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Today Explained Podcast by Sean Rameswaram

Today Explained Podcast

by Sean Rameswaram

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Led by Sean Rameswaram, Today, Explained brings together Vox Media's team of explainers to break down the news into a 20 minute, daily podcast released every afternoon. With each episode, Rameswaram tries to simplify what's happening in world affairs, domestic politics, cultural trends and more. This podcast is comparable to the New York Times Daily Podcast, and serves as a nice complement to round out your daily news intake, and get your head around the most important issues of the week.


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  • 2,000
    Mon, Jun 18, 2018


    That’s how many kids have been separated from their parents at border crossings over a six-week span since the Trump administration’s new zero tolerance policy took effect in April. CBS’s David Begnaud tours a holding facility in Texas. Then Vox’s Dara Lind explains why some conservatives are denouncing Trump’s new policy.

  • Little summer vampires
    Fri, Jun 15, 2018


    Tiny blood-sucking Lyme-disease-carrying ticks are out to ruin your summer. Since 1991, Lyme disease has doubled in the United States due to a variety of factors, including global warming and suburbanization. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains how to avoid ticks and, if worse comes to worst, deal with Lyme disease.

  • Mo Salah will make you care about soccer
    Thu, Jun 14, 2018


    The World Cup kicks off today. Looking for a country to cheer for? Consider Egypt. The team might not be the most storied or stacked, but it’s got Mohamed Salah. The New York Times’ chief soccer correspondent Rory Smith explains how the Muslim player who prays after every goal (and there are many) has the potential to transcend xenophobia, Islamophobia, and run-of-the-mill racism on the road to Russia.

  • The Sessions Doctrine
    Wed, Jun 13, 2018


    On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it harder for Central Americans fleeing gang violence or women escaping domestic violence to gain asylum in the United States. This comes after the Trump administration made a practice of separating families who have entered the country illegally. Vox’s Dara Lind explains how U.S. immigration policy is dramatically shifting.

  • How do you solve a problem like Korea?
    Tue, Jun 12, 2018


    Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un made history today. Or did they? NPR’s Elise Hu was there. She explains what happened and what didn’t. Plus, The New Yorker’s Robin Wright recounts United States summit history. She says there are two keys to a successful summit, and Singapore's meeting lacked both.

  • Will work for healthcare
    Mon, Jun 11, 2018


    Good news for poor Americans: Medicaid is expanding in several states. Bad news for poor Americans: Medicaid is expanding in several states with work requirements. How do poor people who can’t find work prove that they’re working to qualify for Medicaid? Vox’s Sarah Kliff explains this is an experiment that’s never been tried before.

  • Riding in cars without boys
    Fri, Jun 08, 2018


    This week, the Saudi government issued driver’s licenses to women for the first time in the country’s history. But London School of Economics professor Madawi al Rasheed says Saudi women are hardly even people under the law. She explains what life is like for women in Saudi Arabia, and Vox’s Jenn Williams tells Sean Rameswaram about the Saudi prince who says he wants reform.

  • You're tariffing us apart
    Thu, Jun 07, 2018


    North America isn't getting along anymore. Canada's Prime Minister is having testy phone calls with President Trump about the War of 1812. Mexico has slapped the United States with a $3 billion dollar tax bill. It all comes down to steel. Today, U.S. senators from both aisles announced new attempts to curb the president's tariffs power. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains how steel sparked a trade war.

  • Pardon me
    Wed, Jun 06, 2018


    Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Scooter Libby. Dinesh D'Souza. So far, none of President Donald Trump’s pardons have had anything to do with his administration, but many believe he is flexing this particular muscle for an audience of one: Robert Mueller. Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains why the president is dropping hints about pardoning himself and how American democracy may soon be tested.

  • When your president acts like a dictator
    Tue, Jun 05, 2018


    Nicaragua is spiraling into a state of national catastrophe, as clashes between police and student protesters over the past two months have left more than 100 dead. Reuters' Delphine Schrank explains why much of that anger is aimed towards President Daniel Ortega, who critics say is acting more and more like the dictator he helped kick out.

  • You can't have your cake
    Mon, Jun 04, 2018


    Today the Supreme Court issued a decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, or as it’s colloquially known, the “gay cake” case. The 7-2 ruling sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. Most experts say the justices failed to make any rulings on same-sex rights versus religious freedoms, and The New York Times Magazine’s Emily Bazelon says that’s just the top layer.

