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Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

A News, Education and Government podcast featuring John Donvan
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Best Episodes of Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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Was Snowden Justified?
Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Has The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Outlived Its Usefulness?
Recent mass shooting tragedies have renewed the national debate over the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership and homicide rates are higher in the U.S. than in any other developed nation, but gun violence has decreased over the last two decades even as gun ownership may be increasing. Over 200 years have passed since James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, the country has changed, and so have its guns. Is the right to bear arms now at odds with the common good, or is it as necessary today as it was in 1789? The debaters are Alan Dershowitz, David Kopel, Sanford Levinson, and Eugene Volokh.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For A Better Future, Live In A Red State
While gridlock and division in Washington make it difficult for either party or ideology to set the policy agenda, single-party government prevails in three-quarters of the states. In 24 states Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature, and in 13 states Democrats enjoy one-party control. Comparing economic growth, education, health care, quality of life and environment, and the strength of civil society, do red or blue states win out?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Are The Rich Taxed Enough?
How do we fix the economy? The U.S. government's budget deficit is nearing a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year and unemployment remains high. With the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, what is the best move for continued economic recovery? Are the nation's wealthiest paying their fair share, or should tax cuts be extended to everyone in the name of job creation? Debaters include Romney's economic supervisor, Glenn Hubbard, economist Arthur Laffer, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and economist Mark Zandi.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should College Football Be Banned?
In recent years, college football programs have been hit by a series of scandals. And observers have long raised questions about the risks of head injuries. A panel of experts looks at the state of college football in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should The Government Ration End Of Life Care?
Just because we can extend life, should we? Two teams of debaters are arguing for and against this motion. The U.S. is expected to spend $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012. If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care? In other words, how much is an extra month of life worth?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should The U.S. Abolish The Minimum Wage?
The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933’s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents—$4.07 in today’s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Natural Gas Boom: Doing More Harm Than Good?
Some people are embracing the wave of increased natural gas extraction in the United States. Others, concerned about the risks, are saying no fracking way. A panel of experts weighs the pros and cons of a boom sparked by hydraulic fracturing in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should Congress Pass Obama's Jobs Bill In Pieces?
Supporters say if lawmakers do nothing, the U.S. economy may fall into another recession. But critics say the jobs package just recycles policies that have failed in the past. A group of experts argue the merits of the president's proposals in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Do Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future?
The debate over entitlement programs has a generational component that can't be overlooked: Is helping seniors make ends meet only generating mountains of debt that will hamper future generations? A team of experts chewed over that topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Is Afghanistan A Lost Cause?
After nearly a decade of fighting, Americans are still debating the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, its toll on the military and its financial cost. A team of experts goes head-to-head on the topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Is America To Blame For Mexico's Drug War?
In Mexico, thousands of people have died in drug-related violence in the past three years as the government has ramped up its war on drug cartels. But is the United States — with its market for illegal drugs and flow of guns south of the border — to blame? A panel of experts face off on the topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Will 'Buy American' Policies Backfire?
"Buy American" provisions included in legislation such as President Obama's stimulus package have touched off a heated debate. A panel of experts argues whether they help or hurt the United States in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?
In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy? The debaters are Peter Singer, Baroness Ilora Finlay, Andrew Solomon, and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Will Flexing America's Muscles In The Middle East Make Things Worse?
The disintegration of Iraq, Syria’s ongoing civil war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the promise and peril of the Arab Spring...  What role should America play in the Middle East? For some America’s restraint has been a sign of disciplined leadership. But for others, it has been a sign of diminished strength and influence.  Are we simply recognizing the limitations of our power, or does this embattled region require a bolder, more muscular, American presence? The debaters are Aaron David Miller, Michael Doran, Bret Stephens, and Paul Pillar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should The World Bet On America?
America owes $6 trillion to China, our sprawling military complex often appears helpless against disparate threats abroad, and the War on Terror has stripped us of the moral high ground. Washington is paralyzed by bitter partisanship, our children are falling behind their international peers, and our middle class is no longer the world’s most affluent. But we’ve been warned about America’s decline before. Remember Sputnik? Yes, times are tough, but America is recovering from the Great Recession faster than almost any other advanced country, an energy boom could add billions to the GDP, we’re still a leader in technological innovation, and our military strength and geopolitical advantages remain unrivaled. Are our best days behind us, or should the world still bet on America? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Should The U.S. Adopt The Right To Be Forgotten Online?
