The D.C. Council tackles a range of progressive labor bills. The fight over who can grow medical marijuana in Maryland will go to court. And Fairfax County's schools superintendent steps down.
Germany outs an alleged double-agent selling secrets to the U.S., bicyclists and drivers in D.C. assail each other’s manners and Virginia prosecutors want to photograph a 17-year-old’s genitals as evidence in a “sexting” case. It’s your turn to discuss these topics and more.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's Your Turn. It's Your Turn when you set the agenda by calling 800-433-8850. Start calling now or sending your emails to email@example.com, your tweet @kojoshow, to discuss recent events in the news, recent editions of this broadcast or anything else on your mind because it is Your Turn.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIJust to prompt a few thoughts in your head, just when you thought the Cold War was over, Germany says it's discovered a double agent in its intelligent service, a man paid to pass secret German documents to the CIA. In response Germany has reportedly expelled the CIA official in Berlin. The spying allegation comes at a time when relations between Germany and the U.S. are already tense after revelations that the NSA was spying on Germany and even targeting Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWhat do you think? Is it okay for the U.S. to spy on its allies, 800-433-8850? Some Germans are questioning the nature of its relationship with the U.S. while American officials are talking about the importance of friendship, the importance of trust, the importance of share to values. Should Germany just accept that everyone spies on each other, friend and foe alike? What do you think, 800-433-8850?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd it was not supposed to end this way. Brazil's vaunted World Cup soccer team was supposed to win it all. The team would claim the title at home, avenge the nation's heartbreaking loss in the last World Cup final it hosted 60 years ago. But on Tuesday Germany hammered Brazil 7 to 1, denying the host team a chance at the title. What does Germany's stunning victory say about both teams? What does it say about where Brazil now is in world soccer as opposed to, oh, 40 or 50 years ago, 800-433-8850? Has watching the World Cup these past few weeks given you a new appreciation for soccer, 800-433-8850?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd then of course there is this. First Washington Post John Kelly wrote a gently-worded plea asking bicyclists in D.C. to avoid riding on the sidewalks. Then fellow columnist Courtland Milloy blasted the nerve, techniques and manners of urban bicyclists. Courtland Milloy recalls that when many of the district's bikers were black youth police often stopped them for riding on the sidewalks. You may not have been in the city then but in those days there were large numbers of black youngsters riding bicycles and blowing whistles, which inspired this great Chuck Brown song.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThat was the sound you heard on Washington streets during the 1970s, many whistles blowing, large numbers of black youth riding bicycles throughout the city. Now that many riders tend to be white millennials, Courtland Milloy says, the city is bending over backwards to be more bike-friendly. Well, with summer in full spring are tensions mounting between bikers, pedestrians and drivers in the district, 800-433-8850? What do you think race has to do with any and all of this? It is Your Turn. You can send us email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd how about the irony that Ward 8, one of the city's poorer wards, has no bike lanes at all? Should Ward 8 residents be celebrating their freedom from bike riding or should they be bemoaning the fact that there is now an intention to put bike lanes in Ward 8? Give us a call. It is Your Turn, 800-433-8850. We will start with Jack in Silver Spring, Md. Jack, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JACKHi, Kojo. Thanks for the song. It makes me want to put a free-on horn on my bike and go out in traffic. Damn. I'm really pissed off at Courtland Milloy.
JACKYou know, there's a lot of stuff in there as a driver I understand. But the district biker gang, it started kind of misleading at the front end. And he got at least one item wrong, as far as I know. And that is cyclists, myself included, will continue going between cars at a red light, get in front and then the cars drive around us. And that's really kind of rude and stuff. But we have, by law, the whole lane so just like any other vehicle. So the cars pass us in our lane and sometimes fairly closely.
JACKAnd then we get to the intersection, well, one thing that bicyclists want to do is keep going because when you stop, you know, it just interrupts the whole cycle. But we go -- the only thing I can say is that I just move up to the lane that I had before they passed me. But through self preservation we nearly always ride over near the right side, which is usually full of pebbles, nuts and bolts and nails. Even the bike lanes are in rough shape.
NNAMDISo you think that Courtland Milloy's column about bike riders is unnecessarily hostile.
JACKI would say that it's unnecessarily bombastic. And I -- it is one-sided. He's taken the driver's side. But, you know, I think that we need to encourage people, you know, to ride, to leave their cars at home, to rebuild the -- do the purple line, do whatever it takes to get people to think about becoming more, you know, bicycle oriented. And sure, you know, both of us on both sides make mistakes. But remember bicyclists have nothing to protect them, absolutely nothing.
NNAMDIAnd in the view of many bicyclists, pose no real threat to automobiles because, well, they don't weight several thousand pounds.
