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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly
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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Author: Marketplace

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Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.
As a leading public media voice, Ryssdal has been a trusted broadcaster for two decades and has received the Alfred I.duPont-Columbia University Award, a Peabody Award and an Emmy. He is the host of our daily news business radio program Marketplace. Wood has spent two decades covering the tech industry on all platforms and is known as a pioneer in podcasting. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired and has been recognized for her dynamic reporting by the Webbys, the National Magazine Awards, and the Gracie Awards. Listen to them together on Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly wherever you get your podcasts.
147 Episodes
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How are you doing?

How are you doing?

2020-07-0218:33

We’re about 113 days into this pandemic, heading into a holiday weekend unlike any other in recent memory. We’re still learning about the best way to treat COVID-19, and some states are coming around on mask mandates. It’s not necessarily getting any easier. So how are you doing? Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream. It was our best yet. Links to subscribe to our YouTube channel, plus everything we talked about today, are at our episode page at makemesmart.org
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the housing market during the COVID-19 recession. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re going to dive into that, plus scary tech, reserve currency and a little “M*A*S*H” trivia. You can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org, along with a link to subscribe to our YouTube page, where we’ll be live Thursday!
The rock walls, sushi bars and student center bowling alleys at colleges around the country will likely sit empty this fall. The spring semester has shown that online learning has significant limitations, said NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, and welcoming back students and faculty is going to be like “Contagion 2.” But there’s also an opportunity here, he says, to increase budgets, cut costs and leverage technology to make higher education as accessible as it used to be.
Marketplace reporter Andy Uhler is in for Kai today, bringing us his on-the-ground reporting from Austin, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is rolling back reopening plans. But Abbott’s mostly left the rule-making to local governments and, well, no one knows what’s happening. For the rest of the California-based Make Me Smart crew, that confusing relationship between local and state government sounds familiar. Might be the same way in your state, too. Plus: Talking about sports, and talking around the COVID-19 sadness, not at the same time. As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org
It was just days ago that Facebook declared it would “not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure” after advertisers announced a boycott over the platform’s moderation efforts — or lack thereof. Today, Facebook announced it would, in fact, respond to that boycott by tamping down misinformation and discriminatory ads on its platform. So, that worked. Plus: Why oh why oh why aren’t more Americans wearing masks???? We need a drink. As always you can find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.
Joining the likes of REI, Patagonia and others, Verizon is the biggest company by far to pull advertising from Facebook to protest the social media company’s moderation policies and overall corporate approach to combating misinformation. Can a boycott that’s just a month long lead to lasting change? We’ll talk about it. Plus: The country’s mayors speak out about racism in criminal justice. As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.
There’s an accreditation process… and there’s an app. For this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll talk about both. Plus: If you’re not attending college in person this fall, should you get a discount? As always, you can find a list of some of the stuff we talked about today at makemesmart.org.
Loren Wold came on the show to talk about testing and vaccines back in late April, which feels like eons ago in this pandemic. Wold’s a professor and assistant dean for biological health research at Ohio State University. His lab is one of many working on a coronavirus vaccine. Today he’s back to talk masks, vaccines and whether he’d get on a plane again anytime soon.
Sen. John C. Stennis was a segregationist who opposed civil rights bills during his 41-year tenure. So why is there still an aircraft carrier named after him? That’s just one example we’ll pick apart today. Plus, President Trump’s suspension of H1-B visas and, of course, “Hamilton.” As always, for a list of stuff we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.
Friday the Juneteenth

Friday the Juneteenth

2020-06-2019:431

It’s Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. To celebrate, Kimberly is lining up joyful movies about Black characters to watch this weekend. We’re also going to spend some time today reflecting on the decline of Black-owned businesses during this pandemic and a shameful history that’s not that far in our past. But first, Kai gives an update on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.
Kai has said it over and over again: We’ve given up on this pandemic. But people are still dying by the thousands from coronavirus infections. And, according to an interview Kimberly talks about today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says we’re still in the first wave. All that, some cookies, plus: Kai sings!
On this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, Kai and Kimberly tackle a listener’s ethical dilemma: Should you blow the whistle on a company that’s knowingly accelerating the spread of coronavirus? Plus, voting machines, stress tests and Champagne problems. As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.
Pride month and Juneteenth are upon us, and protests against police brutality are entering their third week. Across the country, we’re seeing two civil rights movements gaining momentum together. Here to talk with us about intersectionality at this moment and how the coalition could come together is Keith Boykin. He’s a lawyer, journalist and commentator on CNN. He worked in the Clinton administration and wrote the book “One More River to Cross: Black & Gay in America.” His new book, out next year, is called “Race Against Time: Politics of a Darkening America.” Plus, with “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams in for Molly Wood on this episode, we’ll talk about Infrastructure Week — are we in it now? Did it ever end? — and President Donald Trump’s new executive order on policing. As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.
Kicking off the week with guest co-host Kimberly Adams, we pick up the conversation within the context of Kai’s interview with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Plus, what today’s big Supreme Court ruling protecting gay and transgender employees says about “constitutional textualism,” and how the lockdown is changing American fashion. False eyelashes. Crocs. And more. As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.
A Friday-afternoon story we couldn’t ignore: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules Friday afternoon that would effectively exclude trans people from protection against health care discrimination. The news  comes amid the pandemic, during LGBT Pride Month and at a time when America is in a fury over systemic oppression of a different sort… We discuss. But it’s not all dark on this Friday show. We’ll also journey back into the thicket of HBO’s sophisticated/weird branding. As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org
The Small Business Administration was supposed to release detailed information about who got hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer-backed PPP loans. But at a hearing yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it’s “confidential information.” We’re going to talk a lot about the shredding of norms on today’s show … if Kai’s recording setup can make it through the end of the taping. As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today (including Kai’s “room rating”) on our episode page at makemesmart.org Correction (June 12, 2020): A previous version of this podcast title and description misstated how much in PPP loans could be kept confidential. The title and text have been corrected.
IBM’s stock price slumped this week after the company announced it would get out of the facial recognition business for fear that it could lead to racist, abusive surveillance. So what do we make of that? We’ll talk about this disconnect between our national moment and Wall Street on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.
Following two weeks of sustained protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the City Council there voted to explore dismantling its Police Department. Minneapolis is among the few cities now seriously considering the work of activists and academics who’ve tracked the failure of police-reform efforts. It is looking at alternate systems, pledging to build new options for public safety. As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org
After a 128-month expansion, the U.S. economy entered a recession in February. Today, we’ll talk about what that means and where we go from here. Plus: Guest co-host Kimberly Adams talks about a #MeToo-style movement for Black journalists and why it really feels like this time racist media bosses are on notice. As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org
We were all surprised by this morning’s May jobs numbers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. That’s a dangerous road to go down. On today’s show, we’ll pick apart how the Bureau of Labor Statistics does the numbers and the wonkiness behind the (forgive us) wonky numbers. Plus: revolt over comments from public officials at The New York Times and Facebook. For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.
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Comments (21)

