July 20

The GOP-led House is set to take its first big step toward launching a high-profile lawsuit charging against President Barack Obama. The Republicans say Obama has failed with to carry out his constitutional duty to enforce the law. The suit would focus on the Affordable Care Act and the decision to defer for one to two years a requirement that employers provide health insurance starting in 2014. Dan Berman, the White House Editor for POLITICO, joined us to decipher what is a PR stunt, and what is legal reality. (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 16:16)

Angel Taveras, the first Hispanic mayor of Providence Rhode Island and the third elected and fourth serving Dominican-American mayor in the United States has high hopes for his city and the country. (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 14:02)

Author and satirist Susan Coll joined us to talk about summer reading. The author of the novels The Stager, Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike and karlmarx.com, her work has appeared in the Washington Post, NPR.org, Asian Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune. (Listen to both portions of her interview.)

Amir Sufi, the co-author of House of Debt, talks to LeftJab Radio about the economy, where it is headed, and how it got where it is. (Listen to the full interview. Runs 10:12)

Lawrence Goldstone, author of Birdmen discussed intellectual property and innovation. The acclaimed historian shares the story of the Wright Brothers, and the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation. (Listen to the full interview. Runs 14:01)






July 13

Our whole show this week was devoted to the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision that family-owned corporations cannot be required under the Affordable Care Act to pay for insurance coverage for contraception. Mark Walsh & Jonathan Aberman had the following guests on the show:

Dan Conkle, a Robert H. McKinney Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, says of the decision,

“The thrust of the decision is a blockbuster, a finding of religious protection for profit-making corporations under RFRA is unprecedented. In my judgment, it’s a bold step for the Supreme Court to take. The converse is that in terms of the specific ruling, I think it is narrow. The court is just saying that in terms of this particular set of circumstances, where the government already has in place an accommodation for non-profits, there’s no good reason not to extend it to closely-held profit-making companies. The court isn’t reaching publicly held corporations or other claims for exemptions that might in fact present more difficult decisions.” (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 11:17)

Sandy Levinson, Constitutional scholar and Law professor at UT Austin had this to say about the historical decision:

If one is unhappy with the decision (as I tend to be), primary blame should be placed on Congress, which passed the two relevant statutes, RFRA and RLUPA, at least as much on the Court.  That is, Justice Alito’s opinion is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the statute. . . . Justice Ginsburg’s dissent is quite powerful, though its first couple of pages are really terrible.  Why do I say that?  Because she violates a maxim of dissenting.  Do not play Paul Revere or Chicken Little (either about the British coming or the sky falling) unless that really is the case.  As a matter of fact, Alito takes great pains to suggest that the majority decision is quite modest. . . . As is usually the case, it is much too early (perhaps by many years), to figure out how truly important the case is.” (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 13:12)

Lina Khan is a reporter and policy analyst with the Markets, Enterprise and Resiliency Initiative at the New America Foundation. Khan’s recent article “Thrown Out of Court: How corporations became people you can’t sue” got us thinking about how Supreme Court decisions (Hobby Lobby is not the first) can change the way our society looks at itself.

Mark Goldfeder, Senior Lecturer at Emory Law School says he doesn’t think the Hobby Lobby decision will further shrink health care coverage.

Requiring the owners of a small, closely held business to go against their religious beliefs would essentially be telling them to close up shop, which is a substantial burden. This is as opposed to a large publicly traded corporation, in which anyone who wanted could just easily sell their stock.

This will not open the door for employers to cloak illegal discrimination behind religious practice. Hobby Lobby won because, as it turns out, there is a less restrictive way to do this, without burdening any religious beliefs and without violating a compelling government interest. Here, the government can chip in, which eliminates the burden on Hobby Lobby and protects employee’s entitlements.” (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 13:19)

Pema Levy, Washington Correspondent for Newsweek, wrote a thought-provoking piece titled “Does the Hobby Lobby Decision Threaten Gay Rights?” She helped us answer the question: Could this ruling lead to corporations to use their religious beliefs to seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws? (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 12:11)



June 29

Jonathan Aberman was joined by guest host David Jones, to tackle the news of the week, and explore some of the most interesting opinions from around the country.

Guests this week include Paul Ehrlich. His latest book is Hope on Earth: A Conversation. In it, he and co-author Michael Charles Tobias argue that we are on the verge of environmental catastrophe. Our population is growing and over consuming, but what is being done about depleting resources and climate problems created by all this consumption? (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 29:47)

Saba Ahmed, an American University law student who was grilled at a recent meeting of representatives of prominent conservative groups, was thrust into the position of spokesperson for the peace-loving Muslims of the world. She points out that of the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, only the tiny fraction of violent Muslims are the ones grabbing headlines. (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 32:20)

Aneesh Chopra joined us to talk about his new book Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government Chopra was appointed by Barack Obama and served as the first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the U.S. Previously, he served as Virginia’s fourth Secretary of Technology and recently started a new company called Hunch Analytics. (Listen to the whole interview. Runs 16:18)