Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

By Marketplace

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Subscribers: 2601
Reviews: 14

Brianne
 Nov 14, 2020
They keep me sane while delivering education about current topics.


 Sep 24, 2020

Alex
 Sep 19, 2020
Love this show!

A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 14, 2020

Aman
 May 29, 2020
This is incredibly essential podcast, coronavirus or not. Kai, Molly and the crew are a joy and cut through the partisan bs straight to the facts.

Description

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.


Episode Date
DOW 30K IDK
00:15:17

We say it again and again: The stock market is not the economy. Well right now, the economy is trying to limp out of a coronavirus recession, and the Dow just hit 30,000. Our listener wants to know: What does that even mean? For this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll give you a quick refresher. Plus, we’ll answer your questions about tax season and the difference between Janet Yellen’s old job and her (potential) new job. We gotta make it quick, because guest host Marielle Segarra hasn’t done her Thanksgiving grocery shopping yet.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

The pandemic-resistant Dow Jones Industrial Average” from Marketplace Morning Report

Here’s what you need to know about paying taxes on unemployment benefits” from CNBC

The K-shaped recovery is getting worse” from the Washington Post

Mnuchin Plans to Put $455 Billion Beyond Yellen’s Easy Reach” from Bloomberg

Revisit Kai’s interview with Janet Yellen from last year.
>We’re off tomorrow and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. See you next week! Stay safe out there.

Nov 26, 2020
The cost of racism is incalculable. Here’s a start.
00:35:19

Sixteen trillion dollars is a lot of money. It’s hard to even conceive of a number so big in real economic terms — it’s bigger than China’s GDP, for one thing. It’s also the economic cost of racism in this country in just the past 20 years. And it’s a conservative estimate. Today we’ll do the numbers with economist Dana Peterson, who did the numbers for Citi. Peterson helps us dig into that $16 trillion number, how the study came together, what surprised her about it and how her findings could play into the ongoing conversation around reparations.

Nov 25, 2020
Another COVID-19 vaccine looks promising, but who will take it?
00:11:47

AstraZeneca is the third pharmaceutical company in recent weeks to say it has a potentially viable coronavirus vaccine, and a cheaper one at that. With Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra, we’ll talk about how businesses can influence public health once we have a vaccine, and even dare to imagine a day when kids can permanently go back to school. Plus: The people President-elect Joe Biden has tapped to run the Treasury and State departments. Did you know Antony Blinken has a singing career?

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper” from the Associated Press

Vaccination will be required to fly, says Qantas chief” from the BBC

Biden Picks Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary” from The Wall Street Journal

The end is in sight’: Experts express optimism about COVID-19 pandemic coming to a close” from the Boston Globe

Key government agency acknowledges Biden’s win and begins formal transition” from CNN

Antony Blinken’s Spotify page

And this Janet Yellen meme

Nov 24, 2020
Please, please stay home this Thanksgiving
00:17:40

No matter who you are — even, say, a New York Times columnist — it’s so important that you stay safe at home this Thanksgiving, because your bubble is likely bigger than you think. Also, the hospitals are already straining ahead of a long winter. We’ll talk about it, plus our favorite Thanksgiving sides in another round of “Half-Full or Half-Empty.”

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

Some background info on Kimberly’s cocktail today

I Traced My Covid-19 Bubble and It’s Enormous” from The New York Times Opinion

One in Five U.S. Hospitals Face Staffing Crises Within a Week” from Bloomberg

Dolly Parton & Friends Set for Live Holiday Special With Pandora” from Billboard

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube today! We’re off next Friday, and planning to be back in December. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Nov 21, 2020
This is American exceptionalism
00:17:10

It’s almost hack to say at this point, but it’s worth remembering: If what President Donald Trump and his campaign are doing right now — refusing to concede a called election, eroding trust in the democratic process, asking for ballots to be tossed — if all that was happening in another country, we’d be talking about it very differently. It’s worth unpacking why that is, which we’ll do today. But first: We’ll explain the feud between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jerome Powell and present yet more evidence that you should stay home for Thanksgiving. Seriously.

Join us tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, try our episode page at makemesmart.org):

The coronavirus risk for a big Thanksgiving dinner in your community” from The Washington Post

Don’t rely on a negative test result to see your family for Thanksgiving” from CNN

Treasury moves to end several crisis-era programs, drawing pushback from the Fed” from CNBC

Federal Reserve’s Emergency Loan Programs at Center of Political Fight” from The New York Times

Dog at Delaware SPCA for 866 days finds forever home” from Fox 29 Philadelphia

This Twitter exchange between Chef José Andrés and Chris Krebs, the recently fired director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Kai’s interview with Andrés from 2018

Nov 20, 2020
We’re on a ‘Groundhog Day’ loop
00:15:13

The bills are piling up for the Trump campaign. Even though its legal challenges to the election don’t seem to be going anywhere, someone’s got to pay the lawyers. We discuss who is on the hook. Plus: We answer your questions about what a Biden administration may mean for businesses struggling during the pandemic, why the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program flopped, and Kai and Molly reminisce about the last time they were in the same place together, pre-COVID-19 (sigh).

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

Who Is Paying for Trump’s Lawsuits and Recounts?” from Campaign Legal Center

Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Lawsuit” from The New York Times

Wisconsin recount would cost Trump campaign $7.9 million” from CNN

Dr. Céline Gounder, Adviser to Biden, on the Next Covid Attack Plan” from The New York Times

Fed Again Eases Terms for Main Street Lending Program” from The Wall Street Journal

Nov 19, 2020
The war on drugs lost this election. Now what?
00:34:12

One in three Americans now live in a state with legal recreational marijuana, and that wasn’t the only big drug story on Election Day. Oregon voted to decriminalize possession of hard drugs and legalized medical use of magic mushrooms. On today’s show, Beau Kilmer, director of Rand Corp.’s Drug Policy Research Center, will make us smart about the country’s growing patchwork of legalization and how it could reshape the drug economy.

Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org):

This Election, a Divided America Stands United on One Topic” from The New York Times

1 in 3 Americans now lives in a state where recreational marijuana is legal” from Politico

Zuckerberg, Dorsey Tout Progress in Combating Political Misinformation” from the Wall Street Journal

This Twitter account that shows the top-ten best-performing Facebook posts of the day

No, This Election Did Not Go ‘Smoothly‘” from Slate

Nov 18, 2020
Would you take a coronavirus vaccine? What if it came from Dolly Parton?
00:15:12

With the promise of another coronavirus vaccine from Moderna, in addition to last week’s blockbuster news from Pfizer, we were inspired to go back and do the numbers: Once there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, who’s actually going to take it? The answer is … not ideal. Also on the docket for today: high-stakes content moderation, low-stakes voter fraud and, yes, Dolly Parton’s own efforts to fund a coronavirus vaccine.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work for you, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Facebook Has A Rule To Stop Calls To Arms. Moderators Didn’t Enforce It Ahead Of The Kenosha Shootings.” from BuzzFeed News

Why Obama fears for our democracy” from The Atlantic

Second coronavirus vaccine, from Moderna, shows promise” from Marketplace

U.S. Public Now Divided Over Whether To Get COVID-19 Vaccine” from Pew Research Center

Voter fraud alleged in New Zealand bird of the year contest” from The Washington Post

Renowned philanthropist Dolly Parton donates a million to COVID-19 vaccine effort” from PinkNews

Nov 17, 2020
Half full or half empty?
00:20:00

We’re trying out a new game on the show today, where Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood say whether they’re “half full” or “half empty” on a bunch of stuff in the news. It’s our first try at this, so let us know what you think! Before that, we’ll talk about Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, Charles Koch’s new self-reflection and why Elon Musk is “a boob.” TGIF!

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Pelosi & House Dems, GOP Slammed for Indoor Freshmen Dinner” from Mediaite

Charles Koch Says His Partisanship Was a Mistake” from The Wall Street Journal

Kai’s full interview with Koch from 2015

Mr. McNamara’s War” from The New York Times

Elon Musk says he’s tested positive and negative for COVID-19” from The Verge

And the topics we talked about in our new game, “half full or half empty”:

Will a ‘skinny’ coronavirus relief package help those who need it most?” from Marketplace

How the election certification process works, and why it matters” from Marketplace

Flying soon? That middle seat might be occupied” from Marketplace

In this time of comfort-at-home fashion, Crocs are having a moment” from Marketplace

Thanks to everyone to tuned into our livestream this evening! Subscribe here so you don’t miss the next one.

Nov 14, 2020
No, Virginia, Santa can’t get coronavirus
00:15:46

It’s hard to fit a mask over that big beard, but never fear. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and, by extension, our show would like to reassure children that they shouldn’t worry about Santa Claus breaking the COVID-bubble for this socially distant holiday season — he’s got a special dispensation for international travel, one night only. We have Kimberly Adams back on the show today to talk about that and some more depressing coronavirus news, like case counts and potential new lockdowns. Maybe your kids can just listen to the last few minutes?

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Zuckerberg says Bannon has not violated enough policies for suspension” from Reuters

Biden Covid advisor says U.S. lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control pandemic and revive economy” from CNBC

APM Research Lab’s “The Color of Coronavirus” project

Trump is now sabotaging the transition. Democrats have a way to fight back.” from The Washington Post

“Cybersecurity officials say the election was ‘the most secure in American history.’” from The New York Times

Italy’s PM reassures kids that Santa won’t be locked down” from Agence France-Presse

Nov 13, 2020
Here’s how presidential transitions are supposed to work
00:22:00

The 2000 election isn’t a particularly great analogue to the Trump campaign’s legal challenges here in 2020, but it can help us better understand presidential transitions — because George W. Bush had the shortest one ever. We discussed the transfer of power on yesterday’s show, and a listener asked about it, so today we’re going to get into some presidential history. Plus: your questions about campaign finance, conservative social media and California’s new rules for gig workers, all on this super-sized Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, try our episode page at makemesmart.org):

Campaign spending could continue long after Election Day” from “Marketplace Morning Report”

2020 election to cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records” from Open Secrets, the Center for Responsive Politics website

A Twitter for conservatives? Parler surges amid election misinformation crackdown” from NBC News

Foreign election interference is finding plenty of places online to spread” from “Marketplace Tech”

Fact-Checked on Facebook and Twitter, Conservatives Switch Their Apps” from The New York Times

Why it’s ‘critical’ for presidential transition to move forward” from PBS NewsHour

What’s ascertainment? The green light to launch transition” from the Associated Press

What Uber, Lyft Prop 22 win could mean for the future of all freelance work” from NBC News

Nov 12, 2020
A week after Election Day, here’s what to keep an eye on
00:32:00

You’d be forgiven for feeling like this election has been going on forever. Early voting started over a month ago in some states. The media couldn’t project a winner until three days ago, and it’s not over yet. There’s the Georgia runoffs, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits and basless allegations of voter fraud, plus the searching about what the polls got wrong. Today Kimberly Adams joins us to sort through all this. We’ll discuss her key takeaways from the election, what it means for the economy, which storylines need a little more nuance and who’s making money off it all.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, try our episode page on makemesmart.org:

Adams’ latest for us: “Change in the White House means changing plans for some businesses

No, This Election Did Not Go ‘Smoothly‘” from Slate

False claims that Biden ‘lost’ Pennsylvania surge, and tech companies struggle to keep up.” from The New York Times

A little-known Trump appointee is in charge of handing transition resources to Biden — and she isn’t budging” from The Washington Post

This campaign spending dashboard

A Peculiar Way to Pick a President” from The New York Times’ podcast “The Daily”

Nov 11, 2020
Who’s in charge of protecting the country right now?
00:14:00

A lot of people are talking about President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud today, and for good reason, but he made another move that’s worth your attention. The president fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper via tweet, and there could be more personnel changes on the way at the FBI and CIA. Today, we’ll talk about these moves and what they mean for national security at the end of the Trump administration. Plus: new mask mandates, new revelations about Alexander Hamilton and a video that made us all cry.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today. If these links don’t work for you, you can also find them on our episode page at makemesmart.org:

Trump Fires Mark Esper, Defense Secretary Who Opposed Use of Troops on U.S. Streets” from The New York Times

Pritzker Again Hints at Possibility of Another Stay-at-Home Order” from NBC5 Chicago

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declares state of emergency, mandates masks to fight COVID” from ABC News

Here’s who’s on President-elect Biden’s newly formed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board” from CNN

Alexander Hamilton, Enslaver? New Research Says Yes” from The New York Times

Former Ballerina with Alzheimer’s Recreates Her Swan Lake Choreography” from Kottke

TD Bank says it will not finance oil and gas activities in the Arctic” from Reuters

Nov 10, 2020
Trumpism is here to stay
00:18:02

Look, we’re gonna have some fun today. We’re gonna have happy hour and talk about Philadelphia and Stephen Colbert. But we have to do some soul-searching first. Because no matter what results come in tonight, the policies of the Trump administration, and the chaos and uncertainty it sowed, are not an aberration. Happy Friday?

