Diane Rehm: On My Mind-logo

Diane Rehm: On My Mind


Diane Rehm’s weekly podcast features newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers on the issues she cares about most: what’s going on in Washington, ideas that inform, and the latest on living well as we live longer.


Washington, DC




Diane Rehm’s weekly podcast features newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers on the issues she cares about most: what’s going on in Washington, ideas that inform, and the latest on living well as we live longer.






(202) 885-1200


Heat Pumps, Electric Vehicles And The Push Toward Net-Zero Emissions

The annual United Nations climate conference, or COP 28, begins in Dubai this week. A big topic on people’s minds: how countries are doing on their pledges to slash production of greenhouse gasses outlined in The Paris Agreement. The consensus is ... not great. On this episode of On My Mind, Diane looks at one part of the effort to reduce emissions here in the U.S. -- the transformation away from fossil-fuel-powered machines we use to heat our homes, cook food, and drive to work. Experts agree households will have to embrace a suite of new low-carbon options to achieve President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Michael J. Coren writes the “Climate Coach” column for the Washington Post. He joins Diane to explain what those options are – and the barriers to widespread adoption.


Recipes From The French Kitchen Of "Bruno, Chief Of Police"

In 2008 journalist Martin Walker published the first of his Bruno, Chief of Police novels. Fifteen books later, the internationally bestselling series continues to delight readers with murder, mystery -- and delicious food. Walker has called the books a love letter to his adopted home of the Périgord region of southwestern France, where he lives in an old farmhouse with his wife, food writer Julia Watson. Indeed, the tales of Bruno take readers into the rich history of the area and its culinary traditions. The character of Benoît Courrèges – nicknamed “Bruno” – loves to cook and is perhaps known as much for transforming the bounty of his garden into elaborate meals as his ability to crack a case. Now Walker and his wife Julia Watson have released a cookbook that brings together many of Bruno’s culinary creations. They join Diane this Thanksgiving week to talk about “Bruno’s Cookbook: Recipes and Traditions from a French Country Kitchen” and share a couple of Bruno's favorite recipes, which you can find on our website, dianerehm.org.


Zepbound, Wegovy, And The New Era In Weight Control

Last week, the FDA approved a medication said to be the most potent yet in the treatment of chronic obesity, a condition that affects more than 100 million American adults. Developed by Eli Lilly, Zepbound is the latest in a new class of drugs doctors now have to help patients lose weight. Others include Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. “It’s like this total new world for weight control,” says Gina Kolata, a health reporter for the New York Times. She has written about this issue of obesity for decades and adds that after years with very little progress “these medications are really changing things.” Kolata joins Diane on the latest episode of On My Mind to break down how these drugs work, possible side effects, and what's next in the development of obesity medications.


A Winning Streak For Democrats, Abortion Rights. Will It Continue In 2024?

Those in favor of abortion access notched several more victories in Tuesday’s elections. Reproductive rights played a role in wins for Democratic politicians in Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, voters enshrined the right to abortion access in the state’s constitution. “It has become very hard for Republicans to distance themselves from these laws that are now on the books,” says Mary Ziegler, professor at U.C. Davis School of Law. These results came as good news for Democrats after a week that showed Donald Trump leading President Biden in polling in key swing states. But Ziegler warns Democrats shouldn’t count on abortion driving turnout in the presidential race in the same way we have seen in state contests. Unless, that is, they can connect the dots for voters on exactly what might change if Trump is re-elected. And those changes, she adds, could be dramatic. Ziegler is one of the country’s leading experts on the law, history, and politics of reproduction in the United States. She joins Diane on On My Mind to discuss where the abortion debate goes from here and whether it will be a deciding factor in 2024.


What New School Cell Phone Bans Say About The Way We Regulate Tech

Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers outlawed the use of cell phones during class time in schools throughout the state. Some Florida school districts went further, barring phones from campus all day due to concerns over student distraction and risk of cyberbullying. Natasha Singer is a reporter for The New York Times who focuses on ways tech companies and their tools are reshaping public schools. She recently visited one of the Florida high schools that outlawed phones and talked to school administrators, teachers, parents and students to hear how the year is going. Singer adds that these new bans are spreading at the same time lawmakers across the country consider the issue of youth and technology more broadly. This past spring Utah adopted strict limitations on social media for minors. Just last week, states across the country sued tech companies, accusing them of making their apps intentionally addictive to adolescents. Singer joins Diane on this episode of On My Mind to explain the pros, cons, and unintended consequences of this wave of tech regulation.


