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Catch Me Up 2 Speed

News & Politics Podcasts

A podcast by two former journalists that fills in the gaps between daily news and historical trends. (Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash)


United States


A podcast by two former journalists that fills in the gaps between daily news and historical trends. (Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash)



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Episode #19: Affirmative Action & SCOTUS refresh

The Podcast returns with a look back at the two highly consequential decisions from the Supreme Court's last term: Affirmative Action and the 303 Creative case. Ed Blum speaks to Houstion Chinese Alliance, 2015 Affirmative Action, Mismatch, and Economic Mobility After California’s Proposition 209 (UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy) Conservative activist behind US affirmative action cases sues venture capital fund (Reuters) 303 Creative LLC vs. Elenis (League of Women Voters) Michigan hair salon Studio 8 turns away trans clients, limiting service for LGBTQ patrons (USA Today)


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Episode 18- the Courts & Constitution, Part II

We're back with the second installment of our Courts & Constitution episodes! In Part II we continue the discussion about SCOTUS' role in interpreting the Constitution, and the potential of the highly important Moore vs. Harper case to set more uncharted precedent. We also examine the movement by well-funded groups to rewrite the Constitution, which could concentrate power even more in the hands of the few. Moore v. Harper - Elections Clause, US Constitution SCOTUS' biggest case this term threatens American Democracy - Washington Post ​​Republicans' next big play - re-writing the Constitution (Business Insider) 13th - ALEC & Stand your Ground laws (YouTube) The right is seeking to re-write the Constitution - Center for Media & Democracy Who is Barre Seid? (The Hill) Patagonia founder donates company to fight climate change - State of money in politics - Rebecca Solnit: Hope is an embrace of the unknown - The Guardian


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Episode #17: The Courts & The Constitution, Part I

The first of a two-part series on the Federal Courts & the Constitution, Part I focuses on the history & ideologies driving SCOTUS decisions today. - basic info on the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Charlie Rose Show: Philosophy of an Originalist Elie Mystal: Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution SCOTUS ‘should reconsider’ contraception, same-sex marriage rulings (POLITICO) Justice Sotomayor on 60 Minutes, 2013 (excerpt) A second Constitutional Convention? Some Republicans want to force one (NY Times)


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Episode #16: Reset, Refresh, Review

We are back with Season #2 of Catch Me Up To Speed! Our second season begins with a review of our 5 news tips in action. We showcase the coverage of California primary election results as an example of how these tips can work in concert to provide a fuller view of current news events. NY Times: Progressive Backlash in CA Fuels Dem Debate on crime (June 8, 2022) Newsweek: Progressives face urban revolt (June 8, 2022) Mission Local: on the SF Recall (Prop H) Alec Karakatsanis Substack: How to Spin an Election (June 9, 2022) NY Magazine: CA 'Law & Order' narrative didn't survive late returns LA Times: CA primary lesson for pundits:Don’t speak too soon in the age of mail-in voting (June 22nd) Philadelphia Inquirer: PA House to investigate DA Krassner Philadelphia Inquirer: Committee to Investigate DA Krassner's office selected (July 13th, 2022)


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Episode #15: Exceptional women of Black History Month w/Kortnei Morris

Our first podcast of 2022 features special guest Kortnei Morris, who gets us up to speed on 4 exceptional black women as a fitting send-off to Black History Month: Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Pauli Murray, and Susie Revels Cayton. Bio of Ida B. Wells-Barnett Fannie Lou Hamer Susie Revels Cayton


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Episode #14: The Forgotten foreign policies of FDR & JFK

We're back with Episode #14, where we take a look at how our foreign policy is shaped in politics & media, the array of think tanks that do the shaping, and two popular past foreign policy visions that are all but forgotten: FDR's 'Good Neighbor' policy and JFK's 'Alliance for Progress.' JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass (Showtime) Global Go-To Think Tank index report (2020) Anti-colonial policies of FDR (JStor, Political Science Quarterly) JFK & Hammarskjold vs. the Power Elite (James Dieugenio) HR McMaster on Afghanistan (PBS News Hour, August 16, 2021) Kennedy, Johnson & the nonaligned World (Robert Rakove) Battling Wall Street (Donald Gibson)


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Episode #13: From Jim Crow to abortion: the courts & our rights

