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Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff

    • Jun 9, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 1h 2m AVG DURATION
    • 687 EPISODES

    4.8 from 271 ratings Listeners of that love the show mention: robert wright, bloggingheads, i've been a listener, smart people, best podcast around, economics, decade, religion, intellectual, technical, tv, politics, discussions, won't, intelligent, commentary, events, informed, points, variety.

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    The Making of a Political Warrior (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2023 60:00

    Inside the mind of a crack columnist ... The blowback from Norman Finkelstein's TGS appearance ... Is it enough to be a “happy warrior” for your cause? ... How did MLK become MLK? ... What's in a name when that name is “Woodrow Wilson”? ... Glenn: “Clarence Thomas's name should be on public school buildings” ...

    Ukraine and the Western Media (Robert Wright & Branko Marcetic)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2023 60:00

    The dam breaks in Ukraine ... Is western media giving a clear picture of the war? ... Why do some Ukrainian soldiers wear Nazi symbols? ... How Russia-Ukraine could become a wider war ... Could the US have prevented the war? ... Seeing American foreign policy from Putin's point of view ...

    The New World Disorder (Robert Wright & Thomas Friedman)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2023 60:00

    China's role in Saudi-Iran rapprochement ... The legacy of Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal ... Does Israel have a Palestine plan? ... Tensions resurface in Kosovo ... NATO expansion and Russia's invasion of Ukraine ... Has the US mismanaged its relationship with Russia? ... Prospects for peace in Ukraine—or for massive military escalation ... A message from Bob about this week's Parrot Room ...

    How to Teach African American History (Glenn Loury, Charles Love, and Donique Rolle)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2023 60:00

    Charles's argument for emphasizing education over systemic racism ... Donique: Teaching African American history doesn't require critical race theory ... Charles: We are the 97%! ... How Donique balances oppression and triumph in black history ... What does Florida's Stop WOKE Act actually say? ... What's wrong with integrating LGBT history and black history? ... Sexuality's ever-shifting Overton window ... Why Donique, a public school teacher, advocates for homeschooling ... Expanding the canon of historic black figures ...

    Who Won The Debt Ceiling Deal? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2023 60:00

    Will Kevin McCarthy get his due? ... What did Joe Biden get out of the deal? ... Is DeSantis a "wine track" candidate? ... Can Christie make it to the debate stage? ...

    A Manhattan Project for AI Safety (Robert Wright & Samuel Hammond)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2023 60:00

    Sam's Bloggingheads bona fides ... Is AI “interpretability” worth the trouble? ... Natural selection and artificial intelligence ... Are large language models absorbing human nature? ... What Sam thinks singularitarian AI doomers get wrong ... Is it time for an AI-safety Manhattan Project? ... Sam: Let a thousand GPT-4 (but not GPT-5) plug-ins bloom. ... Where are our AI safety blindspots? ...

    DeSantis's and Ukraine's Incursions (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2023 60:00

    Bob quizzes Mickey on worrisome Ukraine war developments ... What could push Putin to go nuclear? ... How disastrous was the DeSantis launch really? ... DeSantis's possible anti-Trump trump card ... Who's losing the debt-ceiling fight? ... Parrot room preview: Soul and dual Dune reviews; the latest on Epstein-Gates; Bob's 12 Monkeys howler; AI; simply the best of Tina Turner; Mickey delineates new immigration bills ...

    Race, Reparations, and Jordan Neely (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2023 60:00

    John: “I love linguistics, but it no longer loves me” ... How Glenn and John are getting written out of their fields ... Jordan Neely didn't deserve to die … ... … but the New York subway is getting scary ... Glenn: Reparations would be “impractical, unfair, and divisive in the extreme” ... A possible left-wing objection to reparations ... Glenn goes ham on reparations ...

    It's Ron DeSantis Day! (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2023 60:00

    Maybe DeSantis should have skipped 2024 ... Is DeSantis all that competent? ... Should DeSantis be embracing Musk? ... Was Tim Scott's announcement any better? ...

    In Defense of Crying (Robert Wright & Benjamin Perry)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2023 60:00

    The watershed moment that led Ben to write his new book, "Cry, Baby" ... Does meditation make you less emotional? ... How different socio-cultural groups feel about crying ... Why do we cry anyway? ... Transformative and performative weeping ... Putting Joel Osteen's tears under a microscope ... How does the nature of crying change over a lifetime? ... Overtime preview: Bob's most embarrassing adult crying experience, psychedelics and crying, and more! ... Ben delivers a benediction on crying ...

