Make Me Smart June 24, 2022 transcript
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Kai Ryssdal: Holy cow. What is that?
Kimberly Adams: That is a surprise! Is what that is. Hello, I’m Kimberly Adams and welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today make sense.
Kai Ryssdal: That’s BS is what that is. I’m Kai Ryssdal. Thanks for everybody for joining us on this Friday. It’s Economics On Tap, of course although, as you’ll discover I’m not imbibing, but we’re happy you’re here on the Youtube or on the discord or later on just listening to the podcast. We appreciate you and your company.
Kimberly Adams: Indeed we do. We will have some news, a round of half full half empty. But as you just said you are not drinking, I am having a bottle. I am having…
Kai Ryssdal: What’s the bottle?
Kimberly Adams: Don’t judge, I’m having Sake. I don’t know what’s up with Zoom today. I can’t even see myself. Let me see, let me put it on gallery view. There we go. Here’s my Sake. It’s Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori.
Kai Ryssdal: Do you do cold, do you do warm? Do you do filtered unfiltered? What do you do? It looks like unfiltered.
Kimberly Adams: That is unfiltered. It is cold actually. I generally prefer warm Sake but this is what I had in the house. So this is what I’m drinking. I didn’t feel like ordering anything new. So. It’s tasty though.
Kai Ryssdal: Man. You know what today would be a great day for actually right now? A bourbon and ginger ale. Man.
Kimberly Adams: I do love ginger ale.
Kai Ryssdal: Smack-you-upside-the-head-good bourbon and ginger ale? Instead, by the way, I’m having leftover Gatorade from this morning.
Kimberly Adams: That’s a very sad drink, Kai.
Kai Ryssdal: I know. I know. I know.
Kimberly Adams: Well, I’m really surprised that there’s not more hard drinks today – after everything. You have the big story of the day on your list, so why don’t you start?
Kai Ryssdal: Well, yeah, so we all know what the big story of the day is. And, you know, everybody’s heard about that. I’m gonna assume some … and acknowledge here. For six weeks now since the leak came out, and then it’s been burbling around all day. So I’m going to trust that everybody knows the basics. The thing that really got me there, there are two things that really got me. Number one, is Justice Thomas’s concurrence. And in Justice Thomas’s concurrence – and let’s remember, there were two rulings here: one was 6:3 to uphold the Mississippi law, and then the other one was 5:4 to overturn Roe v. Wade – and in Thomas’s concurrence, there is this sentence. “In future cases, we – that is the Court – should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Griswold is a 1965 case that legalized contraception between married couples. Lawrence is a 2003 case out of Texas, which legalized same-sex sexual activity. And Obergefell, of course, in 2015 was legalizing same-sex marriage. So what Thomas is saying here…
Kimberly Adams: I love how he didn’t point out Loving v. Virginia.
Kai Ryssdal: Ah yes, stole my brain. That’s where I was gonna go. Loving v. Virginia, 1967, which legalized interracial marriage. And you have to point out here that Justice Thomas is married to Ginny Thomas, who was a white woman, and Justice Thomas, obviously, is a black American. So that absence is noteworthy. But look, here’s the deal. Everything now is on the table for all that Alito said in his ruling that no, no, no, this is abortion only. Clearly, everything is on the table. And that is profound. Absolutely profound.
Kimberly Adams: It really, truly is. This has been quite a couple of weeks for rulings coming out of the court. I’ve talked about some of them here. This idea that federal agents can come onto your property and assault you and you can’t sue them. The idea that police can arrest you without reading you your Miranda rights and you can’t take action against them, you can’t sue them for that. The idea that if you have a really bad attorney and you end up on death row, you don’t necessarily get to submit new evidence or get a new trial if you didn’t get proper support. And then we have this ruling today. There has been a fundamental shift in several things that we thought were basic and understood rights in this country up until the last two weeks. And as many people on social media were pointing out today, the conservative majority, most of those Justices were put in place by presidents who lost the popular vote. And in one case, you know, got their job after Merrick Garland was denied his for a year. And it’s quite something to be where we are right now.
