Petraeus Talks ISIS, Military Tactics with Patricia Sheridan Over Breakfast

patricia sheridan's breakfast with...Journalist Patricia Sheridan hosts a popular podcast called “Patricia Sheridan’s Breakfast With…,” a weekly conversation with “the people behind the headlines.” The podcast airs each week and is transcribed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sheridan talks with actors, writers, politicians, athletes, and everyone in between. Actors Cary Elwes, Morgan Fairchild, and Michael Chernus have been interviewed by Sheridan recently, as have TV host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and marine biologist Sylvia Earle.

In her most recent breakfast interview, Sheridan hosted Gen. David Petraeus, chairman of KKR’s Global Institute and former Director of the CIA. The two of them discussed ISIS, foreign affairs, and an upcoming lecture presented by the American Middle East Institute, which Petraeus will be guest speaking at.

“I think you pursue various courses in life because you admire others who have done that,” explained Petraeus after being asked what initially attracted him to military life. Petraeus mentions his soccer coach, Sunday school teacher, and others West Point teachers who had military connections and inspired him growing up. “I developed a love and admiration for a number of these folks and decided I wanted to be like them,” he said.

Sheridan asked Petraeus questions about ISIS and ongoing Middle Eastern conflict that many Americans have been curious about. After asking about what happened to the trained Iraqi security forces, Petraeus explained, “You can trace the collapse in the north in particular to the fact that the population in which they were serving – Sunni Arabs – was alienated over the past 2½ years by a variety of actions taken by the Iraqi government,” of the shift in population.

“Competent Iraqi leaders,” continues Petraeus, “many of whom I still email and with whom we fought in Iraq, were replaced over time by sectarian loyalists who proved to be largely incompetent,” of another factor that allowed for greater conflict. “Worst of all, the chain of command for these forces was disrupted enormously by the insertion of the so-called office of the commander-in-chief into very tactical measures.”

For more insights on combat and the current state of ISIS, read the full podcast transcript by visiting Patricia Sheridan’s Breakfast With… Gen. David Petraeus.

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Peyton Manning Breaks Record with 509th Touchdown Pass

Peyton Manning 509 record

Image: Denver Broncos via Instagram

This past weekend, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s NFL record for highest number of touchdown passes with his 509th pass. Manning recently threw four touchdown passes in his team’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Denver. He’s now at 510, with the record-breaking 8 yard pass to Demaryius Thomas with only 3:09 left in the first half of the game.

Brett Favre sent him congratulations via a scoreboard video taped from his home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Denver Broncos’ 38-year-old quarterback said afterward, “I can’t believe they actually did it.” After he made his way back to the sideline, Manning was bombarded and wrapped into a bear hug by the head coach John Fox as announcer Alan Roach alerted the crowd to the milestone.

“Broncos fans, you have just witnessed history,” Roach said, introducing a pre-taped video tribute that featured messages from Favre, Broncos general manager John Elway and several Broncos teammates. Favre had played in a QB-record 297 straight regular-season games during his 20-year career in the NFL, along with two-dozen other games in playoffs.

“He always answered the bell every single Sunday and was always producing,” Manning said. “And growing up in the South, both of us, Brett has always said he was a big fan of my dad’s, so there’s been kind of a mutual respect there from my family to him, as well. And I always enjoyed watching him play. Nobody played the game quite like he did. He’s truly a one-of-a-kind quarterback.”

Manning’s 208-game streak ended when he had to sit out the 2011 season with neck fusion surgery. “He’s a throwback, a pocket passer, in a mobile quarterback league,” Favre said. “Peyton’s one of the last guys to play the way he does. And at 38, he’s still the best at what he does.”

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Apple and Facebook Will Freeze Eggs for Female Employees

Facebook

It’s been all over the news lately: the controversial announcement that Apple and Facebook will now freeze eggs for female employees to keep attracting women to join and stay with these companies. The offer is a part of an initiative that includes longer parental leave, education reimbursements for all classes taken by employees, and subsidized student loan refinancing.

