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Rank #20 in Documentary category

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The United States of Anxiety

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #20 in Documentary category

Society & Culture
News
Politics
Documentary
Read more

The United States of Anxiety: The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. Many of the political and social arguments we’re having now started in the aftermath of the Civil War, when Americans set out to do something no one had tried before: build the world’s first multiracial democracy. The podcast gives voters the context to understand what’s at stake in this election. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

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The United States of Anxiety: The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. Many of the political and social arguments we’re having now started in the aftermath of the Civil War, when Americans set out to do something no one had tried before: build the world’s first multiracial democracy. The podcast gives voters the context to understand what’s at stake in this election. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

iTunes Ratings

1055 Ratings
Average Ratings
763
109
52
37
94

-

By smithofaye - Apr 21 2020
Read more
The material is heavy, the delivery is dope. Solid, consistently rewarding show.

Amazing

By WandaDarling - Mar 02 2020
Read more
Real reporting creatively told. Important parts of history told to reveal the reasons for actions.

iTunes Ratings

1055 Ratings
Average Ratings
763
109
52
37
94

-

By smithofaye - Apr 21 2020
Read more
The material is heavy, the delivery is dope. Solid, consistently rewarding show.

Amazing

By WandaDarling - Mar 02 2020
Read more
Real reporting creatively told. Important parts of history told to reveal the reasons for actions.
Cover image of The United States of Anxiety

The United States of Anxiety

Latest release on Jun 26, 2020

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The United States of Anxiety: The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. Many of the political and social arguments we’re having now started in the aftermath of the Civil War, when Americans set out to do something no one had tried before: build the world’s first multiracial democracy. The podcast gives voters the context to understand what’s at stake in this election. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

Rank #1: 40 Acres in Mississippi

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Elbert Lester has lived his full 94 years in Quitman County, Mississippi, on land he and his family own. That’s exceptional for black people in this area, and some family members even say the land came to them through “40 acres and a mule.” But that's pretty unlikely, so host Kai Wright goes on a search for the truth, and uncovers a story about an old and fundamental question in American politics -- one at the center of the current election: Who are the rightful owners of this country’s staggering wealth?

- John Willis is author of Forgotten Time

- Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is located in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about documented lynchings in Mississippi, and elsewhere, visit the Equal Justice Initiative's interactive report, Lynching in America. You can navigate to each county to learn about documented lynchings there.

The United States of Anxiety’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.

Jan 30 2020

43mins

Play

Rank #2: Two Schools in Marin County

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Last year, the California Attorney General held a tense press conference at a tiny elementary school in the one working class, black neighborhood of the mostly wealthy and white Marin County. His office had concluded that the local district "knowingly and intentionally" maintained a segregated school, violating the 14th amendment. He ordered them to fix it, but for local officials and families, the path forward remains unclear, as is the question: what does "equal protection" mean?

-  Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Marianne McCune.

Feb 06 2020

51mins

Play

Rank #3: Episode 3: This Land Is My Land, That Land Is Your Land

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Tom McCarthy, a retired NYPD detective and lifelong Long Island resident, has spent much of his adult life straddling two very different worlds. Each day he would leave the calm of his suburban community to patrol the notorious Queensbridge housing projects. This was in 1989, at the height of the crack epidemic, and what Tom saw in New York's public housing felt worlds away from his suburban Eden.

But now, the line that once separated Tom’s home from his work feels like it's dissipating. It's exemplified by leafy Suffolk County leading all of New York state in heroin overdose deaths last year.

What's brought about this change in the suburbs? For many, the problems seem to stem not from within, but from the outside, coming over our southern border. Donald Trump has repeatedly bemoaned the crime and drugs that he says Mexican immigrants who are here illegally are bringing into the United States. He has said he'll deport this population and send them to "the back of the line."

But of all the controversial things the Republican nominee has said, sending immigrants here illegally to the back of the line is actually quite mainstream. In fact, it's been advocated by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The idea projects order, fairness and a sense of fairness. There's only one problem, according to Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist who helped to workshop "the back of the line" phrase in the early-2000's: the line doesn't exist, leaving the country's immigration process a hopeless hall of mirrors for people trying to do the right thing and enter the country legally.

Episode Contributors:

Arun Venugopal

Julianne Hing

About the show:

In a Presidential election cycle big on negativity and short on discussion of issues, anxiety is proving to be a dominant theme -- over the economy, national security, and indeed, what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This podcast brings the voices of people trying to hold on to their piece of the American Dream and others who are looking to build one. The United States of Anxiety gives you an wide-open window into the polarizing economic, social and political ideas that have people on the edge of their seats during this unprecedented election cycle.

