Podcast 586-Midtown Global Market

 

Giving 2017 context

Live from the Midtown Global Exchange in Minneapolis. (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately throughout this live podcast I refer to the Midtown Global Market as ‘International Market Square‘, which is somewhere else in the Twin Cities.)

In 2006 the Midtown Global Market opened to much fanfare after 192 Million dollars was spent to redevelop the old Sears Building on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Tens of millions of dollars in grants, aid and bonding helped pay for the project which was sold as the key to redeveloping a decaying neighborhood.

Just inside the entrance are several large photos of the neighborhood back in the 1920’s before the Sears Building was constructed, with no subsidies, at a cost of five million dollars. Looking at those old pictures, knowing the neighborhood, I think of change, and context.

Like any New Year, we’re always optimistic about the future. We need 2017 context. How was your year? How do you compare it to other years? Did you have a good 2016? Will next year be better? Life doesn’t follow neatly defined month and year delineations. Life cycles operate on other timelines.

We make decisions individually and collectively. Those decisions provoke change and reaction. It takes awhile for results to appear. Just like this place. The marketplace has struggled since it opened in 2006 and continues to require subsidies to survive. The neighborhood has struggled despite redevelopment at enormous cost to the taxpayers. Is it better?

We live in a time of intense chronicling. Like a teenager’s journal every slight, every insult and every joy is recorded and exaggerated. A person looks back on their journals twenty or thirty years after and does not remember every detail. On the other hand, the Internet records every insult and slight and magnifies reaction. In this environment perspective and context, so important in human decision making, is distorted as well.

As I begin 2017 I find myself unhappy with what I see on social media, in broadcast and so called traditional media. Now a primary source of ‘news’, social media sets the tone for all other media. These sources are mostly devoid of perspective and context. In this podcast some 2017 Context.

We’re told celebrities are dying like flies and this is terrible. Is a celebrity more important than anyone else? How many people die every year famous or not? What is the context? How many babies are born every year? The famous do not retain their earthly status when they crossover. We all know this. So, why all the hand wringing about celebrity deaths?

In Podcast 586-Midtown Global Market, some thought starters for your 2017, live from the Midtown Global Market. Why is history so important? Where does change come from. How is our time different from other eras? Why do things we don’t want to change, often change? How do we manage change? What do we need to know to manage change?

So many people post and tweet these days because they want to be thought of as beautiful, a hero or a friend. Many go on social media so they can stand on top of a hill and be recognized for the contributions they feel they’ve made. Why? Aren’t we special just because we’re alive and in the world right now?

2016’s events effected many of us deeply. Government’s power is pernicious and often malicious; Starting a war. Pouring tens of millions of dollars into dubious development project. To the degree people people engage in gossip and back fence judgement via social media, they have less influence over those they have selected to ‘run things’. Here’s to providing context and perspective in 2017. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016

Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show Number 59.

In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016 Guest Andrew Davis and I have a father and son discussion of some of the big takeaways from 2016 and a look ahead to 2017. This isn’t one of those big stories of the year countdowns that populate the media at the end of every year. Just some thoughts about the year from both of us. What we have seen and what we thought was significant.

Of course in the United States, the big story of the year was Election 2016. Father and son talk about the winners and losers this year and how to stay informed going into 2017. The biggest loser of 2016 was traditional broadcast and cable television news and what is generally referred to as the mainstream media. This year though, you could add broadcast talk radio to the list. The biggest offense for these outlets was the penchant for predicting the future, picking a winner and endorsing a candidate.

From the media perspective the biggest winner was social media and You Tube. According to a recent study by Pew, more people got their news from social media and You Tube than ever before. This is a tectonic shift away from broadcast radio news and news delivered over traditional sources like broadcast television and cable television. This shift has provoked efforts to control what news and links people see and hear on social media sources.

In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016, the biggest surprise in 2016, for traditional media and politics in 2016 was Trump’s Electoral Victory. For political elites inside the beltway and those who believed what old line traditional media told them, the emergence of Donald J. Trump in the primaries, his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate and his electoral victory was a shock. The biggest factor in politics in 2016 were the misconceptions fostered by terrible reporting and analysis.

