Storms, Religion & DACA – Got Empathy?

11 September 2017 – The always interesting and informed Rachel Hutcheson, of Irreverent Testimony, joined us for a mini-roundtable. Will, Rachael and I each brought a topic and we spent some time thinking out loud about them.

Will started us off talking about climate change, in terms both of the hurricanes and fires currently razing huge swaths of the United States. Will made the point that in the not-too-distant past we prepared for disaster through federally organized civil defense. Now those activities have been broken apart and many have fallen through the cracks. We already know that recovery from Harvey and Irma will take years if not decades so there’s that but the real point is that “Winter is coming,” so to speak. Climate change doesn’t care if Florida, Texas and Montana believe in it or not. It’s here. It is going to get worse. We are doing nothing.

Rachel used the both funny and important work done by the Satanic Temple to talk about the push-back in the courts against the growth of forced Christianity. Rachel zeroed in on the use, by the Satanic Temple, of their sincerely held religious beliefs (which are egalitarian, scientifically coherent and humble), to challenge anti-abortion-related laws in the State of Missouri on behalf of member Mary Doe. This case, for which opening arguments are being heard today, is fascinating and makes for an interesting conversation.

I wanted to cover the economic side of DACA but I wanted to couch it in terms that, perhaps, Rachel could use in talking with her dad and brother (both of whom are conservatives) about DACA and immigration. Rachel spoke with her dad in advance of recording the podcast and brought that into our discussion. I was surprised and, frankly, still can’t wrap my mind around the disconnect in his “reasoning.” I make the truly overwhelming argument about the positive economic impact of DACA and, in fact, immigration in general.

Will and I will be back next week and, hopefully, between now and then I will get the time to put our new merch up on the site. Other folks have t-shirts but at Hopping Mad we have Thurston Owl, the deficit owl, and Arliss Bunny, wearing a McLeod tartan scarf, ornaments. These have been handmade for us by an artist in Kansas City and we are thrilled to support such a talented artisan. Carrots! – Arliss

Ariella Barker on PwD Advocacy

13 June 2016 – We always think our interview guest is going to give us a strong interview but there is no way to predict when an interview is going to be breathtaking. Ariella Barker, advocate and activist for persons with disabilities (PwDs) gave us a truly stunning, erudite and heartfelt interview. It is no surprise that this is our longest interview to date. Ariella had a lot to say and all of it was important. I tracked Ariella down after I read her 18 May blog post, “‘Berned’ by Bernie,” which was suddenly all over my Twitter timeline one day. You. Must. Read. This. Blog. Post. There is a reason it went viral. Even more than this post though, I was astonished by the revelatory honesty and genuine humanity of Ariella’s blog as a whole. She goes by “shiksappeal” on WordPress and that is only one of the lovely things about her. I always gravitate to smart people who can laugh at themselves. Ariella is my kind of person. I guarantee you will learn an astonishing amount about the political issues with which the PwD community is grappling. I did. Did you know PwDs are the largest minority community in the United States! Fully 20% of all Americans fall into this group. Twenty. Percent!!! I had no idea and I suspect that most people don’t. Shiksappeal is a natural storyteller and she teaches by sharing her life with us. I, for one, am so grateful.

In my block I am finally turning toward Brexit, the 23 June referendum when the UK will vote to either stay in or exit the European Union. The two campaigns, Leave and Remain, are neck and neck and there is so much more on the line than most people realize. Certainly there is more involved than most in the Leave camp are taking into consideration. One of those things would be the end of peace in Northern Ireland. No joke. I spend my time this week talking about Ireland v Brexit and how both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be deeply damaged, both economically and culturally, should Leave win the vote. Next week I’ll be on the economics of Brexit.  Basically, both this week and next Will and I are all Brexit all the time. (You had to know it was coming, right?)

I was a busy bunny this week. I was on the 10 June Kagro in the Morning show with the always interesting David Waldman. David had spent time in each of his two previous shows talking about Social Security and I had some additional information which I hope was helpful. I was also fortunate enough to be a guest on the newest episode of Irreverent Testimony. Travis and Rachel are such a joy. Smart, snide, funny and never afraid to say what they are thinking – they give me hope for the future. We talked about the end of the Dem primary, what it means for Rachel and I as women to see this moment in US history, potential VPs and the hot mess that is Trump.

