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Blabbermouth

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!
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Now displaying: 2018
Aug 8, 2018
The “blue wave” came through Blabbermouth's home state on Tuesday, and Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about what happened — including some drama Rich got into with local Republicans trying to pull an “enemy of the people” move on his right to report. They also talk about the Ohio special election, in which there’s a virtual tie between the Democrat and Republican candidates in a district that Republicans would normally win easily. That’s great news for wave-trackers, but: Did the Green Party candidate in this special Ohio election spoil the Dem’s chances of turning a virtual tie into an outright win? Dan has some thoughts. After that, Katie Herzog explains what QAnon is and why Republican “thought leaders” are trying to keep Trump’s base from believing the conspiracy theory. Finally, Dan offers a tribute to Charlotte Rae and Eli talks about a new, must-see documentary called Dark Money. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
 
 
Aug 1, 2018
Special council Robert Mueller sent his first “witch” to trial Tuesday morning in Virginia. Over the next three weeks, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, will face 18 felony counts of tax fraud and bank fraud. It’s an airtight case likely to land Manafort in jail for life, but it apparently has nothing to do with Trump-Russia collusion. Or does it? In Eli Sanders’s absence, Rich Smith asks Dan Savage and Katie Herzog about what Mueller’s really trying to squeeze out of Manafort. Then, Dan and Katie stick around for a grab-bag second segment. Topics under discussion include: Twitter drama, the media making the same mistakes it made in 2016, and “Quiet Skies,” a secret government operation designed to spy on U.S. citizens in airports. Speaking of secret operations: Sean Nelson, the Stranger’s Editor at Large, joins Dan and Rich in the third segment to talk about Mission: Impossible—FALLOUT, the latest action film in the series starring Tom Cruise. Is it awesome? Is it not awesome? Is Tom Cruise hiding something? Does anybody care? We do. 
 
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Jul 25, 2018

No, it’s not the Trump tape we’ve all been waiting for. But the secret Trump recording released by Michael Cohen this week is pretty damn interesting, and Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog talk about all the weirdest details. (“Get me a Coke!” included.) After that, Charles Mudede and Katie debate how the left should respond to real-life trolls, like the MAGA-hat wearing guy who turned up in Seattle recently and, after recording himself being accosted, became a right-wing hero. Finally, a new book by Alice Bolin called “Dead Girls.” It’s a provocative exploration of a big question: Why are Americans so endlessly fascinated by the murder of young women? Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

 

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Jul 18, 2018
Amazingly, President Trump reached a new level of awful, bonkers behavior this week. Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders are here to talk about all that went down before—and after—the #TreasonSummit. Then, “Who Is America?” Katie Herzog talks about Sacha Baron Cohen’s new show and whether it’s good for a country that’s already drenched in high-powered lies, elaborate cons, and shameless manipulations. Finally, Sean Nelson brings the antidote to the endless “Prime Day” ads that recently bombarded every internet-shopping American. It’s a new anti-capitalist movie by Boots Riley, and it’s excellent. The title: Sorry to Bother You. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
 

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Jul 11, 2018

Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who President Trump nominated to the US Supreme Court this week. If Kavanaugh makes it onto the high court, Roe v. Wade seems likely to be repealed, along with important environmental protections, voting rights protections, and more. How did we arrive in this nightmare scenario, again? Who, exactly, is this guy? And what can be done? After that, Rich has a few words for Elon Musk and his mini-submarine, as well as a book recommendation with a super calming title: My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jul 3, 2018

How can the left fight back against a sure-to-be-terrible Supreme Court pick? Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders count the ways. Then Katie Herzog celebrates the supposedly patriotic gift that Michael Cohen’s giving America this Fourth of July. She also helps Dan and Eli ponder the question: Is chanting “Abolish ICE!” a wise strategy for Democrats when it comes to winning back the US House? Finally, an official quiz from the US government, taken by Dan and Rich, in honor of the Fourth of July. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