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpListen to more shows from The Nation: http://apple.co/1V85l3I

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Oct 06 2016

31mins

Play

Rank #4: Episode 4: Down the Rabbit Hole

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So how did we get to this point? Where a nominee for a major party has been heard bragging about assaulting women. The United States of Anxiety has been listening carefully to Trump supporters in an effort to understand this election season.

This week, WNYC Studios and The Nation turn once again to Patty Dwyer. We then go down the rabbit hole with WNYC reporter Matt Katz and take a look at the media landscape that helped create this moment.

Finally, we visit with another Long Island resident, Joselo Lucero. Just after Election Day in 2008, Joselo’s brother, Marcelo Lucero was murdered during the course of a hate crime.

Though separated by years, these two events—the rise of Donald Trump and the murder of Marcelo Lucero—may have arisen from a single reality: individuals listening to inflammatory language.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Arun Venugopal

Matt Katz

Julianne Hing

Karen Frillman

Joseph Capriglione

In a Presidential election cycle big on negativity and short on discussion of issues, anxiety is proving to be a dominant theme -- over the economy, national security, and indeed, what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This podcast brings the voices of people trying to hold on to their piece of the American Dream and others who are looking to build one. The United States of Anxiety gives you an wide-open window into the polarizing economic, social and political ideas that have people on the edge of their seats during this unprecedented election cycle.

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpListen to more shows from The Nation: http://apple.co/1V85l3I

Oct 13 2016

37mins

Play

Rank #5: Whose Kansas Is it Anyway?

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The city of Olathe, Kansas, has been shaken since February when a man gunned down two Indian immigrants in a bar there. Witnesses say the shooter yelled,  “Go back to your country!” It was the first hate-crime killing after the 2016 presidential election.

WNYC’s Arun Venugopal traveled to Kansas to speak with members of the Indian community about how they’re dealing with the deaths, and with their changing status in America. We hear from Professor Raj Bhala, a specialist in international law who is half-Indian and half-Scottish, along with his wife Kara, a Chinese-American woman from Malaysia.

The couple is dreading July 1, when a law allowing the concealed carry of weapons on college campuses goes into effect. Kara Tan Bhala even wrote her U.S. Senators and congresswoman about concerns for her husband's safety. The congresswoman, the only one to reply, sent a defense of the Second Amendment. “It just made me feel as if my voice wasn't being heard in a very conservative state and that perhaps it was time to just take a break from the country and come back when things get better," Tan Bhala said. "I know things go in cycles so the pendulum has swung really one way to quite an extreme. We're waiting for it to swing slowly back.”

But for the first time since the couple arrived in 2003, they are seriously considering leaving the state — and the country. 

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Arun Venugopal

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

May 09 2017

33mins

Play

Rank #6: The Birth of Climate Denial

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Starting with the 1925 Scopes Trial — also known as the "trial of the century" — we look at one of the most controversial topics in our time: the debate over evolution versus a Fundamentalist understanding of the Bible.

It started with a substitute teacher in Tennessee who believed that evolution should be taught in the classroom. What followed was a fiery debate that rocketed around the world.

The Scopes Trial reminds us that science has often upset the establishment. Kai Wright explores how the powerful have tried to convince us that science gets it wrong.

Then Amanda Aronczyk looks at just when we began to doubt the whole idea of climate change. She’ll take us back to that day in 1988 when NASA scientist James Hansen warned the United States Congress that climate change was real. And she reminds us that Republican President George H.W. Bush touted himself as being pro-environment.

“I’m an environmentalist... And I always will be," he said. "And that is not inconsistent with being a businessman. Nor is it with being a conservative.” She then brings us to to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, when action on climate change led to a political divide within the Republican party.

Today, President Trump considers climate change a "hoax" and is considering withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. It's a radical change in 25 years. We'll tell you how we got there.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Amanda Aronczyk

Jillian Weinberger

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

May 11 2017

37mins

Play

Rank #7: Episode 5: White Like Me

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Once again, race has become a central issue in a presidential campaign. But this time, it's not all about people of color. It's also about white Americans, and what their place is in 21st century America.

This week, WNYC Studios and The Nation examine the history of what it means and has meant to be white in the United States of America.

WNYC’s Jim O’Grady accompanies journalist Chris Arnade to Long Island. What they find is that as the economy has transitioned away from manual labor, it's struck at the very heart of the way many working-class Americans define masculinity, and, in turn, themselves.

Plus, The Nation’s Kai Wright explores this notion with a group of Italian Americans who document their families' journey from immigrant scapegoats to full-fledged "whiteness."

