Years, Numbers, and Consistency

Far Middle episode 151 features a series of topics connected by the theme of “by the numbers, through the years, and through the lens of consistency.”

That theme begins with the installment’s sports dedication honoring Bill “Wink” Winkenbach. Transforming the way fans watch and follow sports today, Winkenbach invented fantasy football in 1962. Nick looks at fantasy football’s growth, by the numbers and through the years, these past six decades.

While Winkenbach was laying the foundation for modern fantasy sports in the 1960s, the Eisenhower administration would start counting the number of foreign nationals “apprehended” or “encountered” when crossing into the U.S. over the southern border. Nick proceeds to examine the immigration crisis by the numbers and through the years to present day.

“Being part of a family who got its start here in America through immigration, I always lean toward being pro-immigration, but under, of course, reasonably defined sets of rules and criteria,” says Nick. “And that is far from what we have today… over the past three years, there’s a total of about ten million unauthorized, undocumented immigrants that have entered the United States…By the numbers on the immigration crisis should freak all of us out.”

From the sobering and shocking data on America’s immigration crisis, Nick switches gears to World War II and the shocking tally of how many Soviet troops were killed by Stalin in conjunction with his ‘Not a Step Back’ order. Nick suggests a range of 300,000 to 900,000 Soviet troops were killed by their own government and fellow soldiers.

Fantasy sports, the immigration crisis, and the Soviets killing their own troops—they reveal the importance of consistency and the danger of inconsistency. This leads to a discussion between the inconsistency of how former President Trump and President Biden were respectively charged and not charged for retaining classified documents.

“Rules are rules,” says Nick. “When you break them, account for them. When you enforce them, do so consistently. To do otherwise is asking for trouble, both politically and culturally.”

Continuing his focus on Washington, D.C., Nick shifts to the Inflation Reduction Act and specifically the Act’s sections to jumpstart the hydrogen economy. Nick explains the unique opportunity of coal mine methane (CMM) as a hydrogen feedstock and highlights the recent co-authored editorial, “Seizing Western Pa.’s unique hydrogen opportunity.”

In the editorial by Matt Smith, Darrin Kelly, and Greg Bernarding, they write, “If properly enabled and maximized, CMM-based hydrogen production will be able to create over 696,000 jobs in the Pittsburgh region over the next two decades and infuse over $213 billion into the regional economy. We have identified over 30 unique projects, each with the potential to create close to 20,000 jobs.”

Key to unlocking the economic and environmental benefits of these projects is the U.S. Treasury Department.

Nick explains the Department “needs to finalize the 45V hydrogen production tax credits within the IRA. That’s consistent with what the law intended. And that will facilitate a significant climate positive set of actions and impacts when it comes to fugitive methane’s beneficial use. If you do that, it aligns with the original congressional intent. And it also aligns with President Biden’s signature on the IRA. And it follows the process defined by the good old Constitution. What a thought.”

In closing, Nick looks at the past century of electric vehicle history, by the numbers and through the years, and through a consistent lens.