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The New Yorker Radio Hour

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David Remnick is joined by The New Yorker’s award-winning writers, editors and artists to present a weekly mix of profiles, storytelling, and insightful conversations about the issues that matter — plus an occasional blast of comic genius from the magazine’s legendary Shouts and Murmurs page. The New Yorker has set a standard in journalism for generations and The New Yorker Radio Hour gives it a voice on public radio for the first time. Produced by The New Yorker and WNYC Studios.
WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many more.
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320 Episodes
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a lot of fights on her hands. After she led the Democrats to victory in the 2018 midterm elections, her legislative agenda hit a number of roadblocks, including the Republican-controlled Senate. But it is Pelosi’s confrontations with Donald Trump that will go down in history. Through numerous scandals, Pelosi resisted pressure to move to impeach the President, frustrating many members of her party and leading some on the left to question her leadership. “There was plenty the President had done, evidenced in the Mueller report and other things, that were impeachable offenses,” she tells Jane Mayer. “For me, timing is everything. I said, ‘When we get more facts, when the truth has more clarity, we will be ready. We will be ready.’ ” While she has come around on impeachment, Pelosi still hews toward the center of the Party and resists some proposals from the progressive left, such as Medicare for All. “November matters,” Pelosi likes to tell colleagues running in the primaries. “What works in Michigan . . . [like] economic security for America’s working families—that works in San Francisco. What works in San Francisco might not work in Michigan. So let’s go with the Michigan plan, because that’s where we have to win the Electoral College.” Pelosi, who has been in Congress for more than thirty years, has led the House Democrats since 2003. She spoke with the staff writer Jane Mayer in a live interview at The New Yorker Festival, on October 12th. 
The months of protests in Hong Kong may be the biggest political crisis facing Chinese leadership since the Tiananmen Square massacre a generation ago. What began as objections to a proposed extradition law has morphed into a broad-based protest movement. “There was just this rising panic that Hong Kong was becoming just like another mainland city, utterly under the thumb of the Party,” says Jiayang Fan, who recently returned from Hong Kong. In Beijing, Evan Osnos spoke to officials during their celebration of the Chinese Communist Party’s seventieth year in power. He found that the leadership is feeling more secure than it did in 1989, when tanks mowed down student protesters. “I think the more likely scenario,” Osnos tells David Remnick, “is that China will keep up the pressure and gradually use its sheer weight and persistence to try to grind down the resistance of protestors.” And, from the archives, reflections from Richard Nixon on the fallout from Tiananmen Square.  
In fifteen years, people of retirement age will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. But, the staff writer Adam Gopnik finds, the elderly are poorly served by the field of design, whether it’s a screw-top plastic bottle or the transportation system of a major city. Gopnik visited the M.I.T. Age Lab, where he tried on a special suit that simulates the pains and difficulties of advanced age for research purposes. And, to put the issues in context, he called a much older friend: the painter Wayne Thiebaud, who, at ninety-eight, is still leading an active career and is preparing for an upcoming exhibition. Plus, the writer Elizabeth Strout has set many of her books in Maine, including “Olive Kitteridge.” She brought us to one of her favorite haunts: a steep hill on her college campus, where she would sit and look out over the world.  And in a new sketch by Colin Nissan, a routine call for technical support leads to a chilling transformation.
David Remnick asks five New Yorker contributors about the nascent impeachment proceedings against the President. Susan Glasser, the magazine’s Washington correspondent, notes that Republicans have attacked the inquiry but have not exactly defended the substance of Trump’s phone call to Zelensky. Joshua Yaffa, who has been reporting from Kiev, notes Ukraine’s disappointment in the conduct of the American President; Jane Mayer describes how an impeachment scenario in the era of Fox News could play out very differently than it did in the age of Richard Nixon; Jelani Cobb reflects on the likelihood of violence; and Jill Lepore argues that, regardless of the outcome, impeachment is the only constitutional response to Donald Trump’s actions. “This is the Presidential equivalent of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue,” she tells Remnick. 
Senator Cory Booker burst onto the national scene about a decade ago, after serving as the mayor of the notoriously impoverished and dangerous city of Newark, New Jersey. To get that job, Booker challenged an entrenched establishment. “My political training comes from the roughest of rough campaigns,” he tells David Remnick. “You just won’t think it’s America, the kind of stuff we had to go up against. And it [was] such a great way to learn [that campaigning] has to be retail—grassroots. And so much of this, in those early primary states, is about that.” Booker spoke with Remnick about growing up black in a largely white area of New Jersey, where his parents had to fight to be able to buy a home; about his long relationship with the Kushner family, which started back when Jared Kushner’s father, Charles, was a leading Democratic donor; and why he’s proud to collaborate with even his direst political opponents on issues such as criminal-justice reform. “Donald Trump signed my bill,” Booker states. “I worked with him and his White House to pass a bill that liberated thousands of black people from prison” by retroactively reducing unjustly high sentences related to crack cocaine. “Tell that liberated person that Cory Booker should not deal with somebody that he fundamentally disagrees with.” Note: In this interview, Senator Booker asserts, “We now have more African-Americans in this country under criminal supervision than all the slaves in 1850.” The historical accuracy of this comparison has been challenged. More accurately, the number of African-American men under criminal supervision today has been compared to the number of African-American men enslaved in 1850. 
The Green Rush

