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When I was in second grade, I had a lunchbox with Bert and Ernie on it. On the lunchbox, Bert was carrying a lunchbox, with Bert and Ernie on it. On that lunchbox, Bert was carrying a lunchbox...and I wondered: how far do the lunchboxes go? Am I in a lunchbox too?? You're opening the Infinite Lunchbox for a *fresh take* on what's going on. I'm Stephanie Lepp — socially-engaged artist, producer, and your monochromatic host. Subscribe to stay tuned. If you're new to the show, start with the DE ...
 
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Joe Biden is deporting 15,000 Haitian refugees who crossed the border at Del Rio, Texas, to a country ravaged by assassination, earthquake, poverty, and gang violence—it’s a disastrous move. Amy Wilentz comments; she’s been reporting on Haiti and Haitians for more than two decades. Also: Ten years ago this week, a small group of young radicals decl…
 
We’re still thinking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. After the attacks that day, Muslim Americans endured years of racism and discrimination, oftentimes at the hands of the state itself.The fight against government surveillance of Muslim Americans continues today, as the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to government efforts to conceal FBI ab…
 
In Texas, the Republicans are empowering vigilantes to go after people helping women who seek abortions, turning the state’s citizens as bounty hunters. Rick Perlstein explains the long history of how the GOP adopted abortion as a key issue—Rick’s latest book is Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, out now in paperback. Also: We’re still thi…
 
America’s longest war came to an end on Monday as the last troops left Afghanistan, 20 years after we started fighting there. How much have the disasters around the Afghan pullout hurt Joe Biden and his agenda? How much will it hurt the Democrats in the midterms next November? John Nichols comments. Also: The story of a Black writer who moved to Pa…
 
Katha Pollitt reports on Afghan womens’ organizations and what their leaders are saying about support from Americans—starting with the Afghan Women’s Fund, MADRE, and Women for Afghan Women. Also, Black politics and history, from the 1870s to the 1930s to today: Eric Foner talks bout how our understanding of Black politics and history, starting wit…
 
Over almost 20 years in Afghanistan, the US lost 2,400 troops and personnel. Another 21,000 Americans have been wounded. The mission cost more than a trillion dollars—including 80 billion dollars to train and arm the Afghan army. But that army didn’t resist the recent Taliban advance and now the Taliban control the country and the last Americans ar…
 
19 Republican Senators voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Tuesday, after Trump demanded they vote “no.” It took significant concessions by Democrats to win their support for the bill—was that a good idea? Should Democrats help Republicans step away from Trump? Joan Walsh comments. Also: the life, and death, of Ethel Rosenberg, …
 
We said it couldn’t be done: a bipartisan bill getting through Congress. Now, however, it looks like the $1 trillion infrastructure bill will get the Republican votes it needs in the Senate to pass. But what miserable compromises did the Democrats make to get ten Republican votes? John Nichols explains. Also: the great comics artist Art Spiegelman,…
 
Joe Biden needs to do a lot more to stop the global spread of the covid virus and its Delta variant—and to prepare the world for the next pandemics. Gregg Gonsalves explains three key actions that are necessary right now. Also: the story of a music festival in a park in Harlem in 1969: the documentary about it, “Summer of Soul,” is a powerful and m…
 
Bernie Sanders recently spoke with our John Nichols about the importance of doing big things in politics--and now Senate Democrats have agreed on a $3.5 trillion budget proposal that would dramatically expand Medicare, provide for paid family leave, subsidize child care, make community college free, and fund some meaningful climate crisis initiativ…
 
World politics after the Biden-Putin Summit: Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that we need to rethink what real security means, and that it can't mean a new cold war, but joint action with Russia and China on climate change, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war. Also: Amy Wilentz comments on Haiti after the assassination of its unloved president—an…
 
"Utopian" has been a term of abuse in politics for a long time now, synonymous with “irrational” and “impossible.” Instead, we are told, we should focus on realistic plans to improve things. But The Nation is publishing a special issue in defense of utopia. Jeet Heer explains how the dreams of a good society keep hope alive and expose the inadequac…
 
“Critical Race Theory” has been attacked on Fox News nearly 1300 times. It’s being banned from public schools and colleges in something like 15 Republican states. But what IS “critical race theory”? And why is this happening now? Kimberlé Crenshaw explains; she teaches law at Columbia and UCLA, and she’s probably the most prominent figure associate…
 
Voting rights suffered a defeat in the Senate this week, but really it's just the latest battle in a continuing struggle—and if anything, it clarifies the real problem: the filibuster must go, at least for voting rights legislation. John Nichols says it’s now up to grassroots groups to go to work on reluctant Democrats during the July 4 break. Also…
 
Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are not the only Democrats opposed to filibuster reform—Dianne Feinstein says she won’t vote for it, either. And there are more Democrats in the Senate staying the same thing. But without filibuster reform, the rest of the Democrats’ agenda is dead—starting with protection of voting rights and elections. What’s wrong …
 
