Sorting political fact from fiction, and having fun while we're at it. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
A D.C. police officer challenges a speed camera ticket in a potentially ground-moving case. A 6-year-old in Silver Spring, Md., is suspended for using finger guns. And five men are charged with the rape and murder of a woman in India that has sparked outrage within and outside of the country. It’s “your turn” to weigh in on those headlines and whatever else is on your mind.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's Your Turn. Remember the good old days when we used to do Your Turn for an entire hour? Well, you asked for it, you got it. We're back. Your Turn for an entire hour, so you'd better start calling now before you get squeezed out. 800-433-8850 is the number to call. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, send us a Tweet at kojoshow or simply go to our website kojoshow.org. Because now you get to set the agenda for the entire next hour. Anything you'd like to discuss.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIf you have predictions for the year 2013, whether on domestic issues, international issues or regional issues, now is the time to call, 800-433-8850. You can offer predictions on what's likely to happen in whatever area of interest you have. Or you can simply weigh in on the issues of the day. One of the current being of course that Al-Jazeera has bought Current TV. And as we mentioned earlier, Time Warner has already cut Current from its schedule, but it's not that simple.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt may not simply be a case of bias or Time Warner not wanting Current TV. It apparently has to do with when contracts are up and when contracts are going to be resigned. And so it might be a little more complicated, but we'd like to hear your opinion about Al-Jazeera now, if it's on Current or where Current used to be, being available and exactly what you know and think about Al-Jazeera.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt is owned by the government of Qatar, but it is well respected throughout the Arab world as being an independent, if you will, source of news, even though there have been a few controversies from time to time accusing the government of Qatar of having too heavy a hand in it. What do you think? Or maybe you'd want to weigh in on education in the District of Columbia during the course of the next year, marijuana policy around the nation, crime situations here in Washington D.C. or elsewhere in the nation.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIYou might want to weigh in on what you see as the future of education policy in the country, whether we'll still continue the emphasis in recent years on teacher qualifications and whether teachers are good enough, whether we will continue our emphasis on standardized testing or anything else on your mind. You may want to discuss the economy. You may want to discuss race relations, which have come up again as a result of the movie "Django Unchained."
MR. KOJO NNAMDIJust -- well, a little bit about that. I saw the original "Django" in 1966 with Franco Nero. Yes, I'm that old. It was a movie in which it was in the Spaghetti Western genre in which Franco Nero dragged around a coffin the entire movie. The interesting thing about Westerns in general, and Spaghetti Westerns in particular, is that they are generally fairly simple morality tales sprinkled with violence. Spaghetti Westerns took the violence to a kind of new level. And even among Spaghetti Westerns "Django" took the violence to an even higher level and became, well, very popular and quite controversial as a result of it.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd what Quentin Tarantino does with "Django Unchained" is have this simple morality tale revolve around the issue of slavery. And that has caused some people a great deal of concern and upset. But like the Spaghetti Western that preceded it, it has a lot of violence, a lot of things to cheer for, a lot of things you might not like. And overall I thought it was pretty -- very -- pretty entertaining. But you might have different views on it because it seems to be being used as the introduction to our conversation on race relations in the year 2013.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIBut it's Your Turn this entire hour, whatever you'd like to talk about, 800-433-8850. We'll start with Christopher in Rockville, Md. Christopher, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CHRISTOPHEROh, Kojo, thank you very much for taking my call. I'm a longtime listener, first time caller.
CHRISTOPHERI wanted to comment a little bit about actually two issues that are kind of near and dear to I guess what you might call the liberal agenda. But national and federal marijuana policy and how it affects states. I was reading an interesting article -- actually a series of articles the other day about how the failure to address like any sort of regulation at the federal level is resulting in very haphazard implementation in states such as California where, you know, obviously there's a market for it but there's no regulation for how it should be implemented and grown. And so people using a lot of fertilizers in state parks, the violence there and, you know, just some of the environmental degradation.
CHRISTOPHERSo I think that that's -- I mean, that's an issue that doesn't really -- that's perspective that doesn't get focused on a whole lot when you're considering the marijuana policy.
NNAMDIWell, do you think it'll be focused on a lot more this year, Christopher, because of the votes in states like Washington and Colorado to make marijuana available legally? And the fact that that is in conflict with federal law, there's the question of whether or not the Obama Administration will aggressively enforce federal law. And if they don't, if these states will then develop the kind of regulatory environment that can be mimicked in other states and whether or not other states will then decide to also try to legalize marijuana themselves. What do you see as the trend lines here?
