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On Point

300 EpisodesProduced by WBURWebsite

Let's make sense of the world – together. From the economy and health care to politics and the environment – and so much more – On Point host Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with newsmakers and everyday people about the issues that matter most. On Point is produced by WBUR.

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First person: The fight to 'ordain women' in the LDS church

January 31st, 2023


A recent edition of On Point explored the role of patriarchal power in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the consequences of that …

Mormon women confront power and patriarchy in the LDS church

January 31st, 2023


This month, a Utah man murdered his wife, and their five children, and his mother-in-law, before killing himself. That’s sparked a conversation among Mormon women about power and safety in the Church of Jesus Christ of …

How the world came together to save the ozone layer

January 30th, 2023


In the 1980s, the world came together to ban CFCs, commonly used chemicals that were destroying the atmosphere’s ozone layer. Are there lessons we …

The GOP's ambitions in the House

January 27th, 2023


House Republicans are getting down to business, drafting legislation to spend more money on border control, less on the IRS. Hardliners are calling …

Why some anxiety is good, even though it feels bad

January 26th, 2023


Over 40 million adults in America suffer from an anxiety disorder. But anxiety, the emotion, has an evolutionary purpose: It helps us prepare for an …

The U.S. immigration crisis through the eyes of a border town mayor

January 25th, 2023


Until recently Bruno Lozano was the mayor of Del Rio, Texas. Once seen as a rising star in the Democratic party, he’s now a fierce critic of President Biden’s handling of the southern border.

Rethinking diversity, equity and inclusion training

January 24th, 2023


Almost every major company in the U.S. requires their employees to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion training. But is DEI training achieving what it aims to do? Frank Dobbin, Robert Livingston and Chloé …

'The fight of his life': Journalist Chris Whipple's inside look at the Biden White House

January 23rd, 2023


So far, the presidency of Joe Biden has seen some big legislative successes, but a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. With a new Republican House majority determined to block his agenda, what’s next for the Biden …

The future of small colleges

January 20th, 2023


College enrollment is down across the nation. Demographic changes are largely driving that. What does the decline mean for the future of small …

Is it time to rethink how we care for dementia patients?

January 19th, 2023


In Europe there are ‘dementia villages’ where residents can live freely despite their memory loss. Could that work here in the United States? Iris …

Inside the mind of a fabulist

January 18th, 2023


Representative George Santos has lied about almost every aspect of his life. How do uncontrolled fabulists get that way -- going way beyond the …

New guidelines recommend early, aggressive treatment for childhood obesity

January 17th, 2023


The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines to tackle the obesity epidemic. They’re calling for family counseling, early treatment with drugs and even surgery. Can pediatricians turn the epidemic …

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts on a decade of taking on the NRA

January 16th, 2023


In 2012, horrified by the Sandy Hook school shooting, stay-at-home mom Shannon Watts founded Moms Demand Action. It’s now one of the largest anti-gun …

Can gun liability insurance make our neighborhoods safer?

January 13th, 2023


The nation’s first gun insurance mandate took effect this year in San Jose, California. Gunowners in the city are required to have liability insurance, or they'll be fined a minimum of $250. But can insurance actually …

How fast fashion and social media fuel a high consumption, low quality world

January 12th, 2023


Fast fashion retailers like Shein sell t-shirts for less than $5 apiece. This business model, along with social media, fuels an erosion in the quality of clothing at every level. What price are we really paying for …

Earth's growing population: 'A direct affront to our own survival'

January 11th, 2023


The population of planet Earth reached 8 billion people late last year. By the year 2100, we're headed for 2 billion more.

What does that mean for …

8 billion humans and counting: What it means for the planet's future

January 11th, 2023


In the early 1800s, the human population hit 1 billion. As of late last year, human population 8 billion. And by the end of the century, it’s …

First person: How one teacher thinks AI could help his students

January 10th, 2023


ChatGPT is one of the most sophisticated AI chat bots ever released. With just a few prompts, it can write almost anything.

