Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff
Shattered Glass (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Matt Lewis discusses his upcoming book "Filthy Rich Politicians" ... Joe Biden's innovative immigration plan: Welcome Corps ... Can Chris Christie take down Trump? ...
Russiagate Revisited (Robert Wright & David Corn)
Bob and David reminisce about Bloggingheads ... David’s book, American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy ... Are Russiagaters moving the goalposts? ... What the Trump team knew about Russian meddling ... The missing “collusion” piece of the Russiagate puzzle ... Why David thinks Russiagate's biggest critics are perpetuating a hoax ... If Russiagaters are right, why didn’t Trump do Russia many favors? ...
From Equity to Equality (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John’s recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher ... The rigors of the lecture circuit ... The difference between equity and equality ... How do we know that African Americans are just as smart as everyone else? ... The new black bourgeoisie ... Standards in the arts are relative. But how relative? ... John sets the record straight on his dancing skills ...
Is Ron DeSantis Real? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Bob: On foreign policy, there is no real Ron DeSantis ... The difference between right-restrainers and left-restrainers ... The dangerous politics of indicting Trump ... Trump’s new plan to take out the deep state ... Is the war turning in Ukraine’s favor? ... Why did DeSantis change the pronunciation of his name? ... Parrot Room preview: Everything Everywhere All At Once speaks to Bob; SVB fallout not over; banning the word “woke”; Camaro goes out of production—or does it?; likelihood of...
Can "Florida Man" Win? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Has DeSantis figured out how to take on Trump? ... Are people really moving to Florida because it's anti-woke? ... Will an indictment hurt or help Trump? ... Did the 1980 "October Surprise" change the course of history? ...
Is the Banking Crisis Over? (Robert Wright & Richard Vague)
Richard’s banking and business bona fides ... Was the Silicon Valley Bank crash a harbinger of worse to come? ... What actually caused SVB’s collapse? ... Richard: SVB failed risk management 101 ... Costs and benefits of the SVB bailout ... The Fed’s oft-forgotten original role ... Did the deregulation SVB lobbied for doom it? ... Overtime preview: Richard’s career highlights; cognitive empathy in commerce; how to hire like a boss; and more! ...
DeSantis Does Ukraine (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey’s mind-bending analogy between romance and politics ... Bob triggered by DeSantis’s “territorial dispute” line about Russia-Ukraine ... How to prevent the next bank collapse? ... Was “wokeness” behind SVB’s demise? ... Ukraine war update ... Are Democrats ditching Israel? ... Winners and losers of Iran-Saudi détente ... Parrot room preview: Mickey’s quibble with Bob’s AI piece; SBF news; Silicon Valley’s campaign to ban TikTok; the sad state of the Metaverse; RIP Jim Gordon; Summer of...
Ron DeSantis's Ukraine Bet (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Why are Republicans making the Silicon Valley Bank crisis about wokeness? ... Why did DeSantis adopt Tucker Carlson's line on Ukraine? ... Will we miss Mitch McConnell when he's gone? ...
Diversifying the Scientific Imagination (Glenn Loury & Sylvester Gates)
What led Jim to the forefront of physics ... Jim explains supersymmetry ... Is there racism in the sciences? ... The role of culture and imagination in the sciences ... The scientific “big bang” in Europe ... How Jim accounts for racial disparities in test scores ... Jim: “Genius” is a verb ... Why Jim worries about DEI and cancelation ...
The Many Worlds of John von Neumann (Robert Wright & Ananyo Bhattacharya)
Ananyo’s book, The Man from the Future, about game theory inventor and polymath John von Neumann ... Early life as a mathematical wunderkind ... Von Neumann’s foundational contributions to quantum physics ... Was entanglement as "spooky" to von Neumann as it was to Einstein? ... Building—and reckoning with—the atomic bomb ... Did von Neumann really want to nuke the USSR? ... Why was early game theory so zero-sum–focused? ... Influence on Turing, the open source movement, and modern computing...
