21 August 2017 – We weren’t expecting what happened in Charlottesville, just over a week ago, but by the time events unfolded last week’s show had already been recorded as had a portion of the current show.
But with the terrorist attack that happened quite close to where I live, I thought a deep dive into the thread far-right terrorism represents was important. Joel and I discussed recent events, a brief history of far-right terrorism in the US both recent and in the past, and also, we discussed what can be done about the problem.
Arliss is away this week on business, and will be gone next week as well but after that we’ll be back to our usual schedule. – Will
10 October 2016 – We were lucky to have Scottish National Party Councillor Math Campbell to preview for us what it looks like when fascism takes over a country. The British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is talking about creating a “registry” for all foreign nationals and has decided that no organizations which advise Whitehall can include foreign nationals among their advisors. Prime Minister May has also announced that when negotiating Brexit from the European Union, limiting immigration will take priority over jobs, the economy and justice. It’s good to know she has established her priorities. Math let us know that plans are continuing apace for a Scottish break from the UK.
At the top of the show Will makes it clear that the most recent release from Wikileaks, which is intended to be problematic for Clinton, is not now and was not ever created by the Clinton Foundation or part of a speech given by Hillary. The release is comprised of falsified documents, probably written by Russian agents, in an effort to influence the US election.
I answer the question, what is Hillary’s plan to pay for debt-free college? This is a nod of the carrot to Travis & Rachel, our friends at Irreverent Testimony, who were faced by a Libertarian with this very question last week. I hope this answer helps. If anyone needs additional detail, there is a lot more at Hillary’s website. This link will take you to the specific page.
Usually, both Will and I have a block on the show to talk at a bit more length about a subject of interest to each of us. We planned that for this week. We prepared our notes. We got ready to record the show. And then Politico announced that the Republican National Committee had temporarily frozen the funding and all work on Trump Victory Fund projects. Will and I were willing to let the rest of the media deal with the despicable things Trump has said about women but when the GOP starts to seriously break-away from their candidate, well, that we had to cover. Late on Saturday afternoon we pitched our original plans out the window and started again. What you will hear is current as of about 6PM on Saturday, 8 October.
12 September 2016 – The stars have almost fully aligned. Will and I are both fully functional this week. Sadly, we have no interview or Extra Mad, because we are both frantically catching-up at work, but the show is all new this week and next week, for our 1-year anniversary show, we have an interview I have been trying to get for a while so I’m excited.
At the top of the show I talk about the bankruptcy filing by South Korean shipping giant, Hanjin. Sea freight is a canary in the coal mine economic indicator and the sinking of Hanjin speaks volumes. Also, with Christmas on the horizon, the Toy Shippers Association (no joke, there’s clearly a club for everyone), is expressing deep concern. It is already apparent that the stranding of so many toys will be putting extra pressure on reindeer-based transport systems on the night of 24 December. Also during the top block, Will, as predicted/promised, gets into the appearance of Nigel Farage at a Trump rally in Mississippi. Fascism is real and it’s gone mainstream. The “Lauering” of the bar by the press has allowed it to go unchallenged for years and now we are all reaping the crop of hate so carefully nurtured by the AltRight.
In his block Will has some fun talking about the history of tech and projects that failed because they were too far ahead of their time. The Scottish efforts to build a canal across Panama, the Macon and Akron airships and the Apple Newton were all failures. Still, there is a tiny bit of Newton in every iPhone. Eventually, good ideas tend to take root. The photo below is of the USS Macon during a visit to new York City in 1933.
In my segment I answer the question, what is blockchain? Bitcoin, the first iteration of blockchain, is an interesting experiment but it has substantial limitations. Blockchain itself, however, will have a big future and be used in many applications. It will not replace currency, for reasons I will get into in more detail next week, but it is an important technology which is on the rise. I do spend some time on the technical limitations of blockchain including the Byzantine Generals problem. There are many serious descriptions of this hurdle as it has been an unresolved challenge, both for programmers and applied mathematicians, for nearly forty years but there was one genuinely short but funny article and I promised to link to it here.
Both Will and I thank you for sticking with us through the past few weeks. – Carrots! Arliss
25 July 2016 – Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca), political activist and commentor, manages to be both incisive and hilarious with his jackhammer-pounding, nailgun-fast insight into the underlying structure of the current election cycle. In the first half of the interview Jesse both breaks down the structural problems with the GOP and brings true thoughtful analysis to the pick of Tim Kaine. In Extra Mad he gets into more detail and provides some of the sharpest wit I have heard on these topics to date.
At the top of the show I round-up the latest developments in court rulings on voting rights summarizing the Wisconsin, Texas and Virginia decisions. I also take a moment out to remind everyone that, (to paraphrase James Carville), “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!” Will , then, takes a few minutes to talk about just how dangerous the GOP has become and concludes by quoting Professor Halford E. Luccock, of the Yale Divinity School, who said during World War II,
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called ‘fascism;’ it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’
If you did not hear Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the word “Americanism” features prominently. No joke.
In Will’s block he brings us all up to date on the ruling handed down addressing the conflict between the Phillippines and China over the Spratly Islands and, more importantly, the surrounding sea lanes. What is especially interesting about the ruling really comes down to how international law will be enforced in the foreseeable future.
In my block I get into the Italian banking crisis and talk about the difference between a bail-out and a bail-in. Just when you were thinking that Italian banks can’t possibly be a big deal for you personally, I explain why the new bail-in regime Italy is fighting will likely cost you money when you go to buy a car or a house.
We had fun this week and I hope you do too. – Carrots! Arliss
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22 February 2016 – This week Will and I ended up with so much to say that we did the whole show ourselves. I open with an update on the economic crisis in Puerto Rico and I follow that with a quick take on economic canaries, Maersk and CSX.
I’m up next with answers to listener questions relating to the article, “It’s Not About the Debt,” by Chad Stone. I get into some detail about why using debt-to-GDP ratio as a metric makes no logical sense. As part of my explanation I draw from the excellent Levy Economics Institute Working Paper (Number 603), “Does Excessive Sovereign Debt Really Hurt Growth? A Critique of This Time It’s Different, by Reinhart and Rogoff.”
We also mark the passing of the gifted author and thinker, Umberto Eco. Both Will and I have been deeply impressed by his works and given the bent of the current US elections many of Eco’s literary themes seem inordinately timely.
In Extra Mad I venture out into the weeds of GDP; what it is, what it isn’t, what’s wrong with it and the various options. If you listen to the podcast version of the show I’m betting you will be surprised by relevancy of this topic.
We do have new interstitial music this week from Bua, the great traditional Irish band. Check out their website and support their music. Traditional music artists have an especially challenging road and artists as fluent and musically astute as Bua are rare.
As always, Hopping Mad is available here as a download as well as on Stitcher and iTunes. We are on Twitter and Facebook as IMHoppingMad. We LOVE receiving your feedback, questions and corrections. Spring is coming! – Carrots! Arliss