Talking the Talk before Walking the Walk

Hey everyone, Offie here with your weekly blog post. Today I want to pose a question to anyone and everyone whom may read this.

Is a good idea poorly explained still a good idea? Particularly when speaking on topics of politics and governmental policy.

This question came to mind while I was watching one of Joe Rogan’s latest episodes on YouTube. Episode #1167 featured the Libertarian candidate for the Governorship of New York State, Larry Sharpe. When I first saw his name pop up on my phone as my podcast list refreshed I was filled with excitement because I saw Larry Sharpe on an episode of The Rubin Report and was pleased with what he had to say. We won’t go into everything that was discussed on either show right here, we’ll save that for an episode of the podcast, maybe even this upcoming episode, there’s just simply too much to try and cover. I do however recommend anyone interested in a “realistic” Libertarian take a listen or catch it on YouTube.

The topic at hand when this question came to mind was centered around the “plan” Mr. Sharpe has in store for the education system of New York State if actually elected. It seems to be a plan right in line with the major Libertarian narrative, remove the federal governments involvement, which would essentially cut $4 billion out of the states education budget, while simultaneously giving back full control of the education system to the state government. Joe being the excellent interviewer he is, couldn’t just let that pass without some form of a thoughtful and detailed response from Sharpe. The two became rather hung up on this topic for a long while which was rather frustrating to listen to.

Myself being the rather libertarian minded person I found myself answering Joe’s questions about what to do about this cut in funding out loud, screaming at my computer screen like Don watching a football game on TV, simply jaw dropped by the lack what I would call a rather simple answer. Sharpe did offer some bits and pieces of an answer, but never seemed to form them well enough to satisfy Joe, or myself to be perfectly frank. It led me to think that perhaps it was simply in the way Sharpe speaks, he’s a fast talking New Yorker who can bounce around while trying to get to a point, a point I felt was never reached to satisfaction.

I walked away from the interview thinking that while I may like his ideas, I don’t think he was able to articulate them well enough for everyone to understand them properly, especially those whom would be suspicious or skeptical of the idea from the onset. My own answer to my question will be revealed on the show this week but we would LOVE to hear from you in the comments down below.

If you tell us what your answer is and explain why you think that, I’ll read them out on the show this week! Anonymity is always an option so don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts. Remember, as Jordan Peterson said, “When you have something to say, silence is a lie. And tyranny feeds on lies.”

So here it is one more time. Is a good idea poorly explained still a good idea?

Aaaaaaand We’re Back!

Hey everyone Colin here! I’m back from my travels back east and am excited to jump back into the mic’d up saddle!

Since I’ve been gone my brother in arms has done great things and I just want to send out a big THANKS to him, it gave me great piece of mind while I was gone to know that Salt of the Streets was in excellent hands.

It’s a very long story, one which I’ll talk about on the upcoming cast recording on Saturday, but I was unable to create any extra content for you all. It was a very busy, very great time filled to the brim with family, food and old friends.

New York City has been my second home since I was a young man. It’s where I met my amazing wife, it’s where I discovered a lot about myself and about the world. It’s a fast paced, chaotic and sometimes extremely frustrating place, but it’s New York, and whether it’s the feel of the city, its endless offerings of incredible food from every culture around the world, it gets into your blood and after even a few months of living it’s lifestyle it feels something like home.

I’m going to cut this post off a little short because even though I’m officially back, trying to get everything back to normal has taken more time than I had thought. But never fear, I’ll be talking all about my adventures on this upcoming show, so tune in, catch the live streams,  hit us up on our social medias or even in the comments down below.  Other than that look out for the triumphant return of good old Salt of the Streets on Monday, wherever quality podcasts can be found!

Stay salty people,

Colin

A look back on WA State Liquor and Cannabis Board’s 2017 Annual Report

As we enter into the month of July we have reached the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which in this case runs from July 1st through June 30th. During this time of year the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board will be preparing and publishing their annual report. In reverence to this we’re going to take a quick examination of last years report. It of course isn’t the sexiest of topics but due to our own close relationship with Cannabis here at Salt of the Streets, it is important to understand the statistics behind the industry, and there is no better source for such numbers than the state board. I will link to the report below, but I will cover a just a few of my favorite interesting stats as we go.

