Category Archives: Podcasts

“Legitimate companies don’t work this way for a reason.”

Vanity Fair: This Podcast Can’t Legally Tell You Amway Is a Pyramid Scheme. “Get an exclusive early listen to The Dream, hosted by Jane Marie, which digs into the under-explored world of multi-level marketing schemes.” By Katey Rich, September 21, 2018.

“But The Dream’s real concern is far from the key-party-and-polyester image conjured by the airplane game. Marie and her producer had, like many people, noticed her Facebook feed filling up with friends from high school selling leggings, or makeup, or handbags, asking their friends to buy them and sign up as salesmen themselves. They’re all participating in multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, which anyone involved will tell you are not a pyramid scheme, because pyramid schemes are illegal.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not one,” Marie, a veteran of This American Life, said in a recent phone call. “That means it hasn’t been prosecuted.””

Find the podcast here: The Dream. I listened to all the episodes in the past few days. Recommended!

“[H]aving to make a choice, when no good options exist”

NPR: To Get Mental Health Help For A Child, Desperate Parents Relinquish Custody.

“The family had private insurance through Jim’s job, and Daniel also had Medicaid coverage because he was adopted. But neither insurance would pay for that treatment. Exhausted and desperate, the Hoys decided to relinquish custody to the state. If they sent Daniel back into the foster care system, the child welfare agency would be obligated to pay for the services he needed.

“To this day, it’s the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Jim says.”

This reminded me of an episode of This American Life that aired in the spring of 2018:

This American Life: 643: Damned If You Do…

“And then she heard about another option, a radical one, a last resort. Eileen talked to a mom who had been in a similar situation to hers, Toni Hoy.

And what Toni had done to get her kid treatment was give up custody of him, hand him over to the state. Once the state takes custody of a child, they have to provide mental health care. It’s a perverse legal loophole that exists in a bunch of states. It’s called a psychiatric lockout. It’s meant to ensure that kids who are abandoned by their parents end up with the care that they need.

But instead, desperate parents like Eileen are using it as a last-ditch effort of making sure their kids get treatment. It’s called a lockout because it’s as if the kid has been locked out of their house. Some child welfare workers even tell parents to do it. It’s called lockout coaching.

The way it would work is the next time Noah was hospitalized, Eileen would refuse to pick him up and bring him home. Eventually, the state would take custody of him and pay for him to live in a residential facility. And that was it. Technically, it was easy. Emotionally, of course, it was much harder.”

Turns out Eileen spoke to the family from the NPR article above about how to get help for her son.

“What is now called resisting is often Americans simply helping others: a concept so alien to the Trump administration that it is labelled as subversive.”

The Globe and Mail Opinion, by Sarah Kendzior: The resistance to Donald Trump is not what you think. “There is no unified, hierarchical group on the periphery trying to overthrow the U.S. government. There are only regular people, in every city, hoping for better, and trying to rescue the America they once knew”.
Sarah Kendzior is the author of The View From Flyover Country and the co-host of the podcast Gaslit Nation.

“There is no question that most Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump and the GOP. The question for November is whether dissent matters in the face of an increasingly autocratic regime, one whose disregard for rule of law is unparalleled in U.S. history, and one that may have engaged in voter suppression and one whose associates are being investigated for whether they collaborated with operatives of hostile states to win the previous election. The midterms have become an existential matter: Will we salvage our damaged democracy, or lose what rights remain? For non-white Americans, immigrants, women, LGBTQ Americans and other groups targeted by the administration, there is nothing abstract about this inquiry.

I spent most of the year on the road in America, and I don’t think we, as a people, are as cruel or mercenary as those who represent us. Political activists and Democrats are not as disorganized as pundits claim. Everything sounds confusing when you listen for a coherent message, and what you hear instead is an anguished cry. But at least that cry is honest. That cry means people still care. The worst sound, these days, is silence.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Science Podcast

Motherboard: Science Solved It podcast.

“I grew up on shows like The X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries. I checked out books on UFOs and Bigfoot from the library. I was fascinated by all of the wondrous, unexplainable things in the universe. And I still am. Only now, as an adult, a science journalist, and a skeptic, I’m much more interested in the explanations behind these mysterious phenomena.

That’s why I created Science Solved It, a new weekly podcast from Motherboard. Each episode, I explore one of the world’s greatest mysteries that was solved by science. I talk to the actual, real live scientists who cracked the case, while also indulging in some of the bizarre conspiracy theories that accompany these mysteries. Throughout the season, you’ll hear about unexplained, underwater noises, floating lights, moving rocks, and even a cartoon that gave people seizures.”

I found the podcast via this MetaFilter post: Science Solved It: theories and solutions to strange occurances, which has links and summaries to all the episodes in the first two seasons. I especially liked the episodes about the underwater flies at Mono Lake and the moving rocks in Death Valley, because I’ve been to those places years ago – plus, now I want to go see albino redwood trees (which probably won’t happen, as their location is being kept secret for good reasons).

I’ve got a cold at the moment and spent the past two days on the couch binge-listening to all 14 episodes in the first two seasons. Highly recommended!

Squirrel cop!

Deutsche Welle: Baby squirrel chases man so relentlessly he calls police. “A man in Germany felt so besieged by a rodent that he called the police emergency number. The baby squirrel has been taken to an animal sanctuary.”

Update: Baby squirrel who captivated Germany is safe — and female. “”Pippilotta” stole the headlines last week after following a man “relentlessly” through the streets of Karlsruhe. According to animal control officers, this is common for squirrels who have lost their mothers.”

This story reminds me of one of my favorite This American Life stories: Squirrel Cop, which is also available on YouTube in two parts – one, two.