Over the past 40 years, the field of behavioral economics has emerged to explain why humans make irrational decisions. We talk with one of the pioneers of the field to find out what’s behind the choices we make, and how we can use this knowledge for good.
Weigh in on whatever’s on your mind — whether it’s the newly-released video from Osama bin Laden’s complex, in-state college tuition for immigrants graduating from Maryland high schools, potential teacher layoffs in DC, or the Wizards’ new uniforms. It’s Your Turn to set the agenda, and drive the conversation.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's your turn. You can join us by calling 800-433-8850, going to our website kojoshow.org, sending us a tweet @kojoshow, or sending e-mail to email@example.com. Just a few opening thoughts. Today marks 30 years to the day since the death of reggae legend Bob Marley, and his legend still seems to be growing. From the plaintive Bob Marley.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThat from "No Woman No Cry." I read a column today by the novelist Colin Channer from Jamaica, who wrote "Bob was natural, supernatural, natural to the extreme. Thirty years after his death he lives. It's as if in singing Duppy Conqueror," which we played going into the break. "It's as if in singing Duppy Conqueror, he bragged his way into a cosmic truth. Had in fact conquered the duppy, that shape shifter from the afterlife otherwise known as death, who captured him as he tried to catch his breath in a cancer ward in Florida, on May 11, 1981."
MR. KOJO NNAMDI"The first time I saw Bob Marley perform," writes Colin Channer, "I was eight years old. But the last time I see him, will always be tomorrow." From the plaintive to the joyous for Bob Marley.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIBob Marley, 30 years to the day since his death. By the way, the broadcast we had last week with Mark Bittman concerning those proposals in two states that would restrict people being able to take photographs on farms was on May 4, not May 3 as we said earlier. So you can find it in our archives there. So it's your turn, 800-433-8850. Newt Gingrich running for president. He's got some baggage, of course.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe New York Times recalls he tried to impeach a president for having an affair, while he himself was having an affair. But he's got a new life and wife's who's fully on board with his campaign. What do you think? What did you think of the Osama bin Laden operation that was about 10 days ago today, and the U.S. is trying to get access to bin Laden's widows from the Pakistanis in order to question them. Do you think that is indeed appropriate, the widows of Osama bin Laden?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd then there are the Washington Wizards. Forgive me, but I am a Washington Wizards fan. I often buy season tickets, but I was completely clueless as to why news media would make a big deal, front page sports section Washington Post today, about the Wizards unveiling a new jersey. Now, here's a team that has been doing miserably the past few years, got a marquee recruit, a marquee rookie coming in last year and that -- well, he did okay, but the team did really, really terrible.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWe're in the middle of NBA playoffs, and they roll out a new jersey and that's big news? Forgive me, but I think that's just a silly gimmick. What do you think? 800-433-8850. Here is Gary in Washington, D.C. Gary, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
GARYHi, Kojo. I just have a little pet peeve I wanted to share with you concerning media experts and other people in the press who have a tendency to use a lot of banal language when describing current events because recently we've heard a lot about boots on the ground in Libya, and boots on the ground and boots on the ground. And we hear a lot about the treasure troves and treasure troves and treasure troves.
GARYPeople are being thrown under the bus. Everybody’s getting thrown under buses these days. When people use this kind of language, it's as if they really don't know what they're talking about. If people are unable to use plain and ordinary language in explaining these things, I'm often not really sure whether they're experts or whether they really -- or whether they're just, you know, they're just commenting because they've been asked to.
NNAMDIWell, you know, a lot of people over the years have criticized athletes and coaches for talking in clichés using terms which they are used to using. And I guess people do expect differently from journalists and people who are involved in the business of either hosting opinions or giving opinions. And when those people resort to clichés or other time-worn phrases, people begin to question, as you do, whether they know what they are really talking about or not.
NNAMDIIt may be that they do know what they are talking about, but sometimes it's difficult to come to that conclusion if they seem to be using the phrases that you simply hear everyone else using. That's your problem?
