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Episodes

Deadly protests in Iran; divestment from fossil fuels

12/5/2019
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When political protesters were gunned down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, was it a victory or a defeat for President Trump? Also on this episode: the rude disruption of this year’s Harvard-Yale football classic in the fight over climate change. Should their massive endowments divest themselves of fossil fuel stocks?

Duration:00:45:18

Draining the swamp -- for better or worse?

11/28/2019
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“Draining the swamp” was a popular slogan, and President Trump has made good on his promise. Crucial firings and resignations have hit almost every department. Are Americans better off? Joel Stein gives his answer in a new book titled “In Defense of Elitism.”

Duration:00:48:05

Do TV debates help voters decide?

11/20/2019
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Presidential debates have become reality TV, and performance is more important than substance. With 10 candidates onstage and two more in the wings, potential voters are far from consensus. Can the Democrats unite in time to take on the reality TV veteran now in the White House?

Duration:00:56:17

Climate change, the EPA and protecting medical privacy

11/18/2019
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Personal medical records behind public health regulations are now stamped "confidential." If they aren’t opened up, the Trump EPA says it will ignore them. Is that “transparency” really needed, or is it a way to avoid tough rules against new health risks that climate change is bound to require?

Duration:00:14:54

Is Trump dumping justice reform?

11/14/2019
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With support from Democrats as well as Republicans, President Trump agreed to release inmates from harsh prison terms due to the War on Drugs. But his own Justice Department wants them back behind bars. With 4700 former inmates already on the street, does the First Step Act have a future?

Duration:00:50:20

Climate change: Trump vs. California

11/11/2019
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President Trump’s denial of climate change has him at war with California. Their battle over fuel emission standards has divided the auto industry as well as drivers. Meanwhile, 11,000 scientists say we’re facing a “climate emergency.”

Duration:00:13:53

Does facial recognition software threaten our freedom?

11/7/2019
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Surveillance cameras are capturing what we do on the streets, at airports, in stores, and in much of our public space. Facial recognition software is touted as making us safer. Is it worth the risk of misidentification -- and the violation of privacy? Is the genie out of the bottle or can it be controlled?

Duration:00:49:23

Preparing for climate change fires in Los Angeles

10/31/2019
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Fire season now lasts all year long in Southern California, and residents of Topanga Canyon have set an example for how to get ready. Volunteers are on the alert to help their neighbors, save their homes and protect their animals, or to evacuate.

Duration:00:20:43

High crimes and misdemeanors: how much will they matter?

10/30/2019
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Impeachment by Democrats in the House may lead to trial in the Senate, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. Can he prevent the Republican majority from rushing to judgement? Whatever the outcome, will it restore or erode America’s faith in democracy?

Duration:00:51:05

Exxon Mobil goes to court

10/26/2019
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The world’s biggest oil company is on trial in New York for defrauding investors out of $1.6 billion. It’s accused of hiding the real value of fossil fuels in the era of climate change. Will the case set an example for court action by other states and cities?

Duration:00:11:19

Trump’s Turkey debacle

10/24/2019
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Republican U.S. Senator Mitt Romney says President Trump’s withdrawal of soldiers protecting the Kurds violated “American honor.” The military action took the Pentagon by surprise, but it was good news for Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. What’s next for ISIS and America’s diplomatic authority?

Duration:00:45:03

Controlling the message; American politics and new media

10/17/2019
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Presidential campaigns aren’t just on TV anymore, they’re on countless digital platforms. While Democratic candidates debated on CNN, their strategists were on social media, nudging reporters and delivering instant analysis. And the ultimate nominee will face the maestro of Twitter in President Trump.

Duration:00:49:31

Why Republicans stand by their man

10/10/2019
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Despite mounting evidence, Republicans in the House and the Senate are defending President Trump or keeping their heads down. Veteran GOP conservatives accuse them of sacrificing morality for short-term political gain. Who do they fear most: Trump himself or the voters?

Duration:00:53:02

Human activity: as damaging as an asteroid

10/8/2019
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66 million years ago, an asteroid caused Earth’s Fifth Extinction, destroying the dinosaurs and most other life forms. Now Earth is facing another extinction, as fish, plants and animals vanish forever. But this time, it’s not the asteroid, it’s us.

Duration:00:35:05

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson as Tweedledum and Tweedledee

10/3/2019
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A cartoon on the cover of the Economist says it all: the elected leaders of the world’s two foremost democracies are scrambling to hold on. We’ll look at impeachment, Brexit and possible consequences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Duration:00:47:57

Malcolm Gladwell on the page and in the podcast

9/30/2019
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Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “Talking to Strangers,” is out, while he’s hosting the podcast, “Revisionist History.” In both media, Big Ideas reveal surprising connections between disparate events and actions. Warren talks with one of America’s most popular public intellectuals.

Duration:00:30:29

The UN: Climate change and future generations

9/25/2019
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Greta Thunberg inspired Fridays for Future--school strikes around the world. Were the leaders of major polluters paying attention? Not according to what they told the United Nations. We’ll hear how youthful protesters are reacting to business as usual.

Duration:00:37:32

Is the world waking up to climate change?

9/19/2019
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Students are cutting class, and workers are striking worldwide. At the UN, governments will be held accountable for promises made in the Paris Accords. Multinational corporations are feeling international pressure. Will activism and awareness add up to action?

Duration:00:48:43

Saving the planet one hamburger at a time

9/16/2019
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If Americans cut just one hamburger from their diet every week, it would be like taking 10 million cars off the road every year. After cutting energy use, less meat and more plant-based food add up to the easiest--and healthiest--way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Duration:00:15:44

The decline of organized labor and America’s middle class

9/12/2019
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In 1950, America had the richest middle class in the world, but now U.S. workers face wage stagnation and historic wealth inequality. That's according to Steven Greenhouse, author of “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor."

Duration:00:55:32