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Jim O'Grady

Karen Frillmann

Joseph Capriglione

About the show:

In a Presidential election cycle big on negativity and short on discussion of issues, anxiety is proving to be a dominant theme -- over the economy, national security, and indeed, what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This podcast brings the voices of people trying to hold on to their piece of the American Dream and others who are looking to build one. The United States of Anxiety gives you an wide-open window into the polarizing economic, social and political ideas that have people on the edge of their seats during this unprecedented election cycle.

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpListen to more shows from The Nation: http://apple.co/1V85l3I

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Oct 20 2016

33mins

Play

Rank #8: America's Allergy to Intellect — Why It Keeps Flaring Up

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During the last election, when asked his opinion about experts and intellectuals, Trump supporter Fiore Napolitano voiced a fairly common sentiment from his cohort, "I've got more brains in my little thumb." That made us wonder whether hostility to intellect is an underestimated feature of American politics, which prompted us to formulate some questions.

What's up, America? Why the qualms about erudition and expertise? Where does this wariness spring from, and what role did it play in the rise of Donald Trump — who was opposed by just about every intellectual associated with either party but whose supporters simply did not care about that issue?

We talk to the learned and those who loathe them, including writers and commentators, a neuroscientist, and a gun shop owner in a red-voting part of upstate New York. We quote a fiery pamphlet penned by a yeoman farmer from the Revolutionary Era, and we delve into the 1963 book that describes and frames this issue better and more enduringly than any other.

Jim O’Grady walks us through the centuries-long debate about intellectualism, elitism, and our reverence for the common man.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Jim O'Grady

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

May 16 2017

27mins

Play

Rank #9: The Dream Was Not Mine

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Jennifer Willoughby was in an abusive marriage. Saily Avelenda was unhappy with her congressman, who'd held office for over two decades without facing a serious contender. They didn’t know they were about to topple two political giants. Plus, want to know the real reason the 2018 midterms could make history? It has to do with a number political scientists call the "gender gap."

Note: WNYC made several attempts to reach Rob Porter for comment. He did not respond before this episode was released. 

The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.

Sep 17 2018

36mins

Play

Rank #10: How Ivanka Trump And Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment

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We've got a story from the WNYC newsroom that we really want to share with you. Our WNYC colleagues, Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, in partnership with ProPublica and The New Yorker investigate how President Trump's two eldest children avoided criminal charges in a probe related to the Trump SoHo. 

Oct 10 2017

18mins

Play

Rank #11: The New, Old White Supremacist Movement

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At the height of the election season last September, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.”  The comments spread like wildfire, and the next day, Clinton walked them back. 

Yet the sentiment that a new movement of white nationalists was growing is true.

Kai Wright takes a look at the so-called “basket of deplorables” and the alt-right movement that has emerged in recent years, from neo-Nazis to people fighting in the so-called “war on men.” He also chats with Note to Self's Manoush Zomorodi and Kat Aaron about how white supremacists are arming themselves online.

“The goal is just chaos. The goal is to shut down civic discourse to make spaces where people are discussing important topics just so toxic that most people shut down,” said Aaron.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Jessica Miller

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp


WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Jun 06 2017

37mins

Play

Rank #12: Episode 9: Where Are We Now?

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So, here we are. The race is over and Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States.

WNYC Studios and The Nation take the temperature of the country following the unprecedented election of a consummate political outsider.

WNYC’s Arun Venugopal checks-in with Trump supporter Patty Dwyer and gauges her reaction on a come-from-behind political victory that shook the world. The Nation's Julianne Hing reports from Arizona, where the defeat of long-standing anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio is nonetheless tempered by the elevation of Donald Trump.

Plus, Matt Katz and Chris Arnade return to the white working-class voters who propelled Trump to the White House. And Stephen Nessesn returns us to Patchogue to find out how a community that was nearly torn apart by anti-immigrant violence learned to heal and what they're bracing for in Donald Trump's America.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Arun Venugopal

Stephen Nessen

Julianne Hing

Matt Katz

Karen Frillmann

Joseph Capriglione

About the show:

In a Presidential election cycle big on negativity and short on discussion of issues, anxiety is proving to be a dominant theme -- over the economy, national security, and indeed, what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This podcast brings the voices of people trying to hold on to their piece of the American Dream and others who are looking to build one. The United States of Anxiety gives you an wide-open window into the polarizing economic, social and political ideas that have people on the edge of their seats during this unprecedented election cycle.

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpListen to more shows from The Nationhttp://apple.co/1V85l3I

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Nov 10 2016

47mins

Play

Rank #13: How Politics Turns Violent

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The culture wars of the Boomer generation still shape our politics today. In this episode we look at those culture wars from another vantage point. Instead of focusing on the debates themselves, we ask the question: How do people move from radical politics to political violence?