GARYIt's not -- it's sort of like everyone gets into a pack, and in that pack you don't hear a great diversity of opinion, and you don't even hear a great diversity of language.
NNAMDIYeah. Well, I always hated pack journalism, but that's another story.
GARYWell, it's as bad as using jargon, you know. When people are trying to explain things to the mass of us out here who are trying to be informed, just regular plain intelligent language is usually the most helpful. But, you know, and what got me on this, and what disappointed me, was hearing a lot of this on WAMU, some of it your show, a lot of it on the Diane Rehm show, and I just, you know, I just think we could all do better.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Gary. We move on now to Ted in Germantown, Md. Ted, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
TEDHi. Yeah. My question has to do with now that bin Laden is dead, I was just curious what your thoughts were on how important Afghanistan's natural resources like the minerals that are there, and the oil that is there, how important are those to the U.S. as we decide what our role is going to be there now that bin Laden is gone.
NNAMDIWell, I don't know how the natural resources of Afghanistan play into this. Remember how we got into Afghanistan. We got into Afghanistan back in 2001 because we had been al-Qaida, and the Taliban was in the government -- leading the government in Afghanistan and had performed and had been providing a safe haven for al-Qaida, indeed proving a base from which as-Qaida was operating. And that's why we went in in the first place. The controversy now is over getting out.
NNAMDIBut when you raise the issue of natural resources, it causes me more to think about what's going on in Libya right now. Because what we had in both Egypt and Tunisia were popular rebellions against autocratic leaders that lead to those leaders removal. What we have in Libya seems to have been a popular rebellion that was not able to have the same effect as it did in Egypt or in Tunisia. And it looks more and more as if NATO is kind of propping up a rebel force that in and of itself will not be able to remove Moammar Gadhafi.
NNAMDIAd Moammar Gadhafi as you may know in recent years was drawing a lot closer to the west, but to some people it seems as if what NATO is doing right now is being in the business of trying to create, mold, and support a rebel force in order to oust Gadhafi, and that's where a lot of people feel the issue of oil may be coming in. But I'm not sure about Afghanistan, Ted.
TEDOh, okay. Well, thank you for answering my question.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. We move onto Candace in McLean, Va. Candace, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.,
CANDACEThank you very much. This is in reference to your earlier program about downtown parking. Several months ago my husband and I were near K street, around 15th at about 8:00 o'clock in the evening. And we got account set up with our cell phone and credit card in order to park in a space that we have slipped into.
CANDACEOnly to be told that because we wanted to park from 8:00 o'clock until 10:30, and the free parking began at 10:00, that they couldn't do the transaction.
NNAMDIWhy could you just do the transaction from 8:00 to 10:00?
CANDACEThey said they couldn't. They said they couldn't. So I just want to point this out as kind of a glitch that maybe has been solved since that time. We just haven't even attempted it since because it took us a half an hour to work our way through to discover that this was impossible and we finally used valet parking and that was that. So I feel as though it's something that could be improved as they go through this parking experimentation.
NNAMDISo you were willing to pay from 8:00 to 10:00, even thought you knew you were going to be there until 10:30. The parking meter was no longer effective after 10:00 p.m., and they told you essentially that you couldn't pay from 8:00 to 10:00? What was the reason they gave you?
CANDACEThey couldn't give a reason. The system I think at the time was quite new...
CANDACE...and it became very -- it became a strange conversation because the lady just -- the more we asked the questions, the more she gave us the same answer with no justification. So it was strange.
NNAMDIOkay. Hopefully there's somebody listening to that who can help you with that, who can point that out to other people. Candace, thank you very much for your call.
CANDACEThank you for listening. Take care, bye bye.
NNAMDIOn to Mike in Stafford, Va. Mike, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MIKEHello, Kojo. I really have some mixed emotions about the death of Osama bin Laden. I certainly was not one of the people that was cheering at his death, and I was rather disappointed that the country reacted the way it did, because I don't think that most people have an appreciation for -- the military is carrying the weight of this, but they say that 10 percent of the population is actually involved. So it's almost as if people are sitting back looking at the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya like it's a video game.
