Monthly Archives: May 2014

#12: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

(Recorded May 25, 2014) This week, a book club discussion on Going Clear by Lawrence Wright: (1) the tenants of Scientology; (2) the biography of L. Ron Hubbard; (3) David Miscavige takes the helm; (4) Scientology vs. the IRS; (5) battling suppressive persons, a modus operandi; (6) religion, cult, or business?; and (7) can the church survive?

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Whinny Billionaires, Income Inequality, and American Oligarchy

(Episode Excerpts: 0.4, 1.3.2, 7.2, and 9.2) This Week: (1) Boris gets on his soapbox about whinny billionaires; (2) Josh talks about Tom Perkins’ Sex and the Single Zillionaire; (3) Campaign finance laws: what does McCutcheon mean for money in politics?; and (4) Capital, power and the American oligarchy. We discuss recent scholarship on income inequality and the influence of money in politics.

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#11: The Clinton’s, Obama’s Legacy, and Race & Privilege (also the NFL draft)

(Recorded May 10, 2014) This Week: (1) On the heels of Monica Lewinski’s Vanity Fair essay, we take a look at the scandals that have dogged the Clinton’s over the years ; (2) Has the Obama Presidency been transformative? ; (3) We revisit Race in America – is the concept of white privilege a useful one? ; and (4) Boris and Josh talk us through the NFL draft so far.

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President Obama: A Transformative President?

During his campaign for president in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama caused quite a stir when he said that his goal was to be a transformational president akin to Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy rather than a caretaker president in the mold of Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon. As Obama put it, he wanted to be a president who “changed the trajectory of America.” Five-and-a-half years into his term, we can now begin to consider whether he has lived up to his own lofty ambitions. Has the 44th President of the United States changed the trajectory of American history? While we do not yet have definitive answers to this question, we can at least begin to ponder President Obama’s place in history, evaluating his greatest successes and his most bitter failures (Note: This is not a question of the President’s electoral or policy victories and defeats, but rather an analysis of his presidency from the perspective of its historical impact).

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#10: The Death Penalty, Israel, and World War II

(Recorded May 3, 2014) This Week: (1) After last week’s botched execution in Oklahoma we discuss the death penalty; (2) Is Israel in danger of becoming an apartheid state – Did John Kerry err by telling the truth?; and (3) On the anniversary of Hitler’s suicide, Boris and Adrian talk about the mythology of WWII.

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