Dave Davies

Dave Davies is a guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In addition to his role at Fresh Air, Davies is a senior reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia. Prior to WHYY, he spent 19 years as a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, covering government and politics.

Before joining the Daily News in 1990, Davies was city hall bureau chief for KYW News Radio, Philadelphia's commercial all-news station. From 1982 to 1986, Davies was a reporter for WHYY covering local issues and filing reports for NPR. He also edited a community newspaper in Philadelphia and has worked as a teacher, a cab driver and a welder.

Davies is a graduate of the University of Texas.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in today for Terry Gross.

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COVID-19 has disrupted life around the globe. Borders have closed between nations, businesses have shuttered, and school and social routines have been profoundly altered. Yet amid all this, CNN host and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria sees possibility.

"This is an opportunity, if we take it, to really go ahead and make some of the big changes that we all know we need," he says.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Last week baseball lost one of its most memorable players.

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In October 1859, a white abolitionist named John Brown led a three-day siege on the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va., hoping to spark a rebellion of enslaved people in the Southern states. Ultimately, the abolitionists were defeated by a company of U.S. Marines, and Brown was charged with treason and hanged. But the consequences of the raid were lasting.

"Harpers Ferry, to my mind and a lot of people's mind, is the first battle of the Civil War," actor Ethan Hawke says.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Our guest Jill Heinerth has one of the most fascinating and dangerous jobs on Earth. She's one of a rare breed of technical divers who explore underground waterways and submerged caves deep beneath the Earth's surface or sometimes, as you'll soon hear, inside an iceberg.

In the first presidential debate, President Trump was asked if he would refrain from declaring victory until the election has been independently certified. He refused to make that commitment.

Atlantic writer Barton Gellman was not surprised.

Since the release of the Mueller report in April 2019, it's been analyzed, praised and criticized — and cited by President Trump as proof that there was no collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Andrew Weissmann was one of the lead prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller's team. In his new book, Where Law Ends, Weissmann looks back on where the Mueller investigation succeeded — and where it fell short.

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Past occupants of the White House have placed their business holdings into a blind trust. Not President Trump.

Forbes magazine investigative journalist Dan Alexander has pored over business records, mortgage documents and government reports — and even staked out some Trump properties — to assemble a detailed picture of the president's business interests. He says the president has broken a number of pledges he made about how he would conduct business while in office.

Decades before Google or Facebook existed, a Madison Avenue advertising man started a company called Simulmatics based on a then-revolutionary method of using computers to forecast how people would behave.

Formed in 1959, Simulmatics charged clients a hefty fee to access its "people machine" — a computer program that drew on polling information and behavioral science to predict mathematically the impact of an advertising pitch or political message.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies.

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When the U.S military dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the American government portrayed the weapons as equivalent to large conventional bombs — and dismissed Japanese reports of radiation sickness as propaganda.

Veteran political consultant Stuart Stevens has spent years working as a strategist for Republican campaigns, including the presidential bids of Bob Dole, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. But Stevens didn't support the party's candidate in the 2016 presidential election — and he wasn't alone.

"In 2016, when I went out and attacked Trump on television," he says, "I would say maybe a third of the party hierarchy would email me and thank me for doing this."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Baseball is back, for now at least. And many major league teams this year are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, which gave African Americans a place to showcase their talents before the game was integrated.

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Today, we're going into our archive to remember journalist Pete Hamill. He died yesterday at age 85 from complications following emergency surgery after falling and breaking a hip. Hamill was described in The New York Times as the quintessential New York journalist. Times columnist Dan Barry once wrote, if the pavement of New York City could talk, it would sound like Pete Hamill.

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Psychiatrist Christine Montross has spent years treating people with serious mental illnesses — sometimes in hospitals, other times in jails or prisons.

"The patients that I was seeing in my hospital were indistinguishable many times from the men and women that I was evaluating in jail," Montross says. "But the environments were so markedly different. One [is] charged with ... trying to help and heal, and the other [is] really designed to control and punish."

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For more than two decades as an internist at New York City's Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Danielle Ofri has seen her share of medical errors. She warns that they are far more common than many people realize — especially as hospitals treat a rapid influx of COVID-19 patients.

"I don't think we'll ever know what number, in terms of cause of death, is [due to] medical error — but it's not small," she says.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The events of the past 10 days are a painful reminder that police officers we count on to serve and protect our communities can sometimes abuse their authority and commit brutal acts whose victims are disproportionately people of color. Our guest today, journalist Doug Swanson, has a new book about one of the oldest and most celebrated law enforcement agencies in America, the Texas Rangers.

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