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78 minutes | Jul 24, 2021
The Necessity and Uncertainty of Vaccination (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Bob and Mickey enter the Cone of Silence ... Mickey: The narrative about vaccination has collapsed ... Should Bob worry about Eric Weinstein’s latest weird tweet? ... Are we stuck with Covid forever? ... Mickey: If Americans start to see work as optional, migrants will replace them ... The Child Tax Credit’s surprisingly bad polling ... Appraising the Cleveland baseball team’s new name ... A new Gallup opinion poll has some bad news about race relations ... Mickey doesn’t buy Bob’s take on the Pegasus spyware expose ... The inquiries and (alleged) conspiracies of January 6 ... Why blame Tom Barrack when you could blame Jared? ... Biden screws Ukraine over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline ... Parrot Room preview: What bad buses in Philly teach us about government overreach, the California recall, Jeffrey Goldberg in hot water, Nick Kristof eyes a run for office, Sean Hannity’s bowel problems—and ours, Eric Weinstein’s tweet, game theory among ethnic elites, and the January 6 prosecutions ...
58 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Contesting Obama's Footprint (Glenn Loury & Richard Epstein)
Why Richard is trying to stop the construction of the Obama Presidential Center ... Richard's stymied attempt to stop alterations to Chicago's Soldiers Field ... Raising questions about the OPC's environmental impact ... Richard's account of critical race theory ... A legal history of racial redress in the US ... Richard: Biden exhibits less comity than Trump did ...
69 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
The Footsteps of Our Fathers (Nikita Petrov & John Horgan)
Are we the repetition of our fathers? ... John's horror of nirvana ... Putin owns a float tank ... Putin as a collective hallucination ... Putin as Nietzsche's Superman ... Hemingway's version of masculinity ... Dictators' aesthetic taste, and the tragedy of never learning what you like ... A morality based on the premise that ideas are alive ... Good and bad ideas ... Teaser for the next episode ...
39 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
Debunking San Juan Hill (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
58 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Meet the NYT Pitchbot (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & DougJ)
The origins of Doug's "New York Times Pitchbot" project ... The "In this Ohio diner..." trope ... The NYT's de facto national status and the hollowing out of local journalism ... The Opinion page's lack of ideological and geographic diversity ... Aryeh: The NYT's real tribe is the wealthy ... Cillizza and Greenwald, Doug's bêtes noires/muses ... With Biden in power, a return to concern trolling by the media ...
84 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
A Debate about the ‘Rules-based Order’ (Robert Wright & Eli Lake)
Are democracies better at following international rules than autocracies? ... Eli: The world is better off with America in charge ... Debating US policy toward Cuba ... Bob: What's the difference between America's authoritarian allies and its authoritarian enemies? ... Does China see liberal democracies as a threat? ... The virtue of epistemic humility ...
82 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
What Can FDR Teach Biden about Foreign Policy? (John Ikenberry & Patrick Porter)
John and Daniel Deudney's piece, "The Intellectual Foundations of the Biden Revolution" ... Debating FDR’s foreign policy legacy ... Patrick: Projecting power abroad undermines democracy at home ... Is there tension between promoting democracy and fighting climate change? ... John: Biden is trying to reinvent liberalism for a new era ... Should Biden focus on relations with like-minded nations? ... The limits of liberal internationalism in the Middle East ... Is America an empire? ... Assessing Biden's international efforts to 'Build Back Better' ...
82 minutes | Jul 17, 2021
Flapping the Unflappable (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Bob vows not to get flapped again ... A flood of reporting on the Trump Administration’s last days ... Will the billionaire space race help a wealth tax gain traction? ... Mickey: Democrats will get the soft infrastructure bill passed ... On the question of JD Vance’s degree of Trumpiness ... Mickey: The Child Tax Credit will produce a social disaster ... How Bush made war with Afghanistan unavoidable ... Why are we sanctioning Cuba (or anyone)? ... Parrot Room preview: a sad story from Bob’s youth, the subtext of Bob’s Eric Weinstein piece, further work on the Bret side of the Weinstein equation, an empirical observation about black employees in public-facing jobs, the Aspen Information Disorder Commission, apologies of Abigail Shrier’s book, Ashli Babbitt, Richard Lewontin, Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and Mickey’s Law of Success Stories ...
53 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
Thinking Critically about Critical Race Theory (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John McWhorter, master of his craft ... Is John a “Black linguist”? Is Glenn a “Black economist”? ... Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump address police violence against white victims ... Defining CRT ... Is the CRT debate comparable to other debates in education? ... Glenn: It is tyrannical to ban the teaching of CRT ...
73 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Is it time for a revolution in US foreign policy? (Stephen Wertheim & Thomas Wright)
Assessing Biden's foreign policy ... How unusual was Trump's approach to international affairs? ... When should the US be willing to work with authoritarians? ... Tom: Restrainers ignore America's greatest foreign policy successes ... Does the US need troops in the Middle East? ... Stephen: We need a narrower view of US interests abroad ... Two approaches to democracy promotion ...
