In both its spoken and written forms, the English language is constantly evolving. Grammar - the system and structure that underpin communications - and linguistics - the science of its study - can help us make sense of these shifts and changes. We talk with experts in each field about the quirks, foibles, understanding and glory of the written and spoken word.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner is running for mayor of New York City, but new information about lewd online behavior have some calling for him to quit the race. A woman’s car plunged off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Friday in an episode straight out of many local drivers’ worst-case scenario. And the Food and Drug Administration has set the stage for possible restrictions or a ban on menthol cigarettes after new research was released this week. We talk about those and other headlines catching your eye this week.
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. Your Turn, meaning you set the agenda for this broadcast with your phone calls, emails or Tweets. So start calling now at 800-433-8850. If you don't want to hear me flooding the airwaves with a sea of useless rhetoric, call now, 800-433-8850.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIEither anything in the news, recent editions of this broadcast or anything else on your mind that you'd like to talk about, it's Your Turn, 800-433-8850. Of course, if you would like to hear me flood the airwaves with a sea of useless rhetoric, I can do that too but I'd rather hear you, 800-433-8850. Just by way of a few prompts, fans of the hit show "Scandal" longing for a new storyline to follow during the summer hiatus now have a real life diversion, courtesy of former congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe latest headlines pickup a plot that emerged back in 2011 when Weiner resigned from congress after admitting he sent sexually explicit text messages to a young woman he met online. After keeping a fairly low profile for two years, he announced a bid for mayor of New York several months ago. And recent polls put him neck and neck with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ahead of the September Democratic primary. But Tuesday brought news that Weiner, using the name Carlos Danger engaged in phone sex and traded lewd messages and pictures with a young woman after he resigned from office.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAt a news conference with his wife Huma Abedin by his side, Weiner acknowledge that there was some truth to the story but said that the behavior is behind him. Somehow one remembers him saying that before. He then continued with several campaign stops despite calls from some, including the New York Times and New York Daily News editorial board for him to end his run. Do you think he should drop out, 800-433-8850? Would you vote for Anthony Weiner? You can send us email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can simply go to our website because it is Your Turn.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnthony Weiner spoke at a press conference earlier this week about the scandal and about his willingness to be transparent about it. Here's a little bit of what he had to say.
MR. ANTHONY WEINERTo some degree, with 49 days left until primary day, perhaps I'm surprised that more things didn't come out sooner. I'm responsible for this behavior that led us to be in this place, but in many ways things are not that much different than they were yesterday. This behavior that I did was problematic to say the least, destructive to say the most. Caused many stresses and strains in my marriage. But I'm pleased and blessed that she has given me a second chance.
MR. ANTHONY WEINERFor the past several months I've been asking New Yorkers to also give me another chance to show them that I had a vision for the middle class -- struggling to make it and that I wanted to move forward. It is perfectly reasonable for people to ask about this chapter in my life, to be curious about it. And I'm going to be there and try to answer those questions as best I can.
NNAMDIActually it wouldn't be a second chance. It would be a third chance. And do you think Anthony Weiner should get a third chance? Would you vote for Anthony Weiner, 800-433-8850? Closer to home, Tuesday at an hour when major news outlets the world over had their attention focused on a door at a London hospital, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell issued an apology.
NNAMDIThat statement made after months of revelations about gifts to the first family from Star Scientific executive Jonnie Williams, Jr. that was -- Jonnie Williams, Sr. was spared with news that two loans from Williams had been repaid with interest. One made to the first lady Maureen McDonnell in 2011. Another made to a real estate company the governor owns with his sister last year. Some are calling for further explanation of the relationship. Others say the governor has taken an important first step in recovering the trust of the people of Virginia.
NNAMDIIf you happen to be one of the people of Virginia, one of the Virginia residents or voters, what do you think? Is Governor McDonnell's apology sufficient? Would you like to see a change in Virginia laws which some say are among the most lax in the nation when it comes to elected officials' ability to accept gifts. Remember, this is Your Turn. I'm not supposed to be the one speaking here. You are. Call us, 800-433-8850.
NNAMDIYou know, yesterday Julie Carey from NBC4 spoke with Governor McDonnell via satellite from Afghanistan where he was visiting Virginia troops and asked a question that many have been wondering about.
MS. JULIE CAREYGovernor, what consideration, if any, have you given to resignation?
GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELLNone. I'm not going anywhere. I love this job. I think there were a couple of very bad rumors about that. I have been able to get, I think, some major problems solved for our citizens. Virginia's in better shape than most states. Democrats and Republicans are working together well in our state. I try to create that climate for bipartisan cooperation. And I think that's what people appreciate. That's what they expect out of a government and that's what we're going to continue to do for these last five months, Julie. And so there's been no consideration of that.
