Progressive politics, news & talk hosted by David Waldman

Breaking news for the top of our show today: In a perfect storm of accidental injury statistics, a 7-year-old girl was accidentally shot while swimming! Greg Dworkin gave us his round-up, including the procedural drama surrounding the confirmation (finally!) of an ATF Director, The Hill's "50 Most Beautiful" list triggers a Sports Illustrated curse, the continuing intra-"party" (if you can still call it that) Republican feud, and the search for the origins of Green Lanternism. And in the first of what will become regular weekly appearances, Joan McCarter joined in to discuss yesterday's Senate follies, upcoming filibuster fights, the collapse of the appropriations process (and all Republican conference leadership) in the House, the crappy student loan "fix" bill, and the continuing tensions on NSA policy between Intelligence and Judiciary committee Senators. Also, Tim Murphy's Mother Jones piece, "Fox News' Neil Cavuto Doesn't Know How Inflation Works," and "How Vice Hacked Google Glass To Tell Crisis Stories."

Direct download: August_1_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

I didn't know you could get injured doing a radio show, but apparently it's happened! I've hurt my shoulder somehow, from this crazy, contorted set-up I've got going on at home. Time to Feng Shui the studio! I mean, "studio." Despite the discomfort, we had ourselves a pretty good time today. We caught up with today's schedule in Congress, and the big picture issues, too, with Greg Dworkin at the top of the show. All in all, a wide-ranging production today, touching on the "fiscal cliff," the likely addition of a marriage equality plank to the Democratic Party platform, the continuing Romneyshambles saga, and the audition of a new voice chip for the Romneybot3000.

Direct download: July_31_2012_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:40am EDT

Nothing gets you up and running on a Tuesday morning quite like a Greg Dworkin "death and dying" themed news round-up! There's NPR's Scott Simon's running Twitter commentary from his mother's hospital bedside. Food stamp slashing. The so-called "death panels." Political suicide in the form of Obamacare repeal obsession and another Sarah Palin candidacy. The 500-year-old Inca "Ice Maiden" mummy. But also, the Snowden Effect, and factions in the Fed chair fight. Next, the chief outrage of the day: JPMorgan Chase has apparently decided to fill the energy market gap left behind by Enron. I'm telling you, these white kids are out of control wit the crime these days! Then, maybe a little good news on the mortgage fraud front, as Richmond, CA prepares to deploy a new weapon in the foreclosure crisis, this time on behalf of actual people. Wrapping up, we touch on Sharia crayons, NC's clueless governor signs the voter suppression bill he hasn't read, and Judd Gregg's assertion that the motion to proceed (leaving out the filibuster entirely!) threatens to turn the Senate into the House! Oh well, too late! Finally, in a surprise appearance, Armando drops by to tease an upcoming interview for next week.

Direct download: July_30_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:47pm EDT

Greg Dworkin rounded up the news on the "Snowden Effect," and Republicans in Disarray fronts. So, what does the Snowden Effect get us? Discussion and debate, yes. And that's important. But what are the many and varied hurdles to actually putting a stop to intrusive domestic surveillance? And haven't we been here before? Is it even possible to find a path out that doesn't eventually circle right back around to this same place? Next: the FISC's ruling helping along the effort for open publication of its 2011 opinion finding some NSA surveillance programs unconstitutional. Good news, but still possibly a long, long way from our actually seeing it. And, an unsettling unintended consequence of Snowden's revelations: will the governments of other countries end up gaining as much or even more access to communications data? Foreign fighters arriving in Syria apparently include a growing number of Westerners. What's going to happen when they come home? And are the concerns of those worrying about this eerily familiar? Finally, a roundup of some of the weekend's strangest gun stories, including a "surprise" ending at a training session for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's volunteer school guard "posse."

Direct download: July_29_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

We kicked things off with a quick debunking on today's deliberate conservative misreading: the meme that IRS employees oppose Obamacare. Then, a tour through some of the latest writing on the "Obamacare sabotage" strategy undertaken by Republicans. We knew it was there, and knew it was broader than just Obamacare, but these pieces by Brian Beutler and Norm Ornstein ring true and they're as good a way to head into the weekend as any. Next: David Corn's revelation of the conservative "Groundswell" group, the closed-circuit wingnut circus fighting its self-declared bazillionty front war against everything to the infinity plus infinity power. Special Friday treat: in and out of character, with Twitter fave @RepJackKimble!

Direct download: July_26_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:24pm EDT

Greg Dworkin's round-up included the "Carlos Danger" name generator, the Amash-Conyers amendment, and how Steve King's racism continues to damage the Republican brand. We read and tried to figure out the background story of Laura Clawson's post about the Ohio woman who had all her belongings stolen by a bank that got the wrong address on an eviction. Then, a deep dive into the moving parts of the Amash-Conyers result. What does it mean? Can we really tell why it got the votes it got, and can it be expected to get a stronger vote next time? Will there even be a next time? Was there really a connection between reining in the NSA and closing Guantanamo? What would have happened had it passed? Lastly, though we attempted to move back to "The Last Days of Big Law" with Armando on hand for the discussion, we wandered instead into the universality of the money chase and the MBA-ization of the "learned professions."

Direct download: July_25_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

Greg Dworkin rounds up the latest Nate Silver discussions: math skills, yes, but it's also the writing. Also, a new NBC/WSJ poll shows views of race relations have taken a serious hit of late. Next, the suddenly exploding story of gonzo gun nut police chief Mark Kessler, with Alex Seitz-Wald, who looks this whackadoodle in today's Salon. Lots to marvel over in that story, and the larger effect of blurring the lines around gun issues across the country. Finally, we start reading & commenting on Noam Scheiber's "The Last Days of Big Law."

Direct download: July_24_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:21pm EDT

All the cool kids are doing it, so we engage in some early-morning idle Royal Baby chat. But Greg Dworkin quickly puts us back on track with his roundup discussion of how the right-wing media machine actively misreads Barack Obama's record as a state senator to portray him as a hypocrite on Republican-favored shoot first laws. But misunderstanding "shoot first" does more than just gin up stories for political purposes, it has real world consequences when actual gun owners venture out on the limbs their supposed "thought leaders" told them would support their weight. Greg also brought up Nate Silver's move from the NYT to ABC/ESPN, and the upset he apparently caused in the Times newsroom. Afterwards: that skewed Obamacare premiums claim Indiana Republicans were making, and why it was garbage; Ed Kilgore's "Uh, Yeah, This Is a Different GOP"; Jonathan Chait's "Anarchists of the House"; Greg Sargent's "Republicans' dilemma: how aggressively should they sabotage Obamacare?" and The Hill's "GOP to constituents: Questions of ObamaCare? Call Obama." Then, "how Goldman Sachs is making your beer more expensive" and a WSJ story on the U.S. Marshals losing track of millions of dollars worth of encrypted radios. Finally, a wrap-up moment: how "warrior cops," cheap tech and privatization combine to erase the unwritten checks and balances against the expansion of government power.

Direct download: July_23_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm EDT

Made it through the whole show without the threatened appliance-related interruption! Greg Dworkin rounded up a few choice stories, going in depth with a doc's-eye view of Medicare payment changes on tap under the ACA, and alerting us to his long-awaited interview on American gun safety issues, on Australian "60 Minutes." After some royal baby babbling, we note some amazing stats from a Harvard study on gun violence, especially where it comes to differences in the impact of guns on women in states with high rates of gun ownership, versus those with low rates. Also: is Walterboro, SC the new capital of #GunFAIL-per-capita? Next, discussion of Radley Balko's WSJ article, excerpted from his book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop." Did WSJ not want any discussion of the role of militarized police in suppressing mass political dissent? Finally, the Detroit bankruptcy, starting with a background piece by David Dayen from back in March, "How Deadbeat Banks Pushed Detroit to the Brink."

Direct download: July_22_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT

A tab-clearing Friday show, with a nice sampling of headlines. So here's one gigantic run-on sentence about what they were: that Politico list; Snowden; the nuclear option fight, deal, and schisms in the Gop ranks; still more post-nuclear executive nomination threats; more grifting from Bob McDonnell & his wife; some observations on an interesting delayed college tuition plan proposed in Ohio; an underreported incident of #GunFAIL (of a sort) right in front of the White House; Robert Reich on "Why We Should Stop Subsidizing Sky-High CEO Pay"; ACLU on license plate tracking, and how cheap data storage might mean we need to rethink what privacy actually entails; the latest on stalky Utah gun dude Clark Aposhian, and the problem with drawing good guy/bad guy lines; Cate Long at Reuters notes a NYT Dealbook blog post with a remarkable built-in conflict of interest on public-private partnerships, coincidentally, one which siphons off billions from taxpayers leveraging the ability to computerize law enforcement functions, with implications for our earlier discussion on the nature of privacy.

Direct download: July_19_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:08pm EDT

Greg Dworkin brought a full smorgasbord (smörgåsbord!) of Abbreviated Pundit Roundup items, including Tom Edsall's latest, the Republican Senate rift over the nuclear option deal, the Republican rift over Liz Cheney's Senate bid, Lewis Black firing back at Rick Perry, and more. A couple of crazy (but maybe no crazier than usual) gun incidents illustrate yet more Wild West mentality, as opposed to the recitation of the armed society/polite society myth we're usually handed. That took us into the continued reading of the Brookings essay on the Sandy Hook Promise activists. During the second hour of the show, Ian Reifowitz joined us for another wide-ranging discussion, touching on his writing on the evolution of a progressive national identity, fallout from the Zimmerman trial, the prosperity gospel, and just a wee bit more philosophy, psychiatry and theology than you normally hear on morning radio!

Direct download: July_18_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

Greg Dworkin gives us some analysis of the big morning news on plummeting health care coverage premiums approved for the New York market beginning next year, and rounds up the reactions to "Nuclear Tuesday," Jenny McCarthy, and more. Then, some post-game analysis on the nuclear option game, what it means going forward, and why a Wall Street Journal weep-itorial on the subject is cramped in its thinking and basically completely stupid. Next, the first half of that long-promised Brookings essay on Sandy Hook Promise. And in the last few minutes, a look ahead at what we'll try to get to during the balance of the week. You know, that stuff you've been talking about amongst yourselves!

Direct download: July_17_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

The nuclear option came and went during the course of today's show, so we set that up, and then explain it away. Greg Dworkin joined in with a round-up of the day's stories, including the nuclear option drama, the thief caught in Michele Bachmann's office, more Zimmerman/Martin fallout (including "Juror B37"), elected Republicans ignoring popular sentiment in favor of doing the bidding of wingnut funders, and Jenny McCarthy's move to ABC's "The View," and a little more about the Brookings essay, "The Promise." Armando joins us again to discuss the fight over whether Florida's shoot first law did or didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the trial, and then to set up the nuclear option story, which actually resolved itself before we even finished the show. Finally, maybe a hint of a discussion to come, on--believe it or not--Jennifer Lopez's habit of putting on private shows for dictators, crooks and oligarchs. We'll try and make it "deep." Promise!

