Slate's The Gist

Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon show about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.


  • Lock Up Your Mothers

    Apr 17 2019

    On The Gist, sparing a thought for Notre Dame… and how Americans pronounce it. In the interview, Politico’s Anna Palmer on what Trump is doing to America as he navigates a government he doesn’t understand. Her book, co-written with Jake Sherman, is The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump’s America. In the Spiel, moms are not off limits for quotes—about their children—published by the New York Times.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Farmers’ Candidate

    Apr 16 2019

    On The Gist, wait, what did I miss? In the interview, Democratic candidates for the presidency recently flew to Iowa for a forum on agriculture to answer some questions. And asking them was Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen, who knows a thing or two about corporate agribusiness and its impact on Iowans, the food Americans everywhere eat, and Chinese pork companies. Cullen is the author of Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper, and was previously on T...more

  • The Divergent Charts of 1994

    Apr 13 2019

    On The Gist, two popes is one pope too many.In the interview, songs like “The Sign” and “I’ll Make Love to You” dominated the charts in 1994, but they weren’t all that emblematic of what was happening in music that year. Chris Molanphy has ideas as to why, and also opines on why there were so few number one singles that year—and why was Lisa Loeb considered alternative rock? Molanphy has answers, and is the host of the Hit Parade podcast. He also writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column.I...more

  • The Real Cost of Medicare for All

    Apr 12 2019

    On The Gist, the political parties of Israel. In the interview, Jean McConville’s murder in 1972—when The Troubles were at their bloodiest—sparked what few deaths did in Northern Ireland: a reckoning. The New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe joins us to give context to McConville’s death, from the various factions at war back then to the country’s incomplete reconciliation process and oddly rehabilitated politicians. Keefe is the author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern ...more

  • The Candace Owens Sideshow

    Apr 11 2019

    On The Gist, Candance Owens isn't digging herself out of this ahistorical, Hitler-relativizing hole. In the interview, Ian Chillag is back with another season of Everything Is Alive, a podcast where he interviews the everyday objects around us that we don’t think of. Chioke I’Anson is here too because he played a grain of sand with a surprising amount of philosophy packed in (he’s a philosopher himself). Is sand more Kantian or Heideggerian? And what’s it like to think as a collective? ...more

  • Misquoter in Chief

    Apr 10 2019

    On The Gist, Trump’s latest campaign video is wild. In the interview, Scotland’s Daniel Sloss churns out comedy specials at an almost alarming rate, completing his tenth at age 28. He’s here to talk about circumcision, Brexit, and why the left is doomed to eternally shoot itself in the foot. Sloss will be back in the United States in June of 2019, and his specials "Dark" & "Jigsaw” are on Netflix. In the Spiel, instant replay is a contentious part of refereeing, particularly at a champi...more

  • The Puppet Masters

    Apr 09 2019

    The worst part about the Trump administration’s high turnover? Every cabinet member is worse than the last. In the interview, Grigori Rasputin bent the ear of the last Russian tsar, manipulating affairs of state behind the scenes as he saw fit. But how did a man like him rise to such power? And what about his spiritual successors like Phil Spector or Tom Brady’s trainer? Amos Barshad, author of No One Man Should Have All That Power: How Rasputins Manipulate the World, has our ear.  In the S...more

  • Are Chiropractors Quacks?

    Apr 06 2019

    On The Gist, like every week in Trump’s America, this has been a wasted one. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” She talks chiropractors, whether or not cracking your back and neck is helpful, and what strokes have to do with it. Then, Mike’s own chiropractor, Jason Fidler, steps in to offer some adjustments to the conversation. In the Spiel, Mike offers up a Lobstar challenge.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • There’s No Real Dirt on the Dems So Far

    Apr 05 2019

    On The Gist, Mueller’s report (or much of it) is bound to go public. In the interview, Wright Thompson has his place on the Mount Rushmore of sports writers, and his signature form is the profile. Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Michael Jordan and the like are fascinating in their relationship to fame, but also in their ordinary flaws. “On some level these stories are all about exploring whether or not there is even such a thing as free will,” Thompson says. “I’m fascinated by the way things in our p...more

  • We All Need to Talk

    Apr 04 2019

    On The Gist, Trump should avoid healthcare. In the interview, Lori Gottlieb is a journalist and a therapist, and she’s here to discuss her new book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, why she became a therapist, how to deal with patients who’ve Googled you, and why therapists need therapy too. In the Spiel, the Joe Biden crisis isn’t a crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Societal Optimist

    Apr 03 2019

    On The Gist, calming down about Trump’s bombast. In the interview, Nicholas Christakis is here to discuss his new book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, how he studied the progression of goodness throughout human history, the way healthy communities evolve, and why shipwrecks were so important to his research. In the Spiel, the problem with microaggressions.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Thrilling Don Winslow

    Apr 02 2019

    On The Gist, Joe Biden’s nose nuzzle. In the interview, Don Winslow’s new book The Border is the final part of his trilogy on drug cartels. He’s here today to discuss the work, how it’s been twenty years in the making, and the difficulty of trying to get things right.  In the Spiel, Betsy DeVos’ indefensible Special Olympics funding cuts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • “Guest is God”

    Mar 30 2019

    On The Gist, the next wave of start-ups should be like the tech companies we have now, but with a conscience.   In the interview, filmmaker Anthony Maras is more wedded to a theme—people in extremis—than a form, and his latest is a thriller based on true events. Hotel Mumbai follows a band of diverse survivors holed up in the Taj, one of the targets in India's 2008 terrorist attacks. “Something kind of magical happened, which is all these barriers that usually divide people evaporated....more

  • Adam Schiff Is Not Okay

    Mar 29 2019

    On The Gist, Mike Pesca, in true hipster fashion, laments the end of Wow Air. In the interview, much of the news media was guilty of hyping up the knockout blow that Mueller’s report would deliver president Trump. But a few journalists on the left were always skeptical of the investigation’s origins and potential. Among them is Nation contributor Aaron Maté, who saw in the Mueller probe a distraction from the Democratic Party’s failure in 2016—and from the stories that really matter.   ...more

  • The Boeing Lesson

    Mar 28 2019

    On The Gist, Boeing is in a tight spot.   In the interview, the boxing match between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas was one for the ages. Everyone so expected Tyson to win that people weren’t even placing bets until the odds were 42 to 1. In the new 30 for 30 film 42 to 1, Gist guest Jeremy Schaap (and Ben Houser) explore this shocking upset and how the fight changed boxing and these fighters’ lives. In the Spiel, if we’re going to build a wall, how about the one between church and...more

  • Trump’s Post-Mueller Strategy

    Mar 27 2019

    On The Gist, the latest gridlock facing the Green New Deal should clue in its backers in Congress. In the interview, Huwe Burton was 16 years old when detectives browbeat him into a false confession of murder. He spent about 20 years in prison as a result, and found an outlet in the quarter-mile track that he and other inmates built their endurance on. Since his release and exoneration, he hasn’t stopped running. Burton’s story is told in a Lope Magazine article—"Innocent People Don’t Run”—by Li...more

  • The Mueller Report Report

    Mar 26 2019

    On The Gist, we should be willing to accept that the Barr letter and Mueller report won’t lead to any indictments. In the interview, David Priess, former CIA staffer and daily intelligence briefer for Robert Mueller, is here to talk about the Mueller report. What do we know? What questions are still unanswered? And where do we go from here? Priess’ latest book is How to Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives. In the Spiel, the Muelle...more

  • The Real March Madness Upset

    Mar 22 2019

    On The Gist, ISIS may be defeated, but the people who made up its forces aren’t gone.  In the interview, novelist John Lanchester is here to discuss his new novel The Wall, the symbolic and practical use of walls, and how closely we should pay attention to our dreams.  In the Spiel, Jim Nantz shouldn’t be in those Capital One commercials for March Madness.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Past and Future Biden

    Mar 22 2019

    On The Gist, who paid for those two Chinese-born tech magnates to take photos with Trump?  In the interview, Vanderbilt professor Jonathan Metzl is here to discuss his new book Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland. In the Spiel, litigating Biden’s past.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Solving Maternal Mortality

    Mar 21 2019

    On The Gist, have you heard about the mob hit that took place a few weeks ago? In the interview, journalist Sarah Kliff joins us to discuss maternal mortality rates in the United States, what California has done to fix it, and what the rest of the country should learn from them. Kliff is the host of Vox’s The Impact.  In the Spiel, Donald Trump on John McCain’s funeral.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What Merchants of Truth Gets Right

    Mar 20 2019

    On The Gist, it wouldn’t just be morally right for Trump to finally denounce white nationalism. It would be politically smart.In the interview, Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts was released to glowing reviews—but valid accusations of plagiarism and factual errors took some of that shine off. As Mike asks Abramson (a former executive editor of the New York Times), were the negative headlines so grabby that they’ve damned the book’s valuable insights...more

  • Beto Takes a Stand

    Mar 19 2019

    On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke, the countertop candidate. In the interview, historian Rutger Bregman got in a spat with Fox host Tucker Carlson, but you wouldn’t know it if it weren’t for his own video of the incident. Fox never aired it, as Bregman accused Carlson of carrying water for billionaires and Carlson responded with profane insults. Bregman joins the Gist to give us the backstory on that, but not before laying out some of the progressive economic policies—with basis in American history—tha...more

  • In New Zealand, the Internet at Its Worst

    Mar 16 2019

    On The Gist, Senator Thom Tillis’ op-ed, now with moral fiber!            In the interview, no one’s ever had to wonder what was on tech journalist Kara Swisher’s mind (she’ll just tell you) and that includes the litany of Silicon Valley oligarchs she’s interviewed. Swisher tells us how the modern world is very much shaped by company founders’ personality quirks and blind spots, what government regulation of Google and Facebook should look like, and what women can d...more

  • Manafort in Ostrich Court

    Mar 15 2019

    On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke is running for president. But should he? In the interview, Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico,  recently wrote a piece about Reps. Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips and the current divide in the Democratic party, “The Democrat’s Dilemma.” Alberta is here today to discuss the difficulty facing the Democratic party as some new members of Congress seem to be pushing the party further left and whether or not that’s a good thing. His upcoming book is Am...more

  • How to Close the Justice Gap

    Mar 14 2019

    On The Gist, three stray thoughts on the college admissions scandal. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back to talk about those naïve millennials. Last year many of them were duped into paying thousands for tickets to Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival, a glamorous event that existed in name only. That begs the question: Are millennials more susceptible to being scammed than other generations, or is that bullshit? In the Spiel, the rich and powerful often get off easy in the court of law (case i...more

  • The Fraud Squad

    Mar 13 2019

    On The Gist, Bill de Blasio flapping his arms to R. Kelly. In the interview, Sal Gentile writes for late night television, but he lives in president Trump’s mind around the clock. Every day he writes insights and jokes about Trump’s latest ramblings for “A Closer Look,” a segment on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. Gentile talks about his writing process—lots of jokes go into a first draft, but only a few make the cut—and how the instinct to laugh is itself a reliable bullshit detector. I...more

  • Let the Sun Shine in 2020

    Mar 12 2019

    On The Gist, much ado about a toothpick ban. In the interview, Wikipedia is famously edited by its own readers. And no one has made more contributions than Steven Pruitt. A third of English language pages on the site bear his mark! What goes into editing a Wikipedia page, and is it as toxic as other democratic spaces on the internet? In the Spiel, which Democratic candidate gets The Gist’s vote? The one to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.This episode is brought to you by Simplisafe. Start pr...more

  • American Carnage? It’s Real

    Mar 09 2019

    On The Gist, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Israel. In the interview, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal covered the deadly toll opiates take on poor American communities "long before it became fashionable because of Trump." He speaks to Purdue Pharma’s zealous campaign to push OxyContin (“a chemical cousin of heroin”, in the words of the New Yorker) onto doctors and patients—and the federal government’s failure to stop it. McGreal is the author of American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts. In the...more

  • The Endless Fact Check

    Mar 08 2019

    On The Gist, Stormy is in the news (but not that Stormy).In the interview, Donald Trump speaks many untruths every day, and someone has to track them all. Somehow that task has fallen to a Canadian. The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale is here to tell us what counts as a lie, why details matter, and how neither the left nor the right seem satisfied with his work.In the Spiel, theology isn’t all that interesting… unless there’s drama involved, of course.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...more

  • The Unbelievably Bad Michael Jackson Defense

    Mar 07 2019

    On The Gist, distracting Congress from H.R. 1. In the interview, sexual promiscuity is judged differently among men compared to women, and that goes double for sex addiction. Franco-Moroccan novelist Leïla Slimani’s latest protagonist, Adèle, knows that firsthand. Slimani joins us to talk about her relationship with her translator—and her own characters—and the French sex scandal that inspired her initial research.    In the Spiel, bad arguments are hard to believe, like those use...more

  • Top Chef, the Anti-Reality TV?

    Mar 06 2019

    On The Gist, Fox News isn’t distributing Trump’s talking points. Worse, it’s defining them. In the interview, reality TV typically thrives on drama and negativity. Top Chef isn’t necessarily an exception, but season 16 competitor David Viana says morale was high on set—and that that’s a good sign for the culinary world overall. “Better, healthier kitchens are popping up,” Viana says. “It isn’t the Gordon Ramsay style.” David Viana is the executive chef  of New Jersey’s Heirloom Kitchen. The...more

  • The Incoherent Right

    Mar 05 2019

    On The Gist, the White House PR machine. In the interview, John Carlin is a former Asst. Attorney General for the Dept. of Justice and former Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller, and his new book Dawn of the Code War tracks the rise of global cyber threats from Russia and China, and how our country is working to respond.  In the Spiel, the CPAC lets Trump get away with anything he wants. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Believing Jackson’s Accusers

    Mar 02 2019

    On The Gist, John Hickenlooper might be running for president. In the interview, Dan Reed reached out to Wade Robson and James Safechuck before #MeToo exploded, but its influence is clear. In the director’s documentary for HBO, Leaving Neverland, we hear again how the effects of sexual abuse—in this case, at the hands of Michael Jackson—can manifest in counterintuitive ways; Robson and Safechuck once shielded Jackson. Now they’re coming forward with their truth. In the Spiel, the House Over...more

  • Is AOC Post-Truth Too?

    Feb 28 2019

    On The Gist, the empty political rhetoric that is “everyday people.”In the interview, fact-checking is big business in the age of Trump. But one politician diametrically opposed to the president—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—is playing fast and loose with statistics too, and journalists have noticed. Should she be called out? NY Magazine’s Eric Levitz says it’s complicated.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Michael Cohen Isn’t Smart

    Feb 27 2019

    On the Gist, Michael Cohen is not a smart guy, and that makes his testimony all the more trustworthy. In the interview, Casey Burgat of R Street is here to talk about Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staff turnover data. Does she seem to churn through staff more than most, or are a few big exits skewing the numbers? And is it so bad to have high turnover anyway?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Spring Breaker Vote

    Feb 26 2019

    On The Gist, corn syrup and beer. In the interview, what’s the difference between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old? In terms of maturity, not so much. But only one of them has the right to vote. In Oregon, state Sen. Shemia Fagan is hoping to change that, and she’s letting young activists take the lead. In the Spiel, who wants to talk about reparations?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mayor for America

    Feb 26 2019

    On The Gist, asymmetric warfare means America’s got some pretty lame enemies. In the interview, women aren’t the only demographic group making the 2020 race especially diverse. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is considering a run for office; he’s a millennial, a veteran, and openly gay. We get his thoughts on the size of the Supreme Court and Congress, and his feelings about the humble penny. Buttigieg’s new book is Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Mod...more

  • Billionaire Bashing Is Just for Sport

    Feb 23 2019

    On The Gist, even with a genuinely good story, president Trump just can’t get his facts right. In the interview, his name is Mo Rocca, and he’s out with a new podcast of obituaries. So it’s only natural, of course, that it be called Mobituaries. His audio tributes can be for both people and things, including JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader and the humble station wagon. In the Spiel, America’s billionaires do some good, and they don’t make the rest of us any poorer.Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • A Show, But a Riddle Too

    Feb 22 2019

    On The Gist, the deep state or a shallow president? In the interview, director Leslye Headland has been on The Gist before, and is back for more. But unlike the protagonist of Russian Doll, her new Netflix show, he isn’t likely to find herself stuck in a time loop, reliving the same moments over and over again. Headland joins alongside Rebecca Henderson, who stars in the show. And, fun fact: the two are married! In the Spiel, Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.Learn more about your ad choice...more

  • The Viability of Bernie Sanders

    Feb 21 2019

    On The Gist, news should be new. In the interview, our resident vexillologist Ted Kaye is back to talk about San Francisco’s flag. Where does its design come from, and is it really the best modern representation of the city? Kaye’s book is Good Flag, Bad Flag. In the Spiel, Bernie Sanders and the viability of policy ideas.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Chinese Threat is Overblown

    Feb 20 2019

    On The Gist, Bernie is in. Are billionaires out?In the interview, president Trump may be the chief saber-rattler when it comes to China, but acting tough against the world’s second biggest economy is a bipartisan pastime. With challenges like global warming and nuclear armament on the line, Kaiser Kuo says, the U.S. might do better with cooperation instead of rivalry. Kuo is a co-founder of the Sinica podcast and the editor-at-large of SupChina.In the Spiel, algorithms aren’t just for Facebook—t...more

  • New York’s Bad Math

    Feb 15 2019

    On The Gist, racy names for missiles. In the interview, Chris Molanphy is here to talk about the Billboard hits of 1979, disco’s last hurrah, and how the year prepares for the coming wave of pop. Molanphy is the host of Hit Parade and writes the column Why Is This Song No. 1? In the Spiel, Amazon leaving New York City is a big loss but people don’t seem to realize it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Matt Braunger, Funny Dummy

    Feb 14 2019

    On The Gist, sometimes Howard Stern can be helpful. In the interview, stand-up comedian and podcaster Matt Braunger is here to discuss his new special Finally Live in Portland, his podcast Advice From a Dipshit, and whether or not he would eat racist fudge. In the Spiel, the human tragedy of losing animals.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Seconds

    Feb 13 2019

    On The Gist, Democratic leaders should slow down the next time a Virginia-sized fiasco comes along. In the interview, podcasters can storm off a set too—even if it’s their own. Words Matter host Adam Levine pressed his colleague Steve Schmidt on details about his advising gig for 2020 hopeful Howard Schultz. And it wasn’t just because that posed a possible conflict of interest for the political podcast; Levine says his regular listeners wanted answers on the guy who, in their eyes, could get eno...more

  • Open Season For America’s Wars

    Feb 12 2019

    On The Gist, if president Trump wanted to denounce bullying, he could have done better than inviting a boy named Trump (no relation) to the State of the Union address. In 2001, Congress gave president Bush a nearly blank check for command of an American military bent on punishing the terrorist groups directly (and not so directly) responsible for 9/11. The Authorization for Use of Military Force still benefits U.S. presidents, and few in Congress today seek to curb it. Our guest, Democratic Sen....more

  • Quoth the Maven

    Feb 09 2019

    On The Gist, wise words from the mouth of Jeff Bezos… by way of Amazon’s Alexa. In the interview, green energy may be clean, but that doesn’t mean its infrastructure is any less garish. Energy reporter Amy Harder reminds us that one of the lesser-discussed obstacles to a Green New Deal is good old-fashioned nimbyism: “A lot of people don’t like power lines being constructed right in their backyards.” Harder covers energy for Axios, and writes its Harder Line column. In the Spiel, it may fee...more

  • The Green New Deal Is a Dream

    Feb 08 2019

    On The Gist, don’t lick people you work with. In the interview, reading a whole book is great, but sometimes all you need is the introduction. Author Elisa Gabbert thinks so, and joins us to talk about intros and other “front matter”; a novel that unfolds over the course of an escalator ride; and how sitcoms have thrown our beauty barometers out of whack. Gabbert is the author of The Word Pretty. In the Spiel, the Green New Deal needs more scrutiny before it moves forward.Learn more about y...more

  • The State of the Union is… Overrated

    Feb 07 2019

    On The Gist, who oh who will govern the state of Virginia? In the interview, when Roger McNamee jumped in as an early investor in Facebook, he might not have figured he’d end up testifying about the company in front of Congress. McNamee charts Facebook’s worrying evolution in his new book: Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.In the Spiel, the State of the Union address is like baseball’s All-Star Game. Flashy, but without consequence.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm...more

  • The Culture of Wealth

    Feb 06 2019

    On The Gist, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still doesn’t understand puns. In the interview, Lauren Greenfield has been documenting the wealthy for the past 25 years and has finally turned that into her new film Generation Wealth, an exploration of the rise of wealth culture and the implications it has on those immersed in it. Can money really make you happy? Is there any way for the rest of us to ascend to wealthy status? Would we even want to? Generation Wealth is currently available on Amazon.  In th...more

  • To Russia With Love

    Feb 05 2019

    On The Gist, parsing president Trump’s one-on-one press interviews may be a fool’s errand, but at least it’s a fun one.In the interview, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller has reported from the murkiest depths of the Trump swamp. He’s on The Gist to talk about Russia’s connections to the Trump campaign, the challenges of covering a hostile White House, and what he suspects Putin really has on Trump. Miller is the author of The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.In ...more

  • This Festival Was Fyre

    Feb 02 2019

    On The Gist, throwback to Mike Pesca's unnecessarily censored yearbook quote. In the interview, Seth Crossno, also known by his online persona William Needham Finley IV, thought it would be fun to go to the Fyre Festival with his buddies. And while the festival might have been a mess, being a part of two competing documentaries about the experience and winning a lawsuit about it was quite the trip. Crossno is here to discuss what it was like, and why he doesn’t understand how people found Fyre F...more

  • Kids Are Weird. You Can Be Weird Too.

    Jan 31 2019

    On The Gist, get off of your phone and out of my way when it’s snowing.  In the interview, there’s no one right way to raise a child, but a few hacks sure help. Podcaster, author, and mother Hillary Frank gives you permission to do what it takes to make your kid’s childhood easier on you, including turning tasks into games and telling white lies (call pork “chicken” if that’s all they’ll eat). Hillary Frank is the creator of The Longest Shortest Time and the author of Weird Parenting Wins.&...more

  • Medicare for All, Dissent From None

    Jan 31 2019

    On The Gist, this one is brought to you by the letter T. In the interview, does using a stool really help your stool? Can the Squatty Potty offer any actual health benefits or is that smooth dookie all in your mind? Maybe the contraption’s popular just because it rhymes… Anyway, Maria Konnikova is here to judge, appropriately, whether that is bullshit. In the Spiel, Medicare is only a minefield if Democrats make it one.This episode is brought to you by Capterra. Try it today, for free, at Capter...more

  • E Pluribus Unum, Still?

    Jan 30 2019

    On The Gist, “the big game” is a dumb way to refer to the Super Bowl.If you were to pick a moment in U.S. history that put it on the path to polarization, you could do worse than Watergate. What followed were the blue and red bubbles staked out by CNN in the '80s, Fox News in the '90s, and social media in the 2000s. Princeton professors Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer lived through that history, created a course on it, and cover it in their new book,Fault Lines: A History of the United States Sin...more

  • Stone Cold Weirdos

    Jan 29 2019

    On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi is a skilled politician, sure… but she’s scoring her wins against an incompetent one in president Trump. In the interview, we obsess about the lives of stars, but what about their not-so-famous siblings? Comedy Central’s The Other Two focuses on the brother and sister of a pre-teen who rocketed to pop stardom. Drew Tarver plays one of those siblings, and discusses what it’s like living in the shadow of a more famous family member (not just in this role, but in real life...more

  • Big Tent Primaries

    Jan 26 2019

    On The Gist, pairing 2020 candidates with this or that Oscar-nominated film.In the interview, don’t take a shot every time Donna Brazile calls herself one of the Democratic Party’s “original gangsters.” But it’s true: she’s been at the heart of its workings for decades. In 2020, she plans on keeping out of the Democratic primaries, all while keeping up with the many rule changes they’ve adopted since 2016. Brazile is the co-author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics.In the Spiel, a...more

  • Digital Journalism, a Market Failure

    Jan 25 2019

    On The Gist, Necco Wafers are out this Valentine’s Day, but don’t shed a tear. In the interview, some movies live for the twist. Steven Knight’s latest film, Serenity, is ostensibly about a sea captain’s Melvillian obsessions. Knight joins us to talk about how Matthew McConaughey gets it right, Saint Lucia, and writing screenplays in a detached state of mind (“It’s almost like accessing whatever the hell it is that creates dreams”). In the Spiel, journalists are losing their jobs. And there...more

  • The Dismissal of Kamala Harris

    Jan 24 2019

    On The Gist, you can’t give Ann Coulter a win.  Rick Pitino is a former American basketball coach who experienced a number of scandals in the past few years, leading him to leave America for the Greek Basket League. But how did a renowned basketball coach find himself coaching in Greece? Journalist Michael Sokolove is here with the story. Sokolove’s new book is The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino: A Story of Corruption, Scandal, and the Big Business of College Basketball. In the Spiel, ...more

  • Will #MeToo Face the Music?

    Jan 23 2019

    On The Gist, Joni Ernst’s divorce filing. When Jessica Hopper started out writing about music, trolls and affronted fans didn’t tweet at you; they wrote you a letter. The world’s move to digital has changed that, and helped bring about the #MeToo movement (notice the hashtag?). But despite R. Kelly’s fall, Hopper says the rest of the music industry may prove resistant to change. Hopper is the author of a new memoir, Night Moves. In the Spiel, the Covington Catholic teens aren't the disease,...more

  • For 2020, Steve King Is Dead Weight

    Jan 19 2019

    On The Gist, BuzzFeed’s new report on Trump.  Earlier this week Rep. Steve King was denounced by much of his party because of remarks he gave to the New York Times about white supremacy. He may have misspoken or chosen to change his wording if given the chance, but according to the Storm Lake Times’ Art Cullen, who has been covering King for years in Iowa and recently wrote about King in the Guardian, that’s just not his style. But his straight talk won’t work in Iowa if it’s riddled with d...more

  • Know Your Memes, or Be Fooled by Them

    Jan 18 2019

    On the Gist, the knife-wielding skills of Nancy Pelosi. In the interview, An Xiao Mina has tracked the meme from its goofy origins to its use in anti-authoritarian protest and (more recently) disinformation. What’s next, and how can we minimize the harm caused by the internet’s worst actors? An Xiao Mina is the author of Memes to Movements: How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power.      In the Spiel, Pelosi can’t go to Afghanistan because Trump is...more

  • Tax Their Stuff, Not Their Money

    Jan 17 2019

    On The Gist, Kirsten Gillibrand running for president. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently floated the idea of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners. That’s bad for millionaires, but is it even that good for everyone else? The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson argues it isn’t: High taxes wouldn’t rake in that much cash, and they might even scare taxpayers out of the country. Still, he’s clear-eyed about the dangers of concentrated money and thinks a wealth tax (on the value of ...more

  • Stop Going Nuclear

    Jan 16 2019

    On The Gist, ’twas an eventful news day (William Barr, opioid fatality statistics, Brexit … ), but Mike’s got a big Spiel to fry.In the interview, Greg Jaczko served as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Obama—and soon grew disillusioned with nuclear energy technology itself. He joins us to explain what changed his thinking and where to turn for tomorrow’s energy. Jaczko’s new book is Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator. In the Spiel, a thought experiment in which...more

  • Against Steve King, Words Aren’t Enough

    Jan 15 2019

    On The Gist, president Trump is far from tough on Russia, and too many news talk shows let his allies make that claim.In the interview, Jennifer Traig thought she knew what she was getting into when she became a parent, until “washing diarrhea out of neckfolds” came along. In her latest book, she turns to history to sort the parenting techniques and philosophies that are worth keeping from those that aren’t. Traig is the author of Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting.In ...more

  • The Future (of A.I.) Is Chinese

    Jan 12 2019

    On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s star power isn’t something to fear. Especially if you’re a Democrat. “The world is a very dangerous place!” as a statement from President Donald Trump’s desk once put it. Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer gets that, which is why his firm writes a list of top geopolitical risks at the start of every year. In 2019, these include America’s response to growing tech and A.I. dominance from China, presidential elections in Ukraine and Nigeria, and cyberwar. Br...more

  • When Fact Meets Fiction

    Jan 11 2019

    On The Gist, costs and benefits in the government. In the interview, Matthew Heineman is here to discuss his new film A Private War. Though usually a documentary filmmaker, this time around he tried his hand at a feature. Focused on the life of journalist Marie Colvin, it’s surprising how many documentary techniques Heineman employed when making the film, which uniquely fits the story being told. A Private War will be available on Feb. 5. In the Spiel, the rhyming Kellyanne Conway.This episode i...more

  • The Kids Are Not All Right

    Jan 10 2019

    On The Gist, the days are getting longer, the brand names shorter.In the interview, millennial whisperer (or, you know, just plain millennial) Anne Helen Petersen recently diagnosed “the burnout generation” in a viral feature for BuzzFeed. Student debt, the 2008 financial crisis, relatively low levels of family wealth—all have contributed to their dire straits. But could their biggest burden be a mental one?In the Spiel, President Trump’s unsurprisingly empty Oval Office address.This episode is ...more

  • Addressing the Facts

    Jan 09 2019

    On The Gist, do presidential addresses change anything? In the interview, NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to talk about Donald Trump’s Oval Office address. Should the networks give airtime to someone so averse to facts, even if he is the president? Is there any precedent for this? And what repercussions for lying will Trump face, if any? In the Spiel, 5G networks. This episode is brought to you by Slack, the collaboration hub for work. Learn more at Slack.com.Learn more about your...more

  • The Likeability Illusion

    Jan 08 2019

    On The Gist, news networks should do us a favor and not air Trump’s prime-time speech on Tuesday night.In the interview, Greg Sargent is an indispensable voice for anyone looking to grasp the inner workings of American democracy. In his new book, he argues that compromise is possible even on issues as stark as voter suppression (the implementers are all Republican on this one, folks). Sargent’s book is An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome...more

  • What’s Wrong With Motherf---er?

    Jan 05 2019

    On The Gist, works produced 75 years ago are now entering the public domain. And some are what 2019 would call “problematic.”David Bowie once sang that we can all be heroes … but villainy is where it’s really at. In the Ringer podcast Villains, host Shea Serrano and his guests analyze film’s best baddies to figure out their true motives and chances at redemption. What makes The Silence of the Lambs’Hannibal Lecter the most memorable villain of all? How justified is Amy Dunne in Gone Girl? And ar...more

  • There’s Something in the Water

    Jan 04 2019

    On The Gist, what do Kim Jong-un’s letters and Shaquille O’Neal sneakers have in common? In the interview, you’ve likely heard of microplastics, but are they something to worry about? Maria Konnikova is here with answers in another round of “Is That Bullshit?”. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time.In the Spiel, and in New York City, even shutting down a subway train comes with delays.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Impeachment Is a Real Crapshoot

    Jan 03 2019

    On The Gist, the government shutdown continues. In the interview, impeachment proceedings have never removed a president from office (in Bill Clinton’s case, they even offered a bump in approval ratings). So is it really the best route for those who see nothing but rot in Trump’s presidency? Lawfare Institute COO David Priess surveys the options in his latest book, How to Get Rid of a President: History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives. In the Spiel, Louis C.K. an...more

  • Andy Serkis, Motion Capture Master

    Dec 28 2018

    On The Gist, Mike Pesca is leaving Facebook, mostly. In the interview, Andy Serkis is here to discuss his newest movie, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, along with the film’s star Rohan Chand. They talk about the magic of working in motion capture, how it really isn’t all that different from other types of acting, and what it was like jumping on Christian Bale’s back. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is available on Netflix.   In the Spiel, finding the appropriate punishments for things like ...more

  • The Babies Are Not All Right

    Dec 28 2018

    On The Gist, why do daily news podcasts think they can take off for the holidays? In the interview, journalist Priska Neely has been writing about the rates of black infant mortality and why they’re so much higher than American infant mortality rates overall. She joins us today to discuss the possible reasons, including community support systems, health care–related problems, and how racism factors into it all. In the Spiel, Donald Trump visits Iraq and says a lot.This episode is brought to you ...more

  • The Same Old Mike, Plus The New One

    Dec 22 2018

    On The Gist, Donald Trump is to "wall" as zombies are to "braaaains."In his Broadway show (The New One) Mike Birbiglia tells you why procreation is a terrible idea, before waxing lyrical on the joys of raising a daughter—it’s complicated; he’s complicated. On The Gist, he spares a thought for how to tip at an Olive Garden, the future of email leaks, and Fox News’ underwhelming Christmas tree.In the Spiel, abandoning arguments of good (or bad) faith.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...more

  • Free Money for Everyone?

    Dec 21 2018

    On The Gist, Amazon or marijuana? In the interview, Andrew Yang has declared his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, and his platform is universal basic income. But how does that work? Is there room for that and other progressive platforms like free college tuition or universal health care? Yang’s new book is The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. In the Spiel, thought experiments and the extinction of th...more

  • Adam Keeps Ruining Everything

    Dec 20 2018

    On The Gist, the government shutdown and Santa. In the interview, Adam Conover joins us to discuss the latest season of Adam Ruins Everything, how they ruin things like guns and mattresses, the mistakes they’ve made along the way, and if there are any topics they aren’t allowed to cover. Adam Ruins Everything airs on Tuesday nights on truTV. In the Spiel, Alice Walker, the New York Times, and narratives.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Alt-Right Downturn

    Dec 19 2018

    On The Gist, why Mick Mulvaney’s trash talk didn’t cost him a job under Trump.In the interview, is the alt-right waning? An expert on the movement, George Hawley, says that de-platforming worked to counter hateful figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones and that the news media may have overestimated their cunning—throwing memes at the wall until some of them stick—to begin with. Hawley is a professor of politics at the University of Alabama and the author of The Alt-Right: What Everyone Ne...more

  • Don’t Trust the Stars

    Dec 18 2018

    On The Gist, maybe Rudy Giuliani isn’t deteriorating. Rather, his job now (defending Trump’s shenanigans) is tougher than any he’s had.Maria Konnikova is back to call bullshit on astrology. She walks us through its origins in ancient Chaldea, its popularity among history’s scientists and philosophers, and the present day—where real experiments have been run. Is there any truth to it? And what about just enjoying the fun of it all?In the Spiel, goodbye Ryan Zinke. We knew ye well enough.Learn mor...more

  • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    Dec 15 2018

    On The Gist, the demise of the Weekly Standard. Then, going with your gut isn’t always best (despite what President Donald Trump may tell you). Writer Steven Johnson says making better decisions can be as simple as considering multiple options instead of focusing on the “should I” or “shouldn’t I.” He’s also got anecdotes about Darwin’s marital deliberations, machine learning, and the call to storm the fortress in which Osama Bin Laden (“probably,” Americans figured) was ensconced. Johnson is th...more

  • One Quiet Leap for Mankind

    Dec 14 2018

    On The Gist, Jeff Bezos is one rich man. That doesn’t make him (and Amazon) bad for New York City.In the interview, First Man is as much about Neil Armstrong the man as it is about Neil Armstrong the astronaut. Instead of depicting him planting a U.S. flag on the moon, screenwriter Josh Singer had him pay tribute to his deceased daughter. That ruffled some feathers, and Singer tells us why he stands by it.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When the President Speaks …

    Dec 13 2018

    On The Gist, President Trump interrupted Nancy Pelosi because he interrupts everyone.In the interview, the deputy executive director of U.N. Women, Åsa Regnér, knows how to bring more women into politics. Countries like Bolivia, Rwanda, and those in Scandinavia have achieved more equal representation. So how useful are quotas? Does religion play a role? How can gender parity be seen not just as a rights issue but something smarter for policymaking, the economy, and the health of the country?In t...more

  • Halls of Fame Need Diversity, Too

    Dec 12 2018

    On The Gist, it’s tough to find a host for the Oscars.In the interview, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can quickly become incestuous, since past winners get to vote on future inductees. But this year’s 15 nominees break the mold of guitar-slinging dudes with long hair. Sure, Def Leppard is in the running, but so are LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, and Kraftwerk. Music critic Chris Molanphy himself has a vote, and tells us what his ballot looks like. Molanphy is the host of the Slate podcast Hit Para...more

  • They Can’t Hear You, Theresa

    Dec 11 2018

    On The Gist, the bottomless Pinocchio. Americans are filled with anxiety in the pursuit of happiness, and social media isn’t making it any better. But how do we even define happy, and will changing our online habits actually change anything? Author Ruth Whippman, who wrote about the phenomenon in the recent New York Times piece, “Everything Is for Sale Now. Even Us.,” joins us to discuss.In the Spiel, the Brexit vote.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • High Time for Impeachment?

    Dec 08 2018

    On The Gist, the GOP isn’t overtly racist. But it once was.In the interview, Liz Holtzman was the youngest woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and she did it in 1973. She also served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee as they held impeachment hearings for Richard Nixon. In her new book, The Case For Impeaching Trump, she explains what exactly is required to impeach a president and why Trump’s actions might have already justified those proceedings.In the Spiel, it’s tim...more

  • The Walk of the Town

    Dec 07 2018

    On The Gist, is Sherrod Brown annoying? In the interview, Matt Green is on a yearslong mission to walk all the streets of New York City—and Jeremy Workman filmed him doing many of them for a documentary, The World Before Your Feet. Alongside Workman and executive producer Jesse Eisenberg, Green talks about Staten Island’s ordinary charm, the odd street-naming conventions of Queens, and how a life of perpetual walking makes dating pretty hard. In the Spiel, PETA. Learn more about your a...more

  • The Eulogy Myth

    Dec 06 2018

    On The Gist, stop wishing Jews happy holidays if Hanukkah has already passed. How do you explain wit? James Geary attempted to answer that question with his new book, Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It, but quickly found that the only way to write about comedy is to write comedy. He joins us to discuss the difficulties of examining this subject, the various types of wit, and why Buster Keaton is a master of the form.In the Spiel, eulogies are the best part of any funeral, p...more

  • Sullying a Pup’s Good Name

    Dec 05 2018

    On The Gist, a “tariff man” sing-along! Then, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” She and Mike discuss the cigar-shaped space object (known as ‘Oumuamua) picked up by astronomers last year. Was it an alien vehicle, or just another flying rock?In the Spiel, Mike proudly backs the Slate stance: George H.W. Bush’s service dog probably wasn’t mourning him.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wild Wild Story

    Dec 04 2018

    On The Gist, in doing less than his son did in the Middle East, George H.W. Bush did better.In the interview, Wild Wild Country was one of the year’s most riveting documentaries. But one of its sources, journalist Les Zaitz, argues that it pulls punches on the cult that overtook a small town in Oregon, committed the biggest bioterror attack in American history, and had designs to assassinate its critics.In the Spiel, taking stock of George H.W. Bush’s legacy.Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...more

  • Very Legal, Very Cool

    Dec 01 2018

    On The Gist, should people be let go for one bad idea? 30 for 30 has been a hugely successful documentary series in both video and audio form for ESPN. Jody Avirgan sits at its podcast helm with a new season covering stories like Jose Canseco’s steroid use, the 2003 World Series of Poker, and Japanese baseball player Hideo Nomo trying to join the Major League. He also hosts FiveThirtyEight’s political podcast, offering fresh and smart insight wherever he can. Avirgan joins us today to talk the d...more

  • How to Shoot a Fight

    Nov 30 2018

    On The Gist, cows are beef, even if they’ve reached internet fame.In the interview, Steven Caple Jr. watched everything from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies to street-fight videos before directing Creed II, the latest film in the Rocky franchise. He joins The Gist to talk about how to shoot a fight scene, his favorite Rocky villains, and Michael B. Jordan’s rising star.In the Spiel, Michael Cohen squeals, and we all learn once again that President Trump does not, sadly, tell it like it is.Learn mor...more

  • The Parent Police

    Nov 29 2018

    On The Gist, the Nancy Pelosi nonstory (spoiler alert: she’s going to win the speakership) is distracting us from the Trump administration’s latest misdeeds.In the interview, Kim Brooks received 100 hours of community service in 2011 for leaving her son alone in a car during a quick errand. Then she connected with other parents who’d been policed by their community in harmful ways. Do Americans worry so much about the safety of children that they’re blind to common sense? Brooks explores this, a...more

  • Would the U.S. Win World War III?

    Nov 28 2018

    On The Gist, Cindy Hyde-Smith is on the MAGA wagon. In the interview, the U.S. has long been the global leader in military spending. But is that enough to guarantee victory in a war against Russia, China, or both? Aaron Mehta covers the Pentagon for Defense News and has written about a bipartisan commission’s new report on America’s readiness for big conflicts.In the Spiel, terrible arguments obscuring bad ideas.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Make Voting Rights Sexy Again

    Nov 27 2018

    On The Gist, Danielle Pletka’s thoughts on climate change and Saudi Arabia.In the interview, the Republican Party’s voter suppression isn’t the result of philosophy or values—it just helps them win. In making the fight over voting rights public, Democrats have two advantages: It’s obviously the right thing to do, and it would help them compete up and down the ballot. Our guest Dave Weigel writes The Trailer, a newsletter on electoral politics for the Washington Post.In the Spiel,  the crisi...more

  • Obesity, and You, and Me!