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work for you, you can find them all on our episode page at makemesmart.org):

-“Trump Proved That Authoritarians Can Get Elected in America” from The Atlantic

This thread from NBC News’ Ben Collins

-“Stephen Colbert briefly breaks down, says Trump’s baseless claims of fraud ‘cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right’” from the Washington Post

-“Commentators call on Republicans to surround Philly. Philly social media responds: You’ve obviously never met us” from the Philadelphia Inquirer

And this video.

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube for happy hour today! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Nov 07, 2020
While we wait for results, let’s talk turnout
00:13:52

We taped today’s show while waiting for President Donald Trump’s first non-tweet remarks since election night, not to mention results from key states. To fill the time, let’s talk a bit about voter turnout, both in this election and across history. Plus, a bit about misinformation and why that dubious Hunter Biden story wasn’t the “October surprise” that Hillary Clinton’s emails were back in 2016.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today. If you can’t open these links, check out the episode page on makemesmart.org.

The 2020 Election Set a Record for Voter Turnout. But Why Is It Normal for So Many Americans to Sit Out Elections?” from Time

Who can afford to vote?” from our podcast “This Is Uncomfortable”

Misinformation 2020: What the Data Tells Us About Election-Related Falsehoods” from Defense One

On Election Day, Facebook and Twitter Did Better by Making Their Products Worse” from The New York Times

This performance of Beyoncé’s “Freedom”

Nov 06, 2020
How much productivity are we losing to the election?
00:17:30

Making Election Day a holiday would surely benefit democracy, but what about the economy? A listener wants to know, so for this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re looking at the cost to businesses when Election Day stretches to Election Week and beyond. Plus: questions about jobs data, tax filing in the pandemic and all the money thrown away on Senate races this year.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if you can’t click the links, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org):

The case for making Election Day an official holiday” from the Marketplace Morning Report

Pew data on Election Day as a holiday

Election Day likely cost billions in lost productivity” from Marketplace

GOP retains Senate seats despite record-breaking Democratic fundraising” from Axios

GOP House candidates overcome fundraising deficits in toss-up races” from Open Secrets

Working from home? You might owe income tax to two states” from CNN

Nov 05, 2020
Your election stories
00:15:00

We asked you all for some dispatches from your Election Day, so we’re playing a few of our favorites for this quick episode. We’ll hear from election judges, first-time voters and comfort-foodies, and later we’ll talk about some music that’s keeping Molly Wood inspired on a stressful day. Wishing you all the best! See you tomorrow.

As always, for a list of everything we talked about today, check out makemesmart.org.

Nov 04, 2020
“Find your why”
00:15:20

It’s a management philosophy, but it could apply to voting, we guess. We’re talking about it with regard to masking up. Massachusetts’ Republican governor just broadened the statewide mask mandate. Could the political winds be shifting toward common sense? We’ll talk about it. Plus: dissecting the fall of Quibi, the zen of dumb video games and the best burger you’ve ever had.

Quick programming note: Because of the election (heard of it?) we’re skipping our deep-dive tomorrow and a taping shorter episode in the afternoon instead. See you then! Don’t forget to vote! As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Nov 03, 2020
Science is here to save Halloween
00:16:24

Tomorrow is Halloween, and one of us is in costume. Today we’ll look at some new research on the (minimal) SARS-CoV-2 viral load carried on fun-sized candy packaging. Good news: The results look promising for trick-or-treating tomorrow. But first, we need to talk about facts, the election and bias in the media — which might be more frightening than Halloween right now.

Oct 31, 2020
Look how far people will go to vote
00:16:35

Sometimes those “make me smile” stories are actually kinda sad. We’ve featured a few like that on the show recently. There are also those stories that might seem sad or frustrating, but if you squint a little they’re pretty inspiring. Take, for instance, the great lengths to which some Americans have gone to fight voter suppression and make themselves heard this election season. That’s what we’re talking about today. Plus: the third wave of coronavirus cases and Amazon’s colossal quarterly report.

Oct 30, 2020
Is it daylight savings time or daylight saving time?
00:16:00

Whatever you call it, this weekend we’ll “fall back” to standard time, and it will suddenly feel like it gets dark very early. One listener wants to know: What if we didn’t? We’re tackling that question and many more from you all on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Also on the docket: air travel, polling data and commercial real estate.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Oct 28, 2020
The United States is a gerontocracy
00:31:26

The average age of a member of Congress is 58, and the most influential lawmakers are much older. No matter who wins the election next week, the White House will be occupied by the oldest sitting U.S. president. There’s a word for “rule by elders”: gerontocracy. One reason we’re in one is that more than half of registered voters are over 50. On today’s show, Tufts University youth voter researcher Abby Kiesa breaks down the data, tells us why it’s historically so hard to get young people to vote and busts a few myths, like that young people are a liberal monolith.

Oct 28, 2020
A mask mandate, right on time?
00:15:08

We’re talking about two recent pieces in The Wall Street Journal: one describing a worldwide “pandemic fatigue,” the other arguing that it’s finally time for the United States to adopt a nationwide mask mandate. Today, we’ll take the temperature, so to speak, of the American pandemic response as October turns into November. Plus: Puppies and SNL.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out makemesmart.org.

Oct 27, 2020
The super-sized happy hour episode
00:23:13

Look: It’s Friday, we’re having beers and talking about the news. Much like Kai’s prospective RV trip, this episode covers a lot of ground. We’ll talk about the latest early voting numbers, Bay Area property taxes and get a crash course in why direct democracy is — and this is the poli sci term — “stupid.” All that and much more on this super-sized episode. Have a great weekend everybody!

As always, you can find links to all the stories we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Update (Oct. 26, 2020): This episode misidentifies Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics.

Oct 24, 2020
The real cause of the coronavirus recession
00:14:26

Iowa has never had a statewide mask mandate, and it lifted its few restrictions earlier than a lot of other states. But economic recovery has been slow, suggesting that this downturn is due more to individual choices than the lockdowns put in place by blue states, as some Republicans have suggested. Today, we’ll talk about a case study around Iowa in The New York Times. Plus: Elon Musk, infosec and Kiss.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. And don’t forget about our weekly happy hour episode live on YouTube tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern! Subscribe to you don’t miss out.