Direct download: July_16_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

A delayed start today, but lots of input today from Greg Dworkin, Armando and Meteor Blades, once the tech kinks were ironed out! Greg tipped us off to the Brookings essay, "The Promise: The Families of Sandy Hook and the Long Road to Gun Safety," which we'll have to give a closer look to. But we ended up giving over most of the day to the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial and the killing of Trayvon Martin, with Tim and Armando, and we went everywhere. The state of the legal system, the nature of these "shoot first" laws, the militarized response to even non-violent mass public reaction, and more. Toward the end of the show, we added a round up of  more "nuclear option" details in advance of tomorrow's expected trigger: cloture votes on blocked executive branch nominees, and set the table for further discussion of the ongoing Snowden/NSA affair.

Direct download: July_15_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:40pm EDT

Couldn't avoid starting out with the Sharknado this morning, but we got a little more on-topic, eventually. Monte Frank of Team 26 joined us this morning to update us on their latest activities and their plan heading into the late summer and fall. We also read where4art's e-mail on Eliot Spitzer's bid for Comptroller of NYC. And finally, the moment we've all been waiting for: the big, final installment on the exposition on the nuclear option. All the parliamentary maneuvering that went into perfecting the procedure. How it got derailed over and over before striking paydirt in 1975. Where had Senate reform gone wrong in a way that enabled today's silent filibusters, and how did that make exercising the constitutional option that much more complicated. Which Senator who today says he opposes the procedure actually voted for it (in a big way) in 1975? And which Senator who says he opposes it now voted for it (in a smaller way) in 2011? All this and more in today's show, plus a bonus hour not heard during the live stream, but which contains all the good stuff!

Direct download: July_12_2013_complete.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Lots of nuclear option background and discussion today. Greg Dworkin called in to discuss Eliot Spitzer's run, Bob McDonnell's problems, Snowden/NSA, and more. Afterwards, a crazy GunFAIL story, a discussion of the provocative BusinessWeek "Hedge Fund Myth" cover and just what that myth might really be. We close out the show with at least some of the promised extensive discussion of the looming "nuclear option," and some #KITM only-level detail about what's going on, and what's driving the internal debate.

Direct download: July_11_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

Greg Dworkin rounds up a sampling of headlines for us: the Canadian train derailment, doctors speaking out against the wave of abortion restrictions being pushed by Republicans in state after state, Adam Kokesh's arrest, and a new Q-Poll reflecting a big shift in public perceptions of Snowden and the liberty/security balance in general. In other news, apparently cloture votes are down in the 113th Congress. But doesn't Senate gridlock seem to be getting worse? Can both be happening at once? Absolutely. How? Listen & find out. Armando jumped in to help out with some interesting stories & talking points, and we get all philosophical about the nature of crime, graft, constitutional rights, and more. A good exercise in knocking the issues of the day slightly off-axis and looking at them from a different angle.

Direct download: July_10_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

Bit of an unusual show this morning. Less obviously political in its focus, though we start out by discussing the spectacle of Eliot Spitzer's attempt to reenter electoral politics, and the strange dynamics of scandal as it applies to Dems versus Republicans, and those who manage to win anyway versus those who don't. Well, history is written by the winners. That's always been true. Greg Dworkin picks up the conversation, and adds news from Oregon's scrapping of its proposed logo (logo? what?) for legalized cannabis products, the Canadian train derailment and explosion, and the conservative push to smother the immigration bill in the House. So, for a change of pace, I continued with the discussion of the wacky uptown vs. downtown Manhattan article, and the weird web of connections I found when I did just a little bit of looking behind the names named in the write-up. Amazing how the other half -- or rather, 1% of the 1% -- lives.

Direct download: July_9_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

We're back on the air live, and scrambling to catch up on events! But not so much that we avoid heading down the unexpected side alleys that make the show... interesting. There's the continuing Snowden/NSA saga, for starters. Greg Dworkin joined in for the discussion of developments in Egypt, the San Francisco airliner crash, Eliot Spitzer's reentry to electoral politics, Wimbledon, insurers rejecting the "arm the teachers" plan and more. After some discussion of the Bolivian president interlude, Armando called in to elicit some vacation talk, which strangely enough led to explorations of the history (and currency, so to speak) of piracy, and its relationship to the lifestyle gaps (both then and now) between the 99% and the 1%. Wait, what? Well, you'll just have to listen in to follow along.

Direct download: July_8_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

The holiday week's last "encore performance" includes coverage of Romney's Hamptons fundraisers, where wacko rich people delighted in screaming from their luxury vehicles about how special they were, and how much they hated poor people. Greg Dworkin discusses polling on the swing state ad wars. We run down the exciting post-July 4th recess Congressional agenda (doomed Obamacare repeal bills in the House & cloture votes on whether or not to end debate on beginning debate on jobs bills in the Senate) and discuss the Supreme Court's then-recent ruling in a prominent labor law case (Knox v SEIU). Finally, some political theory speculation on the origin of voting, and why doing your part in casting your vote is important.

Direct download: July_9_2012_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:09pm EDT

Another "encore performance" kicked off with Derp News from Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal's private school voucher program apparently caught legislators by surprise when they found out that funding religious schools also meant funding Muslim schools. Greg Dworkin rounded up jobs report news and presidential election polling. Then, more about Mitt Romney's weird offshore tax shelters. And a shocking story about privatized probation and fine-levying in Alabama. (Remember when we were saying with regard to surveillance that at least private companies can't arrest you? Hmm!) That led to a wider discussion of prison privatization and how it unbalances what might be described as one of the unenumerated checks and balances on state power. Later, Steve Singiser joined in for his first appearance on the air, discussing the June jobs data, and the Tea Party-driven implosion in Republican Senate primaries. Returning to the private probation story, we connected the spread of such schemes, once again, to ALEC. And the proliferation of fees and fines, once again, to the burgeoning rent-seeking culture. And hey, what about these rent-seeking municipal bond hucksters? And why is the South, in particular, so prone to these schemes?

Direct download: July_6_2012_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Another "encore performance" from this time last year. Greg Dworkin rounds up the early summer presidential polling, and talks about why Rassmussen's so weird. Topics of the day: Romney's vacation (and his review of the local lemonade--remember "lemon, wet, good"?); Romney's response to the ACA ruling; the mental gymnastics of anti-tax activists; Romney's offshore tax havens; conservatives and the prosperity gospel; Romney as gaffe machine; the myth of the wealthy "job creator" and carried interest. Armando called in to talk over some of the long-range plans for Daily Kos Radio (not all of which have come to pass). We wrapped up with stories about super-jerk former Reps. Joe Walsh and Thad McCotter and still super-jerk Rep. Bill Young.

Direct download: _July_5_2012_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Another "encore performance" from a year ago, our first show back on the air after the late-June Derecho storm. Greg Dworkin brought us the first round of polling following the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, as well as the first of the early summer polling indicating that the strategy of focusing on Bain Capital was in fact resonating with the electorate, even after the Ed Rendells and Cory Bookers of the world had tried to warn Dems off from it. Meteor Blades also makes an appearance, discussing his efforts to boost voter turnout and fight voter suppression in the American Indian community. In the second hour of the show, we turned to the emerging Romney stories regarding Bain Capital and his offshore tax haven accounts. Armando joined in as well, on the Republican governorns then threatening to fight post-ACA Medicare expansion, the historical paradox of the Tea Party being named for anti-corporate activism, Mitt Romney's Lake Winnipesaukee vacation, the upcoming London Olympics and more.

Direct download: July_3_2012_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

An "encore performance" for the one year anniversary of our four hour marathon live coverage of the announcement of the Supreme Court's decision in the Affordable Care Act case! Lots of Daily Kos friends chiming in on this, including Greg Dworkin, Armando, Joan McCarter, brooklynbadboy, winkk, Militarytracy, MKS and more!

Direct download: June_28_2012_whole_show_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Heading into a week-plus break, Greg Dworkin and Armando help round up our discussion of the NSA/Snowden story, the IRS story, the SCOTUS decisions, the Texas filibuster fight, and the revival of CNN's much-maligned Crossfire, and more. The other big topic of today's show: the apparent evolution of Edward Snowden's views on national security leaking. And did Glenn Greenwald undergo an evolution of his own on his views on executive reaction to the Supreme Court's apparent insistence on reigning in of claimes of interent national security powers?

Direct download: June_27_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Easy summary today: the Texas filibuster & the SCOTUS DOMA case. Both Greg Dworkin & Armando make appearances to discuss the latest exciting news, and we parse it thin for your enjoyment! I think it's safe to say you're not going to get in-depth discussion of the dynamics of that filibuster like you get from Daily Kos Radio anywhere else in the world. And I mean that literally, as Joe Biden might put it. Come and revel in it! Plus, we got the happy news from the Supreme Court mid-show, and we break that down into bite-sized pieces suitable for water cooler and cocktail discussion. A procedure lover's dream!

Direct download: June_26_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

We started with The Derp from Louie Gohmert, then were joined by Greg Dworkin for an update on The Derp of Politico's Green Lanternism, Obama's (then) upcoming climate speech, the immigration bill, etc. We were also able to sneak in an update on the IRS story, noting that pretty much everything we heard about exclusive targeting of conservatives was entirely wrong. Surprise! And we heard a bit more about how Edward Snowden came to be working at Booz Allen, at least according to some sources. But it wasn't long before everything gave way to the news of the Supreme Court's decision in the voting rights act case. Armando joined in to give his initial reactions, and you can hear him do his best to keep from boiling over. Thinking back a ways, the decision seems to be of a piece with Bush DOJ political appointees pre-clearaning of discriminatory redistricting plans over the objections of their own career attorneys. Hey, who needs to rebrand when you can simply redefine the market, right? That's more than just a metaphor, though. It works in the actual economy, as well. We'll talk about that again in the days to come.

Direct download: June_25_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

So, you're back from Netroots Nation, eh? Well, lucky you! Greg Dworkin joined right in with the recap of the weekend's developments on the many wormholes winding through the NSA/Snowden story, including David Gregory's insistence on crapping all over everything. Then, a roundup of the more remarkable #GunFAIL stories of recent days. Armando kept us up to date on the pronouncements from out of the Supreme Court, and previewed one to come, on recess appointments. A reading of Bloomberg's reporting (from February, actually) on the unnoticed and unofficial subsidy to banks deemed Too Big To Fail, and how that subsidy just happens to be about equal in value to... their entire profit. So, that got me thinking about amending the plan for launching the Privateers of the Caribbean. And the old Istook Amendment, too. Finally, a look at yet another way the big banks are fleecing people: getting companies to pay their low-wage workers with bank-issued debit cards, complete with fees for withdrawals, etc. Why should those lazy workers be able to force their bosses to shoulder all the costs of paying them, right?