JACKYeah, I would say these racing motorcycles that I've come across sometime on 95 that are going like 100 and whatever, they weigh more. And although they're probably going to get killed if they run into my car, they could cause a serious accident. I don't see a lot of serious accidents caused by bicyclists.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. This is Your Turn. You get to set the agenda here with your calls to 800-433-8850 to discuss events in the news, recent editions of this broadcast, anything on your mind. We'll go to Alec in Rockville, Md. Alec, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Alec, are you there?
ALECHi. Yeah, I just wanted to comment about the current events about the United States spying on Germany.
ALECI think it's very inappropriate for the United States to do something like that. Even though we did have troubled relationships in the '40s how can we have great relationships with countries like Germany? And I think other countries can take action from that by saying, you know, how do we not know the United States is spying on us, you know? And it's like a...
NNAMDIWell, as I said, should Germany just accept that everyone spies on each other, friend and foe alike? Or do you think we simply should not be spying on our friends nor they on us?
ALECWe should not be spying on ourselves and other people.
NNAMDIOn our -- we shouldn't be spying on anyone.
ALECYes, I think that's correct.
NNAMDIBut there are elements in the world at large that would like to do harm to the United States. Don't you think the United States would -- should, at the very least, be trying to collect some intelligence about those who could possibly harm its citizens?
ALECI think that's very true but I think there is other ways that the United States can focus their resources on finding, for example, terrorists.
NNAMDIFor those of our listeners who may not be familiar with this when we started this show, Germany said it has discovered a double agent in its intelligence service, a man paid to pass secret German documents to the CIA. The allegation comes at a time when relations between the two countries are already some tense because of NSA spying on Germany. So we were interested in how you would respond on this edition of Your Turn. Alec thinks that we shouldn't really be spying on anyone at all. Alec, thank you very much for your call. We move on now to Benjamin in Alexandria, Va. Benjamin, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BENJAMINHello. Thank you for taking my call. First of all, I want to say I'm a pedicab -- I was a pedicab driver in D.C. for six or seven months.
BENJAMINI definitely understand -- yeah, I understand that relationship between vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians. You know, I saw a lot of stuff out there that, you know, is troubling. And I just try to keep my lane and be as safe as possible. When you have passengers and you're dealing with people in an environment like a pedicab, you definitely have to make them feel safe and make them feel like they're having fun. And, you know, I know there have been incidents with pedicabs in the past but I never saw anything like that in D.C. I wanted to...
NNAMDISo would you say...
NNAMDI...would you say, Benjamin, that during your time as a pedicab operator here in D.C. that relations between you and drivers were mostly friendly?
BENJAMINYeah, mostly friendly. There were some issues where people would try and cut me off or, you know, try and, like -- there were certain people who would just treat me like a bicycle and try and get me to move over to the curb. But, you know, it's kind of big, almost the size of a car. So other than that, not really anything.
NNAMDIOkay. Bicycles are not permitted to ride on downtown sidewalks in Washington, D.C. and that was what one of the columnists was complaining about, bicycles riding on sidewalks downtown. I don't know the extent to which, however, pedestrians have complained about bicycles riding on sidewalks. Most of the animosity seems to be between bicyclists and drivers. But let's move on to Mary in Annandale, Va. because Mary, it is Your Turn.
MARYKojo, I wanted to make an observation that when the media discusses problems in Iraq it invariably gives a context about our role in creating the problems there. But I have yet to hear anyone in the media discuss our role in creating the Central American immigration quote "problem." And it's like we forgot that there was the Reagan era where there was an Oliver North who conducted an illegal war which destroyed the infrastructure, the institutions and has created a chaos in which there is no safety for anyone.
NNAMDIWell, there are those who would say the Oliver North episode had to do with contras in Nicaragua. However, most of the people who are immigrating now, even though they are coming from Central America where Nicaragua is located, are not coming from Nicaragua. They're coming from Honduras, they're coming from El Salvador, they're coming from Guatemala.
MARYAnd if you look at those countries you will remember that there were nuns and priests who were killed. There were civilians who were terrorized. Their wells were poisoned so that they couldn't support people in the countryside who did not think the way American government thought. So it was all of Central America that had to deal with our fear of communism, our fear of drugs. And now we're reaping the harvest.
NNAMDIWell, why now? Why the immigration of children illegally right now? Why is that happening, in your view, right now? Others say that it is really the consequence of our drug prohibition laws that, in fact, have spawned drug trafficking operations in most of those countries that involve gangs that are beginning -- that have been using and now are preying increasingly on young people and making it dangerous for them. And so those young people -- today there's a piece in today's New York Times on the front page saying that...
