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The Record

Monday - Thursday, noon - 1:00 p.m.

Daily conversations about the ideas that matter most to Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Hosted by Bill Radke.

What's a conversation we should be having on KUOW? Tell us! Our email address is record@kuow.org.

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Sentencing begins soon for Carri and Larry Williams. They were convicted of several charges this week in the death of their 13-year-old adopted daughter Hana Williams.

In May 2011, the Ethiopian teenager died in her own backyard from hypothermia. Her autopsy also found that malnutrition was a contributing factor.

This week, her adopted parents were both convicted of first-degree manslaughter. Carri Williams was convicted of the most serious charge: homicide by abuse. Larry Williams was not. On that charge, the judge declared a mistrial.

Many questions involving a possible retrial, appeals, and sentencing remain unanswered. Rich Weyrich is the prosecuting attorney for Skagit County. He talked with Ross Reynolds. Cassie Trueblood served as defense attorney for Larry Williams. She talked with Marcie Sillman.

University of Washington computer science professor Oren Etzioni will lead a new institute on artificial intelligence founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Etzioni designed the technologies behind startup companies Netbot and Farecast. He talks with Ross Reynolds about what he could do working for Allen that he couldn’t do at the University of Washington.

Obama arrives for a meeting with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak at the presidential palace in Cairo June 4, 2009.
Flickr Photo/Muhammad Ghafari (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6uPiGf

President Obama used a White House address on Tuesday night to delay a vote on military action against Syria in favor of a possible diplomatic solution. So far the Canadian government has lent moral support to the President’s cause, but no more. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer talks with Marcie Sillman about the Canadian reaction to the President's speech.

The international community may soon be charged with the destruction of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile. After the US and Russia, Syria is assumed to have the world’s third largest stock of sarin, mustard gas and other toxic weapons.

The US began the process of destroying its chemical weapons in the 1990s, after it signed the International Chemical Weapons Treaty. Umatilla, Ore., was once home to one of the nine US Army installations that house chemical weapons. Umatilla staff successfully finished the process of dismantling that weapons stockpile in October of 2011.

Our Richland correspondent Anna King explains how they went about the process of destroying chemical weapons.

Flickr Photo/cwnewserpics

Two new iPhones are hitting the market later in September. The upscale iPhone 5S, and the cheaper iPhone 5C . But will the iPhone 5c be cheap enough?

There used to be a time when a new iPhone meant a jump in Apple’s stock. This time, not so much. Apple's stock fell 5 percent due to concerns that the new  iPhone 5C is not cheap enough to compete with Google's Android phones, which currently lead the pack. Joining us to talk tech is Todd Bishop co-founder of the independent technology news site and online community Geekwire.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

David Hyde went to visit the Vashon-Maury Island Basin steward for King County, Greg Rabourn, who helps restore Puget Sound shorelines one beach at a time. Rabourn led Hyde on a tour of the Dockton shoreline, where he and his team have been removing creosote pilings, bulkheads and decades of fill.

The site was originally a salt marsh. Then, a sawmill came in, and covered the marsh with log ends. Later came fill dirt, bricks from a nearby factory, and boulders. Now, all that stuff has been scraped away revealing spongy peat -- a gift from that long-buried marsh. Rabourn says he suspects there are dormant seeds hiding in that peat that could now sprout after seeing sunlight for the first time in a century.

Rabourn is a native plant expert and has been a frequent guest of KUOW as part of the Greendays panel.
 

Author Nicole Hardy was a virgin until she was 36 years old. Hardy wanted to be a good Mormon, but eventually left the church. That journey is chronicled in her new book, "Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir". Ross Reynolds talks with Hardy about growing up in the church and leaving it behind.

Should Parents Post Baby Pics Online?

Sep 11, 2013
Michael Clinard

We’ve all seen them: cute baby pictures in our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds. For many parents, it’s hard to resist the temptation to share just how adorable their kid looks in their first rain boots or winter hat. But some are saying parents should pause before hitting that "share" button. Marcie Sillman talks with Amy Webb about why she doesn’t post anything about her daughter online.

It’s been one week since the first day of school, and to say that the start was rocky would be an understatement. A highly contested teacher contract debate had parents worried whether schools would even begin on time last Wednesday. When school did open, software problems caused confusion all over the Seattle district. With all this news, it promises to be an exciting year. Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Superintendent José Banda about the first week and what’s on tap for the school year.