Direct download: June_24_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:09pm EDT

Greg Dworkin rounded up news of the farm bill failure (and Republican majority's attempts to somehow blame this on the Democratic minority), "The Republican War on Data," maneuvering on immigration reform, and Tom Edsall's NYT opinion piece, "Our Broken Social Contract." And that Edsall piece ended up being the basis for most of the rest of the show, so much was there wrapped up in it. Armando called in to join that conversation, plus give us a look at the day's Netroots Nation agenda. So, to borrow a phrase, "Which side are you on?" The side that posits that our economic problems are the result of the disruption of social norms? Or the side that believes economic problems stem from... other economic problems? Which one of those two sounds more reality-based to you? And just for kicks at the end, "If We Can't Stop Corporations from Hiding in Cayman Islands to Avoid Taxes, We All Need to Become Pirates." Where have we heard this idea before? Hint: Here.

Direct download: June_21_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

Netroots Nation kicks off in San Jose! Greg Dworkin brings us his roundup, including polling on immigration reform, John Harwood's NYT piece "Dissent Festers in States That Obama Seems to Have Forgotten," reaction to (and reaction to the reactions to) the death of Michael Hastings, and more. We briefly note the pop culture news about Paula Deen and James Gandolfini, and get an on-the-ground update from Armando in San Jose. Then, the strange chain of arrests among the Pima Co., AZ Minutemen border "patrol" crazies, and the rise of armed "community watches" where budget issues have cut back on policing capacity. Slate makes an important update to its disclaimer on their interactive gun deaths since 12/14 feature. Mother Jones reports on waste in border security spending. Are some gun rights protesters going too far in making their presence felt?

Direct download: June_20_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

It's the run-up to Netroots Nation, and that figures promiently in today's show. Greg Dworkin offered his own observations and remembrances of NN in this morning's roundup, as well as stories on Rick Perry's job poaching junket to Connecticut, new polling from ABC on the NSA surveillance programs, and another round of sparring between DC-centric "gut" journos and "quant" Nate Silver. Greg also notes the passing of reporter Michael Hastings, with a few stories looking back on his fearless style. Armando called in from the road on his way to the big gathering, and to remind everyone that he'll be reporting from San Jose, as will the larger Netroots Radio team. A little exploration of the latest #GunFAIL news yields typically amazing results. Then a response to the latest "threat" from Mitch McConnell over rumors that Senate Dems are considering the "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibuster on judicial and executive nominations. Basically, Republicans are threatening to do exactly the same thing they've always said they were going to do, and have in fact been trying to do, since forever. Scary! Lastly, the free market has spoken on the NRA's terrible "arm the teachers" idea, and it has spoken thus: "Derp."

Direct download: June_19_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

A Republican back-bencher (not a euphemism) broke into the headlines today with his eyebrow-raising claim that fetuses masturbate at 15 weeks. So... that's nice. Greg Dworkin discusses his latest for Politix, his pundit round-up of both-sides-ism, Republican rebranding, and traditional media missing the point(s). Armando called in to discuss the broad topic of trust in government, in the context of the fading IRS story, the NSA revelations, Syria, and the recent polling on all three. We read a David Weigel entry at Slate noting the Republican tactics in conflating IRS accusations behind the confusion made evident in the CNN poll, and the latest derp from Bobby "Volcano Monitoring" Jindal, who's apparently abandoned his effort to un-stupid his party. Next, David Dayen's latest for Salon, "Bank of America whistle-blower's bombshell: 'We were told to lie.'" Finally, a note about the Kansas Sec. of State outraged by a protest targeting his home. Note how quickly he goes to 2nd Amendment rhetoric here. Does it seem to you that a lot of this talk is premised on the assumption that no one will ever shoot back?

Direct download: June_18_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

NSA remains at the top of the charts this week, with things only becoming more confused the more articles are written on the subject. A CNET story relying on reactions from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to a Congressional briefing stirred the hornet's nest over the weekend, setting off parallel chain reactions of rebuttal, retraction, walk-backs, debunkings, and everything in between. Greg Dworkin rounds up still more polling on the issue, and most of the show is once again given over to exploring some number of the millions of rabbit holes a giant issue like this reveals, via articles from the NYT, WaPo, the AP, and of course, our friend Marcy Wheeler. Just for a change-up, we threw in the Lower Hudson, NY area Daily Journal's follow-up on their publication of names and addresses of area pistol permit holders. Did it in fact result in criminal targeting of those gun owners?

Direct download: June_17_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

The six month anniversary of the 12/14 Newtown shootings brings us to a new and particularly intriguing episode of #GunFAIL, the recent killing of a 10-year-old Virginia girl by her 13-year-old brother, who was cleaning and repairing his shotgun at home. No charges will be filed, the death is chalked up to "tragic accident," and everyone close to the family insists the boy was fully trained and cautious to a fault. Except he wasn't, and now even though his sister is dead as a result, the official closure to the event will say he was. That must be because of all that "responsibiity" we hear about in "gun culture." We returned to the NSA story during the second half of the show, doing our best to turn things on their heads to give us another look at the intricacies and perplexing nature of all the issues bound up in it.

Direct download: June_14_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:52pm EDT

Greg Dworkin catches us up on non-NSA stories like the MA Senate race, confidence in Congress falling to an all-time low, Bloomberg's plan to hold gun safety policy holdouts to account, and a preview of his planned Sunday Kos essays. Then a discussion about gun violence statistics, the question of whether or not suicides by firearms are properly included in those numbers, and a column from Seattle alt weekly The Stranger, "When Domestic Violence Becomes a Mass Shooting." Finally, we had to find our way back to the NSA story, reading (and critiquing) The Guardian's latest from Thomas Drake, another NSA whistleblower, and Elizabeth Goitein in Time on how "Our Antiquated Laws Can't Cope With National Security Leaks," and exploring the contradictions and expected error types built into the system we've concocted to deal with them.

Direct download: June_13_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:21pm EDT

The kitchen appliance saga continues. But of slightly more importantance, so does the NSA story. Greg Dworkin first brings us a few non-NSA happenings, including the continued collapse of Darrell Issa's IRS narrative, the move by NYC Mayor and head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Michael Bloomberg to cut off big donor funding for Democratic Senators who voted in opposition to the gun bill last month, and the state of play in the Senate of the immigration reform bill. But the NSA story still dominated today, and in addition to Greg's polling round-up on the subject, Armando weighed in on the broader questions of legality and constitutionality (and "hero" versus "traitor", as well) and what those things even mean in this context. Finally, a quick look at the continuing budget conference impasse. Ted Cruz says he won't allow a conference to go forward unless he receives assurances there will be no debt ceiling increase tucked into the budget resolution conference report. But is that even a thing that can happen? Well, yes and no. So is Ted Cruz off his rocker? Well, yes and no. But really, yes.

Direct download: June_12_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT

Guess what? It's all about the NSA story again. And once again, Greg Dworkin and Armando pitch in on the discussion. Greg did bring us the top non-NSA story of the day, though, that being the Justice Department's Plan B reversal, plus some new and longer-term polling data on approval/disapproval of surveillance activity. From there on, though, it's all NSA, and another expansive discussion of the discussion (which might possibly constitute meta-data), including looks at the much-maligned takes of Jennifer Rubin and David Brooks.

Direct download: June_11_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

Total media dominance by a single, giant story has its advantages. One, it makes it easy to decide what to discuss that day on the show, and; two, it makes writing the episode synopsis relatively simple. Greg Dworkin and Armando both joined in the early discussion of the exploding NSA story. And in the second half of the show, we read the seemingly-unrelated but still oddly-related story of the internal strife and collapse of Ohio's maverick-y ultra-conservative political consulting firm (described by some detractors as a "cult"), the Strategy Group for Media.

Direct download: June_10_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:58am EDT

Our second show sponsored by Audible, which you can use to find audio books on the national security programs of domestic surveillance to catch up on the subject of the day! Greg Dworkin joined us for his regular abbreviated pundit roundup, including a discussion of previous polling on the liberty versus security issue and what we might look for in upcoming polling on the NSA story. Fans of the show knew that Armando couldn't sit silent through this discussion, and really, it wouldn't be right to complete a show without letting him loose on it. We rounded things out just a little with Lee Fang's article in The Nation on anti-ACA Republicans who nonetheless pursued its grant funds for their states and districts, and one oddly noteworthy #GunFAIL story as well.

Direct download: June_7_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:41pm EDT

The NSA phone data collection story dominated the headlines and discussion today. Extended appearances from Greg Dworkin and Armando helped carry the show again. Monte Frank of Team 26 and the Newtown Action Alliance joined the show as well, for an update on developments in Newtown, and their upcoming activities both next week and planned for the fall, to keep public attention focused on the need for gun safety measures.

Direct download: June_6_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:53am EDT

Thanks to Greg Dworkin and Armando for carrying the show today! An extended pundit and polling roundup covered a wide range of topics: flu versus corona virus, patent trolls, NJ Gov. Chris Christie's call for an early special election, NBC/WSJ polling that says "scandals" haven't changed the environment, and more. Then, an extended (but friendly) revival of a long-running Greg versus Armando "cage match" on polling methodologies and analysis. Also discussed: Marco Rubio prepares to pull the immigration bill football away from Charlie Brown, polling performance in the 2012 elections, Keith Olbermann's return to television, the Bradley Manning trial, the switch-up in the White House foreign policy/national security team, judicial nominations and the nuclear option, and the controversy now surrounding 5th Circuit court judge Edith Jones.

Direct download: June_5_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:28pm EDT

New roof going in at the World Broadcasting Headquarters, so pardon the background thumping. Josh Barro and Erick Erickson get in a slapfight and we get to watch. Greg Dworkin rounds the day's news up, beginning with a strange exemplar of the Freedom vs. safety debate in the comments section of a Washington Post article about road safety enforcement in DC neighborhoods. Next, polling says basically no move in Obama approval rating, despite wild gyrations from Republicans over the so-called "scandals." The Republicans finally get their culture war, and it's against themselves. Armando called in to discuss Republican rebranding and outreach, patent trolling, and the release of legislative and executive action priorities for dealing with high-tech patent issues. Afterward, by listener request, we looked at the "Moral Monday" protests at the North Carolina state capitol, its implications for social justice, and democracy more broadly. Finally, we read David Cay Johnston's latest, "Inequality Rising--All Thanks to Government Policies," and drew a few parallels between how patent trolls do their rent-seeking and how it's done the "Bain Way," both facilitated by the kind of gaming of the system Johnston points out, and our political and governing processes can't help but encourage.

