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Watchdog Podcasts. Taking you behind the headlines and inside the stories. We examine the news that matters to you - from the school board to the state Capitol and Washington DC - because we know that someone has to keep an eye on how government is spending your money. Education, health care, budgets and more; our reporters have the inside story that you need to know - and a free market perspective that you won't find anywhere else.
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Now displaying: February, 2016
Feb 26, 2016

In the two weeks since the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, we've heard a chorus of chants from the left about the need for Republicans to do their jobs and rubber-stamp President Barack Obama's future pick for the vacant seat on the bench.

But just a few years ago, Democrats and liberals in the media were taking a different point of view.  Matt Kittle sits down with Eric Boehm to discuss how things change when the shoes are on the other feet.

Then, Dustin Hurst from the Idaho Freedom Foundation stops by to explain why the state government in Idaho is spending $150,000 to hire more inspectors who will target illegal barbershops and makeup studios.  The state's Board of Cosmetology apparently has nothing better to do.

All that, plus a look at how Colorado taxpayers are supporting lobbyists for state and local governments, and our weekly Nanny State segment on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

Feb 19, 2016

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has thrown the Supreme Court into the middle of the 2016 election cycle.

With Republicans in the Senate promising to block any nomination made by President Barack Obama, the upcoming presidential election and several major Senate elections are taking on a new dimension.  Key races in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will determine whether Republicans can maintain their four-seat majority in Congress' upper chamber.

Matt Kittle and Eric Boehm sit down to chat about Scalia's monumental contributions to the Court -- in terms of legal history and pure entertainment -- and to look ahead at how his death will shape this year's elections.  In case you need more evidence that we're witnessing a historical election, consider this: it's the first presidential election year since 1916 in which a sitting SCOTUS justice has passed away.

As for the presidential election, Jeb Bush's campaign is looking less and less viable in the days leading up to the South Carolina primary election on Saturday.  In a state where the Bush dynasty has long, strong ties, he's polling way, way behind the leaders.  Is it time for him to shut it down?

Then, Mark Lisheron, a senior reporter for Watchdog, sits down with Boehm to talk about the folly of high-speed rail in his home state of Texas. Officials there have been trying, unsuccessfully, to build a rail line between Houston and Dallas for decades.

All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week and Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

Feb 12, 2016

Donald Trump is the most successful pro wrestling villain in American history.  Or, at least, he's the first pro wrestling villain to get this close to the White House.

Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy at the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, joins host Eric Boehm on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast to talk about Trump.  An avid pro wrestling fan, Benefield says Trump is playing the part of the "heel."  In the parlance of pro wrestling, that's a bad guy who mocks everything and everyone while winning his way to the top.  The audience is supposed to hate the heel, but that only makes him more popular.

Sound familiar?

Borrowing from the professional wrestling playbook, Trump has run a campaign full of insults, smack talk and bluster.  Most Republicans don't like him, but that's only made him more popular with his band of supporters and, so far, there's no sign of a "hero" who can rise to the occasion and knock out the "heel."

Then, Benefield and Boehm take a look at the on-going budget dispute in Pennsylvania. With last year's budget still somewhat unfinished, Gov. Tom Wolf pitched his proposal for a 2016-17 budget this week.  He wants more taxes and higher spending, but the real problem is Pennsylvania's long-term budget deficit.

In other news: Wisconsin celebrates five years since the introduction of Act 10 and Virginia considers major reforms to its licensing system for health care providers.

All that, plus the Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

Feb 5, 2016

It's Super Bowl weekend, but for many political junkies, the big game came a few days early. Yes, we're talking about the Iowa Caucus, which took place on Monday after months and months (and months) of campaigning in the Hawkeye State.

Now, with the field winnowing and New Hampshire's primaries on the horizon, Watchdog Podcast hosts Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle take a look at the state of the race.  It's basically a three-way tie on the Republican side, as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the winner in Iowa, looks to fend off Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

On the Democratic side, a coronation has turned into a serious race. Hillary Clinton was supposed to jog to the nomination, but she barely eked out a win in Iowa and now faces an uphill battle in New Hampshire against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont. 

Although Iowa gets portrayed as the Super Bowl of the campaign -- because of all the media coverage and attention leading up the caucuses -- history says that it's really more like Opening Day.  A win on the first day of the baseball season is nice, but hardly means anything in the long run.

Also on this edition of the show: After six months, how is Chicago's plastic bag ban holding up?

And why is the state of Mississippi spending so much money on a new tire factory?  It's the biggest economic development project in state history, with $274 million in taxpayer money on the line.