NNAMDIFor a while the governor had not been really addressing the issue at all except to deny that he was involved in any wrongdoing whatsoever. The apology that he offers implied that he feels that even if there was no wrongdoing, there is a perception of wrongdoing. What do you think, 800-433-8850? It is Your Turn. We got an email from Tony in Washington, D.C. who says, "My question is about the recent news that governor Bob McDonald has repaid the loans. Good enough, but does that also include the gifts that he received including the Rolex watch and the cost of the wedding of his daughter? No one has mentioned the gifts."
NNAMDIWell, I'm mentioning the gifts right now. There was that gift and the governor said that because he -- the wedding of his daughter -- and it was not the wedding that was financed. It was the refreshments at the wedding that was financed, I think to the tune of $15,000. And the governor said that was a gift to his daughter. But then the reporting that was done in the Washington Post indicated that it was the governor who had ultimately paid or who ultimately got the refund for the overpayment for the food and refreshments at the wedding. Implying -- and I guess one would infer from that -- that that meant that it was the governor who was responsible for those payments.
NNAMDIBut we're interested in what you think, 800-433-8850. D.C. government officials and the executives from D.C. United, the city's major league soccer franchise, have struck a tentative deal to build a new stadium for the team in southwest Washington on Buzzard's Point. Remember the controversy there was over the taxpayer financed Washington National Stadium. Well, this new $300 million deal would take the team out of RFK Stadium, move it closer to the National Stadium. But it's not a done deal just yet.
NNAMDIHowever, the plan, contingent on a series of land swaps, counselor approval and a myriad of other factors, calls for the city and team to split the cost of the project. And some estimate the team could make the move as soon as 2016. What do you make of this proposal? Do you think the city should be investing in another stadium? 800-433-8850 is the number to call. It is Your Turn and we will now go to you. First you, Charles, in Winchester, Va. Go ahead, Charles. Charles, you're on the air.
CHARLESOh, I'm here. Sorry, sorry.
NNAMDIGo right ahead, Charles.
CHARLESYeah, my question is, the governor, he gets all these gifts and loans and it's only because he's the governor of the state of Virginia. But where does he get the money to pay back all the loans that he got?
NNAMDIWell, I know that there has been a defense fund that has been started for the governor. I do not know if that is the source of the money that he has paid back. But it is the source of the money that he is using apparently to put together a whole new team for his defense and public relations over this matter. But the specific source of the funds that he repaid, I am not sure was reported on at this point.
CHARLESIt just seems to me that he's, you know, he's still trading on his position as the governor because people who are going to provide money for his legal defense fund are his political supporters.
NNAMDIWell, I think that is what politicians do. They raise money, whether they are raising that money to be elected to office, to be re-elected to office, to defend themselves against charges that are made against them. They rely on the kindness of strangers or the kindness of people who would like to do business with the government, in this case in the Commonwealth of Virginia. You don't think that should be allowed at all, Charles?
CHARLESI think we need to change the ethics rules in Virginia because this doesn't look good, it doesn't smell good and it just smacks of the governor using his position to get favors that nobody else would get other than somebody in a position like that.
NNAMDIWhich is one of the things we ask, would you like to see a change in Virginia laws? Charles said yes, he would. Thank you for your call, Charles. We move on now to Steve in Alexandria, Va. Steve, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
STEVEHi, Kojo. I love your show.
STEVEYeah, just about the stadium. As someone who lives in Virginia, I think it seems like it makes a lot of sense to put it by the stadium that's already there, if you're going to do that. I'm excited that the team's not going to Baltimore or somewhere else. I do think stadiums generally are kind of a money pit, so in that respect I guess I'd had to say this, but I guess I'm glad D.C.'s on the hook and not Virginia. But I'm glad you're staying local, staying close. And the smaller stadiums seem to be the way the MLS is going. And I think it's a good model for them. So glad they're staying local.
NNAMDIWell, Steve what's interesting here is that there are people who will say, look the owners of the team that have deep enough pockets to be able to pay for their own stadium on the one hand. On the other hand there are those who will say, look if you let that stadium get away either to Virginia or to someplace else, they'll say, you lost the most decorated team in the MLS because you were unwilling to help them. And now we have no soccer team in the District of Columbia. You come down on the side of going ahead with this deal.
STEVEYeah, I guess, I mean, it's sort of the selfish side of me, I guess. I mean, I'm not paying for it and I'm not a D.C. resident. But, I mean, I'm -- maybe the owners have the pockets, I mean, but generally MLS is not rolling in the dough like, you know, NFL or NBA. I mean, I'm not certain enough about the ownership of D.C. United to speak to that. But, I mean, I hear the complaints. I mean, it certainly is something you have to consider. I mean, it's a lot of money for city residents to be putting in on it.