On June 7, 1970 the group of young radical leftists known as the Weathermen, accidentally detonated bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. Their goal was to bomb an officers' event at the Army Base Fort Dix in New Jersey to protest the Vietnam war, but instead the bombs exploded in the basement and killed three of the five activists. Two fled. One was Cathy Wilkerson.  

WNYC producer Paige Cowett talks to Wilkerson 47 years later about what caused her to believe that bombing soldiers was justified. “The sad thing is I don't think we did think about it very much," said Wilkerson. “You think about the political impact. I think that's the way it is with warfare. You don't think about the life of the people that you're hurting or killing.”

Cowett also speaks with historian Micheal Kazin, a radical leftist who did not resort to violent tactics, as well as Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and terrorism expert, who discusses the psychology of political radicalization. 

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Paige Cowett

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more. 

May 30 2017

37mins

Play

Rank #14: America's Fourth: Beyond Pie and BBQs

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This fourth of July, one year after the podcast began, we look back at a culture that’s made us so anxious, but also what holds us together, and where we’re going as a nation. Since nothing seems to bind Americans more together than food, we’re starting off with a key marker of American culture--pie. Kai Wright and Karen Frillmann spend some time partaking in a key American tradition-baking a cherry pie.They’ll talk pie-making with food writer Kathy Gunst, coming together in the kitchen and what gets passed down along with a recipe. 

Kai Wright and Karen Frillmann bake a pie.
(Cayce Means)

Then we’ll turn to Nancy Solomon, who's having a BBQ on a very diverse block in New Jersey where everyone from Donald Trump supporters to liberal lesbians live. We’ll hear about their anxieties, and see just what they’re doing to alleviate any potential tensions as the state gears up for a gubernatorial election later this year. Jim O’Grady delves into what exactly the Declaration of Independence means today. Finally, we’ll be listening in to you, and your thoughts and fears, about the cultural wars in America.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Jim O’Grady

Arun Venugopal

Nancy Solomon

Karen Frillmann

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Sources:

Professor Andrew Shankman, Rutgers University, author of Original Intents

Professor Andrew Schocket, Bowling Green State University, author of Fighting over the Founders

The New York Public Library and it's original copy of The Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson's hand

Jul 04 2017

56mins

Play

Rank #15: Episode 6: The Kids Are Not Alright

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Gang violence and a drug epidemic might not be the first things one thinks about when they picture the American suburbs, but they have become prominent facts of life for many residents in Suffolk County, Long Island. In fact, the leafy New York suburb led the Empire State in heroin and opioid overdose deaths in 2014. 

WNYC Studios and The Nation set out to understand how these problems emerged in the first place.

WNYC’s Arun Venugopal sits down with Anthony, a former-drug user who recounts how he became addicted while growing up in the leafy environs of Long Island's South Shore.

To better understand why record numbers of people are dying of drug overdoses in the suburbs we talk to two individuals on the front lines of treatment to gain their insight into what has caused the uptick in drug use, and how Donald Trump figures into the conversation.

Then, The Nation’s Julianne Hing goes to Brentwood, NY, a Long Island town dealing with gang violence, where the remains of five murdered teenagers have been discovered in the past six weeks.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Arun Venugopal

Julianne Hing

Karen Frillmann

Joseph Capriglione

About the show:

In a Presidential election cycle big on negativity and short on discussion of issues, anxiety is proving to be a dominant theme -- over the economy, national security, and indeed, what it means to be an American in the 21st century. This podcast brings the voices of people trying to hold on to their piece of the American Dream and others who are looking to build one. The United States of Anxiety gives you an wide-open window into the polarizing economic, social and political ideas that have people on the edge of their seats during this unprecedented election cycle.

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpListen to more shows from The Nation: http://apple.co/1V85l3I

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Oct 27 2016

40mins

Play

Rank #16: The Counter-Jihad Movement & the Making of a President

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President George W. Bush, speaking at a mosque on Sept. 17, 2001: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace."

Donald Trump, campaigning for president on March 9, 2016: "I think Islam hates us."

David Yerushalmi was living in an Israeli settlement near Jerusalem speaking on the phone with his father when the planes hit the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. "We got it wrong," Yerushalmi remembers telling his father. Before Sept. 11th, Yerushalmi thought terrorism was about nationalism, a fight over land. Afterward, he decided terrorism committed by Muslim extremists was driven by Islam itself -- and underpinned by Islamic Shariah law.  

Pamela Geller and David Yerulshami(Pamela Geller)

So he packed up his family and moved to New York to become part of a fledgling community of conservatives who would come to be known as counter-jihadists. They had an uphill battle to fight: In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush and most Americans, according to polls, did not equate Islam with terrorism. 