Direct download: June_4_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:13pm EDT

Congress returns to DC to begin the appropriations season, so we talk a bit about the different moving parts of the budget process and where appropriations fit in, as well as why certain appropriations bills always seem to move first. Greg Dworkin brings us his round-up, including: summer storm prep; "A Simple Way to Reduce Suicides"; Eugene Robinson's "The GOP is too juvenile to govern"; and in a surprise entry, Paul Krugman once again being right on the components and trajectory of the deficit, whereas Simpson & Bowles almost sorta-kinda once were, but went bonkers and ended up not. We also noted the breaking news of the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Armando joined in to remember him, to discuss all the attendant political questions his passing raises, and throw in a note about a "civility in politics" conference he happened to attend up in Vermont. Lastly, a look at a fascinating Washington Post story about one Pentagon advisor's so-far unsuccessful attempt to save taxpayers a billion dollars or more by reforming the military commissary system.

Direct download: June_3_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

We started off this morning with a look at the startling National Journal article, "Gun Deaths Since Newtown Now Surpass Number of Americans Killed in Iraq." But as startling as that is, it's based on Slate's crowd-sourced and "necessarily incomplete" interactive database cataloging gun deaths since 12/14, and CDC statistics tell us that there have been far, far more deaths than that. How many more? Listen and find out. Two recent #GunFAIL episodes illustrate a cultural divide in how we think of the dangers guns can pose. More national press join the gun violence chase, this time watching child shootings. Norm Ornstein on the renewed nuclear option fight. Rep. Bobby Rush swipes at Sen. Mark Kirk's efforts to fund an anti-gang initiative as an "elitist white boy solution." Armando calls in to discuss appointment powers, the "unitary executive" theory, and constitutional hardball, and float some bold theories. Free advice! Just what every president needs! Also: Did John McCain pose with suspected kidnappers during his Syria excursion? ArchPundit sends word to help us clear up the situation with Illinois gun law. And the conservative-leaning Volokh Conspiracy blog dismisses the accusation that AG Eric Holder lied under oath.

Direct download: May_31_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

Fox sees doom in female breadwinners. #GunFAIL update. Armando's roundup, including: 1Q GDP revisions; comments on takes from Garance Franke-Ruta and E.J. Dionne on Clinton versus Obama "scandals"; the latest in the IRS & AP stories; the nomination of James Comey to head the FBI, and; the plight of Beatriz, the 22-year-old Salvadoran woman being denied a medically-necessary abortion. Other topics of interest: fear of terrorism prevents communities from finding out about dangerous chemicals in their midst; another casual "joking" assassination threat from Tea Party activists; more about women as breadwinners, and; the curious contortions of "pro-business" forces in opposition to minimum wage hikes for fast food workers and others.

Direct download: May_30_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

Greg Dworkin was back with us, but only for today. Busy week for him! But he was on hand to discuss the Bachmann retirement, today's somewhat laughable Tom Friedman article, GMU's Center for Media and Public Affairs' analysis of Politifact, and the quarter to one-third of poll respondents who are routinely willing to agree to something crazy. Plus, his collection of "But" stories, which make a great point, but sounds funnier out loud than it reads. Afterwards, a broad gun issue roundup including: the nature of traditional media coverage of gun violence; a #GunFAIL report from Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day; a #GunFAIL alumnus & outspoken pro-gun lobbyist arrested in Utah; a local columnist's reaction to the gun-toting Utah teachers story; and a legal backgrounder on the situation in Illinois, where the state legislature has just days to come up with a replacement for its gun laws struck down by a federal appeals court. Wrapping up, we read what appears to be a real and genuinely-offered selection entitled, "Why Are Liberals So Rude to the Right?" No, seriously!

Direct download: May_29_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Seems like the context of the IRS story is changing bit by bit. The White House tees up a filibuster fight over judicial nominations, preparing up to three appointments to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Since that was the court that stood the last century of recess appointments practice on its head, we discuss the background on that issue. The latest Washington Post entry from Walter Pincus was the jumping off point for a discussion of the Fox News/James Rosen branch of the story that began as a branch of the AP controversy. Armando joins the discussion and explains the differences, and we speculate on reasonable explanations for the Fox branch of the story. Also: have the budget battles impacted NOAA and the National Weather Service, or not? Depends who you ask, and how you ask it. And: the latest and greatest in Conservative Crayzee: Unskewed Polls guy says Obama made Nate Silver buy crack from Hitler during Benghazi, or something.

Direct download: May_28_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

Greg Dworkin discusses the lingering controversies, including some interesting variations in polling on the AP phone records. Also: the strange case of Josh Barro. The IRS story moves into a new phase, wherein Republicans insist that President Obama had to have known about what a field office of an independent agency was up to, and if he didn't, then that's evidence of a cover-up, too. Next, the Mother Jones reporting on AK-47 "build parties," where participants build their own unmarked and untraceable assault rifles. John McCain looks to defuse "nuclear option" showdown. Lamar Alexander pretends not to see the difference between the ACA and Iran-Contra. A shocking chart showing how the mix of sources of total federal revenues have changed since the 1950s. The Atlantic on "Why Private Schools Are Dying Out." The Teamsters blog notes that income inequality today actually outpaces income inequality in Renaissance Italy. The Medicis were pikers!

Direct download: May_23_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Greg Dworkin joined us to discuss Oklahoma's continuing recovery, and some of the factors that stand in the way of more widespread adoption of protective measures like the construction of "safe rooms" and basements in homes in "Tornado Alley." Then we catch up on the day's GunFAIL stories, noting once again the passive voice construction that makes accidental shootings a rootless, causeless consequence of freedom or something. Also, more notes on the gun-toting teachers of Utah story, prompted by a note from alpaca farmer, a former Utah resident. Seems the teachers interviewed left out one of the key arguments they once made against a bill that would mandate alerting parents when there's an armed teacher in their kid's classroom. And one of the folks quoted as supporting armed teachers, whose argument rested on those teachers being deemed trustworthy because they had to go through a permitting process, turns out to have been lobbying to repeal the permitting requirement entirely. And not only that, but the guy's actually been on my GunFAIL list before! Moving on, more facts about tax-exempt political groups, and more discussion of a possible "nuclear option" on nomination filibusters.

Direct download: May_22_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

The day's news was obviously dominated by the Oklahoma tornado situation. In addition to providing our morning news and punditry roundup, of course, Greg Dworkin's an expert in disaster preparation, so we dove into that as well. And once again, disaster response reminds us that teachers are often first responders, and that first responders are unionized, public employees. Also: a peek into the thinking of the conspiracy-minded, and yet another reminder that despite it all, it's still the economy, stupid. We turned back to the gun issue to report another entry in wacky gun news, and to finish up the article about Utah's gun-toting teachers today, with more critique of the strange proclivity for insisting that there's a privacy right bound up in the Second Amendment. From there, an update on the 3D printing issue, a story about "Colorado's deadliest neighborhood," and a somewhat surprising investigation into the disciplinary records and backgrounds of Atlanta area school resource officers. Finally, a listener note seeking clarification in reporting about the "unanimous confirmation" of the new Energy Secretary. Was it unanimous consent, or a unanimous vote. And is there a difference between the two? Answers: yes and yes.

Direct download: May_21_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

Greg Dworkin confirmed for us that the weekend political world was pretty much frozen in place in the middle of last week, so we'd have to look elsewhere for political news not involving Republicans making breathless but unfounded comparisons to Watergate. After a brief detour into the  Umbrellacaust, we moved back to the IRS story, reviewing a few more stories providing context that helps us separate it from shrieking about Watergate. First, Garance Franke-Ruta's piece (and yes, I know I mispronounced archetype!), "There Was No Surge in IRS Tax-Exempt Applications in 2010," then David Cay Johnston's, "Lois Lerner Must Resign," and Stephanie Mencimer's "Actually, Tea Party Groups Gave the IRS Lots of Good Reasons to be Interested." Off on a tangent, but not totally unrelated, was Keenan Steiner's, "How ex-Det. Guy Bowers became the biggest campaign donor of all." Finally, we had to get back to the gun issue, with the tragic story out of Hofstra University making headlines, but also a fascinating look at the concealed carrying teachers of Utah. A very revealing look, I thought, into the minds of folks who feel certain that introducing the presence of guns into the daily lives of our school kids is a decision they feel comfortable making for all of us, pretty much by themselves. Because liberty. Unless you disagree, in which case, their tyranny wins, because it's really liberty.

Direct download: May_20_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:44pm EDT

Wrapping up the week with Greg Dworkin, it seems the embers are dying in the "scandal" fires, one at a time. The Sunday shows always run a few days behind, though, because guests and topics are typically locked in by mid-week. On the radar today: Kevin Drum's "It's Official: Those Bogus Email Leaks Came From Republicans." Turns out that news outlets got burned by Republican sources, who told them they had damning emails, but it turns out the genuine article emails were very different from those "leaked" to the press. Armando joined in to press that point, and urge accountability for ABC News' Jonathan Karl, who indicated in his reporting that he'd actually obtained and reviewed the emails himself, but clearly had not. Also, the bizarre story of a holocaust denier who reinvented himself as a Hollywood conservative player, until he was recently outed. How do these fabulists get away with this stuff? A brief #GunFAIL update. And finally, a bit more exploration of the prospects for mid-session filibuster rules reform, drawing on Joan McCarter's post on Harry Reid's plans to call for a vote on Richard Cordray's nomination next week. And hey, in between, we plug show sponsor Audible, and let you know that listeners can sign up & get a free audio book download at

Direct download: May_17_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:09pm EDT

During Greg Dworkin's morning roundup, we wondered whether maybe the biggest casualty of this week's scandalpalooza has really been the Benghazi hoopla. Conservative fire remains concentrated on the IRS story, though that seems to be the one that offers the most angles for firing back. But it works as a way of not concentrating on what was, until last week, the zOMG stories of the century: the debt & deficit, now plummeting at record pace. Discussion of the IRS story continued around selections from FiveThirtyEight's "I.R.S. Approved Dozens of Tea Party Groups Following Congressional Scrutiny," an old LA Times article on IRS targeting of a liberal California church, the actual Nixon White House tapes regarding political use of the IRS, Rick Perlstein's "Washington Misses the Point on the Tea Party and the IRS," Mark Sumner's "The IRS 'scandal'--all smoke, no fire," and David Cay Johnston's "The other IRS scandal." Armando chimed in from the road on these stories as well. Finally, a word about the ridiculous "wish we'd had some AR-15s up in Boston" talking point, and a short catch-up on new filibuster reform talk.

Direct download: May_16_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

Greg Dworkin gave us a round-up sampling on the three "scandals" of the week, the 37th attempt of the House Republicans to repeal Obamacare, and Stanley Fish's question, "Is the N.R.A. Un-American?" Meanwhile, what's suddenly missing from the conversation? Debt & deficit hawkery. Is it the "scandal" feeding frenzy? Or is it because both have dropped precipitously, so the narrative is falling apart? Next, a detour back through #GunFAIL, including the continuing child-on-child shooting spree, and some fact-finding on claims that accidents at gun shows just don't happen, or are super-rare anomalies. Then, back to the IRS story, featuring the 2011 Mother Jones series, "Tea Party Patriots Investigated." Seems some of the Tea Party's own grassroots think some of the groups scrutinized probably deserved it.

