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70 minutes | Sep 28, 2022
Is Russia-Ukraine Spinning Out of Control? (Robert Wright & Anatol Lieven)
Who sabotaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines—and what happens next? ... The uncertain consequences of Russia's referendums in Ukraine ... How Russia’s military failures could lead to Putin’s downfall ... How much pro-Russian sentiment is there in eastern and southeastern Ukraine? ... The odds Putin goes nuclear and the likely western response ... What’s Biden’s endgame in Ukraine? ... Is it too late for a peace deal? ... The chances that China comes to Putin’s rescue ...
76 minutes | Sep 24, 2022
Putin Makes His Move (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Putin’s big speech: nothingburger, nuclear nightmare, or something in between? ... Why an escalating Ukraine war is so easy to envision ... All the ways DeSantis is Trump 2.0 ... Biden cools it on the anti-MAGA rhetoric ... Italy’s MAGA-like party heats up ... Crunching the midterm election numbers ... What’s wrong with Biden committing to defend Taiwan against China? ... Parrot Room preview: GOP’s new Contract for America; What is national conservatism?; reviewing Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless; Trump’s spoon-bending powers; does AI have cognitive empathy? ...
59 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
Where's Team Normal? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Matt attends his high school reunion ... Herschel Walker lowers expectations about a debate with Sen. Raphael Warnock. Meanwhile, Dr. Oz is lowering expectations about John Fetterman's abilities ... Matt raises concerns about the polls. Then, based on Bill's math, Matt predicts Republicans will narrowly take the Senate ... Bill thinks Mandela Barnes' "Defund the Police" rhetoric might have blown his chances of defeating Ron Johnson in Wisconsin ... Matt wonders if Trump reordered politics to the point where states like Nevada—states that seemed to be trending blue—are now competitive ... Matt worries that "Team Normal" in the GOP is normalizing election denying ... Matt laments Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's decision to campaign for Kari Lake. Bill argues this is what Youngkin has to do to be relevant and have a shot at the presidency. Meanwhile, Bill says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's decision to campaign outside Florida is the weirder story ...
69 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
F.R.E.E. Agency (Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and Ian Rowe)
How Rodney King led to Ian’s podcast, Invisible Men ... Blaming the system and blaming the victim ... Ian: I run schools to show my students they can do hard things ... What’s so special about marriage? ... Glenn: Right living is its own reward ... The problem of success and “blackness” ... Ian’s experience running Vertex ... How Ian funds his schools ... The bureaucratic opposition to charter schools ... What comes after the Old Parkland Conference? ...
85 minutes | Sep 20, 2022
In China’s Shadow (Robert Wright & Sebastian Strangio)
Sebastian’s book, In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century ... The causes and consequences of the Cambodian genocide ... How American preaching pushes Asian governments towards China ... China, the anti-colonial imperial power ... Is Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative a bid for world domination? ... Beijing isn’t trying to export its political system, says Sebastian ... The state of liberal democracy in Southeast Asia ... Why the Chinese have been called “the Jews of the East” ... How the US can woo Southeast Asian nations ...
69 minutes | Sep 17, 2022
Russia on the Ropes? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey tries to take the bromance to the next level ... An impromptu primer on longtermism ... Is Lindsey Graham's abortion proposal poison for Republicans? ... Mickey’s read on the Pennsylvania and Georgia midterm races ... Is MAGA-ism going global? ... How is Biden’s pro-democracy messaging holding up? ... Ukraine war update ... Assessing DeSantis’s Martha’s Vineyard migrant scheme ... Mickey v. lefty takeaways on welfare reform ... Parrot room preview: first impressions of Godard’s Breathless; Federer’s retirement; the woke campaign against food hierarchy; a pundit-y point on the Epstein case; Charlie Munger’s envy-driven-economy theory; longtermism; free speech and the Queen; ex-Google-CEO’s anti-China sentiment; Is polio making a comeback?; Comprehending the crypto “merge” ...
49 minutes | Sep 16, 2022
DeSantis Sends Migrants to Martha's Vineyard (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
What was Lindsey Graham thinking with his 15-week abortion ban bill? ... Is the GOP going to follow Trump with "younger, smarter" authoritarians? ... How do you know when an incumbent governor is in trouble? ... What does DeSantis get out of sending undocumented immigrants to Martha's Vineyard? ... Can Katie Hobbs get away with not debating Kari Lake? ...
73 minutes | Sep 16, 2022
What Explains Persistent Racial Inequality? (Glenn Loury & Laurence Kotlikoff)
Introducing Glenn Loury ... What is “social capital”? ... Racial inequality and self-segregation ... Glenn: “The jig is up” on affirmative action ... Balancing preferences and colorblindness ... Rethinking the welfare state ... Why Glenn’s forthcoming memoir is titled "The Enemy Within" ...
83 minutes | Sep 15, 2022
Debating Ukraine, Russia, China, and US Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Bret Stephens)
The US role in Ukraine’s recent offensive – and how Moscow might respond ... Could Putin fall from power if Ukraine’s success continues? ... Will more arms to Taiwan deter or provoke China? ... Bob: On foreign policy, the US has egregiously violated its professed values ... Bret: The US should go to war against China if it invades Taiwan ... Should the US use force to defend democracy around the world? ... Can international law constrain brutal leaders like Putin? ... How Trump is kind of like a foot massage ... Explaining versus justifying bad behavior in international politics ...