Late in the election season the Clinton campaign and the White House introduced the idea that the Russians somehow ‘hacked’ the US election. While a convenient explanation for bereft democrats, even at this late date proof of a Russian Interference is lacking. Moreover, proof the alleged Russian intervention resulted in actually effecting the outcome of the election is even more elusive. Father and son disagree on this topic. This disagreement that carried over from the radio show to intense discussions with friends well into the evening.

With change back on the front burner in 2017 our discussion turns to how to get good information. There will be a need to evaluate the performance of the Trump administration and arguments against its initiatives. With so called fake news, opinion journalism rather than good investigative journalism, having good sources is more important that ever.

Once you have goos sources, you also need context. Good sources include source materials such as reports, think tank studies, documents, and live video. Context comes from reading history, source documents, non fiction books on various topics and your interests. Both of us caution against pop culture books which are nothing more than the same type of rehashing and alarmist coverage you see in social media, cable news and talk radio. They are designed to persuade, rather than inform. Certainly one can say think tanks have biases, which are usually fairly obvious, but reliance on source material from different parts of the spectrum and academic interests gives you the background and context to understand the biases without being manipulated.

Finally, the big issues in 2017 to watch will be the Trump Team’s transition, foreign policy issues including the South China Sea, ISIS, Europe, Russia and China, foreign trade, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s role in US foreign policy, United States Economic policy. Politically what the 115th congress does and how it does what it does will be significant stories in 2017. Supporters of the new President will be hard pressed almost from day one to defend his actions, and the opposition is treading through brand new territory. Both sides will need objective facts.

Finally, we have a little fun with the millennial obsession with smart phones and the hand wringing over ‘so many’ celebrity deaths in 2016 and thank the sponsored, supporters and listeners to the Bob Davis Podcasts throughout 2016. Happy New Year. See you in 2017.

 

Podcast 551

Escapism. Given the sour nature of our political discourse these days what do you do to escape. A morning ritual turns into a content generator for the Bob Davis Podcasts in Podcast 551 Escapism. Lately I have been bingewatching TV shows on Netflix and iTunes, with the HBO series “Shameless’ and especially this weekend to watching the entire first series of the Netflix show “Stranger Things”. Stranger Things does such a great job creating an alternate reality, you just can’t get enough. Usually when people recommend TV shows I’m like, “Yeah whatever”. Stranger Things is the exception. What a great show. Getting back to the morning ritual; Every morning I get up, make coffee and head over to the park. I sit on a hill, drink my coffee and am alone with my thoughts. No phone. No social media. No talking to myself at least for that first few minutes of awake time. It’s been great for listening to the thoughts bubbling up from the subconscious and figuring out how to do podcasts about them. This weekend’s binge viewing of Stranger Things made me think about Escapism and how important it has apparently become considering the election year we’re having and coverage of it. When I first talked about the News Cleanse about three years ago on these podcasts, I had no idea it would end up having the power it has to generate new and different things to talk about in the podcasts. I know that, given the current discourse, I don’t want to be a contributing factor to what amounts to misinformation on breaking news stories like the attack at the Mall in Saint Cloud this weekend or the daily and predictable back and forth between presidential candidates trying to capitalize on these kinds of events. Aside from the stuff that actually moves the needle; shifts in the polls, candidates collapsing in public, huge breaking stories like a financial collapse or some major shift in policy from the current administration, it’s ok to check and once in awhile on political news, but I just can’t muster the intellectual interest in the day to day nonsense that seems to animate everyone on the radio, television and on the Internet. What do you do to escape? Movies, Trips to the Wilderness? Binge Watching shows. Drugs and alcohol? How much escape is too much escape. What is healthy escape? How many want to escape, and what happens after the new president is inaugurated in January 2017. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 497