    Nov 21 2018

    On The Gist, the state of the runoff Senate election down in Mississippi.Fat shaming is inexcusable. But so is denying some of the health problems that come with being obese. Maria Konnikova gives us a pre-Thanksgiving report on the latest science and reminds us that obesity in the U.S. is driven by social “superforces” more than by personal choices. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.In the Spiel, yes, it’s absolutely OK to laugh (or shake one’s head in...more

  • The Many, Many Ways to Think About Running

    Nov 21 2018

    On The Gist, a historian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Why not?When a young Peter Sagal was labeled “not great at sports,” it didn’t sit well with him. But if that drove him to running in the first place, he now has plenty of reasons to keep up the pace—not the least of which is that it’s a good thing to think, talk, and write about. Sagal is the host of NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! and the author of The Incomplete Book of Running.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...more

  • Uncle Verne Pulls Up a Chair

    Nov 20 2018

    On The Gist, violent, vicious, and terrible. These are a few of Trump’s favorite words.In the interview: Verne Lundquist announced sports games for decades. But in retirement, he has more time for classical music than whatever game is on TV. “I’m not a passionate sports fan,” he says. “I’ve got X number of years to live in this life—let’s experience as much of it as we can.” Lundquist is the author of Play by Play: Calling the Wildest Games in Sports—From SEC Football to College Basketball, the ...more

  • Ben Stiller’s Big Prison Break

    Nov 17 2018

    On The Gist, President Donald Trump has finally made a nomination for ambassador to South Africa. And it is a terrible one.It’s hard to make comedy when your story, like Ben Stiller’s latest direction, is based on a state inspector general’s report. Escape at Dannemora is drama through and through, based on the prison break of two men, aided by a female employee (and lover), from New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility. Stiller talks filming bad sex, turning villains into heroes, and what makes...more

  • Cult Classic

    Nov 15 2018

    On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi and new House leadership.Then, the self-help organization known as NXIVM had thousands of paying customers, but only some were involved in the cultish operations that, once exposed, brought it crashing down. In Uncover: Escaping NXIVM, host Josh Bloch follows one of the company’s unknowing recruiters, who disavowed the group and became central to the ongoing FBI charges against its founder, Keith Raniere. We also hear from Susan Dones, another former member of NXIVM.In ...more

  • Priming New York for Amazon

    Nov 15 2018

    On The Gist, who’s running in 2020? Should we even speculate yet? Time for another segment of Mike debates Slate. Staff writer Henry Grabar is here to discuss Amazon’s choice of New York City, why people seem to keep misunderstanding what subsidies are, and how the benefits of Amazon moving to Long Island City outweigh the costs to the city. In the Spiel, Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials and asking multipart questions at press conferences.Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...more

  • More Show Than Showdown

    Nov 14 2018

    On The Gist, when will everyone stop walking and chewing gum at the same time? In the interview, it may have been a political stunt ahead of the midterms, but president Trump’s deployment of U.S. service members to the border continues. What are they even up to? Veteran and writer Jack Murphy fills in the details, including how the mission is being received in the military community at large. Murphy is the editor in chief of NEWSREP.In the Spiel, Amazon’s news and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.L...more

  • The Love of the (Basketball) Game

    Nov 13 2018

    On The Gist, what kind of sped-up sports replays is Kellyanne Conway watching?The simplicity of basketball is also its genius, allowing players to exercise skill, heart, genius and passion in endlessly creative ways. Dan Klores embraces just that in his ESPN documentary Basketball: A Love Story and talks about specific players, the NBA’s leaders, and why short players deserve more credit.In the Spiel, the DCCC may smack of establishment power, but it was damn effective at flipping House seats fo...more

  • Two Countries, at the Cost of One

    Nov 10 2018

    On The Gist, by any previous standard, we’d be saying that President Donald Trump lost the midterms, plain and simple.In the interview, Tuesday’s midterms saw red states get redder and blue ones bluer. If results like those keep repeating themselves, Slate panelists—Dahlia Lithwick, Jamelle Bouie, and Jim Newell, hosted live in New York by Mike Pesca—say America could soon feel like two distinct legal worlds.In the Spiel, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was a tight end at the University of...more

  • In a Political Bind? Call Bradley Tusk

    Nov 09 2018

    On The Gist, the Democrats’ big win.Bradley Tusk has been in the background everywhere. His hand guided the rise of big political and tech brands, from advising Rod Blagojevich not to extort Rahm Emanuel to facilitating Uber’s explosive growth. He joins us to discuss his political savvy saving campaigns and startups and why he’s so passionate about voting with your smartphone. Tusk’s new book is The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups From Death by Politics. In the Spiel, misunderstanding ...more

  • A Congresswoman Speaks

    Nov 08 2018

    On The Gist, was last night a wave or not? If congresswoman Jackie Speier still kept a gratitude journal (“I don’t have time to do it!”), it would include an entry about the Democratic Party reclaiming the House in Tuesday’s midterms. Instead she’s out with a new memoir—Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back—and brings details on how her party’s majority will put the squeeze on President Donald Trump.In the Spiel, Donald Trump’s latest press conference.Learn more ab...more

  • Just Ask Mimi

    Nov 07 2018

    On The Gist, who gets to vote? Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic at the New York Times, has had a prolific career sharing her opinion on everything like ladyfinger sellers, hope chests and china patterns, and why we’re all eating kale wrong. She joins us today to talk her career as a food critic, why smelt isn’t a crowd pleaser, and the importance of eating as a family. She’s a delight on the Ask Mimi episodes of the Sporkful, and her most recent book is 1,000 Food to Eat Before You Di...more

  • What Newt Gingrich Wrought

    Nov 06 2018

    On The Gist, live, from Slate, it’s a post-apocalyptic skit that just might come to pass if you don’t vote on Tuesday.In the interview, for decades, there was no need to hope for (or fear) a blue wave; until 1994, the Democratic Party enjoyed a 40-year monopoly on the House of Representatives. Then came Newt Gingrich, who engineered the Republican sweep of the lower chamber, and who looms large in our guest Steve Kornacki’s latest book, The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political ...more

  • Root for the Dummy

    Nov 02 2018

    On The Gist, the Republican tax bill and insurance premiums.In the interview: a third-century monk, Paul Revere’s horse, and Death himself … all are characters in humorist Simon Rich’s latest book, Hits and Misses: Stories—and none are in on the joke. “I always related to the characters like Homer Simpson that knew less than they should,” Rich says. “As a child those are the ones that I found more sympathetic and more rootable.” In the Spiel, the unemployment numbers, and the lies we’ve tol...more

  • American Tribes

    Nov 01 2018

    On The Gist, Pew’s analysis of European opinion surveys is out. Let’s look at Greece!In the interview, the American electorate has come to sort itself not just on political issues, but by worldview. Life is either a gauntlet of hazards (say Republicans) or an array of sights to see (as the Dems think). In their latest book, Prius or Pickup?, political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler warn that these philosophical differences are sharper than what separated the voting blocs of pre...more

  • Hate Counts

    Oct 31 2018

    On The Gist, Trump’s xenophobic campaign, with a Spooktacular twist!In the interview, hate is hard to measure, but the Southern Poverty Law Center paints a picture of growing prejudice in America. Heidi Beirich and the organization’s Intelligence Project go beyond FBI and Department of Justice statistics to include press reports and even tips from the public.In the Spiel, swing, baby, swing (we’re talking about congressional districts).Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...more

  • Signed, Sealed, Forgotten

    Oct 31 2018

    On The Gist, Mike’s bottom five causes. In the interview, we rewind to the story of the mail bomber, which was quickly eclipsed by a massacre in Pittsburgh and one loud president. Steve Johnson, who directs Cranfield University’s Forensic Explosive and Explosion Investigation program in the U.K., provides details about Cesar Sayoc’s homemade devices. In the Spiel, Trump’s desire to end birthright citizenship.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • For Every Brand, a Backstory

    Oct 30 2018

    On The Gist, surprise surprise, right-wing commentators aren’t apologizing for getting the mail bomber story totally wrong.In the interview, brands don’t make it big by mistake. Behind the success of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte and Jell-O are stories worth hearing. Dan Bobkoff’s podcast for Business Insider, Household Name, explores the odd origins of TGI Fridays, the reason there’s a Mattress Firm on every corner, and how a Donald Trump ad may have saved Pizza Hut (it’s all about the stuffed...more

  • The Blue Blizzard

    Oct 26 2018

    On The Gist, the man in the van is a sad man indeed.  Harry Enten is a senior writer and analyst for CNN Politics and steeped in the polling data for the election. Will Beto O’Rourke beat Ted Cruz?  Is the blue wave cresting early? And why do Democrats care about Hamilton? Enten joins us to discuss, and his more detailed forecast can be found online here.  In the Spiel, time for another antentwig. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Et Tu, NBC?

    Oct 25 2018

    On The Gist, Georgia’s exact match law is an extra hurdle for those with hyphenated last names, which, let us speculate, may be more common among black Americans.In the interview, CNBC contributor Ron Insana on Dow drops, market swings, and the uncertain rise of the job-stealing robots.In the Spiel, Megyn Kelly’s reportedly been fired for her latest faux pas. What did NBC expect when they hired her?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Blame It on the Mailer

    Oct 24 2018

    On The Gist, Megyn Kelly’s take on blackface was obviously wrong … and wrong for NBC’s messaging.Sleep isn’t for the weak; it’s for those who want their brains flushed of misfolded proteins and fatigue-inducing adenosine. If that sounds like mumbo-jumbo, Maria Konnikova is here to explain it all and answer one question: Is the prescription for precisely eight hours of sleep bullshit?In the Spiel, President Trump riles up his base in all kinds of ways, but we can’t honestly blame the recent spate...more

  • Something in the Water

    Oct 24 2018

    On The Gist, first we’ve got misleading statistics.  In 2016, Art Cullen wrote a series of editorials for the Storm Lake Times, a small newspaper in Iowa, uncovering the murky depths of a fight between local and state governments about water pollution. They followed the money, and discovered a fight funded by agricultural corporations, and ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen’s new book is Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope From a Heartland ...more

  • The NFL Mafia

    Oct 23 2018

    On The Gist, ’tis the season (elections!) for baseless political analysis, courtesy of big network news.Americans spend countless hours watching football, but what do they know about the owners of their favorite teams? In Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times, Mark Leibovich covers the exclusive billionaire boys’ club and the “very unimpressive group of inherited misfits” that fills its ranks.In the Spiel, CNN’s Van Jones was way too chummy with interview guest Jared Kushner on Monday morning.Lea...more

  • Prison Guard Confidential

    Oct 20 2018

    On The Gist, Europeans are fighting over daylight saving time, which is way better than having a World War.Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer has been on both sides of a prison’s bars. After spending two years as a political prisoner in Iran, he returned to the U.S. and got a job as a private prison guard. His real aim, of course, was to report on why the American prison system—private and public—is broken. Bauer’s new book is American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of ...more

  • Land of (Only Some) Opportunity

    Oct 18 2018

    On The Gist, Democrats might actually be winning. Supporters of open immigration policy—and immigrants themselves—often have a rosy view of what awaits them in the United States. National Review executive editor (and Slate alumnus) Reihan Salam says high costs of living can put immigrants in debt rather than on a path to the middle class. “When we’re totally sentimental about this, we miss some of those struggles, and those struggles are inconvenient. People don’t want to hear about them.” Salam...more

  • Myth Management

    Oct 18 2018

    On The Gist, bone saws and Jamal Khashoggi. When Joe Hagan began working on the story of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone, Wenner was on board. But as Wenner slowly realized Hagan was writing the true story rather than Wenner’s story, things got a bit rough. Hagan joins us to discuss Wenner, reactions since publication, and the tricks of writing about a narcissist. Hagan’s book is Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine. In the Spiel, the civility of debate...more

  • Between a Rock and a Funny Place

    Oct 17 2018

    On The Gist, Saudi Arabia, Trump, and Jamal Khashoggi. Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman has had a post-scandal Louis C.K. take to his stage six times now. Why does he welcome him, and if he doesn’t draw the line at Louis, is it somewhere else? In the Spiel, the death of Nevada Republican candidate Dennis Hof. This episode is brought to you by Merrill Lynch. Get started today at ML.com/you.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Bare Necessities? Not in Alaska.

    Oct 16 2018

    On The Gist, unpacking CNN’s list of top Democratic challengers ahead of 2020.Katmai National Park and Preserve’s publicity stunt worked: For one week (that’s Fat Bear Week), the internet delighted in the tournament bracket that would crown the plumpest predator of them all. Carnivore ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant tells us about the brown bear’s diet, the unknown mechanics of hibernation, and why fattest really means fittest for the competition’s chunky winner (Beadnose!).In the Spiel, what to make o...more

  • Olive Branch, Turkey Leg

    Oct 13 2018

    On The Gist, how coverage of bisexuality has changed (for the better).Thanksgiving approaches, and with it all the tension that comes with mixing family and politics in the age of Trump. In that setting, Ike Barinholtz saw grist for a political comedy. He directs and stars in The Oath, in which a family reunion is cleaved by the federal government’s push for Americans to sign a “loyalty waiver to the president.”In the Spiel, what Arizona Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema did as congresswoman is mu...more

  • Going to The Good Place

    Oct 12 2018

    On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz. At first The Good Place on NBC appears to be a light and easy sitcom about a bad apple accidentally dropped into heaven, but look at little deeper and you’ll find a smart and dense comedy about moral philosophy. Creator Mike Schur joins us to discuss this show’s moral compass, baseball, and the Kant of it all. The Good Place airs on Thursdays on NBC. In the Spiel, Trump’s rally in Erie, Pennsylvania.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...more

  • And What About Yemen?

    Oct 11 2018

    On The Gist, should we continue to trust Facebook with our data? Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war with rebel tribes in Yemen is 3½ years deep, as is America’s support for it. Michael Knights, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, details the kingdom’s goals: stopping the missile attacks sailing in from Yemen, restoring the country’s ousted leaders, and countering the rebels’ biggest ally, Iran.In the Spiel, the disappearance of abortion providers, the rise of crisis p...more

  • Guarding the Court

    Oct 10 2018

    On The Gist, it would be cynical to view the Supreme Court as illegitimate.Brett Kavanaugh has done it. But how will the other members of the Supreme Court treat him? And does his promotion affect the American people’s faith in the nation’s highest court? Slate’s courts correspondent Dahlia Lithwick joins us to discuss.In the Spiel, back in the private sector, Nikki Haley can look forward to making Hope Hicks–level money (which, incredibly, is a lot of money).Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...more

  • Take Down the Poll

    Oct 06 2018

    On The Gist, after all of that, not a single senator changed his or her vote to back (or stop) Kavanaugh.In the interview, Jill Lepore’s new book focuses in part on the marginalized groups forgotten by other American histories. It also denounces the polling industry born in the ’30s, which turned politics into business even as it ignored black Americans, slowing their march for civil rights. Lepore’s book is These Truths: A History of the United States.In the Spiel, don’t forget that the politic...more

  • Sitting President, Standing Anger

    Oct 05 2018

    On The Gist, the hippocampus has its moment.Tom Arnold believes incriminating tapes of Donald Trump are out there, and he wants to find them. In his new series for Viceland, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, he’s looking for anything from more Access Hollywood obscenities to the infamous pee tape. But would publishing any of these actually change anything about politics today?In the Spiel, the rhetoric of “sitting Trump” versus “standing Trump.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...more

  • Reignited (and It Feels So Good)

    Oct 03 2018

    On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school and college buddies had some weird nicknames, and it’s not helping his case.Rebecca Traister is angry, and she knows other women are too. Events from Trump’s election through the #MeToo movement inspired her new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.In the Spiel, Mike read the New York Times’ expose on how Donald Trump got rich—so you don’t have to.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mueller on the Mind

    Oct 03 2018

    On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke has the momentum but also a mountain to climb. In the interview, Neal Katyal has argued 37 cases before the Supreme Court, and (better yet!) joined Mike Pesca on stage at Slate Day in Austin, Texas. Our condensed version of the interview covers the implications of a confirmed Brett Kavanaugh, why Robert Mueller “will have the last laugh” when it comes to taking on Trump, and what the indictment of a sitting U.S. president would look like. In the Spiel, what m...more

  • College-Aged Coddling

    Oct 01 2018

    On The Gist, guest host John McWhorter considers campus safe spaces.  In the past few years, college campuses have been shifting away from havens for free speech to safe spaces that bar divisive speakers from campus. But is this the right move, or are we damaging the growth of college students by creating these spaces rather than offering intellectual challenges. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explore this in their new book The Coddling of the American Mind. Lukianoff joins us on the Gis...more

  • The Kavanaugh Conspiracy

    Sep 29 2018

    On The Gist, guest host Isaac Butler talks about all the news we forgot about thanks to the Kavanaugh hearing. The Constitution is a sacred text in America, but should it be? Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me tackles that question through her high school experience of giving speeches about the Constitution to put herself through college. Today, she and her director, Oliver Butler, join us to discuss the fresh importance of the play, what sort of impact the Constitution has o...more

  • Losing Hate

    Sep 27 2018

    On The Gist, the Kavanaugh hearing. By all accounts, Derek Black was supposed to become the next David Duke. He was the man’s godson, after all, and his father, Don Black, had founded Stormfront, the world’s first and biggest white nationalist website. But then Derek went to New College of Florida, where—as told by the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow—he was shunned by many of his peers for his racist views, and embraced by a few despite them. Saslow’s book is Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of ...more

  • The Land of Steady Filmmaking

    Sep 27 2018

    On The Gist, the GOP hired a woman!Nicole Holofcener’s films have centered women for more than two decades, but her latest one, The Land of Steady Habits,focuses on a man’s tumultuous story arc. She joins us to talk about adaptations (it was a novel before Holofcener made it into a movie), the slow and deliberate process of directing, and why she hates hearing people chew. The Land of Steady Habits is now on Netflix.In the Spiel, Kavanaugh’s three accusers tell different stories, but many Republ...more

  • Generation Anxiety

    Sep 26 2018

    On The Gist, Trump gets laughs at the United Nations. After a few eccentric comedy specials, Bo Burnham next turned to his sympathy for the anxieties of middle school girls, and made a movie. If Eighth Grade (starring Elsie Fisher) seems to imitate life so well, it’s because Burnham watched hundreds of vlogs made by today’s junior high generation. In the Spiel, standards of proof in the Kavanaugh case.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • That’s the First Straw

    Sep 25 2018

    On The Gist, how the breaking news machine bungled the Rod Rosenstein story.In the interview, California is set to ban certain restaurants from serving straws unless customers ask for one. But given that straws represent a tiny fraction of the plastics choking our oceans, can initiatives like these really make a difference? Ban-the-straw advocate Dune Ives says targeting the straw is, in part, a way to move on to blocking other plastics from the world’s waste stream.In the Spiel, the air is thic...more

  • Tight Countries, Loose Countries

    Sep 21 2018

    On The Gist, National Review has one good take on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation story … and a lot of bad ones.In the interview, we’re used to thinking of societies along the “liberal/conservative” spectrum, but cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand has her own axis to consider: tight versus loose. They aren’t quite the same: Abu Dhabi, for instance, may be conservative, but its role as the crossroads of the Middle East lends it looser norms. In Scandinavia, we’ve got the opposite. Gelfand’s b...more

  • What Is … a Podcast, Alex?

    Sep 20 2018

    On The Gist, Christine Blasey Ford deserves a hearing on her own terms, and that’s all we can say for now. Bert Kreischer is a comic who started out as just the biggest college partier in America according to Rolling Stone magazine in 1997. Since then he’s been grappling with fame, how much of his own life to use for comedy, and the way his father shamed him into doing stand-up comedy. Kreischer’s new special on Netflix is Secret Time. In the Spiel, Jeopardy finally notices podcasts.Learn more a...more

  • Coal Over Climate

    Sep 20 2018

    On The Gist, the latest in inane Trump statements.Climate change is bigger than any one of us, including the president of the United States. Given his backward policies and denials of scientific fact, he deserves his share of criticism in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Climate scientist Andrea Schumacher explains which aspects of hurricane season can be expected to get worse as the planet warms. Schumacher is a research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere ...more

  • Owe Me the Money

    Sep 19 2018

    On The Gist, taking issue with the sloppy headlines about the support (or lack thereof) for Brett Kavanaugh.In the interview, Stacey Abrams’ run for governor in Georgia has been criticized because of her huge outstanding debt. That got Ozy.com reporter Nick Fouriezos wondering how much political candidates typically owe as they run for office. He dug into the finances of 396 political candidates to see how much they owed, and to whom.In the Spiel, a presidential penis prognostic. You’re welcome....more

  • Ethan Hawke’s Earnest Art

    Sep 18 2018

    On The Gist, Hurricane Florence. Ethan Hawke has stunned us with his earnest, moving performances on-screen, but he’s also a talent behind the camera. His new directorial feature Blaze explores the life and love of the largely forgotten musician Blaze Foley. He joins us to talk filmmaking, the difficulty of music, comic book movies, and why we should appreciate criticism from our elders. Blaze premieres nationwide on Sept. 21. In the Spiel, the allegations of Kavanaugh’s sexual assault.Lear...more

  • Democratic Socialists of America, for the Win?

    Sep 15 2018

    On The Gist, Vladimir Putin, RT, and the Salisbury poisoning.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have scary values to conservatives. But to the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, she’s a moderate. Maria Svart calls the DSA a “big tent organization,” meaning it makes room for everything from AOC’s Scandinavian-style social policies to the more radical workforce ownership of businesses. In the Spiel, the end of primary season.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...more

  • After Family Separations, a Settlement

    Sep 14 2018

    On The Gist, John Hockenberry’s piece in Harper’s. Donald Trump is no stranger to settlements, and the latest of these come between his administration and hundreds of asylum-seekers. They were rejected after making their cases under the duress of being separated from their children … or their parents. “How are the kids supposed to say why they fear persecution? Try having that conversation with a 4-year-old,” says Margo Schlanger, who headed the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil...more

  • Billionaires Don’t Know Best

    Sep 12 2018

    On The Gist, Vladimir Putin’s “private citizen” excuse doesn’t hold water.In the interview, philanthropic billionaires are better than villainous ones, but Anand Giridharadas argues they could do better. Instead of insisting on the superiority of private efforts, they ought to pay more taxes and leave some things to the government. Giridharadas’ book is Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.In the Spiel, FiveThirtyEight currently says Republicans have a 1-in-6 chance of keepi...more

  • DeRay Mckesson Makes the Case for Hope

    Sep 12 2018

    On The Gist, Mike is thinking he’ll vote Andrew Cuomo—but he’s open to you changing his mind.The 2014 shooting of Michael Brown upheaved many things in the U.S., including the career of DeRay Mckesson, who quit his job as an educator to become a full-time activist. Now he uses his podcast Pod Save the Peopleas a national platform to speak out against police violence and highlight news that flies under the radar. Mckesson’s new memoir is On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.In the Spie...more

  • Stylometry for Dummies

    Sep 11 2018

    On The Gist, are we having a national crisis?The New York Times’ publication of an anonymous op-ed has sparked rounds of speculation as to who’s behind it—and the deep-state trappings it describes. Some see the word “lodestar” as signature Mike Pence, but as Sadia Afroz explains, stylometry—the analysis of prose to uncover its author’s identity—is a little more complicated than looking at individual words. Afroz is a senior research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute.Learn...more

  • If You Want Power, Sell It

    Sep 07 2018

    On The Gist, Lincoln, Kennedy, and Lincoln Kennedy could all speak better than President Trump.If you’re old enough to remember November 2016, you know that telling a good story—even an untrue one—wins elections. Author Yuval Noah Harari worries that populism has liberalism beat on this front, especially given an uncertain future looming with AI, biotechnology, and the possible obsolescence of the human worker. Harari’s new book is 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.In the Spiel, a lawmaker’s votin...more

  • The DoD Payroll Just Got Smaller

    Sep 06 2018

    On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The Pentagon’s third-in-command is reportedly losing his job, and it’s hardly making news. As the Defense Department’s first-ever chief management officer, John Gibson is in charge of saving billions of dollars for reinvestment. He’s to be fired because of a reported “lack of performance,” but Defense News’ Aaron Mehta says the task was nearly impossible in the first place. In the Spiel, who really wrote that New York Times op-ed? Le...more

  • Hedging Your Bets With Lake Success

    Sep 05 2018

    On The Gist, Bob Woodward’s good intentions.Wealth and road trips are two of America’s favorite obsessions. In his new novel, Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart explores these themes through the story of a hedge fund manager who, after a crisis, takes a trip across the country by bus. Shteyngart joins us today to discuss his research on Wall Street, the concept of privilege, and his trips on Greyhound busses.  In the Spiel, Gwyneth Paltrow and jade eggs.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...more

  • Farming for Red Herring

    Sep 04 2018

    On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation is all but certain.A recent Donald Trump tweet gave credence to a bogus (and dangerous) claim: that South Africa’s white farmers are the first targets in a looming genocide. Quartz reporter Lynsey Chutel has the actual statistics, as well as the political context—land reform—that pushed white nationalists into embracing victimhood in the first place.In the Spiel, a roundup of the minor scandals that broke over Labor Day weekend.Learn more...more

  • Bright Gays, Big City

    Sep 01 2018

    On The Gist, Democrats, Republicans, and the N-word.Facebook now has television shows. While it might be surprising for viewers, for creators it’s an exciting new avenue to find an audience for shows not necessarily meant for the mainstream. Strangers is precisely one of those shows, about two queer women trying to make it in New York City. Creator Mia Lidofsky joins us to discuss her show, how wonderfully queer it is, and what it’s like making a show for Facebook. The new season of Strangers is...more

  • The OG GOP

    Aug 30 2018

    On The Gist, there’s no use sugarcoating Starbucks’ Frappuccino.And in the interview… unprecedented! Preposterous! Unimaginable! Trump’s presidency and the GOP’s machinations actually do have antecedents, says historian Heather Cox Richardson. They’re in the 1890s, when robber barons partnered with the Republican Party to pack the courts. Richardson is the author of To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party. In the Spiel, what do we make of the Catholic Church?Learn more about you...more

  • Fake News Is Nothing New

    Aug 30 2018

    On The Gist, war games are back.Hoaxes have fooled us at least since the era of P.T. Barnum, but they’re especially prevalent in our era of political disinformation. Kevin Young is the author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News and tells us about the racist roots of the hoax and how hoaxes often lead us to believe what we wanted to in the first place.In the Spiel, Trump shouldn’t try to critique an algorithm.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...more

  • Gerrymandering and You

    Aug 29 2018

    On The Gist, Louis C.K. isn’t as despised as Twitter makes it seem, which is why an eventual comeback is likely.In the interview, Maria Konnikova breaks down the science of fasting, and why it’s currently associated with cancer treatments. Can it really help reduce cancer growth? And is it a useful practice for healthy individuals? Konnikova is a New Yorker contributor and the author of The Confidence Game.In the Spiel, gerrymandering is bad for democracy and great for the GOP.Learn more about y...more

  • #AbolishICE … and Then What?

    Aug 28 2018

    On The Gist, the news media reveres John McCain because he failed with grace—and wasn’t too conservative.Chances are you’ve heard #AbolishICE before. Journalist and activist Sean McElwee kick-started it and argues it’s not just the agency that needs to go down, but the criminalization of undocumented residence within American borders.In the Spiel, stupid stuff comes in threes.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Crazy Rich Asians Is Important

    Aug 25 2018

    On The Gist, guest host Stephanie Foo dives into Crazy Rich Asians, speaking with friend and fellow producer Kat Chow about Asian representation in media, the inspiration to create, and a hope that this film will lead to more Asian-centered media. Then she speaks with producer and former film professor B.A. Parker about seeing your own culture depicted on screen, and how exciting it is to see stories and jokes not meant for you. In the Spiel, Stephanie considers whether America has fai...more

  • Sweep the Left

    Aug 23 2018

    On The Gist, nobody move or the economy gets it, Trump says. The guys behind the left’s most irreverent podcast (Chapo Trap House) want the Democratic Party to forget about Robert Mueller and set their sights on 2020. But in the short term? They’re rooting for a blue wave. Alongside Felix Biederman and Brendan James, Thursday’s guests Matt Christman, Will Menaker, and Virgil Texas are co-authors of The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason.In the Spiel, when you...more

  • Don’t Touch The “I” Word

    Aug 22 2018

    On The Gist, guest host Alex Roarty thinks Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a way better message than simply “impeach Trump.”    #NeverTrump Republicans are a vanishing breed. Crooked Media’s Tim Miller is one of them, and he tells Alex that the news media’s biases favor president Trump more than they weigh him down. In the Spiel, history suggests Democrats will sweep the House in November. But don’t forget that we’re dealing with the poll-defying Donald Trump here.  Learn more...more

  • Trolls and Trump's Lies

    Aug 21 2018

    On The Gist, guest host Max Kerman considers why politicians are getting duped by Sacha Baron Cohen.Trump has lied so many times since he took office that it’s difficult for the normal person to focus on them. Luckily we’ve got Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star keeping track. Dale joins us to talk about what it’s like reporting on American politics as a Canadian, including the similarities of covering former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.In the Spiel, how to engage with trolls.Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • What Happened to “America’s Mayor”?

    Aug 20 2018

    On The Gist, how will Rudy Giuliani go down in history, and in public memory?The midterm elections are looming, and the big question is how far the Democrats will go. Are they really likely to retake the House of Representatives? And how would that affect Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020? Gist guest host Steve Kornacki talks to another political statistics wiz, Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics, about why we should be wary of using probabilities to predict elections.In the Spiel, a tale of cl...more

  • Listening to Inanimate Objects

    Aug 17 2018

    On The Gist, if Trump weren’t so repulsive, would we judge his murky dealings a little more kindly?And we don’t much think about the inanimate objects in our lives, never considering the rich inner life of the lamppost, the can of Coke, or the humble pillow. But Ian Chillag knows they have stories to tell, and he gets them to speak out in his new podcast Everything Is Alive.In the Spiel, Mike talks to the guest hosts who will rule The Gist all next week.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...more

  • Goodbye to the Queen of Soul

    Aug 17 2018

    On The Gist, the free press.Aretha Franklin has died at 76, and she was much more than a golden voice. Slate’s Chris Molanphy recalls her talents at the piano and in the composition room, where she wrote timeless music and, with her covers, transformed songs from her own genre and beyond. (See “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Let It Be,” and, of course, “Respect.”) Molanphy is the host of the Slate podcast Hit Parade. In the Spiel, the straw ban and balloons.Learn more about your ad choices. ...more

  • The Heart of Reality Television

    Aug 15 2018

    On The Gist, autocracy isn’t always bad for an economy. But as Turkey shows, idiocy definitely is.Reality television has a reputation for uninhibited narcissism, ruthless competition, and terrible business pitches. But when Jon Murray created The Real World in 1992, he worked to make something complex and innovative, not a circus of humanity’s basest instincts. And in A&E’s Born This Way, Murray follows the lives of individuals with Down syndrome in Los Angeles, sharing their laughter and te...more

  • Democracy Needs a Reboot

    Aug 15 2018

    On The Gist, should news outlets halt election coverage on Election Day?“Usually, if you look at American history, we’ve kind of taken a relook at our democracy every 50 years.” And now we’re overdue, according to Jason Kander, an Army veteran and Democratic candidate for mayor of Kansas City. The big things to shake up: how we draw district lines, run primaries, and finance electoral campaigns. Kander’s book is Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I've Learned in Everyday Courage. In the Spiel, t...more

  • Trump’s Pyrite Touch

    Aug 14 2018

    On The Gist, Trump is a racist? That’s not much of a scoop, Omarosa.There were plenty of Republicans standing against Donald Trump—before he won the White House. After the 2016 election, many of them traded in their values for a seat on the bandwagon. Rick Wilson isn’t among them, and he explains why in his new book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever.In the Spiel, America’s worst kind of racism lies between microaggression and all-out ...more

  • Gist Presents: Slow Burn

    Aug 11 2018

    Mike Pesca talks with Leon Neyfakh, host of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, about season two of the hit show. Subscribe to Slow Burn here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Venturing Into Obscurity

    Aug 10 2018

    On The Gist, “the so-called chairman of the Intelligence Committee,” Devin Nunes. Superheroes and comic books may seem ripe for parody nowadays with the constant onslaught of nerd media, but The Venture Bros. has been doing it for years. Part Jonny Quest parody, part exercise in the esoteric, this show really leans into its own quirks. Jackson Publick, one of the show’s creators, helps us understand the wonderful absurdity of The Venture Bros., with its seventh season currently airing on Adult S...more

  • On Bended Knee

    Aug 10 2018

    On The Gist, Trump’s lack of income disclosures. Colin Kaepernick took a stand in 2016 by taking a knee during the national anthem at a football game, sparking a debate about racial injustice that continues to roil. But he’s just the latest in a long line of black activist athletes that have used their status to raise awareness and protest. Howard Bryant uncovers the history of these athletes in his book The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism. In the Spie...more

  • Regulate Me

    Aug 09 2018

    On The Gist, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani. The financial crisis of 2008 wasn’t just an American phenomenon. It was felt all across the globe, with other Western countries suffering the same pain, but enough hasn’t been done about our banks to ensure long-term stability. Will we ever be able to recover fully without a complete overhaul of the current system? Adam Tooze explores this in his new book, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. In the Spiel, Ohio’s special el...more

  • The Egyptian Seesaw

    Aug 08 2018

    On The Gist, Trump’s lies and steel mills.The Arab Spring caused a major shift in Egypt in 2011, and the politics only got murkier during the military coup in 2013. But are autocrats really the best allies for the United States, or just for our current president? David Kirkpatrick explores what happened to Egypt during the Arab Spring and the military coup in his new book, Into the Hands of the Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East. In the Spiel, who Trump calls stupid.Le...more

  • The Smart Drug

    Aug 07 2018

    On The Gist, Turkey and Trump.We’ve got another round of Is That Bullshit? Drugs treating cognitive malfunctions like narcolepsy, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease, are useful for people with those conditions—but what about the rest of us? Can ADHD medication make us smarter? Can narcolepsy drugs really keep us awake longer? Resident debunker Maria Konnikova explains. In the Spiel, Jay Sekulow and lawyers on television.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Where Is Space?

    Aug 03 2018

    On The Gist, guest host Jeffrey Lewis fills in for Mike and talks about trying to solve big problems.Regulating space is tough because it surrounds the whole world, and people can’t even agree where the Earth’s atmosphere stops and space begins. Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, thinks he has the definitive answer to where that line is. McDowell recently published “The Edge of Space: Revisiting the Karman Line” in Acta Astronautica.In the Spiel...more

  • My Life as a Sitcom

    Aug 02 2018

    On The Gist, QAnon and sound design.Comedian Guy Branum is a hilarious intellect with an intimidating amount of pop culture knowledge. In his new book, My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture, Branum explores things like his love of civics, his Northern California childhood, and his experiences writing jokes for other people.In the Spiel, we’ve got another Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Quarter for Carter

    Aug 02 2018

    On The Gist, who makes the CNN Sucks onesie?Jimmy Carter’s reputation is that of an ineffective president. But his chief domestic policy adviser, Stuart Eizenstat, argues that Carter fought for America’s energy independence, doubled the size of the national park system, and appointed “more minorities and women to judgeships and senior positions than all 38 presidents before him put together.” Eizenstat’s book is President Carter: The White House Years.In the Spiel, the local radio scandal of Joe...more

  • Courting Politics

    Jul 31 2018

    On The Gist, let’s face it: A.I. and robots are going to take jobs from us humans.Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination has restarted the debate on how we vet candidates and whether the Supreme Court is too easy to game. Lori Ringhand, a professor of law at the University of Georgia and an expert on the Supreme Court, explains how much the court has actually changed, or not, in our lifetime.In the Spiel, three theories on how this whole Mueller investigation thing is going to end.Learn more...more

  • They’re More Bad Than We Are Good

    Jul 31 2018

    On The Gist, sorry, not every product gets to be a lifestyle brand.A few decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for voters to support the presidential candidate from one party and the senator from another. “Ticket-splitting” is pretty rare now, and as Alan Abramowitz argues, just one of the many signs of an America divided. Abramowitz’s book is The Great Alignment Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump.In the Spiel, there may well be discrimination in college admissions offices. But l...more

  • The Pushback Artist

    Jul 28 2018

    On The Gist, do we really have to give up plastic straws?Then, and more seriously: a look back on a recent episode.On Wednesday, The Gist ran an interview with Allison Yarrow about 90s Bitch, her book about sexism in the age of 24-7 news coverage. And in the Spiel, Mike offered a rebuttal of sorts with statistics on the plight of women in the ’80s versus the ’90s. It improved, didn’t it? A shrinking gender wage gap! Less domestic violence! Greater representation in the Senate! But some listeners...more

  • The Real Deep State

    Jul 27 2018

    On The Gist, the glee of seeing Facebook stock take a dive. Imran Khan is poised to lead Pakistan as its next prime minister. The former cricket star campaigned on a promise of transparency, but his focus “is only on anti-corruption when it comes to finding ways to bring down political opponents,” says Alyssa Ayres, formerly of Obama’s State Department for South Asia. Ayres is the author of Our Time Has Come: How India Is Making Its Place in the World. In the Spiel, how autocrats are starti...more

  • Lights, Camera, Sexism

    Jul 26 2018

    On The Gist, let’s imagine what’s in that “enhanced” Michael Cohen tape.Born in the 1990s, the 24-hour news cycle was especially unkind to women. The media of the age consistently bashed women’s sexuality, ambition, and presentation of women such as Monica Lewinsky and Nancy Kerrigan (case in point: a Washington Post article that asked, “Is Nancy a bitch?”). Journalist Allison Yarrow explores this double-standard and its repercussions in her new book, 90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Pr...more

  • The BS! It’s Everywhere!

    Jul 25 2018

    On The Gist, President Trump’s high approval ratings aren’t as significant as they seem.America is a playground for the rich, and that’s in good part because of the expansion of lobbying that started in the 1970s. Steven Brill lays out the many ways in which power begets power in Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall—and Those Fighting to Reverse It.In the Spiel, keeping track of Trump’s bullshit claims is truly God’s work.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...more

  • When Death Row Stalls

    Jul 23 2018

    On The Gist, we’re proposing a 2018 Housing and Urban Development festival in Sonoma, California.Convicted killer Scott Dozier was scheduled to become Nevada’s first executed inmate since 2006, until the procedure was canceled with just hours to go. That wasn’t a victory for Dozier, who has dropped his appeals and spoken out to the media—including Vice’s Gianna Toboni—about his willingness to die.    In the Spiel, how our president reaches out to foreign leaders.Learn more about y...more

  • Bobcat Revival

    Jul 20 2018

    On The Gist, ideals are better when kept as general as possible because the more specific the get, the more exclusive they become.Bobcat Goldthwait made a name for himself with an oddball stand-up act complete with shrieks, grunts, and experimental jokes. But some 10 years after burying that character, his latest work is as a writer and director. His TruTV anthology series, Misfits & Monsters, mashes up television tropes within the genres of horror and comedy. In the Spiel, Zoe Chace ex...more

  • Democracy Dies in Dark Money

    Jul 19 2018

    On The Gist, about those outlandish celebrity baby names.When the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made unlimited campaign contributions legal, one state put up a fight. In Dark Money, documentary filmmaker Kim Reed and journalist John Adams exposed the influence of anonymous campaign contributions on Montana’s state government even before the Supreme Court rubber-stamped the problem.In the Spiel, would the high road be so easy to take if Papa John’s pizza were delicious?Learn more about...more

  • A Piece of Pai

    Jul 19 2018

    On The Gist, Girl Scouts are earning cybersecurity merit badges.Sinclair Broadcast Group is trying to acquire Tribune Media so it can extend its television reach, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is throwing up roadblocks, which is odd because Sinclair is so pro-Trump. NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to explain exactly what’s going on and why Pai is hindering the company he previously seemed to help.In the Spiel, Vladimir Putin’s denials that he has Donald Trump in his poc...more

  • The Schoolyard President

    Jul 18 2018

    On The Gist, the crocodile massacre in Indonesia that got no attention.Work-life balance gets a lot of lip service, but we rarely pull it off. Brigid Schulte, host of the Better Life Lab podcast, is looking for solutions in a world of late-night work emails, shaky job security, and Workaholics Anonymous meetings. Better Life Lab is a partnership of Slate and New America.In the Spiel, president Trump’s mea culpa was delivered with all the skill of a fourth-grader.Learn more about your ad choices....more

  • Are You Being Servered?

