Once A Foe, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Endorses Hillary Clinton Ahead Of Primary

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the 91st Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast earlier this month. Brown endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of his state's primary next week.

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the 91st Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast earlier this month. Brown endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of his state’s primary next week. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

toggle caption Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Bill Clinton may finally deem Jerry Brown fit to be on the same platform as Hillary Clinton.

The California governor is endorsing Clinton a week ahead of California’s primary, framing the decision as a response to the threat posed by a potential Donald Trump presidency.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Brown wrote in an open letter posted at his website. “Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.”

Jerry Brown attends a U.N. climate change conference in April. Brown cites Donald Trump's climate change skepticism as a reason for endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Jerry Brown attends a U.N. climate change conference in April. Brown cites Donald Trump’s climate change skepticism as a reason for endorsing Hillary Clinton. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mary Altaffer/AP

Brown, who also serves as a Democratic superdelegate, had avoided weighing in on the presidential contest until now. But both Clinton and Sanders are campaigning fiercely in California, despite the fact that Clinton is all but certain to clinch the delegates needed for the Democratic presidential nomination on June 7.

Sanders is hoping that a surprise win in the nation’s largest state could help convince superdelegates to back him at the party’s July convention, despite the fact that Clinton will very likely end the primary season with more pledged delegates, and millions more popular votes, than Sanders.

While Brown endorsed Clinton, he noted that he was “deeply impressed” with Sanders’ campaign. “He has driven home the message that the top 1 percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.”

That contest reached its climax in a primary debate where Brown accused Bill Clinton of “funneling money to his wife’s law firm for state business.” Clinton seethed, turning to face Brown directly. “I don’t care what you say about me,” Clinton said. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You’re not worth being on the same platform as my wife.”

YouTube

But it’s been 24 long years since that exchange, and Brown is a much different politician than he was in the 1990s. While big, liberal ideas consumed Brown’s energy during his first stint as California governor in the late 1970s and early 80s, Brown has focused much more on nuts-and-bolts governance during his second stint in Sacramento.

The more practical, budget-balancing Brown can be heard in the Clinton endorsement. “Hillary Clinton has convincingly made the case that she knows how to get things done and has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda,” he wrote.

Brown also made the case that many Clinton surrogates have been repeating in recent weeks. Pointing out her three-million-vote lead over Sanders, Brown noted that, “Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown — by millions of votes — that they want her as their nominee.

California’s primary is next Tuesday. It’s partially open, meaning independents are able to vote in the Democratic primary, but they have to specifically request a ballot for the race.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Parents May Be Refused Details Of Adult Children's Medical Care

You may share everything with your parents, but health care providers might not be so open.

You may share everything with your parents, but health care providers might not be so open. Robert Lang Photography/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Robert Lang Photography/Getty Images

When Sean Meyers was in a car accident on a November evening three years ago, he was flown by air ambulance to the emergency department at Inova Fairfax Hospital, in Northern Virginia. With his arm broken in four places, a busted knee and severe bruising to his upper body, Meyers, 29, was admitted to the hospital. Though he was badly hurt, his injuries didn’t seem life threatening.

When his car went off the road, Meyers had been on his way to visit his parents, who live nearby in Sterling. They rushed to the hospital that night to wait for news and to be available if Sean or the hospital staff needed anything. But beyond the barest details, no one from the hospital talked with them about their son’s condition or care, not that night nor during the next 10 days while he was hospitalized.

“All the time he was there, the hospital staff was very curt with us,” says Sam Meyers, Sean’s dad. “We couldn’t understand why we were being ignored.”

After leaving the hospital, Sean moved into his parents’ spare bedroom temporarily to continue his recovery. About a week later, he was in their kitchen one evening with his girlfriend when suddenly he collapsed. He was rushed to the nearest hospital, where he died. An autopsy revealed that he had several blood clots as well as an enlarged heart.

For Sean’s parents, the results were particularly wrenching because there’s a history of blood clots on his mother’s side of the family. How much did the hospital staff know?

