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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

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There’s something weird happening with the economy. On a personal level, most Americans say they’re doing pretty well right now. And according to the data, that’s true. Wages have gone up faster than inflation. Unemployment is low, the stock market is generally up so far this year, and people are buying more stuff.And yet in surveys, people keep saying the economy is bad. A recent Harris poll for The Guardian found that around half of Americans think the S. & P. 500 is down this year, and that unemployment is at a 50-year high. Fifty-six percent think we’re in a recession.There are many theories about why this gap exists. Maybe political polarization is warping how people see the economy or it’s a failure of President Biden’s messaging, or there’s just something uniquely painful about inflation. And while there’s truth in all of these, it felt like a piece of the story was missing.And for me, that missing piece was an article I read right before the pandemic. An Atlantic story from February 2020 called “The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America.” It described how some of Americans’ biggest-ticket expenses — housing, health care, higher education and child care — which were already pricey, had been getting steadily pricier for decades.At the time, prices weren’t the big topic in the economy; the focus was more on jobs and wages. So it was easier for this trend to slip notice, like a frog boiling in water, quietly, putting more and more strain on American budgets. But today, after years of high inflation, prices are the biggest topic in the economy. And I think that explains the anger people feel: They’re noticing the price of things all the time, and getting hammered with the reality of how expensive these things have become.The author of that Atlantic piece is Annie Lowrey. She’s an economics reporter, the author of Give People Money, and also my wife. In this conversation, we discuss how the affordability crisis has collided with our post-pandemic inflationary world, the forces that shape our economic perceptions, why people keep spending as if prices aren’t a strain and what this might mean for the presidential election.Mentioned:“It Will Never Be a Good Time to Buy a House” by Annie LowreyBook Recommendations:Franchise by Marcia ChatelainA Place of Greater Safety by Hilary MantelNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones and Aman Sahota. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
After Donald Trump was convicted last week in his hush-money trial, Republican leaders wasted no time in rallying behind him. There was no chance the Republican Party was going to replace Trump as their nominee at this point. Trump has essentially taken over the G.O.P.; his daughter-in-law is even co-chair of the Republican National Committee.How did the Republican Party get so weak that it could fall victim to a hostile takeover?Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld are the authors of “The Hollow Parties: The Many Pasts and Disordered Present of American Party Politics,” which traces how both major political parties have been “hollowed out” over the decades, transforming once-powerful gatekeeping institutions into mere vessels for the ideologies of specific candidates. And they argue that this change has been perilous for our democracy.In this conversation, we discuss how the power of the parties has been gradually chipped away; why the Republican Party became less ideological and more geared around conflict; the merits of a stronger party system; and more.Mentioned:“Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden” by The Ezra Klein Show“Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work” by The Ezra Klein Show with Elaine KamarckBook Recommendations:The Two Faces of American Freedom by Aziz RanaRainbow’s End by Steven P. ErieAn American Melodrama by Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, Bruce PageThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show’‘ was produced by Elias Isquith. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker, Kate Sinclair and Rollin Hu. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
Your Mind Is Being Fracked

