For The Benefit of Mr. Kite (and Key)

This week, Ricochet editor and podcaster to the stars Troy Senik stops by to talk about his new venture, Kite and Key Media, which produces explainers about issues in the news. So you could argue that this show is an explainer about explainers, but we are not going to be that meta. We also delve into the news of the day, including good governors and bad, what the heck is going on with President Biden, and some speculation on where the Republican party and the Conservative movement might be headed. Yes, we were supposed to have another guest this week, but that didn’t work out (maybe next week), so thanks to Troy for hanging out with us. Please return the favor by frequenting his new site?

Music from this week’s show: For The Benefit of Mr. Kite by The Beatles

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  1. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Ricochet Audio Network: Yes, we were supposed to have another guest this week, but that didn’t work out (maybe next week)

    I hope the boys didn’t show up in their earth tones to impress the guest and then she didn’t show.

    • #1
  2. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

    This is really good.

     

     

     

    • #2
  3. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: Yes, we were supposed to have another guest this week, but that didn’t work out (maybe next week)

    I hope the boys didn’t show up in their earth tones to impress the guest and then she didn’t show.

    She had a time zone calculation issue. She’ll be on next week. 

    • #3
  4. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: Yes, we were supposed to have another guest this week, but that didn’t work out (maybe next week)

    I hope the boys didn’t show up in their earth tones to impress the guest and then she didn’t show.

    She had a time zone calculation issue. She’ll be on next week.

    Ah but Sunday is spring forward so maybe she’ll still be confused? It’s the big hair – it does get in the way of thinking straight. 😉

    • #4
  5. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: Yes, we were supposed to have another guest this week, but that didn’t work out (maybe next week)

    I hope the boys didn’t show up in their earth tones to impress the guest and then she didn’t show.

    She had a time zone calculation issue. She’ll be on next week.

    We spring forward this weekend so have her triple check.

    • #5
  6. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    She had a time zone calculation issue. She’ll be on next week. 

    I want to keep my promise, but the jump from Coolidge to Reagan is pretty high, is there a “Jackson” or “Goldwater” level that would fit my budget?

    • #6
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    @troysenik you should start a separate thread of topic suggestions from members. They would have to listen to this first of course. 

    • #7
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Masks never did a damn thing, and the government just admitted it. They do not change anything at scale. Anybody with a brain would have figured this out at least six months ago.

     

     

    https://twitter.com/MorningAnswer/status/1368312572349407242?s=20 

     

     

    • #8
  9. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    @ troysenik you should start a separate thread of topic suggestions from members. They would have to listen to this first of course.

    Love it. Am 100% doing this — but blocking everybody who responds by suggesting a giraffe video.

    • #9
  10. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    This is really good.

    That is a great explainer and a well made video. Yes, yes, I would love to see a clear ‘how to make a pro video’ video. I video stuff, but don’t know what to do with it.

    The footage of huge man-made holes in the earth and talk of killer volcanoes reminds me that long ago, before Ricochet, I was listening to  an NPR ‘Fresh Air’ interview of two writers from National Geographic. Their latest article was something about how nasty and destructive mining was. They began focusing on a certain gold mine on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, and described how it was really bad for the local environment. It was a mile across, and (gasp!) could be seen from space.

    Well, that made me want to check it out. A mile in diameter is a pretty big hole, but a typical airport runway is two miles long and all the great airports around the world have two or three of them. They are pretty big man made ‘scars’ on the planet, but they also are very useful and productive.

    Anyway, I went looking for the nasty gold strip mine and as soon as I zoomed in on Sumbawa I noticed a YUGE crater, definitely visible from space. But it wasn’t the mile wide gold mine. It was the five freakin’ mile wide crater of Mount Tambora, which had blown its top in 1815, basically killing every living thing on the island and disrupting the global climate for years. This natural and fairly recent source of immense destruction diminished whatever environmental negatives the podcast was trying to sell about the goldmine.

    • #10
  11. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    J Ro (View Comment):

    Well, that made me want to check it out. A mile in diameter is a pretty big hole, but a typical airport runway is two miles long and all the great airports around the world have two or three of them. They are pretty big man made ‘scars’ on the planet, but they also are very useful and productive.

