Challenging Opinions Episode 35 >> Julio Ricardo Varela of In The Thick podcast

Julio Ricardo Varela a co-host of the In The Thick podcast and a frequent contributor to other media including LatinoUSA.

Julio Ricardo Varela

Julio Ricardo Varela

In our discussion I mentioned that, among Trump supporters, a huge proportion think that he is performing well in his first weeks in the job, and that he has strong backing from voters in areas such as Macomb County, who previously twice backed Obama but swung Michigan for the GOP last November.

 

Challenging Opinions Episode 32 >> Christopher Snowdon and Sugar Taxes

Christopher Snowdon is the Head of Lifestyle Economics for the right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs; he also writes for Spectator Health.

Christopher Snowdon

Christopher Snowdon

I mentioned obesity statistics from the Centres for Disease Control:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

The Harvard School of Public Health says that young people are getting up to 30 per cent of their daily calories requirement from soft drinks. Beverage companies in the US spent roughly $3.2 billion marketing carbonated beverages in 2006, with nearly a half billion dollars of that marketing aimed directly at children.

Since the 1970s the proportion of calories from sugary drinks more than doubled from 4 per cent to 9 per cent.

Economics push food companies to include more sugar in products to increase profits. Since the 1980s, the price of supermarket sugar has doubled, the price of candy bars have quadrupled, but the price of raw sugar has declined, and is set to decline further.

A literature review by the National Institutes of Health indicates that sugary drinks are particularly problematic because the body doesn’t register their calories the way it does for calories eaten, so despite the sugar intake, people still feel hungry.

The British Medical Association's study in the BMJ reported that purchases of taxed beverages decreased by an average of 6%, and decreased at an increasing rate up to a 12% decline by December 2014, comparted to what they would otherwise have been. Reductions were higher among the households of low socioeconomic status, averaging a 9% decline during 2014, and up to a 17% decrease by December 2014 compared with pretax trends.

Challenging Opinions Episode 30 >> John Iadarola

John Iadarola is a co-presenter of The Young Turks and a presenter of Think Tank.

John Iadarola

John Iadarola

In our discussion, we referred to the Backfire Effect which was documented in a study by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, which found that people with invested political opinions tend to believe them even more strongly when confronted with refuting evidence.

We also talked about a Fairleigh Dickinson University study which showed that Fox News and MSNBC viewers not only scored much lower on their knowledge of current affairs than viewers of other news sources, but also scored lower than people who did not watch any news at all.

Challenging Opinions Episode 27 >> Eric Kingson

Eric Kingson is a candidate in the Democratic Party primary in New York's 24th Congressional District. He is the author of Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All and other books. Follow him on Twitter here and Facebook here.

Eric Kingson

Eric Kingson

Gerald Friedman is a professor of economics  at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Follow him on Twitter here. His article that I mentioned is What Ever Happened To Jobs? : A Progressive Response To The Latest Jobs Report.

Challenging Opinions Episode 26 >> Doug Payton

Doug Payton is the presenter of the Consider This podcast, and he also co-presents Person of Interest and Chester's Mill Gazette for Golden Spiral Media.

Doug Payton

Doug Payton

Information about the US presidential Electoral College is here. This is the electoral system used to elect the mayor of London and this is the system used to elect the president of France.

 

Challenging Opinions Episode 25 >> Drew Casey & Kevin Fardosi

The Matters of State podcast is here, and it is presenters include Drew Casey and Kevin Fardosi.

Kevin Fairdosi and Drew Casey

Kevin Fairdosi and Drew Casey

There is information about the Pals' Brigades of World War I here, and about Horst Mahler, the communist Red Army Faction terrorist who later joined Germany's far-right NDP.

This is Erick Hoffer's book True Believer.

Challenging Opinions Episode 23 >> Claire Berlinski

Claire Berlinski is a journalist, academic and author. She has lived and worked in Thailand, Laos, Turkey and France, an an academic for the American Foreign Policy Council and the Manhattan Institute.

Claire Berlinski

Claire Berlinski

She has written a number of books, including There Is No Alternative about Margaret Thatcher. Claire's GoFundMe page is here.

Challenging Opinions Episode 21 >> Virginia Postrel

Virginia Postrel is an author and columnist.

Virginia Postrel

Virginia Postrel

She writes for Bloomberg View and we talked about this column of hers. Virginia mentioned this book by Michele Goodwin, and I referenced this study of penalties for collecting children late from childcare.

Challenging Opinions Episode 19 >> James Shott

James Shott is the author of Observations, and I talked to him about this article.

James Shott

James Shott

The Department of Justice announced last December that it has suspended its asset seizure program. A study showed that police seizure levels were linked to budget cuts within their departments.

I mentioned this case where the IRS confiscated a man's $100,000 life savings for no reason other than they didn't like the pattern in which he lodged the takings from his store. He was never accused, let alone convicted, of any crime. There have been multiple cases of children being used as leverage; victims were threatened that if they contested the seizure, their children would be put into care homes.

It's notable that the amount seized by federal authorities now exceeds the total amount lost in burglaries. Police training in Georgia explicitly states that the reason to be restrained in seizures is to ‘not ruin it for everyone', in other words don’t take so much that they would invite scrutiny.

John Oliver has covered the issue extensively.

Challenging Opinions Episode 16 >> Paul MacRae

Paul MacRae is a lecturer at the University of Victoria, British Colombia, and the author of False Alarm and his blog.

Paul MacRae

Paul MacRae

In the discussion I referred to the scientific consensus on climate change.  A survey of 928 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. Another study of over 12,000 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subjects of 'global warming' and 'global climate change' published between 1991 and 2011 found that of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming, over 97% agreed that humans are causing it.

Paul said during the interview that while carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, the effect was limited, so adding more carbon dioxide would not increase the warming effect, because it already saturates the atmosphere. This claim is discussed here.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias which makes less skilled people overestimate their skills, partly because they lack the skill to judge their own skills.

Challenging Opinions Episode 14 >> Julie Davis

Julie Davis is a presenter of the podcast  A Good Story is Hard to Find and the author of the Happy Catholic blog.

Julie Davis

Julie Davis

This is the source for the quote from Sam Harris that I mentioned, and the papal encyclical that Julie referred to is Laudato Si.

This is Pascal's Wager that Julie mentioned, and this is a trailer for Philomenia, the story of an Irish woman who had her child kidnapped and sold into adoption while she was incarcerated in a church-run institution. These are articles about Mary Merritt, whose story I mentioned. This is the trailer for Spotlight, about the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.

Information on John Paul II and Benedict XVI instructing bishops to protect child abusers and not report them to police is here and here. The pattern appears to be continuing.

Challenging Opinions Episode 13 >> Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly is the coauthor of Italy Invades and America Invades. He's also the author of the American Conservative in London blog.

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

My references for the Columbus debate come from Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise by Kirkpatrick Sale.