CHRISTOPHERWell, I'm certainly hopeful that these states, by bringing it into the light, will also serve its test cases for, you know, the myriad of other issues that are going to be brought about once we get past simply just the prohibition aspect. But -- and I'm -- but I'm a little concerned that the prohibition is going to continue to be the focus of the fight and that people are simply going to keep trying to view it as a morality issue or as an illicit substance issue rather than as a agriculture issue, or as an environmental issue.
NNAMDIWell, the sands do seem to be shifting, but they don't seem to be shifting in the direction of viewing it as an agricultural or environmental issue. They seem to be drifting in -- they seem to be shifting in terms of viewing it as, well, more of a health issue than anything else. I haven't heard the agricultural and environmental aspects of it raised that much, but the sands do seem to be shifting.
CHRISTOPHERYeah, and, you know, I'm hopeful. I think this is going to be a very interesting and developmental year, probably a turning point in a great many ways. I can only hope that the environmental issues will start to be a little bit more on the forte as well.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Christopher. 800...
NNAMDI...oh, you had another issue, didn't you?
CHRISTOPHEROh, I just wanted to say I thought "Django Unchained" was probably Tarantino's worst film to date. I heard that as we were talking. I thought it was a very great movie still, but it had a lot more flaws than I'm used to seeing from him. So...
NNAMDIIt's interesting, you know. Woody Allen used to say, I like to make flawed movies, but that has changed over the years of course with Woody Allen. But when you say flawed, what do you mean, in terms of what?
CHRISTOPHERWell, I thought that he missed the points on a number of things. Of course the main focus that a lot of people are turning to is the race relations issue. And of course Tarantino is a bit of a pulpy director. But he manages to bring some of those moral issues through. But I thought he really missed a lot of more emotional appeals in some of the scenes, especially the first two times that Jamie Foxx first witnesses his wife.
CHRISTOPHERI thought that his pacing was just off so...
NNAMDIAll right. Let's not give it all away, but it is slavery in a Spaghetti Western. So thank you very much for your call, Christopher. It seems to me to be typical Tarantino territory but people want to talk about other things. Here is Sean in Hunt Valley, Md. It's your turn, Sean.
SEANHi there, Kojo. Mine is a prediction for 2013.
SEANYes. I believe we're going to see a resurgence in the Roman Catholic Church in North America in terms of membership, both people coming in on their own and also as a result of what's known as Anglican (unintelligible) . Where the invitation by the Pope for Anglicans to come in both individually and now corporately as perishes Anglicans continue to move into the Roman Catholic Church.
NNAMDIHaving been raised as an Anglican I was unaware of this trend of Anglicans.
SEANYes. Well, I'm a former Anglican and became Roman Catholic. And I see the trend growing and...
NNAMDIBut why do you think the trend is growing? At first when you mentioned this trend I thought it might have something to do with backlash against same sex marriage.
SEANWell, perhaps there's some of that. And just a general coming back -- coming home to mother church back to the foundations that have built Christendom throughout the millennia. And I think you -- you know, I do think there is a yearning upon many for, you know, return to the appreciation and sanctity of traditional marriages we've always known.
NNAMDIWell, how do I know you're not simply universalizing your own personal sentiments here? What are the...
SEANOh, check The Economist.
NNAMDI...what are the data? What are the...
SEANYou are -- are you familiar with The Economist magazine?
NNAMDII'm very familiar with it. We get it here all the time.
SEANI understand there's an article in there. I'm not sure if it’s the current issue or recent issue. I understand there's an article that talks to the return to the conservative Mass, which is the Mass that's growing, not the liberal, but rather the conservative type of Roman Catholic Mass. So those kinds of things as well as some of the...
NNAMDIWhat influenced your own decision to go from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church?
SEANI felt like, for one thing, I realized the wheels were kind of coming off the cart in the Anglican Church. They had lost their moorings. There was no essential decision making. In the Roman Catholic Church you have what is known as the magisterium. And the deposit in the safe is preserved very carefully by the church Fathers as it has been...
NNAMDIAnd that's what influenced your decision to become a Roman Catholic.
SEANYeah, well, not only have...
NNAMDII think you have -- you may have on this edition of Your Turn set off the Your Turn edition of the religious wars. But we'll see what -- how that turns out. Thank you very much for your call, Sean. We move on to Sarah in Washington, D.C. Sarah, your turn.
SARAHHi. Hi, Kojo. So I'm a social worker at a nonprofit agency in Washington, D.C. And whenever my whole family or anybody talks about the fiscal cliff and cutting Medicare and cutting Medicaid they always make it sound like, you know, my consumers are the people that are making the money. And I just feel like people forget that Medicaid and Medicare doesn't actually go to anybody except doctors and then straight back into the economy. Because I'm paying back my student loans. I'm paying my rent, buying foods, going out to eat. All that comes from the money that Medicaid and Medicare puts into my agency and me.
