(Soundbite of song "Wild Thing")
MIKE PESCA, host:
Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News, online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. Finally, some music we can relate to.
IAN CHILLAG: Oh yeah.
PESCA: For awhile, this was the most-listened-to CD in America, and in fact, I had a friend who used to like test stereos, and this was the song he would always use because nothing tests a stereo more than "Wild Thing." So, speaking of the most-listened-to song in America, we also have a collection of the most-emailed and most-viewed stories online in America. We call it The Most.
(Soundbite of music)
PESCA: It's a shame we have to lose Tone Loc.
CHILLAG: I was hoping you just wouldn't say it so we could keep rocking.
PESCA: Right. Never say The Most. Just rock out to The Tone. Ian, what've you got?
CHILLAG: I have a couple. One's just a very quick update, which it was a most-popular on cnn.com. And it turns out, you know, we've been covering the feet washing ashore in British Columbia. Two of them belong to the same person. Foot three, found in February, and foot five, found in June, are from the same man. The other finding of the recent investigation is that the feet have come off not by being severed but just decomposition. They fell off. Apparently, the ankles are a weak part of the body.
PESCA: That's the weakest link.
LAURA SILVER: Ew.
DAN PASHMAN: That's why I stopped sprinkling fish flakes on mine.
CHILLAG: So, that the fish wouldn't nibble your feet off?
PASHMAN: Yeah. It makes them stay on longer if they're decomposing in the ocean.
CHILLAG: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe I'll - Maybe I'll get there, too.
PESCA: That's some good planning, Dan.
PASHMAN: Yeah, I like to think ahead.
CHILLAG: Another thing is this was a most-popular on Newser. This was actually from Radar Magazine. They just put together a list of celebrities and their real names, so, you know, everybody knows, like, Ralph Lauren was originally Ralph Lifshitz, I believe. They - they - Moby, I didn't know his name. Did you know his name before he was Moby?
PASHMAN: I'll bet it's really lame.
PESCA: Is it whale-related?
CHILLAG: It is not. Richard Melville Hall.
PASHMAN: Oh. He's actually related to Herman Melville. Now that you say that, I think I remember that.
CHILLAG: Oh really?
PASHMAN: Just a relative.
PESCA: Richard Melville is Dick Melville, like, Moby Dick.
CHILLAG: Oh my God. This is weird.
PESCA: It's all there. He basically has to be called Moby. OK, hit me with a couple more quickly.
CHILLAG: OK. Ice T? Tracy Marrow. Ghostface Killah? Dennis Coles. Natalie Portman? Did you know - I didn't know that wasn't her name. Natalie Hershlag.
PASHMAN: Good move. Portman, good move.
CHILLAG A couple I really like, Geraldo Rivera was just Gerald Rivera, and Jann Wenner...
PASHMAN: Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone.
CHILLAG: Oh sorry.
PASHMAN: His real name is Jannnn (ph).
CHILLAG: No. It looks that way. You just added an N there.
PESCA: Jann loser.
CHILLAG: Added an N there. I always like Dice Raw from the Roots. He's not on this list, but I think his name was Karl Burt Jenkins (ph), which is not really a hardcore kind of rapper name.
PESCA: Also, William December? Billy D. Williams. What do you do when a moose interrupts a soccer game, the Anchorage Daily News asks? Yeah. This happens a lot, and a local biologist just doesn't understand how stupid people are. They go up to the moose. They'll scratch the moose's ear. They'll rub the moose snouts. They'll feed the bristles of their - they'll feel the moose bristles between their fingers, but this isn't good.
In fact, Rick Sinnott of Alaska says no good can come of this. You can't write citations for stupidity, unfortunately. There are a few hundred moose in the Anchorage Bowl. They wander up to people, and it just makes the moose - it's just not a good situation. The moose gets too friendly and then eventually starts becoming, you know...
PASHMAN: Well, then it wants to move in. It's not going to pay its share of the rent.
PESCA: Yeah. And it'll just lie on the couch.
CHILLAG: The moose likes it, though, right?
PESCA: The moose likes it for a little while, and then he becomes acclimated to the people, and then just terrible things happen. You know, he eats people's garbage, and sometimes, he tramples someone. It's also illegal to feed a moose in Alaska, but sadly, not many other states, and I think they need to pass that law in Florida. Dan, what do you have?