Feels like summer is over, doesn’t it? Labor Day is long gone. School is up and running. But in Central Washington there is one last chance for a summer adventure. It’s called the "Flip-Flop" on the Tieton River.

Flickr Photo/Gates Foundation

The head of the Seattle-based  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says he’s stepping down. Jeff Raikes made the announcement Tuesday morning.  He says he’ll stay on the job until a replacement is found.

Jeff Raikes talked to  KUOW’s Marcie Sillman about his top accomplishments over the past five years as the Foundation's chief.

Flickr Photo/Debra Sweet

After an off-the-cuff suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry, President Bashar al-Assad’s government has accepted a Russian plan to turn over their chemical weapons. The significance of this agreement is “huge” according to Joseph Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares Fund and member of Secretary Kerry’s International Security Advisory Board. He explains what the prospects of this plan working are and how the international community might go about seizing Syria’s chemical weapons.

Flickr Photo/SEIU Health Care 775NW

President Obama had planned to address the nation tonight to make his case for a US military strike on Syria, but the day's events may have overtaken him. Today Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government accepted a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile, with France pitching  a UN Security Council resolution to verify the disarmament. President Obama threw his support behind the resolution. 

Ross Reynolds talks with Washington's 7th District Congressman Jim McDermott about the latest developments in the unfolding US-Syria story.

Flickr Photo/el cajon yacht club

Seattle Times tech columnist Monica Guzman is back on the grid and using her phone to help navigate the city. Guzman tells us about a smart phone app that helps her get where she needs to go with the least amount of trouble. The app is called Waze.  It incorporates user data and the more you drive, the better it gets. Ross Reynolds chats with Guzman about how she gets around town.

Author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has spent years studying people, technology and how devices have invaded our lives. In his book, "The Distraction Addiction," he explains how overusing technology is "destroying our souls." Ross Reynolds talks with Pang about how people can be more mindful with their technology.

Washington state’s Health Benefit Exchange officially opens for enrollment October 1. Last month, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler approved plans from only four insurance companies. But last week, following negotiations with several insurance companies, Kreidler doubled that number. In total, 46 individual insurance plans from eight different companies will be available on the marketplace.

What will more choices mean for consumers seeking health coverage? Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler talked with Ross Reynolds.

Should Kids Get Lawyers?

Sep 10, 2013
law court crime
Flickr Photo/Joe Gratz (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bkUna

In Washington state, children in dependency cases where parental rights have been terminated are not provided legal representation. That's not the case in other states. In Massachusetts, kids have the right to legal representation at birth.

 

Critics of Washington's policy contend that children have legal interests too, and without a lawyer, those interests are not protected. Some supporters argue that children are not in a position to articulate their best interests or direct a lawyer to represent them.

 

Marcie Sillman sits down with two attorneys, Lisa Kelly, director of the University of Washington's Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic, and Catherine Smith, from Smith Goodfriend, P.S., for two perspectives on this issue. 

Flickr Photo/Chris Martino

Salmonella is not just in poultry anymore; it's in our spices. In a recent study of more than 20,000 food shipments, the United States Food and Drug Administration found that nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with salmonella. That's twice the average of all other imported foods. Oregano, basil, cumin and black pepper are just some of the spices where salmonella contamination was found.

Marcie Sillman talks with FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess about the study. Burgess recommends adding spices to your food during the cooking process which will kill the salmonella bacteria and to follow basic food safety procedures.

The Pierce County jail is facing a hefty 8 percent budget shortfall. So far, 30 jobs are slated to be lost and two jail units, which can house more than 160 inmates, are set to close. Officials say even with these reductions, the budget crises will not be fixed.

Ross Reynolds talks with Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor about how these cuts will affect the jail and public safety.

Jamie Ford's book "Songs of Willow Frost."

Jamie Ford’s debut novel was a sensation: "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” was the story of a Chinese-American boy who falls for a Japanese-American girl.  Unfortunately, their love affair was stymied by World War II and the girl’s internment in Minidoka, Idaho.

Ford follows his bestselling novel with another book that comes out of Asian-American history.  “Songs of Willow Frost” is the story of a Chinese-American girl forced to give up her young son to an orphanage when the Depression hits. Ford says the book was inspired by his own family history. He spoke with Marcie Sillman today.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

A Seattle open-water swimmer is questioning whether Diana Nyad really swam to Florida on her own.