STEVEBut you also have to look at the trajectory of soccer generally. I mean, the MLS is -- I would've, you know, written their obituary ten years ago. I mean, it's incredible what's going on with soccer right now in this country. And I think it's actually a pretty good investment for D.C.
NNAMDIWell, they're apparently learning to promote the sport better here so they are surviving. And as I said, D.C. United is the most decorated team in the MLS, so there are some people who say you don't want to lose a team like that, even though right now they're not doing that well. But, Steve, thank you very much for your call.
NNAMDIAccording to a report on WatchDog.org, Governor McDonnell's private spokesman Rich Galen would not provide details on the funds used to repay the loans that the governor repaid. So we don't know the source of those loans. We move on now to Michael in Alexandria, Va. Michael, your turn.
MICHAELHi, Kojo. How are you?
MICHAELGood. I just wanted to say on the Anthony Weiner situation that it's another -- you know, at this point in politics I would not vote for Anthony Weiner. And I wanted to say that it really just speaks to his absolute lack of self control to have to resign from congress and not be able to stop this behavior and his actions. And the embarrassment and the pain that it causes his family to do a whole, you know, run-up on -- in People Magazine how he's a changed man. I mean, I cannot believe that he's running for office. It's shocking to me.
NNAMDIOne wonders which is more difficult for him to resist, that kind of behavior or running for public office?
MICHAELThat is a good point. That is a good point. He is very, you know -- I mean, to be in it at this point and to drag his wife up into the public's eye, the embarrassment watching that. I could barely watch it. I was so sad for her and what he continues to do. But I don't think that New Yorkers are going to vote for him, but the polls speak differently. You know, I don't know. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time and -- but, you know...
NNAMDIBut he was doing well in the polls but I actually haven't seen any polls that have been done since his admission that this was true. So we'll have to see how the polls go after this. The lure of public office, especially a public office as visible as mayor of New York can, it would appear, cause people to do all kinds of things and ask people to overlook all kinds of things. We'll just see whether or not the voting public in New York is prepared to overlook that. But, Michael, thank you for your call.
NNAMDIRemember it's Your Turn. We're going to take a short break but you too can call us at 800-433-8850 to discuss anything that's on your mind, or send us an email to email@example.com. You can shoot us a Tweet at kojoshow. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn. We are asking you to offer your opinion on any topic in the news or anything else on your mind. We gave the phone number, 800-433-8850 but the lines are busy. So right now you can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a Tweet at kojoshow. A lot of people seem to want to comment on Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The National Journal points out that the loan repayment altogether consists of about 71 percent of Governor McDonnell's gross annual salary.
NNAMDIAnd our own Michael Pope of WAMU 88.5 sends us a Tweet telling us that "McDonnell's statement indicates that money to repay Williams came from the governor, the family business and relatives. So there, we move on now to Frank in Arlington, Va. Frank, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
FRANKI remember that Governor McDonnell campaigned on getting jobs for the citizens of Virginia. Yet when -- the first thing he did when he got into office was to attack gays. I find that to be the height of hypocrisy. That's all.
NNAMDIThat's all? You don't want to comment at all on the governor's current financial issues?
FRANKNo. I consider that to be normal for politicians that are in office to be as crooked as they are.
NNAMDISo wait a minute -- so wait a minute. Had he not attacked gays, in your view, when he first came to office then you would be happy to support him even after this financial...
FRANKNo. I find that I can have trouble with most Republicans that get into office. They're just a bunch of crooks.
NNAMDIWell, care to comment on a Democrat that was in office in New York?
FRANKYeah, I know. I know. That is a very good point, yet I think we have way too much interest in the sexual conduct of many of our politicians. We look back at the Kennedys and even our past President Clinton. We don't care about his sex anymore. Now he makes good money making speeches. So I find the American people to be hypocrites on that basis.
NNAMDISo you think we should simply ignore whatever Anthony Weiner's texting proclivities might be and just forget about it and decide whether or not we want him based on his policy proposals?
FRANKIf you go to Europe and ask about the sexual conduct of the politicians in Europe, you get a lot of yawns.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Frank. I guess but there is also concern about the truthiness or lack thereof of Anthony Weiner. Because there are those who remember it's not that long ago, two years, that he started out by saying he was hacked when all of this happened. And so there are people who will be concerned about his relationship with the truth. But that's a whole other story. We move on to William in Washington, D.C. William, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
NNAMDIOkay, William. I'm going to put you on hold. William, listen to us on the phone as opposed to on the radio because you won't be able to hear very well. We'll go to Steven in Manassas, Va. Hi, Steven.
