Slate's The Gist

Slate's The Gist

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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

Can We Really Fix College Sports?  

For college athletes, performance bonuses outweigh academic bonuses 15 to 1. That’s not acceptable, says Arne Duncan. Duncan served as Barack Obama’s education secretary. Now, he’s on the Knight Commission, which is trying to lead reforms in college sports.

In the Spiel, the strange evolution of Rod Rosenstein.
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The Garbage Art of Handwriting Analysis  

Maria Konnikova returns to look at a tool prosecutors have used for decades: handwriting analysis, or graphology. Older versions of the practice have used handwriting to predict everything from a person’s mental state to their capacity for murder. “People have been convicted based on it,” says Konnikova. “We’re not talking about phrenology. Graphology is still something that exists in the United States. There are societies of graphologists.” Konnikova is the author of The Confidence Game and host of the Panoply podcast The Grift
For the Spiel, Trump’s voting commission may be hobbled, but it can still do some real harm.  

Tyler Cowen Fears for Our Future  

Economist Tyler Cowen is disdainful of social media, heartened by recent immigrants, and wary of pot. He thinks that, in our collective desire for comfort, we are postponing big and necessary changes that will sow instability in the years ahead. “Right now Americans are failing to regenerate sources of future progress,” Cowen writes, “and thus they are borrowing against the future rather than paying their bills.” Cowen’s latest book is The Complacent Class.
In the Spiel, are things going any better abroad? 

Dan Pashman on the Psychology of Taste  

Our friend Dan Pashman from the Sporkful podcast returns to explain the new field of study known as gastrophysics and why our brains have a big influence over how we taste food. For example, research shows we like the taste of food served with heavy cutlery and ice cream presented with brighter colors. “It could be something evolutionary,” says Pashman. “With brighter colors, ice cream tastes sweeter.” Check out Pashman’s interview with gastrophysicist Charles Spence
For the Spiel: Ann Coulter versus Delta, Day 3. 

Haunted By “A Ghost Story”  

Director David Lowery has made one of the most remarkable films of 2017 so far, and he’s built it around a ridiculous image: a white sheet with two eye-holes cut out. So what makes “A Ghost Story” feel so epic? And what’s with that 10-minute pie scene? Spoilers abound.     For the Spiel: so, who was in the room with Don Jr. and the Russians?  Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.

At Sea With James Stavridis  

Retired Admiral James Stavridis wants to remind us: Despite headlines about the rise of ISIS, there are bigger existential threats to America. “Terrorism is not apocalyptic, it’s a tool,” says Stavridis. He warns that conflicts with Russia and China are much more worrisome and likely to include a maritime component. “Again and again when there’s a crisis, the first question from the president is, where are the [aircraft] carriers? They are flexible and they can strike.” His new book is Sea Power.

In the Spiel, making a supergroup of the musicians in Trump’s White House.

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Look at All the Struggling Democracies  

It’s not that things are so terribly bad right now, it’s that circumstances have failed to keep up with expectations. So says Edward Luce, chief U.S. columnist for the Financial Times, whose new book surveys the ensuing crisis of confidence in liberal democracies. Luce’s book is The Retreat of Western Liberalism.

In the Spiel, Bridgegate winds down.
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Ben Wittes on the Latest News Bomb  

Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes on the latest #ENSH (errant national security horses---) and the brewing scandal surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. 

In the Spiel, we’re going back to the event that set all this in motion: the Miss Universe pageant of 2013. 

Twitter Should Drop Trump Already  

The jobs report has been good, the U.S. isn’t in a shooting war, and the economy is booming. So why is Trump still in the high 30s in terms of popularity? Political scientist Seth Masket says it’s because of Trump’s abrasive presence on Twitter. Masket recently made the case for why it’s in everyone’s best interest for the president and the social media giant to part ways in the Pacific Standard.   

In the Spiel, Kellyanne Conway, the gift that keeps on giving.

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In Defense of Ombudsmen  

Daniel Okrent did not have a lot of fun as the first public editor for the New York Times. “I was like internal affairs in a police department,” said Okrent. “Nobody liked to see me coming.” That said, Okrent defends the role ombudsmen play at news organizations, and he thinks the Times messed up earlier this year when it axed the public editor position. 
In the Spiel, there was no Labrador at the Trump-Putin meeting, so …  good sign? 

