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Left, Right & Center podcast

Left, Right & Center

·

  KCRW  

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

 

#25

Biden has 99 problems and the ports back logs are just one

The Port of Los Angeles will now be running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, under a new plan announced by President Biden. Right now his administration is juggling a lot of problems that are weighing down voter confidence in his presidency: supply chain logjams, rising inflation, a slowing job market and gridlock in Congress. The persistent list of problems now 10 months into Biden’s first term runs counter to the “return to normal” message he successfully ran on when he beat then-President Trump in 2020. But is the president being proactive, or is he opening himself up to blame for problems plaguing the entire global supply chain that are mostly out of his control? This week, we bring on special guest Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report to talk about what voters want from the economy and the president right now. Some Americans are feeling a lingering sense of unease, as the country continues to face labor and goods shortages tied to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats still can’t come to an agreement to pass Biden’s domestic agenda. How does political polarization affect the way voters think about the administration’s handling of the economy? We discuss. Next on the show: Redistricting is underway as we head into next year’s midterm elections. As was the case 10 years ago, Republicans have an advantage because they control more state legislatures, while some Democratic states, like California, have put redistricting decisions in the hands of independent commissions. But how many seats could Republicans realistically pick up next year through redistricting alone, especially since demographic changes in some major swing states would seem to favor Democrats? A hotly contested gubernatorial election in Virginia next month could give us some clues. Also, what the heck is ‘bacon-mandering’? Then: our panel discusses vaccine mandates and religious exemptions, specifically among Catholics. The Catholic Church’s official position is that getting vaccinated is morally permissible, but sincerely held religious beliefs should be honored as a valid basis for exemption. As vaccine mandates become more commonplace, how does society negotiate those tensions? Finally: Why adults need to stop making Halloween sexy, and why the “woke” Fed is really just doing its job. ... Read more

15 Oct 2021

50 MINS

50:29

15 Oct 2021


#24

We’re doing this again?

It’s been an especially stupid week in Congress. Members of Congress are fighting over the debt limit – an archaic, post-war provision from the 20th century. Both sides of the aisle agree that the debt limit needs to go up… but they disagree on how. Democrats can do this on their own. What are they afraid of? Attack ads? Taking up too much floor time when they have other legislation they could be working on, like the infrastructure bill and the spending bill that….they still haven’t agreed on? Republicans say Democrats should raise the debt limit by themselves, but Democrats insist Republicans need to help them out. But just in the nick of time before a partial government shutdown, Republicans allowed Democrats to fund the government for about two more months, so over the holidays, we can do this all over again. Then: President Biden’s approval rating is tanking. A new Quinnipiac poll puts him at just 38 percent approval on the job market and a dismal 25 percent approval rate on immigration. What’s the source of this dissatisfaction?Could the problem just be that Biden isn’t taking credit for the good things his presidency has done, and not “owning” enough conservatives? Next: Professor Kate Shaw joins the panel to talk about the controversial new law in Texas that bans abortions after six weeks, which was preliminarily enjoined this week by a federal judge. This might go all the way to the Supreme Court, which is already hearing oral arguments in December about a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Does the Constitution actually create a right to abortion? And if Roe is overturned, what can Democrats do to protect abortion access? And finally: having kids might not be that bad an idea, even today… but if you send them to school sick, Liz Bruenig has some words for you. ... Read more

08 Oct 2021

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:53

08 Oct 2021


#23

Uncontrolled spread

It’s...past the wire for Democrats and their votes on two big spending packages that are the priorities of President Biden. As we recorded this episode Friday morning, the promised day for a House vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill had passed and Democrats were still fighting amongst themselves on both the price tag of the spending bill and what to prioritize between social and climate spending. All eyes are on the Progressive Caucus, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, and they’re watching each other. Where will this end up? Then, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb talks about the major failures of the pandemic in the United States, why he has lots of feedback for the CDC in particular, and how approaching pandemics like national security threats could serve us better the next time around. All that, plus the media company that wasn’t, moving the fences back, and some proof that vaccine mandates are effective. ... Read more

01 Oct 2021

56 MINS

56:34

01 Oct 2021


#22

Deep dives on Hispanic and Latino voters, and the future of abortion access in the US

