The United States of Fast Food might be an apt description of our culture. And it’s now verifiable. The Centers for Disease Control study reveals a startling statistic: 40% of Americans eat fast food every day. Really? Come to think about it, if we add processed foods and quickie meals made at home, it might be an even higher number. Another surprise in the study is that folks with money might rely upon it more than folks with fewer means. Well, fast food is on the menu in this episode with Dr. Elaina George, author of ‘Big Medicine: The Cost of Corporate Control and How Doctors and Patients Working Together Can Rebuild a Better System’. That’s a mouthful and so is the amount of McDonald’s we’re consuming.
Monthly Archives: March 2019
The numbers are startling. Our faith in government was once very strong. It, and many other institutions, have fallen sharply in our estimation, if you believe the numbers. Or, just ask a friend. How did we get to this place where we have such disdain for the institution meant to maintain ‘the common good’ and, more importantly, how do we reverse this trend? Professor Donald Kettl, of the University of Texas, in his book ‘Can Governments Earn Our Trust’ explains how we got here and, perhaps, how we reclaim that trust. It’s a long road back, but the frustrations we have with government are, like some many other issues, nuanced and not easily reduced to a sound bite. So we will take our time to understand in this episode.
It is worse, so much worse, than you think’. And that’s just the first line of David Wallace-Wells’ book, ‘The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming’. So, you read on to be reminded that much of what we have to fear about the new climate reality is already upon us. Yet, failure to push back against it in a herculean way, worldwide, will all but insure hundreds of million more deaths and still more living of us living in a ‘degraded muddle’ which would be ‘merely grim, rather than apocalyptic’. In beautiful prose, he helps us visualize the wildfires, plagues, flooded cities and dying oceans that await us. Much of the messaging about climate change has not been effective in communicating the stark reality that’s upon us. He’s hoping through this powerful book he can break through the delusional thinking that it’s not going to happen here, with force, anytime soon. Think again. Listen up!
How quickly social mores change. For some of us of a certain age, it’s hard to look back at shows like ‘Friend’s’ and label them homophobic or purveying stereotypes.. In the case of ‘Seinfeld’, in its day it won a media award from GLAAD, a defender of gay rights(not that there’s anything wrong with that). Yet, many millennial’s look back at these shows and consider their jokes tone deaf and distasteful. Is it fair to put a 2019 lens on classic material written more that 20 years ago? And how ironic it is to be having this debate on social media today when it seems that Archie Bunker simply moved his comfy chair into the Oval Office? It’s a highly entertaining exchange we had with Kristin Sunanta-Walker, CEO of the Mental Health News Radio Network. Listen in.
In ‘Anatomy of Victory’, John Caldwell does a remarkable job of trying to unpack why the United States triumphed in World War II, fought to a stalemate in Korea, lost in Vietnam, and failed in Iraq. Wouldn’t we all like to know? For all the resources expended in blood and treasure, Americans should demand a much better ‘strategic architecture’ before we deploy our precious young warriors to battle. He explains what that simple precept really means and provides chapter and verse as to how, for example, in Vietnam the overwhelming force we brought to the conflict still was not sufficient to overcome a lack of a clear vision for what we considered our mission there and what would follow a military victory.
There Are Worse Things Than Foster Care
So headlined an article written by Naomi Schaefer Riley, published recently in the New York Times. And what is ‘worse’ for youngsters in troubled situations may surprise you. So, we talked to Ms. Riley, a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to get a fulsome explanation of foster care today–who is in the system, the reasons they are there and ways the federal government can make things better for these children, despite the fact that this is primarily a state directed responsibility. You will come away with a much fuller understanding of child protection services, or the lack thereof, in America today.
To understand the populist phenomenon that led to Donald Trump’s election, many turned to John Judis’s book. ‘The Populist Explosion’, back in 2016. He gave a clear-and prophetic-explanation of the rise of populism. Two years into the Trump Administration, and with similar political upheavals around the world, he attempts to explain the resurgence of ‘us vs. them’ nationalism in his latest book, ‘The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization’. We explore with him the underlying causes of the nationalist revolt and its global impact, including whether the left or the right has caught more of the fever. We also ask him whether his admonition to leaders to identify and reclaim what is valid in nationalism, while also maintaining strong international institutions, is possible in these turbulent times. His thinking on these issues is in the vanguard of political analysis today.
Peter Wallison feels there is an argument to be made that this is the case. Nameless, faceless bureaucrats are left free to write the language and regulations that underpin broad laws passed by Congress. In the process, they define much about what the federal government’s growing role is in our lives. Congress was meant to be the most powerful of our three branches of government, but it has ceded much of its role for the expediency of getting re-elected. We explain what that means in the podcast. You might wonder where the judiciary is when it comes to reigning in the executive branch overreach. That, too, is explained, as we engage with the author of ‘Judicial Fortitude’
Illicit trade has been with us since the dawn of antiquity. We even glamorized the craft in folklore about the pirates on the high seas. Yet, the pace and sophistication of illicit trade has broken with all historical precedents over the last thirty years, according to Louise Shelley, author of ‘Dark Commerce’. The anonymity of the dark web and payment in cryptocurrency have fueled the acceleration of trade in tangible and intangible goods. Not only is this bad for consumers who may be unaware that products purchased on the internet are inferior or unsafe, but this commerce is actually a key factor in the now galloping sixth great extinction on earth. It’s compelling material which you will hear nowhere else.