  • 2 Big 2 Fail
    Fri, Jun 01, 2018


    Congress is rolling back the bank regulations implemented after the 2008 financial crisis. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains why, and what it means for the country’s financial future.

  • Why does everyone hate George Soros?
    Thu, May 31, 2018


    There are three things you need to know about George Soros:

    1) You’re pronouncing his name wrong.

    2) He’s richer than rich.

    3) He’s one of the most hated people in the world.

    Roseanne tweeted that the Holocaust survivor was a Nazi on Tuesday, and Hungary is currently trying to pass legislation that would ban him. Foreign Policy’s Emily Tamkin explains how the financier-philanthropist came to have so many haters even though he gives away his money to the poor.

  • Roseanne gets canned
    Wed, May 30, 2018


    ABC canceled the popular reboot of Roseanne after its star likened President Obama’s former advisor, an African-American woman, to an ape on Twitter. Today, Roseanne Barr blamed her tweets on Ambien. The manufacturer responded that “racism is not a known side effect.” Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff explores why the Trump-era reboot was so well received, and whether TV can bring opposite poles of the American political spectrum together.

    ********************************************

    Big news: A Harvard study says over 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria - a far cry from the official estimate of 64. Listen to our explainer on how things got so bad in Puerto Rico: http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/75841e00-a9cd-4031-9d47-43d522b64a2c

  • We've updated our privacy policy
    Tue, May 29, 2018


    You know those privacy policy emails flooding your inbox lately? Turns out those are thanks to the European Union’s crackdown on websites that collect your personal data. The Verge’s Russell Brandom explains the regulation known as the GDPR and why Europe seems to care about your security more than America.

    *******************************************

    Ireland passed a historic referendum over the weekend, voting to legalize abortion. You can hear about one of the strictest abortion bans in the world in our episode here: http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/e66e8aca-b398-46a8-8468-8ffb3f823184

  • The poorest rich country in the world
    Fri, May 25, 2018


    Venezuela has been crippled by poverty, starvation, five-figure inflation, and on Sunday, an election that many countries didn’t recognize as legit. Bloomberg’s Patricia Laya shares reactions to Nicol?s Maduro’s new term from her base in Caracas before NYU’s Alejandro Velasco explains how having the most oil in the world got Venezuela into all this trouble.

  • We'll never have Singapore
    Thu, May 24, 2018


    President Trump cancelled his historic Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today. The announcement comes after a North Korean official called Vice President Pence “ignorant and stupid” for likening their country to Libya, which crumbled after it gave up its nuclear program. Vox’s Alex Ward explains what went wrong and why war is back on the table.

  • Kneecapped
    Wed, May 23, 2018


    Today the National Football League released a statement saying players will be fined if they kneel during the national anthem. It’s the ultimate response to a protest that began with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, and became a cause c?l?bre for President Trump. SB Nation’s Tyler Tynes explains the significance of this moment.

  • Arbitration Nation
    Tue, May 22, 2018


    The Supreme Court may have taken away your ability to file a class action lawsuit against your employer. In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the Court decided that workers who signed contracts with arbitration clauses aren’t allowed to band together and sue their employers. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern says the ruling is just the latest setback to tens of millions of American workers.

  • Ireland's great divide
    Mon, May 21, 2018


    This Friday, Ireland holds a historic vote that could overturn one of the strictest abortion policies in the world. The race is razor-tight: Facebook and Google have banned foreign political ads, U2 has weighed in, and there's been a massive uptick in voter registration. Sarah Bardon from The Irish Times explains the history and the magnitude of this moment.

  • A cynic's guide to the royal wedding
    Fri, May 18, 2018


    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have heard that there’s a royal wedding happening this Saturday. (Even Sean’s mom is tuning in!) England’s Prince Harry is set to wed American actress Meghan Markle with great fanfare, to the ballpark cost of $43 million. Kristen Meinzer, co-host of the When Meghan met Harry podcast, tells Sean why he should care.

    **************************************************************

    For more info on how British royals plan a wedding, check out Vox Video here: http://youtu.be/jNTyQPUoFHs

  • Go ahead. Legalize it.
    Thu, May 17, 2018


    This week, the Supreme Court of the United States fundamentally changed... sports. It struck down a 1992 law that prevented states from legalizing sports gambling. Now, New Jersey is at the head of a long line of states looking to allow their citizens to bet it all on the home team. New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon takes us to Court and The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis explains how this might change professional sports.