    Anyway, I went looking for the nasty gold strip mine and as soon as I zoomed in on Sumbawa I noticed a YUGE crater, definitely visible from space. But it wasn’t the mile wide gold mine. It was the five freakin’ mile wide crater of Mount Tambora, which had blown its top in 1815, basically killing every living thing on the island and disrupting the global climate for years. This natural and fairly recent source of immense destruction diminished whatever environmental negatives the podcast was trying to sell about the goldmine.

    Two thoughts:

    (1) You’re gonna love the supervolcano video, which starts with Tambora.

    (2) My favorite example of the “describe the thing without showing the thing” dodge that you’re talking about was the controversy over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As George Will used to be fond of noting, ANWR is the size of the state of South Carolina (sidebar: I’m convinced 95% of Americans have no sense of the sheer enormity of Alaska) … and the area they wanted to open for energy development was the size of Logan Airport in Boston.

    • #11
  12. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    I watched the videos – very well done

    • #12
  13. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    J Ro (View Comment):

    Well, that made me want to check it out. A mile in diameter is a pretty big hole, but a typical airport runway is two miles long and all the great airports around the world have two or three of them. They are pretty big man made ‘scars’ on the planet, but they also are very useful and productive.

    Anyway, I went looking for the nasty gold strip mine and as soon as I zoomed in on Sumbawa I noticed a YUGE crater, definitely visible from space. But it wasn’t the mile wide gold mine. It was the five freakin’ mile wide crater of Mount Tambora, which had blown its top in 1815, basically killing every living thing on the island and disrupting the global climate for years. This natural and fairly recent source of immense destruction diminished whatever environmental negatives the podcast was trying to sell about the goldmine.

    Two thoughts:

    (1) You’re gonna love the supervolcano video, which starts with Tambora.

    (2) My favorite example of the “describe the thing without showing the thing” dodge that you’re talking about was the controversy over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As George Will used to be fond of noting, ANWR is the size of the state of South Carolina (sidebar: I’m convinced 95% of Americans have no sense of the sheer enormity of Alaska) … and the area they wanted to open for energy development was the size of Logan Airport in Boston.

    lol! We are thinking alike. I know SC very well, have overflown Alaska many times (not to mention eastern Siberia, also vast, frozen, and unpopulated), and make essentially the same point you are. It’s so dodgy when MSM tries to frighten us with their annual “hectares of Amazon forest burned” and “gigatons of CO2 emitted”. So do the math and it compares with the Queen passing gas in St Paul’s once a year. 

    • #13
  14. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Troy Senik (View Comment):
    (sidebar: I’m convinced 95% of Americans have no sense of the sheer enormity of Alaska)

    It’s the first thing people traveling to Alaska realize, as they fly over snow capped mountain range, over snow capped mountain range, over snow capped mountain range…for five hours. 

    • #14
  15. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    @troysenik and Kite and Key have struck on something the corporate media has willfully denied for years: an unfulfilled need in fair and straightforward reporting consumers are craving. Their disdain is revealed by the attacks on substack and other independent media outlets, so I hope Kite and Key prevails, and I really appreciate the project has more faith in people’s ability to grasp complex issues outside tribal politics than media & politicians give them credit for. The conversation centered on ground up-driven issues is something I hope catches on and helps alleviate some of the partisanship that prevents real solution-motivated debate. Conservatives have long invested people and monetary resources into think tanks while (mostly) leap-frogging over educating voters directly, while liberals have prevailed in the culture and political wars by doing the opposite. I hope this marks the start of a change. Off to a great start. And if I could offer a suggestion since the pandemic and China are two problems we’re certain to hear more about – how about, as Mr. Robinson says, an “explainer” on pharmaceutical production and importation from China? I think Rosemary Gibson has done some good work on this. Thanks again for a great show!

    • #15
  16. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    JennaStocker (View Comment):
    fair and straightforward reporting consumers are craving.

    Yes, we are hungry for the whole story, not just crumbs and nibbles. 

    • #16
  17. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential
    @GLDIII

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    @ troysenik you should start a separate thread of topic suggestions from members. They would have to listen to this first of course.

    Love it. Am 100% doing this — but blocking everybody who responds by suggesting a giraffe video.

    Troy, I’m curious have you explained the whole giraffe thing to your CEO? Just so she understands why her suggestion box is getting swapped with giraffe pics…

    • #17
  18. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    If you want to know what a gentleman Peter Robinson is — not that any of you here have any doubts — note the way he gently brought the conversation back around to the quote I misattributed to Lenin, unobtrusively noted that it belonged to Trotsky, and let me off without the reprimand I deserved.

