531: Got Your Back

531: Got Your Back

Jul 25, 2014
There is a special comfort that comes from knowing someone's got your back. You can do things that just weren't possible before. You take huge risks, including some that aren't necessarily advisable. This week: stories where one person's powerlessness is transformed when they discover they have backup. And we see what happens when that backup goes away.
Note: This episode contains un-bleeped curse words. BLEEPED VERSION
  • Ira talks to Grantland writer David Hill about the board game Diplomacy. He had a couple experiences that made him believe that maybe he didn't understand how to play properly. So he enlisted a ringer, an actual diplomat, to go with him to the national tournament in North Carolina. (8 minutes)

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  • David Hill's story about what happened when he took U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross as his coach to the World Championships for the board game Diplomacy. David writes about sports for Grantland.com, and wrote a story about the championship. (14 minutes)

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  • Ira plays audio of a phone call recorded by Ryan Block, who became Internet-famous after he posted audio of himself trying to cancel his Comcast account. Then Ira talks with David Segal, writer of the Haggler column in the New York Times, about getting the backs of consumers who need a champion. (7 minutes)

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  • There's this woman Hamida Gulistani who advocates for women's rights in Afghanistan. For a few years when the US presence in the country was at its greatest, she felt like someone had her back … she felt safer … she saw some progress. But now with the US pulling out, her situation's changing. It's gotten way more dangerous already, and she's shifted from someone having her back, to having to watch her back.

    For 2 1/2 years, Kevin Sieff has been the bureau chief for the WshPo in Afghanistan. He tells this story about the change that Hamida is facing. Trigger warning: this story includes descriptions of violence against women. (24 minutes)

    Song:
    • "Got Your Back", Matt the Electrician

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