Lets first touch on what exactly the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board does. In their own words the mission statement of the board is to, “Promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, cannabis, tobacco, and vapor laws.” Loosely speaking they oversee/regulate and enforce the laws within the industries that buy/sell/produce products that contain Nicotine, Alcohol or THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). They seek to provide consumer/industry safety through thoughtful regulation and administration.

What kind of information is in the report?

This is actually rather interesting if your the type of person interested in the world of cold hard statistics. That being said it reads like a standard news letter. It leads off with a list of “highlights” of the boards accomplishments over the last FY, followed by picture clad biographies of each of the board members, a useful tool for getting to know a little about who the unelected bureaucrats are who are running the industries regulatory system. Good or bad, this is almost as important as learning who your elected political officials are due to the fact that the laws/regulations they implement, which can often effect peoples everyday lives much more significantly than a standard politician, especially if said person is either a consumer or proprietor of a store in the industry.

The report then details the structure of the entire organization and even outlines each departments general purpose. Each department then details some of their statistics associated with their department. In the first major section of the report “Enforcement and Education” a wide range of statistics are shown that reflect the departments activities throughout the FY. Looking at the Cannabis enforcement section for example, “Each licensed and operating retail location received at least three compliance checks by the end of the fiscal year. No-sales-to-minors compliance rates were at 90 percent for FY 2017.” Right there we’ve got two pretty amazing pieces of information.

1. We know now that every licensed cannabis retail location receives at least 3 compliance checks per year
2. 10% of those checked apparently failed to meet the “No-sales-to-minors” compliance, though without assuming, we don’t necessarily know exactly what that means.

Moving through the report further we run into another interesting set of stats under the Licensing and Regulation section. There were 507 retail licensed cannabis businesses in FY17 throughout the state of Washington. Given the estimated population of Washington State in 2017 of 7.406 million people, that means that there was 1 retail cannabis stores for every 14,607 people in the state. There was even 13 cooperatives, which until reading the report I didn’t even know existed.

There are so many interesting stats and facts to glean from this report but by far my favorite aspects are the financial details. They show a comparison between tax income from FY16 and FY17, showing a massive $130 million dollar increase in tax revenue collected in FY17 totally a whopping $319 million in FY17 alone. Now that’s all well and good, but do they show what there spending that money on? Actually the answer to that is yes! They don’t go into exact detail of course but it does show how much went to each individual fund. $96.6 million went into the general fund “Revenue sent to the state General Fund is used to provide much-needed additional resources for education and other critical state services.” Further spending detail within each additional fund isn’t specified but it is good to know at least that much.

The report concludes with an overview of state legislation effecting the industries covered by the board, which in and of itself doesn’t go into much detail but does open the door for further and detailed research if that’s the path you choose to pursue.

In closing I would like to suggest anyone interested in the industries covered under the board should certainly read this report. It’s only 21 pages and is filled to the brim with very useful and informative material delivered in a very digestible format.

Get to reading.

WA State Liquor and Cannabis Report for FY17

Check-in & Dissent Update

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Salt of the Streets Blog!

Today we wanted to just jump on real quick to give everyone a quick update on the progress of our Dissents.

Don and I have been hard at work getting together all of our material for our new and improved Dissents. They are, however, not quite ready to see the light of day just yet. Between our increased work schedules and of course Don getting his future fatherly duties taken care of, time has been our constant nemesis.

The Dissents are almost ready and at this time were looking at a release sometime next week. In the meantime make sure to check out the latest and greatest episode of the podcast and video pre-show on YouTube.

We are very excited for the future, we’ve got a lot of great content in the works and we can’t wait to share it all with you soon.

Episode 20 is being recorded this weekend so be sure to keep an eye out here or on our social media pages for any updates.

Catch you all here for next weeks Blog post!

