Everything We Know About the American Heartland

We are three lawyers in Austin, Texas talking about the American Heartland and what we know about the American Heartland.

Everything We Know about Bitcoin

June 3, 2017

Show Notes

AJ and Ruchit read a conversation they had in the slack about Bitcoin out loud to Tom.

Follow Up

Ep. 16, Everything We Know about Impeachment:

Around the News

People are beating up other people:

23:23: If you reach this far into the podcast, pause the podcast, go to this link and watch the video with us.

Stuart Jones video from Twitter

You can watch the full video here.

Hope Hick’s dear-leader statement on Donald Trump:

President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.

Did r/Bitcoin say it? Or did our friend Arps say it?

In this segment we play a game where we try to guess whether a quote is by r/bitcoin or by our friend Arps.

  • There are lots of towns that used to exist but no longer do, due to natural patterns of economic migration. False sentimentality isn’t a countervailing concern. - click for answer
  • The FDA kills more people than it saves. - click for answer
  • As a libertarian centrist I’d like to pick and choose the best of both parties. Unfortunately increasing polarization makes that hard. - click for answer
  • At some point it becomes dynastic - not that you Chelsea [Clinton] apologists see any problem with that. - click for answer
  • Winter is coming. Is it efficient to heat the house with old mining equipment instead with regular heating? - click for answer
  • Venezuela is a sneak peek preview of how a bernie administration would work out. - click for answer
  • Political parties are no longer mere proxies for positions. They are tribal identities, placeholders for moral standing. - click for answer
  • Breathing on your own is too “libertarian” for Hillary Clinton. - click for answer
  • Politics defeats the market, but technology defeats politics. - click for answer
  • Freedom is a mindset and BitCoin is freedom. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Trump’s sons hold BitCoin. - click for answer

Everything We Know about this Supreme Court

In this segment we review our Supreme Court predictions. We got some right, and we got others wrong. Currently, our batting averages are: Ruchit (0.630), Tom (0.625), and AJ (0.445).


TJ: Politwoops preserves deleted tweets by your favorite politicians, including:

AJ: Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Ruchit: Ethereum is the forefront of digital currency


In the after show, AJ goes to bed. Ruchit and Tom continue to talk about BitCoin. What is BitCoin? What is Ethereum?

Much like email, which is quite traceable, Bitcoin is pseudonymous, not anonymous. Further, every transaction in the Bitcoin network is tracked and logged forever in the Bitcoin blockchain, or permanent record, available for all to see. As a result, Bitcoin is considerably easier for law enforcement to trace than cash, gold or diamonds.

The average block size of a bitcoin block in the blockchain:

average block size of bitcoin block in the block chain over time

Bitcoin’s processing requirements:

Bitcoin’s worldwide computational output is currently nearing 200 exaflops—200,000 petaflops—or 800 times the combined capacity of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

Bitcoin is a form of convenience technology?


Everything We Know about Impeachment

May 23, 2017

Show Notes

AJ is close to impeaching his cohosts, similar to how America is close to impeaching Donald J. Trump. We’re talking about impeachment today, and butchering it. Ruchit believes that Mike Pence is the Frank Underwood

Mechanics of Impeachment

If Orin Hatch were to be impeached, how would it go?

  • Article 2, Section 4: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
  • Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5: House has the “sole” power of impeachment. Articles of Impeachment are adopted by a simple majority vote in the House
  • Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6: the Senate tries any impeachment proceedings.

People have their own takes on impeachment:

The Clinton Impeachment

The court has said that impeachment is a political question in Nixon v. US.

Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

Andrew Johnson was president and was impeached.

Richard Nixon’s Impeachment

The Watergate hotel:

The Watergate hotel

Ruchit really likes Richard Nixon. AJ doesn’t.

An Unassuming Member of Congress from the Midwest, like Gerald Ford:

Spiro Agnew plead guilty to not reporting the income from his bribes.

Trump Special Counsel

Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel.


TJ: My Family’s Slave, by Alex Tizon, The Atlantic, published posthumously. Tizon won a pulitzer in 1997 for investigative reporting. He died days before publishing the story.

Ruchit: What Trump should know about Comey & Mueller

AJ: AV Club Yo La Tengo Sugarcube

After Show

The crazy case of Samuel B. Kent.


Everything We Know about Macron

May 15, 2017

Show Notes

The French President — do we know anything about him?


Thirty-five of thirty-seven economists said Trump was wrong. The other two misread the question.

  • The survey asked and comments by the economists. E.g., Austin Goolsbee: “No, but it would put us in the running for a national Darwin award.”

Trump invented the phrase priming the pump. Merriam-Webster’s fact check’s President Trump. Google Ngram results show that the phrase “priming the pump” has been used as early as 1886:

priming the pump google ngram result

France had an election

And they elected Emmanuel Macron. They elected him over Marine Le Pen.

