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The Brian Lehrer Show

Schoolbook

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay

Friday, January 13, 2012

Teachers call in to WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show in response to the mayor's State of the City address. Many of them, says the host, told WNYC that the idea of merit pay was "good in theory, wouldn't work in practice.''

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Schoolbook

City Warns Against Scam Training Schools

Friday, January 06, 2012

The city's consumer affairs commissioner shares tips with WNYC's Brian Lehrer on how to avoid predatory G.E.D. or vocational programs that can't offer the degrees or jobs they promise, but will help you run up your student loan bills.

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The Empire

Two Months In, Occupy Albany Outlines Demands

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

By WNYC's Yasmeen Khan

After spending two months camped out in Lafayette Park, across from the State Capitol building, Occupy Albany protesters are issuing demands, and with a national focus. They're "developing a strategic road map to address, in the near term, the issues of campaign finance, lobbying influence, and the revolving door."

They outlined the demands in a press conference on Tuesday, and Matthew Edge, an Occupy Albany Political Strategy Working Group member, elaborated on those demands today on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.

The movement's priorities include repealing corporate personhood (referring to the Citizens United case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals) and changing the incentives structure for elected officials, so that they are working solely for constituents and not for donors, Edge said.

He said the the Political Strategy Working Group is actually looking to follow the example set by Maine and its clean elections law.

"It allows for everyone running for office to essentially have the same amount of money to run. So they can win based on their ideas, and not based on just how much money they can raise. And once they're elected, since agreeing to opt into the public funding system, the clean elections system requires them to agree not to accept any private contributions. So that seems to be -- while it's not the end all, be all -- the first step."

In this exchange with Brian Lehrer, Edge explained why taking money out of politics is a "99 percent" issue, and how Occupy Albany decided to make the issue its platform.

Edge joined The Brian Lehrer Show as Occupy Albany protesters face a deadline: their permit to occupy Lafayette Park expires on Thursday. They've planned a Keep the Park rally for tomorrow evening. Edge said while the park is symbolic, "the movement will continue regardless."

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The Empire

Kathryn Wylde on why big biz in NYC can support Cuomo's tax overhaul

Monday, December 05, 2011

Speaking on behalf of the Partnership for New York City Kathryn Wylde,the group's president, laid out the argument on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning for contingent support from the city's big business community for the initial details of Governor Andrew Cuomo's forthcoming tax overhaul.

The support is a reversal of sorts for the Partnership, which had been bitterly opposed to the continuation of the so-called millionaires' tax on higher-income earners that's set to expire at the end of the month. Now, Wydle says Cuomo's approach, which would reportedly keep upper income rates higher than what they'll be after the sunsetting, is balanced approach her membership can live with.

"He is proposing, 'Let's relook at our overall spending and tax program, and see what we can do together to even things out,'" Wylde said on the show. "If we take that measure we can accept revenue increases coming out of, whether it's reducing tax loopholes or temporarily raising rates, there has to be a transition to longer-term fiscal responsibility."

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Schoolbook

Talking About Digital Learning

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel talks with WNYC Host Brian Lehrer about his front-page article on technology companies that oversell their software products to schools and students. School systems are spending billions on products that show little to no effect on student learning or test performance. Hear what callers had to say.

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The Empire

ICYMI: Redistricting conversation on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brian had me on to talk about redistricting about redistricting. Susan Lerner of Common Cause was on as well, and provided a great point of view on her group's efforts in the looming process.

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Schoolbook

Better Schools and Character Education Lead School Talk

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today's "The Brian Lehrer Show" featured Beth Fertig in a conversation about the latest school reform efforts, including in middle schools; the debate over teachers, and character education.

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The Empire

ICYMI: My NY-9 discussion on the Brian Lehrer Show

Friday, August 26, 2011

The good folks over at the Brian Lehrer Show were kind enough to have me on to discuss the debate on Monday between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin in Queens which I wrote about here. At the top, Brian makes a comment about the possibility of Turner winning, and we discuss it a bit at the end. What should be noted, however, is that there's been reports that internal Republican polling suggest the race is closer than Siena projected earlier this month.

I've also been told that, nationally, Republicans see only a narrow path of victory. But, like I mention in the segment, the big unknown at this point is how motivated Democratic voters are to come out on September 13 for Weprin.

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WNYC News

Carl Kasell Bids Listeners Adieu, For Now

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(NPR/ Antony Nagelmann)

(NPR/ Antony Nagelmann)

When Morning Edition began in 1979 the sonorous voice of Carl Kasell was there to read the headlines. The 75-year-old newscaster has worked in radio for over 50 years and delivered his final Morning Edition broadcast today. He ...

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Transportation Nation

WNYC The Brian Lehrer Show: The New MTA Chief

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What will mass transit in New York look like in ten years? Chairman of the MTA, Jay Walder, talks about his vision for the future of the MTA.

Listen to the full story.

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WNYC News

Michael Bloomberg: Billionaire Mayor

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michael Bloomberg claims that the upcoming election is a referendum on his record. So, what does the record tell us? Joyce Purnick has just published the sweeping biography Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, which tells ...

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WNYC News

Repentance, Jewish Style

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rabbi Dan Ain and Holly Gewandter of the New Shul in Greenwich Village discuss The House of Awe & Repentance Café an art exhibit and prayer space established for the High Holy Days.

Listen ...

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WNYC News

End of Life Care in the U.S. and Britain

Friday, September 18, 2009

One of the hottest points in the health care debate is whether and how to save money at the end of life. Dr. Hannah Wunsch, department of Anesthesiology at Columbia, discusses her new report in ...