MARYYes, but you see, those are the only opportunities that are there because how do we change the problems? We send more military, more guns, more weapons, more punishment roles. But we are not sending money to reconstruct the institutions. So there are alternatives, work opportunities and living opportunities.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call and for your opinion, Mary. This is Your Turn. You too can call us at 800-433-8850. Last month the Supreme Court ruled that family-run companies don't have to provide insurance coverage for birth control if the owners have religious objections. Now some faith groups that oppose homosexuality are invoking that case. They want a religious exemption from a potential federal order banning discrimination against gay people by companies doing government work.
NNAMDIAt the same time, gay rights groups are withdrawing support for an employment nondiscrimination bill. They now want that bill to ensure that faith groups cannot claim religious opposition to gay and transgender employees and fire them. And on Capitol Hill, Democrats are crafting a bill that would override the Supreme Court's birth control decision, some of this discussed on "The Diane Rehm Show" today.
NNAMDIYou may not have had an opportunity to join that conversation. You can join it now. Give us a call, 800-433-8850. How do you feel about the Supreme Court's decision and the Hobby Lobby birth control case? Should religious groups be exempted from laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation if they have religious objections, 800-433-8850? It's Your Turn. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. This is Your Turn when you the listeners are the ones who decide what we will discuss here on this broadcast. And you can do that by calling 800-433-8850. Or you can send email to email@example.com. We got an email from Huey who says, "Who believes Germany doesn't spy on us? If they don't, what's wrong with them?" We got an email from Jack who says, "I understand bikers can be jerks, but as a cyclist I've had the following happen to me. People regularly lean out their windows to scream at me as they pass. Pedestrians, mostly kids and teens, jump out in front of me hoping to startle me. Drivers have thrown things out the window at me.
NNAMDIA pedestrian screamed that the car that passed me should have run over me. Cars regularly fail to yield to me." It's just one of the topics that you might be interested in discussing. But if that's not your topic you can call us and tell us what your topic is at 800-433-8850. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We move on now to Peter in Fairfax, Va. Peter, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
PETERHello, Kojo. My concern about the Washington Post is that the Metro Section, the commentary yesterday suggested that drivers would enjoy paying $500 to strike a cyclist. To me advocating violence is a step too far. It's hate speech and shouldn't be allowed.
NNAMDII hadn't thought of that aspect of it before. I'm glad you brought it up. I thought that you would bring up the aspect of race when you considered hate speech, but you think the advocacy -- I think obviously the columnist meant that in a tongue in cheek manner. It was not meant...
PETERIt's not so clear.
NNAMDIIt's not that clear to you?
PETERNo. No, I mean, the -- what you were just reading, some people do feel that they should strike cyclists. For example, in California not so long ago where they have all the canyons that bikers enjoy riding on, there was a fellow, actually an emergency room surgeon, goes in front of a biker, slams on the brakes, the biker smashes into the car. The fellow was prosecuted and convicted.
PETEREven in southern Maryland, there was a death of a cyclist, Curtis Leymeister. And the driver was found at fault. The columnist is right. The penalty is not always severe. Sometimes it's a traffic infraction when it should be more criminal. But I don't think advocating violence is the solution to the problem.
NNAMDIOkay . I know Courtland Milloy well enough to know that he was writing tongue in cheek when he made that remark. Sometimes he writes angry but I think that is simply to attract readers to his column. Because if you meet him in person, he's one of the least angry people you can hope to meet. But he does intend to provoke responses to his columns and therefore writes in a provocative manner. I don't think he really meant that in a literal way.
NNAMDIBut you should know that there are bikers, even as we speak, headed for the Washington Post to try to get a meeting with Courtland Milloy and others there. And before this broadcast is over, we're hoping to hear exactly what happened as a result of that proposed meeting. But, as we said, it's Your Turn so thank you for your call, Peter. We move on now to Mark in Alexandria, Va. Mark, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MARKHi, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. I want to follow up on Peter's comments there that to me the advocating, you know, assaulting someone with a 5,000 pound vehicle who is on a 25 pound vehicle is completely unconscionable and goes beyond what you would think would be common decency. Nobody ever seems to put articles in the paper espousing bicycle riding or encouraging people to do it. But every time someone like Courtland Milloy comes out and puts one of these -- and I agree, it's hate speech -- in the paper, then of course everybody erupts.
NNAMDINo. Well, allow me to interrupt for a second because, as bicycle rider myself, I don't think bicycles are threatening to cars. But when you say that nobody ever writes an article in the paper espousing bicycle riding, I'd like to make two points. The reason why we have so many bike lanes in the city right now is that a great number of people are espousing bicycle riding by action and by word, that it has been influencing city officials for the last ten years or so. That's why we're getting more bike lanes in the city.