    It’s been a long week, without much sleep, but the speechwriter in me is both horrified that the error is a matter of public record (I mean, c’mon: that’s a quote that’s on the conservative citizenship test) and grateful for a friend so willing to hand out an indulgence.

    Also, obviously, I’m a little disappointed that neither Rob nor James used the opportunity to lower the boom. We’re all conservatives here. There needed to be justice!

    • #18
  19. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    I speak as a 10 year charter member of this fine website. I sure miss having Troy around here. 

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    @ troysenik you should start a separate thread of topic suggestions from members. They would have to listen to this first of course.

    Love it. Am 100% doing this — but blocking everybody who responds by suggesting a giraffe video.

    What a shame that Ricochet (still) doesn’t have a block feature.

    HAH!

    Giraffe!

    • #20
  21. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Troy Senik (View Comment):
    Also, obviously, I’m a little disappointed that neither Rob nor James used the opportunity to lower the boom. We’re all conservatives here. There needed to be justice!

    I am not here to lower booms, but sell toothbrushes.

    I was piqued by the mention of the cashless society video, since that’s one of those issues where I live one way and think the other.  I meant to ask about how the devil you do explainers on things to which people bring ten tons of stuffed baggage, but since the opportunity did not arise, I had no option but to watch the video.

    And . .. huzzah! It’s a difficult subject to approach without invoking people’s prior predicates. But the video somehow found an ingenious way to lay out the issues in a way that didn’t make me scuttle off to my preconceptions. It was a conversation starter, and felt eminently fair.

    My only question: what the rationale behind the aesthetic decision to add so much noise to the video? I think that’s fine and fun when for the occasional “vintage” sequence that employs retro iconography or visual styles. The hair in the gate, the vertical scratches. But to be utterly frank that was a lot of noise.

    Small niggling carp, but I am a small man.

    • #21
  22. Tony Martyr Member
    Tony Martyr
    @TonyMartyr

    What incumbent politician has benefited?  Mark McGowan, Premier (Governor) of Western Australia.   58% of the First Preference vote – unprecedented. 

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-14/wa-election-results-show-labor-dominance-may-last-a-long-time/13240436

     

    • #22
  23. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    A few years ago I commented on how impressive Troy was. Now, all these years later, I continue to be amazed at the range knowledge and wisdom he possesses. He is truly remarkable and gives me hope for the future. When there is at least one young man of his quality, we need not despair for the future.  I haven’t yet watched his videos, but I have bookmarked and subscribed to his site, and I will begin watching them today.

    • #23
  24. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    A few years ago I commented on how impressive Troy was. Now, all these years later, I continue to be amazed at the range knowledge and wisdom he possesses. He is truly remarkable and gives me hope for the future. When there is at least one young man of his quality, we need not despair for the future. I haven’t yet watched his videos, but I have bookmarked and subscribed to his site, and I will begin watching them today.

    You’re too kind, Eugene. I mean, the compliment is lovely but “young man” is the part I’m really cottoning to.

    I was pretty green when I first made the acquaintance of most of you at Ricochet. Today? Pushing 40 and on meds to prevent another bout of kidney stones. So ‘young man’? I’ll take it!

    • #24
  25. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    A few years ago I commented on how impressive Troy was. Now, all these years later, I continue to be amazed at the range knowledge and wisdom he possesses. He is truly remarkable and gives me hope for the future. When there is at least one young man of his quality, we need not despair for the future. I haven’t yet watched his videos, but I have bookmarked and subscribed to his site, and I will begin watching them today.

    You’re too kind, Eugene. I mean, the compliment is lovely but “young man” is the part I’m really cottoning to.

    I was pretty green when I first made the acquaintance of most of you at Ricochet. Today? Pushing 40 and on meds to prevent another bout of kidney stones. So ‘young man’? I’ll take it!

    I still can’t believe 10 years of Law Talk 

    • #25
  26. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Just watched the three videos available on Troy’s site. They are superb. I feel like I learned a major amount from each of them. The trick is to get them out there, get people watching them, educating them. These would have been wonderful tools to use even in my middle school special education class. They are short in duration, interesting visually, and perfect for stimulating conversations about the issues. I can see high schools using them. They would be great. Multiple Thumbs Up!

    • #26
  27. Bruce Mamont Thatcher
    Bruce Mamont
    @Bruce Mamont

    I was shocked-shocked!- to hear Rob mention he might be open to favorably considering Universal Basic Income. Is there a conservative argument in favor of UBI that I can read and that may have informed Rob’s comment?

