The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

Podcast: Updated weekly in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or iHeartRadio

Irish voters have voted against the EU constitution. We criticized the EU consititution as long ago as 2005. The problem is that the text is preposterously long, at hundreds of pages. A constitution is the place to cover the basic rules and principles -- much like our own concise and resilient US Constitution. It's not the place for policies on tourism and sports (as the EU constitution contains).

The National Weather Service is worried about a strong weather system that could very well drop some severe storms on us in the overnight hours. They're concerned particularly about the chances for a derecho system which could produce high winds. Since there are thousands of people hanging out on RAGBRAI in Harlan tonight, we've recommended that you consider sending a quick text message to friends and family on the bike ride, letting them know to keep a portable radio tuned to WHO overnight tonight. We'll have any severe -weather warnings on the air immediately.

John McCain recently spoke in favor of using inducement prizes to help spur the development of new energy technologies. Inducement prizes, or prizes offered for the development of new ideas or the performance of novel events, are a terrific idea, and they've worked for centuries. Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in search of a prize, and a prize spurred the first effective way of measuring longitude. So what in the world is wrong with those who criticize McCain for backing prizes today? What we really need are more prizes and bigger ones: Make them huge -- a billion dollars apiece -- and offer at least ten of them. We need more efficient motors, better tires, less transmission loss across power lines, and lots of other steps forward. We already spend $25 billion a year on the Department of Energy; why not put up prizes too big to ignore for the answers we really need?

We first talked about Katrina Cottages two years ago. In short, Katrina Cottages are ultra-compact homes that can be deployed rapidly and constructed quickly in disaster zones for less than the cost of a trailer home. Though small, the homes are designed for future expansion. That matters because it means people can return to their "home turf" -- their own property -- and start rebuilding their homes, schools, businesses, and community institutions. We care now more than ever due to the flooding in eastern Iowa earlier this year. Cedar Rapids officials requested 500 trailer homes from FEMA at the start of the month, and an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 homes will need to be replaced in Cedar Rapids alone. It shouldn't be beyond our imagination to be able to ship the resources needed to let people rebuild their own homes after a disaster. Sears sold about 75,000 kit homes by mail-order catalog between 1908 and 1940. It shouldn't take a genius to get us to put that kind of thinking to work solving problems today.

There's really no excuse for the late lovefest in the art world for Chairman Mao. Communism ought to be buried forever in the dustbin of history, but tragically it lives on today. Fortunately, though, there's a little bit of good news, as Cuba takes some steps away from Communism, if only to keep from starving.

Disaster preparation step for the week: If you or a family member takes medication regularly, make sure you have a short-term stockpile available somewhere in a go bag. If you have to evacuate your home due to an emergency, you may be cut off from prescriptions or even access to your regular doctor to get an emergency supply. Having a little of it in a bag for a quick departure is a vey smart idea.

A podcast highlight of this show is available.

Keywords in this show: