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Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-03-23 03:56
last episode published
2019-03-22 19:34
publication frequency
2.14 days
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Where the Great Society Fell Short (Glenn Loury & Robert Cherry)

Has public discourse left Glenn and Bob behind? ... Public policy for poor people, from Pre-K to vocational training ... What’s wrong with NYC’s approach to affordable housing? ... Are Spike Lee’s movies bad for the black cultural narrative? ... Bob: N... author

Ten Year Anniversary Edition! (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Happy 10th anniversary, Bill and Matt! ... Why the DMZ dynamic still works ... Bill’s (supposed) powers of persuasion ... What keeps this political marriage so strong? ... Bill and Matt’s most eye-opening experiences over the years ... The show as a “... author

Naila and the Uprising (Robert Wright & Julia Bacha)

Julia’s documentary on women in the First Intifada, Naila and the Uprising ... How 9/11 changed Julia’s career path when she was a student at Columbia ... Naila’s story of early trauma and political organizing ... How women quietly moved to the forefro... author

Representation: Does It Matter? (Kat Rosenfield & Phoebe Maltz Bovy)

Kat and Phoebe talk Captain Marvel and media representation ... How closely should art mirror reality? ... “Universal” literature vs. demographic-specific literature ... Privilege and the college bribery scandal ... The limited value of “acknowledging... author

A Night at the Garden (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Marshall Curry)

Marshall's Oscar-nominated documentary short, A Night at the Garden ... The German American Bund and its leader, Fritz Kuhn ... A Nazi rally and a Trump rally ... The Jewish protester who ran on stage ... The return of "America First" ... Marshall's 20... author

Off to the Primary Races (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Why a dozen Republicans voted against Trump’s emergency declaration ... Matt: Kasich can’t scold his way into the nomination ... Why did Beto’s momentum fizzle? ... Bill’s taxonomy of the left, from Bernie to Biden ... The perks of a Texan running mate... author

From Baptist Preacher to Muslim Imam (Glenn Loury & Alfred Muhammad)

How Alfred, ordained in the Baptist church at age 7, became a Muslim imam ... The “spellbinder” Louis Farrakhan and modern black leadership ... Alfred enters electoral politics in his town of Lindon, NJ ... How to uplift “our people” ... Why Alfred fin... author

How to Talk About Israel (Robert Wright & Ron Kampeas)

How Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments were received across the Jewish community ... Is AIPAC really “all about the Benjamins”? ... Ron: Jews are criticizing Rep. Omar in good faith ... Memory of the Holocaust is fading, and older Jews are concerned ... Ron: O... author

Adolescent Politics (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Daniel Kaufman)

Dan's recent essay, "Adolescent Politics" ... Dan: Social media has turned the world into a high school cafeteria ... Shouldn't stand-up comics be bad people? ... Trump, Exhibit A of the adolescent id ... The (largely pointless) college activism of t... author

"Be Sensual" Edition (Kat Rosenfield & Phoebe Maltz Bovy)

Critiquing the essay "How Marie Kondo Helped Me Sort Out My Gender" ... "Fauxbivalence," Miley Cyrus, and boring straight women ... Feeling like the label of "woman" doesn't fit ... The strange Twitter man who instructed women on how to be beautiful ..... author

Bernie, Biden, and Winning the Left (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Bill and Matt trade breakfast smoothie tips ... Rep. Ilhan Omar and the Democrats’ resolution against “hate” ... Is Farrakhan-style anti-Semitism making a comeback? ... Intersectionality discourse looms large in Congress ... Can Bernie beat Trump’s ine... author

Pre-Rapture Edition (Robert Wright & Conor Friedersdorf)

Immigration lessons from California ... Why Black Lives Matter should take a second look at Bernie ... Bob worries the Dems will tear themselves apart ... What should Bernie say about immigration? ... How to cover controversies when social media makes ... author

Public Education's Dirty Secret (Glenn Loury & Mary Hudson)

Mary’s piece in Quillette, “Public Education’s Dirty Secret” ... The importance of a calm, disciplined learning environment ... How to help the students most eager to learn ... Why Mary believes in meritocracy in schools ... Mary: Good teaching require... author

Remembering Nathan Glazer (Glenn Loury & Peter Skerry)

Remembering Nathan Glazer, iconic neoconservative scholar and Peter's former teacher ... Glazer's NYC origins and Harvard tenure ... Glazer's controversial 1975 book, Affirmative Discrimination ... Peter: Not all racial groups have equally legitimate c... author

Breaking News and Breaking Norms (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Is the normalization of Trump complete? ... Matt to 90% of the House GOP: You're dead to me ... What would it take to get Republicans to turn against Trump? ... Bill's History Corner: John Tyler, the Whigs, and preventing war over Maine ... The Republi... author

Bernie Sanders: "Tree-Shaker" or "Jelly-Maker"? (Micah Uetricht & Richard Yeselson)

What’s the difference between a democratic socialist and a social democrat? ... Why Rich isn’t a socialist ... The aggressive beauty of Jacobin ... How to make members of the working class into agents of change ... Why labor organizing has fallen by th... author

A New Progressive Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Samuel Moyn)

Is Bernie Sanders the standard bearer for a new progressive foreign policy? ... American warfare today: drones and special forces—lots of them ... Sam: "The UN was founded for the sake of peace, not justice" ... Sam critiques the "responsibility to pr... author

Who Defines Diversity? (Kat Rosenfield & Phoebe Maltz Bovy)

Phoebe returns to talk “cancellation culture” ... Kat explains the latest controversy in Young Adult literature ... Why is YA culture so toxic? ... International offenses and US-centric values in YA ... Who gets the benefit of the doubt in accusations ... author

Who's Afraid of Bernie? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

On George Washington and slavery ... Why do white men have the lead in the Democratic primary? ... Bill: Bernie has to hold his supporter base ... Matt: Bernie “owns his brand” like Trump does ... Can the Obama coalition ever be revived? ... author

Toward a New Center-Right (Joshua Cohen & Brink Lindsey)

Brink's new co-authored report, "The Center Can Hold" ... Why Brink's opinion of labor unions has changed ... Why Trump is absent from the report ... The "imaginary center-right" ... Who ended the shutdown, Nancy Pelosi or organized labor? ... Culture... author

Talking Blackface and 'Cancel Culture' (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

John: Crowded NYC was an “uncivil” choice for Amazon ... Is climate change discourse motivated by contempt for capitalism? ... Moving on from the minstrel show ... Glenn and John: Northam shouldn’t have had to apologize ... Is it ever okay to wear blac... author

Populism and the Green New Deal (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

A relic from Bill's childhood, "Free to Be... You and Me" ... Why Matt hates Trump's emergency declaration ... Is the Green New Deal more than a progressive litmus test? ... Matt: Dems should monitor their populist wave closely ... Which Democratic can... author

Trump’s Plan for Regime Change in Venezuela (Robert Wright & Max Blumenthal)

Max’s on-the-ground observations at political rallies in Caracas ... A brief history of Venezuelan politics, from Chavez to now ... Who’s responsible for the suffering of the Venezuelan people? ... Why didn’t AOC defend her colleague Ilhan Omar against... author

Identity and Violence (Glenn Loury & Kelly Suzanne Saulsberry)

Kelly Suzanne introduces herself ... Violence in Chicago and distrust of the police ... Can you take race out of the criminal justice equation? ... The controversial eulogy at Aretha Franklin's funeral ... author

Is There a Progressive Foreign Policy? (Robert Wright & Heather Hurlburt)

Competing conceptions of a progressive foreign policy ... The shift from formal to informal international law ... Was bombing Kosovo a good idea? ... Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria—why do we treat their leaders so differently? ... The foreign policy vision... author

Thrillers and Liars (Kat Rosenfield & Hillary Kelly)

Hillary: "Villainous bitches" have become the literary cliche of our era ... Reviewing Leila Slimani's novels, Adèle and The Nanny ... Madame Bovary, Gone Girl, and the likeability backlash ... Daniel Mallory, best-selling author and serial fabulist .... author

Can Ralph Northam Survive? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Will Dems flub their chance to beat Trump in 2020? ... The litany of scandals and bad press haunting elected Democrats ... How are Republicans preparing for 2020? ... Why Dems failed to counter the right-wing narrative on late-term abortion ... How Vir... author

Talent: A Novel (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Juliet Lapidos)

Juliet's new novel, Talent ... How Juliet created her creatively blocked main character ... Different ways that authors show their hands ... Against lifehacking ... The eternal tension between artists and scholars ... On having written a novel that w... author

The Center Can Hold (Robert Wright & Will Wilkinson)

The much-discussed report Will co-authored, “The Center Can Hold” ... Why Will likes Elizabeth Warren ... The criminal justice system is even worse than you think ... Why Will is skeptical of Kamala Harris ... What population density tells us about Ame... author

Bipartisan Identity Crises (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Bill’s appearance on Matt Lewis and the News ... Will any GOPer primary Trump? ... What kind of Republican could actually beat Trump? ... Imagining a major GOP realignment ... Bill: Kamala Harris won the first round of primary announcements ... Early i... author

Wit's End (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & James Geary)

James's new book, Wit's End ... In defense of puns ... The science behind why jokes are pleasurable ... James: Wit can make you laugh, but it always makes you think ... The benign violation theory of humor ... Great wits of yesterday and today ... Wit... author

Anatomist of Racial Inequality (Glenn Loury & Christian Gonzalez)

What makes Glenn a “black conservative”? ... Glenn: The legacy of slavery is more complicated than we think ... Glenn’s thoughts on economist Thomas Sowell ... How to solve educational inequality ... Why labor competition between minorities matters ...... author

Socialism Enters the Mainstream (Robert Wright & Nathan Robinson)

Why Nathan’s magazine, Current Affairs, is based in New Orleans ... Why is socialism suddenly cool? And what exactly does it mean? ... Why Nathan identifies as a libertarian socialist ... Is “Social Justice Warrior” a straw man? ... Nathan: “Cultural a... author

Russiagate Skepticism (Robert Wright & Michael Tracey)

Bob’s take on the Roger Stone indictment ... Why Michael is still a Russiagate skeptic ... A broken Trump is right twice a day ... Michael: We should've been immediately skeptical of Buzzfeed's story on Cohen's perjury ... Why Bob thinks the BuzzFeed s... author

Harry Potter, Socialism, and Neoliberalism (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Riley Quinn)

Riley's recent article in Jacobin, "Politics Is Not Harry Potter" ... Nostalgia and neoliberalism ... Is the ideology of the Potter books neoliberal or aristocratic? ... The fantasy of defeating the "final evil" ... Why does J.K. Rowling hate Jeremy C... author

MAGA Teens and 2020 (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Bill and Matt weigh in on “MAGA teen mania” ... Matt’s latent prejudice against rich white kids resurfaces ... The 2020 presidential race starts early ... Matt puts his money on Tulsi Gabbard, but Bill isn’t sold ... Who can bring the Democratic Party... author

Christian Evangelicals and Trump (William R. Black & John Fea)

John’s book on Trump and evangelical Christians, Believe Me ... What becomes of uncontacted peoples who never hear the gospel? ... How nostalgia shapes evangelical thought ... Why is abortion central to evangelical political advocacy? ... What kind of ... author

The Great Recession, Ten Years Later (Glenn Loury & Ross Levine)

How bankers were able to outsource investment risk prior to the financial crisis ... Ross: Financial collapse could have been foreseen, but warning signs were ignored ... Finance’s place in the economy and the lives of regular people ... Why investment... author

Return of the Neocons (Robert Wright & Stephen Wertheim)

Why are neoconservatives still influential (and influencing Trump) after the Iraq fiasco? ... Democrats welcome anti-Trump neocons into the fold ... Trump and the neocons find a common enemy in Iran ... Who has Trump’s ear on foreign policy? ... Did Am... author

The Best a Man Can Be (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Bill Gullan)

Brand consultant Bill on Gillette's controversial new ad on masculinity ... Bill explains what a brand consultant does ... Why Gillette took a big risk ... Was a conservative backlash part of Gillette's plan? ... Was the ad a success? ... Pepsi's disa... author

The Big Con (Glenn Loury & Laurence Kotlikoff)

Larry's new paper on the financial crisis, "The Big Con" ... Challenging the standard story of what caused the Great Recession ... Larry on The Big Short: "Factually it's completely wrong" ... Larry: Banks should be run like mutual funds ... Glenn ask... author

Why Run for President? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Will Tulsi Gabbard’s conservative background quash her presidential run? ... Romney vs. Gabbard: Who would Tucker Carlson vote for? ... Is it worth running for president if you know you won’t win? ... How Al Sharpton squashed Howard Dean ... Can Trump... author

The Future of Israel and Palestine (Robert Wright & Lisa Goldman)

What does the BDS movement seek to accomplish? ... Why 26 American states have anti-BDS laws ... Desperate living in Gaza ... Lisa explains why Netanyahu has no long-term plan for the West Bank ... Signs of hope among Palestinian citizens of Israel ...... author

Talking Across the Divide (Glenn Loury & John Wood)

How Better Angels fights political division with dialogue ... The Kavanaugh scandal viewed from both sides ... Is there an alternative to difficult conversations? ... Why Obama wasn’t the great unifier we needed ... John’s thoughts on racial identity p... author

Does Warren Still Have a Shot? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Does Trump care about the shutdown's effect on the heartland? ... Can Trump surrender and still save face? ... Where the Democrats' messaging on border security falls short ... Bill: Trump’s base cares about the fight, not the policy ... Is there sexi... author

Is Comedy Canceled? (Kat Rosenfield & Bridget Phetasy)

Louis C.K. attempts a comeback ... Bridget: "People don't want him to exist" ... Can comedians still test out new, risky material? ... Kevin Hart and the modern problem with apologies ... Does Hart have a responsibility to fight homophobia in the bl... author

A Feminist Critiques Feminism (Robert Wright & Christina Hoff Sommers )

Bob denies Christina's charge of "benevolent sexism" ... Christina's critique of mainstream feminist philosophy ... Christina: The Intellectual Dark Web is about fighting cultural authoritarianism ... Bob: The Intellectual Dark Web is a tribe ... Is ma... author

2019 and 2020 (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Reviewing Christmas 2018 ... Did Elizabeth Warren miss her window? ... Bill: Why I don't count Warren out ... Is the shutdown moving from boring to a crisis? ... Will gravity reassert itself on high-flying Donald Trump? ... Biden's advantages ... The... author

The Year in Trump (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey: The best thing Trump's done is limit illegal immigration ... Bob: The best thing Trump’s done is steer NAFTA to the left ... The worst things Trump did this year ... The best and worst Trump appointments ... The best and worst pro- and anti-Tr... author

What is Third-Wave Antiracism? (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

John’s latest in the Atlantic on contemporary racial discourse ... Is the psychology underlying racism the full story? ... What popular sociology gets wrong about black oppression ... This year’s pushback against “SJWs” ... How the “n-word” became tabo... author