Jun 27, 2018
It’s been a week of historic Supreme Court decisions, continued hostility toward immigrants, and raging debates over what it means to be “civil.” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal comes back on the show to help us make sense of it all—and to remind people to turn out on June 30 for the nationwide “Families Belong Together” protests. After that, noted civility experts Dan Savage and Rich Smith offer their takes on whether it’s wrong to shun Trump administration apparatchiks at restaurants. They also talk about what it means that 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, just won a huge upset victory against Congressman Joseph Crowley, a major Democratic Party establishment figure, in a New York City primary election. Rich, of course, takes a bow for seeing this millennial victory coming from a long way out. And Dan reveals the shocking truth about his longtime support for the DSA. Finally, Chase Burns talks about one beautiful thing that’ll make you stop cowering under the sheets: a new FX series called Pose, about the drag ball scene in 1980s New York. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo. 
Jun 20, 2018

Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders dissect the latest lies and evasions from the Trump administration as it tries to justify separating mothers from their children along the southern border. Also: Should Democrats have been shouting about the family separation policy sooner? After that, Katie Herzog talks about a controversial cover story in the current issue of The Atlantic. It’s about children who identify as trans, and the backlash over the Atlantic story reminds Katie of the online pushback she received for a piece she wrote last summer on “detransitioners." Finally, something about borders and migration that’ll set your mind right—courtesy of Rich. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Jun 13, 2018

This week, amid all the usual falsehoods and buffoonery, President Donald Trump struck a blow against US militarism and upended the proceedings of the “Group of Seven” industrialized countries. Take Trump out of it and… aren’t these outcomes that the left has long wanted? Can Trump occasionally be right for all the wrong reasons? And what’s a lefty to do when this happens? Charles Mudede, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders try to figure it out. After that, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal talks about what she saw inside an ICE detention center where migrant mothers seeking asylum in the US have been separated from their children. Jayapal shares these women’s stories and talks about what listeners can do to end this inhumane practice. Finally, another primary night! Charles talks about Wisconsin, Rich talks about Virginia, and Eli talks about South Carolina. Then Rich offers a quick take on the new, very funny Michelle Wolf series on Netflix. It’s called “The Break.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

 

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Jun 6, 2018

California’s “jungle” primary may be over, but the arguing over what it means is not! Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith bicker about whether the generally good results for Democrats in California on Tuesday could—gasp—be a sign that the national party, which sunk $8 million into shaping the outcome, might have, maybe, been onto something. After that, Trump’s pardon bonanza, Katie Herzog’s internal wrestling with whether to be nice to Melania Trump, and Dan’s take on the US Supreme Court cake case. Finally, Chase Burns and Eli talk again about their personal odysseys in a world that’s been eaten by Facebook. This week Eli’s reporting about Facebook and political ads led to a major lawsuit against the company, while Chase’s job promoting posts with “political content” got a lot harder. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

May 30, 2018

Well, that’s the end of Roseanne! (The re-boot, anyway.) Charles Mudede, Dan Savage, and Eli Sanders talk about the racist outburst that finally crossed the line, their own personal Roseanne-watching limits, the strong similarities between Roseanne and Trump, and the inevitable right-wing complaint that cancelling Roseanne equals stifling free speech. After that, Katie Herzog breaks down a recent US Supreme Court decision on abortion that you need to be tracking and then considers the renewed talk of a Bernie Sanders presidential run re-boot. Is Bernie just too fucking old for this shit? Finally, Rich Smith digests new, anger-fanning news from Puerto Rico and the US southern border—and then considers Jeff Bezos’s easy, one-step answer to all the world’s problems. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.

May 23, 2018

Stacey Abrams wins in Georgia! (Becoming the first black woman in history to be a major party’s choice for governor.) And former fighter pilot Amy McGrath wins in Kentucky! (Becoming the latest badass to defy the Democratic establishment's hopes.) Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about what it all means. Plus: Is the Bernie Sanders army really imploding? After that, Katie Herzog joins to talk about the Republicans’ latest effort to help big banks—by rolling back Dodd-Frank. Will the Republican voters who chanted “Drain! The! Swamp!” ever catch on? And then: Who was right during last week’s argument between Rich and Katie over how to actually persuade hard-core Trumpers? Listeners weigh in. Finally, Philip Roth is dead at 85. What do we make of this man, who the New York Times calls “the last of the great white males”? Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

