Malice, Incompetence, and the Trump / Russia Saga

A lot of people are very worked up over the Nunes memo. Most liberals see it as an obvious hit job on the FBI to protect President Trump (I’m in that camp) while conservatives seem to view it as an attempt to shed light on some very troubling allegations against an agency that’s supposed to be above politics.

Jay and I chose not to discuss the memo on this Saturday’s show (February 10), because we’re waiting to see if President Trump authorizes the release of the Democrats’ rebuttal memo. When that happens – or if it doesn’t – you can be sure that we’ll be talking about it. read more

Is College Worth It?

In November of 2016, I had the opportunity to interview  George Mason economist Bryan Caplan about his book The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. It’s a book I not only enjoyed, but one I’ve been assigning in my economic policy class for years.

Recently, Caplan came out with a new book, once again with a provocative title: The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money. I’m looking forward to getting a copy (it was just released on January 30) and, with any luck, having him back on the show. read more

Give Trump His Wall – On Our Terms

The immigration plan released by the Trump administration this week provides legal status and a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers. Of course, any immigration proposal that has the support of hard-liners Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton is going to contain some pretty tough provisions, as this one does. There are plenty of things in the plan that I  think Democrats are right to resist. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if we should be willing to give some ground on what many see as an absolute deal-breaker: funding an expanded border wall. read more

The Strange World of Medical Pricing | Why I Gave Up Football

This week, I got a call from the nursing supervisor at my mom’s assisted living community. She told me that my mom needed to have a minor outpatient procedure performed, and asked if I wanted to take her. I did, which was how I spent most of my Friday morning.

In thinking about the experience, a few things struck me. First, when the nursing supervisor called, she simply told me where the procedure would be taking place, and I automatically accepted that. It didn’t even occur to me to ask why that was the outpatient center her doctor had chosen and what, if any, other options there were. I’m someone who comparison shopped for days before buying a new laptop, but when it came to an invasive (albeit minor) medical procedure, I didn’t shop around at all. But even if I had, it would have been incredibly difficult for me to get any solid information about pricing and quality, because that’s just not how things work in American medicine. read more

Putting Faces to Voices, Recommended Reading, Big Changes Coming

Putting Faces to Voices
When I teach online classes, one of the first things I do is post a picture of myself so that students can see who’s teaching them and to try to make more of a connection. Strangely, in the over two years we’ve been doing The Politics Guys, I’ve yet to do the same thing here.

Recently, a listener mentioned that we needed to get some pictures of ourselves up on the Politics Guys website, which finally prompted me to action. Here’s what The Politics Guys look like (for better or worse). I’m first, followed by Jay, then Trey. read more

New Year’s Resolutions

Over the past few weeks, I’ve mainly been focusing on my classes at Northern Kentucky University, both the super-intense three week class I’m currently teaching (American Politics in Film) and the four classes I’ll be teaching when our spring semester starts on Monday.

But in addition to that, I’ve been thinking about something lots of people think about this time of year: resolutions for the new year. I have some personal resolutions (none of which I’ve broken – at least not yet) as well as a couple of resolutions for The Politics Guys, which I’d like to share with you. read more

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

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

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 Politics of Organic Meat

In my pre-Thanksgiving post last week I wrote about the politics of turkey, as well other meat products. One thing I discovered is that thanks to good inspection standards, the meat supply in the United States is very safe. While food-borne illness is extremely common – the CDC estimates that over 48 million Americans are affected every year – most cases are relatively minor. In 2016, only 0.007% of the U.S. population sought medical treatment for a food-borne illness of any kind.[1] The vast majority of these cases aren’t caused by contamination occurring at slaughterhouses or meat processing plants. You’re a lot more likely to get sick from contaminated produce or under cooking your meat. read more