Being 80: A Conversation With Former Washington Post Editor Leonard Downie About Older Age

About 1.3 million, or one in 25 Americans, are over the age of 80. On My Mind has covered issues regarding our aging population in the past, from the coming crisis in care to whether enough legal protections are in place to prevent elder financial abuse. On this episode, Leonard Downie, former executive editor of the Washington Post, joins Diane to talk about the experience of what life feels like in older age. “I’m determined not to fear the future,” he says. “Of course, sometimes I do.” As Downie approached his ninth decade, he started keeping a journal about the experience of becoming an octogenarian. For more than a year, he documented the daily changes, challenges, and unique pleasures of older age, and has now released his musings in a new book titled “80: An Octogenarian’s Journal.”


The Crisis In The Middle East Deepens

A horrific bombing at a hospital in Gaza this week left hundreds of Palestinians dead and deepened the crisis in the Middle East. Hamas placed the blame for the devastating loss of life on an Israeli airstrike, but Israel and the United States say they have intelligence suggesting it was misfire by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a militant group in Gaza. The strike pushed Arab leaders to cancel scheduled meetings with President Biden, who visited Israel Wednesday and voiced continued support for the country. Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius says we are in a period where “people really have to think carefully about long-term interests.” Ignatius joins Diane to discuss the path forward and warns if leaders in the region act on emotion and think only of immediate goals, we could end up with a widespread, “catastrophic war.”


Israel-Hamas War: Why, How And What Comes Next

Over the past several days the Israeli military has continued a devastating bombardment of the Gaza Strip, with airstrikes flattening entire neighborhoods. Forces also cut off supplies to the area as troops gathered for a likely ground invasion. This is, of course, in retaliation for the attack by Hamas fighters in Israeli territory on Saturday that left 1300 dead and filled social media with images of intense brutality against civilians. “I think we’re still in this period of grief,” says Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to both Israel and Egypt. Kurtzer currently teaches Middle East policy at Princeton University and joined Diane to help give context to the tragic events unfolding in the Middle East.


A Bumpy Vaccine Rollout And The Ongoing Risks Of Covid

Last month the FDA approved a new Covid vaccine. But many people around the country have had trouble getting it. Lena Sun is a national reporter for the Washington Post who has covered Covid since it first emerged in China. She says this bumpy rollout is a result of how the shot is viewed. Under the federal government’s health emergency, vaccination was seen as a public good. Now the shots are seen as a commercial product, subject to terms of insurance companies, the bottom lines of providers, and market demands. “What this has done is highlight the completely byzantine, lousy healthcare system in the United States,” Sun says. Sun joined Diane to explain why it has been so difficult to get the vaccine, how dangerous Covid is today, and how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe as we move toward winter, when cases of not only Covid, but also RSV and flu are expected to rise.


A Push To Improve America's Nursing Homes

Earlier this month, the Biden administration proposed new staffing standards for nursing homes to help improve conditions for the 1.3 million Americans living in facilities across the country. Advocates have pushed for this change for decades, but the pandemic highlighted just how critical the situation has become. More than 200,000 nursing home residents and workers died, or about one-fifth of the country’s overall Covid-19 deaths. And by all accounts, overall care plummeted. “This could be a game changer,” says David Grabowski, professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. His research examines the economics of aging, with a particular interest in the areas of long-term and post-acute care. He joins Diane to talk about what this new proposal might mean for quality of care – and why it might not go far enough.


Could the 14th Amendment Block Trump from the Presidency?

Donald Trump holds a 47-point lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. As the probability of his primary victory sinks in, legal scholars who see the former president as unfit for office have put forth another way to block a second term: disqualification. Kimberly Wehle is one of those constitutional scholars. She says Trump's actions after the 2020 election ban him from holding future office under a clause of the 14th Amendment. Wehle first wrote about this issue back in January 2022 for Politico Magazine. The legal theory has now caught on with liberal groups, who have filed legal challenges in Colorado and Minnesota, and sent letters to election officials in several other states. Wehle joins Diane on the podcast to talk about what the 14th Amendment actually says, whether it could apply to Donald Trump, and what the consequences of blocking the former president might be for the country.


Denyce Graves On Creating A More Diverse, Relevant Opera

Mezzo soprano Denyce Graves made her name in the 90s with the roles of Carmen and Delilah. One of only a handful of black opera singers at the time, she toured the most prestigious concert halls around the world. The Grammy winner has also sung at presidential inaugurations, on Sesame Street, and at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s memorial service. Though Graves continue to perform, she has turned her attention towards giving back – and recently launched the Denyce Graves foundation to both support the next generation of black vocalists – and honor the history of “hidden voices” who have come before.


The Lingering Effects of the Pandemic on Schools, Students and Learning

School is back in session across the country for the third time since the pandemic began. Though the school day looks much like it did before Covid-19 forced officials to shutter classrooms, the lingering effects of school closures, online learning, and a world turned upside down are becoming clear. This includes lagging test scores, continued staffing issues, and, according to a new study, a dramatic jump in absences. Bianca Vazquez Toness is an education reporter for the Associated Press. She has been following the continued impact of the pandemic on young people and schools and says that for many students and families there is still a lot of work to be done.


