FairAndUNbalanced's podcast (policy, political news)

The controversy began soon after Paul Ryan gave his speech about how conservatives have an understanding of love that others simply do not share. The story about the little boy was untrue.

In fact, the little boy who hated federal supplemental nutrition programs because they lacked love was a little boy who did not exist. At least he had never spoken with Secretary Anderson.

Representative Paul Ryan issued a clarification. He said did not know the story was false. Governor Scott Walker had no idea. A spokesperson for the department led by Eloise Anderson, who gave the false testimony, said she had simply misspoken. "...a little boy told me once" should have been "Once I heard someone say".

The point Representative Ryan had been making does survive the controversy. Conservatives understood that the health of the soul is more important than a full stomach. The story was simply an illustration of a point that deserves our attention.

It pertains especially to the newest immigration issue.

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Direct download: Immigration_-_Demonstrations_of_Empt.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 10:17pm EDT

A procedure advanced by a Republican administration, passed by Congress, then signed into law by President Bush, mandates investigation into immigrant claims of physical danger. The process is slowed by a shortage of legal staff and judges to hear cases. President Obama asks for millions to recruit and hire those needed to speed up the process. His request combines those millions with the billions Congressional conservatives have demanded to increase border security.

Congressional conservatives say no.

Some Republicans insist that they regard pretty much all of the influx of children as dangerous gang members.

We can hope the national character is not reflected by such bias. The sad fact is that mobs and the public officials who react to them do say something about individual character.

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Direct download: Violence_in_Latin_America_and_Streng.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 11:20pm EDT

Most voters, in fact the overwhelming majority of voters, regard gun safety as something that government ought to insist on. The numbers are unmistakable.

But, while most voters are for gun safety in principle, it is one of many issues. War, environmental regulation, taxes, jobs, Obamacare, and a thousand other issues are also important. Some voters will show up to vote. For some, gun safety will even be the straw that breaks a vote away from a Republican.

For enough gun enthusiasts to matter, guns are not an issue in principle. It is a matter of principle. And more. It is an issue that is personal. Very.

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Direct download: Gun_Safety_-_the_Personal_Amplifies.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 10:12pm EDT

Greg Abbott is not just the Republican candidate for governor. He is also the Attorney General of Texas. He ordered state agencies, including the State Health Services Department to no longer release any information on vast amounts of dangerous chemicals corporate neighbors are storing, including explosives.

Attorney General Abbott came up with what you might call the Nosy Neighbor Principle. Residents can drive around a neighborhood, knocking on the doors of friendly business owners, and simply ask what hazardous substances, including chemicals and explosives, they store.

A Texas law requires companies to furnish information about certain hazardous substances. But there is a twist.

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Direct download: Nosy_Neighbor_Principle_-_Have_any_M.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 10:55pm EDT

The tension between economic realism and political realism resulted in a reduced economic stimulus that still succeeded in pulling the country away from a solid depression. The recession that remained was beyond painful for many Americans. Jobs were lost, homes were foreclosed.

Enough Democrats pushed for a middle path to get what economists predicted.

It was a recovery. It was a weak recovery, but it was a recovery.

The public had opinions about the stimulus. But they didn't vote based on their opinions.

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Direct download: Centrists_Misjudged_the_Economy_and.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 11:46pm EDT

The Love It or Leave It mentality has, at its heart, a rejection of traditions important to representative democracy.

Missouri Republicans seem to have a different tradition.

State Senator Republican Ed Emery wrote to one citizen who protested Republican blocking of insurance for low income residents. Part of Ed Emery's letter was an invitation...

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Direct download: Love_It_or_Leave_It_Missouri_Style.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 10:16pm EDT

All the vital, angry, deadly issues in this prisoner exchange come down to a few decisions. Each of those few decision involves priorities.

This true of the President. This is true of each conservative critic.

 

What is most important?

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Direct download: Angry_Issues_in_Prisoner_Exchange.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 11:41pm EDT

Depending on our level of ignorance or on our philosophy, we either negotiated for a hostage, or we negotiated for a prisoner exchange.

The meaningful question is whether either one will encourage other enemies to take prisoners for the purpose of negotiation.

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Direct download: Negotiating_With_Terrorists.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 11:24pm EDT

Eric Shinseki once discussed his management technique, comparing it to combat, where you never have enough information or resources."Sometimes you just gotta launch, and fight your way through the unknowns."

 

That might work at times in combat. In a non-combat organization, a narrow focus on motivation works about as well as overfilling a gas tank in response to a dead battery. Perverse incentives are a recognized enemy in the private sector. In this case, the 14-day mandate provided an incentive that was singularly perverse.

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Direct download: Perverse_Incentives_in_the_Veterans.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 7:01pm EDT

Conservatism was so much simpler when I was a kid. Conservatives just didn't much like black people.

Some were outspoken about it. Black people had all sorts of new privileges. Too many. They could vote. In fact, they could vote for the first time in some parts of the country. Lynching was now against the law. Segregation was still pretty strong, but it was technically against the law. Same with discrimination in housing and hiring. It was still going on, but it was against the law.

What more did they want?

The fact that, with the leadership of a Democratic President, some form of civil rights had become the law enraged enough conservatives that a migration of sorts had already begun. Lyndon Johnson remarked privately that new laws respecting the rights of black people would ensure that Democrats would lose the South for many decades. Conservatives left the Democratic party and became Republicans.

 

Even back then, outright racism, the kind spoken out loud, was confined to a vocal minority. Most commonly, the some-of-my-best-friends denial was a preface to each expression white resentment.

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Direct download: Degrees_of_Separation_-_Still_the_Sa.mp3
Category:Policy, Political News -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT