Jade Jackson On World Cafe

Jade Jackson performs inside the World Cafe performance studio.

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Galea McGregor /WXPN

  • “Back When”
  • “Finish Line”
  • “Good Time Gone”

Jade Jackson, who released her debut album, Gilded, on Anti- Records in May, grew up in a small town in central California. Her parents played music constantly and shunned the internet — and if you want to raise an original songwriter, that is a great start.

Jackson’s debut, produced by Mike Ness of Social Distortion, is filled with songs that make you stop and shake your head every time she drops another line that rings true. I almost want to keep her a secret — but word is getting out, so hear the complete session in the player above.

VuHaus

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Senate Health Care Bill Could Be In Jeopardy As Conservatives Announce Opposition

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to the media about the Senate Republican health care bill proposal on Thursday.

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Senate Republicans’ health care bill may already be on life support, with four key lawmakers announcing their opposition just hours after the GOP’s latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was released.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

With Republicans in the Senate only holding a 52-48 seat edge, they can only afford two defections to get to a 50-50 tie, allowing Vice President Pence to then presumably break any logjam. However, the four senators do appear open to negotiations and amendments that could turn their “no” to a “yes.”

“There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs,” the quartet continued in their statement.

Termed the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” the Senate’s answer to the House’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare was finally released Thursday morning after weeks of secret negotiations.

As NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben reports, the BCRA is similar in many ways to the House’s health care alternative, the American Health Care Act, that passed last month. The bill “rolls back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion — making for deep spending cuts to that program, compared to current law. The Senate bill also proposes eliminating many ACA taxes, and the employer penalties associated with the employer and individual mandates would be repealed retroactively, dating back to the start of 2016. And like the House bill, young adults up to the age of 26 could stay on their parents’ health care plans.”

The bill in its current form may not just alienate conservative voters who think it doesn’t go far enough but also may not assuage moderates enough to get their votes, either.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces a competitive re-election race in 2018, says he has “serious concerns about the bill’s impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid.”

“As I have consistently stated, if the bill is good for Nevada, I’ll vote for it and if it’s not – I won’t,” Heller said.

Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said the centrist has some misgivings about the bills.

“Senator Collins will carefully review the text of the Senate health care bill this week and into the weekend. She has a number of concerns and will be particularly interested in examining the forthcoming CBO analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums, and the changes in the Medicaid program,” Clark said. “She has met with and heard the concerns of many Mainers about their health care challenges, and she will continue to do so as she studies the impact of this legislation on Maine and the nation.”

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NPR And Edison Research Release 'The Smart Audio Report'

NEW YORK, NY – June 21, 2017: Members of the podcast and radio community from across the United States attend the Rain Podcast Business Summit.

Credit: Mark Abramson for National Public Media

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Credit: Mark Abramson for National Public Media

Somerville, New Jersey; June 21, 2017: According to The Infinite Dial 2017, 7% of Americans 12+ own a “Smart Speaker,” the category of voice-controlled devices that includes the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Now, for the first time, a new study from NPR and Edison Research reveals the habits and behaviors of Smart Speaker owners. This study, entitled “The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research,” reveals that 70% of Smart Speaker owners say they are listening to more audio at home since acquiring their device.

In addition, 65% of Smart Speaker owners indicate that they would not want to go back to their lives before getting one of these devices. Indeed, 42% of owners say that their device is now “essential” to their everyday lives.

One of the more intriguing findings was the appeal of these devices to parents. Eight in ten parents say these devices have made it easier to entertain their children, and nearly 90% say their children enjoy Smart Speakers. In fact, 57% of owners with children at home say that entertaining children was a reason for wanting the speaker.

“Being a leader in audio programming, NPR was eager to work with Edison on this study, so we could best understand the role smart speakers play in everyday life and how listening behavior is shifting. This important research will guide us as we enhance the NPR experience on this platform,” said NPR’s Chief Marketing Officer Meg Goldthwaite. “Listeners love and trust NPR, and we are already the news source for Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and soon on Apple’s Homepod. We aim for NPR to be everywhere people are listening.”

“Although Smart Speakers have not been around for very long, nearly one in five owners say that these devices are the way that they most often listen to audio,” noted Edison VP of Strategy Tom Webster. “The frictionless way in which these devices enable audio consumption is already changing listening behaviors, and potentially increasing audio consumption overall.”

The Smart Audio Report, from NPR and Edison Research, contains numerous insights that have never before been reported on audio consumption, usage behaviors, ties to Smart home technology and more. The study was presented for the first time today at the RAIN Podcast Business Summit in New York. A full report on the findings will be available to download from Edison Research after a public webinar happening Wednesday, June 28, from 2-3PM ET. Register for the webinar here.