Your Mind Is Being Fracked

2024-05-3101:14:0213

The steady dings of notifications. The 40 tabs that greet you when you open your computer in the morning. The hundreds of unread emails, most of them spam, with subject lines pleading or screaming for you to click. Our attention is under assault these days, and most of us are familiar with the feeling that gives us — fractured, irritated, overwhelmed.D. Graham Burnett calls the attention economy an example of “human fracking”: With our attention in shorter and shorter supply, companies are going to even greater lengths to extract this precious resource from us. And he argues that it’s now reached a point that calls for a kind of revolution. “This is creating conditions that are at odds with human flourishing. We know this,” he tells me. “And we need to mount new forms of resistance.”Burnett is a professor of the history of science at Princeton University and is working on a book about the laboratory study of attention. He’s also a co-founder of the Strother School of Radical Attention, which is a kind of grass roots, artistic effort to create a curriculum for studying attention.In this conversation, we talk about how the 20th-century study of attention laid the groundwork for today’s attention economy, the connection between changing ideas of attention and changing ideas of the self, how we even define attention (this episode is worth listening to for Burnett’s collection of beautiful metaphors alone), whether the concern over our shrinking attention spans is simply a moral panic, what it means to teach attention and more.Mentioned:Friends of Attention“The Battle for Attention” by Nathan Heller“Powerful Forces Are Fracking Our Attention. We Can Fight Back.” by D. Graham Burnett, Alyssa Loh and Peter SchmidtScenes of Attention edited by D. Graham Burnett and Justin E. H. SmithBook Recommendations:Addiction by Design by Natasha Dow SchüllObjectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter L. GalisonThe Confidence-Man by Herman MelvilleThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Elias Isquith. Original music by Isaac Jones and Aman Sahota. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
A.I.-generated art has flooded the internet, and a lot of it is derivative, even boring or offensive. But what could it look like for artists to collaborate with A.I. systems in making art that is actually generative, challenging, transcendent?Holly Herndon offered one answer with her 2019 album “PROTO.” Along with Mathew Dryhurst and the programmer Jules LaPlace, she built an A.I. called “Spawn” trained on human voices that adds an uncanny yet oddly personal layer to the music. Beyond her music and visual art, Herndon is trying to solve a problem that many creative people are encountering as A.I. becomes more prominent: How do you encourage experimentation without stealing others’ work to train A.I. models? Along with Dryhurst, Jordan Meyer and Patrick Hoepner, she co-founded Spawning, a company figuring out how to allow artists — and all of us creating content on the internet — to “consent” to our work being used as training data.In this conversation, we discuss how Herndon collaborated with a human chorus and her “A.I. baby,” Spawn, on “PROTO”; how A.I. voice imitators grew out of electronic music and other musical genres; why Herndon prefers the term “collective intelligence” to “artificial intelligence”; why an “opt-in” model could help us retain more control of our work as A.I. trawls the internet for data; and much more.Mentioned:“Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt” by Holly Herndon“xhairymutantx” by Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst, for the Whitney Museum of Art“Fade” by Holly Herndon“Swim” by Holly Herndon“Jolene” by Holly Herndon and Holly+“Movement” by Holly Herndon“Chorus” by Holly Herndon“Godmother” by Holly Herndon“The Precision of Infinity” by Jlin and Philip GlassHolly+Book Recommendations:Intelligence and Spirit by Reza NegarestaniChildren of Time by Adrian TchaikovskyPlurality by E. Glen Weyl, Audrey Tang and ⿻ CommunityThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Jack Hamilton.
“The Jetsons” premiered in 1962. And based on the internal math of the show, George Jetson, the dad, was born in 2022. He’d be a toddler right now. And we are so far away from the world that show imagined. There were a lot of future-trippers in the 1960s, and most of them would be pretty disappointed by how that future turned out.So what happened? Why didn’t we build that future?The answer, I think, lies in the 1970s. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying that decade in my work, trying to understand why America is so bad at building today. And James Pethokoukis has also spent a lot of time looking at the 1970s, in his work trying to understand why America is less innovative today than it was in the postwar decades. So Pethokoukis and I are asking similar questions, and circling the same time period, but from very different ideological vantages.Pethokoukis is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of the book “The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised.” He also writes a newsletter called Faster, Please! “The two screamingly obvious things that we stopped doing is we stopped spending on science, research and development the way we did in the 1960s,” he tells me, “and we began to regulate our economy as if regulation would have no impact on innovation.”In this conversation, we debate why the ’70s were such an inflection point; whether this slowdown phenomenon is just something that happens as countries get wealthier; and what the government’s role should be in supporting and regulating emerging technologies like A.I.Mentioned:“U.S. Infrastructure: 1929-2017” by Ray C. FairBook RecommendationsWhy Information Grows by Cesar HidalgoThe Expanse series by James S.A. CoreyThe American Dream Is Not Dead by Michael R. StrainThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