Republicans are not just making it harder to vote—they’re making it easier for judges and state legislatures to reverse the results of elections they have lost. Congressional action could block these changes—but that requires filibuster reform, and Joe Manchin says he won’t vote for filibuster reform. What does Joe Manchin want? John Nichols commen…
 
Joe Biden went to Tulsa on Tuesday to commemorate the fact that, one hundred years ago this week, in 1921, a white mob attacked an all-Black neighborhood there. It was one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Historians think it left 300 dead and 10,000 homeless. David M. Perry comments on the political issues around the histor…
 
While Joe Biden has pledged an “ironclad commitment to Israel's security," many Democrats in Congress, and outside of Congress, have been moving away from unquestioning support for Israel since the Israeli attacks on Gaza last week. John Nichols reports. Plus: It’s probably the most radical show that’s ever been on TV: Exterminate All the Brutes, t…
 
Palestinians and Israel: Saree Makdisi talks about what Netanyahu has called “the second front”: Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are increasingly subject to attack by right-wing Jewish mobs, and who are increasingly active in support of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Gaza. Saree is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA a…
 
Conflict between Israel and Palestine has been escalating this week. For this podcast we have two segments about Palestinians; neither is about the current crisis, which changes daily. Rachel Kushner visited a Palestinian refugee camp in 2016 – Shuafat, the only one inside Jerusalem – alongside a community organizer as he tried to solve massive pro…
 
Blake Bailey’s new book about Philip Roth was taken out of print by the publisher after Bailey was accused of rape and attempted rape and “grooming” his teenage students for sex with him when they reached 18. Nation columnist Katha Pollitt argues that, while she believes the women—Bailey probably was a rapist, as well as a misogynist and a creep—re…
 
Mazie Hirono, Senator from Hawaii: She’s the only immigrant currently serving in the Senate, and she was the first Asian American woman elected to that office, starting in 2013. She talks about the need for filibuster reform and Supreme Court reform, about the storming of the capitol on January 6, and about her vote on Amy Coney Barrett: “Hell No.”…
 
NEW INC invited me to give an artist talk about Deep Reckonings, moderated by the illustrious Kat Cizek. In it, I do something I've never done before: guide people in writing Deep Reckonings scripts! In other words, guide people in imagining our better angels. In this case, the better angel of Jeff Bezos. This episode is better watched on YouTube: …
 
Guilty, guilty, guilty! The verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis made history—and came only after millions of people took to the streets, for months, in hundreds of cities across America; and only after a decade of sustained organizing by Black Lives Matter. Jody Armour comments—he’s the Roy Crocker Professor of Law at the University …
 
The union organizing campaign at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, was defeated by a vote of 1798 against and 738 in favor. Jane McAlevey argues that the biggest factor in the vote was the laws that give tremendous advantages to the corporate side—but the union itself made a series of tactical and strategic errors. Jane is The Nat…
 
Call-out culture is all about straw manning: representing the weakest version of someone's position (or the weakest version of something they tweeted a decade ago). So call-IN culture would be all about STEEL manning: representing the strongest version of someone's position. But what would that actually look like in practice? This video is a teaser…
 
The New York Times has a headline this week: "Online Schools Are Here to Stay, Even After the Pandemic." The article does the predictable tug-of-war between online and in-person learning, ultimately arriving at the obvious conclusion that online learning works better for some students than others, and that online and in-person can be mixed-and-matc…
 
There’s one political prediction that always comes true: record turnout in one election will be followed by a tidal wave of voter suppression efforts before the next one. So it’s not surprising that, after 2020 had record turnout, 2021 is seeing voting rights under attack nationwide by Republican-controlled state legislatures. Georgia has taken the…
 
Amazon workers in Alabama are trying to unionize. And influential people are trying to convince Jeff Bezos to support the campaign: Bernie, Danny Glover, even THE PRESIDENT. But what might actually move Bezos to support unionization, and more broadly, *change the game*? Also -- for those of you on Clubhouse, I'm hosting a conversation about the fut…
 
The political transformation of Kyrsten Sinema, the new senator from Arizona: She’s one of the two most conservative Democrats in the Senate—but Aida Chavez explains that she started out to the left of the Party. Also: Should Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retire? He’s 82, and apparently healthy and competent—but his retirement would give Bid…
 
How are religious myths metaphorically true? What if influencers are our modern-day Greek Gods? In which case, perhaps the issue is less the fact that there are influencers, and more *what* they're influencing? Be in touch on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephlepp​ Join the party on Patreon: http://patreon.com/stephlepp…
 
After a year of living with the pandemic, it's painfully obvious that we can't treat health and economy as either/or. So how to we treat them as both/and? What's the equivalent of sustainable development -- which economic development with sustainability -- for integrating economic development with *health*? And....what could such a phenomenon be CA…
 
Have you noticed the evolution of Disney? Have you noticed how the concept of good vs. evil, the women characters, and other aspects of the storylines have evolved over time? WELL THEY HAVE. But does that mean I only want my daughter to watch the most recent Disney movies, with more redemptive conceptions of evil and empowered women characters? Not…
 