Direct download: May_15_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:45am EDT

Washington's focus on "scandal" continued today, to no one's surprise. Armando called in on the IRS, Benghazi and AP stories, plus the truly astounding Washington Post "fact check" of the "act of terror" versus "terrorist act" flap. We expanded the discussion to the entirety of the "Republican scandal management playbook," bringing in Jon Perr to discuss his Sunday Kos post on the subject. Also, information both old and new begins to emerge that appears to indicate that grassroots Tea Party activists had as much motive to target the big name, big money "Tea Party" astroturf groups for IRS scrutiny as anybody. Meanwhile, isn't it amazing how this is never reported as a distraction, or as "poisoning the well" against the prospects of a "Grand Bargain?" Your "liberal media," folks.

Direct download: May_14_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:05pm EDT

Death panels! I mean, Demon Pass! I mean, Benghazi! I mean, IRS! Yeah, we probably shouldn't feed this, but there's so many tangential issues tied up in how we treat charges of politicization of federal agencies, we just had to take a look. Greg Dworkin reminded us all too briefly that there are other things happening in the world, specifically the decision of what to do in Newtown, CT with the now-vacant Sandy Hook Elementary School building. But local decisions, like national ones, are political by nature, and the dynamics are surprisingly familiar. For the most part, the rest of the show was given over to the weekend's IRS blow-up. We recall the Republicans' own effort to "defund the left" through the mid-90s-era Istoook amendment, targeting federal grantees involved in what they felt was "improper" political activities, as well as Newt Gingrich's efforts to shoehorn his own political activity into a tax-exempt context. And the Bush-era audits of the NAACP, Greenpeace and others. We discussed Ezra Klein's take, and were reminded by it of the Bush administration's politicization of the US Attorneys and the wider DOJ (including the voting rights section, which created its own political targeting problems). And Alex Seitz-Wald's compilation of the many, many things Republicans have used of late to suggest impeachment, paired with Michael Tomasky's look at the subject. Finally, we read Daily Kos' own Jon Perr on "Benghazi and the Republican scandal management playbook."

Direct download: May_13_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

Drawing on the information from past #KITM shows, you can convert frustrated WalMart shoppers into anti-WalMart evangelists, one at a time! Jonathan Chait on "Why Left and Right Economics Can't Just Agree." Catholic hospital ditches Catholic doctrine when it might cost them money. Twitter star @UnitedLiberals joins us to discuss Kutztown (PA) University's decision to sorta-kinda loosen their on-campus gun policy, ALEC's latest anti-transparency play, campaigns-in-a-box, increasing concerns over "political intelligence" consulting, and other issues under which Liberals are typically United.

Direct download: May_10_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

Greg Dworkin joins in the discussion of a proposed open carry gun rights protest in DC on July 4th (because Freedom), the realization that austerity measures are impeding economic recovery, and the persistent belief among some journalists that President Obama could somehow be charming his way into legislative successes if only life were either like the movies or their inaccurate remembrances of history. Meteor Blades then joined us for a look at yesterday's Benghazi circus. Picking up on yesterday's themes, we read through Lee Fang's piece in The Nation, "The Reverse Revolving Door: How Corporate Insiders Are Rewarded Upon Leaving Firms for Congress." And just tossed out there for discussion in the wake of gun rights advocates pointing to decreasing crime stats: firearms deaths are nonetheless on the rise in Florida, even as its overall crime rates decline. And while they're arguing that more guns are what's leading to less crime, there are some strong arguments for many, many other factors playing a bigger part.

Direct download: May_9_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

Greg Dworkin gives us the latest on the flu & coronavirus front, notes the results from South Carolina, and the big story on the release of data detailing widely disparate costs at hospitals around the country. We followed that up with a piece from Matthew Yglesias on why nobody will care about this stuff. It has to do, at least in part, with differing perspectives on the same facts. And that in turn is what's at play in the procedural fight in Congress about "regular order" playing out in the budget process. Then, Ezra Klein's look ahead to the Republicans' new debt ceiling hostage: tax reform. Further adventures in government "cost-cutting" through outsourcing that ends up costing taxpayers more while helping people less. And why do we continue to do these things? Because it's so much easier to make sure beneficiaries kick back part of the profits when they're distributed narrowly and in chunks big enough that the kickbacks won't bite. Like with the Kochs and the NRA (and everything else). And just for good measure, we return to "political intelligence" consulting, to show how similar schemes fuel the conversion of a taxpayer-funded public knowledge base into fat rent-extraction opportunities, and keep them paying out.

Direct download: May_8_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

The day's hot stories kick off today's show, from Chris Christie to the Cleveland kidnappings. But the bigger picture dominated, as Greg Dworkin filled us in about new studies suggesting enormous savings to come from pretty much exactly what health reformers said they'd come from: bending cost curves down. And though Simpson & Bowles actually had that right initially, somewhere along the line they became convinced of the opposite. Also: "The Layman's Case Against Austerity," David Dayen's reporting on the move to replace FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco, another dive into journalistic discussion of Green Lanternism, and the newest ethical gray area in DC: "political intelligence" consulting.

Direct download: May_7_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:19pm EDT

Greg Dworkin brought us the latest on the flu front, the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (and how this weedy item will worm its way into "real life), the implosion of the Howard Kurtz brand, and the NYT's follow-up reporting on the tragic child shooting in Kentucky. We also read Jill Lawrence's National Journal piece, "The Most Bogus Argument Against New Gun Laws," reviewed Josh Marshall's stitching together of some of the more outlandish recent gun stories in "When Stories Collide." Plus, a rundown on what's going on in Congress this week. Not much! But we had some good writing to share, from Daily Kos community member Mark E Anderson on the so-called Working Families Flexibility Act, up for a vote in the House this week, plus a note from Jonathan Bernstein on the Senate's Marketplace Fairness Act and what it means in the larger socio-political (and everything else-o) sphere. Fairness and Flexibility! What a great week!

Direct download: May_6_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

Greg Dworkin shared the latest from Public Policy Polling, showing boosts for Senators facing reelection who voted for the recent background check legislation, and polling hits for those voting against it. Surprise! Plus, Media Matters reporting on new NRA President, who turns out to be a nutter. Surprise! And if you heard Chris Hayes call "gun culture" into question last night, recall that you heard it first from Greg! Also: we watch a conservative commentator say the Age of Enlightenment led to the Holocaust, and therefore reason sucks. (Bipartisan compromise with this, please! Even though compromise is rooted in reason. Which is Teh Hitler.) A great James Wolcott piece neatly rolling up gun issues. A NYT article on a marked increase in suicides, and possible ties to economic conditions and outlook. That segues to Felix Salmon's "The systemic plight of labor," followed by a quick second look at the Pennsylvania privatized prison nightmare, and how it relates to everything else in the show today. Which is to say: ALEC.

Direct download: May_3_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Greg Dworkin and I got stuck on guns again today, in the wake of the international attention being paid to the child shooting in Kentucky. Sounds like the background check bill might actually come back for another vote, possibly just prior to the August recess. Gun rights advocate Gayle Trotter pulls a story from the files to prove a point about women and guns, but doesn't exactly bullseye this one. An historical #GunFAIL moment, as we pay tribute, Ken Burns-style, to the 150th anniversary of the accidental shooting of Stonewall Jackson by his own men. Other topics: do Wall Street players use a "drug lord playbook?" Polls show a significant chunk of Republicans think "armed revolution" may be necessary. And they're already at war with science. The InfoWars "reporter" is mocked on the street in Boston. Plus, turns out they actively avoid buying behavior that's pro-environment. Just like their Senators actively avoid common sense solutions if it might help Obama. A Pennsylvania judge goes to jail for literally selling kids into private prisons. Because privatization is so awesome.

Direct download: May_2_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

Greg Dworkin notes a measles outbreak in the UK tied to anti-vaccination agitation, Sen. Kelly Ayotte's (R-NH) scramble to deal with her gun vote backlash, and Larry Flynt's endorsement of Mark Sanford. The day's gun news is sadder than usual, with two young boys in two different states both shooting and killing their preschool aged sisters in the last two days. Gun enthusiasts on Twitter, of course, are outraged that the news has been read out loud. Armando joined the show to discuss all that, plus the emerging "Green Lantern" theory of presidential powers. Other topics: living in a 401(k) world, and the outrageous (and still growing) CEO-to-average-worker pay gap & what's driving it.

Direct download: May_1_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

We got a lot crammed into today's show. Greg Dworkin called in with news that the American Academy of Pediatrics is carrying forward the position statement of the United Physicians of Newtown, and to discuss the latest polling on how the gun votes are playing in key Senate races, and public perceptions of the prospective U.S. role in Syria. Other topics we touched on: Today's top #GunFAIL stories (another gun instructor has accidentally shot himself); fear of terrorism vs. fear of gun violence; NRO yells at Alex Jones; Congressional Republicans find a new way to combat science; Cass Sunstein demolishes the "slippery slope" argument; former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says that in hindsight, maybe the Supreme Court shouldn't have taken the Bush v. Gore case after all; Republican loon Jan Brewer signs AZ legislation banning the destruction of guns collected in buyback events; VA Gov. Bob McDonnell is alleged to have let a "friend" (and huge political donor) pay for the food at his own daughter's wedding. Family values!

Direct download: April_30_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

Greg Dworkin rejoined us on his regular schedule today, talking about his Sunday Kos piece on the latest iteration of bird flu, before moving over to polling showing the sustained popularity of universal background checks. We read through a Nature profile of lone wolf firearms researcher, Dr. Garen Wintemute, and a NYT op-ed laying out "A Libertarian Case for Expanding Gun Background Checks." Also of interest, an article from the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, noting a growing debate over that country's armed populace. That seems sure to drive American cultural conservatives batty, if they deign to take notice of it. Next, a weedy explainer of the procedure use to pass (sort of) and the screw up (sort of) the much-discussed FAA sequester fix. Finally, we started looking at Matt Taibbi's latest in Rolling Stone, wherein another giant banking conspiracy is alleged to be manipulating the price of everything, to everyone's detriment.

Direct download: April_29_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

A Friday grab bag today. The FAA sequester fix was in the works, just as Congress heads to the airport. But will it collapse on the House floor? Procedure fans will delight in noting that the House will have to waive the normal rule prohibiting consideration of bills under suspension of the rules in order to take up the bill suspending part of the sequester that has become uncomfortable. A new craze in #GunFAIL: "home invasion shooting." Revisiting the wholesale Hostess pension theft as a segue to addressing the petty pension theft of 401(k) management fees. Armando called in with his own grab bag: The continuing backlash against Reinhart-Rogoff; a new low in the Republican Benghazi craze; losing the sequester game piece by piece; and a sneak peek at his Sunday Kos piece on a new lunatic right-wing legal theory granting standing for individual federal employees to challenge agency legal interpretations. Lastly, a gun enthusiast's online post pretty much explains why #GunFAIL, embarrassing as it may be, has real value to gun guys.