But 16 years later, even though there hasn't been another large-scale terrorist attack on American soil committed by a Muslim, America's perspective on Islam has changed -- evidenced most notably by the election of a president who believes the religion itself hates the country.

Yerushalmi is a big reason for this change of heart. He's a behind-the-scenes leader of the so-called "counter-Jihad" movement, filing lawsuits pushing back against the encroachment of Islam in the public sphere and crafting a series of anti-Sharia laws that Muslims and civil rights groups decry as Islamophobic.

"Do I think that the United States is weak enough to collapse either from a kinetic Jihad, meaning war, or even a civilizational Jihad that the Muslim Brotherhood talks about? No. At least not in my lifetime. But do I think it's an existential threat that allows for sleeper cells and the Internet-grown Jihadist that we see day in and day out wreaking so much havoc here and in Europe? Yes. Do I see it as a threat to our freedoms and liberties incrementally through their so-called civilizational Jihad where they use our laws and our freedoms to undermine our laws and our freedoms? Absolutely."

Matt Katz speaks to Yerulshami about what he thinks is the creeping threat of Sharia law.

Episode Contributors

Kai Wright

Matt Katz

Karen Frillmann

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Sep 11 2017

32mins

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Rank #17: Music, McCarthy, and the Sound of Americana

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In the 1920s, composer Aaron Copland took off for Paris. His search for a uniquely American classical music resulted in some of the most familiar and patriotic music of the 20th Century — including his famous piece, "Fanfare for the Common Man."

WNYC's Sara Fishko ("Fishko Files") follows Copland’s story through the 1930s and '40s in America, when the Great Depression, the rise of Fascism and the unprecedented collective effort during World War II united Americans against a common enemy. Copland's music was transformed during that "Popular Front" period — with a simplified, accessible approach.

Fishko sits down with the distinguished contemporary composer John Corigliano ("The Red Violin") to deconstruct the sound of the "Americana style." The departure from European traditions created a new and remarkable connection between music and the American politics of the time.

But Copland's activism and creative output — and that of many artists and intellectuals — would be threatened and dramatically altered by the swing to the right in American politics in the 1950s.

Episode Contributors:

Kai Wright

Sara Fishko

Karen Frillmann

Olivia Briley

Bill Moss

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios.

Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXp

WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

May 23 2017

34mins

Play

Rank #18: The 'Indoor Man' and His Playmates

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Playboy was never just about the pictures or the articles. The magazine helped create a men's liberation movement, founded on the notion that men could have anything they wanted. From Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein, Hugh Hefner's concept of the "indoor man" has had a lasting influence.

The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.

Oct 02 2018

31mins

Play

Rank #19: The Drug War

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As the opioid epidemic continues to increase, we take a look back at the Sixties when the War on Drugs, a federal effort to decrease illegal drug use, was beginning to take shape. It was a decade of intense change in America as political assassinations took place, the Black power movement rose, and the Vietnam War intensified. It was also a time that conservatives, scared about the future of their country, were beginning to fight back. No one understood this more than Richard M. Nixon during his second run for president in 1968. Nixon knew that many people, especially southern whites, were afraid of the social progress that the country was making at the time. He also knew that drug use and crime were going up and that tapping into the fears and anxieties, while tying them to race, may have been just the strategy he needed to win. “The wave of crime is not going to be the wave of the future in the United States of America,” Nixon said in 1968 as he accepted the Republican nomination, becoming the law and order candidate.It worked, and when he was elected he decided to make good on his promise, focusing not only on crime, which is often a state issue, but drugs. Drugs were a federal issue that was gaining traction among the public and in the political realm, as heroin use spread among both Americans at home and US soldiers in Vietnam.Christopher Johnson looks at the beginning of the War on Drugs in America, from it’s roots with the Southern Strategy, to the strange support for methadone treatment centers, to the so-calledRockefeller Drug Laws in New York. “America’s public enemy number 1 in the US is drug abuse,"declared Nixon in 1971 as he launched the War on Drugs. “In order to defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.” Though he didn’t utter the phrase, Nixon's "War On Drugs" was a costly offensive whose long-lasting impact on drug policy, law enforcement and American culture continues today.Episode Contributors:Kai WrightChristopher JohnsonKaren FrillmannThe United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios<https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wnyc/id127981066?mt=2>.Listen to more shows from WNYC Studios: http://wny.cc/yzc4304odXpWNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics, Radiolab, Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more.

