Let’s chart all the things!
Let’s chart all the things!
Brad Stone speaks to Fresh Air about the recent news that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post:
I concluded that it wasn’t all that surprising. I mean, Jeff Bezos has shown over many years that he is a huge fan of the written word. Written documents are key to how Amazon is run. Every meeting starts with a quiet reading of a “six-page narrative,” [as] they call them. Of course he started the business with books and about a decade later started the Kindle and kind of revolutionized the book business, so the written word is really key to what he’s built. … I think the opportunity was presented to him when the Graham family decided they wanted to get out of the business, and he thought that his special brand of innovation and long-term thinking and operating discipline could help to revive this franchise.
… My reaction was almost, “Good for the reporters of The Washington Post.” I mean, here they are stewing in the pessimism and … decline of the newspaper business and finally they have someone with very deep pockets and a very long runway, who will probably have quite a personal stake in seeing this thing revived.
Hear the full interview with Brad Stone, read more interview highlights, or read the first chapter of his book “The Everything Store” here.
image via Gawker
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Bart Gellman speaks to Terry Gross about breaking the story of the PRISM surveillance program, where internet companies (like Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc.) collect data and give it to the government:
The thing the intelligence community most wanted to protect in that first story [we wrote], the most they asked us to hold back was the names of the companies. And we cooperate to a considerable degree with security requests, but my argument back to them was if the damage that you’re worried about consists of the companies being less willing to cooperate or suffering a blow to their businesses because the public or their customers don’t like what they’re doing or don’t approve of the program, that’s exactly why we have to publish it. That’s the core duty we have in terms of accountability reporting.
Regarding the ongoing controversy with the National Security Agency, this morning the Washington Post stated:
"The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to and other top-secret documents.”
Fresh Air interviewedShane Harris, author of The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State spoke to Fresh Air about privacy in the digital era :
Any movement that you make today leaves a digital signature, a digital trail. Investigators, after a terrorist attack has occurred, go back and use all of those digital signatures and trails to figure out who these people were and how they did the plot. Why can’t we look at it before the event occurs and try to predict with some degree of certainty where we should then be focusing our attention and which people we should be closely monitoring? But to do that you had to collect all of the information available everywhere.
I think this has become a big problem for him out on the campaign trail. And his opponents are going to say, ‘How are we supposed to press the arguments about Fannie and Freddie in next fall’s election if our standard-bearer was on their payroll?’
— On today’s Fresh Air, Washington Post national political correspondent Karen Tumulty talks about Newt Gingrich’s business ventures, including an up to $1.8 million dollar consulting fee he received from Freddie Mac.
The government said, ‘We’re facing an enemy we don’t understand, we don’t have the tools to deal with it, here’s billions … of dollars and a blank check after that for anybody with a good idea to go and pursue it. Not only does the government find it difficult to get its arms around itself, [but now] it doesn’t’ know what’s inside, it doesn’t know what works, it doesn’t know what doesn’t work. And nobody still, ten years later, is really in charge of those questions.
— On today’s Fresh Air, Washington Post national security reporter Dana Priest joins Terry Gross for a discussion about how the ‘terrorism industrial complex’ created in response to the 9/11 attacks grew to be so big.
To reclaim their “honor,” families in Syria have been known to kill raped female members. Even if families allow such women to live, they are not eligible to marry.
“We sat and discussed that we want to change this. We don’t want to change just the regime in Syria, but also this kind of stuff. So we will marry them in front of everyone,” said Ibrahim Kayyis, a 32-year-old baker from Jisr al-Shugour.
Of the 5,193 public outdoor sculptures of individuals in the United States, only 394, or less than 8 percent, are of women….And none of the 44 national memorials managed by the National Park Service (such as the Lincoln Memorial) specifically focuses on women and their accomplishments….
The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington [was] dedicated in 1993 after a nine-year effort to bring it to fruition. But it didn’t happen easily, according to its founder.
“It was incredible how hard we had to work not only to get a sculpture, but one that looked like women,” says Diane Evans, who had been an Army first lieutenant and head nurse in Vietnam and spearheaded the initiative. “We were told by J. Carter Brown, the head of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., that a woman’s statue would upset the delicate balance of tension at the Vietnam Memorial.” (via Washington Post)
(Photo: Jeff Kubina via Flickr)
Washington Post investigative reporter James Grimaldi, on Arizona’s lax gun laws: "Essentially, there is very little obstacle to purchasing a weapon in the state of Arizona. There are laws that require you, federally, to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. But basically state law permits anyone 21 and older to own a firearm and also, to carry it concealed in the state. That’s different than many other states, many of which have stricter gun laws."
James Grimaldi, on why 60,000 guns from the United States have been found at Mexican crime scenes in the past four years: "We’re the closest country, it’s easy to get guns, it’s not difficult to cross the borders with the guns when you get them and there’s very little stopping gun runners from doing that."
One thing to remember in Congress is, in recent years, it’s almost been a fact that Democrats can’t control Congress unless they have a number of conservative, rural Democrats and usually that translates into a strong NRA rating. And so, the White House was concerned just before the midterm elections that something that would rile the base of the NRA would further hurt them in their midterm elections.
— Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi, explaining why Rahm Emanuel stopped President Obama from pursuing greater restrictions on assault weapons in 2010, in an interview on Fresh Air about the growing gun violence in Mexico — and why it’s particularly difficult to track the gun dealers supplying the weapons.
The National Rifle Association endorsed candidates in about two-thirds of congressional races in the midterm elections. Often, the choice not to endorse was pragmatic — either both candidates had top NRA ratings or both had poor ratings. Of those endorsed, 80 percent won, according to The Washington Post’s analysis. On tomorrow’s Fresh Air, we’ll talk to James Grimaldi, one of reporters who has contributed to the Washington Post series The Hidden Life of Guns.