The Far Middle episode 115 arrives on August 2, 2023, which also marks the 50th anniversary of baseball Hall of Famer George Brett’s Major League debut.
On August 2, 1973, Brett would bloop a broken-bat single in the top of the 4th to notch his first of more than 3,000 career hits spanning 20 years with the Kansas City Royals. In dedicating the episode to Brett, Nick looks back on Brett’s quest to hit .400 in the 1980 season, the infamous 1983 pine tar incident, and reminisces on Brett’s fiery and feisty personality.
From George Brett and his dominance of the left side of the Kansas City infield, Nick connects to the Left’s dominance over many large American cities, including Portland, Oregon. “In Portland, it’s not clean, safe, or even hip anymore—it’s downright dangerous,” says Nick.
He adds that one constant during Portland’s demise has been Mayor Ted Wheeler. Wheeler’s been at the helm during Portland’s escalating homeless and violence crisis, and its eroding livability and declining economy. Read more on Portland in Precipice, specifically chapter eight, “Leech Power Centers: Urban Hell.”
Next, Nick addresses urban public education—“one of the biggest problems facing our big cities.” He cites public teachers unions protecting bad teachers as part of the problem. Using California as an example, Nick calls out that fewer than 0.002% of teachers in California are dismissed for unprofessional conduct or poor performance in any given year. Asking what or who the education system is designed to benefit, it appears the answer is poor performing teachers, public unions, and politicians.
“If you really, really wanted to improve the standing of minority students within the broader education system, don’t worry first about college admissions, instead let’s focus intensely on public education reform and choice in the K-12 arena in our big cities,” argues Nick.
While many American cities crumble, “many mayors and other leaders remain steadfast on obsessing about tackling climate change, even though the cumulative action of any city in America will have negligible impact on climate, and may in fact end up doing more harm than good,” says Nick. This leads into a data- and fact-based look on the myth of Code Red.
Staying on energy and climate, Nick spotlights research from the Copenhagen Consensus Center, wades into the Snake River and the debate on removing its dams (a source of reliable and clean hydropower), and then addresses the latest moves in the UK to allow oil and gas production to expand in the North Sea.
In closing, Nick gives the smooth sands of monotony a few more stirs as he wishes a happy birthday to the late Peter O’Toole.