In the aftermath of the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, we're doing the gun legislation impasse rigamarole. What could move things forward? Might it be helpful to hear from public servants who *expanded* their views on gun control — to include both gun rights and gun safety? Introducing the power of FORMERS. Watch on YouTube: http://bit.ly/gunformer…
 
The arrival of multiple vaccines against Covid-19 in less than a year after the virus’s emergence is sort of a miracle—but there’s nothing miraculous about the failure of donor nations, along with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, to prepare for, and mount, a global vaccination campaign. Gregg Gonsalves comments. Also: now that Trump is gone, W…
 
The New York Times' The Daily podcast on 3/16/21 was about how conservative lawmakers are increasingly embracing wind. Host Michael Barbaro and reporter Dionne Searcey refreshingly bring up the phenomenon of *identity* -- and talk about how a shift from coal to wind isn't just a change in jobs, but a change in identity. Which implies that coal mine…
 
One of the senate seats being abandoned by a Republican incumbent is in Ohio. Can Democrats win that seat? It’s going to be hard. Unlike North Carolina, which will also have an open Republican seat, Ohio has not been divided 50-50 recently. For the last decade it has elected only one Democrat to statewide office--one of our heroes, Senator Sherrod …
 
It’s been almost exactly a year since the covid lockdown began – 220 million Americans have died of Covid-19, and now 90 million Americans have gotten at least one shot of the covid vaccine. We could have herd immunity in July. But Mike Davis points to the proliferation of variants of the virus and says “beware the light at the end of the covid tun…
 
What if the way to transcend our post-truth crisis is not to double-down on our Enlightenment-era relationship with truth and knowledge? What if transcending post-truth requires...a NEW Enlightenment? For years, I've been scared to share these thoughts. But I just shared them in an upcoming VPRO documentary. And I've discovered that I have intellec…
 
Chesa Boudin, the recently elected district attorney of San Francisco, talks about prisoners as parents—he grew up with parents in prison (David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin), and wrote about it for The Nation. Also: Amy Wilentz reports on the huge protests in Port-au-Prince last Sunday, the biggest in decades, and asks: Why is the Biden administration…
 
What are we going to do about the 74 million people who voted for Trump? Katha Pollitt has been thinking about that—and about proposals that we should try to find common ground with the 75 percent who have told pollsters they think Trump “definitely” or “probably” won the election. Also: Historian Eric Foner talks about Will Smith’s 6-part series o…
 
The Republicans after the second impeachment: As Mitch McConnell takes the lead in trying to purge Trump from the party, how divided are they? And how much weaker as a result? Rick Perlstein comments—he’s the author of the new book Reaganland: America's Right Turn, 1976-1980—widely regarded as the best political book of last year. Also: Biden and t…
 
John Nichols considers the arguments made by Trump’s lawyers, and by Republican Senators, that Trump is not guilty of inciting the insurrection of January 6, that he did not incite his followers to storm the capitol and attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the electoral college. Also: the implications of finding Trump…
 
Eight hundred people stormed the Capitol building on January 6, but fewer than 200 have been charged with crimes. Why so few? Elie Mystal, The Nation’s Justice correspondent, says every one of the 800 committed crimes that day and should be prosecuted. Also: For Black History Month, Gary Younge talks about Barack Obama and his memoir A Promised Lan…
 
The national death toll from covid-19 will reach half a million next month, and new strains of the virus are threatening. Joe Biden has called for what he calls “full-scale wartime effort,” including $350 million in direct funding, and now he’s aiming for 150 million vaccine doses in is first 100 days. Gregg Gonsalves comments on what Biden and Con…
 
Biden’s inauguration marked a triumph of hope over fear, says Joan Walsh. First we celebrate, and then we go to work debating what is possible and what is necessary—all the things that real people really need. The next four years will bring progressives some political frustration and some disappointments, but that will be so much better than what w…
 
As the House moves to impeach Trump—a second time—for “incitement of insurrection,” Republican support for Trump is wavering. John Nichols comments on the historic moment that is at hand. Also: Biden’s first 100 days begin January 20, and his first acts should include an executive order cancelling student debt—that’s what Astra Taylor says, she’s c…
 
Wednesday was one of the worst days in the history of American democracy—Joan Walsh comments on the Trump mob that stormed the capitol, the capitol police who didn't arrest them, the Republicans who continue to stand by Trump—and the Republicans who don't. Also: Eric Foner provides historical context for Wednesday's events in Washington, and also t…
 
Vaccine priorities: political and ethical questions about who comes first, after health care workers. Gregg Gonsalves considers the arguments—the choice is between reducing the death toll—which means giving priority to the oldest people—and keeping society functioning—which means giving priority to essential workers. And the Global South must be in…
 
A year, and a decade, of political challenges: Joan Walsh reviews the fall and rise of Kamala Harris, the return of Joe Biden, and the deepening problem posed over the last decade by white voters who now support Trump. And Amy Wilentz reviews what happened in 2020 to Ivanka, Jared, Don Junior and Eric Trump—boy did those kids get into trouble this …
 
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