Bourdain; Losing My Imperfect Hero

Written By: Colin Offenbacker

I wish I could remember my first introduction to the pleasantly morose world of Tony Bourdain. The time, the place, and the specific piece of content that ultimately did me in remains as elusive a mystery as Percy Fawcett’s lost city of Z. Regardless of when the Bourdain gravitational well of travel, people, culture and food, first grabbed hold of my soul, it never the less ensnared me and has honestly changed my life for the better. Before I knew it, I found myself immersed in the lives of everyday people from exotic cultures in faraway lands. I was adrift in a sea of excellent literature from brilliant globally renown authors, utterly captivated by the various people, that I’d never before had the opportunity to understand or even comprehend. Through my television I was able to transport myself to the amazing and awe-inspiring destinations he visited. As I watched him dig into a bowl of hot and spicy noodles after a night out on the town in Vietnam with friends old and new, the steam from the bowl would waft out from my TV screen and into my imagination. His television shows were only one aspect of his work and life. Anthony Bourdain’s entire body of work can never truly be measured in any traditional or empirical manner. His influence affected and continues to affect people on a much deeper level. Coming from someone like myself who is anything but religious in a traditional sense or even a spiritual sense, the only word that seems to bring clarity to the level of influences he touches is soul. He spoke and continues to speak to the soul of our limited human experience.

Upon reflection, one of the most influential aspects of his work is his literary contributions. Tony was only one of the most accomplished travelers of our time. To borrow a term from one of my favorite films, the 1942 classic “Casablanca” I’d classify Bourdain as a true citizen of the world, although he was much more than that. I would equate his big break onto the world stage with the release and widespread adoption of his book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”. I originally come from a culinary background. As drastically different and wholly divorced from my own experiences in the culinary world were from his own, this background provided a receptive place for his written words to embed themselves in my soul. From “Kitchen Confidential” and “Medium Raw”, to “Hungry Ghosts”, Bourdain’s personal contribution to the written word extends past his own writings. Through watching his shows and reading his books I was introduced to a whole world of renown but underappreciated literary figures. Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Antonio Lobo Antunes to name just a few of the literary masters introduced to me by Mr. Bourdain through his own work. Today I proudly display his work right alongside them, right where he belongs.

There’s no argument that his various travel shows, A cook’s Tour, No Reservations and his latest show on CNN Parts Unknown, catapulted him to the top of the entertainment world. Simply labeling these projects “travel shows” do them a great injustice. There is a rather stark evolution throughout the life span of these shows, visible not only in the content itself but in the man himself. A huge portion of his life is documented, and as the viewer you aren’t simply getting a fluffy piece about the local tourist attractions with some overly excited host looking to exploit the environment, you’re getting a real-life look into the lives of the very real people who live and work in these places. You get to accompany Bourdain along a “Journey Without Maps” while he experiences the culture and attempts to grasp what it’s really like to be in a different place with different people who live parallel though strangely similar lives, grappling with the human condition.

I’ve been affected by the way he travels more than where he’s traveled. Though I would like to take full credit for my own “travel style”, I know however that it has been shaped around the way Tony portrays his experiences. Whether I’m in Ecuador, Sweden, Russia or different regions of the United States, one rule remains a constant; “Don’t be that guy, don’t be a tourist”. What I really mean by that is trying to blend in and experience the culture as the native people do. When my wife and I went to Ecuador to visit her family for the first time, though I’m a 6’4” tall white guy in a country in which the average male height is a little over 5’7”, I lived as they did, ate what they ate and went to places that they normally go to. I did some research before I traveled and made sure I wouldn’t be making any social Faux Pas by walking into a church older than my own country in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. That is just a single example, but I think it gets the point across. I’ll instill that belief and those values in my children and with any luck they’ll carry that forth in their own children. I’ll be eternally grateful for all that Bourdain has instilled within me.

I honestly believe I could go on and on at full book length describing what Anthony Bourdain meant to me and how he has positively affected the world and humanity as a whole but I’ll reserve that honor for a better writer than I. For now I’ll have to accept that all I can provide is a quick posthumous thank you to a personal hero of mine. A thank you that does little to no justice to him. As imperfect a role model/husband/father and man as he might have been, he is still one of my heroes and will be greatly missed.

My heart goes out to his family, his friends and all those whom were lucky enough to actually have known him. The man, the legend himself, Anthony Bourdain.

We Live in the Future

Written by: Colin Offenbacker AKA BigBirdOffie

Welcome back to the Salt of the Streets blog!

Before we get into our topic for the day and hopefully the discussion that we’ll start to have in the comments section below, I just want to remind everyone that episode 16 of the podcast is available in the post right below this one. If you haven’t listened yet, there are links in the post to a few of the main podcast hosts. It was a great time having our friends from Upper Left come up and hang out with us for a few hours, we had a great conversation so go check it out.

