Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - March 2, 2014

Brian Gongol


The Brian Gongol Show can be heard on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. Podcasts of show highlights are also available.


I like being able to fire people

Remember how Mitt Romney was mocked for saying "I like being able to fire people"?

The recently-departed Harold Ramis wrote it perhaps more artfully when he wrote the words voiced by Dan Akroyd in "Ghostbusters": "You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results!"

But the truth remains: In the private sector, we have the liberty to fire people. If the government of the United States were responsive to the same pressures as the private sector, a lot of people would be getting fired right now.

What's our plan for the Ukraine? Are we ready to get into a shooting war with Russia? If not, are we OK with tolerating an invasion-happy government there? If the EU remains weak both economically and politically, are we there to back them up? And have we any idea what's going on in Venezuela or anywhere else in South America? How about in Africa?

The problem isn't that we're facing challenges -- there are always challenges. But it's the sense that we just don't have a plan for anything...only a vague sense of hoping for the best. And that's like running foreign policy the way the Chicago Cubs ran the team for a century (until hiring Theo Epstein)...just vaguely hope for the best, but don't have a plan.

And that's not acceptable. You can't expect good results if you can't describe the path ahead. Nor is it a problem just for foreign policy. I defy anyone to tell us what the path ahead is for getting people out of poverty? We keep on trying "spray and pray" with everything from hiking the minimum wage to expanding the Medicaid rolls.

Here's a path:

This week:


Iowa Des Moines is firing on all cylinders
A news report by a TV station in Fort Wayne might as well just be the new Convention and Visitors' Bureau ad

Weather and Disasters No, giant walls across Tornado Alley won't stop tornadoes

Aviation News Astronaut remains calm as his helmet fills with water
A nightmare only barely kept from turning to tragedy

Weather and Disasters Study suggests that wind farms hamper hurricanes
Seems a little hard to believe; more study definitely needed

Health Your language affects how you think
Not just superficially -- it turns out, rather deeply

News How the Irish language was lost
Columnist draws an interesting contrast between Irish Gaelic and Hebrew

Computers and the Internet Yahoo chats may have been snooped-upon by the spooks


Computers and the Internet The mayor who wins Twitter


News Stripping the Ukranian treasury on the way out of town


Science and Technology Digital librarians claim science is expanding three times faster than in the mid-20th Century

Aviation News Delta turns frequent-flyer program on its head


Threats and Hazards The press may not be all that free in Hong Kong

News Are newspapers failing their communities?


Business and Finance Income inequality by city
Obsession with inequality for its own sake isn't particularly productive. But if it is a symptom of other concerns, then knowing where it's large or small may be valuable.

Health Why smoke to get lung cancer when you can just breathe in China?
Rich democracies have the best environmental protection

Science and Technology The "word gap" in children's brains
(Video) Research suggests that kids from higher socioeconomic backgrounds get a huge head start over kids from lower-status backgrounds, just based upon the larger vocabularies of their parents. The gap appears incredibly early (before 18 months) and appears to be durable well into older age.

News They may actually go ahead and build the Chicago Spire
A 2,000-foot tower in the Windy City. Necessary? Not in the least. But people do like a good symbol.