Note: The first episode shown during the First Quarter 2011 was #335 on December 20, 2010.
Episode #560: Yeah, Krampus
First Broadcast: 12/27/10
Is moderation possible when one side preaches compromise, while the other side refuses compromise at all costs? Will the extension of George W. Bush's tax cuts make income disparity in the United States even worse than it already is? Why do people ignore the fact that prosperity in the U.S. was at its peak when tax rates where at their highest? Will more countries follow South America's lead to stop exacerbating the difference between rich and poor within and between nations? Or will more countries continue their race to the bottom to produce the lowest-paid labor force in the world? Only time will tell, I suppose.
Episode #561: Inner Seven
First Broadcast: 1/3/11
Have we all recovered from the blizzard of 2010 yet? Did Mayor Bloomberg forget the harsh lesson that Mayor Lindsay learned the hard way in 1969? That, if you want to be Mayor of New York City, regardless of your politics, you have to clear the snow off the streets (without destroying people's cars in the process)? On a slightly related note, has President Obama forgotten the lessons that the United States learned in the aftermath of the Nixon Presidency and the Church Committee? Namely, that it's not a good thing for countries to engage in things like assassination and illegal wars? I guess we all have a few more years to see if everyone can figure these things out.
Episode #562: A Bad Situation
First Broadcast: 1/17/11
As we here at Free New York try to make sense of the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon, Arizona, we wonder openly whether the constant barrage of anti-government and gun-enthusiast rhetoric coming from Republicans and tea partiers over the last two years had some influence on the apparently less-than-sane shooter Jared Lee Loughner's actions, much in the same way that a bad environment had horrific effects on otherwise sane people in the infamous Stanford prison experiment (or in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, to use a more recent example). We also wonder why is it that the students and teachers at the colleges that Loughner and 2007 shooter Seung-Hui Cho attended were able to surmise the danger these men presented almost immediately, while the vendors who sold guns to these men felt there was no reason to deny them their purchases? And how can Sarah Palin be so craven as to compare criticism of her "crosshairs" map (with one of its targets on Giffords' district) with the "blood libel" of Jews being falsely accused of killing and eating Christian babies? For that matter, how can Rush Limbaugh accuse Democrats of wanting to acquit Loughner of murder? President Obama was right when he said in Tuscon after the shooting: "We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that's entirely up to us." It seems that one side of the political spectrum needs to hear that message a lot more than the other.
Episode #563: Public Intoxication
First Broadcast: 1/24/11 MNN overmodulated our audio for about 16-18 minutes.
Three lessons this week. Lesson #1: If you see a drunken owl in the street, have someone take him inside to feed him water until he sobers up. Lesson #2: If you find yourself locked out of your apartment late at night, it is cheaper to rent a room at a luxury hotel for the night and call a locksmith during business hours than it is to have a locksmith come out at that hour on an "emergency" mission. Lesson #3: If you plan to leave your dog tied to a tree in this nasty cold weather, don't do it for more than three hours, or else you might receive a fine that's somewhere between $250 and three months in jail. Not only that, but it's bad for the dog! Have a heart, guys!
Episode #564: Unfollow
First Broadcast: 1/31/11 Note: MNN originally told us that episode #563 was going to be rerun on 1/31/11 because of a problem with the audio sync in episode #564 around the 12-minute mark. Instead, episode #564 aired as scheduled, with the audio sync problem which lasted from about 12 minutes to about 25 minutes. We're not sure how it happened, but we're investigating on our end. It's not MNN's fault this time.
In the news: Keith Olbermann is no longer working at MSNBC, removing one of the best antidotes ever to the misinformation peddled by the likes of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly over at Fox News. Olbermann was not a mirror image of those demagogues, regardless of what people like Ted Koppel might say. For instance, Olbermann never incited death threats against a 78-year-old professor like Glenn Beck has done with Frances Fox Piven. So, why would MSNBC push out the door the host of one of their higher-rated shows in the first place? Could it have anything to do with the ongoing merger between MSNBC's parent company, NBC, and Comcast, a known donor to many Republican organizations? So much for voting with your viewership. The myth of the free market dies again! PS: Did anyone watch the State of the Union address this year? Are you as disappointed as we were?
Episode #565: Ah Egypt!
First Broadcast: 2/14/11
When we taped this program, Hosni Mubarak had not yet abdicated the Presidency of Egypt, but we at Free New York thought it was only a matter of time before the people of Egypt sent him packing. What else can you say about a leader whose responses to opposition are to shut down Internet access, shut down cell phone networks, shut down train travel, detain and beat up journalists, and hire thugs to attack protestors? "Enough is too much!" I don't have high hopes for Omar Suleiman either--a.k.a., the man who Mubarak handpicked to be his first (and only) Vice President; a.k.a., the man in charge of "rendition" of suspected terrorists sent to Egypt by the C.I.A. to be "interrogated" (a.k.a., tortured). I can only hope that future U.S. involvement with Egypt will be more geared towards supporting the people there and true democracy, as opposed to propping up a dictator by any other name for the sake of "stability." The best coverage of the events in Egypt, hands down, is coming from Al Jazeera, who wouldn't even let a fire in their Cairo office deter them from reporting. You should probably check out their web site to find out the latest info, and then ponder why we can't just watch their cable channel directly here in New York City. Also: Democracy Now! has been providing valuable coverage from Egypt as well, with some very insightful opinions from Noam Chomsky, who's always worth listening to.
Episode #566: Do We Have A Consensus?
First Broadcast: 2/28/11
Part One: The revolution in Libya! Part Two: The revolution in Wisconsin! What more do you want?
Episode #567: Winning!
First Broadcast: 3/7/11
Unintended Repeat: 3/21/11 Episode #210 was supposed to run this week, but MNN repeated this episode instead.
Back on November 3, 2007, Illinois Senator Barack Obama made a speech in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in which he told the crowd:
“Understand this. If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States because Americans deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”
Well, the protestors fighting to keep their right to collectively bargain in Wisconsin are still waiting for President Obama to put on his shoes and join the marches in Madison and elsewhere. Considering all the disinformation being put out by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the right-wing media, the protestors could use all the help they can get. Maybe we could all send them some more pizzas? Some humor to lighten the mood might work too. PS: Here's hoping the people fighting for the right to run their own lives in Libya are successful too!