Betsy Kaplan | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Betsy Kaplan

Senior Producer

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. Prior to that, Betsy worked as an intensive care registered nurse in several Connecticut hospitals.

While taking time off from nursing to have fun with her three young daughters, she was elected to three terms on her town's Board of Education and worked at a local museum. 

She's produced shows for Where We Live and the Colin McEnroe Show, several of which have won local awards.

She is currently the senior producer for the Colin McEnroe Show

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The pandemic is making us reflect on what we value as people and a country. We don't yet know how much Covid-19 will change life as we knew it before the pandemic. We do know that it must change. We're learning to respect each other's space. The internet is becoming a kinder place.  And we shouldn't accept political leaders who can't lead. 

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You can find lots of advice about how to avoid feeling bored during this pandemic. There's virtual dance parties and home safaries,  lists of what to read and watch, and yoga classes on Zoom. 

Boredom is a difficult emotion for most of us. Almost 3,500 people living under quarantine in Italy shared on a survey last week that boredom has been one of the hardest parts of staying inside. We go out of our way to avoid feeling it, including students who chose electric shock over feeling bored in this experiment

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William Wetmore Story sculpted "The Angel of Grief," for his wife's grave after her death in 1894. He wrote that it was the only way he could express his feelings of "utter abandonment." It was his last work before his own death one year later. 

We may not readily identify grief in the gamut of emotions we're feeling during this pandemic. We haven't lost the kind of love expressed through William Story's sculpture but loss is very much at the center of our new reality. We are collectively grieving the loss of a world that has changed forever.  

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Restaurants around the country have closed their doors to in-dining service to help slow the spread of Coronavirus and prevent unnecessary deaths. That's good news.

But it's also bad news for an industry that employs 160,000 people in Connecticut alone, many laid off and waiting for their unemployment application to be processed by our overwhelmed state system.  

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The Trump administration is pursuing policies they say are necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus -- even though Congress and the courts rejected these policies prior to the pandemic.

Last week, the president gave his administration the power to shut the southwestern border, implement a rule allowing federal workers to withhold their union dues, and deliver food boxes to rural areas after Congress complained about poor food quality. Most recently, he asked Congress to let judges indefinitely hold people without trial during an emergency.

How do we give President Trump the power to mobilize the resources of the federal government against coronavirus and protect against his abuse of that power?

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Did you get enough sleep last night? If you're like most Americans, probably not. You might feel pretty good after six hours of sleep and a strong cup of coffee, but the physical and mental toll of sleep deprivation is high.

We become more impulsive and less mentally agile, and we make more mistakes. Long term, lack of sleep (six hours or less per night) can mess with mood, hormones, and immune systems, and it can increase our risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Reality TV shows like the Discovery Channel's Doomsday Bunkers and National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers perpetuate a stereotype of "preppers" that omits the wide swath of people who engage in preparedness in a less extreme and more varied way.

Talk of nuclear war, climate apocalypse, pandemic, economic instability, and the decline of democracy has led more people to think about how to survive a catastrophic -- if not apocalyptic -- event.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

America got (more) serious last week about COVID-19. Schools and colleges closed, workers went remote, professional sports teams canceled their seasons, theaters and restaurants closed their doors, and Americans hunkered down at home to reckon with the fragility of life as we know it.

We want to hear from you. Colin and an epidemiologist answer your questions.

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Bufi at de.Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Is it safe to say that we're not yet ready to kiss and make up with the banks whose reckless behavior led to the 2008 financial crisis? A little contrition would go a long way to helping us forgive and forget. That's not happening, at least not with Deutsche Bank, the preferred bank of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Take a few seconds to reminisce about your childhood "best friend." Maybe it was a boy, a girl, an imaginary friend, or perhaps a stuffed toy. This stuffed toy was your childhood confidant that you dragged everywhere, from the local supermarket to the preschool sandbox, a transitional object that temporarily stood between you and your relationship with your parents.

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It's nice to meet you! When did you move in? How do you like it here in Connecticut after leaving the beautiful weather in Hawaii?

Small talk is both the bane of our existence and essential in our existential quest to understand our place in the world.

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Populism is on the rise from Europe to India to the United States.

Americans elected Donald Trump on his promise to "Drain the swamp" of a political elite no longer responsive to their needs. Populists almost took control of Germany, France, and the Netherlands in 2017. Former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi regained power seven short years after being ousted from office for corruption. 

