On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Michael discuss last week’s speech by Iranian President Rouhani. Matt argues that the US needs to recognize the internal political pressures facing Rouhani. Can the US influence Iran’s politics through negotiations? What would a good nuclear deal look like? Is Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons driven by rational statecraft or religious fundamentalism?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Brent about the new Pew survey of American Jews. They discuss the central question of the survey: Who is Jewish? Is “Jewish atheist” an oxymoron? Brent busts some myths about the Orthodox being the fastest-growing segment of Jews. Brent explains why he thinks the Israel question is overrated and overstated. Who, exactly, do mainstream Jewish organizations represent? Plus: How much should Israel worry about what American Jews think of it?
On The Glenn Show, David explains his fierce opposition to authorizing gambling casinos in New York State. Playing devil’s advocate, Glenn raises the libertarian argument—why not leave people alone to make their own choices? David argues that the seductive allure of slot machines exploits vulnerable people, serving as a hidden tax on the poor. He mentions the Orwellian quality of the “gamble speak” employed by the casino industry. Glenn, still pushing back, asks what’s wrong with “selling hope.” Finally, David lays out the odds of New York’s gambling ballot initiative passing on election day.
On a spoiler-filled episode of Critic Proof, Alyssa and Sean voice their disappointment with the series finale of Breaking Bad. Alyssa suggests that the finale is an example of why television is seen more as entertainment than great art. What was the point of introducing neo-Nazis into the story? Alyssa and Sean praise the show’s visual ambitions, which are more reminiscent of comic books than other prestige TV dramas, but they mock the finale’s use of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” to spell out exactly what Walter White is thinking. Finally, Sean considers whether the show’s critics have gotten too moralistic.
On The DMZ: Happy Obamacare/Government Shutdown Day! Will Chris Christie be the shutdown’s big political winner? Could the shutdown jolt the GOP into getting its act together? Matt notes that the shutdown stems from our society’s devaluation of leadership. Are conservative activists correct that the new media landscape means they can win the PR battle? Plus: Why Democrats are unified and Republicans are not.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Laura about the recent attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall. Laura frames the attack within the larger context of Somalia-Kenya relations, including America’s role in supporting operations targeting Al Shabab. Was this attack a sign of desperation? Rob notes the professional character of the attack. Do Kenyans support their military’s activities in Somalia? Rob and Laura discuss the role of the International Criminal Court in African politics in the context of Kenya’s own ICC experience. Finally, Laura notes that Kenya’s response to the attack demonstrated signs of progress for the nation.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the intra-conservative battle over Ted Cruz’s attempt to defund Obamacare. Matt says the conservative rank and file is being manipulated and misled. Is a government shutdown imminent? Matt argues that the GOP is stuck with a message that appeals to its base, but not to the media or the larger public. Bill explains how John Boehner could make an unorthodox play for greatness. Turning to foreign policy, Bill touts the importance of Obama’s address to the UN. Has the president pursued a consistent foreign policy vision? Plus: Why “taking the fight to Obama” may be a poor political strategy for Republicans.