    Might it be that UBI might be cheaper (especially if the administrative infrastructure of anti-poverty programs was eliminated) if it replaced the costs of all “anti-poverty” programs?

    If that were the justification for UBI (replace everything else with UBI) I’d be skeptical of it’s enactment. My sense is that UBI would be a “floor” on top of which every other program would be layered…and would (similar to minimum wage initiatives) mutate into Universal Entitlement to a Middle Class Lifestyle. If you had income sufficient to pay the taxes for UBI, you’d be subject to a means-tested exemption from receiving it.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bruce Mamont (View Comment):

    I was shocked-shocked!- to hear Rob mention he might be open to favorably considering Universal Basic Income. Is there a conservative argument in favor of UBI that I can read and that may have informed Rob’s comment?

    Might it be that UBI might be cheaper (especially if the administrative infrastructure of anti-poverty programs was eliminated) if it replaced the costs of all “anti-poverty” programs?

    If that were the justification for UBI (replace everything else with UBI) I’d be skeptical of it’s enactment. My sense is that UBI would be a “floor” on top of which every other program would be layered…and would (similar to minimum wage initiatives) mutate into Universal Entitlement to a Middle Class Lifestyle. If you had income sufficient to pay the taxes for UBI, you’d be subject to a means-tested exemption from receiving it.

    Among other things, UBI couldn’t be fixed because the amount needed to live in a smaller town wouldn’t be enough to live in L.A. or NYC, and some people – despite reality – still want to live in L.A. or NYC.

    • #28
  29. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The reason UBI is an issue, is because this country and the whole West has done ***every single thing*** wrong in the face of automation and globalized labor. 

    You would have to wipe out every single entitlement and welfare system for it. 

    https://investresolve.com/podcasts/mike-green-the-fourth-turning-and-reimagining-the-american-dream/

     

     

    • #29
  30. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    Bruce Mamont (View Comment):

    Might it be that UBI might be cheaper (especially if the administrative infrastructure of anti-poverty programs was eliminated) if it replaced the costs of all “anti-poverty” programs?

    If that were the justification for UBI (replace everything else with UBI) I’d be skeptical of it’s enactment. My sense is that UBI would be a “floor” on top of which every other program would be layered…and would (similar to minimum wage initiatives) mutate into Universal Entitlement to a Middle Class Lifestyle. If you had income sufficient to pay the taxes for UBI, you’d be subject to a means-tested exemption from receiving it.

    This is actually a big part of the debate. Charles Murray has supported a UBI as a replacement for the welfare state. A lot of the left-leaning versions are supplemental of the existing safety net. Andrew Yang’s proposal would have allowed recipients to choose between conventional benefits or a UBI. This piece gives you a sense of the dispute on the Left.

    I didn’t want to drag the podcast down into methodology, but when Rob mentioned UBI I was tempted to note that the topic is one we’ve considered but have hesitated to do because of a lack of reliable sources.

    We try to root all our videos in high-level research (you’ll note in the videos themselves and on our website that we make a point of highlighting all of the sources). The difficulty is that most of the UBI debate thus far is prospective. The problem with trying to extrapolate from the UBI pilots, ala Stockton, is that they don’t tell you much of any value, as my friend Oren Cass has pointed out here. That whole piece is worth reading, but here’s the key takeaway:

    … [A]n experiment can answer questions only about what it tests. In these limited-UBI experiments, the parameters include the random selection of recipients with no prior expectation of receiving payments, and a clear, short duration for those payments. In effect, someone receives a letter announcing: “Congratulations, you will receive a sum of money paid in 24 monthly installments, in return for which you must fill out several surveys so that we can learn how the payments affect you.”

    We have a term for programs in which someone fills out surveys and in return becomes eligible for a cash prize, sometimes paid in installments. The term is not “basic income”; it’s “promotional contest.” When the government runs the program, we usually charge a fee to participate and call it the lottery.

    Treating this program as a useful test of the UBI … is a marketing gimmick that borders on fraud. The experiments ignore the UBI’s disquieting aspects. It’s generally accepted that people in need should receive short-term support. But limited, means-tested government support is not the same thing as rearranging cultural expectations and economic incentives by making self-reliance optional, which would devalue work, weaken families and communities, discourage young people from launching their adult lives, and subsidize an expanding and idle underclass.

    • #30