Jul 03 2017

35mins

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Rank #20: Paralysis at the Crossroads

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As primary season kicks off, Democratic voters around the country face a deeper choice than electability: Is the best response to Donald Trump a return to comity and unity in our politics, or must they embrace the ugly conflict that fundamental change will likely require? We get advice on confronting the enormity of the choice from Deidre Dejear, a voting advocate in Iowa. Plus, a look back at another election in which voters faced a similar choice--and when politics collapsed into outright warfare.

Deidre Dejear became the first black candidate to win a statewide primary in Iowa when she ran for Secretary of State in 2018. She later became Kamala Harris' Iowa campaign chair.

LeeAnna Keith is author of When It Was Grand.

 Hosted by Kai Wright. Produced by Jessica Miller. Special thanks to the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa.

Feb 13 2020

21mins

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Juneteenth, an Unfinished Business

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Juneteenth marks a triumphant moment for not just Black Americans, but all people who have sought liberation globally. On June 19th, Kai Wright hosted a special episode of “The Brian Lehrer Show” with a series of conversations about the history of the national holiday, classical music and Black politics - then and now. Guests include WQXR's Terrance McKnight, historian Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and calls from listeners about their family histories of emancipation.

Jun 26 2020

44mins

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Rage, Grief, Joy

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After months of fear and mourning amid a global pandemic, we’re now in the streets. This week, we talk about catharsis and the ways we gather to fight, to grieve and to show up for each other. We hear from Shanika Hart, First Lady of The Gathering Harlem, on being a Black mom, fighting for Black lives. And we learn about the life of beloved Brooklynite Lloyd Porter, who died of Covid-19, and the unique way his community gathered to mourn him.

Jun 18 2020

32mins

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'Community' Is a Verb. And It’s Hard

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As the nation faces the dual brunts of the pandemic and the on-going brutality against black bodies, people more than ever are finding ways to “do the work” in their communities. This week our reporter Jenny Casas takes us to a neighborhood in Chicago where Mexican residents are confronting anti-black violence. Anjali Kamat reports a dispatch from her neighborhood in New York, one of the American epicenters of Covid-19 cases, Jackson Heights. 

Read more coverage of what happened in Chicago from the South Side Weekly.

Jun 12 2020

28mins

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Keeping Released Prisoners Safe and Sane

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It’s hard enough when there’s no pandemic to keep mentally ill inmates from falling through the holes in a patchwork system. Now it’s harder than ever. A huge number of people who are locked up in this country are mentally ill or addicted to drugs or both. This episode, we go to Cleveland, Ohio to follow a psychiatrist and a social worker as they, first, try to find and, then, wrap their arms around recently released inmates, all while social distancing.

Jun 04 2020

41mins

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'I Did Not Watch the Video'

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The week Ida B. Wells’ reporting on lynching received a Pulitzer Prize, a video of 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery being chased and killed began to circulate on social media. It was one of the few news stories that have grabbed widespread attention amid the coronavirus pandemic. But how do we all process such horrible violence, even as we continue to face the daily tragedies of a pandemic?

To answer that question, host Kai Wright sat down for a video chat with a writer whose debut collection of dystopian short stories has won widespread acclaim for reimagining America's responses to anti-black violence. In this episode, Kai and Friday Black author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah reflect on how they each deal with the spectacle of anti-black violence, what they learned from their elders, and the mind-scrambling experience of living through a pandemic at the center of global capitalism.

May 21 2020

30mins

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The Life and Work of Ida B. Wells

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Journalist and activist Ida B. Wells was in some ways, a forgotten figure, overlooked even in black civil rights history. But her reporting on lynchings across the South was unwavering in its mission: calling America out on racial injustice. And this week, that work received a special Pulitzer Prize Citation.

Also, in 2018 we recorded a live episode remembering the life and work of Ida B. Wells at The Greene Space. Watch the whole event here.

May 08 2020

30mins

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Inside the Prison Pandemic

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Three months ago, Kai Wright joined The New Yorker Radio Hour's David Remnick, for a special episode about the effects of mass incarceration and the movement to end it. And now, as the coronavirus pandemic puts inmates in acute and disproportionate danger, that effort gains new traction. Wright and Remnick reconvene to examine the COVID-19 crisis in prison and its political effects.

Kai Wright interviews Udi Ofer, the head of the ACLU’s justice division, who has been leading the organization’s effort to get people out of unsafe environments in jails and prisons. Ofer notes that “the communities that the C.D.C. has told us are most vulnerable to COVID-19 are exactly the communities that are housed in our nation’s jails and prisons,” including a disproportionately older population among inmates. And David Remnick speaks with Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, who has signed an executive order to release certain at-risk inmates from states prisons — the sort of measure that would once have been deeply unpopular and risky.

