Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening?
This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.
The Effects of the ‘Stop W.O.K.E’ Act with Jonathan Cox
You’ve probably heard about what Florida governor Ron DeSantis is up to. One of the most controversial things he’s done is sign the Individual Freedom Act, also known as the “Stop W.O.K.E Act,” short for Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees. The law, among many things, prohibits teaching certain concepts related to race. Although there’s currently an injunction against the law, its implementation had far-reaching consequences for students and professors alike. Jonathan Cox is an assistant sociology professor at the University of Central Florida. He faced a tough decision last fall. Cox, who is the only Black professor in his department, could either teach two courses that would explore colorblind racism, “Race and Social Media” and “Race and Ethnicity,” or cancel his classes. He had to choose the latter option of cancelling some of his courses because of DeSantis’ law banning the teaching of critical race theory. Cox joins WITHpod to discuss the circumstances that led him to change the courses he taught last semester, the importance of inclusive spaces that encourage constructive debate, the effect of anti-CRT laws on his students and more.
WTH Happened with FTX? with Tonya Evans
Last year's Super Bowl featured a who's who of celebrities hawking cryptocurrency and crypto platforms like FTX. In retrospect that looks like the boom before the bust. This year, crypto prices have tumbled and one of the most valued exchanges, FTX, collapsed in a cloud of alleged fraud and federal indictments. So is it all a scam? A pyramid scheme? Will crypto endure? Our guest this week thinks it will, but says accused fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried has shown the world just how risky the market can be for new users. It remains unclear if FTX customers will ever get their money back or if crypto can ever be seen more broadly as a trustworthy store of value. Tonya Evans is a tenured full professor at Penn State Dickinson Law School whose work focuses on the legal, regulatory, policy and economic justice implications of new technologies and innovation. She also hosts a weekly podcast called “Tech Intersect,” all about the intersection of law, business and tech. Evans joins WITHpod to discuss why, in her view, the collapse of FTX isn’t a crypto problem, rather a fraud problem, what the future of regulation in the space could look like and more.
BONUS: Chris Hayes co-hosts National Day of Racial Healing town hall
Hi #WITHpod listeners! We have a special bonus episode for you. In the “National Day of Racial Healing: An MSNBC Town Hall,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Joy Reid and Trymaine Lee talk with activists, journalists, artists and experts to explore the harm racism has caused in our society, and to consider how we might heal from it. The program initially aired on MSNBC and was streamed on Peacock the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Day. The programming was recorded in New Orleans and was sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. You can click the link in the show notes to see the visuals mentioned in the episode.
Has the Lottery Played Us? with Jonathan Cohen
The history of lotteries spans over four millennia. The modern version of them arose out of a need for a form of more state funding that wouldn’t raise taxes. Jackpots have reached record levels in the past few years. And "Americans now spend more on lottery tickets every year than on cigarettes, coffee or smartphones," writes historian and author Jonathan Cohen. Cohen is author of “For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America,” a comprehensive history of America’s lottery obsession. In the book, he points out that lotteries are much less profitable for states than some proponents say, but on the other hand, they are extremely lucrative for private companies that manufacture tickets. Cohen joins WITHpod to discuss the evolution of lotteries, changes he thinks should be made to the way they are run, public misconceptions about the revenue generated by games and why he says state run lotteries shouldn’t exist.
Celebrating 250 #WITHpod Episodes
Join as you help us celebrate our 250th #WITHpod! In our recent Mailbag episode, we asked you all to send over clips sharing why you listen to WITHpod, where you listen and or what’s your favorite ep. We loved hearing all of your submissions. Here’s a compilation that we put together for our special milestone. Thank you and cheers!
Strengthening America’s Immigrant ‘Resilience Force’ with Saket Soni
The language that is used to talk about immigrants in America is something that really bothers Chris. A common and unproductive trope that’s heard in media is “a flood of immigrants to the border.” At the same time, there is a growing dependance at the foundational level on the labor of immigrants in the U.S. As natural disasters are happening with increasing frequency and intensity, communities are relying more and more on immigrant laborers. Saket Soni is director of Resilience Force, a national initiative that advocates on behalf of disaster recovery workers. He’s also author of the upcoming book, “The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams In America.” The subject of the story starts when Soni, who was 28 years old at the time, received an anonymous phone call from an Indian migrant who told him about incredibly inhumane worker conditions at a labor camp in Mississippi. The extraordinary journey that follows is told in the fascinating read about how Soni and 500 workers devised a bold plan, after a series of clandestine meetings, to escape and bring attention to their cause in Washington, D.C. He joins WITHpod to discuss writing about one of the largest human trafficking cases in modern American history, his deeply personal story coming to the U.S. from India, the importance of a well-protected skilled resilient workforce, rebuilding social fabrics around this topic and more.
I enjoyed the discussion about the lottery. I was surprised that your guest had nothing to say about Native American reservation gambling. I’ve seen what it can do to communities that are nearby those venues.
Thank you for educating me and making me smarter!
Hi Chris, I adore your podcast and never miss it. Thank you for your always interesting and relevant topics, your in-depth analysis and having the absolute smartest people on your show. WITH and its subjects are truly fascinating. I’m in awe of your intellect and how much you know about everything. Also, I feel like tou’re a Simpsons fan, so, bonus? :)
China and Omicron
So sad after hearing your interview Chris about China’s battle with COVID. Hearing the details from a man who obviously cares about people in China as friends he’s made over years of relationships brought such a human perspective that is easily lost in numbers and labels and distance. He skillfully separated a government power from civilian life.
1986 I visited China and met many people and think about them with fondness even after so many years that have past. Every negative report makes me worry about them individually. Your show had such humane feelings even as the details horrified for the illness that are being suffered at this time in China. The gentleman apologized for being negative. Please tell him his love for friends in China very obvious with his criticism of mistakes happening there at the same time.
Thank you for the show.
Three Rivers CA