NNAMDIAnd usually newspapers only report or media only report on things that are not working well, things that are going wrong. So people who are disgruntled or who are complaining are more likely to get attention than people who feel that the bicycle lanes and the proliferation of bicycles that we now have is a good thing. I happen to be one of the people who thinks it's a good thing.
MARKWell, I certainly do too as a 25-year bicyclist myself. Washington, D.C. is lucky enough to be the home of not only Washington Area Bicyclist Association WABA whom you've had representatives on your show before, but also the League of American Bicyclists. And the Leagues of American Bicyclists started way back when there was nothing but dirt roads.
MARKAnd now I think it is missing one of its basic, I guess, missions. And that is everybody has to take driver's ed. in order to get their driver's license and go operate that, you know, 5,000 pound machine. But nobody ever has to take a course on how to be a safe cyclist. No driver's ed. course, as far as I know, stresses how that driver is responsible for the safety of not just himself and his passengers, but the other people around him on the roadway.
MARKAnd the police departments too are not out there enforcing the laws in a way that tells people, hey there's a cyclist there. I need to give them all due respect and consideration. And that's really what I think this country needs is a little bit more walk-in-someone-else's shoes or bike shoes in this case. Because if you've ever been out on the road and had somebody pass your elbow at 45 miles an hour, it's a disconcerting feeling. And I think more people ought to experience it and they'll know what the cyclists have to put up with every now and then.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. It is Your Turn. You can call on whatever issue you'd like to discuss. It seems that the bicycle-versus-driver issue seems to be attracting a lot of attention. But you can also call us on other issues. If the lines are busy, shoot us an email to email@example.com, whether you want to talk about religious exemptions from federal laws, the U.S. spying on Germany.
NNAMDIWe got an email from someone who says, "Who believes Germany doesn't spy on the U.S.? If they don't, what's wrong with them?" You too can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, about Brazil's defeat in World Cup soccer, maybe who your pick is between Germany and Argentina when they play on Sunday. It is Your Turn. We move on now to Douglas in McLean, Va. Douglas, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DOUGLASHi, Kojo. When I'm driving I do give bicyclists all due respect and consideration. The problem is that when I'm a pedestrian there are a lot of bicyclists who don't give me due respect and consideration. If I'm on a sidewalk, or especially at trail like the one that goes through Vienna, there are a lot of bicyclists who come zooming up behind you and without warning pass way too close. All bicyclists. Are you listening out there, bicyclists? You need to have a bell or a whistle (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDII have a bell. I have a bell.
DOUGLASGood, good. And let people know. You know, ring that bell and call out, passing on the left. And give us at least 2' because it's very startling to have somebody come zooming by you. He might turn to look at something. And it's got to work both ways. That's how respect works.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. We got an email from Roger who says, "Countries don't have friends. They have national interests. To protect those interests they seek every advantage and understanding the motivations and intentions of foreign leaders. That has always been true. And it will remain true as long as countries exist. Germany and all of our other allies are collecting intelligence on us as well. They are just less ham-handed about it."
NNAMDIWell, our leaders would like us to believe, Roger, that countries do have friends. The U.S. always proclaims, and others the same, that we have friendly relations with this other country. And that as a result of those friendly relations there are certain protocols that we try to follow that we don't intrude on their sovereignty in any kind of way. Of course that often maybe flies in the face of reality. And now onto Maza in Vienna, Va. who's going to be -- Maza, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
MAZAHello, Mr. Nnamdi.
MAZAI get very angry, but I think the Palestinian -- they call the Hamas a terrorist, you know, the Israelis and how many -- if you tally up the number for every Israeli that gets killed, they probably kill at least 100 Palestinians. So the Palestinians have to learn that they can't win with these people. They will never win. So the only solution is what they did in Ireland, drop your weapons and make peace with them because it's just not going to work.
MAZAAnd how do they call them terrorists when they're bombing the heck out of them with F16s or what about United States? And then everybody comes on TV. I've been here all my life and I have never ever heard -- this is a common phrase you hear from them. The Israelis have the right to protect them -- everybody says that, from Mr. Obama to Mr. Clinton, to Mr. Bush. I have never heard anything other than, well the Israeli's have the right to protect themselves. They already took 80 percent of the land. How much more do they want?
