Saturday, September 24, 2016

261.4 - A few minutes on the future of Left Side of the Aisle

A few minutes on the future of Left Side of the Aisle

Last for this week, I want to take a few minutes to talk about the future of Left Side of the Aisle.

Right at the top, Left Side is taking a break.

This is show #261. So last week, of course, was #260. (Duh.) Some months ago, I set myself a goal of doing 260 shows. It was a sort of, I guess, signpost.

It may seem like an odd number to choose. (Why not 250, say, or 300, some "rounder" number?) The idea was that Left Side is a weekly show and for the first year and a-half or so there were no breaks: The first 70 or 80 shows were done in the same 70 or 80 weeks. So I thought that if I did the show with no breaks, 52 weeks a year, for five years, that would be 260 shows. So 260 became if you will emblematic of five full years of shows. (It actually took me just under five and a-half years to get there.)

So with those five years behind me, I think it's time for a change. So, again, Left Side is taking a break.

Just to be clear: We are not going away forever, we are not disappearing, we are not ending the show, none of that. But we are taking an extended break of one month. The next show will be for the week of October 27 to November 2, coming back just in time to face up to the election.

In fact, I've had more than one person ask how I could take this break now, with the election coming up, but you have likely noticed that I have barely mentioned it in the weeks to this point. In fact, I figured I could probably count on one hand the number of times I discussed it.

(It turns out I was wrong: I looked back and, leaving aside posts that were about topics like voting rights but only counting those about the candidates or the campaigns, I found a total of seven posts related to the elections, all but one of them about the primaries.)

I just make it a practice not to spend any significant time talking about what everyone else is talking about. So I really don't feel it's any failing on my part to take time off right now, because if what you want is news about Clinton or TheRump, you can get that anywhere.

There's also the fact that one of those seven campaign stories was in June, just a week before the very last primaries. At that time, I listed nine issues that had come up in the primaries on the Dem side that I predicted would not be discussed in the fall campaign between Clinton and TheRump. Those nine were single-payer health care, the TPP, income inequality, a $15/hr minimum wage, poverty and homelessness, student debt, tuition free college, "too big to fail," and campaign finance reform.

I'll let you decide how I did in predicting those issues would be ignored; I think I did pretty good and frankly that's another part of the reason I feel no guilt for taking a break.

But yes, we will be back. In the intervening month, one big thing I hope to accomplish is having new graphics designed for the show. After five years, I figure I deserve it.

We are also going to try something new: Every week there will be a five-minute guest commentary. I hope to have a regular group of people who will have something on about once a month. This will not only broaden Left Side's voice because I expect these folks will address topics I have addressed inadequately or perhaps not at all, but also it will lighten the load on me a little bit, helping to keep things going for the foreseeable future.

I also want to do more in-depth stories, with a major part of the show or even the entire show taken up with one topic. I have done that occasionally, of course, but I want to make it more a conscious editorial choice that a case of "that's the way it worked out." I want to break away both from getting overly focused on the day-to-day and week-to-week news cycle and an overly US-centric view.

Related to that, I have called myself, in some form or another, a democratic socialist green peacenik and I wanted to get more into that, more into about what that entails for how our society should relate to itself and our economy should be structured.

This may sound like it adds up to major conceptual brain surgery, but really it doesn't. There will be perhaps some shifts in tone and emphasis, but it will still be Left Side of the Aisle and will still be reconizeable as such.

Oh, wait, except it won't be Left Side of the Aisle because of one last thing: We are also changing the name of the show. I had been thinking of keeping it as a surprise, but then I realized that if you don't know what the name of the show is, you could have trouble finding it if you wanted to. So: The new name for the show is What's Left.

What's Left. Look for it the end of October. We will "see" you then. In the meantime, have the best month you possibly can and I wish you peace.

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