The Stranger's week-in-review podcast, in which Eli Sanders, Dan Savage and a group of "experts" explain what just happened in the news, and what it all means. A wide-ranging discussion of everything you need to know in order to pose as an informed, productive member of society!
RSS Feed



All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
Feb 22, 2017

In light of the Department of Homeland Security’s new crackdown on immigration, Rich Smith and Sydney Brownstone dive back into the still-developing case of Daniel Ramirez, a DREAMer who was recently arrested in Seattle. Then, Ana Sofia Knauf and Dan Savage unravel Milo Yiannopoulos's death spiral. The blogger was accused of and has apologized for appearing to advocate for sexual relationships between 13-year-olds and grown men, but he lost a book deal, a gig at CPAC, and a chunk of fans in the process. Finally, it's congressional recess week! Rich Smith offers up a curated selection of town hall confrontations, as well as a few recess plans from some of our listeners. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Feb 15, 2017

With Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders we dive into “Flynnghazi” (aka “Flynn-gate,” aka big trouble for Trump). What, exactly, is going on in this huge political mess? And what would Republicans be doing if anything remotely like this were unfolding under a President Hillary Clinton. After that, Sydney Brownstone is back on the show to discuss a young, immigrant “Dreamer” named Daniel Ramirez who was arrested in Seattle this week, and how his arrest could provoke a showdown with Trump. Next, a liberal woman from deep red Oklahoma calls in for advice on how to resist when her elected Republican representatives “don’t give a crap.” We get some ideas from Ezra Levin of the Indivisible movement, and then Dan and Rich toss in their two cents. Finally, a segment called “Dan Was Right”—kicked off by a call from a woman in Milwaukee. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo

Feb 8, 2017


First, Dan Savage and Rich Smith chew through all that’s happened this week (which, once again, is quite a lot). In particular, we’ll discuss the Betsy DeVos confirmation, the silencing of Elizabeth Warren, and why Dan is furious at Jill Stein all over again. After that, Sydney Brownstone talks about what it was like to be in the courthouse as a federal judge halted Donald Trump’s travel ban—and where the case against the ban goes next. Finally, Dan and Rich are back to remind you: The Congressional recess is coming! Time to sharpen your town hall meeting questions. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Feb 1, 2017

Has there ever been a week in American politics like the one that just passed? Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders start off by trying to digest the Trump administration’s blitzkrieg of alarming actions and policy pronouncements. Dan also offers some advice for a caller who—like Dan—is currently trying to resist Trump from Europe. After that, Sydney Brownstone talks about something perhaps lost in the flurry of democracy-rattling Trump activity: his administration’s reported moves to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to go forward, despite many months of objection and action at Standing Rock. (And despite the Obama administration’s efforts to slow down or halt the pipeline project.) Finally, Rich talks to Dan and Eli about the latest trend in demanding action from your Democratic US Senator: calling for “holds” to be used to grind Senate business to a halt until the Trump administration changes course on major issues. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jan 25, 2017

Well, here we are: Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. First on this week’s show, Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about watching and processing Trump’s inaugural address (and, later, absorbing his continuing assault on verifiable truth). Then Stranger writers Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover, who spent four days on the ground in Washington, DC covering the inauguration, tell us about being surrounded by Trump-supporting women, getting teargassed, confronting Neo-Nazis, and being on the streets for the historic Women’s March. Finally, Rich Smith and Stranger film editor Charles Mudede talk about how to turn all this progressive protest energy into actual, meaningful action—and whether the people of the left are really ready to mimic those Charles likes to call “The Tea People.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jan 18, 2017

This week we recorded live at Town Hall Seattle, with music performed by The Stranger’s Sean Nelson plus a bunch of great guests. First off: Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and myself talk about how it feels to stare down the barrel of the just-days-away Trump presidency, as well as what specific acts of resistance seem most important to us right now. Next: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who was one of the first members of Congress to refuse to attend Trump's inauguration, talks about why she won’t be at Trump’s swearing in, what future impeachment possibilities she’s considering, how we can save the Affordable Care Act, and—with the Women’s March coming on Saturday—wether it’s “women,” “womyn,” or “womxn.” Finally: Before Stranger reporters Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover fly off to DC to cover the inauguration, Dan, Rich, and Eli check in with them about how they’re taking in this moment and what they’re hoping to see at the “Make America Great Again Ball." Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jan 11, 2017