    Dumping Biden, Saving DeSantis (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2023 60:00

    Mickey's risky quiz for Bob ... Biden, Feinstein, Fetterman: Compare and contrast ... Does DeSantis have a path to the presidency? ... Bob's biggest takeaway from the AI hearings ... How the chip war with China makes real war more likely ... What senators should have asked OpenAI's CEO ... Ukraine war update ... Parrot room preview: (Not much) debt deal talk; Robert Putnam essay assessed; the Thiel-Epstein and Botstein-Epstein and Chomsky-Epstein connections; an important note on inequality; examining 12 Monkeys; Tucker; new “woke-watch” items; more AI ...

    Why Wokeness Is a Scam (Glenn Loury & Norman Finkelstein)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2023 60:00

    Has Norman been shut out of mainstream political debates? ... Norman's conflict with Alan Dershowitz ... Is Israel an apartheid state? ... Identifying with Paul Robeson ... Norman's new book, I'll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It! ... Norman: Wokeness is a “triple scam” ... What's become of Angela Davis? ... Cornel West's chosen path ... Obama's self-proclaimed “neat trick” ... The political intelligence of Carter, Clinton, and Obama ... South Carolina 2020: a case study in identity politics ... Would Bernie have won in 2016? ...

    14th Amendment Remedy (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2023 60:00

    How the Biden administration is fixing the immigration system ... Will Biden take the 14th? ... What's up with that Glenn Youngkin ad? ... Has Ron DeSantis gotten his groove back? ...

    Is AI Anxiety Overblown? (Robert Wright & Timothy B. Lee)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2023 60:00

    Tim's tech background and his new newsletter, Understanding AI ... Natural selection and artificial intelligence ... Why Tim is a singularity skeptic ... How exactly would AI take over? And will it even want to? ... The bad AI vs good AI arms race ... What exactly are "AI agents"? ... Why Tim is an AI job-pocalypse skeptic ... Has AI created the biggest tech hype wave ever? ... How Tim thinks AI will actually transform human life ...

    Putin's prickly chef, Trump's town hall (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2023 60:00

    The food fight within Russia's military establishment ... Could Ukraine's looming offensive succeed? ... The foreign policy Blob's biggest blind spot ... Was Trump's town hall performance a tactical blunder? ... Is DeSantis's attack on Disney anti-democratic? ... Tucker moves to Twitter ...

    The Verdict Is In (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2023 60:00

    "Seltzer Talk" with Bill n Matt ... Why are Republicans *still* afraid of Trump? ... Don't overhype the ABC/Washington Post poll ... Why did Biden change tack on the debt limit? ... Should we take the Hunter Biden investigation seriously? ...

    The Epic Failures of US Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Jeffrey Sachs)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2023 60:00

    America's missed opportunity to create a peaceful post-Cold-War world ... The moment US foreign policy went off track ... Why didn't the West invest in Russia's post-Cold War recovery? ... The foreign policy Blob's continuity across presidential administrations ... Has the American journalism gotten worse in recent decades? ...

    Attack of the Drones (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2023 60:00

    Mickey deflates a DeSantis challenger ... Mickey's ego-inflating podcast week ... Who was behind the Kremlin drone attack? ... Neocon propaganda outlet busted; Bob vindicated ... Who has the bigger beef with Neera Tanden? ... How bad was the leaked Tucker text about how “white men fight”? ... Parrot room preview: Gordon Lightfoot trivia lightning-round; adjudicating the Ed Sheeran case; new Epstein name-drops; Bob's latest AI piece; DeSantis vs. Disney; the latest Twitter rival's arrival; Elon's subtle Tesla pricing strategy ...

    RFK, Here to Stay? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2023 60:00

    Matt reviews Dave Barry's new novel ... Bill argues against giving RFK Jr. serious media coverage ... Did Timothy McVeigh shape the modern Republican Party? ... Is Clarence Thomas eroding trust in the Supreme Court? ... Should you panic about the debt limit? ...

