Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - August 15, 2016
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
Riots followed a police shooting
- Obviously, rioting is counterproductive
- The people who end up being hurt are usually the ones who have invested in the community
- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said six businesses were set on fire
- Rioting also gives people reason to dismiss your cause when they should be paying attention
- Another case where an NTSB-style agency for police-involved shootings would make sense
- People who don't have faith in the police need to be reassured that an independent review will always be conducted; that's important for legitimacy
- Police authority derives from the consent of the public
- A truly independent agency would have the moral authority to exonerate
- The mayor says it's pretty clear from the body camera that the officer faced a grave threat, but that's the mayor -- even if it's 100% true, he also has reason to say it
- If we can begin to understand why these things happen, we can learn lessons that will keep them from happening again -- we hope
The Chicago Tribune reports that police in the city have killed 215 people in the last 15 years, and no civil-rights charges have been filed by Federal authorities in any of them, nor in the hundreds of other police shootings that didn't result in death. Whatever the causes behind it, that number should disturb the reader. Even if every single one of those shooting deaths was justified, it still documents a stunning level of violence. The United States needs an independent Federal authority to investigate every civilian shooting death by police. It should function like the NTSB or the CDC -- both agencies charged with figuring out why bad things happen, utilizing first-class resources. We shouldn't run away from the facts: Whether or not any police officer has done a single thing wrong, we should still insist on civilian oversight that is strong enough to investigate every single case without fear of retribution. That really can only come from a Federal authority.
Google Fiber, minus the fiber
Google is filing to use wireless spectrum space to deliver Internet access
- Omaha and Kansas City are on the initial test list
- Des Moines is on the secondary test list
- The tests could cover 24 cities total
- The filing talks about testing in a 30-km radius around Des Moines, or about 18 to 19 miles
Google starts up a new operating system
- Called "Fuchsia", the rumor mill concludes that it's a whole new OS intended to work across all kinds of devices
- Interesting because Google has up until now used Linux as its basic platform for developing the things that work on Chrome and Android
- Making a move away from Linux is an interesting choice, especially since Fuchsia is being built as an open-source product
- Linux itself is an open-source project
- Open-source is attractive for a lot of reasons (price and performance included), but security plays an interesting role
- Since everything is out in the open, it's potentially vulnerable
- By the same token, since it's out in the open, there's full transparency about what's going on inside
- Remember: Google never does anything for your benefit unless there's a return on investment to them; it's not a charity
Clean up after yourself
- He's the youngest of five boys; all have been removed from parental custody
- Situations like this are where my libertarianism surrenders to my utilitarianism
- John Stuart Mill, the original libertarian: "It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury."
- I would sincerely argue that it is less wrong to cut the benefits from entitlement programs to adults than it is to deprive defenseless children of their basic needs.
- The hard part is reconciling how you ensure the benefits that go to children as an affirmative duty versus overdosing on welfare for those adults who won't do their part.
- A safety net for those who need it, and a firm nudge for those who simply don't want to carry their own weight.
- How do we reconcile this story -- a pretty clear-cut case where the children needed protection -- with the Syrian refugee emergency? Or with the child refugees still coming here from Latin America?
Mind your business
- -0.5% in the last quarter
- Makes three quarters in a row of declines
- The big picture is pretty awful, too
- And workforce participation hasn't been this low since 1978
- We're not working more hours
- How does this happen?
- How has that workforce participation rate gotten confused with unemployment?
- What fixes this?
- Isn't the instinctive reaction that technology should have been making us more efficient?
- Has this ever happened before?
- What are the potential political consequences?
The six factors our guest Dr. Ken McCormick said economists are examining as possible causes:
- Low rates of real investment -- not stock-picking, but instead investment in the tools (of all kinds) that allow employees to get more work done. This is related as well to "capital deepening", which is what happens when more capital investment is made per worker.
- Labor hoarding -- companies keeping good employees on the payroll when there isn't really enough work for them to do, simply to keep from losing those hard-to-find high performers. Companies may have the workers but not the output to show for it.
- Skill shortages -- worker skills haven't kept pace consistently with the growing demands of the economy
- Shortfalls in new firm formation -- despite the breathless coverage of new tech startups, new firm formation has been falling steadily since 2005
- Infrastructure deterioration -- our national reluctance to pay for infrastructure improvements, maintenance, and construction may be catching up with us
- Rent seeking -- companies and individuals doing things like sitting on useful patents and attempting to use government influence to push policies and regulations that favor their incumbent positions in the marketplace at the expense of competitors (and consumers)
Floods in and around Baton Rouge have killed at least six people
- 20,000 people had to be rescued
- National Weather Service recorded 26" of rain in 72 hours in one location
- At least two people were killed in their cars
- Live updates
21st Century conservatism
What happens if the Republican Party cuts funding for Trump?
- Open letter called for it and listed reasons why
- The open letter
- Maybe that's the real opening for Gary Johnson as a life raft for sincere conservatives
- Trump now blames the media for his poll position
- There are still those who say opposing Trump within the GOP is the same as supporting Clinton. That's false.
- He was never legitimately a Republican, and he gave up any pretenses to that legitimacy when he played games with endorsing Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican
- It only makes things look more outrageous to see that his campaign chairman may have been paid millions by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine
- And then Trump himself literally fails to understand the First Amendment
- Trump thinks it's all about the rally audience size
Maybe the most dangerous thing he does is threaten to leave our allies hanging
- Threatening to flake out on mutual aid fundamentally undermines our alliances
- Nations can develop reputations for reliability or unreliability just like individuals can. And if we permit America's broad range of alliances around the world to be undermined by the threat that we might not fulfill our treaty obligations, then we're going to make our world more dangerous without firing a shot. This is deeply serious stuff.
Do we not join enough?
Americans aren't joining like we used to -- not anywhere close to it. And that's keeping many Americans from engaging on a local, social, and constructive level with people who might differ from them on "big-picture" political issues that are decided in the courts and at the ballot box in big numbers. We're fine if we disagree on big issues, but only if we're also healthy enough on a civic level that we take care of our own on a local level.