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WNYC News

Going Off to College Without Going Off the Deep End

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dr. Lloyd Sederer, medical director at the New York State Office of Mental Health discusses mental health and addiction issues on college campuses and what to be aware of as a parent and a student.

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WNYC News

Apparently EVERYONE Does it Better!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Veteran foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, T.R. Reid traveled the world to compare the health care systems of rich democracies to the United States. He ...

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WNYC News

Welcome to New York. Enjoy the Oysters

Thursday, August 20, 2009

oyster3

New York City is the former oyster capitol of the world. There was a time when New York Harbor had over 350 square miles of oyster beds, half of the world supply. Street-side oyster vendors were as popular as hot dog carts are today. Local oysters were a delicious treat, they cleaned the waterways and they bolstered aquatic wildlife. But oysters have since disappeared from New York Harbor, mostly because of human intervention. Now, there are new efforts to reintroduce them in Jamaica Bay.

Mark Kurlansky, the author of The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, and Jeffrey Levinton, distinguished professor of ecology and evolution at SUNY Stony Brook, visit The Brian Lehrer Show to talk about the history of oysters in New York Harbor, and plans to reintroduce them.

Listen to the whole show:

Andrea Bernstein: Let's start with a history. I'm very intrigued by this idea of oysters being sold like hot dogs.

Mark Kurlansky: Well, oysters are an animal that lives in brackish water, which is water that's saltier than fresh water but not as salty as the sea. Estuaries of rivers, places where fresh water dumps into sea water are the ideal climate. New Yorkers too easily forget that the five boroughs of New York City are at the magnificent estuary of the Hudson River and the estuary used to be full of oysters.

That means the East River and the Hudson and out in the harbor around Staten Island and Liberty Island and Ellis Island, which used to be called Big and Little Oyster Island. The coast of the Bronx, back when the Bronx had a non-industrial coast, and the Brooklyn coast into Queens and Jamaica...it was all full of oysters. There was this tremendous natural resource that was identified with New York so that, for centuries, if somebody said they were going to New York City, the typical response was 'Enjoy the oysters!' They were sold everywhere.

Bernstein: Until when?

Kurlansky: Until 1927 when the last bed was closed. A process began in the 1880's when they started understanding about germs. There were chronic epidemics in New York history and they never really understood the cause of them. Everybody sort of assumed that it must be caused by foreigners and immigration and poverty. Then they started understanding what really caused things like cholera and developed the ability to trace them. They kept tracing them to oyster beds. One by one, with each disease outbreak, a bed was closed. The last bed, which was in Raritan Bay between Staten Island and New Jersey, was closed in 1927. Then it was over.

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WNYC News

UNDP Report Reveals Unemployment, Malnutrition in Arab World

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven years ago, the United Nations conducted a study of human development in the Arab world. Now it has released a follow up and there’s not a lot of good news for the 330 million ...

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WNYC News

Cracking Your Knuckles: Annoying But Doesn't Cause Arthritis

Friday, August 14, 2009

hands

Should you wait an hour after eating before you jump in the pool? Do you lose most of your body heat through your head? Dr. Aaron Carroll is the co-author of Don't Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies ...

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WNYC News

Uh Oh! Babies May Be Smarter Than We Think

Thursday, August 13, 2009

baby

Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology and philosophy visited The Brian Lehrer Show today to talk about her new book The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life. She spoke with guest host Mike Pesca.

Listen to the whole interview:

Here's an excerpt from their conversation:

Mike Pesca: What’s interesting or significant about “uh oh”?

Alison Gopnik: It turns out that “uh oh” is one of the very first things that young children say which is sort of surprising. When you actually look carefully at how they use it, which is what I did when I was in graduate school, it turns out that they’re actually using 'uh oh' to talk about the fact that they’re trying to do something, that they have vision of the world and it's not working out. That’s a very abstract thing for very young babies to be talking about.

Pesca: Maybe it’s overstating it, but your premise is that babies are not only smarter than we thought they were, they may in some ways be smarter than we are. What do you think of that?

Gopnik: Babies and young children are really designed for learning. One of the puzzles about human beings is, why do we have this long period of childhood at all? Why are we immature for so long and dependent on our parents for so long?

One of the ideas that has come out of both evolution and psychology is that we have that protected period so that we can learn all the things that we need to learn before we actually have to put them into action. From that perspective, it makes sense that babies and young children would be the best learning machines in the universe. Then when you actually look at what they can do, especially work we’ve done in the last 10 years, it turns out that they can recognize statistics they can use probabilistic logic, they can do things that the best machine learning programs and scientists can do.

Pesca: Obvious question is, how do you know they can learn statistics? Maybe it's best to talk about the ping pong ball experiment you set up.

Gopnik: This was actually an experiment that my colleague Fei Xu set up. What she did was show babies a box full of mixed up ping pong balls, 80% of them white 20% of them red. Then she showed babies an experiment, either taking all white balls out of the box or all red balls out of the box.

If you’ve got a mixed-up box, both of those sequences are possible, but it's much more probable statistically that you’ll pick out all white balls for an 80% white box and all red balls. In fact, the babies were very surprised. They looked much longer when they saw the experimenter picking out the red balls from the mostly white box. That means that they must have been sensitive to this pretty abstract statistical fact about the sample that you can take from a population.

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WNYC News

A Jordanian-American's First Feature Film

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Captain Abu Raed

Captain Abu Raed

'Captain Abu Raed,' the first film from Jordanian-American film maker Amin Matalqa, opens this week. The captain in question would like to have traveled around the world. But he's actually an airport janitor. Kids in his ...

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