Kai Ryssdal: I talked yesterday with Amy about a new Gallup poll, pointing out that the Supreme Court is viewed favorably by just 25% of Americans, that is down from 36% just one year ago. One has to wonder if Gallup does that question next week, what the numbers are gonna be.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah. And they used to do better than Congress, right?
Kai Ryssdal: Oh, yeah.
Kimberly Adams: And now it’s really gone downhill. Do you want to talk about one of the other rulings? Because just as the Court said today that states should have the right to make their own decisions about what women can do with their bodies, yesterday, the court said that states should not have the right to decide requirements for buying guns. That’s generalizing, but basically, it was a case overturning a New York law that made it a little bit more challenging, but not impossible, to have a concealed weapon or open carry. And now, New York, along with – let’s see, I’m getting the list of the other ones from New York Times – California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, which have similar laws, now have to find a way to rewrite those laws to make them compliant with this new Supreme Court ruling. There’s so much going on right now, between the January 6 hearings and abortion and I know it’s hard to stay on top of everything, but there has just been groundbreaking changes to the way we think our democracy operates in the last two weeks. And, you know, it’s gonna take some time to unpack it all, because it’s just flying by, and I can’t believe… oh, go ahead.
Kai Ryssdal: Oh, no, I was just gonna say the whole unpack-it-all thing. The system has been shocked in the last two weeks, or three weeks or a month, whatever. It’s been guns and Uvalde, the gun decision and then before that, Uvalde and Buffalo. This decision today, the January 6 hearings, and the hearing yesterday where it got straight to the Oval Office, as I said yesterday to Amy, that’s the smoking gun, right? But here’s the thing, we are all reeling now, but this is going to take decades to play out. It will truly take decades, you know?
Kimberly Adams: No, I mean, parts of it are playing out already. I mean, you have women sitting in clinics having their appointments cancelled today, right? But the remainder of it, and certainly the advocacy efforts to counter some of these things for the people who aren’t thrilled, it’s gonna take a while.
Kai Ryssdal: But look, here’s the thing. Here’s why I said it’s going to take decades. Those women who are sitting in clinics today who are having their appointments being cancelled because of those trigger laws in some states have already been triggered, right? Like within hours, right? They now are going to have to have those children, okay? Those children are going to grow up in houses where the women make less money, have less educational status, and thus can provide less well for the children. And then when those children start to reach maturity, that effect in their childhood will affect their educational prospects and their job prospects. That’s why I say it’s gonna take decades.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, there are already a lot of organization happening to try to support some of these women. It’s not going to do everything. But there’s a lot of talk about what the federal government can do in terms of regulating abortion pills, and can the federal government step in in that way to provide some resources? I don’t know, we are gonna see that when happened. There was a really good story in the Washington Post, and I’ll find it and put in the link. I think it was in the Sunday paper, but I think I read it on Saturday, about this young woman in Texas, who wanted to have an abortion, and was unable to, because she missed it under the new law by like a couple of days or something like that, and ended up pregnant with twins. And she had twins. And she talked about how it changed her life. She loves her kids. But you know, there’s a lot of things that she can’t do as a teenager that the kid’s father can’t do. They’re really struggling financially. They live in the teenage guy’s bedroom, his bedroom at his parents house. And we don’t have a social safety net. And yeah. There’s another story I want to talk about, because we can go on about this for a long time, and I imagine we are going to be talking about it. Which is this thing that I feel like would have been earth-shattering news, if not for waves, hands in the world, everything else. It looks like we’re actually going to have a new gun law. For the first time. In decades. The House passed the Senate’s bipartisan gun safety bill. Now, it is definitely not everything that progressives wanted, and it’s definitely not… A lot of Republicans are still opposed to it. But it is something and it looks like the President is going to sign it probably soon. The Uvalde shooting and the shooting in Buffalo were just so awful, along with all of these other mass shootings that we have, but something got done. And I think it’s important to recognize that when enough people work, and try and organize hard enough, some change can happen. And it happens incrementally. And it doesn’t always happen the way we want. But there’s forward movement. The reason I wasn’t here yesterday was because I was talking to Robert Samuels of The Washington Post about the book that he co-authored with Toluse Olorunnipa, about George Floyd. There’s a lot of history in that book, and it talks a great deal about all of the work of the civil rights movement and work against police brutality, that didn’t work, didn’t work, didn’t work, didn’t work. And then it did. Just a little bit. And it changed everything. And so I hope that people who are frightened and upset about what’s going on in the country, don’t let that be an excuse to turn off your empathy, turn off your ability to care, and turn off your willingness to do something. You know, people who were opponents of abortion and felt incredibly strongly about it and thought it was murder, it was their key issue for decades. Decades! I mean, the school I went to, we had whole classes about it. And they are really happy today because they’re looking at their decades of work that has yielded this result and you know, that’s how it works. Yeah absolutely. Shall we? Let’s. Change of views. Because even on days when the world seems too much, we must play games. Because we need them. Let’s do it.