This week, guest host and Left, Right & Center contributor Keli Goff takes a deep dive into two issues in the news right now. First: she speaks with Geraldo Cadava about what Democrats and Republicans misunderstand about the “Latino vote” and what they get right. Geraldo says the parties oversimplify voters’ profiles and overlook important factors like geography, the rural/urban divide, class, and many others. Keli and Geraldo discuss the faults of thinking about groups of voters as monoliths — Keli points out that she longs for the day that campaigns approach Black voters like they would swing voters. What do we know about the appeal of the Republican party to Hispanic and Latino voters over the past few decades? And should Democrats be more concerned about whether their strategy is effective? Then, Keli discusses the new laws restricting abortion access in Texas with Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood and president of Take The Lead, a national organization advocating for gender parity. Gloria talks about the slippery slope of similar laws, what she fears is ahead for abortion access, and makes a case for new laws that would guarantee women’s rights to live as full citizens in the United States. ... Read more

25 Sep 2021

50 MINS

50:30

25 Sep 2021


#21

Cliffs, drugs and taxes

Democrats have spent weeks talking about their big spending plans, and now they’re talking about how to pay for them. Some ideas: tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans, a capital gains tax regimen, and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies which would cut what the government pays and cutting costs for other American consumers. But can progressives and moderates agree on how to do these things? And how much will the scope of the plan shrink in the process? Then there are the cliffs: hello, a government shutdown is looming September 30, and the debt limit needs to be raised. Can Democrats manage to squeeze out a compromise by the end of the month? And how will that affect the fate of the spending plan? The FDA is reviewing the case for a COVID booster shot. Should Americans be getting a third (or fourth, or fifth…) shot when the rest of the world remains unvaccinated? DR. PETER CHIN-HONG of UCSF talks with the panel about the disagreement among the Biden administration, the medical community and public health officials about whether booster shots are needed now, and how to balance a vaccination campaign and a booster strategy. Also: California Gov. Gavin Newsom soundly defeated a recall effort. Does this tell us anything about next year’s midterm election? And finally: Josh thinks Larry Elder is NOT the future of the California GOP. Also, why Tim might take heat from space Twitter after we publish this. ... Read more

17 Sep 2021

55 MINS

55:26

17 Sep 2021


#20

Required to require

This week, President Biden announced a sweeping new mandate for American workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Companies with 100 or more employees are mandated to require employees to be vaccinated or take a weekly test. Health care workers and federal government employees and contractors must be vaccinated. Companies will have to give employees paid time off to be vaccinated, plus more time to recuperate from any side effects. Is this the right thing to do? Democrats are already making tough choices on their spending bill. Will they have to cut and trim their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill into a much smaller one? What will end up on the cutting room floor? Then: our relationship with Europe was supposed to be warmer with President Trump out of office but it doesn’t really seem to be the case. What happened? Do European leaders have reason to be frustrated still? EMMA ASHFORD joins us to discuss the grumbling. And, finally: Josh rants about ice cream with chocolate chunks before he’s gently reminded by his producer that we already know he thinks frozen chocolate is bad because he ranted about it three years ago. Josh hasn’t changed his mind, and ice cream hasn’t changed either. ... Read more

11 Sep 2021

51 MINS

51:35

11 Sep 2021


#19

Is this the end of Roe?

This week, a new law took effect in Texas prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most women are aware that they’re pregnant. There are many state laws that seek to impose bans on abortions after a certain point in pregnancy, but none are designed the way this Texas law is. It creates a procedural and legal hurdle to those seeking abortions right now, effectively stopping them altogether, before the law can be challenged and reviewed in court. The Supreme Court decided not to stop the law from taking effect. How was it able to do so, based on emergency filings rather than oral arguments and full consideration of the constitutional issues? What are the political implications of this law and the reactions to it from right and left? Are both sides hemmed into extreme positions on abortion when the majority of the public falls somewhere in the middle? Separately, the Supreme Court had already docketed a case on Mississippi’s 12-week ban on abortions this term. Is the end of the Roe/Casey era near? We discuss. Also: an op-ed by Senator Joe Manchin in the Wall Street Journal this week is exactly what progressives DON’T want to hear – that he wouldn’t support a $3.5 trillion spending plan to go along with the infrastructure bill. But he didn’t say anything about what he would support. Is that a smart political decision? Should Democrats be more cautious about major spending with rising inflation and the ongoing pandemic?  Then: Jay Powell’s term as chair of the Federal Reserve is up, and President Biden is expected to decide soon whether to nominate him for another four years. Some believe Powell should stick around for his effective handling of the financial aspects of the COVID crisis. David Dayen argues it’s time to appoint somebody who makes the existential threat of climate change a priority.   And, finally: how the bankruptcy system protected the Sackler family, why we shouldn’t pretend vaccine mandates don’t curtail civil liberties, and how the NFL’s campaign to get players vaccinated actually worked. ... Read more