NNAMDIWhat is your agency? You don't have to mention it by name. What kind of agency is it?
SARAHIt's a mental health agency.
NNAMDIIt's a health agency and...
SARAHMental health -- community and mental health.
NNAMDIAnd you say that Medicare -- but, you know, the arguments that are made in terms of Medicare is that with the Baby Boom generation all becoming past the age of 65 then the Medicare costs will expand significantly. You don't have a problem with that.
SARAHI mean, there's a problem but at the same time all of that money is going straight back into the economy. So it's not like -- people seem to think that, you know, somebody is profiting off of it. And maybe somebody is, a hospital charging more money. And maybe the hospital needs to be -- adjust their prices but my whole paycheck comes from Medicaid and Medicare. And my whole agency is run. I mean, that's how we make the money is by billing.
NNAMDIWell, see what the lawmakers are saying -- some lawmakers are saying is that the taxpayers are who are footing the bill for all of this and that the bill is becoming so expensive for the taxpayers that some changes need to be made. Sure, they say, Sarah might be happy, but the people who are essentially paying Sarah's salary are not that happy that Sarah and others are costing them so much more.
SARAHI'm putting my own money into my paycheck because I pay Social Security, I pay my whatever taxes, I mean, so -- but if you cut all of -- if we start cutting Medicaid and Medicare, things like my job, things like doctors, all their money is going to get cut and the money isn't going to go back into the economy.
SARAHLike, I wouldn't have a job.
NNAMDIFor the time being, you get the last word on this because we have to take a short break. If you have called, stay on the line. It's a full hour of Your Turn. You can discuss whatever's on your mind, predictions for 2013 or your views on any issue making the news or topics you heard on this broadcast. If the lines are busy, go to our website kojoshow.org and join the conversation there. Send email to email@example.com. But the number's 800-433-8850. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. This entire hour is being devoted to you. It's Your Turn. You set the agenda. The topics you want to discuss are the topics we discuss. Regional, national, international issues, predictions for 2013, anything on your mind, 800-433-8850. Or if the lines are busy send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is Mona in Washington, D.C. Hi, Mona.
NNAMDIHappy New Year, Mona.
MONAThat's why I was calling, to wish you a Happy New Year.
NNAMDIHappy New Year, homie.
MONAHomie, my foot.
NNAMDIYou know you're my home girl. Go ahead, Mona.
MONAWell, sort of -- I kind of changed my mind since I started there. But do you remember that conversation you had with Tom Sherwood a couple of weeks ago before Christmas about RG3...
MONA...on the issue -- what the issue was about -- you know, I hate to have to say, but it's about him being too white and all this stuff.
NNAMDIOh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's...
MONAI just cannot understand why the people in this city always have to bring this up. This fellow is...
NNAMDIA guy got suspended from ESPN for essentially raising that issue.
MONAWell, he deserved it. It's really a stupid thing. You know, why can't you just appreciate the boy has -- he's not a boy, you know, he's a young man. But he's essentially straight forward. Look, I mean, if he did drugs and he chased women, drove fast cars, got drunk and all that stuff (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDINo, he's only inspiring -- wait a minute. He's only inspiring an entire city, an entire region, has the most possible jersey in the NFL and people think he can solve the fiscal cliff.
MONAIt's not only here. He's in Europe as well.
NNAMDIOh yeah, yeah, he's big.
MONAEngland, huge articles about him in the newspapers. He's even made it over to Germany. I mean, and we should just appreciate his talents. He's brought the team together. He's brought the city together. And we should just be very proud of having him.
NNAMDIWe are, Mona, but you know what I think? We may be putting too much on his shoulders at this point.
MONAOh, absolutely without a doubt. But, you know, coming from me a diehard Raiders' fan, you got to say this has got a lot of credence. So that's what I wanted to say. That's all.
NNAMDIHey, Happy New Year, Mona. Nice of you to call. Onto Sanene in Springfield, Va. Sanene, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SANENEHello, Kojo. When I was listening some people were talking about the issue of international adoption (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDICorrect, and specifically in the wake of the ban in Russia on adoptions to the U.S., yes.
SANENEThat's right. And I just wanted to make some points on that. One is that United States government is the only government in the world which has not signed on the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
NNAMDIThe Russians raised that in their own decision-making process.
SANENEYeah, I had not read that part of the decision, but that's what was...
NNAMDIAnd it was also pointed out that if, in fact -- you're right, Russia is a signatory and the United States is not. But since Russia is a signatory, the ban apparently is in violation of that agreement. But go ahead.