  • Hawaii versus the volcano
    Wed, May 16, 2018


    Explosions are ramping up on Hawaii’s Big Island this week, as the Kilauea volcano continues to spew lava and blow a 12,000-foot plume of ash into the air. The volcanic gas and lava have already destroyed 25 homes and prompted the evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents. Vox’s Umair Irfan shares the latest news and explains why we choose to live next to exploding mountains.

  • What you need to know about Gaza
    Tue, May 15, 2018


    Sixty Palestinians were killed at the Israel-Gaza border yesterday, the day the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Vox’s Yochi Dreazen breaks down the conflict, the history, and whether there’s a way forward.

  • Jordan Peterson explains himself
    Mon, May 14, 2018


    Jordan Peterson has gone from being an obscure Canadian academic to a kind of political rock star for the right. Overnight. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp unpacks Peterson’s controversial ideology and explains how the clinical psychologist gained a following of millions. Then, Sean Rameswaram gives Peterson a call and asks him to explain himself.

  • #MeToo's big betrayal
    Fri, May 11, 2018


    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned Monday after four women accused him of physical assault. The news was a rough blow to the #MeToo movement, where Schneiderman was aiding an investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Today news broke that President Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen were informed of the assault allegations years ago - around the time that Schneiderman and Trump were entangled in a legal battle over Trump University. The lawyer who told Cohen about the alleged abuse later said, “I realized… [Cohen] may want to use that information against his adversary.” Vox’s Anna North take us inside the story of Eric Schneiderman and its impact on #MeToo.

  • Dial C for Cohen
    Thu, May 10, 2018


    Stormy D, AT&T, and nine Faberg? eggs. The investigation into the president’s personal lawyer keeps getting more colorful. This week, it was confirmed that a shell company set up by Michael Cohen received payments from AT&T as well as a company linked to a Russian oligarch with a soft spot for jeweled eggs. Vox’s Andrew Prokop follows the money in a shade of Today, Explained noir.

  • No deal!
    Wed, May 09, 2018


    President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Everyone else - including France, Russia, China, even Iran - has insisted on staying in. Vox’s Yochi Dreazen explains the implications of Trump’s move, from a spike in your summer gas prices to nuclear war in the Middle East.

    ****************************************

    When Trump quit the Iran deal, he ended years of diplomacy in a few moments. Vox Video explains how we got here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-mwFoev3OQ

  • "We tortured some folks"
    Tue, May 08, 2018


    Tomorrow is the Senate confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the C.I.A. The 33-year veteran of the organization would be its first female director, but standing in her way are reports of her involvement in torture programs and secret prisons after September 11. Vox’s Jenn Williams explains Haspel’s shadowy history, and why she almost backed out of her nomination.

  • This is America
    Mon, May 07, 2018


    The NRA announced a new president today: Fox News contributor and Iran-Contra alum Oliver North. The news caps a big weekend for the organization. Tens of thousands of Americans (including President Trump) descended on Dallas for the National Rifle Association’s 147th annual meeting. Vox’s German Lopez explains how our national gunfight has and hasn’t changed since the Parkland shooting, and a longtime gun owner explains why he sawed his AR-15 in half.

  • The $5,751 ice pack
    Fri, May 04, 2018


    Imagine a world where a Band-Aid costs $629. Bad news: you live in that world. Vox’s Sarah Kliff explains how American hospitals tack on “facility fees” to cover their expansive costs. Then, a Kentucky doctor gives us his perspective on those costs from inside the ER.


    To find out more about Sarah Kliff’s reporting on ER bills (or how to submit your own bill), head to erbills.vox.com. You can check out her podcast The Impact here



  • Too Juul for school
    Thu, May 03, 2018


    On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to 13 companies that appear to market their vaping products directly to kids. E-cigarettes are a gangbuster business but one device, the sleekly-designed Juul, has really captured the attention of underage teens. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains the hype, and what most teens don’t know about the Juul.