In 2014, the European Union’s Court of Justice determined that individuals have a right to be forgotten, “the right—under certain conditions—to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.” It is not absolute, but meant to be balanced against other fundamental rights, like freedom of expression. In a half year following the Court’s decision, Google received over 180,000 removal requests. Of those reviewed and processed, 40.5% were granted. Largely seen as a victory in Europe, in the U.S., the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative. Was this ruling a blow to free speech and public information, or a win for privacy and human dignity? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Bonus Podcast: Should We Abolish the Minimum Wage?
This is a special podcast for Labor Day. The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933’s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents—$4.07 in today’s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Bonus Podcast: Is Death Final?
If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3% of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there are more plausible, natural explanations, like oxygen deprivation. Is the prospect of an existence after death “real” and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#115 - Does The Equal Protection Clause Forbid Racial Preferences In State University Admissions?
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that: "No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet many state universities give substantial preferences to certain races in their admissions decisions. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), the Supreme Court approved such preferences, but the case was close, and controversial, and the question will be back before the Supreme Court this term. One side may argue that these preferences level the playing field, remedy prior discrimination, and enhance diversity within the classroom, thus redeeming the true promise of equal protection. But the other may say that these preferences – in favor of some races, at the expense of others – are racial discrimination pure and simple, the precise evil that the Equal Protection Clause was intended to forbid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#121 - Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife?
Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife? In 2014, a permit to hunt a single endangered black rhino was sold for $350,000 as part of a program to support its conservation in Namibia. Counter intuitive? Through funds raised from legal hunting—the purchase of permits in Africa, licenses and taxes here in the U.S.—, hunters contribute significantly to wildlife conservation efforts. Hunting has also become an important tool in the effort to control animal populations, to the benefit of humans and wildlife alike. But are big-game revenues really benefiting conservation and local communities? And is hunting a humane way to maintain equilibrium and habitats, or are there better alternatives?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#118 - Is Free Speech Threatened On Campus?
Protests have erupted on university campuses across the country. To many, these students are speaking out against racial injustice that has long been manifested in unwelcoming, sometimes hostile environments. But to critics, their demands have gone too far, creating an atmosphere of intolerance for opposing or unpopular points of view. Are the protesters silencing free speech, or are they just trying to be heard? And are the universities responding by defending free speech, or by suppressing it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#140 - Is the U.S. Healthcare System Terminally Broken?
MOTION: The U.S. Healthcare System is Terminally BrokenCriticized by patients, providers, and politicians alike, the United States healthcare system is hardly a crowd-pleaser. Is the most expensive health care system in the world beyond repair? FORDr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of the Permanente Medical GroupShannon Brownless, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and PoorerAGAINSTDr. Ezekiel Amanuel, a bioethicist and an architect of the Affordable Care ActDr. David T. Feinberg, CEO of Geisinger Health System Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A Summer Challenge: Radical Rethinking
Here at Intelligence Squared U.S., we love a good argument – almost as much as we love an audience willing to change its mind. So when the New York Times’ David Leonhardt challenged Americans to do just that this summer, we took notice.  In an op-ed entitled, “A Summer Project to Nourish Your Political Soul,” David asked readers to, "pick an issue that you find complicated, and grapple with it." But he didn’t stop there: David then advised readers to, “consider changing your mind, at least partially."In this episode, David joins our host John Donvan to discuss the urgency of engaging with people and ideas that challenge closely held orthodoxies. He cites immigration, abortion, and education as examples of contemporary issues that defy easy answers, and says it’s ultimately the right and responsibility of every citizen in a democracy to wrestle with nuances and complexities.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#135 - Has Walmart Been Good For America?
Walmart has long been a target for critics of corporate expansion, but does the company really deserve the scrutiny?  Some say that the big-box retailer devastates small communities by pushing out locally-owned businesses, mistreats its workers through low pay and restrictive work hours, and forces American companies  to use cheap foreign labor to produce goods at low cost.  Others point to the fact that Walmart provides countless jobs to low-skilled American workers, sells affordable goods, has increasingly become a leader in sustainability, and attracts new consumers and businesses to its neighborhoods.  Has Walmart been good for America? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Podcast Details
Started
Sep 30th, 2009
Latest Episode
Nov 15th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
180
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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