Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio

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.


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

Weather and Disasters Astonishing fire disaster in Australia

ABC News: "Roads remain cut off around the coastal town, in the far east of Victoria, where about 4,000 locals and holidaymakers have been stuck since the fire tore through on New Year's Eve." Australia's navy has sent a rescue ship.

Segment 1: (11 min)

BUT FIRST: The opening essay

News What comes next for Iran?

Removing a dastardly figure from Iran's military chain of command may be in America's first-order interests. But what happens next? As Margaret Thatcher admonished: "How do you see the process from where you are now to where you want to be? Because, whatever you want to do, it's not only what you want to do, but how -- the practical way you see it coming about." What is the end goal? How is that to come about? Iran has 83 million people: The size of California, Texas, and New York combined. ■ It is never enough to say that the old policy wasn't working. There must always be an effort to answer the question: And then what happens next? ■ There are those who say things along the lines of "If you don't have a solution, you can't complain about the problem". That's untrue, and it's bad advice. Problems have to be named before they can be solved. But what is true is that things can almost always get worse, and they often get much worse much faster than we would care to believe. So whether staying the course or changing it, reasonable adults have to ask, "What happens next? How might things get worse? How will we know if we've gone wrong? Is this particular cure worse than the disease?" There may, in fact, be no easy or good answers to some problems. That doesn't change the need to carefully weigh what might go wrong.

The moral of the story: Two things can be true at the same time. The world can be better-off on a first-order basis with a killer like Qassem Soleimani gone. And it can also be more dangerous on a second-order basis if we haven't prepared adequately for the consequences.

Segment 2: (8 min)

Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day

Segment 3: (14 min)

The moral of the story:

Segment 4: (5 min)

Website reminder

WHORadio.com

The moral of the story:

Segment 5: (11 min)

The moral of the story:

Segment 6: (8 min)

The moral of the story:

Segment 7: (14 min)

The moral of the story:

Segment 8: (5 min)

The moral of the story:

Unsorted and leftovers:

This week

BBC | VOA | Times | CNN | CSM

Hot (social) topics

Google Trends | Yahoo | Y-today | Yahoo Buzz | MSN | MSN UK | Alexa | Delicio | Lycos | Technorati | AOL | Google | Dogpile | Ask (wkly) | CBS | Bloglines | NYTLede | Twitter

By the numbers

Iowa Iowans continue a love affair with Black Velvet

The Canadian whiskey is the state's biggest seller. There are parts of the state where the local water supply could probably be converted to a BV supply, and a majority of residents might actually approve.

Make money

Economist | Fast Co | WSJ | CB

News A century since Estonia's War of Independence

European history classes could stand to spend less time on obscure English kings and more time on the last two centuries in the Baltics.

The Baltic Republics are a trio of fantastic reminders that freedom and liberty aren't just useful in one aspect or another; they have to be comprehensive, including a market economy, security for individual liberties, and a right to self-determination without fear of invasion or coercion from the outside. The astounding growth of economic prosperity since those countries broke free of Soviet domination is amazing, but Estonia is doing exceptional work for the cause of personal freedom in the digital domain, too. Yet there remains an ever-present threat that Russia might do something stupid against them again. And without security at the state level, all of the other gains are tenuous at best.

Have fun

News Yes, it's 2020. No, you don't have to make puns about "vision".

It's like the original dot-com boom, when everyone just slapped the letter "e" on things to the point of inducing nausea.

Clean up after yourself

News "Let every new year find you a better man." - Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin inadvertently proves the value in non-sexist language and its ability to clear up ambiguity. But more importantly, it's good advice.

Mind your business

News Spending 20% of his days on the golf course

Calvin Coolidge once noted that "Everything that the President does potentially at least is of such great importance that he must be constantly on guard [...] Not only in all his official actions, but in all his social intercourse, and even in his recreation and repose, he is constantly watched". The President would be well-advised to heed that advice today.