How This Study Was Conducted

The Smart Audio Report is based upon a national online survey of 1620 Americans ages 18+. 800 respondents indicated that they owned at least one Smart Speaker (160 Google Home, 709 Amazon Alexa-enabled, and 69 who owned both.) 820 respondents did not own a Smart Speaker device, and were surveyed for comparative purposes. The device owner data was weighted to nationally representative figures on Smart Speaker users from The Infinite Dial 2017 from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

About NPR

NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans everyday—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. More information at npr.org/aboutnpr and following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Edison Research

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, NPR, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world, and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, CBS, PodcastOne, WNYC, and many more leading companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.

Contact

NPR

Caitlin Sanders

(404) 375-9458 / csanders@npr.org

Edison Research

Tom Webster

(908) 707-4707 / twebster@edisonresearch.com

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Songs We Love: Kali Uchis, 'Tyrant (Feat. Jorja Smith)'

Kali Uchis (right) and Jorja Smith in the luxurious video for “Tyrant.”

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Kali Uchis‘ “Tyrant” embodies a love letter addressed not to timeless summer flings, but specifically to summer 2017. It’s glittery and danceable, but brutal in its honesty, nodding to the grim state of affairs with lines like “When everything’s on fire / You’re my peace and quiet.” (Plus, you know, the name of the song is “Tyrant.”) Uchis clearly lays out the dots and, winking, rolls the listener a fluorescent pen to connect them.

The track shakes out a silky flat sheet, emblazoned with a bright banana-leaf print, to set an altar for the best part of a new relationship: the bed days. Uchis’ soft, aching vocals, knitted together with fluttering cymbals, swim around the aural bedroom, each piece tiny and delicate like a fishbone. During the bed days, there’s no place more appealing — or safe — than a pile of mussed linens alongside your person. A lack of urgency, a tangle of oxytocins and cloying humidity, cradling a bouquet of tender feelings that — while perhaps not permanent — are still treasured. “I don’t wanna come down / Keep spinning me round and round and round and round and round,” Uchis sings. It’s an oasis born not so much out of lust or lethargy, but out of a primal necessity.

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Light and airy in its sweetness, the song blooms into fluffy, ebullient tufts of cotton candy — only to soon melt in the hot June sun and dry into a hardened candy shell. The visual treatment of “Tyrant” echoes this sensibility, featuring Uchis in luxurious duds and splayed on cars — a tropically-tinged, welcome antithesis to the Whitesnake trope. Bathed in red lights, Jorja Smith joins in around the two-minute mark, parting the haze of infatuation to reclaim a powerful swagger: “Don’t think you can lie / I can see through your mind.”

“Tyrant” is a romantic banger flecked with self-awareness. It skillfully portrays love in the age of rumbling dystopia: a boudoir anointed by something pure even though its walls may shake with the unrest outside. For now, we’re ensconced in a candied vessel atop a mound of soft blankets and the flesh of someone or something precious. And that’s comforting — even if it lasts exactly that long: for now. There’s no rush.


“Tyrant (Feat. Jorja Smith)” is out now.

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Canadian Sniper Hit A Target More Than 2 Miles Away, Military Confirms

A Canadian sniper made a record-setting shot in Iraq, using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle like the one pictured here, at a trade show in 2010.

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A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces is being credited with making a world-record shot, after the military confirmed that he hit a target from nearly 2.2 miles away during a recent operation in Iraq.

Military sources tell Canada’s The Globe and Mail that the sniper killed an ISIS insurgent during an attack on Iraqi security forces.

“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 meters,” the force said in an email to NPR. “For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners, we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place.”

The sniper reportedly fired from an elevated position; for the shot to be accurate, many factors, from wind and gravity to the earth’s curvature, would have to be taken into account.

The shot easily surpasses the previous record for the longest confirmed sniper shot of 2,474 meters (1.54 miles), which was set by Britain’s Craig Harrison in 2009.

A source in the military tells the Globe and Mail that details of the shot were verified by video camera and other data, relying in part on information from a second location.

“The elite sniper was using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq,” the paper reports. “It took under 10 seconds to hit the target.”

Joint Task Force 2 is a specialized unit that was created in 1993, after the Canadian Armed Forces took over responsibility for federal counter-terrorism operations.

The special forces group says its mission is to protect “the Canadian National Interest and combats terrorism at home and abroad.”

In Iraq, Canada’s Special Operations Task Force says, its role is to share expertise with Iraq’s military to help it “detect, identify and defeat Daesh activities from well behind the Iraqi security force front line in Mosul.”