The international legal system was created to prevent the atrocities of World War II from happening again. The United Nations partitioned historic Palestine to create the states of Israel and Palestine, but also left Palestinians with decades of false promises. The war in Gaza — and countless other conflicts, including those in Syria, Yemen and Ethiopia — shows how little power the U.N. and international law have to protect civilians in wartime. So what is international law actually for?Aslı Ü. Bâli is a professor at Yale Law School who specializes in international and comparative law. “The fact that people break the law and sometimes get away with it doesn’t mean the law doesn’t exist and doesn’t have force,” she argues.In this conversation, Bâli traces the gap between how international law is written on paper and the realpolitik of how countries decide to follow it, the U.N.’s unique role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its very beginning, how the laws of war have failed Gazans but may be starting to change the conflict’s course, and more.Mentioned:“With Schools in Ruins, Education in Gaza Will Be Hobbled for Years” by Liam Stack and Bilal ShbairBook Recommendations:Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law by Antony AnghieJustice for Some by Noura ErakatWorldmaking After Empire by Adom GetachewThe Constitutional Bind by Aziz RanaThe United Nations and the Question of Palestine by Ardi ImseisThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carole Sabouraud.
Drug policy feels very unsettled right now. The war on drugs was a failure. But so far, the war on the war on drugs hasn’t entirely been a success, either.Take Oregon. In 2020, it became the first state in the nation to decriminalize hard drugs. It was a paradigm shift — treating drug-users as patients rather than criminals — and advocates hoped it would be a model for the nation. But then there was a surge in overdoses and public backlash over open-air drug use. And last month, Oregon’s governor signed a law restoring criminal penalties for drug possession, ending that short-lived experiment.Other states and cities have also tipped toward backlash. And there are a lot of concerns about how cannabis legalization and commercialization is working out around the country. So what did the supporters of these measures fail to foresee? And where do we go from here?Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University who specializes in addiction and its treatment. He also served as a senior policy adviser in the Obama administration. I asked him to walk me through why Oregon’s policy didn’t work out; what policymakers sometimes misunderstand about addiction; the gap between “elite” drug cultures and how drugs are actually consumed by most people; and what better drug policies might look like.Mentioned:Oregon Health Authority data“Why are there so many illegal weed stores in New York City? (Part 1)” by Search Engine“Why are there so many illegal weed stores in New York City? (Part 2)” by Search EngineBook Recommendations:Drugs and Drug Policy by Mark A.R. Kleiman, Jonathan P. Caulkins and Angela HawkenDopamine Nation by Anna LembkeConfessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De QuinceyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
Ultimately, the Gaza war protests sweeping campuses are about influencing Israeli politics. The protesters want to use economic divestment, American pressure and policy, and a broad sense of international outrage to change the decisions being made by Israeli leaders.So I wanted to know what it’s like to watch these protests from Israel. What are Israelis seeing? What do they make of them?Ari Shavit is an Israeli journalist and the author of “My Promised Land,” the best book I’ve read about Israeli identity and history. “Israelis are seeing a different war than the one that Americans see,” he tells me. “You see one war film, horror film, and we see at home another war film.”This is a conversation about trying to push divergent perspectives into relationship with each other: On the protests, on Israel, on Gaza, on Benjamin Netanyahu, on what it means to take societal trauma and fear seriously, on Jewish values, and more.Mentioned:“Building the Palestinian State with Salam Fayyad” by The Ezra Klein Show“To Save the Jewish Homeland” by Hannah ArendtBook Recommendations:Truman by David McCulloughParting the Waters by Taylor BranchRosalind Franklin by Brenda MaddoxThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Claire Gordon and Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Kristin Lin. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Michelle Harris. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Lydia Polgreen, Dalit Shalom and Sonia Herrero.
Is Green Growth Possible?