STEVENHow you doing?
STEVENHey, my comment for Governor McDonnell is, you know, I think it needs to be changed. I do think we need a law. I don't think any public servant that's in the governor's position, a state assemblyman, congressman, senator, none of them should be able to get any kind of money in this way. But you've got the federal government setting the example. What was it, a couple years ago that they had the insider trading scandal...
STEVEN...that was on TV. And they -- supposedly they passed the law that's going to bring them up to a higher standard. Then what happened -- a year or two later, what happens? They slip in another bill that repeals that law. So without any fanfare, nobody really said anything because the scandal was over. So they just went right back to doing what they do. I mean, and it's not -- you know, it's in every area of government.
STEVENThe only way that stopping something like this at the state level for Virginia, you have to have -- you have to make it in such a way that you cannot repeal it. It would take an act of congress to repeal it because, trust me, they could make the law. As soon as nobody's looking and they think the coast is clear, they'll change it.
NNAMDIYou think that elected officials tend to have greed in their DNA?
STEVENWithout a doubt. My dad used to tell me, why do people rob the banks? That's where the money is.
NNAMDIAnd I suspect that that's one of the reasons for the low ratings that congress gets from the voters all over the country. But people like to think that their own favorite member of congress would not do anything like that and that it is a relative minority of members of congress, a relative minority of elected officials who have this tendency. What would you say?
STEVENYeah, but you got to -- I think it's more than -- I'd say it's at least 50 percent. But you got to get the whole picture. When -- you know, I didn't know until recently that -- all the perks that these government officials get, not just senators and congressmen but all of them, particularly senators and congressmen. Free haircuts, free lunches, free airfare. I mean, good grief. And they wonder why people want that job. They want that job because they can make money.
STEVENI mean, look at some of the -- you just look at some of the officials that have been in Congress and the Senate for over the last -- since I was born in '61 and look how many are still there. And take their net worth, what they were worth when they went in, take what they're worth now. But they've never left office. So they're living on a Senator's salary and a Congressman's salary. How do they make all their money?
NNAMDIWell, do you think it's entirely possible that people who have the best of intentions get elected to these offices discover the perks, decide that they can't do without them and as a result get, in a way, tainted?
STEVENYes. But they go there for not just the perks, but the tangibles that you can get by being in that office. You get certain people, certain advantages that can get you a leg up. I mean, look at the last Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert. He was privy to information that you could only get privy to by being in his office. Then he turns around and gets out of office, buys property, makes money.
NNAMDIYeah, thank you very much for your call, Steve. And I see how you feel about this but there are obviously people who would disagree with you. But it is Your Turn so here is Van in Fredericksburg, Va. Van, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
VANI just wanna say this real quick is that that's what voting is about. Let the people decide whether Weiner or anybody else goes into office. I mean, it's up to the people. I mean, why we going to keep on putting this guy down and then the other guy that comes in, a lot of them, you don't know what's he's done. So if we're going to have a phony election, have a phony election. If the man, if he's not locked up or in jail, can't read or can't do his job, he can run. If the people don't want him there they won't vote for him.
NNAMDIAnd you feel that's it. It's as simple as that.
VANThat's as simple as that. That's what democracy is about.
NNAMDIBut see, if it were as simple as that, Van, I wouldn't be able to earn a living. I earn a living by having...
VANThat's what democracy is about. It's about running for office.
NNAMDI...I earn a living by having people like you express their opinion about this.
VANI hear you, but that's what democracy is about. You got people that's in office. That's why they're in office so long. And they go in there and they get rich off of the situation. They don't care about what they're doing. You see what I'm saying about the actual constituents? You know, they all say they want (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIOkay. But...okay. If you're going to let the people decide...you said earlier, the other guy goes in there, you don't know what he's done, how important is transparency to you? How important is it for -- if the people are going to decide then they should know?
VANIf the man's -- let them know everything about the guy, okay. No problem. But if they vote him in, that's the person they wanted. Such like, see, I believe that -- and I'm going to let you go -- is that I believe that everybody should be able to vote. Whether you locked up in prison or whatever reason you want to give a man why he can't vote, everybody that's a citizen of this country should be able to vote.
NNAMDIAnd we let...
VANNever take a man's rights away.