03 Sep 2021

50 MINS

50:28

03 Sep 2021


#18

The bombing at Kabul airport

A suicide bombing near the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members just days ahead of the withdrawal deadline. The Biden administration still plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31. Does this deadly attack change that calculus? Also: Democrats in the House are testing their leverage over two very spending bills: the infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion social spending bill...that we don’t really know too much about yet. David Dayen says he can’t envision one passing without the other: it’ll be both or neither. Will progressives and moderates hold together? Plus, how much should Democrats take advantage of the economic moment the country is in now? Is time of the essence? How does the economic climate play into how bills like this get passed? Then: the Supreme Court threw out the CDC’s controversial moratorium on evictions. The Biden administration knew its survival was tenuous, and Congress had already approved enough rental assistance money to extinguish all the rent debt in the country. The only problem is very, very little of that money has reached the hands of tenants and landlords so far. Why is that? And why is this an enduring problem for other kinds of government aid? ... Read more

27 Aug 2021

50 MINS

50:29

27 Aug 2021


#17

The Chaos in Afghanistan

Kabul has fallen. While this was expected to happen, the U.S. government has been surprised by how quickly the Taliban took over. At the start of this week, there were as many as 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. Now, Americans, along with thousands of Afghans, are trying to flee the country. The result? Mass chaos. This week, panelists Josh Barro, Liz Bruenig, Megan McArdle and special guest Paul D. Miller spend the entire show talking about the war in Afghanistan. Why did the war continue on for so long and what was the U.S. trying to achieve? Was there a better way to withdraw that posed less risk to American personnel and provided more evacuations of vulnerable Afghans? And what should we do now? We discuss. ... Read more

20 Aug 2021

50 MINS

50:32

20 Aug 2021


#16

Policy and people after plagues

The Delta surge continues, and case counts are especially high in the Southeast. There’s now less optimism about herd immunity (for several reasons) and it’s looking like covid is on its way to being endemic – a disease that’s likely to be with us for a long time but becomes less deadly due to vaccines and natural immunity and adapting to life with another virus. Andrew Sullivan argues this is not new for humans: We have learned how to do it before and we will learn to do it again. How do we get from here to there with as little death and disruption as possible? Panelists Megan McArdle and Gustavo Arellano have some ideas. Andrew Sullivan has written about plagues and the societal changes they bring He witnessed and survived the AIDS crisis firsthand. So what’s going to happen to the world post COVID-19? Are stimulus payments and child tax credits going to stick around? We discuss. Then Andrew talks about the throughline of his political views and commentary, a less ideological politics as an antidote to political tribalism and religiosity, and more. Should the most ideological fights be had in culture or in politics? Is it possible to separate the two? Finally: the fall of Andrew Cuomo, the truth about boosters, why you should queue up some Chente Fernandez this weekend, and why you should consider headphones over a boombox. ... Read more

13 Aug 2021

50 MINS

50:54

13 Aug 2021


#15

Mind your own business

The vaccine mandates are coming. In New York, you’ll now need to prove you’re vaccinated to go to a restaurant, bar, gym or entertainment venue. Other American cities are considering similar rules. In the last week, more businesses are announcing rules about vaccines. How would it actually work to enforce these rules at millions of businesses? Also: If you have a smartphone, listen up. This week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) joins the panel to discuss how a high-profile member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was outed by a small publication that obtained commercially available data from his phone to figure out where he was using Grindr. Should you actually start reading those terms of service now? Should the government protect and regulate how our data is collected, bought and sold, or is it best left up to consumers and the companies themselves? Senator Wyden walks us through his ideas for that and an amendment to the infrastructure package that would impose new rules on cryptocurrency transactions. Tens of billions of dollars (an important revenue stream for the infrastructure bill) are at stake. Then: the panel catches up on the nationwide eviction moratorium, this week’s damning report on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and why we really need to stop stanning our elected officials (looking at you, “Cuomosexuals”...). ... Read more

