CO127 Scot Faulkner on the 1994 Contract with America

Scot Faulkner was the National Director of Personnel for the Reagan-Bush presidential Campaign of 1980. He went on to serve the Reagan Administration in executive positions at the Federal Aviation Administration, the General Services Administration, and the Peace Corps. He serves on the boards of numerous corporations and foundations and he’s the author of a bestselling book called Naked Emperors: The Failure of the Republican Revolution, published in 2007.


I was talking last week about how the libel laws in England prevent journalists from working, and keep stories about the rich and powerful under wraps. That doesn’t happen much in the US.

As I mentioned last week, the US follows a 1964 precedent called New York Times v O’Sullivan, from a libel case taken by Montgomery police commissioner LB Sullivan who said that some inaccuracies in a piece about the policing of civil rights demonstrations in Alabama libeled him.

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CO126 Richard Vedder on America’s Short-changed Students

Richard Vedder is an economist, historian, author, and columnist. He is a professor emeritus of economics at Ohio University and senior fellow at The Independent Institute. Who have just published his latest book called Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America.

In our discussion, I mentioned the fact that the number of hours of minimum-wage working required to fund a year at university has skyrocketed since the 1960s:

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CO125 Wen Fa on Litigating Liberty

Wen Fa is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a national, nonprofit legal organization that represents clients free of charge.

We talked about his work on cases including Rentberry v. City of Seattle about rent-bidding laws, and another tenant/landlord case, Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco, and various cases about Vaping.


Francis Rawls is in jail. And that’s where he’s staying. He lost his case at the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. So what has he been convicted of? Nothing.

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Getting Off Podcast Special for Challenging Opinions

Challenging Opinions brings you a special showcase edition of the Getting Off podcast, presented by Jessa and Nick. It’s dark-humored criminal defense attorneys discussing famous crimes, trials, and all things criminal justice.

Go to to subscribe, or search Getting Off Podcast in wherever you get your podcasts.

CO124 Steven Taylor on The Electoral College, again

Steven Taylor  is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University, Alabama. He specialises in political parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. We discussed an article he wrote for Outside the Beltway.

We’ve been hearing a lot about Ukraine in the past week, and I can promise you’ll be hearing a lot more about it the coming weeks and months, and maybe even years. I’m not going to try to keep you up to date with what’s going on in the White House, that’s not really the job of a podcast, certainly not this podcast.

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CO123 Anthony Galace on Greenlining not Redlining

Anthony Galace is the director of health equity at the Greenlining Institute.


Our brains don’t really work so well with very small or very large numbers. If I ask you to imagine the distance from earth to the sun, from earth to the nearest star, or earth to the nearest galaxy, it’s tempting to just think very, very far in all three cases, even though each one is millions of times more than the previous one.

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CO122 Sky Palma on Opinion News

Sky Palma is the founder of DeadState, and a senior editor at Raw Story.


If I was to ask you what was the most dangerous animal in the world, and you were to think tigers, bears or sharks, you’d be wildly wrong, particularly with sharks. Despite Shark Week, despite Jaws, sharks are not statistically dangerous to humans – quite the reverse, humans kill millions, many, many millions of times more sharks that sharks kill humans.

I’m sure some smartass out there will be thinking that the most dangerous animal is man, but I’m thinking of other animals that kill humans.

A shark…

And by a mile, the winner is the mosquito. To put it in context, sharks typically kill five or six humans per year, worldwide. Depending on your sources, mosquitoes kill somewhere between 700,000 and 2.7m people per year. Get that, mosquitoes kill at the very least 100,000 times more people than sharks. They are estimated to be responsible for about 17 per cent of all the disease on the planet. I can’t wait for Mosquito Week on the Discovery Channel.

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CO121 Jared Moffat on the Legacy of Prohibition

Jared Moffat is campaign coordinator for the Marijuana Policy Project.

I mentioned that Ferguson, Missouri gains an extrordinary amount of its revenue from motoring fines.

Black people make up 27 percent of the population, but represent 71 percent of drivers pulled over by police officers. Last year, the town issued 29,072 traffic citations, according to statistics from the Missouri attorney general’s office.


A couple of weeks back an international group of scientists announced that they had detected a black hole swallowing a neutron star.