  • Nowhere to go
    Wed, May 02, 2018


    Forty-nine Central Americans seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border were granted entry today. They're part of a caravan of around 200 migrants who arrived Sunday and camped in the rain, after traveling 2,000 miles and fleeing gang violence and other dangers in their home countries. Vox’s Dara Lind explains the long road facing asylum seekers, who still might not be able to stay.


    **************************************

    Cambridge Analytica announced it was shutting down today. We explained how that company acquired data from millions of Facebook profiles with the hope of manipulating voting behavior in our March 21 episode:

    http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/a0f6735f-2df0-4277-b65e-ff3710dc1d08

  • Golden State Killer opens Pandora's box
    Tue, May 01, 2018


    After 40 years, police say they have finally caught the Golden State Killer, a man responsible for at least 12 murders, 50 rapes, and 100 break-ins in the 1970’s and ’80s. They found him using a genealogy site -- a relative uploaded DNA and unwittingly provided the missing link. Vox’s Aja Romano narrates the killer’s grisly reign of terror across California, and lawyer Steven Mercer explains why the DNA methods police used set a dangerous precedent for the rest of us.

    *********************************

    New steel tariffs were supposed to go into effect overnight, but the White House extended them by another 30 days. For more on the tariffs and why they won’t make the United States any more popular in Canada, Mexico and Europe, check out our March 6th episode “What’s the Deal with Steel” here:

    http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/eb487386-3786-4bb3-ad4c-ee6e5f0acd44

  • There's something about Sean
    Mon, Apr 30, 2018


    Sean Hannity is curiously close to President Donald Trump — so close that some say he may as well have a desk in the Oval Office. In recent weeks, the Fox News host has gone from covering the news to being in the headlines. Nicole Hemmer, author of “Messengers of the Right,” explains how the man near the top of the conservative media’s totem pole might influence the president.

  • Just call us "Korea"
    Fri, Apr 27, 2018


    For the first time in history, the leader of North Korea took a trip to South Korea today. Kim Jong Un met with President Moon Jae-in to talk unification and denuclearization over some cold noodles. NPR’s Elise Hu was there. She tells Sean Rameswaram what transpired before Vox’s Alex Ward explains whether this truly means the end of a nearly 70-year conflict.


    ********************************

    Watch the Vox Video of leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un's joint statement committing to denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula here: http://www.facebook.com/Vox/videos/882052531982350/

  • Oh, SNAP!
    Thu, Apr 26, 2018


    Next up on the chopping block? Food stamps or SNAP as it’s now known. A new farm bill, fresh out of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, could force over two million people off the program. Vox’s Tara Golshan explains why Republicans want to put SNAP recipients to work, and Stacy Dean from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities talks about the program’s bipartisan past.


    ************************************

    Today (April 27), a jury found Bill Cosby guilty on all counts of drugging and molesting a woman. It’s actually the second time Cosby’s been tried on these same counts. We recently asked if Cosby’s accusers would be heard differently post-#MeToo.

    You can hear that episode here:

    http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/5f3a10a5-5dfd-4909-9ce6-6de999f8c06a

  • Don't drink the water
    Wed, Apr 25, 2018


    Four years ago today, Flint, Michigan switched water supplies to save a few million dollars. To date, that decision has cost over $400 million. Governor Rick Snyder says Flint’s water is finally safe again, but residents remain skeptical — they’re marching today in protest. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith explains what exactly happened in Flint and whether the city will ever regain the trust of its residents.

  • SEE YOU IN COURT
    Tue, Apr 24, 2018


    The Supreme Court wraps up its term with a bang tomorrow: Trump v. Hawaii, the travel ban case. The Court will hear arguments on whether the ban exceeds the president’s powers under federal immigration law, and whether it violates the establishment clause (unfairly targeting Muslims). Also at issue, the president's tweets. The nine justices will consider whether Donald Trump's tweets and retweets reveal intentions different from what's on paper.

  • Too little, too latte?
    Mon, Apr 23, 2018


    On May 29th, Starbucks will shut 8,000 locations and lose millions of dollars to provide racial bias training for employees. The training comes after the arrest of two black men, who were waiting in the store for a business meeting, prompted nationwide outrage. Alexis McGill Johnson runs trainings for Perception Institute. She schools Sean Rameswaram in how they work, how our brains are biased, and whether people can break these biases down.