What is the Macron law?

Good things Macron did:

Five Thirty Eight takeaways from the French election:

Donald Trump fires Jim Comey

Trump tells Lester Holt that he fired Jim Comey because of the Russia investigation:

DONALD TRUMP: He made—he made a recommendation, he’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, uh the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him, uh he made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirms:

“We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity,” [Huckabee Sanders] said, referring to the FBI’s probe into Moscow’s interference in last year’s election. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”

Was Comey good? Was he bad? Or should we not talk about it at all?

Everything We Know about this Supreme Court

This week in our Supreme Court segment, we talk about Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California.


AJ: The Texas Freedom caucus Mother’s Day Massacre.

As the clock ticked — and Freedom Caucus members used tactic after tactic to stall — other lawmakers watched as the chances dimmed for their bills to pass. State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, delivered a tearful speech begging the chamber to hurry up so it could get to a bill on experimental stem cell treatment that could benefit his wife, who suffered a spinal cord injury.

TJ: Apple, How to shoot on iPhone 7

Ruchit: The cheapness of Richard Burr, not to be confused with Aaron Burr.


Everything We Know about Trumpcare

May 8, 2017

Show Notes

AJ is having trouble in life because life is nasty, brutish, and short and there’s no healthcare coverage.

Reconciliation and the AHCA

The ACA was passed by reconciliation. Will the AHCA be similarly passed?

Kaiser Family Foundation AHCA maps

KFF color-coded map of who benefits from the AHCA. If you’re a 40-year-old making $75,000/year, you save about $3000 under the AHCA:

A 40 year old making 75k saves about $3000

But if you’re a 60 year old and make $20,000/year, your premiums will go up anywhere from $800 to $25,000:

A 60 year old and make $20,000/year, your premiums will go up anywhere from $800 to $25,000

More Healthcare

Rep. Joe Kennedy III:

Unbelievably, it’s an even starker blow to those suffering from mental illness than its predecessor. The latest version of Trumpcare doesn’t just threaten access to behavioral health coverage for those on Medicaid, it threatens access to behavioral health coverage for everyone. Under the guise of flexibility, this bill would allow states and insurance companies to opt out of covering mental health care — not to mention other designated essential health benefits like maternity and emergency care. Premiums and deductibles would soar as a result. Any semblance of mental health parity would be extinguished. And current protections for those with preexisting conditions — which is particularly important when it comes to mental illness — would cease to exist.

CBO score on original AHCA in March:

[The ACA] legislation would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. That total consists of $323 billion in on-budget savings and $13 billion in off-budget savings.

Everything We Know about this Supreme Court

This week, we have have three cases in our Supreme Court segment.


AJ: Delicate Steve

Ruchit: Six Maps that show America’s Infrastructure

TJ: When People Ate People, a Strange Disease Emerged

  • In many villages, when a person died, they would be cooked and consumed. It was an act of love and grief. As one medical researcher described, “If the body was buried it was eaten by worms; if it was placed on a platform it was eaten by maggots; [they] believed it was much better that the body was eaten by people who loved the deceased than by worms and insects.”
  • Laughing death


Ticket to Ride is a board game that Ruchit doesn’t remember playing. And AJ hates Catan.


Everything We Know about the Death Penalty

May 1, 2017

Show Notes

This week, we tackle a pretty heavy subject: the death penalty.

History of the Death Penalty

The death penalty has always been in use but an abolition movement has been gaining steam.

  • In 1972, the Supreme Court imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia.
  • In 1976, Stevens casts a vote to bring the death penalty back in Gregg v. Georgia. But Stevens has stated that he regrets that vote:

“I really think that the death penalty today is vastly different from the death penalty that we thought we were authorizing. And I think if the procedures had been followed that we expected to be in place, I think I probably would’ve still had the same views.” Instead, he views his vote to uphold capital punishment in 1976 as the one he regrets during his tenure. It is “the one vote I would change,” he says. Calling the decision “incorrect,” Stevens says the 1976 court “did not foresee how it would be interpreted.”

  • Abolition movement has successfully resulted in repeal of Death Penalty in several states. Many states have officially repealed. In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to repeal the death penalty by legislative vote since Gregg v. Georgia, followed by New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012, and Maryland in 2013. Others have a moratorium, where it is technically still provided by law but DP is not sentenced or carry out (e.g. California hasn’t carried out a DP since 2006). Wikipedia: List of states with execution hiatus
  • In Glossip v. Gloss (2015) the Court held using midazolam does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Most recently, Arkansas scheduled several executions in a short period of time to avoid the expiration of its death penalty drugs. The Supreme Court refused to hear the issue.

Why do we have the death penalty?

What are the rationales for the death penalty? Do they hold up under scrutiny?

This week in the Supreme Court

In this segment, we discuss our Supreme Court predictions.

We also recently revamped our methodology for tracking predicting.