Facebook offers up to $20,000 for egg freezing for female employees. The company will also provide adoption and surrogacy assistance and “a host of other fertility services for male and female employees,” the company said. These services can be very expensive, especially if women don’t have access to a good healthcare program or insurance. Just one round of egg freezing can typically cost bout $10,000 with $500 or more a year in storage fees. Apple will begin offering the coverage for this in January.

Many of the women who work at these companies have a high-powered career and combining that will children is still a very hard thing to do. When you freeze your eggs, you are allowing a woman to basically put fertility on hold until they are ready to become parents. Most of the Silicon Valley firms are male-dominated and competing to attract top female talent, and this perk gives Apple and Facebook a leg up.

Apple LogoEgg freezing has even been described as a key to “leveling the playing field” between men and women because women have more freedom to make life choices when they don’t have the pressure of a ticking biological clock. This could help to diversify the workforce, especially for tech companies; Apple’s workforce is 70 percent male, and 69 percent of Facebook employees are male.

What do you think about these new “perks” for female employees working at Apple and Facebook? Do you think this costly incentive will help decrease the gender gap in tech fields?

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NPR Creates New Guideline for Addressing Washington Football Team

Washington Redskins

Image: via Instagram.

The Washington Redskins have come under fire multiple times this year for team owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the team’s offensive name. While Snyder and diehard local football fans claim that they are honoring the Native American community by continuing to use the name, many people from across the country have criticized it for the inherent racism it embodies.

Today, National Public Radio (NPR) made the game changing announcement that it would be actively avoiding printing the team’s name in articles. Reportedly, on Friday, October 10, standards editor Mark Memmot issued a guidance to the newsroom referencing policy changes. This guidance reads, in part:

Our policy on potentially offensive language states that “as a responsible broadcaster, NPR has always set a high bar on use of language that may be offensive to our audience. Use of such language on the air [and online] has been strictly limited to situations where it is absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.”

That guidance should be kept in mind. Here’s how:

As a network, we do not have much occasion to report on this club. When we do, we can usually refer to it simply as “Washington” or “the team” once we’ve established that we’re talking about the city’s NFL franchise. This line, for example, was on our air after the firing of Washington’s coach: “Last year the Redskins made the playoffs, this year they were only 3-13, Mike Shanahan was held to account.” We could have said: “Last year Washington made the playoffs, this year the team was only 3-13, Mike Shanahan was held to account.”

The fact that NPR is having conscious conversations about how to address a controversial topic like this is groundbreaking, and evocative of the progressive work that its journalists and editors are committed to doing.

What do you think of NPR’s decision to detach itself from the Washington Redskins team name?

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Texas Healthcare Worker Contracts Ebola

Ebola virus CDCThere has been a lot of talk around Thomas Eric Duncan who unknowingly brought the deadly Ebola virus to the United States and ended up tragically dying a couple of weeks ago. Now, a nurse who is employed at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where Duncan was treated has since contracted the disease. The nurse had extensive and repeated contact with Duncan prior to his death.

The nurse was wearing protective gear, however the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that there was still a clear breach of safety protocol at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The officials in the hospital have expanded the pool of people they had been monitoring because the nurse had not been among the 48 health care workers, relatives of Mr. Duncan or others they were evaluating daily.

“The care of Ebola patients can be done safely, but it’s hard to do it safely,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, told reporters Sunday. “Even a single, inadvertent innocent slip can result in contamination.”

Now, President Obama has directed the CDC to expedite its investigation into how the health care working contracted the deadly virus in a White House statement. Many want to stress that unless you come into contact with the bodily fluids of an Ebola victim, you cannot contract the disease. The family of the now diseased working has requested total privacy after they reported a fever Friday night.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the Dallas Fire Department’s rescue hazmat team has decontaminated any open areas of the health care worker’s apartment complex.

For more information about Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov.

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