  • Yes we cannabis
    Fri, Apr 20, 2018


    Today Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a plan to decriminalize marijuana federally. But the debate over legalization rages on at the local level. Sean Rameswaram speaks with a Massachusetts mayor who wants marijuana to fund schools, and a D.C. pot entrepreneur who’s finding a way around the city’s ban on sales. Afterwards, a discussion about marijuana reparations.

  • "I don't get confused"
    Thu, Apr 19, 2018


    Nikki Haley has had a rough week. On Sunday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations announced sanctions against Russia. On Monday, the White House said there would be no sanctions. Then, the president’s economic advisor said Haley was simply “confused.” Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains how Ambassador Haley punched back and why this isn’t the best look for the country.

  • Congress just broke the Internet
    Wed, Apr 18, 2018


    Donald Trump signed FOSTA into law a week ago today. The “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” looks good on paper, but Vox’s Aja Romano says it alters fundamental freedoms online. Plus Alex Levy, a Notre Dame Law School professor, says it won’t do much to curb sex trafficking, either.

  • The $43,000 phone booth
    Tue, Apr 17, 2018


    Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is facing a host of new scandals: a $43,000 soundproof phone booth, a security detail to Disneyland, and even using a siren on his car to get to a restaurant faster. But Vox’s Umair Irfan says that behind these controversies, Pruitt’s EPA has been one of the most consequential government agencies in the Trump administration.

  • Why did the U.S. just bomb Syria?
    Mon, Apr 16, 2018


    President Trump and United States allies bombed chemical weapons facilities in Syria on Friday. The attacks came in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own people. Vox’s Alex Ward explains why the United States escalated its involvement and why the world sees chemical weapons differently from conventional ones.


    ***********************

    For an explainer on how Syria got here, check out our previous episode "It's never too late to understand the war in Syria":

    http://art19.com/shows/today-explained/episodes/d2c4b553-b2e5-4549-85e3-2de05a45064e


  • Mile-high mutiny
    Fri, Apr 13, 2018


    When its corporate owner introduced new budget cuts and layoffs, journalists at The Denver Post decided to fight back. They ran a front-page editorial calling the owners “vulture capitalists”. Chuck Plunkett led the secret revolt, and tells Sean Rameswaram why he picked a fight with the brass. Kate Knibbs of The Ringer then explains why hedge funds and billionaires are bad for local news.

  • He said, she said, she said, she said....
    Thu, Apr 12, 2018


    Today is Day 4 of Bill Cosby’s retrial. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but this time things are different. Five new women are testifying, accusing Cosby of sexual assault. Vox’s Jen Kirby offers the latest, and Vox’s Laura McGann explains why Cosby’s retrial could be a game changer in the wake of #metoo.

  • The raid
    Wed, Apr 11, 2018


    President Trump today called the raid on the office of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen “unthinkable.” Vox’s Zachary Fryer-Biggs explains what the FBI was looking for, and Vox’s Andrew Prokop reveals Cohen’s complicated past.

  • What's my wage again?
    Tue, Apr 10, 2018


    Today is Equal Pay Day. Vox’s Sarah Kliff reveals the real reason why working women earn about 82% as much as men. Then Valerie Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute explains why things get a lot more complicated when race comes into play.

  • 1, 2, 3, 4... I declare a trade war
    Mon, Apr 09, 2018


    President Trump said he would “always be friends” with China’s leader, but the two countries have been acting anything but these past few days. First, the U.S. slapped China with $50 billion in tariffs. Then, China retaliated with $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, like soybeans and airplanes. Now, the U.S. has replied with $100 billion more. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains why this could escalate to a trade war, and really hurt Trump’s base.

  • It’s never too late to understand the war in Syria
    Fri, Apr 06, 2018


    President Trump announced this week he wants to withdraw US troops from Syria over the next six months. The country’s civil war has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced around 13 million. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains how an uprising led to what the United Nations calls “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

  • They're not gonna take it
    Thu, Apr 05, 2018


    The West Virginia teacher strike has ended, but walkouts are just getting started in Kentucky and Oklahoma, where lawmakers are scrambling to pass bills that would supplement school funding. Vox’s Alexia Fern?ndez Campbell explains why public school teachers are mad as hell.

  • 20 shots and a cell phone
    Wed, Apr 04, 2018


    289. That’s the number of people who have been shot and killed by police in 2018 alone. One of them was Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man from Sacramento. His death sparked a wave of protests and renewed scrutiny of the police. But less than one percent of those fatal police shootings result in charges. The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery explains why convictions are even fewer, and what it’s going to take to reduce fatal police shootings.