    Jul 16 2018

    On The Gist, Trump’s press conference with Putin and the red herrings involved.Silicon Valley is steeped in self-made mythology, with stories about giants like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Marissa Mayer. But how did Silicon Valley really come into being? Adam Fisher, whose new book is Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley, joins us to discuss where it all started—and the valley’s potential future.In the Spiel, how journalists should respond to criticisms of the media and...more

  • Pardon the Arson

    Jul 13 2018

    On The Gist, it turns out your ethnicity is really easy to guess.AnneMarie Sgarlata got rid of her TV months ago, but she still heard about President Trump’s pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond this week—and she wasn’t happy. Sgarlata was among the lawyers who originally prosecuted the Hammonds for burning federal land and putting the lives of firefighters, hunters, and a teenage boy at risk.In the Spiel, what America’s political parties can learn from cereal brand mascots.Learn more about your ...more

  • A Cancer on the Court

    Jul 13 2018

    On The Gist, the biases of Peter Strzok and the need to connect accusations with actual evidence.President Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, benefited from anonymous donations worth millions. To Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, this “dark money” has created a frightening loop: Deemed lawful by the Supreme Court in 2010, it gives special interests a lock not just on elected officials, but on the courts themselves.In the Spiel, Trump might not know the difference b...more

  • Gridiron Man

    Jul 11 2018

    On The Gist, “Brett” has got to be the lamest name among Supreme Court justices (or nominees).“If Jim Brown’s the past, Michael Bennett’s the future.” So says sports writer Dave Zirin, who recently published both a biography of Brown and co-authored Bennett’s memoir. Why the contrast between these two football players? Michael Bennett is a deliberate progressive, while Jim Brown’s work to save young men from gang life is marred by a history of domestic abuse. Zirin’s books are Jim Brown: Last Ma...more

  • Don't Forget About Sex

    Jul 11 2018

    On The Gist, Trump isn’t strategic or defiant, he’s just rapacious. When discussing #MeToo, the focus is often on the power that men exerted when sexually harassing women, but are their sexual motivations getting left out of the conversation? Emily Yoffe wrote about this in her new piece “Understanding Harvey,” for the Highline, and joins us to discuss.In the Spiel, Hollywood has taught us that cars explode, but in reality they hardly ever do. Shouldn’t movies teach us more practical lessons abo...more

  • The Hole Picture

    Jul 10 2018

    On The Gist, comparing Trump’s antics to a reality show is no longer a scarlet letter.Yes, there are storytelling competitions, and Matthew Dicks wins a lot of them. His secret? Keep it visual, and forget about the tangents. Dicks’ new book is Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling.In the Spiel, “people trapped in holes” is a tale as old as time.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Just Use My Data, People

    Jul 07 2018

    On The Gist, the shamelessness of the Wall Street Journal editorial board on Scott Pruitt leaving the Environmental Protection Agency.Advertisements are a pain, interrupting our television programs and distracting us while we play games on our phones. They’re a necessity though, funding all the entertainment we consume. Ken Auletta joins us to discuss the current state of advertising and its uncertain, data-driven future. Auletta’s new book is Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (a...more

  • How Quickly We Forget

    Jul 06 2018

    On The Gist, Scott Pruitt is out as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency because it turns out someone really can be too corrupt for Trump.Let us next turn to the Supreme Court—not in America, but Poland, where the rightwing government is forcing nearly 40 percent of judges into retirement. Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer says the country’s latest swerve toward authoritarianism proves that democracy can erode just about anywhere.In the Spiel, Michael Moore claims to know where the ...more

  • Song, Dance, and Confirmation

    Jul 03 2018

    On The Gist, let’s watch the latest viral video from the conservative right.A certain group of Sherlock fans were convinced that John Watson and Sherlock would fall in love. When they didn’t, those fans turned on the showrunners. But what responsibility do creators have to their fans? Should they take suggestions? Slate TV critic Willa Paskin dove into the question—and the Sherlock fanbase—on the second episode of Decoder Ring.In the Spiel, the Supreme Court confirmation process is broken.Learn ...more

  • Shameless Mitch

    Jul 03 2018

    On The Gist, Mitch McConnell’s values have changed—again!Lounging around in the heat of a sauna might feel nice, but is it good for you, too? Maria Konnikova has gone through the studies (most of them from Finland, where you can’t throw a hot rock without hitting a sauna) and is here to boil them down for us. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.In the Spiel, let’s not get carried away. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got fewer votes than some school district boa...more

  • In 12,000 Words

    Jun 30 2018

    On The Gist, President Trump’s demonization of journalists is awful, but it’s not the first thing to blame for the Capital Gazette shooting.The Atlantic recently ran a lengthy article about kids who consider the process of gender transition. Many critics took issue with the author’s approach, accusing him of bias and an obsession with trans children. But were his efforts really in bad faith? Alex Barasch wrote a response to the piece for Slate and joins us to add to the debate.In the Spiel, FBI ...more

  • Does Authenticity Matter?

    Jun 29 2018

    On The Gist, the return of In Search Of hosted by Zachary Quinto, which used to be hosted by Leonard Nimoy, made us notice all the times actors have filled the shoes of others through multiple different reboots. The FIFA World Cup is great, but only the ConIFA World Football Cup has competitors from Székely Land, Abkhazia, and the County of Nice. Slate’s Josh Keating wrote the book on Invisible Countries, those tiny nation-states with little recognition but great stories to tell. In the Spi...more

  • The Self-Sufficiency Court

    Jun 28 2018

    On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory was thanks to low voter turnout. She still deserves it!Lawfare’s executive editor Susan Hennessey says Trump’s SCOTUS-approved travel ban is more dangerous in how it changes norms than how it changes facts on the ground. Also: Reality Winner’s guilty plea is a no-brainer.In the Spiel, Justice Kennedy’s upcoming retirement is the perfect occasion to talk about … Justice Clarence Thomas.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...more

  • The Unpopular Vote and a Few Justices

    Jun 27 2018

    On The Gist, what a Trump tweet can teach us about wine.The latest school shootings have galvanized an already politically minded generation. Harvard’s John Della Volpe studies the voting habits of millennials, and how they could swing election results in 2018 and beyond.In the Spiel, the Supreme Court’s support for Trump’s travel ban is what happens when our checks and balances fail.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The New Rules of Civility

    Jun 26 2018

    On The Gist, why is the Democratic National Committee being held responsible for Hollywood and the media?Calvin Buari dealt crack in the Bronx, but that doesn’t make him a killer. Buari was convicted of a double murder in 1995 and started a campaign to prove his innocence from behind bars. A big part of that was making phone calls to journalist Steve Fishman, who turned his years of reporting into the binge-worthy Panoply podcast Empire on Blood, and joined us on the Gist.In the Spiel, Mike tack...more

  • Who Needs Subtext, Anway

    Jun 22 2018

    On The Gist, Rep. Jim Jordan’s underwhelming attention to detail.  Franchesca Ramsey burst onto the YouTube scene with her viral video, “Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls.” Ramsey’s latest video project, MTV News’ Decoded, is similar: fun, earnest, and educational. Ramsey’s book is Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist. In the Spiel, about Melania’s jacket. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Song You Can Graduate To

    Jun 21 2018

    On The Gist, those beacons of honesty—retiring Republican members of the Congress. Cremation has the carbon footprint of a 1,000-mile road trip, your average bee has nearly 1 million brain cells, and only 3 to 4 percent of gossip is actually “malicious.” Those are all statistics relayed in Walt Hickey’s Numlock News, the daily newsletter he started after four years at FiveThirtyEight. In the Spiel, graduation songs over the years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...more

  • Quitters Can’t Be Leaders

    Jun 20 2018

    On The Gist, how President Trump made not breaking up families look like his idea. Why are the U.S.’s political parties weak? Is the “job guarantee” policy smart? Do voters perceive the economy accurately? Dan Pfeiffer has all the answers. He’s a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and part of the Pod Save America posse. Pfeiffer’s new book is Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump.In the Spiel, the United States shouldn’t be leaving the U.N. Human Right...more

  • Polarization Nation

    Jun 19 2018

    On The Gist, the inaugural edition of “whoah there, girl!”Political parties are like people: They grow and change, their values shift, and sometimes they become downright belligerent. Lilliana Mason says America’s two political parties are in the middle of a shift, and it won’t be over anytime soon: “What happened to conservative southern Democrats after the Civil Rights Act passed? They didn’t like it. … It took an entire generation for conservative Southern Democrats to become Republicans.” Ma...more

  • Oh, Stephen

    Jun 19 2018

    On The Gist, if we can’t pronounce Peter Strzok’s name right, how will we remember his newfound infamy?If you consider yourself progressive, chances are Trump’s presidency feels like a nightmare. But Politico’s Michael Grunwald returns to the Gist with the argument that Obama’s legacy is mostly intact—at least on the domestic front. Grunwald’s latest book is The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era.In the Spiel, lookism be damned, it’s time to make fun of Stephen Miller.Lear...more

  • The Heisenberg Presidency

    Jun 15 2018

    On The Gist, why he lies: a new theory. “I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m writing for a cartoon.” Such were the thoughts of Mike Reiss when he joined the writers’ room for The Simpsons in 1989. Thirty years later, he’s worked on all but two seasons of the show, and says it’s had one real impact: making television smarter and faster. Reiss’ book, co-written with Mathew Klickstein, is Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies From a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons.  In the Spiel,...more

  • When Border Policy Crosses the Line

    Jun 15 2018

    On The Gist, McClatchy White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez explains the ramifications of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute migrants who cross the border illegally. One early consequence: The U.S. government needs more places to detain children separated from their parents. In the Spiel, the nasty things celebrities say—and their supposedly enormous power to get people to vote stupidly.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Cup of Corruption

    Jun 13 2018

    On The Gist, some fun facts about U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart.In 2010, a certain Christopher Steele was hired to look into Russia’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018. What he found ultimately led to a U.S. investigation into FIFA’s thoroughgoing sleaziness. There are, around the world, multiple criminal probes around FIFA, and BuzzFeed’s Ken Bensinger says “more shoes will fall.” Bensinger is the author of Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports Scandal.In t...more

  • Summit Skeptical

    Jun 12 2018

    On The Gist, a brief review of President Trump’s roster of losers (and winners). Clint Watts is a man of many strengths. He’s a former FBI agent and a cybersecurity expert. He can break down information warfare to bleary-eyed U.S. senators. He’s been known to track al-Shabaab adherents on Twitter. Watts returns to The Gist to explain how the U.S. government underestimated Russia, and how he himself fell for fake news when trying to protect his daughter. Watts’ new book is Messing with the Enemy:...more

  • G-7 Hangover

    Jun 12 2018

    On The Gist, if the Trump-Kim summit goes as poorly as the president’s business ventures, we’re doomed.Maria Konnikova is here to smoke out false claims about cannabidiol, or the CBD oil extracted from cannabis. Can it help with insomnia, depression, and epilepsy? We find out in the latest round of “Is That Bulls—t?” Konnikova is a New Yorker contributor and author of The Confidence Game.In the Spiel, the White House’s handling of the G-7 fallout was clueless, thin-skinned, and petty. In other w...more

  • Comedians Can Be Well-Adjusted, Too

    Jun 08 2018

    On The Gist, president Trump raised the bar on what’s considered a gaffe, and EPA head Scott Pruitt is taking advantage of that.Very few comedians have never been to therapy. Jerry Seinfeld is one. Tom Papa is another. Papa tells us about cracking jokes at Minnesota Public Radio’s Live From Here and his new book, Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas.In the Spiel, ’tis time for a Lobstar of the Antentwig (right after a response to some sexist tweets).Learn more about your ad choices....more

  • #MeToo and McYoga

    Jun 08 2018

    On The Gist, comparing Bill Clinton to basketball great Michael Jordan.Bikram Choudhury’s status as a star yoga guru gave him license to be odd (spiritual but with a soft spot for luxury cars, and always wearing a Speedo). But there was more to it than quirkiness, as sexual assault allegations beginning in 2013 basically expelled Choudhury from the United States. ESPN’s Julia Henderson practiced Bikram Yoga, before capturing the rise and fall of its founder in a five-part podcast: Bikram.In the ...more

  • James Clapper: Yeah, Russia Swung the Election

    Jun 06 2018

    On The Gist, IHOP is changing its name to IHOb. And Mike is here to make fun of that.James Clapper was a senior intelligence adviser for both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was also part of the team that informed President-elect Donald Trump of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, as a private citizen, Clapper says he believes Russia actually swung the vote. “That’s why you write books,” says Clapper. “Because you can express your opinions freely. And I did.” His latest...more

  • So You Think You Know About Race

    Jun 06 2018

    On The Gist, at this point, whatever the Trump administration doesn’t say under oath is very possibly untrue.In 1963, Robert F. Kennedy met with black America’s greatest artists and intellectuals to talk about race. “And they lit his ass up,” according to our guest, making known just how much needed to be done to address racial inequality. Michael Eric Dyson wrote a book about the encounter and its relevance to race issues today. Dyson’s book is What Truth Sounds Like.In the Spiel, Miss America ...more

  • Shots Fired, but Not Really

    Jun 05 2018

    On The Gist, no matter how well the economy goes, pundits can always tell a scary story.What do we get wrong about Darwinism? Evolutionary ornithologist Richard O. Prum says the theory was distorted by Victorian prudes. He explains why a closer look at bird sex shows us what’s really going on with adaptation and natural selection. Prum’s book is The Evolution of Beauty.In the Spiel, yes, “unindictable” would mean the president could commit any crime he wants, even the colorful ones. But let’s no...more

  • It's Not Just You

    Jun 01 2018

    On The Gist, an appreciation of the man who invented Pong. Barbara Lipska’s career as a neuroscientist did not prepare her to identify the dark effects of her own brain tumors diagnosed in 2015.  There’s studying a damaged brain, and then there’s having one. Lipska is the author of The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery.In the Spiel, let’s hear it for the ancillary news.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Folks, We’re Talking About the C-Word

    Jun 01 2018

    On The Gist, Samantha Bee said it first, so let us meditate on the C-word.In defense of Googling your own name: Kirsten Pflomm is a white woman from Connecticut who did an online search 15 years ago and discovered she was the descendant of Iceland’s famous first black citizen, Hans Jonathan, who escaped slavery and became a war hero.In the Spiel, the Nobel Peace Prize? All President Trump wants are apologies and thank-you’s.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Our Trade Snore With China

    May 30 2018

    On The Gist, have you heard the one about the journalist who faked his own death to dodge Russian assassins?It’s boom times for female buddy comedies. Mike talks to director Alex Richanbach and screenwriter Lauryn Kahn about their new Netflix comedy, Ibiza. Who said men have to star in all the movies about hedonistic sprees?In the Spiel, does anyone believe we have a coherent trade policy right now?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Chris Gethard Can't Fake It

    May 29 2018

    On Tuesday’s Gist, Roseanne gets run out on a rail.Comedian Chris Gethard reflects on how things have changed for his madcap live show, starting from its days on a public access channel to its current home on TruTV. “It’s more a TV show than it’s ever been, the larger platforms that we get to,” says Gethard. “But … it’s me, it’s really me and I’m letting my guard down.” The season finale of The Chris Gethard Show airs Tuesday on TruTV. In the Spiel, the mysterious name of a famous Russian p...more

  • Ratatouille Got It Wrong

    May 26 2018

    On The Gist, we here at Slate take GDPR compliance very seriously … just not in this monologue.Before SNL, David Wain says, the countercultural comedy torch belonged to National Lampoon. The laugh magazine was created by Harvard graduates and became a creative laboratory for movies like Animal House and Caddyshack. Chief among them was Doug Kenney, the subject of Netflix biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which Wain directs.In the Spiel, the nostalgia we feel around meals and dishes is overrate...more

  • Deal With Fake News Yourself, Facebook

    May 24 2018

    On Thursday’s Gist, tips for avoiding fake news? Thanks but no thanks, Facebook.There’s a new documentary out about the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, and it got us thinking about the flaws in the public’s perception of that saga. Reporter Derek John explains how the dominant narrative of the case was warped by an amateur crime blogger and a protective football team, despite the efforts of local prosecutors. John and Anders Kelto reported the story for Gamebreaker[NP1], a podcast by Audible.In t...more

  • Thanks for Protesting … Now Stop

    May 23 2018

    On The Gist, the NFL can’t give a decent explanation for its kneeling ban.Philip Roth’s novels about Jewish life earned him every accolade short of, famously, the Nobel Prize. Mark Oppenheimer, the host of the podcast on all things Jewish (Unorthodox), argues that Roth’s “radical candor” was sharply original before becoming a model to imitate. In the Spiel, there are a lot of “peripheral rogues” in Trump’s orbit (how about those “taxi king” headlines?), but their public reckonings don’t nec...more

  • Girls Rule, and Boys Think They Rule More

    May 23 2018

    On today’s Gist, whatever happens in the governor’s primary in Georgia Tuesday night, it will be a big step forward for women named Stacey.Neuroscientist and education researcher Sara Brownell explains what she found studying how gender affects students’ perceptions of their own intelligence. Brownell is an assistant professor at Arizona State University.In the Spiel, consider the “no shit” factor in Trumpian news cycles these days. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adcho...more

  • Two-Party Problems

    May 22 2018

    On The Gist, Hawaii’s “laze” is some seriously bad branding.In the interview, our two-party system may seem inevitable, but political scientist Sam Rosenfeld digs into its engineered history, including the 1950 government report that pushed the country “Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System.” Before then, what you thought about health care, guns, or abortion had little to do with where your vote went. Rosenfeld is the author of The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era.In the S...more

  • Breaking Up Comedy's Boys Club

    May 18 2018

    On The Gist, our attempt to track the new scoops that affected the Mueller investigation. We’re not playing “Is That Bulls--t” on the show today, but if we were, comedy writer Nell Scovell would probably say, “Yes.” Yes, the dearth of women in late-night writers’ rooms is bulls--t. Yes, men’s explanations are bulls--t. And, yes, sometimes women themselves willingly succumb to the bulls--t because, as Scovell says, “Look, this s--t is deep.” Her new book is Just the Funny Parts. In the Spiel...more

  • Becky Hammon's Next Big Shot

    May 18 2018

    On today’s Gist, the Alex, Inc. drinking game you can play with the whole family.Becky Hammon is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and is a leading candidate to become the first female head coach in the NBA. Hammon got passed over this week by the Milwaukee Bucks, but Ringer staff writer Shea Serrano and New Yorker contributor Louisa Thomas talk about why Hammon is still expected to break the NBA’s glass ceiling.In the Spiel, today’s off-the-cuff remarks from the president. Learn...more

  • Disconnecting the Dots in Israel

    May 17 2018

    On today’s Gist: laurel or yanny? We have questions about the protests in Israel. Daniel Shapiro is here to answer them. Shapiro was the U.S. ambassador to Israel for most of the Obama administration. He is now a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. In the Spiel, an irksome aspect to the coverage of the deaths in Gaza. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Introducing Upon Further Review

    May 15 2018

    On today’s Gist, we’re tearing up the playbook. We’re playing the first episode of our new limited-run podcast, Upon Further Review, based on the book of the same name. In this episode, Slow Burn host Leon Neyfakh imagines how American history might have been different if Richard Nixon had been any good at playing football. For more fascinating sports what ifs, subscribe to Upon Further Review now.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Does Your Face Need a Workout?

    May 14 2018

    On today’s Gist, is Sen. John McCain really the greatest political leader of all time?Have you heard of face gyms? Beauty gurus are rushing to recommend exercises for the forehead, chin, and cheeks to look younger and healthier. Our expert bullshitologist Maria Konnikova is here to scrutinize the case for facial toning. Konnikova is a contributor to the New Yorker and the author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, Salena Zito’s populist divining rod.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...more

  • Why Putin Matters

    May 12 2018

    On The Gist, the mainstream media is too buttoned-up when describing the Trump administration’s shenanigans.There is no Russian Federation as we know it without Vladimir Putin. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul explains how parts of Russian society are eager for new leadership despite that. As for its relations with the U.S., McFaul sees continuity in how the Obama and Trump administrations (though perhaps not Trump himself) put pressure on Russia. McFaul’s new book is From Cold War to ...more

  • The Long, Long Road of Tiger Woods

    May 10 2018

    On The Gist, torture is torture, and the news media should call it that.Tiger Woods dominated his sport like perhaps no other athlete. But that success came at a price. Woods’ almost military upbringing as a golfing machine lead to a lack of interpersonal connections and, years later, numerous scandals in the public eye. Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian are out with the eponymous biography Tiger Woods, and talk about the golfer's struggles, successes, and chances at redemption.In the Spiel, more...more

  • Some Interrogation

    May 09 2018

    On today’s Gist, Michael Cohen has weaved a tangled web, but the mere fact that it’s confusing doesn’t mean we can assume he’s a criminal. Tim Weiner wrote the definitive book on the CIA in 2008 with his Legacy of Ashes. Today, he helps decipher the Senate confirmation testimony of Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick to be the next CIA director. Why is the CIA rooting for Haspel? How did she dodge questions about the agency’s torture program? Would the hearing have gone differently if Sen. John ...more

  • Donald and the Don

    May 09 2018

    On Tuesday’s Gist, the undoing of the Iran deal. Democrats are tense. 2018 is supposed to be a banner year for the left, but the party is struggling to balance an energized base and an unpredictable general electorate. As a result, there have been a lot of bigfoot sightings in primaries across the country, as Democratic Party honchos step in to pick preferred candidates. Who’s wiser, the party or the voters? Alex Roarty, who covers the Democrats for McClatchy newspapers, says it’s not so simple....more

  • Jake Tapper's Very Particular Kind of Escapism

    May 08 2018

    On today’s Gist, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t want Gina Haspel to run the CIA. Jake Tapper’s latest book is The Hellfire Club. It’s a work of historical fiction; a political thriller set in the 1950s, when Washington was gripped by McCarthyism. Tapper says he saw echoes of President Donald Trump as he read about Sen. Joe McCarthy’s attacks on his political enemies. “The people who survived the ’50s with their reputations intact were the ones who stood up to McCarthy,” said...more

  • The Dangerous Hits of 1991

    May 04 2018

    On The Gist, a movie pitch: Kushner family racket. Returning champion Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1991 and its chart toppers: Mariah Carey's explosive debut, the Swedish group that topped the charts for a fourth time (it wasn't ABBA!), and the Michael Jackson and Madonna music videos that had censors flustered. Molanphy is the host of Slate’s Hit Parade.In the Spiel, the best movie lines of all time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Call of Rudy 2

    May 04 2018

    On today’s Gist, what’s this about a Tony Award–winning dry cleaner?Presidential inexperience does not always lead to failed presidencies. Some traits can temper inexperience—like the depressive realism of Abraham Lincoln or Lyndon B. Johnson. Other traits magnify inexperience—like narcissism. Gautam Mukunda takes a close look at presidential inexperience in his 2012 book, Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter. In the Spiel, Rudy Giuliani had a strategy. Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • Gen. Michael Hayden

    May 03 2018

    On today’s Gist, a fond farewell to Ty Cobb. Gen. Michael Hayden was running the National Security Agency and then the CIA, he couldn’t talk about our national security risks. If he could have, most people would have listened to him. But things are different now. Hayden talks about the decline of fact-based arguments, the Iran nuclear deal, and the future of privacy. His latest book is The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies. In the Spiel, Kanye West knows ...more

  • How We Screwed Over Puerto Rico

    May 02 2018

    On today’s Gist, thick-as-bricks Lego thieves come a-tumbling down.Hurricane recovery has been a disaster in Puerto Rico. NPR’s Laura Sullivan wanted to know why. So she found documents revealing a FEMA in shambles. She traced Puerto Rico’s economic troubles back to a 1996 tax vote. And she explains how the island’s remaining wealth was wiped out by years of shady municipal debt deals. Sullivan’s report for NPR and Frontline is called “Blackout in Puerto Rico.” You should really watch it. I...more

  • A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

    May 01 2018

    On today’s Gist, President Trump’s Nobel in the making. There is no market quite like the boomers—that was true when they were young, and it remains true as they enter their 60s and 70s. So how do you market to the olds? The answer lies in a few busted bits of conventional wisdom, the millennial lifestyle, and probably your mom’s iPad. Joseph F. Coughlin explains it all in his book The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market. In the Spiel, what ha...more

  • ISIS Isn't Done With

    Apr 27 2018

    On The Gist, when your sympathy for the poor goes beyond platitudes, Paul Ryan fires you.In the interview, the New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi has a new podcast. Caliphate lays out how she knows what she knows about ISIS. Through her reporting in Iraq, she’s learned how the group endeared itself to locals with services as simple as garbage collection. And though the would-be Islamic State has fallen, the extremists behind it persist as an insurgency.In the Spiel, there is no Spiel!Learn more ...more

  • Old Man Donald

    Apr 27 2018

    On Thursday’s Gist, EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s behavior is too plainly unethical to sweep under the rug.What does a Malaysian party boy have to do with President Trump’s potential breach of the Emoluments Clause? Reveal’s Amy Walters and WAMU’s Patrick Madden can explain everything in their story for Reveal, “Check into Trump’s Washington Hotel.”In the Spiel, how about that batshit crazy rant courtesy of our president on Thursday morning?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...more

  • Korematsu, Revisited?

    Apr 26 2018

    On Wednesday’s Gist, you didn’t think Trump’s latest political nominee was scandal-free, did you?And as the Supreme Court weighs Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, one of its most notorious decisions still stands. Korematsu v. United States upheld America’s wartime internment of thousands of Japanese Americans, and it’s still cited as legal precedent today. Harvard Law School’s Martha Minow recently wrote about the decision and its relevance in 2018.In the Spiel, president Trump’s ...more

  • The Plain Prince

    Apr 24 2018

    On Tuesday's Gist, Donald Trump’s win has inspired a whole bunch of down-ballot Republicans, and boy, are they lame.What is retroactive classification, and is it going to get former FBI Director James Comey in trouble? Bradley P. Moss specializes in litigation related to security clearance law. He explains why Comey may need to worry about prosecution for leaking government secrets. Moss is the deputy executive director of the James Madison Project to promote government accountability and reduct...more

  • The State of State

    Apr 24 2018

    On The Gist, Sen. Bob Corker’s definition of a “gotcha question” is a bad sign for public discourse these days.Before his Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the rampant sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Ronan Farrow worked in the State Department. His new book, War on Peace, documents the department’s loss of personnel and prestige under every recent president—especially the current one. In the Spiel, banning high-capacity magazines would save lives. The foiled shoot...more

  • The Zen of Cohen

    Apr 21 2018

    On today’s Gist, the retroactively classified memos of James Comey. New Yorker writer Adam Davidson says the raids on Michael Cohen’s offices signal the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency. Here’s why: Cohen is the key to learning about Trump’s personal peccadillos as well the international expansion of the Trump Organization, which Davidson says should be “ridiculously rich hunting ground” for prosecutors. He also thinks we’re about to learn a lot more about Trump’s sex life. In ...more

  • Comey Can't Confess

    Apr 19 2018

    On The Gist, if Chuck Schumer gets his way with decriminalizing marijuana, we can finally say goodbye to the lowest-hanging fruit: pot jokes.Crooked Media founder Jon Lovett finds the James Comey book deeply frustrating—to read, to hear about, to contemplate. “But, you know,” says Lovett, “I’m a political self-harmer so I have downloaded the audiobook.” He explains the logical fallacy at the heart of one of Comey’s most frequent recitations and does a little free campaign consulting. Listen to h...more

  • A Fuller Obituary for Barbara Bush

    Apr 18 2018

    On today’s Gist, don’t all these senators know the depths of CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s patriotism?Plus, why are chemical weapons useful to Bashar al-Assad? “They’re really weapons of terror,” explains Aaron Stein, co-host of the Arms Control Wonk podcast. Stein is the author of Turkey’s New Foreign Policy.And filmmakers Tony Gilroy and Brad Anderson tell us what it was like filming their latest movie, Beirut, during a particularly long and hot Ramadan. In the Spiel, a few more words about ...more

  • The Taint Team Cometh

    Apr 17 2018

    On Tuesday’s Gist, that old Watergate maxim, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” should be revised to recognize the Michael Cohen effect. Plus, we take a closer look at the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner, and why the Justice Department has sued to stop it. Wall Street Journal reporter Brent Kendall walks us through the case so far. And in the Spiel, who is the “famous Houston sketch artist” drawn into the Stormy Daniels affair?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...more

  • James Comey's Ego Trip

    Apr 17 2018

    On Monday’s Gist, we’re counting Pulitzers and powering up. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms sort power into two categories: old and new. Old power is like Congress: top-down, official. New power is like Facebook: decentralized, crowd-sourced. What is the best way to meld both kinds of influence to improve our lives? Heimans and Timms have the beginnings of an answer. They’re the authors of New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You.In the Spiel, James...more

  • Chemistry No More

    Apr 14 2018

    On The Gist, have you heard? Chemistry has been debunked. Thank Russia.Ed Helms is best known for comedic roles—see Andy Bernard on The Office. But in the drama Chappaquiddick, Helms plays Joseph Gargan, the cousin and lawyer of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Gargan found himself in Kennedy’s inner circle as the young senator came under scrutiny for his role in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.In the Spiel, pervs are making news again. Plus: say hello to a new Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad c...more

  • "I Never Said That"

    Apr 12 2018

    On The Gist, Zuckerberg’s hearings got crowded out by bigger news. Too bad.Facts are facts, even in the greatly polarized year that is 2018. Holmes Lybrand writes the Weekly Standard’s “Fact Check” series, and even though it isn’t all about Trump’s latest tweets and utterances, it sometimes gets readers angry.In the Spiel, the president’s saber rattling over Syria is classic Trump: The man lies about his past statements.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Tax Cut Conundrum

    Apr 12 2018

    On The Gist, Paul Ryan cared about just one thing: cutting taxes.Word choice is not always the most stimulating place to start an interview with an author, but it works when you’re talking to Sloane Crosley. The essayist defends metaphors like “Holocaust bunk bed” and the related analogy, “as if the Brady Bunch were filmed in Nazi Germany.” Crosley’s latest book—a collection of essays—is Look Alive Out There.In the Spiel, Congress failed to pin Mark Zuckerberg down.Learn more about your ad choic...more

  • It's Regulation Time

    Apr 10 2018

    On The Gist, beware the rise of the despot’s son-in-law.In the interview, media scrutinizer Brooke Gladstone wrote a graphic novel about the “Influencing Machines” that we often blame modernity’s problems on. Facebook is the latest of these, but this time, it’s less scapegoat and more actual problem to be reckoned with. Brooke’s book, illustrated by Josh Neufeld, is The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media.In the Spiel—attorney-client privilege, dead? No it taint!    &nbs...more

  • Zuck Everlasting

    Apr 09 2018

    On The Gist, president Trump just doesn’t have the ambition to tackle a problem like Syria.It’s a critical week for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has two dates with Congress, where he’ll be answering questions on the company’s loss of millions of its users’ data to Cambridge Analytica. Slate writer April Glaser tells us what to expect ahead of the hearings.In the Spiel, the least the Trump circus can do is give us some decent TV.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Andrew Cuomo's Pun Problem

    Apr 06 2018

    On today’s show, we don’t need a whole shadow Cabinet—we just need a shadow Trump. Comedian Hari Kondabolu is back—and this time, he brought his brother. Hari came to comedy after working as a community activist, but his younger brother, Ashok, was a bit more wayward. On The Gist, Ashok recounts his life as a subway vagabond in New York City. Hari and Ashok’s new podcast is called Kondabolu Brothers. In the Spiel, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alarming lack of pun-sense. Learn more abou...more

  • Kevin Williamson Dies by the Sword

    Apr 05 2018

    On today’s Gist, London’s enviable crime wave. Plus, what will we think of the Obama presidency in 50 years? Julian Zelizer set out to get really smart people to “take a first cut” at the Obama legacy on an array of issues. One person from his brain trust is Peniel Joseph, who surveys the Obama administration’s work on criminal justice. Their book is The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment.In the Spiel, why Mike rejects both tribes’ arguments on the Atlantic’s firing of con...more

  • Oh Good, It Was Just a Handgun

    Apr 04 2018

    On today’s Gist, why the YouTube shooter’s use of a handgun doesn’t take anything away from arguments to outlaw the AR-15.Plus, Radley Balko tells the story of two men who put innocent Mississippians behind bars using junk science and pseudo-expert testimony. Balko is the co-author, along with Tucker Carrington, of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South.In the Spiel, why the Roseanne reboot isn’t harmful pop culture.Learn more about your ad choi...more

  • Shulkin Be Sulkin'

    Apr 03 2018

    On Tuesday’s Gist, an ode to the end of March Madness. Plus, Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game. Are parabens really bad for you? Konnikova is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, why David Shulkin got the boot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Clinging to Guns Is Our Religion

    Apr 02 2018

    On Monday’s Gist, the White House press corps needs a break. And guest host Mary Wilson knows who should take their place in the interim.Plus, NationalReview.com editor Charles C. W. Cooke explains why he thinks repealing the Second Amendment would be such a losing proposition for gun control advocates. And in the Spiel, Slate’s Osita Nwanevu says the media doesn’t have a liberal bias problem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • In Defense of the Pun

    Mar 31 2018

    On The Gist, Good Friday is actually pretty great, from a cosmic perspective.In the interview, Aparna Nancherla tells us how to go from introverted kid (“my mom was very afraid of how unassertive I was”) to making it in comedy.In the Spiel, a deep dive into the world of acronyms.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • On Conservative Voices

    Mar 30 2018

    On The Gist, the Department of Energy has a chief creative officer? Let’s roll with it.In the interview, upstanding Pennsylvanian Amanda Holt updates us on the state’s new congressional district lines.In the Spiel, some hyperlinks are all hype, especially when it comes to censoring conservative opinion writers.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Know Thy Enemy

    Mar 29 2018

    On The Gist, Sean Hannity doesn’t like this podcast.In the interview, Korea expert Bruce Bechtol tells us what might be going on in Kim Jong-un’s mind and how to set it on denuclearization.In the Spiel, president Trump might be acting tough on Russia, but he doesn’t get what the big deal is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Corruption Just Isn't Telegenic

    Mar 28 2018

    On The Gist, forget Stormy Daniels. The Kushners’ massive loan deals are where the real dirt is at.In the interview, the world’s growing complexity can be measured in dusty cables, useless features, and lines of code. Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik talk about the problems that snowball when even the smallest thing goes wrong. Clearfield and Tilcsik are the authors of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It.In the Spiel, any census that asks people about their citizenship ...more

  • Hitler's Art Dealer

    Mar 27 2018

    On The Gist, “affair” is too rich a word to describe anything Donald Trump is emotionally capable of.In the interview, arts reporter Mary M. Lane tells us about the art collection looted by Hitler’s art dealer, inherited by that dealer’s son, and finally confiscated by the German government.In the Spiel, a survey of Republican bloviating on Sunday’s news shows.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Spies Are People Too

    Mar 24 2018

    On The Gist, Donald Trump’s presidency brings race relations, at best, to a standstill. Case in point: the police shooting in Sacramento, California.   The Americans is back for its final season next week. Showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg talk about their research into ruthless Soviet tactics, their obsession over historical detail, and why these spies are the good guys.      In the Spiel, what sound does a giraffe make? Also: It’s time for the Lobstar of th...more

  • As Statues Fall, Racism Stays

    Mar 23 2018

    On The Gist, what to make of yet another round of White House reshuffling.    As mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu has used his office to take down four of the city’s Confederate monuments. His new book reckons with race relations in his city, the South, and the country. Landrieu’s book is In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History.  In the Spiel, semantics, sexuality, and Cynthia Nixon.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • This Storm Ain't Brewing

    Mar 22 2018

    On The Gist, even if we get a law to make Robert Mueller unfireable, President Trump could trample all over it.  In the interview, sports journalist Mary Pilon tells the story of Olympic sailor Kevin Hall’s struggle with the Truman Show delusion (where someone believes he or she is the focus of a reality TV program). Pilon’s new book is The Kevin Show: An Olympic Athlete’s Battle With Mental Illness. In the Spiel, Stormy Daniels might win the right to talk. But can her story trouble Tr...more

  • Will Democracy Survive Trump?

    Mar 21 2018

    On The Gist, before Donald Trump’s headline-hogging presidency, things like bridge collapses made news for more than a few days.  In the interview, Cass Sunstein’s new book asks if the U.S. is fundamentally immune to authoritarianism, or whether president Trump has proved the opposite. His new book—Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America—puts the question to more than a dozen leading writers. In the Spiel, Betsy DeVos is totally incompetent, but at least that’s made obvious ev...more

  • Are Receipts Toxic?

    Mar 19 2018

    On today’s Gist, we’re nixing the Spiel to go on a Slate Podcasts retreat! Shouldn’t the White House staff have their own officewide retreat day? Plus, Maria Konnikova considers receipt paper toxicity: Is it BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Year Groove Went Mainstream

    Mar 17 2018

    On The Gist, “meddling” is too weak a word to describe what Russia did during in the U.S. election. In the interview, Chris Molanphy walks us through the No. 1 hits of 1969, the year flower power and psychedelic pop went fully mainstream. Chris is the host of Slate’s Hit Parade. In the Spiel, our Congress members represent way too many constituents—700,000 on average—to stay in touch with their needs.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Hot or Not: Presidents' Edition

    Mar 15 2018

    On The Gist, the Trump administration walks back a line about U.S. trade with Canada. And which American president was the studliest? Kate and J.D. Dobson are out with a book that considers Ulysses S. Grant’s quiet charisma, Franklin Pierce’s youthful charm, and the distinguished eyebrows of a certain Warren G. Harding. The Dobsons are the authors of Hottest Heads of State, Volume 1: The American Presidents.In the Spiel, the world’s greatest toy store goes down. Learn more about your ad cho...more

  • The Rogue at State

    Mar 15 2018

    Well, it’s a tough day to be Fox News. On today’s Gist, a closer look at the Department of State. It’s not that Rex Tillerson was wrong to want to reform how we do diplomacy—it’s that he utterly failed to deliver. Tom Hill, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, says the U.S. approach to international relations is antiquated and the diplomatic corps is bloated. Tillerson had a mandate to rethink our State Department. He blew it. In the Spiel, why the special election in Pennsy...more

  • The Heroes of Colombia

    Mar 14 2018

    On today’s Gist, the lesser-known story of Colombia: Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno has written a moving account of Colombia’s post–Pablo Escobar years, when the illegal drug trade was taken up by one of the factions in the country’s long-running civil war. Her book, There Are No Dead Here, spotlights the work of Colombians who risked their lives to wrest their country back from lawlessness. It also reveals the incoherence of the United States’ war on drugs, which indirectly fueled so much of Co...more

  • Russian Doping, Revisited

    Mar 12 2018

    On The Gist, is it OK to ape a Russian accent when saying Russian names?And we revisit an interview with filmmaker Bryan Fogel, whose documentary, Icarus, recently won an Academy Award.In the Spiel, a short conversation with author Steven Pinker about the state of academia. Is it really doing that badly?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • North Korea Is Setting the Table

    Mar 10 2018

    On The Gist, if sitting down with North Korea wasn’t a good idea for past U.S. presidents, how is it a good idea for our current one?       In the interview, Slate’s Fred Kaplan and former Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson are both cautiously optimistic about upcoming negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-un. In the Spiel, some miscellaneous (positive!) news.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • No Rules for the Wicked

    Mar 09 2018

    On The Gist, it’s a Jon Favreau–flavored mash-up: Swing Wars. In the interview, the walls cave in, the props catch fire, the actors stammer and forget … and it’s all part of the plan. Kevin McCollum, one of the producers of Broadway’s longest-running play, tells Mike how The Play That Goes Wrong makes audiences laugh. In the Spiel: By breaking them, at least the Trump administration is making us bone up on obscure but important rules.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...more

  • Guns, Controlled

    Mar 08 2018

    On The Gist, who’s left to work for Trump when even the nincompoops are quitting?   In the interview, Richard Aborn has helped get gun control laws on the books. As president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, he has the data on what works, what doesn’t, and how New York City got so safe. In the Spiel, the average Joe has no idea how tariffs actually work. That makes it tough to reason with him.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Scapegoat in Chinatown

    Mar 07 2018

    On The Gist, Lego business is hurting.  In Steve James’ latest documentary, the bank is the good guy. New York’s district attorney brought charges against a Chinatown-based bank after the 2008 financial crisis, even though the bank had little to do with subprime mortgages. James is the director of the Oscar-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.In the Spiel, the unpersuasive handwringing over putting Sam Nunberg on live TV. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • Ben Carson's Not Worth the Outrage

    Mar 06 2018

    On The Gist, if iHeart Media wants to do better, they really ought to change their name.   Did you watch the Oscars? Did you think they were a little lame? Writer Catie Lazarus provides a safe space for your Academy Awards–related shade. Lazarus is host of the Employee of the Month Show. Come see it live on March 15 in New York with guests Hannibal Buress, Emily Mortimer, Alex Lacamoire, and the Resistance Revival Chorus. In the Spiel, don’t let Ben Carson’s $31,000 fiasco distrac...more

  • Rejecting Jared

    Mar 03 2018

    Well, what do you know? In 2016, Trump tweeted that he wasn’t trying to get a top security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. A year later, he’s finally right. On The Gist, what’s so special about an octopus? Slate’s Daniel Engber has a takedown of the many-armed beast of the deep: The research on cephalopod intelligence is flimsy, he says, and the octopus is hardly the first animal to have fascinated us with its methods of escape. In the Spiel, it’s time to name another Lobstar. One m...more

  • Watching for a Backtrack

    Mar 02 2018

    Today on The Gist, a unified theory of Donald Trump. Plus, Trump dragged his fellow Republicans and made his Democrats grin like Cheshire cats at the televised meeting on gun control. What are the chances that the White House lets Trump’s comments stand? Mike talks to Slate politics writer Jim Newell.In the Spiel, the president has a lot of retrograde ideas that suit him. Here’s one that doesn’t: steel tariffs. One more thing: Please fill out the Slate podcast survey at slate.com/podcastsurvey.L...more

  • Heal Thyself, Dana Loesch

    Mar 01 2018

    Quick, who’s the Federal Reserve chairman? If you can’t remember, take heart: Our minds are filled to capacity with the flotsam and jetsam of the Trump White House.On The Gist, are you as virtuous as you think? Likely not. Christian Miller delved into social science research to find out if we tend to misjudge the strength of our own moral fiber. Miller’s book is The Character Gap: How Good Are We?In the Spiel, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has a hard time living up to her own media criticism.One m...more

  • The Abbreviated Highlight Reel of Stacey Dash

    Feb 28 2018

    Hang onto your skirts: Clueless co-star Stacey Dash is running for Congress. On The Gist, returning champion Maria Konnikova is back to sum up the social science on poker tells: Are they BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, we should acknowledge our progress. Please fill out the Slate podcast survey at slate.com/podcastsurveyLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Dissing Dianne Feinstein

    Feb 27 2018

    On The Gist, President Trump’s latest poetry reading. Last week on the show, we talked about the manifold reasons for optimism in the world. This week, Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker builds on that argument, adding that we’ve had a roughly 300-year run of steady improvements in technology, health, and civility. It just so happens that the only thing as constant as human progress is our tendency to focus on human shortcomings. Pinker’s latest book is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Rea...more

  • Don't Fall for It

    Feb 23 2018

    On The Gist, Trump boosted an empty idea at CPAC: arming teachers to stop mass shooters. In the interview, Derek DelGaudio is the magician of our time. His one-man show, In & of Itself, questions identity in a political atmosphere that’s consumed by it.  In the Spiel, “unsubstantiated” stories about Trump’s lecherous behavior on the set of The Apprentice are obviously, completely, and sadly believable.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Who Can Check Big Tech?

