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Journalist Allen McDuffee hosts a weekly discussion on power, politics and ideas.

Journalist Allen McDuffee hosts a weekly discussion on power, politics and ideas.
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Journalist Allen McDuffee hosts a weekly discussion on power, politics and ideas.




Working Robots

Technology giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon are often praised for the jobs they create and high salaries they offer. But that praise may be misplaced because my guests this week say the tech sector is also responsible for many Americans losing their jobs. On this episode, I talk with Ariana Tobin of ProPublica about the investigation she and colleague Peter Gosselin published looking into IBM’s age discrimination against thousands of employees. And in the book chat, I speak with...


The Faces of New Power

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, O’Brien, a leader in the Inner Party concludes that “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” In the 20th century, that may have been true. But in the 21st century, we’re seeing new power rules take shape before our very eyes. On this episode, I talk with Mark Joseph Stern of Slate about the March For Our Lives...


Governor Pessimism

In less than a year, California politician Jerry Brown will close out his political career. But Brown isn’t a member of the Republican Trump retirement club. He’s the Democratic governor of California who will bump up against his term limits after entering California politics more than 40 years ago. With a 28-year gap between the first time he served as the state executive and now, Brown is simultaneously one of youngest governors and currently the oldest. On this governmentality short, I...



During the 2016 election cycle, the ultra conservative white nationalist movement peddling anti-semitism and other forms of bigotry known as the alt-right emerged as a growing group with influence in the Trump camp. And once Steve Bannon became President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, the alt-right had a direct line to the Oval Office. But with the ouster of Bannon in August and some financial and organizational setbacks, does the alt-right have the same power they had just one year...


Polarizing Tribalism

Political polarization has only been increasing over the last decade. From fights on Capitol Hill to discourse on social media, our union is divided and it goes beyond our two party system. On this episode, S. Mo Jang of the University of South Carolina discusses his new study on the relationship between mass shootings and political polarization, as well as the media's impact on that dynamic. And in the book chat, Amy Chua, Yale Law professor, discusses her new book: Political Tribes:...


The Fight For Corporate Civil Rights

Concerns about corporate civil rights and power over individual citizens isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. With the Supreme Court decisions on Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, Americans are increasingly aware of the special citizenship corporations possess. And that’s something that key members of the Trump administration are seeking to strengthen through deregulation and policy implementation. On this episode, Michael Grunwald of Politico Magazine talks about his reporting on Mick...



Since President Donald Trump stepped foot in the Oval Office a little more than a year ago, it seems a week can’t go by without scandal-soaked headlines. From Russian ties to Trump World to White House personnel catastrophes to financial conflicts of interest, this administration has no shortage of White House scandals. On this episode, I talk with David Graham, staff writer for The Atlantic, about the scandals that are plaguing the White House. And in the book chat, Joseph Rodota and I...


Powerful Networks

Facebook news feed changes are coming after the Silicon Valley giant has increasingly come under fire for having a negative impact on politics and for making the proliferation of fake (and divisive) news that much easier. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the changes are meant to make everybody “feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health." Publishers are among those bemoaning the changes, but so are Facebook users who say they...


Writing The State of The Union

President Donald Trump is preparing to deliver his first State of the Union address. But what exactly goes into the making of this annual address? On this governmentality short, I spoke with Jennifer Grossman, CEO of the Atlas Society and former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. We discussed the importance of the State of the Union address, the power struggles that make the speech what it is and what the address means from a president who keeps the public updated via...


(Neo) Liberalism: A Slow Death

Liberalism may conjure up certain political leanings in American society, but its roots are in philosophy that predates the United States and while encompassing the norms, practices and principles of both major political parties and the overwhelming majority of American citizens. Despite this commonality, liberalism—and its updated version, neoliberalism—may precisely be what's ailing America in terms of persistent racism, rising inequality, and rampant ideological polarization. On this...