The Green Rush

2019-09-2000:53:215

It was just seven years ago that Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Today the drug is legal in eleven states and counting, with polls showing that sixty per cent of Americans support its legalization. How did that happen so fast? This episode of The New Yorker Radio Hour looks at the end of reefer madness—and the early days of corporate cannabis. Bruce Barcott talks about the politics and the public-health aspects of legalization; Jelani Cobb looks at how legalization tries to undo the decades of harm that marijuana prohibition has done to communities of color; Sue Halpern drives around Vermont, where weed is the new zucchini; and Jia Tolentino shares the joy of watching David Attenborough under the influence. 
Alabama Shakes started out playing covers at local gigs but quickly found a unique personal voice rooted in rock and soul. The band came to national attention, found a wide and devoted public, and soon earned four Grammys, for the album “Sound and Color.” But after that record, their second, Brittany Howard—who sings, plays guitar, and writes songs for the group—announced that she was putting Alabama Shakes on hiatus, to work on a solo album. “We sat and we talked about it for several hours; we sat in a circle,” she recalls. “At the end of the conversation, everybody was, like, ‘O.K., we understand. We get it.’ They gave me their blessing to go on and find what I needed to find or create what I needed to create.” Howard gathered a different group of musicians, including the keyboard superstar Robert Glasper, to back her up on a solo album, called “Jamie.” It’s named after Howard’s late sister, but it’s very much about the singer herself—her passions, her concerns, and her upbringing, in Athens, Alabama. Is this, David Remnick asks, the end of Alabama Shakes? “I don’t know,” Howard says, after a pause. “Wherever creativity leads my ship, I can’t force it. That’s the thing. Once I start forcing it, it’s not going to be no good, anyway.”  
An exodus is under way in the House of Representatives: not even halfway into the congressional term, fifteen Republicans have announced that they will not run in 2020. One of the exiting members is Will Hurd, a former C.I.A. officer who was elected in 2014. His district in Texas includes nearly a third of the state’s border with Mexico. Although he is reluctant to criticize the G.O.P. directly, Hurd tells the Washington correspondent Susan B. Glasser that he thinks the President’s border policy is ineffective: a wall isn’t the answer, Border Patrol is underfunded relative to the area it covers, and the technology in use for border security is both out of date and overly complicated, “requiring a Ph.D. in computer science to operate,” he says. “I wish I could pass a piece of legislation,” Hurd tells Glasser, “that says you can’t talk about the border unless you’ve been down to the border a few times.” Hurd’s departure is particularly significant because he is—for the sixteen months he has left to serve—the only African-American in the House Republican caucus, and he worries that the President’s negative rhetoric toward people of color is contributing to a demographic shift that’s turning Texas from deep red to purple. “When you have statements the equivalent of, ‘go back to Africa,’ ” Hurd notes, “that is not helpful.” Plus, two leading environmental writers, Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert, wonder if the new sense of urgency around climate change is coming too late.   
Vjeran Tomic has been stealing since he was a small child, when he used a ladder to break into a library in his home town, in Bosnia. After moving to Paris, he graduated to lucrative apartment burglaries, living off the jewels he took and often doing time in prison. He became known in the French press as Spider-Man, and he began to steal art. Tomic has a grand sense of his calling as a burglar; he considers it his destiny and has described his robberies as acts of imagination. He eventually carried a truly epic heist: a break-in at the Musée d’Art Moderne, in Paris, in which he left with seventy million dollars’ worth of paintings. But selling these masterpieces proved harder than stealing them, and that’s where Spider-Man’s troubles began. The contributor Jake Halpern tells Vjeran Tomic’s story; excerpts from Tomic’s letters from prison are read by the actor Jean Brassard.  
The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, talks with Salman Rushdie about “Quichotte,” his apocalyptic quest novel. A few years ago, when the four hundredth anniversary of “Don Quixote” was being celebrated, Rushdie reread Cervantes’s book and found himself newly engaged by a much improved translation. He immediately began thinking of writing his own story about a “silly old fool,” like Quixote, who becomes obsessed with an unattainable woman and undertakes a quest to win her love. This character became Quichotte (named for the French opera loosely based on “Don Quixote”), who is seeking the love of—or, as she sees it, stalking—a popular talk-show host. As Quichotte journeys to find her, he encounters the truths of contemporary America: the opioid epidemic, white supremacy, the fallout from the War on Terror, and more. “I’ve always really liked the risky thing of writing very close up against the present moment,” Rushdie tells Treisman. “If you do it wrong, it’s a catastrophe. If you do it right, with luck, you somehow capture a moment.” At the same time, the novel gives full rein to Rushdie’s fantastical streak—at one point, for instance, Quichotte comes across a New Jersey town where people turn into mastodons. Treisman talks with the author about the influence of science fiction on his imagination, and about his personal connection to the tragedy of opioids. Rushdie’s much younger sister died from the consequences of addiction, and the book is centrally concerned with siblings trying to reconnect after separation.
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Comments (22)