“It might have saved his life if they’d talked to us,” Sam Meyers says.

A spokeswoman for Inova Fairfax says, “We cannot comment on specific patients or cases.” But she noted that information about a patient’s care can be shared in a number of circumstances.

These days when people think about patient privacy problems, it’s usually because someone’s medical record has been breached and information has been released without their consent. But issues can also arise when patient information isn’t shared with family and friends, either because medical staff decide to withhold it or patients themselves choose to restrict who can receive information about their care.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) established rules to protect the privacy of patients’ health information while setting standards for hospitals, doctors, insurers and others sharing health care information.

Stepped-up enforcement in recent years and increased penalties for improper disclosure of patient information under HIPAA may lead hospitals and others to err on the side of caution, says Jane Hyatt Thorpe, an associate professor at George Washington University’s department of health policy and an expert on patient privacy.

“For a provider who’s uncertain about what information a provider may or may not be able to share, the easiest and safest route is to say no,” Thorpe says.

However, the law is actually quite permissive about providers disclosing information to family members and others who are involved in a patient’s care, says Thorpe. “If the physician thinks it’s in a patient’s best interest to share information with Mom or Dad or whatever, they may do so.”

They may also decide not to share information, however.

Generally, if a patient is unconscious and unable to give permission to discuss his medical information, a doctor may share details about his health with family and friends. But even if the patient is alert and able to make a choice, a health care provider can use discretion in deciding how much to tell family and friends.

Dr. Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy Of Family Physicians, recalled a patient who was an HIV positive sex worker who didn’t want his family to know about his health, even as he was dying. She honored his wishes. “The family was left in the dark,” she says.

State laws may be more restrictive than HIPAA, requiring patient permission to disclose information to others, says Elizabeth Gray, a research scientist at George Washington University’s department of health policy. However, Virginia law generally follows HIPAA on disclosures, said Gray.

In Sean Meyers’ case, there are unanswered questions. For example, “we don’t know what the patient actually said to the providers,” says Filer.

The Inova Fairfax spokeswoman said: “HIPAA does allow information to be shared with family or friends based on the patient’s wishes or, if the patient cannot make his/her wishes known, then based on the family member’s or friend’s involvement in the patient’s care.”

The health system’s privacy policy states that it may disclose a patient’s medical information to a friend or family member as permitted under HIPAA and provides details about how to request a form to restrict such disclosures.

There’s no surefire way to avoid lapses in communication or ensure that providers get all the relevant information about a patient’s health.

Most smartphones today allow people to store health care information that can be accessed by emergency personnel, says Joy Pritts, a privacy consultant who is a former chief privacy officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare IT at the federal Department of Health and Human Resources. In addition to listing allergies and other health concerns, people could state their wishes about disclosing their health information.

In the case of adult children, it may be useful for the child to carry a signed document that authorizes health care providers to disclose and discuss health care information with the parents for a set period of time, says Pritts.

It’s no guarantee, but if a provider is on the fence about disclosing information, “it might help,” says Thorpe.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Ona On Mountain Stage

May 31, 201611:26 AM ET

Ona makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. A rock quintet that found its start in a sliver of unincorporated Appalachia called Ona, All Songs Considered listeners picked Ona’s single “Ides O July” as one of their “Favorite Musical Discoveries Of 2015 — So Far,” and for good reason.

Singers Bradley Jenkins and Zack Owens write about longing, resentment, searching and waiting, and the band’s self-proclaimed “What Would Neil Young Do?” work ethic lays the foundation for their signature blue-collar indie-rock sound. Max Nolte plays drums, along with keyboard player Brad Goodall and bassist Zack Johnston. Ona’s latest release, American Fiction, was produced by Bud Carroll.

SET LIST
  • “American Fiction”
  • “Song From The Field”
  • “Lemon Sea”
  • “Tornado River”
  • “Sleep, Rinse, Repeat”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

The Code Switch Podcast, Episode 1: Can We Talk About Whiteness?

Why is it so hard to talk about whiteness?

Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Subscribe to the brand-spanking new Code Switch podcast! Hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji.

At long last — the first episode of the Code Switch podcast! And we decided to start off with a question we’ve been fixated on over the last few months: Why is it so hard to talk about whiteness?

As we were trying to work this stuff out, we asked folks on Twitter if they’d ever taken a critical whiteness studies class in college — and yes, that’s a thing — and we got a hundred variations of the same joke:

I went to Indiana University — that whole experience was a graduate-level course in white people!

Or: Is that, like, a full semester dedicated to Wes Anderson movies?

Or even: And here I thought everything in American life is already about white people!

That response wasn’t too surprising. Nell Irvin Painter, the historian and author of “The History of White People,” once wrote that since we don’t have very useful language around white identity, we mostly talk about it as a kind of empty space, defined by what it’s not.

“Whiteness is on a toggle switch between ‘bland nothingness,’ and ‘racist hatred,'” she wrote. (Our own Kat Chow has made this point about the word “vanilla” — even metaphors for whiteness are, er, colored by the notion that they lack dimension or flavor, due to being so ubiquitous.)

So: let’s all agree that it’s really hard to grapple with whiteness, both due to the slipperiness of the concept itself, and also thanks to the almost visceral discomfort people have with talking about white identity.

The problem is, by shying away from talking about whiteness, we also fail to understand the profound ways that whiteness shapes our culture and politics. And right now, in a crazy election cycle when folks’ feelings about their own white identities is a strong predictor of how they’re likely to vote, that’s especially dangerous.

And that, y’all, is what we’re taking up on our inaugural episode: how we talk (and don’t talk about whiteness), and why it’s really important we figure out how.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Poll: Nearly 1 In 4 Americans Report Having Had A Concussion

Most people who say they've had a concussion say they sought out medical care at the time.

Most people who say they’ve had a concussion say they sought out medical care at the time. Science Photo Libra/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Science Photo Libra/Getty Images

Concussions have become part of the daily news. But how much have these brain injuries become part of daily life?

To find out, we asked people across the country about concussions in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

The poll, conducted during the first half of March, found that nearly a quarter of people — 23 percent of those surveyed — said they had suffered a concussion as some point in their lives. Among those who said they’d had a concussion, more than three-quarters had sought medical treatment.

“The reality of life is that mild brain injuries are a pretty common thing,” says Dr. Christopher Giza, director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program. But that’s no reason for panic. “Mother Nature designed us, for the most part, to recover from these kinds of injuries,” he says.

About half of people who reported having a concussion said they had experienced only one. A little more than a third of respondents said they’d had two or three concussions. About 16 percent said they’d had four or more concussions.

The poll relied on people’s self-reporting of concussions. Respondents could have diagnosed themselves or been seen by a medical professional.

Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head or a force that causes the brain to move quickly within the skull. The symptoms can include a loss of consciousness, headache, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, muddled thinking and memory problems.

“Many of the symptoms associated with concussions are subjective,” says Giza, co-author of the American Academy of Neurology’s guideline on sports and concussions. “We still don’t have a gold standard definition. Many of the symptoms of concussion, out of the context of being hit in the head, are quite common.”

Giza says that if you’re having symptoms you suspect are related to a concussion, it’s a good idea to make contact with your health care provider. A phone call could be enough. But if there are red flags, such as confusion that doesn’t get better or headaches that spike with bad nausea, a trip to the ER makes sense. “Better to get medical care then and find out,” he says.

With all the interest in sports as a factor in concussion, we asked people who reported having one if it had come about while playing a contact sport. Overall, 43 percent said yes. But the proportion varied quite a bit by age. Nearly two-thirds of the youngest people in the poll (under 35) said the concussion was connected to contact sports. Only 15 percent of people 65 and older said that was the case.

We also asked people who lived in households with children ages 17 and under if any of them had experienced a concussion. Overall, about 12 percent of households said that had happened. Ninety percent of those reporting a concussion had sought treatment for the child.

