Week four and triple-digit subscribers! This passion project takes tens of hours a week (not that we’re not enjoying listening to tons of different stories), but it makes it all the more worth it knowing there’s a few people out there enjoying it with us.
On the last week of September, we start with an examination of the Senate, provide color around HIV after some exciting announcements, and consider where taking a knee fits in history. We finish up with something a little different: True Crime anthologies. You probably won’t be able to binge all 35 episodes this weekend unless you lock yourself in, but pick one and start listening when you’re hungover on Sunday.
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We’re sending this with a whole day left before Republicans can no longer pass a bill through budget reconciliation, so we can’t say with 100% certainty that the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act is dead. We can say, however, that it sure feels like the Senate is broken. For the last six or seven years, it’s hard to point to any major bipartisan legislation being passed.
There’s something bizarre about the indiscriminate adherence to some traditions while completely bucking others. The Weeds podcast this week actually inspired me to find the other two podcasts, one explaining how exactly this odd legislative body is supposed to govern and the other recounting one of my oddest memories from US History in 10th grade.
Vox — The Weeds
The Weeds, as the name implies, gets pretty granular on policy. Early bloggers turned policy-wonks Ezra, Matt, and Sarah are an indispensable resource in our uncertain times. Until we listened to this week’s episode, we weren’t totally aware of what a mess the Senate has become. [1:08:09]
After listening to The Weeds, I went on the hunt for a better understanding of this insane legislative body. Earlier this year New Hampshire Public Radio launched a podcast making civics interesting and fun. Listen and learn about the standing 44 rules of the Senate. [15:40]
Stuff You Missed in History Class
So you know about the Senate and how bizarre it can be, but here’s a story you may not have heard. In 1865, Charles Sumner protested the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the ensuing event is…bizarre. [16:18]
Thursday was National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the CDC announced that undetectable persons cannot transmit HIV. This past week, we also saw two extremely exciting developments in HIV research and treatment. Scientists have found both a new antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains and a way to activate the dormant virus so it can be targeted by antibodies.
HIV isn’t just a gay disease and the stigma around this virus is one of the biggest barriers to effectively treating and containing it. We found podcasts that help explain the virus, how some activists began de-stigmatizing it, and the persistent global challenges with treating HIV.
Stuff You Should Know
The Stuff Media network is chockfull of amazing shows, so we immediately turned to them to see if they had a primer on HIV. One of the most important steps in reducing stigmatization of the disease is to understand it. Part two of the series looks at treatment and possible cures as of two years ago. [59:34]
You’ve likely seen a [RED] iPhone or a red ribbon promoting HIV awareness and pushing for a cure. Back in the 1980s however, the disease was largely ignored by the government and media. 99% Invisible takes a thoughtful look at how these ribbons came to be and their lasting effect. [20:00]
Australian Broadcast Company
A few years ago, a restriction on clean needles led to a stark rise in HIV infections in Russia; we’ve seen similar effects in states that have approached IV drugs without social concern. Around the world, narrow-minded views of infectious disease are allowing HIV to persist and thrive. [41:18]
Taking a Knee#
You didn’t think we’d make it through the newsletter without mentioning Trump, did you!? No, he decided to continue worsening race relations by attacking athletes for using their platform to raise awareness. Across the NFL — and broader sports world — players, coaches, and owners came together to support our rights of nonviolent protest.
Throughout the decades, athletes’ roles in civil rights has taken many forms. We wanted to take a look at the brief and tense history of American athlete activism with a focus on a few athletes: Colin Kaepernick, OJ Simpson, Jesse Owens, and Muhammad Ali.
Edge of Sports with Dave Zirin
Do you know Colin Kaepernick? I found Dave Zirin while looking for podcasts about Kaepernick. Based on the title, Dave is obviously on Colin’s side, but I think it’s worth getting an idea of who he is and what he stands (or kneels) for, especially since he can’t be a part of current on-field protests. [1:04:58]
Off The Ball
Want to listen to a bunch of Scotsman talk about American athletes and Civil Rights? We found a podcast for you! Seriously though, we wanted to include a look at athletes from different eras and how they struggled to manage their activism. [36:26]
You’ve likely heard of Missing Richard Simmons. Well, Jonathan Eig pursued the story of Muhammad Ali’s life. We haven’t gotten through this whole podcast yet and it doesn’t focus solely on Ali’s activism, but few athletes have highlighted racial injustices as powerfully as Ali. [12 episodes]
True Crime Realness#
October is almost upon us, and that means you’re going to need eerie stories to listen to while wrapped in flannel, sipping your PSL. True Crime has been a really successful genre for podcasting and we wanted to highlight some great True Crime audio anthologies.
We left off Serial and S-Town because they’ve already gotten enough love. Instead we wanted to highlight three podcasts from three different types of organizations: public media, venture-backed media, and traditional print news. Each demonstrates how podcasting reaches across the media landscape.
This one kept Candy up at night. The long of the short, APM investigates the unsolved abduction of Jacob Wetterling. Described as “tragic”, “heartbreaking”, and “upsetting”, this is definitely a heavy podcast to get into. If you’re a fan of the darker sides of True Crime, give this a listen. [9 episodes]
Darling of the podcast world, Gimlet Media partnered up with the creator of HBO’s The Jinx to look at organized crime in Providence, RI. The story’s central figure, Buddy Cianci, is fascinating from beginning to end and the show has a way of pulling you in for one hell of a binge. [18 episodes]
Seemingly out of left field (for us at least), a newspaper from the center of the country released a true crime podcast that shot to the top of the iTunes charts. What makes this True Crime story from The Enquirer and Cincinnati.com a bit different is that it investigates what officers did — or didn’t — do after their chief suspect was found not guilty twice. [8 episodes]
Remembering Hugh Hefner#
You’ve made it to the end of the newsletter and we wanted to briefly say one last thing. As you likely read yesterday, Hugh Hefner passed away of natural causes at 91 years old. His life’s work was controversial and his impact on American sexuality will likely never be fully understood.
To close, we present a WNYC podcast remembering Playboy when they briefly chose to remove nudity.
We want to hear from you!#
How did you like our suggestions? Which podcast was best? Did you start following any of the shows? Tell us!