250 episodes

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

Make Me Smart with Kai and Moll‪y‬ American Public Media

    • News Commentary
    • 4.7 • 4.2K Ratings

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

    Why aren’t more women in charge at the Pentagon?

    Why aren’t more women in charge at the Pentagon?

    We talked a bit last month about the Pentagon slow-walking some promotions of female generals over fears then-President Donald Trump would quash them. Now, President Joe Biden appears poised to place women on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On this, International Women’s Day, we’ll talk about it. But first: More on vaccine misinformation and the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, plus the best New York-style bagels in America.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “‘Russia is up to its old tricks’: Biden battling COVID-19 vaccine disinformation campaign” from USA Today
    “Russian Disinformation Campaign Aims to Undermine Confidence in Pfizer, Other Covid-19 Vaccines, U.S. Officials Say” from The Wall Street Journal
    “Vaccinated Americans may gather indoors in small groups but should still wear masks in public, the C.D.C. says” from The New York Times
    “Biden Nominates Two Women To Lead Combatant Commands” from Defense One
    “MacKenzie Scott Married a Nice Science Teacher” from The Cut
    “The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York)” from The New York Times

    • 15 min
    Do we dare buy MLB tickets?

    Do we dare buy MLB tickets?

    California theme parks and sports stadiums could reopen with limited attendance as early as next month. Between that and the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is it too early to let ourselves get excited for baseball season and a trip to Disneyland? We’ll discuss. But first, a bit more on Johnson & Johnson hesitancy and an update on the Texas power grid situation. Plus, as always, another round of Half Full/Half Empty.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “Texas Opts Not to Fix $16 Billion Power Overcharge” from The Wall Street Journal
    “Detroit mayor declines Johnson & Johnson allotment, saying the other vaccines are better” from CNN
    “Pressure grows on Biden to end the filibuster” from The Washington Post
    “When Amazon Raises Its Minimum Wage, Local Companies Follow Suit” from The New York Times
    “California theme parks, stadiums can reopen as soon as April 1 under revamped COVID-19 rules” from the Los Angeles Times
    “GameStop: The movie. And the TV show. And the documentary …” from “Marketplace”
    “You can now own “authenticated” digital artwork. Is that a good thing?” from “Marketplace Morning Report”
    “Why are people spending so much money on NFTs?” from “Marketplace”
    “Survey finds that the reported exodus of tech companies from San Francisco’s Bay Area is ‘greatly exaggerated’” from Insider
    “Cadbury Creme Eggs Now Come in Beer Form” from Food & Wine



    Thanks to everyone who joined us today for Economics on Tap, our live happy hour on YouTube. We do it every Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. Subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications so you don’t miss the next one.

    • 21 min
    Don’t overthink it: Get the COVID-19 vaccine

    Don’t overthink it: Get the COVID-19 vaccine

    There’s a new COVID-19 vaccine rolling out, from Johnson & Johnson. Maybe you’ve heard it’s less effective than the two-shot regimens from Pfizer and Moderna. That’s technically true, but there’s more to that number. Today we’ll spend a little time talking about what you should worry about and what you shouldn’t about the vaccines. Plus: the results of a long experiment in universal basic income.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    “The Latest Case of Vaccine Alarmism” from The New York Times

    “In the Atlantic Ocean, Subtle Shifts Hint at Dramatic Dangers” also from The New York Times

    “After third large quake near New Zealand, tsunami concerns from South Pacific to Central America” from The Washington Post

    “In Iceland, 18,000 Earthquakes Over Days Signal Possible Eruption on the Horizon” from The New York Times

    “Stockton’s Basic-Income Experiment Pays Off” from The Atlantic

    “Mothers Are Regaining Jobs, Even While Shouldering Pandemic Burdens at Home” from The New York Times

    Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

    • 17 min
    Paramount+ launches tomorrow. How many streaming services is too many?

    Paramount+ launches tomorrow. How many streaming services is too many?

    You have to answer that one for yourself. But as the streaming market gets even more crowded with Paramount+ arriving tomorrow, we have a listener who wants to know what will happen to Netflix — how long does the first-mover advantage last? Plus, your questions about the COVID relief bill, consumer spending and electric cars.

    Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

    “What’s in the House’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan” from The Washington Post

    “Senate Democrats still finishing their Covid relief bill as vote timing creeps toward the weekend” from CNN

    “Auto industry wants more government support for electric vehicles” from CNBC

    “We’re buying a lot more stuff these days” from Marketplace

    “Netflix broke subscriber records in 2020. Will it slow down?” from the LA Times

    Join us live on YouTube Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

    • 15 min
    People, at scale

    People, at scale

    If current labor trends hold, the company of the future won’t have any employees outside of the C-suite. That’s the focus of our documentary podcast “The Uncertain Hour.” This season is about jobs and how the idea of “employment” as we once knew it is disappearing, replaced by temp, subcontracted or gig workers. But what made companies fall out of love with employees? Producer Peter Balonon-Rosen is here to talk us though it.

    • 26 min
    How much do we really “need” sports?

    How much do we really “need” sports?

    For a year now, the national pastime has been baking bread, watching Netflix and muting/unmuting in Zoom. If you’re lucky, anyway. The major sports teams would tell you they’re a balm in “these unprecedented times” but the numbers don’t really bear that out. On today’s show, we’ll talk about the interesting Jemele Hill piece in The Atlantic, “America Didn’t Need Sports After All.” Plus: When does a cyberattack become a war crime?

    Here’s everything we talked about today:



    Some COVID death analysis on the TL

    “America didn’t need sports after all” from The Atlantic

    “China Appears to Warn India: Push Too Hard and the Lights Could Go Out” from The New York Times

    “Biden works to unify Senate Democrats on $1.9 trillion relief bill” from The Washington Post

    “First vaccine to fully immunize against malaria builds on pandemic-driven RNA tech” from the Academic Times

    Social studies and civics education guidance from The Washington Post

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
4.2K Ratings

4.2K Ratings

west coast media ,

Always informative

Casual but super important topics that shape the economy.

FireAndNice ,

Informative and enjoyable

Listening is like having a conversation with highly informed, intelligent and thoughtful friends. Every podcast is educational but I listen because I enjoy it. Both hosts are incredible people, which shines through. It’s not just their knowledge but their heart that makes this podcast so wonderful and necessary.

bryan1001010101001 ,

Went south really quick

I would have to echo many others on here. I listened to this almost daily. Then Molly and Kai decided to make this a leftist, smug commentary podcast for some reason. No longer a fan or a listener.

Top Podcasts In News Commentary

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by American Public Media