Oct 23, 2020
How the stock market is preparing for Nov. 4
00:15:17

Is a Biden win already priced in? One of our listeners wants to know — and if you’re not sure what that means, there’s an explainer on our smart speaker skill. Today we’ll talk about the markets, the economy and this election. Plus, more listener questions about Twitter, the lottery and virtual reality. Oh, and a little Quibi talk.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Oct 22, 2020
What you need to know about dark money in this election
00:28:19

Dark money is a bipartisan issue. When the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission verdict more than a decade ago, conservatives were primarily benefitting from a system that allowed organizations with undisclosed donors to pour money into races. Now, although dark money spending this election is down overall, liberal organizations are spending more. On today’s show, Center for Responsive Politics Executive Director Sheila Krumholz walks us through how dark money is working in this election and why she’s optimistic the courts will take another pass at campaign finance law.

Oct 20, 2020
Hey, what’s Adam Neumann up to these days?
00:15:39

Remember WeWork’s doomed IPO? We’re about a year from that whole bananapants story, but today The Wall Street Journal helped clear up one loose end. Apparently erstwhile WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is no longer at the company as a consultant. Today, we’ll talk about what we know and what we don’t about how the office-space company is faring in seven months into the pandemic. Plus: Halloween candy power rankings and the real-life Michael Myers — no, the other one.

As always, find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

 

Oct 20, 2020
The real “October surprise”
00:17:36

… was all the votes we cast along the way. Today we’re geeking out about early numbers from the U.S. Elections Project. Voters have already cast more than 23 million ballots, more than 16% of the 2016 turnout. Wild. Also on the docket: the latest data on women being pushed out of the workforce, Trump’s flip-flop on wildfire aid and the best Zoom class of the week.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the live-stream on YouTube today! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one. As always, find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 17, 2020
“300 episod Kay”
00:17:20

It’s our 300th episode! We’re eating some cake to celebrate, and Kai’s got a little messed up. We’re also going to hear from a bunch of you about how you’ve become smart over 300 episodes of the show. Thank you all so, so much for listening! Before that, we have some news stories to talk about, including the latest maneuver from Ajit Pai at the Federal Communications Commission and the results of our new poll with Edison Research.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org! The celebration continues tomorrow on our YouTube channel, where we’ll do our live happy hour episode at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, 3:30 p.m. Pacific. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Oct 16, 2020
Unburden yourself from Facebook guilt
00:16:00

Tell us if this sounds familiar: The endless string of controversies around user data, disinformation, anticompetitive practices, QAnon and more have soured you on Facebook, big time. But where else are you going to keep up with your family, your neighborhood or your kids’ school? That’s the conundrum facing one of our listeners, and we give the best advice we can on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, your questions about airline bailouts, conference swag and interest rates.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org!

Oct 15, 2020
Playing whack-a-troll with our democracy
00:28:10

Disinformation is a growing business that brings up a lot of questions. Is that fake news story getting to your timeline from a troll farm in Russia? Or a teenage contractor a few states over? More importantly, who is making money off it? On today’s show, Wilson Center disinformation fellow Nina Jankowicz joins us for an informative, if depressing, look at the depth and breadth of this growing industry.

Oct 14, 2020
Disney is doubling down on streaming
00:14:00

It’s not a great time to be in the movie business. It’s an even worse time to be in the theme park business. So it makes sense that Disney just announced a big restructuring of Disney+ and the rest of its streaming media business. Is this the canary in the coal mine for the other big studios? We’ll talk about it, and get Kai Ryssdal’s capsule review of “Mulan.” Plus, Facebook’s new content policies, the economics Nobel and a real-life lightsaber.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 13, 2020
For millions of Americans, it’s Election Day already
00:17:52

Early voting is already underway in several states. For this Friday happy hour episode, we’re going to dig into some of the data out of those states and compare it to 2016. Why, what do you usually do at happy hour? Plus, we’ll talk about bedtime, the president’s tweets and “Sister Act.”

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream today! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Oct 10, 2020
Deal or no deal?
00:14:03

First President Donald Trump squashed coronavirus relief negotiations. Then he tweeted about some piecemeal relief he would sign. Now he’s reportedly asking for a “big deal” before Election Day. What’s changed? Well, uh, let’s look at the stock market. Plus, an update on TikTok star Nathan Apodaca and a very intriguing real estate opportunity — living under a rock!

Don’t miss our live stream on YouTube tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe so you don’t miss it! For a list of everything we talked about today, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 09, 2020
Quick: How much toilet paper is in your home right now?
00:14:00

The coronavirus is spreading in the White House. It’s flu season, and experts are bracing for a new wave of COVID-19 cases with a vaccine still months away. So are people going to start stocking up at the grocery store again? We’ll talk it over on this week’s edition of Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: market reaction to the president’s diagnosis and the military’s role in the peaceful transition of power.

As always, find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org!

Oct 08, 2020
The state of state economies
00:26:48

President Donald Trump pulled the plug on a coronavirus relief package today, tweeting that he would sign a bill after the election. For months now, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been going back and forth over a plan. One key issue: help for state and local governments, which are facing a $155 billion deficit, according to one estimate. Today, we’ll talk with Brookings Institution economist Louise Sheiner about the role those economies play in the broader economic picture and what their needs are are in a recession that looks very different from 2008. How worried should public employees be right now? We’ll have to wait till after the election.

Oct 06, 2020
What’s it going to take to get another COVID relief package?
00:13:30

U.S. markets rose on President Donald Trump’s claims he was recovering from COVID-19, but the stock market isn’t the economy. For real economic growth, Goldman Sachs is looking ahead to Election Day, when economists there say a “blue wave” could portend faster economic growth because it makes a new coronavirus relief bill more likely. We’ll talk about it. But first: With the last big blockbuster taken off the schedule for 2020, Regal Cinemas is shutting down and 48,000 people are out of a job. At least we have Doggface208.

As always, find links to everything we talked about — plus instructions on how to send us a voice memo — on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Oct 06, 2020
Watch the news about Trump, but don’t borrow trouble
00:15:00

We had a few news stories ready to discuss today, but shortly before the taping, President Donald Trump flew to Walter Reed military hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 last night. This episode is mostly our reactions to that news, with this key takeaway: Things could get very bad very fast, but let’s unclench a bit as we await news about Trump’s condition.

Thanks again to everyone for making our fall pledge drive a huge success. We more than doubled our goal — the video of Kai and Molly’s pumpkin beer taste test drops Monday!

