Tanker Arrives In Dubai After ‘Hostile Attack’

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Crew Of Norwegian-Owned Oil Tanker Arrives In Dubai After ‘Hostile Attack’

Mariners from the MT Front Altair arrive at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.

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Mariners from the MT Front Altair arrive at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.

Jon Gambrell/AP

Days after explosions blasted through two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, the crew of one of the vessels arrived Saturday in Dubai, according to The Associated Press.

The workers’ recollections of the Thursday explosion could potentially help back up or refute the U.S. claim that Iran is to blame. The nation’s capital of Tehran denies the accusation.

Though the cause of the explosions is not yet clear, Gulf countries are tightening their security measures on the Strait of Hormuz, and the oil tankers were a key topic of conversation as world energy ministers met Saturday in Japan.

The 10 employees working on the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair landed in Dubai following two days in Iran, the AP reports.

The Front Altair caught fire after what the U.S. described as an attack with limpet mines, AP reports. These are mines that adhere to the sides of ships.

Black smoke billowed off the tanker, and a passing ship rescued the seamen aboard, according to the AP.

The manager of the ship said it’s treating the incident as a “hostile attack,” according to Bloomberg.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was also struck. The president of the Kokuka Sangyo company operating the ship said he saw something fly toward the vessel, and he did not believe the ship was attacked by a mine or torpedo, NPR’s Bill Chappell, Peter Kenyon and Scott Neuman reported.

The Pentagon released a grainy video Friday showing what it says is an Iranian boat recovering a mine from the side of a Japanese vessel.

European countries have split over whether there is sufficient evidence to support the U.S. position that Iran is behind the attacks.

“You’d think it would be pretty obvious who is responsible for this, when we actually have video evidence that shows what the Iranians have been doing,” said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says he wants more proof of Iran’s role.

“The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me,” Maas said, according to Reuters.

Iran Denies U.S. Claim That It Attacked Tankers In Gulf Of Oman

Haleh Esfandiari, the founding director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, said the attacks were “a puzzle.”

“It’s difficult to accept the version we hear in the United States,” said Esfandiari, who is now a public policy fellow.

She noted that the attack on the Japanese vessel would seem unlikely because it occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran. But there were other possible reasons Iran might have launched the attacks, she said.

“There could be a rogue element among the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, who decided they would want to wreck every possible negotiation,” she said. Or perhaps Iran has decided to retaliate for U.S. sanctions that began after President Trump announced he would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

“If you are sanctioning us, we can’t sell our oil, then we will make sure that the flow of oil slows down through the Strait of Hormuz,” she described as a possible Iranian line of strategy.

The attacks on the oil tankers were a top concern at a weekend meeting of energy ministers from the world’s strongest 20 economies, the G20, in Japan.

“We have shared an understanding among energy ministers that we need to work together to deal with the recent incidents from energy security point of view,” said Japan’s Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, according to Reuters.

About a third of the world’s oil traded by sea passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and it’s a vulnerability that’s been contested before. In the 1980s, amid the Iran-Iraq war, the two countries attacked ships, reports NPR’s Tom Bowman. The U.S. escorted some ships, and Bowman reports “it got very complicated very quickly. The U.S. ended up firing on Iranian ships and shot down an Iranian airliner.”

Now, Gulf countries are stepping up measures to protect their oil exports, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Saudi Arabia increased security around oil facilities, the Journal reports, and the United Arab Emirates is working with shipping companies to beef up security in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

Shipping insurance prices went up following the attacks, reflecting jitters around the safety of the waterway. Insurance rates for supertankers traveling from the Middle East to China had soared 34% after the explosions, the newspaper reports.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil shot up to a high of $62.64 a barrel Thursday and continued to trade near that high point on Friday.

What The U.S. Military Knows About The Attacks On Oil Tankers In The Gulf Of Oman

Jun 15, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on What The U.S. Military Knows About The Attacks On Oil Tankers In The Gulf Of Oman



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

These two tankers that were attacked yesterday in the Gulf of Oman weren’t the only ones. Four other ships were attacked in the region in just the last month. The U.S. Navy watches the sea lanes there closely. NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on what the military knows. He joins us now. And Tom, let’s just talk about what you’ve learned so far starting with where those two tankers are now.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, Audie, I’m told one of the ships, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, is being towed by tugs. The fire is out on the vessel. Crew’s back on board, and the destroyer USS Bainbridge is on overwatch. This second vessel, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair – tug operators are saying they’ve been told by Iranian fast boat operators not to move the ship according to U.S. military officials, and they say that’s what the tug operators are telling their company officials in Oman.

