Your Favorite Podcasts Revealed!

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Yesterday I asked for podcast recommendations. I got loads of ’em! So now, as a public service, I figure I should provide you with a rough Top Ten list culled from comments and emails. The full comment section has a lot more than just the podcasts below, and you should take a look if you’re in the market for something a little different, but here were the favorites:

  1. Radiolab won by a mile. The entire stable of NPR shows also got a lot of votes, including Planet Money, Car Talk, This American Life, Foreign Dispatch, and others.
  2. In Our Time was the only show that came close to Radiolab. The rest of the BBC radio lineup got lots of recommendations too.
  3. The Bugle, a news sendup from John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman.
  4. Philosophy Bites, “podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics…”
  5. “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877,” a Yale University course by David Blight. The Open Yale series in general got a lot of strong recommendations.
  6. History of Rome, a massive, ongoing series of podcasts “tracing the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas’s arrival in Italy and ending (someday) with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.” So far it’s up to episode #172, which covers Attila the Hun’s invasion in 451 AD, so it must be getting close to wrapping up.
  7. WTF, comedy with an attitude from Marc Maron.
  8. The B.S. Report, sports talk from ESPN’s Bill Simmons.
  9. The New Yorker’s stable of podcasts, incuding Comment, Political Scene, Fiction, and Out Loud. 
  10. Slate’s stable of podcasts, including Gabfest, Culture Gabfest, and Double X Gabfest.

On the technology side, there were also several recommendations for Downcast as an alternative to iTunes. And, of course, lots of other recommendations that were a little farther off the beaten path than the ones above. Click the link for more. Enjoy.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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