Is Green Growth Possible?

2024-04-3001:05:5314

A decade ago, I was feeling pretty pessimistic about climate change. The politics of mitigating global warming just seemed impossible: asking people to make sacrifices, or countries to slow their development, and delay dreams of better, more prosperous lives.But the world today looks different. The costs of solar and wind power have plummeted. Same for electric batteries. And a new politics is starting to take hold: that maybe we can invest and invent and build our way out of this crisis. But some very hard problems remain. Chief among them? Cows.Hannah Ritchie is the deputy editor and lead researcher at Our World in Data and the author of “Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet.” She’s pored over the data on this question and has come away more optimistic than many. “It’s just not true that we’ve had these solutions just sitting there ready to build for decades and decades, and we just haven’t done anything,” she told me. “We’re in a fundamentally different position going forward.”In this conversation, we discuss whether sustainability without sacrifice is truly possible. How much progress have we made so far? What gives her the most hope? And what are the biggest obstacles?Mentioned:“What was the death toll from Chernobyl and Fukushima?” by Hannah Ritchie“Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers” by Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek“Future demand for electricity generation materials under different climate mitigation scenarios” by Seaver Wang, Zeke Hausfather et al.Book Recommendations:Factfulness by Hans RoslingPossible by Chris GoodallRange by David EpsteinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel, “The Satanic Verses,” made him the target of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who denounced the book as blasphemous and issued a fatwa calling for his assassination. Rushdie spent years trying to escape the shadow the fatwa cast on him, and for some time, he thought he succeeded. But in 2022, an assailant attacked him onstage at a speaking engagement in western New York and nearly killed him.“I think now I’ll never be able to escape it. No matter what I’ve already written or may now write, I’ll always be the guy who got knifed,” he writes in his new memoir, “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder.”In this conversation, I asked Rushdie to reflect on his desire to escape the fatwa; the gap between the reputation of his novels and their actual merits; how his “shadow selves” became more real to millions than he was; how many of us in the internet age also have to contend with our many shadow selves; what Rushdie lives for now; and more.Mentioned:Midnight’s Children by Salman RushdieBook Recommendations:Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith GrossmanOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezThe Trial by Franz KafkaThe Castle by Franz KafkaThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Mrinalini Chakravorty.
In our recent series on artificial intelligence, I kept returning to a thought: This technology might be able to churn out content faster than we can, but we still need a human mind to sift through the dross and figure out what’s good. In other words, A.I. is going to turn more of us into editors.But editing is a peculiar skill. It’s hard to test for, or teach, or even describe. But it’s the crucial step in the creative process that takes work that’s decent and can turn it into something great.Adam Moss is widely known as one of the great magazine editors of his generation: He remade The New York Times Magazine in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and during his 15 years as editor in chief of New York magazine, shaped that outlet into one of the greatest print and digital publications we have. And he’s now out with a new book, “The Work of Art: How Something Comes From Nothing.” It’s a curation of 43 conversations with artists about the marginalia, doodles, drafts and revisions that lead to great art. It’s a celebration of the hard, human work that goes into the creative act. It’s a book, really, about editing.In this conversation, we discuss what musicians, writers, visual artists, sandcastle-builders and others have in common as they create; how editing is an underappreciated and often misunderstood step in the creative process; how creativity morphs in different stages of our lives; and trusting your own “sensibility.”Mentioned:“A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” by Kara Walker“Miss Gleason” by Amy SillmanEzra Klein Show episode with George Saunders“Mother and Child on Blue Mat” by Cheryl PopeEzra Klein Show episode with Maryanne Wolf“Fidenza” by Tyler Hobbs“In a River” by RostamBook Recommendations:Interviews with Francis Bacon by David SylvesterFaux Pas by Amy SillmanThe Sketchbooks Revealed by Richard DiebenkornThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero, Rachel Baker and James Burnett.
