This week: conversations with Zephyr Teachout, Ralph Nader, Nicco Mele, Ben Tarnoff, and Matt Stoller about Joe Biden vs. monopoly power. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

Joe Biden signed an order on July 9th taking aim at Big Tech and corporate consolidation. In his remarks, he called for a sharp turn from trends of the past four decades:

Forty years ago, we chose the wrong path, in my view, following the misguided philosophy of people like Robert Bork, and pulled back on enforcing laws to promote competition.

We’re now 40 years into the experiment of…


This week: a conversation with Daphne Brooks about Black feminist music across the twentieth century. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

From Bessie Smith to Beyoncé, our show this week tracks a history of feminist music from Black artists. We’re joined by the historian and critic Daphne Brooks, whose new book, Liner Notes for the Revolution, explores such music via intellectual and political history. She says on our show:

Those Black women artists were archiving the history of our American struggle, our American catastrophe, which is that of racial subjugation and gender subjugation, through their music…


This week: a conversation with Dr. Aaron Kesselheim and Dr. Jason Karlawish about Alzheimer’s disease and the FDA’s approval of aducanumab. Listen today at 2 pm or anytime at our website.

After the historic success of pandemic vaccines that met FDA standards of “safe and effective,” the FDA recently approved a drug that experts say hasn’t been proven safe or effective. That drug is Biogen’s aducanumab, intended to treat Alzheimer’s disease. After its approval, Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of Harvard resigned from his FDA advisory committee post in protest. Dr. Kesselheim joins us for this week’s show and says:

I think…


This week: conversations about the end of the Netanyahu era with Joshua Cohen, Sayed Kashua, and Bernard Avishai. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

An unlikely coalition of political opponents recently defeated Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The change’s full meaning isn’t yet clear, but we have help in this week of reflection on the Netanyahu regime. There’s a new novel about Netanyahu (in a way) called The Netanyahus, by Joshua Cohen.


This week: a conversation with the astronomer Avi Loeb about UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

UFOs are back in the news, now called UAPs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. But it’s not clear whether the recent reports of sightings get us any closer to finding alien intelligence. In an interstellar object called ‘Oumuamua, however, the Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb believes humanity may have already found a spacecraft designed by extraterrestrials (his book on the subject is Extraterrestrial). Here’s his case for that, on this week’s show:

At first astronomers thought: oh, it…


This week: conversations with Nicholson Baker, Alina Chan, Antonio Regalado, and Richard Ebright about the COVID lab leak hypothesis. Hear it today at 2 pm or anytime at our site.

This past week, the COVID lab leak theory went mainstream, culminating in Biden’s call for an investigation into the pandemic’s origins. The theory—that the virus might have come out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)—has been around for a while, sometimes espoused by rigorous investigators, but sometimes by the other kind of investigator, and often dismissed early in the pandemic due to its associations with the latter.


This week: a conversation with Patrick Radden Keefe and Kathleen Frydl about the opioid epidemic and the family behind OxyContin. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

You’ve seen the Sackler name on museums, on university buildings, but you might not have always known how that name attached itself to the kind of money that supports museums and universities. These days, though, a source of the fortune is well known: OxyContin (among other drugs from the Sackler family’s company, Purdue Pharma) which helped get Americans on opioids in the last few decades.


This week: a conversation with the author Michael Lewis and the Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch about sharp public health thinking. Listen today at 2 pm or anytime at our website.

Michael Lewis — author of The Big Short and Moneyball—has a new book, The Premonition, about the COVID pandemic. It’s the story of public health thinkers who, early on, recognized the pandemic’s perils. The book’s heroes are an idiosyncratic bunch, including the Borges-quoting leader of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) Richard Hatchett, and Carter Mecher, a VA official who became a careful reader of systems.

Years ago, Hatchett and…


Conversations with Abhinandan Sekhri, Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Keshava Guha, and Vikram Patel about the COVID crisis in India. Listen today at 2 pm or anytime at our website.

India’s COVID disaster recalls familiar US horrors: mass death worsened by an unprepared system of privatized healthcare and faulty public health. In the US so far, around 600,000 are dead from COVID; in India, the official toll is near 250,000 and rising, and experts warn the actual numbers exceed that official toll. Abhninandan Sekhri, founder and CEO of the site Newslaundry, tells us from India:

So right now we’re in the worst crisis…


This week: a conversation with Louis Menand about art and culture during the first two decades of the Cold War. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our website.

John Cage, whose Buddhism-inspired work opened up paths for avant-garde music, advanced a kind of art that didn’t need traditional notions of creative genius. He reflected:

Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of…

Radio Open Source

An American conversation with global attitude, on the arts, humanities, and global affairs, hosted by Christopher Lydon. chris@radioopensource.org

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