I say a couple of weeks back, but the detection made last month was actually of something that happened 900 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs walked the earth. It was detected last month because that’s how long it took the gravitational waves to arrive at earth from where this event happened, 900 million light years away.

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CO120 Reese Erlich on Tensions with Iran

Reese Erlich has won numerous journalism awards including a Peabody award. He’s also a freelance journalist who writes for CBS Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corp., NPR and VICE News, and his Foreign Correspondent column distributed nationally in the US.

Last year he published his latest book with the title The Iran Agenda Today: The Real Story Inside Iran and What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy.


I mentioned the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong a few weeks back, particularly the fact that a huge proportion of the city’s population was taking part in them. Since I talked about them, the protests have been covered widely in the western media, and they haven’t dissipated, they are continuing every weekend.

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CO119 Gautam Tejas Ganeshan on What Motivates Antivaxxers

Gautam Tejas Ganeshan is a musician and a writer and blogger, and we talked about a piece that he wrote titled ‘Is there an intelligible “anti-vaxx” position?

CO118 Andrew Branca on Gun Law

Andrew Branca is a lifelong NRA member, a lawyer who consults on self-defence law and the author of The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen.

During our discussion, I metioned the Dickey Amendment, which forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from advocating or promoting gun control, but has widely been interpreted as preventing the CDC from studying the health effects of gun ownership.

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CO117 Will Wilkinson on Community and Ideology

Will Wilkinson is the vice president for research at the Niskanen Center.

He’s also and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He was previously, a correspondent for The Economist and a research fellow at the Cato Institute.

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CO116 Raymond Ibrahim on Islam and the West

Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West.


Let’s do a bit of science.

Maybe, like me, you have had various social media invaded by people making all sorts of complaints about something called 5G. That’s the newest mobile data standard. Unless you are really special, that doesn’t work on your phone yet, but the networks are being installed, and newer handsets using them will be available soon, probably starting at the top end of the price range.

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CO115 John Hawkins on Politicized Data

John Hawkins is a writer for Bizpaq review, Brass Pills and is the editor Right Wing News. He’s also the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know.

We talked about John’s article The Best Stats & Quotes From ‘Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse’, John’s take on the findings of that book. I mentioned the fact that the number of hours needed to work at minimum age to pay college tuition has increased about tenfold in the last 40 years, and the book Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam.

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CO114 Greg Shupak on Reporting the Conflict

Greg Shupak has a PhD in Literary Studies and teaches Media Studies at the University of Guelph in Toronto. He regularly writes analysis of politics and media for outlets including Electronic Intifada, In These Times, Jacobin, and the website Fairness and accuracy in reporting.

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CO113 Mark Vernon on the Secret History of Christianity

Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and writer, with a degree in physics, before two degrees in theology, and a PhD in philosophy. He’s written books covering subjects from friendship and belief, to wellbeing and love.

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CO112 Justin Strekal on Legalizing Marijuana

Justin Strekal political director at Norml.


I mentioned last week that I would talk about the earthquake – earthquakes really – in UK politics. In particular that Nigel Farage’s new party, the Brexit Party won the European Parliament elections in the UK by a mile last month.

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CO111 Bruce Schneier on Cybersecurity

Bruce Schneier is a public-interest technologist. He’s been writing about security issues for more than 20 years, and he’s a Special Advisor to IBM Security, a fellow and lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a board member of Electronic Frontier Foundation.


A couple of quite similar stories caught my eye in the past while.

The first was about a German MP called Markus Frohnmaier. He was elected to the Bundestag, the German parliament for the far-right AfD party in 2017.

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CO110 Grayson Quay on Another View on MeToo

Grayson Quay is a freelance writer. His work has been published in The Washington Times,, National Interest, Townhall and others. He is also MA candidate at Georgetown University Master’s Degree candidate.

CO109 Aaron Naparstek on the War on Cars

Aaron Naparstek is a cohost of the War on Cars podcast, and also the founder of


There have been a couple of stories about facial recognition. This audio is from a BBC report where the police set up a van with cameras filming passersby and searching for records on them based on facial recognition. One man decided that he didn’t like that, and pulled his sweater up over his mouth and nose to frustrate the camera system; the police stopped him, forced him to be photographed, and fined him £90, about $115 for what they called disorderly conduct.

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