Episode #832: Bolts
First Broadcast: 6/24/19
President Trump announced to a crowd in Orlando on June 18 that he is running for re-election in 2020, even though he officially declared to the FEC that he was running for re-election on the day he was inaugurated in 2017, and even though the Orlando Sentinel newspaper published an editorial endorsing "Not Donald Trump" next year. In his interview with George Stephanopolous of ABC News, Trump said he would accept information from a foreign government about a rival candidate, an admission which prompted the current chair of the FEC to clarify that doing such a thing is "illegal," and "Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation." Trump also repeatedly demonstrated that he still doesn't understand how tariffs work, which makes me wonder about worker's rights in China, which makes me think about the importance of regulation in business, which brings up examples of why self-regulation doesn't always work, which segues into how social media platforms like YouTube have allowed white supremacists to proliferate, and what's the best way to stop their hatred from spreading online anyway? Questions and more questions in the audio style!
Episode #833: Referring to Something
First Broadcast: 7/8/19
First we speculated on what President Trump's military-themed Fourth of July event would look like (and it turned out to look a lot more like a rained-out insane company picnic than one of the Soviet military parades of yore), then we mentioned Vice President Pence's abrupt U-turn when he was mysteriously recalled back to the White House for some still unknown reason, then we discussed the Toy Story movies, and whether the trend of larger and larger apocalypses appearing in movies (especially superhero movies) represents a more overarching trend in American movies since the events of 9/11 that I might not have noticed until now. An episode filled with fascinations from the audio dimension!
Episode #834: What Is Television?
First Broadcast: 7/22/19
How do different generations watch television? Who got nominated for this year's Emmys? Was "The Ropers" really a Top 10 show in the ratings? What else was on TV on those Tuesday nights? When did "20/20" start? Are we currently in the second golden age of television? Why was "Roma" so controversial that Steven Spielberg reacted to it by wanting to change the rules about Academy Award nominations? How much lower are TV ratings today compared to decades past? And has everyone forgotten about Generation X? You might not hear us come up with all the answers, but you can definitely hear us come up with some questions!
Episode #835: Generally
First Broadcast: 7/29/19
Mueller talks! Trump was not exonerated! Trump was not truthful! Trump keeps on lying! What did we learn? What did Trump say? When will the impeachment start already?!? The audio keeps coming and we keep talking!
Episode #836: Easy Access
First Broadcast: 8/12/19
Two mass shootings within 13 hours of each other--one in El Paso, Texas, and one in Dayton, Ohio--sparked another national discussion about how this uniquely American problem can be solved. Since the El Paso shooter published a manifesto that repeated white supremacist talking points, and since the Dayton shooter expressed left-wing views on social media, some people saw this as evidence that the problem of mass shootings goes beyond ideology, so no ideology is to blame, and if it is to blame, then the left wing is just as responsible for encouraging violence as the right wing. This combination of theories has some giant problems, however. For one, most of the modern left-wing movements in this country do not encourage mass violence towards others, while white supremacist movements by their very definition encourage mass violence towards non-whites. For another, these explanations completely ignore the one factor present in almost all mass shootings in this country, namely: guns that are capable of firing multiple rounds at such high rates and velocities that mass death is almost guaranteed every time they are used against people. So, you have weapons that enable mass death on side, and an ideology that encourages mass death on the other. Together, they provide racist white men (it's almost always white men) both the tools and the rationale to murder whomever they deem undesirable at the time, a situation that certainly isn't helped when you have a President and an entire cable network that both constantly repeat white supremacist talking points and discourage enacting forms of gun control that might actually remove assault weapons from the public. It seems clear to me that confronting these twin issues is necessary to reduce the chances of more mass shootings in this country in the future. Will we as a nation actually do anything about it? That's the big question.
Episode #837: One Man Mob
First Broadcast: 8/19/19
Are we heading towards a recession? What does an "inverted yield curve" have to do with it? Is Elizabeth Warren right when she says we're already in a manufacturing recession? Is Trump increasing the odds that a recession will happen, with his various trade wars? Does "the economy" do better under Democratic presidents than it does under Republican presidents? Did Trump's tax cuts only help the rich? Don't we all know by now that "trickle-down" economics doesn't work? And how worthless is the "Moviepass" stock these days? All kinds of questions and answers in an audio-heavy format!
Episode #838: New Bunch of Awfulness
First Broadcast: 9/2/19
The evidence of climate change is all around us, whether it's in the form of melting glaciers in Greenland or fires burning up the Amazon, and people like Greta Thunberg are going to speak out about it no matter how much Donald Trump pretends that this issue isn't important. Then again, what else could we expect from a bully, cheat, and con-artist like Trump, a man who thinks negotiation means yelling at a country one day and then saying they're getting along fine with you the next day? Does Trump really think the members of the Chinese government who are negotiating with his administration are going to voluntarily lose face by giving in to his ridiculousness? Or are they more likely to wait him out and deal with whoever comes next? It's not like China really needs our help to survive. They have enough resources to run their own space program, you know; and ours has seen better days, now that you mention it. Is this all a distraction from the latest ways Trump is trying to restrict who is a citizen in this country? It's enough to make me wish this weekend was more than three days, as we discuss and debate in the audio realm!
Episode #839: On A Milk Carton
First Broadcast: 9/9/19
On Sunday, September 1, 2019, at 10:51 AM ET, President Trump erroneously stated publicly that Alabama, among other states, "will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated" by Hurricane Dorian. This was quickly refuted by the National Weather Service and other meterologists, all of whom agreed that by that point on Sunday Dorian was not on track to travel towards Alabama. Nevertheless, throughout Sunday, Trump continued to insist that Dorian was going to reach Alabama, and news outlets continued to show how his statements were contradicted by actual weather forecasts. This back-and-forth continued throughout Monday, and on Wednesday, September 4, Trump displayed to the press a graphic from the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Center from Thursday, August 29, which showed Dorian on a track to reach Florida by the following Monday, but even that track wasn't predicting any part of Dorian reaching Alabama. That is, the original graphic didn't show this. The graphic Trump had printed out, however, had an extra line drawn on it in black ink that extended around the Florida panhandle and included part of Alabama. When asked about this extra line that was obviously not part of the original NOAA graphic, Trump would only respond "I don't know, I don't know," but the Washington Post later determined that--of course--Trump himself drew the line on the map to alter the projection, an act which is technically criminal, if we're still caring about these things. Undeterred, Trump kept going for the rest of the week, enlisting subordinates to back up his inaccurate assertion, accusing those who doubted him of being "fake news", retroactively and wrongly insisting that he said Dorian "MAY EVEN hit Alabama", basically doing anything except admitting that he was wrong, turning what would have otherwise been a minor mistake into a week-long example of mental deterioration and unfitness for office, long after Dorian left American territory. Any bets on whether Trump will still be talking about this after our episode airs? Audible thoughts continue!