A fun, feisty, and philosophical dialogue among two leading independents as they reviewed the week's top political news.

ARCHIVES: 2006 ‐ 2010

For years, Fred Newman and Jacqueline Salit ‐‐ two leading activists and intellectuals within the independent political movement ‐‐ watched the political talk shows and discussed them over coffee. In early 2005, they began transcribing these conversations and distributing them to their friends and followers. Over the years, their "talk about the talk" developed into a popular weekly missive distributed via e‐mail to tens of thousands of readers worldwide. Making ﴾Non﴿ Sense of an Irrational World is a compilation of some of their most popular and thought provoking discussions from the last five years.

Is Obama a Conservative?

(Oct. 31, 2009)
We watched a Charlie Rose interview with Sam Tanenhaus, who has written a new book titled “The Death of Conservatism,” in which he examines the history of intellectual thought in the conservative movement, and the history of conservatism in the Republican Party.

Aristotle Contemplating Public Policy.

(Oct. 18, 2009) Charlie Rose interviewed Michael Sandel, the Harvard political philosopher. You interviewed him years ago on the Fulani! Show and he’s been a prolific author on subjects having to do with democracy, civic life, and the need to reinvigorate a civil discourse.

Giving Something to the “Bad” People.

Oct. 11, 2009) We watched a piece on the Lehrer NewsHour about the government response to some extreme youth violence in Chicago. The Attorney General Eric Holder and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education who is originally from Chicago, were there. Mayor Daley was there, who, by the way, looks so much like his father now. He didn’t used to when he was younger.

Don’t Follow Orders.

(Oct. 4, 2009) We watched a Charlie Rose interview with Paul Volcker, chairman of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, about the state of the economy.

Regulating King Kong.

(Sept. 20, 2009) Let’s agree, in having our discussion, that we’re not economists, we’re not bankers, we’re not reporters who cover the financial sector, or anything like that. That said, the one-year anniversary of the failure of Lehman has become an official occasion to discuss the state of capitalism.

Crackpot Theory.

(Sept. 13, 2009) I want to ask you about what Mike Barnacle called his “crackpot theory” while interviewing Pat Buchanan and David Corn. His crackpot theory is that whenever you’re talking about significant structural change – like on the scale of what is being considered for health care – there’s an automatic resistance.

Obama’s Entanglements or So What if He Is a Socialist?

Sept. 6, 2009) We’ll start with what’s going on in Afghanistan, where we’re looking at escalating U.S. involvement. We’ve got 68,000 troops there and the talk is about deploying more. And, we just watched New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins live from Kabul and the situation looks very bad, very unstable. It’s a country at war, that situation doesn’t seem to be improving and any sense of popular political confidence in the central government, Karzai’s government, is eroding.

A (Warmer) World of End-ism.

August 23, 2009) Here’s something I was thinking about while we were watching several interviews. Freeman Dyson, the noted physicist, protested to Charlie Rose about the media, in this case the New York Times. Dyson talked about a colleague of his, a fellow physicist. They have divergent views on global warming, apparently, but they’re also good friends. The New York Times wrote an article about them that painted them as mortal enemies…

The Ant and the Grasshopper Revisited.

(August 16, 2009) Here's what was offered on Charlie Rose as a metaphor for the two sides of the American personality by Kurt Andersen, author of a new book called "Reset." The ant stores food during spring and summer so that when the weather turns cold, the ant has something to eat and the grasshopper is an irresponsible partygoer who does nothing to protect himself for the future and then...