PASHMAN: Well, Mike, I've got a most-emailed here from Yahoo! News, and I know you have a beautiful young boy in your home named Milo.
PESCA: This is true.
PASHMAN: We all love Milo, and I'm curious to ask you, as a father, if you could tell me, how much is Milo worth to you?
PESCA: This is a picture of Milo.
PASHMAN: This is a picture. He's very cute. How much is this kid worth?
PESCA: On the open market?
PASHMAN: Yeah. I mean, and to you.
PESCA: Healthy white baby? He's like, I don't know, seven million?
PASHMAN: Well, you're actually - you're exactly right. What did you do, read this article? Thanks a lot, buddy. The value of a statistical life is 6.9 million dollars.
PESCA: So, I said a little more.
PASHMAN: But that's a drop.
PESCA: Oh, no.
CHILLAG: Oh, man.
PASHMAN: An American life is worth less today than it used to be. It's not just the American dollar losing value. You're dropping in value, Mike Pesca, as are all the rest of us.
CHILLAG: I could feel it happening, actually.
PASHMAN: Yeah. Totally.
PESCA: Could you put it in context? What does that mean? Who is putting these price tags on American lives?
PASHMAN: Well, the Environmental Protection Agency puts this number together. It's a drop of nearly a million dollars from just five years ago, and you know, they said this may seem like a harmless bureaucratic calculation, but it's really - it has real consequences, because when the government draws up different regulations they put a value on human life and weigh those costs against life-saving benefits.
PESCA: Right. So, basically, they'll say this thing costs 21 million dollars to install. If it - but it will save three lives. Then it might be worth it. If it'll save 30 lives it's definitely worth it. If it' sonly saving one life, it won't be worth it.
PASHMAN: That's right.
PESCA: So, they do their calculations with that figure, about seven million dollars.
PASHMAN: Now, some environmentalists accuse the Bush administration of changing the value to avoid tougher rules.
PESCA: Yeah. The lower a life is worth, the less you have to do.
PESCA: Wow. That should be a campaign issue. You know, how much do you value a human life at?
PASHMAN: Yeah, 6.9 million dollars.
PESCA: Of course, every politician will be, you know, a human life is invaluable, and no matter the costs, we're going to save one person, but it's always very interesting how they make those calculations. Laura Silver is here.
PESCA: What does Laura bring us?
SILVER: How much is a poll dance worth in Chile?
PESCA: Oh, in Chile. (Unintelligible) I don't know.
CHILLAG: What's the - what's the exchange rate right now?
(Soundbite of laughter)
SILVER: Totally different currency.
MATT MARTINEZ: How do you make it rain in Chile?
(Soundbite of laughter)
SILVER: Well, a poll dancer down there was arrested by police after she was trying to remove her clothes outside the presidential palace. But it wasn't her first gig. A young woman named Montserrat Morilles said her performances are "happy minutes," and she's really just trying to loosen Chile up.
SILVER: It's a timid country, she says, and her dance, her poll dance, it's just the beginning. She says, we're starting an idea here that will grow and be developed further.
PESCA: But now she is in jail.
(Soundbite of laughter)
PESCA: And if you're going to dance up against a Chile poll, you might get stuck. Matt, take us to the piece.
MARTINEZ: This is true. In other Latin-related news - ah this is a bad segue. Pretend I never said that. Strike that from the record. Transcribers, listening transcribers? Strike that from the...
PASHMAN: It is stricken.
(Soundbite of laughter)
MARTINEZ: Transcripts. Thank you very much. The number two most-viewed right now at NPR is a story that's part of our look at Latino voters. This is a story by David Greene about a group called Latinas for McCain. Here's David's report.
(Soundbite of NPR's All Things Considered, July 10, 2008)
DAVID GREENE: Seven members of Latinas for McCain invited me to breakfast at a country club in Las Vegas. There were Republicans and Democrats at the table. These women own business or do social work. Yolanda Murrow (ph) is a family counselor, and she may never have predicted she'd be in a group called Latinas for McCain. Yolanda's a Democrat. She supported New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in the Nevada caucuses in January, but now that Barack Obama appears to be the Democratic nominee, Yolanda's organizing for John McCain. One reason is McCain's age.
