This Day in Esoteric Political History – The Battle of Blair Mountain (1921)
A century ago in West Virginia, the largest labor uprising in American history began. The US government responded with aerial bombing.
What Next – What Does Haiti Actually Need?
Haiti doesn’t have bad luck but suffers from over a century of imperialism and international aid programs that rarely get money and resources to Haitians.
Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021
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
BackStory :: Oh, Bloody Hell
You ever wonder about the history of profanity in America? This podcast’s got that shit covered.
Code Switch :: When Disaster Strikes
Inequality rears its ugly head in America in many ways. Code Switch explores how disaster aid is biased in favor of white, prosperous homeowners and against poorer, people of color who rent.
WBUR CommonHealth :: New Gene Therapy Shows Promise For Patients With Sickle Cell Disease
Gene therapy at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital is working to cure sickle cell disease.
Fresh Air :: The White House And Its ‘Shadow Cabinet’ Of Fox News TV Hosts
How Fox News has becom the state media of the fascist administration in the White House.
99% Invisible :: The Known Unknown
The Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington Cemetery is meant to represent the remains of military lost in war that cannot be identified, but in the case of the Vietnam War, the remains buried there were in fact known and only slowly revealed to the family.
60 Second Science :: Warm-Blooded Animals Lost Ability to Heal the Heart
Warm-blooded animals are able to regulate body temperature thanks to Thyroid hormone, but it also prevents warm-blooded animals from being able to regenerate heart tissue.
Throughline :: American Shadows
A history of conspiracy theories in the United States going back to the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution.
Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:
The New Yorker Radio Hour :: How “The Apprentice” Made Donald Trump, and a Boondoggle in Wisconsin
“Liberal” Hollywood, and now the “liberal” media, help shape the image of the current occupant of the White House. This is something that’s pretty obvious to many of us, but it’s interesting to hear how it was done.
What’s Next :: The Gymnast Who Went Megaviral
You may have seen video of UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi’s floor routine the past week. Beyond just being a great routine, Ohashi’s performance is notable for her clear expression of joy and her teammates cheering and dancing on the sideline. Rebecca Schuman explains why the attitude of collegiate gymnastics is so different from elite gymnasts in the Olympics.
The War on Cars :: Cars Versus Guns
People were shocked to see in a recent report that gun violence is the second largest killer of children in the United States. What was overlooked is that the #1 killer of children in the United States is – and has been for a long time – car crashes. The War on Cars panelists discuss American gun culture and car culture, their many similarities, and how they both allow so many preventable deaths to occur.
Planet Money :: The First Shutdown
The United States federal government is shutdown again. Planet Money looks back in history to find the first government shutdown in 1879 as Congress fought with President Rutherford B. Hayes. The reason is shocking. Not only were former Confederates allowed to return to serving in the federal government, but enough of them were elected that they were able to take control of Congress (they were Democrats back then). And to prevent the Hayes administration from enforcing African American voting rights, they shut down the government. Just in case you ever wondered who really won the Civil War.
Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:
Re:Sound :: Tsunami Song
The true and complicated story of the Confederate anthem, “Dixie.” Also, tsunamis & migraines, and Romeo and Juliet texting in the afterlife.
Fresh Air :: Documenting Hate in America
Journalist A.C. Thompson’s investigative work into the white supremacist organizations of America.
The Truth :: Bonus: Everything is Alive
This is actually a preview of a new podcast where inanimate objects get interviewed, in this case a can of generic cola. This sounded like a one-note joke, but the story went into some very odd places.
Hub History :: Boston’s Pickwick Disaster and the Dance of Death
A building collapse at a popular Boston nightclub in 1925 causes the death of 44 people and leads moral crusaders to campaign against the dangers of dancing the Charleston.
Hit Parade :: The Feat. Don’t Fail Me Now Edition
The history of the “featured artist” credit on number one singles.
To The Best of Our Knowledge :: Jeff Kripal at the Edge of Belief
Unconventional thoughts about religion, science, and the paranormal. Not that I necessarily endorse this, but it’s interesting to hear something outside of the typical.
Back Story :: Elementary, Mr. President
Robert Bork, Benjamin Spock, and Sherlock Holmes and their ties to American history.
Planet Money :: Yes in My Backyard
The radical and controversial solution to America’s housing crisis: building new housing in existing neighborhoods!
Hit Parade :: The Deadbeat Club, Part 2
This examination of the late 80s output of the two great bands of Athens, GA – R.E.M. and B-52s – fills me with painful nostalgia.
Have You Heard? :: The Problem with Fear-Based School Reform
Do schools work better when they’re “run like a business” and teachers and administrators are forced to work in a culture of fear where they’re expected to get results or else? Or do we recognize the nurturing mission of schools and support reforms lead by educators who know the children best? And how much of so-called “education reform” is rooted in anti-labor sentiment anyway? These questions and more are discussed on “Have You Heard?”
WBUR News :: Faneuil Hall, School Assignments
Boston’s ongoing history of inequality and racism are addressed in two current stories about Faneuil Hall, a building named for a slaveholder, and the lack of quality education for the city’s most vulnerable communities.
BackStory :: The Melting Pot
Stories of assimilation of immigrants, Native Americans, and hyphenated-Americans throughout our history.
99% Invisible :: Interrobang
The story of not one but two punctuation marks!
BackStory :: Saving American History
The stories of people who save the things that make American history.
Decoder Ring :: Clown Panic
A history of clowns and how they’ve gone from funny to terrifying.
Hidden Brain :: Looking Back: Reflecting On The Past To Understand The Present
There are times when a song, book, or tv show I loved leaves me with a feeling of crippling nostalgia, so I was interested in this examination on how our brains reflect on the past.
To The Best of Our Knowledge :: Is Guilt A Wasted Emotion?
Speaking of reflecting on the past, how about an unhealthy dose of regret and guilt.
The Sounds in My Head :: “Hey, the 80’s called…”
A podcast full of current music that sounds like it was made in the 1980s. But the good New Wave sounds of the 80s, not the crumby songs that actually made the top 40 in the 80s.
HUB History :: Immigration in Boston
Present day anti-immigrant prejudice and hysteria has long historical roots as seen in these three stories from Boston history: the Sacco and Vanzetti case, Chinese tongs in Chinatown, and the destruction of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown.
Twenty Thousand Hertz :: ASMR
Oh my goodness, this podcast made my head tingle!
Hidden Brain :: Emma, Carrie, Vivian
A scary story of American eugenics, racism, and misogony. And not as far removed from today as you’d want it to be.
All Songs Considered :: At 70, Smithsonian Folkways Is An Antidote To Music Algorithms
A history of one the most important record labels.
Hit Parade :: The You Give Rock a Bad Name Edition
I’m not much a fan of “hair metal” but Chris Molanphy does a fair job of evaluating Bon Jovi’s role in pop music history even as he admits how much he hates them.
Hub History :: Tent City
In 1968, Boston residents fought to stop luxury development and parking in the South End, winning community-informed affordable housing instead. Something we need to do again.
99% Invisible :: The Laff Track
I always hated the laff track on tv sitcoms, but this show made me appreciate why it exists, how it’s done, the artistry of syncing the right laugh, and why laff tracks have vanished today.