Some call the Texas Heartbeat Act a novel way to ban abortions. But this style of law, enforced by bounty hunters instead of state governments, isn’t new: It’s a return to laws during slavery and Jim Crow. In this episode, we’ll look at how the courts permitted these laws in the past -- and how they paved the way for Texas’ current abortion law. Supreme Court declines hearing on Texas 'Heartbeat' Act (NY Times) Is there a 'Fetal Heartbeat' at 6 weeks? (LiveScience) Heather Cox Richardson: Texas law aims at Civil Rights as well as abortion Justice Sotomayor's dissent (The Nation) Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 Origins of the Religious Right (POLITICO) The 'Fifth Circuit Four' US Justice Dept. sues Texas over abortion law (NY Times)


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Episode 12 - The News They DON'T tell you, Part II

We're back with the second podcast on our fifth news tip - seek out the news they DON'T tell you. In this episode we focus on three international news events that received differing, yet often incomplete, news coverage for the past month: the protests & political upheaval in Haiti, the protests (and reaction to them) in Cuba, and the ongoing attempts to prosecute Julian Assange. NY Times op-ed on Haiti history: 'We owe Haiti a debt' Major Gen. Smedley Butler (excerpt from Untold History of the U.S.) Leaders of the 1991 coup of Aristide - NY Times Washington Post Op-ed, July 2021: US must intervene in Haiti Wikileaks release: State Dept. intervention in Haiti labor dispute (The Nation) Democracy Now, June 28th 2021 - Assange extradition case update Daniel Ellsburg's motivation to leak docs in 2021 (The Intercept) op-ed on Haiti's democracy in wake of assassination of Pres. Moise ( Miami Herald op-ed on Haiti after assassination Roland Martin Unfiltered - interview w/Haiti ambassador to U.S., July 2021 Frank Suarez calls for intervention in Cuba Sen. Robert Menendez - 'challenge the regime' in Cuba


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Episdode #11 -The news they DON'T tell you

We're back with the first of a two-part series on our 5th news tip - look out for the news they don't tell you. Our focus in this episode is on foreign policy, starting with Venezuela...and showing how growing your list of news sources can give a better view of what is going on. OAS calls for new elections in Honduras - NBC News/Assoc. Press, Dec. 2017 Why people are fleeing Honduras - NPR Ryan Grim on U.S. History - 'Rising', The Hill, June 10 2021 Understanding Venezuela's economic collapse - Venezuela Blog, 2018 Venezuela's jailed, exiled or barred opposition politicians - Reuters, 2018 2018 Venezuelan election results - NPR, May 2018 Juan Guaido's quick ascent to self-declared Venezuelan president - NY Times, Jan. 2019 John Bolton on regime change in Venezuela - The Grayzone/Fox Business News, Jan. 2019 Elliott Abrams' controversial history in Latin America -, Jan. 2019 Elliott Abrams State Dept. briefing, Feb. 7th 2019 U.S backed aid massed on Venezuela border - NPR, Feb. 16th 2019 Feb. 24th 2019 Venezuelan Aid incident on Tienditas Bridge - Feb. 24th Venezuelan Aid incident - NY Times' video review of Venezuelan aid incident - March 10, 2019, NY Times USAID Inspector General report on 2019 Venezuelan aid incident - April 2021, Associated Press


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Episode 10 - Filibuster 101

We're back with our 10th episode, and this one is quite timely - we're giving a primer on the Senate filibuster. This episode, 'Filibuster 101', gives an overview what the filibuster is, where it came from, how it works, and how it is holding up legislation in the Senate. That, plus our look at the news - and a preview of Episode #11! US Senate's definition and history of the filibuster How the filibuster has stood in the path of the rights of African Americans - Wash. Post 2020 Election results analysis - Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder Useful Idiots podcast feat. Krystal Ball & Sagaar Enjeti WaPo Op-Ed on Bolivian democracy


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Episode #9 - Asian American history

We're back for the final episode in our three-part series on Asians in America with a look back at Asian American history, which is deeper and more profound in the writing of the American story than it's given credit for. We also conclude the episode - our first during AAPI Heritage Month - with some thoughts on how to move forward in solidarity with the planned infrastructure bill, and how it may help all undeserved communities in America. Key Facts about Asian Americans (Pew Research Institiute) PBS' 5-part series, 'Asian Americans' A Different Asian American Timeline (ChangeLab) Stephen Miller emails to Breitbart News (SPLC) Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Mae Ngai Delano Manongs; Forgotten Heroes of the UFW - Marisa Aroy Retrospective on Gov. Hogan's stoppage of Red Line (Baltimore Sun) The Asian American Foundation The Real Reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans (Wash. Post, 2016)


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Episode #8 - Asian American issues in the media