May 16, 2018

Did the wrong Democrats win some of Tuesday’s primaries in Nebraska, Idaho, and Pennsylvania? The Washington Post suggests yes, but Rich Smith isn’t having it and Eli Sanders and Katie Herzog hear him out. Then: Are liberals dumb to call Trump voters stupid? A big argument over an argument that won’t stop until at least 2020. Finally, twinks. According to The New York Times, we have just recently entered “The Age of the Twink.” Not everyone agrees, including Chase Burns, self-described “lead twink” at The Stranger. There is a lot to consider here, including whether "straight twinks" are a welcome answer to the “crisis in masculinity.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

May 9, 2018

We just went through another big round of pre-midterm primaries, and Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith talk about what the results mean. In West Virginia, a convicted criminal coal baron failed to make it through the Republican Senate primary, which… is a good thing? In Ohio, Dennis Kucinich lost in the Democratic gubernatorial primary to a wonk who used to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which… means the fever is breaking and voters are back to wanting effective moderates? (Or does it actually mean the fever is still spiking and voters now really, really hate anyone who, like Kucinich, has “Congressman” connected to their name?) After all that, Katie Herzog joins in to talk about Melania Trump’s “Be Best” campaign and a grim story from New York: the downfall of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s been a prominent foe of accused sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein but  is now himself accused of violence against women. Schneiderman resigned this week, but says he didn’t assault anyone and was just “role playing.” What do we make of this statement? Finally, with Mother’s Day upon us Angela Garbes reads from her new book, “Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

May 2, 2018

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is back on the show this week with her recipe for Democratic success in the upcoming midterm elections. She also answers Rich Smith’s burning questions about whether the national Democratic Party is interfering too much in local primary races. But before all that, Dan Savage, Katie Herzog, and Eli Sanders trip through another crazy week—including the “raid” on Trump’s old doctor, Trump’s Nobel nomination, and Mueller’s long list of questions for the president. They also tackle Michelle Wolf’s “controversial” comedy set at the White House Correspondents Dinner and an important, hard-to-answer question: What do we do with the #MeToo-felled men who now want to make a comeback? And after Jayapal’s take on the midterms, Katie Herzog encourages listeners to check out the new Rachel Dolezal documentary, The Rachel Divide, which was recently released on Netxflix. There’s more to it than you might imagine. Plus a Rich Smith reading of a Lucille Clifton poem and, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo

Apr 25, 2018

The Democrat didn’t win in Arizona’s 8th Congressional district this week, but the results of that race were still very, very encouraging. Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith talk about why this particular loss is actually a kind of win, and then they examine a new, shade-throwing slogan that Democrats are considering for the midterms. The Republicans, this slogan goes, are the party of “corruption, cronyism, and incompetence.” Who could argue with that one? But, also: Will it work? After that, will anything work when it comes to the staggering number of Americans who just don’t vote? Katie Herzog joins Dan and Eli to look at the results of a new poll that asked this country's nonvoters what the hell they’re thinking. The answers are a trip, but they also represent an opportunity for the right politician. (Who, the poll reveals, is a certain lovable lefty authoritarian.) Finally, Rich returns to deal with the pressing issue of Professor Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist whose hot take on the so-called crisis in masculinity has transformed him into “maybe the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” Is there anything Peterson is actually right about? Why did he perform so well in his epic face-off with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman? (Which now has more than 9 million views on YouTube.) And why, exactly, do so many young men worship this dude? Plus, as always, the music of Ahaemfule J. Oluo!