Oct 03, 2020
What we still don’t know about coronavirus
00:19:31

Zeynep Tufekci has given us so much. Real Smarties know the UNC associate professor appeared on our show way back in 2018, and Tufekci has appeared on other Marketplace programs countless times to talk about technology and societal issues. Today, we’re digging into her latest piece in The Atlantic on a big unanswered question about COVID-19: How exactly does the virus spread from person to person? Plus, we’ll talk about Facebook groups, Subway’s bread-that’s-not-bread and, of course, pumpkin beer.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org. Finally, tomorrow’s the day — Kai and Molly will drink a pumpkin beer. Thank you so much for the support! If you want, there’s still time to give at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Oct 02, 2020
Make sure your vote counts
00:15:30

Make a plan. Do your research. Make sure your voice is heard this year. We’re talking, of course, about the National Park Service’s Fat Bear Week, which opened up its polls today. We’ll also kick off Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday with a listener question about using blockchain technology for voting. Plus: How much would American GDP grow if we included household labor? We’ll pull in an expert for that one.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site, makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Oct 01, 2020
Death and taxes come for us all, but not equally
0036:36

… But this episode is about taxes, just to be clear. The New York Times put out part two of its bombshell investigation last night, and ahead of the first presidential debate tonight, former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden published his returns. Today though, we’re going to zoom out a bit and look at whom the U.S. tax code benefits — and doesn’t benefit. Here to help is Chye-Ching Huang, senior director of economic policy with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ federal fiscal policy team.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site, makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 30, 2020
The $750 question
00:21:40

How much has President Donald Trump paid in income taxes? We’ve been waiting since the 2016 primaries for his returns, and The New York Times finally dropped years of tax data in a bombshell report showing exactly how Trump has avoided paying much at all. Ahead of tomorrow’s episode all about the tax code more broadly, we’ll spend some time today scratching at the surface of the revelations. Plus: targeted ads, fat bears and a pumpkin spice update.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page on our site makemesmart.org. Finally, donate to our fall pledge drive at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 29, 2020
Thick thighs (and rats) save lives
00:18:30

You may have heard the expression “thick thighs save lives.” And we have a story today about a rat who’s kept people in Cambodia safe from landmines. What about a rat with thick thighs? It’d probably be unstoppable. We’ll get into all of it on this very silly episode of Economics on Tap, but first we have to talk about Florida reopening and how big banks are assessing the election. TGIF!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our live happy hour on YouTube! We’re getting closer and closer to our $100,000 fundraising goal — and closer to Kai Ryssdal drinking a pumpkin beer. Don’t wait, give today at marketplace.org/givesmart!

Sep 26, 2020
Normal? Not normal? You’re asking the wrong question
00:19:26

President Donald Trump wouldn’t commit yesterday to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election next month. It’s giving us flashbacks to similar comments he made, and intimations about a “rigged” election back before he even took office. Back in 2016, plenty of outlets, us included, used to talk about how things were “not normal.” In 2020, Trump’s comments are just one of many signs that we’re way past that. We aren’t completely hollowed-out on this Thursday, though — we’ll also spend a little time talking about skin care … IN SPAAAACE!

As always, find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org

Sep 25, 2020
Everything is broken
00:21:15

That’s the short answer. We’ll have some longer answers, too, on this week’s installment of Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’re answering listener questions about campaign finance, data privacy and Europe’s ban on American travelers. But first, guest host Kimberly Adams reacts to what’s going on in Louisville, Kentucky, tonight after no police officers were charged for killing Breonna Taylor.

Sep 24, 2020
Solving the wildfire paradox
00:24:00

We’ve talked a lot on the show recently about the wildfires raging in the western U.S. and darkening skies all over the country. We’ve talked about climate change and fire prevention, but we haven’t talked about another big factor: housing. Where and how we build our homes is one of the reasons wildfires have gotten bigger, more damaging and more deadly over time. Here to talk us through it is Kimiko Barrett. She’s a wildfire researcher at the nonprofit Headwaters Economics.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 23, 2020
Making sense of the FinCEN files
00:24:00

BuzzFeed News published their findings over the weekend from huge cache of leaked “suspicious activity reports” from some of the world’s biggest banks. They show trillions of dollars worth of money laundering and other illegal activity over years. We’ll spend some of today’s show wading into it, but first, Marketplace’s Amy Scott is in the co-host chair, sharing some new data on how racism affects home appraisals. Plus, the comforts of a Costco hotdog and Earth, Wind & Fire.

As always, find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 22, 2020
Voting and economics have always been intertwined
00:18:46

Who can afford to vote? On the season premiere of “This Is Uncomfortable,” host Reema Khrais looks into the history of voting rights in this country, and their long relationship with socioeconomic status. She’s filling in for Kai on our weekly happy hour episode to talk about it. Plus: the latest controversy at the CDC and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

As always, you can find a link to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Sep 19, 2020
It’s not free speech, it’s market-manipulated speech
00:15:07

Facebook makes an interesting decision about speech on the company’s internal version of of the social media site that has us scratching our heads. Plus: the pandemic in Europe, small business closures and Martha Stewart’s Instagram.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 18, 2020
When a controlled burn is better than the alternative
00:16:25

Last week we talked about the settled science of preventing forest fires. Today we hear from one listener, a lung doctor in smoky Seattle, who wants to know how to start that process. We’ll answer as best we can on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Later, we’ll take a look back in history to see what might drive the federal government to some kind of action.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 17, 2020
Coronavirus is pushing women out of work
00:34:00

After six months of this pandemic, we have data showing women are working longer hours and taking on a disproportionate amount of the extra work at home. For those womens’ careers, sociology professor Caitlyn Collins says it can mean death by a thousand cuts. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Collins about women dropping out of the workforce, the ripple effects that could have years down the line and what we can do about it now.

Sep 16, 2020
The Barry Bonds theory of climate change
00:16:52

The West Coast of the United States is burning, and chewable air is making its way into neighboring states. And yet President Donald Trump, staring the crisis in the face today in a visit to California, continued to question the science. “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” he said. You might have heard similar points from your loved ones talking about “global warming.” So today we’re going to propose a new way of talking about the climate crisis — it puts whatever climate you’re in on steroids. It’s not all doom and gloom through, because we get to hear Paul Rudd say face masks are “beast.”

As always, you can find a link to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 15, 2020
How do you prevent wildfires? The science is settled
00:15:45

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and a brutal wildfire season, 2020 is all about the stuff we definitely knew how to prevent and just … didn’t want to. Today we’re going to zoom in a bit on those fires, and clarify a few things about the president’s income tax deferral. We’re gonna need a drink.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Sep 12, 2020
Maybe things are better across the pond?
00:16:00

The United States is changing its focus from doing very little about the pandemic to doing very little about election interference. So to avoid getting too hollowed out this Thursday, let’s shift our focus to something less maddening, like … uh … Brexit?

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makememsmart.org. And don’t forget to join us tomorrow on YouTube at 3:30 p.m. PDT/6:30 p.m. EDT for our live happy hour show! Subscribe so you don’t miss it.