56 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Waiting for the Backlash (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Matt: Worry about electoral subversion, not voting access ... Bill's indirect solution to electoral subversion ... Is the left responsible for the culture war's escalation? ... The populist realignment over the rights of business owners ... Will CRT in the schools provide significant political wins for Republicans? ...
138 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Is Eric Weinstein a Crackpot? (Robert Wright & Timothy Nguyen)
Tim's academic background ... Tim responds to Eric Weinstein's claims against him and his co-author ... How Tim first came into contact with Weinstein ... Tim: Weinstein is evading our critiques of his theory ... What would a "theory of everything" require and accomplish? ... Weinstein's attempt at a theory of everything ... The Shiab operator and its problems ... Tim's further objections to Geometric Unity ... The "aesthetic wish" for a unified field theory ... The difference between a mathematical and a physical theory of everything ... What frustrates Tim about Weinstein's presentation of GU ... The irony of Weinstein trying to squelch Tim's critique ... Pondering the crackpot question ...
84 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
The Ghosts of American History (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Daniel Bessner)
The absurd exercise of ranking presidential greatness ... Aryeh: We all agree on Lincoln and Washington, but then it's a fight ... Daniel: George W. Bush was much worse than Trump ... Did America react hysterically to the storming of the Capitol? ... Ghostbusters as a cultural expression of Reagan's America ... Nostalgia and cultural decadence ... Critical race theory, 1619, and national mythmaking ... Daniel's new podcast, "American Prestige" ...
79 minutes | Jul 10, 2021
Not Not Delegitimizing the Election (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Branson aims to beat Bezos to space ... J.D. Vance flirts with delegitimizing the 2020 election ... Tucker suggests cameras in classrooms to root out CRT ... Bob makes progress toward a Unified Theory of the Weinsteins ... Is a new Alzheimer’s drug worth the astronomical cost? ... Is Haiti paying for Trump’s belligerence toward Venezuela? ... Why is China clamping down on a big Chinese ride-hailing company? ... Mickey: Democrats will abandon the bipartisan infrastructure bill ... Covid cases are up in the US. Will deaths follow? ... Searching for insight into Trump’s mindset on January 6 ... Parrot Room preview: A Hunter Biden development, Big Tech’s possible bias against J.D. Vance, Glenn Loury and Charles Murray’s recent conversation, Republicans oppose beefing up the IRS, a Jeffrey Epstein-Marty Peretz connection, Bob continues to hypothesize on the Weinsteins, Fellini’s La Strada, even more JD Vance, and Trump’s Waterloo ...
55 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Burdens of Freedom (Glenn Loury & Lawrence Mead)
Intro ... Larry's view of Western and non-Western culture ... Is African American culture "non-Western"? ... Larry: "Freedom is a threat" to Black and Latino families ... African American individualism after emancipation ... The "paradox" of Asian academic success ... What are the origins of European political development? ...
17 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
The Best Way to Win Is to Win (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Matt encounters West Virginia's cosplay community ... What does Eric Adams' presumptive win mean for ranked choice voting? ... Matt: Backlash against progressives may have enabled Trump's rise ...
72 minutes | Jul 3, 2021
Alternative Medicines (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey's future's so bright ... ... Michael Wolff’s account of January 6 ... How serious are the charges against the Trump Organization? ... JD Vance masters the art of political victimhood ... The NCAA allows college athletes to monetize ... Is Bret Weinstein right about ivermectin? ... Will Kamala face competition if Biden doesn't run again? ... Derrick Bell’s “Space Traders,” Gwen Berry and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Donald Rumsfeld, Hunter Biden, Child Tax Credit, Nikole Hannah-Jones gets tenure at UNC, Mickey gets snide about Thomas Chatterton Williams, the alleged crankiness of the Weinsteins, Bill Cosby released, and Mickey has a question about monogamy. ... Special bonus topic: Bob takes David Sanger to task ...
81 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
Rejecting Racial Determinism (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
A peek inside Glenn’s writing process ... Aaron Hana’s critique of Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele ... Extending the presumption of free will to Black communities ... Who gets to opine on race matters? ... Black rednecks ... Is the “acting white” phenomenon real? ... A critique of Charles Murray’s new book … ... … and a defense of same ...
70 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
Build Back Better: International Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Kori Schake)
The role of the state in the digital age ... How should the US deal with China's rise? ... Should America be more hawkish toward China than its Asian allies are? ... Kori on China policy: The US has to defend the rules-based order ... Heather: We have to make the international system live up to its promises ... Fostering better US-Europe relations ... Can the US get its act together at home? ...
24 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
Cracks in the Infrastructure Deal (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Matt: I don't see how the infrastructure bill passes ... Do Republicans want to stop the deal or simply not be held responsible for it? ... Is Biden failing the test of bipartisanship? ... Incentivizing Republicans to support the deal ...
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