May 11, 2015
In 1848, on the eve of the California Gold Rush, there were less than 1000 white settlers living in the California territory. Within the next 2 years, that number would jump up to 100,000, making it the largest mass-migration in US history. In the early 1920s, the film industry would create a 2nd and more lasting population boom in California, as throngs of hopefuls moved cross-country to become rich and famous movie stars. By 1962, California was the most populous state in the union.
The state now balances on a curious precipice. California produces a majority of the country’s fruits, vegetables and nuts, yet is in the midst of a drought that’s turning one region into a poisonous dust-bowl. The libertarian pot-farmers of the north use 8% of the state’s electricity, yet are trying to secede and form their own state. San Francisco has been entirely taken over by the tech industry’s wealthy and the city’s tradition of taking care of its lowest class is falling by the wayside. Los Angeles has been a smog-riddled nightmare from the fever-dreams of John Carpenter ever since the auto industry deliberately razed the public transportation system. And an Austrian-sounding robot sent from the future to destroy humanity served as governor for 8 years.
This week, we give Florida a break and take a look at the dark history of the Golden State. Jack O’Brien is joined by Cracked editors Dan O’Brien and Robert Evans as they discuss the state’s unexpectedly high murder rate, its burgeoning marijuana industry, and why, since 1848, it’s seduced millions into thinking they can get rich quick.
January 26, 2020
Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.
January 19, 2020
How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!
January 12, 2020
Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.