Podcasts of the Week Ending April 24


Afropop Worldwide :: Punk in Africa

Punk is not a genre typically associated with Africa but the music of rage both personal and political has found its niche in countries dealing with imperialism, apartheid, poverty, and political corruption.

Fresh Air ::  The Social Psychologist Who Works To Reduce Harm In Policing

Regulating police behavior rather than focusing on the attitudes of individual police officers is the approach advocated by one researcher.

Radio Boston :: Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson Reunites With Birth Mother

A heart-warming story of Tito Jackson, one of my favorite Bostonians, meeting his birth mother for the first time.

What Next :: Fear and Paranoia in American Policing

Police officers are trained to be terrified by everything around them leading to their inscrutable violent actions.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021

Podcasts of the Week Ending April 3


Fresh Air :: The High Stakes Of Amazon’s ‘One-Click America’

The vote to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama and what that means for labor in America.

Planet Money ::  Socialism 101

A primer on a widely misunderstood economic theory.

Radio Boston ::  New Study Supports Suffolk DA Rollins’ Focus More On Serious, Violent Crimes

Rachael Rollins ran for and was elected as Suffolk County District Attorney promising not to prosecute many nonviolent offenses and focus on more serious crimes.  Newly released data is proving her approach to be correct.

Radiolab :: What Up, Holmes?

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes originated a metaphor for free speech as “the marketplace of ideas,” but is there a better way to conceptualize freedom of speech?

This Day in Esoteric Political History :: Three Mile Meltdown

A partial nuclear meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania was apparently not as bad as it is always made out to be.

Throughline :: Our Own People

The story of a social justice activist I’ve never heard of before, Yuri Kochiyama. A Japanese-American woman who fought for Asian American equality, Kochiyama allied herself with numerous liberation movements. She was friends was Malcolm X and held him as he died.

What Next :: Can a Highway Be Racist?

There’s a long history in the United States of working class BIPOC communities being leveled to build and enlarge highways.  The freeway revolt against this practice continues in Houston.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021

Podcasts of the Two Weeks Ending August 15


I subscribe to too many podcasts while simultaneously having less time to listen to them. Forgive the interlude as I catch you up on two weeks of podcasts.

Brattle Film Podcast :: Behind the Scenes on Boston Movies

The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge had a great series on Boston Movies and all four podcasts are worth listening to, but I particularly liked this final podcast where they interview on-set dresser Adam Roffman about the behind-the-scenes production of movies in Boston and how they’ve changed over time.

Fresh Air :: Jeffrey Toobin On The ‘Tragedy’ Of The Mueller Report

How the Democrats were out-maneuvered by the Trump administration allowing him to get away with obstruction of justice.

Radiolab :: Uncounted

An episode on voting rights focuses on the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to Congress and the movement to lower the voting age to 16.

This American Life :: Nice White Parents

A public middle school in Brooklyn with a predominately non-white student body deals with an unexpected influx of white students and the effects that of white parents involvement in the school operations.  This is the first episode of Chana Joffe-Walt’s series called Nice White Parents that is both fascinating in its exploration of the changes at one school over time and cringe-inducing by the careless and clueless behavior of white parents (and the school districts who cater to their interests).  I particularly like that Joffe-Walt asks tough questions and doesn’t let people get away without answering them.

Have You Heard :: Pandemics Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power, and Politics

Speaking of Nice White Parents, you may have heard of the latest trend of “pandemic pods” where parents pool together funds to hire a teacher or tutor to educate a small group of students at home instead of returning to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. This podcast explains the devastating effects this latest form of “white flight” will have and how it opens the doors to the worst offerings of disaster capitalists.

99% Invisible :: Policing the Open Road

A century ago, the rise of the automobile as a predominant form of transportation led to an increase of policing to enforce road rules. The changes lead to a vast increase in ordinary peoples’ interaction with the police, increased police power and professionalization, and even the loss of Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures.

Throughline :: Reframing History: The Litter Myth

In the 1950s, industry leaders organized to create Keep America Beautiful that produced public service announcements against littering. The seemingly benign ads had the effect of transferring responsibility for the environment from industries that made disposable single-use packaging to the personal responsibility of consumers. This conflict in how to deal with environmental issues persists to this day, and corporations still rely on “greenwashing” to make them look environmentally responsible.

Code Switch :: Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base

If you listen to pundits, and the Democrats 2020 presidential candidate, you might come to believe that Black Americans are a monolithic voting bloc.  This myth is dispelled in Code Switch where the diversity of opinions and conflicts even within Black families over politics are strong.

Decoder Ring :: Mystery of the Mullet

The mullet hairstyle, short in front and long in back, is worn by a diversity of people ranging from macho men in rural communities to lesbian women, from hockey players to heavy metal heads. But the Oxford English Dictionary traces the use of the term “mullet” only to 1994, surprisingly late for a hairstyle identified with the 1980s.  Willa Paskin investigates this linguistic mystery.  Personally, I never heard the term mullet until the late 1990s and had heard them called short-longs prior to mullet gaining popularity.


RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending June 20


My favorite podcasts are increasingly becoming so focused on current events that I wonder if they’ll still be relevant on Saturday, but I’m pretty sure that all of these podcasts are still “fresh.”

All Songs Considered :: New Music Friday: Run The Jewels

A deep dive into the terrific new album, RTJF, and album that speaks to a current moment of reckoning with racial discrimination and policing.

Fresh Air :: Poet Eve Ewing Connects 1919 Chicago Riots To Today

Eve Ewing found poetry in the report analyzing Chicago’s “Red Summer” and uses it to draw parallels to systemic racism that persists 100 years later.