    The Critical State of Israel (Robert Wright & Daniel Levy)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2023 60:00

    Israel's many issues ... How ugly could Israel's judicial reform crisis get? ... Are Palestinian citizens of Israel really under “apartheid”? ... The demographic and ideological sources of Israel's instability ... If the two-state solution is dead, now what? ... How might an increasingly multipolar world affect Israel? ... Why climate change makes Israel-Palestine even more dire ...

    Tucker in 2024? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2023 60:00

    Is MSM giving cheat sheets to Biden? ... Trump says he might skip GOP debates ... Will Tucker make a run for the White House? ... Disney escalates its feud with DeSantis ... Bob: Ukraine's looming offensive is a bad idea ...

    I Feel, Therefore I Am (Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and Mark Goldblatt)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2023 60:00

    Mark Goldblatt's recent book, I Feel, Therefore I Am: The Triumph of Woke Subjectivism ... Wokeism's roots in postmodern thought ... The “mysticism” of woke thinking ... Learning from Christine Blasey Ford's accusations ... John breaks his silence on transgender issues ... The political consequences of subjectivism ... Why Mark thinks transgender people are mentally disordered ... What does the T have to do with the LGB? ... Mark: Transgender people deserve respect ... Distinguishing between strategy and reality ...

    You're Fired! (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2023 60:00

    Will Tucker Carlson's firing change Fox News, or the Republican Party? ... Does Kevin McCarthy deserve a victory lap in the media? ... Why some pro-lifers are mad at Matt ...

    Russia Hawks and China Hawks (Robert Wright & John Mearsheimer)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 25, 2023 60:00

    John's upcoming book, How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy ... Is the US to blame for Russia's invasion of Ukraine? ... Is Putin less rational than John assumes? ... Why John is a Russia dove and a China hawk ... Does China pose a threat to freedom around the world? ... Why John thinks China's rise threatens American security ... Has globalization made great-power peace possible? ... Should the US defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion? ...

    AI Anxiety Goes Global (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2023 60:00

    Is DeSantis done for? ... Ro Khanna for president! ... Why Cold War II makes AI scarier ... Is Twitter done for? ... How imminent is a recession, really? ... Ukraine war update ... The Blinken wrinkle in the Hunter Biden laptop story ... Parrot room preview: Mickey's AI revelation; Can the GOP win over the college crowd?; Is Fetterman out of the woods?; Is a border crisis incoming?; The slow-burn of Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice; more on DeSantis ...

    The End of the American Century (Glenn Loury & Daniel Bessner)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2023 60:00

    The gigification of academia ... Is education just another commodity? ... What do historians do? ... Daniel: The university system is an unregulated cartel ... The liberalism (not the leftism) of the university ... Using (and getting used by) new technology ... An alternate history of global economic development ... The end of the American century ... Daniel's critique of US support for Ukraine ...

    Don't Take Your Guns To Town (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2023 60:00

    Matt and Bill await the loss of their Twitter blue checks ... How much trouble is Ron DeSantis in? ... Matt grapples with the gun issue ... Bill urges Biden to start debt limit talks ...

    Is AI an Existential Threat? A Debate. (Robert Wright, Roko Mijic, and Alexander Campbell)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2023 60:00

    How Roko and Alex wound up debating on the Nonzero Podcast ... Could near-term AI disruption be worse than Covid? ... Is AI an existential threat? ... How the sci-fi apocalypse scenario might unfold ... How is a renegade AI like a man wearing a condom? ... Why would an AI want to kill us? ... How the Cold War makes AI more dangerous ... Roko and Alex make final statements before Overtime ...

    Can Substack Notes Be a Better Twitter? (Robert Wright & Nikita Petrov)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 17, 2023 60:00

    The promise (and perils) of Notes, Substack's new social media platform ... One big way Notes could be a better Twitter ... Nikita's grand vision for Notes—and Substack ... User control vs. the allure of algorithms ... Is a better culture of discourse possible through Notes? ... How Notes benefits from elite buy-in ... Bob's advice for Substack: Don't be like Microsoft! ... Towards a civil society ...

    DeSantis vs. Trump vs. Biden (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2023 60:00

    The Biden age issue ... Are Republicans setting the stage for Biden's re-election? ... Bob: Right-wing “non-interventionists” are rabid China hawks ... The Pentagon's no good, very leaky week ... Is Clarence Thomas corrupt? ... The New York Times hunts down a leaker ... Elon vs. Matt Taibbi and Substack ... Parrot Room preview: The new legal theory for prosecuting Trump; Biden's border policy; Mickey vs. Ross Douthat on AI alarmism; government programs Mickey likes; the movie Megan comes to life; the potential of Substack Notes. ...