Midnight Deck Radio. It’s that time of year again. Just before the bugs, when the trees are full and the nights are cool. But, the coffee’s on and the Tiki Torches are lit, time for some Midnight Deck Radio. As we wait for the planet Mercury to transit between the Earth and the Sun in the 6:00 hour Central Daylight Savings Time on Monday, May 9th, it’s time to update Bob Davis Podcast Listeners for the week ahead. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to talk radio or to the 24 hour cable television channels, but there isn’t much to talk about in politics until the next spate of primary elections. Even then, there won’t be any real fireworks until just before both mainline party conventions late this summer. That doesn’t stop the media machine though, rehashing and churning away with more opinion and commentary on the same issues again and again, and again. How many times can we talk about whether or not Hillary Clinton will be indicted (um, no she won’t) or how Donald Trump is the ‘presumptive’ nominee of the Republican party? One of the things I’ve learned doing the weekly ‘Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show’ is how prescient the Bob Davis Podcasts can be when it comes to forecasting political events and issues ahead of the curve. The podcasts have been talking for weeks about the potential for an establishment fight over the ‘presumptive’ Trump nomination. Just before the weekend all the stories broke about republican establishment types concerned about the down ticket, former presidents who say they won’t attend the convention, establishment donors and potential candidates refusing to endorse the ‘presumptive’ nominee. Which brings us to the media itself. A New York Times article last week about White House Media advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has lots of people talking about how the White House ‘controls’ or thinks it controls the media. The main point of the story was Rhodes’ comments about how reporters sometimes copy and reprint whole press releases word for word, because no one actually does any real reporting work anymore when it comes to news. This is was an ongoing topic of conversation when The Bob Davis Podcasts was on the road in Mobile Podcast Command covering the primary election season in Iowa, South Carolina, Florida and Texas this spring. Yes there are a few actual reporters in Washington and New York who work sources and check out stories, but for the most part these days if you’re watching the 24 hour cable channels or listening to the radio you’re getting nothing more than a rehash of someone else’s writing and very often, it’s a press release written up as a new story without any fact checking or source confirmation. What missing is the kind of information people need to be able to discern what are facts and whether those facts are important or not. This is one of the reasons why American Politics isn’t a process for problems solving but a national representation of an increasingly tribal population. How do we build a future when all we’re really concerned about is what tribe each other belongs to and whether we can talk to each other? Digital media can help with that, or it can exacerbate the problem. How do podcasts make a difference? What’s the mission of this podcast these days? Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 495

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel? The Light At The End Of The Tunnel? It’s probably a train, right? First Ted Cruz quits the race, then the next day John Kasich quits. So, it is now fair to say that Donald J. Trump has a clear path to be nominated as the Republican Presidential Candidate at the Republican convention this summer. Yes, suddenly the republican establishment which so hated ‘The Donald’ it allowed #nevertrump to continue and in some cases encouraged it, has suddenly embraced the hated Trump even switching over to #neverhillary. So much for the so called ‘principled conservative’ at the top of the GOP. Now what? There’s a lot of ground to cover between now and the last primaries in June, and the conventions. Since there have already been a number of surprises in 2016, it’s fair to say just about anything could happen at either the republican or democrat convention. In treating the media story-lines with healthy skepticism, one wonders what happens to the Red State Blogs and Glenn Beck’s of the world? What happens to all the #nevertrump and Cruz supporting talk show hosts? Do they suddenly start working for Hillary Clinton? What about the outside possibility Bernie Sanders wins California and democrat super delegates start abandoning the USS Hillary? If Trump is the nominee – and to be fair it looks like he is going to be unless something happens between now and Cleveland – can he win the presidency? Already we’re seeing the same kind of ‘predict the future’ journalism now, we saw at the beginning of the Trump candidacy. Trump can not win, he starts in the hole and will never beat Clinton or Sanders. He’s a bully. He’s a xenophobe. He’s an authoritarian. If you’re a woman you’ll vote for Hillary. There are protests against Trump in the streets which may end up helping his candidacy, actually. Can Trump win? Of course he can. He went against the odds and crushed a whole field of republicans, although media compliments aside, the republican field this year was a disaster and the debates exposed them all as completely unprepared for the spotlight, except for the one guy who knows how to play the TV Reality Show Game. So yeah, Trump can win. The only problem with a Trump presidency is, republicans will probably regret it. Conservatives for Trump? Don’t make me laugh. Trade protection, Keynesian economics and nativism are hardly ‘conservative’ ideas. There are going to be a lot of long faces for republicans when they learn what a Trump presidency might actually mean for them, unless you want to work at a bucket factory or coal mine, where millennials with graduate degrees want to work, right? On the other hand, why not? It’s gonna be great! For too long republicans have masqueraded as conservatives, railing against abortion and same-sex marriage while they voted to increase budgets year after year for things like ‘education’ and stadiums for billionaire sports owners. Who deserves Trump? Republicans deserve Trump. The Light At End Of The Tunnel? It’s a Trump. No wait! It’s a train. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 488