    Feb 23 2018

    On The Gist, NBC’s coverage of Olympic athletes’ backstories is a little too obvious. Slate tech writers April Glaser and Will Oremus examine the most plausible methods for reining in our tech overlords. Glaser and Oremus are the hosts of Slate’s If Then. In the Spiel, NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference was downright loony.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The World Is Coming Up Roses

    Feb 22 2018

    On The Gist, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek will be moderating a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. Mike says no thanks.  In the interview, Gregg Easterbrook is ever the optimist. Despite what your push alerts and Facebook news feed are telling you, the world is steadily getting safer, wealthier, and less afflicted by war and disease. Easterbrook is the author of It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.      In the Spiel, gun control advocates sh...more

  • Free Money City

    Feb 21 2018

    On The Gist, Team USA’s low medal count would be a bummer if these Winter Olympics weren’t so goofy.     In the interview, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs didn’t campaign on universal basic income, but he’s bringing it to his city. Later this year, some residents will start getting $500 a month. In the Spiel, conservative commentators have it plain wrong when it comes to gun control.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Ban the AR-15

    Feb 17 2018

    On The Gist, the market for “how to survive a shooting spree” videos shows how far we’ve strayed in dealing with gun violence.   Interracial marriage on a national level has only been legal for 50 years, after the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia. Anna Holmes and Lacey Schwartz are two of the minds behind The Loving Generation, a video series by Topic.com on identity and dynamics within multiracial families. In the Spiel, it’s a no-brainer: Ban civilian ownership...more

  • Which Side Are You On?

    Feb 16 2018

    Filling in for Mike Pesca today is Leon Neyfakh, still smoldering after his first season as host of Slate’s hit podcast, Slow Burn. Leon is indulging in a new fascination lately: the latest “left Twix vs. right Twix” ad campaign and its insistence that we should all pick one. But, of course, we insist on taking sides. Slate writer Justin Peters sheds some light on the New York Times’ swift hiring and firing of tech journalist Quinn Norton. In Leon’s Spiel: We must have some moral ...more

  • Runaway Military Spending

    Feb 15 2018

    On The Gist, names are stupidly important when it comes to getting elected.  The Trump administration is proposing a boost in military spending, but the country’s defense budget actually peaked under President Obama during the troop surge for the war in Afghanistan. Bipartisan support for massive defense spending has been the norm since the Reagan era. Foreign Policy’s Dan De Luce tells us about it.In the Spiel, lawyer Michael Cohen’s out-of-pocket expenses. Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • Spoon-Fed by the Feds

    Feb 14 2018

    On The Gist, on the White House budget’s effort to replace half of food-stamp funding with crappy meal boxes. How do you fix one of the most gerrymandered states in the country? It helps to have a tireless amateur mapmaker in your ranks. Mike talks to Amanda Holt, who spurred Pennsylvania to redraw its legislative districts in 2013 and is closely watching the state’s ongoing court battle over its congressional districts.  In the Spiel, the American intelligence community still has to convin...more

  • Don’t Call It a White House Shake-Up

    Feb 13 2018

    On today’s Gist, we get metaphysical. The White House is always in chaos. But can chaos be a permanent condition? Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game and answer the question: Does an athletic uniform’s color affect the athlete’s performance? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker is the author of The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, why Norway is a Winter Olympics marvel.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Dumb About Deficits

    Feb 10 2018

    On The Gist, it’s The $10,000 Pyramid with a budget deal twist. Is it possible we don’t know enough about national debt to call our politicians when they’re peddling nonsense? New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson addresses some common misconceptions and sums up the Republican tax cuts and spending bill this way: “Rich people are stealing the money.” In the Spiel, the Olympics are back, and the Russians got off easy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Is the Iran Deal a Dud?

    Feb 09 2018

    On The Gist, the “When did you stop beating your wife?” question in the White House press briefing. In the interview, Iran may have shelved its nuclear ambitions, but the Middle East is still in trouble. Slate’s Joshua Keating wonders if the Iran deal was worth it. In the Spiel, the world of the FEMA scammer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Longest War Is Lost

    Feb 08 2018

    Trump wants a parade. On The Gist, America's longest war, in Afghanistan, rumbles on under a third U.S. president. There is still no exit plan. Steve Coll’s new book explores the covert side of America’s campaign in Afghanistan and the secretive Pakistani intelligence wing lending support to the Taliban. Coll's book isDirectorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In the Spiel, considering Christopher Steele and Carter Page. Learn more about your ad c...more

  • America Adrift

    Feb 07 2018

    Listen, chattering classes: Let’s at least chatter correctly. We take a minute on the proper name pronunciation for the scandals of the day. Today on The Gist, U.S. foreign policy is a mess. But U.S. foreign policy has been a mess for decades. Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, explains. In the Spiel, what they were thinking in the stands of President Trump’s speech on Monday in Ohio.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Phil Rosenthal Eats the World

    Feb 06 2018

    On The Gist: Dow goes down, Trump gets mad.  In the interview, comedian Phil Rosenthal went to six cities across the globe to eat everything they had to offer and put it on Netflix. He tells Mike about his new show, Somebody Feed Phil, and the creative angst behind the sitcom that put him on the map: Everybody Loves Raymond.  In the Spiel, Justin Timberlake didn’t bring sexy back thanks to white privilege alone.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Philly vs. Boston

    Feb 03 2018

    On The Gist, Super Bowl LII is an occasion to ask the age-old question: Who’s more obnoxious, people from Philadelphia or Boston? Plus, Another Period takes the Gilded Age as its setting to satirize the worst of reality TV: extravagant wealth, petty arguments, and a shaky camera. Riki Lindhome co-created and stars in the Comedy Central show.In the Spiel, a reprise of the vaunted documentary, Busted: 43 Minutes of Crisis and Conflict, a production of the American Dream is Deadworks. Learn mo...more

  • LBJ, Reconsidered

    Feb 01 2018

    Lyndon B. Johnson doesn’t always get the consideration he deserves as one of America’s great presidents. On today’s Gist, historian Joshua Zeitz says LBJ’s fight for welfare reform and civil rights redefined the country, even as those legal achievements come under attack by today’s Republican Party. Zeitz is the author of Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House.    Plus, a Spiel from the 2016 archives: Vote Jabba!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...more

  • We Still Have No U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

    Feb 01 2018

    On The Gist, Trey Gowdy bows out. Fred Kaplan explains why foreign policy experts are concerned by the Trump administration’s move to renege on its choice of ambassador to South Korea at the last minute. Kaplan writes the War Stories column for Slate. He is the author, most recently, of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.In the Spiel, you know what they say: The president who claps the loudest pleases the crowd best.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When All the Jobs Are Gone

    Jan 31 2018

    On The Gist, the pomposity and circumstantial evidence of the State of the Union. Janesville, Wisconsin, had the oldest operating GM assembly plant in the country until 2008. The factory’s closure left thousands of employees in the lurch. Amy Goldstein’s book Janesville: An American Story describes the choices facing three families as they pick up the pieces of a busted local economy. In the Spiel, the right things to say when you’re being nuked and the right way to say them.Learn more abou...more

  • The Scholarly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Jan 30 2018

    On The Gist, get your clutching pearls ready. Russia alleges that the U.S. is trying to interfere in its election. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been politically precocious since well before his own sports scholarship at UCLA. His latest column for the Guardian argues it's "time to pay the tab for America's college athletes.” He says student players should unionize. In the Spiel, the tactics that responsible Republicans use to communicate their potential opposition: They speak in their home-state...more

  • Good Night, Portlandia

    Jan 27 2018

    On The Gist, the Doomsday Clock would be scary if it weren’t so bogus.In the interview, after years of gently poking fun at Portland, Oregon’s chill-but-not vibe, Portlandia is on its final season. Series co-star Carrie Brownstein unpacks the show’s humor and tells us how a wedding toast kind of doubled as an audition to get the show greenlit. In the Spiel, Mike awards a Lobstar after an especially lengthy antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • He Got Trump’s Taxes

    Jan 26 2018

    From the annals of monkey research, how 10 primates were gassed in the service of a bad study.Today on The Gist, investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been reporting on President Trump long enough to simply call him Donald. Johnston has an appreciation for Donald’s trademark swindles: refusing payment, lying to vendors, abridging photocopies. He’s not surprised to see the same methods at work in the Trump administration. He likens the Trump administration to “political termites,” ea...more

  • Odds, Ends, and Senators

    Jan 25 2018

    On The Gist, Devin Nunes probably doesn’t know squat.  In the interview, Democrats hold most of the Senate seats up for grabs in this year’s midterms, which means they have a lot to lose. But importantly, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg says election predictions often fail to account for national mood. Ellenberg is the author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. In the Spiel, Mike defends his bougie laundry routine.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...more

  • MSG Is A-OK

    Jan 24 2018

    On The Gist, more details come out about Garrison Keillor.In the interview, it turns out something can be good for your taste buds without being bad for your health. Monosodium glutamate has gotten a bad rap since 1968, when a medical journal suggested it might cause all kinds of symptoms. Dan Pashman, creator and host of the Sporkful podcast, tells us why MSG isn’t the boogeyman it’s been made out to be (and why he adds it to his own cooking).In the Spiel, behold, the mystical power of Maine Se...more

  • The Dems Have a Bad Hand

    Jan 23 2018

    On The Gist, what just happened? And are Democrats sniveling losers or Machiavellian savants?  McClatchy reporter Alex Roarty explains why the animating force driving both Democrats and Republicans right now is a loud conservative minority. In the Spiel, Greece has beef regarding which part of world gets to be called “Macedonia.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • One Year Down

    Jan 20 2018

    Up first on The Gist: It appears the Stormy Daniels story checks out.  Plus, Saturday marks the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. The hosts of Slate’s Trumpcast join Mike to revise old predictions, make new ones, and consider whether Democrats should be rooting for impeachment via the Robert Mueller investigation.  And in the Spiel, we’re on the verge of another government shutdown. It seems normal now. Or have we lost track of what normal looks like?Learn more about...more

  • Busted: A Gist Productions Parody

    Jan 19 2018

    On The Gist, how about those Fake News Awards, huh?  Alan Jacobs questions your ability to think for yourself. Can you really rid yourself of your biases, or do you just develop better biases? Are you really any better than your estranged friends at finding answers, or have you just chosen a different group with whom to associate? Jacobs is the author of How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds.  In the Spiel, relive the horrifying 43 minutes during which America thought a ju...more

  • Wait and CR

    Jan 18 2018

    On The Gist, the bad news from Freedom House. U.S. Air Force officer Edward Lansdale promoted a “hearts and minds” approach to diplomacy in the Philippines and Vietnam, only to be steamrolled by America’s elite class of policymakers. Max Boot tells us about Lansdale and his own newfound recognition of white privilege and other ideas from the left. Boot’s new book is The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.     In the Spiel, why the continuing resolu...more

  • Nukes and Crannies

    Jan 17 2018

    On The Gist, the press is too squeamish to clarify that “shithouse” isn’t much better than “shithole.” In the interview, more on fire and fury—nuclear fire, rhetorical fury, and the consequences of both. Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein, hosts of Arms Control Wonk, assess the Trump administration’s tough talk on North Korea and the danger of a South Korea that decides to take matters into its own hands. In the Spiel, Aziz Ansari isn’t blameless, but he doesn’t deserve a total destruction of hi...more

  • Teenage Brains Are Just Different

    Jan 13 2018

    On The Gist, Mike examines Trump’s bottom-of-the-barrel statements on immigration. In the interview, Dina Temple-Raston explains how she became fascinated by the teenage brain. After years of covering terrorism for NPR, she was stunned to see so many young people leaving their homes to join ISIS. Teenagers aren’t just prone to falling in with terrorist recruiters: Their underdeveloped minds make them more susceptible to video gaming compulsions and violent behavior. Why? Temple-Raston finds answ...more

  • Is Trump Insane? Does It Matter?

    Jan 12 2018

    On The Gist, Mike skewers a columnist for concluding that President Trump is sane.In the interview, comedian Judah Friedlander wants to let you know that his new comedy special is all him, even though it’s got Netflix’s name on it. The 30 Rock alum talks about matters of social justice, satire, and jingoism.In the Spiel, Democrats should stop questioning Trump’s mental acuity and focus on midterms instead.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Cry for Self-Help

    Jan 11 2018

    On The Gist, a brief look at what Norway is doing right.  In the interview, we turn to self-help experts Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg about the “new you” books that are good, bad, and absolute nonsense. Meinzer and Greenberg are hosts of the Panoply show By the Book.  In the Spiel, Mike discovers the best transliteration ever.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Radio Reconciliation

    Jan 10 2018

    On The Gist, Joe Arpaio’s life after pardon.   In the interview, MacArthur “genius” award winner Betsy Levy Paluck tells us about her research into mass media and public opinion. We might have the impression that our beliefs are based on reason. But what our neighbors think (or what we think they think) has a lot to do with it, too.In the Spiel, how to charm Twitter trolls into submission. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What to Make of Fire and Fury

    Jan 09 2018

    On The Gist, Sen. Lindsey Graham is defending the president extra hard on television … because he knows Trump’s watching. In the interview, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik tells us what to make of Fire and Fury, the book that claims to reveal how dysfunctional the Trump administration really is.   In the Spiel, Mike gives props to Oprah for her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. But that doesn’t mean she should run for president.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...more

  • Going for Gridiron

    Jan 06 2018

    On The Gist, third-party voters should answer for Donald Trump’s terrible policies at home and warmongering around the world. In the interview, fields don’t get much more male-dominated than those of the NFL. Our guest Jen Welter made history as the first woman to hold a coaching position in the league, training the Arizona Cardinals' inside linebackers in the 2015 preseason. Welter is the author of Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless From the First Woman to Coach in the NFL. In the Spiel,...more

  • Move to the Center or Keep on Losing

    Jan 05 2018

    On The Gist, Mike wonders whether the “winner picked out of a bowl” antics in Virginia’s House of Delegates will really matter much. In the interview, former Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire has straightforward advice for candidates in blue-collar America: appeal to the center or lose out. Just as importantly, Altmire argues, the Democratic Party as a whole has to let them do it. Altmire’s book is Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It. In the Spiel...more

  • Killed, Then Counted

    Jan 04 2018

    On The Gist, Mike calls foul on the mashup terms used to describe big weather events, such as the latest: bombogenesis.  In the interview, police shootings regularly make headlines, but what does the big picture look like? Sam Sinyangwe is a data analyst at Mapping Police Violence, an organization that recently looked at all 1,129 cases in which a person died at the hands of the police in 2017. And yes, there is a racial disparity.        In the Spiel, the barbs tra...more

  • Behind the Scenes of Slow Burn

    Jan 03 2018

    On The Gist, Mike tips his hat to the musical talents of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement Tuesday. In the interview, it took a perfect storm to bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency, and it’s not guaranteed that another will come for Donald Trump. Slate’s Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons tell us about their chart-topping podcast, Slow Burn, and why it shouldn’t necessarily give hope to those who want Trump out.    In the Spiel, President Trump’s latest round of s...more

  • It’s Fan Service or Bust

    Dec 30 2017

    On The Gist, Mike is down with feminism but argues that woke should be Merriam-Webster’s word of the year instead. In the interview, Anjelah Johnson was living off grocery store gift cards in L.A. before a new thing called YouTube launched her comedy career. Someone uploaded a video of her stand-up routine to the site in 2007; it quickly racked up millions of views and landed Anjelah an agent. Johnson’s fourth comedy special, Mahalo & Goodnight, is on EPIX, Apple Music, and Spotify. In ...more

  • Your Brain Is Bad With Money

    Dec 29 2017

    On The Gist, Mike says goodbye to Roy Moore yet again, after an Alabama judge rejected Moore’s lawsuit to contest his opponent’s Senate win. In the interview, Dan Ariely tells us “how we misthink money and how to spend smarter.” That’s the subtitle of his book on the ways we value the wrong things and fail to think long term. Ariely is the co-author, with Jeff Kreisler, of Dollars and Sense. In the Spiel, Mike looks back on the worst op-eds of 2017.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...more

  • Hobby Lobby Is Just Getting Started

    Dec 28 2017

    On The Gist, Mike runs through the major news of the past few days, while much of the news media is on vacation.      In the interview, Hobby Lobby scored a famous Supreme Court win for evangelicals in 2014, allowing certain corporations to deny covering their employees’ contraception costs. Professor of theology Candida Moss tells us about the family behind the company, and their crusade to promote fundamental Christianity. Moss is the co-author, with Joel Baden, of Bible Nation:...more

  • Deplorables and Snowflakes

    Dec 23 2017

    On The Gist, Ken Stern explains why the deplorable label doesn’t sit well with him, even if it’s defensible. Stern is the author of Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right. In the Spiel, is life better in the U.S. or Europe? Mike considers it with David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Tax Bill Ballyhoo

    Dec 22 2017

    On The Gist, why the Republican tax overhaul is unlikely to spur hiring. Michael Carpenter explains what we lose when the Trump administration doesn’t try to put the heat on Russia. Carpenter is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and foreign policy adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden. He and Biden are the co-authors of the Foreign Affairs article, “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin.”In the Spiel, robots take over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • Trickle Down Now

    Dec 21 2017

    On The Gist, it seems that congressional investigators have nabbed a big fish: Jill Stein.Plus, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt explains why the Republicans absolutely had to pass the tax bill, even if polls suggest it could be an albatross around their necks during the midterms. Leonhardt authors the Times’ absolutely essential Opinion Today newsletter.In the Spiel: Income inequality may not be the perfect descriptor for what ails us, but it’s the best term we’ve got. And the Republica...more

  • Behind the Scenes at The Daily

    Dec 20 2017

    On The Gist, Mike talks about the consequences of fast-tracking a major tax overhaul. In the interview, how did the team behind The Daily manage to create a show that’s unlike anything we’ve heard before and also oddly perfect for this moment in news? Host Michael Barbaro and managing producer Theo Balcomb say they talked extensively about what they didn’t want to sound like. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I never want to do a jobs report,’ ” says Balcomb. “ ‘Can we promise we’re never going to do a ...more

  • Don’t Worry if Baby Turns Orange

    Dec 19 2017

    On the Gist, why we shouldn’t fret every time companies like Netflix show how they’re using our personal data.   In the interview, Maria Konnikova runs us through the foods that can turn your skin orange, blue, and red, and whether that’s even a bad thing. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, what the latest Star Wars movie has in common with Donald Trump.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jeff Ross Got Bored, So He Got Political

    Dec 15 2017

    On The Gist, President Trump’s judicial nominations are starting to look ridiculous. In the interview, comedian Jeff Ross got a little tired of his shtick as a go-to roast guy for Comedy Central’s famous Friars Club sendups. So he started skewering not people, but places, ideas, and institutions. His latest special, ­­Jeff Ross Roasts the Border, takes viewers to Brownsville, Texas, a city along the U.S.-Mexico border where a huge steel fence is meant to keep migrants from crossing into the Unit...more

  • Revisiting Another Democratic Wave

    Dec 15 2017

    Chris Hurst doesn’t want you to know him as the guy whose girlfriend was fatally shot during a live broadcast. But it is a huge part of what compelled him to pursue elected office: “Part of what I want to do is … take this spotlight, that I wish I had a receipt for … ’cause I’d gladly return it, and shine it on people that aren’t normally seen.” Hurst is a newly elected state representative in Virginia. For the Spiel, an exclusive clip from Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to the House Intelligence ...more

  • The Underdog and the Bully

    Dec 14 2017

    On The Gist, Omarosa makes for the exits.  In honor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees announced today, we’re playing an excerpt from our live show last month, when we went over the ballot with Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy and Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri. In the Spiel, reflecting on the Doug Jones win in Alabama.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • It’s Partisanship, Stupid

    Dec 12 2017

    On The Gist, the #MeToo movement is only influential insofar as its targets can feel shame and enact accountability. In the interview, biographer Robert Dallek accounts for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ruthless pragmatism. As president, FDR made the decision to round up 120,000 Japanese Americans to “strike resonant chords with most Americans,” and he was silent on anti-lynching bills to appease Democratic segregationists who would later help him pass New Deal legislation. Dallek’s book is Franklin D...more

  • The Abortion Fight Led Us Here

    Dec 12 2017

    On The Gist, we can have sympathy for all kinds of people—just not the guy who loses all his money on bitcoin. In the interview, Lenora Chu tells the story of her American family’s rude awakening to Chinese education practices. When Chu moved her family to Shanghai, she eagerly enrolled her young son into an elite Chinese public school. She expected academic rigor and an emphasis on work ethic. But she was surprised to find authoritarian teachers and desperate, obsequious parents. What, if anyth...more

  • Drama in Alabama

    Dec 08 2017

    On The Gist, is President Trump to blame for today’s violence in Gaza? In the interview, columnist John Archibald surveys the Senate race in Alabama, where Doug Jones has become the abortion candidate and Roy Moore has become the Trumpism candidate.  In the Spiel, don’t talk to Mike about Trump’s slurred speech.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Can You Win as the Party of Purity?

    Dec 08 2017

    On The Gist, Walmart gets a new name.  In the interview, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick thought about one thing when Senate Democrats started calling for Al Franken’s resignation: Merrick Garland, which she points to as the beginning in a trend of Democrats trying to be honorable and Republicans trying to win at all costs. Are Democrats abandoning process too readily, only to see Republicans surge ahead again? Dahlia is the host of Slate’s Amicus. In the Spiel, the FBI’s testimony on Capitol ...more

  • Next Falls Franken?

    Dec 07 2017

    On The Gist, Slate’s Jim Newell explains the moral and political case for forcing out Sen. Al Franken. Dozens of Senate Democrats called on Franken to resign after a seventh woman accused him of sexual misconduct on Tuesday. Bob Garfield has spent much of his journalism career talking to eccentrics. In his one-man show, Ruggedly Jewish, the quest to explore his own identity dovetails with the story of an uneasy America. The show is touring in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 9. And for the Spiel, ...more

  • The Boys Club on the Bus

    Dec 06 2017

    On The Gist, why Alabama’s decrepitude is not incidental to Roy Moore’s competitive bid for Senate.  In the interview, Russell Shorto tells the stories of six people living through the Revolutionary War—one is George Washington; the other five, you’ve probably never heard of. Shorto’s book is Revolution Song. In the Spiel, a counterpoint to Jill Filipovic’s New York Times column arguing that the sexual harassers who covered the election threw the whole thing to Donald Trump. Learn...more

  • Pete Souza’s Photo Synthesis

    Dec 05 2017

    Before Pete Souza became the most famous troll on Instagram, he was the White House photographer for the duration of the Obama administration. Souza explains his approach to capturing moments and shares why he doesn’t consider his work to be propaganda. His book of pictures from the Obama presidency is Obama: An Intimate Portrait. In the Spiel, should the store that sells you candy also sell you health care?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Bob Saget Doesn’t Think He’s That Raunchy

    Dec 02 2017

    Bob Saget has long been known as the cuddly, sitcom dad with a surprisingly raunchy side. The comedian talks about the two shows that launched his career and the very first jokes he wrote as a teenager. Bob Saget’s comedy special is Zero to Sixty.In the Spiel, Mike pays an overdue visit to mail from listeners, and awards a Lobstar.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Life Is Like Pachinko

    Dec 01 2017

    There hadn’t been an English-language novel about ethnic Koreans living in Japan until this year’s Pachinko. Author Min Jin Lee chalks it up to the complicated history of the Korean Japanese. They were colonized by Japan, they were forced or compelled to migrate, and they were targets of anti-Korean discrimination. But Lee was surprised to find that many Korean Japanese don’t see themselves as victims of racism. “They would actually see it as, culturally, their norm,” says Lee. “I think it’s ver...more

  • A Founding Fathers Bromance

    Nov 29 2017

    Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were very different guys representing opposing political parties. Jefferson was a wildly popular aristocrat from Virginia; Adams was a middling, dyspeptic lawyer from Massachusetts. But they were fast friends, and their relationship ultimately survived a presidential election in which they faced off as candidates. Historian Gordon S. Wood explains why their friendship should give us hope. Wood’s book is Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.In lieu of a...more

  • The Problem With America’s Rich

    Nov 28 2017

    Can you move toward greater income equality without asking America’s richest to give something up? In a word, no. On The Gist, Richard Reeves argues that the upper echelons of the U.S. are bogarting wealth that would otherwise go to the middle class. His latest book is Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It. And today, Mike pulls a Spiel from the archives: What President Trump means when he says eve...more

  • Is Neocon Nation-Building Done For?

    Nov 28 2017

    Elliott Abrams narrowly missed out on the State Department’s No. 2 job under President Trump, and it wasn’t just because of his sharp criticism of Trump, the candidate. In his book, Realism and Democracy, he argues that the U.S. should stay involved ­in the Arab world, going against the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine. Abrams also sounds off on Trump’s use of the presidential pardon. In the Spiel, Mike weighs the New York Times’ coverage of your run-of-the-mill American Nazi.Lear...more

  • Dana Gould’s Take on Horror

    Nov 23 2017

    Standup comic and writer Dana Gould talks to Mike about growing up in a family of manly hunters and writing a character inspired by his dad. Gould is the creator of IFC’s Stan Against Evil, a show about a small-town New Hampshire sheriff who fights demons.  In the Spiel, how to get a rise out of your uncle over the holidays.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Anti-War Candidate Was Invented in 1968

    Nov 22 2017

    The anti-war movement of 1968 looks inevitable today, but at the time, it felt “freaking bananas.” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains the charisma of Bobby Kennedy, the fervor of Eugene McCarthy, and the crushing blow they dealt to sitting President Lyndon B. Johnson, who withdrew from the campaign after a narrow win in the New Hampshire primary. O’Donnell wrote about the race in his latest book, Playing With Fire. In the Spiel, Mike skewers president Trump’s double standards when it comes...more

  • What’s Next for Zimbabwe?

    Nov 21 2017

    In his 37 years as president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has learned how to play hardball. While his past methods have invited sanctions for human rights violations, the 93-year-old is staying within the confines of the law to fend off the coup at his doorstep. Chipo Dendere, a visiting assistant professor of political science at Amherst College, tells us more. In the Spiel, Mike considers Charles Manson and why serial killers don’t get attention like they used to.Learn more about your ad ch...more

  • At Home With Gilbert Gottfried

    Nov 17 2017

    Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is known for his notorious voice and jokes that toe the borderline between daring and tasteless. In the documentary Gilbert, we see his softer side: his wife, Dara, rubs schmutz off his robe, his kids hug him goodbye before padding off to school, he sweet-talks a hotel concierge into giving him free deodorant. Gottfried, Dara, and the film’s director Neil Berkeley joined Mike to talk about what makes Gilbert special.  In the Spiel, are you running for office? A si...more

  • The Nazi-Busting Woman Erased by History

    Nov 17 2017

    Elizebeth Smith got her start poring over Shakespearean verse for secret messages that were not there. But she soon used those skills to break codes used by America’s enemies in both world wars. The FBI took credit for her decryptions of Nazi messages, and her husband’s work received much greater attention from the wars’ historians. Jason Fagone changes that with his latest book,­ The Woman Who Smashed Codes, and joins Mike to talk about it.  In the Spiel, Mike surveys podcasting comedians’...more

  • People Power Beats the Courts

    Nov 16 2017

    How can savvy activism topple decades of legal precedent? The ACLU’s David Cole tells us about three issues in which like-minded citizens advanced their agenda: marriage equality, gun ownership, and checking George W. Bush’s war on terror. Cole’s book is Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law.  In the Spiel, Mike considers Brett Talley, President Trump’s odd pick for federal district judge.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Putting the Con in Economics

    Nov 15 2017

    President Trump’s top economics adviser is Kevin Hassett, a guy who has made some very bad calls—most notably, his assertion that the Bush tax cuts would make the U.S. economy recession-proof. New Yorker writer Adam Davidson takes us to economics school and parses some of Hassett’s years old gobbledygook.  In the Spiel, holding Bill Clinton’s accusers to today’s standards.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Prisons of Profit

    Nov 14 2017

    As America’s prison population surged in the ’80s and ’90s, private prisons were billed as the solution. They were supposed to bring innovations to incarceration and save tax dollars. But as criminal justice expert Lauren-Brooke Eisen tells us, private prisons are no more cost-effective, and the corporations behind them operate in secrecy. Eisen’s book is Inside Private Prisons.  In the Spiel, Mike skewers the Republican tax plan.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • The Family Man

    Nov 11 2017

    Loudon Wainwright III has been plumbing his personal relationships and dysfunctions for decades in his music. His latest book continues on that theme as he examines the influence of his father. The book is Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & a Few of My Other Favorite Things.In the Spiel, Mike is not yet done talking about Roy Moore and Louis C.K. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Bush 41 Was the Anti-Trump

    Nov 09 2017

    As the Soviet Union crumbled, George H.W. Bush’s strategy was simple: say nothing. Historian Jeffrey Engel tells us about Bush’s plain oratory and his relationship with the USSR’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. Engel says Bush Sr. and Trump scarcely look like they’re from the same party—which, of course, they aren’t. His book is When the World Seemed New.In the Spiel, reacting to the allegations against Roy Moore and Louis C.K.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • About Last Night

    Nov 09 2017

    Democrats are feeling triumphant after Tuesday’s state and local elections. But it’s not a referendum on the president until his name is on the ballot, so E.J. Dionne and Thomas Mann are here to explain remains unique about this moment in American history. Dionne, Mann, and Norman Ornstein are the authors of the book One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported. In the Spiel, hating on the latest iOS update.Learn more about yo...more

  • The Paradox of Black Patriotism

    Nov 08 2017

    Theodore Johnson caught our attention for his tweets about how the White House reacts to protest from black Americans. He brings an interesting perspective as a black man in the U.S. with two decades of military service under his belt—identities, he writes, that stand “toe to toe.” Johnson is a fellow at New America and a former speechwriter for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the Spiel, what Harvey Weinstein’s network of spies tells us about the power of legacy media. Le...more

  • Lynn Novick on Making The Vietnam War

    Nov 07 2017

    How do you attempt to document an event as complex and inexplicable as the Vietnam War? Filmmaker Lynn Novick says it helped to prioritize Vietnamese voices as well as people with a flair for speaking. “There’s a poetry in just how people express themselves that we look for,” said Novick. She and Ken Burns co-directed The Vietnam War, airing now on PBS. In the Spiel, Mike tsk-tsks Donna Brazile’s tell-all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Free to Be You and #MeToo

    Nov 04 2017

    The #MeToo movement is flushing out clear-cut cases of sexual harassment and assault, but is it helping us judge cases that are far murkier? Erin Gloria Ryan, senior editor for the Daily Beast, wonders whether people will separate into two camps: those who think accusers should be listened to, regardless of consequences, and those who think the accused should be punished, regardless of evidence. In the Spiel, is this really the lowest point in U.S. history?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...more

  • Get Inside the Brain of Michael Rapaport

    Nov 02 2017

    The tax plan is out, and New Yorker writer Adam Davidson joins us to play One Question, One Question Only: Is this tax reform? And the voluble Michael Rapaport unleashes his opinions about various “stickmen” (read: athletic Casanovas) and why he’s embarrassed to be a Knicks fan. Rapaport’s new book is This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash, and he hosts the podcast I Am Rapaport. And in the Spiel, what went wrong in protecting Americans from armies of Russian trolls...more

  • Talk Like a Pirate (Party) Day

    Nov 02 2017

    Birgitta Jónsdóttir has an unusual background for a politician: she’s a poet and a free speech activist. Since 2013, she’s been a member of the Icelandic parliament representing the anti-establishment Pirate Party. Jónsdóttir talks to Mike about what it’s like to work within a fledgling political party and why she’s disappointed with what Wikileaks has become.In the Spiel, how not to respond to a terrorist attack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Putting Dr. Seuss on the Couch

    Nov 01 2017

    Was Dr. Seuss racist? Or did his books just not age well? And what is the appropriate response to a canonical work that seems to be littered with racially charged depictions? Philip Nel takes on all these questions and poses some more of his own in his latest book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?In the Spiel, what if the office of the presidency were leveraged for the sake of constant distraction? We are finding out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Scared to Death?

    Oct 30 2017

    Can you be scared to death? Can your hair go white from fear? This sounds like a job for “Is That Bullshit?” with Maria Konnikova, our favorite BS detector. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, the never-ending baseball game and a bothersome T-Mobile ad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Sen. Cory Booker Has a Message for Pot Smokers

    Oct 27 2017

    Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has rolled out the kind of marijuana legalization bill progressives love to fawn over and libertarians love to ridicule. The plan would pressure states to legalize marijuana by withholding federal money. Booker cedes that the bill’s passage doesn’t seem imminent, but he likens marijuana legalization to gay marriage, another proposal that saw a rapid surge in popular support: “I’m believing in—I’m claiming a sea change coming in the future.”In the Spiel, wha...more

  • Fellas We Frolicked With

    Oct 26 2017

    Talking about sex makes some people squirm. For everyone else there’s Guys We Fucked, a podcast hosted by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson that started off as a series of interviews with their old partners. Now it’s more of a coffee klatsch between two raunchy feminists.Their new book is F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed.And in the Spiel, Bannon, Bulgarian mutiny, and beluga whales.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jacob Weisberg on the Steele Dossier

    Oct 25 2017

    Jacob Weisberg says the Clinton campaign’s links to the Steele dossier matters, but not as much as the veracity of the oppo research itself. Weisberg is host of Trumpcast and editor in chief of the Slate Group.In the Spiel, the death of Fats Domino.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jeff Bezos Isn’t King

    Oct 24 2017

    Shareholder returns aren’t the only barometer of CEO success anymore, or else Jeff Bezos would be on top. In recent years, sustainability and diversity have gained importance—and in those areas, European CEOs are lapping their American competitors. Adi Ignatius, editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review, joins us to discuss the metrics for CEO success and how businesses struggle to diversify. The Harvard Business Review just published its rankings of the best-performing CEOs in the world of...more

  • A Show for Mere Mortals

    Oct 24 2017

    Kathleen Horan writes obituaries for the living. Her Audible original series, Mortal City, is an anthology of lesser-known New York characters: Douglas the sanitation worker, Serge the barman, Rocky the ambulance commandant. “I just kept feeling like there were people that I was missing,” says Horan. She prefers to talk to people who live and work on the city’s margins: “They just can’t help but show you higher up on the thigh of their story.”In the Spiel, the latest page in the very long scrapb...more

  • Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald

    Oct 20 2017

    Marc Maron says he “didn’t know anything about anything” when he began working in radio. But producer Brendan McDonald can tell you the moment he knew Maron could be a radio star. It was during a morning show on the ill-fated Air America network, and then-host Maron was ranting about overcooked lentils. “The phones lit up,” said McDonald. The two went on to create WTF With Marc Maron, the podcast now known for intense interviews with comedians, many of whom Maron quarreled with in the past. Maro...more

  • Flags Tell Fibs

    Oct 19 2017

    Some national flags are created to unify nations, but others are simply based on myths. The Danes believe God threw theirs from heaven, and the Catalonians tell the story of a severed arm dragged across a shield. Vexilloligist and author Tim Marshall joins us to explain these myths and the complex politics of national flags. Marshall’s new book is A Flag Worth Dying For.In the Spiel, a right-wing provocateur provokes often, but not well. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...more

  • Falling for the Gambler’s Fallacy

    Oct 18 2017

    If the roulette wheel keeps stopping on green, it’s bound to stop on red soon, right? It must be time for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” Maria Konnikova returns to debunk our ideas about probability and gambling. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, the Russian connection.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Stupid Genius of Dexter Guff

    Oct 18 2017

    Thought-leaders build careers out of TED talks, inspirational quotes, and branded products. Dexter Guff is a big player in that space, teaching his listeners how to crush it every day. But Dexter Guff is not a real guy. His podcast, Dexter Guff Is Smarter Than You, is a satirical show starring actor Peter Oldring. Oldring explains the origins of the Dexter Guff character and the difficulties of executing dry humor. In the Spiel, Slate contributor Seth Stevenson sizes up Democratic Rep. Seth Moul...more

  • Sarah Kliff on the Big Questions

    Oct 17 2017

    You can’t get away from Obamacare news, and with each repeal effort there are familiar, wild-eyed claims from the law’s supporters and detractors. Will chipping away at the Affordable Care Act cause people to die? Did the health care law “bend” the cost curve? Did your taxes go up to pay for healthcare for the poor and the sick? Mike interrogates some of these pronouncements with Vox’s Sarah Kliff. Listen to her new weekly podcast, Impact. Pitchforks down, please: a Spiel about why New York Time...more

  • Why Now With the Weinstein Stories?

    Oct 14 2017

    Why did it take years of reporting before any news organizations could nail down the Harvey Weinstein story? NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says previously, the allegations received only “twilight” coverage. He considers why NBC might have whiffed on the Weinstein story, and how the network’s hard pass is being recast in conservative circles. Folkenflik is the author of Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. In the Spiel, who was the star of the New York City mayoral ...more

  • The Shia LaBeouf of Islam

    Oct 12 2017

    What does it mean to be Muslim in the U.S. right now? Slate’s Aymann Ismail set out to understand, interviewing the founder of right-wing website Gateway Pundit, a former Muslim extremist, and his own family members, among others. What Aymann has learned so far has surprised him. His Slate video series is “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?” In the Spiel, jokes didn’t take down Harvey Weinstein.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Oklahoma Is Not OK

    Oct 11 2017

    Things are looking bleak in Oklahoma. Low taxes and slashed state spending mean schools, prisons, and even the state capitol building itself are failing. Russell Cobb, a native Okie, explains how his home state came to be so screwed up. In the Spiel, what’s so wrong with a gun registry?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Made-Up Cabaret

    Oct 10 2017

    Comedian Jason Kravits can write a Broadway hit, on the spot. That’s the premise of his improv cabaret show, where he invents tunes based on audience suggestions, such as “Yom Kippur” or “a Victorian sewer.” The show, Off the Top, is on the second Saturday of every month at the Duplex in Manhattan. His next show is Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.In the Spiel, the Environmental Protection Agency.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Masha Gessen, Putin Whisperer

    Oct 06 2017

    Masha Gessen returns to The Gist, this time to talk about her latest work, The Future Is History. Gessen uses the book to examine the ways in which post-Soviet Russia failed to process the traumas of totalitarianism. In failing to reckon with its past, did Russia doom itself to a bleak future? In the Spiel, the dearth of details in the Trump administration’s tax plan.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Facebook’s Data Monopoly

    Oct 06 2017

    This week, we learned that Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted swing states during the 2016 election. Initially hesitant about sharing information with the government, Facebook finally gave in to avoid a deeper discussion on regulation, but tech companies have grown so big that it might be time for the government to step in. Journalist Franklin Foer explains how tech has become so powerful, and why it’s essential to be skeptical of technological innovation. Foer’s new book is World Without Mind...more

  • You Poor Seoul

    Oct 04 2017

    Has the military become more tolerant of collateral damage under President Trump? Why are there no good military options in North Korea? And who does it hurt when the president goes off-script about Kim Jong-un? Retired Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks has the answers. In the Spiel, the cost of paying constant attention to the president’s myriad sins and insults.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Presidency is Impossible

    Oct 03 2017

    Before the Cold War, the president spent most of his time focusing on long-term problems facing the nation. But ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president has had to devote more time to immediate crises than overarching strategy. Author Jeremi Suri explains how the office of the president has changed so drastically—and whether there’s any way for occupants to succeed now. Suri’s new book is The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office.In the Spiel, more ways to t...more

  • The Rage Was Already There

    Oct 02 2017

    On The Gist, we’re thinking about the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the errors we make when we attempt to explain the motives of an attacker. Author Masha Gessen says it’s all part of our desire to reassure ourselves that we won’t fall victim to a bomb blast or a spray of bullets. “As soon as we find an explanation, we set it aside and we’re reassured that it’s not going to happen to us.” Gessen went in search of an explanation for the Boston Marathon bombing in her book, The Brothers. She’ll b...more

  • Kurt Andersen’s History of American Wackadoodles

    Sep 29 2017

    Charlatans and magical thinkers aren’t new to this country; they helped shape it. So goes the thesis of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. Author Kurt Andersen joins Mike to consider religious quacks, the wackadoodles of the left and right, and the shrinking authority of the academy. Andersen is the host of Studio 360. In the Spiel, we’re long overdue for another Lobstar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Recentering American Politics

    Sep 29 2017

    For the past 25 years, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard and Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution have been debating the meaning of presidential elections. But in 2016, they found themselves agreeing much more frequently on issues such as immigration, the tech industry, and tax reform. These men, on opposite sides of center, decided to develop a plan to recenter American politics. Galston and Kristol’s new project is the New Center.In the Spiel, a librarian rejected books donated by Melan...more

  • It’s Time to Rethink Puerto Rico

    Sep 27 2017

    It’s time for Vexillology Corner: Last month, the city of Pocatello, Idaho, presented a new city flag to replace their previous one, known for being one of the ugliest flags in the United States. But what makes a flag ugly? Vexillologist Ted Kaye describes Pocatello’s new flag and reminds us why a kid should be able to draw it. Kaye is the author of Good Flag, Bad Flag. In the Spiel, a brief word from economist Tyler Cowen, who summarizes the grim outlook for Puerto Rico. Learn more about y...more

  • Mark Lilla’s Advice for Liberals

    Sep 26 2017

    Mark Lilla made a lot of liberals bristle with his New York Times op-ed, “The End of Identity Liberalism.” But Lilla insists that what he’s suggesting should not make the bleeding hearts clutch their hemp necklaces in horror. His premise is simple: To make meaningful gains, Democrats need institutional power (i.e., election wins). And far too often, Lilla says, liberals have sacrificed such ends for what he calls “noble defeats.” Lilla’s book is The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politi...more

  • David Litt is D.C. Funny

    Sep 25 2017

    Working in the White House sounds impressive, but speechwriter David Litt says it’s not like The West Wing. Some days you just find salmon in a toilet, or have to tell the president that he looks like Hitler. Litt shares his experience as a self-described unimportant person working in the most important place in America. Litt’s new book Thanks, Obama is out now, and you can find him on Twitter.In the Spiel, it’s a sports talk hot take. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...more

  • 2007 Defined the Next Decade In Pop

    Sep 22 2017

    The chart-topping hits of 2007 featured Beyoncé at peak pop and Kanye West ahead of the curve with electronic dance music. Why do the hits of 2007 have such impressive staying power? Chris Molanphy says it might be because the 2007 Billboard charts were more comprehensive than ever, marking the first time that digital music sales were incorporated into a song’s ranking. Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1? column and hosts the podcast Hit Parade.In the Spiel, John McCain just keeps on...more

  • Dylan Moran Will Say It to Your Face

    Sep 21 2017

    Dylan Moran is a comedian from Ireland, a resident of Scotland, and a worried observer of politics in America. He talks to Mike about his way with words and why he thinks satire might bring down the 45th president. Moran is touring the U.S. now with his latest stand-up show, Grumbling Mustard.In the Spiel, democracy is exacerbating international tragedy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Credit Where Credit Is Due

    Sep 20 2017

    This much we know: The Equifax data breach is bad. How can the credit bureaus, who have been described as the “plumbing” of our financial system, show so little regard for the people whose data they collect? New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson says it’s simple: We are not their customers, we are their product. Morgenson writes the Fair Game column. Her most recent book is Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. In the Spiel, th...more

  • The Frat Doesn’t Have Your Back

    Sep 19 2017

    Sigma Alpha Epsilon was already the country’s deadliest fraternity when it became famous in 2015 for its racist chants. But Bloomberg News senior editor John Hechinger says SAE’s response to its scandal was unusual, as leaders used his reporting to try to reform members. Even so, the rising costs of insuring national fraternities might cause local chapters to shut down before reforms can take root. “The leaders of SAE know they are a legal judgment away from oblivion,” writes Hechinger. His book...more

  • Was Booger Really A Nerd?

