Monthly Archives: November 2019

EP 294 Working Hard Yet Still Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

You can work very hard in America, yet still be broke.  And you can be white in America and still be poor. As our guest points out in her searing memoir, ‘Heartland’, ‘poor whiteness is a peculiar offense in that society imbues whiteness with power-not by just making it the racial norm next to which the rest are ‘others’ but by using it as a shorthand for economic stability’.  She has seen it in generations of her family members in the Midwest as they work their with their hands and on their farms never thinking about the systemic forces pushing against them.  ‘They speak a form of poetry, made up of things and actions’.  But do those voices and the importance of those actions resonate in the power centers in America?  I use Sarah Smarsh‘s words in this description of the podcast because they are so beautifully crafted and say so much.  You must hear the message she has for America in trying to understand flyover country.  One more nugget: ‘People on welfare were presumed ‘lazy’ and for us there was no more hurtful word.’  She explains her prose and her thoughts on being broke in the rich country on earth.

EP 293 Choosing the College That’s Right For the Job

 Given the cost and what’s at stake in choosing a college, perhaps, we are asking the wrong questions when we set about the process. Oh, there are a slew of books, rankings and resources which announce themselves as being definitive guides to making that choice.  But, are they? Using the ‘jobs to be done’ concept developed by Harvard University icon, Clayton Christensen, Bob Moesta(our guest) and Michael Horn, apply the concept to ‘Choosing College’, the title of their new book. Instead of focusing on what job a student wants after college, their focus is getting you to do the hard work of determining what ‘job’ a student is hiring a school to do.  By adopting the ‘Jobs to Be Done’ theory, students can better understand what motivates them. The book presents five different Jobs for which students hire a school. Once you’ve thought about these five Jobs, you can better approach which schools might meet your individual needs. This may be one the one book and one podcast you need before signing a letter of commitment to __________U.

EP 292 Adjunct Professors Now Dominate Many Colleges: Does It Matter?

Image result for 'The Adjunct Underclass

: Over the past few decades, the job of college professor has been completed transformed.  And, according to Herb Childress, for the worse.  He’s the author of ‘The Adjunct Underclass’ and questions whether we can really value higher education when we treat educators like desperate day laborers.  In order to underpin the notion of academic freedom and to encourage the life of the mind, we all imagine professors who are free to study, research and think, not to be harried because they have no security and must amass many classes, often at different schools, to cobble together a meager living at $3,500(or so)a class.  In 1975, only thirty percent of faculty held temporary or part-time positions.  By 2011, as universities faced both a decrease in public support and skyrocketing administrative costs, that number topped fifty percent.  Now, some surveys indicate that as many as seventy percent of American professors are working course to course, with few benefits, little to no security, and very low pay.  Now, that’s a trend we must discuss, particularly in light of the escalating costs of higher education.  It begs the question, then where is the money going?  Listen to this podcast and find out.

EP 291 Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered to 18–Again?

Image result for Scott Johnston, author of 'Campusland'

 At one time in the not too distant past, the drinking age in America was 18 with the logic being that if young men, at the time, could be conscripted to fight at that age in the jungles of Vietnam, they should be able to drink at home.  Then, in 1984, Congress raised the age to 21 as a way to combat drunk-driving fatalities. States were coerced into doing so in order not to jeopardize receiving highway funds. Yes, drunk driving deaths did go down, but was the raising of the drinking age the reason?  Our guest, Scott Johnston, author of ‘Campusland’, makes a strong case that other factors were more important and that kids on campus, his main focus, kept on drinking no matter the law. And that this prohibition changed the campus culture for the worse. We have a great exchange about the issue and learn some stunning facts.  Did you know that of 190 countries, on 12 have drinking ages as high as ours? Or that 100 college presidents have signed on to a letter encouraging the lowering of the drinking age? Or that a former President of Yale University used to welcome students with an open bar? Johnston thinks Republicans should lead this charge. He explains why.  Good luck convincing ‘Martini Mitch’.