There is so much we need to build right now. The housing crunch has spread across the country; by one estimate, we’re a few million units short. And we also need a huge build-out of renewable energy infrastructure — at a scale some experts compare to the construction of the Interstate highway system.And yet, we’re not seeing anything close to the level of building that we need — even in the blue states and cities where housing tends to be more expensive and where politicians and voters purport to care about climate change and affordable housing.Jerusalem Demsas is a staff writer at The Atlantic who obsesses over these questions as much as I do. In this conversation, she takes me through some of her reporting on local disputes that block or hinder projects, and what they say about the issues plaguing development in the country at large. We discuss how well-intentioned policies evolved into a Kafka-esque system of legal and bureaucratic hoops and delays; how clashes over development reveal a generational split in the environmental movement; and what it would take to cut decades of red tape.Mentioned:“Colorado’s Ingenious Idea for Solving the Housing Crisis” by Jerusalem Demsas“The Culture War Tearing American Environmentalism Apart” by Jerusalem Demsas“Why America Doesn’t Build” by Jerusalem DemsasBook Recommendations:Don’t Blame Us by Lily GeismerThe Bulldozer in the Countryside by Adam RomeA Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George SaundersThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
Back in 2018, Dario Amodei worked at OpenAI. And looking at one of its first A.I. models, he wondered: What would happen as you fed an artificial intelligence more and more data?He and his colleagues decided to study it, and they found that the A.I. didn’t just get better with more data; it got better exponentially. The curve of the A.I.’s capabilities rose slowly at first and then shot up like a hockey stick.Amodei is now the chief executive of his own A.I. company, Anthropic, which recently released Claude 3 — considered by many to be the strongest A.I. model available. And he still believes A.I. is on an exponential growth curve, following principles known as scaling laws. And he thinks we’re on the steep part of the climb right now.When I’ve talked to people who are building A.I., scenarios that feel like far-off science fiction end up on the horizon of about the next two years. So I asked Amodei on the show to share what he sees in the near future. What breakthroughs are around the corner? What worries him the most? And how are societies that struggle to adapt to change and governments that are slow to react to them supposed to prepare for the pace of change he predicts? What does that line on his graph mean for the rest of us?This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:Sam Altman on The Ezra Klein ShowDemis Hassabis on The Ezra Klein ShowOn Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt“Measuring the Persuasiveness of Language Models” by AnthropicBook Recommendations:The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard RhodesThe Expanse (series) by James S.A. CoreyThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
The internet is in decay. Do a Google search, and there are so many websites now filled with slapdash content contorted just to rank highly in the algorithm. Facebook, YouTube, X and TikTok all used to feel more fun and surprising. And all these once-great media companies have been folding or shedding staff members, unable to find a business model that works.And into this weakened internet came the flood of A.I.-generated junk. There’s been a surge of spammy news sites filled with A.I.-generated articles. TikTok videos of A.I.-generated voices reading text pulled from Reddit can be churned out in seconds. And self-published A.I.-authored books are polluting Amazon listings.According to my guest today, Nilay Patel, this isn’t just a blip, as the big platforms figure out how to manage this. He believes that A.I. content will break the internet as we know it.“When you increase the supply of stuff onto those platforms to infinity, that system breaks down completely,” Patel told me “Recommendation algorithms break down completely. Our ability to discern what is real and what is false breaks down completely. And I think, importantly, the business models of the internet break down completely.”Patel is one of the sharpest observers of the internet, and the ways technology has shaped and reshaped it. He’s a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Verge, and the host of the “Decoder” podcast. In this conversation, we talk about why platforms seem so unprepared for the storm of A.I. content; whether an internet filled with cursory A.I. content is better or worse than an internet filled with good A.I. content; and if A.I. might be a kind of cleansing fire for the internet that enables something new and better to emerge.Mentioned:Help us win a Webby Award“Scenes from a dying web” by Casey Newton“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin“257 CES gadgets in 3 minutes — CES 2015” by The VergeBook Recommendations:The Conquest of Cool by Thomas FrankLiar in a Crowded Theater by Jeff KosseffSubstance by Peter HookEverything I Need I Get From You by Kaitlyn TiffanyExtremely Hardcore by Zoe SchifferBeyond Measure by James VincentThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Claire Gordon. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Isaac Jones and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
