Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson nearly three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

U.S. Navy/Public Domain

“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined." 

So said President Obama in his final State of the Union address. 

But there is constant pressure from Congress to further expand military spending, even at the expense of domestic programs to help people in poverty. 

Economist Mike Prokosch tracks the trends in federal spending.

Basic Books

Finding your way to the bathroom in the dark is a sure sign that you don't need a lot of sensory input to make your way in your usual pathways. 

In fact, scientists now tell us that a majority of what we experience is not necessarily "real," but the world as filtered through our perceptions. 

And we can take advantage of that fact, manipulating the brain for our well-being and gain. 

Think virtual reality, artificial limbs, and more... these are among the gadgets and approaches in Kara Platoni's book We Have The Technology

Wikimedia

It's like the U.S. Census, just a lot shorter and more intense.  And more difficult: trying to count people with no fixed address. 

But point-in-time (PIT) homeless counts are common across the country... a one-day reading of the numbers of people living on the streets and in the woods and homeless camps. 

The Community Alliance of Lane County, CALC, is coordinating the count in Lane County on January 27th, with training this week (Jan. 19). 

Vision Quilt

A needle and thread might seem like a poor set of tools to bring to a gunfight.  But the point is NOT to get into a gunfight; rather to prevent such fights. 

The needle and thread are to make a quilt to publicize the effort the curtail gun violence in the country, just as quilts informed the public of the effort to stop the AIDS epidemic years ago. 

The anti-gun violence project is called Vision Quilt, the creation of retired Ashland teacher Cathy DeForest. 

Penguin Books

So a guy tells you he can GUARANTEE you'll get an eight percent* return on your stock market investments EVERY YEAR.  Is that even possible? 

A lot of people thought it was, and Bernie Madoff lost their money. 

His story is one of several in Maria Konnikova's book The Confidence Game, which points out how often people fall for cons even after similar cons have been seen many times. 

Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup

An ominous anniversary looms at the end of the month: the 316th anniversary of the last major Cascadia earthquake (January 26th). 

On average, the Cascadia Subduction Zone ruptures about every 240 years... so we're due for a big shake. 

University of Oregon geophysicist Doug Toomey is involved with the Cascadia Initiative, a project to better understand the mechanics of the subduction zone. 

Wikimedia

It's not unusual for union members to oppose foreign trade deals, enacted or proposed.  But plumbers and steamfitters? 

Sure enough, the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290, serving Oregon, Southern Washington, and Northern California, has a major bone to pick with the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

When you stop to think, you realize the jobs union members perform probably can't be sent offshore. 

Penguin Books

It was not so long ago that the only human females in the Arab world were children and married women.  But that is changing, despite continued pressure to conform from men. 

Arab women are increasing their education and independence, a trend noted in Katherine Zoepf's book Excellent Daughters

The author is well-versed in the subject matter, covering women in Arab countries for more than ten years. 

Remember how much fun it was being a teenager?  Yes, the question is facetious... because the teen years often contain the most tumultuous years of a person's life. 

That's what led to the creation of The Rose Circle Mentoring Network, which mentors people from ages 10 to 24 all over Jackson County. 

Wikimedia

Where chain saws once roared, only the sounds of the McKenzie River can be heard.

And that's the way things are likely to stay for a very long time. 

The McKenzie River Trust just closed a deal to buy a chunk of land along the river, near the community of Blue River, from a timber company. 

Basic Books

There's no place like home, jillions of people once said. 

And there's nothing like a human, we should add. 

Because humans and homes are intricately interconnected, a connection explored by anthropologist John Allen in Home: How Habitat Made Us Human

We learn much about how our making of homes makes us different from other species--all of them.

Lulu Vision

The recent death of a homeless man in Medford in cold weather prompted concerns about where people go when the weather turns bitter. 

Several cities offer emergency shelters when temps dip sharply. 

Those include Ashland, which can house some homeless people on especially cold nights. 

The Ashland Community Resource Center coordinates that and other services. 

inpursuitofquestions.com

Behind the refuge takeover in Harney County lies a persistent issue: is management of federal land onerous, or beneficial?

That's one topic in this week's VENTSday; call or email or take this survey on whether your community benefits from federal land management, or is hurt by it.

Topic two: What to do about the Klamath River now that the agreements have expired? 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center.

We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics. Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.

universesonstage.com

The major Martin Luther King Day celebration in Ashland features a collective keynote speaker: "Universes," the innovative resident theater company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

The group amazed audiences with the 60s-revolution retrospective "Party People" a few years ago, and stuck around to create more work that goes beyond simple entertainment. 

And they work in so many genres: theater, poetry, jazz, and hip-hop at the top of the list. 

California Department of Corrections

The number of people in jail and prison in America is staggering itself: more than two million people. 

Stop and think about the loved ones of the prisoners, and you realize millions more are waiting on the outside. 

And many prisons are changing the rules for family visits, putting more time and distance between inmates and their loved ones. 

Sylvia A. Harvey wrote about this recently in The Nation

Butte Creek Mill

Christmas morning provided a surprise to the owners of Eagle Point's historic Butte Creek Mill, but not the pleasant kind. 

The mill burned to the ground before dawn, leaving the community without its centerpiece of more than a century. 

Any doubts about the future were quickly erased, though, as owner (and Eagle Point Mayor) Bob Russell declared "We Will Rebuild." 

Penguin Books

The next time somebody criticizes your messy desk, just point out that it could be a sign of creativity.  It's worth a try. 

And there's some evidence to support the claim, explored in the book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire incorporate both brain science and great examples--from Thomas Edison to John Lennon--to illustrate the proclivities of the creative mind. 

Wikimedia

Well, this has to be a first.  We can neither say the title nor show the cover of a book we're discussing on the air. 

Because the book is about BS, and you know what that stands for. 

Language expert and humorist Mark Peters takes a tour through the range of terms we often use (think "balderdash" and "bunk") in his book Bulls**t: A Lexicon

Wikimedia

The presence of curb cuts and parking slots for the handicapped gives you some idea of our accommodations for people with disabilities. 

But it's hard for people without disabilities to get a real sense of what's still needed. 

Bill Hahey will tell us on a return visit; he is a musician and a member of DUDE, Disabled United in Direct Empowerment

He has some stories about issues navigating for blind people. 

University of Oregon

You can't sit in one place and watch evolution happen.  But you might be able to come back after a while and see the evidence of it. 

And in a remarkably short time, it turns out. 

Scientists at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Oregon discovered that the huge Alaska earthquake of 1964--the one that caused the Crescent City tsunami--forced sudden changes in a species of fish. 

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