    Sep 19 2017

    Why does the movie Revenge of the Nerds continue to resonate today? Because, aside from how funny it is, it stands up for outcasts. Actor Curtis Armstrong explains what he took away from the film playing Booger, who was accepted by the nerds despite not really being one of them. Armstrong is the author of Revenge of the Nerd: Or… The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger.In the Spiel, health care for all! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Ted Leo’s Hanged-Man Wisdom

    Sep 15 2017

    On The Gist, Mike talks to one of his favorites: Musician Ted Leo discusses letting his political frustrations fuel his songwriting (see his song, “William Weld in the 21st Century”) and explains how he finds solace in the tarot card image of the hanged man, which inspired the name of his new album. The Hanged Man is available now. For more on Ted Leo, read Michael Tedder’s story in Stereogum, “Ted Leo Is Like You.”In the Spiel, why it’s silly to say that speech equals violence. Learn more ...more

  • Which Type Are You?

    Sep 15 2017

    On The Gist, Gretchen Rubin explains why her system of sorting people into four personality types (Rebel, Obliger, Questioner, and Upholder) will make your life easier. Rubin is the author of The Four Tendencies and host of the podcast Happier. In the Spiel, what happens when politics seeps into sports. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Chris Gethard Wrestles With Comedy

    Sep 13 2017

    Late-night talk shows adhere to a form: a host behind a desk, pre-produced interviews, and tightly choreographed bits. Chris Gethard wants to break that form apart. With absurd gags like getting dunked in ice water or staying awake for 36 hours, Gethard wants to disarm his celebrity guests and put his viewers in charge. Gethard’s new season of The Chris Gethard Show airs Thursday nights at 11 p.m. Eastern on truTV.In the Spiel, the fatberg of London. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...more

  • The Hygiene Hypothesis

    Sep 13 2017

    Do germaphobic parents doom their kids to a lifetime of allergies and irritable bowels? This sounds like a question for our favorite game, “Is That Bullshit?” Returning champion Maria Konnikova helps us sort good bacteria from bad. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, what should we consider before changing the definition of sexual assault?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Nnamdi Asomugha’s Drama School

    Sep 11 2017

    Former NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha sees his time in football as a prep course for acting.  On The Gist, he explains how he learned to study other people while developing his own style. Asomugha stars in Crown Heights, a film based on the true story of a Brooklyn man trying to prove the innocence of his imprisoned friend. Crown Heights is in select theaters and will be available nationwide starting Friday, Sept. 15. In the Spiel, why does anyone listen to Ivanka Trump? Learn mor...more

  • Patricia Williams Isn’t Joking

    Sep 08 2017

    Standup comic Ms. Pat is used to getting follow-up questions about her jokes. Did your mom really shoot a gun in the house? Did you really get pregnant when you were 13? Did you really have fleas? It’s all true, and now it’s even been fact-checked. Patricia Williams tells Mike about what it was like to write her book, Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat.In the Spiel, a special statement from the president of Equifax. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Three Cheers for Houston

    Sep 07 2017

    Hurricane Harvey has caused a huge amount of property damage, but so far the death toll remains remarkably low. Why? Mike talks to John Mutter, a Columbia University professor who studies how natural disasters affect the poor. Mutter is the author of The Disaster Profiteers. In the Spiel, the deal-making wizardry of President Trump. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Music Is Sex

    Sep 06 2017

    Did the sexual revolution inspire rock ’n’ roll or vice versa? Was Elvis Presley a knowing sex symbol or a total innocent? Is it true that there are still blue laws on the books against playing “Tutti Frutti” after dark? NPR’s music critic Ann Powers tackles these and other questions in her book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. In the Spiel, the perfect late-summer sports scandal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...more

  • Choosing Who Gets Flooded

    Sep 05 2017

    The nation has weathered another major natural disaster, and the Army Corps of Engineers once again finds itself under scrutiny. NPR’s national desk correspondent Wade Goodwyn says the corps made a choice to open the floodgates of two major reservoirs in southeast Texas, flooding certain neighborhoods and sparing others. Mike Pesca is back to take his rightful place as spieler in chief. Tuesday’s topic: Jeff Sessions finally gets to stick it to the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program...more

  • Is Amazon a Monopoly?

    Sep 01 2017

    Hosting today’s Gist is Robert Smith from NPR’s Planet Money. On the show, he’ll talk to Lina Khan, whose research encouraging tighter regulations on Amazon caught some heat from the company’s general counsel. Khan works at the Open Markets Program, formerly housed under the New America Foundation. And in the Spiel, Robert Smith observes a new trend in broadcast news: reporters becoming heroes on live television. What could possibly go wrong?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...more

  • Dan Savage on the Nashville Statement

    Aug 31 2017

    Today's guest host is Dan Savage, from the Savage Lovecast. Dan is the internationally syndicated columnist of “Savage Love” and the author of several books. With his husband Terry Miller, he cofounded the It Gets Better project and edited the It Gets Better collection.On The Gist, Dan talks to author Peggy Orenstein about the lack of sexual education for young women and how book tours can change the writing process. Orenstein is the author of Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Land...more

  • Shake It Off, Taylor

    Aug 30 2017

    Question: What’s the best way to take a vacation in a Communist society? Answer: With utmost utilitarian seriousness, and possibly without your family. On this last week before Labor Day, guest host and Slate writer Leon Neyfakh talks to historian Diane Koenker about how the Soviet Union came to embrace personal holidays and reconcile them with the Communist doctrine. Koenker is the author of Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream. In the Spiel, the cautionary tale of Taylor Swift’s...more

  • The Flood Trap That Houston Built

    Aug 29 2017

    Slate’s Henry Grabar explains how rampant building in the Houston suburbs have made the area worse for wear during Tropical Storm Harvey. And in the Spiel, guest-host Osita Nwanevu breaks his self-imposed moratorium against criticizing columnist David Brooks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Al Letson Became A Human Shield

    Aug 29 2017

    Al Letson was just trying to cover a demonstration – an anti-hate rally in Berkeley. When he saw a group of balaclava-clad men descend on an apparent right-wing agitator, he jumped into the fray, using his body to defend the man from kicks and punches. Letson is the host of Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. And for the Spiel, is “#whaboom” the worst of our culture today?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mismatch

    Aug 26 2017

    The hype surrounding the Saturday night fight between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and MMA fighter Conor McGregor is overtly racially charged. Why? Because people are eating it up, says Wesley Morris, critic-at-large for the New York Times. Morris and Mike talk about the role of race in the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, Dana Schutz’s Open Casket painting of Emmett Till, the closing of the Broadway show The Great Comet, and more. Morris is the co-host of the Still Processing podcast.  I...more

  • America Is Weird About Sex

    Aug 25 2017

    Understanding sexual consent is complicated. Colleges are working to clarify this issue while also policing sexual assault. But when does this cross over into legislating feelings versus facts? Vanessa Grigoriadis helps us understand the current iteration of the sexual consent debate happening on campuses today. Grigoriadis is the author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus.In the Spiel: Should we tear down statues?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/ad...more

  • Sure, Punching Nazis Feels Good…

    Aug 23 2017

    The antifa movement is resurging. It started in 1920s Europe to fight Hitler and Mussolini and has returned to oppose the current wave of xenophobia in the United States. Author Mark Bray walks us through the history of the antifa movement. Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.In the Spiel: Trump’s campaign speech in Phoenix.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Russia's Lab Rat

    Aug 22 2017

    Filmmaker Bryan Fogel had a simple hypothesis: The worldwide anti-doping system is a joke. To test his theory, Fogel wanted to dope himself and evade detection. A Russian anti-doping lab director agreed to help. Months later, Fogel’s personal doping coach was blowing the whistle on Russia’s piss-swapping scam to get around anti-doping rules. Fogel’s documentary, Icarus, is available on Netflix. In the Spiel: The Instagram drama of Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.&nb...more

  • The Many Theories of Malcolm Gladwell

    Aug 21 2017

    Malcolm Gladwell’s hit podcast Revisionist History spits out neat, distilled theories in every episode. Some of them are careful, others are reductive. But Gladwell says his theories aren’t all meant to be airtight: They just help him organize his stories, or merely spruce them up. “In some of them I’m trying to make a very, very serious, moral point. Sometimes I’m just—I’m making intellectual mischief.” In the Spiel: the parallels between the Obama administration and the Trump administrati...more

  • The Year MTV Took Over the Charts

    Aug 18 2017

    In 1982, MTV started guiding Billboard’s taste in music. The year was filled with elaborate videos and cheesy ballads. Chris Molanphy takes us through all the hand claps and synth vibes of that year’s Billboard hits. Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1 column and hosts the podcast Hit Parade. In the Spiel: The last time anything good happened to Donald Trump. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Is This the End of Steve Bannon?

    Aug 17 2017

    Did Steve Bannon really misunderstand the meaning of off the record during his now-infamous “interview” with the American Prospect? “Yup,” says Joshua Green, author of Devil’s Bargain, a book about Bannon’s influence on the Trump presidency. Green addresses the latest rumors of Bannon’s political demise, and tries to sort out why, exactly, Trump’s chief strategist always wears three shirts at once. In the Spiel, a nuclear war with North Korea no longer feels inevitable. So what now? Le...more

  • The Overreaction Doctrine

    Aug 16 2017

    Political scientist Moshe Maor says Donald Trump’s policy ideas are very, very over-the-top. But that’s exactly the point. On issues like immigration and transgender service members, bold overreactions are the only kind of policies that speak to cynical voters. “People want immediate action,” says Maor. “Morality aside, Trump is playing his cards right.” Maor is a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the Spiel, is Donal Trump a smart racist or a stupid racist? Join Slate Plus! Mem...more

  • Why Are Police Unions So Aggressive?

    Aug 15 2017

    Guest host Leon Neyfakh speaks with retired Boston cop Tom Nolan about the politics of police unions. While unions in other industries put on a progressive face to the world, police unions tend to be defensive of everything from disrespecting the mayor of New York to rough treatment of prisoners. But Nolan says he’s encouraged by their recent condemnation of President Trump’s comments about police violence. “I think they know the speaker of those words does not know what the hell he was talking ...more

  • There Is No Order in Congress

    Aug 14 2017

    Typically Congress has an order to follow when creating bills and passing them into law. There’s committee writing, revisions, and a bipartisan back-and-forth. In recent years that order has broken down and caused major divides inside both parties. Georgetown senior fellow Joshua Huder details this process and how it went wrong. Huder’s writing can be found on the blog Rule 22.In the Spiel, Mike heads to the Bobby Fischer museum in Iceland and explores the tricky balance of memorializing the con...more

  • Brandt Tobler Has a Problem With Authority

    Aug 11 2017

    Brandt Tobler has had a crazy life. His stand-up comedy is the sum of his stories as a small-town wayward kid busting out of Wyoming. He was the don of a criminal syndicate he called the “mallfia,” he ran the Las Vegas strip placing bets for gambling titans, and he plotted to kill his estranged father. He’s also kind of a sweetheart. Tobler’s book is Free Roll.In the Spiel, how cynicism breeds fake news. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign ...more

  • About the Google Memo

    Aug 11 2017

    Google’s reputation for openness took a tumble when its CEO fired James Damore, the author of a memo questioning the company’s efforts to achieve gender parity. Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, blames the internet. She says easy access to data is allowing us to make dumb arguments.In the Spiel, Mike has more thoughts on the Google memo. Guess what? He dislikes it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Muhammad Ali’s Biggest Fight

    Aug 10 2017

    Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, but he didn’t spend his entire life in the ring. During the Vietnam War, he spent his time trying to avoid the draft as a conscientious objector. Journalist Leigh Montville says the struggle changed Ali’s life—and the country. Montville’s new book is Sting Like a Bee. In the Spiel, a closer look at the CV of the most important soil-health civil servant in the news.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • Somewheres vs. Anywheres

    Aug 08 2017

    Over the last few years, the meaningful fault line between political camps has separated people rooted to certain places and people rooted to certain ideas. David Goodhart says the anywheres have become too dominant, and the somewhere have rightly felt excluded. How can we bridge the divide? Goodhart’s book is The Road to Somewhere. In the Spiel, speak loudly domestically and you might hurt your credibility. Speak loudly internationally and you might end civilization. Learn more about ...more

  • The Social Experiment on TV

    Aug 07 2017

    Be bold, but not arrogant. Apologize when wrong, but don’t accept blame. Stay calm in a crisis. These are some of the lessons Mike Richards has learned hosting GSN’s Divided, the social experiment masquerading as a game show. In the Spiel, why the Dow is for fuddy-duddies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Maria Bamford Wants to See Emotion

    Aug 04 2017

    Maria Bamford has been making top comedian lists for years, but she knows her stand-up isn’t for everyone: “I can bomb any moment of the week, any day.” On The Gist, she rebuts Mike’s assertion that comics are more likely to struggle with depression. Bamford also explains why she wishes ESPN’s postgame analysis were swapped out for televised confessional booths for the athletes. Her new Netflix show is Lady Dynamite.In the Spiel, Mike reads some of the mail responding to his takedown of the term...more

  • The Scaramucci Tapes

    Aug 03 2017

    It’s a special combo Gist, with an interview and Spiel rolled into one segment: Zoe Chace, producer for This American Life, digs up some old audio from one of her conversations with Anthony Scaramucci. The tape is from 2016, when the Mooch was pondering whether to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. What Scaramucci said back then may indicate what he’ll do next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Video Game Thoreau Might Play

    Aug 02 2017

    What would you expect from a video game inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s sojourn in the woods? In Walden, a game, players can contemplate the forest, go boating with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and practice civil disobedience. The game was developed by the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. Lab Director Tracy Fullerton explains why she thinks Thoreau might have liked the game. In the Spiel, our faith in the military might not be blind, but it is blinkered. Learn mo...more

  • No Hard Feelings

    Aug 01 2017

    Psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett is the grand inquisitor of human emotions. Her book, How Emotions Are Made, inspired a big chunk of the latest season of NPR’s Invisibilia. Barrett says scientific research shows that emotions are highly variable and utter creations of our minds. Some of her resulting conclusions may surprise you. In the Spiel, Mike goes there: white privilege and rape culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • How to Beat a Casino

    Jul 31 2017

    A few years ago, an unassuming young woman named Kelly Sun teamed up with Phil Ivey, the world’s most famous poker player. Using some questionable strategies, the two managed to win millions of dollars from casinos across the world. Now the casinos are saying what they did is cheating, and they’re trying to get their money back in court. Reporter Rose Eveleth tells Sun and Ivey’s story in a new audio documentary, A Queen of Sorts, part of the ESPN podcast series 30 for 30. In the Spiel, yea...more

  • Alan Alda Seeks Clarity

    Jul 28 2017

    Alan Alda’s new book is called If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? The title comes from his own bad experiences talking to doctors and other science professionals, including one that screwed up his smile for years. “We need to get people talking like people…it’s all about empathy,” says the actor, who also founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.  In The Spiel, why we should actually care about the bizarre Scaramucci–New Yorker in...more

  • They Called Him Son of Sam

    Jul 27 2017

    Tom Jennings dug through hours of archival media footage to tell the story of Son of Sam, the serial killer who terrorized New York City in 1976 and 1977. The resulting documentary is part of the Smithsonian Channel’s Lost Tapes series. The Lost Tapes: Son of Sam airs Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel. Also, a breakdown of the Boy Scouts’ apology for Donald Trump’s jamboree speech. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial tod...more

  • How Democrats Condescend to the White Working Class

    Jul 26 2017

    According to Joan C. Williams, about a third of the country feels talked down to. These are the white working class folks, the people who went for Trump, the people who feel that terms like disruption just mean more hassle and pain. “We can’t expect people to have elite values if we don’t give them elite lives,” says Williams. She’s the author of the book White Working Class.  For the Spiel, why does everyone sound like Goodfellas while doing an Anthony Scaramucci impression?Learn more abou...more

  • Why Did Trump and Putin Meet in Secret?

    Jul 25 2017

    After the G-20 Summit, Ian Bremmer broke the news to Americans about Trump’s secret second meeting with Vladimir Putin. He says he did it because so many American allies were commenting on the rendezvous in private. “The people in the room, they found it disconcerting that the person Trump was more comfortable with is their adversary,” says Bremmer. He joins us to discuss Russia, Rex Tillerson’s future in the White House, and the decline of American power. Bremmer is an author and risk analyst a...more

  • A Kid in the Hall Tells All

    Jul 24 2017

    When Kevin McDonald moved to New York, his sketch troupe, Kids in the Hall, had a deal with Lorne Michaels to make a new comedy show. But these were during some lean years for Michaels. “We were in a closet,” says McDonald, “and he was being audited, so it was us and a bunch of auditors. Once in a while, if we said something really funny, we could hear the auditors giggling on the other side of the room.” While Kids in the Hall was never as famous as Saturday Night Live, the show became legendar...more

  • Al Gore, Ever Hopeful

    Jul 21 2017

    If things had gone well, America would still be in the Paris Agreement on climate change, green energy would be spreading across the country and Al Gore wouldn’t have needed to make a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. But it didn’t work out that way. With his new movie hitting theaters next week, Gore remains hopeful during these depressing times. “If somebody told me five years ago, marriage equality would be the law in all 50 states, I would have asked what they were smoking,” says the former v...more

  • Unearthing a Cult Classic

    Jul 20 2017

    Mike Sacks is not just a comedian; he’s also a comedy historian. This summer, he’s unearthed a rare artifact, the cult classic, Dixie-fried action movie Stinker Lets Loose. “Some famous people have cited this movie as a big influence on them,” says Sacks, citing Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. “You can hear it in some of his lyrics, for sure.” A 40th-anniversary novelization of Stinker is available now, with an intro by Sacks. For the Spiel, why does Donald Trump keep saying stupid things to the N...more

  • The Garbage Art of Handwriting Analysis

    Jul 19 2017

    Maria Konnikova returns to look at a tool prosecutors have used for decades: handwriting analysis, or graphology. Older versions of the practice have used handwriting to predict everything from a person’s mental state to their capacity for murder. “People have been convicted based on it,” says Konnikova. “We’re not talking about phrenology. Graphology is still something that exists in the United States. There are societies of graphologists.” Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game and hos...more

  • Tyler Cowen Fears for Our Future

    Jul 18 2017

    Economist Tyler Cowen is disdainful of social media, heartened by recent immigrants, and wary of pot. He thinks that, in our collective desire for comfort, we are postponing big and necessary changes that will sow instability in the years ahead. “Right now Americans are failing to regenerate sources of future progress,” Cowen writes, “and thus they are borrowing against the future rather than paying their bills.” Cowen’s latest book is The Complacent Class.In the Spiel, are things going any bett...more

  • Dan Pashman on the Psychology of Taste

    Jul 17 2017

    Our friend Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast returns to explain the new field of study known as gastrophysics and why our brains have a big influence over how we taste food. For example, research shows we like the taste of food served with heavy cutlery and ice cream presented with brighter colors. “It could be something evolutionary,” says Pashman. “With brighter colors, ice cream tastes sweeter.” Check out Pashman’s interview with gastrophysicist Charles Spence. For the Spiel: Ann Cou...more

  • Haunted By “A Ghost Story”

    Jul 14 2017

    Director David Lowery has made one of the most remarkable films of 2017 so far, and he’s built it around a ridiculous image: a white sheet with two eye-holes cut out. So what makes “A Ghost Story” feel so epic? And what’s with that 10-minute pie scene? Spoilers abound.     For the Spiel: so, who was in the room with Don Jr. and the Russians?  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gist...more

  • At Sea With James Stavridis

    Jul 13 2017

    Retired Admiral James Stavridis wants to remind us: Despite headlines about the rise of ISIS, there are bigger existential threats to America. “Terrorism is not apocalyptic, it’s a tool,” says Stavridis. He warns that conflicts with Russia and China are much more worrisome and likely to include a maritime component. “Again and again when there’s a crisis, the first question from the president is, where are the [aircraft] carriers? They are flexible and they can strike.” His new book is Sea Power...more

  • Look at All the Struggling Democracies

    Jul 12 2017

    It’s not that things are so terribly bad right now, it’s that circumstances have failed to keep up with expectations. So says Edward Luce, chief U.S. columnist for the Financial Times, whose new book surveys the ensuing crisis of confidence in liberal democracies. Luce’s book is The Retreat of Western Liberalism.In the Spiel, Bridgegate winds down. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn mor...more

  • Ben Wittes on the Latest News Bomb

    Jul 11 2017

    Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes on the latest #ENSH (errant national security horses---) and the brewing scandal surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. In the Spiel, we’re going back to the event that set all this in motion: the Miss Universe pageant of 2013. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Twitter Should Drop Trump Already

    Jul 10 2017

    The jobs report has been good, the U.S. isn’t in a shooting war, and the economy is booming. So why is Trump still in the high 30s in terms of popularity? Political scientist Seth Masket says it’s because of Trump’s abrasive presence on Twitter. Masket recently made the case for why it’s in everyone’s best interest for the president and the social media giant to part ways in the Pacific Standard.   In the Spiel, Kellyanne Conway, the gift that keeps on giving.Join Slate Plus! Members g...more

  • In Defense of Ombudsmen

    Jul 07 2017

    Daniel Okrent did not have a lot of fun as the first public editor for the New York Times. “I was like internal affairs in a police department,” said Okrent. “Nobody liked to see me coming.” That said, Okrent defends the role ombudsmen play at news organizations, and he thinks the Times messed up earlier this year when it axed the public editor position. In the Spiel, there was no Labrador at the Trump-Putin meeting, so …  good sign? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...more

  • Centrists Won’t Save Health Care

    Jul 06 2017

    Conservative Philip Klein doesn’t think the presence of moderate senators means we’ll get better health care policy. “Centrists always get credit and adoration by many elements of the media for talking to the other side and not being ideologically rigid,” he says. “But I think that’s another way of saying they can be bought off easily.” Klein writes about health policy for the Washington Examiner. Also, the failing New York Times op-ed.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/...more

  • Chris Christie’s Biggest Mistake

    Jul 05 2017

    Gov. Chris Christie’s time in the national spotlight has been full of bloopers. But no goof appears as consequential as his call to cancel the ARC project, halting construction of an additional train tunnel between New Jersey and New York City. WNYC’s Matt Katz explains why Christie killed ARC. In the Spiel, Chris Christie and the fat-man theory of optics.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Incredible Eddie Izzard

    Jul 03 2017

    Eddie Izzard once thought about playing piano for a living. He’s done one professional show. It was in front of tens of thousands of people. That’s because fans will watch the comedian do pretty much anything, from running marathons, to telling jokes in German. His new book is Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens. Also, we celebrate an unheralded date in history: July 3rd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Invisibilia Questions Your Emotions

    Jun 30 2017

    NPR’s Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel explain what they learned about feelings from their third season of Invisibilia. Society has come around to the idea that emotions are a force to be reckoned with – is that a good thing?In the Spiel, it’s time to name another Lobstar. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Writing Cop Fiction in the Age of Black Lives Matter

    Jun 29 2017

    Crime writer Don Winslow says writing a novel about cops and cartels involves some pretty serious research. “In researching these books,” says Winslow, “I meet people. I’ve been to the funerals, talked to the cops. I’ve made the sympathy calls!” His newest book, about the NYPD, is The Force. In the Spiel, Trump’s worst tweet yet! Oh boy. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about you...more

  • I Hate This, Don’t Quote Me

    Jun 28 2017

    Reporter Marc Fisher explains why he called out a classic game of D.C. deceit in the pages of the Washington Post. And Michelle LaRue, the official Gist penguin expert, returns to explain some news about those troublesome birds. In the Spiel, how would a normal president handle our world affairs?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Big Turmoil in Big Sky Country

    Jun 27 2017

    Anne Helen Petersen returns to discuss her new posting—as the Western correspondent for BuzzFeed. Petersen will be reporting on U.S. political culture from her new home, Missoula, Montana. “There’s a reason every newspaper used to have bureaus in every part of the country,” says Petersen, who recently covered the recent razor-thin House race in which notorious Republican Greg Gianforte came out on top.On the Spiel, when everything becomes a calamity, nothing is a calamity. Join Slate Plus! Membe...more

  • The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women

    Jun 26 2017

    Anne Helen Petersen has made a career on the rigorous, deep, academic study of celebrity culture. In her new book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Petersen explores the rise of norm-breaking women such as Lena Dunham and Serena Williams and what their ascendency can tell us about the political moment we’re living in. Petersen’s day job is senior culture writer at BuzzFeed. Also, the Supreme Court makes a surprise ruling, and the Congressional Budget Office makes an unsurprising report.Join Slate P...more

  • Do Radicals Change the World?

    Jun 23 2017

    Author Jeremy McCarter (co-writer of Hamilton: The Revolution with Lin-Manuel Miranda) has written a new book tracing five American radicals from the 1910s and ’20s. “I had thought this was going to be a book about a chapter of progress in history we could learn from,” says McCarter. “But 1917 is a lot closer to what I thought I would see in my lifetime.” Young Radicals is available now.  In the Spiel, a lot of people really, really did not like Otto Warmbier. Learn more about your ad ...more

  • Scaachi Koul on Surviving the Trolls

    Jun 22 2017

    Scaachi Koul, a writer for BuzzFeed, talks about growing up as a brown girl in Canada’s “Cowtown,” and how she set off a tweetstorm by soliciting job applications from writers who are “not white and not male.” Koul’s book of essays is One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter. In the Spiel, legislative and executive reaction to the healthcare bill. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Musings of Wallace Shawn

    Jun 21 2017

    There are two Wallace Shawns. There’s the character actor, known for playing eccentrics in The Princess Bride and The Good Wife and voicing cartoon dinosaurs. (“I don’t get cast as a lot of real people,” he notes.) Then there’s the acclaimed playwright, thinker, and ardent leftist. Shawn is out with a new collection of political musings, Night Thoughts, which address everything from inequality to the changing climate. In the Spiel, Travis Kalanick, don’t let the cab door hit you on the way out. ...more

  • Is Terrorism Coverage Racist?

    Jun 21 2017

    Tom Shapiro is back to explain the thinking behind the title of his book, Toxic Inequality. What’s so toxic about it? Shapiro is a professor at Brandeis University, where he directs the Institute on Assets and Social Policy.  In the Spiel: Based on the information available, what can we conclude about the media coverage of terrorism? Mike talks to Erin Miller, who oversees the Global Terrorism Database. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lies vs. BS

    Jun 19 2017

    The U.S. has a racial wealth gap problem. By one estimate, at current levels of wealth growth it would take 228 years for the average black family to catch up with levels of wealth among white families. Thomas Shapiro explains some of the surprising reasons parity remains so elusive in his book, Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future. In the Spiel, there’s a reason why the wise people over at Lawfare say this administrati...more

  • Jon Ronson on Writing the Year’s Wildest Movie

    Jun 16 2017

    The new movie Okja has pretty much everything. Car chases. Giant mutant pigs. A dystopian future. Jake Gyllenhaal with an outlandish moustache. A subtle social message. Tilda Swinton pretending to be Tony Blair. The movie is written by Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) and returning guest Jon Ronson. Ronson takes us into the craft of writing the year’s wildest movie. In the Spiel, why congressional comity is overrated.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Delicate Art of Political Persuasion

    Jun 15 2017

    A big problem with political arguments, says Robb Willer, is that everyone sees himself or herself as the hero in a zombie movie. “American liberals see themselves as Brad Pitt warding off a zombie horde,” says Willer. “But the problem is conservatives see themselves the same way,” and no one is able to make arguments that appeal to the other side. Willer teaches sociology at Stanford and writes about the delicate art of political persuasion for places such as the New York Times. In the Spiel, p...more

  • He Ate Human Flesh for Science

    Jun 14 2017

    Bill Schutt says no one from his childhood is surprised to find out he’s been studying cannibalism—after all, he was into vampire bats as a kid. For his new book, he’s investigated the (natural) history of people eating one another and why it’s only been taboo in some countries, like China, for a short time.  In the Spiel, how we talk about domestic terrorism. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/g...more

  • Awk-ward!

    Jun 13 2017

    You’re awkward, but maybe not in the way you think. Psychologist Ty Tashiro explains the hallmarks of social awkwardness, why we’re sensitive to it, and why it’s not such a bad thing. Tashiro is the author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome. In the Spiel, more on Donald Trump’s ‘dear leader’ cabinet meeting. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn mo...more

  • Autocrats Can’t Take a Joke

    Jun 12 2017

    Bassem Youssef hasn’t cut open a chest in six years. And he doesn’t miss it. “Being into medicine for 19 years, it’s a character builder,” says the Egyptian comedian, who says his old job prepped him well for his new one. Youssef went from being a surgeon in Cairo to the Jon Stewart of Egypt, a satirist with 40 million views a week. Youssef’s brief reign as the king of Egyptian comedy is the focus of a new documentary, Tickling Giants, which is now out on VOD. On the Spiel, Trump has finally acc...more

  • Larry Wilmore is Black on the Air

    Jun 09 2017

    Last August, Larry Wilmore’s talk show was canceled. The Nightly Show focused on issues like equality, activism, and how racism subtly wormed its way into American life. In hindsight, it feels ahead of its time. Wilmore is out with a new podcast, Black on the Air. In the Spiel: Sometimes democracy sucks.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What We Get Wrong About Mass Incarceration, Pt. II

    Jun 08 2017

    Wednesday on The Gist, John Pfaff refuted the conventional wisdom about mass incarceration. Thursday, Pfaff explains some of the obstacles to reform. Pfaff’s book is Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform. In the Spiel, a loyally honest review of James Comey’s testimony. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What We Get Wrong About Mass Incarceration, Pt. I

    Jun 07 2017

    John Pfaff is on a mission to topple the well-worn myths of the U.S. prison population boom. He says the data tells us to focus on the district attorneys, not the Department of Justice. Pfaff teaches at Fordham University School of Law and is the author of Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform. This is Part I of our interview with Pfaff -- listen tomorrow for Part II.In the Spiel, how are YOU celebrating Infrastructure Week?Learn more about your ad choic...more

  • Why So Morose About Lactose?

    Jun 06 2017

    There’s almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, and milk made from anything that grows, pretty much. But is any of it actually milk? And is it actually healthier than dairy? Our debunker-in-chief, Maria Konnikova, investigates the lofty claims of nondairy milks. Konnikova is a contributor to the New Yorker, and the author of The Confidence Game. Her new podcast is called the Grift. In today’s Spiel, the White House’s long con on infrastructure. Lea...more

  • O Great Confessor Google

    Jun 05 2017

    People tell Google things they wouldn’t say to anyone else. That’s the big insight that motivated the research of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. His book, Everybody Lies, is about the stories and secrets he uncovered by digging into internet search data.In the Spiel, the best jokes that Mike made on vacation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • You Can’t Say That, Mr. Senator

    Jun 03 2017

    In 2008, Al Franken was elected to the United States Senate. Since then, he’s become a well-respected member of the upper chamber. But he hasn’t lost his keen eye for satire. After the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, “I wanted to release a thing saying, ‘Mr. Franken is very happy, but he thinks Justice Scalia’s dissent was very gay,’ ” he tells guest host Zoe Chace. “My team told me I couldn’t do that.” Franken is the author of a new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. Today’s ...more

  • The Path of Most Resistance

    Jun 01 2017

    In April, Donald Trump authorized rocket strikes on a military target in Syria. Most Democrats agreed with it. But when Trump makes a decision, does that make it inherently wrong? New Republic editor and Twitter star Jeet Heer offers a critique of the first few months of Democratic resistance. He wrote about it in the magazine last month.   Today’s Spiel comes from the archives: For President Trump, you’re nobody until you’re somebody. And then, you’re not just anybody—you’re everybody...more

  • A Playwright in the Rust Belt

    May 31 2017

    Reading, Pennsylvania is the poorest city of its size in the United States. It’s also where Lynn Nottage did most of her research for the Pulitzer-winning Broadway show, Sweat. Nottage talks with guest host Aisha Harris about the different kinds of working class in America, and how to maintain empathy when talking with people quite different from yourself.  In the Spiel, why calling something a “woman problem” misses the point.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Donald Trump, Body Snatcher

    May 30 2017

    When can we expect the first tell-all book by a former Trump administration official? David Rosenthal explains the physics of personal memoirs and dishes about what he’s heard around the industry rumor mill. Rosenthal runs the Blue Rider Press imprint at the Penguin Group.  In the Spiel, guest host Leon Neyfakh explains how the president nearly ruined an otherwise perfect holiday weekend.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up fo...more

  • The Colony and the Nation

    May 27 2017

    Richard Nixon once warned of an America cut in two, a colony of poor, disenfranchised people within a nation of wealth. His law-and-order policies went a long way to making that a reality. In his new book, A Colony in a Nation, Chris Hayes looks at how fear has led to some destructive policies in America’s cities.    Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choice...more

  • Ben Wittes Digs Out

    May 25 2017

    Ben Wittes has a term for the nonsense justifications he observes coming from the Trump administration. He calls it ENSH: errant national security horseshit. On Thursday’s show, Wittes shovels up some of the larger ENSH dumps of the past two weeks. Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare. In the Spiel, naming a long overdue Lobstar.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Everyone Looks Presidential on Air Force One

    May 24 2017

    Donald Trump looks a lot more comfortable traveling abroad than he ever has in the White House. Josh King says there’s a good explanation for this. “Two Air Force Ones, a beast limousine, all the trappings of the United States government … it’s hard to screw that up,” says King, an expert in presidential stagecraft. He previously worked as an advance man in the Clinton White House. In the Spiel, the incredibly undeserved comeback of Billy Bush. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit m...more

  • Tom Ricks: “It’s Shakespearean”

    May 23 2017

    For Tom Ricks, the whiplash-inducing news of the past two weeks has been especially surreal. Ricks explains why he was stunned to see the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster defend President Trump. Ricks is out with a new book about two of his heroes, Churchill and Orwell. Ricks writes the Best Defense blog for Foreign Policy magazine. In the Spiel, Mike breaks down former CIA Director John Brennan’s exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f...more

  • Jon Glaser Is Conflicted

    May 22 2017

    Jon Glaser makes his triumphant return to The Gist to talk about season two of the Adult Swim series Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter. Glaser has been a part of some of the most acclaimed shows on TV. He’s written for Inside Amy Schumer and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. He played Laird in Girls and Councilman Jamm in Parks and Recreation. But he’s feeling torn about making jokes for a living now, with the country seeming more screwed up than usual. In the Spiel, will the U.S.–Saudi Arabia weapons...more

  • Can We Really Fix College Sports?

    May 19 2017

    For college athletes, performance bonuses outweigh academic bonuses 15 to 1. That’s not acceptable, says Arne Duncan. Duncan served as Barack Obama’s education secretary. Now, he’s on the Knight Commission, which is trying to lead reforms in college sports. In the Spiel, the strange evolution of Rod Rosenstein. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megapho...more

  • Roger Ailes Created This Mess

    May 18 2017

    Thursday morning, Roger Ailes died. The Fox News impresario changed the conversation in America and created a base of support for the current pPresident, Donald Trump.  Isaac Chotiner has reported extensively on Fox News for Slate. His new interview podcast is called I Have to Ask.Plus, Mike hits the bar with Peter Fornatale to drink discuss the crown jewel of cocktails. Fornatale is author of Brooklyn Spirits and host of the DRF Players’ Podcast.In the Spiel, Mike reflects on how to win li...more

  • Why Things Went South in Alabama

    May 17 2017

    What’s the matter with Alabama? (You could ask the same thing of tens of other states with sleazy political histories, but we’re going in alphabetical order.) Today, Alabama reporter John Archibald delves into the concentric scandals rocking the Montgomery establishment. Archibald writes for the Alabama Media Group.  In the Spiel, why you shouldn’t root for impeachment.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free ...more

  • Encounters With the Very, Very Famous

    May 16 2017

    One piece of interview advice from Chuck Klosterman: You can’t make a celebrity interview feel like a real conversation. “They know it’s not real. They wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be asking these questions, if it wasn’t for the tape recorder,” says Klosterman. His new book, X, includes profiles and essays on some of the biggest names in pop culture from Klosterman’s storied career, including Kobe Bryant and Taylor Swift. In the Spiel, breaking down the disparate, strange, nonsensical explan...more

  • Chasing the Bauble With Brooke Gladstone

    May 15 2017

    Lists of inaccurate statements by Donald Trump are good and satisfying and a little funny. But they aren’t what we need. We need reporting on the issues behind the lies, says Brooke Gladstone. She’s co-host of On The Media and author of a new book, The Trouble with Reality, which looks at the malfunctioning of American democracy. In the Spiel, why voter ID laws are such a unique American con. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a fre...more

  • Are Bilinguals Really Smarter?

    May 12 2017

    A century ago, bilingual children were seen as disadvantaged—a kid speaking English and Spanish was liable to become confused and might not learn properly. Now? Bilinguals are seen as better than the rest of us. They get dementia later. They have bigger brains and are better at focusing on tasks. So what’s the truth? Our resident social science sleuth Maria Konnikova investigates. She’s a New Yorker contributor and author of The Confidence Game. Her new podcast is The Grift. In the Spi...more

  • Clint Watts, Testifier Extraordinaire

    May 11 2017

    We’re zooming out on Russia’s influencing machine with the help of Clint Watts, the national security expert who had a star turn in March with his soundbite-ready testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Watts explains why the partisan skew on fake news is “kind of garbage.” Plus, he has tips for testifying—just in case you get a call from Congress. Watts is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.In the Spiel, hanging on every phrase President Trump invented this wee...more

  • The Man Who Wrote the Comey Memo

    May 10 2017

    Former FBI Director James Comey has been called “rapturous of his own righteousness,” but by most accounts the man who assisted in Comey’s ouster could be described the same way. Rod Rosenstein, No. 2 at the Department of Justice, wrote the memo justifying Comey’s firing, but he’s had a sterling reputation until now as a fastidiously apolitical prosecutor. Leon Neyfakh, justice reporter for Slate, explains the lingering questions surrounding Comey’s dismissal and Rosenstein’s role in what happen...more

  • Are We Smart Enough to Be a Direct Democracy?