Apr 18, 2018
Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog try to process all their feelings about James Comey. Because, you know, it's complicated. Yes, it's nice to see Comey speaking truth to Trump power. But, also, Comey kinda cost Hillary Clinton the election. And no, it's not yet time to get over that one. After that, a Congressional race you should be watching in Arizona and an issue that's not getting enough attention: the shuttering on Backpage.com. Katie explains why the disappearance of Backpage is bad for sex worker safety, explores the dilemma of how best to combat human trafficking online, and explains what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has to do with all this. Finally, Tax Day has come and gone but a recent column from Sarah Vowell is still with us. Pointing to Henry David Thoreau—who went to jail rather than pay taxes in support of a government that embraced slavery and made war on Mexico—Vowell suggests we all think about where we draw the line. So Eli, Rich, and Katie (not the biggest contributors to the US Treasury, but definitely contributors!) talk about that one. Plus, as always, the music of Ahaemfule J. Oluo!
Apr 11, 2018
Paul Ryan is leaving Congress, President Trump says missiles will soon be headed toward Syria, and the FBI just raided the office of Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Quite a lot to talk about this week, and Rich Smith, Katie Herzog, and Eli Sanders dive right in with a list of new lows that Ryan sunk to this year before bailing out. After that, Chase Burns is back to pore over Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress this week. How’d Zuck do? For that matter, how did our esteemed, and often elderly members of Congress do investigating social media? Will any of this make Facebook cool again? Finally, three things we’re loving this week. Chase talks about why The Queen of Versailles is still a must-watch (or re-watch) for this moment. Rich says you need to see the serious-podcast-mocking American Vandal. And Katie talks up the disturbing glories of Mommy Dead and Dearest. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Apr 4, 2018
First, an election result from Wisconsin that you need to hear about: Rebecca Dallet, the candidate backed by Democrats, just won a way-down-ballot race for state supreme court—by 11 points! Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are freaking out about the “blue wave” that’s coming to that state, which Trump narrowly won in 2016, and Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders are here to talk about why that’s just great. (And what you can do to make the coming blue wave even greater.) After that, Trump’s fact-free rage about migrant caravans. The president says he’s now sending the US military to guard the border with Mexico. Okay… But really, what does one even do with bluster this incoherent? Then, Katie Herzog talks about Sinclair Broadcast Group (aka “Trump TV”) and the Orwellian video that’s been going around of Sinclair anchors at local TV stations around the country all reading from the same “fake news” script. What to do? Boycott Sinclair? Encourage its reporters to quit en masse? Vote for people who will actually regulate Sinclair's use of the public airways? Katie, Dan, and Eli discuss. Finally, the Roseanne re-boot, reconsidered. Last week Katie, Dan, and Eli all had mostly positive things to say about the show. (Although a full 2/3 of them hadn’t even watched the re-boot yet!) This week, we hear a dramatic reading of comments from our Blabbermouth Podcast Facebook group arguing about whether or not people should watch Roseanne, given how “problematic” she is. Then Katie, Dan, and Eli talk about Roxanne Gay’s great column on all this in The New York Times. They also answer the question: "Will you keep watching?" Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Mar 28, 2018

“Bulletproof, slow, and full of wine” is how The New York Times describes a very special train that Kim Jong Un likes to ride around in, and Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders all admit—it sounds kinda nice. But more importantly: there’s the Stormy Daniels interview on 60 Minutes to discuss, the new US Census citizenship requirement to freak out about, and a very important question to ponder: Should we just flat-out repeal the Second Amendment? A former US Supreme Court Justice says we should, but is his argument just a gift to Trump and the frothing, paranoid right ahead of the midterms? After all that, Chase Burns is back to discuss what we all found when we downloaded our own Facebook data. When was the last time Eli got “poked”? What debt-related ad did Rich get caught clicking on? Whose contact information was given to PediaSure? And how do we feel about all this??? All is revealed. (Along with an update on the latest Facebook data scandal developments.) Finally, Katie Herzog watched this week’s insanely popular reboot of Roseanne and also spent a very long time with Oregon cult members while watching Netflix’s Wild, Wild Country. She tells Dan and Eli all about it. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Mar 21, 2018

So, wait a minute: If Stormy Daniels wins her fight against Trump’s lawyers, and she releases Trump sexts and (gasp) dick pics to the world, does that constitute… revenge porn? Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders consider this urgent question, and then they dive into the lessons of the recent primary elections in Illinois and hear from a pro-life Democrat in Pennsylvania who wants to be accepted by the party’s pro-choice members. Plus, Rich Smith asks: Why, amid all the many Trump outrages, are we not more outraged by the Trump administration’s flagrant corruption? After that, social media expert Chase Burns is back to help Dan and Eli think about the scandal involving Facebook data and the Trump campaign’s data firm, Cambridge Analytica. Should we #DeleteFacebook? Finally, Katie Herzog addresses the furor over her rant on last week’s show about Emotional Support Animals in general, and dogs on planes in particular. Katie reads an excerpt from one of many comments posted in our Blabbermouth Podcast Facebook group about this incendiary issue, and Dan—shockingly—doesn’t hold back about his dog feelings. Plus, what Rich is watching, what Dan is reading, and why Eli will be at his local March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24—and why you should be, too. And, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