06 Aug 2021

50 MINS

50:29

06 Aug 2021


#14

Vaccines, masks, carrots, sticks

Masks are back. The CDC says even vaccinated Americans should resume wearing masks as the Delta variant sends case counts skyrocketing. But why are we still talking about masks when the most effective tool to fight COVID is the vaccines? What’s stalling government vaccine mandates for federal employees? Are we using carrots and sticks effectively? Then: it’s not a bipartisan infrastructure framework anymore — it’s a bipartisan infrastructure deal. It includes hard infrastructure like roads, bridges and resiliency efforts to help adapt to climate change. Is it enough? And why have so many Republicans supported it? With substantial Republican support in the Senate, progressives may have to pin hopes on the $3.5 trillion budget proposal that’s filled with programs for education, child care and paid family leave. They hope to pass it through budget reconciliation but moderate Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema announced she opposed the price tag on that package in an almost evenly divided Senate. Are progressives going to get what they want? Also: millions of American renters are still behind on rent, but the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire this weekend. There doesn’t seem to be an effort from the left to extend emergency unemployment insurance, either. Is that surprising? And when would be a good time to sunset pandemic aid programs? Finally: why it’s okay to let your lawn go. Seriously. ... Read more

30 Jul 2021

50 MINS

50:12

30 Jul 2021


#13

Rush before recess

Congress is in that busy mode before it goes on vacation. What’s moving forward? Right now, it’s the negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure framework and Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending package. What’s stalling? Voting rights and police reform. Josh Barro talks with panelists Megan McArdle and Gustavo Arellano about why that’s fizzled and all the homework Congress is trying to finish before summer recess. Then: the delta variant is continuing to wreak havoc on the unvaccinated, with case rates up nearly fivefold since the third week of June. Do masks make sense again now? What’s the best way to get people vaccinated? And what’s Gustavo saying to the ‘pandejos’ now? Plus, are billionaires in space annoying or are they good for humanity? And finally: why the Summer Olympics should probably always be held in Los Angeles. ... Read more

23 Jul 2021

57 MINS

57:59

23 Jul 2021


#12

The Democrats’ go-big budget

This week on Left, Right & Center: Senate Democrats have their plates full between the bipartisan infrastructure bill they’re already working on and a new $3.5 trillion spending bill they announced this week. This one would be mostly social spending: paid family leave, child care, universal pre-kindergarten and expanding Medicare to include vision, dental and hearing. Josh Barro, Liz Bruenig and Megan McArdle discuss whether there will be public support for infrastructure and this big social spending package, if the push could turn out to be a political win or liability for Democrats, if the party will remain united or do some necessary hashing out, and the pay-fors. One of the ways to pay for it is empowering the IRS to recoup unpaid taxes and it could mean that lower- and middle-income earners could be audited more frequently. Is that bad? Then: Rising covid cases and new virus variants are a major concern for public health, the economic recovery, and a return to normal. Are breakthrough infections also a blindspot for our covid analysis? Former Obama administration health policy adviser Dr. Kavita Patel talks about the gulf in infections between vaccinated and unvaccinated people and whether it would help for the FDA to fully approve the vaccines. And finally — welcome to ECON 101 at LRC. Today we’re talking inflation. Consumer prices rose 0.9% in June, and we’re seeing the most rapid rate of inflation since the 2008 recession. What’s going on, and should you be concerned? We discuss. ... Read more

17 Jul 2021

52 MINS

52:37

17 Jul 2021


#11

Leaving Afghanistan

On this week’s Left Right & Center, Josh, Liz and Ross talk about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. But what do we have to show for America’s longest war? And should we fear a return of the Taliban to power? Then: We now know who’s winning the Democratic primary– and likely the mayorship– in New York City. Who is Eric Adams, and does his “Biden-style politics” mark a crucial break from the progressive left? Also: we take a deep dive into the political and practical justifications for the death penalty, and examine whether the focus on innocence has obscured our moral obligation to the guilty. Finally: we take a closer look at the fight over critical race theory. What are people really arguing about, and is it about children’s education at all? We discuss. ... Read more

