Category Archives: Podcast

Politics Book Reviews: Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America & Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution

It would be easy to think that those who we elect to speak for our needs in the halls of power are doing their jobs. A deeper dive reveals a lust for power, the need for influence to fill one own pocket, and the lack of care/responsibility to those who put them in office.

Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America, by Dan Pfeiffer, was published last month. In short, it describes how both the carelessness of the social media companies and a right-wing conspiracy nearly led to the annihilation of this nation and our democracy. He also talks about how we can fight back and stop the lies before they destroy us.

Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution, by Elie Mystal, was published in March. Mystal takes the legalese out of the Constitution and explains them in a way that anyone would understand. Complete with pop culture references and the occasional f-bomb, Mystal points out what is wrong with the law (i.e. racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ sentiment, etc), and how we can prevent the white patriarchy from dragging us back into the past.

What we need right now are two things: hope and a kick in the behind. These books provide both. By writing laymen’s terms, both Pfeiffer and Mystal are giving the average citizens the tools we need to fight against the growing threats of theocracy and fascism.

Do I recommend them both? Absolutely.

Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America and Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution are available wherever books are sold.

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Hot and Bothered Podcast Review

The thing about a book like Pride and Prejudice is that with every reading, there is something new to discover.

The new season of the podcast Hot and Bothered is about Pride and Prejudice. Specifically, the romantic aspect of the narrative. Subtitled Live from Pemberley, hosts Vanessa Zoltan and Lauren Sandler dive into Jane Austen‘s most famous novel in bites of two chapters per episode. Reading from the text and interviewing experts whose work is related to the novel, they explore how the wider world of the time contributed to the book as a whole.

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A friend recommended this podcast and I am so glad she did. Both Zoltan and Sandler nerd out in a way that I would expect them to, but not so much that it alienates those who have not memorized every tiny detail of the story. I laughed, I learned, and best of all, I smiled.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Hot and Bothered are released every other Friday on various platforms.

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Podcast, Podcast Review, Pride and Prejudice

The Shooting in Buffalo is a Shit Storm of Everything That is Wrong With This Country

Saturday morning started as out as a normal day. For the residents of Buffalo in upstate NY, it became a day marked by grief and horror. A gunman walked into a grocery store and started shooting. By the time he was apprehended, ten people were dead, and three were injured.

The accused (whose name will not be mentioned on this blog) is an eighteen-year-old Caucasian boy. According to the police, his intention was to murder as many African-Americans as he could. Only two of the victims were not POC. Upon further digging, law enforcement officials discovered a manifesto in which he also believed the antisemitic bullshit.

To make matter worse, he had previous mental health issues and was able to evade the laws that prevented him from legally buying a firearm. If that was not enough, he lived streamed the massacre. As much as I appreciate the upsides of social media, the companies that run these platforms have some serious work and soul searching to do.

Everything that is wrong with this country is represented by the event on Saturday and the person accused of perpetrating it. There are many who would have no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms, but they will do everything in their power to control a woman’s/pregnant person’s body and their right to choose if/when they become a parent. They also turn a blind eye to the hate coming out of the right-wing press and the politicians who prefer power over respecting democracy, political norms, and the rule of law.

I don’t know what it is going to take to shake us out of this dream world that we live in. I fear that when we do, it will be too late.

May the memories of those killed on Saturday be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. There were five mass shootings across the country this past weekend. How many people are going to die before we do something about this once and for all?

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, National News, Podcast, Politics, WNYC

Words I Thought I Would Never Say: I Agree With Bill de Blasio

It takes an adult to admit when they are wrong. It also takes an adult to be able to criticize your peers in a way that is meant is meant to be helpful and thoughtful without veering into cruelty or making the other person feel small.

On Friday, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was a guest on WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show. The reason for his appearance was an article he wrote in The Atlantic magazine. Both in the article and during the interview, he discussed what he did wrong during his time in office and how the Democrats can learn from his mistakes.

De Blasio is 100% correct. If we are to ensure that the Democratic party wins in 2022, 2024, and beyond, they have to speak plainly. From the President on down, they have to state clearly what they have done for the people of this country and what they would like to do. The time for pussyfooting around and playing nice is over.

While he was in office, I wrote quite a few posts about the man. Like many who live here, I had an intense dislike for his politics and the decisions he made as Mayor. I even went so far as to vote Republican when he ran for the second time. That being said, I can respect someone who publicly recognizes their imperfections and wants to prevent another person from making the errors they made.

I can only hope that his advice will be heeded.

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Filed under National News, New York City, Podcast, Politics, WNYC

Flashback Friday: Radiolab (2002-Present)

It has been said that curiosity killed the cat. But it also leads us to ask questions and perhaps create a better world from those questions.

The NPR and WNYC podcast, Radiolab, has been on the air since 2002. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser, this show uses curiosity as a launching pad for an in-depth examination of various subjects such as science, news, and history. Known for adding both sounds and music, each takes the viewer in a direction that could be both surprising and educational.

Though I don’t regularly listen to this podcast, they sometimes have interesting episodes. What I do appreciate is the unorthodox approach that is taken in both the topic and their approach to the topic.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

New episodes of Radiolab are released every Sunday.

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Our Greatest Fears Have Come to Pass: Roe V. Wade is About to be Overturned

Last night, a figurative bomb was dropped on the nation.

