On Critic Proof, Alyssa and Dan discuss the cultural impact of the late Nelson Mandela, beginning with Dan’s memories of the campus anti-apartheid movement. They marvel at Mandela’s transformative prison term and the complex role of his wife Winnie. They then turn to the new pop culture focus on Mandela, including the Idris Elba biopic, Invictus, and World War Z. How does Mandela’s family compare with other political dynasties? They also discuss South African movies such as District 9. Pivoting wildly from Mandela, they consider the controversial emergence of Love Actually as a holiday classic. Plus: The bumper crop of political TV shows, in particular House of Cards. (Spoilers throughout.)
On The Glenn Show, Glenn talks to Roland about education reform. How would an economist tackle the racial achievement gap? Does it work to pay kids to learn? Roland reflects on the hardest part of improving schools in New York City, and reveals the five habits of highly effective schools. Glenn asks Roland about the surprising results of his educational experiments in Houston. Finally: Have we found the solution to the problem of underperforming schools?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Toshi about the new Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Toshi discusses the significance of the ADIZ for military and civilian flights from the US, Japan, and South Korea. They consider how China will enforce the zone. Why here, and why now? Toshi argues that if America recognizes the zone, we might as well pack up and go home. Rob and Toshi debate whether the declaration was a bureaucratic error or came from the top. They conclude by discussing China’s new aircraft carrier, which is deploying to the South China Sea.
On Rational Actors, Kevin and David delve into the debate over race and conservatism sparked by Jonathan Chait’s blog post on 12 Years a Slave. Kevin says the distinction between structural and overt racism blinds conservatives, and David notes the trouble of disentangling racially and politically motivated attacks on Obama. How does the whiteness of the elected GOP affect this debate? Have conservatives gone backwards on race in the Obama era? Next, they consider Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC and whether liberals have been sexist toward Sarah Palin. Plus: The real reason Alec Baldwin was fired from the network.
On The DMZ: Did Mary Cheney betray her family by attacking sister Liz over same-sex marriage? Has opposing gay marriage become an unacceptable position? Matt explains why Rush Limbaugh is wrong about Pope Francis’s comments on capitalism. Bill defends the first year of Obama’s second term, which Matt says has been horrible. Is this the second-term curse? And is John Boehner poised to revive immigration reform—conservative base be damned?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Erica about the effectiveness of non-violent protest. Erica works through the logic of why non-violence often proves a better practical choice than violent resistance, while Rob wonders why so many movements nevertheless resort to violence. Erica contrasts Egypt’s 2011 revolution and 2013 coup. They discuss the possibility of creating a policy infrastructure for supporting non-violent resistance, which Erica views with some skepticism. Is it possible to turn a violent movement toward non-violence? Plus: What Erica’s research could have taught the Occupy movement.