There’s something of a paradox that has defined my experience with artificial intelligence in this particular moment. It’s clear we’re witnessing the advent of a wildly powerful technology, one that could transform the economy and the way we think about art and creativity and the value of human work itself. At the same time, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use it in my own day-to-day job.So I wanted to understand what I’m missing and get some tips for how I could incorporate A.I. better into my life right now. And Ethan Mollick is the perfect guide: He’s a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who’s spent countless hours experimenting with different chatbots, noting his insights in his newsletter One Useful Thing and in a new book, “Co-Intelligence: Living and Working With A.I.”This conversation covers the basics, including which chatbot to choose and techniques for how to get the most useful results. But the conversation goes far beyond that, too — to some of the strange, delightful and slightly unnerving ways that A.I. responds to us, and how you’ll get more out of any chatbot if you think of it as a relationship rather than a tool.Mollick says it’s helpful to understand this moment as one of co-creation, in which we all should be trying to make sense of what this technology is going to mean for us. Because it’s not as if you can call up the big A.I. companies and get the answers. “When I talk to OpenAI or Anthropic, they don’t have a hidden instruction manual,” he told me. “There is no list of how you should use this as a writer or as a marketer or as an educator. They don’t even know what the capabilities of these systems are.”Book Recommendations:The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. GordonThe Knowledge by Lewis DartnellBlindsight by Peter WattsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
Donald Trump can seem like a political anomaly. You sometimes hear people describe his connection with his base in quasi-mystical terms. But really, Trump is an example of an archetype — the right-wing populist showman — that recurs across time and place. There’s Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Boris Johnson in Britain, Javier Milei in Argentina. And there’s a long lineage of this type in the United States too.So why is there this consistent demand for this kind of political figure? And why does this set of qualities — ethnonationalist politics and an entertaining style — repeatedly appear at all?John Ganz is the writer of the newsletter Unpopular Front and the author of the forthcoming book “When the Clock Broke: Con Men, Conspiracists, and How America Cracked Up in the Early 1990s.” In this conversation, we discuss how figures like David Duke and Pat Buchanan were able to galvanize the fringes of the Republican Party; Trump’s specific brand of TV-ready charisma; and what liberals tend to overlook about the appeal of this populist political aesthetic.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“Right-Wing Populism” by Murray N. Rothbard“The ‘wave’ of right-wing populist sentiment is a myth” by Larry Bartels“How we got here” by Matthew YglesiasBook Recommendations:What Hath God Wrought? by Daniel Walker HoweAfter Nationalism by Samuel GoldmanThe Politics of Cultural Despair by Fritz R. SternThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
We’ll be back on Friday with a new episode. In the meantime, we wanted to share one of our favorite recent episodes from our sister podcast, “Matter of Opinion.”Why does the economy look so good to economists but feel so bad to voters?The Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman joins the hosts on “Matter of Opinion” to discuss why inflation, interest rates and wages aren’t in line with voters’ perception of the economy. Then, they debate with Paul how big of an influence the economy will be on the 2024 presidential election, and which of the two presumed candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, it could benefit. Plus, Ross Douthat’s lessons on aging, through Michael Caine impressions.Mentioned:“Believing Is Seeing,” from Paul Krugman’s newsletter“The Age of Diminished Expectations,” by Paul Krugman“The Trip” scene: “This Is How Michael Caine Speaks”