SANENEExactly. That's right. So that's what I notice on my own without knowing the reasoning specifically. And unfortunately here, I don't see people taking advantage of that and pushing for that. In other words, a lot of the people and media talk about, oh, this is unfair to kids who don't get adopted. Well, as an American, what we should take advantage of is to push the Congress that why America is the only country in the world that doesn't sign on that and push for that because other countries, at least on paper, have signed on that.
SANENEAnd also the governments have to protect their citizens and children of a specific country. So international adoption is not a right of the citizens of other countries. It's just a privilege that to either adopt or not. And in many countries, the adoptions are limited to the citizens of those specific countries for the protection of children, in fact, because (unintelligible) international, they do not have as much information.
SANENEAnd another problem is that in America, unfortunately, child adoption has become a big industry. And a lot of agencies and corporations or lawyers or whoever make tens of thousands of dollars of money on adoption.
NNAMDIThis is true.
SANENEAnd that is something that has to be corrected because in other countries like Russia or Iran when you have to make an adoption you don't have to pay any money. You just go and fill the form. Maybe there's a little bit of money for applying...
NNAMDINo. I think -- well, I think you may be wrong in that case because if it's an in-country adoption, it may be different. If it is an international adoption, it can become quite costly.
SANENEYeah, maybe, but the point is that here in America, even in-country, it's a big business. So...
NNAMDIWell, wherever it is, whether it is in the United States or in other countries, there is a process that has to be gone through that a lot of people find unnecessarily painstaking. But if children are to be protected officials in those countries argue. And if the welfare of the child is the primary consideration then they feel that those policies and procedures are acceptable. But I'm afraid, Sanene, we have so many other people waiting that I do have to move on this time to Claudia in Alexandria, Va. Claudia, your turn.
CLAUDIAHi, Kojo. Yeah, I was calling just because I had just recently returned from my very first visit to the Middle East to Qatar. I went over there on a work-related project. And this has to do with the Al-Jazeera American station.
CLAUDIAAnd, you know, my thought is really that I think it's kind of a great thing because I -- having never been to the Middle East, the only really visual images that I had seen on television were, you know, the angry young men sort of fist pumping in the air, you know, depending on what was going on. But when I went over there, I found everybody that I met absolutely delightful, warm, engaging, very interested in the United States, wanting to know what was going on over here.
CLAUDIAAnd the Al-Jazeera has a very good reputation. It's kind of known like the BBC of the Arab world. And Qatar especially, it's such a -- it's a brand new country. It's only been around for 80 years and they're really interested in becoming kind of an educational hub for the Middle East. And I think the idea of having a radio station or a news station that can give Americans I think a much broader perspective of what goes on in the Middle East and who the people are I think would only be to our benefit because...
NNAMDIWhat would you say to people who say they think that Al-Jazeera has quote unquote "an anti-Western tilt?"
CLAUDIAYeah, I kind of -- again, this is just me, but my feeling is that when I was over there and watching it over there, I didn't get that feeling. Qatar, it has one of the largest American military bases in the country. It's just this little tiny baby country. Most of the people speak English as well as Arabic. And, you know, I was really surprised, to be honest with you. It tended to be, at least from my perspective, quite fair-minded and if nothing, you know, yeah...
NNAMDII suspect a lot of people in that part of the world will say, well, if it's on cable television in the United States, it'll be swimming among 500 channels with a pro-Western tilt.
CLAUDIAYeah, well, that's -- I think that's also true. But I just think anything that helps give a broader perspective of, you know, whether it's still for many Americans kind of the unknown, you know, in the Middle East, I think it's just a good thing. So...
NNAMDIOkay. Claudia, thank you very much for your call. It's Your Turn when you can set the agenda for this hour of this broadcast by calling 800-433-8850 or by sending email to email@example.com with your opinion, your prediction on any issue of your choice, either events in the news, recent broadcasts on this show or anything else on your mind, 800-433-8850. Here is Miguel in Baltimore, Md. Hi, Miguel.
MIGUELHello, how are you?
NNAMDII'm well. You're on the air.
MIGUELSo I'm Spanish and, well, I wanted to talk about the (unintelligible) percent economically. I've been reading a lot the news and several newspapers in the country.
MIGUELOne of the big points is that it seems that finally because of the (unintelligible) politics and the increase of the taxes, we will be able to meet the budget deficits that we set as well, that it was like 4.3. And they say that if it's really finished happening, that a ten year bond could go to a 4.5. So if that happens, the country will be able to not bail out finally and there will be some light on the tunnel.
NNAMDIYou're talking about Spain here, correct?
