Reconciliation, SALT, Gun Control, COVID Passports, Supreme Court Reforms

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Reconciliation is back! Trey and Ken talk about the recent Senate parliamentarian ruling on a third budget reconciliation and what it means for Biden’s infrastructure bill. Then Trey and Ken argue over progressive taxes and SALT, before agreeing on Biden’s recent gun control legislation. Next the pair discuss the long history of vaccine skepticism and its most recent incarnation in the form of COVID passports. Finally they discuss Biden’s commission examining the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Infrastructure, Georgia Voting Law, NCAA at the Supreme Court

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Infrastructurepalooza! Mike and Jay talk about what’s in the bill (lots), what’s left out (not much), and how the procedure is guiding the substance of the bill. Then Mike and Jay board the midnight train to Georgia to talk election bill specifics, Biden’s “hyperbole” (Jay’s air quotes), and whether corporations are responding to customer perception or government demands. Finally–March Madness Baby– as Mike and Jay talk about the NCAA at the Supreme Court and how to make college athletics fair for college athletes.

Mike’s Weekly Recommendation
Network (1976) and Apocalypse Now (1979)

Jay’s Weekly Recommendation
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix)

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Mass Shootings, Biden News Conference, Voting Rights & The Filibuster

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Mike and Jay open the episode with a discussion of the mass shooting in Boulder Colorado. Is the same script of “outrage, resistance, inaction” going to play out after this tragedy that we’ve seen so many times before? They also reexamine their discussion of the Georgia mass shooting from last week. Did they downplay the issue of AAPI intolerance? What about violence against women and sex workers?

Next is a look at Joe Biden’s first news conference as president, with a focus on voting rights. Biden seems determined to pass voting rights legislation, but can it happen given the filibuster, and will the filibuster be changed? And how important are presidential news conferences anyway?

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Border Crisis, Georgia Shootings, US / China Talks

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Mike and Jay talk about the mess at the border, where good intentions create bad incentives.  Then the Georgia shootings. Are they part of a larger trend of intolerance and violence toward Asians? Should this be viewed through the prism of race? And can anti-Chinese rhetoric be blamed for an increase in hate crimes against Asians? Biden takes a tough line against China. Can a rising China be contained and is there a role for American businesses to play?

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Uzuegbunam v. Preczewiski, Biden’s Record, Voting Rights, Trump Tells RNC to Cease and Desist

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This week Trey is joined by Ken and the pair start with the Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewiski. Here the pair discuss the standards the Supreme Court uses to determine if a case ought to be heard and Ken argues the Supreme Court should do away with the concept of mootness.

Next the pair discuss the dubious record Biden has set in not holding a press conference. Trey notes his 45 days without a conference is the longest of any modern president in the last 100 years and he suggests the delay may be a new normal. Ken argues Biden’s lack of a press conference doesn’t matter as long as competent individuals are running government.

After that Trey and Ken discuss not only Biden’s most recent executive order on voting rights, but how it is a reaction to Republicans in state legislatures pushing to make elections more secure. The pair also discus Mike Pence’s article on the subject.

Finally they examine the recent back and forth between the RNC and Trump over the use of Trump’s name and image in campaign materials.

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COVID Bill, For The People Act, Joe Manchin, CPAC & Trump

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Mike and Trey open the show with a look at  final negotiations over the latest COVID relief legislation, in which centrist Senate Democrats – Joe Manchin in particular – forced significant revisions to the House-passed measure.

Next, they discuss H.R. 1, the “For The People Act”, which would be the largest federal intervention in election procedures in a very long time. Mike thinks that’s a good thing – both for Democrats and democracy. Trey also generally favors making the system more small-d democratic, but has issues with certain aspects of the legislation.

After that they look back on the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting, Donald Trump’s closing night speech, and whether or not the GOP is truly a conservative party any more. The former president was not only the favorite of CPAC attendees, but oddsmakers think he has a good shot at capturing the GOP nomination in 2024.

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James Morone on our “Republic of Wrath”

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Mike talks with Brown University political scientist James Morone about his latest book, Republic of Wrath: How American Politics Turned Tribal, from George Washington to Donald Trump.

Topics they cover include:

  • the history of partisan conflict
  • how our current conflicts are different
  • states as “laboratories of authoritarianism
  • the dirty little secret of bipartisanship
  • recommendations for reform

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McConnell on Trump, COVID Bill, Equality Act, Neera Tanden, “Fake News” Hearings

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The show opens with Mike asking Jay to help him understand how Mitch McConnell’s pledge to “absolutely” support Trump if he’s the 2024 Republican nominee squares with McConnell’s blistering denunciation of Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol takeover. Mikes sees it as McConnell putting party over country, whereas Jay believes it’s political strategy that we shouldn’t read all that much into.

Next is discussion of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package passed by the House with no Republican support. Jay wouldn’t have supported it either, believing that it’s too much, especially to states. Mike disagrees and question’s Jay’s commitment to progressive taxation – which, as it turns out, Jay isn’t as committed to as Mike assumed. 

They move on to the opposition to Neera Tanden’s nomination to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Jay takes issue with claims of racism and sexism, and thinks that it’s reasonable to vote against Tanden. Mike believes that racism and sexism, while not the key factor, may play a role in opposition to Tanden. While he’s troubled by her deleting over a thousand of her tweets Mike believes Tahden would vote to confirm her.

The show closes with a look at hearings by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on misinformation in conservative news, as well as letters two Democratic members of the committee sent to a number of service providers. This is of deep concern to Jay, who believes it’s a step down a path that leads to government censorship. Mike isn’t entirely unsympathetic to this view, but feels that in light of the lies many outlets seemed happy to knowingly promulgate so long as they were profitable, some action is reasonable

Mike’s Weekly Recommendation
Connected: A Search for Unity. (documentary series) Monty Moran

Jay’s Weekly Recommendation
COVID One Year Ago (Twitter)

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Rep. Rob Wittman on The Chinese Threat and US Strategic Preparedness

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Mike and Jay talk with Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA-1), second ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, about the growth in Chinese military strength (they now have the largest navy in the world), the threat posed by China to US interests, Taiwan, military spending, and more.

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McConnell v Trump, Trump’s Acquittal, Politicizing the Freeze, COVID Round Three

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Trey and Ken talk about the ongoing Republican Civil War between McConnell and Trump and what it means for the future of both the Republican and the Democratic Parties. Then the pair take up the remaining legal fallout for former President Donald Trump after his second impeachment. Next the discussion turns south to the history of energy in Texas and the political posturing on energy policy. Finally, Trey and Ken get heated discussing the importance and implications of the third round of COVID stimulus, with specific focus on the costs.

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