First up: Dan, Rich, and Eli take on a week of huge, crazy, and sobering news: the Jeff Sessions hearings, the alleged Donald Trump piss tape, Meryl Streep-gate, and President Barack Obama’s farewell address. Next: A reading of a letter from a very special listener. After that: Eric Kanter, the mixed-race resident of Whitefish, Montana, who confronted white supremacist Richard Spencer at a local coffee shop the other day, ultimately telling Spencer to go fuck himself. And finally: Dan, Rich, and Eli discuss “Conflict Is Not Abuse,” a provocative book by Sarah Schulman that argues that a decision to claim victimhood can sometimes be an unhelpful escalation. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jan 4, 2017

Maybe you’ve heard news reports about that small town in Montana where Jewish store owners were targeted by an online Neo-Nazi “troll army” over the holiday season? Yeah, well... that’s where Eli spent his holiday season. On this episode, we talk about that experience—and Eli gets Dan Savage and Rich Smith to weigh in on a moral quandary it raises. After that, live from a property at the center of the ideological firestorm in Whitefish: gay attorney Craig Mungas tells Eli what it’s like to wake up one day and find out you’re renting your law office from the mother of the white supremacist whose presence in Whitefish was one of the sparks for this whole dispiriting episode. Finally, author and social media eminence Lindy West is on to talk about her decision this week to leave Twitter. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Dec 21, 2016

Well. That whole thing about the Electoral College stopping Trump didn’t work out, did it? Dan Savage and Rich Smith give Eli Sanders some deserved reality checks regarding last week’s Great Hope for Resisting Trump, and right after that... It’s on to this week’s Great Hope for Resisting Trump! His name is Ezra Levin, he’s a former Democratic Congressional aide who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party firsthand, and he’s one of the authors of a free, open-sourced guide to using Tea Party tactics to stop Trump that’s gone viral in recent days. The guide’s called “Indivisible,” you can find it at, and Eli talks to Ezra about its ideas. After that, Dan, Rich, and Eli talk about whether we really want to race Republicans to the moral rock-bottom when it comes to political combat (can you guess who’s more than ready for that race to start?) and whether we have any choice at this point. Finally, Stranger Social Media Manager Jessica Fu is back to explain Facebook’s plan to solve the fake news problem—and to answer Eli and Rich’s questions about whether the plan’s any good. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Dec 14, 2016

We have a real live Electoral College member on this week’s podcast! His name is Bret Chiafalo, he has a plan to block a Donald Trump presidency, and he shares it with me and Rich Smith. Get out your copy of the Constitution, grab your Federalist Papers, and fire up your calculator. The Electoral College votes on December 19th and, if the plan being hatched by Chiafalo and his “Hamilton Electors” movement works, we’re in for a wild, historic ride. After that: Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American woman ever elected to the US House. She’s been described as another Elizabeth Warren, and she’s on to talk about what she’ll be fighting for in DC and how the progressive left can dust itself off, cast aside its bickering and “Oppression Olympics” tendencies, and keep on doing good work. Finally, Stranger film writer Charles Mudede discusses the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, and what it teaches about political resistance. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Dec 7, 2016


After last week’s show we got a call from Robert. He’s 25 years old and feels pretty pessimistic about the future these days. So on this week’s show we try to give Robert some reasons to hope. (Or, failing that, some sense that the left, the country, and the planet are not irrevocably doomed in the age of Trump.) First up: Dan Savage and Sydney Brownstone, who talk about how to snatch optimism from the jaws of despondency. Next: Zach Silk, a liberal political operative who really, truly believes the left has a chance to make big political gains under a Trump presidency. And finally: Rich Smith talks to me about my current hope against hope, which is that the Electoral College will save us on December 19th. Come on, Electoral College! Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Nov 30, 2016