We're back with Episode #8 - the second of our three part series on Asians in America. In this episode, we will look at how the media covers violence against Asians, and also give some media training so you can help write draft of your own history. Capt. Jay Baker comments (WXIA Atlanta) March 17th CNN Article: “Fetishized, sexualized and marginalized, Asian women are uniquely vulnerable to violence.” March 18th NY Times: “How Racism and Sexism Intertwine to Torment Asian-American Women.” March 19 Vox: “The history of fetishizing Asian women” Feb. 2021 ABC Nightline story Fox News segment w/ Ying Ma (via Twitter) NY Times - Swelling Asian American violence...Who is being attacked where? AAJA Studio


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Episode #7 - Thu Quach, PIVOT & One Nation

Episode #7 begins our focus on the Asian-American diaspora with our very first podcast interview! Thu Quach of Asian Health Services & co-founder of the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT). Thu's amazing journey has inspired many - from advocating for immigrants during the Trump Administration, to caring for the community during the COVID pandemic. Her work continues with AHS, PIVOT, and One Nation AAPI - and she's just getting started! We will have a second podcast within a week's time to discuss the tragic events of March 16th, and the coverage of the rising violence against Asian-Americans in the media.


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Episode #6: What is 'Radical', anyway?

We’re happy to be back with Episode #6, where we want to ask a big question: What is ‘radical’, anyway? We want to Catch you Up To Speed on other eras in American History that were seen as ‘radical’, but in retrospect seem necessary, even essential. We’re also moving into re-working our format, and will bring regular examples of our ‘4 Tips for following the News’, while setting the stage for even more new themes and features for future episodes. Links: Click here for some background on previous Democratic party platforms, and why the 2020 platform isn't necessarily 'radical' based on history. In the early 1970's, Richard Nixon did talk about universal health care...before taking on Edgar Kaiser et al. suggestions for the HMO system. And here are the two op-eds from former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers: Washington Post Op-Ed, February 4th Op-Ed, February 5th


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Episode #5: Legacy of the Capitol Riot & What's next?

A Capitol Riot, a failed insurrection, a second impeachment, and a new President. Welcome to January, 2021. We return to catch you up on why the events of January 6th will effect us all far beyond the Trump presidency. Are we at the start of a 'Third Reconstruction', and were the events of January 6th a preview of a new 'Redeemer' movement? Is the recent push for domestic terror laws reminiscent of the push for the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11? We will talk about all of that while charting a new course forward for the podcast. Links: Black Capitol Police talk about the Jan. 6th Capitol Riot Rep. Tlaib opposes new domestic terror laws A history of the 2001 Patriot Act Obama criticized for drone strikes Trump admin. drone strike numbers exceed Obama admin.


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Episode #4 - It HAS Happened here...

2021 is upon us, and we return to talk about political coups in America. With the Trump Administration seeking ways to retain their power as Inauguration Day approaches, we catch you up on coups - both attempted and successful - that are already part of our history. Catch up more with information from these links: The Battle of LIberty Place, New Orleans, 1874 Plots against the President (Sally Denton) The Wilmington, NC Massacre of 1898


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Episode #3 election wrap-up

We're back with some thoughts about the 2020 election, political trends to watch for in 2021, and some history on the Senate in advance of Georgia's dual elections in January. Show Links: Click here for Vox's article on President Trump's next post-election moves. Here is the profile piece on Chuck Rocha Here is the link for the Reuters Institute Digital News Report You can find Tom Bonier's assessment of the AAPI vote here. And here is more information on Stop AAPI Hate 2020.


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Episode #2:The Black Vote in America

This presidential election season has produced a battle for black voters unlike any in recent election history. Black voters have been reliably democratic for several generations, but the history of the black vote shows that this voting group has shifted before - and may be charting a new path yet again. Podcaster's Note: There are a LOT of sources for this episode, here are some of the key ones: Black Reconstruction in America, W.E.B. DuBois The Second Founding, Eric Foner Kennedy and King, Steven Livingston Please email us at if you'd like to see more!


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Episode #1: The Intro & 4 tips to Navigate the News

Welcome to the inaugural episode of our new podcast! Our first episode focuses on four tips for consuming media: 1) Don’t look for absolute truth in the news, for it’s just the first draft of history. 2) Consider all sources critically -- including the top newspapers. 3) Follow the money, and you’ll see who pays to influence media narratives. 4) Let go of binary thinking. Liberal v. conservative is a 20th-century construct, and will increasingly become obsolete. We give you a lot of examples in this episode! Here’s further reading for them: Gulf of Tonkin Incident: NY Times’ Apology for Iraq War Coverage: Extreme Consolidation of Media Ownership: On Paying for Media Access and Influence