Avocado Politics

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike and Jay aren’t doing their regular Saturday show today, but instead of giving you nothing this weekend Mike thought he’d try an experiment.

As you might know, Mike started a blog not too long ago. One reader suggested that he do it as a sort of mini-podcast as well. That sounded like a reasonable idea, and so he gave it a try. This is the result – for better or worse. (If you’d like to read the article itself, it’s here.

We hope you enjoy this experimental Politics Guys episode, and that you let us know what you think – good, bad, or indifferent. Is this something you’d like to see on a regular basis (in addition to, not in place of, our regular Saturday and Wednesday shows)? Any suggestions, ideas, critiques? Whatever you think, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact Mike directly at mike@politicsguys.com or message us on the Politics Guys Facebook page

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

PG131: Tax Reform Law, UN vs US, Trump’s National Security Strategy, Shutdown Averted

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike, Jay, and Trey have been talking about the GOP tax bill since early November, and this week it finally became the GOP tax law, after President Trump signed the measure before departing for his Christmas vacation. Mike and Jay summarize their views on the legislation and make some predictions as to how it’s likely to play out.

After that they discuss the United Nations General Assembly’s vote opposing U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. Mike thinks that when only a handful of tiny countries are on your side maybe it’s time to reconsider your stance whereas Jay feels that the UN has once again demonstrated its strong anti-Israel bias.

Next is a look at President Trump’s recently announced national security strategy. Mike points out that in many places the document seems to contradict what President Trump has actually said and done, whereas Jay thinks that the administration’s focus on ‘principled realism’ is a good thing. (Mike likes the term too, but wishes there was a bit more focus on the ‘principled’ part, especially concerning human rights.)

Finally, Mike and Jay point out some relatively good news to end the year – the government won’t be shutting down, at least not until late January, thanks to a stopgap funding measure passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Importantly, the measure includes emergency funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage to around nine million children from lower-income families. Had Congress not come to an agreement on extending this funding, up to two millions kids would have been at least temporally without insurance.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

The False Choice Between ‘Big’ and ‘Small’ Government

Now that my sabbatical is over, I’m back to teaching four classes each semester, which means I’ll have a lot less time to research and write food politics blog posts. I’ll still be posting every Saturday (aside from January 30, when we won’t be doing a podcast either) but more often than not those posts will be links to things I think are worth reading, listening to, or watching, along with some thoughts on why I believe they might be worth your time. Which brings me to my suggestions for this week: read more

Patients, Physicians, and Employers on Value in Health Care

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

Mike talks with Dr. Bob Pendleton, Chief Medical Officer at University of Utah Health. They discuss the school’s recently released ‘Value in Health Care Survey‘ which asked patients, doctors, and employers across the country about about their perceptions of value in health care and how they prioritize quality, service, and cost of health care services.

Mike and Dr. Pendleton dig in to the survey’s findings, some of which were fairly astonishing – for instance, that patients ranked getting better as less important than the friendliness of the medical office staff. They also discuss what these findings mean for the healthcare system in the United States and how policymakers might use this information to improve the U.S. system.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

PG130: Alabama Elections, Net Neutrality Officially Ends, The GOP Tax Cut (again), Sexual Allegations and Mueller

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS

This week Trey rejoins Michael after finishing the fall semester at Daytona State College. The first topic of conversation is the Alabama special Senate election. Trey and Michael discuss the implications of a Jones win, a Moore loss, and what the exit polling data tell us about the future. They then turn to Net Neutrality briefly before moving to the biggest week’s news: the GOP tax bill. With the bill out of conference committee Trey and Michael discuss the modified plan. Next comes a discussion of the renewed sexual allegations against President Donald Trump before ending on the potential Mueller credibility issue.
Mike’s Recommended Reading
Trey’s Recommended Reading
We hope you’ll check out today’s sponsor:
Dollar Shave Club. New members get DSC’s starter set, featuring their Executive Razor, a full cassette of cartridges, shave butter, body wash, and ‘One Wipe Charlies’ butt wipes for only $5 by going to dollarshaveclub.com/tpg
Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