It's Even Worse Than You Think: David Cay Johnston

Earlier this month, when Michael Wolff released his book Fire and Fury, a number of bombshell reports broke about how President Trump conducts his business, how staffers routinely badmouth the commander-in-chief, and the mindset that fuels his fast food diet. The risk, of course, is that focus on the gossip of the inner workings of Trump World obscures the long-term repercussions of the administration. But David Cay Johnston’s It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration...


Down Girl With Kate Manne

This week, we return to Down Girl by Kate Manne, Cornell University philosophy professor. It was the subject of last week’s book chat, but the interview was so insightful that producer Michele Zipkin and I decided to publish my interview with her in its entirety. In it, we discussed the complex ways in which misogyny works, the persistent problem of how men are exonerated, how Donald Trump both is and is not a good example of a misogynist, and why this was such a difficult book for her to...


Undoing Misogyny

The case of Harvey Weinstein and his sexual abuse of women opened the floodgates for the similar revelations in media, entertainment and politics that continue to fill the daily news. And while the reckoning of workplace harassment and assault is certainly a welcome development, there are still some larger political, social and cultural questions that remain unanswered. On this episode, I talk to Josephine Livingstone, staff culture writer at The New Republic about a path forward for...


The Politics of Impeachment

Before Donald Trump even took office, some of his most vocal detractors were already calling for impeachment. But after nearly a year of political, moral and legal controversies, that number has grown — with several polls showing that as many as half of Americans believe President Trump should be impeached. And that sentiment has been amplified by calls from Capitol Hill and a massive ad campaign by one billionaire — all who want Trump out of the Oval Office. On this episode, I talk to...


Drones for Good

Last week, a start-up in China said next year it plans to launch taxi drones in Dubai. And it’s just as it sounds—a flying car that will carry passengers in its tiny cockpit. As far fetched as that might sound, from warfare and espionage to photography and pizza deliveries, drones have become a part of our daily lexicon. But can drones get out of these two lanes of destruction and amusement? On this governmentality short, I spoke with Shira Efron, policy researcher at the RAND...


The Resistance Kills the Enthusiasm Gap

A wave of Democratic electoral victories, particularly in state legislative seats and governorships, have been said to be a referendum on President Donald Trump. The gained seats may or may not be a sign of what’s to come in the 2018 elections, but the record numbers of individuals who volunteered, donated or otherwise became involved is undeniable. On this governmentality short, I spoke with Gideon Lewis-Kraus, writer-at-large at The New York Times magazine. We talked about his coverage...


Innovation and Destruction in Silicon Valley

There is little question that technology brings about change. But how much of it is for the good? At their best, technology giants can save lives. But at their worst, they provide massive audiences for the most of deplorable human behavior. Silicon Valley leaders are quick to celebrate their successes, but often shirk their responsibilities in the eyes of many. On this episode, we’ll discuss both the successes and responsibilities of Silicon Valley. First, I’ll talk with Derek Thompson of...


The Big, Big Ideas Industry

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist, engineer and innovator who used his enormous fortune to fund the Nobel Prizes, once said, “If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.” Today, ideas are all around us. From tiny tweaks to mundane products to popularizing space travel, we are inundated with ideas from more channels than we can count. What used to live firmly in the world of academia and, later, think tanks is now the business of many and broadcast through...


Exploiting Migration

The number of international migrants world wide has continued to rapidly grow over the past 15 years, reaching nearly 250 million in 2015, according to the United Nations. There's no sign of that slowing down as individuals and families seek economic opportunity and flee environmental and political disaster. In too many cases families and individuals are risking everything—including their very lives—to cross the waters from Africa to Europe or the border from Mexico to the United States....


Appearing Presidential

President Donald Trump may be unsure of exactly how presidential he wants to be, but what does it mean to "be presidential" anyway? In this episode, we look at Trump's presidential style with Alex Shephard, news editor of The New Republic. And we discuss the changes in the very office itself with University of Texas professor Jeremi Suri, whose new book is The Impossible Presidency. Guests: Alex Shephard is the news editor at The New Republic and you can follow him on Twitter:...