Sep 11, 2020
Trump’s tax holiday is no holiday at all
00:17:00

President Donald Trump is allowing companies to defer payroll tax deductions through the end of the year. But those taxes come due Jan. 1, so who’s actually benefiting? We’ll try and puzzle that one out on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, how secure are Zoom doctor’s appointments? Which economic numbers should we be watching besides jobs? And the most burning question of all: What’s Kai’s favorite fruit?

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org

Sep 10, 2020
Is it too late to stop QAnon?
00:37:47

QAnon is more than just a conspiracy theory. BuzzFeed News has taken to calling it a “collective delusion.” Others just call it a cult. Whatever you call it, QAnon is not based on fact, but it’s had much more staying power than, say, Pizzagate or garden-variety social media misinformation. There are thousands of Facebook groups, supporters at Trump rallies and even candidates for Congress who say they believe the theory that President Donald Trump is battling Satan-worshiping pedophiles at the highest levels of government. Today, we’ll talk with professor and author Jevin West about QAnon’s spread and how to fight it. Plus, we answer your questions about Q, like how to talk to a loved one who’s caught in its thrall.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 09, 2020
What the president said, and what it says about him
00:17:43

We’re trying to be careful to stay in our lane these days, but we haven’t been able to shake that Atlantic article about President Donald Trump calling soldiers who die in war “losers.” So beer in hand, we’re gonna talk about it. Plus: the (de)politicization of COVID-19 vaccines, teen hormones and dreams of traveling far, far away … TGIF.

Sep 04, 2020
COVID is an earthquake — we’ll feel the aftershocks for decades
00:15:37

On today’s show, we’re looking at the long tail of COVID-19 and the effects it will have on health and health care long after we get a vaccine. Plus, we read your many, many emails about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You have strong thoughts.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Sep 04, 2020
You can’t win public office without being on Facebook
00:15:44

One of our listeners asked, and the answer is no. Not even if you’re Captain America. We’re talking about Mark Zuckerberg and the Avengers on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. We’ll look at the role of cheap Facebook ads in elections and how Mark Zuckerberg sees it. Plus, the appliance shortage, the Phillips curve and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sep 03, 2020
How we shop now
00:31:51

We could all be forgiven for indulging in a little retail therapy right now. In fact, retail sales in July were up 2.7% year over year as Americans flocked to home improvement stores and took up new hobbies while in lockdown. Today we’ll spend some time talking with Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra about how spending habits have changed six months into the coronavirus pandemic and what shifts are yet to come.

Sep 02, 2020
We’re not working from home, we’re living at work
00:14:43

Today on the show, how COVID-19 upends parents’ ability to care for their children, and — surprise! — women are more likely to see it affect their careers than men. According to new research from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve, 1 in 5 working-age adults said they were not working because they had COVID 19-related child care issues. Of that group, “women are nearly three times more likely than men” to not be working. Plus, the stock market continues to make sense to nobody but the rich. Homecoming masks make us smile, and Molly’s hankering for some chowda! Which is a whole lot better than frogs in a pot.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 31, 2020
Disinformation is real
00:19:28

There’s a “parallel media universe” on Facebook. And the biggest companies in the gig economy are pushing an alternative narrative of their own. It’s all kinda bananas … to put it lightly. But today is Friday, so we’re putting down the Twitter and raising a glass. Here’s to the National Basketball Association and its players’ union, who have set out plans to expand voting access and promote social justice.

Aug 29, 2020
The weirdest thing happening in American business right now
00:16:44

No, not Amazon’s new tone-policing wearable, though we’ll get to that. And no, not the Fed turning up the heat on inflation — but we’ll cover that, too. The weirdest thing happening at this very weird time is that Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft to buy TikTok. On today’s show, we’ll talk about why a retail giant would want to own a video app. We’ll also talk a little bit about poop. It’s a weird day.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Aug 28, 2020
Where are those new unemployment checks?
00:17:13

It’s been more than a week since President Donald Trump took executive action to extend unemployment benefits. One of our listeners wants to know: Has anyone actually received a check yet? The answer is … complicated. But we’ll do what we can. Plus, questions about COVID-19 testing, the Dow and Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. But first, there are some bigger stories we need to talk about.

Aug 27, 2020
The stock market is not the economy, exhibit 3,443.62
00:32:59

The S&P 500 closed at another record high today at 3,443.62. The NASDAQ hit a record high, too. The Dow is well on its way. But the pandemic keeps taking lives, new unemployment claims rose again, and consumer confidence has taken a dive. If you listen to our show, you know we’re fond of saying, “The stock market is not the economy.” Because it isn’t. So what is going on? To find out, we called up New York Times markets reporter Matt Phillips. After the interview, we’ll debate the fracas at Syracuse University and the pros and cons of an astroid hitting our planet. Plus, a bunch of listeners wrote in to tell us what the pandemic isn’t screwing up for them; we’ll share some of their answers.

Aug 26, 2020
Everything is so fragile right now
00:13:00

Today was the first day back to school for a bunch of kids, and Zoom crashed. California is burning again. Police shot another Black man on camera. And a man in China was reinfected with COVID-19. The bad news keeps coming back to haunt us. Even pumpkin spice.

For a list of everything we talked about today, head to the episode page at makemesmart.org.

 

Aug 25, 2020
Here’s the mail, it never fails …
00:17:30

… at least, according to Louis DeJoy. The postmaster general testified before Congress today, promising — with more than a little prodding — that election mail would be delivered “fully and on time.” Between this week’s Democratic National Convention and next week’s Republican National Convention, everything feels politicized. And what’s this now about Facebook getting ready for a contested election? Thank goodness it’s happy hour.

By the way, we taped this episode just before news broke that Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s panda, has given birth. That will all make more sense when you listen. For links to that story and everything else we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 22, 2020
This was always where things were going
00:15:32

Today we ask, with respect to … everything, “Why didn’t the right people see this coming?” Between the ride-share industry’s brinksmanship in California and the mess on college campuses as they attempt to reopen, we’re feeling a bit hollowed out. But that’s Thursday for you. Step away with us as we contemplate the passage of time….

As always, there are links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Finally, don’t forget to join us Friday on our YouTube channel for our weekly happy hour episode! Subscribe so you won’t miss it.

Aug 21, 2020
Those masks are doing double duty now
00:16:00

It’s wildfire season in California. That means face masks are not only an essential accessory in fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but now they’re also filtering out smoke and ash particles. That led one Bay Area listener to ask: How is the N95 supply chain doing these days? Are we … good? We’ll talk about it on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, online privacy, shareholder voting and a few TV recommendations.

