Thursday, December 31, 2015

Episode 15: Bernie Slander? Cruz Control? Jon is Perfect?

The Presidential primary is taking center stage again but the boys go local. The debate continues. Listen in terror as Rob accidentally gets Conservativated after reading a book on Isis. Hear Jon recoil in horror as the perfect might just become the enemy of the good and listen to Dave weep.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12-29-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Rise of Isis by Jay Sekulow

Buy It @ Blue Frog Books

Jay Sekulow, one of America's most influential attorneys, closely examines the rise of the terrorist groups ISIS and Hamas, explains their objectives and capabilities and how, if left undefeated, their existence could unleash a genocide of historic proportions.

Recently, the world has been shaken by gruesome photos and videos that have introduced us to the now infamous terrorist group known as ISIS. The world's wealthiest and most powerful jihadists, ISIS originated within Al Qaeda with the goal of creating an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria and unrelenting jihad on Christians. Separate from ISIS, the terrorist group Hamas has waged an equally brutal war against Israel. Both groups, if left undefeated, have the potential to unleash a catastrophic genocide.

"Rise of ISIS" gives a better understanding of the modern face of terror,  and provides an overview of the laws of war and war crimes. These laws differentiate between the guilty and innocent, and explain why the US military and the Israeli Defense Forces are often limited in their defensive measures.
The authors' firsthand experience, including multiple appearances before the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court at The Hague, along with direct contact battling jihadists during operation Iraqi Freedom lends insight into this important geopolitical issue.

A must-have for anyone who wants to better understand the conflict that exists in the middle east, this well-researched and fully annotated volume is invaluable in revealing how this new brand of terrorism poses a very real threat to Americans and the world at large. It also serves as a guide to what we as individuals--and as a nation--can do to stop this escalating violence, prevent jihad, and protect Israel and America from this imminent threat.

Includes a link to an exclusive track from the Jay Sekulow and, "Where I Stand," a moving tribute to the persecuted Christians in Iraq.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Episode 14: The Break Up and Make Up Episode!

Jon, Rob and David, mired in the excesses of the season, argue over principles in regard to voting, the greater good and whether or not the nation deserves a swift kick in the pants.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12-23-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff


If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism.
This is the moment we've been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed reality that our human bodies and minds can never truly inhabit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and connect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed.
Well, the future's arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this now is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.
Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fiction signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.
As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.
Absorbing and thought-provoking, "Present Shock "is a wide-ranging, deeply thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Episode 13: Special Guest Rabbi Jeff Falick! Trump! Cruz!

Jeff, Rob and Dave are joined by Rabbi Jeffrey Falick of the Birmingham Temple hot off of his White House visit! We talk the Presidential race and are joined by Justin Van Buren, a local youth, for some oil trade insight!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12-15-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Stuff Every American Should Know by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese


This pocket-sized companion is filled with stuff every American should know.

Who played the first game of baseball? What's a bicameral congress? Where did Mount Rushmore come from? Who is Geronimo and why do we yell his name when we jump?

Stuff Every American Should Know answers these questions plus great information on the Declaration of Independence, fireworks, the first Thanksgiving, "The Star-Spangled Banner," assassination attempts on U.S. presidents, buffalo nickels, the Statue of Liberty, how to bake the perfect apple pie, and much, much more.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Episode 12: Trump, Trump, Trump... the Furor Continues

Jordan Genso joins Jon, Rob and Dave again to talk national politics. The media, the Republican circus and the Donald dominate today, but we also get into the little slices of humanity that make up a constituency. Fun stuff this week!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

12-8-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Complete Life's Little Instruction Book by The Staff of The New York Times


"The Complete Life's Little Instruction Book" contains the 1,560 entries found in all three volumes of the "New York Times" Bestselling "Life's Little Instruction Book "series. Bound in a deluxe, maroon, leather edition, this collectible hardcover makes a perfectly elegant gift for any occasion.

Though originally written as a gift from a father to a son, its simple message has been enjoyed by men and women of all ages.

"Most of us already know how to live a successful and purposeful life," says the author. "We know we should be understanding and thoughtful, responsible, courageous, and appreciative. It's just that we sometimes need reminding." "Life's Little Instruction Book" is that reminder.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Episode 11: Charter Schools, Special Guests and Cruz Control

Jon, Rob and Dave (with special guest, local Democratic candidate Jordan Jenso) dive into the Charter and public school debate. Dave gets tongue-tied with anger in regard to Ted Cruz and the culture of violence. Jon challenges himself to a quiet five minutes and Rob... Citizen's United.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12-01-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network Into a Propaganda Machine by David Brock, Ari Rabin-Havt and Media Matters


Based on the meticulous research of the news watchdog organization Media Matters for America, David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt show how Fox News, under its president Roger Ailes, changed from a right-leaning news network into a partisan advocate for the Republican Party.