  • Mark Zuckerberg Explains Himself
    Tue, Apr 03, 2018


    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seldom gives interviews, but in the wake of the massive Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, he made an exception to speak with Vox’s Ezra Klein. Mark tells Ezra why he’s hopeful about Facebook’s future before privacy advocate Marc Rotenberg tells Sean Rameswaram why he’s not.

  • Gerrymandering 101
    Mon, Apr 02, 2018


    The Supreme Court is currently deliberating two cases that could reshape the entire country’s political maps. At issue is partisan gerrymandering—the practice of drawing districts that benefit one party over another. Dave Daley, author of "Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn't Count," tells Sean Rameswaram why gerrymandering today is the worst it's ever been.

  • Quitting the Border Patrol
    Fri, Mar 30, 2018


    Mexican-American Francisco Cant? never expected to become a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. But for nearly four years, Cant? both detained and rescued migrants stranded in the desert. He tells Sean Rameswaram about his experiences policing a border his own grandfather illegally crossed.

  • Chief Wahoo Strikes Out
    Thu, Mar 29, 2018


    It’s Opening Day — peanuts, cracker jack, and for some, racism. Sundance, a Native American activist, has been protesting the Cleveland Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo, for years. The team recently announced it would be removing the caricature from its uniforms, but Sundance tells Sean Rameswaram that his fight is long from over.

  • The New Abortion Wars
    Wed, Mar 28, 2018


    Kentucky just joined a wave of states attempting to severely limit when a woman can terminate her pregnancy. Vox’s Anna North surveys the growing restrictions on women’s reproduction under the Trump administration, and explains why the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade might once again be in jeopardy.

  • Bolton's Back
    Tue, Mar 27, 2018


    President Trump announced John Bolton will be his new National Security Advisor just as the White House prepares for historic talks with North Korea. Just last month, Bolton called for pre-emptive strikes on North Korea. In 2015, he endorsed war with Iran. Vox's Zack Beauchamp tells Sean Rameswaram about Bolton's controversial background and what it means to have a hawkish advisor seated next to the president.

  • The Survivors
    Mon, Mar 26, 2018


    Dantrell Blake traveled from Chicago to Washington, D.C., to join hundreds of thousands for the March of Our Lives on Saturday. Sean Rameswaram spent the day with the survivor of gun violence to find out why he needed to see the march for himself. Also, a Columbine survivor advises a Parkland survivor how to deal with life after a mass shooting.

  • Flagrant Foul
    Fri, Mar 23, 2018


    The FBI is investigating over twenty colleges for paying athletes under the table, reigniting the age-old debate: Should college athletes be formally paid? Sean Rameswaram talks to former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and The Nation’s Dave Zirin, who says a lot of this conversation comes down to race.

  • Me Too, Mr. Trump
    Thu, Mar 22, 2018


    A judge gave the green light this week for a woman to sue President Trump for defamation. Summer Zervos claims Donald Trump sexually assaulted her; he called her a liar. Vox’s Laura McGann explains why this might change the game for other Trump accusers, and Jessica Leeds recalls sitting next to Trump on a plane.

  • Cambridge Analytica
    Wed, Mar 21, 2018


    Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted the social media giant “made mistakes” in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and vowed to fix them. The UK-based company improperly acquired the data of some 50 million Facebook users, and revealed how easily our info can be sold to third parties without our knowledge. Recode’s Kurt Wagner explains, then ProPublica’s Julia Angwin talks about the endgame: brainwashing the masses.

  • It's Been Six Months
    Tue, Mar 20, 2018


    Today is the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Maria, one of the worst natural disasters in American history. But Puerto Rico remains without fully-restored power or an exact idea of how many people died because of the storm. Latino USA’s Julio Ricardo Varela looks at the recovery and explains the real reason it’s taking so long.

  • One Man vs. InfoWars
    Mon, Mar 19, 2018


    The white nationalist rally in Charlottesville sparked outrage when a driver barreled through the crowd, killing one woman and injuring more than 30. Brennan Gilmore filmed it, and everyone saw his video. Then came the conspiracies, backlash, and death threats. Now, Gilmore is fighting back. He’s taking InfoWars' Alex Jones to court. Can a victim of conspiracy theories take down the king of conspiracy theories? Sean Rameswaram speaks to Gilmore and Vox's Jane Coaston.