Mar 14, 2018
Conor Lamb, a super-moderate Democrat, appears to have won a previously safe Republican House seat in Pennsylvania by just a few hundred votes. Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders wade into this big political news and talk about whether Lamb—who’s not at all what you’d call “progressive”—is actually the kind of candidate Democrats need in order to win control of Congress. After that, high school student Scout Smissen explains why she helped organize one of this week’s impressive student walkouts against gun violence, and then Dan, Rich, and Eli review how few policy changes have actually been enacted since the recent Florida high school shooting (and how long this problem has been going on without Congress passing serious, common sense gun safety laws). Finally, at the urging of a Blabbermouth listener, Rich and Eli talk about the Netflix series Flint Town, and then Katie Herzog, turning toward a very different cultural phenomenon, talks about the plague of “emotional support animals.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
 
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Mar 7, 2018
Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about this week's primary election in Texas, where Democratic turnout surged, a strong challenger to Ted Cruz emerged, and a huge lefty vs. lefty fight broke out over the Democratic Party throwing its weight around in one particular Congressional district. If the Democratic Party wants to win control of Congress in November, is throwing its weight around in local Democratic primaries really a bad thing? Or, as Rich Smith argues, is it a dangerously counter-productive thing? After that, the massive and very successful teacher’s strike in West Virginia—a deeply red state with minimal labor protections—and what it shows us about the future of unions (at a time when the US Supreme Court seems poised to deal organized labor yet another blow). Finally, ten years after it first launched, Queer Eye is back and… it's actually, shockingly great and so moving it’s making us cry. How the fuck did that happen? And why is Queer Eye suddenly at the cutting edge of getting rural Trump voters to admit their own flaws, open up about their own failings, own their own roles in creating their own frustrations, and warmly enter into meaningful dialogue with five well-groomed liberal elites? Chase Burns is back to help us figure out what the hell is going on. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
 
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Feb 28, 2018
Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about a hard truth: young people don’t vote in midterm elections. What, exactly, is the problem here? In the post-Trump, post-Parkland era, is the youth vote going to meaningfully increase? Because it needs to. For the last US midterm elections, back in 2014, only 16 percent of Americans age 18 - 29 voted. For Americans age 60 and over, the figure was 55 percent. It was the 2014 midterm elections that gave us the Republican-controlled House and Senate we have today—and the political reality that so many young Americans are seething about. Now, in 2018, will young Americans actually show up at the polls and help change control of Congress? After that, Katie Herzog talks about the controversy surrounding Quinn Norton, whose friendship with a neo-Nazi cost her a spot on the New York Times op-ed page. Katie prods us to wonder: Can you be friends with a neo-Nazi and still be a good person? How about a good columnist? Finally, with the Oscars coming up this Sunday we talk about two more movies that are nominated for Best Picture: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Post. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!

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Feb 21, 2018
Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog praise the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people last week. Though congressional inaction and right-wing stonewallers have trained liberals to be cynical about the possibility of passing common sense gun control laws in the United States, these high school kids are stepping up, organizing protests, and changing the conversation about guns in this country—all while being very good at Twitter. After that, we graduate from high school and head to college. Centrist columnists claim that college activists are transforming the world into a giant zone of insufferably, but reporters (and leftist columnists) say they’re blowing this “campus craziness” thing out of proportion, and they also note that the alt-right has tripled their efforts to spread propaganda on campuses in 2017. So maybe activists are shouting people down for a reason? Dan, Katie, and Rich discuss. Finally: Wakanda forever. Director Ryan Coogler and an incredible cast of actors have given us Black Panther, which boasts the second-highest grossing opening weekend. The Stranger’s film critic, Charles Mudede, and the Stranger’s critic-at-large, join Rich Smith in a conversation about the cultural impact of the film on African and African-American audiences. 
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