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.
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.
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.
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 www.indivisibleguide.com, 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.)
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.)
It’s one of the most common political insults on the left these days, usually uttered with dripping disdain: “NEOLIBERAL.” But what the fuck does the word actually mean? If you’ve been wondering, or if your secret shame is that you’ve been pretending not to wonder while regularly dropping “neoliberal” as a conversation-stopping bomb, you’re in luck! On this week’s show, at 9:42, an expert from the University of Washington is on to explain what a neoliberal actually is. Then, at 18:40, we’ll hear from Washington State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon of West Seattle. He was listening to last week’s show and heard his colleague, Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle of Ballard, express concern about the funding package for light rail expansion—an expansion of mass transit that, if we voters approve it this November, will bring light rail to Carlyle’s district, Fitzgibbon’s district, and many other places. Fitzgibbon supports the light rial funding package and has some strong disagreements with the things Carlyle said last week, so he airs them. After that, at 31:55, the critics of The Stranger tell you what to do this weekend. And!!! As a time-warping bonus! BEFORE all that, at 1:42, The Stranger’s Rich Smith explains what was so wrong with the naked Donald Trump statue that appeared not too long ago on Capitol Hill. (Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.)
How did it come to pass that Stranger writer Rich Smith found himself shirtless, save for a leather harness, while racing a leather daddy on a Solowheel? At 1:21, Rich explains. After that, fortified with Solowheel warmth, we head into two very important fights over taxes. First, at 9:02, free market enthusiast Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle argues with housing affordability activists—including Cary Moon from last week’s episode—who want to increase taxes and regulation on development in order to fund affordable housing. Then, at 22:03, Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle of Ballard explains why a disagreement over taxes led him to recently come out against the Sound Transit 3 expansion of light rail—an expansion that, if approved by voters this November, will bring light rail to Ballard! Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Last year, Stranger reporter Heidi Groover exposed some sweetheart move-in deals that Seattle landlords were offering only to tech workers and other high-income apartment hunters. (Not eligible for sweetheart deals: poorer apartment hunters.) This week, the Seattle City Council passed a law against such deals and at 1:35, Heidi explains what the new law means. Then, at 5:20, local urban planning activist Cary Moon is on to talk about the bigger pictures of this city’s ongoing housing crisis and what additional laws and taxes could do to help. After that, at 14:19, Stranger visual art critic Jen Graves talks about the recent Seattle Art Fair, what it was good for, what it lacked, and the impressive satellite shows you can still see. Finally, at 32:06, we tell you what to do this weekend. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is a die-hard Bernie-or-Buster who’s now telling progressives to ditch Hillary Clinton and vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein instead. At 1:17, Sawant's close advisor, Philip Locker, tries to defend this position. Can he? And can he defend Jill Stein’s terrible 1990’s folk music? Then, at 15:26, Stranger writer Charles Mudede is on to talk about the housing crisis in Vancouver, Canada. It’s much worse than Seattle’s housing crisis and offers a cautionary tale. After that, at 28:45, Stranger writers Heidi Groover and Sydney Brownstone explain the results of Tuesday’s primary election. Finally, at 36:24, we tell you what to do this weekend. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
First, at 2:05, Matt Pearce, national reporter for the L.A. Times, who has covered the clashes at Tahir Square and the protests at Ferguson, describes the kind of protesting he saw outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In short: things got weird. Then, at 13:41, Stranger reporter Sydney Brownstone tells the story of three more women who have accused tech journalist and former Stranger contributor Matt Hickey of rape. After that, at 20:45, we talk to Natasha Marin, a Seattle artist who created the website Reparations.me, a “social media experiment,” where people of color can request good and services that they need and other can step up to fulfill those requests. Finally, at 34:11, in an extra-special installment of the Stranger “critics pick” section, Jen Graves tells you how to prepare for the Seattle Art Fair, as well as the glut of other art events, coming up next weekend. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.