Drew Jostad: This game waits for no one. Are you half full or half empty…
Kimberly Adams: Oh yes. I’m sorry. Half full half empty with Drew Jostad. Yay.
Drew Jostad: Yeah, me. Are you half full or half empty on minivans making a comeback?
Kai Ryssdal: Oh man, these guys are speaking my love language! Alright so look, I’m a minivan guy from way back. Interviewed a guy on Marketplace this week who wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal saying minivans are back. They’re super popular. The prices are up, they’re tough to get. I’ve got a well-used Toyota Sienna 2011 model that we’re looking unload, because I don’t need to schlep kids around anymore. Look, man, it’s been great for me. I’m all full. All full.
Kimberly Adams: Notice that the language is bringing minivans “back”, as in, they have been out for it for some time, for a very long time. But you know, I appreciate that you hold true to your roots. Actually this is one of my favorite fun facts to throw out. When people are like, oh, what’s Kai Ryssdal like? And I’m like, he drives a minivan.
Kai Ryssdal: You are killing me! My reputation Kimberly omg! A stake through my heart.
Kimberly Adams: I thought you love your minivan? Aren’t you proud?
Kai Ryssdal: I do! But come on.
Kimberly Adams: I told them lots of nice things about you as well. I’m half full. I remember some epic fights with my siblings in the minivan growing up about crossing the line on the seat. You know, don’t cross my line.
Kai Ryssdal: Drew, what’s next.
Drew Jostad: Okay, leaked documents may be casting some doubt on NASA’s Moon Landing plans. Are you half full or half empty?
Kimberly Adams: I have not heard this. What? I feel like this is something that we would have heard.
Kai Ryssdal: I know, right?
Drew Jostad: Basically, just that maybe the budget and the schedule may have to be revised later and higher.
Kimberly Adams: Oh you’re talking about the upcoming moon landing?
Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, Artemis.
Kimberly Adams: Okay, good good. Oh, they just put a link in the YouTube chat.
Kai Ryssdal: Oh, there you go.
Kimberly Adams: I’m gonna go empty, half empty. But you know, I feel like it’ll be one of those things where some billionaire who has something to prove will throw money at it at the last minute, and it’ll be fine.
Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, while schedule delays, especially for something as complicated as getting to the moon are not uncommon, I’m kind of half empty. I think it’s gonna get done reasonably reasonably soonish. How about that?
Drew Jostad: Okay. Are you half full or half empty on people referencing inflation when asking for a raise?
Kimberly Adams: I mean, I’m gonna go half full, because I’m generally in favor of people asking for raises. My dad used to say, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, I think that’s right. And look, it’s a real thing. It’s not like this random thing you hear about in the news, right? I mean, food and gas and everything is more expensive, and companies are going to have to start feeling some of that pain too. Totally. Totally full.
Drew Jostad: Next one, next topic is more of a who-you-got? Which one comes first, self-driving semi-trucks or self-driving passenger cars?
Kimberly Adams: You go first.