May 01 2020

21mins

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Why Covid-19 Is Killing Black People

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As black people die from Covid-19 at disproportionate rates, the disease is highlighting health disparities we’ve long known about. Kai Wright speaks with Arline Geronimus, a public health researcher, about what happens to black people’s bodies — on a cellular level — while living in a racist society. Plus, we hear from senior producer Veralyn Williams’ dad, an essential worker in New York who’s doing his best to weather the pandemic.

Apr 24 2020

33mins

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Questions to Ask While Waiting

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Right now, many of us are sheltered in our homes — alone or with company — finding ways to connect in our “new normal.” And as we grapple with how COVID-19 has reshaped our day-to-day, all most of us can do is wait it out. So in this episode, we’re going to turn to a poem, 45 Questions to Ask While Waiting, our reporter Jenny Casas looks to when she wants to get to know the people around her. The poem was written in 2017, Chicago-based artist, educator and prison/police abolitionist, Benji Hart. The list has questions that range from the mundane (2. Where is the least-visited corner in your home?) to the romantic (5. What is the cruelest thing you have done in love?) to the deeply personal (20. What hypocrisy in yourself have you yet to amend?) — and this week, Jenny and Benji discuss how they can be used as a tool for relating with ourselves and each other. 

Additional resources: 

Hear about Benji Hart’s work in progress, World After This OneRead one of the main inspirations for 45 Questions To Ask While Waiting, Dean Spade’s piece Questionnaire.  

Apr 13 2020

16mins

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A History of Style in a Pandemic

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When health officials ordered everyone to wear face masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic, black women in Chicago got creative and crafted jewel-studded veils to stay safe. Kai Wright speaks with The Undefeated’s Soraya Nadia McDonald about seeking joy — and staying fly — in times of crisis. Show us how you’re staying safe and stylish: Get your look together and send us a selfie with the hashtag #USofAnxiety2020.

Read Soraya's full article at The Undefeated.

Apr 08 2020

10mins

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Dispatches from People Stranded in Place

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We’ve got two dispatches from communities where "social-distancing" is not an option. And where decisions we made long ago about homelessness and immigration policy are getting in the way of our ability to protect against Covid 19. WNYC Investigative Reporter Matt Katz brings us calls from inside immigration detention centers. And our reporter Marianne McCune checks in with a homeless advocate, Sam Dennison, who lives and works inside San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, with the highest number of people sleeping in tents in the city.

The United States of Anxiety’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.

Apr 03 2020

27mins

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Keep Calm and Check Your Bias

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Our current situation has left many of us asking fundamental questions about our work, about our relationships, and the meaning of home. This week, we're checking in on one another and taking stock. Host Kai Wright calls reporter Jenny Casas on her drive from New York to Chicago. Then, he and Dr. Gail Christopher, an expert in public health and founder of the Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature, connect for a conversation about Kai's "Katrina Feeling," how racism is poised to affect us all in the face of COVID-19, and why it's important to spend some time among the trees. 

The United States of Anxiety’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.

Mar 26 2020

25mins

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Presenting: White Lies

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The United States of Anxiety presents: White Lies

On the United States of Anxiety, we explore the unfinished business of American history and its grip on our future.  Our friends at NPR's White Lies share that interest. Today, we’re bringing you the first episode of their series.

In 1965, Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma, Alabama. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held accountable. Fifty years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the town where it happened, expose the lies that kept the murder from being solved and uncover a story about guilt and memory that says as much about America today as it does about the past. Hosted by Andrew Beck Grace and Chip Brantley. Subscribe here.

Mar 24 2020

50mins

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Last Chance at Justice

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History tells us that, in a time of crisis, we have to be careful about how we respond. At the start of the Iraq War in 2003, Salah Hasan Nusaif al-Ejaili was working as a journalist when the U.S. military detained him inside Abu Ghraib, a prison that would become notorious for American abuses committed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Only a handful of people were ever held responsible—all of them military personnel. But the private contractors who oversaw interrogations at Abu Ghraib have yet to be held accountable. In this episode, one man's pursuit to get justice 17 years after the war began. 

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Seth Freed Wessler, in partnership with Reveal and Type Media Center. Produced and edited by Christopher Werth.

Mar 19 2020

39mins

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Alone Together During COVID-19: Live Call-in

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Part of the mission of our show is to address our collective anxieties. The COVID-19 pandemic has already drastically reshaped our lives, our politics, and our health -- both physical and mental. Right now, it's not clear if or when things will feel normal again. In this bonus episode, host Kai Wright teams up with Anna Sale of Death, Sex & Money to take listener calls, and to talk about how everyone is coping so far.

