Common Core Reprise and Update

29 August 2016 – Will is out of town on business this week and I have finally managed to struggle back up onto my paws after six days in the hospital and way too many more in recovery at home. Under normal conditions Will and I would have tried to prepare a show in advance but it was impossible to predict that I would be hospitalized and he would have a concussion at the same time almost immediately followed by an emergency business trip. Obviously, fate is snickering at us.

Hopping Mad is a show which requires considerable preparation and,  because Will and I both have “day” jobs, we fit all that in around already full days. His travel this week and my short days (work, nap, work, nap, work, nap….) made thorough preparation impossible. I have to say that when I am too exhausted to read about financial news or economics, I am one seriously pissed off rabbit. After all, who doesn’t love reading about economics at 3AM!

Will and I solemnly promise a terrific new show next week. So much has happened and we have a LOT to say about it. Seriously, last week Donald Trump had former UKIP leader Nigel Farage at one of his rally extravaganzas!!! There was Farage, “Hello Mississippi….” I think we can all safely anticipate a rant from Will on that subject.

This week we are going back to our 7th show, from last November, when Will first started talking to us about South Sudan and the Spratly Islands and I was on the so-called “budget deal” and the difference between fiscal and monetary spending. The interview was with a California educator who was intimately involved in developing Common Core standards and she is absolutely fascinating on the subject. We hope you enjoy this and we will be back with you next week. Carrots to you and yours! – Arliss

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Dr. James Brusseau on Inequality & Philosophy

20 June 2016 – Both of the main topics this week, inequality through the lens of philosophy and Brexit, ended up stretching me to a new perspective. In both cases I default to the economics and the associated numbers but it turns out this wasn’t the week for that. Dr. James Brusseau is an author, a professor at Pace University and recently hosted a new documentary, the Wealth Inequality Workshop. Most people think about inequality in terms of the political sphere or the economic sphere but James brings a new voice, philosophy, into the conversation and in so doing the realization that the reason so many of us talk past one another on this topic is because we are starting from opposing perspectives on the equality/freedom continuum. Once you listen I suspect you too will be surprised at where you find yourself in the end.

Will and I are both on Brexit this week. I thought I was going to be talking about Brexit economics but following a Twitter conversation with a listener I ended up really thinking about the emotional content that has come to be so closely wrapped into Brexit. I tried to think about it in several different ways, as an MMT wonk, as a pragmatist and as just a feeling being. All of this was made immeasurably more sad by the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox (photo above). Her loving, generous, brave life was taken by a man acting on a wave of the current of hate which is insidiously sweeping through the Leave side of the referendum. It’s easy to recognize because it is here in the US too, in the campaign of Donald Trump and even, to a lesser degree, in that of Bernie Sanders. As is the first line of the editorial in The Guardian about Jo’s death, “The slide from civilization to barbarism is shorter than we might like to imagine.”

#MoreInCommon – Carrots! Arliss

Just a quick note, I mentioned almost offhandedly the complexities of the relationships that surround the European Union.Wikipedia actually has one of the best breakdowns charted out here. That explains all the ancillary agreements and groups that surround the EU.

Catch you all next time! – Will

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ISIS, Taxes & Strategy

23 November 2015 – The news just doesn’t ever seem to get any easier to watch, does it?  With the horror of terrorism and the insanity of our nation quaking in fear at the prospect of extending our hearts to the very people who have fled the terrorists we so despise, it has been a long week. So much for that whole “…home of the brave…” thing, right!  Maybe it’s just me but I do find it helps me to be able to cope when I can put it all into political, historical, economic and religious context. Middle East expert Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder on Twitter) is back again this week to help us with that. The on-air interview is just the beginning. There is more than an hour of additional insight in the Extra Mad (extended) podcast version. Having lived in Iraq for a number of years, Landon has lived with this war and his personal experience and expertise is exceptional.

This week, as promised, I am talking about taxes – how they work, what they can do and what they really, truly, factually do not do. I should provide a warning however. If you are into drinking games, please do not take a drink every time I say “drive” or some version thereof. I’ve had alcohol poisoning and the combination of the hospital bill and embarrassment are absolutely not worth it.

This week Will talked about how our enemies strategize to exploit our weaknesses and failures to hurt us. He began by highlighting the history of the British Empire’s maneuvering over slavery, first banning it, then later providing the Confederacy with warships. Will evidenced this as an example of long-game diplomacy. Then he compared that to how DAESH/ISIS/ISIL is doing the same thing when it comes to exploiting the poverty and racism which have harmed working class Muslims in France for decades.

At the top of the show I touch on the recently released Global Terrorism Index and Will covers the latest from…wait for it…Scotland. I know. Just when you thought you were out he pulled you back in – or something like that. (LOL.) We all know that Will’s heart is in Scotland and he watches developments there very closely but, frankly, the politics in Scotland and the UK really have been fascinating, especially these past two years, and I’m glad to have Will to keep me up to date on all the goings-on.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday we will not be recording a show next week. We will be back bright eyed and fluffy tailed on Monday, 7 December. Carrots & Yams! – Arliss

 

Common Core, Spratly Islands and Fiscal vs Monetary Policy

2 November 2015 – This week we interviewed an expert on Common Core and, seriously people, she was incandescent. Even if you don’t have kids in school, you REALLY want to listen to this interview.  Debra is a teacher-consultant of the National Writing Project and the California History Project, a school district Director of Libraries and Literacy leader, with a PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture from UCBerkeley. She has 25 years classroom teaching experience and provides professional development for teachers. So, clearly, she’s a rock star. What is especially revelatory about this interview is that Debra talks about Common Core from so many different perspectives. She has been on the front lines of Common Core since years before it made it into classrooms and she has the kind of insight that can only come from depth of experience.

