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After a triumphal announcement about the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban, the White House is playing defense as more of the story emerges. More and more California counties are refusing ICE’s request to hold potentially deportable inmates after they’ve served their jail sentences. Author Joanna Rakoff talks about the year she spent answering JD Salinger’s fanmail. And Bashar al-Assad is expected to be elected for a third 7-year term as Syria’s President, despite the horrible and ongoing civil war.

Banner Image: Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was captured during the War in Afghanistan; Credit: United States Army

The Bergdahl Story Gets Complicated for the White House 9 MIN, 19 SEC

After a triumphal announcement by President Obama about the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the White House has been playing defense on the story. It turns out that Bergdahl had become disillusioned with the American military operation in Afghanistan and had walked off the base. Some soldiers who served with him call Bergdahl a deserter and say the search for him cost the lives of other troops. The White House has been criticized for “negotiating with terrorists” and releasing high-level Taliban detainees in the prisoner swap. And members of Congress are angry that they were not consulted before the Guantanamo prisoners were released, as the law requires.

Michael Crowley, Politico (@MichaelCrowley)

ICE Holds 8 MIN, 49 SEC

One by one, counties in California are opting out of a practice called ICE holds. ICE refers to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and “holds” refer to the practice of local authorities keeping potentially-deportable immigrants in jail after their sentences are up. A federal judge ruled that local officials have no probable cause to keep inmates past their jail terms and are liable for damages. And now more than a dozen California Counties have put a stop to the practice.

Grisel Ruiz, Immigration Legal Resource Center

We Need to Talk About the Children 7 MIN, 34 SEC

Ever since Amy Chua popularized the term “Tiger Mom”, there’s been a lot of debate around the country over Eastern vs Western parenting practices. Now, Stanford researchers have compared the more strict approach of some Asian-American families to the more lenient approach of some European-American parents. We discuss the results in our regular parenting segment, “We Need to Talk About the Children.”

Mike Pesca, The Gist / NPR (@pescami)

'My Salinger Year' 12 MIN, 39 SEC

When she was 23, Joanna Rakoff left grad school in London and moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a poet. Despite being what she calls, “the only bookish, angry, misfit American teenager to have graduated from high school without reading Catcher in the Rye,” Rakoff gets a job at the literary agency that handles JD Salinger. And one of her duties is answering the secretive author’s fan mail.

Joanna Rakoff, author, 'My Salinger Year' (@jsmithrakoff)

My Salinger Year

Joanna Rakoff

Syrian Elections 7 MIN, 48 SEC

Polls opened today for Syria’s presidential election. President Bashar al-Assad is expected to win a third 7-year term. That’s despite a three-year civil war that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and is still going on.

Andrew Tabler, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (@andrewtabler)

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