69 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
Maintaining Standards in Standardized Testing (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
What’s on the menu for Glenn’s birthday party ... John’s Twitter spat with Ibram X. Kendi ... What do we lose by changing testing standards? ... Glenn: If groups matter, then culture matters ... How to prove a racist wrong ... The ballad of Glenn and Woody ... Mitchell S. Jackson’s Esquire essay about Clarence Thomas ...
38 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
Is John Fetterman's Health Fair Game? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Is John Fetterman's health fair game? ... Are Blake Masters' college emails fair game? ... Are Democrats conflating Trump's threat to democracy with the broader conservative agenda? ...
57 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
Biden's Bad Messaging (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
RIP Queen Elizabeth II—Mickey breaks the news to Bob ... (Belated) reactions to Biden's big speech ... Bob critiques another Mickey tweet ... Will the “special master” ruling derail the Trump investigation? ... Steve Bannon faces the music ... Vegas politician fails to outsource murder ... One Liz in, one Liz out: what’s in store for the UK under Truss? ... Ukraine war update ... Trump’s nuclear document ... Parrot Room preview: Biden’s MAGA speech and his foreign policy; regulating outer space; on Ukraine coverage, Bob asks: where is today’s Bernard Trainor?; Israel's u-turn on controversial West Bank romance rules; WaPo going broke? Mickey has a solution; another Epstein-linked suicide?; Do plants have consciousness?; more AI takeover talk; lab leak; Wilde-Styles drama ...
87 minutes | Sep 6, 2022
Varieties of Spiritual Experience (Robert Wright & David B. Yaden)
David’s brand new book, The Varieties of Spiritual Experience ... The personal spiritual experience that sparked David’s research ... This book’s relationship to William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience ... How common are dramatic spiritual experiences? ... How different are different types of spiritual experience, really? ... Type 1 in the book’s taxonomy of spiritual experiences: The Numinous ... Type 2: The Revelatory ... Type 3: Synchronicity ... Type 4: The Mystical ... Type 5: The Aesthetic ... Type 6: The Paranormal ... Varieties of psychedelic experience ... SPOILERS: James’s surprising conclusions about religious experience ...
53 minutes | Sep 2, 2022
Gorbasms (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Is GOP infighting complicating their quest for the Senate? ... How did Democrats snatch Alaska? ... What is Gorbachev’s (and Reagan’s) legacy? ...
72 minutes | Sep 2, 2022
The Cultural Dimensions of American Conflict (Glenn Loury & Steve McIntosh)
A scheduling announcement from Glenn ... Steve's latest book, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself ... From modernity to progressive postmodernism ... Are we in the midst of cultural evolution or culture war? ... The work of the Institute for Cultural Evolution ... "Modernist consciousness" in East Asia ... Steve: "Force is necessary but not sufficient" to combat violent Islamic fundamentalism ... The positive side of progressive postmodernism ... Can cultural evolution overcome political polarization in the US? ... A cultural evolutionary perspective on the development narrative ...
71 minutes | Sep 2, 2022
MAGA, the Midterms, and the Media (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Are Dems’ electoral chances as good as the media says? ... Biden demonizes MAGA Republicans, feeds the MAGA narrative ... Bob: To prepare for DeSantis, the Dems should dump Biden ... Two ways Trump isn’t helping Republican candidates ... Ukraine war update ... Mickey: The new Covid booster will be a bust ... Did the FBI give Facebook advance warning about the Hunter Biden laptop story? ... Parrot Room preview: Gorbachev appraised; new Epstein intrigue; reviewing The Best Man; why is culture so boring?; why Mickey’s tweet annoyed Bob; new Putin biography; Were Monkees persecuted? ...
5 minutes | Aug 30, 2022
State of the Podcast Address (Robert Wright)
A quick update from Robert Wright. ...
70 minutes | Aug 27, 2022
Democrats on the March (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey doubles down on performance enhancing drugs ... Is the NY19 result a red flag for a midterm “red wave”? ... Has the Mar-a-Lago bombshell already fizzled? ... Bob gets tribal about Mickey’s anti-tribalism tweet ... Ukraine war update ... The electric vehicle takeover in California ... Brian Stelter’s ouster and CNN’s future direction ... Parrot Room preview: Dugin’s daughter whodunnit, is it actually time to start worrying about AI?, Biden admin cynicism on Ukraine, another tally in the Epstein case body count, China’s quantum computing prowess, could economic troubles spur Chinese aggression?, Twitter-Facebook censorship, more Beatles doc talk ...
65 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
Freedom of Inquiry on the Line (Glenn Loury & Amy Wax)
Amy’s recent conflict with the Penn Law School administration ... Amy responds to her dean’s charges of racism, sexism, and xenophobia ... Should we take students’ feelings into account when discussing race and admissions? ... Glenn: If Amy is fired, it will be an outrage beyond belief ... Why Amy invited Jared Taylor to speak with her students ... Amy’s defense of race realism’s legitimacy ... Glenn and Amy’s first encounter ... Amy: Sometimes reality is upsetting and offensive ... How to help Amy ...
61 minutes | Aug 25, 2022
Dr. Oz Goes Shopping (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)
Why are Dems overperforming in special elections? ... Why is Dr. Oz so bad? ... Might Dems actually keep the House? ... Does Crist have a prayer? ...
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