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Mali's Oumou Sangaré Keeps Speaking Out On 'Mogoya'

For Mogoya, her first album in eight years, Oumou Sangaré enlisted young Swedish and French producers to help rejuvenate her sound.

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Benoit Peverelli/Courtesy of the artist

One of Mali’s most celebrated singers, Oumou Sangaré began her career as an outspoken champion for the rights of women. On her 1989 debut, Moussolou, she offered sharp critiques of practices such as arranged marriages and polygamy, drawing on her own experiences growing up in a polygamous household.

Sangaré’s irresistible voice enhances her music’s power to disarm critics and make defenders of outmoded traditions think twice. She is often referred to as the Songbird of Wassoulou — the name of a region in Mali’s forested south and also the name of a musical style Sangaré has helped define.

But she chose to take stylistic liberties on her new album, Mogoya (which means “Today’s People”). Sangaré enlisted young producers in Sweden and France to create a more contemporary sound, rejuvenating her music and aiming her pointed messages at a younger audience.

Over the course of Mogoya, Sangaré briskly covers important ground: Malians who lose hope in their country and risk their lives trying to reach Europe by sea, the dangers of gossip and rumors, the breakdown of trust between people in the wake of Mali’s recent political crises. And in the song “Yere Faga,” which features Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen, she takes on the sensitive subject of suicide.

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Mogoya is Sangaré’s first album in eight years, and only her fifth studio album in some 30 years. That’s partly because Sangaré also owns a hotel in Mali and runs other businesses, remaining unencumbered by the normal rigors of a pop music career. She makes a new album only when she’s good and ready, which shows in the work: Though Mali undoubtedly punches far above its weight in producing great and innovative music, Mogoya is still a landmark release.

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How Do Eggs Get Their Shapes? Scientists Think They've Cracked It

An international team of scientists believes it has solved the mystery of how eggs got their shapes.

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One of nature’s most efficient life-support systems is the egg. Eggs evolved over 300 million years ago as vertebrate animals adapted to living on land. And since then, they’ve taken on numerous shapes, especially among birds.

Biologists have long wondered why there are so many shapes, and what determines each one. Hummingbirds, for example, have eggs like Tic Tacs. Birds called murres produce eggs shaped like big teardrops. Some eggs are more like pingpong balls.

Now, an international team of scientists believes it has solved the mystery of the eggs.

Biologist Mary Caswell Stoddard of Princeton University led the team. She’d heard the shape theories: Cone-shaped eggs don’t roll away, they roll in a tight circle so maybe that’s good for birds that nest on cliffs. Or elliptical eggs, like slightly flattened spheres, might stack closer in nests and incubate better.

Stoddard looked at nearly 50,000 eggs and cross-checked them with 1,400 bird species. “We are able to look at the egg in many dimensions and crack the mystery,” she says.

The answer surprised her. “Egg shape appears to be related to flight ability in birds,” Stoddard says.

Take chickens. They’re lousy fliers, with more oval-shaped eggs. But eggs from long-distance migrating birds tended to be quite different. “We find that good fliers, birds that seem to be adapted for strong powerful flight, tend to lay more asymmetric or more elliptical eggs, and this came as quite a shock to us,” Stoddard writes in the journal Science. Think of a banana compared with a grapefruit, for example — similar volume but slimmer shape.

It made sense, she says. Birds that evolved for powerful or long-distance flight needed a body to match: sleeker, more streamlined. That meant less internal cargo space. “We think that the birds’ abdominal cavity is becoming smaller, the internal organs are becoming compressed” over evolutionary time, she says. “And this has an effect on the egg-shaping process.”

She notes that this process starts inside the mother bird even before the shell grows around the egg and its outer membrane.

Even penguins, who are marathon “flyers” through the water, have elongated eggs.

Mark Hauber, an ornithologist at Hunter College and the author of The Book of Eggs, says the research by Stoddard’s group resolves years of controversy.

“We kept thinking that eggs are adapted to being in the nest, adapted to being on the ground or in a tree cavity,” Hauber says, “and it turns out that eggs may be the result of how the bird is shaped.” He says he can’t wait to show the paper to his students.

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'Pizzagate' Gunman Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police in December in Washington, D.C.

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A North Carolina man who fired an AR-15 rifle inside a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., last year as he was “investigating” a baseless conspiracy theory has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Edgar Maddison Welch pleaded guilty in March to federal charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and transporting a firearm over state lines. The case is seen as a clear example of the potential real-world consequences of fake news stories.