NNAMDIWell, you began the conversation, Maza, by saying that sometimes you get angry. And one of the problems we have had in trying to organize a broadcast about either the long term or short term issues faced by Palestinians and Israelis is that those discussions are often -- too often characterized by anger rather than rational thought. And we are in the process, even as you speak, of trying to put together a discussion in which we can have people calmly -- as calmly as possible try to discuss the issues at hand and what would be needed to resolve those issues.
NNAMDIBut if anger on both sides tend to be so strong, even sitting around the table in a broadcast booth discussing it, one can only imagine how much more difficult it is to arrive at a solution when you are closer to the -- in this case, currently combatants or in other cases closer to the people who are actually living through these very perilous times in that part of the world. So thank you very much for your call. This is Your Turn and we will be trying to organize that discussion at some point in the near future.
NNAMDIYou can talk about anything you want to by calling 800-433-8850 or send an email to email@example.com. But how about this? Police and prosecutors in Prince William County, Va. are causing an uproar with their novel approach to a teenage sexting case. They've obtained a warrant to take photos -- and by the way, if you have young children listening to this broadcast of Your Turn right now, now would be a good time to lead them away from the radio. Three, two, one, okay. You've had three seconds.
NNAMDIThey've obtained a warrant to take photos of this man's erect genitalia to compare with a video that he allegedly sent to his 15-year-old girlfriend. The teenager's facing two felony charges in juvenile court, manufacturing and distributing child pornography. If he's convicted he can not only face jail time, but be listed on the state's sex offender registry for the rest of his life.
NNAMDIIn January, the 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, that according to The Washington Post report today. He then sent her the video in question. The girl has not been charged. He was served felony petitions from juvenile court and on and on. Where is the line between taking teenage sexting seriously and overreacting? What do you think? Does this strategy mean prosecutors would create child pornography in order to investigate child pornography? And as one defense expert points out, where's the scientific expertise to establish whether the genitals actually match?
NNAMDIA Fairfax County lawmaker proposed a bill that would make sexting between teens a misdemeanor rather than a felony. That was defeated. How would you classify teenage sexting in the criminal hierarchy? As a felony? 800-433-8850. Enough for me for the time being. Allow me to move on to Cori in Annandale, Va. Cori, you are now on the air. Go ahead, please.
CORIThank you, Kojo. One thing I wanted to talk about was, I'm very concerned about a lot of the bicyclists on the streets. A lot of them don't follow the traffic rules. They'll breeze right by a red light, a stop sign and they won't be wearing helmet. They'll be wearing their ear buds and not be aware what's going on around them. Especially when you're on a small little 25-pound thing and you're on the street with all these huge cars. I wouldn’t say (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDII got to tell you, I expect the jurisdictions pretty soon will be drafting legislation against distracted riding, about people riding with ear buds. I suspect you'll be seeing more of that kind of legislation forthcoming. But go ahead, please. I interrupted you.
CORIOh, yeah. No, thank you. But just -- and of course it's very frustrating that they don't follow the traffic rules. I hope that the police officers will start to give citations to the bicyclists for not following all the traffic rules because it's just as unsafe as a car riding through a red light. I'm just not sure why they're still breaking the law.
NNAMDIWell, there was a piece in the Washington Post today by one of its transportation reporters who says he is a bicyclist and he's a member of a large group of bicyclists who do follow the traffic laws. He said, the problem I guess tends to be when somebody sees a bicyclist who do not follow the traffic laws, they attribute that to all bicyclists and say none of them follow traffic laws. They go through red lights. They don't signal when they're turning. Is that your experience, all of them?
CORINo, not all of them. But it's -- I've just been -- it scares me. It scares me, it really does, when I see them -- when I see those who don't. And, you know, as a -- I do ride bikes but, you know, I'm too scared to do it in the city. You know, when I do drive in the city and I see -- it makes me very nervous to see that. And especially the distracted biker.
NNAMDIWell, that's interesting. You do ride bikes, but you're scared to ride in the city. Is that because you're afraid of other bicyclists?
CORINo. I'm definitely scared of the traffic. I don't want to get hit by a car. And even...
NNAMDIYou're scared of cars, that's what you're scared of. Not of the bicyclists.
CORIOf course, yeah. No, but even though I know it's a lot better now with all the bike lanes which definitely helps, but, yeah, I would rather ride in the suburbs.
NNAMDIOkay, Cori. Thank you very much for your call.
CORIThank you so much, Kojo.
NNAMDIWe move on to Jonathan in Washington D.C. Jonathan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JONATHANHi, Kojo. Thank you very much. So in discussing the espionage issue that's been going on between the U.S. and Germany, there is an issue you actually mentioned when you were introducing the subject, which is that -- I think you were mentioning that it's not clear to all listeners that espionage between countries is such a bad thing. Sometime it's even become the status quo. And I'm wondering how we should manage this. There seem to be some basic problems involving trust. Specifically, in game theory, there is an issue called prisoner's dilemma.
JONATHANThe situation is you have two prisoners in separate rooms and they're being asked to rat each other out. Now, if they cooperate with each other, they can get a tremendous payoff of some sort. However, if one of them betrays the other -- with the other party, the victim, trusting the aggressor -- then the perpetrator, the one who betrays his friend, will get a tremendous payoff, much more than if the two of them cooperating. But only he will get the payoff and the one who he betrays gets nothing. If both parties betray each other, however, or defect, as it's called, both parties get virtually nothing.
JONATHANSo the issue is that if people can trust each other enough to work together, there is a large payoff for both. But each party is seduced by the opportunity to get more individual gain by defecting rather than cooperating. But as a result, those parties will often tend to defect and it's most likely that no one will get anything. That's the Nash equilibrium, what unfortunately most of these situations involving blind trust tend to reduce down to. Now it may vary from situation to situation, but it seems to me like international espionage has a similar construct. That all parties can choose to trust each other and respect their informational territories and privacy.
JONATHANAnd in doing so they can work together and pool each other's informational resources for security, et cetera. Unfortunately, every country is threatened not just by -- is not just seduced by greed or by the opportunity to get an informational advantage on its neighbors, but also the possibility that other countries are already at work planning to defect on them. So the issue is one of trust. Nobody can guarantee that other parties aren't going to -- are going to cooperate with them. And as a result, even, you know, more benevolent countries that are willing to cooperate can often be scared into defection.
JONATHANThe issue then is one of how to keep everybody from defecting and ending up with this very low payoff, this low Nash equilibrium. One strategy that has been suggested is called a tit-for-tat strategy, meaning that if one -- when the stakes are really high, both parties work together with the mutual understanding that if one person defects, they'll be treated harshly and severely for an extended period of time. And it will take many, many, many rounds of cooperation for a mutual cooperation to be -- for mutual cooperation to be possible.
NNAMDII love your analogy of game strategy, but I got two words for you. United Nations. Why do you think it exists? I got to take a short break. Just give that though for a while. When we come back, we'll continue our edition of Your Turn. You can call us at 800-433-8850. You could send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Shoot us a tweet @kojoshow. You decide what we talk about here. I'm just Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn. If you joined the conversation by calling 800-433-8850, you're about to be on the air. If you'd like to join the conversation, you can either call that number or send email to email@example.com. You can send us a tweet @kojoshow. Or you can go to our website, kojoshow.org and join the conversation there. Now we start with Jen in Washington D.C. Jen, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JENHey, Kojo. I've been driving D.C. for, I don't know, 17 years -- driving and riding my bicycle in D.C. And you know, I've been hit a couple times -- hit, run over and dragged in one incident. And both of those times it was when I was trying to work with the traffic in the traffic. And it's just endemic with D.C. We have, you know, a power dynamic going on here that no one will give an inch no matter what. In the car emerges an exercise in terror instead of just, you know, you go and then I'll go, and then you go and then I'll go.
JENPeople just need to take a step back in general and give themselves a little more time in their commute so they don't panic every time they get behind a bicycle and think, "Oh my god, I'm late already." You know? And that's their fault. And usually, you know, I learned a long time ago that usually when you're angry at someone, it's because you're angry at yourself. And if we can all just take a little bit of a step backward and be -- just try to be a little bit kinder to one another on the road, instead of just making it Death Race 5,000 every day on the road. You know, and...
NNAMDII noticed that you mentioned Washington D.C. The bike share program that is enjoying so much success here, has also been implemented in New York City. And you mentioned the power, I guess, aspect of bicycle riders in D.C. Do you think that's peculiar to this city?
JEND.C. has a very bizarre power structure. You know, it's a power situation with the federal city versus the local city. And then just all of the lobbyists and the powerful people who live there, who basically think that they're more important than you are. And you don't deserve to be given any consideration. Or that they just are narcissists and don't think of anyone else. I don't know about New York. I haven't spent enough time on their -- there to comment on it. But just the -- take a breath, people. You know, give yourselves...
NNAMDITry to work together here.
JENWell, and give yourself and the other people around you a little margin for error. And that also means not acting like a 13-year-old who refuses to tell people where you're going, but acting like a grown-up who uses their indicator to say, "Hey, I'd like to get over. Will you let me in?" So the person behind you can either be a jerk and pull up next to you and not let you in and make you stuck behind the bus.