NNAMDIYou're talking about Spain?
MIGUELYeah, I'm talking about Spain. So it looks like by the end of the year there should be some good news. But for -- in the other time, you know, the country has been like 10 to 20 years of -- to be able to get back on good shape. You know, like one of the...
NNAMDI...2012 was a difficult year. You're saying that you expect some improvement in Spain's economy in 2013. But that in the final analysis you think it could take up to 20 to 30 years for the country to...
MIGUELNo, 10 to 20 years, you know.
NNAMDITen to twenty.
MIGUELYeah, one of the biggest problems is the high educated Spanish who live in the country, engineers, architects, doctors, because their salaries are so low and because there is no respect for high education. So it's a rate over 40 percent of, you know, graduated from good schools who leave the country. So you are moving the people that should move the economy in the next years is not inside the country. And then there's, you know, the problem of inside politics. Spain is de facto a federal state and, you know, probably you have heard about the (unintelligible) movement. This is not going to stop. Actually, the (word?) country probably will be the next one talking about independencies...
NNAMDIAnd it won't be the first time. So I guess what I'm taking from this conversation, Miguel, is that we need to be looking at Spain more closely in media in general and on this broadcast in particular during the course of the next year. But thank you very much for sharing those thoughts with us. It's your turn Dee Dee in Fort Washington, Md. Hi, Dee Dee.
DEE DEEHi. This picks up on the point the gentleman just made or you summarized, which is looking at other parts of the world more generally as we look in 2013. I wanted to commend your show for doing a very extensive conversation at the situation in Mali which has deteriorated. But I really would like for WAMU to commit to paying more attention to what's been going on in the Congo now for at least two decades, but has really just gotten even uglier with each passing day.
DEE DEEAnd I just feel that we tend to focus always on the same old countries in the Middle East, the same parts of the world as if that's where the whole universe is centered, when we have the Congo, we have Latin America right next door. And I just hope that we have a WAMU and NPR and indeed more focus on particularly when we do our international news hours.
NNAMDIWell, Dee Dee, you should know that even though it is Your Turn today, just in case you didn't call, I made a list. And on my list one of the things to talk about is the Congo because, yes, I do think we need to be paying more attention to what is going on in the Congo. The nature of the ongoing wars and conflicts in the Congo should get a lot more attention because it has led to devastating loss of life in general and a devastating situation for women in the Congo in particular. So that's something that I think we should be looking at some more.
DEEI appreciate that.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. You too can call us, 800-433-8850. It is Your Turn. We got an email from Kenneth regarding the future of the Catholic Church who said, "With respect to the religious beliefs of your previous caller, I think his prediction will fall the way of the Mayan Doomsday prediction." Our previous caller predicted an upsurge of membership in the Catholic Church.
NNAMDIKenneth says, "Members of the Catholic Church are fleeing in droves because the Catholic Church is intent on taking two steps back for every step forward taken by society at large. I believe the reign of iron-fisted theocrat Pope Benedict XVI will be a long lasting scar on the Church." As I said, it looks like that first call started the religious wars on this broadcast. I am sure, Kenneth, that you will find a whole lot of people will be disagreeing with you significantly.
NNAMDIThe November 12 issues of the Economist, the leader column said that in both Europe and the Middle East homeland of Christendom, 2013 will be bleak for the mainstream churches that have carried the Christian message for centuries. Declines will accelerate and problems will intensify. So we've got two callers and we've got the Economist. On now to Andre in Alexandria, Va. Andre, your turn.
ANDREHow you doing, Kojo?
NNAMDIDoing very well, thank you.
ANDREGreat. I think one of the predictions for 2013, I think that the Republicans in general are going to spend a lot of time reinventing their brains. I think one of the ways they're going to do that is by really making a concerted effort to divorce themselves from, say, the celebrity that became sort of the Republican Party, the representation, say, from a Donald Trump or those sort of extreme views. I think they're going to spend, you know, a lot of time really, really sort of reinventing themselves to go on their appeal.
NNAMDII'm trying to read an email from Constance in Silver Spring which seems to be -- well, let me read you Constance's prediction. Constance predicts that "the Republicans in Congress will continue. Grover Norquist's project to make government too small that they can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." You on the other hand, Andre, seem to be suggesting that the Republicans are going to try to move from right more toward center.
ANDREI believe so. I think by the end of 2013 I think the Republicans will start to promote a lot of new Republicans with more moderate yields. I think they're sort of in a -- they've painted themselves to the wall. And if they don't do that, then I think even thinking as far as say 2016, there's no real candidate that they really could put out there out in the masses. On the Democratic side, you know, you talk about presidential nominee and Hillary Clinton is the talk of the town. So I think the Republicans really have started reinventing the message now in order to send a change...