Direct download: April_26_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Congress is still mad about airline delays, which are clearly the fault of this annoying "government," whoever that might be. Greg Dworkin called in and let us know that House Republican Leader Eric Cantor, in an effort to put a softer face on the Gop, failed at bringing a not-quite-repeal of Obamacare to the floor yesterday, and ended up having to pull it in the face of Tea Party-type opposition. Repeal or nothing! We discuss the minor media firestorm over the empty dais at the Joint Economic Committee's hearing on long term unemployment. Essentially, that's the way most hearings look. Which doesn't make it a good thing. It just... is. Then, a look at the latest on Hostess. The Wall Street Journal says the new owners (of which they speak to just one of two partners) plan to reopen the bakeries, but without unions. Surprise! And wow, have they got awesome plans to save the brand. You know the plans are awesome because the people who drew them up are rich! In the second hour, we talked to David Wehde, Organizing Director of Working America, about the launch of, a sort of WebMD for workplace organizing. Finally, we read a Concord Monitor editorial on the failure of the gun bill, and the case it makes for filibuster reform. Don't think we've made any progress in that fight? Consider that newspaper editorial boards no longer laugh out loud at the idea that Senate rules can be changed by majority vote. Now they call on the Senate to do exactly that. A key step forward in a relative short time, during what has historically always been a long, long fight.

Direct download: April_25_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

Had to start off with another rather startling gun story today, this one the Whitesboro, TX gun instructor who decided that since he didn't see anybody around, he could just start teaching his outdoor concealed carry permit class without a backstop of any kind. But, oops! A guy fishing nearby got shot! Then, into the weeds on budget procedure, as three years of Republican bleating for a Senate budget is met by... a Senate budget. Which is in turn met by... filibustering the motion to go to conference with the House on that budget. More on Republican backlash against sequestration cuts that make them uncomfortable. An explainer of why Harry Reid often switches his votes "for strategic reason," but then nothing "strategic" ever seems to happen. Finally, a return to that crazy story line about the collapse of the academic underpinning of the global austerity movement.

Direct download: April_24_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:17pm EDT

We return to the critique of Maureen Dowd's Obama bashing, because it seems the meme is spreading that there were some magical things the President could have done to erase entrenched Republican obstructionism and pass the gun bill. Greg Dworkin joined us on that subject at the top of the show, and Armando comes thundering in on at at the end. In between, we run down the day's headlines from The Hill, using it as a jumping off point for the day's tangential thoughts, also known as: What We Do On This Show. Key issues: filibuster reform, sequestration cuts, and the complicated politics surrounding both. It turns out that the amazing catalyst for sequester frustration finally breaking through is... airport delays. Cancer research and the like, not so much. Even more interesting, Congress reverts to form with the emergence of a new kind of earmark: sequester exemptions.

Direct download: April_23_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

Greg Dworkin returned to the air with us this week, and although law enforcement in the Boston area was kind enough to wrap up that whole terrorism thing by Friday evening, we figured we might as well revisit it on Monday. Do Republicans really want him held as an "enemy combatant?" Is the Miranda warning as big an issue as all that? Arkansas Republicans provided us with plenty of stupid this weekend, too. There was the Congressman who figured the manhunt meant everybody in Boston was wishing they had AR-15s. Whereas I'm pretty sure it meant everybody in Boston was glad there were no Arkansans around with their guns. Arkansas also brought us the county Republican chair letting us know that the 2nd Amendment is really about guaranteeing our right to conduct sucker punch political assassinations if we lose a vote. We also checked in with Gideon from overseas, talking Boston, America's seeming obsession with violence, and filibuster reform, among other things. Finally, we wound up with Maureen Dowd's much-talked-about gun bill post mortem, and the blistering critique of it by Walter Russell Mead. Yow!

Direct download: April_22_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:01pm EDT

Nothing in the world exists this morning but the situation in Boston, about which we know nothing. Greg Dworkin and Armando Llorens joined us as we watched the media circus and tried to make the most of it. Did we treat it too lightly? Did we break a few rules, and take a few liberties with our listening guests? We did. But we also looked away for a few minutes and connected some GunFAIL dots, including the realization that there was actually an accidental discharge at a gun show somewhere in America every single weekend in January! Just for kicks, we threw in a story about the New York hipsters who are raising infants diaper-less, and one about physicists running an experiment to find out whether the entire universe might be a computer simulation.

Direct download: April_19_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

Tough news everywhere today, from the Senate floor to West, Texas. We spent a little more time clearing up issues of procedure, and pointed out that maybe Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, both conservatives, have a little bit of thinking to do about who supports you when you go out on a limb to do what you think is the right thing, and who leaves you hanging out to dry. Turns out that Republicans aren't just opposed to collecting, studying and disseminating data about gun injuries. They also oppose it when it comes to Twinkies. Rep. Aaron Schock declares in an op-ed in Politico that food and beverage makers "shouldn't have to worry" about "their tax money" being used by the government to "attack" their products. Good corporate PR is now a government entitlement. The attacks in Boston give rise to renewed inquiry into the nature of terrorism, and the political symbolism of using the word.

Direct download: April_18_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

The Senate votes today on gun bill amendments, so we go back over the procedure, and some of the more troubling aspects of the substance as well. Everything will require 60 votes, and yet there will be no filibuster, per se. How can that be? And what difference does it make, if any? Among the more problematic issues raised by some of the "poison pill" amendments: inter-state reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders, even as stories are breaking about a not-insignificant rate of suspected fraud in the issuance of those permits, across several states. Not to mention the news that Tennessee's "I'm gonna start killing people" guy may get his permit back now, too. Follow-up on some other GunFAIL stories points up some of the unexamined consequences of gun accidents, including long-term health and economic effects. Also in the news: the collapse of a major tenet of austerity doctrine. Seems one of the academic papers most often cited in support of austerity policies, including the Ryan budget, contained serious errors, including things as basic as spreadsheet coding errors, and high debt to GDP ratios don't predict economic contraction at all. Whoopsie! Sorry, global economy! So, Republicans are pushing gun reciprocity as significant permit fraud is revealed, and they're pushing austerity as calculation errors behind that theory are revealed. Hooray for reality!

Direct download: April_17_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

Thanks to Greg Dworkin, Armando & Meteor Blades for joining us this morning. Naturally, the events in Boston were the main topic of discussion today, and we looked at things from a number of different angles. The cautionary reaction, urging people not to jump to any conclusions. The many-layered question of whether or not there's a difference in investigating the bombing as terrorism versus some other sort of crime. And the continuing issue among observers of different stripes as to whether there even is such a thing as domestic terrorism. We did turn to other current events as well, discussing Senate procedure for undertaking debate of the gun bill, the strategizing about amendments, and what might go into Harry Reid's decision-making in handling it all. And of course, there was a little additional talk about the subject underlying that debate: the guns themselves, and the policies governing their sales.

Direct download: April_16_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

Yes, it's "Tax Day," which apparently still matters to people who don't just take care of business a little earlier. To "celebrate," we read Liz Day's account of "How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing." It not only made appropriate note of Tax Day, but connected us to last week's reading about the "rentier" class. TurboTax maker Intuit apparently spent some $11 million+ fighting to keep tax filing complicated so that millions more would be spent by the rest of us, buying their software to make it easier. Armando called in for Greg Dworkin, who was out today, with a grab bag of items. For one thing, he reminded us that today's Jackie Robinson Day, as well. He also noted Gallup's annual polling asking if people thought their tax bills were "fair." That is, he noted that it's kind of dumb. We also lingered for a bit on the NYT headline, "Hedge Fund Titans' Pay Stretching to 10 Figures," noted the continuing lack of action on Guantanamo detainees, and finally wound up with Missouri's move to certify teachers to carry weapons in the classroom, even as the story broke of the arrest of a St. Louis area gun instructor who was faking his students' qualifications. But hey, what could go wrong? Besides, the answer to gun-related fraud, the logic tells us, is more fraud.
Direct download: April_15_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

We began the show by catching up with the day's #GunFAIL news, running down the Capitol Hill headlines and noting the insanity of the spin surrounding the Mitch McConnell taping incident. The rest of the show was a hodge-podge of media clippings, including: a look at whether or not the President can or should relieve Ed DeMarco as acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; new revelations about the extent and official knowledge of standardized test cheating under Michelle Rhee; the relative value of a watered-down gun bill, and; the NYT's editorial view of the President's budget. Continuing the grab-bag approach, we read and discussed Mike Konczal's, "How an anti-rentier agenda might bring liberals, conservatives together" and Andrew O'Hehir's "Colonial Williamsburg: Where the Tea Party gets schooled."

Direct download: April_12_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

While we waited for the Senate to take its cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the gun bill today, the topic was much on our minds. Of course, we're not kidding anyone by suggesting it wasn't going to be on our minds, regardless. But it provided a convenient excuse. We checked in with Greg Dworkin, who was on hand for some of the rallying of public support up in Newtown, CT. He also filled us in on the latest polling on the issue, from NBC. Other tidbits: Some Connecticut-based gun manufacturers are apparently threatening to leave the state in the wake of the passage of its new gun safety laws, though their leverage is questionable at best. A "hermit" living in the Maine woods is suspected of perpetrating over 1,000 burglaries! Compare the treatment of people openly carrying assault rifles versus those who dare try to take video of cops. Guess which one gets in trouble for carrying a "weapon." Moving on the the 4th Amendment, the ACLU asks whether the IRS is reading your emails without a warrant. Finally, we wind up the reading of the NYT article "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood," inviting Armando to join the discussion. Seems we've hit a brick wall for the moment on just how this deal could possibly have been justified, even in the notoriously "cowboy" George W. Bush administration.

Direct download: April_11_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT

The Senate's attempt at getting to debate on a gun bill is underway as a bipartisan deal on background checks is announced. We review Harry Reid's options and discuss how procedure is likely to play out, noting the threatened filibuster. And speaking of the filibuster, we spoke with Monte Frank of Team 26 and the Newtown Action Alliance about the simultaneous "Filibuster the Filibuster" events being held in Newtown and DC to protest the Republican obstruction. We had a follow-up to that nutty proposal in North Carolina to facilitate the establishment of a state religion (just to stick a thumb in the ACLU's eye), and read a report from Indiana's legislature in which we learned that more guns are the answer because abortion. We also spent some more time on drone issues, specifically, a read through the New York Times' "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood." And just before closing time, we snuck in a quick report on the early word on the background check compromise.