JENOr they can say, "Hey, I'm going to let this person in and maybe that will come back around to me somewhere on the road." If we could -- we all just take a breath and you're going to get better. The only time I ride on the sidewalk is when I'm absolutely threatened by the traffic out on -- in the roads. And when I'm on the sidewalk, I use my little bell and say, "excuse me, pardon me, I'm sorry, may I pass you on the left?" you know? And it's always some dumb selfish person who's in a hurry that's, you know, who's usually on the sidewalk and terrifies people, who's one bad apple.
JENBut, you know, just show a little consideration for one another for just a minute. In the end, it'll work better.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call and for your appeal to our better nature -- our better sides. We got an email from William who said, "My understanding of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case is that even if a company's owners object to contraceptives, employees can still get them elsewhere through the Affordable Care Act." I know that is certainly the Obama administration's intention.
NNAMDIBut William goes on to say, "If we're going to deny either employment or service to homosexual individuals based on religious liberty, it only seems to follow the ruling that the government would also have to provide employment or service to those denied individuals." Well, I would say, William, good luck with that.
NNAMDIWe got an email from Randall in Chevy Chase, Md., who says, "With the discussion about the Hobby Lobby discussion, I've been wondering if the Affordable Health Care Act requires businesses to pay for contraception for men as well as for women? Specifically, condoms or possibly vasectomies or male birth-control pills if these are developed. If male contraception is not a mandated benefit, what is the legal and moral justification for this gender distinction?" Randal, a question that I cannot answer at this point. But I'm very glad that you raised it.
NNAMDIWe move on now to Cordelia in Herndon, Va. Cordelia, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CORDELIAHi, Kojo. Thank you for taking my call. I hope you can hear me. I'm on my cell phone.
NNAMDIWe hear you.
CORDELIAWell, first off, I would say that biker and cars -- it's a human thing. There is plenty of blame on both sides. You know, it's the person. Some people consciously try to do the right thing and some don't. So that I don't think you'll ever win a discussion on. But -- and I've lived in the area since the early sixties. I've seen responsible bikers. I've seen responsible drivers. I've seen the other side. Having said that, in my household, there's two different views. I am handicapped. I use a walker.
CORDELIASo there is a little different there. When I am out and about, I follow everything. I wait at all the lights. I wait for the cross signals, everything. Because I can't run, anything like that. So if I'm going to get whacked, I want to make sure it's the other person that gets the ticket and it's their insurance that pays.
NNAMDIYeah. I can understand that. But what's the difference in your household?
CORDELIAWell, with me, when I go on -- we have a wonderful bike path, the Old Dominion Trail. And I've had bikers that come up to say, on your right, and I know they're coming and they'll go around. At the same time, I've had them blast right -- almost hit me when they go through their cross signal. And then that's a little unnerving, because you're looking for a car. You're not necessarily looking for the bike to come whack you. And my husband, his job requires him to drive all around. So he's seen it all. And he's usually a very patient man. But he says that lately, more and more, he's getting really fed up with some cyclists.
CORDELIAAnd I see it. You know, he says, they go through the light. They don't wait. They run it up on the sidewalk and then run onto the street. So I think it is kind of becoming a matter of impatience and some superiority. Some people fell, well, I'm not spewing fumes into the air. I'm doing the responsible thing. But as I said at the beginning, in terms of who's the better and who's the worst, it's really not something you can do. It's just people have all got to try and just -- try and do the right thing. Because, you know, they could end up being hit, when they're blithely zooming through something.
CORDELIAYou know, are they thinking about it? Somebody else is also getting ready to run that yellow light.
NNAMDISounds like time for the old Rodney King appeal -- the late Rodney King, I should say, who passed recently. Can we all get along here?
CORDELIAYes, seriously. I hear, you know, the woman previously saying, take a breath. And it's not a matter of breathing. It's just, it could be you.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Cordelia.
CORDELIAThank you. Okay. Goodbye.
NNAMDIGoodbye. We move on now to Giavanni in McLean, Va. Giavanni, your turn.
GIAVANNII wanted to share a story. I am a student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
GIAVANNIAnd in June, I was waiting at a bus stop and there was a biker, a cyclist going on the sidewalk. And I told him to get off the sidewalk. He was with a group of friends who were walking. And I was assaulted by the four of them, this cyclist and his friends.
NNAMDIWhat was the nature -- what was the altercation all about?
GIAVANNIAbout me, just, you know, they took it the wrong way, you know, for someone to tell them to get off -- it was -- to get off the sidewalk cycling. And...
NNAMDIAnd what resulted from there?
GIAVANNIAnd resulted from that, I, you know, I was assaulted. One of them has been found, but the other ones are still at large in Scotland.
NNAMDIWhoa. And this happened in Edinburgh?