09 Jul 2021

59 MINS

59:39

09 Jul 2021


#10

Special presentation of All The Presidents’ Lawyers

This week’s episode is a special presentation of All The Presidents’ Lawyers, a KCRW podcast that Josh Barro and Ken White host. It’s all about the legal problems of presidents and their associates. This week: the indictments of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and various Trump businesses came down. The charges allege a a fifteen-year tax fraud scheme that protected Weisselberg and other Trump Organization employees from paying tax. In Weisselberg’s case, that’s over $1.7 million in compensation. After years of investigation, was this expected? Was it likely that Trump himself would have been charged? Next, Ken and Josh discuss Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to decline to investigate the Trump administration’s DOJ, leaving it to the inspector general. And then: Rudy Giuliani has been stripped of his law license for making demonstrably false statements about the outcome of the 2020 elections. Is this the end of his career? And on this special episode, you’ll get to hear Ken and Josh answer listener questions about all things legal, including why former President Trump can claim such broad legal immunity against lawsuits for statements he made in office, like when he crudely denied E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation or encouraged his supporters toward the Capitol on January 6. Left, Right & Center’s regularly scheduled programming will return July 9. ... Read more

02 Jul 2021

50 MINS

50:28

02 Jul 2021


#9

It’s Infrastructure Week, again!

A bipartisan success story: That’s how President Biden wants us to remember the infrastructure deal he announced this week. It was an opportunity for the president to remind people that he gets Congress, he knows how to reach across the aisle, and he’ll still reassure progressives that it won’t stop him from delivering on other Democratic priorities. In this episode: Ross, Liz and Josh discuss what’s in the infrastructure deal, if it’ll get the additional support it needs to be come a reality, and how likely it is that Biden can get to everything on the Democrats’ wishlist. Then: Sasha Issenberg talks about the massive and relatively rapid success story that was the campaign for same-sex marriage, from a local fight in Honolulu to a U.S. Supreme Court decision. How did public opinion change so quickly, and how integral was it to the fight that it did? Do social movements today have similar advantages? Finally, some Catholic bishops are pushing to deny President Biden communion for his pro-choice views. What does that even mean? Does it matter? We discuss. ... Read more

26 Jun 2021

54 MINS

54:12

26 Jun 2021


#8

Or else

After a highly anticipated summit between President Biden and Vladimir Putin, here’s what we’re left with: if Russia’s going to cyberattack the United States, they should not target sixteen critical areas of American society and infrastructure, or else. What does that mean? And where does that leave us with Russian hackers that aren’t part of the government? Also: The Supreme Court upholds Obamacare after another attempt to shake it down. Is this a win for progressives? Is it a major loss for conservatives? And Senator Joe Manchin proposes a voting rights compromise. Is it a good deal for both sides? Plus: a discussion of Ross Douthat’s book The Decadent Society and how the pandemic has left a mark on decadence. ... Read more

17 Jun 2021

50 MINS

50:32

17 Jun 2021


#7

Secret Congress

Joe Biden is in Europe. He’s meeting with the G7, then he’ll see European and NATO leaders and meet one-on-one with Putin. European leaders are relieved Trump is gone, but does that mean they have an alignment of interests with Biden ashe seeks to challenge Russia and China? And is that more pressing than the role of G7 leaders in leading vaccination around the world? Then: the new bipartisan infrastructure deal is so secret nobody even know what’s in it. We know one thing that’s not in it: new taxes, which makes sense, because Republicans and Democrats have embraced expansions of government spending without taxes! Plus the panel discusses the death of Democrats’ voting bill and the ProPublica exposé of billionaires’ tax information. It didn’t expose anything illegal. Is any of it our business? Josh Barro finally admits cicadas are real, but he says it’s still stupid to promote anything about eating them. ... Read more

12 Jun 2021

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:02

12 Jun 2021


#6

An improved jobs report but still a long road to economic recovery

The jobs report for May was better than April but still left a lot of room for improvement. Workers are being more selective, which may not be a bad thing. With a tight labor market and a material shortage, is this the right time for a big infrastructure package? Negotiations continue in Washington for a possible bipartisan deal, but the final package may be much more modest than what President Biden hoped for. The cruise line industry is trying to recover after a devastating year and the CDC is saying cruise lines must ensure that at least 95% of passengers and crew must be vaccinated against COVID. But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a state law prohibiting private companies from requiring proof of vaccination from its customers and has threatened to fine cruise lines if they do so. Should the government be making rules about when private companies can require vaccines? And what about workplace vaccine mandates? Then: This week, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn seemed to be saying a coup like the one in Myanmar should happen here and former President Trump has hopes of being “reinstated” in August. Finally, the panel talks with Princeton Professor of Sociology Patrick Sharkey about the rise in violent crime over the past year, the possible causes for this dramatic spike and the data-backed ways to bring crime down. ... Read more