NNAMDI...and we let the voters decide, Van. Thank you very much for your call. Jackie in D.C. emails about Anthony Weiner, "The guy has something missing clearly. No, I would not vote for him for anything, let alone mayor. It's Your Turn. We move on now to Elizabeth in Fairfax, Va. Elizabeth, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ELIZABETHYes. I have a comment about Governor McDonnell. It seems like he can't take charge of his own family so how can he take charge of the State of Virginia? And it's kind of disgusting that the blame in the newspapers is being put on his wife as if it's his wife's fault and he didn't do anything. And now he's going to make up for her misbehavior. Well, he's in charge. And he entered office talking about the integrity of the family. So let's see it already. Thank you.
NNAMDIWell, you know, Elizabeth, he said in the apology that he apologizes for how he and things done by he and his family have embarrassed the Commonwealth of Virginia. So clearly he is sharing the blame with family members.
ELIZABETHWell, that's just recently. But first all the articles were about his wife, you know, how she, you know, like the glamour and all of that. And I think that's disgusting in itself. I mean, if he's in charge of the State of Virginia, he has to show first that he's in charge of his family.
NNAMDIOkay, Elizabeth. Thank you very much for your call. On now to Qual (sp?) in Silver Spring, Md. Qual, your turn.
QUALKojo, thank you for taking my call. I just have a brief complaint that I will make. People nowadays are talking about the 11 million illegal immigrants when we have 11,000 legal immigrants whose cases have been put on hold because of the U.S. immigration policy whereby they just hold your case and say that you're supposed to be -- that they suspect that you are a terrorist and they don't do anything about it for years.
NNAMDIWhat do you think should be done about that, Qual?
QUALWell, the thing is this. They should look at this, like, you know, once they put your hold on case -- on file and they put you on file based on deception, you cannot appeal, you cannot complain, you cannot do nothing. And they just put a hold like that and they don't do anything with it.
NNAMDIWhen in fact, as far as you're concerned, the whole concept of justices that it must be both fair and swift.
NNAMDIAnd in the case of people who are being held because somebody someplace suspects that have ties to something of a terrorist nature, they are, in your view, essentially in limbo.
NNAMDIAnd something needs to be done about that. I don't know if anyone else would like to talk about that but Qual, thanks for offering your comment. 800-433-8850 is the number to call. Here's just another prompt. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London has published a report said to be from Pakistani government sources finding that one-fifth of the 746 fatalities and drone strikes in that country's northwest tribal areas over the span of three years from 2006 to 2009 were civilians.
NNAMDIStrikes in the region began in 2001 and are ongoing. And that figure does not include the year 2010 when they were reportedly at their peak. Pakistani officials have not confirmed or verified the information but a spokesman did note that the current government is against the use of drones in the country. And the U.S. official asked about the report told Voice of America that, quoting here, "the notion that the United States has undertaken operations in Pakistan that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis is ludicrous" saying the report was not credible in part due to erroneous reporting.
NNAMDIThe Bureau of Investigative Journalism got a document that was filed by leaders in tribal areas that indicated in their particular area -- in each particular area how many people were killed, total death report together and came up with those numbers. Do reports like these influence your opinion on drone strikes and the U.S. use of them? The Bureau of Investigative Journalism said if these were the people on the ground their reports have to be the most accurate of all. They talked about the fact that a large number of children happened to be among those civilians killed.
NNAMDIWhat is your view? What more would you like to know about the ways in which the U.S. is employing drones overseas? It's Your Turn, but that's just the prompt if that's one of the issues you want to discuss, 800-433-8850. On now to Rebecca in Berryville, Va. Rebecca, your turn.
REBECCAHi, Kojo. I listen to your program and I love it.
REBECCAI am calling about two issues. The first being Anthony Weiner. I -- actually when he was in congress I thought he was a great congressman. I thought he worked hard. I believed in his scope and his idea on, you know, where the country was going and whatever. But, you know, the whole texting sexing scandal, whatever and him resigning and then it coming up again. And when I heard that he was running for governor I thought, well okay, give the guy, you know, a second chance.
REBECCABut then this happening again, it just makes me really feel that it's lack of control. He has lack of control. And, I mean, if he gets in -- if he is reelected and he's governor or whatever, who's to say if he has -- and I don't know -- some type of sexual hang-up or whatever. He could get caught in another thing or influenced or whatever to do things that he shouldn't be doing. And I really don't think he should run.
NNAMDIBoth the New York Times and the New York Daily News have called for him to drop out of the race. The New York Times saying, yes, he can have these problems. Yes, these problems can be private with him and his family but not if he's offering himself for mayor of the city of New York. They then become public issues. The only way they can become private issues again, nobody else's business, is if he's not offering himself up for this type of public office. Apparently you, Rebecca, agree.