Mar 13 2020

1hr 16mins

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Black Power at the Polls

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A lot of people have a lot of opinions about the choices black people are making in the Democratic primary. But as we've seen in other election cycles, when the dust settles, the country seems to move on. This week, host Kai Wright sits down with Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change, to discuss the Reconstruction-era origins of today's coalition between black voters in the South and liberal white voters in the North... and why this relationship often precludes a conversation about actual black political power. 

LeeAnna Keith is author of When it was Grand

Normalizing Injustice is a study of scripted crime TV shows by Color of Change and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center

- To hear our original reporting on the Suffolk County suburbs, text the word “suburbs” to 70101.

Mar 12 2020

27mins

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Keeping White Power at the Polls

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The United States of Anxiety presents: What Next

"One person, one vote" has not always been a given in America. After the Civil War, there was some debate over who should be counted in a congressional district: every person, or every person eligible to vote? The 14th Amendment aimed to settle this question forever, but as the demographics of our country have shifted and changed over the course of our nation's history, so too have the politics of how we count the people who live within our borders. This week, our friends at Slate's What Next podcast team up with reporter Ari Berman to tell a story about how the Trump Administration has revived the debate, and the GOP's quiet plan to redefine political representation and maintain white minority rule in America.

Mary Harris is host of What Next. Hear the original version of this story here.

Ari Berman is author of Give Us the Ballot. Read his original reporting on this issue at Mother Jones.

Mar 05 2020

22mins

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A Secret Meeting in South Bend

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Mike Jackson, like many descendants of the Great Migration, has a family home that was built from protest, resilience and ingenuity. In the spring of 1950, his parents met in secret with 25 other families to create Better Homes of South Bend. Their efforts would later become a collection of homes on the 1700 and 1800 blocks of N. Elmer St. But today, the value of those houses doesn’t match the work it took to put them there. This week: what these family stories of housing in the “heartland” say about inequity in home ownership today.

Gabrielle Robinson is the author of Better Homes of South Bend: An American Story of Courage. Robinson is currently working with a Washington D.C. based playwright to adapt the Better Homes story into a play. 

- Andre Perry is a Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and the author of The Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods and the forthcoming book Know Your Price. 

- The full interview with Leroy and Margaret Cobb, as well as other interviews about South Bend life during the time Better Homes organizing, can be heard through the Oral History Collection of the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Jenny Casas.

The United States of Anxiety’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.

CORRECTION: In this episode, we say that Andre Perry's study was published "last year." It actually came out in November 2018.

Feb 27 2020

44mins

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Fragility in Liberty

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Many of us associate the Statue of Liberty with the poem mounted on her pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The monument has become a symbol of immigration. What fewer of us know is that Lady Liberty was originally conceived as a tribute to the abolition of slavery. In fact, what we find as we look into history is that our country's immigration policy is closely intertwined with the end of Reconstruction and rise of Jim Crow. In this episode, we tell the story of one undocumented immigrant—Carlos Aguirre-Venegas—and trace the origins of a little-known law that's now being used to prosecute tens of thousands of people who crossed the border, separate some from their children, and lock them away in federal prisons.

- Jim Elkin is a National Park Ranger at Statue of Liberty National Monument

- Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding

- Kelly Lytle Hernandez is a professor of History, African American Studies, and Urban Planning at UCLA and author of City of Inmates

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Seth Freed Wessler, in partnership with Type Investigations. Produced and edited by Christopher Werth. For more on Seth's reporting about Carlos Aguirre-Venegas and the privately-run prisons used exclusively to incarcerate non-citizens convicted of crimes, see his 2016 investigation in The Nation.

Feb 20 2020

41mins

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Paralysis at the Crossroads

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As primary season kicks off, Democratic voters around the country face a deeper choice than electability: Is the best response to Donald Trump a return to comity and unity in our politics, or must they embrace the ugly conflict that fundamental change will likely require? We get advice on confronting the enormity of the choice from Deidre Dejear, a voting advocate in Iowa. Plus, a look back at another election in which voters faced a similar choice--and when politics collapsed into outright warfare.

Deidre Dejear became the first black candidate to win a statewide primary in Iowa when she ran for Secretary of State in 2018. She later became Kamala Harris' Iowa campaign chair.

LeeAnna Keith is author of When It Was Grand.

 Hosted by Kai Wright. Produced by Jessica Miller. Special thanks to the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa.

Feb 13 2020

21mins

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iTunes Ratings

1055 Ratings
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109
52
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94

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By smithofaye - Apr 21 2020
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The material is heavy, the delivery is dope. Solid, consistently rewarding show.

Amazing

By WandaDarling - Mar 02 2020
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Real reporting creatively told. Important parts of history told to reveal the reasons for actions.