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KALW is local public radio from the San Francisco Bay Area. Shows include Your Call and Crosscurrents. Tune in to 91.7 fm, or listen live at KALW.org KALW is a pioneer educational station licensed to the San Francisco Unified School District, broadcasting since September 1, 1941 – when it went on the air as the first FM signal west of the Mississippi.
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  • As Death Rate Accelerates, U.S. Records 400,000 Lives Lost To The Coronavirus

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:49:00

    While millions wait for a life-saving shot, the U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus continues to soar upwards with horrifying speed. Today, the last full day of Donald Trump's presidency , the official death count reached 400,000 — a once-unthinkable number. More than 100,000 Americans have perished in the pandemic in just the past five weeks. In the U.S., someone now dies from COVID-19 every 26 seconds. And the disease is now claiming more American lives each week than any other condition, ahead of heart disease and cancer, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. "It didn't have to be like this, and it shouldn't still be like this," says Kristin Urquiza , who began communicating with other grieving family members after her father Mark died from COVID-19 on June 30, as the virus was sweeping through Phoenix, Ariz. Urquiza described it as "watching a slow-moving hurricane" tear apart her childhood neighborhood, where many

  • Folk Musician Peter Stampfel Pays Homage To 100 Favorite Songs On '20th Century'

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:40:00

    Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The folk musician Peter Stampfel recently completed a project he'd been working on for two decades. The idea was for him to record a favorite song for each year of the 20th century, not necessarily a hit but a song that spoke to him emotionally and as a representative of its time. The project, titled "Peter Stampfel's 20th Century," is being released next month. Rock critic Ken Tucker says it's a wonderful survey of popular music, as well as a lot of fun. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE YOU TRULY") PETER STAMPFEL: (Singing) I love you truly, truly, dear. Life with its sorrows, life with its tear fades into dreams when I feel you are near for I love you truly, truly, dear. KEN TUCKER, BYLINE: Peter Stampfel's distinctively expressive, quavering croon commences this massive project with "I Love You Truly," a hit in 1901 and a song the 82-year-old Stampfel remembers singing in his elementary school

  • 'Doctors Blackwell' Tells The Story Of 2 Pioneering Sisters Who Changed Medicine

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:40:00

    In the 1840s, Elizabeth Blackwell was admitted to a U.S. medical school — in part because the male students thought her application was part of an elaborate prank. She persisted and got her degree, becoming the first American woman to do so. A few years later, her younger sister Emily followed in her footsteps, earning her own medical degree from the institution that would become Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Biographer Janice Nimura tells the sisters' story in the new book, The Doctors Blackwell. Nimura says Elizabeth was "greeted with everything from rejection to hilarity" during her years at Geneva Medical College in upstate New York. "There was the basic idea that a woman's sphere did not include anything professional," Nimura says. "The townspeople [of Geneva] basically thought that any woman who wanted to study medicine was either wicked or insane." Nimura notes that even after graduation, the Blackwell sisters struggled to find patients. "The idea of a female

  • 'The Mob Was Fed Lies': McConnell Rebukes Trump For His Role In Capitol Riot

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:36:00

    For the first time since the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly denounced President Trump and his supporters for instigating the insurrection. "The mob was fed lies," McConnell, R-Ky, said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like." Two weeks ago, after rioters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were fulfilling their constitutional duty to tally the Electoral College votes, McConnell strongly condemned the mob but stopped short of calling out Trump for his role. The outgoing majority leader has spent the past several years cautiously avoiding confrontations with Trump. But he's increased his criticism of the president in the waning weeks of his term as Trump continued to use his platform to spread misinformation about the

  • Cremation Limits Lifted In LA Due To 'Backlog' As COVID-19 Deaths Skyrocket

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:30:00

    In Los Angeles County, an environmental regulator has temporarily relaxed limits on the number of cremations that can be performed each month, citing a backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a press release Sunday that it is suspending certain permit conditions for crematoriums at the request of the county's medical-examiner coroner and public health department. Crematorium permits typically carry limits based on potential air quality impacts, but can be suspended during a state of emergency. "The current rate of death is more than double that of pre-pandemic years, leading to hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums exceeding capacity without the ability to process the backlog of cases," officials said. The emergency order , which took effect on Jan. 17, lasts for ten days but can be extended if needed. As of Jan. 15, more than 2,700 bodies were being stored at hospitals and the coroner's office, according to the order. It

  • WATCH: Biden's Defense Pick, Lloyd Austin Confirmation Hearing Underway

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 01:24:00

    Updated 3:04 p.m. ET The confirmation hearing for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden's pick to head the Pentagon, is underway before the Senate Armed Services Committee. It comes a day before Biden's inauguration. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin, 67, will make history as the nation's first Black secretary of defense. Austin retired as head of U.S. Central Command, the military's top command post which oversees U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. He's the only Black general to attain this position. It was in that post that Biden came to know Austin, during the Obama Administration, NPR's Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman has reported . Biden called Austin "a true patriot" in an op-ed in The Atlantic last month. He also referred to him as a trailblazer and one who challenged the Army to grow more inclusive in its ranks over his decades of military service. Watch there hearing below. "In his more than 40 years in the United States Army, Austin

  • Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 1/19/21, AM

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 00:35:06

    Federal Government Looks To Remove Protections On California Deserts / Kamala Harris Gives Up Senate Seat In Preparation To Take Vice Presidency / California COVID-19 Update / State Trails Most Of Country In Percentage Of Vaccinations Administered / Moderna Vaccination Batch May Be Causing Allergic Reactions / Sunny And Breezy With Gusts Up To 50 Miles Per Hour In The Bay Area

  • Seesaws Built On U.S. Border Wall Win Prestigious Design Prize

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 00:23:00

    An art project that turned the border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border into the temporary base for pink seesaws – inviting children on each side to come play together – has won the London's Design Museum award for best design of 2020. "We are totally surprised by this unexpected honor," said Ronald Rael , who designed the project with fellow architect Virginia San Fratello. They share the award, he said, with the Ciudad Juárez, Mexico-based art collective Colectivo Chopeke. "That's amazing," San Fratello said in a video feed announcing the prize. The seesaw installation won both the overall prize and in the transportation category. "Most importantly, it comes at a time when we are hopeful for change and that we start building more bridges instead of walls," Rael added. "The Beazley Designs of the Year are the Oscars of the design world," said Razia Iqbal, a journalist who chaired the Design Museum's panel of judges. The award, she noted, highlights work that pushes boundaries of

  • Yellen Urges Congress To 'Act Big' To Prop Up Pandemic-Scarred Economy

    kalw.org Wednesday, 20 January 2021 00:16:00

    Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Treasury Department, made the case for aggressive economic relief, urging lawmakers to "act big" to fight the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. At her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen pressed lawmakers to pass the $1.9 trillion spending package that the incoming administration has proposed to keep families and businesses afloat as well as to accelerate vaccinations against COVID-19. "Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now and longer-term scarring of the economy later," Yellen said. "In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs." Yellen, a labor economist who chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, would be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department. Her nomination has the backing of all the living former Treasury secretaries, both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats argue that the government was too quick

  • SAT Discontinues Subject Tests And Optional Essay

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 22:44:00

    The College Board announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue the optional essay component of the SAT, and it will no longer offer subject-specific tests in U.S. history, languages and math, among other topics. The organization, which administers the college entrance exam in addition to several other tests, including AP exams, will instead focus efforts on a new digital version of the SAT. In the announcement, the organization cited the pandemic for these changes: "The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students." College entrance exams have had a hard go of it during the pandemic. Many in-person testing dates for the SAT were canceled due to social distancing and closed high school buildings, a previous digital version of the SAT was scrapped in June after technical difficulties, and hundreds of colleges have removed the exam from admissions requirements , in some cases permanently. Copyright 2021 NPR. To

  • Supreme Court Considers Baltimore Suit Against Oil Companies Over Climate Change

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 22:42:00

    Updated at 2:30pm ET The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday in a case brought by the city of Baltimore against more than a dozen major oil and gas companies including BP, ExxonMobil and Shell. The city government argued that the fossil fuel giants must pay for the costs of climate change because they knew that their products cause potentially catastrophic global warming. The Baltimore case is one of more than 20 similar suits brought by cities, states and counties in recent years. The cases make a variety of arguments about why fossil fuel companies bear responsibility for the costs of climate change, including that companies misled the public about the threat burning oil and gas poses to the climate. The Supreme Court is considering a narrow jurisdictional question: the Baltimore case was filed in state court, but during the 75-minute opening arguments on Tuesday, an attorney for the fossil fuel companies contended that such cases should be tried in federal court. "These cases

  • The 'Racial Caste System' At The U.S. Capitol

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 22:35:00

    After the Capitol was cleared of insurrectionists on Jan. 6, there was work to be done. You may have seen the video of a group of Capitol workers cleaning up the great halls, trying to restore order and dignity to rooms that had been trashed and defaced. James R. Jones, an assistant professor of African American studies at Rutgers University , was watching as the mob rioted through the Capitol's great rooms and hallways. After the tear gas cleared, he knew what was likely coming next: "It wasn't lost on me that it was going to be Black workers who had to clean up after their mess." Author James R. Jones. Rhonisha Franklin Jones was an intern at the Capitol during his undergraduate years at George Washington University, and was struck with how racially bifurcated it was back then. "Whites work for whites, Black staffers work for Black lawmakers, Latino staffers work for Latino members, and so on," he says. And he says there is a largely overlooked community, almost exclusively people of

  • Secretary Of State Nominee Antony Blinken Promises 'Humility And Confidence'