As for what had led to a child’s concussion, 72 percent said it occurred in a contact sport. Eighty-four percent of households that said a child had experienced a concussion related to sports said they would allow the child to play the sport again.

“I see this as an emerging field,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “Some of the professional athletes who have publicly come forward now are raising the stakes around this issue.” A 2014 NPR-Truven Health Analytics poll found that three-quarters of respondents would allow kids to play football in middle school or high school.

Finally, we wondered if people thought the attention paid to concussions was appropriate or overblown. About 11 percent said it was exaggerated, 81 percent said it was reasonable and 7 percent didn’t know.

The poll gathered responses from 3,009 people. The margin for error is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. You can find find the complete set of questions and results here. Past NPR-Truven Health polls can be found here.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Missouri Senator To Introduce Bill To Help Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas

Members of the U.S. military who were exposed to mustard gas in secret experiments during World War II (from left): Harry Maxson, Louis Bessho, Rollins Edwards, Paul Goldman and Sidney Wolfson.

Members of the U.S. military who were exposed to mustard gas in secret experiments during World War II (from left): Harry Maxson, Louis Bessho, Rollins Edwards, Paul Goldman and Sidney Wolfson. Courtesy of the families hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the families

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., plans to introduce legislation today to help World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas. The vets were used in classified experiments conducted by the U.S. military, and sworn to secrecy about their participation for more than half a century.

Last year, an NPR investigation found the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to notify thousands of mustard gas test subjects of their eligibility to apply for compensation — and that it routinely denied claims from veterans who qualified. In many cases, the VA has said veterans don’t have enough evidence of their participation in the tests to get benefits — even though the tests were kept off official records.

McCaskill is naming the bill the Arla Harrell Act, after a man thought to be the last surviving Missourian who served as a mustard gas test subject. Harrell, 89, lives in a nursing home. His repeated claims for compensation have been denied by the VA, as recently as last month.

Roughly 60,000 Army and Navy troops were used in the experiments, which sought to prepare the U.S. military to face mustard gas in battle. Mustard gas is known to cause serious illnesses, including leukemia, skin cancer and chronic breathing problems.

McCaskill’s office launched its own investigation into the treatment of mustard gas test subjects after NPR published its report. With cooperation from the VA and the Pentagon, McCaskill found that only 40 living veterans are currently receiving compensation for injuries resulting from the experiments, and that 90 percent of veterans’ claims for mustard gas-related injuries have been denied.

The bill calls for the VA and the Department of Defense to establish a new policy for processing claims for mustard gas exposures, and to reconsider all previously denied claims. In doing so, the bill says the VA should presume that veterans were exposed to the toxic agents “unless either agency can definitely prove otherwise.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Doll confusion delays Israel-bound flight from Cyprus

Brief panic over a label on a toy box caused a short delay on a flight from Cyprus to Israel on Tuesday when an aircraft cleaner thought it was a warning of a bomb.

The Aegean Airlines flight bound for Tel Aviv via Larnaca, was searched by police at the Cypriot airport on Tuesday after a cleaner found a label with the word “Booba” on it in the Latin alphabet.

“Booba”, which means doll in Hebrew, looks alarmingly like “bomba”, or ‘bomb’ in Greek.

“Cyprus’s civil aviation authority checked it and there was no problem. There was a small delay, but the alarm was lifted immediately,” an Aegean Airlines spokeswoman said in Athens.

(Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Encore Presentation: The Worst Songs Of All Time?

Two very disappointed children cover their ears from what we can only assume is a relentless, unforgiving ear worm.

Two very disappointed children cover their ears from what we can only assume is a relentless, unforgiving ear worm. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: This episode of All Songs Considered originally aired in Feb. 2014.


This week on a very special edition of All Songs Considered … guitarist, actor, writer (and former writer for NPR Music, at her Monitor Mix blog) Carrie Brownstein returns. She joins us, along with NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson, to do something we don’t normally do: Talk about the songs we really, really don’t like.