EP 290 Black Site: The CIA in the Post 9-11 World

 Phil Mudd, who you see often as an analyst on CNN, was the former
deputy director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center so he has firsthand
knowledge of the vast changes in strategy and tactics that took place
at     the CIA in the wake of the 9-11 attacks on our nation.  He
understands how and why the CIA morphed into an operational agency
instead of an intelligence gatherer for others to act on.  He knows what
The Program meant  in terms of covert ops, enhanced interrogation
techniques and extraordinary renditions.  Yet in his book, ‘Black Site’
he gives a forthright analysis of our intelligence efforts in the War on
Terror.  He places us back at the moment that America’s leaders decided
that they would not allow another attack on this nation and the lengths
they went to in insuring that result.  And then after de-briefs with
many members of the CIA he looks back at the steps of the process and,
in hindsight, after much criticism, what we have learned.  What happened
internally in the decade after the attacks has so rarely been discussed
or written about, until now.  Finally, we discuss whether he thinks
such steps could ever be taken again.

EP 289 Angry Young Men Have Become America’s Most Dangerous Predators

In the podcast realm, true crime is by far the most listened to genre.
Our focus on it is simply because it’s part of such a growing, and
disturbing, trend in our society.  Following on to our most recent post
about the FBI profiles of active shooters in America, we turn our
attention to the case of Israel Keyes, one of the most meticulous serial
killers of the 21st century.  In Maureen Callahan’s riveting account of
this case in her book, ‘American Predator’, one of the most
inexplicable elements was how little was known about this killer’s
family life and upbringing.  And, in reality, until we begin as a
society to take greater interest in the well documented troubles of boys
in our culture, how can we get to the root of the mass killings
epidemic?  Ms. Callahan sees the nexus clearly between these two killer
types and helps us to understand her thinking in a compelling article
she wrote with the headline ‘angry young men continue to be America’s
greatest threat’.  It’s not something we as a society can continue to
simply tolerate.  As concerned citizens at a town meeting with the
Governor of Ohio, following the Dayton shooting said in unison ‘do
something’.  Well, first we need to admit to the enormity of the
alienation, understand it better and develop a range of strategies that
can prevent it or mitigate its lethality.  But act, we must.  And soon. 
This conversation is a good start, as are previous podcasts still
available to you on this site with Warren Farrell and Dr. Leonard Sax.

EP 288 Can the American Carnage Be Stopped?

 The nation is trying to reckon with the deadly concoction of troubled
young men, possessing tools of war and espousing, in many cases, hatred
toward  fellow Americans because of their color, sexual orientation,
religion or other characteristics.  The body count from this anti-social
behavior continues to rise and prayers and condolences are becoming an
insubstantial response to mass shootings unseen anywhere else in the
world.  We turn to Katherine Schweit, who when she was with the FBI,
authored the Active Shooter Study to get a better handle on who we are
talking about and what we can do to make these rampages less likely and
lethal going forward.  There is no one answer but we must begin to
discuss what public policy initiatives might halt this growing trend
toward violent extremism–is it guns, more mental health services, or
pre-emptive action toward those who evidence such tendencies.

this all must be done within the limits of the Constitution and in a
race against the inevitable tragedy next awaiting the nation.  You may
be surprised at the role that we, the ordinary bystander, happening upon
such a circumstance in a place considered a soft target can and have
had in many cases.

EP 287 The World is Dedollarizing and You Need to Understand What That Means

   What if tomorrow nobody but the United States would use the
US-dollar?  Say begins a compelling article by our guest, Peter Koenig. 
You might say, back up, I don’t even understand what that means.  Well,
we need to.  And so we lay out in a meticulous fashion the central role
that the U.S. dollar plays in the world economy, generally far beyond
what you might imagine, and walk you through the trend of
dedollarization now going on.  It is a story of East vs. West in many
ways and provides important sub-text for the tensions in U.S.-China
relations.  We will introduce you to new competitors to the all powerful
dollar, our Federal Reserve and big banks which have been able to
impose their will on countries and events worldwide.  One of the most
significant new entities is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and
the splintering off of key American allies in the process.  All of this
has both financial and military implications and as our guest tells us
while we might not feels the effects of our shrinking importance as the
world’s reserve currency suddenly, it will have significant impacts over