Yesterday was a break from the cold spell so I took a drive out to the country. Lately I’ve tired of the music stations playing the same songs over and over so the radio is tuned into the local NPR station. I enjoy a lot of the shows there and I think their subscription model (though I’m a part of the free rider set) goes to show that there is no monopoly by traditional commercial radio networks as some claim. Here I’m just going to note a couple of passages from Sunday shows where I felt the status quo in politics was challenged a little bit on “public” radio that is supported 95% by voluntarism.

First there’s the ludicrous story about the son of a communist who signed up for the CIA as a joke and told half truths about his drug use then proceeded to have a thirty year career and almost killed Saddam Hussein but his paperwork wasn’t complete. He got in trouble but has a get-out-of-jail-free card.

SAGAL: So how does an Aspen hippie dabbling in drugs end up in the CIA?

BAER: Well, I guess their security wasn’t all that good.

The next story was about sustainable solutions to human shelter published by NASA and awarded by the United Nations but your local building department won’t let you build one because they don’t understand how to tell that it isn’t bad.

“When is FEMA coming … when is the UN coming”
“You should be able to just go to your local zoning board and say look at this the R insulation factor is better than anything else …”

Extra credit if you can compare this to Bike Shedding[1]

Then this morning I caught this headline on my way to work:

In Haiti, Politics And An Earthquake Anniversary Collide

Haiti suffered through a severe earthquake 5 years ago and it seems rebuilding has been hampered since their government never had well established land records. Gee, isn’t protecting property one of the most basic functions of a government? This place is just now getting around to what other governments covered hundreds of years ago.
On top of that their political class can’t even agree on setting a date for elections. The government is dissolving into a dictatorship and that will jeopardize investment. Seems even minarchy can’t even get established in Haiti!

“The prolonged political crisis threatens Haiti’s fragile recovery.”


Since I had to look up the different program links I came across this other piece on Studio 360 from earlier this month. What the CIA guy says is very telling:
After some time inside the organization, he started to doubt it.

“It was all kind of BS,” he tells Kurt Andersen. “The intelligence they were providing wasn’t worth anything to the U.S. government. But what you did to collect that intelligence was ask people to really risk their lives — for a lot of nothing.”



1. Bike Shedding