Here And There with Dave Marash
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Television executives say they carefully target their audiences, on broadcast, cable or – on demand – on the internet.  But analyst Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution says their calibrations seem way out of date, still over-emphasizing the East and West Coast and giving short shrift to the South and Midwest.  Voters see this and don’t like it.  A lot of the areas that gave Donald Trump his surprise victory in 2016 are places the TV networks have turned their backs on, a breach niche programs like Duck Dynasty address and widen.

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Thomas TJ Brennan told the story of his long and painful recovery from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress injury inflicted during his service on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan in a fine memoir, SHOOTING GHOSTS, done with photo-journalist Finbarr O’Reilly.  Something that helped was cannabis.  Why he asks, it is still illegal for the VA to offer it as treatment?  It’s just one sign of how behind the times the Veterans Administration system is in using new therapies for one of the most common serious injuries suffered by American in combat. 

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The auto industry prides itself on its innovations.  But new ideas that help sell cars get very different treatment from new ideas that could save lives. Joan Claybrook, President Emeritus of Public Citizen and one of America’s pioneer advocates for auto safety on the battle to get better brakes into cars and trucks.  The costs in prices for advanced braking systems seem small compared to the savings in human lives, and insurance companies note, in customer’s insurance premiums. 

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They say you can know a lot about a person by listing his enemies.  It’s telling, too, when the enemies list is endless.  But even for the prolific antagonist Donald Trump, there are priorities.  Globally, North Korea and Iran vie for the top spot, whilemano a mano, his irresistible opposite is Jeff Sessions, and when domestic politics gets beyond the White House, the enemy is the state of California.  Long-time Sacramento journalist Peter Schrag wrote in The Nation magazine about the California resistance to President Trump…

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The pollster, columnist and marketing strategist John Zogby was one of the first to see the mass murder at the high school in Parkland, Florida as a “tipping point” in America’s debate over gun control.  The children, he predicted, the students will lead a national movement towards more regulation of firearms. What were the first signs that led him to that conclusion?  And does he think the killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High will play a role in the 2018 elections?  And what about the backlash of smears and conspiracies rampant on the internet?  Will the trolls drown out the students?

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For 30 years the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board has been the American public’s only “open window” to safety issues in the national nuclear weapons industry.  Last year Republican members of the Board tried to close the window and failing that, shut down the safety board entirely.  Nope.  Investigative reporter PatrickMalone of the Center for Public Integrity says the DNFSB survived in the Trump Administration’s 2019 Budget, and he’ll show why that’s a very good thing.  

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Venezuela used to be among Latin America’s most prosperous, functional and democratic countries.  Today it is none of those things,  Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press reports from Caracas, the Venezuelan capitol city now among the most violent, dangerous and crime-ridden places on earth.  Nicolas Maduro is bent on making himself President-for-life.  Can anyone stop him?

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In its first 4 years of existence, the Consumers’ Financial Protection Bureau returned close to $12 Billion taken from consumers by unscrupulous payday lenders, banks and other financial institutions.  Until the Trump Administration stopped all payouts last November.  Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative report Jesse Eisinger of Pro Publica on the battle to protect you from financial predators, and the Republican politician whose former seat in Congress was partially paid for by campaign contributions from payday lenders.  No wonder he seems to want to protect the predators. 

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Why would two sets of pre-schoolers be playing separately in a single schoolyard divided by a chain link fence?  Lauren Villagran of Searchlight NM says it’s New Mexico state public education department policies that segregate the Head Start kids from the state-funded pre-schoolers, keeping the poorest children in a world of their own.  Does this make sense to you?  There’s more agreement in the Legislature that more money needs to go for early-childhood education than there about where the money should come from. 

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a new task force to control the output of manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs.  A worthy idea says Polk Award-winning reporter Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post, and a welcome shift from the passivity of the Obama administration. But the change maybe a little late, since the opioid market is shifting away from Vicodin and Oxy-contin to the more dangerous and harder to detect Fentanils.  Meanwhile the national death toll from opioid overdoses continues to climb. 

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 Most people from the Iraqi city of Mosul are glad they were liberated from the Islamic State, but sad about the cost, in human lives, and in the utter destruction of most of the Western half of the city. And now it’s clear the US and the rest of the world are stepping away from financing rebuilding.  Morally wrong, some senior diplomats who have worked there, tell AP Correspondent Lori Hinnant, they think so, but worse, they think this could create a new generation of terrorists.  T

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