1st Quarter 2019
Episode 816, 817, 818

Note: The first episode shown after the end of the Fourth Quarter 2018 was #803 on December 17, 2018, during a week that did not fall within either the Fourth Quarter 2018 or the First Quarter 2019. The first episode shown during the First Quarter 2019 was a rerun of #335 on December 24, 2018.

Episode #816: Where'd They Go
First Broadcast: 12/31/18
In a first for Free New York, tonight's episode is audio only--on purpose!--with only a lone screen-saver to keep your eyes company. In this relaxed "NPR"-type atmosphere, Camerawoman Kim and I discuss the latest government shutdown, the Dow Jones index, Robin Hood, U.S. military bases, Hawaii, bone spurs, a shady-sounding podiatrist, and Trump lying to U.S. troops, among other things. Will we ever do another "podcast" episode like this again? Only time will tell!

Episode #817: The Stupidest Thing
First Broadcast: 1/7/19
The year 2018 was "the worst year for stocks since 2008," and December 2018 was the worst December for the Dow Jones index since 1931. Among the casualties: Apple, which now thinks it will earn "only" $84 billion in its first quarter 2019, instead of the $89-93 billion it originally estimated, due in large part to Trump's trade war with China. This brings up two questions: 1) What kind of a country is this where a company can earn $84 billion and still be considered "in trouble"? 2) If the richest company in America and the richest Americans who own stocks aren't better off because of Trump, and the poorest Americans who rely on federal services and jobs in dying industries aren't better off because of Trump, then who exactly is benefiting from Trump's policies? Have you seen Harlan County U.S.A. to get a better idea of how coal mining could kill you? Who might the Democrats nominate for President in 2020? What will Governor Cuomo do for New York in his third term? All this and more in another audio-only episode!

Episode #818: A Stupid Wall
First Broadcast: 1/14/19
On January 8, 2019, Donald Trump gave his first address to the nation from the Oval Office, in which he told the TV audience why, as a pre-requisite to ending his current partial shutdown of the federal government, he wanted Congress to allocate $5.7 billion to build a wall along the United States' southern border with Mexico, despite the fact that he didn't think the speech was going to change anyone's mind anyway. The next day, Trump held a meeting at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the newly re-relected Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, even though Trump clearly didn't want to do this either. According to Senator Dick Durbin:

"He said today, in the middle of this meeting, 'I don't know why I'm doing this. I didn't want to do this meeting. They told me I had to do this meeting.'"

Needless to say, the meeting did not end with the Democrats agreeing to fund a wall that most Americans don't want to solve a "crisis" that doesn't exist in a way that wouldn't solve any problems anyway. As a result, we're now in the midst of the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, and it's not clear how it's eventually going to end--assuming it does end sometime. Hear us speculate, as out audio-only experiment continues!

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