    May 09 2017

    Soon, every person on Earth will be connected, via social media, to every other person. So why do we approach policy like it’s the ’70s? In his book The Great Questions of Tomorrow, David Rothkopf asks how we can change our policy outlook to reflect how people actually interact. Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the FP Group and host of The Editor’s Roundtable podcast. In the Spiel: Is air travel getting worse or are we just more demanding?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon...more

  • The Formation of Stephen Miller

    May 08 2017

    Trump adviser Stephen Miller seemed to burst onto the national scene this past February, with his memorable defense of the White House’s travel ban and claims of voter fraud. But New York magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman says Miller’s education in punditry came years earlier, as a Duke University student commenting on the Duke lacrosse scandal for cable news. Back then, Miller was recognizably pugnacious and self-assured—but he was also right.  In the Spiel, we live in times of confusion and flas...more

  • What’s in the Bill? With Sarah Kliff

    May 05 2017

    Vox health care writer Sarah Kliff returns to discuss the return of the health care reform bill that just won’t die. In Kliff’s estimation, the new bill, if passed in the Senate, would be great for the rich and terrible for the sick. Kliff is a columnist and co-host of The Weeds podcast.  In the Spiel, why we were surprised by zombie health reform.   Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistpl...more

  • Observing Obscura Day

    May 04 2017

    A hallowed day is nearly upon us: Obscura Day on Saturday, May 6. Think of it like a worldwide quest to discover all things odd and remarkable. The whole thing was dreamed up by the surveyors and spelunkers at Atlas Obscura. Today, Mike steps in as your Obscura Day scout, venturing into the Lite Brite Neon Studio in Brooklyn. Saturday’s expeditions include a kayaking trip to a ship graveyard in Maryland, an Absinthe demonstration in London, and a tour of the world’s first nuclear power plant in ...more

  • Sarah Manguso’s Words to Live By

    May 03 2017

    Only a fire can prove what survives a fire. Well, no, says Sarah Manguso. It only proves what would survive that fire. Manguso, an essayist and poet, offers modern wisdom and witticisms in her new book 300 Arguments.  Plus, Donald Trump gets the Ken Burns treatment.   Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.Learn more about your ad cho...more

  • Red Feed, Blue Feed With Cass Sunstein

    May 03 2017

    Harvard professor Cass Sunstein returns to discuss his new book #Republic, which looks at polarization in the digital age. While America isn’t more polarized than ever, Sunstein says it’s important to focus on how today’s problems are different and new. “You find yourself in a cocoon, even if you didn’t choose it,” says Sunstein. But he sees hope in sites that are actively trying to sell their readers on content from outside their normal media diet. “In the fullness of time, the non–echo chamber...more

  • Facing Your Genetic Destiny

    May 01 2017

    The Baxley family was cursed with a horrible disease—something like mad cow, but for human beings. The younger members of the family might have the disease, and there’s a test that would tell them definitively. But knowing for sure could screw up their whole family relationship. In her book Mercies in Disguise, author Gina Kolata explores the family’s incredibly painful decision. Kolata is a science reporter for the New York Times. Plus, we cover the downfall of Sebastian Gorka and ask why Trump...more

  • The Incredible Lucas Brothers

    Apr 28 2017

    Weeks before the end of their third-year final exams, twins Keith and Kenny Lucas became law school dropouts to pursue careers in comedy. But their whole lives had been about going the other way: Growing up in drug war–ravaged Newark, New Jersey, they were self-professed nerds trying to figure out why their dad was in prison. The Lucas Bros: On DrugsNetflix special shows off Keith and Kenny’s perfect timing as a comedy tag team (though they might also be just a little bit high). Their set pokes ...more

  • When Did Late Night Stop Being Fun?

    Apr 27 2017

    Once upon a time, late-night talk shows were like boozy dinner parties, fun chat-fests where movie stars would reveal a little too much about themselves. Now, they’re marked by anti-septic games of charades and sing-alongs. Comedian Guy Branum wants to bring anarchy back to late night with Talk Show: The Game Show. “We’ll all watch these people in TV and singing; we know what they’re good at,” says Branum. “A talk show should let you inside of them a bit more.” Plus, we head back to Vexillo...more

  • The Populists Cannot Win

    Apr 26 2017

    Slate columnist and Harvard University lecturer Yascha Mounk is worried about liberal democracy. He says Marine Le Pen’s second-place finish in France isn’t a cause for relief—it’s a sign she’s closer to power than ever. “It’s easy to be right about the problems, it’s difficult to be right about the solutions, and there the populists have nothing to offer,” says Mounk. He writes the Good Fight column. Plus, Mike translates the Pope’s speech and annotates the Trump administration’s income ta...more

  • The Clinton Campaign Tell-All

    Apr 25 2017

    Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes set out to write a book about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid long before the home stretch of the campaign. In October, Allen got a note from their editor, who was having trouble reconciling his expectation of a Clinton win with his reporters’ work uncovering the aimless mess behind the “I’m With Her” stickers. Then Election Day happened. Allen is co-author of the book, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. In the Spiel, why couldn’t Cli...more

  • Moshe Kasher Is Not an Activist

    Apr 24 2017

    Comedian Moshe Kasher is a self-professed lefty and a general fan of cultural sensitivity, but he has a big problem with outrage culture. His new talk show, Problematic, takes aim at any unabashed troglodytes, as well as their supposedly enlightened brethren. As Kasher puts it: “How could it be that both sides think the other side is arguing from a place of zero reality?” Problematic airs on Comedy Central on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central).In the Spiel, we're throwing out the 100-day yards...more

  • When the ’80s Went Pro

    Apr 21 2017

    It’s 1987, and the breakthrough creativity of the early ’80s is beginning to sour. Also, everyone’s hair is ridiculous, but that’s beside the point. Chris Molanphy is our guide to the year’s Billboard’s hits, which taught us, as he says, that “fairly great art can result from commerce and studio polish.” Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1 column. Plus, what to do about America’s antiquated industries, like steel and coal. And Mike answers your emails, tweets, corrections, and anger i...more

  • The Secrets of S-Town

    Apr 20 2017

    In 2012, a man named John B. McLemore wrote an email to This American Life asking the radio show to investigate a murder in his hometown. What resulted is S-Town, a podcast that explores McLemore and the people around him. Producer and host Brian Reed stops by to answer our burning questions about the show and how locals in Woodstock, Alabama, have responded since its release. (A warning: certain references in this interview will only make sense if you’ve heard S-Town. If you haven’t listened ye...more

  • Up With Eggheads

    Apr 19 2017

    Experts have had a rough year. Tom Nichols sees a new fervor in the country’s anti-intellectualism, and he thinks it stems from frustration with elites. Turns out, there’s a difference between the people with expertise and the people with power. Nichols is a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. His book is The Death of Expertise.In the Spiel, the two recent suicides in the news tell us something about how we talk about murder.Learn more about your ad choices. Vis...more

  • What Happened to the Crack Epidemic?

    Apr 18 2017

    Why are crack users given such long, punishing sentences? It’s because of political gamesmanship around crime in the ’80s. In the new Audible series 100:1 The Crack Legacy, journalist Christopher Johnson looks at how inner-city drug panics led to today’s mass-incarceration crisis.  On the Spiel, a thought about America’s warship debacle. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more abou...more

  • Ariel Levy Was Here

    Apr 17 2017

    Ariel Levy’s 2013 New Yorker essay about losing her son, “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” was among the most recommended pieces of writing in recent memory. Levy expands on the essay in her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. In the book, Levy wonders if, in wanting to do it all, she set herself up for heartbreak over the things she could not have. In the Spiel, a unified theory of President Trump’s policy reversals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Gist Presents the Grift

    Apr 14 2017

    Maria Konnikova has been a special correspondent on The Gist since it began, debunking common myths and pseudoscience. Now, she’s starting her own show, a narrative podcast about cons called the Grift. The first two episodes are available for download on your podcatcher of choice.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Handmaid’s Fail

    Apr 14 2017

    If aliens came to Earth looking for a dystopian novel that reflected the current political reality, would you recommend that they read The Handmaid’s Tale? Guest host Alexandra Petri considers this quandary with Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence advice columnist.In the Spiel, it’s time to talk about United Airlines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Improv is Hard, Writing is Harder

    Apr 13 2017

    Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson have made a couple of can’t-miss indie films in the last few years, including Drinking Buddies, Digging for Fire, and the new poker comedy Win It All. The collaborators talk about improv, making a believable world on-screen, and Jake’s unusual leading man role on the Fox sitcom New Girl. In the Spiel, Mike rounds up some news that fell through the cracks this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why David Letterman Still Matters

    Apr 11 2017

    David Letterman was full of contradictions. He hated celebrity, but he hosted a talk show. He was playful, but he never seemed to be enjoying himself. In The Last Giant of Late Night, reporter Jason Zinoman explores the many facets of Letterman’s art, and how the TV landscape has suffered without him. In the Spiel, the real stories behind the fall of Alabama’s governor, the Wells Fargo clawback, and one teenager’s quest for free chicken nuggets. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...more

  • When Protesters Pull the Fire Alarm

    Apr 10 2017

    Slate’s Osita Nwanevu defended the actions of Middlebury College students to silence visiting speaker Charles Murray last month. If we consider some opinions to be beyond the pale of acceptability, who’s to say that the students were wrong in putting Murray’s past writings in that category? Nwanevu is an editorial assistant at Slate. In the Spiel: If you really think about it, Bill O’Reilly is a lot like Bashar al-Assad.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Shots Fired. What Now?

    Apr 07 2017

    What does President Trump want to achieve with Thursday’s escalation of force against Syria? Fred Kaplan considers all the angles, including this one: Ordering a strike against a single Syrian air base was one of the lesser military actions President Trump could have approved. Kaplan writes the War Stories column for Slate.  In the Spiel, like a clueless boyfriend in a zip-up sweater, Trump went to Jared.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and...more

  • Lovable Losers With Scott Simon

    Apr 06 2017

    The Chicago Cubs used to be the Susan Lucci of baseball. Now they’re looking more like Meryl Streep. As a fan, how do you become accustomed to winning? Scott Simon has written a memoir about his life as a too-devoted Cubs fan and how he’s adjusting to life as a winner. Simon is also the host of Weekend Edition Sunday from NPR. In the Spiel, we bid farewell to a beloved, deeply tender jerk.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a ...more

  • A More Human Kind of Sci-Fi

    Apr 05 2017

    In The Discovery, director Charlie McDowell imagines a world where the afterlife has been proven, and a man played by Jason Segel is trying to negotiate the emotional consequences. McDowell says he was out to make a kind of “grounded sci-fi,” in the vein of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. “It’s not focused on a futuristic look or society,” says McDowell. “It’s a backdrop for exploring the characters.” The Discovery premiered on Netflix on Friday.  In the Spiel, one question, and one ...more

  • An Outsider’s Take on America’s Game

    Apr 04 2017

    Tabitha Soren is not a natural baseball fan. She got interested when her husband, Michael Lewis, was working on his book Moneyball. As Lewis became obsessed with teaching his readers another way to watch the game, Soren focused on showing people how to see the players in a different way: as fallible and broken people who sacrifice their bodies for a chance to play in the major leagues. The result is Fantasy Life, a 15-year span of photographs of a group of minor league draft picks for the Oaklan...more

  • Where Is the Republican Resistance?

    Apr 03 2017

    Trump was the chaos candidate, but he’s finding little success as the chaos president. He’s turned off Democrats and the Freedom Caucus, failed to pass a new health care law, and faced blockades in the courts against his travel ban. We call up veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy to discuss the impossible spot the White House is in, and why Democrats shouldn’t blockade Neil Gorsuch. Murphy’s podcast is Radio Free GOP. In the Spiel, checkin’ in with the Trump base. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonu...more

  • The Return of Mystery Science Theater 3000

    Mar 31 2017

    After a long hiatus, the groundbreaking comedy show Mystery Science Theatre 3000 returns to piteously mock the worst movies ever made. Show creator Joel Hodgson and new head writer Elliott Kalan (The Daily Show) explain how to get some tiny pleasure out of cinematic garbage. The show returns on Netflix April 14. In the Spiel, why Melissa McCarthy will never keep up with relentless self-parody artist Sean Spicer.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Russia Doesn’t Have Any Friends

    Mar 30 2017

    Why does Russia find NATO so deeply offensive? Tom Nichols says it comes down to something quite human. NATO represents all of the successes that Russia couldn’t quite manage to achieve: “Part of the reason Russians hate NATO is because Russia just doesn’t have any friends in the world.” Nichols is a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. He’ll be back on the show soon to discuss his new book, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and W...more

  • What is Homeopathy, Exactly?

    Mar 29 2017

    Our resident debunker of nonsense, Maria Konnikova, returns to take on the billion-dollar homeopathy industry. Why aren’t homeopathic remedies regulated in the United States? And what can their dubious history tell us about their effectiveness? Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorkerand the author of The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, watching CNN go haywire for a pretty banal accident on Capitol Hill. Today’s sponsors:Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is...more

  • How Political Parties Collapse

    Mar 28 2017

    Two Whig presidents were elected by the American people—Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison. They lasted a grand total of one year and five months. The Whigs cracked up in the 1850s over intense policy divisions. Now, many historians are drawing parallels between the Whigs then and the Republicans now. Philip Wallach recently penned an essay for the Brookings Institution about what can be learned by the last major political party death in America. Plus, a visit to Vexillology Corner with T...more

  • Step Away From the Screen

    Mar 27 2017

    How much time did you spend on an anti-boredom gadget today? We watch entire seasons of television in a day, we scroll through infinite streams of social media, and we are transfixed by games designed as deftly as slot machines. Adam Alter says it’s time to consider measures that will help everyone to cut back. His book is called Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.For the Spiel, your leggings have become a problem. Today’s sponsor:Betterment,an a...more

  • Feet off the Couch, Please

    Mar 24 2017

    Alyssa Mastromonaco served as White House deputy chief of staff under Barack Obama. Her job was expansive—covering everything from interviewing James Comey to making sure the White House driveway was re-paved[AM1] . Now, she’s written a memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House. In the Spiel, Republicans weren’t able to come up with a better plan than “Obamacare bad.” Failure was inevitable.Today’s sponsors:Green Mou...more

  • Slobs vs. Snobs

    Mar 23 2017

    Why does it feel like our political debate was brought to us by the National Lampoon? Sonny Bunch applies his powers of cultural analysis to the changing face of political conservativism. Bunch is executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, where he also writes film criticism.  In the Spiel, Devin Nunes really messed this thing up, huh? Today’s sponsors:Control GX gray-reducing shampoo is the FIRST shampoo that gradually reduces gray. It reduces gray a little with each shampoo. It’s eas...more

  • Health Care! It’s Trump’s Problem Now

    Mar 22 2017

    With hours to go before the official vote on Trumpcare, the bill is being altered to make sure moderates in Buffalo and Freedom Caucus members in South Carolina stay onboard. [MW1] Any chance this Frankenstein bill will fail? Slate columnists Jim Newell and Jordan Weissmann look at the costs and politics of the American Health Care Act ahead of Thursday’s consequential House vote. For the Spiel, let’s try to be fair to Donald Trump. Just for a moment. It’s going to be hard, but dammit we’ll try....more

  • James Comey’s Slow Drip

    Mar 21 2017

    What did we learn from Monday’s public testimony of FBI Director James Comey? National security ace Ben Wittes says Comey’s statements were intriguingly “gentle,” though they should still distress the president. Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.For the Spiel, Neil Gorsuch talks about a pointless race he once did and quotes David Foster Wallace, but doesn’t talk about his judicial philosophy.Today’s sponsors:ZipRecruiter. ...more

  • Cold, Hard Facts with Wendy Zukerman

    Mar 20 2017

    Wendy Zukerman isn’t like some other science reporters in that she doesn’t traffic in false equivalencies. “If there’s a 95 percent consensus among scientists, you report the consensus,” says Zukerman. Her podcast, Science Vs., is on its second season. The topics this year range from immigration and climate change to acne and ghosts. For the Spiel, you know that new sound you’ve been looking for? Well, Mike’s got it right here. Today’s sponsors:Stamps.com. Buy and print official U.S. postage usi...more

  • What’s Next for Travel Ban 2.0

    Mar 17 2017

    Slate senior legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick walks us through the next steps for Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Some judges may not use Trump’s campaign rhetoric in their rulings; however, “Every time Trump opens his mouth, he makes it harder,” says Lithwick. She also discusses next week's confirmation hearings of Neil Gorsuch. Besides covering the courts for Slate, Lithwick is the host of the Amicus podcast. In the Spiel, it’s Lobstar time. Today’s sponsors:Green Mountain Coffee is pass...more

  • Dangerous Times With Kelly McEvers

    Mar 16 2017

    Before Kelly McEvers landed in her current role as host of NPR’s All Things Considered, she was a world-weary conflict-zone reporter. But McEvers says she wasn’t bored upon returning to the states: “I came back to America, and I was like, Whoa, America, kind of messed up.” McEvers’ reporting podcast, Embedded, has just released new episodes. She talked to Mike Pesca last year at the Now Hear This Podcast Festival in Anaheim, California. In the Spiel, not so much with the Dutch populism.  &n...more

  • Stretching the Truth With Maria Konnikova

    Mar 15 2017

    Like so many dubious health claims, stretching before exercise has its roots in yoga culture. Maria Konnikova explains that stretching is exercise in-and-of itself and shouldn’t be treated like a warm-up. Then why do so many trainers and health nuts preach stretching as gospel? Konnikova is a regular guest on The Gist, a New Yorker staff writer, and the author of The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, Rachel Maddow’s report on President Donald Trump’s taxes was fine news but bad showmanship. &...more

  • Todd Barry Would Rather Be Drumming

    Mar 14 2017

    Todd Barry’s stand-up comedy falls along the lower end of the register: in volume, in speed, in tone. So maybe it makes sense that he’s happiest onstage when he doesn’t have to talk at all. Fans may wonder how Barry translates his dry delivery to the page. The answer: by making liberal use of italics. His new book is Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World.In the Spiel, joining forces with the News 4 Storm Tracker, it’s the most preci...more

  • See You in Court!

    Mar 13 2017

    President Donald Trump’s management style has created lots of big, messy legal questions. With his new executive order on immigration, and his calls for a congressional investigation into wiretapping, Trump is plunging the government into uncharted territory. Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution is here to explain. Wittes is the editor in chief of the Lawfare blog. In the Spiel, the fight for Tom Price’s old House seat has already become deeply silly. Today’s sponsors:Indochino, the comp...more

  • Survey Says …

    Mar 11 2017

    Anthony Salvanto, CBS News’ elections director, explains the CBS Nation Tracker poll and why it’s different from the surveys that tell you if you’re a Jessa. In the Spiel, can you trust the job numbers? Today’s sponsors:Wunder Capital, allowing individuals to invest in solar projects. Earn up to 8.5 percent annually while diversifying your portfolio and combating global climate change. Create an account for free, at WunderCapital.com/gist. Do well, and do good.Select Blinds. Mention The Gist at ...more

  • Trump’s Azerbaijan Problem

    Mar 09 2017

    President Donald Trump has overseen many shady deals, but New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson thinks he may have found the most questionable one. Davidson says a Trump Organization hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, links the president to some shady oligarchs as well as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a shadow-government ideological group. Read Davidson’s piece, “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal.” Maria Konnikova has today’s Spiel on the theory of trickle-down hate-speech.Today’s sponsor:Green Mountain Coffee. G...more

  • A Beautiful Health Care Plan, Just Terrific

    Mar 08 2017

    Donald Trump has promised lower costs, broader coverage, and better premiums in his health care plan. Well, the new bill is out, and it’s uniting liberals and conservatives in outright disdain. “I’ve only heard from two outside groups who like this bill,” says Vox health care correspondent Sarah Kliff. Everybody else hates it. Kliff walks us through the implications of “Trumpcare” and whether it has any chance of passing through Congress. For the Spiel, how your smart TV became a sleeper agent f...more

  • Moneyball for the Israeli Military

    Mar 07 2017

    In books like Moneyball and The Big Short, Michael Lewis has written about people who think in a completely different way from their colleagues. For his latest, The Undoing Project, Lewis profiles the patron saints of different thinking, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The two men completely upended the study of decision-making in the early 1950s. For the Spiel, the artist formerly known as the Affordable Care Act.  Today’s sponsors:ZipRecruiter. Post your job listin...more

  • The Fonz Talks About Fonts

    Mar 07 2017

    Henry Winkler is an icon of American comedy. Between roles in Happy Days, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation, Winkler has been writing children’s books starring the character Hank Zipzer. Winkler says the stories have helped him come to terms with his own dyslexia, which he only discovered as an adult. His newest book is Always Watch Out for the Flying Potato Salad. For the Spiel, you might want to learn to spell “wiretap” because you accuse someone of ordering a wiretap. Today’s spo...more

  • The Year “Gangnam” Was Robbed

    Mar 03 2017

    The Gist’s Billboard charts Sherpa Chris Molanphy returns to hearken back to more recent musical history: the hits of 2012. We learn why Psy’s ubiquitous “Gangnam Style” isn’t technically on the list and how a Swedish stable of songwriters dominated the charts with “turbo pop.” Molanphy writes the Why Is This Song No. 1? column for Slate.In the Spiel, chasing down a lesser-known lie.   Today’s sponsors:Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother t...more

  • The Bard of Florida

    Mar 02 2017

    The inexplicable oddness of Florida takes on a sort of logic after you listen long enough to Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist and longtime denizen of the state. On The Gist, Barry provides a mental atlas for the various regions of weird within Florida, its incompetent government (but what a bargain), and its unrivaled weirdos. His book is Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland.In the Spiel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands confused and, now, recused.   T...more

  • Coming to America With Maeve Higgins

    Mar 01 2017

    Three years ago, Maeve Higgins left a successful career as an author comedian in Ireland to try her hand at New York City. Since then, she’s been obsessed with fellow immigrants, people who have chosen to make their life in the USA, often against formidable odds. In her podcast, Maeve in America, Higgins tells these stories, from Syrian refugees to Korean academics to English comedians.  For the Spiel, a fable that explains everything you know about Trump’s speech to Congress. Today’s spons...more

  • A World Disorder Doctrine

    Mar 01 2017

    China isn’t a boogeyman, North Korea is genuinely frightening, and we could stand to be more diplomatic with Russia. Those ideas come from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who says the U.S. can be a stabilizing force in the world, so long as it does a better job of discerning when to speak softly and when to use the big stick. Haass is the author of A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.For the Spiel, you’re nobody until you’re ...more

  • Gonzo Journalism

    Feb 27 2017

    Who was Jim Henson, and why did he see something special in a couple googly eyes glued on felt? Best-selling history writer Brad Meltzer says he was inspired to tell Henson’s story not because of The Muppets or Sesame Street, but because of Henson’s tenacity. Meltzer’s book, I Am Jim Henson, is the latest edition of his biography series for kids, Ordinary People Change the World.For the Spiel, Oscars so contrite. Today’s sponsors:Betterment, an automated investing service that makes investing ea...more

  • George Saunders’ American Ghosts

    Feb 24 2017

    George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is a bit of a head trip. Half of it takes place in the liminal phase between life and death. It’s about Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, who died at the age of 11, but we almost never hear from him. And it takes about four to five chapters to understand what’s going on. “My goal is the early difficulty pays off later,” says Saunders. “Once the book teaches you how to read it, it takes you to places you couldn’t have gone otherwise.” Saunders talk...more

  • An Experiment to Save Local News in Nevada

    Feb 23 2017

    Jon Ralston has decades of experience covering politics in Nevada, as a columnist for both major Las Vegas newspapers and a host on local TV. But as the major news outlets have cut their politics coverage, Ralston has launched an experiment to save local political news: a nonprofit site called The Nevada Independent. Ralston is also a contributing editor to Politico. In the Spiel: Republican lawmakers face their constituents. It’s not going well for the lawmakers.  Today’s sponsors:Goldman ...more

  • On Saddam Hussein’s Case

    Feb 22 2017

    John Nixon was the lead CIA analyst tasked with studying Saddam Hussein during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It fell to Nixon to identify Hussein when he was captured, interrogate him while in U.S. custody, and present what he learned to the Bush White House. Nixon’s book is Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.In the Spiel: Don’t blame the provocateur, blame his followers. Today’s sponsors:The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kin...more

  • Facing the News Like a Poker Champ

    Feb 22 2017

    There’s a term in poker called tilt—when players become overwhelmed by bad news and it starts clouding their decision-making. Poker star Annie Duke talks to guest host Maria Konnikova about the psychological tricks that pro card players use to get through rough patches and how it applies to our political climate today. Duke has written several books about poker and sits on the board of How I Decide, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged young people make better decisions.     For t...more

  • Andy Zaltzman Is Back at Exactly the Right Time

    Feb 17 2017

    For years, Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver took on the powers that be in their influential podcast The Bugle. But the show went on hiatus in 2014 when Oliver became the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Now, Zaltzman is rebooting the show at a most opportune moment for satire. “It’s like throwing the javelin of truth into the swamp of corruption,” says Zaltzman. “But javelins in swamps don’t always work out.” For the Spiel, a Lobstar of the Antentwig. Today’s sponsors:Wunder Capital. Earn up to 8.5...more

  • Would a Narcissist Do This?

    Feb 16 2017

    Jedediah Purdy understands President Trump’s supporters better than most champions of the left, having grown up in rural West Virginia (he has the greased-pig award to prove it). But he’s still befuddled by the prospect of peeling away voters from the president’s camp. Purdy’s recent piece in theNew Republic is titled “America’s New Opposition.” For the Spiel, an annotated history of one of the Trump administration’s favorite lies. Today’s sponsors:Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with DD Perks....more

  • A Late Show for Grown-Ups

    Feb 16 2017

    Chris Licht is the executive producer for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which has surpassed its late-night competition since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. On The Gist, Licht explains why he’s not worried about going viral or catering to a younger audience: “I think you can be likable and pointed.”For the Spiel, who was it, again, who warned us that Trump was in cahoots with the Russians?Today’s sponsors:Hit Showtime original series Billions, starring Emmy winners Damian Lewis...more

  • John Darnielle Talks About Words and Snakes

    Feb 15 2017

    John Darnielle has always had a facility with words. As singer and songwriter behind the Mountain Goats, Darnielle has made pop poetry about lonely outsiders and cultural marginalia. Now, in his second novel, Universal Harvester, he explores the lives of desperate people in a small Iowa town. He also talks about a song title so good that no singer could ever do it justice.  In the Spiel, how competent people are quietly undoing Trump. Today’s sponsors:ZipRecruiter.Post your job listing to a...more

  • David Frum Beseeches You to Focus

    Feb 13 2017

    David Frum has emerged as a leader of the Republican resistance in the months since President Donald Trump’s election. On The Gist, he shares his dismay that the disparate forces opposing the Trump administration can’t seem to get over old squabbles. He also explains the narrow political portfolio he’s settled on and why Never Trumpers should focus their activism. Frum is a senior editor at the Atlantic. For the Spiel, the agony and the ecstasy of watching Stephen Miller.Today’s sponsors:Betterm...more

  • Oh, How This Feels Like Moscow

    Feb 10 2017

    On The Gist, guest host Julia Ioffe of the Atlantic talks about the similarities and surprising differences between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin with Miriam Elder, world editor at BuzzFeed. Elder shares her idea of how the two leaders fit into a global story unfolding right now. Plus, Ioffe and Elder explain “whataboutism” and other vocabulary lessons from their time reporting in Moscow.In the Spiel: The Trump presidency is quickly putting the lie to an old Russian saw. Today...more

  • Elvis Costello’s High-Fidelity Life

    Feb 09 2017

    Elvis Costello is one of the most accomplished songwriters of his generation. In his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, he details his songwriting process, his encounters with everyone from Paul McCartney to Joe Strummer, and his place in a rapidly changing music industry. Costello is up for a Grammy this week for the audiobook version of Unfaithful.  For the Spiel, a fairly pointless history lesson from Ted Cruz.  Today’s sponsors: Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with D...more

  • Plus Jamais Le Fake News

    Feb 08 2017

    With elections coming up in France and Germany, Facebook is working with media organizations across Europe to avoid the fake news pox that struck the United States last year. Slate’s senior technology writer Will Ormeus joins us to discuss the strides being made against political hoaxes online.  Also, we answer the question: Does office coffee make us more productive? What does it accomplish as a work perk? Does it taste any better because it’s free? The Sporkful’s Dan Pashman investigates ...more

  • An Obamacare Architect Speaks Out

    Feb 07 2017

    Before she was the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius ran the state’s high-risk health care pool, where citizens with serious health problems could get coverage despite their pre-existing conditions. High-risk pools are a favorite idea of the GOP, including many in Congress trying to cook up a replacement for Obamacare. Sebelius says the high-risk plan doesn’t work: “Every day we heard stories of people who couldn’t afford coverage.” Sebelius helped create the Affordable Care Act while she wa...more

  • The Business of Corporate Protest

    Feb 06 2017

    After intense protest toward companies such as Uber, CEOs across America are finding it more and more difficult to stay neutral when it comes to the Trump administration. Adi Ignatius is the editor of the Harvard Business Review, whose most recent issue looks at how business leaders are approaching the Trump White House. He says more CEOs are likely to follow the lead of Disney chief Bob Iger, who double-booked himself last week instead of attending a meeting with the new White House strategic c...more

  • He Left the Hold Steady for Mongolia

    Feb 04 2017

    Franz Nicolay made his bones playing with big bands, in size and in popularity (The Dresden Dolls, Against Me, the Hold Steady). But Nicolay longed to strike out on his own and master the “practical craft of the old vaudevillian.” So he packed his banjo (and accordion and guitar) for a string of tours across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Nicolay’s consequent book is The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground From Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar. For the Spiel, the many types...more

  • The Case of the Frozen Trucker

    Feb 02 2017

    This week, Democrats are agonizing over how or whether to oppose Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Emily Bazelon notes that Gorsuch has been very clear in his opposition to doctor-assisted suicide, but his position on abortion rights is less knowable. Bazelon is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, and a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. For the Spiel, Trump finds God and uses the opportunity to ask for better Apprentice ratings.Today’s sponsors:MVMT...more

  • Inside the Biggest Pyramid Scheme Ever

    Feb 01 2017

    Steve Fishman is one of the few journalists to received access to notorious scam artist Bernie Madoff. His interviews form the backbone of the new Audible series Ponzi Supernova, which goes deep inside the biggest pyramid scheme in American history. Fishman talks about his new series and how Madoff outran federal investigators for decades. For the Spiel, the folly of adding Iran to Trump’s travel ban.Today’s sponsors:Casper, an online retailer of premium mattresses. Get $50 toward any mattress p...more

  • The New Queens of Satire

    Feb 01 2017

    Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo are founding editors of the satirical online women’s magazine Reductress, publisher of such headlines as “8 Sex Positions That Will Blow His Mind and Destroy His Penis.” On The Gist, Newell and Pappalardo discuss their site’s blend of feminism and millennialism. Their new book is called How to Win at Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All—and Then Some!For the Spiel, Americans want their dysfunctional-government-that-isn’t-working to at least show up and...more

  • Up in the Air

    Jan 30 2017

    The Trump administration’s executive order restricting travel to the U.S. set off at least four legal challenges, an international contagion of protests, and the harshest Republican rebukes yet to a Trump White House action. But it’s not yet clear how many people have been affected by the ban or exactly what it requires. Ben Johnson, head of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, calls the policy “as ill-conceived as it is wrong.”  For the Spiel, we could block out the sun with all t...more

  • Yeah, We’re Scared Too

    Jan 27 2017

    In one tweet, George W. Bush appointee Eliot Cohen became the face for anti-Trump conservatives: “After exchange with Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.” With the news this week that senior State Department officials have resigned en masse, Cohen says there are reasons to be very worried about America’s role on the world stage. Cohen is the author of The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of...more

  • Deregulation Nation

    Jan 26 2017

    Americans are skeptical of regulation, no matter how much they hate hair in their hot dogs. Why are Republicans winning this argument? Jacob Hacker is director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University and author of the new book American Amnesia.   For the Spiel, an ethics scandal hits South Dakota. Yes, South Dakota! Today’s sponsor:Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with DD Perks. Earn a free Dunkin’ Donuts beverage when you enroll by using promo code DDPODCAST, an...more

  • Don’t Mind Us, We’re Just Collapsing

    Jan 25 2017

    The Dow hitting 20,000 might sounds like great news to you, but to anthropologist Arthur Demarest, it’s an ominous echo of what he’s seen befall the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Inca: a spectacular apogee followed by collapse. Demarest studies the decline of civilizations. He says his research has shown that societies that avoid total disintegration undergo some other kind of major political or economic crisis. For the Spiel, good news. We’ve fixed the Oscars.  Today’s sponsor: Policy Genius. ...more

  • The Problem With Tracking Hate

    Jan 24 2017

    The Southern Poverty Law Center rushed to track the surge in reported hate incidents after the election—a surge that appears to have died down. Heidi Beirich explains the SPLC’s plans to weed any hoaxes out of its data and why it’s a bad idea to minimize incidents of hate just because they don’t rise to the level of a crime. For the Spiel, getting acquainted with Canada’s Trump(s). Today’s sponsor:Points of Courage, a podcast from Hiscox Insurance about the adventure of starting up a business. ...more

  • The Truth About Vitamin C

    Jan 23 2017

    New Yorker staff writer Maria Konnikova returns to play “Is That Bullshit?” This week, the persistent nutritional myth about vitamin C. The actual vitamin, not the singer. Maria’s most recent book is The Confidence Game.  Plus, one of Barack Obama’s dreams has finally been realized: a plain white t-shirt store is open in Hawaii. Sponsors: ZipRecruiter. Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/gist. And Blue Apron. Blue ...more

  • A Bet Against Reality

    Jan 21 2017

    President Donald J. Trump was voted into office by an impatient electorate that had no ability to measure his rhetoric against a political record. Slate political writer Will Saletan predicts that national impatience will not be kind to Mr. Trump. Saletan is the author of Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War. U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., joined dozens of his colleagues boycotting the inauguration. He explains what Democrats can do to draw attention to Mr. Trump's conflic...more

  • The 12-Step Program of Highly Effective People

    Jan 19 2017

    Nick Thune took the long way to stand-up comedy, performing Enrique Iglesias cover songs and making a stop in rehab before graduating from high school. On The Gist, he explains why he’s not scared of silence on stage and what made him ditch his guitar. His new special, Nick Thune: Good Guy, is streaming now on Seeso. In the Spiel, asking much of Steven Mnuchin and parrying with Rick Perry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Trial by Firing Line

    Jan 19 2017

    You didn’t have to agree with William F. Buckley to marvel at his intellect, his swiftness, and his wit. Starting in 1966, Buckley got to show off his skills every week on Firing Line, his pioneering television show devoted to debate. Heather Hendershot watched nearly 1,500 episodes of the show, and though she still doesn’t agree with Buckley, she admires how he created a place for high-minded argument. Hendershot is the author of Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the...more

  • Can The Democrats Obstruct Everything for Four Years?

    Jan 17 2017

    On every major piece of legislation in the Obama era, congressional Republicans have thrown up roadblocks and been reluctant to compromise. Can Democrats do the same in the age of Trump? Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and The Atlantic looks at the options facing the Congressional opposition and the future of everyone’s favorite obstructionist tool, the filibuster. In the Spiel, why we don’t judge presidents based on their inauguration’s Nielsen ratings. Learn more a...more

  • Jamelle Bouie on the Trump Cabinet

    Jan 13 2017

    So, who is Donald Trump’s most troubling Cabinet pick? Is it Jeff Sessions, who received an 11 percent score on civil rights issues from the NAACP? Or Rex Tillerson, who was unprepared for questions about Vladimir Putin’s regime? Or Ben Carson, who didn’t seem to know anything about the mandate of Housing and Urban Development? Slate’s chief political correspondent weighs in on the first week of hearings for Trump’s Cabinet picks. In the Spiel, it’s Lobstar time again.   Join Slate Plu...more

  • How Should We Talk About Whiteness?

    Jan 13 2017

    This week, race was front and center at the confirmation hearing for Trump’s attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions. Cory Booker and the head of the NAACP testified that Sessions’ history of alleged racist comments and his voting record suggested he could not fairly uphold the rights of all Americans. The Alabama senator fired back that he was not a racist and had fought to honor historical figures like Rosa Parks. The whole affair raised questions about how to discuss race, “whiteness,” and is...more

  • Twenty-Four Grueling Hours in Trumpland

    Jan 11 2017

    Between the shady unverified intelligence dossier, Trump’s strange press conference, and the Rex Tillerson hearings, this has been a head-spinning 24 hours. We called up Slate’s War Stories correspondent Fred Kaplan to make sense of it all. Kaplan is most recently the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.  In the Spiel, an analysis of President Obama’s farewell and the meaning of activism.  Today’s sponsor:Policy Genius. Shop and compare all the top-rated life insu...more

  • How the Onion Remade Joe Biden

    Jan 11 2017

    If you’ve been reading the Onion the past eight years, you know that Vice President Joe Biden is a hair metal–loving party machine. He’s set up a fog machine at the State of the Union address. He’s regaled crowds with stories from his historic summer of ’87. And he’s been busted many, many times for his shady side hustles. Chad Nackers, head writer at the Onion, talks about how his site created a whole new character to satirize Obama’s tee-totaling vice-president, and the delicate balancing act ...more

  • The Secret to Meaningful Work

    Jan 09 2017

    Are millennials really less money-focused than their forebears were? Do the kings of finance obsess over money because society doesn’t give them another way to measure their success? How can we make ditch-digging meaningful work? On The Gist, behavioral economist and Wall Street Journal columnistDan Ariely weighs in; think of him as the Dear Abby for the smartphone set. Ariely is the author of Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.  For the Spiel, surely the glitz and gl...more

  • Unpacking Peanuts

    Jan 07 2017

    The National Institutes of Health used to have blanket advice for parents: Don’t give peanuts or peanut products to children under the age of 4. The result? Between 2003 and 2014, it seems likely more Americas were killed by bad advice about peanuts than by acts of terrorism. Why did it take so long to change these guidelines? Marion Nestle says we know very little about the science of food allergies. She’s the author of Food Politics.  In the Spiel, explaining hacking in a way even Donald ...more

  • The Paradox of Shaving

    Jan 05 2017

    New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova returns for another round of everyone’s favorite game, “Is That Bulls--t?” Konnikova takes on a long-held theory about hair growth: The more often you shave, the faster it grows back. Konnikova’s most recent book is The Confidence Game.  In the Spiel, the Megyn Kelly backlash begins.    Sponsors:  ZipRecruiter. Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/gist. Harry’s. Get t...more

  • Mara Wilson’s Post–Child Star Life

    Jan 04 2017

    Mara Wilson became iconic in the 1990s, but she hasn’t appeared in a film since the year 2000. In her memoir Where Am I Now? Wilson explores the joys and difficulties of her life after child stardom. Mara’s book was recently named one of the best of 2016 by NPR. Sponsors: Betterment, the largest automated investing service. Get up to six months of investing FREE when you go to Betterment.com/gist. What happens to our digital lives when we’re gone? LifeAfter, a new series from GE Podcast Theater...more

  • Ralph Nader’s Animal Instincts

    Jan 03 2017

    Ralph Nader’s second work of fiction, Animal Envy, imagines a world where animals can talk to people and start demanding rights. Nader says the fable is meant to prompt deeper thinking about our relationship with nature. “We need to talk about what-if, because if we don’t, we can’t kick in our idealism and imagine real possibilities,” says the 82-year-old author and advocate. Nader also weighs in with his thoughts on the Trump presidency, and how to win a political argument. In the Spiel, Donald...more

  • Bob Boilen: Tiny Desk, Big Effect

    Dec 31 2016

    Bob Boilen, creator and host of NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, built his book around something he learned in his nearly 30 years of covering music: Artists are tired of talking about their own work, but ask them about what inspires them, and they’ll light up. Boilen’s book of interviews is the epically titled Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-Five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It.For the...more

  • Good Grief

    Dec 29 2016

    When comedian Laurie Kilmartin found out her father had advanced lung cancer, she processed it the best way she could: by tweeting jokes about her father’s decline. The real-time mourning gave rise to Kilmartin’s stand-up special, “45 Jokes About My Dead Dad,” available on Seeso. Kilmartin is a writer for Conan on TBS and author of Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us. In the Spiel, noting the death of Debbie Reynolds and the prospects of a two-state solution. Learn more ...more

  • The Home Movie That Changed America

    Dec 28 2016

    When the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in front of cameras by an assassin, Alexandra Zapruder had one thought: “There’s another Zapruder film.” Her new book, Twenty-Six Seconds, looks at how her grandfather’s film of the John F. Kennedy assassination changed media and American life, and how her family dealt with the grave responsibility of being part of American history. In the Spiel, there’s a war on Mike’s birthday.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adch...more

  • LifeAfter’s Mac Rogers

    Dec 23 2016

    Movies are out, TV is in, and radio theater is on the rise. Playwright Mac Rogers explains the challenges of creating theater of the mind. Rogers is the writer behind hit podcast dramas LifeAfter and The Message. For the Spiel, The 12 Days of Trumpmas, revisited. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When There Was No Ducking Disco

    Dec 22 2016

    On the Gist, Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1976, the year we learned the true meaning of “booty” and the inherent value of shake-shake-shaking it. Molanphy writes the “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column for Slate. For the Spiel, are Christmas songs good or just familiar?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Year of Bill Camp

    Dec 21 2016

    Actor Bill Camp specializes in subtlety—whether as an earnest Puritan pastor in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Crucible or a veteran homicide detective in HBO’s The Night Of. On The Gist, Camp talks about preparing for roles, getting hot after age 50, and how he might fit into a Sex and the City reunion. Camp is narrating the documentary TV series EPIX Presents Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics, which follows the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the St. Lo...more

  • We’re Going Into Labor

    Dec 20 2016

    Have blue-collar workers fallen for a Republican bait-and-switch? On The Gist, journalist Steven Greenhouse sets aside globalization and turns to the domestic forces suppressing wages and hammering workers: Republican-backed anti-union laws, a feeble response from Democrats, and cultural amnesia around the labor movement’s achievements. Greenhouse is working on a follow-up to his 2008 book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.For the Spiel, the photos of the assassination of the...more

  • Thank God for Hedonists

    Dec 19 2016

    There is virtue in delight! We chanced upon new building materials, better computer software, and a global economy by frittering away our time. On The Gist, author Steven Johnson says our flights of fancy may have driven most of human progress. Johnson’s new book is Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World.For the Spiel, the passings of 2016. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Our Inflamer-In-Chief

    Dec 16 2016

    The current world order is fragile, and President-elect Donald Trump has shown himself to be sensitive, antagonistic, and gleeful about turning existing dynamics upside-down. How could this affect the United States’ role in defusing international conflicts? Dan De Luce, chief national security correspondent for Foreign Policy magazine, runs through a few scenarios. “The executive branch has expanded dramatically,” said De Luce. “We are a long way from where we were when this country was founded ...more

  • Do Strict Voter Laws Make a Difference?

