Note: The first episodes shown during the First Quarter 2018 were reruns of
#769 on December 18, 2017, #335 on December 25, 2017.
Episode #784: You Can't Get Out
First Broadcast: 1/1/18
Happy Bone-Chilling New Year! While President (for now) Trump spends a third of his term golfing or otherwise on vacation, the rest of us prepare for the side effects of the smash-and-grab tax plan that he and the Republicans recently passed into law. Can we fix this shit in 2018? Oh, I'm hoping we can! Assuming we're all still here, that is...
Episode #785: A Little More Extra
First Broadcast: 1/8/18
First "thundersnow," now "bomb cyclone"; as if this winter hasn't been harsh enough. Will any of this make Republicans more likely to do something to forestall anthropogenic climate change? Probably not. Will any of this distract from Michael Wolff's book about how everyone in the White House allegedly thinks Trump is incompetent? Probably not. May it be warmer next week!
Episode #786: Art House
First Broadcast: 1/15/18
Repeated: 3/5/18; 6/18/18
Tonight, we lament the imminent loss of the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, a comfortable "indie" movie theater that occupied the middle ground in between the sophisticated theaters like the Metrograph and the Quad, targeted art houses like the Cinema Village, the IFC Center, and the Film Forum, full service theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse, and everyday theaters like the Regal Union Square and the AMC (née Loews) Village 7. Coming at the same time as the impending loss of the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, it's not the best news for Manhattan cinephiles, but at least the existence of so many other theaters should provide some small comfort. It begs the question: Is the demise of this middle class theater related to the demise of what I'd consider middle class restaurants like the NoHo Star and 7A? Is it all symptomatic of the demise of the middle class in general? It makes you think, that's for sure.
Episode #787: Bob Cratchit in his TriBeCa Loft
First Broadcast: 1/29/18
Repeated: 2/19/18; 4/16/18
This year's Academy Award nominations get us talking--again--about the late Sunshine Cinema, which leads into New York City's omnipresent housing crisis, the dangers of hyper-gentrification, how Airbnb ruins cities, and, uh, yeah, Bob Cratchit. It's all over the place, man!
Episode #788: Uniom
First Broadcast: 2/5/18
Donald Trump had his first State of the Union address this past week, and it was so full of lies and inaccuracies that it would take a lot more than this episode to list them all. Did we point out how he never mentioned climate change, which is a much bigger threat to the future of the United States than any amount of immigrants ever could be? Did we say how the economy can't be doing that well if companies like Walmart are being subsidized by public assistance? Will any of this distract from the Mueller investigation that gets closer to indicting Trump with each passing day? I hope the answers are as good as the questions!
Episode #789: Presidential Casual Wear
First Broadcast: 2/12/18
So, President Trump now wants a military parade, for no real reason. He was talked out of turning his inaugural parade into a military one last year, but apparently the parade he saw for Bastille Day in France made him envious, and now he wants a parade that's even bigger than theirs. (Nothing Freudian there, right?) Congress, to their credit, seems to be mostly opposed to the idea, but the fact that any Republicans are on board with this French-inspired event at all is truly surprising, when you consider that it was only 14 years ago when Republicans declared someone who "looks French" was unfit for the Presidency. Is this the ultimate product of the Unitary Executive Theory run amuck? Or is this just Trump displaying more of his dictatorial ambitions? Why not both?
Episode #790: We Call BS
First Broadcast: 2/26/18
The words of Emma Gonzalez loom large in our episode this week, since she is one of the many surviving students of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people on February 14. In a stirring speech Gonzalez gave at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale on February 17, she said the following to the crowd:
Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.
The very vocal activism of these students is a welcome antidote to the useless punditry of people like Donald Trump, who now advocates that teachers arm themselves at school to prevent future school shootings--a misguided idea that's been disproven by all the studies that have been done on the subject. You know what could prevent more mass death from a shooting in the future? Banning the tools that make mass death possible in the first place! Maybe with these young activists turning up the heat on politicians who have been inactive on gun control for way too long, we might finally have a chance.
Episode #791: Jump Ship
First Broadcast: 3/12/18
If you felt like the Trump administration had a lot more employees either quitting or being fired than other recent Presidencies, you're not wrong. According to NPR: "A full 43 percent of top-level positions in the Trump White House have seen turnover. That is not normal. In fact, the Trump White House has had more turnover among senior aides in the first 13 1/2 months of Trump's term than his four most recent predecessors had after two years." On her show, Rachel Maddow displayed a list of 50 different occasions when a position at the Trump White House had turned over--a list that's only going to grow larger, I suspect, as long as Trump keeps hiring less than qualified people for these positions, and as long as truly qualified people avoid this administration like the shitshow that it is. Does this attraction to chaos and stupidity explain why Trump's White House is so clueless about climate change, or why Trump keeps pushing the myth of so-called "clean coal"? Is it the same phenomenon that inspired fans of coal mining to run out and burn some charcoal on the grill, even though coal and charcoal ARE NOT THE SAME THING? Will Stormy Daniels end up being the straw that finally gets Trump's supporters to throw away their "MAGA" hats? What the results be when she tests her "Monica Lewinsky dress"? Here's hoping at least some of this isn't eclipsed by whatever else might happen in the news...