Quote of the Week

"My definition of 'win' is not binary. It is not a zero-sum game. Negotiation that leads to a winner and a loser rarely leads to a successful transaction, or another one down the road." - Sam Zell

"The liberal order will have to be fought for, compromised for, and rejuvenated. But I do believe it will be sustained. Because the values that undergird it genuinely are universal." - Kori Schake

Technology Three | The week in technology

Weather and Disasters Forecasters in the field

National Weather Service forecasters in Las Vegas were embedded with other organizations for New Year's Eve, since the city is a huge destination for NYE events. The weather itself was pleasant, but the forecasters spent their time modeling things like what might have happened if a road crash caused a chemical spill. What a smart use of highly-skilled people. Even when the weather is nice, there's something useful for meteorologists to do around big events.

Computers and the Internet "Don't be evil" needs an upgrade

Washington Post: "But for Google, the debate around China was also existential. The Chinese market represents not just Google's best chance at another billion users, but also the future of innovation, talent and artificial intelligence." ■ At some point, it must be acknowledged that the right thing to do may not achieve a majority vote. If we expect individuals to do the right thing even when it might cost them something (and we most certainly should expect that), then we have to hold people in large businesses to the same standard. This is different from a debate about a company's "corporate social responsibility"; it's instead a claim that people do not leave their ethical standards at the workplace door. Ethics held only some of the time, when satisfactory conditions prevail and the consequences are cheap, are no real ethics at all.

Weather and Disasters Tornado researchers captured "groundbreaking" data in 2019

Using brand-new, state-of-the-art tools like drones that flew into tornadic storms and specialized portable radar systems, they got right up on top of the action with several tornadoes this past season and will be

Your role in cyberwar

Tw/mil-natsec

Iowa news

Iowa Father pleads for peace after 14-year-old son is murdered

This is just gut-wrenching; his sense of loss must be unfathomable, yet he admirably chooses to use the unbearable grief as a platform to try to reach the broader community of metro Des Moines.

Contrary to popular opinion

Hyperbole is going to kill us all

Threats and Hazards Our political opponents in America aren't the enemy

They just aren't. But, regrettably, the President is feeding on the notion of rivals as malicious enemies. It's just not appropriate to compare Sen. Chuck Schumer to the Iranian government. It just isn't. As Dwight Eisenhower said about the Allied effort in WWII: "Nothing creates trouble between allies so often or so easily as unnecessary talk -- particularly when it belittles one of them. A family squabble is always exaggerated beyond its true importance."

What's the big idea?

Broadcasting More radio stations flipped to a religious format than any other in 2019

"Religious" might be the closest thing most markets have to the classic "full-service" format. And that's a point worth some pondering, particularly given the apparent strength of the religious format.

21st Century conservatism

Cities and the people

Tw/cities | CityLab | StrongTowns

Curiosity, competence, and humility

Have a little empathy

How are you feeling?

NIH | CDC | BBC | CNN | WebMD | Harvard

Inbox zero

Stop the deliberate ignorance

Tin Foil Hat Award

News A resolution worth keeping

End civil asset forfeiture in 2020

Yay Capitalism Prize

Capitalist solution of the week

Kickers

Iowa Police catch I-80 driver with 1,500 lbs. of marijuana in back of a rental truck

In case you wondered what they're going to be giggling about on every radio morning show tomorrow...

News New Year's under the fireworks

If you zoom in really close on this picture of a Chicago L train going under the fireworks, you'll see that all of the passengers are staring at their phones.

This day in history

HistCh | Infoplease | LoC | HistNet | NYT | Yahoo

One year ago

Five years ago

Ten years ago

Programming notes

Live read: iHeartRadio app

iHeartRadio app

Live read: Contests

Live read: Smart speakers (hour 1)

Smart speakers

Live read: Smart speakers (hour 2)

Smart speakers

Calendar events to highlight

Calendar

Recap

Notes from the episode that aired on _____ 2020
🎧 Listen to the full episode from _____ 2020 here 🎧

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