Ms. YOLANDA MURROW (Member, Latinas for McCain): Youth versus age, and again, being a Latina, we see age as a plus, not as a minus. You know, when you hear people say, oh, he's too old, he's 70, for us, that's a good thing actually. You learn a lot from elders. You, you know, you get the experience. You get the wisdom.
GREENE: Yolanda does have disagreements with McCain. She supports abortion rights and that's one reason she usually votes for Democrats, but not in this presidential race.
Ms. MURROW: McCain has always been middle of the road with that, too, where he's comfortable with women making choices. So, I'm OK with that, too. So, I think that's where the balance lies for me.
GREENE: Yelena says even though she knows McCain is pro-life, she's comfortable with him, so much so that she'll be helping to get the vote out for McCain this fall. So will Tibi Ellis. She's the national ambassador for Latinas for McCain. Tibi is a registered Republican. She supported Mitt Romney in the Republican caucuses here in Nevada, and after John McCain essentially wrapped up the nomination, Tibi got on board with the Arizona senator after a few weeks.
But Tibi's support for McCain is also driven by her belief that Barack Obama is unacceptable. For one thing, Tibi says she was bothered when Obama left his Chicago church after the controversy over some of Pastor Jeremiah Wright's sermons. Tibi points to her own Catholic faith and the recent sex-abuse scandals.
Ms. TIBI ELLIS (National Ambassador, Latinas for McCain): We have some offenders in our city from the Catholic Church. I don't leave my church because a man makes a mistake. I stay true to my faith and my people and my church. He changed from Muslim to Christianity, and then he renounced his church because he was confronted with conflict. So, what is he going to do in the future when he's confronted with conflict?
GREENE: You heard how Tibi said Obama changed from Muslim to Christianity. For the record, Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, but in a secular household. Obama stresses he's a devoted Christian and his campaign has started an entire website to respond to mischaracterizations of his background. But the Obama's campaign challenge is clear. Listen to Teresa Ramirez.
Ms. TERESA RAMIREZ (Member, Latinas for McCain): He is - he is from Middle East. He got the background for the Middle East. When he was a little boy, he went to school - he was in a Muslim-run school. Those are the reason I don't trust is because those people, they brainwash the kids when they are little, they are six years old.
GREENE: Now, Obama did not attend a Muslim school and I pressed Theresa. I said, Obama has never practiced in the Muslim faith. Her response?
Ms. RAMIREZ: He drop his church with the first problem he have. And that proved that he's lying when he's saying he's not Muslim man, because it's already two religions that he dropped. I mean, is that what we expect him to do in this country when maybe something - something big, so he don't know how he act? You know, that - that is something that I cannot trust him. It's one of the reasons I don't believe in him.
GREENE: And in fact, many of the reasons these women gave for supporting McCain had more to do with the things they believe about Obama. Several of them say they've listened to Obama's calls for change and watched students and young people mobilize around him. They say this reminds them of political movements in Central and South America that ended badly. They point to Fidel Castro in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Sonja Ravelli (ph) is a Republican. She's originally from Brazil.
Ms. SONJA RAVELLI (Member, Latinas for McCain): I was a student. I've been there. We want all the different things we don't know why. Because we're tired of our parents sometimes, we're tired of our grandparents, we're tired of the government and when we want change we should go to the closet and change our clothes because we don't have a structure to change in the country. Go and buy a new suit. A new dress. Change yourself, but leave the country for the people who's have a responsibility to make decisions.
GREENE: Sonja and the other women in Latinas for McCain say they'll be offering these views to other women and encouraging them to get to the polls in November.
PESCA: And you know what? A hat tipped to NPR's David Greene reporting. Reporters have been there. You're a reporter, not a teacher. Someone says something factually inaccurate, and then you have to walk the line. You tell the person, you also have to tell your audience. You're not there to give ideas to a person who didn't have ideas beforehand. Great job by him. And you can hear more on NPR's series on Latino voters on the big NPR website, and all the links to all the stories you heard at The Most on our website, npr.org/bryantpark.