Can Dan Savage say something nice about Jill Stein now that she’s leading a recount charge in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania? And why does Sydney Brownstone see a "successful” recount leading to blood in the streets? We answer all these questions and more right of the bat! Then we perform oral readings of two great listener comments—one voiced by Heidi Groover and the other by Charles Mudede. After that, a segment we’re calling Rich Smith’s Glossary of Ocracies. (You gotta listen to find out.) And finally, Stranger social media manager Jessica Fu tries to talk me down off the “Facebook is killing democracy" ledge I climbed out on last week. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Nov 23, 2016

First, your calls: In response to last week’s show, listeners from all over the country called the Blabberphone (206-302-2063) to issue their personal calls to action in the face of a Donald Trump presidency. Thank you all! We’re playing a bunch of your action items right off the bat. After that, Dan Savage has returned from the world’s largest democracy, India, and is ready to fight with rural-America-raised Rich Smith about how we should talk to the Trump-supporting, democracy-rattling voters in the American hinterlands. After that, the tech-savviest guy I know, Anthony Hecht, is on to absorb my doom and gloom feelings about fake news and explain how everything might someday be okay—or might not. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo! Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 17, 2016

Dan’s in India this week, so we start with a phone call about what you need to be doing in the wake of Trump’s election—plus a call for your own Trump resistance action items. (Tell them to the Blabberphone! 206-302-2063.) After that we meet Calista Bell, 17, one of thousands of right-on high school students who marched out of their classrooms this weak in an inspiring moment of activism that gave us hope for the future. And finally Charles Mudede talks about what really motivated Trump voters, Rich Smith puts in a plug for not knowing what the fuck’s going on, and Charles scares the shit out of everyone with his predictions for the President Trump future. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Nov 9, 2016

On the day after Donald Trump's election as President of the United States, Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, Charles Mudede, Rich Smith, and Sydney Brownstone ask: What do we do now? What did we have too much faith in before today? When do you stand and fight, and when do you say it's time to work on escape plans? Plus the movie Moonlight and why it's a kind of necessary escape this week. And, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Nov 2, 2016

Sick of thinking about the presidential election? We are, too. So this week, as we count down the hours until Election Day, we’re gonna focus on other things. First, Sydney Brownstone is back with another update on Standing Rock, a bundle of dried sage in her hands, and some thoughts in her brain regarding your Facebook “check in” at Standing Rock and whether it really mattered. After that, we travel back in time with Rich Smith and Charles Mudede, to a bygone era in which American conservatives talked pretty. What was that period all about? Did James Baldwin really engage in a gorgeous debate with William F. Buckley at Cambridge University in 1965? And how did we get from there to our unspeakable 2016 election? We get into it. Finally, Charles talks about Barry Jenkins’s new movie, Moonlight—and why Jenkins is an Oscar-worthy director you’ve probably never even heard of. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Oct 27, 2016

Sydney Brownstone is back in Savage's chair this week, and with her and Rich Smith we talk first about the renewed standoff near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Sydney’s been to Standing Rock and has a lot to say about what this fight means. After that, we take a break from obsessing over left vs. right political drama and talk about what kind of left vs. left battles we expect under (knock on wood) President Hillary Clinton—and who we really want leading those battles. Next, we ponder comedy’s role in this exceedingly un-funny presidential election and talk about how Saturday Night Live’s amazing “Black Jeopardy” sketch got at some deep truth. Finally, briefly: Have we reached Peak Music Festival? Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Oct 20, 2016

With Dan Savage and Rich Smith, we exult in the end of three soul-diminishing presidential debates and talk about whether or not Hillary Clinton is getting enough credit for the way she went about beating Trump in each one. That done, we talk about other things we now hope to focus our political brain space on—like, oh, maybe global warming, which never came up once in the debates. Then we discuss Maria Semple’s new novel, Today Will Be Different, and how it’s different from her Seattle-skewering Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Finally, Sydney Brownstone drops by to talk about an alleged rapist who was recently arrested thanks to her reporting (and how Law and Order might have ripped a recent episode from her headlines). Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Oct 13, 2016

Dan Savage is back, and with the help of Rich Smith we go off on the state of the current Republican party. That done, we turn to more uplifting (though not uncontentious!) topics: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize and the nipples of a guy on that interesting new Netflix series, Easy. After that, for Seattle listeners we discuss the current homelessness crisis—a crisis those of you in other cities probably know a bit about, too. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Oct 6, 2016