Chris Horton

Wow!! This episode was mind blowing! Really made me think. The guest has a narrative that a lot of people should listen to.

Jul 1st
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No Face

Will this show ever be about tech & the economy again? I'll unsub and check back after Christmas.

Jun 17th
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Solomon Mars

episode error. it won't download.

May 27th
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Megan Taylor

The source is bad

May 27th
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Thehubangie

He makes it so hard for me to keep being a fan.

May 12th
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Thehubangie

Aliens more believable then the Donald

Apr 29th
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Phil Ouellette

OMG! Cruise bookings are up? Cannot believe it. So love the topics you explore

Apr 3rd
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Amy Nelson

Kai and Molly, you made.me smile!

Mar 21st
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Vernon Shoemaker

The glib "capitalism" impresses ideologically but the principle that seems to come through is "self-interest.". Nothing wrong with that if you recognize your self-interest. Is it short term personal gain through manipulation and exploitation of the system or is it commitment in consideration that all our attachments are existentially temporary (We can define our insecurity by our attachments.)? The current form goes like this:. When innovation and growth are desired, there is a competitive market created which exhausts itself in a bubble and the conservative hangover results in a stable cooperative form, monopolistic capitalism (The bubble is the divergence of systematic value and what it's supposed to represent.). Capitalistic principles are consistent but apply differently.

Feb 16th
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Vernon Shoemaker

I listened to the interview twice dissatisfied. Is it possible to be subject to disinformation about disinformation? Am I wrong or "neurotic" to be suspicious of people who complicate beyond recognition until I acquiesce in the hope of deferred clarity? Is that what "agreeable" people do? "The Wisdom of Crowds" implies a faith that guides both democracy and markets. It's not absolute but it's regulation is for the purpose of setting ground rules and correcting clear abuses. Disinformation is signified by a Russian ad but this remains vague. Is this really the bellwether it's made out to be?

Jan 17th
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Mark Matthieu

it's 2019 and they've never made a profit and lost $1.2 billion in the first quarter alone this year.

May 25th
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Roger Fredrickson

Ah what a stupid idea.

Feb 23rd
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Cat Blossom

😂 Oh my gosh...Africa! Was wrong about the same thing!

Feb 23rd
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Shanaya Painter

Awesome! Gene editing has the potential to really make leaps and bounds in lethal and chronic illnesses. I don't know why we fear it so much. Things in moderation <3. We were terrified of phones, internet, etc, its time to stop fearing science out right and proceed with optimistic caution.

Jan 10th
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Bridget Collins

The show is cutting off at 35:48 - without credits, almost in mid word- which seems weird to me.

Oct 25th
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Daryl Sande

Re:. Episode 78. Kai, listen to the tape of Lillian's discussion on this episode and see if you can count the number of times she started a sentence with SO. Really annoying, huh? She even managed to sneak in a SO or two in the middle and near the end of a sentence. God, I hope she doesn't write as she speaks. She even got you caught up using "so" near the end of the interview. My condolences.

Aug 22nd
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Dan Mastel

Great job you two! I get a little smarter every week

Apr 24th
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vikrant Yadav

nice podcast , keep it up

Mar 25th
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iTunes User

Very excited to hear two of my favorite media correspondents in a longer form that gives them the freedom to explore topics at length. I really enjoy the mini episodes so far.

Aug 30th
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iTunes User

They're only teasing us so far, and already this show is a delight. Subscribe to hear the witty, pointed perspective of Molly Wood paired with Kai Ryssdal's bright insights. In agreement or on opposite sides of the issue, these two have fantastic conversation chemistry, and Molly brings out the lighter side of Kai that we occasionally catch when he's at the news desk. I hope we get a Molly rant every now and again. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just wait—it is so worth the wait.

Aug 30th
Reply
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