Have You Heard :: Arrested Development: How Police Ended Up in Schools

One of the worst aspects of overpolicing in the USA is the use of police to address school discipline issues and the perpetuation of a school-to-prison pipeline. The podcast traces the history of police in schools back to the 1960s and includes some commentary from some brilliant Boston Public School students

Here & Now :: #SayHerName Campaign; The State Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

The #SayHerName Campaign brings awareness to Black women who have suffered from police killings and police brutality, who are overlooked even as the world is focused on Black Lives Matters issues.

Planet Money :: Police Unions And Police Violence

Police unions are not like other unions, as police already have powers that other workers do not, and the existence of police unions helps perpetuate police killings and police violence.

Radiolab :: Nina

The music of Nina Simone and why it resonates with our times.

What Next :: A Politician’s Brush with NYPD Abuse

New York state senator Zellnor Myrie offers his first-hand experience with police violence during protests in Brooklyn, and how it’s translating into dramatic legislative action.


Podcasts of the Week Ending June 6


Coronavirus Daily

:: The Cost Of Being “Essential”

Essential workers are suffering economically and physically as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

::A Looming Financial Meltdown For America’s Schools

The COVID-19 is exacerbating the crisis of underfunded public schools.

Fresh Air

:: Rethinking The Migration Of All Living Things

From “invasive species” to “invasions of immigrants,” the movement of living beings are frequently decried for plants, animals, and humans, but science writer Sonia Shah proposes they are following a biological need.

:: Why GOP Leaders Back Trump’s ‘Proto-Authoritarian Cult’

Trump is bringing us closer and closer to a full-fascist state and has been able to do so because Republican officials have backed him all the way even when he goes against their purported beliefs.

Memory Palace :: A Park

A history of the importance of Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, scene of Trump’s terrifying display of authoritarian violence on peaceful protesters this week.

What Next :: A History of Violent Protest

The history of structural change in America all the way back to colonial times is based on violent protest.


Podcasts of the Week Ending May 23


All Songs Considered :: Little Richard’s Life in 10 Songs

A tribute to the groundbreaking Rock n’ Roll artist through music.

Fresh Air :: Janelle Monáe

An interview with one of my favorite musicians, actors, style icons, and all around people.

The Politics of Everything :: Is Baseball Safe?

MLB is planning to return for a shortened season, but will it be safe for players, coaches, umpires, and other ballpark employees with the continuing threat of COVID-19?

Radio Boston :: As Mass. Reopens, Are You Ready To Start Riding The T Again?

Decades of disinvestment in Boston’s public transportation creates the conditions where many commuters will not feel they can safely travel while practicing social distancing.

Radiolab :: Speedy Beet

Beethoveen may have composed his music to be played at a much faster tempo leading to his music being seen in a different light.

Snap Judgment :: The Country Doctor

The story of an Islamic doctor who loves serving the community in a small Minnesota town until he learns that most of the people their voted for Trump.


Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week Ending May 2nd


Futility Closet :: Lennie Gwyther

The true story of a nine-year-old boy who made a solo 1000-km journey in 1932 to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

99% Invisible :: The Smell of Concrete After Rain

The story of mid-century, concrete architecture (Brutalism) inflicted upon our world’s cities.

What Next :: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Stimulus

The truth that everyone except conservative politicians knows to be trues.

Fresh Air :: Who’s Benefiting From The Coronavirus Economic Relief Package?

Meanwhile, those same conservative politicians are ensuring that the gravy train is pulling up to the mansions of America’s wealthiest.


 

 

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week Ending March 20


It’s been hard to keep up with my podcast listening with my normal routine disrupted and working at home with kids I can’t tune out the way I do my co-workers.  Podcasts have actually been a good source of news on the pandemic, imo, because they’re discrete, thoughtful packages of news on current events as opposed to the deadly trickle of fear and unknowing on tv.

Anyhow, here are some other things worth listening to this week:

Fresh Air :: The Case For Abolishing The Electoral College

A historical look at how the US elects the President, why states have chosen a winner-takes-all model, and why it’s logical to reform the election to represent the popular vote.

Science Talk :: David Quammen: How Animal Infections Spill Over to Humans

An interview from 2012 about how infectious disease jumps from other animal species to humans and how that makes it difficult to eliminate those diseases.  Lots of fascinating facts including the first transmission of HIV from chimpanzee to human in Cameroon way back in 1908!

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: The Last Man to Know It All

Prussian scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt had a huge influence on how Americans relate to their natural environment and inspired the origin of National Parks.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week Ending February 29th


Radio Boston :: School Choice: A Push For Reform Or A Disruption Movement?

Education historians Diane Ravitch and Jack Schneider discuss three decades of flawed “education reform” and what should be done instead to provide equitable public education.

Fresh Air :: The Supreme Court’s Battle For A ‘More Unjust’ America

The Supreme Court is  not supposed to be a partisan organization but since the Nixon presidency, it has taken sides with corporations and the wealthy against the poorest and most vulnerable Americans.

Throughline :: The Invisible Border

A history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the agreement that brought a fragile peace to the region, and how Brexit may undo 20 years of progress.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020

Podcasts of the Week Ending January 18


Best of the Left :: A Look Back at 2010

A retrospective view of the news events of ten years ago, with some interesting perspectives of hindsight.

Fresh Air :: The Murderous Coup of 1898

Another event from history I’d never heard of before.  Wilmington, NC in the 1890s was relatively integrated for the time with Black leaders in city government until white supremacists organized to overthrow the government.

Hidden Brain :: Emotional Currency: How Money Shapes Human Relationships

An anthropological approach to money as an element of human relationships.

Throughline :: Everybody Knows Somebody

A history of the Violence Against Women Act from the 1980s to today.

What Next :: Australia’s Fires and the Upside of Anger

Responding to climate change, not with sadness, but with anger, which can ultimately lead to hope for the future.

 

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Appearances in 2020