Slate's The Gist

Slate's The Gist

United States

Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight. thegist@slate.com. Part of the Panoply Network.

Episodes

Step Away From the Screen  

How much time did you spend on an anti-boredom gadget today? We watch entire seasons of television in a day, we scroll through infinite streams of social media, and we are transfixed by games designed as deftly as slot machines. Adam Alter says it’s time to consider measures that will help everyone to cut back. His book is called Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.

For the Spiel, your leggings have become a problem.
Today’s sponsor:
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Feet off the Couch, Please  

Alyssa Mastromonaco served as White House deputy chief of staff under Barack Obama. Her job was expansive—covering everything from interviewing James Comey to making sure the White House driveway was re-paved[AM1] . Now, she’s written a memoir, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House.

In the Spiel, Republicans weren’t able to come up with a better plan than “Obamacare bad.” Failure was inevitable.

Today’s sponsors:

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Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

Slobs vs. Snobs  

Why does it feel like our political debate was brought to us by the National Lampoon? Sonny Bunch applies his powers of cultural analysis to the changing face of political conservativism. Bunch is executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, where he also writes film criticism

In the Spiel, Devin Nunes really messed this thing up, huh?

Today’s sponsors:

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Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

Health Care! It’s Trump’s Problem Now  

With hours to go before the official vote on Trumpcare, the bill is being altered to make sure moderates in Buffalo and Freedom Caucus members in South Carolina stay onboard. [MW1] Any chance this Frankenstein bill will fail? Slate columnists Jim Newell and Jordan Weissmann look at the costs and politics of the American Health Care Act ahead of Thursday’s consequential House vote.

For the Spiel, let’s try to be fair to Donald Trump. Just for a moment. It’s going to be hard, but dammit we’ll try.

Today’s sponsors:

The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kinds of topics. Get a free trial when you sign up by going toTheGreatCoursesPlus.com/gist.

Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans.When it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender, work with one that has your best interests in mind. Use Rocket Mortgage for a transparent, trustworthy home loan process that’s completely online at QuickenLoans.com/gist.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

James Comey’s Slow Drip  

What did we learn from Monday’s public testimony of FBI Director James Comey? National security ace Ben Wittes says Comey’s statements were intriguingly “gentle,” though they should still distress the president. Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

For the Spiel, Neil Gorsuch talks about a pointless race he once did and quotes David Foster Wallace, but doesn’t talk about his judicial philosophy.

Today’s sponsors:

ZipRecruiter. Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/gist.

Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

Cold, Hard Facts with Wendy Zukerman  

Wendy Zukerman isn’t like some other science reporters in that she doesn’t traffic in false equivalencies. “If there’s a 95 percent consensus among scientists, you report the consensus,” says Zukerman. Her podcast, Science Vs., is on its second season. The topics this year range from immigration and climate change to acne and ghosts.

For the Spiel, you know that new sound you’ve been looking for? Well, Mike’s got it right here.
Today’s sponsors:

Stamps.com. Buy and print official U.S. postage using your own computer and printer. Sign up for Stamps.com and get a four-week trial plus postage and a digital scale when you use promo code THEGIST.
Blue Apron. Create delicious home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients delivered right to your door. Get your first three meals free when you go to BlueApron.com/gist.
Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

What’s Next for Travel Ban 2.0  

Slate senior legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick walks us through the next steps for Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Some judges may not use Trump’s campaign rhetoric in their rulings; however, “Every time Trump opens his mouth, he makes it harder,” says Lithwick. She also discusses next week's confirmation hearings of Neil Gorsuch. Besides covering the courts for Slate, Lithwick is the host of the Amicus podcast.

In the Spiel, it’s Lobstar time.

Today’s sponsors:

Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off, when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with codeTRYGMC.

Unpacked, a new Spotify original podcast that explores some of the planet’s hottest events. First up? Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest. Listen to Unpacked and all your favorite music on the Spotify mobile app for free now.

Dangerous Times With Kelly McEvers  

Before Kelly McEvers landed in her current role as host of NPR’s All Things Considered, she was a world-weary conflict-zone reporter. But McEvers says she wasn’t bored upon returning to the states: “I came back to America, and I was like, Whoa, America, kind of messed up.” McEvers’ reporting podcast, Embedded, has just released new episodes. She talked to Mike Pesca last year at the Now Hear This Podcast Festival in Anaheim, California.

In the Spiel, not so much with the Dutch populism.   

Today’s sponsors:

Tripping.com gives you access to millions of vacation properties all in one place. Visit Tripping.com/gist to find your perfect vacation rental today.

Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

Stretching the Truth With Maria Konnikova  

Like so many dubious health claims, stretching before exercise has its roots in yoga culture. Maria Konnikova explains that stretching is exercise in-and-of itself and shouldn’t be treated like a warm-up. Then why do so many trainers and health nuts preach stretching as gospel? Konnikova is a regular guest on The Gist, a New Yorker staff writer, and the author of The Confidence Game.  
In the Spiel, Rachel Maddow’s report on President Donald Trump’s taxes was fine news but bad showmanship.  
Today’s sponsors:
Control GX gray-reducing shampoo. It is the first shampoo that gradually reduces gray. 
Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

Todd Barry Would Rather Be Drumming  

Todd Barry’s stand-up comedy falls along the lower end of the register: in volume, in speed, in tone. So maybe it makes sense that he’s happiest onstage when he doesn’t have to talk at all. Fans may wonder how Barry translates his dry delivery to the page. The answer: by making liberal use of italics. His new book is Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World.
In the Spiel, joining forces with the News 4 Storm Tracker, it’s the most precise name in climate science: Wayne Tracker.
Today’s sponsors:
The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kinds of topics. Get a Free Trial when you sign up by going toTheGreatCoursesPlus.com/gist.Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off, when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

See You in Court!  

