Our American Discourse, Ep. 35: It’s Not Just Where You’re Going, It’s Also How You Get There

If the old saying is true that “life is a journey, not a destination,” then it stands to reason that the way we travel matters a great deal. In fact, that’s what the latest evidence has shown: Transportation choices and systems play a crucial role in our economy and our environment. You may think that your car or bike or walk or train ride is only about you, but it’s really one piece of a giant moving puzzle, in which we’re all trying to access the American dream in the same urban landscape at the same time — and that means it’s imperative to do it smartly, justly, and sustainably.

In this episode, Marlon G. Boarnet weighs the pros and cons of different transportation modes and shows how the infrastructure we build now will shape our quality of life for generations to come.

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Bedrosian Book Club Podcast: “Draft No. 4”

Anyone who reads or watches the news might feel like we are in a news assault. The news happens so fast, technology helps us disseminate and consume with speed, and media outlets are in a relatively new competition: a competition for relevancy. As “papers of record” are being attacked as “fake,” the question of how to communicate with fairness about important issues has never been more relevant.

John McPhee has had a long, storied career in writing for magazines “of record” using in-depth long-form journalism. Draft No. 4 is McPhee’s 32nd book of nonfiction. It is a series of essays on his writing process.

In today’s episode, we use McPhee’s thoughts on structure and nonfiction to discuss some of the difficulties of communicating policy and research in today’s frenetic climate of news and propaganda and anti-elitism.  Policy communication should be nuanced and deep, how can we do this in an age of immediate consumption and tribalism? How do we know what we know, and how do we tell others how we know what we know?

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 34: The Eternal Struggle for Power on Capitol Hill

Power is up for grabs in Washington. A controversial President, an unpopular Congress, and a midterm election all make 2018 a battleground for political control. Who will win? How will they do it? And what role do you play? This is story of the most consequential game ever played, and it’s told by one of the leading Congressional experts of our time.

In this episode, Jeffrey A. Jenkins teaches us the strategy of legislative power: who has it, how they get it, what they do with it, and why we should care.

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 24: Can You Hear Us Shouting into the Void? Here’s How We Do It…and Why

You have a choice. Will you listen to this podcast? Or will you choose one of the other millions of media sources clamoring for your attention? Your brain cells are weighing all sorts of factors, but it’s not easy. The world is increasingly trying to manipulate them, to overwhelm them, and “Our American Discourse” is smack in the middle of this tug-of-war. You want to know how we compete for your time? Ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes? Today, you can find out.

In this episode, Jonathan Schwartz explains how we do what we do every time we broadcast over your smartphone—and how we fight the growing distractions and distortions that loom over the media landscape.

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 8: Who’s Really in Charge? Government Bureaucracy Under Attack

Bureaucracy is so boring. The word is just dripping with lethargy. Who cares? Not you, right? Well then, you’re in for an unwelcome surprise because the people who run our government from day to day aren’t the ones you voted for. They’re the bureaucracy, and the very survival of our democracy depends on them. They execute the laws of this nation, and lately they’ve been doing it without supportive leadership, without the trust of the public, without a voice.

In this episode, William Resh is their voice, and we would be wise to listen.

Prof. Resh is an assistant professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. His recent book, Rethinking the Administrative Presidency: Trust, Intellectual Capital, and Appointee-Careerist Relations in the George W. Bush Administration, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2015.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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“Our American Discourse” is produced by Aubrey HicksJonathan Schwartz, and myself, and mixed by Corey and Ryan Hedden.