Sick Of Politics. Yeah. Sorry. Sick Of Politics. I’m not the only one. When it’s above 70 degrees and sunny for an entire weekend in the upper midwest, no one wants to talk about whether or not the delegate selection process in Georgia and Colorado is messed up. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, people headed up to the lake to put the dock in, raked their lawns, washed their cars, sat on the deck blinking in the sun, and were amazed, tantalized and thrilled with late May weather in Mid April. I certainly remember mid April tax return mailings when it was snowing, or 30 degrees and raining. Aside from the ‘bring on more of this global warming’ jokes, it is pretty amazing to be able to get a sunburn around here at this time of year. Meanwhile, the cable news jockeys continue to drone away about what this one said about that one, whether the primary process should be scrapped for something else – don’t ask – and how the byzantine ‘state delegate selection process’ is flawed, as though anyone ever gave a damn before this ridiculous election cycle. God! Bring back the smoke filled rooms, cigar chomping, pinkie ring wearing, bourbon drinking ‘operators’. What would happen if we woke up tomorrow and suddenly there wasn’t anymore 24 hour cable news, talk radio, Facebook or Twitter? What would we think about? Is it possible we might discover what we have been thinking about below the crust of all this 24 hour news cycle generated angst and frustration? How would that sit with you? What do you think about when you’re not receiving or transmitting? A late night live podcast from the deck of the broadcast bunker, complete with planes, sirens and a very large mosquito. Mosquito’s already? And so it begins. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 473

Super Tuesday. Final thoughts from Norman, Oklahoma as this Road Trip draws to a close, On the eve of Super Tuesday, 2016. A dozen or so states and territories have primaries or caucuses scheduled for democrat and republican parties. The media has covered — and will continue to cover — this primary season like a general election and now we have arrived at the second big day after Iowa’s Caucuses a month or so ago … Super Tuesday. For people wondering who to vote for. For people who think this is the actual election. For people who believe the charlatans on talk radio, and the talking heads on TV, and the blow hards at the local political meetings telling you what you should do; Some points to ground you. This is not a general election. These candidates are running to amass delegates to the party convention. Delegates who probably won’t even vote to nominate the candidate they may or may not be pledged to when the final vote for the nomination comes at the end of the mainline party conventions this summer. Candidates are coming to your state and your town to talk to the movers and shakers in the parties, and they’re making deals behind the scenes while the media covers the little shows they put on for the public called ‘retail political’ events. They’re all the same. Meanwhile our news media focuses on personalities, innuendo, open fights, name calling and other antics. Why? It’s the fire on the prairie, the war in the mountains. It’s what produces clicks and views and it’s what keeps the perfumed princes of media in their chairs, and in five thousand dollar suits and one thousand dollar shoes. The country needs new thinking, new ideas and new action to bring in the new economy that is out there, coming into the world, whether the czars in Washington and New York and Hollywood, and Silicon Valley want it. We need a government that protects our constitutional rights and secures our defense, and does little else. We need policies that free the individual, provide economic opportunity for everyone, and gets out of our way. Is this represented in the political mess that is the ‘primary election cycle 2016’? Sponsored by Pride of Homes and X Government Cars