Daniel Herman, a high …

How AI chatbots are changing how we write and who we trust

January 10th, 2023


ChatGPT is one of the most sophisticated AI chatbots ever released. A high school teacher says it writes better than some students. But what happens …

Concerns, contradictions and the continued use of the death penalty in the U.S.

January 9th, 2023


After a series of botched executions, Alabama could soon begin executing death row incarcerated people using lethal gas. Oklahoma, Mississippi, …

'The eyes, the ears of all things': The spiritual power of peyote

January 6th, 2023


First person: The Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been using psychedelics for thousands of years. Colonization and extermination ripped away …

Remarkable science: Why aging might be reversible

January 6th, 2023


Aging might be reversible. Harvard researcher and biotech founder Dr. David Sinclair theorizes in his New York Times best-selling book, “Lifespan,” that aging doesn’t have to be inevitable.

Psychedelics and who should be able to use them

January 6th, 2023


When psychedelic drugs were banned by federal law in 1970, it ended a debate over who should have access to them. Now that debate has been reignited. …

What to expect from a GOP-controlled House

January 5th, 2023


The GOP has taken back the House. But with a fractious caucus, and an ascendant far-right wing, how will Republicans run the House and what do they want to achieve in the new Congress? Sarah Longwell joins Meghna …

The real winners and losers in America's lottery obsession

January 4th, 2023


Americans spend almost $100 billion a year on state lotteries. Why do so many states receive just a fraction of that money? Jonathan D. Cohen joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

The Money Ladies' New Year's guide to the economy

January 3rd, 2023


The Money Ladies are back. Michelle Singletary and Rana Foroohar will be our guides for what to watch for in your personal finance and national economy this year.

Rebroadcast: How climate change is moving the world's forests north

January 2nd, 2023


Rebroadcast: Trees are on the move. Because of climate change, the world’s forests are heading north. What does this mean for us and our survival? Ben Rawlence joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

More than money: Solutions for reining in monopoly power

December 30th, 2022


Rebroadcast: For antitrust reformers, the size and power of companies like Google and Facebook represent more than a threat to consumer welfare. It’s …

More than money: Defining American antitrust law, from Bork to Khan

December 29th, 2022


Rebroadcast: From Robert Bork's "consumer harm" to Lina Khan's "democratic harm," we discuss the ideas that drive the government's approach to …

More than money: Antitrust lessons of the Gilded Age

December 28th, 2022


The nineteenth century saw the rise of great monopolies. Americans pushed back. What changed? 

We discuss lessons learned from antitrust action in …

More than money: Microsoft and the big tech question

December 27th, 2022


Rebroadcast: Microsoft wanted to acquire Activision-Blizzard for almost $70 billion. Is the mega-merger a new kind of monopoly?

More than money: The monopoly on meat

December 26th, 2022


Rebroadcast: Our series "More than money" is an exploration of the hidden power of monopolies in the U.S.

Part I looks at how corporate monopolies …

The healing power of music

December 23rd, 2022


Many of us turn to music to feel better. But music can also help us physically heal. Studies show music can affect our blood pressure and our heart rate – and even help us manage pain.

The Jan. 6 committee report and what the DOJ may do next

December 22nd, 2022


For the first time in American history, Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution. Will the Justice Department bring charges against Donald Trump?

How the collapse of FTX put the effective altruism movement in jeopardy

December 21st, 2022


Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was one of the biggest proponents of a philanthropic movement called effective altruism. Where does the …

Why Americans are spending less time with friends — and what to do about it

December 20th, 2022


Americans are spending more time alone and less time with friends, according to a Census Bureau survey. We hear what's behind the drop in time spent with friends, and why it’s important to reverse the trend.

'Don't Look Back': Author Achut Deng's journey of survival from Sudan to America 

December 19th, 2022


Before she was a teenager, Achut Deng escaped civil war in South Sudan and life in a Kenyan refugee camp. Until recently, she carried that secret history with her.