NNAMDIWell, what signs have you gotten so far that the Republican Party is likely to do that? Did you see any signs in the House vote on the fiscal cliff that would suggest that to you?
ANDREWell, no. But what I do think is that the fiscal cliff is -- and sort of this whole notion of how the party to me seems to be imploding. You can look at how it seems like some folks even turning on Boehner. There's the infighting. I think they're sort of bottoming out. So there's no other way to go, but to really take a look at how they've been going for the last three or four years and has created such a (word?) in the party that they have to reinvent themselves. They have no other choice.
ANDREI think you'll start to see that after this fiscal cliff fiasco sort of dies down a bit.
NNAMDIOkay, Andre. Thank you very much for your call. 800-433-8850. It's your turn this entire hour. If you have predictions about what's likely happen to happen in media in 2013, are we still going to be seeing the loss of daily newspapers? Are we still going to be seeing more consolidation in media? Will somebody find out how to get a profitable business model off of digital media? 800-433-8850. It's your turn. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's your turn to analyze, predict, and suggest for the year 2013. Who do you think will be the next governor of Virginia? What are your predictions? 800-433-8850. Let's go to Fran in Washington, D.C. Fran, you're on the air. Your turn.
FRANHi, Kojo. I'm a first-time caller.
FRANAnd I don't normally call radio stations, but I just wanted to make a comment about the movie "Django."
FRANI saw it, and I think people are not giving it enough credit. I think it's one of the best movies I've ever seen.
NNAMDII found it wildly entertaining myself.
FRANI thought so too, and I think people are judging it without seeing it and just, like, hearing about it, and not taking the time to go see it, and I think people should see it because I think it has a lot of positive points to it, and I think people should go see it before they judge it. And that's all I have to say.
NNAMDIWell, before you go, I think that when you say that it's one of the best movies you ever saw, people will expect that when they go to see this movie they should expect to get some kind of profound message coming from this movie about the condition of slavery. Now, there's not going to be any profound message coming from this movie in the same way that there was no profound message coming from "Pulp Fiction," but a whole lot of people enjoyed the movie.
NNAMDIOf course there various messages about slavery and oppression in the movie, but it's mostly like most spaghetti westerns were, violently entertaining, and I think for people who look for too much meaning into it -- in it, then they probably won't enjoy it that much. But Fran, you clearly did.
FRANYou're right. I think it's -- it's an enjoyable movie. It's just entertaining. It's not a message movie. It's an enjoyable movie, and it's entertaining.
NNAMDIWell, I heard Tarantino on "Fresh Air" yesterday. He does think in some ways it's a message movie, but then he's allowed. He's the director. Thank you very much for your call. Here is Saheed in Washington, DC. Saheed, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SAHEEDYeah. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my view about the Russian ban of the adoption of their kids.
SAHEEDI don't know why people was so much -- I mean, what they complaining about. I believe there are so many kids in America that needs to be adopted, and I think they always (unintelligible) . You have to care of your own first before you start worrying about other people's. Basically it's a gospel singer called Vickie Yohe, and she says she has four children. She adopted two children in America, and she went to Uganda to adopt two more children.
SAHEEDThere are so many places where they can -- where they can go to adopt children, so what's the big deal about being adopted -- complaining about Russian babies. What's so special about them?
NNAMDIWhat is special about it, I think, is that people feel that they, if allowed, should be allowed to adopt babies wherever there are babies available for adoption, and that the notion that I have to adopt a baby from my own country because my love for a child is based on what country that child happens to be born in, people feel that that should not necessarily apply to them.
SAHEEDWell, if their government doesn't want them to adopt their children, they should try and help their people, you know. There are so many kids that, I believe, that need adoption...
SAHEED...and that's what they should do.
NNAMDII think people will follow the law, whatever the law happens to see, and if the law says you cannot adopt children from a certain country, then obviously they won't do that, but it won't stop them from wanting to. But thank you very much for your call Saheed. Here is Christina in Alexandria, Va. Christina, your turn.
CHRISTINAHi, Kojo. Thanks so much for taking my call. I'm offering an idea to add to the gun control concept, the mix of how to control guns, which is to slap a whopping tax on the sale of guns as well as on the sale of ammunition. You don't have to go and define the gun and draw the gun and, you know, certain guns are okay and other guns aren't okay. Just put a tax on them, and that will slow people down from buying them.
NNAMDIThe cigarette approach you're saying?
NNAMDIThe cigarette approach?