With that I will leave Will to say a few words. Carrots! – Arliss

We had a last minute change to the program because of the attack on the Pulse LGBT Club in Orlando. Arliss and I had a long conversation about that, about grief, and about healing. We talked about giving Orlando space to grieve. Sunday was a very difficult day for a lot of us. – Will

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The Awful Truth: Trafficking of LGBT Youth in the US is a reality

25 April 2016 Rachel Hutchison of Irreverent Testimony joined me as a guest host because Arliss is on vacation.

Today we started with a tiny bit of coverage on the Scottish elections. Our UK listeners will note that I didn’t talk much about Nicola and that’s because I’m saving a full segment for her next week when I talk about the Scottish elections on May 5th. Only when those are over and done with will I give Brexit my full attention.

Then Rachel and I followed with a discussion of LGBT strategy when it comes to elections as well as a discussion about how we take state governments back.

Our interview was with social worker Molly Judson, who’s been on the front lines for just over two decades. Because of the subject matter, LGBT children and teens who’ve been enslaved right here in the US, this was one of the hardest interviews I’ve ever done. Molly deals with these issues directly. Looking at the ways that LGBT teens are being enslaved is extremely bleak – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially if we’re all vigilant and become involved. Even the smallest effort at this point will be better than the wall of silence we face. Call your senator or congressman’s office, and ask them why the trafficking of LGBT youth isn’t a priority. Silence is deadly but you can be a part of the change we need.

The following resources were provided to us by Molly and we hope they’ll be useful in combating the scourges of bigotry, trafficking and modern slavery in the United States.

National Runaway Hotline (www.1800runaway.org):
1-800-RUNAWAY
Resources and support for runaway youth and their families

Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) – LGBTQ Crisis Line – Counselors trained in areas of support specific to LGBTQ issues
1-866-488-7368 – Hotline
1-202-304-1200 – Textline

Human Trafficking Resource Center (https:traffickingresourcecenter.org)
Hotline – if you are a victim of trafficking or suspect someone is being trafficked, please call the hotline:
1-888-373-7888 – National Human Trafficking Hotline

Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (www.combathumantrafficking.org) – lots of research and ways to get involved in anti-human trafficking efforts. Based in Colorado, the Laboratory is one of the most well-respected research organizations.

They also help run the Human Trafficking Hotline for Colorado – 1-866-455-5075 (if you or someone you know is or is suspected of being trafficked in Colorado, there are many resources available)

Trans Lifeline – translifeline.org – suicide and crisis line for trans*-identified individuals
1-877-565-8860 – US
1-877-330-6366 – Canada

True Colors Fund – 40toNone Day is April 27, 2016 – go to the website (truecolorsfund.org) to sign up for advocacy efforts.

Will

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Podcasters Roundtable with Tom, Rachel and Travis

18 April 2016 – Arliss is on vacation for two weeks but we’ve decided to go ahead with the show. For a little fun Tom Cheevers of the Coffee Cast joined us, along with Tom and Rachel Hutchison of Irreverent Testimony.

Our frenetic roundtable conversation ran the fullest possible gamut from religion, to the chaos of  the GOP primary, to terrorism and then to feminism. Great fun was had by all as we fought through some of the tougher issues we’re dealing with in the modern world.

Next week Rachel will be back for a regular format program including an interview with a very special guest. We’ll be covering LGBT issues in depth so tune in, you won’t want to miss it. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you all next week.

Will

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Primary Parley with Irreverent Testimony

7 March 2016 – This week, Arliss talked derivatives while I did a quick numbers update on the primary. We were joined by guests and friends of the show Rachel Hutcheson and Travis Rosen of Irreverent Testimony. We had a raucous round table where we talked Bernie, Hillary, and the future of the democratic party, all of it circling around the question “How do we come together as a party.” We also talked about the poor leadership of our party.

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Roundtable of Podcasters

14 December 2015 – We were so fortunate this week. Instead of our usual show, we decided to invite some other lefty podcasters to join us and we just opened it cup for a free-range discussion. JM Bell, of The LEFT Show, was with us from Utah along with Travis Rosen and Rachel Hutcheson, from Irreverent Testimony. The LEFT Show and Irreverent Testimony are both podcasts I never miss and are wildly different from one another. Please check them out as they are examples of smart, well-informed and funny people doing good work.

Many Hoppy Carrots of the Season! – Arliss