Biden vs. Xi, Tucker vs. Trump (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Biden’s soak-the-rich budget: big news or borefest? ... How Biden insulting Xi Jinping endangers Ukraine ... Bob finds another reason Biden shouldn’t run for re-election ... Ukraine war update ... Nordstream’s hobbyist saboteurs ... Tucker Carlson outed as anti-Trump phony ... Parrot Room preview: Gavin Newsom takes on Walgreens; Twitter community notes annoy Mickey; Semafor's China racket; Bob’s Washington Post lab leak piece; Peter Thiel’s techno-optimism. ...
The Private Side of Public Life (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John’s awkward run-in at the farmer’s market ... Will people be reading Ibram X. Kendi in 2043? ... Regret, doubt, and going against the tide ... How Glenn and John negotiate their public profiles ... Did Scott Adams deserve to get canceled? ... What’s going on beneath the Scott Adams controversy? ...
Fiery But Mostly Peaceful (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
What was Scott Adams' ridiculous excuse? ... What happened to Tucker Carlson? ... Is Fox News at risk of losing its pro-Trump audience? ... Has Trump retaken control of the GOP primary? ... Did Biden do the right thing on the DC crime bill? ...
The State of Psychology (Robert Wright & Paul Bloom)
Paul’s new book, Psych: The Story of the Human Mind ... Does psychology need more evolutionary thinking? ... Freud and Skinner and parts in between ... Mind-body dualism’s enduring intuitive appeal ... ChatGPT and the human mind: compare and contrast ... Are cognitive biases overblown? ... A brief note about the podcast ... Implicit biases, memory, and other topics covered in the book ...
Biden’s Troubles, Foreign and Domestic (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey celebrates good week for JD Vance, Ron DeSantis ... The Biden admin’s “all sticks, no carrots” approach to foreign policy ... Is China’s plummeting birth rate a problem? ... Will Bibi wag the dog? ... Will AI kill the journalism star? ... Ukraine war update ... Alarmism about a China-Russia axis ... Parrot room preview: more Ukraine; Dilbert creator gets canceled; why the kids aren’t alright; Will student loan cancellation pass Supreme Court muster?; Buy books before it’s too late?;...
The Journey of Humanity (Glenn Loury & Oded Galor)
Oded's new book, The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality ... How inequality and growth emerged over the course of human history ... Breaking free of a 300,000-year-old stagnation cycle ... Humanity's phase shift into modernity ... Inequality and the formation of institutions ... The deep links between geography and institutions ... Africa, Asia, and the trials of diversity ...
Blinky, The Three-Eyed Fish (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Has the East Palestine train derailment derailed Biden ... and Buttigieg? ... Is Trump winning and DeSantis losing? ... Has CPAC lost its cachet? ... Is there room for a Republican candidate who isn't Trump and DeSantis? ...
Power in the Age of AI (Robert Wright & Paul Scharre)
Paul’s new book, Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence ... Will AIs replace humans in future wars? ... China as an AI superpower ... Will Beijing spread high-tech authoritarianism globally? ... How useful is the “democracy versus autocracy” framework? ... Why Paul’s worried about a race to the bottom in AI safety ... Tom Cruise can’t hold a candle to AI pilots ...
Black Professor in Anti-Racist Hell (Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and Vincent Lloyd)
Woke religion or woke cult? ... Does suffering confer authority on the sufferer? ... A world without “anti-Black domination” ... Is there an alternative to the criminal justice system? ... Domination and the purpose of the university ... How Vincent’s Telluride Association seminar blew up ... The narrowness of the social justice framework ... Glenn and John’s encounters with fans ... Should Black Studies exist? ...
The Ukraine War, Year One (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Washington Post highlights a cost of US hypocrisy ... Will China push for peace—or fund Russia’s war effort (or both)? ... Can Trump use Biden’s support for Ukraine against him? ... Russia’s offensive, Ukraine’s rope-a-dope ... Bob’s evolving view of America’s role in the Maidan Revolution ... The US vows to back Israel if it attacks Iran ... Parrot Room preview: AI updates; Republicans and Social Security; How Blobbish is Fiona Hill?; Carlos Watson arrested ...