American policy is uniquely hostile to families. Other wealthy countries guarantee paid parental leave and sick days and heavily subsidize early childhood care — to the tune of about $14,000 per year per child, on average. (The United States, by contrast, spends around $500 per child per year.) So it’s no wonder our birthrate has been in decline, with many people saying they’re having fewer children than they would like.Yet if you look closer at those other wealthy countries, that story doesn’t entirely hold. Sweden, for example, has some of the most generous work-family policies in the world, and according to the most recent numbers from Our World in Data, from 2021, their fertility rate is 1.67 children per woman — virtually identical to ours.Caitlyn Collins is a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.” To understand how family policies affect the experience of child-rearing, she interviewed over a hundred middle-class mothers across four countries with different parenting cultures and levels of social support for families: the United States, Sweden, Italy and Germany. And what she finds is that policies can greatly relieve parents’ stress, but cultural norms like “intensive parenting” remain consistent.In this conversation, we discuss how work-family policies in Sweden frame spending time with children as a right rather than a privilege, how these policies have transformed the gender norms around parenting, why family-friendly policies across the globe don’t increase birthrates, how cultural pressures in America to be both an ideal worker and an ideal parent often clash, why many American parents feel it’s impossible to have more than one or two children, how cultural discourse has led younger women to “dread” motherhood and more.Mentioned:“Parenthood and Happiness: Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD Countries” by Jennifer Glass, Robin W. Simon and Matthew A. Andersson“Is Maternal Guilt a Cross-National Experience?” by Caitlyn CollinsIf you're interested in this topic, we also recommend checking out this series from the New York Times Opinion:“Would You Have Four Kids if It Meant Never Paying Taxes Again?” by Jessica Grose“Are Men the Overlooked Reason for the Fertility Decline?” by Jessica Grose“If We Want More Babies, Our ‘Profoundly Anti-Family’ System Needs an Overhaul” by Jessica GroseBook Recommendations:Competing Devotions by Mary Blair-LoyMothering While Black by Dawn Marie DowHope in the Dark by Rebecca SolnitThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Jessica Grose and Sonia Herrero.
For a long time, the story about the world’s population was that it was growing too quickly. There were going to be too many humans, not enough resources, and that spelled disaster. But now the script has flipped. Fertility rates have declined dramatically, from about five children per woman 60 years ago to just over two today. About two-thirds of us now live in a country or area where fertility rates are below replacement level. And that has set off a new round of alarm, especially in certain quarters on the right and in Silicon Valley, that we’re headed toward demographic catastrophe.But when I look at these numbers, I just find it strange. Why, as societies get richer, do their fertility rates plummet?Money makes life easier. We can give our kids better lives than our ancestors could have imagined. We don’t expect to bear the grief of burying a child. For a long time, a big, boisterous family has been associated with a joyful, fulfilled life. So why are most of us now choosing to have small ones?I invited Jennifer D. Sciubba on the show to help me puzzle this out. She’s a demographer, a political scientist and the author of “8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death and Migration Shape Our World.” She walks me through the population trends we’re seeing around the world, the different forces that seem to be driving them and why government policy, despite all kinds of efforts, seems incapable of getting people to have more kids.Mentioned:“Would You Have Four Kids if It Meant Never Paying Taxes Again?” by Jessica Grose“Are Men the Overlooked Reason for the Fertility Decline?” by Jessica Grose“If We Want More Babies, Our ‘Profoundly Anti-Family’ System Needs an Overhaul” by Jessica GroseBook Recommendations:Extra Life by Steven JohnsonThe Bet by Paul SabinReproductive States edited by Rickie Solinger and Mie NakachiThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Jessica Grose and Sonia Herrero. 
President Biden gave a raucous State of the Union speech last Thursday, offering his pitch for why he should be president for a second term. It’s the clearest picture we have yet of Biden’s campaign message for 2024. But while he listed off all kinds of proposals, it’s not as easy to parse what a second Biden term might actually look like. So I sat down with my editor Aaron Retica, who had a lot of questions for me about the speech itself and what Biden would be likely to accomplish if he got another four years in the job.We discuss how my argument for Biden to step aside holds up after he gave such a deft, high-energy performance; what a second Biden administration would likely do when it comes to abortion rights and foreign policy; the issues that didn’t receive much attention in the speech but would likely play a huge role in a second Biden term; the strongest 2024 campaign message that I’ve heard so far; and whether this is a Locke election or a Hobbes election — and what that means.Book Recommendations:Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century by John A. FarrellA Nation Without Borders by Steven HahnThe Field of Blood by Joanne B. FreemanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
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Comments (238)