CORNISH: What more is the U.S. saying about what happened?

BOWMAN: Well, U.S. military personnel are now inspecting this ship, the Courageous, and saying it appears an explosive device left a hole that folds in, meaning it was not an internal but rather an external explosion. They also say they’re pulling off what appears to be a mine or two and seeing scorchers on the ship. We could see pictures of that.

And of course as we just learned, the president is saying Iran did it. The Pentagon released this video they say is an Iranian ship taking a limpet mine off one of the tankers. Iran denies any involvement. The foreign minister, Mohammad Zarif, said the U.S. has immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.

CORNISH: In the meantime, are there plans to send any more U.S. ships to the area?

BOWMAN: Well, the Bainbridge is there, of course. And another destroyer, the USS Mason, which was off Karachi, Pakistan, is now off Oman. I’m told it’s possible you could see other ships and aircraft heading there in the coming days. That’s something that the top military officer for the region, General Frank McKenzie, was asking about even before these explosions.

CORNISH: Tom, I want to step back and look at some of the history here because some people may remember the so-called tanker wars of the 1980s. And at that time, as Iran and Iraq fought, they attacked ships, so then the U.S. began escorting some ships through those waters. Is that something we could see again?

BOWMAN: You know, we could see that again. And of course, Audie, during the tanker war, it got very complicated very quickly. The U.S. ended up firing on Iranian ships and shot down an Iranian airliner. And four years ago, there was a week-long escort effort after Iranian fast boats grabbed the crew of the container ship and brought them off Iran.

Now, this effort, I’m told, is – requires a good number of ships. And I was just talking with Ash Carter, the former defense secretary just yesterday. And he said, you know, it requires a lot of planning. And it’s not something you do lightly.

CORNISH: Tom, before I let you go, do you get any sense that the Pentagon feels like they’re on the defensive here in terms of explaining themselves?

BOWMAN: No, they think the evidence is pretty clear. But again, there’s skepticism, as we heard in Europe. There’s skepticism obviously from Iran. And they may offer Congress a little more detailed information maybe that they can’t publicly release. And I’m thinking about, you know, radio intercepts from this ship maybe back to Iran if that’s the case, if it was Iranian. And also, you can track these ships, of course. Did this ship come from an Iranian port? So there’s a lot more they could provide, and I’m sure they have it.

CORNISH: That’s NPR’s Tom Bowman.

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.

Mexico’s Migration Chief Abruptly Resigns

Jun 15, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Mexico’s Migration Chief Abruptly Resigns

Passengers from Tecun Uman, Guatemala (across the water), arrive by raft at Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Friday at sunrise.

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Passengers from Tecun Uman, Guatemala (across the water), arrive by raft at Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Friday at sunrise.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

The president of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, the government agency that controls and supervises migration, resigned Friday.

In a brief statement, the institute announced that Tonatiuh Guillén Lopez presented his resignation to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Guillén Lopez, who thanked the Mexican president for the opportunity to serve the country, had been commissioner of the migration agency since December.

The statement did not give a reason for the resignation.

Messages sent to Guillén Lopez by NPR were not immediately returned.

His resignation comes as Mexico is dealing with a surge of migrants, mostly from Central America, trying to reach the United States.

Trump: U.S., Mexico Reach Deal To Avoid New Tariffs

Mexico Is Overwhelmed By Asylum Claims As It Ramps Up Immigration Enforcement

The migration agency has been struggling with budget cuts and increased demands. It has come under criticism from the United States for not doing more to control the surge of migrants.

The United States and Mexico on June 7 agreed to a series of actions to address the flow of migrants, including increased enforcement by Mexico of its southern border with Guatemala.

Earlier in the day, López Obrador said that his government will bolster security at his country’s southern border, acknowledging that there have been lax controls there.

“We have identified 68 crossings like that, and in all of them there will be oversight,” López Obrador said as cited by The Associated Press.

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