  • Lady and the Trump
    Fri, Mar 16, 2018


    A president. A porn star. A lawyer with a $130,000 payoff. The allegation is Donald Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels and his lawyer paid her to keep quiet. Now, she’s suing so she can talk freely and just today, Daniels' attorney says someone threatened to physically harm her. Vox's Laura McGann says this is much more than your run-of-the-mill political sex scandal.

  • The Colder War
    Thu, Mar 15, 2018


    There’s a new Cold War being fought in the North Pole between the United States and Russia (but also China, Finland, Norway, Canada, Greenland and more). Fueling the battle is the melting Arctic, which just had its warmest winter in recorded history. Vox’s Brian Resnick gives us the science before Yochi Dreazen takes us to the war.

  • Default in Our Loans
    Wed, Mar 14, 2018


    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told states to back off regulating the nine private companies that lend money to students last week. That could mean more student debt and more student defaults when both are already at record highs. Vox’s Libby Nelson tells Sean Rameswaram about the national crisis we never solved. And we say goodbye to Stephen Hawking.

  • Rexit
    Tue, Mar 13, 2018


    Twitter. That’s how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson found out he was fired today. The news came on the heels of Tillerson calling Russia “an irresponsible force of instability”. He hands over the reins to CIA director Mike Pompeo - who is now in charge of planning a historic U.S.-North Korea meeting. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp describes Tillerson’s rocky relationship with Trump, and Ezra Klein reflects on this administration’s high turnover.

  • The United States vs. California
    Mon, Mar 12, 2018


    Donald Trump takes his first trip to California as president tomorrow. Making matters awkward, his administration sued the Golden State last week over SB 54, a law that limits how much the state helps federal immigration agents. KQED reporter Marisa Lagos explains the legal battle, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims talks about being stuck in the middle.

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
    Fri, Mar 09, 2018


    After months of name calling and test missiles, Donald Trump will be the first sitting United States president to meet with a North Korean leader. Vox’s Yochi Dreazen lays out what to expect from the historic meeting. Plus, he shares some negotiation tips for President Trump.

  • The Disability Belt
    Thu, Mar 08, 2018


    Out of the ten counties with the most adults on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), nine voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. But in the president’s new budget, he’s calling for $72 billion in cuts to the program over the next ten years. It's a “thin piece of duct tape that’s keeping everything together,” according to Vox’s Dylan Matthews, who traveled to Tennessee to talk to people on SSDI.

  • That'll Teach 'Em
    Wed, Mar 07, 2018


    An historic walkout in West Virginia ended yesterday. Teachers managed to shut down every single public school in the state for nine days to demand higher pay. Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky may be next. Sean Rameswaram speaks with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Dave Mistich and Harrison County math teacher Cathy Drummond Pizzino to find out exactly how the state’s educators pulled off their big win.

  • What's the Deal with Steel?
    Tue, Mar 06, 2018


    President Trump announced that he's okay with a trade war late last week and he's got the tariff proposals to prove it: 25% for steel, 10% for aluminum. It’s another campaign promise fulfilled, but the decision flies in the face of Republicans in Congress and most of Trump’s own advisors. (Economic advisor Gary Cohn even quit today.) Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains the impact of these tariffs, and the chances they could spark a trade war with our allies. He also hums a little ditty about steel. We run with it.

  • Inclusion Riders, Explained
    Mon, Mar 05, 2018


    Quick bonus episode! Frances McDormand won the Academy Award for Best Actress last night for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” In her memorable acceptance speech, she asked all the nominated women to stand up and left them with two words: “inclusion rider.” Vox’s Caroline Framke explains how inclusion riders could force Hollywood to change.

  • President for Life
    Mon, Mar 05, 2018


    China's National People's Congress opened its annual two-week meeting today. The country’s parliament is expected to change China’s constitution to allow President Xi Jinping to abolish term limits. Sean Rameswaram speaks to Fordham professor Carl Minzner and The New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan to find out what it means that the leader of one fifth of the world's population just decided he’s never stepping down.