Alex Mercedes

Jelani hits the nail on the head. Trump is mentally imbalanced and this is not being taken seriously enough.

Oct 13th
Reply

Sqeedledee

mmm,m k.nommm9mmm m

Oct 5th
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Alex Mercedes

if this had been the first episode I ever heard...the climate change report was too short to say much and the conversation with the Congressman was worthless, as in unfocused questions and blah blah SOS politician talk. it's okay. I know you can do better -- I've heard past episodes.

Sep 16th
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Rachel McVey

important topic -- personally, not a fan of this different "investigation" kind of format for the episode

Sep 15th
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Robby Mckelvey

Cortez is a retard..

Sep 13th
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Alex Mercedes

tough interview. she handled herself well.

Sep 2nd
Reply (1)

Alex Mercedes

only 2 minutes in and already my time is well spent. I did not grow up with Internet. I predate it and the description at 1:40 is exactly how it seems to me too (with unlivable being the essential descriptor) though most people tell me I'm being harsh or hysterical. thanks for the validation.

Aug 27th
Reply (1)

Pema Karma Deschen

LOL. Great interview... Lena is so well spoken and articulate. But did anyone catch the end where he said thank you Amelia after he clinked her glass? Interesting in particular to me because I have been listening to old podcasts..currently August 2019...but I JUST finished listening to the Amelia Clarke interview.hmmmmmm. They weren't anywhere near one another Amelia was 2018 I think? 😲🤔😄

Aug 20th
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ABR

First interview was great, no thanks to Wickenden. I have to admit, there were several times I felt like screaming at her. She has a very poor understanding of the adolescent experience in the late 20th and early 21st century. And for the record, many teenage girls are into guns and explosives too.

May 30th
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Natalia Mironova

I am crying from happiness, right now! The most fragile social group of sybarite Southern Aristocrats found!

May 26th
Reply

Wendy Bruder

The idea of endless growth NEEDS to end. Humans need to stop procreating and change our ways drastically. Glad to day no progeny of mine will be forced to live on the planet humans have destroyed.

May 10th
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Toby Barraud

Why aren't the prosecutors named in this radio program? I agree with John Thompson : they are guilty of attempted murder. It's an outrage the legal system refuses to hold them accountable. The very least punishment they suffer should be the public recognition of what they did.

Jan 30th
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Rachel McVey

Thanks for having David Bentley Hart on the show to talk about his translation of the New Testament! I was a member of a Bible church until age 24 and was "in the word" every day, instructing others in the scriptures -- while trying my best not to think too much about research on the history of the Bible and its translation that suggested my leather bound NIV might not be precisely God's truth. After listening to this episode, I immediately bought a copy of Hart's translation. It will be the first Bible I'll have opened in more than two years!

Dec 23rd
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Peter Chaloner

Call them Arabs. Call them owners of 22 countries. There are no 'Palestinians.'

Sep 25th
Reply (1)

L.S. Mitchell

The ending of this podcast made irony incarnate.

Jul 7th
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Drea Griffin

I think Mark is right. Unless DEMS win being "on my side" serves no purpose

Jun 1st
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Bridget Rathman

it's a little hard to listen to two men talk about women hiding their sexual assault. at one point the interviewer says that one of the women lied to Ronin about her sexual assuault. that's a harsh word choice to apply to a survivor. it's every survivor's choice as to whether or not they want to speak about what happened to them. it's no one's place to judge them for that decision. also the comment Ronin made that it's surprising that pretty, poised women also get sexually harassed is gross on multiple levels. I appreciate what you're doing and am glad this story is out, and am grateful for the part these journalists played. I'm so thankful that you had the woman come on and point out at that it's men listening that had changed. I feel like so much of the focus was on blaming women for not speaking out rather than on men not listening.

May 11th
Reply

marlon cxxx

LOVE The TNYRD

Dec 31st
Reply

Noor Al Wattar

my favourite thing on the internet

Nov 9th
Reply
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