Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - June 22, 2019
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.
Breaking news to watch
Segment 1: (11 min)
BUT FIRST: The opening essay
I don't think that the framers of the Constitution made a whole lot of mistakes. There is certainly something to be argued over whether the direct election of senators is a mistake we've made in revision, and it's also worth asking whether they should have said something more about expanding Congress to keep up with a growing population or ending slavery permanently and Swift play. But the one area I think definitely deserves reconsideration in today's day and age is there omission of an actual head of state. We've taken it by default that the president are to be the head of state, and we have George Washington's Stellar performance to blame for that. But not a whole lot of presidents were going to end up being George Washington. And the country needs a central figure, a central moral Authority, someone who can represent the country without intermingling with the country's politics. England has her Queen, separate from the prime minister, as do many other countries. Separating the ceremonial role of a head of state from the political role of a head of government makes a whole lot of sense. And we haven't done that. But by making the head of government by default the president, we've undermined the legislative branch which is in fact the article one Authority. It also means that we fail to have a central moral Authority, a figure representing our feelings of the times, and I think that's something we ought to reconsider. A head of state with no political Authority, but acting in a ceremonial role as the person embodying the spirit of the times for a year add a term might make a real difference when it comes to the occasional issue that we as a country depend upon having some kind of moral voice to speak to. Sometimes our country is feeling like Oprah Winfrey, sometimes were feeling a little more like Morton Downey jr. Maybe sometimes we're feeling like
- One-year term
- Limited to just one term
- Call it "Citizen of the Year" as a reminder that nobody is any more than a citizen -- to be a citizen is, in fact, the highest honor
- Give them exactly one power: To address Congress once, for the purpose of proposing exactly one policy
- Give them the trappings of a fancy airplane and a nice residence -- plenty of room for one somewhere in DC -- and have them attend all of the events of state
- Host state dinners, awards, speeches, and winning NBA teams
- We don't need to eliminate the Presidency, but we do need to dilute it
- It shouldn't be our national venting of the spleen
- It shouldn't be a place for performative wokeness, either
- The President should first and foremost be responsible for executing the laws sent to him or her by Congress
- There are too many things expected of the Imperial Presidency, and we need to cut it back
- Besides, the national mood can change quickly, and we ought to give ourselves a way to recognize that
- Look at the attention paid to Time's "Person of the Year" -- it has too much ambiguity; they're always telling us it's not necessarily an honor
- This would really be an honor
- It says something bad about what we're trying to shoehorn into the Presidency that Bill Maher would say that Oprah Winfrey "is the only candidate who is a sure-thing winner for the Democrats"
- He might well be right about that -- but the place for a unifying figure isn't really the Presidency -- at least not in terms of its Constitutional obligations.
- We need to put our spotlight on a head of state who can represent the zeitgeist without being expected to run the show
- Sometimes we're feeling like Oprah Winfrey, sometimes we're feeling like Howard Stern
- Everyone has a pet project, and this would let pet projects come forward while separating those drumbeats from the job of being President
- Calvin Coolidge and George HW Bush were solid heads of government -- calm, tested, proven in executive functions, not ambitious to promote an agenda
- Someone else should be charged with expressing our feelings
Flabbergasting arguments from the Federal government about what constitutes sanitary
Utterly unacceptable. And it concerns me that there's no obvious nationally-recognizable leader around with the gravitas and the moral authority to rally the righteous indignation of the public. https://t.co/KJUSCQdmPh— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) June 20, 2019
I'm all for supporting institutions capable of helping these children (and I happily donate to @UNRefugeeAgency & @CatholicRelief for that very reason), but there really has to be more said about what private citizens like you and me can do about their plight. #WorldRefugeeDay https://t.co/lrUQXtG9Bz— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) June 20, 2019
The moral of the story:
Segment 2: (8 min)
Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day
Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day™:— Brian Gongol Show (@briangongolshow) June 21, 2019
The best month of summer is...
Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day™:— Brian Gongol Show (@briangongolshow) June 14, 2019
It's #FlagDay in the US. Do you fly a flag in front of your home?
Segment 3: (14 min)
Tin Foil Hat Award
First came the idiotic escalation of the "prom-posal". Then it turned to the nonsense of extravagant "gender-reveal parties". What happens when people start making public affairs of their colonoscopies? That may be the only greenfield left. Jokes notwithstanding, there are those who turn even the earliest stages of romance into a big display. We expect adolescence to be a time of learning and practice for all kinds of important things (e.g. internships, drivers' ed, student government), and we should. It ought to be that way for relationships, too -- a time for low-risk practice and failure.
Great news that something better will come of the site. But the failure to really get something off the ground (as was originally intended) with a serious, on-the-ground presence in Des Moines with one of the big three state universities is a giant missed opportunity. From a strategic perspective, the state of Iowa could use the economic boost from research universities, which need campuses.
Speaking of development, how about the state's stunt in New York City?
Almost seems cruel to get people's hopes up like that
21st Century conservatism
The good achieved by busting distracted drivers is at least partially offset by the bad in making the roads just a little bit more of an unaccountable, undercover, full-time surveillance state.
Segment 4: (5 min)
Hot (social) topics
Dog OD's on pacifiers
- A 3-year-old bulldog named Mortimer
- Family noticed his nausea, which started interfering with meals
- Soon stopped eating altogether
- Boston-area vet found 19 pacifiers in Mortimer's stomach
- Removed without cutting the dog open; he has recovered
Congress punts on marijuana regulation
- House of Representatives voted 267-165 to keep the Department of Justice from interfering with states that legalize marijuana for recreational use
- Part of a spending bill to fund the DoJ
- Amendment to HR 3055
- Passed in the full House
- Pushed by Reps. Norton and Blumenauer
- A victory for Federalism?
- Remember the 9th and 10th Amendments
Mind your business
Professor Qu Weiguo of Shanghai: "Freedom is not a handout, we need to earn it with our efforts." In his speech to a graduating class, he also, boldly, told them: "Today's civilization is a product of communication and fusion", and advocated against thinking in a "Western-vs-Eastern" binary. Heroic words.
The moral of the story:
Segment 5: (11 min)
George Will interview
Segment 6: (8 min)
George Will interview
Segment 7: (14 min)
George Will interview
Segment 8: (5 min)
....On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Who needs a doctrine of proportionality when you can rage-tweet? https://t.co/FrPkhpUAcz— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) June 22, 2019
We have now been without a Senate-confirmed Secretary of Defense for 173 days. Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretaries are a basic manifestation of "advice and consent".
The moral of the story:
Unsorted and leftovers:
By the numbers
Clean up after yourself
Quote of the Week
Technology Three | The week in technology
Your role in cyberwar
Contrary to popular opinion
Hyperbole is going to kill us all
Curiosity, competence, and humility
The biggest mistake is to think of refugees as people without skills or agency. Just because you've been displaced from what was once your home doesn't mean you gave up your right to self-determination or somehow forgot your craft, trade, or profession.
Have a little empathy
Stop the deliberate ignorance
Yay Capitalism Prize
Capitalist solution of the week
Based on their daily newsletter, it's an all-access pass to Elizabeth Warren campaign promises, self-improvement tips from "influencers" I've never heard of, and someone named Umair Haque telling me that civilization has collapsed and I'm about to be eaten by radioactive bears.— Brian Gongol (@briangongol) June 20, 2019
Montreal and Tampa Bay are already the "Twin Cities" in the minds of most people, so this is hardly a stretch, right?
One year ago
Five years ago
Ten years ago
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Calendar events to highlight
① The Framers of our Constitution got a whole lot right -- but they left out one thing: A head of state. They were probably so overconfident that Congress would dominate the government (remember, they were originally trying to fix the Articles of Confederation) that they didn't think the Presidency would evolve into the monster it has become. And it is a monstrosity today: The Imperial Presidency might befit a President with the restraint and self-discipline of a George Washington, but it's too much for almost anyone else. And by merging the head-of-government functions of the Presidency with the ceremonial duties of a head of state, we really don't have an agreeable representative of our country. And that's why we ought to have a Citizen of the Year: A head of state to do all of the ceremonial things, elected to a single one-year term of office, with exactly one political power -- the right to introduce a single piece of legislation to Congress. It's the job I think President Trump really wanted in the first place.
② Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day: Which month is the best part of summer?
③ Gender-reveal parties have gone too far, just like prom-posals. I don't want the people who have taken these things too far to start getting colonoscopies. Also: It's a good thing to try to get distracted drivers off the road, but Illinois is going too far by putting state troopers in undercover semis. Enough with the surveillance-state tactics.
④ Congress punts on marijuana regulations. A small victory for federalism, maybe?
⑤ ⑥ ⑦ An interview with George Will about his new book, "The Conservative Sensibility"
⑧ The world knows we're strong. We need to remind them that we're good, too. That's why restraint with Iran and an emphasis on enforcing rules of international behavior have to come first, with our more belligerent tendencies taking a back seat for now.