Public Policy Analysis Podcast

For anyone interested in deep discussion about the nuances of social and economic problems, Vox’s The Weeds is the podcast for you. The hosts of this show truly get “into the weeds” and dissect the different facets of complex problems facing us in society. Hence the name.

I can assure you that if you spend your time listening and reading about politicians, then you are likely poorly informed about any given topic. The devil is in the details and it takes time to understand issues. And only until you fully understand the problem can you begin to work towards a solution.

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Star Wars Comes to Life

The collective excitement of this film spans the globe. Made even more so by the revelation that real physical movie sets have been built.

The characters are physically real and not completely animated through CGI. The excitement of the actors during the interviews is obvious and I think that will bring the movie alive in a way we simply have not seen in the recent trend of Superhero movies.

There is only one Trilogy. And that is Star Wars.

Why YouTube will be forced to change

This is an interesting trend and the first time I have seen a noticeable list of top YouTube channels migrate to a new platform revenue stream. Due to a complete lack of transparency, there has been a lot of frustration with YouTube regarding revenue potential.

I think this is a good trend and it will be interesting to see how the new media landscape develops.

Which Movie Did Americans Support?

Both movies involve a sniper. Both movies are about protagonists championed by Americans. Coincidentally, one film was released during the week of the other film’s protagonist’s birthday.

One protagonist worked tirelessly to promote the Civil Rights of oppressed and marginalized Americans through Peace. Never backing down in protecting the freedom and safety of those Americans and his family. The other protagonist found himself caught up in one of America’s greatest foreign policy and military strategy disasters in the last 100 years for the security of an economic resource. Taking incredible risks and putting himself in extraordinary danger to save his life and his group of Americans.

Which movie did Americans show support for with their money? Who should be America’s hero during this week of January 19th?

Selma…  $8.3 Million

American Sniper…  $90.2 Million


Crowd Funding the USS Enterprise

If you’re going to get behind building a replica of an ark, then get behind the Canadian effort to build a life-size replica of the USS Starship Enterprise. This is of course from a country with a sizable, but waning, population of people who claim to be Jedi Knights.

If you think this is just a whimsical campaign by a bunch of Star Wars nerds to have fun, consider that they are not alone. The State of Kentucky voters have approved $18 Million in tax breaks for an effort to build a “life size” replica of Noah’s arc.  A naval vessel that also has never existed. I say “never existed” because it has already been proven a wooden ship of those dimensions is structurally impossible.

Like Coins in a Pocket

“Things break all the time. Glass and dishes and fingernails. Cars and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever… promises break. Hearts break.”

― Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care

It’s what I’ve always expected from life. For things to go wrong. That makes me overtly cautious.

The upside is that I am always pleasantly surprised when something goes right. It’s a better feeling than indifferent entitlement.

Some will insist that you need to stay positive and to steadfastly insist something is possible. Yet I am a realist and the Universe is a very hostile place for human endeavor.

I think of the things that are possible and positive as coins in my pocket. Out of sight yet comforting to the touch. Available to spend at my leisure without worry.

Whereas the probable and negative demand my full attention. They are the enemy. Insidiously waiting for the opportunity to turn improbable while masquerading as a quarter in a pocket.

All the things will break. Eventually. The challenge lies in choosing how they break. For better or worse.

Finding Pete Seeger

The brain seems to work in some very random ways at times. I say “the brain” because we don’t actually know where our thoughts come from. And the level of success you achieve at getting things done is largely dependent on your ability to dismiss those random thoughts.

Friday morning a random thought slipped past that instructed me to hear the song ‘Down By the Riverside’. An old classic gospel tune that everyone likes. And the motivation to hear that song would not go away the entire day. A music ear worm without hearing the music.

Fast forward to Friday night and I can’t put it off anymore. The brain must be appeased. After a minute of searching on YouTube, I find several versions of ‘Down By the Riverside’. One in particular stands out because of the grainy black & white TV show footage.

 Can honestly say I was captivated by the pure simplicity of the TV show and wished there was something like this today. Everything in modern times is over-produced and a big spectacle. When all that is really need is a few musicians sitting around a table playing and telling stories about the music.

In this case, there were three. Pete Seeger, Brownie McGhee, and Sonny Terry. After a few scans of Wikipedia, I see that Seeger is is someone I would have like to have talked to.  To my dismay, he passed away in January of this year and I had no idea who he was.

I’ve been missing out, and I’ll have to make up for lost time in the upcoming years when it comes to Pete Seeger.