A draft of a Supreme Court ruling was released. A majority of the justices have voted to overturn Roe V. Wade. Though this is only a draft and not the final decision, it is enough to raise alarm bells.

Most Americans support a woman/pregnant person’s right to make their own decisions about their bodies and their future. The minority who would ban the procedure in all forms do not care about their fellow citizens. They only care about pushing their belief on the rest of us, whether we like it or not.

I am going to end this post with a video from the MeidasTouch podcast. Gilead is no longer fiction, it is becoming our reality.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Hulu, National News, Podcast, Politics, Television

Will Be Wild Podcast Review

The thing about news and politics is that both are ever-present in our lives. As much as we want to get away from them, we can’t.

The new eight-part podcast, Will Be Wild, is a follow-up to the WNYC podcast, Trump Inc. Hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz dive into what led to January 6th and its repercussions. Using sources from different backgrounds and perspectives, Bernstein and Marritz explore the potential lasting damage and those that would overturn our democracy for the sake of power.

The podcast is amazing and so important to listen to. It once more reveals how corrupt many politicians are and how willing they are to put their own needs ahead of the people they work for and represent.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Will Be Wild are released every Monday.

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Republican Fuckery Part III: Will Hurd on Abortion, Frank Niceley on Hitler and the Homeless, Tucker Carlson’s Balls, and Paul Schroder

In an ideal world, we would all agree on everything. But we don’t live in an ideal world. However, that does not mean that in the halls of power, one party has to do all the work and the other can just complain all day.

Last Monday, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd was on The Brian Lehrer Show. When asked about abortion, he said the following:

I am pro-life and I think the time at which how many weeks into a birth you should limit. I think there is where Texas falls I am supportive of. I also think both sides of the argument should be looking and making sure, how do we prevent a young woman or any woman from having to get in this situation? I think working on the front end of this issue is where both sides of individuals can be working together.

While the Congressman has a right to his opinion and sounds more reasonable than many on the right, he is still seeing this issue in black and white instead of in color. An episode from the podcast The Experiment which originally premiered last December explains why we need to look at abortion from an honest perspective.

Meanwhile, also within the Lone State’s borders, there is a voice of reason: Paul Schroder. He spoke truth to power on Governor Greg Abbott‘s attempt to limit the number of trucks coming into the state. Instead of helping the country, they are once more hurting us. Thanks, Republicans.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, State Senator Frank Niceley made the following statement:

“Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced oratory and his body language and how to connect with the masses, and then went on to lead a life that got him into history books,” he said.

“So a lot of these people, it’s not a dead end. They can come out of this, these homeless camps and have a productive life, or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life,” he continued. “I support this bill.”

I think we can all agree that homelessness is a major problem that has been bandied around for decades without a reasonable resolution. But the choice of using a homicidal dictator who started a war and was responsible for the deaths of millions of people as an example was not a wise decision.

And finally, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has made his personal crusade the restoration of American masculinity. How you ask? Testicle tanning. I shit you not.

(Starts at 4:15.)

Just another day of Republican fuckery in the United States.

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Filed under Feminism, History, National News, Podcast, Politics, Television, WNYC

The Ex Talk Book Review

The hate-to-love narrative within the romance genre is a delicious one for both the writer(s) and the audience. It has the potential to set the story on fire and bring the audience along for a roller coaster of a ride.

Rachel Lynn Solomon‘s novel, The Ex Talk, was published in early 2021. Shay Goldstein has spent the last ten years climbing up the career ladder at her local NPR station in Portland, Oregon. Dominic Yun is fresh out of grad school and throwing his degree around as if it were a frisbee. Their initial relationship is as compatible as oil and water.

When the station manager announces layoffs due to a downturn in revenue, Shay comes up with an idea to save the station and everyone’s jobs. Her boss quickly gives the go-ahead. The new program is called The Ex Talk. Two people who are no longer together will give advice about life and love. Instead of choosing two real-life exes, Shay and Dominic pretend that they were once a couple. In spite of their mutual dislike, they agree to the deception.

The podcast soon becomes a hit. As Shay and Dominic go along with the story, they start to understand and fall for one another. But there is a growing suspicion that it is nothing more than an act. When the other shoe falls, where will Shay and Dominic land?

I loved this book. It is cute, charming, and gets the heart fluttering. Solomon’s writing is easy to read and quickly engrosses the reader. I found myself swept away on a tidal wave of a story that was is absolutely one of the best romance novels I’ve read in a long time.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Ex Talk is available wherever books are sold.

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Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington Book Review

During any major election season, there will always be promises made that may or may not come to fruition once that person is sworn in.

During the 2016 Presidential election, a certain person claimed that he would “drain the swamp” once he took office. As we all know, the exact opposite happened. In their 2020 book, Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington, journalists Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng (co-host of the Fever Dreams podcast) take figurative deep dive into the self-made muck and mess that existed while you know who was President. In the book, they reveal an unfortunately recognizable list of people who joined the administration for personal gain, to spread conspiracy theories, or other reasons that are far from altruistic.

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What I found unnerving was that he who shall not be named allowed this to happen. Whether motivated by greed, not giving a shit, or easily taken in by a smooth talker, he opened the door to nearly destroying this country. For me. it is just another reminder of how close we can to losing our democracy.

My only complaint is that it is a little slow in the beginning. But when it starts to get good, that’s when I was hooked.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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