Our mission at All Songs is to bring you our favorite musical discoveries of the week. But after Stephen wrote his column examining Starship’s widely reviled hit single “We Built This City,” we watched the comments pour in like an out-of-control fire hose, and got to talking about all the songs that drive us bonkers. It was so much fun we decided to continue the discussion here, with a look at some of the contenders for worst songs of all time and why they stick in our craw. These are relentless earworms — songs you can’t escape once they’re in your head — or annoying novelty songs. “The Candy Man,” anyone? We also look at songs that take themselves too seriously, songs we used to love until they were ruined by a bad personal experience and more.

Please direct your “Dear Idiots” letters in the comments section below, or via email to allsongs@npr.org.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Wonderful Christmastime (Single)

A Relentless Ear Worm: ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’

  • from Wonderful Christmastime (Single)
  • by Paul McCartney

“Some of these worst songs of all time are by people who are undisputedly great artists. The bar has been set so high that when they release something cloying and clueless and terrible it makes it way, way worse.” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for Blind Melon

A Relentless Ear Worm: ‘No Rain’

  • from Blind Melon
  • by Blind Melon

“It’s totally the voice. It’s that kind of serpentine way that he’s singing the song. It’s very nasally. I find the rhyme-scheme super annoying. It reminds me of every game of hacky sack I’ve ever witnessed. It’s sitting on a couch with bad posture.” —Carrie Brownstein

YouTube
Cover for Private Eyes

A Relentless Ear Worm: ‘I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)’

  • from Private Eyes
  • by Hall & Oates

“I cannot tell you how many wide-eyed, with red eyes, lying awake in the middle of the night [I’ve had,] unable to get to sleep because of ‘No can do ayyy.'” —Robin Hilton

YouTube
Cover for The Sherman Brothers Songbook

A Relentless Ear Worm: ‘It’s A Small World’

  • from The Sherman Brothers Songbook
  • by Various Artists

“This is the ear worm of ear worms. Walt Disney was trying to capture a way to represent all the cultures of the world. He asked a couple of people to write a little song for him. They wrote this ballad and he said ‘No, make it more joyful,’ and they came up with [this].” —Bob Boilen

YouTube
Cover for Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Conversation Starter: ‘We Built This City’

  • from Knee Deep in the Hoopla
  • by Starship

“I write a column for the All Songs Blog called ‘The Good Listener.’ It’s an advice column and the question was ‘OK, What’s the worst song of all time? It’s ‘We Built This City,’ right?’ ‘We Built This City’ is kind of a tragically awful song. Starship is already a copy of a copy of a once-great band … Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship to Starship. For a lot of people it represents the final nail in the coffin of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for We Are The World (Single)

A Song That Takes Itself Too Seriously: ‘We Are The World’

  • from We Are The World (Single)
  • by USA for Africa

“It is just so over-the-top anthemic. Its heart was in the right place, but my god. It’s a gaudy expression of excess, in a decade of excess.” Robin Hilton

“It was billed as a song in which everybody involved has quote unquote ‘checked their egos at the door.’ And it is the most egotistical pant-load of self-importance.” Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for I Can't Stand Still

A Song That Takes Itself Too Seriously: ‘Dirty Laundry’

  • from I Can’t Stand Still
  • by Don Henley

“Don Henley, he never wanted to be [an] everyman, so for him to kind of wear that cloak, of just the average person watching the nightly news, just comes across as total B.S.” Carrie Brownstein

YouTube
Cover for Frampton Comes Alive!

A Song That Takes Itself Too Seriously: ‘Baby, I Love Your Way’

  • from Frampton Comes Alive!
  • by Peter Frampton

“I’m thinking about myself working at a record store when this record came out and despising it so much. A&M 3703, by the way, because I wrote that number down so many times, every time somebody bought it. The only reason I thought, when this record came out, that people could possibly like this record was because he was really a pretty boy. That cover was just beautiful.” —Bob Boilen

YouTube
Cover for A Tramp Shining

A Song That Takes Itself Too Seriously: ‘MacArthur Park’

