2nd Quarter 2019
Episode 824, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830, 831

Note: The first episode shown during the Second Quarter 2019 was a rerun of #774 on March 25, 2019.

Episode #824: With All Due Respect
First Broadcast: 4/1/19
Did you know that a British person could be insulting you to your face, and you might never know it? That's intriguing, but is it more intriguing than the Mueller report, the findings of the investigation into whether there was "coordination" between the Trump 2016 campaign and the Russian government to interfere with the results of the 2016 election, of which the public only knows from a 4-page summary written by Attorney General Barr quoting no more than 60 words from the original document, and even that much included the tidbit that, as far as the allegations of Trump obstructing justice are concerned, "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him"? Could it be that Barr's summary is concealing much more than it revealed? Are you as amazed as I am that Trump's description of the investigation as "an illegal takedown that failed" was wrong in three different ways? When will Congress and the rest of us be able to read the full report, and what happens next? I'd love to know the answer to that last one, as we continue to explore the world of audio!

Episode #825: Win Win
First Broadcast: 4/8/19
After a brief digression about the Batman TV series and the retro comic book it inspired, mixing up Yvonne Craig with Yvonne De Carlo, and tipping our hat to John Astin and Carolyn Jones, we discuss some of the more interesting parts of the new New York State budget that was signed into law this past week. Notably:

Supermarkets and other retailers will be banned from providing single-use plastic bags starting March 1, 2020. Individual counties have the option of charging 5 cents for paper bags, with 2 cents going to local governments and 3 cents to the state's Environmental Protection Fund, according to the Associated Press. [Weather.com]

It bears noting that the plastic bag ban won't be total: Restaurants will still be able to package your takeout in plastic bags, delis and butchers may still wrap meats in plastic, and plastic bags for bulk items are still allowed. Newspaper and garment bags will be similarly exempted, as will trash and recycling bags. [Gothamist]

Hey, if it keeps more plastic from filling up whale stomachs, it can't be all bad. Additionally, the state finally approved the idea of having a congestion pricing scheme in place for lower Manhattan. The amount for the toll hasn't been established yet, but of the things we do know:

Drivers who enter Manhattan below 60th Street will be tolled, except those traveling on the West Side Highway, FDR Drive and Battery Park underpass. Motorists will only be charged once a day. ... The legislation includes credits for drivers who live in the congestion pricing zone who make under $60,000 a year. MTA chairman Patrick Foye said the authority could exempt people who live on the border of the tolling district but park within it because of alternate-side parking rules. ... The deadline to implement the plan is December 2020, but tolling could begin earlier than that. ... The funds will be secured in a "lockbox" meant only to be used for MTA capital projects. [am New York]
Could one of those projects be the outfitting of all subway turnstiles with tap card readers so that apps or electronic cards can replace the MetroCard? Did we discuss the origins of anything else? Are we gonna lose all our avocados?? The audio journey continues!

Episode #826: Pick Your Tense
First Broadcast: 4/22/19
We knew the talk of the town would be the redacted Mueller report, but we had to record our episode before it was released, so we could only guess at the fountain of mendacity and corruption that lurked inside, and muse about all the other investigations that are still ongoing. We'll obviously have more to say about it next episode, but if anyone had doubts about impeaching Trump before the report was released, they should have no doubt at all by now that the motherfucker should be impeached already. We also discuss the recent fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and speculate how it might be restored. Is this episode still an audio wonderland? Why yes, yes it is!

Episode #827: No Prizes
First Broadcast: 4/29/19
Repeated: 5/6/19; 6/17/19
We catch up with the redacted Mueller report! There is already enough evidence that Trump has obstructed justice! The underlying crime of the obstruction was most likely the campaign finance violations found by the Southern District of New York! Trump denies that the only reason he didn't succeed with more obstruction is because his staff disobeyed his orders! Trump is ramping up his obstruction by ordering his staff to not comply with subpoenas from Congress! Trump thinks the Mueller report was a contest that he "won," and that the Supreme Court can somehow stop him from being impeached! (It wasn't, and they can't!) Trump lies about the UK spying on him, and the UK refutes him in no uncertain terms! How do we keep our sanity when we're pummeled by a firehose of disinformation every single day from this man?!? Listen and find out!

Episode #828: Wayward Spinach
First Broadcast: 5/13/19
Repeated: 6/3/19
Was that one episode of "Game of Thrones" too damn dark? Did that other episode contain a Starbucks cup? Which states let you buy marijuana legally? How does caffeine affect the human body? When was DIVX a threat to DVD? Why do so many DC movies take place in the dark or in the rain (or in the dark in the rain)? Did Aquaman buck that trend by having scenes in the dark under water? Are Wonder Woman and Shazam! the best DC movies ever? Is Avengers: Endgame still better than all of those DC movies put together? Will we all be sick of Star Wars and Avatar movies by 2027? These, and many more questions may or may not be answered in yet another audio-dominant episode!

Episode #829: Bravado, Narcissism, and Bile
First Broadcast: 5/20/19
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for President! And, even though he's at least the third New Yorker runing for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination (after Brooklyn-born Senator Bernie Sanders and Albany-born Senator Kirsten Gillibrand), New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed former Vice President and former Delaware Senator Joe Biden for President. (That's gotta hurt.) True, Biden is high in the polls right now, but does that really mean anything this far away from next year's primaries? After all, the leaders in the Presidential polls for 2007 were Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Rudy Giuliani for the Republicans, and the nominees for 2008 were, of course, Barack Obama and John McCain. Or, take the Iowa Caucuses of 1988, where the top two finishers for the Democrats were Dick Gephardt and Paul Simon, while the top two Republicans were Bob Dole and Pat Robertson; the final nominees that year were Democrat Mike Dukakis and Republican George H. W. Bush. In other words, it's too early to tell, and still anybody's game. Speaking of Pat Robertson, did I mention that even he thinks the new abortion ban that was signed into law in Alabama has gone too far? Is it a coincidence that abortion bans have also recently been passed in Georgia, Ohio, and--soon--Louisiana? If I didn't talk about those things, then I should have. But there's always next week, as the audio adventure continues!

Episode #830: Let's Investigate This
First Broadcast: 5/27/19
Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, proved in his Congressional testimony this past week that he knows nothing about housing or urban development. A federal judge ruled that Trump (and others) have no valid reasons to prevent Deutsche Bank from responding to a subpoena from a House committee for Trump's (and others') financial records. The I.R.S. knows that, despite Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's objections, the I.R.S. has a legal obligation to provide tax returns to certain Congressional committees that make a formal request for them. The New York State legislature passed a bill that would allow the state to give copies of state tax returns of federal officials to certain Congressional committees that ask for them. Donald Trump says he won't work with Congressional Democrats as long as Congress is investigating him. And Chris Hayes from MSNBC says Katie Hill, the Respresentative from California's 25th district--a "swing" district--reports that "calls to her office have flipped from being 2 to 1 *against* impeachment to being 3 or 4 to 1 *for*." Are events finally turning in sanity's favor? Listen and see if we can all find out!

Episode #831: How, How, How
First Broadcast: 6/10/19
Does Donald Trump always look this grotesque, or does he save it for a special occasion? Will Trump ever be welcome back in the U.K. or Ireland, after he insulted the Mayor of London, a member of the royal family, and the Irish peace process? Why is it important for the House to impeach Trump now, regardless of how a trial may go in the Senate? Will we keep up this audio experiment for another week? Tune in and find out!

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