During the sentencing hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson stressed that Welch’s actions “literally left psychological wreckage,” The Associated Press reported.

The unfounded “Pizzagate” Internet rumor at the center of this case accused the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria of being the home of a Satanic child sex abuse ring involving top Democrats such as Hillary Clinton. “Speculation and fabrications tied to the bizarre conspiracy theory have been relentlessly circulated by politically motivated fringe sites,” as The Two-Way has reported.

Welch heard about the conspiracy theory last December and spent three days reading about it and watching videos, according to a statement that was part of his plea agreement. He then decided to go investigate the matter himself.

“The defendant then took it upon himself to act in what he believed would be a violent confrontation at the restaurant,” the statement reads. Welch unsuccessfully attempted to try to persuade friends to join him. He said he believed it would involve “sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many,” according to court documents.

Welch then drove to Washington and entered Comet Ping Pong, where numerous children were present. He was brandishing the 3-foot-long rifle and had a loaded revolver in a holster on his hip. Employees and clients fled the pizzeria while Welch looked around the restaurant and moved furniture.

He terrified an employee who inadvertently returned to the restaurant during his “investigation,” briefly pointing a gun at him before the employee ran for his life. Welch also shot through the lock of a closet, damaging a computer. Nobody was injured, and he ultimately surrendered to the police.

In court documents, prosecutors said they were seeking a sentence of four and a half years, while Welch’s defense had requested a sentence of one and a half years.

In a letter to the court, Welch stated that he was “truly sorry for endangering the safety of any and all bystanders who were present that day.” He claimed that he “came to D.C. with the intent of helping people.”

Comet Ping Pong advertises itself as a “hipster-heavy pizza parlor” that features “table tennis galore.” Its owner, James Alefantis, told NPR in December that the conspiracy theory has been difficult for the restaurant, calling it “an insanely complicated, made-up, fictional lie-based story” and a “coordinated political attack.”

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Los Angeles Port Truckers Forced Into Indentured Servitude, Investigation Finds

The shipping containers that come through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every year would wrap around the Earth two times if you laid them out end-to-end. Those containers are filled with electronics and clothing that are manufactured in places like Asia and then shipped to U.S. retailers.

But there is a dark side to the industry, according to an investigation by the USA Today Network: The drivers who bring those products to nearby rail yards or warehouses are signing lease-to-own contracts for their trucks that condemn them to modern-day indentured servitude.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with the reporter who wrote the investigation, Brett Murphy (@BrettMmurphy).

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Trump: 'I Did Not Make, And Do Not Have' Recordings Of Comey

President Donald Trump shakes hands with James Comey, then-director of the FBI, during a reception at the White House on Jan. 22.

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Updated at 1:59 p.m. ET

…whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017

President Trump gave a straight answer on Thursday as to whether he has recordings of his private conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey — No.

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017

The question of the existence of tapes arose on May 12, when shortly after firing Comey, Trump tweeted the former FBI Director “better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations.”

That tweet appeared to come in response to a New York Times article that said during a private dinner at the White House, Trump asked Comey for “loyalty.”

Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he told the president he would be “honestly loyal” and that the conversation made him “uneasy.” He also said he orchestrated a leak of information from memos he wrote about his recollection from private conversations with the president to trigger the naming of a special counsel, which did follow.

At one point during his Senate testimony on June 8, Comey memorably said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” He added, “The president surely knows whether he taped me, and if he did, my feelings aren’t hurt. Release the entire — release all the tapes, I’m good with it.”

For weeks since that May 12 tweet, Trump and his aides kept the mystery alive, refusing to say whether such recordings actually existed.

Trump was pressed on it by ABC News Correspondent Jonathan Karl during a press conference on June 9.

Q: And you seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.

TRUMP: I’m not hinting anything. I’ll tell you about it over a very short period of time.

Q: When is that?

TRUMP: Okay. Do you have a question here?

Q: When will you tell us about the recordings?

TRUMP: Over a fairly short period of time.

Q: Why not now? Are there tapes —

TRUMP: Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don’t worry.

“I think the president’s statement via Twitter today is extremely clear,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders when pressed by reporters on why the president waited 41 days to clear up whether he had any recordings of Comey.

“You guys asked for an answer. He gave you one. He said he would have it to you by the end of this week, which he did. And beyond timing of that, I can’t really speak anything further,” Sanders added.

The House Intelligence Committee requested any tapes that might exist be turned over by the White House by Friday, so the president was up against a deadline to deliver an answer.

The president’s statement on Twitter went out just two hours after Senate Republicans released a nearly 150-page bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and reshape America’s health care system.

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