President Donald Trump’s management style has created lots of big, messy legal questions. With his new executive order on immigration, and his calls for a congressional investigation into wiretapping, Trump is plunging the government into uncharted territory. Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution is here to explain. Wittes is the editor in chief of the Lawfare blog.

In the Spiel, the fight for Tom Price’s old House seat has already become deeply silly.

Today’s sponsors:

Indochino, the company that’s reinventing men’s fashion. Go to Indochino.com to get any premium Indochino suit for just $389, plus free shipping, when you use promo code gist at checkout.

Betterment, an automated investing service that makes investing easy. For a limited time, sign up for Betterment and you may qualify for a free Canary home security system to help secure your home. Visit Betterment.com/gist for more details.

Survey Says …  

Anthony Salvanto, CBS News’ elections director, explains the CBS Nation Tracker poll and why it’s different from the surveys that tell you if you’re a Jessa.
In the Spiel, can you trust the job numbers?
Today’s sponsors:
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Trump’s Azerbaijan Problem  

President Donald Trump has overseen many shady deals, but New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson thinks he may have found the most questionable one. Davidson says a Trump Organization hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, links the president to some shady oligarchs as well as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a shadow-government ideological group. Read Davidson’s piece, “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal.”

Maria Konnikova has today’s Spiel on the theory of trickle-down hate-speech.
Today’s sponsor:

Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.
Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

A Beautiful Health Care Plan, Just Terrific  

Donald Trump has promised lower costs, broader coverage, and better premiums in his health care plan. Well, the new bill is out, and it’s uniting liberals and conservatives in outright disdain. “I’ve only heard from two outside groups who like this bill,” says Vox health care correspondent Sarah Kliff. Everybody else hates it. Kliff walks us through the implications of “Trumpcare” and whether it has any chance of passing through Congress.

For the Spiel, how your smart TV became a sleeper agent for the intelligence community.
Today’s sponsors:

Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with $4 off, when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

And Stamps.com. Buy and print official U.S. postage using your own computer and printer. Sign up for Stamps.com and get a four-week trial, plus postage and a digital scale, when you use promo code THEGIST.
Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

Moneyball for the Israeli Military  

In books like Moneyball and The Big Short, Michael Lewis has written about people who think in a completely different way from their colleagues. For his latest, The Undoing Project, Lewis profiles the patron saints of different thinking, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The two men completely upended the study of decision-making in the early 1950s.
For the Spiel, the artist formerly known as the Affordable Care Act. 

Today’s sponsors:

ZipRecruiter. Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/Gist.

And Control GX gray reducing shampoo. It is the FIRST shampoo that gradually reduces gray. It’s easy to use and provides subtle, natural-looking results.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

The Fonz Talks About Fonts  

Henry Winkler is an icon of American comedy. Between roles in Happy Days, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation, Winkler has been writing children’s books starring the character Hank Zipzer. Winkler says the stories have helped him come to terms with his own dyslexia, which he only discovered as an adult. His newest book is Always Watch Out for the Flying Potato Salad.
For the Spiel, you might want to learn to spell “wiretap” because you accuse someone of ordering a wiretap.

Today’s sponsors:

Stamps.com. Buy and print official U.S. postage using your own computer and printer. Sign up for Stamps.com and get a four-week trial, plus postage and a digital scale, when you use promo code THEGIST.

And The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kinds of topics. Get a free trial when you sign up by going toTheGreatCoursesPlus.com/gist.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

The Year “Gangnam” Was Robbed  

The Gist’s Billboard charts Sherpa Chris Molanphy returns to hearken back to more recent musical history: the hits of 2012. We learn why Psy’s ubiquitous “Gangnam Style” isn’t technically on the list and how a Swedish stable of songwriters dominated the charts with “turbo pop.” Molanphy writes the Why Is This Song No. 1? column for Slate.

In the Spiel, chasing down a lesser-known lie.   

Today’s sponsors:

Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.

Blue Apron. Create delicious, home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients delivered right to your door. Get your first three meals free when you go to BlueApron.com/thegist.


The Bard of Florida  

The inexplicable oddness of Florida takes on a sort of logic after you listen long enough to Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist and longtime denizen of the state. On The Gist, Barry provides a mental atlas for the various regions of weird within Florida, its incompetent government (but what a bargain), and its unrivaled weirdos. His book is Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland.

In the Spiel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands confused and, now, recused.   

Today’s sponsors:

Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. When it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender, work with one that has your best interests in mind. Use Rocket Mortgage for a transparent, trustworthy home loan process that’s completely online at QuickenLoans.com/Gist.

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Coming to America With Maeve Higgins  

Three years ago, Maeve Higgins left a successful career as an author comedian in Ireland to try her hand at New York City. Since then, she’s been obsessed with fellow immigrants, people who have chosen to make their life in the USA, often against formidable odds. In her podcast, Maeve in America, Higgins tells these stories, from Syrian refugees to Korean academics to English comedians. 
For the Spiel, a fable that explains everything you know about Trump’s speech to Congress.
Today’s sponsors:
Control GX gray-reducing shampoo. It is the first shampoo that gradually reduces gray. It reduces gray a little with each shampoo. It’s easy to use and provides subtle, natural-looking results.
And Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. Try it today $4 off, when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with code TRYGMC.

A World Disorder Doctrine  

China isn’t a boogeyman, North Korea is genuinely frightening, and we could stand to be more diplomatic with Russia. Those ideas come from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who says the U.S. can be a stabilizing force in the world, so long as it does a better job of discerning when to speak softly and when to use the big stick. Haass is the author of A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.
For the Spiel, you’re nobody until you’re somebody that President Trump considers—and then you’re everybody.
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