04 Jun 2021

59 MINS

59:21

04 Jun 2021


#5

Sausage making

Congress has been unusually productive lately. The sausage making process is actually getting us some sausage — in this case, a bipartisan plan to boost spending on applied science research, framed as a way to compete with China. There is less agreement on the bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riot, and as expected, Republicans blocked the plan after we recorded this episode. Josh Barro and panelists Elizabeth Bruenig, Rahcel Bovard and David Frum discuss why and the split on the right about the panel. Plus: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into a law a new avenue to make social media companies be nice to conservatives. Tech companies say it violates the First Amendment, but is the intention even for the law to work? Finally: what’s the right way for the United States to respond to a state-sponsored hijacking of a passenger jet in Europe and other increasingly bold actions from authoritarian states? ... Read more

28 May 2021

55 MINS

55:09

28 May 2021


#4

Look at Congress being normal again

There is a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. Joe Biden told Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he expected a significant and swift de-escalation, which he got. But the Biden administration’s overall approach to Israel and Palestine has been to keep expectations low and not get too involved. There are no big peace process hopes here. Is there anything more productive the US can do? Then: Congress is being normal again. There’s a big science funding bill that’s probably going to pass with big bipartisan majorities — and lots of pet projects that undermine the bill’s core mission. That’s the regular order Congress is supposed to use — is it any good? We’ll look at Republican opposition to a bipartisan Capitol riot commission. The panel talks with expert Rupali Limaye of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University about incentives for vaccinations, sending doses abroad and more. ... Read more

22 May 2021

50 MINS

50:32

22 May 2021


#3

Is it time to cut unemployment benefits?

Inflation is back! It may not be here to stay — there’s a lot of weirdness in the economy right now — but with wages rising quickly despite surprisingly weak job growth in April, some states are moving to cut off unenhanced unemployment benefits in an effort to drive more Americans back into work. Is that a good idea? Will it work? And will it push back on inflation? Josh Barro talks with panelists Tim Carney and Elizabeth Bruenig about that, and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that disrupted gasoline delivery in the Eastern U.S. Why do these ransom attacks happen, and how can we protect ourselves against the next one? Finally: the panel discusses an unexpectedly controversial Mother’s Day essay Liz Bruenig wrote about becoming a mother at 25. ... Read more

14 May 2021

58 MINS

58:35

14 May 2021


#2

Where are all the jobs?

The April jobs report number was disappointing. We expected a million new jobs and only got 260,000. There are a few factors that could be slowing job growth: a very specific reason why manufacturing jobs are down, enhanced unemployment benefits, disrupted child care and school schedule, and the pandemic and the pace of vaccination. Then: it’s possible that Rep. Liz Cheney will no longer be in House Republican leadership. She’s been outspoken about her disapproval of Donald Trump and her anger about his lies about the 2020 election that inspired a violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol in January. She may be replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, who got an emphatic endorsement from former President Trump this week. Is that infighting a proxy fight over Trump’s role in the party? Finally: the panel discusses a ruling from the Facebook Supreme Court, which is a real thing that exists, about Trump’s future on Facebook and Instagram. ... Read more

08 May 2021

53 MINS

53:24

08 May 2021


#1

The low-rated, kinda sleepy and quietly radical speech

President Biden made his first address to a joint session of Congress. It didn’t get big TV ratings, but the content reflected big changes to what he’d have the government do, with trillions of dollars in new spending on infrastructure and social programs. So is Joe Biden a quiet radical? Or is he just showing that a left agenda was never that intensely controversial if you did it quietly? And how did Republican Senator Tim Scott do in his response to Biden’s address? His speech drew a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. Josh Barro, Rachel Bovard, Gustavo Arellano and Keli Goff talk through the speeches, what Biden said about his agenda, and where Republicans might oppose it. Plus: three stories about whether the government will tell you what to do in your own personal consumption behavior. Should there be a federal ban on menthol cigarettes? What about marijuana? And what’s the beef with beef? ... Read more

01 May 2021

54 MINS

54:13

01 May 2021