The Jefferson Exchange

News & Information: Mon-Fri • 8am-10am | 8pm-10pm

JPR's live interactive program devoted to current events and newsmakers from around the region and beyond. It airs on JPR's News & Information service. Choose that service from the stream above or find your station here.

Participate in the live program by calling 800-838-3760 or emailing JX@jeffnet.org

California State Parks

The last time Shasta State Historic Park was open was a scary time.  The Carr Fire was bearing down on the park and workers loaded all the portable valuables onto trucks for a trip to Sacramento. 

Only now is the park ready to reopen, minus the Old Schoolhouse, which burned in the fire. 

Park Superintendent Lori Martin and crew spent the last several months making the park habitable again.  

Ataner007/Pixabay

We like to think we're long past the days when people were forced into slavery or prostitution.  But the stories of people who have been victims of human trafficking reveal how contemporary a problem it is. 

Shine A Light plans to raise awareness and money in its annual yoga fundraiser, January 27th in Ashland.  Celina Reppond runs the program, while Staysha Hackman benefitted from it.  

mohamed_hassan/Pixabay

We're generally heavier than we used to be across society, we get more kinds of allergies and other health issues, and nobody seems to be making much money. 

Pediatrician/professor/researcher Leonardo Trasande points the finger in his book Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future . . . and What We Can Do About It.   The author asserts that endocrine-disrupting chemicals in common household products are causing a whole range of serious health problems, especially in children.  

Khagani Hasanov, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40332546

It will be a while (we hope) before anyone says "sure is a hot one today."  July, maybe?  We don't really know anymore, now that our summers seem to come earlier and hotter (and smokier, in our region). 

Health workers have to deal with more cases of heat-related illness and even death each year.  Science journalist Dave Levitan says that's something health departments should be prepared to handle. 

lostcoastoutpost.com / Oliver Cory

They show up in the news all the time: events in which police and/or sanitation workers come to a homeless camp and clear the place out, people and all. 

There's compassion for the people who don't have permanent homes, but what about the people who do, and not far away?  It's a tricky situation, one we explore in this discussion. 

Rogue Retreat helps homeless people find homes; Julie Akins covers homeless issues as a journalist, works to create spaces for homeless people, and recently joined the Ashland City Council. 

Bones64/Pixabay

The party bosses and the people they got elected used to wield all the power in America.  But we've democratized many processes, through initiative and referendum laws, and party primaries and caucuses. 

Which raises the question: how's that working out for us?  Putting more of the machinery of the politics in the hands of the people produces things like ballot measures legalizing marijuana... but also results like Brexit, in the United Kingdom. 

The idea that the problems of democracy are solved by more democracy gets a critique from Yale University political scientists Frances Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro, in Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy From Itself

stevepb/Pixabay

When money gets tight, what do you do?  Payday and car-title loans are among the options that low-income Oregonians resort to, according to a recent report from the Center for Responsible Lending

Student loans, car loans, and credit card debt exert a crushing burden on people who make between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. 

The report includes input from several Oregon nonprofits, including Innovative Changes, which makes small loans itself. 

Midnightblueowl, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38559469

We give credit to the British for a wicked sense of satire.  But maybe the credit really should go to their Anglo-Saxon forebears. 

We'll be sure to ask Martha Bayless, a professor of English at the University of Oregon.  Her research focuses on Anglo-Saxon England and many aspects of its culture... including its entertainments and diversions. 

Derek Bridges, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13515466

The heart of Mardi Gras season is still a few weeks away.  But why wait? 

New Orleans is unique and exotic among American cities, and worth a look anytime.  Jason Berry observes the recent anniversary of the city's founding in City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at 300

From the swampy beginnings to its modern-day near-death and rebirth, it's a long and complicated story.

Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

The unemployment rates for the nation and our states continue to look pretty good. 

Oregon and California are both right around four percent unemployment.  But not uniformly; Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon, for example, tend to run about two points higher than the statewide average. 

Damon Runberg is a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department

socompasshouse.org

Society is not so great at sympathy for unseen maladies.  People complaining of back pain will often find at least one person who thinks they're faking. 

And so people with diseases of the mind--mental illness--don't often get fully understood or diagnosed.

Pixabay

Maybe you've wondered a bit about the American psyche.  We do get ourselves into some pickles, like wars without clear winners, and political deadlocks, and people spreading information that isn't true and calling it news. 

Psychologist Bryant Welch wants to put the country on the couch, and does, in a sense, in State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind

If you're familiar with the term "gaslighting," you'll recognize right away what the book is about.  It was first published ten years ago, and has been updated.

Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

Journalists make people mad even when they do their jobs well.  We've reached a moment in history when criticism of journalism is widespread, and income sources for the work of journalists have been reduced. 

A study out of Louisiana State University suggests that journalists can take two pathways to improve public trust in what they do: 1) check their facts; 2) speak up in defense of journalism. 

Journalists tend to groan when they talk about the 24-hour news cycle.  Events move so fast, there's seldom time to bask in the glow of a job well done... because new events knock the big stories out of the headlines almost immediately. 

Our monthly survey of the media landscape, Signals & Noise, attempts to take in events in news and non-news media.  And just a day after our last session, we had five new items to discuss. 

Our regular partners from the Communication faculty at Southern Oregon University, Precious Yamaguchi (subbed this month by Chris Lucas) and Andrew Gay, work hard to keep up. 

JamesQube/Pixabay

The people most concerned about climate change are serious about finding ways to power our lives without burning fossil fuels. 

And there is an option that seldom gets discussed: nuclear power.  This is the centerpiece of a book by Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist, A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.  

The authors make the case for a strong commitment to nuclear power as a way to solve climate change. 

Government Alliance on Race and Equity

People do make judgments about other people, like about how healthy their personalities are. 

But stop and think: what are the components of a healthy personality?  This is not just a food-for-thought question, but a real research topic, at the likes of the Personality Change Lab at the University of California-Davis. 

And after a lot of work, lab members think they have the five key variables: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. 

They had to work hard to get elected, but new Oregon legislators face plenty more work once they take office.

mohamed_hassan/Pixabay

The "ends of the Earth" is just an expression for most people.  But Erling Kagge has been there... exploring both poles and climbing to the summit of Mount Everest.  He's come to appreciate something he found in abundance in all three places: silence. 

In fact, he wrote a book musing on the virtues of the absence of sound, called Silence: In the Age of Noise.  It runs the gamut from the physics of sound to the metaphysics of finding silence in noisy places. 

And the response has been so strong, it's been translated into dozens of languages from its original Norwegian.

Wikimedia

A majority of American households include either a cat or a dog or both.  There's a good chance that the minority households live in rental units, where landlords often forbid pets.

Our monthly perusal of the Stories of Southern Oregon tends to focus on the people who've led notable lives in the region. 

This month, we get to turn the focus to the collection itself.  Stories of Southern Oregon is just one section of the Southern Oregon Digital Archive at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library. 

There are many other collections within SODA, including an extensive First Nations collection. 

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