GIAVANNIYeah, it did. Yes.
NNAMDIExactly how did you tell them to -- that they shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk.
GIAVANNIYeah, that, you know, you should, you know, get down from your bike. It's not -- the sidewalk is made for pedestrians and not for cyclists.
NNAMDII think a lot of times these altercations are caused because of the manner in which the conversation takes place. You sounded like a police officer ordering them off their bicycles.
GIAVANNINo, that wasn't -- that wasn't my intent. But, you know, for them not to be able to, you know, accept, you know, a simple direction to, you know, keep the pedestrians safe, reflects worse on them than it does on the concerned...
NNAMDIBut it's interesting, you know, Giavanni, because we refer to people on bicycles as bicyclists. But people who are on bicycles or people who drive cars or people who are walking are also other things besides the vehicle that they happen to be in or on. They can also be thugs, they can be criminals, they can be all kinds of people.
NNAMDIYou just apparently ran into some fairly nasty characters.
GIAVANNIThat's true. Yes. That's a fair way of describing the bicyclists. Yes. The bicyclist.
NNAMDIWell, I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you. And you said they've only found one of the individuals so far?
GIAVANNIThat's correct, yes.
NNAMDIAnd is that individual being prosecuted for it?
GIAVANNIHopefully he will. And, but I just wanted to bring this up, because it's -- I just wanted to, you know, give a, you know, a balanced, you know, perspective on the fact that it's not all, you know, road rage...
NNAMDIIt's not all Washington, yes. It's not all Washington road rage.
GIAVANNIWell, no, no, no it's not. It's not all Washington road rage. No, rage can also occur on people that, you know, ride bicycles.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. And good luck to you. You head back there the end of the summer?
GIAVANNIThat's correct, yes.
NNAMDIOkay. Good luck to you.
GIAVANNIThank you so much.
NNAMDIOn now to Nicole in Vienna, Va. Nicole, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
NICOLEHi, Kojo. I'm going back to the teen sexting situation in Manassas.
NICOLEFrom what you mentioned of the Washington Post story, the 17-year-old boyfriend was -- responded to the 13-year-old girlfriends sexting picture with a video.
NNAMDIYes, that's what it seems to me.
NICOLEIf this is just an honest exchange -- it's actually two question. First, if he is alleged with sexual -- I'm sorry, creating child pornography with this picture, why isn't the 13-year-old as well? And if the...
NNAMDI15-year old. 15, not 13. 15.
NICOLEI'm sorry. But still, but she's still a minor.
NICOLEAnd she apparently sent erotic pictures. And, you know, is she not as well creating child pornography? And my second question is, isn't this just the new courtship for kids nowadays. Full disclosure. I don't have any children. But I don't know. Isn't this the new math?
NNAMDIWell, it's -- if it's the new courtship, it's not -- clearly not appropriate courtship. The question is -- of is whether it rises to the level of being a felony. Because even if it's not appropriate courtship -- it's not appropriate interaction, the fact that these are both teenagers, two years difference between them, but this young man is looking at a felony. We had an email from Roberta who says, "Sexting between teens is a felony? This is absurd. This culture is losing its grip on reality." I suspect you would agree with that, Nicole.
NICOLEI absolutely do. I'm not quite a dinosaur, but I came of age just as cell phones was coming out, and certainly no camera phones. But if I had -- if I was a 15-year-old girl and had a 17-year-old boyfriend and we were caught, you know, doing something that could be said to be inappropriate, we're still teenagers going to the same school. That might have gotten a tongue-lashing from our parents. But I certainly hope my parents wouldn't charge my boyfriend, who I see on a daily basis, you know, with a felony.
NNAMDIWith child pornography.
NICOLEThat would ruin his life.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. That's about all the time we have except this email we got from Saber, who says, "You asked about the World Cup Soccer final. Germany will win. I wrote on Twitter before semi-final matches that the final will be a repeat of 1990, except that this Germany is not West Germany. I stand by my prediction."
NNAMDIThanks to all of you who participated in this edition of Your Turn. "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Tayla Burney, Kathy Goldgeier, Elizabeth Weinstein, and Andrew Katz-Moses. Brendan Sweeney is the managing producer. Our engineer today, Douglas Bell. Natalie Yuravlivker is on the phones. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
Most Recent Shows
Kojo chats with food writer Monica Bhide on her new novel and how culture connects her family's history in India with her present life in the Washington region.
Kojo explores the coinage of the phrase "Columbusing," which describes instances of white people "discovering" elements of cultures that have long been a part of communities.
A junior at American University joins Kojo to discuss recent racially-charged acts on the school's campus and what they reveal about what some students describe as "the real AU."