The Daily Beat

Premiere DateAug 27, 2013
Categories Culture Politics Talk
00:00 The Daily Beat Intro
00:34 Top Stories
03:38 PROMO
03:52 World News
06:28 PROMO
06:48 In Other News
11:35 CSS Frankie Goes to Hollywood
16:00 Finish

You’ve just tuned in to The Daily Beat!

The Daily Beat is a daily news podcast inspired by the power of social media to spark social change. Tune in Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. as BTR’s social media director, DJ Jen, culls the “Twitterverse” and “blogosphere” to bring you the top stories regarding social justice and human rights issues.

Not to mention, we’ll also feature some of BTR’s top tracks.

Don’t miss a beat!


Yesterday Reuters published an article titled “Holder pressed on U.S. drug agency use of hidden data evidence.”

The article reads:

Eight Democratic senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens.

The August report revealed that a secretive DEA unit passes the NSA information to agents in the field, including those from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Homeland Security, with instructions to never disclose the original source, even in court. In most cases, the NSA tips involve drugs, money laundering and organized crime, not terrorism.

Five Democrats in the Senate and three senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee submitted questions to Holder about the NSA-DEA relationship, joining two prominent Republicans who have expressed concerns. The matter will be discussed during classified briefings scheduled for September, Republican and Democratic aides said.

“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Yesterday The Raw Story published an article titled “Sen. Patrick Leahy calls on Eric Holder to testify about federal marijuana policy.”

The article reads:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will hold a hearing on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws next month, and he hopes Attorney General Eric Holder will be there to testify.

“It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal,” Leahy said in a statement. “I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”

The Senator invited both Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify at the hearing.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington recently became the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

However, federal authorities have continued to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they are legal. The Department of Justice has also been notably silent about how it plans to treat legal marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

Yesterday Think Progress published an article titled “Income Gap Between White And Black Americans Is $8000 Worse Than It Was 40 Years Ago.”

The article reads:

On the eve of this week’s activities commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the Pew Research Center offers some daunting facts demonstrating that America still has a long way to go until it achieves true racial equality. Among other things, the income and wealth gaps between white and black Americans has actually grown over the last 40 years.


Yesterday Reuters published an article titled “White House says it is undeniable that chemical weapons used in Syria.”

The article reads:

The White House said on Monday that it is undeniable that chemical weapons were used in Syria and that there is little doubt that the Syrian government used them.

President Barack Obama, said White House spokesman Jay Carney, is evaluating the appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons but has made no decision on how to respond. Carney had no time frame for when Obama would decide.

Yesterday The Washington Post published an article titled “New poll: Syria intervention even less popular than Congress.”

The article reads:

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has finally found something that Americans like even less than Congress: the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Only 9 percent of respondents said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria; a RealClearPolitics poll average finds Congress has a 15 percent approval rating, making the country’s most hated political body almost twice as popular.

Yesterday Think Progress published an article titled “Why Kerry’s Speech Doesn’t Necessarily Mean We’re Going To War In Syria.”

The article reads:

The near-universal reaction to Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Syrian chemical slaughter of civilians is that he was clearly laying the groundwork for some kind of military assault against the Assad regime. The Washington Post reported this takeaway as if it were straight news: “Kerry left little doubt,” the Post wrote, “that the decision for the United States is not whether to take military action, but when.”

Not so fast. It’s true that Kerry’s speech marked the harshest American condemnation of the slaughter in Syria to date, but rhetorical escalations don’t mean military ones. In both international law and morality, moral judgments of atrocities are distinct from moral justifications for military responses to them. There’s a strong chance we’ll take military action in Syria, but this speech by no means guarantees it.

To start with, go read Kerry’s speech. Here’s the full text. Notice that neither the word “military” nor the word “intervention” appear in the speech. Though long on condemnation (“moral obscenity”), Kerry’s address only demanded “accountability for the use of chemical weapons so that it never happens again.”

It is simply not the case that accountability means military strikes.


Yesterday The Raw Story published an article titled “The fight to investigate Detroit’s 11,000 forgotten rapes.”

The article quotes Kym Worthy, prosecutor of Wayne county, the largest county in Detroit.

The article reads:

“I was sitting in my office one day when assistant prosecutor Rob Spader came in and told me he had been doing an inventory of Detroit police department evidence,” [Worthy] explains during a rare break in her schedule. “There was this warehouse of old evidence that none of us knew about. And that’s where he found the rape kits.”

A rape kit is a sexual assault forensic kit used to take and preserve medical evidence through DNA swabs following an allegation of rape. Spader had stumbled across approximately 11,000 of these kits lying in random order, uncatalogued, unattended and uninvestigated.

The article continues:

Untested rape kits are not a phenomenon exclusive to Detroit. Memphis, Cleveland and parts of Texas (where the indomitable Senator Wendy Davis just helped secure funding to tackle the problem) are all trying to deal with a backlog of untested kits, while officials in Chicago are responding to claims that untested rape kits dating back to the late 1970s number in their hundreds.

Time and money are the given reasons for so many kits being disregarded; it costs $1,500 to test the kit, and more if a conviction is sought. But Worthy believes that institutional attitudes in the police force also contributed to so many cases being ignored. Part of her current work is looking at “the way women are handled as victims of sexual assault, from the time they report it to the time of prosecution. Because we’ve found there has been some very bad treatment [of them].”

Yesterday The Raw Story published an article titled “‘The U.S. effect’: Researchers encouraged to report exaggerated or eye-catching results.”

The article reads:

Scientists who study human behaviour are more likely than average to report exaggerated or eye-catching results if they are based in the United States, according to an analysis of more than 1,000 research papers in psychiatry and genetics. This bias could be due to the research culture in the US, authors of the analysis said, which tends to preferentially reward scientists for the novelty and immediate impact of a piece of work over the quality or its long-term contribution to the field.

Daniele Fanelli, University of Edinburgh, one of the authors of the latest analysis, said that there was intense competition in the US for research funds and, subsequently, pressure to report novel findings in prestigious, high-impact scientific journals.

“We don’t know what causes the US effect but we think the most likely explanation is that it’s about the research environment in the US,” he says. “Somehow the researchers there are subtly more pressured than elsewhere in the world to make strong discoveries. This very idea that you do science to make strong discoveries is natural but it’s a problem to science itself. Science should be about doing good, precise studies. Not necessarily about getting exciting new results every time.”

Yesterday Think Progress published an article titled “ESPN Quit PBS Concussion Partnership Over ‘Sensational,’ ‘Over The Top’ Documentary Trailer.”

The article reads:

The trailer for the PBS Frontline documentary about concussions in the National Football League shows a series of bone-jarring hits set over a remixed version of Jay Z’s “Run This Town.” Midway through, it warns viewers to “Get ready to change the way you see the game” and features snippets of interviews with doctors and former players. It ends with a quote from neuropathologist Ann McKee, who wonders aloud “if every single player doesn’t have” brain injuries or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease that has been linked to high-profile suicides of former NFL players.

It’s that trailer for League of Denial, which debuted at a Television Critics Association gathering in Los Angeles earlier this month, that last week caused ESPN president John Skipper to rethink and ultimately end its partnership on the film with PBS, according to ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte:

Upon screening it, Skipper said he found the trailer to be “sensational.” He particularly objected to the tagline — “Get ready to change the way you see the game” — and to the final sound bite in the piece, from neuropathologist Ann McKee. Referring to brain injuries, she says, “I’m really wondering if every single football player doesn’t have this.”

Skipper said he found that comment to be “over the top.”