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Now displaying: November, 2017

Welcome to the WhoWhatWhy Podcast.

Nov 24, 2017

With the world feeling like it's spinning out of control, with a new crisis happening every day at a speed beyond our ability to process, humor may be the only thing that can get us through. For this holiday weekend, WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman sits down with Chicago comic and professor Al Gini to talk about humor, satire and why we need both to fend off our fear of the world.

 

Certainly there is no algorithm for what’s funny. Time, place, context, language and audience all matter a lot. But what’s clear is that humor is an essential part of the human experience, and vital for coping with the daily onslaught of the unthinkable and unimaginable.

 

Gini and Schechtman talk about the evolution of humor. From the simple jokes of Henny Youngman and the early satire of Will Rogers to the more sophisticated satire of Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and today, Jon Stewart. Gini reminds us that we need satire in order not to die of the truth. Also, when very little seems to bind us together anymore, even the right and left can sometimes bond over the same punchline.  

 

At the very least, the primal aspect of humor might help get us through the holidays.

Nov 17, 2017

Worried about Russian hackers or other outsiders meddling in US elections? Arguably, the greatest threat to our democratic system comes not from the outside but from forces within our own two-party system that are trying, and often succeeding, to prevent American citizens from voting.

 

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman talks to journalist Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, about “caging” and “crosscheck” — two species of “dirty tricks” that are being used ever more frequently to suppress votes. While the primary practitioners have been Republicans, encouraged for years by Karl Rove, Palast explains that Democrats are using similar tricks to gain advantages in primary elections.

 

In “caging,” letters are sent out to voters who must spend time away from their primary addresses, such as minority soldiers stationed abroad or students during summer recess. When the letters come back as “undeliverable,” the senders can use this as a reason to get those voters taken off the rolls.

 

Over the years, caging has led to millions of eligible voters being purged from voting rolls, Palast says. He adds that this and other stratagems are very much in use today by operatives like Brett Doster, a onetime Rove operative who is now running Roy Moore’s senatorial campaign in Alabama.

 

The story that Palast tells is truly one of “birds of a feather” getting together to undermine what’s left of our electoral democracy.  

Nov 15, 2017

In this nearly hour-long interview, WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker takes veteran podcaster Peter B. Collins through the details of Anthony Weiner’s fall — and the effect it had on Hillary Clinton’s presidential race.

They go deep into the shadows where political traps are constructed.

Nov 3, 2017

A look at how the US has favored and funded terror groups since long before 9/11.

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