Episode #920: In The Dark
First Broadcast: 3/21/22
On March 15, 2022, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent in the United States by redefining what Standard Time is in this country. Will it ever pass the House or be signed by President Biden? Did you know that farmers were the earliest opponents of Daylight Saving Time, and that they still don't like it? How was your St. Patrick's Day? Did you get a Shamrock Shake, or maybe make your own? Did you avoid the parade and all the bars around here, like we did? Happy Equinox!
Episode #921: Routinely Overburdened
First Broadcast: 3/28/22
After correcting ourselves for mispronouncing Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson's name, we agree that she seems like a good choice to us, considering her resume and her work as a public defender, and the Republicans who questioned her during her Senate hearings were grandstanding in the worst possible way. Why do ostensibly Democratic Senators like Sinema and Machin align themselves with that bunch so often? Who's up for election this year? How many Senators will it take to kill the filibuster for good? How many people have been cleared by the Innocence Project? These questions and many more await us! How many do we answer? Only one way to find out!
Episode #922: Speaking of War Crimes
First Broadcast: 4/11/22
The more time that passes, the more evidence accumulates of atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, such as the 400+ bodies of civilians recently found near Kyiv, or the bound bodies and burned-out homes in Bucha. President Biden has called these actions "war crimes," and has said Russian President Vladimir Putin should face a war crimes tribunal as a result. We here at Free New York heartily endorse this idea, which would probably have more teeth if the U.S. had signed on as a member of the International Criminal Court in the first place (and also hadn't passed a law requiring the U.S. to invade the Netherlands if any American soldier is ever on trial at the I.C.C. there). And, as long as we're putting world leaders on trial for war crimes, why not also try President George W. Bush for his illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq? And President Barack Obama for his drone assassination program that killed around 500 civilians, including 175 children? And President Donald Trump for his airstrikes in Syria that may have killed 6000 civilians? Or Syrian President Bashar Assad for his incalculable crimes against his own people? So, yes, definitely put Putin on trial, but trials like that shouldn't be limited only to those currently on the State Department's shit list.
Episode #923: Part of What Happened
First Broadcast: 4/18/22
On the morning of April 12, 2022, someone set off a smoke bomb inside a Manhattan-bound N train in Brooklyn, and proceeded to fire at least 33 shots at the people around him. Miraculously, everyone on the train survived, and the suspected shooter was arrested later the next day as he was walking through the East Village. In the wake of these events, there's been a lot of discussion about what this means for New York City's crime rate, hate speech online, and subway security in general. However, I think an aspect that's being collectively ignored about this is how the suspect's usage of a handgun instead of an assault rifle probably made the difference between this event being mass confusion and mass murder. In fact, I think this event could be the main example in favor of an assault weapons ban, precisely because gunshot wounds from handguns are much less severe than gunshot wounds from something like an AR-15. In other news, Gilbert Gottfried died, and we salute one of the funniest comedians to ever exist during my lifetime. If you're not familiar with his work, you can view his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, his Comedy Central roasts, or his legendary appearance on Hollywood Squares to get some samples, or listen to the hundreds of episodes of his podcast for some more extensive meanderings into his love of old Hollywood. He will be missed!
Episode #924: Funk & Wagnalls
First Broadcast: 4/25/22
Do you still need to wear a mask in New York City? What about on a plane? What kind of mask should you wear when you wear one? Why did a federal judge in Florida say the CDC couldn't mandate mask-wearing in public transportation? Why would anyone make this ruling when COVID infections are increasing in New York City again? When is this all going to be over? That last question is a real stickler...
Episode #925: Oh, Hell No
First Broadcast: 5/9/22
On May 2, 2022, Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that overturns the ruling in 1973's Roe v. Wade case, which, if issued as is, would eliminate a federal right to have an abortion, and allow any state to outlaw abortion if it chooses to do so. Naturally, the right wing in this country was more upset at the leak itself (referring to it as an "insurrection," as if that word doesn't have an actual meaning) than at the idea of half the population of the country losing an essential right they've had for almost half a century. Did I mention that Alito based his opinion on the writings of an English judge who died 100 years before the Declaration of Independence, thought marital rape wasn't a crime, and who also sentenced two women to death for witchcraft? It's important to remember Alito's opinion is still just a draft, and that abortion is still legal in all 50 states for now. Maybe it'll stay that way...? Who knows...
Episode #926: That's Exciting
First Broadcast: 5/23/22
As you might already know, every ten years this country counts the population in a national census, the main purpose of which is to properly apportion districts for Representatives in Congress. The borders of those districts are left up to the individual states, and in New York State an Independent Redistricting Commission was established in 2014, ostensibly to draw these districts in a "non-partisan" manner. Despite that premise, the commission couldn't come to a consensus, ultimately issuing two proposed new maps of Congressional districts, one map drawn by the Democrats on the commission and one map drawn by the Republicans. According to the law that established the commission, if it fails to reach a consensus, the duty of redistricting falls to the State Legislature, and since Democrats are currently in the majority of both houses of the State Legislature, they simply approved the map that the Democrats on the redistricting committee issued, which made me wonder if dividing the commission and having the Legislature approve the Democrats' map was the strategy they were implementing all along. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the Republicans didn't accept these results and filed a lawsuit, arguing that the newly-approved districts were heavily gerrymandered against Republicans, and considering how ridiculously-shaped some of those districts were, it's no wonder the court ruled in the Republicans' favor. To put an end to this nonsense, the court appointed a "Special Master" to draw new districts with an emphasis on geographic continuity, and after a few changes, these new districts were finalized on May 20, 2022. Will either Jerry Nadler or Carolyn Maloney end their 30-year incumbency when they run to represent the new District 12? Who will end up representing the new District 10, which encompasses almost all of Manhattan below 14th Street? And does anyone else remember when you could get a cheap Indian lunch for under five dollars? Food inflation sucks!
Episode #927: Disgusted
First Broadcast: 5/30/22
On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old man entered the Robb Elementary School in Ulvalde, Texas, and used an AR-15 style rifle to shoot and kill 19 children and 2 adults there before a Border Patrol officer finally shot and killed him approximately 1 hour later. During the time that the man was murdering people inside the school, various local and federal law enforcement officials seemed to be struggling to decide how to approach him, while simultaneously restraining parents from going inside and saving their children themselves. The officers' hesitancy brings up some valid questions: 1. If police thought the shooter had finished shooting people, why didn't they attempt to subdue the shooter and rescue the children inside sooner than they did? 2. If the police didn't attempt to subdue the shooter because they were afraid they were going to be shot, why did they become police officers in the first place? Also: What's the point of school shooter drills if all they do is terrorize students and ultimately don't prevent children from being killed? If mass shootings are the result of people consistently using a weapon that's designed to destroy living things as quickly and efficiently as possible, shouldn't they be banned so that people who attempt to kill other people end up using a method that's slower and less efficient instead, increasing the chances of survival for anyone on the weapon's receiving end? I mean, clearly whatever we've been doing as a nation since Columbine has not been working, so isn't banning AR-15s and their like the absolute least we can do to have some sort of meaningful result? Be more like Beto O'Rourke! More to come, I'm sure!