Glenn Loury invites guests from the worlds of academia, journalism and public affairs to share their insights on the economic, political and social issues of the day.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss the presidential debates. John was shocked that the president seemed in need of a teleprompter in the first debate. Glenn, citing Bayesian statistics, explains why Obama’s poor performance rightly hurt his credibility with undecided voters. Is what happens in debates actually relevant to the performance of presidential duties? John and Glenn discuss the merits of the Obama campaign’s “we inherited a mess” argument. Glenn laments the powerful influence of political advertising. John admires Joe Biden’s debating skills, while Glenn thinks Biden was obnoxious and patronizing. The two conclude with their forecast of the outcome of the coming election.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Harold clash over the reason for Obama’s weak debate performance. They debate the privatization of Social Security and the need to raise the retirement age. The conversation turns to a heated debate about personal versus social responsibility. Glenn asks why it would be wrong to return control of social programs to the states via federal block grants, and then answers his own question. Glenn gives Harold the “Biden Rorschach Test.” Harold reveals that he has produced with his own personal funds a political advertisement now up on YouTube.
On a very special edition of The Glenn Show, two guys named Glenn Loury, father and son, introduce themselves. The son asks his dad why he is so cool towards President Obama. The father explains his resentment of Obama’s use of racial identity to foster his political ambitions. Glenn the son isn’t very happy with Obama either, but think Romney’s election would be a disaster for the country. The two then discuss religion and gay rights. The gay son asks why his father, an evident agnostic, attends a church which does not support marriage equality. But Glenn the son objects to what he sees as the rampant homophobia of many black American Christian communities. The elder Glenn defends the black church against this charge, and asks his son for patience; the younger, impatient, Glenn passionately explains why he can’t wait.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John debate whether racism has shaped Obama’s presidency. Referencing the Trayvon Martin case, Glenn argues that Obama’s race is still symbolically powerful. The discussion turns to the leaked video of Romney at a fundraiser. John is appalled by Romney’s comments, but Glenn offers a partial defense of Romney. The two then discuss the free speech implications of the YouTube video that helped trigger violence and protests in the Muslim world. Plus: Is there still the possibility of a dialogue between Islam and the West?
Glenn and Gershom discuss Israel and the US election. Gershom finds the controversy over Jerusalem in the Democratic platform to be disconnected from reality. Glenn suggests that this only illustrates the power of symbols in political communication. Do Israelis prefer Romney over Obama? Glenn thinks that pro-Israel pandering in US politics is more about evangelical Christians than Jewish voters. Gershom and Glenn have different ideas about why some Americans still view Obama as foreign. Gershom suggests that American Jews will vote Democratic, but not based on Israel. Gershom argues that the segregated economic situation of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel is unsustainable, and he and Glenn explore how it might change.
Glenn and Larry discuss the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. Larry gets into the details about how LIBOR works, lamenting a lack of transparency in the gigantic global financial derivatives market. Larry tells how his visit to the Goldman Sachs trading floor made him sick to his stomach. They use the Tylenol drug tampering crisis to explicate our banking woes. Larry explains why leverage plus opacity plus limited liability is a formula for perpetual financial crisis, and recommends creating a financial version of the FDA to certify the “health” of financial instruments. Glenn and Larry outline why banking is different than any other kind of business.
Under discussion on The Glenn Show is Brink’s new book, Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter and More Unequal. Glenn asks Brink how his argument differs from that of Murray and Herrnstein in The Bell Curve. Brink explains how the human capital divergence contributes to growing inequality, and how the complexity of the modern world exacerbates class differences. Can education overcome the class gap? Brink describes the problems with “working class culture.” Brink closes with proposals for educational and economic reform to improve the lives of the lower class.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss affirmative action and the racial achievement gap. Glenn notes the energetic debate over affirmative action that he witnessed recently in Nepal, in contrast to the exhausted and formulaic arguments over that issue in the US. John says affirmative action should be a time-limited policy in the US. Glenn and John debate whether affirmative action has a place within urban police forces that use test-based hiring. The two discuss the existence and sources of racial differences in intelligence. Is standardized testing necessary? Finally, they both reflect on having achieved high test scores in their youth.
On The Glenn Show, Josh and Glenn talk about their respective battles with prostate cancer. Glenn discusses his own travails after the death of his wife, Linda. Josh pivots to a description of the work he was doing in Kenya this summer. Glenn reports on his own excursion to Nepal. They compare Nepali and American political discourse. Finally, Josh and Glenn complain about the lack of seriousness in Obama and Romney’s campaign ads.
Glenn and Mark debate whether intellectuals should be partisans in an election year. They argue about whether voter ID laws amount to voter disenfranchisement. Glenn complains about the political influence of unions. Mark accuses the Republican Party of climate change denial. Glenn reveals that he has been unimpressed by Obama’s performance, and reveals who he will vote for. Mark recalls an old essay of Glenn’s about political correctness, but gives it a new twist. Finally, they criticize the tactics of both presidential campaigns.
Looking back on their last diavlog, Glenn apologizes for having been rude and Harold apologizes for calling Barry Goldwater bigoted. Glenn reports on his recent trip to Nepal and the intense debate there over affirmative action. They discuss the difficulty in moving from a caste-based system towards equality and national reconciliation, and recall when whites were the sole recipients of political patronage and racial preferences in America. Harold criticizes Romney’s remarks in Israel about Palestinian backwardness. If the Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action, how will elite liberal universities respond? Harold closes by talking about the policy implications of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Harold discuss Romney’s speech to the NAACP. They debate whether Romney should have acknowledged past Republican racism. Was Obama’s race a help or a hindrance in his march to the White House in 2008? Harold and Glenn disagree about whether opposition to the civil rights laws of the 1960s was primarily motivated by racism. Glenn declares that the “black community” does not have a common political mind, and Harold and Glenn lament that there is not more competition from both parties for the black vote. They debate whether the current push for voter ID laws is anti-black. They close by connecting affirmative action in Nepal to reducing violence in Chicago.