CHRISTINACigarette approach, exactly right. And then use the revenues from the tax to offer to buy back the existing guns that are out there in people's hands. And once the ammunition in expensive, that will also reduce the intrinsic interest in the gun itself.
NNAMDIWell, I suspect that if you think you're getting some pushback from people who are sports persons, sportsmen or hunters or people who simply treasure the right to own guns, what kind of pushback do you think you'll get if you say, here's what we're going to do. We're going to put a tax on guns and just make it more expensive for you to get them. How do you think those people will respond to that additional tax, given how people tend to respond to additional taxes generally?
CHRISTINAThey'll be unhappy about it, of course. But it certainly makes it as a tool for regulating an activity or product. Taxes are a far more ultimately efficient way of doing it, and you could exempt hunting rifles, for example.
CHRISTINAOr renting guns in a firing range so that people could go to a firing range and use whatever gun they wanted. But the actual purchase of anything by the exempted guns, I hear you on the pushback. But the ones that are, you know, that just are designed to kill people should be heavily taxed.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your suggestion. We'll see what kind of response there is to it, Christina. Thanks for sharing. On now to Cheetra (sp?) in Rockville, Md. Cheetra, your turn.
CHEETRAHey, Kojo. Thank you for your show, and I'm one of your fans, and love the content of the show. I'd like to talk about the response of media, particularly to violent crimes, for instance, the Newtown shooting, and then post-Delhi, the rape -- the gang-rape crisis in Delhi.
CHEETRAI just feel like the media needs to step back, both professional media and quasi-media on Twitter, and they need to kind of interview little kids or give families time to deal with and process things. I mean, not everything is newsworthy, and sometimes, you know, a day in getting things out is okay, because I think the compromise -- it's almost voyeuristic. I mean, it's almost like why do we have to know so much, and why do we have to interview little kids about how they feel about the shooting.
CHEETRAOr why do we have to be playing into family privacies when as is they're dealing with such intense, you know, trauma.
NNAMDIWell, let me separate a few things from you. First and foremost, the notion of always wanting to be first, a notion that continues to prevail in much of media, even though in situations like in the shootings in Newtown, we know that the race to be first often results in widespread inaccuracy when some media, some media news outlet reports an incorrect fact and it's picked up by other media all over. So one hopes that that is a lesson that will be learned.
NNAMDISecond, the interviewing of children. Are you talking about -- I didn't see a great deal of that, so tell me a little bit more about what you saw? Are you there, Cheetra? Ah, Cheetra seemed to have dropped off, but she talked about that, and she talked about the invasion of privacy, and there was some complaint from families in Newton, who after a while told media there would you just please, like, leave?
NNAMDIWe'd like to grieve, and we'd like maybe to be able to grieve in private without having media intrusions. There obviously is a need for greater sensitivity in these situations when everybody is trying to get the same story and at times like these, sometimes the media hoard tends to outnumber and overwhelm the people who are involved with these tragedies. So your points are all well taken, Cheetra. We move on now to Elizabeth in Washington DC. Elizabeth, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ELIZABETHHappy new year, Kojo.
NNAMDIHappy new year, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETHAnd may we have another year of your wonderful, wonderful afternoons.
NNAMDII was actually hoping for the same thing, thanks.
ELIZABETHWell, I wanted to bring up something. I read in the paper this morning, and I think it has much wider things happening from it than at first glance, and that is Avis buying the small call company.
ELIZABETHZipcar. I happen to be one of the many in Washington giving up cars because I'm an environmentalist, and also I am slightly handicapped.
ELIZABETHAnd I have friends and volunteers who have used Zipcar. It has been the most wonderful thing, to take me around to my doctors, to appointments. I pay for the car and they get the Zipcar. But the thing that seems so wonderful about it, is it's local. And they -- they get a voice immediately when they call up, and they leave it wherever they want and then they call up and someone picks it up.
ELIZABETHWell, what bothers me is when it's bought by a company like Avis, I understand that they will use the Avis network. For instance, I know people get a local voice answering you, and this might also stop people from using this kind of conveyance, because they use the tiny cars. I love the smart car. I see it all over Italy. And the electric cars, and people like me have to do things in a hurry and get someone to help me, and I'm afraid this might make it too big time and hurt the movement toward using fewer cars.
NNAMDIWell, I have not used Zipcar, and I have not used Car2Go, but I have a lot of friends who use either one or the other service, and they praise both services very highly. I was not aware, so to speak, of what you describe as the local component where you can actually get someone locally to answer the phone if you happen to call, and your fear that that is likely to disappear under Avis.
NNAMDIIt seems to me that that is worth at least some news investigation to see how the change in ownership from presumably a local entity to an international entity is likely to affect the everyday local user, because that is your concern, right Elizabeth?