  • The Gun Problem No One Wants to Talk About
    Fri, Mar 02, 2018


    It was a week of whiplash in the national fight over gun control. First, major retailers like Dick’s and Walmart raised the gun-buying age from 18 to 21, and companies like Delta dropped their NRA discounts. But then pro-gun rights legislatures pushed back. Vox’s German Lopez walks Sean Rameswaram through the many debates. He says the reason the country is stalled is because we haven’t begun to have the right conversation about guns. Sean and Vox’s Dylan Matthews talk about the elephant in the room.

  • The Deep Fake
    Thu, Mar 01, 2018


    There’s a new kind of algorithm that allows you to take a video of one person and map the face of another person onto his or her body. Not surprisingly, it’s being used to map celebrities’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars having sex. Vox’s Aja Romano tells Sean Rameswaram how “deepfakes” are spreading across the internet. Plus computer scientist Peter Eckersley explores how the same technology could tear our society apart in bigger ways.

  • The Quiet War on Obamacare
    Wed, Feb 28, 2018


    A coalition of 20 states filed a lawsuit claiming Obamacare is unconstitutional yesterday. Vox’s Sarah Kliff says that’s just the latest pushback on the Affordable Care Act. Idaho has been quietly allowing insurance plans that don’t comply with Obamacare’s rules, and the Trump administration hasn’t been doing anything to stop it. Experts say if the federal government doesn’t intervene, other red states will likely follow in Idaho’s footsteps.

  • Mueller 101
    Tue, Feb 27, 2018


    Today, special counsel Robert Mueller dropped over 20 criminal counts against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, just days after Gates agreed to a plea deal. Mueller's Russia probe has a lot of people and moving parts, so how do we keep them all straight? Vox’s Zack Beauchamp tells Sean Rameswaram not to focus on all the names and places or it might start to sound like “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” We update the Billy Joel song to explain Mueller’s investigation. 

  • Give Us Your No One
    Mon, Feb 26, 2018


    Today, the United States Supreme Court denied a request from the Trump administration to expedite a decision on DACA. This keeps the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on life support for a few more months, but also keeps its 690,000 recipients in limbo: Do they stay or do they go? Congress still hasn’t been able to pass a vote on DACA. Vox’s Dara Lind and Matthew Yglesias say that’s because Trump has moved the conversation into unfamiliar territory: from illegal immigration to legal immigration. 

  • This Time Could Be Different
    Fri, Feb 23, 2018


    Something changed this week. Teenagers managed to break the deadlock over gun control. Marches, walkouts, and serious policy debates are on the way. To understand what's different about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sean Rameswaram speaks with Vox reporter German Lopez, Georgetown psychiatry professor Liza Gold, and Elizabeth Love, a Utah teenager who's a bit of a badass.

  • Countdown to Day Zero
    Thu, Feb 22, 2018


    Cape Town is just a few months away from being the first major city to shut off its taps in the history of the modern world. Day Zero - the day Capetonians in South Africa will need to line up at water distribution points for daily water rations - is currently scheduled for July 9th. Reporter Kristen van Schie tells Sean Rameswaram how the three-year drought is drastically changing life for millions of Capetonians. Plus three tips to ward off a water crisis in your own city from hydrologist Peter Gleick.

  • Breaking the Ice with North Korea
    Wed, Feb 21, 2018


    North and South Korea are on opposite sides of a demilitarized zone, separated by barbed wire, tank traps, and guard towers. But in the 2018 Winter Olympics, they came together on the rink. Is hockey the key to peace with North Korea?

  • Black Panther Is the Most Important Movie of 2018
    Tue, Feb 20, 2018


    "Black Panther" is the biggest movie in the world, but what makes this comic book adaptation more important than the nearly 20 Marvel movies that came before it? Sean Rameswaram attends a "Black Panther"-themed engagement party and speaks to Evan Narcisse, writer of the "Rise of the Black Panther" comic books, to find out. (No spoilers!)

  • Six Easy Steps to Nuclear War
    Mon, Feb 19, 2018


    Today we launch our show, but it turns out it's a lot easier to launch a nuclear weapon. Vox's Alex Ward walks us through the six easy steps and tells Sean Rameswaram about the time we accidentally dropped a nuke on North Carolina. Twice.

  • Let's Explain "Today, Explained"
    Wed, Feb 07, 2018


    Please enjoy the trailer for “Today, Explained” from Vox. This podcast will help you understand the news every afternoon, Monday to Friday, beginning February 19th. Sing along!

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