On Rational Actors, Kevin talks to Niraj about policy innovation in the states, such as campaigns to raise the minimum wage. Do states take precedence when the federal government is gridlocked? Niraj notes the effects of one-party control in a majority of states. They discuss marijuana-legalization initiatives being pushed in both red and blue states, and uncover the meaning of meaningless state resolutions. Plus: Are Americans actually picking up and moving to states where laws are more congenial to their views?
On Interrobang‽, Jillian and Katherine explain why February 11th is “The Day We Fight Back” against the NSA’s online surveillance. Why should non-US citizens care about the NSA? They explain how the campaign is bringing together traditional activists, online media companies, and regular concerned citizens. Turning to the Sochi Olympics, they react to the discovery that the Russian government is spying on hotel bathrooms. Is it fair for Western journalists to complain about #SochiProblems? Finally, does Glenn Greenwald’s new organization, First Look Media, have a diversity problem?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Steve Saideman, co-author of the new book NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone. Steve discusses his research on the nature of restrictions on coalition warfare in the NATO alliance. Rob asks Steve about how military culture and personal relationships affect the conduct of coalition operations, and Steve elucidates the differences between forces that prioritize outcomes and those that prioritize behavior. Steve sums up his Churchillian view of NATO. Rob and Steve talk about communicating political science findings to a broader audience, then close with a discussion about the recent efforts of the International Studies Association to restrict blogging.
On The Score, Michael and Freddie consider defenses of Richard Sherman that “rob him of his humanity,” and Freddie argues that some supposedly anti-racist criticisms of Macklemore and Lorde have racist assumptions. Then Michael brings up the xoJane writer who was reduced to tears because a black woman came to her yoga class. Does anyone think that shaming racists on Twitter is making the world a better place? Does American mockery of Sochi reveal national insecurity? Freddie and Michael close by considering whether to nationalize sports.
On Critic Proof, Alyssa and Matt consider the sexual assault allegations against Woody Allen in the context of the culture wars. Matt recalls growing up in a conservative home and finding Allen’s films offensive. Is the liberal elite turning on Allen because of the emerging celebrity of Ronan Farrow? To what extent are Allen’s films based on his real life? Next, they remember Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose at 46. Has the coverage of the circumstances of Hoffman’s death been appropriate? Why are so many great artists also substance abusers? Can any actor of Hoffman’s generation fill his shoes?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks to Jeff about his new article on the rise of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Russia. They discuss the role that the American religious right has played in encouraging homophobia in Russia. What does it mean to say that Russia’s “sexual sovereignty” is threatened? And what the heck is “gay propaganda,” anyway? Sarah is shocked that homophobic vigilantes bring their children with them to terrorize gays. Are there any legal consequences for such thuggery? Finally, will the Sochi Olympics draw more international attention to Russian homophobia?
On The DMZ, post-game analysis of the boring Super Bowl leads Bill to wonder why we watch sports at all. Bill suggests that Mike Huckabee’s lead in 2016 GOP polls shows that conservatives are obsessed with fighting political correctness. Why are Democrats better at keeping internal discipline? Matt and Bill review the risks and rewards for Hillary Clinton in riding the recent wave of ’90s nostalgia. Could Republicans succeed by using economic populism against Clinton? Plus: Matt thinks the CBO’s new findings on Obamacare and employment are more of a mixed bag than either side will admit.