    Dec 15 2016

    Last summer, the Supreme Court stopped North Carolina from using a strict voter ID law that would likely disadvantage Democrats and “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”Now, the court is facing two more restrictive voter laws that could seriously change American elections. Rick Hasen covers the wild world of election law on his blog. He joins Mike to discuss the new cases, and other ways that Republican-governed states have tried to suppress turnout.For the Spiel, a Pesca fa...more

  • We Could Use Jon Stewart Right Now

    Dec 14 2016

    Jon Stewart had a rough time hosting The Daily Show. By 2015, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Exposure to Fox News had taken a toll. Writer Chris Smith chronicles Stewart’s reign in a new oral history, which looks at the comedian’s broader impact on political culture.  For the Spiel, Mike has cat scratch fever! Literally.   Today’s sponsors: Betterment, the largest automated investing service. Get up to six months of investing free when you go to Betterment.com/g...more

  • Putin Plays the Long Game

    Dec 13 2016

    As Michael McFaul knows well, sometimes the interests of the United States and the interests of Exxon Mobil don’t line up. “You have to find oil where it is … and that tends to be controlled by autocrats around the world, and you have to do deals with them,” says McFaul, who was America’s ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. Here, McFaul weighs in on the Rex Tillerson nomination for secretary of state, Russia’s likely hacking of the U.S. election, and Putin’s designs in the Baltics. For the S...more

  • Let’s Talk About Rex

    Dec 12 2016

    James Osborne writes about energy and politics for the Houston Chronicle. He’s covered Rex Tillerson for years, yet they’ve never spoken directly. During his time as CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson has rarely granted interviews and only gives one press conference a year. For 15 minutes. Osborne says Tillerson has never really had to face the press—a luxury he’ll be forfeiting if he’s confirmed as secretary of state next year. In The Spiel, the media still doesn’t know how to cover blue collar worke...more

  • Don’t Tell Kyle Kinane What To Do

    Dec 09 2016

    Kyle Kinane doesn’t want your agreement applause. Or your voting boosterism. In fact, Kinane is quite prepared to disappoint you—he’s kind of built a brand on it. On The Gist, Kinane raises a hand in support of jokes about rich people and racists—just let him explain. Kinane’s latest stand-up special is Loose in Chicago, you can see him in the Netflix series Love, and his podcast is called Boogie Monster. For the Spiel, Mike goes trawling for another Lobstar.  Learn more about your ad ...more

  • Getting Held Back in Racial Justice Class

    Dec 08 2016

    Writer Jeff Chang went to Ferguson, Missouri, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown. What he saw there helped inspire his latest collection of essays, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation (a book the Washington Post’s Carlos Lozada has called the year’s smartest). On The Gist, Chang explains why the calls for police accountability are valid even in cases when officers appear to follow protocol. For the Spiel, an evaluation of the Trump Cabinet according...more

  • Boeing, Get Off My Plane!

    Dec 07 2016

    On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump decried the cost of a very important plane, tweeting, “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Boeing then disputed Mr. Trump’s numbers, saying their contract was worth only $170 million. Turns out, unlike other Twitter rants, Trump was kind of right this time. But on The Gist, analyst Todd Harrison warns that lowering the cost of Air Force One might involve...more

  • It’s Much Bigger Than O.J.

    Dec 07 2016

    Ezra Edelman wasn’t planning to make a documentary about O.J. Simpson. But then ESPN offered him five hours of airtime. Edelman’s movie (which eventually grew to nearly eight hours) explores a variety of themes through the lens of Simpson’s life and trial. O.J.: Made in America has just been named to the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary.  For the Spiel, Mike goes to school on the Electoral College.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Blueprint for Trumpcare

    Dec 05 2016

    With the nomination of Tom Price for health and human services secretary, it’s clear that Donald Trump wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a more conservative plan. Sarah Kliff has spent weeks looking through the health care plans put forward by Republicans such as Price and Paul Ryan. Her conclusion? Good news for healthy people, not so much for sick people. Sarah is a co-host of The Weeds podcast. For the Spiel, what the media can and can’t do.Learn more about your ad choic...more

  • The Chaos Doctrine

    Dec 02 2016

    Tidiness is tyranny, and Tim Harford is here to set you free. The author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives makes the case for routine-busting labor strikes, cluttered desks, and leaving your emails unsorted. He also explains why we’re smart to want scatterbrained musicians and orderly accountants. Harford writes the Undercover Economist column for the Financial Times. For the Spiel, exciting times! Let’s dig into the Indiana tax code.  Today’s sponsors:Rocket Mortgage...more

  • Dissecting the Carrier Deal

    Dec 01 2016

    Aaron Renn says the PEOTUS made a smart move by keeping Carrier in the United States. But saving one company is not an economic policy. Renn is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He recently argued Trump could fall into a “mayor trap” if he doesn’t start thinking about the big picture.  For the Spiel, Mike Pesca enters the (admittedly off-brand) Shark Tank.   Today’s sponsors: Placemakers, a new Slate podcast made possible by JPMorgan Chase. This podcast tells the stories...more

  • What’s Bunk About Brainstorming

    Nov 30 2016

    Does brainstorming light a creative fire or smother the sparks of invention? Our regular guest Maria Konnikova looks at the merits of spitballing. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump saves a thousand manufacturing jobs! Great. Now, what about the other 311,000?  Today’s sponsors: Placemakers, a new Slate podcast made possible by JPMorgan Chase. This podcast tells the stories of neighborhoods, businesses, and nonprofits th...more

  • Why Working People Left the Democrats

    Nov 29 2016

    For years, Thomas Frank has been the Cassandra of the Democratic Party, arguing that it had long since sold out working Americans and was using a socially liberal agenda to paper over its new corporate allegiances. Like Cassandra, he was largely ignored—until the election of President-elect Donald Trump. Frank is the author of Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Ray Zaborney is a Republican political strategist based in Pennsylvania. He and Mike jousted on Twitter...more

  • Stephen Dubner’s Genre-Busting Game Show

    Nov 28 2016

    Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is a new podcast game show from Stephen Dubner, the journalist behind Freakonomics. While radio quiz games are nothing new (in fact, Mike has hosted one himself), Dubner wants to do something different with this program, where experts have to engage with people from a field they are totally unfamiliar with. TMSIDK debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes podcast chart earlier this month.  For the Spiel, Donald Trump’s distraction game.    Today’s sponsors: Bet...more

  • Revenge of the Music Nerds

    Nov 23 2016

    Our favorite cultural cabal in Cleveland has spoken. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its nominees for induction in 2017—and the picks are incomparable as always, with Chic, Pearl Jam, and Kraftwerk in the running. Chris Molanphy discusses shoo-ins and long shots. He writes the “Why Is This Song No. 1?“ column for Slate. For the Spiel, a special holiday message from Mike Pesca.  Today’s sponsors:MVMT Watches. Get 15 percent off today, with free shipping and free returns, by goin...more

  • A Former Breitbart Star Takes On Steve Bannon

    Nov 22 2016

    Ben Shapiro is a pretty conservative guy. He’s written books like Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americansand The People vs. Barack Obama, and he’s a former contributor to Breitbart. But earlier this year, Shapiro quit the site over his editor’s unwillingness to defend reporter Michelle Fields, and he declared himself a never Trump-er. Now, he’s facing waves of anti-Semitic abuse by people on the self-declared alt-right. Shapiro is the editor-in-chief of the Da...more

  • Learning From the Fallout of Brexit

    Nov 21 2016

    As Nigel Farage described it, the election of Donald Trump was “Brexit times three.” Comedian Josie Long knows this all too well. The comedian and radio host has a new stage show, Something Better, where she takes on the gloomy nationalist politics of her homeland and the scary parallels between Brexiteers and Trumpites. The show is playing in New York until Dec. 3, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the new year.In the Spiel, Tila Tequila is a Nazi.  Learn more about your ad choices. ...more

  • The Incredible Failure of Get-Out-the-Vote

    Nov 18 2016

    Hillary Clinton was supposed to have the most sophisticated digital ground game ever, while all Trump had was a ramshackle data bunker in San Antonio. We all know how that turned out. Sasha Issenberg is a Bloomberg contributor and author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. He says there are many explanations for what happened, including the Clinton campaign’s inadvertent encouragement of Donald Trump voters in states like Florida. In the Spiel, it’s a Lobstar week. ...more

  • Can Jared Kushner Really Get Top-Secret Intel?

    Nov 17 2016

    Wait, can Donald Trump really give his entire family national security clearance? It’s complicated, says Fred Kaplan, the author of Slate’s War Stories column. Kaplan also discusses the reasons to be wary of putting your family members in the White House.  Also, David Bowie liked his art to be as haunting as his music—even if the effect, at first, was off-putting. The Gist’s art correspondent Mary Lane tells us what’s intriguing about Bowie’s private collection, which was broken up at aucti...more

  • A Show That Watches the Cops

    Nov 16 2016

    Dan Abrams is the host of Live PD, a new A&E show that follows police officers, in real time, as they interact with people in cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Abrams says the show is different from Cops—it captures all of the moments in a police officer’s watch, not just the most sensational. But it has also come under fire for questions about privacy and the complicated issues of embedding with a police force.  In the Spiel, we look at President Obama’s claim th...more

  • The Liberal Hegemony of Pop Culture

    Nov 15 2016

    New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says the culture has changed drastically in America over the past five years. Daily Show alumni have taken over late night, late night comedy has taken a strongly liberal tinge, and companies like Apple have taken a stand on issues like transgender bathroom bills. He thinks this cultural shift has helped alienate many of the people who supported Donald Trump. Douthat wrote about the liberal hegemony of pop culture in a September column, “Clinton’s Samantha B...more

  • This Is Your Brain on Political Correctness

    Nov 15 2016

    Trigger warning: Scrutiny of safe spaces ahead. Jonathan Zimmerman discusses the political-correctness fever sweeping the nation’s elite college campuses. Zimmerman is the author of Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know. In the Spiel, blinded by a baccalaureate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Fault in Our Polls

    Nov 13 2016

    Did the polls lead us astray in this election, or did we simply fail to heed everything they were telling us? FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Harry Enten says the lesson of 2016 is familiar to any close observer of politics: “There are no permanent majorities.”Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, puts the 2016 election in historical context. Zelizer hosts the Politics & Polls podcast produced by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and Inter...more

  • Solidarity, Sister?

    Nov 12 2016

    It’s a rare Saturday Gist, as the show’s post-election interview blitz continues:New York Times columnist Gail Collins explains what we tend to forget about the way women vote, and NPR’s David Folkenflik ponders the media problems exposed by the presidential race and its surprise outcome.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Autopsy

    Nov 12 2016

    On The Gist, another double feature.Evan Osnos explains what Trump’s first term might look like, based on reporting he did before the election for the New Yorker.Reid Wilson, who covers down-ballot politics for the Hill, surveys the Republican gains in statehouses across the country. For the Spiel, some introspection. And keep an eye on this feed for more interviews over the weekend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • More Rock, Less Talk

    Nov 10 2016

    The Gist isn’t serving up a Spiel today—too many questions, too few answers. Instead, Mike puzzles through the day with a few friends of the show:Jacob Weisberg reacts to the chants of “not my president.” Weisberg is the chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group and the host of Trumpcast.The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson expects a poorer country and world under President-elect Donald Trump. He outlines the range of possible economic changes. John Dickerson, moderator of Face the Nation on CBS...more

  • It’s Morning in Trump’s America

    Nov 09 2016

    On The Gist, things are getting dark, but at least the show isn’t going dark, which is more than we can say for our friends at the Radio Free GOP podcast. Host Mike Murphy, a longtime GOP strategist and Trump critic, says the show will go on hiatus in light of the election result. Plus, the New Yorker’s Adam Davidson explains the link between the presidential election and confusion in the financial markets. For the Spiel, a clarifying idea from Slate’s Election Night Watch Party featuring author...more

  • Jamelle Bouie Sums It Up

    Nov 08 2016

    Jamelle Bouie has written about the deep, ugly divides in America that have surfaced during this presidential campaign. In the final hours of election day, Slate’s chief political correspondent approaches the idea of national unity after the most unruly campaign in modern history.  Bouie was recently named the breakout star of the 2016 campaign by the Poynter Institute for Journalism.  Our Sponsors:  Goldman Sachs. To learn about developments currently shaping markets, industries,...more

  • The Myth of the Hard-Luck Trump Voter

    Nov 07 2016

    Much of the 2016 presidential campaign media coverage has cast Trump fans not as bigoted, but “economically disaffected.” As Slate’s Michelle Goldberg reports, for many supporters, that’s far too charitable. Goldberg has been reporting on issues like sexual assault and feminism in the Republican Party throughout the campaign. She argues 2016 might turn many women off to the idea of running for president, even if the glass ceiling is broken.   In the Spiel, the final Trump Anxiety Hotli...more

  • Harry Enten Explains the FiveThirtyEight Numbers

    Nov 04 2016

    If you’re like us, you’ve been checking the FiveThirtyEight election forecast like it’s a weather report before a hurricane. This week, Donald Trump’s chance of victory in the presidential race went from 15 percent to over 30 percent, causing much anxiety for Democrats. But how serious is the swing? Harry Enten is the senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight and a frequent Gist guest.   For the Spiel, why Hillary Clinton should own her terrible comic timing. Today’s sponsors: Indoch...more

  • A Tax on Both Their Houses

    Nov 03 2016

    We have (almost) survived a presidential campaign. Are we any smarter about taxes? On The Gist, Adam Davidson considers Donald Trump’s apparent tax practices and explains the biggest barrier to bipartisan compromise on tax policy. Davidson covers business and economics for the New Yorker.  For the Spiel, even Mike Pesca can’t sooth your nerves over volatile polling.  Today’s sponsors: Placemakers, a new Slate podcast made possible by JPMorgan Chase. This podcast tells the stories of ne...more

  • Dominate the News, You Lose

    Nov 02 2016

    On The Gist, a pair of political heavyweights.  Obama administration alumnus Tommy Vietor wonders how the interregnum following this election will be different for Hillary Clinton than it was for President Obama. Vietor co-hosts the Ringer podcast Keepin’ It 1600 with his former White House colleagues Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Dan Pfeiffer. Plus, Steve Sebelius, columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, assesses the U.S. Senate race in Nevada, including the Republican candidate’s effor...more

  • Spotlight on a (Very) Close Race

    Nov 01 2016

    A look inside one of the closest congressional races this year, New York’s 19th. Former Gist guest and Bernie Sanders–favorite Zephyr Teachout takes on Republican state Assemblyman John Faso for an open seat. The race is one of the few that the Cook Political Report has labeled a toss-up, and it’s a microcosm for lots of American anxieties. Teachout opposes fracking and supports carbon pricing in a district that relies heavily on cars, while Faso is a Trump-ambivalent Republican who hasn’t even ...more

  • The Problem With Mark Kirk

    Oct 31 2016

    Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune joins Mike to discuss two contentious races happening in Illinois this year that could swing the balance of power in Congress. Incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is trailing badly to his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth. And in the 10th congressional district, Rep. Bob Dold is facing a tight battle against his predecessor, Brad Schneider. Both races showcase an increasingly rare breed in Congress: the moderate Republican. In The Spiel, what Halloween ...more

  • A Governor You Can Make a Beer With

    Oct 28 2016

    Today we’re reaching into The Gist’s vault to bring you two favorite segments from the past year. First, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper explains why he saw the movie Deep Throat with his mother and reflects on his state’s move to legalize marijuana. Hickenlooper’s book is called The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.For the Spiel, why are we so scared when we hear talk of a rigged election? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mike Debates His Former Producer About Dating

    Oct 27 2016

    We are dating longer. We are dating differently. Is it making us happier? Mike’s not buying it. Former Gist producer Andrea Silenzi wades into an impromptu debate about dating today. Check out Andrea’s new show, Why Oh Why, a Panoply podcast about dating and relationships. Andy Miccolis created Why Oh Why’s theme music, included in today’s show.For the Spiel, Donald Trump’s surrogates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Dan Savage Diagnoses Donald Trump

    Oct 26 2016

    Does Trump so need women that he despises them? On The Gist, love and sex advice columnist Dan Savage considers Trump’s misogyny. Savage also clears the air about his withering criticism of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and gives third-party enthusiasts a reality check: “Elect some congressmen, elect a governor, and then we can talk about who you’re running for president.” Savage hosts the Savage Lovecast and writes for the Stranger. In the Spiel, poor old Admiral Kuznetsov....more

  • Adam Tries to Ruin a Horrible Election

    Oct 25 2016

    America’s favorite debunker, Adam Conover, takes on the election in his TruTV special. Conover, famous for “Adam Ruins Everything,” talks to Mike about how comedians can change society, and the limits of satire as an art form. Conover’s special airs Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. For the Spiel, what America was like the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Case Against Dropping College Debt

    Oct 21 2016

    No to a student loan bailout. No to debt-free state schools. Prepare to be enlightened, if a bit disheartened, as our friend Adam Davidson explains why eliminating college debt falls short of solving the country’s inequality crisis. Davidson is a contributing writer for the New Yorker. For the Spiel, it’s another Lobstar of the Antentwig.  Today’s sponsor: Placemakers, a new Slate podcast made possible by JPMorgan Chase. This podcast tells the stories of n...more

  • Do the Best and Brightest Ever Become President?

    Oct 20 2016

    On The Gist, former Daily Show head writer Elliott Kalan talks about his new Audible series Presidents are People Too! Kalan looks at the reasons so many mediocre candidates make it the White House, and tries to find something to admire in our crappiest commanders-in-chief. Kalan says watching this year’s presidential election while studying American political history has been sobering. Think America has never been more divided? Congressmen used to cane each other in the 1850...more

  • Rapid Response: Cirque du Debate

    Oct 20 2016

    The first fifty minutes felt…strange. Calm. Like a real debate. Then Chris Wallace asked if Trump would recognize the election as legitimate. Mike Pesca was in the spin room after the third and final presidential showdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jill Stein Pitches a Green Foreign Policy

    Oct 19 2016

    On The Gist, Green Party candidate Jill Stein lays out her foreign policy. She debates Mike Pesca about Hillary Clinton, Yemen, and America’s use of force. Stein believes the United States is closer to nuclear war than ever, including the Cold War. She explains how de-escalating nuclear tensions with Russia should take priority, and how neither of the major party candidates is up to the job. This year marks Stein’s second run for the presidency.  Today’s sponsors: The Gist is brought t...more

  • How Do You Prep to Debate a Dumpster Fire?

    Oct 18 2016

    On The Gist, Jonathan Prince has helped candidates such as Bill Clinton and John Edwards prep for high-stakes debates. Now, he’s got some advice for Hillary Clinton as she faces round No. 3 with the most unpredictable candidate of the modern era. Prince has worked for the Clinton and Obama administrations, but now he’s the head of communications for Spotify. For the Spiel, how do you rig the most well-observed election on Earth? The answer is: You don’t.Today’s sponsors: Squarespace. S...more

  • The Secret Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump

    Oct 18 2016

    On The Gist, rhetoric scholar Jennifer Mercieca says that when you dig into his speeches, Donald Trump’s kind of an evil genius when it comes to rhetoric. Whether it’s his use of paralipsis (“I’m not saying, but I’m saying”) or reification (treating people like objects), Trump is an expert at using rhetoric to get under people’s skin. Mercieca is authoring a book on political rhetoric in the 2016 campaign, set to come out later this year. For the Spiel, an update on Trump’s collapse with female ...more

  • Inside "Late Night" With Amber Ruffin

    Oct 14 2016

    In 2014, Amber Ruffin became the first black woman to write for a late-night network comedy when she joined NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. On The Gist, Ruffin explains the banality of being a trailblazer: “We’re just dicking around in a different room.” For the Spiel, the dogged defenders of Donald Trump.  Panoply survey We want you to tell us about the podcasts you enjoy and how often you listen to them. So we created a survey that takes jus...more

  • Why Don’t More Women Run for Congress?

    Oct 13 2016

    On The Gist, Jennifer Lawless details the reasons more women don’t run for elected office in the United States. Her research documents a decline in media bias against women running for House seats. Despite that, Congress is still overwhelmingly male. Lawless authored a book with Danny Hayes called Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era. For the Spiel, Bob Dylan didn’t need a Nobel Prize to confirm his status as a great writer. Pa...more

  • Your Food Will Be Ready When You Look Hungry Enough

    Oct 12 2016

    If you had to engineer the perfect wait time for a meal, how would you do it? On The Gist, Dan Pashman explains the art of anticipation as applied to food. Pashman is the host of WNYC’s The Sporkful. Check out his show’s new series on food, race, and culture: “Who Is This Restaurant For?”In the Spiel, what should we call Trump’s former defectors? Undefectors? Reflectors?Panoply Survey: We want you to tell us about the podcasts you enjoy and how often you listen to them. So we crea...more

  • Where Do Republicans Go From Here?

    Oct 11 2016

    The implosion of Donald Trump's campaign shows a party that’s divided on everything from criminal justice reform to immigration. On The Gist, National Review executive editor and Slate columnist Reihan Salam considers the future of the GOP and conservative thinking. For the Spiel, why did the Republican Party fall for a demagogue? Is it because conservatives still kowtow to right-wing media outlets that embrace conspiracy theories, lies, and propaganda?Panoply ...more

  • Rapid Response: The Town Hall Debate

    Oct 10 2016

    We have seen the limits of debate prep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Rapid Response: Trump’s Comeuppance?

    Oct 08 2016

    Just one question on the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump with Billy Bush: Are we watching a Greek tragedy or a Saturday morning cartoon?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Phoebe Robinson Will Teach You How to Bae

    Oct 07 2016

    Phoebe Robinson recounts the tributes and trolling her book has prompted with its title, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain.On The Gist, Robinson wonders whether dreadlocks have really entered the mainstream (and are they ever acceptable on white guys?), and gives Mike a lesson in cultural sensitivity. Robinson is the goofball complement to her co-host Jessica Williams’ deadpan delivery on the 2 Dope Queens podcast. She is also the host of the interv...more

  • Fact-Checking Won’t Stop Trump

    Oct 07 2016

    On The Gist, we look at the proliferation of fact-checking in the 2016 campaign. One empirical analysis found that Donald Trump is telling a falsehood every five minutes during his speeches. But why isn’t the aggressive fact-checking of the Republican making a difference? We called up Brendan Nyhan, a professor in the department of government at Dartmouth College and the former editor of Spinsanity, a nonpartisan watchdog site focused on political messaging.   In The Spiel, the falteri...more

  • Why Do We Use BMI to Measure Health?

    Oct 05 2016

    On The Gist, dig into body mass index with our resident bulls--t debunker Maria Konnikova. Does a healthy BMI actually mean anything? The question came up after Donald Trump’s recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, in which his weight and height were revealed—if his numbers are to be believed, his BMI is 30.3, which qualifies as obese. But does BMI actually tell us anything meaningful about health? Or is it an arcane measurement that needs to be phased out?Also, more on Tuesday’s testy vice ...more

  • Rapid Response - The VP Debate

    Oct 05 2016

    Mike weighs in on the one and only debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Investigating Long Island’s Not-Deplorables

    Oct 04 2016

    In The Gist, Arun Venugopal looks at a place that could stand in for America as a whole during this election: Long Island, New York, home to high levels of taxation, opioid addiction, and support for Donald Trump. Venugopal walks us through some of the stories that help explain the psychology of this year’s campaign.For the Spiel, Mike takes a look at the closest Senate races. Panoply surveyWe want you to tell us about the podcasts you enjoy and how often you listen to them. So we created a...more

  • How Bad Is the Trump Tax Leak?

    Oct 03 2016

    In The Gist, what can we really find out from the Donald Trump tax leak? As Philip Hackney argues, not a lot. Hackney is a professor of tax law at Louisiana State University and formerly worked as counsel at the Internal Revenue Service. He says that Trump’s returns don’t indicate any wrongdoing per se. But there’s lots of ways he might have used the tax system to his advantage to save money. For the Spiel, even more on Trump, taxes, and hypocrisy. Panoply survey: We want you to tell u...more

  • Who Called Off the Pretension Police?

    Sep 30 2016

    On The Gist, Simon Doonan ponders the rise and fall of pretentiousness in the past 20 years. Doonan writes for Slate and is creative ambassador for Barneys New York.   For the Spiel, it’s the Lobstar of the Antentwig. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Rules According to Malcolm Gladwell

    Sep 29 2016

    Malcolm Gladwell’s career has been all about ideas—but what he really specializes in is their packaging and delivery. On The Gist, Gladwell tells the story behind his earliest obsessions and explains what he’s learned trafficking in unconventional theories. He is working on the second season of his hit Panoply podcast, Revisionist History.For the Spiel, a contrarian take on Donald Trump’s comments about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Learn more about your ad choice...more

  • A Budding Storyteller Turns In His “Homework for Life”

    Sep 28 2016

    Storyteller Matthew Dicks has one rule for getting better at telling stories: At the end of every day, scribble down the moment that makes the most promising tale. Today on The Gist, we hear from a listener who followed that advice. For the Spiel, a bungled marriage proposal at the New York Yankees game. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Where’s the Beef in Trump’s Ground Game?

    Sep 27 2016

    In The Gist, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins surveys the presidential campaigns’ get-out-the-vote efforts: “The first caveat is a lot of the rules don’t apply to this campaign.” In the Spiel, are presidential debates like the NFL Scouting Combine? They’re not enough to show if a player will be good on the field, but they're enough to show a player has no business being there in the first place?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Rapid Response: The First Presidential Debate

    Sep 27 2016

    Hillary shimmied, Donald interrupted and Lester Holt tried to keep it all together. The Gist team was at Hofstra University for the first presidential debate, and spoke to everyone from campaign managers to senators to a ribald former general.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • This Debate Is Not the Super Bowl

    Sep 26 2016

    The Gist is awaiting the first presidential debate and preparing a rapid response for early Tuesday morning. In the meantime, we hear from Jeremy Epstein: Four years ago, he was a 20-year-old Hofstra University student facing uncertain job prospects. But after he asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about the economy during the first debate, he became briefly famous. He was even impersonated by Fred Armisen on Saturday Night Live. Now, Epstein walks us through what it’s like to ask ...more

  • Is Your Favorite World Oddity Wondrous Enough for Atlas Obscura?

    Sep 23 2016

    The world is not flat, Google hasn’t yet mapped everything, and there are yet places in the world that don’t take your AmEx card. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders is the immense catalog of the world’s curiosities, from the rainbow river of South America to the medical device museum in Minnesota. On The Gist, editors Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton of Atlas Obscura explain their taxonomy of awe-inspiring sights.In the Spiel, the return of the Trump Anxiety H...more

  • A How-Not-To Manual for Presidents

    Sep 22 2016

    Do you have great aspirations of being the best president the United States has ever known? On The Gist, journalist Robert Strauss says you’d be better off trying to learn from the mistakes of America’s duds. That’s why Strauss wrote Worst. President. Ever. about James Buchanan, who has the distinct dishonor of setting the national stage for the Civil War.In the Spiel, Mike takes on the myth of the “perfect voter.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • How Filmmakers Faked the Moon Landing Inside Real NASA

    Sep 21 2016

    For their second movie, Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller gave themselves a challenge: Make a period mockumentary about the faking of the moon landing, on a total shoestring budget. Johnson says the finished product, Operation Avalanche, wouldn’t have been possible without the (unwitting) support of NASA, who let the filmmakers shoot inside the unaltered mission control from 1969. The film opens across North America this month.On the Spiel, Mike tries to get through to those millennials kicki...more

  • Maureen Dowd Wants a Candidate Like H.W. Again

    Sep 20 2016

    Maureen Dowd has covered every president since the early ’90s. The second President Bush even gave her a nickname: “The Cobra.” In her new book, Dowd examines what it takes to lead the country and what the press is missing about the current Republican nominee.On the Spiel, Mike laments a bygone age of TV advertising. Today’s sponsors:The Gist is brought to you by Betterment, the largest automated investing service. Get up to six months of investing FREE when you go to Betterment.com/gi...more

  • How Do We Fix Down-Ballot Elections?

    Sep 19 2016

    In 2012, Republicans won a solid majority in the House of Representatives, but only 48 percent of the vote. How did it happen? The Hill’s national correspondent, Reid Wilson, talks about the unusual forces influencing down-ballot races this year. There’s more money from outside forces, like the Koch brothers, but also hyperlocal issues that get lost in coverage of the presidential race. On the Spiel, Mike considers an appropriate response to the bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey. &n...more

  • “Mrs. Robinson,” “Hey Jude,” and Some Utter Schlock

    Sep 16 2016

    The political upheaval of 1968 was ferocious, but the Billboard charts still reflected a calm, placid sensibility. Our guest Chris Molanphy looks at the year in radio hits, from Herb Alpert’s debut as a singer to the novelty tracks competing for air time with the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. Molanphy writes Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1? column.  For the Spiel, a debate with Politico Magazine writer Bill Scher: Was Hillary Clinton taking a r...more

  • The Great Tightening, Explained

    Sep 15 2016

    On The Gist, FiveThirtyEight senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten says an averaging of the polls still shows Hillary Clinton has a hefty lead over Donald Trump. Enten also explains the difference between election forecasting and weather forecasting.For the Spiel, seeing the world through Trump-shaded glasses. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Are Southpaws Really Criminals?

    Sep 14 2016

    Does being left-handed make you a threat to civilized society? On The Gist, Maria Konnikova tells the story of the mustachioed Italian criminologist who gave southpaws a bad reputation. But what does handedness really tell us about the brain? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.This week, Mike challenged his audience to find someone in the country who is torn between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Well, the search is over: We t...more

  • Hillary’s Campaign Manager on Pneumonia, Swing Voters, and Strategy

    Sep 13 2016

    Robby Mook has a tricky job. As Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, he has to find a way to pin down Donald Trump, whose gaffes are constantly overtaking each other. Mook talks to Mike Pesca about the challenge of crafting a single message to combat Trump and recent events on the campaign trail, including Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis. Plus, director Ryan Suffern on his recent ESPN documentary “What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai?” which looks at the swift rise and fal...more

  • What Does the Charity World Think of the Clinton Foundation?

    Sep 12 2016

    The Clinton Foundation is a superstar in the world of philanthropy—is it OK that it leverages power and celebrity to achieve its mission? On The Gist, two experts disagree. Kenneth Stern, former CEO of NPR, sheds no tears for the Clinton Foundation. He thinks vanity-giving helps inferior charities persist. Stern is the author of With Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give. His company has done work for the Clinton Foundation. Stacy Palmer, ed...more

  • Tony Kornheiser Will Make Fun of Your Pants

    Sep 09 2016

    Tony Kornheiser is joining the pod people. On The Gist, the man behind the Tony Kornheiser Show explains his dive into podcasting: “I watched newspapers die under me.... I began to get the sense that radio was going to die under me too. And so I jumped.” Kornheiser also hosts ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption alongside Michael Wilbon.For the Spiel, pencils down: It’s time for the Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Courting Controversy With Drew Magary

    Sep 08 2016

    Drew Magary is down to hang. His past story assignments for GQ include a day with Duck Dynasty and a trip with the Kid Rock cruise. But Magary, author of the “Why Your Team Sucks” series­­ on Deadspin, is not one to equivocate. On The Gist, he shares his secret to immersive reporting and explains why he’s OK with grown men who wear sports jerseys. His latest book is The Hike: A Novel. For the Spiel, Donald Trump’s generalizing about generals...more

  • Telling Jokes in the Age of Trigger Warnings

    Sep 08 2016

    College campuses have become hostile territory for some comedians. A wrong-headed joke can provoke everything from walkouts to protests to death threats. But how should students push back against material they find offensive? Director Ted Balaker and comedian Karith Foster discuss their new film Can We Take a Joke? and the tricky line between free speech and needless offense. For the Spiel, Mike takes on the dueling accusations of pay-for-play. Rendering judgement on the...more

  • A GOP Apostate Explains Her Vote for Hillary

    Sep 06 2016

    Kori Schake, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, blanches at the idea of a Donald Trump presidency. But she still has reservations about Hillary Clinton. On The Gist, Schake says Clinton’s poor follow-through at the Department of State gives her something in common with the Bush administration. Schake is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and regular guest on Foreign Policy’s The Editor’s Roundtable podcast. She edited the recently published&nb...more

  • The Year Nirvana Lost Out to Bryan Adams

    Aug 26 2016

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Our guest Chris Molanphy says 1991 was a tale of multiple cities, as radio stations began to tailor their playlists to narrower audiences. The result? Little crossover among the Billboard pop, rock, and rap songs charts, and a very eclectic Hot 100 chart. Molanphy writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. For the Spiel, Mike cleans out the fridge before vacation.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...more

  • Do You Rely on GPS? Thank Chuck E. Cheese and William F. Buckley

    Aug 25 2016

    Most of us would be lost without GPS. So why do we think it’s hilarious when people drive into the ocean or walk to the Arctic Circle because phone maps told them to? In Pinpoint, author Greg Milner looks at our uneasy relationship with the technology and the ways GPS has reorganized our culture and our brains. On The Spiel, Mike looks at Donald Trump’s latest failed endeavor: public opinion polling.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...more

  • A Sympathetic Serial Imposter

    Aug 24 2016

    Director Joshua Marston has done his share of shape-shifting. He’s spent time as a teacher abroad. He’s learned Albanian and made some stories for NPR. And he’s directed critically acclaimed movies like Maria Full of Grace. His newest, Complete Unknown, stars Rachel Weisz as a serial imposter who gets stuck at a dinner party with someone from her past. On The Spiel, the Clinton Foundation pay-for-play mega-scoop that never was.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...more

  • There’s a Viking on the Delta

    Aug 24 2016

    Why so many music phenoms from Iceland? On The Gist, Kaleo frontman JJ Julius Son says he comes from a “fearless” people. About that: Kaleo recently recorded in a volcano. Their latest album is called A/B. Plus, Slate’s very own Mallory Ortberg, writer of the Dear Prudence column, tells us how to be an entertaining advice-giver. Ortberg is the author of Texts From Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations With Your Favorite Literary Characters. In the Spiel, Russ...more

  • The ’80s Really Were the Best

    Aug 22 2016

    What made the movies of the 1980s so special, especially as compared to movies being made now? On The Gist, the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman explains. She’s the author of Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them From Movies Anymore).For the Spiel, Mike revisits the items that have escaped his searching, skeptical gaze. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Want Equal Time

    Aug 19 2016

    On The Gist, the hosts of the podcast that has made the best use yet of the jazz drummer’s brush technique: Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. The show picks up where the comedians left off when they stopped working in the same TV writers room. Bell hosts CNN’s United Shades of America, and returning guest Kondabolu is on tour with a new comedy album, Mainstream American Comic. For the Spiel, grilling Jill Stein. Le...more

  • Why We’ve Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Aug 18 2016

    Are the nation’s most dangerous warheads secure if a rag-tag troika of peaceniks can break through the storage facility’s back door? On The Gist, Washington Post reporterDan Zak considers the good and not-so-good arguments for nuclear weapons. His book is Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age. For the Spiel, Jill Stein’s unforgivable comments on debt forgiveness.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Women’s Gymnastics Gets the Hard-Boiled Treatment

    Aug 17 2016

    On The Gist, Megan Abbott discusses her latest book, You Will Know Me, a psychological thriller set in the high-pressure world of elite women’s gymnastics.In the Spiel, a send-off for John McLaughlin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Brazil’s Redeemer Has Subpoena Power

    Aug 16 2016

    Things are bleak in Brazil. Prices are high, governments are broke, and gangs are tightening their control over the country’s slums. But on The Gist, Slate contributing editor Franklin Foer has hope for a national renewal. The reason? A prominent federal judge is dead set on rooting out political corruption, though it may rival soccer as the national pastime. For the Spiel, hands across the ages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Résumé Says “Loafer,” but the Loafers Scream “Executive”

    Aug 15 2016

    The Gist has been bedeviled by one question: Do the clothes really make the man? On today’s show, regular guest Maria Konnikova joins us to investigate the link between clothing and performance. Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.For the Spiel, Trump, truth, and fact-checking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass Followed the Fear Here

    Aug 12 2016

    On every great improv team there’s an undertow of angst. Who will get snatched up by a TV show? Who will toil in relative obscurity? Who will quit after the big break doesn’t come? On Ep. 560, comedian Mike Birbiglia and This American Life creator Ira Glass talk about their film Don’t Think Twice, an ode to improvisational comedy and recalibrating what it means to be a success. Find it in a theater near you. For the Spiel, our Lobstar of the Ante...more

  • Should You Have Your Silver Medal Bronzed?

    Aug 11 2016

    On The Gist, Republican “merchant of mud” Mike Murphy ponders Donald Trump’s effect on down-ballot GOP candidates. Murphy is known for putting the “!” in “Jeb!” as an adviser to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. His podcast is called Radio Free GOP.For the Spiel, Mike tries to get to the bottom of an Olympian canard about the happiness of bronze medalists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • John Dickerson Has a Follow-Up. He’s Willing to Ask It Seven Times.

    Aug 10 2016

    Are voters in 2016 better compared to an angry customer at a drive-thru window? Or are the two major parties on completely different planets, unable to agree on a shared reality? On The Gist, Slate columnist and Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson discusses elections past and present. He is the author of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories From Presidential Campaign History.For the Spiel, when it comes to Donald Trump’s Second Amendment comment, it’s har...more

  • Republicans Are Using Leeches to Cure Cancer

    Aug 09 2016

    On The Gist, Trump critic and longtime Republican consultant Stuart Stevens shares his bleak take on his party’s chances at winning the White House anytime soon. Stevens was a top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and is the author of The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear. The Spiel is taking a brief hiatus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Playing the Spanish Card

    Aug 08 2016

    On The Gist, who cares that Tim Kaine speaks Spanish? Nelson Flores says white liberals might be more excited about it than Latino voters are. Flores is an assistant professor in educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Plus, Foreign Policy’s Michela Wrong describes some of the more curious memorials popping up in Rwanda. Wrong recently published her first novel, Borderlines. For the Spiel, why the news should be fair, but not balanc...more

  • History’s First Benedict Arnold

    Aug 05 2016

    On The Gist, Brad Meltzer from Lost History explains why he thinks of himself as one part of a “literary peanut butter cup.” Meltzer teamed up with Tod Goldberg to write The House of Secrets, a spy novel that imagines the final moments between Benedict Arnold and George Washington. For the Spiel, the kiddie press corps takes over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • If It Feeds, It Leads

    Aug 04 2016

    On The Gist, Facebook has become one of the world’s biggest disseminators of journalism, but it doesn’t care about journalism. Is that a problem? Farhad Manjoo ticks off a few reasons to be wary. Manjoo writes the State of the Art technology column in the New York Times. His podcast is called the Jay & Farhad Show.For the Spiel, the RINOs among us.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Is Your Grill Killing You?