Direct download: April_10_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

We had to start off with an update on an extraordinary run of child-focused #GunFAIL, this time with three shootings in three days by kids 4 years old and under. Armando called in to fill in for Greg Dworkin today, noting the threatened filibuster of any gun bill, including the universal background checks that have overwhelming public support, and what it means in terms of how dysfunctional our Congress can be. In addition, we discussed the continuing fixation on the "Grand Bargain," adding to the mix Sen. Max Baucus' undermining of the tax policy position of both Congressional Dems and the White House, and Peter Orszag's latest dispatch which seems to be calling for even greater concessions on cuts to the safety net. Meteor Blades also called in, clarifying a key point about the gun issue: there already is a national registry of automatic weapons, and nobody's come to confiscate them yet. He stayed with us for our big interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, who gave us a far-reaching, hour-long, multiple topic interview, pulling in issues of guns, economics, political activism, campaign finance reform, the runaway financial sector and the rampant income inequality it's produced.

Direct download: April_9_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm EDT

Congress returns to DC, which surely will put filibuster issues back on the table by the end of the week. Greg Dworkin calls in to discuss the passage of Connecticut's new gun policy legislation, the state of play on the federal level, and new Pew polling on the subject. We note the passing of Margaret Thatcher, which somehow caught Fox News flat-footed, but then again, we don't have a great deal to say about it, either. Cuban-American Republicans in Congress are apparently demanding an investigation into Beyonce and Jay-Z's vacation, so that seems super important. Right? Armando joined in to discuss the absurdity of the freak-out, and the inconsistencies of Cuba policy. Setting up an issue for the future, we noted some of the more disturbing issues raised this weekend in the NYT article "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood." We also read through an interesting discussion between Joe Nocera and Dan Baum on the subject of guns that brings up a lot of great points, but which ultimately degenerates into the same mess as pretty much every other discussion of the topic, thus proving that erudition is no savior here. Finally, a little listener mail raising the always important point that painting with too broad a brush causes serious problems, in this case, when dealing with the topic of corporations and corporate behavior. Listener, Daily Kos community member and business owner Arliss Bunny reminds us that it's corporate actions, not the corporate form, that create problems, and that Democrats would do well to remember that and make allies of the vast majority of business owners who are good folks, and who benefit as business owners from liberal public policy.

Direct download: April_8_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

Everything on the show today has a Greg Dworkin component to it. First, an extended version of Greg's regular segment, during which we were joined by Monte Frank of Team 26, for a recap of their nationally covered advocacy on gun responsibility legislation, an update on their activities and a look at what's next. Then, the story of the surprising phone call Greg got from Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, regarding my reading and discussion of his latest article, "What The NRA's 'School Shield' Would Cost." And just to be sure we didn't leave it unmentioned that Johnston's an accomplished and celebrated journalist, Armando called in to fill in some background, and I made sure to let him know about the whole Pulitzer Prize situation. From there, I tried my best to properly differentiate between my commentary and the remaining text of article, but hey, it's hard to restrain yourself when you're the only voice in the room. But Armando's working behind the scenes to change that, and with a little luck, next week we'll be able to feature the man himself, so you'll be more able to tell who's saying what!

Direct download: April_5_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:32pm EDT

Greg Dworkin brings us news of the Connecticut legislature's completed work on post-12/14 gun policy reforms, set to be signed into law today, plus a new Q-Poll showing continuing and overwhelming support for universal background checks (even as respondents acknowledge the data could theoretically be used for government confiscation programs). Yesterday was an extraordinary day in #GunFAIL story collection, and we recapped some of the most outrageous and egregious among them, including new entries in the dangerous trend of firing bullets through the homes of neighbors. Next, we noted the new round of strikes by fast food workers in New York, and checked in with Mike Hummel (aka bluebarnstormer) on last night's community event in Biddeford, ME, where bakers and other workers in the former Hostess plant there are facing the same threats and thefts that plagued his plant in Lenexa, KS a few months back. Afterwards, we actually segued back to #GunFAIL, comparing the labor fights to the gun issue in the sense that both controversies appear to depend on manipulation of the facts, and the so-called "conservative" side seems to get pretty irate when people start sharing information about what's really happening out there. Finally, we looked at David Cay Johnston's attempt in The National Memo to begin calculating the cost of the NRA's proposed "School Shield" program. First, of course, we have to wonder whether it's an idea likely to work and actually save lives and prevent injuries, but also, how many of us think the "conservatives" behind it will be there with funding when the bill comes due?

Direct download: April_4_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

Greg Dworkin fought through his laryngitis to call in and discuss the NRA-backed suppression of federal gun violence data collection, and a new Marist poll suggesting no wavering in public support for stricter gun laws. Afterwards, we drew on a diverse cross-section of insanity for our entertainment today, starting with the introduction by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature of a bill that would free the state to establish a state religion. Because they love the Constitution so much, the bill's sponsors basically declare that Constitution not binding. Louie Gohmert out-derps himself with comments linking gun laws with gay marriage and bestiality, which of course make no sense. But he's angry, so send him some money or something. For variety, we threw in a story about a court ruling in favor of Aereo, a start up that has cobbled together (at least temporarily) a way around copyright laws and allow users to stream broadcast TV to their mobile devices, and another about how much of your current cable TV bill is due to payments tied to professional sports contracts. Armando joined us briefly with the story of a fight developing between Bill O'Reilley and Rush Limbaugh, and the latest in the conservative craze for Ben Carson. We wrapped up with a check-in from Kansas former Hostess worker Mike Hummel (aka bluebarnstormer), who's in Maine speaking to the employees of yet another former Hostess bakery who now stand in the same position as those in Mike's Kansas facility. Seems their pensions, to which they made even larger contributions than the Kansas workers did, are being stolen as well, and this and the threat to their jobs comes after the town gave significant tax breaks and other subsidies to the company to build that plant. Do you think the company would get to keep that money if we really did run the government like a business?

Direct download: April_3_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:08pm EDT

The show went on without Greg Dworkin this morning, but... Ha! April Fool! He was totally on the show. Ha! April Fool again! No, he wasn't! With that out of the way, we actually did get a laugh out of yesterday's conservative freak-out over the Google doodle, and then immediately stopped laughing to get somewhat up-to-date on what's (not) happening in Congress, where they are in the budget & appropriations process, etc. Armando joined in for a round-up of stories including the controversy over a proposed $20 million bonus to the CEO of American Airlines, which is still in bankruptcy, the Jeff Sachs op-ed in the NYT complaining that Obama isn't doing the things he's doing, and new Pew polling on immigration. In the second hour, Gideon joined in for some discussion and Q&A covering everything from Senate voting procedure (on Bernie Sanders' amendment opposing chained CPI), to the threat of a filibuster against gun policy legislation, to Democratic prospects in the 2014 elections. Lastly, we read through Meteor Blades' write-up of the controversy over nominations to the Mississippi Board of Public Health, which has apparently caught the attention of the Reddit community. Always good news to see people sitting up and taking notice!

Direct download: April_1_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:46pm EDT

Greg Dworkin updated us on the Connecticut legislature's progress toward a vote on new gun safety measures, and notes that a new polling report says the fervor for reform on a national level hasn't dimmed appreciably in the months since 12/14. Indianapolis "Moms Demand Action" rally for gun law reform draws a counter-protest: guys who just want to stand right up next to you with their AR-15s. Because Freedom. Just one of the weird meta twists that protesting about guns by showing up with guns can lend to an already tense situation. Also: a local city council declares all future laws restricting guns to be unconstitutional, because they love the Constitution so much, except for the part about supremacy and also the separation of powers. Later, a story about college fraternities and liability insurance leads to speculation about how they might feel about proposed laws allowing guns on campus. Despite her CPAC railing against high-priced political consultants, turns out most of Sarah Palin's PAC money has gone to... high-priced political consultants. Surprise! Just the latest in a long line of pols who use their PACs as lifestyle slush funds. Finally, we finish up on the "trickle-down consumption" article, and yell at WalMart some more, this time for contemplating a plan to trick their customers into becoming unpaid delivery drivers. Dolts, or evil geniuses? You decide.

Direct download: March_29_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:51pm EDT

Greg Dworkin joined the early discussion of our new category of #GunFAIL emerges: guns people claim they "forgot" they were carrying. At airports, courthouses and other secure areas. Cold, dead hands! But also, I totally forgot I even had a gun! Wanting to have things both ways on guns isn't anything new, but it seems particularly outrageous that the same people for whom guns are the end-all, be-all could also forget they even have them. Well, if that doesn't suprise you, you probably also won't be surprised to learn there are those who don't see much point in the TSA screening for guns at all, which is another amazing thing discovered during this inquiry. Also: police departments around the country are having trouble finding enough bullets to keep their officers supplied, thanks to the nationwide panic and run on ammunition inspired by believers in gun confiscation conspiracy theories. The second half of the show was a broad economic discussion centering on the surprising development that Wal-Mart seems to be running itself into the ground in a vicious cycle wherein the drive for ever bigger management bonuses become dependent on keeping payroll--their largest cost center--down, but then seeing short-staffing hurt sales, which they compensate for by... cutting payroll. If that's not a metaphor for spending cut-driven budget hawkery, I don't know what is.

Direct download: March_28_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:51pm EDT

Somehow, people keep shooting one another and doing various other wacky things with their guns, so we keep covering it. Greg Dworkin joins us to discuss developments including the decision in the town of Enfield, CT to put armed guards in their schools, the pullback in South Carolina from their proposed Docs 'n Glocks gag rule, and the marriage equality issues currently before the Supreme Court. Armando also joins in the discussion on today's DOMA proceedings, taking on issues of justiciability, standing and others which underlie the substantive issues. In between, we discussed a statistical analysis of guns and safety issues as written up in the UK Guardian, and two recent #GunFAIL incidents that almost perfectly crystalize the issues behind those statistics, namely that gun owners appear much more likely to inject themselves in dangerous ways into already dangerous situations, relying on a false sense of security their guns may sometimes give them. And of course, we had to take note of the insane story out of Tennessee of the "Sharia Sink" in the state capitol, and Glenn Beck's insistence that the ethics investigation into Michele Bachmann's failed presidential bid is really a Muslim Brotherhood plot against her.

Direct download: March_27_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

All eyes are on the Supreme Court today, as it considers the California Prop. 8 question and perhaps the future of marriage equality rights across the country. Greg Dworkin and Armando helped round out the conversation on that topic, noting both the wider social and political trends that make up the context in which the case will be decided as well as the legal and mechanical framework. Two very different ways of looking at the case and its potential impact. We also read Sally Kohn's Salon piece making another key point bound up in the issue: that there are questions beyond marriage equality that have, for strategic reasons, been set aside, but which will necessarily come to the fore once this issue is settled. Specifically, is it worth elevating marriage above other familial relationships at all? And even if it is, is it fair to do so? Expect that to be the future of the debate. Also discussed: that last entry among "The 5 Shadiest Crimes Ever Pulled Off by Famous Corporations," specifically, The Battle of Blair Mountain, and; a fascinating and well-lawyered immigration case that highlights the value of some of President Obama's small steps toward meaningful reform.