    DeSantis Shouldn't Run (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2023 60:00

    How should you commemorate the 100th anniversary of Calvin Coolidge's swearing in? ... Is Tim Scott really running for VP? ... Why Ron DeSantis should not run in 2024 ... Should you leave Twitter for Substack? ...

    How Human is AI? (Robert Wright & Michal Kosinski)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 11, 2023 60:00

    How freaked out is Michal by current AIs? ... Why "theory of mind" (aka cognitive empathy)—even in humans—is mind-blowing ... Michal's theory-of-mind experiments with AI ... Bob's theory-of-mind experiments with AI ... Do large language models construct representations of concepts? ... Does AI have subjective experience? ... What human neural networks do that AI doesn't ...

    A Liberal Defense of Free Speech (Glenn Loury & Jonathan Rauch)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 8, 2023 60:00

    What's wrong with cancelation? ... A defense of Charles Murray ... Cancelation and the closet ... Jonathan's book, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth ... Jonathan: “The marketplace of ideas” is a necessary but insufficient metaphor ... Is Trump an agent of disinformation? ... What the woke and MAGA crowds have in common ... Why Jonathan is hopeful about the constitution of knowledge ...

    Twitter and Other Banana Republics (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 8, 2023 60:00

    The SBF and Trump indictments: compare and contrast ... Is DeSantis tanking? ... How the Tennessee House controversy could boost Biden ... Unpacking progressive wins in Wisconsin and Chicago ... Is Twitter becoming a banana republic? ... Ukraine war (and NATO) update ... Parrot room preview: Russian pro-war blogger's strange assassination; Jill Biden's basketball misstep; Clarence Thomas's controversial trips; Amazon against anti-woke reviews; M3GAN, the alignment problem, and more AI talk; GM's EV blunder; Matt Taibbi vs. Mehdi Hasan; Dershowitz on Epstein ...

    Trump on Trial (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2023 60:00

    Why won't Republicans go after Trump ... How strong is the Manhattan DA's case against Trump? ... Why progressives had good election days in Wisconsin & Chicago ... Will Tennessee pass a red flag law? ...

    The World Crisis and International Law (Robert Wright & Paul Stephan)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2023 60:00

    Paul's book, The World Crisis and International Law ... Should we demand that other countries be as liberal as we are? ... What went wrong in Russia after the Soviet Union fell? ... How post-Cold war consensus gave way to global fragmentation ... Can international law prevent techno-authoritarianism? ... Paul's skepticism about international law ... How the knowledge economy could lead to a Chinese Trump ...

    AI and DeSantis Seem Human (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2023 60:00

    A common conundrum: How to pay off your porn-star mistres ... Ways to make Ron DeSantis seem human ... Bob: The newest AI has cognitive empathy ... How Cold War II makes AI more dangerous ... Why are traditional American values in decline? ... What foreign policy elites say about Russia-Ukraine behind closed doors ... Parrot Room preview: Something smart Zelensky said; US think tank advocates murder; how the Nashville shooting was reported; Musk makes another Twitter policy change; why Elizabeth Holmes was ahead of her time ...

    Free Speech and Protest at Stanford Law (Glenn Loury, David Sacks, and Spencer Segal)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2023 60:00

    The disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan's speech at Stanford Law School ... Why did people have a problem with Duncan? ... Will the current Supreme Court overturn Obergefell v. Hodges ... The necessity of free inquiry and reasoned discourse ... What it's like being a FedSoc conservative at Stanford Law ... The fallout from the Duncan protests ... The vulgarity of the insults hurled at Duncan ... The role of conservatives at Stanford ...

    Shattered Glass (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2023 60:00

    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)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2023 60:00

    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)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 25, 2023 60:00

    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)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 25, 2023 60:00

    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 Covid lab-leak ...

    Can "Florida Man" Win? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2023 60:00

    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)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2023 60:00

    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)

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 18, 2023 60:00

    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 Soul; Is DeSantis too wine-track? Too beer-track? Who cares?; New segment: Brushes with Greatness ...


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