  • from A Tramp Shining
  • by Richard Harris

“It is widely viewed as one of the worst songs of all time. People of a certain generation were forced to listen to this song. It is indisputable to them. I think where you are generationally really dictates what your worst songs of all time were, because you were held captive [by them].” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for The Beatles [White Album]

Death By Association: ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’

  • from The Beatles [White Album]
  • by The Beatles

“I taught English [in Japan] for three years and for some reason my classes liked to begin by singing ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.’ So, I would sing that song three or four or five times a day, every day of the week. And I did it for three years. I love the White Album and never thought for a second that this was a bad song until it was driven into the ground.” —Robin Hilton

YouTube
Cover for Blowin' Your Mind

Death By Association: ‘Brown Eyed Girl’

  • from Blowin’ Your Mind
  • by Van Morrison

“I happen to have brown eyes and so I received a lot of amorous mix tapes in Junior High and High School that all featured this song. And I was just so embarrassed. I would have done anything to just gouge my eyes out and make them not brown.” — Carrie Brownstein

YouTube
Cover for Rumours

Death By Association: ‘Don’t Stop’

  • from Rumours
  • by Fleetwood Mac

“I always admired the skill of this record. But it’s 1977 and there’s the Sex Pistols and the Talking Heads and The Clash, and all these really amazing, brash, in-your-face records. And then there’s this shiny beacon that you’ve heard over and over and over again. It was just not right for me at the time.” —Bob Boilen

YouTube
Cover for Bat Out of Hell

Death By Association: ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’

  • from Bat Out of Hell
  • by Meat Loaf

“This is genuinely my least-favorite song of all time. It’s a combination of everything I don’t like in music. It thinks it’s awesome. It’s congratulating itself for being so funny.” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for Aba Daba Honeymoon (Single)

Annoying Novelty Songs: ‘Aba Daba Honeymoon’

  • from Aba Daba Honeymoon (Single)
  • by Debbie Reynolds

“Robert Siegel pointed this out to me many years ago when I was directing the show [All Things Considered], it was a story we did and the dead roll I chose was this song called ‘Aba Daba Honeymoon,’ ’cause I was trying to find some sort of cloying, annoying song. It’s originally from [1914]. So, there were really awful, annoying, annoying songs, written for the ages.” —Bob Boilen

YouTube
Cover for Europop

Annoying Novelty Songs: ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’

  • from Europop
  • by Eiffel 65

“It also has a ‘badda aba badda bing’ or something after it, ‘Da Ba Dee.’ I feel like that’s a very common trait of a novelty song, to use sort of absurdist or fake words. To kind of make it more universal and thus, more novel. So, here is the song that I’ve heard a million times at this gym.” —Carrie Brownstein

YouTube
Cover for Pochette Surprise

Annoying Novelty Songs: ‘Dur dur d’être bébé!’

  • from Pochette Surprise
  • by Jordy

“This song is just offensive on a number of levels. It’s from 1992, by a french four-year-old named Jordy. He is the youngest chart-topper ever. Of course what ended up following is this incredibly sad story of him having to emancipate himself from his awful, awful parents.” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for A Little Bit of Mambo

Novelty Songs: ‘Mambo No. 5’

  • from A Little Bit of Mambo
  • by Lou Bega

“Monstrous hit in 1999. It went platinum in, like, ten different countries. It just dogged me everywhere I went, I could not escape it.” — Robin Hilton

YouTube
Cover for Do You Know the Way to San Jose (Single)

Grab Bag: ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose’

  • from Do You Know the Way to San Jose (Single)
  • by Dionne Warwick

“I’ve thrown my shoe twice in my life at either a record player or a radio and this was the first time [when this song came on]. I gained respect for Dionne Warwick many, many years later in an interview, about 20 some-odd years after the song had gone away from most of radio, and she said, ‘I always thought it was a pretty stupid song.'” —Bob Boilen

YouTube
Cover for Toto IV

Grab Bag: ‘Africa’

  • from Toto IV
  • by Toto

“This thing has everything that is pretty horrible about ’80s production. The lyrics, just the sound of his voice and the way it’s recorded, it’s so moist. It is the moistest, dampest song. And then the synth.” —Robin Hilton