Direct download: March_26_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

Plenty of #GunFAIL and gun-related discussion today. Greg Dworkin updated us on his extensive interview with Australian 60 Minutes on the events in Newtown, and on the pace of legislative responses on gun policy. Among the latest to take note of the #GunFAIL phenomenon is The New Yorker, wherein we learn the historical lesson that "melancholy accident" was the original hashtag used by newspapers of the colonial era and early 19th century. We also read Mark Sumner's Sunday Kos piece, "Congratulations on your new gun laws." Switching gears for some economic analysis, we read Salon's "How rich 'moochers' hurt America," and then four entries from "The 5 Shadiest Crimes Ever Pulled Off by Famous Corporations," from Cracked magazine, of all places! Humor and entertainment outlets have a better read on the news these days than most newsrooms do, it seems. Sigh.

Direct download: March_25_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Beset by a different set of technical difficulties today, the show went on anyway! There was much more to discuss about the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, mostly focusing on the toxic political atmosphere that existed, and still plagues us in many ways to this day. Greg Dworkin joined us despite the live stream outage, to discuss the current state of play of federal gun policy legislation and state gun gag laws on physicians. In other news, Sen. Coburn amends the continuing resolution to block the National Science Foundation from funding research not directly connected to national security or the country's economic interests, the real target of which is apparently the funding of political science research, including surveys of American voters' attitudes toward the Senate and the filibuster, and study of presidential executive powers. Both of those are hot topics on the show, of course. And what have they got to do with the rest of the day's stories? Well, don't the boundaries of executive power have anything to do with, say, getting us into a boondoggle of a war that compromised both our national security and our economic interests? Republicans just can't ever seem to see the forest for the trees.

Direct download: March_21_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:57pm EDT

The 10th anniversary of the Iraq war continues to dominate the discussion today, but of course we can connect it to other top issues, like the strangely Very Serious push for austerity and slashing of the social safety net, which every Very Serious traditional media analyst agrees is absolutely imperative, despite the shrill cries of those who say the evidence points to the necessity for the exact opposite. But other than that, in no other way are the two stories related. Except of course for the deficit "crisis" having been largely created by that war, which was supposed to pay for itself and be a cakewalk. We also take a brief detour for an update on the week in Congress, including the parliamentary maneuverings around the continuing resolution and the competing budget resolutions, including a discussion of how and why the Senate hasn't produced a budget for the past few years but will this year. Afterwards, Armando joins us to take the discussion back to the parallels between the Iraq war political landscape and today's austerity craze.

Direct download: March_20_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT

The 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war gives us as good a reason as any to focus on the Republican history of being wrong and/or ineffective on pretty much everything, since forever. Wrong on foreign policy? See Nixon's interference with Vietnam peace talks, Reagan's interference with Iranian hostage negotiations and Iran-Contra, and the disaster of Iraq. Wrong on the economy, taxes and the social safety net? See their dire warnings of tyranny and socialism from 1935, 1965, 1993 and today. Wrong on their ability to reach out to minorities? See the history of their failed attempts but repeated patting of their own backs for "trying." And of course, wrong on guns and what to do about them, even when those in favor of working out some common sense reforms offer up those the NRA has offered up in the past. Hey, can't we have some kind of bipartisan compromise on a Grand Bargain with these people? Lucy promised she'd let Charlie Brown kick the football this time. So isn't it Charlie Brown's responsibility to lead now?

Direct download: March_19_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:58am EDT

Everything you want in a Monday morning show. Lousy weather and technical difficulties! Republicans in disarray! Yes, one branch of the bitterly divided Republican party is attempting a reboot, while the CPAC branch stomps its feet, bravely endorsing both dynastic libertarianism and the brave protest of drinking a very large Diet Coke on stage, in defiance of... New York City's Republican mayor. Greg Dworkin reflected on the Republican autopsy, as many are calling the report, noting in particular that they're well aware that most voters see them as "narrow minded" and "scary." Hi, CPAC! On the gun front, the NRA steps up its efforts to prevent local authorities from revoking gun rights from the target of protective restraining orders. That ought to help win back the 80+ percent parting ways with them on background checks! Some #GunFAIL stories, new and old that challenge some assumptions. South Carolina looks to join the fool's parade, barring physicians from asking about guns in the home. In other news: Congress continues work on the continuing resolution and on next year's budget. Media Matters points out that Jennifer Rubin is waving around a report that debunks everything she wrote about the New Black Panthers, but saying it proves her right. What a shock. The story of how the federal SNAP program sustains fully one-third of Woonsocket, RI. The implications of reinvigorating labor law with a new fighter at the Labor Department.

Direct download: March_18_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:54am EDT

It's Friday, and that means it's time for publishing the next installment of #GunFAIL. And that in turn means it's another big gun discussion day. Greg Dworkin called in with news of the big multi-group gun policy meeting in Newtown, including more talk about the need for hard data on gun incidents, and viewing gun policy as a public health issue. A few interesting points crystallized by gun news include the enormous costs associated with recovery from wounds, and where those costs (thanks to many other socio-economic factors figuring into gun ownership and usage) tend to fall on the income scale. In other news: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) changes his view on marriage equality after revealing that his own son is gay. And in not-exactly-news: the Popes Benedict were a weird bunch, historically speaking. Lastly, we finish up reading and discussing the Mother Jones piece, "All Work and No Pay."

Direct download: March_15_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

Connect all the dots! Republicans are busting out everywhere, saying the Supreme Court doesn't actually get to decide what laws are constitutional, the party will do best by opposing the black guy in the White House, everything you think you know about the Constitution is wrong if it disagrees with what we think we know about it, continuing their abuse of the filibuster, etc., etc. etc. Greg Dworkin joined us to discuss all this, give a little (important!) context to that quote about opposing the black guy, and remind us that despite the surface crazy, Republicans are playing a patient long game here. And winning. So, where did the dots that we connected today come from? Scott Keyes and Ian Millhiser's "GOP Congressman Says Supreme Court Doesn't Actually Get to Decide Whether Laws Are Constitutional" for Think Progress. Corey Rabin's "I am not a racist, I just hate democracy." Peter Finn's "NRA money helped reshape gun law" and  Jonathan Bernstein's "Harry Reid's only move is to threaten immediate Senate reform" both for the Washigton Post. Jeffrey Toobin's "How Filibusters Harm Federal Courts: Caitlin Halligan's Cautionary Tale" for the New Yorker. And Lee Fang's "Charles Koch Reflects on Last Election, Promises to Do More to 'Persuade Politicians" for The Nation. All topped off by Hunter's dispatch from CPAC, "Lions and tigers and communists, oh my"!

Direct download: March_14_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Another grab bag of topics and info, today. Greg Dworkin continued building on the narrative of guns as a public health issue, and brought word of Team 26's arrival in DC. Today's #GunFAIL updates included follow-ups on some recent stories, plus the story of a robber shooting himself in the nuts. Always a crowd pleaser! In Congressional and Congress-related news, the Senate is stuck on another filibuster of a motion to proceed, this time to the House-passed continuing resolution to fund the government past the end of March, and the NLRB is planning an appeal of the recent DC Circuit Court's ruling invalidating actions taken during the service of recess-appointed board members. Armando joined us to discuss the recess appointments question, and raise a related one about how Paul Ryan's budget purports to commit the Social Security trustees to tackling the task of fully funding the trust fund for a 75 year window. We wrapped up with a return to Robert Parry's "Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra," and some consideration of whether expansionary views of executive power has been equivalent as between Democratic and Republcian administrations.

Direct download: March_13_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

A little bit of everything today. Greg Dworkin joined us for a brief Team 26 update, and a continued discussion of guns as a public health issue. Conservative backlash against departure from the "Hastert Rule." Peggy Noonan's profoundly stupid article. Which one? The one about how she had a sad because she stayed in a budget rate hotel and couldn't find a footman. Shocked by the place being short-staffed, Nooners apparently has no idea how it could happen. But Mother Jones explains in "All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup." Armando then joined the show for a discussion of NRO having a sad because conservatives are the heirs of the situational ethics of John Calhoun, to some poignant examples of the inheritance: their abuse of the "states' rights" canard on marriage, abortion, guns, voting rights, and just about anything under the sun. But don't both parties engage in hypocrisy from time to time? Sure. But you wanna talk about differences in orders of magnitude? Let's start reading "Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra" by Robert Parry.

Direct download: March_12_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:16pm EDT

We're back for another Monday, and the beginning of Daylight Austerity Time. The Associated Press has picked up the drum beat of cataloging and taking a closer look at gun incidents around the country, focusing on January 19th, like I did, and like NBC has done since. But curiously, neither NBC nor the AP bothered to mention that January 19th was "Gun Appreciation Day." Greg Dworkin joined in to update us on the "Team 26" ride from Newtown to DC, now in progress, and continued to make the case for gun policy as a public health issue, as a follow-up to his Sunday Kos piece on the subject. We could use a little help on that score from gun folks, though, who could help a lot by doing their part to encourage real compliance with safety protocols, and stop accepting those who refuse as full members in mainstream gun culture. Despite the lip service given to gun safety, the pattern of shooting two toddlers per weekend continues apace, as does the trend of mistaking one's partner for an intruder. Is there really nothing we can do consistent with gun rights here? Moving on to the political roundup: the Senate begins moving a budget for the first time in years, Republican presidential hopefuls somehow view CPAC as a springboard to legitimacy (!), Jeb denies the existence of Bush family baggage, Sen. Coburn says Senate leadership is the big hurdle to compromise, House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy quietly declares the Hastert Rule dead, and Republican crazies make compromise tough. Shocking. To wrap up, we read Krugman on Dwindling Deficit Disorder, and's roundup of the nonsensical agenda behind "Fix the Debt."

Direct download: March_11_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

A good Friday mixed bag. Greg Dworkin called in to discuss the jobs report, the Paul talking filibuster vs. the Halligan silent filibuster, and means testing Social Security vs. lifting its tax caps. Of course, there was more #GunFAIL news, just illustrating that even highly trained professionals find they can have potentially serious trouble with shooting situations. You can't have a discussion of both gun news and jobs news without Meteor Blades. So we didn't! And as always, we were much the better for it. We talked economics in general, reading Laura Clawson's post on the divergence of increased productivity and real wages. Why doesn't anyone ever worry about diminishing that incentive to work hard? Probably because they love being historically wrong. To prove the point, we turned to a Krugman piece reviewing Republican predictions of doom and disaster from the Obama stimulus, and from there, to an old Daily Kos piece reviewing Republican predictions of doom and disaster from the Clinton stimulus. And Medicare. And Social Security. This. Is. What. They. Do. To wind up, we noted word from scientists that the Earth's temperatures appear to be at a 4,000 year high! And we left you with a weekend thinker about immigration, the abandoned capitalist value of the free movement of labor, and just for a twist... how that relates to the consecration of rights, including gun rights.

Direct download: March_8_2013_56.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:44pm EDT