I've recently (finally) caught up with the whole podcasting thing. I've sorted through lots of different shows, and now I'm ready to throw five out there that I think people will really enjoy. (All links go to the show's website. They're also available on iTunes, which is a very handy way to get them automatically.)
The Philosopher's Zone. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation provides us with the most intriguing and thought-provoking podcast available on the interwebs right now. Host Alan Saunders does a superb job finding people from around the world (though mostly in the US and Australia) and covering a fascinating variety of topics. I have no formal training in philosophy, but I find each week's show accessible and engaging.
The Bugle. "Audio newspaper for a visual world." You know and love John Oliver from The Daily Show. He's even better on this podcast with his very amusing co-host Andy Zaltzman. There's lots of chatter about cricket and people we don't know in the US, but their take on global events is very biting and hilarious.
Tavis Smiley. I've loved Tavis's show for years, and I'm very glad that it's now available in podcast form. He brings in a very wide variety of guests, and he asks good questions that make for conversations with great rhythm. If you want to dig through the archives, I recommend the two-part Jay Leno show.
Alan Watts. For those who don't know, Alan Watts was a philosopher and religious theorist/historian who lectured widely on a variety of topics, especially eastern religions and Zen in particular. Many recordings were made of his talks, and they're being serialized in weekly podcast form. Superb nuggets of food for thought, and always amusing too. My one complaint: Just when he really starts getting into it, the show cuts off.
Against the Grain. From KPFA in Berkeley, this show (like Madison's own A Public Affair) covers a wide variety of topics from an intelligent, left-leaning point of view. Host C. S. Soong knows his stuff, and asks quality questions. The hour-long format allows for plenty of depth, and there's a good balance of national and international topics.
And now, here's a terrifying picture of Diane with our bloodthirsty pitbull:
Bill O'Reilly in his most controversial interview ever!
I really must hand it to Rachel Maddow — she is able to express my frustration and ire toward the Bush administration (and the many messed-up systems of our civilization) with eloquence and patience. She's a tremendous asset to our democratic project, and other journalists could learn from her.
Please watch the interview she did with former Secretary of the Office of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. In the first section they discuss the role of politics in raising the terror alert level.
I strongly believe that calm, rational discourse like this is the only thing that can save our species right now. If we can't discuss things like sane humans, then maybe we deserve the various annihilations that threaten us.