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Sanders won big in Nevada. Biden won big in South Carolina. Steyer and Buttigieg are out, Bloomberg is in, and Warren and Klobuchar are pulling up the rear.

There will be 1,357 delegates from 14 states up for grabs on Super Tuesday. We try to make sense of it.

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Most of the characteristics we associate with hotels -- the welcoming yet alienating effect they have on our psyches -- we absorbed from the artists, musicians, and filmmakers who have long been fascinated with the relationship between our physical travels and our spiritual journeys.

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The recent Senate trial for President Trump's impeachment riveted the nation, but little consensus could be reached about the facts of the case or the outcome. Additionally, many in Congress knew how they would vote before the trial began. 

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Bernie Sanders won a decisive victory in last week's Nevada caucuses after effectively tying with Pete Buttigieg in the less diverse states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Is he the candidate that can beat President Trump? Or the one who will lead the Democratic Party down the road to ruin? It depends on who you talk to. 

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It's been over 40 years since former President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency over Watergate. But, the story of Watergate is almost impossible to tell. It's too big and too murky. It's full of files that were burned and a tape that was erased. It's full of characters named McCord and Magruder and Mitchell, who are hard to keep track of. With each passing year, it becomes more of an inert thing and less of a breathing, wriggling, writhing creature. 

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

John Dankosky / Connecticut Public

The Democratic primary season is just getting started. How have the results from the New Hampshire primary affected how you might vote? 

Note: This episode contains strong language.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

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The Atlantic writer McKay Coppins says President Trump's reelection team is waging a massive disinformation campaign that uses the same tactics of information warfare used by autocrats like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and by Russian President Vladimir Putin in our 2016 election.

Note: This episode contains strong language.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

President Trump responded with anger. He fumed at his perceived enemies at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast. They include members of Congress, people on his staff, FBI agents, and even the state of New York. Senate Republicans hoping for a more subdued Trump were wrong. Others knew better. One remains hopeful.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

William Outlaw is a natural leader. He's been a key figure in helping to lower New Haven's homicide rate over the last decade. He's a strategist and an organizer who can size up a situation quickly. He can defuse a threatening situation with his charisma and charm. He can run a business. 

As a street outreach worker in New Haven, he uses all the same skills today that he used when he co-ran New Haven's largest cocaine gang in the 1980's. 

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B.F. Skinner thought pigeons were so smart they could be used to guide missiles during WWII. He proposed a system in which pigeons would essentially pilot the missile. Skinner said pigeons could be trained to peck at a screen to adjust the trajectory of a missile toward its target. Project pigeon was funded but never used. It's one of the many reasons I could talk about pigeons all day. 

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We're back on the air -- at least for today -- and we're taking your calls. Give us a call at 888-720-9677 (888-720-WNPR). It's been a dizzying week between the Super Bowl and impeachment and now...

The Iowa caucuses descended into chaos Monday night after we all learned that results would be delayed until later on Tuesday. Problems with a new app led to frustration, mistrust, and renewed questions over whether Iowa should remain first in the nation. Does the caucus system even work? Why don't we just hold a national primary?

Unfortunately, candidates got lost under the pile of problems. Each claimed either victory or a very good showing in a caucus in which many Democrats remained undecided until the end. Is Michael Bloomberg the winner in this mess?

The Senate has voted, 51 to 49, not to subpoena witnesses or documents in its impeachment trial of President Trump. Closing arguments are expected on Monday, and a verdict could come next Wednesday afternoon.

This week, Colin and The Gist's Mike Pesca puzzle over the Republican strategy and Alan Dershowitz. He's the Trump attorney who argued that the president could engage in a quid pro quo that benefited him personally as long as he believes his reelection is in the public interest. Dershowitz believes the media misunderstood his argument. These are his words.

And New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik gets into the impeachment as television. He's not entirely sure democracy will be renewed for another season.

Chief Justice John Roberts scolded House managers and the President's counsel early Wednesday for using language beneath the dignity of the world's "greatest deliberative body." This, after Senator Susan Collins complained about "unsettling comments" she felt went against Senate rules of decorum.

Speaking of decorum, senators played with fidget spinners and did crossword puzzles while House managers made their case for impeachment. Enough of this pettifoggery!

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