Kai Ryssdal: I have a theory. Okay. I actually think it’s going to be self driving trucks. And here’s why. I think trucks would spend a lot – I’m talking long haul freight trucks – I think they spend more of their time on relatively unoccupied or uncomplicated roads, like highways and stuff. Not in major urban areas, but like long stretches between, you know, cities and stuff. I think that’s an easier AI challenge than passenger cars, which probably operate in more complicated environments. That’s my logic on that.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I agree as well. We did a conversation about this on Tech this week, because Wall Street Journal did a look at this, and this tech is much much closer to being ready to go and deployed than passenger cars, because for one thing, there are fewer pedestrians on highways. And you know, people can maneuver around you. One of the great things about that interview when I was talking to the Wall Street Journal guy, and of course we didn’t put it on on air because it was a tangent. Do you like X-Men? I’m cautiously tiptoeing up to this.
Kai Ryssdal: I’ve never seen X-Men.
Kimberly Adams: Okay, so in the X-Men franchise. Towards the more recent one, there’s a movie called Logan, which is about the Wolverine character. He’s the one who has like metal claws that come out of his hand. So are you familiar with…
Kai Ryssdal: Hugh Jackman! Come on, I at least know that one.
Kimberly Adams: All right. Here we go. What’s next, Drew? Yes. Okay. So it’s his character. Yeah, so there’s a movie about just his character, after a lot of the mutants are dead and there’s a whole scene with autonomous semi-trucks that almost kill all these horses. And, you know, Charles Xavier uses his brainwaves to get the horses off the highway so they don’t get hit by the autonomous semi-trucks. Anyway. That was a deep nerd moment.
Kai Ryssdal: That’s all right. All good. Rein that in, rein that in.
Drew Jostad: We’re gonna stick with AI. Returning to the Blake Lemoine and Google’s laMDA Story, Lemoine now claims that LaMDA has retained its own attorney. Are you half full or half empty?
Kai Ryssdal: You go first, Kimberly. I’ll figure out what this story is.
Kimberly Adams: You know, I laugh on my way to the bunker as Sky Net turns on. Let’s see. I’m gonna go half empty. Chatbots are very good. And I’m still not convinced that this is a real thing as opposed to a very advanced chatbot.
Kai Ryssdal: So this is the one where the buzz was that AI had become sentient, right? Is that the thing? Yeah, I’m with Kimberly. I don’t think it… I’m not worried about this yet.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I mean, that doesn’t mean that the chatbot might not do something terrible. But is that sentient?
Kai Ryssdal: Nightmares! Nightmares!
Kimberly Adams: And on that note, here we thought we were gonna end on an upbeat note!
Kai Ryssdal: We wish to do a show where it’s just AI. Anyway. That’s it for us this week, at the end of what has turned out to be a very long week. We are back on Monday. With an all new episode, our deep dive next week is going to look at affordable housing. At least that’s the plan now, who knows what might happen between now and then. But that’s the plan now. And we’re glad you guys join us when you do.
Kimberly Adams: Yeah, and if you have thoughts about just… I’d love to hear how people are dealing with the deluge. Because like Kai and I were in news, we’re used to like it coming at us and like, we don’t turn it off. You just sort of compartmentalize – at least I sort of compartmentalize it – and you sort of rank it and prioritize it and figure out what you can actually do, what piece you can take of it, and what role you have in it. But I know a lot of other people just switch off. I’m very curious to hear how everybody is navigating this moment. So send us your thoughts and your questions if you have any. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org You can actually call us and leave us a voice message without phone. We’re at 508-827-6278 That’s 508-U-B-SMART.
Kai Ryssdal: Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Today’s episode was engineered by Drew Jostad. The Senior Producer is one Bridget Bodnar.
Kimberly Adams: The team behind our Friday game is Steven Byeon, Mel Rosenberg, and Emily Macune, with theme music written by Drew Jostad and voiced by the amazing Drew Jostad, and our Director of On Demand is Donna Tam. And as they say in the chat, please make sure to subscribe. Write us a review! Say something nice! Give us a star! We love it.
Kai Ryssdal: It makes it easier for the algorithm supporters to discover us.
Kimberly Adams: Because we’re all playing to the algorithm.