YouTube
Cover for Wild Wild West

Grab Bag: ‘Wild, Wild West’

  • from Wild Wild West
  • by Escape Club

“My basis for picking it is that it’s not only obnoxious and cloying and kind of a novelty song, but it is also a rip-off of a good song. Not only does it lift from Elvis Costello‘s ‘Pump It Up,’ it’s like a pastiche of better songs.” —Stephen Thompson

YouTube
Cover for Storm Front

Grab Bag: ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’

  • from Storm Front
  • by Billy Joel

“This song I think sums up all of the traits that we have discussed. And why we have so many problems with them. I think we can all agree that this is a horrible, horrible song that takes itself very seriously that will get in your head.” —Carrie Brownstein

YouTube

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Trump's Disinterest In Data Has Some Republicans Worried

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. Matt Rourke/AP hide caption

toggle caption Matt Rourke/AP

Donald Trump has broken rule after rule on his way to becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Now, Trump may be ready to break another.

High-tech data operations have become a mainstay of presidential campaigns over the past two decades.

But Trump recently told an interviewer that he sees data as “overrated.”

Earlier this month, he told The Associated Press he only plans to use a “limited” amount of the data models and microtargeting that most political observers – but not Trump – view as key to Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s White House wins.

“Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine, and I think the same is true with me,” Trump told the AP.

There’s no question that Donald Trump is a little leery of technology. Trump once said in a deposition he “doesn’t do the email thing.” There are pictures of him reading printed out versions of websites like the Huffington Post.

And, talking about his business empire on the campaign trail this spring, he made a point to say he built real things – office buildings, hotels, and apartment complexes. “It’s not the computer stuff, and the Internet stuff,” he told a Racine, Wisconsin, crowd ahead of the state’s primary. “You know, you open it and you open a love site and it’s worth $700 million since day one, and the kids never saw anything like it.”

In Wisconsin, Trump seemed outright mystified by Silicon Valley culture. “You know they come up to meet me – a lot of the guys from [Silicon Valley] – and they’re wearing undershirts. I could tell you stories. … They’re wearing roller skates.”

But when Trump said data and campaign technology was “overrated” in the political world? Well, that got a lot of people’s attention.

After all, most presidential campaigns base every decision on their big databases of information about voters, and models of what they think the electorate will look like. That information is often tapped to “help campaigns figure out which voters to contact, what to say, how best to reach them,” said Daniel Kreiss, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina.

“How to efficiently buy television and digital advertising to reach groups of voters. How to test messages,” said Kreiss, who has written two books on how presidential campaigns have tracked down, processed, and analyzed data about voters.

The Associated Press reports that in April, Trump’s campaign spent $1 million on campaign paraphernalia like baseball caps while spending less than a third of that on data.

Chris Wilson agrees with Kreiss.

Wilson ran data and polling for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, where he and other staffers tried to learn everything they could about the voters in each primary and caucus state.

They searched for data about who had voted in recent elections, who was showing up to their rallies, who said what about Cruz on Facebook, and used it to build elaborate statistical models predicting what primary elections could look like. “It allowed us to know who Sen. Cruz should talk to,” Wilson said. “Who we should call, who we should mail. Who needed to see our TV ads. And it also helped us spend our money more effectively.”

Kreiss said that was the case for Barack Obama’s two campaigns, as well. “Tens of millions of dollars were saved because they figured out exactly what spots to buy on things like cable television, in order to reach the voters they wanted to reach,” he said.

Modeling, and its flip side of using that information to microtarget specific sets of persuadable voters, has become the new norm for campaigns.

In fact, the Republican National Committee has spent years trying to beef up its data operations. “What we want to make sure is that anyone running with an ‘R’ after their names has the best data they can get their hands on,” said Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.

“I think Mr. Trump, through the primary, didn’t rely a ton on data, but I believe after working with his team – and we’ve got a great partnership and we have ongoing conversations that have been great – that they realize that data is an important piece of making sure they win in November,” she said.