REBECCAYes, I agree 100 percent. I really do. The other issue then as far as Governor McDonnell, he should have known that that was going on with his -- whether it was him, his wife, his family or whatever. And obviously he was aware of it and he knew, or he should have known that that was inappropriate. And now just because he's saying things are being paid back or his family is helping him to pay things back and everything is, you know, being zeroed out, I don't think that's the case. He did it -- if he was in that position he should've known it was inappropriate and it shouldn't have been done.
NNAMDIWhen you say inappropriate, the governor in his defense would say it was not illegal. There was technically no wrongdoing.
REBECCAYes. But does that mean he doesn't have the ethics, that he would know that he shouldn't do that? I mean, if I was in politics, which I'm not and I really don't ever want to be, there's a different standard. When you're representing your constituents and the people of the state of Virginia and -- well, Anthony Weiner's side, you know, the United States -- there's a different set of ethics and a different set of morals. And I really think even though -- you know, when you're out of office, fine. You know, that's your personal life. But when you're in there, you need to step up to the plate. And even though it's not illegal, it doesn't mean it's right.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Rebecca. We're going to take a short break. It is Your Turn. So if you have called, stay on the line. You dominate this discussion. 800-433-8850. You can also set the agenda by sending email to email@example.com., or by shooting us a tweet @kojoshow. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back, it's Your Turn. We also got a lot of emails and tweets. I'd like to share some of those with you. Linda emails, "I'm a New Yorker and part-time D.C. resident. I would not be voting Weiner even if the scandal had never happened. He's a show horse and a narcissist with an undistinguished record in Congress, and seemingly little desire to build coalitions or otherwise work to improve policy. He's emblematic of much that is wrong with politics today."
NNAMDIMike in Beltstville emails, "If I was a New Yorker, I would not vote for Anthony Weiner. His behavior would turn me off. However, I remember some story about a U.S. Congressman in the 19th century who was reelected from a jail cell, so who can say New York voters will do." Mo tweets, "Many people conduct themselves differently at home and at work. Politicians are still people." And Lila tweets, "If Kojo doesn't stop saying the name Anthony Weiner, I'm going to giggle myself to death."
NNAMDIOkay. From now on, I'll just say Anthony. Back to the phones. Here is Mark in Herndon, Va. Mark, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MARKHi. Just talking about Governor McDonnell. You know, the Republican party in Virginia has been claiming, you know, this business agenda, but really driving what's posted in a social agenda, and quite honestly, a radical right-wing agenda. But when you look at the recent scandal with the money, if somebody's given $120,000 as a quote unquote "loan" and they're a politician, and it's not disclosed properly, it's not handled properly, it smells kind of funny. So the people of Virginia really aren't, I believe that stupid. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
NNAMDIWell, do you think A, that the people of Virginia would like to see the governor leave office and, of course, they're not saying right now, so it's up to you, and B, would you like also to see a change in Virginia laws?
MARKI believe there should be a change in Virginia law, and I believe Governor McDonnell should resign, but, you know, the standard tact that politicians take is to delay and obfuscate for as long as possible until the public moves on to whatever the next manufactured, you know, Agenda, or big issue is, and then they can kind of keep going. So I think that if the people of Virginia really have an interest in having honest politicians, they'd demand that he resign, and remember going forward that, you know, we want to keep our politicians accountable here and nationally.
MARKIt's just something that the people of this country should do, but quite honestly, the attention span of a lot of people seems to be about 7 to 10 days with issues like this.
NNAMDISeven to 10 days. Why do you choose that figure, because the way the 24/7 news cycle operates?
MARKIt's just if you see any main issue that comes up that's kind of a scandal, 7 to 10 days later you look for it on the news, you'll find very little information on it generally. It disappears. And so the newscasts are going to play toward their, you know, the people that are watching their shows and listening to them. So 7 to 10 days later I think they've learned that if the people don't have interest in that anymore, they want to move on to the next, you know, big issue, and so they stop covering it, and so then you wonder, well, what happened to that issue.
MARKAnd the answer, you know, you got to go digging for it, but it falls out of the limelight, and it's the old adage, out of sight, out of mind for people.
NNAMDIOkay. I'm glad you brought that up. So before people forget, let me remind you. Last Friday, a car on the Bay Bridge in Maryland was struck by a tractor-trailer with enough force to knock it off the span and into the water below. The driver, 22-year-old college student Morgan Lake of Calvert County, my new hero, was able to get out of the car and swim to safety on a rock piling near the bridge. She was helped by a nearby boater until police arrived on the scene.
NNAMDIA lot of local drivers recognized their own worst driving nightmare in the story centering on a span that frequently makes scariest bridges lists, and AAA Mid-Atlantic is calling for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the crash which has many people asking whether the safety features in place on the 61-year-old bridge are sufficient. What do you think? What changes, if any, would you like to see to the safety measures in place on the span? And should Morgan Lake run for governor of Maryland? I don't know. You might want her to. Here is Lee in Waldorf, Md. Lee, your turn.
