Asian Carp Study, Dungeons & Dragons, Tax Plan’s Cuts

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A group of bipartisan lawmakers is urging the Army Corps of Engineers not to delay a study on Asian Carp near Lake Michigan. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin is with us to share why she thinks the issue is urgent. With Congress finalizing a tax plan that includes a variety of cuts, we talk with an expert about who will be shouldering the burden of the lost revenue. And we learn why the game Dungeons & Dragons has seen a resurrection in recent years.

Featured in this Show

  • Baldwin Urges Faster Action On Asian Carp Study

    The Brandon Road Lock and Dam intercepts the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Illinois before it flows into Lake Michigan. Some believe it to be a vulnerable spot or “choke point” to stop invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

    A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study of the dam estimated it could take as long as eight years to install a barrier at the site. Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Wisconsin’s Sen. Tammy Baldwin, are urging faster action from the Corps to secure the waterway from the invasive species.

    Speaking Tuesday on WPR’s “Central Time,” Baldwin called the possibility of Asian carp entering the waterway “devastating.”

    “I think all the Great Lakes senators feel very strongly about this and understand the enormous economic ecosystem impacts this would have if Asian carp were to get into the Great Lakes system,” she said.

    The carp were first introduced into the United States in the 1970s to control weed and parasite growth, but soon spread to the Mississippi River. Once established in a body of water, they out-compete other fish for food and habitat.

    In June, a single live Asian Carp was found in the Chicago canal, just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

    The Corps released its plan in August, after a five-month delay from the Trump Administration over concerns that any action could limit the commercial barge industry.

    The Corps said a redesigned lock system for the Dam could be completed by 2025. It said 65 percent of the funding would come from the Corps, with the rest from a private or nonprofit sponsor. That sponsor has not been identified yet.

    Baldwin said the search for a sponsor is part of the reason for the hold-up, but it shouldn’t be an excuse.

    “If that’s the obstacle, then we need to find a way to wave that requirement or to move ahead on this,” she said. “And so I haven’t felt the urgency from them that I think my colleagues on the Great Lakes (Committee) feel. And another thing I’ve said over and over again is, so if these plans are going to take years to implement, what’s your emergency backup plan? What do you do when we hear there’s been Asian carp identified beyond that choke point of the Brandon lock and dam system? That’s something that we have to look at urgently.”

  • U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's Work On Asian Carp

    The Great Lakes ecosystem could be under threat from invasive Asian Carp. Lawmakers and conservationists have been working for years to prevent their spread into Lake Michigan. But some work on the issue has stalled. Reports needed from the Army Corps of Engineers haven’t been able to be conducted…or finished. And if the Asian Carp make it into the Great Lakes system, there could be some profound ecological and economic damage. We talk to U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin about her work on this issue.

  • Low-Tech Games Are Appealing To People In A High-Tech World

    If you’ve watched the Netflix series, the young protagonists are playing Dungeons & Dragons. The show is set in the 80s, and the choice of game seems fittingly retro.

    But a show set today could just as easily feature a group of friends playing D&D, and getting lost in a world of heroes, fantasy and adventure.Games like D&D that rely on imagination, creativity and cooperation are enjoying a resurgence of interest. We find out what the attraction is in today’s high-tech culture.

  • Congressional Tax Plans: Who Pays For The Cuts?

    Republicans in both houses of Congress have passed tax overhaul plans. A Brookings Institution researcher says between the tax cuts, and spending cuts that would be required to pay for them, low- and middle-class Americans would see a net loss.

    Are you in favor of the current tax plans that have come out of the US House and Senate? What changes, if any, do you hope to see in the final version. Do you think the plans would help or hurt you and your family?

    Let us know by emailing

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Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Rob Ferrett Producer
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin Guest
  • Neima Jahromi Guest
  • William Gale Guest