Centrists Won’t Save Health Care  

Conservative Philip Klein doesn’t think the presence of moderate senators means we’ll get better health care policy. “Centrists always get credit and adoration by many elements of the media for talking to the other side and not being ideologically rigid,” he says. “But I think that’s another way of saying they can be bought off easily.” Klein writes about health policy for the Washington Examiner.
Also, the failing New York Times op-ed.  


Chris Christie’s Biggest Mistake  

Gov. Chris Christie’s time in the national spotlight has been full of bloopers. But no goof appears as consequential as his call to cancel the ARC project, halting construction of an additional train tunnel between New Jersey and New York City. WNYC’s Matt Katz explains why Christie killed ARC. 
In the Spiel, Chris Christie and the fat-man theory of optics.  

The Incredible Eddie Izzard  

Eddie Izzard once thought about playing piano for a living. He’s done one professional show. It was in front of tens of thousands of people. That’s because fans will watch the comedian do pretty much anything, from running marathons, to telling jokes in German. His new book is Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens

Also, we celebrate an unheralded date in history: July 3rd. 

Invisibilia Questions Your Emotions  

NPR’s Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel explain what they learned about feelings from their third season of Invisibilia. Society has come around to the idea that emotions are a force to be reckoned with – is that a good thing?

In the Spiel, it’s time to name another Lobstar.
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Writing Cop Fiction in the Age of Black Lives Matter  

Crime writer Don Winslow says writing a novel about cops and cartels involves some pretty serious research. “In researching these books,” says Winslow, “I meet people. I’ve been to the funerals, talked to the cops. I’ve made the sympathy calls!” His newest book, about the NYPD, is The Force.

In the Spiel, Trump’s worst tweet yet! Oh boy.

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I Hate This, Don’t Quote Me  

Reporter Marc Fisher explains why he called out a classic game of D.C. deceit in the pages of the Washington Post. And Michelle LaRue, the official Gist penguin expert, returns to explain some news about those troublesome birds.

In the Spiel, how would a normal president handle our world affairs?

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Big Turmoil in Big Sky Country  

Anne Helen Petersen returns to discuss her new posting—as the Western correspondent for BuzzFeed. Petersen will be reporting on U.S. political culture from her new home, Missoula, Montana. “There’s a reason every newspaper used to have bureaus in every part of the country,” says Petersen, who recently covered the recent razor-thin House race in which notorious Republican Greg Gianforte came out on top.

On the Spiel, when everything becomes a calamity, nothing is a calamity.
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The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women  

Anne Helen Petersen has made a career on the rigorous, deep, academic study of celebrity culture. In her new book Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Petersen explores the rise of norm-breaking women such as Lena Dunham and Serena Williams and what their ascendency can tell us about the political moment we’re living in. Petersen’s day job is senior culture writer at BuzzFeed.

Also, the Supreme Court makes a surprise ruling, and the Congressional Budget Office makes an unsurprising report.
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Do Radicals Change the World?  

Author Jeremy McCarter (co-writer of Hamilton: The Revolution with Lin-Manuel Miranda) has written a new book tracing five American radicals from the 1910s and ’20s. “I had thought this was going to be a book about a chapter of progress in history we could learn from,” says McCarter. “But 1917 is a lot closer to what I thought I would see in my lifetime.” Young Radicals is available now.  
In the Spiel, a lot of people really, really did not like Otto Warmbier. 

Scaachi Koul on Surviving the Trolls  

Scaachi Koul, a writer for BuzzFeed, talks about growing up as a brown girl in Canada’s “Cowtown,” and how she set off a tweetstorm by soliciting job applications from writers who are “not white and not male.” Koul’s book of essays is One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
In the Spiel, legislative and executive reaction to the healthcare bill. 

The Musings of Wallace Shawn  

There are two Wallace Shawns. There’s the character actor, known for playing eccentrics in The Princess Bride and The Good Wife and voicing cartoon dinosaurs. (“I don’t get cast as a lot of real people,” he notes.) Then there’s the acclaimed playwright, thinker, and ardent leftist. Shawn is out with a new collection of political musings, Night Thoughts, which address everything from inequality to the changing climate.

In the Spiel, Travis Kalanick, don’t let the cab door hit you on the way out.

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