ELIZABETHYes, it is, I think.
NNAMDIWell, I encourage us at our news department and others to take a look at it.
ELIZABETHWell, I'll be listening.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Elizabeth. We move on to Mumin (sp?) in Gaithersburg, Md. Mumin, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MUMINHi, can you hear me?
NNAMDII hear you well, Mumin.
MUMINThanks for having me. Wonderful show. I want to bring up Somalia, a country where, for the most part, when we hear about Somalia, we hear about the pirates, we hear about al-Shabaab, but we don't hear about, you know, a lot of the other things that are going on that we really need to pay attention to. Namely, for the first time, that country has gotten out of the transitional government system and now has permanent government.
MUMINAnd believe it or not, we don't have -- the U.S. doesn't have an embassy in Mogadishu and vice versa. The Somali government doesn't have an embassy in Washington, and I think we really need to pay attention to what's going on in Somalia.
NNAMDII agree with you wholeheartedly, but even though there is a government in Somalia, two questions for you Mumin. One, should it still be considered, A, a failed state and, 2, just how much territory of Somalia does that government control?
MUMINThere's no question that there's a lot more that needs to be done, and they're really making some headway. Mogadishu probably is the safest place now, you know, for more than two decades. And they're making some movement in terms of making sure that there's some governance, local governance, and different (word?) . They're building up the process, but I think what I'm trying to say is we really need to pay attention so that Somalia doesn't fall back into another crisis, because, you know, there's been a lot of suffering going on for more than two decades.
NNAMDISo are you suggesting that...
MUMINSo we need -- we need to have the embassy opening up in Mogadishu, and we really need to see a Somalia embassy open up in Washington DC.
NNAMDIYou think that -- you think that formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Somalia could help to stabilize their country? Okay.
MUMINI'm sorry, Kojo.
NNAMDIYou think that formal diplomatic relations between the two countries would help to stabilize Somalia?
MUMINIt is -- stabilize --I'm not -- unfortunately, I'm having a hard time hearing you, but ...
MUMIN...it is stabilizing, and we just will have to keep our eye on it. We don't want (unintelligible) revert back to crisis and it's making progress, and we need to support it. We need to keep an eye on it. We need to be talking about all the positive things that have taken place, and more importantly, we really need to have the embassies in Mogadishu and Washington DC opening up as soon as possible.
NNAMDIOkay. Okay, Mumin. Thank you very much for your call. On now to Sam in Quantico, Va. Sam, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SAMYes. Hi, Kojo. I just wanted to see if you can have a discussion on Oliver Stone's "Untold History of America" sometime.
NNAMDII don't know. I have not actually seen Oliver Stone's "Untold History of America," but if at some point I do, it's something that we will take, as they say, under advisement to have a conversation about it. Thanks...
SAMWell, I mean, I think it's very -- it's controversial in the sense that the whole American history is turned upside down and, you know, America is no longer the good guy but actually the bad guy in the whole pre-Cold War and Cold War series. So...
NNAMDIWell, you know, we're prepared to try to accommodate all points of view, so it's entirely possible that at some point we'll have that kind of conversation. Thank you for your call. And now onto Carolyn in Temple Hills, Md., who I think may have the last word. Carolyn, your turn.
CAROLYNHi, yes. I've listened to your show off and on for a while, but I've never called in, and I have a comment about "Django." This is personal to me. I for the life of me can't see how people can feel entertained -- entertained by the brutalization and degradation of black people. How about if I say, oh, yeah, "Schindler's List," was very entertaining. And yes, I have a lot of feelings about all that's going on towards racism in America, and all that's not going on.
CAROLYNSo many people, and I understand that we had two people helping us through the underground tunnel that was not black, you know, but a lot -- so many white people will say, oh, I'm racist, but if I walk into their presence with my hair nappy, I'm supposed to not like it along with them. Hate myself. It's too much going on, and they -- we need to deal with this race issue. How can we be entertained by that? I mean, maybe it's just me.
CAROLYNI see other people are entertained by "Schindler's List," oh, yeah, that's entertaining. I don't see it, and it angers me.
NNAMDIWell, as I said, you get the last word, so you obviously didn't like the movie, and thank you all for your participation in Your Turn. Hopefully we'll be able to do this again soon, and, of course, thank you all for listening. Happy New Year. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
Most Recent Shows
The author talks about writing, his ties to the region and literacy advocacy.
Kojo explores how much input the public should have in public art projects and how that squares with the visions of the artists who do the work.
The Arlington County Board halted two long-planned, but long-controversial streetcar projects, saying voters had spoken this month against moving forward. We examine the implications of the decision.