Will is talking about bird and bat guano this week. What!?! You think I’m making that up? He is covering the Spratly “Islands” and the claim made to them by China. The diplomatic scuffling between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam over this archipelago is transitioning from talking to shoving. China is, of course, the elephant in the room but the US is reinforcing the status of the international waters with a recent Freedom of Navigation transit through the area by the USS Lassen. Personally, I’m proud to know that the US feels compelled to defend the freedom of birds to deficate freely in freedom with extra free freedom.

I continued talking about the mechanism of fiscal spending versus the mechanism of monetary spending. During these many years of Congressional disfunction the Fed has been holding the economy together with monetary policy alone, which, I explain, is like pushing on a string. The economy will not truly recover until we have a functional Congress which is operating its fiscal spending responsibility with an eye toward economic growth. (And people in Hell want ice water too.) I also sprinkle in a little talk about social security just for seasoning.

Technically this week most things went well. Debra had an issue with her mic which worked out nicely for her dog who wanted to get in the act during the “Extra Mad!” portion of the interview. I finally gave up on having our RSS feed hosted by Feedburner. They really are just AWFUL. Our feed is still there until I get the time to rip it down but our new location is at Buzzsprout. I LOVE them. Their site is easy to use and, unlike Feedburner, actually makes sense. Also, they have real humans in technical support and helpful help pages. So, Stitcher and iTunes are getting switched over. You should be able to find us easily on both in the next day or so. As the week progresses and I get a bit of time I will switch all the players on our site to the Buzzsprout players because they are nicer as well. A tip of the carrot to Bluegal, from my favorite podcast, The Professional Left, for her Buzzsprout recommendation. Carrots! – Arliss

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The “U” in “UK,” Fiscal Spending and Iraq Expert, Landon Shroder

26 October 2015 – This week we were fortunate enough to have Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder on Twitter) join us for the interview. Landon spent seven years living in Iraq representing Royal Dutch Shell, the last five of which as Shell’s head of intelligence and assessment. Now he is writing for Vice News and continuing to cover the region as a journalist. Landon gave us an incisive interview for the broadcast show but the podcast version, below, contains the additional Extra Mad portion of the interview and it is exceptional. Truly.

In his block Will covered the new version of crazy in the UK which is so poorly conceived that it may actually lead to the devolution of the UK itself. It’s called English Votes for English Laws or EVEL (pronounced “evil”). You can make of that acronym what you will. I’m going back to do the first of what will be several segments on basic concepts. This week I’m talking about how fiscal policy comes in to being.

Also, in response to multiple requests from loyal fans, we finally found the problem in the RSS feed we had submitted to Stitcher and to iTunes. We have resubmitted the new information and really should be up on those services soon. To tide you over we have also added in an mp3 download button below each podcast player below so that you can grab the full Extra Mad Hopping Mad from there in the meantime. The encouraging thing is that for the first time we had no major technical crisis during the actual recording process. This is a big step and an even bigger relief for us both. I’m celebrating with carrot cake. Carrots to you and yours! – Arliss

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SCOTUS Says, “No, You Can Never Have Your Day in Court”, Daily Kos’ Armando Explains

12 October 2015 – It’s true, over the past eight years the Supreme Court has been steadily chipping away at citizen access to Federal courts for civil actions. Not only is the bar to individual access almost impossible to surmount, climbing the mountain of barriers put before those attempting to gain certification for a class action is very nearly impossible. Corporations are people and welcomed into the courts but actual people…not so much.

Armando, who is a lawyer, frequent contributor to Daily Kos Radio Kagro in the Morning with David Waldman and a Daily Kos front pager, joined us to walk us through the foundation of citizen access (which was the Sherman Act) the later clarification to access  (Conley v Gibson) and then the Roberts’ Court efforts to tear access down through Ashcroft v Iqbal, Bell Atlantic v Twombly, Wal-mart v Dukes and AT&T v Concepcion. I’ll be honest with you, until I hopped on a Twitter link which took me to an article in The Nation, I had absolutely no idea things had become this serious. Essentially, Federal courts are filled to overflowing with criminal cases (many of which should not be there at all) and instead of working to reform the criminal case-load, SCOTUS went after the rest of us and slammed the door of the third branch of government right in our face. The version of “Hopping Mad” which aired, on Netroots Radio, on 12 October, contains the first half of our interview with Armando. The podcast version (player below) has the full length interview so it is, of course, “Extra Mad!”

This week Will gets into it on the need for progressives to stay connected to the real world and to create a workable progressive political strategy. He utilizes the current struggle of Jeremy Corbyn and the candidacy of Bernie Sanders as examples. Arliss goes off on de-industrialization and the successful campaign by neoliberal economists to keep us from caring too much.

As a final note, we managed to get through the recording of this episode all in one day. We were very excited. I don’t know what Will did with the rest of his weekend but I spent mine gardening, hiking and standing at the paint counter at Home Depot – because my life is precisely that exciting.

So here it is, the forth episode of “Hopping Mad”…