How Hot Is Too Hot? Lessons from a Record-breaking Summer

This July was the hottest month in recorded history. The warmest eight years on the planet have all occurred since 2015. “The rate of warming is fast,” says journalist Jeff Goodell. He has been writing about climate change for more than 20 years, and last month, released a new book titled, “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet.” In it, he explores the impact rising temperatures will have on our environment, our lives and our bodies. “Our understanding and awareness of the dangers of heat are just beginning,” he says. He adds that this summer’s extreme weather events from wildfires to tropical storms to heat domes, gave us a glimpse into just what those dangers are – and how we can better prepare to face them.


A GOP Debate And Another Trump Arrest

On Wednesday night eight candidates took the stage to make their appeal to GOP primary voters. But, as the moderators pointed out, the elephant not in the room was Donald Trump. He opted for a one-on-one interview with Tucker Carlson. The former president then traveled to Atlanta to be booked on criminal charges for the fourth time in recent months. Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for USA Today. She joined Diane to discuss what we learned from the debate about the primary, Donald Trump’s grip on the party, and what the GOP’s vision for the country looks like.


The Prospect of a Third-Party Presidential Bid

North Carolina became the tenth state to recognize No Labels as a political party this week. The non-profit group behind the effort seems to think there is a moderate majority in America that wants to move away from the two-party system. Leaders of the New Labels Party are now toying with offering a presidential ticket in the 2024 election to tap into what they think is a dissatisfaction with the status quo. Veteran journalist Gerald Seib has been reporting on the No Labels movement. “As I go around the country and talk to people, I get asked all the time, why isn’t there a third party?” says Seib, who last year retired from his role as executive Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal. “They say why isn’t there an alternative?” Seib recently published an essay in his former paper titled “Could a Third Party Finally Do It?” He joined Diane to talk about the history of third party candidates – and why this might be the election we see one break through.


Rep. Jamie Raskin on Trump, Accountability and the Rule of Law

Rep. Jamie Raskin has been among the strongest voices in politics calling for accountability for the violence that occurred on January 6th. As a House manager during the second impeachment of Donald Trump, Raskin announced the charge of incitement of insurrection against the now-former president. The Maryland congressman went on to serve on the House committee that investigated the events of January 6th and whose work ended in a recommendation of criminal charges against Trump. Now, as Donald Trump faces four counts related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Rep. Raskin joins Diane to explain why he feels legal accountability is critical for the health of the country’s democracy. Raskin also discusses his cancer remission and why he decided against a run for the Senate.


Trying Trump's "Crimes against Democracy"

Special counsel Jack Smith announced charges against Donald Trump this week related to the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This is the third time Trump has been indicted in recent months – but many commentators are saying this is the big one. That includes New York University law professor Ryan Goodman, who says the crimes Trump is accused of committing are a direct threat to our government, calling them “democracy crimes.” Goodman, co-editor in chief of Just Security, joined Diane to outline the charges and explain why he thinks only a 2024 election victory can save Donald Trump from conviction.


Is America getting an F in aging?

Americans are getting older. Much older. In 1900, we lived an average of 38 years. By 2000, our average lifespan had been extended by nearly four decades. And though recent years have seen a downturn in the trend, the 85 and older population is projected to more than double by 2040. “We are not even close to prepared,” says M.T. Connolly, a lawyer and longtime elder rights advocate who in 2011 won a MacArthur Genius Grant for her work in the field. She argues our country’s policies and institutions have not kept pace with our advances in longevity. This mismatch, she says, can result in serious harm for those living into old age, and those who care for them. Connolly joined Diane to discuss her new book, “The Measure of Our Age: The Measure of Our Age: Navigating Care, Safety, Money, and Meaning Later in Life.” In it, she identifies the obstacles that prevent us from maintaining quality of life as we grow old, and what we as individuals – and as a society -- can do about them.


From the archives: A conversation with legendary book editor Robert Gottlieb

Diane wanted to share a special conversation from the archives, an interview with legendary book editor Robert Gottlieb, who died in June at age 92. Gottlieb worked with many of the best-known writers of the 20th century. On the list of names whose work he made shine was Diane Rehm. Diane remembers him as a masterful editor who was so kind to her – someone with name recognition in the world of public radio, but no track record as a writer. Gottlieb became one of Diane’s closest friends and confidantes. She says, “he was a genius,” and she was so lucky to have him by her side. Robert Gottlieb joined Diane several times as a guest on the Diane Rehm Show over the years. This is their conversation from September 2016 in which he discussed his memoir, “Avid Reader.”