The Politics of Better Beer

This is a golden age for American beer. It’s never been easier to find an amazing ale, a hearty porter, or a hoppy, refreshing IPA (my personal favorite). It’s all thanks to the explosive growth of craft brewing in the United States. In 2016, craft breweries (defined as breweries producing under six million barrels per year and not owned by a larger brewer) sold 24.1 million barrels of beer – that’s 747.1 million gallons, enough to fill 95.6 billion bottles.[1] Over 98 percent of the 5,301 brewers in the United States are craft breweries or brewpubs, which account for 42 percent of all employment in the domestic brewing industry.[2] read more

Norman Ornstein – One Nation After Trump

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS


Mike welcomes back to the show political scientist and American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Norman Ornstein. They talk about his latest book: One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported.

Mike and Dr. Ornstein discuss why Donald Trump’s victory does and doesn’t mean, whether ‘presidential demeanor’ really matters, if President Trump’s liberties with the truth are that much of a break with the past, if presidents can pardon themselves, whether those on the left calling for the ‘normalization’ of impeachment have a point, and lots more.

Show Links:
Glenn Kessler’s ‘Fact Checker’ Blog at the Washington Post

Norm Ornstein on Twitter

We hope you’ll check out today’s sponsor:
Dollar Shave Club. There’s no reason not to join! Get the DSC starter set, featuring their Executive Razor, a full cassette of cartridges, shave butter, body wash, and ‘One Wipe Charlies’ butt wipes for only $5 by going to dollarshaveclub.com/tpg

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

PG129: Jerusalem, Sexual Harassment Resignations, 2018 Budget, Monuments

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS


Today’s show, which Mike does solo, is a radical departure from the normal format. That’s not because Mike went renegade and ditched Jay’s conservative counterweight or that Jay quit in disgust at Mike’s liberalism. Mike and Jay actually did record a show, but due to a major issue that affected both the main and backup recording, Jay’s end of the conversation was essentially unlistenable. (New equipment is on its way to Jay and this won’t be an issue going forward.

In Jay’s absence, Mike does his best to cover his views as well as Jay’s thoughts on President Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and (eventually) move the U.S. Embassy there, the continuing sexual harassment scandal that has now led to the resignations of Al Franken, John Conyers, and Trent Franks, the continuing resolution to keep the government operating until December 22, whether or not a budget deal will be reached and what a deal might look like, and President Trump’s move to dramatically curtail the size of two sites President Obama declared national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Mike’s Recommended Reading
Patreon’s fee change punishes supporters who make small pledges.

Jay’s Recommended Listening
Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (oral argument)

We hope you’ll check out today’s sponsor:
Blue Apron, treating Politics Guys listeners to their first dinner – a $30 value – plus free shipping. To get this great deal go to blueapron.com/TPG

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

My Mini-Vacation

I took a mini-vacation this week to deal with a bit of burnout, which means there’s no food politics post this week. Prior to my break I was researching something I think you’ll enjoy reading about: the politics of beer. In my beer politics article, which will be up December 16, I’ll explain how Jimmy Carter, homebrewing, and tax subsidies made the craft beer revolution possible.

I don’t want to leave you with nothing new to read, so I’ve put together some … well, I was going to say ‘recommended reading’, but that doesn’t sound very enticing, so I’ll go with ‘interesting things I’ve found this week’. read more

The U.S. Constitution Explained

Subscribe:  iTunes | PocketCasts | Overcast | Stitcher | RSS


Mike talks with historian Ray Raphael about his latest book, The U.S. Constitution: Explained – Clause by Clause – For Every American Today. Ray argues that both sides are wrong about the 2nd Amendment, explains why there’s no such thing as an Constitutional Originalist, discusses whether or not the Constitution is outdated, and lots more.

Ray Raphael on the web

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.