Politics and books, ideally at the same time.

Ten Things You Need to Hear: This Week's Best Podcasts

I consume a lot of politics-related media, on a wide range of topics, from hosts and outlets with a wide range of viewpoints. Because of that variety, and because I need to find something to do with this blog, I thought I'd go ahead and share part of my 'listening list'. Most of these podcasts (and two articles) came out very recently, and all of them deal with high-visibility issues like criminal justice reform, Putin/Russia, refugees, Trump, and more.

Listing a piece is not necessarily an endorsement of its viewpoint - some things match up with my own opinions, some don't, but they're all informative in some way and worth looking at. And this is a list, not a ranking.

1) The Glenn Show: Glenn Loury & Peter Moskos - February 3rd. Covers policing and criminal justice reform.

  • Glenn Loury is a well respected economist and Brown University Professor, and Peter Moskos is a former Baltimore Police Officer and current Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who The Atlantic recognized on their list of "Brave Thinkers of 2011." They discuss murder rates, Chicago, whether or not 'The Ferguson Effect' is real, and what steps are necessary for police reform.

2) This American Life: It's Working Out Very Nicely - February 5th. Covers refugees and Trump's executive order on immigration.

  • This is an in depth look at the recent immigration executive order - they break down what the order covers, how it was implemented, who it affected, and more. Producers speak to, among others, the families of immigrants who were detained at airports and professionals whose job it is to vet refugees.

3) So to Speak: Robert Shibley's 'Twisting Title IX' - September 22nd, 2016. Covers Title IX as it relates to campus sexual assault from a legal perspective.

  • This is a little older, but given a story I read this morning about a lawsuit regarding sexual assault in the Baylor University football program, I thought I'd include it. A group of lawyers from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education break down, in detail, the Obama Education Department's re-interpretation of Title IX from a few years ago that led to a change in the way college campuses investigate and deal with sexual assault cases. This is very much from the legal perspective, and explains exactly how the current process works and was implemented, how it worked before, and what the costs and benefits are.

4) NPR Politics Podcast: Sessions Confirmed, Gorsuch's Comments, Yemen Raid - February 9th.

5) NPR Politics Podcast: Trump's Travel Ban Halted - February 6th.

  • Neither of these need much introduction - it's all in the title. NPR's Politics show stands out, at least in my opinion, in part because of the complete absence of gratuitous partisanship. It's the news, objective analysis, and a little dose of humor.

6) Fresh Air: What Putin Wants - January 26th. Covers Putin and Russia.

  • Luke Harding, the former Moscow Bureau Chief for 'The Guardian' talks about Putin and Russia. I actually haven't finished this yet - I've got it paused about a third of the way through - but so far it's well worth listening to.

7) The Ben Shapiro Show - Episode 250 - February 8th. Covers the past week of Trump, Elizabeth Warren's censure, and the Bernie/Cruz healthcare debate.

  • Ben Shapiro is very much a right-wing conservative, with a little bit of libertarian mixed in, and was consistently #NeverTrump throughout the campaign. He talks about the recent censure of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Senate (he didn't like it, actually, despite his dislike for Senator Warren,) analyzes Trump's recent actions and statements, with a mix of praise and criticism, and discusses the Bernie/Cruz healthcare debate.

8) The Waking Up Podcast: The Putin Question - December 27th. Covers Trump, Putin, and US/Russia relations.

  • Sam Harris interviews Gary Kasparov, the Russian former chess world champion and current author, about international relations, Putin's intentions, and the (at that time) upcoming Presidency of Trump. This is really interesting to listen to, and Kasparov is a fascinating guy with very strong opinions on Putin and how America should deal with him.

9) Time: Workplace Salaries: At Last, Women on Top - September 1st, 2010 (Article). Covers a study on workplace salaries in the 150 largest cities in America.

  • This is an article rather than a podcast, and from over 6 years ago. I saw it for the first time the other day and thought it was worth mentioning, mainly because it at least partially challenges the narrative on this topic. It breaks down research indicating that, in 147 of the largest 150 cities in the US, unmarried women under 30 earn a median salary of 8% higher than their male peers. For anyone not familiar with the term, the median is basically the number in the middle - if I have a list of three people who earn salaries of $1, $3, and $100, the median would be $3. It's not an average, nor is it an apples to apples comparison, but it's the same metric generally cited in wage gap studies so in this context it's a useful stat. This gap is as high as 20% in some cities, but doesn't hold for married women, even of the same age, or women who live outside of these large population centers.

10) I wrote a blog post about a George Orwell book you've never heard of that tells us more about politics today than 1984 does - maybe check it out if you missed it. Or not, whatever.