Flickr Photo/Wojtek Ogrodowczyk

Congress reconvenes today, and at the top of their agenda is deciding whether to sanction President Obama’s proposal to launch military attacks on Syria. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is denying the use of chemical weapons on civilians by his government. The situation in Syria has changed significantly since 2011 when protesters took to the streets of Damascus. Over one million children are living in refugee camps outside of the country and two million are internally displaced.

Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the author of the book “Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy.” He talked with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman about the Syrian government, its relationship to the United States and its position in the Middle East.

Flickr Photo/Jonathon Colman

Congress is back in session this week, and Syria is at the top of the agenda. That means other business like immigration reform and the debt ceiling moves to the back burner. Why can’t Congress do two things at once? Marcie Sillman and Ross Reynolds talk with Andrea Seabrook of DecodeDC.

The Army That's Running Hotels

Sep 9, 2013
Flickr Photo/James Gordon

In 2009, the Sri Lankan Army brutally crushed a separatist group known as the Tamil Tigers. That same army is now in the hospitality business. Without a separatist group to fight anymore, the Sri Lankan Army is converting some of their assets into hotels and resorts. Journalist Brendan Brady stayed in one of the hotels. Ross Reynolds talks with Brady about the Sri Lankan Army's surprising new venture. 

Flickr Photo/OregonDOT

Studies upon studies have exposed the dangers of texting and driving. Some go so far as to say texting is worse than drinking and driving. Renowned director Werner Herzog even made a film about it.

Yet a new University of Washington study shows that one in 12 drivers in Washington state are still using cellphones or other electronic devices on the road, and half of those using their devices are texting.

Ross Reynolds talks with Beth Ebel, the study's principal investigator and trauma doctor in the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Harborview, about her findings.

Congress returned to Washington, D.C., today with Syria at the forefront of its agenda. Lawmakers will debate a resolution on military intervention against Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons.

To take a step back, Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Raymond Zilinskas, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies about chemical weapons — what they are and why they are considered a different class than conventional weapons. 

The new documentary Muscle Shoals recalls how interracial harmony in tumultuous times made possible a new kind of music. Leading African-American artists traveled to North Alabama — not exactly a place they thought they'd be welcome in the civil rights era — to jam with an all-white crew of session players. In little rooms near the wide Tennessee River, they perfected soul and anticipated Southern rock.

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle is a city full of icons. Visitors stop to gawk at the Space Needle. They marvel as Pike Place Market fishmongers blithely toss a fresh salmon to one another as the crowd cheers them on. And they trek to a dead end street in the Fremont neighborhood to pay homage to a homely gray cement sculpture.

This is the Fremont Troll, and he's been a hulking presence under Highway 99 for the past 23 years. Co-creator Steve Badanes, a University of Washington architecture professor, and two of his students submitted the idea for the troll in 1990. The Fremont Arts Council was holding a contest to create an artwork for this street end. A panel of judges would pick three finalists, then the public would vote at a booth at that year's Fremont Solstice Festival.

The Seahawks' field logo, in happier times.
Flickr Photo/sunshine.patchoulli (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/9oYiX

The 2013 NFL season kicked off on Thursday night. The Seattle Seahawks hope to pick up where they left off last year with a road game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. And if you believe the hype, they have a chance to go all the way to the Super Bowl this year. Sportswriter Seth Kolloen gives us a preview.

Should Seattle Provide Universal Preschool?

Sep 6, 2013
The city of Seattle is scaling back plans for its subsidized preschool program.
Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-SA)/http://bit.ly/1LQhs3d

On Wednesday, the Seattle City Council held its first committee meeting to consider a plan for providing universal preschool for three and four year olds. The effort is being led by Councilmember Tim Burgess.

Burgess told KUOW that "we know from all of the academic research that preschool for three and four year olds is a key step to prepare them to enter kindergarten, so they can learn and thrive throughout their education process."

Not everyone finds that research so convincing. Liv Finne of the Washington Policy's Education Center said, "the research has been exaggerated," and if Seattle moves forward with a plan to provide universal preschool, "we're not going to get the results that are being promised."

The Seattle City Council will continue to meet in the coming months. 

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