Today we’re going to be keeping it a little light, no hard hitting heavy stuff today, we’ll save that for our upcoming Dissents June 29th, so save the date.

From time to time on the show I am, shall we say, gently reminded that I am a bit older than my co-host Don. I am by no means “old” but sometimes our slight age gap shows and my age manifests itself in hilarious ways. Being almost 31 years old now, I sometimes reflect on how things were when I was young and how they compare to our modern world.

Basically, we live in the future these days. More precisely, a future I couldn’t have imagined when I was a kid. When I think about how far technology has come, even just in the years since I moved out on my own at eighteen, it’s mind boggling. Almost every aspect of our lives is in someway touched by groundbreaking technology. Personally, societally and even on a species level, it has never been a better time to be alive. Yes of course things aren’t perfect but they are pretty good, especially if you were lucky enough to be born in a “modern” country like The United States

Let’s take right now for example. I’m sitting on my couch with a laptop typing out a message to share with anyone around the world wanting to access it. My wife is sitting next to me playing a game on Xbox with some online friends. That one sentence alone has so many examples of insane technology, once only thought to be possible in science fiction, I couldn’t possibly begin to describe them in any manner that would do it justice. My Iphone is on the end-table next to me, which is basically a handheld super computer capable of accessing almost an endless amount of knowledge via the Internet, and of course has the ability to communicate with just about anyone on the planet. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

The signs of our futuristic world are everywhere.

All of this amazing technology has advanced our species even further up the evolutionary ladder. Advanced medicines have cured diseases once thought to be incurable. Private companies are embroiled in a new form of the 1960’s space race and thanks to things like Twitter we get access to public people once thought impossible, the President of the United States for example.

On that note I would like to pose a question to all of you out there. It’s a question I find myself asking a lot lately. Are we capable of keeping up with this exponential growth in technology on a societal level? I have my own thoughts on this but I’ll be saving them for a discussion with Don on the upcoming Salt of the Streets Podcast.

In the meantime, jump into the comments below and tell us about your thoughts on technology and its rapid growth rate. Is it happening too fast? Can we as a society keep up? We’d love to hear from you so let’s start a conversation!

More Content, New Release Schedule and a Quick Look to the Future.

Written by: Colin Offenbacker AKA BigBirdOffie

 

Welcome everyone to the first of many new Salt of the Streets Blog posts. We’ve been releasing new episodes of the podcast once a week for about 3 months now, though, it’s been a great deal longer in the making. If you’ve read our Dissents over these last few months you’ve heard the story of how Don and I got this train rolling so I won’t rehash that old story, we are however going to be covering some changes that are coming.

The first change that you might be noticing is this new style of blog post in place of our classic Dissent. The Dissents will still be coming but we’re going to be pulling them back to a once a month release. The original idea behind the Dissent was to give Don and I a place to dig deeper into a topic we covered in the last podcast or even dive into a topic we didn’t have time to get to.

Due to a number of reasons, which include both of us being blue collar working families, our time to dive deep into a story and write a comprehensive article detailing the facts, proper context and our own views on said story became compromised by my personal ever-present nemesis, time.

Over the last few months our Dissents have evolved into more op-ed style articles and after lengthy discussion we’ve decided to pull back their release schedule which will provide us with a great deal of time to really dive into topics and build much more comprehensive articles. They’re may be pictures, there may be audio interviews, but the quality will reflect that of an online magazine going forth and we are both incredibly excited to tap into some of that potential.

So, lets talk release schedules!

As per the usual, Thursday’s will still be a content release day only instead of a Dissent you’ll be getting a new Blog post every Thursday. We may still use the blog to post about topics from our latest episodes or some behind the scenes stuff similar to this. The first round of the Dissent 2.0 will be released on the 29th of June so stay tuned for that, I have some very exciting stuff in the works for my first new and improved Dissent and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Without showing our hand too much let’s talk about the future of Salt of the Streets. The podcast will continue as usual, ever-improving and ever-evolving, we’ll have our weekly blog posts on Thursday’s and at this point we’re still hammering out the exact release date of the new Dissents, but our first set will be out the end of June as mentioned above. We’re looking into merch, a full HD video version of the Podcast and so much more. Join us on our journey as we continue to build and grow our ever-present mission to bridge the gap between left and right.

And don’t forget to check in here next Thursday for Don’s blog post!