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 22:26:00

    Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State, is appearing Tuesday afternoon before a Senate panel to begin his confirmation process. He's vowing to restore American leadership on the world stage and work for the "greater good." "Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America's leadership coin," he will tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee , according to his prepared testimony. "Humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad ... But we'll also act with confidence that America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good." Blinken has the resume of a diplomat. A Harvard University and Columbia Law School graduate who went to high school in Paris and speaks French, he served as deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration. He was national security advisor to then-Vice President Biden, and was the Democratic staff director

  • Mets Terminate General Manager Who Reportedly Sent Lewd Texts To Reporter

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 21:06:00

    The New York Mets have fired the team's new general manager Jared Porter over alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter. Porter sent explicit, unsolicited texts of himself repeatedly to the journalist in 2016, ESPN reported on Monday evening . At the time, Jared Porter was the director of professional scouting for the Chicago Cubs. The reporter moved to the U.S. from an unnamed foreign country to cover Major League Baseball, according to ESPN. She said she initially thought Porter was "volunteering himself as a source," the sports network reported. In messages obtained by ESPN, Porter texted, "You're gorgeous. Want more of me?" The reporter told ESPN that she said yes, adding, "I thought it would be awkward to say no. I didn't think of where it would progress." He then reportedly sent a selfie of a man's trousers with a bulge in the crotch. The woman stopped responding, ESPN reported. But then "Porter would send 62 unanswered texts ... between July 19 and Aug. 10," ESPN said,

  • Biden Pick For Intel Chief: 'Biggest Challenge Is Building Trust And Confidence'

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 20:56:00

    Updated at 1:03 p.m. ET Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence , opened her confirmation hearing Tuesday morning with an implicit criticism of President Trump's management of the country's vast intelligence network. "When it comes to intelligence," Haines said in her opening statement, "there is simply no place for politics, ever." Haines, if confirmed, will assume control of an intelligence community that Trump viewed with suspicion from his first days in office, frequently dismissing its work or even accusing it of being part of a "deep state" cabal intent on destroying his presidency. Trump's departing director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, is a fierce ally of the president who as a Republican congressman from Texas had served on the contentious House Intelligence Committee but otherwise had scant relevant experience. PBS NewsHour via / YouTube Unlike its House counterpart, the Senate Intelligence Committee is known for

  • From Border Wall To Capitol Riot, Homeland Security Nominee Takes Senate Questions

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 20:06:00

    Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday to begin his confirmation process, vowing to do everything he can so that an attack on the Capitol like the one on Jan. 6 "will not happen again." Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead that department, was previously the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, during the Obama administration. He then served as deputy secretary of DHS. Mayorkas also faced questions on immigration and the border wall, cybersecurity and his prior actions as head of USCIS. In announcing his nominee in November, Biden said Mayorkas "will play a critical role in fixing our broken immigration system and understands that living up to our values and protecting our nation's security aren't mutually exclusive — and under his leadership, they'll go hand-in-hand." Biden has pushed for swift

  • In Historic 1st, Biden To Nominate Transgender Doctor As Assistant Health Secretary

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 20:00:00

    President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Pennsylvania health expert Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary for health in the department of Health and Human Services, in a move that could make Levine the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. Levine is currently the secretary of health in Pennsylvania, where she leads the state's fight against COVID-19. She is also professor at the Penn State College of Medicine. Levine began her medical career as a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond," Biden said in a statement about the nomination. Levine has previously won state Senate confirmation in Pennsylvania, including a unanimous vote in 2015 to

  • Almanac - Tuesday 1/19/21

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 19:15:26

    Today is National Popcorn Day...

  • Chinese Restaurant Is Appreciated For Unsparingly Honest Menu

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 18:19:00

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit NOEL KING, HOST: Good morning. I'm Noel King. Do you ever wish restaurant menus would just play it straight. Like, this dish is OK. This one is really good. A Chinese restaurant in Montreal is being appreciated for their unsparingly honest menu. The owner of Cuisine AuntDai offers his opinions of dishes. He says the orange beef is not that good compared to the General Tao chicken. Of the satay sauce beef, he writes on the menu, I haven't had the chance to try that yet. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

  • FBI Is Vetting National Guard Troops Guarding Washington

    kalw.org Tuesday, 19 January 2021 18:19:00

    NOEL KING, HOST: There are 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., to secure Joe Biden's inauguration. By way of comparison, there were 8,000 at President Trump's. Authorities at the Capitol are on high alert. Among their concerns, a remarkable one - the possibility of an insider attack, a threat from service members. The FBI is vetting all of the National Guard troops who have come to the city. With me now, Lieutenant General Marc Sasseville, who is vice chief of the National Guard Bureau. Good morning to you, sir. MARC SASSEVILLE: Good morning, Noel. Thank you for having me. KING: We're happy to have you. Why are National Guard troops being vetted before the inauguration? SASSEVILLE: So let me start that by making sure that everybody understands our - there is no room for extremism in our ranks. I don't think I have to say that, but I will anyway. All the men and women that have joined the National Guard have a deep desire to serve, and they're proud of their service. The

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