MIKEI mean, we have a video game mentality. You bring (unintelligible) and all of the wars stop right away. And it just disappoints me that I think the reaction is as a result of the fact that people are not involved. They have no -- there's no love -- there's no personal sacrifice that they have to make. They don't have a husband, a daughter, or a son that's involved, so it's easy to sit back and be a cheerleader
MIKEAnd I think as long as the nation is not -- everyone is not impacted in some way, we'll continue to spend the money and lose the blood and be involved in these kinds of things. And the politicians...
NNAMDIMike -- Mike, allow me to interrupt you. Did you see a op ed post in Washington Post last week by a young person who really talks about comparing the response to the video game response that you just described? That young person said that if you happen to be a freshman, junior in college right now, you probably A) grew up playing video games, and B) the strike on 9/11 on the Twin Towers was probably the most experience in your life.
NNAMDIAnd therefore, when bin Laden was killed, your response, in his generation, in that demographic, you response was likely to be as if you had taken him out in a video game, because that frankly was a part of the culture in which they grew up. And we had this discussion on the show before, that that reaction, that celebration, seemed to be largely being expressed in Washington by college students.
MIKEWell, I couldn't agree with him more. I did not see that piece. I wish there was more discussion about Iraq as well as almost as if Iraq has left the headlines altogether. But we still have 150,000 troops there.
MIKEI mean, our military, our young people, the ones that are forced to join because there are no opportunities for jobs out here, and I just get so sick and tired of people saying how they support the troops when it's not a genuine support, because they're not involved in any way. And I just...
NNAMDIYeah. Well, you know Congressman Charles Rangel has in the last few years been talking about having proposals to bring back the draft. The general opinion is that that is not going to happen again. So you are not likely to see a change in the person involvement of people in these wars. But thank you very much for your call, Mike. We move on to Jeff in Oaktown, Va. Jeff, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JEFFYeah, hi, Kojo.
JEFFAt the intro for the program, you described Newt Gingrich as wanting to impeach Bill Clinton...
NNAMDII was quoting the New York Times. I was quoting an article in the New York Times on Tuesday, I think, yesterday.
JEFFI think the history is well known. You said he wanted to impeach Bill Clinton for having an affair while he was having an affair, which certainly makes him sound hypocritical. But the actual impeachment, if I recall correctly, was over perjury; is that right?
JEFFYeah. So I wanted to point this out because I...
NNAMDIOver perjury about what?
JEFFIt was perjury related to his testimony on the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal, but...
NNAMDIOver -- over having an affair.
JEFFSure. But the issue was perjury.
NNAMDIAbout which the -- about which the then speaker of the house was not quite truthful either.
JEFFI don't -- I'm not aware that Newt Gingrich perjured himself. You see, you seem to be confusing the perjury, which is the illegal act, with the behavior that was the subject of the perjury. And I don't think it's hypocritical to attempt to impact a president for perjury when you're having an affair. It may not be the best character-building act, but it's not hypocritical, which is the way you characterized it. And the reason I'm just calling is just to point it out as an example of what many conservatives like myself hear as a persistent liberal bias in NPR, that your hosts typically are unaware of.
JEFFThat it's subtle, it's not huge, but you -- you launched your introduction of Newt Gingrich and characterize him as a hypocrite, which is not actually accurate.
JEFFSo that's what I wish you would pay for, and I think...
NNAMDIActually -- actually, I was quoting the New York Times verbatim from an article from yesterday. That was its characterization of the political -- one of the political problems that candidate Gingrich might have. You seem to be suggesting that it's not likely to be a political problem for him at all because it is, in your view, factually incorrect. The only thing that I can say, since we're running out of time is, we'll see. Thank you all for calling.
NNAMDI"The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Brendan Sweeney, Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff and Taylor Burnie, with assistance from A.C. Valdez, Kathy Goldgeier and Elizabeth Weinstein. Diane Vogel is the managing producer. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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