The Fox Effect follows the career of Ailes from his early work as a television producer and media consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Consequently, when he was hired in 1996 as the president of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship conservative cable news network, Ailes had little journalism experience, but brought to the job the mindset of a political operative. As Brock and Rabin-Havt demonstrate through numerous examples, Ailes used his extraordinary power and influence to spread a partisan political agenda that is at odds with long-established, widely held standards of fairness and objectivity in news reporting.

Featuring transcripts of leaked audio and memos from Fox News reporters and executives, The Fox Effect is a damning indictment of how the network’s news coverage and commentators have biased reporting, drummed up marginal stories, and even consciously manipulated established facts in their efforts to attack the Obama administration.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Episode 10: Mein Trumph

Rob, Jon and David discuss The Donald as he veers deeper into fascism. Jon also pours forth the verbal tryptophan of Lochner Vs. New York.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

11-24-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local, and Reclaim the American Dream by Carrie Rollwagen


The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local, and Reclaim the American Dream is the story of one girl's journey from buy-local blogger to woman entrepreneur and indie-shop advocate. When Carrie Rollwagen decided to give up corporate shopping for a year and instead shop local-only, she knew that she'd have to learn how to shop local, that she'd discover new indie businesses, and that she'd need to makeover her shopping habits. What she didn't know is that she'd save money, discover how to connect with her community, and learn to love indie business more than the big box stores she'd bought from all her life. She also didn't know that, before her buy-local year was over, she'd be the owner of her own independent business, a community coffee shop and indie bookstore in Birmingham, Alabama. In The Localist, we follow Carrie on her localist adventure as she embraces slow food, small business, the locavore movement, and many quirky indie shopkeepers and unique independent shops along the way. She tells the story of her year of blogging about buying local in Birmingham, Alabama, and she gives us an inside look at her experience as a new female entrepreneur opening a new neighborhood business: Church Street Coffee & Books, an independent bookshop and locally owned coffee shop. Part memoir, part manual on how to shop local, The Localist is pro-community, but it's not necessarily anti-corporate. Carrie doesn't attack all big business, but rather shows us what we create with our shopping dollars and helps us see new ways of making positive impact on our communities with our spending. Big box stores are convenient, but corporations are not people, and it's important that we shop local and support indie business to keep the scales balanced between Main Street and Corporate America. Carrie Rollwagen is a copywriter and independent business owner based in Birmingham, Alabama. The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local, and Reclaim the American Dream, based on her year-long blog about choosing independent shops over big box stores, is her first book.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Episode 9: The Refugee Issue, Cowardice and Islamaphobia since Paris

Jon, Rob and Dave get a little deep here. In discussing turning our backs on a people in need, Dave gets a little angry... and the studio audience pipes up! "Ask a Real Marginalized Group" returns and Rob hates Dave. You'll see why.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11-17-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler


We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Episode 8: Did Rob Say Citizen's United?

Jon, Rob and Dave discuss the Presidential race, of course, but get into an extended discussion on media and truth. Who is responsible for educating the populace on what the truth is and where the media stands? Join us!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11-10-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

How Not To Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Dougherty


On the one hand, nobody wants to be a dick. On the other hand, dicks are everywhere They cut in line, talk behind our backs, recline into our seats, and even have the power to morph into trolls online. Their powers are impressive, but with a little foresight and thoughtfulness, we can take a stand against dickishness today. "How Not to Be a Dick" is packed with honest and straightforward advice, but it also includes playful illustrations showing two well-meaning (but not always well behaved) young people as they confront moments of potential dickishness in their everyday lives. Sometimes they falter, sometimes they triumph, but they always seek to find a better way. And with their help, you can too.

For further research...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Episode 7: GOP, Diagnosis: Crazy

Jon, Rob and Dave look at different aspects of the candidates and try and figure out why people vote against their own self interest (oh, and how gerrymandering helps). Carson in 2016? Craaaaazy...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

11-03-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America by Jonathan Tasini


Meet the essential Bernie Sanders an authentic and uncompromising champion of the people.

Independent United States Senator Bernie Sanders with a thirty-five-year career in public service, first as Burlington, Vermont's mayor, then as Vermont's sole representative to Congress, and currently as a United States senator is now campaigning to become president of the United States. His goal is to build a movement to take back our country from the rich and powerful, and return it to its rightful owners we, the American people.