Aug 20, 2020
The climate is still changing
00:29:49

It’s not easy to keep your eye on the ball with an election, economic collapse and a pandemic hanging over your head, but here’s the thing: Climate change is as much of an existential threat as it ever was, and the Trump administration has continued cutting environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here to talk about the effect of those rollbacks and how the pandemic plays into it all is Kendra Pierre-Louis. She was a reporter on The New York Times’ climate team and now works on Gimlet’s podcast “How to Save a Planet.” Later, we’ll hear from listeners and experts on voting concerns, the digital divide and what effect all those disposable face masks could have on the environment. Man, it’s a hot one.

For a full list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 19, 2020
Back to school … for about a day
00:16:00

Kai’s kids had their first miserable day of remote learning today. Molly’s kid was back last week, while she provided IT support. The situation at some colleges and universities is even worse, with students being sent home just days after arriving (and paying deposits for the semester). It’s all playing out just as Scott Galloway predicted on our show this summer. And it’s still only August. To lighten the mood: “The Golden Girls” and a whiz-bang way to get people to put masks on. Plus, a “state of democracy” update from Molly.

For links to everything we talked about today, plus that “Karenator” video, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

 

Aug 18, 2020
Yeah, we’re still talking about the Postal Service
00:17:00

We’ll stop discussing absentee voting and the upcoming election when things  that threaten it stop happening. Today it’s the revelations that 46 states might not get their ballots in time and drop-off boxes are being scooped up in a couple of  cities. At least we have tequila and pandas.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Aug 15, 2020
Some threats to democracy are real
00:16:01

President Donald Trump spelled things out pretty clearly today when he told Fox News why he doesn’t want Congress to allocate funding to the U.S. Postal Service. Without the money, he said, universal mail-in ballots — aka absentee voting, aka kind of a necessary thing during a pandemic — may not be possible. Ahem. We’re not sure you were supposed to say that part out loud. Sorry, we couldn’t help but curse a little in this episode. Oh, great bald eagle, please, please rescue our democracy.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss our live happy hour tomorrow!

Aug 14, 2020
College football’s canceled … sort of
00:18:19

Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams field listener questions on this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll cover a range of topics from college sports to insider trading, a tax credit for low-income families and one particularly nostalgic movie. Kimberly drops some fencing knowledge, and we’ll explain (again!) what’s up with inflation. Stay to the end for a special promise from Kai.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org

Aug 13, 2020
Is our right to vote at risk?
00:34:16

Confidence in our elections system is sagging. This year’s primary season brought reports of long lines at polling places and uncounted absentee ballots. And just when it was looking like many of us would be voting by mail this fall (as the pandemic rages on), a shake-up in leadership at the U.S. Postal Service is generating more uncertainty. This week, we speak with R. Michael Alvarez of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project about protecting the “franchise” — that is, our individual right to vote — and what we can do now and on Election Day to make sure our voices are heard. Later in the show, we’ll hear about the 2021 cruise season and the fate of small businesses in the pandemic economy.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 12, 2020
Oh good, we’ve got … memoranda
00:14:51

More kids are testing positive for COVID-19, people are making rent payments on their credit cards and Disney’s got no more “Fox” to give (pardon our French). On this Monday show, Kai Ryssdal returns from vacation, “bringing gender diversity back to the show,” in the words of co-host Kimberly Adams. We’ll talk about the virus, the economy and a few headlines that brought a twinkle to our eye. Plus, is the health care system for animals actually working better than the health care system for humans right now?

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 10, 2020
The virus is the economy
00:20:00

Talks for a now-overdue coronavirus aid package collapsed going into the weekend, with President Trump weighing what he can do with executive orders. Meanwhile, the country has passed 200,000 “excess deaths.” We know we’ve had some bummer episodes this week, but we do bring this one back with a heartfelt appreciation of Phil Collins’ masterpiece, “In the Air Tonight.”

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one. You’ll find links to that and everything else we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org.

Aug 08, 2020
It’s OK to not be OK!
00:17:14

Whether you’ve lost someone, lost a job, gotten sick or are just feeling lonely, this pandemic is taking a toll on all of us. Today, we discuss two pieces in The New York Times about the physical and mental complications of the COVID-19 crisis. But it’s not all bad — we’ll also go deep into Amazon’s “A League of Their Own” series.

Aug 07, 2020
The data collection ‘arms race’
00:21:10

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok — owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — amid much handwringing over the data the app collects. And while TikTok’s fate may ultimately be decided by the obscure Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, it seemed worth asking: Why is it so important to keep data collection domestic? There are certainly plenty of American apps collecting information on their users, too. We’ll talk about that and more on this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: contact tracing, supply shockwaves and alpacas.

Aug 06, 2020
An unequal country is a vulnerable country
00:40:42

A widening wealth gap isn’t good for democracy. Yet inequality has been on the rise for decades in the United States. So what does that tell us about the state of the republic? On today’s show, Atlantic staff writer George Packer walks us through some historical examples of when stark inequities led to revolution and reform — and boils down everything from the New Deal to collard greens.

Aug 05, 2020
Let’s get real about USPS
00:18:02

Kimberly Adams is co-hosting the show this week with Molly Wood. We kicked off our Monday episode with a little perspective on the U.S. Postal Service. Plus, we try and unpack what exactly has been going on with TikTok over the past few days. For smiles, we’ll have an update on your favorite uncles and some cute alpacas.

Aug 04, 2020
It’s a ‘Succession’ day
00:15:43

James Murdoch, scion of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, resigned from the company’s board of directors today, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content.” We’ll spend a little time today talking about what that means for Murdoch’s older brother, Lachlan, and the family’s media empire. Plus, somehow “Make Me Smile” keeps getting sadder. TGIF.

As always, you’ll find links to everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org. You’ll also find a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you never miss a live taping.

Aug 01, 2020
Happy National Blueberry Month, or something?
00:12:45

After failing to agree on and pass a new pandemic relief bill, the U.S. Senate appears to have officially recognized July 2020 as National Blueberry Month. That sounds a least a little productive … until you remember July ends Saturday, and so does the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit millions of Americans rely on. You know it was a tough day when even “Make Me Smile” makes us cry.

