What does it take to become President of the U.S.?

Click the photo to start listenin' now.

Click the photo to start listenin' now.

This episode Cheryl & Stephen take you through a timeline of the most important elements in a successful presidential run. If you have any confusion about what the heck caucuses are really for, anyway, or what the deal is with delegates and the electoral college, then this is the episode for you.

Music this week by Kt, Metronomy, I HEART HUCKABEES, The Ugly Truth, & Louis the Child.


1. Electoral College, History.com

2. WTF is a Contested Convention and Can it Stop Trump?, RollingStone.com

3. A Brief History of Superdelegates, Dailykos.com

4. What are Caucuses and How do they Work?, LifeHacker.com

5.  US Political Finance , Sunlight Foundation




Posted on April 20, 2016 .

Episode 8: Hispanic Voters

This episode we worked a little extra hard for all of you and rounded up four incredible interviews with Hispanic/Latino supporters of the top four presidential candidates.
The order is: Ellie an immigrant brought over the border as a child, supporting Hillary Clinton; Miguel, a deported Mexican citizen and avid Trump supporter; Susy, an immigrant from Cuba with a unique perspective on politics and Bernie Sanders; and Justin, a multi-generational conservative & Tucsonian, supporting Ted Cruz.

Music this week by Louis the Child and Bensound.

Posted on April 14, 2016 and filed under Politics.

Episode 7: The Affordable Care Act

Posted on March 5, 2016 .

Episode 6: Grading Teachers

Quick Facts:

  1. Elementary and Secondary Education

    1. As of fall 2015, 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools (35.2 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8). This number is slightly larger than students who entered the 2014 school year.

    2. Expenditures:

      1. According to National Center for Education Reform: Total Public School Expenditures: $607.2 Billion, about $13,000 per person.

  2. Teachers:

    1. Fall 2015: Public School systems will employ about 3.1 million full time teachers with a 16.0:1.0 Student/Teacher ratio (same as 2000 ratio)

    2. National average for elementary and middle school teachers: $56,240 ($58,000 for HS)

    3. In the US, 14% of new teachers resign by the end of the first year; 33% leave by the end of the third year; and almost 50% leave by the end of the fifth year.

  3. New Mexico:

    1. The average salary for a NM is $46,573. HERE is the map of averages. There are 5 states that have a lower average salary than NM - West Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

      1. Albuquerque Public Schools Salary Stats:

        1. Top five earning teachers earn $77,258 (Teachers making this much have been working 30+ years)

        2. Average salary for Albuquerque Public Schools (Janelle's school district) is $43,000.

        3. Teachers in New Mexico are paid based on a three-tier licensure system, combined with years of experience. Tier 1 teachers make a minimum salary of $30,000, Tier 2 teachers make at least $40,000 and Tier 3 teachers make at least $50,000.

    2. On a Huffington Post/Wallethub ranking, NM is currently ranked 46th for education. In the early years of Janelle's teaching, it had been ranked 49th.

      1. PARCC Testing in NM

        1. New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says that one of the large appeals of PARCC is the ability to measure NM against other states taking the test.

        2. “As other states’ exam results start to roll in — so far showing New Mexico ranks at the bottom of scores that are dismal overall — the number of states participating in the PARCC consortium is dwindling.” -Santa Fe New Mexican (Spring of 2016: only 6 states are administering in comparison to 11 last spring)

        3. State Issues:
          Some of the unintended consequences of Common Core (like
          increased testing of students and the decision to let testing affect teacher pay) are state and local responses to the federal law, not direct mandates of the law around Common Core. NMTEACH (details here ) is New Mexico's own personal evaluation system for its teachers, not Common Core's.

Episode References:

  1. 11 Facts about Education in America, DoSomething.Org

  2. Education in America: Facts and Figures As Students Head Back to School, HuffPost.

  3. How Much Teachers Get Paid - State by State, The Washington Post.

  4. Standardized Tests: Making Our Students and Teachers Sick? US News.

  5. Pros and Cons of Standardized Tests, Columbia University Press

  6. NEA Survey: Nearly Half Of Teachers Consider Leaving Profession Because of Standardized Tests, NEAToday.

  7. K-12 Facts, National Center for Education Reform.

  8. Bringing Common Sense to Common Core, NEA.

  9. 12 reasons We are Opposed to PARCC, SAVEOURSCHOOLSNJ.

  10. Common Core Standards and Standardized Testing, Brookings Institute

  11. Low Teacher Pay and High Teacher Pay Are Both Myths, Forbes.

  12. What APS Teachers Earn, ABQ Journal


Posted on February 6, 2016 .

Episode 5: The Great American Gun Debate

This week, we try to get to the bottom of the constant fight between parties about guns and gun legislation. Will we find any common ground? Tune in to find out—bullet-proof vests not required.

Music this week by Louis the Child & Kygo.

Here are the sources that we used for this week's episode (It was very research intensive!): 

  1. ABC News Polls: Gun View Polls
  2. USA Today: "Buying a gun legally in the U.S. Isn't Difficult"
  3. Politifact Sheet: "3 Things to Know about the 'Gun Show Loophole'"

  4. The Washington Post: "Everything you need to know about the assault weapons ban, in one post"

  5. Business Insider: Assault Rifle Ban

  6. Business Insider: Why Are Americans Obsessed with Guns

  7. The New Yorker: "Taking on the N.R.A."

  8.  NRA "Ring of Fire Program": 

  9.  The Federalist: Why Congress Cut the CDC Budget

  10. New York Times: "Senate Blocks Drive for Gun Control"

  11. New York Times: "Gun Sales Soar After Obama Calls for New Restrictions"


Posted on January 13, 2016 .

Episode 3: The Politics of Birth Control and Abortion

This week on Suspend Belief, we attempt to lift the veil on all that makes abortion and Planned Parenthood the fire-starter of political hatred—and hopefully we even find a sliver of potential for sweet sweet compromise.


A table depicting the different language that our media sources use to appeal to their respective audiences:

    HERE  is a chart ranking the media from liberal to conservative, based on their audiences. 


HERE is a chart ranking the media from liberal to conservative, based on their audiences. 

Posted on December 17, 2015 .

Mini Episode: Headline Wars

For this mini episode, we read off some recent headlines from the left and the right, which completely contradict each other. Find more news stories from multiple perspectives fromAllSides.com.


Our List of Headlines Used, By Issue

*(note: some headlines appear differently on a sites homepage than in article view.)

Black lives matter:

Syrian Refugees:


Planned Parenthood shooting:






Posted on December 2, 2015 .

Episode 2: Out of My Element

What happens when an NRA membership affects your job in a liberal work space? And what does it take for a gay couple to thrive in the U.S. Marines? Two in-depth interviews.

Music this week by Kegan Patrick, Louis the Child and Interviewee, *Jason.

Posted on November 20, 2015 .

Episode 1: The Dreaded Disagreement

In our premiere episode we interviewed people from all walks of life to find out which political/social topics they were most passionate about. The responses were varied, as expected, and most people seemed to hold certain topics near and dear to their heart. When asked about how often the same people discussed those passions with others, however, we found a major underlying problem: Our Fear of Disagreement > Our Passions. Or so it seems.

Music this episode by Louis the Child and Kegan Patrick

Studies, Resources & Continued Reading

Posted on October 28, 2015 .