Dan Savage is off to Italy this week—poor Dan!—so we make merciless fun of him while he’s gone and simultaneously install the great Sydney Brownstone in the chair formerly known as the Savage Muscle Throne. Then, with the help of show stalwart Rich Smith, we discuss the big VICE presidential debate you probably didn’t watch this week; make predictions for this Sunday’s second presidential debate (including a prediction involving Roy Cohn that… well, you just gotta hear Rich explain it); and finally, we discuss the controversy over the recent unmasking of Elene Ferrante, the pseudonymous writer whose real name was allegedly dug up by an investigative journalist, enraging literary twitter (and some parts of the real world, too). Along the way, we also find out what’s inside of Rich’s people suit. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Sep 29, 2016

Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith are back to chew through the week’s big happenings. First, each of us talks about the presidential debate moments we loved the most—as well as the moments that made us love how right we were last week in our debate predictions. Second, we talk about where this made-for-TV debate miniseries is likely to go next. Will Trump ditch out on the final two “rigged” forums? Will Hillary have to answer for Bill’s affairs? If so, what should she say? And did Monday's debate do anything for millennial excitement about anything? Third, the art and music and Netflix and Amazon shows we’re taking in to to cleanse our brains when we reach election information overload. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Sep 22, 2016

We’re trying something new this week: three topics, all tackled in one glorious episode by Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith. FIRST: Donald Trump is a scary motherfucker, but you gotta admit he has that TV magnetism. How can Hillary disrupt it in the upcoming Sept. 26 debate? SECOND: What does a politician have to do these days to give millennials that special “I’m gonna vote!” feeling? Rich, voice of a all millennials everywhere for all time, tries to explain. THIRD: Our intergeneration panel of white men tangles with an international “cultural appropriation” controversy involving literary fiction, Brisbane, and the Internets. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Sep 15, 2016

First, at 1:19, we check back in with Sydney Brownstone who last week spoke to us live from North Dakota during the big standoff over an oil pipeline project. This week, Sydney will tell us what it was like to be at the Standing Rock Sioux protest camp when pipeline construction was halted in response to the demonstrations. Next, at10:41, Stranger sports explainer Spike Friedman talks about why it’s such a big deal that Seahawks players have joined the national anthem protests. After that, at 21:45, the two candidates who want to represent Capitol Hill, Montlake, and the University District in the state house—their names are Nicole Macri and Dan Shih—try to convince you they’re the ones to vote for in November. Finally, at 34:19, The Stranger tells you what to do this weekend. 

Sep 8, 2016

A major, history-making protest is underway in North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is leading an effort to stop a giant oil pipeline that’s currently under construction on land the tribe considers sacred. At 1:35, The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone reports from the site where protesters from around the country—and from a number of Pacific Northwest tribes—have now converged. Then, at 11:44, longtime Seattle hip hop columnist Larry Mizell Jr is on the show to ponder the question: If a white Seattle rapper retires in an attempt to “make more room for black artists,” has more room really been created? After that, at 23:31, we take a post-Labor Day look at the state of workers’ rights in Seattle with Dylan Orr, head of the Seattle Office of Labor Standards, and Nicole Vallestero-Keenan of the Fair Work Center. Finally, at 36:42, The Stranger tells you what to do this weekend. (Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.)

Sep 1, 2016

Donald Trump was back in Washington State this week, and for this visit he read his favorite snake poem to the people of Everett. The Stranger’s Rich Smith was there and, at 1:19, talks about what went down. After that, at 12:15, we’ll hear a debate about whether Washington State voters should approve a $2.2 billion carbon tax this fall to help fight global warming. This isn’t the usual debate between global warming deniers and people who want to tax big oil in order to save the planet. It’s a different kind of debate, a debate between people on the left and people on the further left over whether this particular carbon tax is progressive enough when it comes to helping disadvantaged communities. Then, at 29:17, Stranger writer Sydney Brownstone explores troubling statements about LGBTQ youth made by Erin Jones, a candidate running for Superintendent of Public Instruction—that’s the top education office in the state. Jones's statements caused The Stranger Election Control Board to rescind its endorsement of Jones this week. Finally, at 37:11, The Stranger tells you what to do this weekend. (Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.)

1 2 3 4 Next »