    Aug 03 2016

    On The Gist, should you swear off summer cookouts? Our regular guest Maria Konnikova joins us for a round of “Is That Bulls---?” Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.For the Spiel, the parade of worries ahead of the Olympic Games. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jessi Klein Says Women Are Dogs

    Aug 03 2016

    On The Gist, Jessi Klein explains her theory that women can be sorted into two categories: poodles and wolves. It’s an idea she explores in her new book, You’ll Grow Out of It. Klein is the head writer on the Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. For the Spiel, Trump is giving voice to an element we’ve known about—but he’s still losing.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Diary of a Soon-to-Be-Freed Detainee

    Aug 01 2016

    On The Gist, we bring you this never-before-aired interview with writer and human rights advocate Larry Siems, who edited the writings of Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Slahi for the 2015 book Guantánamo Diary. Slahi has been approved for release.For the Spiel, a quick game of “Have You Even Read the Constitution?” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Little-Known Story of Sabotage in the New York Harbor

    Jul 29 2016

    100 years ago, a man named Michael Kristoff strolled onto an island in the New York harbor armed with explosives cooked by German chemists. He was there to blow up a stockpile of munitions pledged to the Allied Powers. On The Gist, Chad Millman tells the story of the first major act of foreign terrorism on the United States. His 2006 book, The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice, has just been released in e-book form to coincide wi...more

  • AM Spiel: Hillary Takes the Mic

    Jul 29 2016

    Hillary Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention didn’t match those of the exceptional orators who preceded her, but she’ll have significant advantages in the presidential debates this fall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Celebrating the Nerd Mentality

    Jul 28 2016

    On The Gist, Mike confesses his nerdy fascinations to Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, hosts of WBEZ’s Nerdette podcast. Check back Friday for another a.m. Spiel, complete with a Quick and Dirty Dissection of the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • AM Spiel: No Room for Gloom

    Jul 28 2016

    A Quick & Dirty Dissection of Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention, where heavy hitters lined up to vaunt the nominee President Obama called “the woman in the arena.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Finally, a Pro-Kidnapping Film

    Jul 27 2016

    On The Gist, Mike realizes he’s not the liberal he thought he was, and the film Tallulah shows you what a sympathetic child-snatcher looks like. The movie’s writer and director, Sian Heder, (who also writes for Orange Is The New Black) and starring actress Tammy Blanchard stop by to discuss (fictional) women with abandonment issues.Check back for another a.m. Spiel offering a Quick and Dirty Dissection of Day 3 of the DNC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visi...more

  • AM Spiel: Hillary, Humanized

    Jul 27 2016

    On Day 1, the speakers galvanized. On Day 2, they humanized. A Quick & Dirty Dissection on the latest from the Democratic National Convention.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Optimum Optics

    Jul 26 2016

    On The Gist, should Sandra Bland’s mother be part of the DNC’s Day 2 lineup? Then, former political advance man Josh King shows us how to spot the subtle stage-managing of the nominating conventions. His book is Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide. Check back for an a.m. Spiel Quick & Dirty Dissection of the DNC, Day 2. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • AM Spiel: DNC Quick & Dirty Dissection, Day 1

    Jul 26 2016

    Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention brought dissension, a speech for the ages, and one good zinger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Pity the Peckish Politician

    Jul 25 2016

    On The Gist, the problem with corn dogs. Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast explains why Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t eat in public. In the Spiel, it’s the return of the Trump Anxiety Hotline. And check back for an a.m. Spiel about the Democratic National Convention’s first day.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • P.C. Policing the Border

    Jul 22 2016

    On The Gist, comedian Hari Kondabolu says he doesn’t mind updating his jokes to heed the sensitivities of his fans. His new stand-up comedy album is Mainstream American Comic. He hosts the Politically Re-Active podcast with comedian W. Kamau Bell.For your Spiel fix, check out the three a.m. Spiels on the Republican National Convention. More of that to come for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoice...more

  • AM Spiel: Points For Averting Disaster

    Jul 22 2016

    Donald Trump’s laundry-list speech on Day 4 of the Republican National Convention was full of falsehoods and gloom. Will it have any sway over voters who don’t already support the official GOP presidential candidate?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • “Your Dog Smells My Dog”

    Jul 21 2016

    On The Gist, regular guest Maria Konnikova returns to play “Is That Bulls--t?” The assertion: “Your dog is going crazy because he smells my dog on me.” Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of The Confidence Game.Wherefore art the Spiel? Check back Friday morning for an a.m. Spiel on Day 4 of the Republican National Convention.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • AM Spiel: Cruz Control

    Jul 21 2016

    Day 3 of the Republican National Convention brought a Ted Cruz crescendo, a little Cruz-splaining. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Cutting Class

    Jul 20 2016

    On The Gist, crackers, rednecks, hillbillies—Nancy Isenberg explains the persistence of these terms and why they can’t be called ethnic identities. Her book is called White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.Where’s the Spiel? Check back Thursday morning for another a.m. Spiel on the Republican National Convention.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • AM Spiel: RNC Rapid Response

    Jul 20 2016

    A special morning Spiel on Day 2 of the Republican National Convention.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • To Catch a Cartel

    Jul 20 2016

    On The Gist, how not to blow your cover while laundering money for drug cartels. Robert Mazur was an undercover government agent who got an inside look at the Medellín Cartel. Bryan Cranston plays him in the film The Infiltrator, based on Mazur’s book.For the Spiel, the disaster otherwise known as Day 1 of the Republican National Convention. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • O Captain Fantastic!

    Jul 19 2016

    On The Gist, actor and director Matt Ross (who plays Gavin in HBO’s Silicon Valley) talks about parenting and a man’s place in the world. Ross directed the film Captain Fantastic, a story about an extreme father who is compelled to bring his kids out of their cocoon-like home in the woods and into mainstream society. For the Spiel, what Ghostbusters can tell us about Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/a...more

  • And We Never Looked at Music the Same Way Again

    Jul 15 2016

    On The Gist, disco is out, MTV is in, and we’re getting buns of steel with Olivia Newton-John. We harken back to the Billboard hits of 1981 with our regular guest Chris Molanphy. He writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. For the Spiel, how does a Sharia test work?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Ungeheuerlich Mr. Johnson

    Jul 14 2016

    On The Gist, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx describes the challenges in fighting the AIDS/HIV epidemic. She oversees the nation’s plan for AIDS relief. For the Spiel, a brief meditation on renowned charmer Boris Johnson, now the United Kingdom’s top diplomat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Type A Anonymous

    Jul 13 2016

    On The Gist, we take a closer look at Type A. Is it real? How is it measured? Can it get you out of a ticket for aggressive driving? We get answers from Maria Konnikova, writer for the New Yorker and author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Rudy Giuliani’s lies matter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Art That Makes You Angry

    Jul 12 2016

    On The Gist, what political ad men might have picked up from Caravaggio. Adam Levine, associate director of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, explains the thinking behind the upcoming exhibition, “I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads.” For the Spiel, screwing around with Zika funding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Kamikaze Mission to Jupiter

    Jul 11 2016

    On The Gist, why it’s better to crash our spacecrafts than to litter the solar system with our earthly microbes. Summer Ash explains everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about the Juno space probe orbiting Jupiter. Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. For the Spiel, discord will always be with us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Life and Death of Aaron Swartz

    Jul 08 2016

    On The Gist, Slate correspondentJustin Peters on the life and death of free-culture crusader Aaron Swartz and the history of copyright in the United States. Peters wrote The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. In the Spiel, reflecting on recent shootings of black men by police and of police by a black man. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • It Was the Best of Timesheets, It Was the Worst of Timesheets

    Jul 07 2016

    On The Gist, a case for the modern office as a subject of high literature. J. Bradford Hipps discusses finding more than mockery in the anonymous office park where he set his novel, The Adventurist. For the Spiel, an economical five minutes on the five hours the FBI director spent testifying at a congressional hearing.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mister Postman, Lower Your Price Points for Me

    Jul 06 2016

    On The Gist, Devin Leonard returns with the last installment of our postcard series to discuss the evolving economics of the U.S. Postal Service. Leonard’s book is Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service. Plus, Bruce Shapiro ponders the best way to cover mass shootings if the goal is to limit future massacres. Shapiro is executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School. For the first-ever, mid...more

  • Reduce, Reuse, and Re-Evaluate

    Jul 06 2016

    On The Gist, are you really saving the planet with your recycling? New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova, takes on what may be our most controversial round of “Is That Bulls--t?” Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. On the Spiel, porn on the Juno spacecraft’s hard drive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Fantastic Negrito Returns

    Jul 01 2016

    On The Gist, Xavier Dphrepaulezz, aka the Fantastic Negrito, returns to reflect on his second career in music, Prince’s influence, and the gentrification of America’s greatest cities. His new album is The Last Days of Oakland. For the Spiel, it’s time for another Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wyatt Cenac Wants Kermit the Frog’s Job

    Jul 01 2016

    On The Gist, Wyatt Cenac explains the thinking behind his comedy showcase series Night Train With Wyatt Cenac,premiering on NBC’s comedy streaming service Seeso on Thursday. For the Spiel, Borisexit: the fanfare and drama of Boris Johnson’s thanks-but-no-thanks speech.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Poll Analysis From a Spiritual 60-Year-Old

    Jun 29 2016

    On The Gist, senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten explains FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 Election Forecast. For the Spiel, a forewarning about forearms: Are we ready for our Army men and women to roll up their sleeves? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Do the Dead-Cat Bounce

    Jun 28 2016

    On The Gist, author Sloane Crosley on writing characters who are smarter than you, literary witch hunts, and borrowing Spider-Man’s ethos when writing. Her novel, The Clasp, is now out in paperback. For the Spiel, will we remember the Brexit as an argument against direct democracy? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Brittle England

    Jun 27 2016

    On The Gist, Financial Times journalist Edward Luce returns to discuss the Brexit vote and its imminent consequences. Luce’s latest book is Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (though the American title is the more pointed Time to Start Thinking:America in the Age of Descent). For the Spiel, what’s the value of a cri de coeur?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Billboard Hits From 1964

    Jun 24 2016

    Seems as good a day as any to talk about the British Invasion. On The Gist, we listen back to the Billboard hits of 1964, the beginning of Beatlemania in the states. Regular guest Chris Molanphy explains how other groups rode the Beatles’ coattails to the top of the pop charts. Molanphy writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. Plus, Chad Millman’s big lesson after the betting markets got the Brexit vote wrong. Millman is the host of ESPN’s Behind the Be...more

  • The Character Actor’s Studio

    Jun 23 2016

    On The Gist, René Auberjonois shares his tips for defying typecasters and enjoying a varied acting career. He plays a minister in Blood Stripe, the psychological thriller about a female Marine adjusting to life after the military. In the Spiel, one unifying theory for all the day’s news. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • If You Build It, Alonzo and Alie Will Come

    Jun 22 2016

    Why don’t we all have jetpacks? Who’s the weirdest docent at your local natural history museum? On The Gist, comedian (and former airplane mechanic) Alonzo Bodden and science communicator Alie Ward explain. Their new show, How to Build … Everything, airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on the Science Channel.For the Spiel, trying to summon up some concern for the Donald Trump of North Korea.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Can Boris Fool Britannia?

    Jun 21 2016

    Would Donald Trump by any other name be Boris Johnson? On The Gist, Financial Timescolumnist Ed Luce, author of Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline, traces the parallels between Brexit supporters and Trump fans. For the Spiel, how gun laws are like insulin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Brexit Stage Right

    Jun 21 2016

    On The Gist, teetering on the brink of a Brexit, a scrutiny of Team Leave’s propaganda. And a futile attempt to find out if Big Freedia goes through with her wedding. The answer lies in Season 5 of her Fuse TV show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. For the Spiel, editing the transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 calls. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Charmed and Disgusted With Dave Hill

    Jun 17 2016

    On The Gist, performer, musician, and comedian Dave Hill reflects on his contribution to the Donald Trump empire: ringtones. His new book is Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. For the Spiel, all dogs go to heaven—copycats, however, take the “Stairway to Heaven.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • We Are Never Ever Joining Quail Forever

    Jun 16 2016

    On The Gist, Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins talks about being more than the guy from the band. His latest movie is The Last Heist. Jesse Armstrong explains satirical string-pulling in his book, Love, Sex, and Other Foreign Policy Goals. For the Spiel, lovers of quail, unite! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Against All Owls

    Jun 15 2016

    On The Gist, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova takes a gimlet eye to explanations for sleepy eyes: Are owls and larks bulls--t? Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump’s sanest line is crazier than Mitt Romney’s biggest gaffe.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • You’re Not the Real Trump

    Jun 14 2016

    On The Gist, impressionist John Di Domenico discusses embodying The Donald. Plus, another installment of our “postcard” series: Devin Leonard talks about the U.S. postal service and how early visionaries thought it might topple slavery. Leonard is the author of Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service.   For the Spiel, have you noticed something different at Mets games?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Shut Your Lie Hole

    Jun 13 2016

    On The Gist, former military interrogator Lena Sisco on deception detection. Her book is called You’re Lying: Secrets From an Expert Military Interrogator to Spot the Lies and Get to the Truth.For the Spiel, a few thoughts on the shooting in Orlando. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ali

    Jun 10 2016

    On The Gist, Dave Zirin calls in from Muhammad Ali’s funeral procession in Louisville. Zirin is sports editor at The Nation, host of the Edge of Sports podcast, and author of the Muhammad Ali Handbook. For the Spiel, questioning the assumptions in the Stanford rape case.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Hoping Tevye Gets a Cold

    Jun 09 2016

    On The Gist, actor Michael C. Bernardi is Mordcha the Innkeeper in Fiddler On The Roof, now on Broadway. His father, Herschel Bernardi, was the third man to play Tevye in the musical. For the Spiel, who will be remembered with as much veneration as Muhammad Ali? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Gangbanger Who Switched Sides

    Jun 08 2016

    On The Gist, former Corey Pegues wanted to stop being a drug runner in his Queens neighborhood. So he enlisted in the military and joined the top brass of the NYPD. His new book is Once a Cop: The Street, the Law, Two Worlds, One Man. For the Spiel, pretty much a direct appeal for angry emails from Bernie Sanders supporters.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • How the Post Office Cured “Going Postal”

    Jun 07 2016

    On The Gist, a postcard with Devin Leonard on the origins of the phrase “going postal.” Leonard’s new book is Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service. Plus, Stephen Teret on smart guns. For the Spiel, Hillary Clinton’s cinch of a clinched nomination. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Chuck Klosterman Is Wrong! (He Says.)

    Jun 07 2016

    On The Gist, Chuck Klosterman imagines how time erodes common ideas, like what counts as a great American novel and how we decide who’s smart. His new book is But What If We’re Wrong? For the Spiel, tyrants and their cats. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Tim Heidecker Is Tired of Being Meta

    Jun 03 2016

    On The Gist, comedian and musician Tim Heidecker. He attracted a cult following with Adult Swim television hits such as Decker and Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Some of the same deadpan observations can be heard in his music. Heidecker’s first solo album is In Glendale. For the Spiel, elections make us all relativists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Myth of Kitty Genovese’s Murder

    Jun 02 2016

    On The Gist, filmmaker James Solomon discusses his documentary The Witness, which reinvestigates the death of Kitty Genovese—whose reported murder became emblematic of New York City indifference. In the film, Kitty’s brother Bill goes on a quest to figure out what really happened and finds little truth in the earliest newspaper accounts. For the Spiel, Siri runs away with your radio.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Ghost Bluster

    Jun 01 2016

    On The Gist, 2015 MacArthur fellow Matthew Desmond talks about moving into a trailer park to document life in poverty and what he calls an eviction epidemic. Desmond is the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. For the Spiel, revisiting Ghostbusters—that is, revisiting the movie that’s revisiting Ghostbusters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Are Skim Drinkers Milking It?

    May 31 2016

    On The Gist, for our game “Is That Bulls—t?” we ask Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker if we’re any better off drinking skim milk. Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, do we really have to talk about the gorilla? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • You Can’t Handle the Spoof

    May 27 2016

    On The Gist, comedy writer Paul Scheer explains the thinking behind his new series, Filthy Preppy Teen$, available on Fullscreen. For the Spiel, the lobstar of the antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Suing the Saudis

    May 26 2016

    On The Gist, New Yorker writer James Surowiecki on breaking up the banks, and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses his bill to open up the Saudi Arabian government to lawsuits from victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For the Spiel, taking the romance out of bygone factory jobs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Trump Anxiety Hotline Reconvenes

    May 25 2016

    On The Gist, Moby talks about growing up poor in Connecticut and his family ties to Herman Melville. He has just published Porcelain: A Memoir. For the Spiel, we return to the Trump Anxiety Hotline. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Gov. John Hickenlooper Gets His Ass in Gear

    May 24 2016

    On The Gist, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper reflects on his state’s social experiment legalizing marijuana. He is the author of the book The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics. For the Spiel, a closer look at what policy experts think of Donald Trump’s plans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Kevin Spacey Is a Cat

    May 24 2016

    On The Gist, Ivan Oransky argues that when it comes to faulty claims, peer-review is a first defense, not an airtight one. He’s the vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today. For the Spiel, a breakdown of that movie cliché of the workaholic dad who reconnects with his kids. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • If the Dog Turns Left, Think Novel

    May 20 2016

    On The Gist, storyteller Matthew Dicks spills his secret for juggling six different jobs—purposeful showers, lots of oatmeal, and no mental idling. For the Spiel, Bernie Sanders supporters are sore losers, but who can blame them?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Whigs Were Right

    May 19 2016

    On The Gist, a refresher course on the Whig Party with the American History Guys: professors Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. They host the BackStory podcast. For the Spiel, tuning in to ISIS news without freaking out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When a Joke Almost Works Too Well

    May 19 2016

    On The Gist, comic Dan Soder of Showtime television drama Billions on finding his killer closing joke—and letting it go. His new hourlong standup special premieres May 21 on Comedy Central. For the Spiel, a new soundtrack for the primary election.  Today’s sponsor:Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to your door everything you need to create a home-cooked meal. Visit BlueApron.com/gist to get your first two meals free.Learn mo...more

  • Enlightened Titans of Industry

    May 17 2016

    On The Gist, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki on businesses taking up the vanguard of LGBTQ rights—and why it might be problematic for conservatives and liberals alike. For the Spiel, a theory: We live in overcontextualized times.   Today’s sponsor:Hiscox Small Business Insurance. Get customized insurance for your business right now. Go to Hiscox.com to learn more and to get a free quote. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...more

  • Saving Paul Ryan

    May 16 2016

    On The Gist, Tianna Gaines-Turner recounts her experience testifying before Congress on life for the working poor. She’s featured in the short film, A Hug From Paul Ryan, part of a new series from AMC Networks’ SundanceNow Doc Club. For the Spiel, the transformative power of personal experience when it comes to lawmakers’ views on LGBT rights and mental illness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Vote Jabba

    May 13 2016

    On The Gist, comedy writer and radio personality Andy Breckman tells Mike about the dog-eat-dog world of the game industry and shows us his latest card-game creation: Shit Happens. For the Spiel, a focus group with voters in a galaxy far, far away… why do they support Jabba the Hutt? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Did the Media Create Trump?

    May 12 2016

    Happy National Limerick Day! (We’re sorry.) On The Gist, NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to explain why he thinks the media failed the general public this year. He’s the author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. For the Spiel, will Donald Trump be able to get the GOP’s buy-in? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • I'll Know Porn Addiction When I See It

    May 11 2016

    Is watching too much porno addictive? And why don’t we say “porno” anymore? On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains what evidence we have about the validity of pornography addiction. She’s the author of The Confidence Game, and you can read her essay about pornography research in Aeon. For the Spiel, Mike reveals his unfair advantage when it comes to political things—remembering them.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...more

  • Neither Frightened Nor Rabbit

    May 10 2016

    On The Gist, an elephant news roundup. Then, Scott Hutchison from the indie rock band Frightened Rabbit joins us to discuss their new album Painting of a Panic Attack. The band is currently on tour, and you can visit their website for tour dates. For the Spiel, what is the likelihood of a Brexit? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • He’s Not Pivoting

    May 10 2016

    On The Gist, has conventional become synonymous with lame? Mike’s advice for Hillary Clinton. Then, Kembrew McLeod discusses the musical legacy of the Blondie album Parallel Lines, and offers connection between teen pop and punk in the 1970’s. He’s the author of Blondie's Parallel Lines (33 1/3). For the Spiel, we will not allow members of the media to get away with saying, “Donald Trump is executing a pivot.” Let’s begin the #contradictionnotpivotmovement. Learn more about your ad choices....more

  • A Rob Reiner-mentary if You Will

    May 06 2016

    On The Gist, director Rob Reiner join us to discuss his latest film Being Charlie, which indirectly tells the story of his son’s battle with drug addiction. It was written by Reiner’s son, Nick Reiner, with co-writer Matt Elisofon. For the Spiel, it’s time for another Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Trump as Napalm

    May 05 2016

    When it comes to Donald Trump, our guest says we need to set up FEMA tents to distribute all the blame that deserves to go around. On The Gist, Jonah Goldberg from the National Review joins us to discuss why many conservative pundits and thinkers have used Trumps popularity as an excuse for overlooking his issues. For the Spiel, renaming the lame duck period of the presidency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Welcome to the Abyss

    May 05 2016

    On The Gist, it’s May 4th so... may the fourth be with you. Yes, that’s a Star Wars pun to help introduce you to our guest legal scholar Cass Sunstein. He’s the author of The World According to Star Wars, now available for preorder. For the Spiel, the return of the Trump Anxiety Hotline.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Trumpeting Mike Tyson’s Endorsement

    May 04 2016

    On The Gist, on the wake of the sentencing of Sheldon Silver, we explore the connection between corrupt politicians and bodily corruption. Then, Mike interviews Robert Mrazek, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives who represented New York's 3rd congressional district for most of the 1980s. He wrote and co-directed the new film The Congressman. For the Spiel, the endorsement that certainly will not knock out Trump’s chances at the Republican nomination. Learn more about ...more

  • The End of Conventional Wisdom in Politics

    May 03 2016

    On The Gist, Chuck Todd has HAD IT with Ted Cruz. We’ll hear what that sounds like. Then, a look at some lasting lessons from the Bernie Sanders campaign with BuzzFeed’s White House correspondent Evan McMorris-Santoro. He’s the host of the new podcast No One Knows Anything. For the Spiel, the icky coziness of the White House Correspondents dinner.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Buzz Aldrin! He Walked on the Moon!

    Apr 29 2016

    They say no one ever remembers the second man who walked on the moon. That’s so not true! On The Gist, octogenarian Buzz Aldrin steps into our studios to discuss his unique life story and the future of international space travel. His new book is called No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon. For the Spiel, why the NFL and ESPN networks should stop tut-tutting Miami draft pick Laremy Tunsil.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Behind the Scenes at Wait Wait

    Apr 28 2016

    On The Gist, comedian and journalist Faith Salie shares her journey to becoming a recovering approval addict. Her new memoir is Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much. For the Spiel, what dirty politicians have in common with a woman on the beach wearing a loose bikini top.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The National Emergency We Call Donald Trump

    Apr 27 2016

    On The Gist, Jacob Weisberg helps present favorite moments from the first month of Slate’s Trumpcast. First, he talks to journalist Mark Leibovich about Donald Trump’s transition into a more tolerable candidate. Then, we ask clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis about narcissistic personality disorder and how he would treat Trump. To close out the episode, Hanna Rosin of Slate’s DoubleX Gabfest and NPR’s Invisibilia gives her mom a call to ask a simple question: Mom, why are you voting for Trump?L...more

  • The So-Called “So-Called Acela” Primary

    Apr 26 2016

    On The Gist, we discuss the connection between infrastructure and money with Justin Fox from Bloomberg View. Then, Noah Charney explains why the art of Hieronymus Bosch is so hauntingly freaky. He’s the author of The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers. For the Spiel, inside the so-called “so-called Acela primary.” There’s no Gist Wednesday, but we’ll be back with a normal show on Thursday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Bathroom President Ted Cruz

    Apr 25 2016

    On The Gist, we make a deal with Ted Cruz. Then, futurist Brian David Johnson joins us from the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. He’s currently on tour asking about the future of the American Dream. For the Spiel, is Bernie behind because poor people don’t vote?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Purpleness

    Apr 22 2016

    On The Gist, music writer Chris Molanphy guides us through the purple rain. We’ll remember Prince’s impact on the Billboard chats over the course of his career. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. He recently wrote about Prince for Slate: “How Prince Ruled the Charts in the ’80s—Even When His Name Wasn’t on the Songs.” For the Spiel, where should we draw the line when it comes to how we treat our prisoners?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Energy Crisis and the End of American Liberalism

    Apr 21 2016

    On The Gist, Josh King answers our question about President Obama’s visit with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He was our guest earlier this week, and he’s the author of Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide. Then, Meg Jacobs joins us to discuss the lasting political legacy of the ’70s gas crisis. She’s the author of Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s. For the Spiel, the pres...more

  • Did Bernie Pull Hillary to the Left?

    Apr 20 2016

    Is Bernie Sanders part of a long Democratic tradition of progressive insurgency? On The Gist, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explains the shifting politics of the Democratic party. Read his front-page story, “There Is No Bernie Sanders Movement.” For the Spiel, how to interpret your changing life expectancy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Get a Life ... Coach

    Apr 19 2016

    On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains why our growing motivational industry needs some oversight. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, the lasting impact of the 1994 crime bill on today’s candidates and voters.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Bill Clinton’s Advance Man Tells All

    Apr 18 2016

    On The Gist, Mike offers keen insight into Sheldon Silver. Then, which Republican presidential nominee is nailing visual optics? Josh King joins us to explain why the visuals and headlines are becoming increasingly important for political campaigns. He’s the author of Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide. For the Spiel, the Google Play app introduces Mike to ’90s agro anthems. Listen to find out what happened next.Learn more abou...more

  • Billboard Hits From 1986

    Apr 15 2016

    On The Gist, we travel back to the year our host and music writer Chris Molanphy were in their music-listening prime. We’ll count down the Billboard hits from 1986 that marked a significant pivot in music history. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. For the Spiel, favorite moments from Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn, New York.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Hurry Up and Fast

    Apr 14 2016

    On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains what researchers have found when they looked into the health benefits of fasting. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. If you enjoyed this interview, you should also check out our past segment with Maria about eating late. For the Spiel, honoring the breakfast cereal spokes-things tradition.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • An Interesting and Beautiful Day

    Apr 13 2016

    On The Gist, itching to visit the president of the Republic of Molossia? Or hear the dark histories of Patarei Prison in Tallinn, Estonia? David Plotz from Atlas Obscura offers advice for creating your own adventures on Saturday, April 16 for this weekend’s Obscura Day. For the Spiel, why we’re not impressed by the depth of your worldview, Mark Zuckerberg.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Pinocchio’s Got a Gun

    Apr 12 2016

    On The Gist, we use Yodely Guy to discuss the latest news from Goldman Sachs. Then, let’s dive deep into Wyoming delegate math with Aimee Van Cleave from the Wyoming Democratic Party. For the Spiel, does Hillary have too many Pinocchios but not enough truths?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • It’s Time We Talk About Wolverines

    Apr 11 2016

    On The Gist, we again compare the value of winning states vs. winning delegates in Democratic primaries. Which could be more valuable? Then learn the definition of an “S.O.B. flag” when we visit Vexillology Corner with our favorite vexillologist Ted Kaye. He’s the author of Good Flag, Bad Flag. For the Spiel, it’s time we talk about wolverines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Twisted F--king Sister

    Apr 08 2016

    “Hair too long,” “pants too tight,” “sounds like Kiss,” “Alice Cooper’s dead,” and other reasons Twister Sister spent a decade trying to get a record deal. On The Gist, John French Segall (you know him as Jay Jay French) and director Andrew Horn join us to tell the story behind a new Twisted Sister documentary. You can read Jay’s Inc. magazine column here. For the Spiel, it’s time for another Lobstar of the Antentwig.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • If I Were Hillary

    Apr 07 2016

    On The Gist, a case for playing politics in Myanmar. Then, a clever strategy for preventing a full Zika virus epidemic—genetically modified mosquitos. We’ll speak with Nina Fedoroff about her recent op-ed in the New York Times. For the Spiel, Mike imagines what life would look like if he were held to the same standards as Hillary Clinton.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Burning Down Bernie’s Momentum

    Apr 06 2016

    On The Gist, arts reporter Mary Lane shares insights from the exhibit “Art From the Holocaust” at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. She wrote “ ‘Art From the Holocaust’: The Beauty and Brutality in Forbidden Works” for the New York Times. For the Spiel, why Wisconsin’s primary results tell us so little about who the Democrats want as a nominee.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • You’re Getting Very Sleepy

    Apr 05 2016

    On The Gist, a top Armenian comic joins us to discuss if Azubaijan is even a country. Then, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker about the health benefits of hypnosis for a game we call “Is That Bulls--t?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It ... Every Time. For the Spiel, can we talk about chalk at EmoryUniversity?  Today’s sponsors: Squarespace.com. Get a free trial and 10 percent off your first purchase when you visit ...more

  • Jon Ronson, Imam of Shame

    Apr 04 2016

    On The Gist, we explore an abuse of power taking place on social media. Journalist Jon Ronson shares whyhe was compelled to tell the stories behind the public shaming of Jonah Lehrer and Justine Sacco. He’s the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, now out in paperback. For the Spiel, meet Wisconsin’s Jimmy Boy.   Today’s sponsor: Squarespace.com. Get a free trial and 10 percent off your first purchase when you visit Squarespace.com...more

  • The Hamilton Rule

    Apr 01 2016

    On The Gist, actress Erinn Hayes joins us to share her experiences performing as Dr. Lola Spratt on Childrens Hospital from Adult Swim. The show will be ending this year after seven seasons. For the Spiel, Zoe Chacefrom This American Life takes over. She’s been speaking with Republican stalwarts about how Alexander Hamiltoninspired them to vote for … Hillary?  Today’s sponsors: Slack, bring all of your communication at work in...more

  • Abolitionist Heroes Lost to History

    Mar 31 2016

    On The Gist, Manisha Sinha joins us to discuss the long roots of the abolitionist movement in American history.She’s the author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. For the Spiel, there’s no backsies or whoopsies for presidents. Today’s sponsor: Betterment, the largest automated investing service—managing billions of dollars for people just like you. Get up to six months of investing free when you go to Betterment.com/gist.  Join&nb...more

  • Are The Winter Blues BS?

    Mar 30 2016

    On The Gist, Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker to explain the link between seasonal affective disorder and winter blues. Is it a real condition, or an overly convenient acronym? For the Spiel, why arguing aboutinstant replays is a beloved American pastime. Today’s sponsors: Monster. Find employees who work as hard as you at Monster.com/hiring. Monster. Find Better.  Betterment, the largest automated investing service—mana...more

  • The Huge Lingering Why

    Mar 29 2016

    On The Gist, we ask Los Angeles Times reporter Joel Rubin what the San Bernardino investigators are hoping to learn from the decrypted iPhone. For the Spiel, hijacker hijinks! Today’s sponsors: Slack. Slack brings all of your communication at work into one place. Create a new team right now at Slack.com/gist and you’ll get 100 dollars in credit for when you decide to upgrade to a paid plan.  Texture, the mobile ...more

  • 40 Years for Genocide

    Mar 28 2016

    On The Gist, the Guardian’s Julian Borger joins us to discuss the International Criminal Court trial of one of the Bosnian War’s main malefactors, Radovan Karadzic. Julian is the author of The Butcher's Trail: How the Search for Balkan War Criminals Became the World's Most Successful Manhunt. For the Spiel, Democracy is a pretty good system, except for all the dummies. Today’s sponsors: Squarespace.com. Get a free trial and 10 percent off yo...more

  • The Height of Clinton-Era Pop Music

    Mar 25 2016

    On The Gist, we travel backto the year 14-year-olds shouted their favorite hits from Times Square toCarson Daly. Music writer Chris Molanphy shares Billboardhits from 1999 that shaped the future of today’s pop charts. Chris writes Slate’s Why Is That Song No. 1 column. Mike will be back with a traditional Spiel onMonday.  Listen back to the 1999 hitsmentioned in today’s show in this Spotify playlist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...more

  • Crazy Funny with Sara Benincasa, Chris Gethard, and Gary Gulman

    Mar 24 2016

    On The Gist, a classic episode from August 2014. When Amy Solomon was growing up in Chicago, she was obsessed with Gilda Radner. She wanted to be a comedian but worried she didn’t have enough problems to talk about. For her Princeton senior thesis, Solomon explored the link between confessional comedy and mental health. In this special segment, Mike also speaks with comedians Sara Benincasa, Chris Gethard, and Gary Gulman about where they find balance. &nb...more

  • 1,145 Police Killings

    Mar 22 2016

    On The Gist, Guardian US editor Lee Glendinning joins us to share findings from their award-winning data initiative the Counted. For the Spiel, Mike offers a textural analysis of the president’s visit to Cuba. Today’s sponsors: Goldman Sachs. Information about developments currently shaping markets, industries, and the global economy, on the firm’s podcast, Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, available on iTunes. Betterment, ...more

  • When Words Change World Events

    Mar 21 2016

    On The Gist, Mike predicts what Donald Trump will say at Aipac. Then, the latest bear news headlinesreviewed with our regular expert Rae Wynn-Grant from the American Museum of Natural History. For the Spiel, three recent world events where language matters. Today’s sponsors: Amazon. Detective Harry Bosch is back on the new season of Amazon’s original series Bosch, based on the best-selling novels by Michael Connelly. Stream the new season now on Amazon Prime Video.&...more

  • The Secret Genius of the T-Shirt Cannon

    Mar 18 2016

    On The Gist, L. Jon Wertheim from Sports Illustrated explains the effects of sports on the brain. With Sam Sommers, he’s the author of This Is Your Brain on Sports. For the Spiel, Mike addresses his white male brethren. Today’s sponsors: Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world’s most popular magazines using your phone or tablet. Dive deeper into Vogue, People, Esquire, Time—with in...more

  • A Triumph of Small Talk

    Mar 17 2016

    On The Gist, Slate’s Ruth Graham demonstrates her total mastery of small talk from her piece, “In Defense of Small Talk.” For the Spiel, are GMO labels informative ormisleading?  Today’s sponsors: Monster. Find employees who work as hard as you at Monster.com/hiring. Monster. Find Better.  Harry’s, the shaving company that offers German-engineered blades, well-designed handles, and shipping right to your door. Visit Harrys.com for $5 off your first pu...more

  • Are The Dangers of GMOs BS?

    Mar 16 2016

    On The Gist, we ask Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie if Donald Trump is a viable candidate in a general election. Then, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker ends the debate over the dangers of GMOs. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, do the rules apply to Donald Trump? Today’s sponsor: Monster. Find employees who work as hard as you at Monster.com/hiring. Monster. Find Better...more

  • All Things Horse Race

    Mar 15 2016

    On The Gist, Mike answers the question, “Why all the horse race?” by offering a close look at the issue of magic from House Resolution 642. Then, Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight uses his polling expertise to explain what today’s many caucus results will means for little Marco Rubio. For the Spiel, even more advice for interpreting Super Tuesday 2 results. Today’s sponsor:Roku and HBO Now. Roku players offer the biggest selection of streaming channels, like HBO Now. Lear...more

  • The Duke Lacrosse Case, 10 Years Later

    Mar 14 2016

    Last night ESPN’s 30 for 30 series aired the documentary about the Duke Lacrosse case called Fantastic Lies. Back when the Gist was being piloted in April 2014, we spoke with author William D. Cohan about the case following his book The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities. For the first time ever, we’ll air that interview on The Gist. For the Spiel, why all right-thinking Americans should want ...more

  • The Year of Travolta

    Mar 11 2016

    On The Gist, our regular guest Chris Molanphy tells us how disco music swallowed up rock in 1978. We’ll discuss Billboard chart hits from 1978, and just about all of them have a disco beat. He writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. For the Spiel, a belated Lobstar of the Antentwig. Do check out this Spotify playlist to hear the songs mentioned in today’s show one more time. It’s got groove, it’s got meaning...more

  • Ctrl-Alt-DESTROY

    Mar 10 2016

    On The Gist,Slate’sFred Kaplan shares the history and stories behind our ongoing cyberwar.He’s the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War. For the Spiel, a collection of newsfrom the states. Today’s sponsor:  Harry’s, the shaving company that offers German-engineered blades,well-designed handles, and shipping right to your door. Visit Harrys.com for $5 off your first purchase withthe promo code GIST.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus s...more

  • The Things That Dreams Are Made Of

    Mar 09 2016

    On The Gist, the only conversation about dreams that promises not to bore you to death. Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker joins us for a game we call “Is That Bulls---?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, the Clinton campaign bravely pushes forward.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...more

  • What Detroit Gave America

    Mar 08 2016

    On The Gist, a new SAT is here, and the Today show has already failed the test. Author David Maraniss tells the story of aninflection point for Detroit from his book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story. For the Spiel, no one is being offered 55 million dollars to be spied on naked. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...more

  • Is Torture Ever Worthwhile?

    Mar 07 2016

    On The Gist, can we use game theory to make the case for or against the use of torture during an investigation? We explore various models compiled in Does Torture Work? with our guest John Schiemann from Fairleigh Dickinson University. For the Spiel, how the New York Times explains humor. Today’s sponsors: Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses for a fraction of the price. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting casper.com/gist and using the promo code GIST. Squarespace.com....more

  • Adam Davidson Makes Negative Interest Rates Positively Interesting

    Mar 05 2016

    On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains the latest experimental development of a desperate economy—negative interest rates. Davidson is columnist for the New York Times Magazine and host of a new podcast with Adam McKay called Surprisingly Awesome. For the Spiel, oh yeah, more Trump. Today’s sponsors: Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world’s most popular magazines using your phone or tablet. Dive deeper into Vogue, People, Esquire, Time—with interactive content for a riche...more

  • Would I Be Happier in an Arranged Marriage?

    Mar 03 2016

    On The Gist, the story behind the so-called Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times.” Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker tells us about international efforts to find the recipe for a happy, lasting marriage. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, is a Donald Trump nomination inevitable or likely? Today’s sponsor:  Roku and HBO NOW. Roku players offer the biggest selection of streaming channels, like HBO NOW. Learn more and try HBO NOW free for one month by going to roku....more

  • Trump’s Tiny Little Lead

    Mar 03 2016

    On The Gist, Josh Putnam from Frontloading HQ explains what last night’s Super Tuesday results mean when you do the delegate math. He’s a lecturer at the University of Georgia, where he specializes in campaigns and elections. For the Spiel, common abortion arguments that aren’t good arguments. Today’s sponsor: Roku and HBO NOW. Roku players offer the biggest selection of streaming channels, like HBO NOW. Learn more and try HBO NOW free for one month by going to roku.com/thegist. Join Slate Plus!...more

  • This Podcast Is for Losers

    Mar 01 2016

    On The Gist, do we have more to learn from losers than winners? Huffington Post senior politics editor Sam Stein joins us to share the stories behind his podcast Candidate Confessional. For the Spiel, Mike reveals his workout secrets. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Bernie Down the House

    Feb 29 2016

    On The Gist, writer Matt Bruenig makes the case for electing Bernie Sanders and explains why the candidate’s top economic advisors say his policies could bring 5.3 percent gross national product growth. For the Spiel, a post-Oscars joke recap. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Chappelle's Show Co-Creator Neal Brennan

    Feb 26 2016

    On The Gist, we speak with the brilliant comic mind Neal Brennan about his new one-man comedy show 3 Mics. It’s showing at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in New York City through mid-March. For the Spiel, a crazy 24 hours in presidential politics. What a country! Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What’s Next for #OscarsSoWhite?

    Feb 25 2016

    On The Gist, why the Oscars matter to the future of Hollywood. We discuss the ideas behind #OscarsSoWhite with Slate’s Aisha Harris and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Aisha recently wrote “Why Creed’s Best Picture Snub Matters” and Eric Deggans is the author of Race-Baiter. For the Spiel, scary Trump supporters. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...more

  • Whale News!

    Feb 24 2016

    On The Gist, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker explains Sigmund Freud’s lasting contributions to psychiatry and castration anxiety everywhere. She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, we dive into whale news from around the globe.  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Yuge Tariffs

    Feb 23 2016

    On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains why he’s rarely enthusiastic about any politicians. How does he feel about experimentations with the American economy proposed by Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders? He’s a columnist for the New York Times Magazine and co-host of the podcast Surprisingly Awesome. For the Spiel, Oscars so blah. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.Learn more about your ad choices....more

  • Is Bernie’s Agenda More Than Imaginary?

    Feb 22 2016

    On The Gist, an important update on the Brexit. Then, William Galston joins us to discuss the practical considerations for executing a Bernie Sanders agenda. Can it be done from the executive branch alone? Galston is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, and a regular columnist for the Wall Street Journal. For the Spiel, why does Morning Joe hate Marco Rubio? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at sla...more

  • Hillary’s Chances in Nevada

    Feb 19 2016

    On The Gist, Slate’s Will Oremus joins us for a round of “One Question, One Question Only” about Apple’s battle with the U.S. government. Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight uses his polling expertise to explain what’s ahead for caucus results this weekend and the overall value of political momentum. For the Spiel, let’s thank our outsider candidates for rewriting the playbook. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at s...more

  • We Knew You’d Listen

    Feb 18 2016

    On The Gist, we knew you were going to listen to this episode about ESP. Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker joins us for a game we call, “Is That Bulls---?” She’s the author of The Confidence Game. For the Spiel, Donald Trump for pope! Today’s sponsors: Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world’s most popular magazines using your phone or tablet. Dive deeper into Vogue, People, Esquire, Time—with interactive content for a richer reading experience. Try Texture for free at ...more

  • Are You a Super-Encounterer?

    Feb 17 2016

    On The Gist, Pagan Kennedy explains how writing the New York Times Magazine column “Who Made That?” led her to discover interesting similarities among many inventors. She’s the author of Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World. For the Spiel, we take you to the Westminster dog show. Today’s sponsors: Harry’s, the shaving company that offers German-engineered blades, well-designed handles, and shipping right to your door. Visit Harrys.com for $5 off your first purchase with the ...more

  • Glory Be to Kanye

    Feb 17 2016

    On The Gist, a special guest host with some words of wisdom for job applicants. Slate’s Forrest Wickman explains the complexity of Kanye West as an artist and helps dissect the track “Ultralight Beam” from his new album The Life of Pablo. For the Spiel, please bear with podcasters everywhere. The Gist is hiring a producer: Slate’s consummate daily news and opinion podcast is looking for an experienced and creative producer to join our team. Apply here. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments...more