LEEOh, hi. There have been so many new topics. I agree she should run for something, and I think it's a pity when the governor finds Kabul safer for him than Richmond. But my real topic is, and I say this with sorrow, Kojo, but I'm beginning to wonder if men are really too emotional to govern.
NNAMDIBecause in both the cases of Bob McDonnell and Anthony, whose last name I won't say anymore, you think that there is some emotional disturbance there?
LEEI think anytime you take a Rolex from someone just because you can't live without it, there's something missing inside you that should be satisfying you, you know, from within. And the same thing with Anthony no-name. I mean, there's something that doesn't satisfy or work from him in -- for him in his own interior makeup. And let's face it, men have had a good run. I like men. I think they're very useful. They're good as radio hosts.
LEEThey can take bugs out of the house. I think they serve a myriad of functions in our society, but it may not be their turn anymore.
NNAMDIOkay. I'll be announcing my retirement immediately after this broadcast, Lee. Thank you very much for contributing to my demise. Onto to Bijan in Gainesville, Va. Bijan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BIJANYes, sir. I just wanted to make a comment about things in general and Mr. McDonnell in particular, that these people praise themselves that they have sweared that they won't raise the taxes on the people, but here we go. Mr. McDonnell raised the tax from five percent to six percent, state tax in Virginia. And this is what kind of promise that they have made in public, especially in election years, and they do the same thing right after that election passes. So this Mr. McDonnell...
NNAMDIWell, you know, Bijan, Virginia is a commonwealth that has been averse to raising taxes for awhile, and there are those of us who remember Bush 41, George H. W. Bush in his campaign saying, read my lips, no new taxes. And once he did pass taxes, then that was used against him. But what do you say to people who say, have you noticed Virginia's transportation infrastructural problem? How are you going to fix that problem unless you can raise the revenue to do it, and how are you going to raise that revenue unless there is some adjustment, if you will, in taxes? What would you say, Bijan?
BIJANI would say that Mr. McDonnell inherited a surplus when he took the government position, and that surplus would help him to go ahead and do the, you know, the roads and all the projects that is needed, especially in my area. And, you know, I think tax -- raising tax only is not going to solve the problem. I think efficiency in work and managing the projects is more effective in that area. But, you know, my point really was that these people, if they are raising tax, they shouldn't talk about swearing not going to raise the taxes.
NNAMDIOkay. Bijan, thank you very much for your call. We move onto Carlene in Washington D.C. Carlene, your turn.
NNAMDIHi Carlene. You're on the air.
BIJANHi. So I would not vote for Wiener because he is lying and he's not even in office yet, but I think the bigger scandal is that we're so busy talking about somebody that he's already done, and he's not in office, and we're ignoring what's happening in North Carolina. We're ignoring the fact that they are repealing their voting rights like substantially. Like, nobody's talking about it. We're ignoring the fact that they're not going to allow high schoolers to preregister before they're 18 years old, and they are now going to allow the parents of college students to get tax deductions if they register in the county of their colleges.
CARLENESo I think the bigger scandal is we are avoiding what's actually going on, and we're focusing on people's sex lives when we're not part of those sex lives.
NNAMDIWhere did you -- where did you find the information that you just shared with us, Carlene?
CARLENEOh, well, I found out about it two weeks ago on the Michelle Harris Perry Show and then...
NNAMDIWait a minute, you found out about it through the media?
CARLENEI did. But Michelle Harris Perry on a Sunday, which people don't really watch.
NNAMDISaturday and Sunday. And it has a very large audience, Including yours truly.
CARLENEI agree, but nobody's calling in about it. We're talking about someone's sex life, and I don't think it's important if I'm not part of that sex life. I mean...
NNAMDIWhich is which why we have this broadcast so people like you can talk about the subjects that are of interest to you. You've just shared very important information.
CARLENEWow. Thank you. Well, touché, my friend, you have a point.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Carlene. On now to Andy in Washington, D.C. Andy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ANDYThank you, Kojo. I think that just as long as people here who I've lived in the District of Columbia for 30 years, and my -- I'm originally from New York, so I've got family in New York, and I've been in the position and explained to them, how on earth did the voters in DC continue to elect Marin Barry to office despite the scandals. And I'm telling you, what I'm hearing from New York is you can't look at Anthony Weiner in a vacuum. You have to look at it what the alternative is.