Sanders common sense, populist message is resonating with Democrats, Republicans, independents, as well as ordinary working- and middle-class Americans from all walks of life, including millennials, seniors, veterans, immigrants, environmentalists, union workers, and more.

In this short, accessible book, author Jonathan Tasini draws heavily from Sanders ample public record of speeches, statements, and interviews, and couples his working-class spirit with specific legislation he has championed on a number of core proposals that comprise a broader people's agenda for America, including:
  • A national, single-payer health care system;
  • Free public higher education;
  • Taking on wealth and income inequality;
  • Preserving Social Security;
  • Caring for our veterans;
  • Ensuring civil rights for all;
  • Combatting climate change;
  • Reforming Wall Street, and much more.
The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is a must-read for anyone who shares a vision for a forward-looking, sustainable, and more just United States of America, and is eager to change the course of history.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

No Cry Zone: Episode 6: Bluster, Bravado and Ben

Join Jon, Rob and David as they discuss the ongoing soap opera that is the Republican nomination process and some substantive looks at what the dog and pony show is doing for Bernie, Hillary, etc. Stay tuned for some minor rants on Wall Street (Rob, of course), magical thinking (David) and everything else (Jon).

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10-27-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier


Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world's most brilliant thinkers. "Who Owns the Future?" is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.

Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world--including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies--now threaten to destroy it.

But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

No Cry Zone: Episode 5: Benghazi! Ben Garza?

Jon, Rob and Dave talk about that Republican Speaker power vacuum, the ridiculous politicizing of E-mail Gate and the way FEAR is used to control our simple, little brains!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10-20-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Tavis Smiley & Cornel West


Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed nation--these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation's leading democratic intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio's "Smiley & West," now take on the "P" word--poverty."The Rich and the Rest of Us" is the next step in the journey that began with "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience." Smiley and West's 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it's too late.By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation's greatest moments of social transformation-- such as the abolition of slavery, woman's suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements--ending poverty is sure to emerge as America's 21st -century civil rights struggle.As the middle class disappears and the safety net is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America--what it really is and how to eliminate it now.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The No Cry Zone: 004 - Debate This!

The Democratic debate is over and Rob, Jon and Dave weigh the winners and losers. They take a look at the power vacuum in the Republican leadership and Jon has an awkward moment with Professor Lessig.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10-14-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich


Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity.

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The No Cry Zone: 003 - Guns, Gaffes and Goyum

Rob, Jon and Dave discuss the finer points of the Planned Parenthood witch hunt, gun use in America and why Bernie Sanders isn't getting much credit for being a rarity in Presidential politics when we Ask a Real Jew!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

10-06-15: Rob's Book of the Week

Corporations Are Not People by Jeffrey D. Clements


Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that the rights of things—money and corporations—matter more than the rights of people, America has faced a crisis of democracy. In this timely and thoroughly updated second edition, Jeff Clements describes the strange history of this bizarre ruling, its ongoing destructive effects, and the growing movement to reverse it. He includes a new chapter, “Do Something!,” showing how—state by state and community by community—Americans are using creative strategies and tools to renew democracy and curb unbalanced corporate power. Since the first edition, 16 states, 160 members of Congress, and 500 cities and towns have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and the list is growing. This is a fight we can win!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The No Cry Zone: 002 - Bernie, Boehner and Bolsheviks

Jon, Dave and Rob delve into the Presidential election, Papal visits and the resignation of Speaker Boehner. They also debut the new segment, "Ask a Real Jew!"

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

9-29-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

One Nation Under God by Kevin M. Kruse


We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower’s hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made “In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation.

During this moment, virtually all Americans—across the religious and political spectrum—believed that their country was “one nation under God.” But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this “lowest common denomination” public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon’s hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right.

Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.

The No Cry Zone: This Is A Test

Jon Arking, Rob Vedro, and David C. Hayes take a test run of their new political podcast by discussing the Republican debates and their thoughts on the presidential candidates from both parties.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9-25-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein


From Publishers Weekly:

The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

9-17-15: Rob's Book of the Week!

Like the show? Think these fools are witty? You haven't seen anything yet. Feel free to get your Jon and Dave fix by getting in touch with Rob at Blue Frog Books and having him send out your copy of "Hot Mess" the urban fantasy comedy novella from Jon and Dave. Bill O'Reilly has volumes of barely readable 'historical' fiction (that we find comedic). At least we tell you it is comedy right off the bat.