Nate Bender

what was the music piece, I want to hear the whole thing.

Jun 12th
Reply

Chris Gage

As quoted in the podcast remember that one states narritive about "the great Israeli project" was another's countries "final solution" both using it to exterminate. I can't believe two people sharing the the same faith blaming the persecuted and a complete lack of self reflection for what happened to their families in WW2 but its fine to do it to the Palestinians. You support Genocide.

Jun 4th
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Derek Welch

one of your best episodes ever, Ezra!

Jun 4th
Reply

Bad Massab

You are trying to hide some key points, which are essentially against the zionist ideology, which lead to this huge long-lasting hate among people around the world from the Jewish state. Easily calling the first decades of the Jewish state a "miracle" or what the first group of jews has done "heroic" is as ignorant as trying to label every criticism against the Jewish state "antisemitic "! or fooling yourself by saying that these critics against the Jewish state "happened" to emerge from the ..

May 22nd
Reply (1)

ID37145822

53ish minutes in, this conversation lands a plane I have been trying to find gentle wings for in myself for the longes time. It’s not particularly soft, as you’ll hear, but the sum of this iterance is the sum of my surviving life force. I think it more important than anything else to try your damndest to be kind when given the opportunity. Nice and pleasant, being fine but fleeting in their own right, are certainly essential elements, but being prepared to be KIND to EVERYONE fires all cylinders

May 17th
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New Jawn

It's not a debate, Jerusalem, it's a discussion. Points are not awarded for a speed speech.

Apr 18th
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Claude Poliakoff

spot on concerns re: AI impact & how society should address them. The only subject I believe to be important is coping with the disenfranchisement of an unpredictable # of people. We've already seen how susceptible large segments of our society are to fear mongering misrepresentations of our government. If so many can be convinced of their mistreatment, adding that on to the truly disenfranchised cohort, shouldn't we prepare the best coping plan possible, given the speed of this powerful technol

Apr 14th
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adullsam

Boris Johnson isn't really a thing in the UK anymore

Apr 3rd
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Derek Welch

what a fabulous episode. politicians on both sides can learn a lot from the clear-eyed, fair perspectives that Richard shares here.

Mar 8th
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Erik Nelson

I also believe there's literal misinformation here about how the money works. As I understand it, the considerable Biden/Harris warchest cannot just be transferred to any candidate. I believe it can used by Harris directly because it was raised with her name on the ticket. Or, I think it can be transferred to the DNC. The DNC can of course spend it on campaigning for any candidate, but but not with direct coordination and under the direction of that campaign.

Feb 28th
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Erik Nelson

Absolutely delusional. I don't even know where to start. This would be a complete bloodbath of cutthroat, haphazard oppo research attacks vs the vetting that happens over many months in a primary process. Incredibly irresponsible to paint a rosy picture of how this would play out

Feb 28th
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Granny InSanDiego

This Pollyanna view of Biden is disturbing. The cause of inflation was the war in Ukraine. In 2020, Bernie had momentum heading into the SC primary. This panicked the Democratic National Committee. Bernie wasn't taking corporate dollars. So the Democratic machine, especially in the person of Rep. James Clyburn, got on the Biden bandwagon. Clyburn took more money from Big Pharma than any other House member. To claim Biden has a good track record on the environment is not accurate.

Feb 17th
Reply (2)

Nicolas Brylle

Excellent vision on what can/could be. Please Americans, don't let that insane orange psychopath anywhere close to any sort of government office...

Feb 16th
Reply (1)

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Feb 4th
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andrea brooks

omg. cost of living, cost of living cost of living!!!! until that addressed all the blue collar people are going to keep wigging out!

Jan 25th
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Jan 12th
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Jan 12th
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Ben Curulli

Rabbi Sharon Brous was a credit to all Jewish and Palestinian people. I am neither Jewish or Palestinian but that was as good a commentary I have heard. bravo.

Nov 18th
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rom

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this powerful conversation. Thank you for listening to Amjad, thank you for not finding excuses for Israel or dismissing the torture Palestinians have been living through, and thank you for not trying to mislead or control the narrative. I’m honestly so deeply moved, I wish all your NYT colleagues followed suit. And Amjad your eloquence and how clear, concise and cohesive you are is inspiring I wish I could be as smart as you.

Nov 11th
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Nick Kennedy

Thank you for this excellent presentation. Really valuable for understanding. Thank you for your personal leadership in working to provide clarity, unburdened by partisan limitations.

Nov 7th
Reply