ANDYAnd the alternative is in the personage of Christine Quinn who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of slush fund money to play political games and to fight her opponent on the council, who is instrumental coming in as a person of the people to lobby for Mike Bloomberg's ability to have his third term, and who is solidly in the pocket of real estate developers to the point that New York City, that tiny little island known as Manhattan will no longer belong to New Yorkers.
ANDYClosing hospitals to develop condos, back biting, fighting, name calling. The scandals that will result from a Mayor Christine Quinn are -- tower over whatever issues -- and obviously Anthony Weiner's got issues. Obviously these issues are problematic when he continues to engage in behavior in his personal life that he knows or should know is problematic. But let me tell you...
NNAMDIBut Andy, it's not a two-person race.
NNAMDIIt's not a two-person race. There are at least three other candidates in that race.
ANDYRight. That's true, and I think that -- you're right. I'm solidly on board with anybody but Quinn vote, but I think at this -- you know, seriously, it's a huge movement in New York. There's never been a ground swell of get anybody in there but her, you know. And when she's in a corner, what she does is she calls, you know, and I'm a gay man. I certainly am not homophobic. I'm not sexist. But anybody who opposes her is labeled as sexist or homophobic, and this is nightmarish politics that we're talking in a Quinn administration in (unintelligible) New York.
ANDYAnd for that reason I think that people should understand that the polls reflecting Weiner's assent in the polls, or at least in holding in the lead are explainable by the fact that people are looking at what they would face with her in office.
NNAMDIWell, here's another point of view, Andy. We got an email from Elaine who said, "I think Weiner will be one of the single most influential forces in electing Quinn the first openly gay mayor of New York. So that's a good thing to come out of his bad behavior." That person, Elaine, obviously thinking that having an openly gay mayor of New York, the first, is a good thing. You point, as you say, as a gay man, to her policies.
ANDYListen, I think that it is the policies, and I think, you know, it's nice to have -- I look forward to the time where somebody being gay or lesbian is largely irrelevant to their policies. And maybe we're not there yet, but -- and I'm all in favor of having a gay person, or not a gay person in office, but not her. I think that what's in store for New York with her as mayor is really a disaster, and it really does, you know, Weiner's behavior, one assumes that he may rein it in, you know, at this point, who knows, pales by comparison to what's in store for them with all of the -- with the money favoring the developers, the people who are -- who don't have means in New York, are really in bad shape if she's the mayor.
NNAMDIOkay, Anthony. Thank you very much for your call. We got a tweet from EJ who said, "I sure hope no D.C. residents who voted for Barry again and again and again are criticizing Anthony W. Seriously." We also got several tweets or several emails about the issue of D.C. United. Katie in Arlington, Va. emails, "Yes. D.C. should assist D.C. United to build a new stadium. It's good for the city and the team. However, what about the lousy performance of the team? What can be done to improve the team? It poor record certainly hurts the cause of the stadium."
NNAMDIJohn in Baltimore emails, "I'm happy that D.C. United may be getting a new stadium, though the need to find a better way to finance it than through tax dollars. Now, can we please discuss turning around this horrible season that they're having?" And Dan in Ashburn, Va., Dan you only have about 30 seconds. Go ahead, please.
DANOkay. Thank you so much for taking my call even though I am male, and according to the earlier caller, apparently gonna be irrelevant. But...
DANI just wanted to say we're actually a sponsor for D.C. United, and a big part of what's going to make that stadium successful is actually the sponsorship opportunities. Because if you look at how the balance sheet works for a typical stadium, the seats, all they do is break even on the seats.
DANWhere they make their money is merchandise. Where they make their money is sponsorship.
NNAMDIOkay. I'm afraid...
DANAnd sponsorships in RFK just aren't up to snuff (unintelligible) .
NNAMDII'm afraid that's all the time we have. Some people around here think that because I'm a former British Colonial subject who is not a big fan of the monarchy, that I'm just a grouch. But I do pay attention. So our next topic, after much anticipation, a new heir, George Alexander Louis is third in line to the British throne. On Monday, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of son and the parlance of the official announcement from the royal family, to the relief of scores of media who had set up camp outside the hospital.
NNAMDIThe arrival is expected to inject $380 million into the U.K.'s economy and further boost approval ratings from members of the royal family which have been on the rise since the parents' wedding. Some can't get enough coverage of the bundle of joy while others question the role of his family in the leadership of their country. The wisdom of so much press coverage with so much else going on, and have been making efforts to block the coverage out. Where do you fall on this spectrum? 800-433-8850. Oops, we're out of time, unfortunately.
NNAMDI"The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Brendan Sweeney, Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Tayla Burney, Kathy Goldgeier, Elizabeth Weinstein, and Stephannie Stokes. Today's engineer, Timmy Olmstead. Hadiya Deshmukh has been on the phones. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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