Nearly 60 RNC staffers will be working on data operations for Trump and other Republicans this fall. And Trump says he plans to rely on the party for a lot of that campaign infrastructure. “The RNC’s been doing it for many years,” Trump said this week, referring to putting together a broader campaign infrastructure. “Reince [Priebus] has really upped it. And all over the country, they have very good people. And part of the benefit is, we get to use those people.”

Still, outsourcing most of that work to the party, and not the campaign itself, is highly unusual.

But maybe Trump doesn’t need to use all this advanced modeling to track down voters.

After all, he hardly spent any money on television ads during the primary campaign, compared to Republican opponents. He didn’t even have a pollster until recently.

But Trump has dominated the national conversation since the day he entered the race.

“I don’t even know if dominated is the best word. It’s probably even more than that,” said Matthias Reynolds of Zignal Labs, a company that has been measuring and analyzing online conversation about the presidential race. “He’s like the NFL, and everyone else is maybe playing pee wee.”

In Zignal Labs’ D.C. offices, staffers monitor what’s happening online on four large TV monitors. The yellow line tracking conversation about Donald Trump hovers far above every other candidate.

In fact, if you add up all of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ mentions over the past week, they still don’t add up to Trump’s. “You know, this isn’t two generic members of Congress running for the first district of Maryland, that we’ve never heard of,” said Zignal’s Pete Eskew. “This is the Secretary of State, former First Lady, presumable nominee. He has twice as much conversation as both of them.’

Over the course of the Republican primary, there were only two types of occasions where other candidates would garner as much online chatter as Trump: when they dropped out of the race, or picked a fight with Trump.

So maybe Trump doesn’t need to invest in analytics and microtargeting. After all, he’s able to get his message to voters all across the country right now at little or no cost to his campaign.

Many Republicans warn that would still hurt the party. Statewide and local candidates still need voters to turn out – and they can’t drive news cycles with their Twitter feed.

And data collection is a long-term project. If a presidential campaign isn’t collecting it, the party can’t study what worked and what didn’t, as it plots out future White House runs.

UNC’s Daniel Kreiss says a data-free Trump campaign could even put a damper on the number of new Republican political firms that pop up over the coming years. “Because one of the patterns I found in my research is that presidential campaign staffers often found their own new ventures after campaign cycles,” he said, “to transfer knowledge and technology across election cycles.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Search Continues For 7-Year-Old Left In Japanese Forest As Punishment

Police officers search for a 7-year-old boy in the mountains of Hokkaido, where he went missing after his parents said they left him alone temporarily as a punishment.

Police officers search for a 7-year-old boy in the mountains of Hokkaido, where he went missing after his parents said they left him alone temporarily as a punishment. The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

For four days, a 7-year-old boy has been missing in bear-inhabited woods in northern Japan. His parents initially said he disappeared as the family was gathering food in the forest, but later admitted to leaving him alone intentionally, as a punishment.

More than a hundred people continued to search for Yamato Tanooka on Tuesday, to no avail.

Yamato had no food or water, The Guardian reports, and the past four days have seen heavy rain and nighttime temperatures in the mid-40s.

The area where he disappeared on Hokkaido, a northern island in Japan, is also home to wild bears. Fresh bear feces were reportedly discovered on Tuesday, The Guardian writes.

Here’s how The Japan Times describes the controversial circumstances of the boy’s disappearance:

“His parents originally told the police that he got lost while the family was walking in the area to pick wild vegetables.

“The boy’s 44-year-old father, Takayuki Tano-oka, eventually told the police they left the boy in the mountains on the way home from a park after scolding him for throwing stones at cars on a nearby road.

” ‘The parents left the boy in the mountains as punishment,’ the police spokesman said. ‘They said they went back to the site immediately, but the boy was no longer there.’ “

Police said the boy was left alone for five minutes, according to the Kyodo News service.

Kyodo News also says police are investigating whether the parents should be charged with child endangerment, according to The Associated Press.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)