Podcast 471

Trump’s Sudden Inevitability. The shouting match between Senator Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the Texas Debate recently, doesn’t change the almost daily lame reporting from the campaign trail and the utter emptiness of what they call ‘analysis’ these days. Now suddenly Donald Trump is the ‘inevitable’ candidate. Now suddenly there will be a contested Republican National Convention. Now suddenly the world quakes at the prospect of Donald J. Trump, President. Now suddenly Trump can beat Hillary Clinton, forget what was said earlier. Reporters, TV Stars, ‘consultants’ and ‘analysts’, Talk Radio Clowns and even the Pope can’t resist inserting themselves into ‘the process’ whatever that is. What a process it is. Thanks to the idiots at the RNC we have an almost weekly political wrestling match, with the winner declared before the show is over, because of the barbs thrown and the jabs and thrusts and innuendo. Why not do away with voting entirely and just have people call a number for their candidate at the end of these cage matches, and declare the winner with a mix of votes and judgements by the perfumed princes of media, chosen to look really serious and ask the candidates questions. Ted Cruz is George Washington. No Wait! Ted Cruz is the New Reagan. Trump is Mussolini. Clinton is Jimmy Carter. Bernie Sanders is uh…Larry David. The predictions from the ‘experts’. Trump has a lock on the nomination, even though we’ve only had two caucuses and two primaries, but there it is people. Step right up! See the bearded lady and the midget perform! The voters? The voters you say? Oddly enough The Bob Davis Podcasts is traveling, speaking with and listening to actual regular people and here in the South there are a lot of Trump signs and bumperstickers on brand new cars. People seem angry, and frustrated and ready to stick it to the man, and don’t seem to be taking it any more seriously than the half time show at the Super Bowl. Why should they? Meanwhile, once again the country is not falling apart. The infrastructure is not crumbling. People seem to be miraculously going about their business despite all the magpies telling them how to live and what to think. Have they already made a decision to stick it to the man? Only time will tell. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Brush Studio.

Sunny Lohmann – Podcast 454

Sunny Lohmann. Political Humorist Sunny joins the Bob Davis Podcasts with an announcement about a new You Tube effort, plus  the top stories catching her attention. Sunny announces a new You Tube channel, details at House of Sunny TV. From the mass attack on women in Germany, by ‘Middle Eastern’ and ‘East African’ men which appears to have been coordinated, to the rancher dispute in Oregon and the occupation of a federal government wildlife facility in the middle of nowhere, Sunny’s got game. From there it’s onto Guns! Guns! Guns! The President’s executive orders on gun control and what they mean, and discussion of crime and firearm statistics. Almost all of these numbers are fertile ground for political activists and point of view journalists, as well as presidents, as witnessed by President Obama’s recent CNN ‘Town Hall’ meeting on gun control. According to Sunny, one of the things point of view researchers do is lump firearm suicides and incidents where law abiding citizens have defended themselves and property with firearms, with mass shootings. Moreover, the question of whether to include a terror incident which includes a mass shooting such as San Bernardino, with other types of mass shooting events is usually never addressed by commentators … but it is here. Do ‘conservatives’ in the United States need another enemy? Sunny and Bob react to a nationally syndicated columnist and talk show hosts call for ‘statism’ to become the ‘new philosophical enemy’ of ‘conservatives’. Sounds like another opportunity for a talk show host to sell books and to gin up more outrage. Bob and Sunny also talk about life, raising children and visits to the Golden State; California, where Sunny lives. Surprisingly enough both agree, “It’s beautiful there.” Sponsored by Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 450

Beware The Soothsayers. So much of our media these days is caught up in predicting the future. Weather, economics, sports and especially politics, isn’t so much about fact as it is about predictions based on opinion and poorly supported ‘fatcs’. Without a real basis in science or proven facts, we’re constantly told what the ‘future will bring’. It’s a wonder news anchors and ‘commentators’ don’t wear brightly colored head dresses and look into a crystal ball. One of the reasons we are ill served by a modern media possessed of the greatest technology for informing known to man, is its executives exhort their on screen ‘actors’ and so called ‘journalists’ to use opinion and hearsay to ‘predict’ what ‘will’ happen, rather than just report the facts around an event, or ‘the news’. For instance, lower prices for gasoline was going to ‘act like a tax cut’ and we would have economic growth. The Christmas retail shopping season might be a little down, but it would still be good. Donald Trump would be a flash in the pan, and would ‘collapse’ as soon as voters ‘came to their senses’. This is the time of year astrologers make their predictions for 2016, which are about as accurate as the wild ‘predictions’ made by the cable news services, round table discussions, commentary pieces distributed on line, and most of the rest of the media conglomeration complex, especially talk radio and the cable news channels. What do you think would happen if they stopped making predictions? There’d be a lot of dead air. In fact most of what is being broadcast and written these days is little more than fortune telling, and not very good fortune telling at that. In a late night podcast by the fire, as we labor under a winter storm watch in the upper midwest (at least a foot of snow ‘predicted’ with the ‘storm’ starting Monday night), time to air some concerns about what we are being told, and talk about the antidote to it. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance, and by the Mobile Podcast Command Unit of The Bob Davis Podcasts.