Jul 31, 2020
Check your quarantine snack supplies
00:14:47

We’re tackling a deeply important question on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday: What’s everyone snacking on in quarantine? Let’s compare notes. Plus, we’ll answer some other listener questions about the coronavirus relief bill and how weirdly hard it is to unload your extra coins.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s get antisocial
00:40:06

The convergence of nationwide protests over police violence and a global pandemic have placed renewed scrutiny on the role of companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple in our democracy. On Wednesday, chief executives from those companies will face lawmakers — virtually — for a much-anticipated hearing on their power and influence in this election year. We had New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz on the show to talk about it. He covers tech and social media for the magazine, and he wrote the book “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s just call this year a wash
00:12:26

Tech was one of the first industries to send workers home in response to the pandemic. And it was one of the first to let its employees work from anywhere. So what should we make of the fact that Google has pushed the date it’s calling employees back to the office to July 2021? Molly returns from a weekend of “Chrismukkah in July” to a Dark Place indeed. Join us!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on the episode page at makemesmart.org.

Jul 28, 2020
Be nice to someone this weekend
00:18:44

We’re 135 days into the COVID-19 pandemic and the bottom could fall out of the economy in a few days. Everyone’s having a hard time in some way, so our main message for today’s happy hour episode is this: Be nice to someone, or a few someones, this weekend. Also on tap, the mask policy at McDonald’s, a somewhat-related thing about George H.W. Bush, baseball’s return and more on that AOC speech. TGIF!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Jul 25, 2020
So you’re out of work. How’s 70% of your old salary sound?
00:15:04

That’s the pitch Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave CNBC today when outlining the Republican plan for coronavirus relief after the extra weekly $600 in unemployment benefits runs out at the end of the month. On today’s show, we’ll try to figure out why Congress left this to the last minute and whether the legislators’ latest proposal will work for the 34 million Americans now jobless. Plus: Kai gets hacked (maybe).

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. Finally, join us for our live happy hour episode Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT, 3:30 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

Jul 24, 2020
Why hasn’t Congress extended jobless benefits yet?
00:15:43

Congress is about to blow through its deadline to extend extra unemployment benefits for the tens of millions of Americans out of work due to the coronavirus. What gives? Great question. For Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll attempt to answer. Plus, your questions about CEO pay caps, Mexican Coke and more.

As always, you’ll find links to everything we talked about on makemesmart.org. By the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 23, 2020
U.S.-China relations are bad, but are they ‘new Cold War’ bad?
00:44:10

As China returns to some sense of normalcy after the worst of the pandemic — and as the U.S. tries to slow down a new surge in coronavirus cases — relations between the two countries have reached a low point. On today’s show, Marketplace’s China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, tells us about the view from Shanghai, what state media are saying and what’s going on with a potential ban on the mega-popular app TikTok. Later, we’ll hear from a listener who’s wrestling with the child care crisis here at home and another who’s using lockdown to pick up (and stick with!) a new hobby.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at MakeMeSmart.org. And don’t forget to check out Marketplace’s brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 22, 2020
This is the whole ballgame, folks
00:17:53

The vast majority of Americans support the United States Postal Service, but the president is not a fan, and apparently neither is the Trump-donor-turned-postmaster-general-appointee Louis DeJoy. Today, we’ll look at what a new postmaster general could mean for the institution, and the stakes as millions of people vote by mail this fall. Plus: The federal agents we talked about last week are planning to expand to Chicago. Happy Monday.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at MakeMeSmart.org. And don’t forget to check out our brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 21, 2020
What’s happening to protesters in Portland?
00:17:33

On today’s happy hour episode, “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais is on to talk about what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, this week. Federal law enforcement officers are taking protesters off the street, placing them under arrest for reasons unknown and driving away with them in unmarked vans. It sounds like a headline from a different place and a different time, but it’s happening in an American city right now. Later, we’ll lighten things up by talking about a socially distanced knighting and … ants.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org. Thanks to everyone who joined us live! Subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss the next one! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 18, 2020
The Washington … Red Tails?
00:15:00

That’s just one name being kicked around for Washington, D.C.’s football team, and it’s our favorite so far. That’s our Make Me Smile today, but first we have to talk about this pandemic recovery plan that … doesn’t mention the pandemic.

As always, find links to everything we talked about at makemesmart.org, plus a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai Ryssdal and “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais will stream our live happy hour episode tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. EDT / 3:30 p.m. PDT! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 17, 2020
Rent is due??? Again???
00:17:00

Just in time for Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, one of our listeners is making us smart. We talked a bit last week about eviction moratoriums happening around the country. Today we have a lawyer listener who wrote in on the issue. Plus: the coin shortage and diversity in public media.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page on our site. And by the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 16, 2020
The state of Oklahoma
00:27:45

… after last week’s landmark ruling over Native land rights, that is. A huge swath of eastern Oklahoma has been a reservation since the Trail of Tears in the 1830s, and the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that status. Independent journalist Rebecca Nagle has been covering the case on her podcast “This Land,” and she joins us today to talk about the history of that land and what’s next for the 1.8 million people living there.

Jul 15, 2020
‘A Tapestry of Bonkers’
00:16:29

Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. That’s how guest host Kimberly Adams is feeling about two big news stories out of her hometown of St. Louis and her current town, Washington, D.C. Today on the show we’re talking about reopening and re-closing California, that couple that brandished guns at protesters and the football team that finally changed its racist name.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org. Finally, please help us out by taking a quick anonymous survey at americanpublicmedia.org/survey.

Jul 14, 2020
“Open the schools, or else”
00:20:26

That’s apparently the mandate from the Trump administration. And, look, maybe going back to school is the best thing (perhaps more data would be useful). But we’re looking for more planning, less politicization. And stop comparing schools to Disney World. Also on tap for today’s happy hour episode: comets, TikTok and a farewell to Carl Reiner.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about on our episode page at makemesmart.org. You can also find a link to our YouTube channel — subscribe so you never miss a Friday broadcast!

Jul 11, 2020
They’re banning TikTok, Ma
00:13:17

Things felt so quaint when we covered the video app TikTok on the show last year. Lil Nas X was topping the chart, and parent company ByteDance had just racked up a few million in Federal Trade Commission fines. Now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is floating a “ban” on Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns, and that’s got Molly’s son and other teens on edge. We’ll talk about it, plus parking lots and roller coasters.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today on our episode page at makemesmart.org. You can also find a link to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai and Molly will be broadcasting live tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific for happy hour!

Jul 10, 2020
How college got so unaffordable
00:22:00

On our recent episode on higher education, Scott Galloway discussed the “Rolexification” of public education. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll dig a bit into how we got here. Plus, a listener’s heartbreaking housing dilemma, why Molly is canceling “cable” again and a “Hamilton” close read.

As always, you can find links to everything we talked about today at makemesmart.org.

Jul 08, 2020