First person: Why soccer is so much better in Spanish

December 16th, 2022


The 2022 World Cup wraps up this weekend in Qatar when Argentina plays France in the final.

Nico Cantor is a soccer broadcaster, primarily for CBS …

Remarkable science: Living to 100 with Blue Zones author Dan Buettner

December 16th, 2022


In the third installment of our podcast-only series Remarkable Science, we talk with journalist, author and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner.

He's spent more than a decade analyzing 'Blue Zones' — five places …

Understanding Marjorie Taylor Greene's influence in a Republican-controlled House

December 16th, 2022


Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene will be a potent force in the Republican Controlled House. What will she do with her influence? Robert Draper …

Behind the bankruptcy tactic shielding corporate executives from accountability

December 15th, 2022


There is a new bankruptcy tactic being used to shield executives from accountability. Non-debtor releases give corporate leaders -- like the Sackler family and Harvey Weinstein -- immunity from lawsuits for life. Mike …

Rebroadcast: Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt on democracy, social media and how to fix America's 'ailing' institutions

December 14th, 2022


Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt says America is in trouble.

He sees it on college campuses and through social media.

Haidt joins Meghna …

Rebroadcast: Inside one developer's big bet on affordable housing in Los Angeles

December 13th, 2022


A California entrepreneur says he's building affordable homes in South Central LA at half the usual cost. How? By saying no to public funding. Martin Muoto and Mike Loftin join Meghna Chakrabarti.

What do American Christians believe about their religion?

December 12th, 2022


When referring to Christians, politicians and the media are often focusing on one group -- politicized evangelicals. But, in truth, they are a small …

Understanding J. Edgar Hoover's America

December 9th, 2022


Former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. He hated the American left. Demonized and investigated his critics. But what did the rest of America think about him? Beverly Gage joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

Mosul, 5 years later: Rebuilding a city from rubble

December 8th, 2022


In 2017, the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS razed the city to the ground. Approximately 10,000 civilians died. Their families have spent the past …

Learning from Mauna Loa: How the volcanic eruption will shape Hawaiian history

December 7th, 2022


Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano is erupting for the first time in nearly four decades. A new generation of researchers equipped with new technology are …

What China's zero COVID protests tell us about China today

December 6th, 2022


Across China, remarkable public demonstrations against the country’s zero COVID policy. Could this mark the surfacing of deeper discontent in Chinese …

How children are taught to read faces a reckoning

December 5th, 2022


Huge numbers of kids are struggling to read. Why? Because literacy curriculum used in thousands of classrooms doesn’t work. Emily Hanford joins …

Essential trust: How to rebuild trust in America

December 2nd, 2022


Studies show a majority of Americans believe other Americans mostly look out for themselves. With trust on the decline, can it be rebuilt? Robert Putnam and Jack Beatty join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Essential trust: How healthy skepticism builds trust

December 1st, 2022


Trust is essential for survival, for relationships, for a civilized society. But trust needs an ally. We hear why building trust needs a good dose of …

Essential trust: Lessons from Brazil's trust crisis

November 30th, 2022


Brazilians have low levels of institutional trust. They also have low levels of trust in each other. Why? Chayenne Polimédio and Rafael Ioris join …

Essential trust: The brain science of trust

November 29th, 2022


What happens in our brains when we trust someone? Neuroscientists explain how our brains process trust, and why it's worth the risk. Jamil Zaki and Oriel FeldmanHall join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Essential trust: Trust in the animal kingdom

November 28th, 2022


Rebroadcast: Jane Goodall formed incredible bonds with chimpanzees in the wild. But were those bonds similar to what we humans experience as trust?

First person: Faces of the 2020 'shecession' today

November 25th, 2022


From February to May 2020, almost 12 million American women lost their jobs compared to 9 million men, according to Pew Research. But new analysis finds that gender was not the main driver behind those pandemic job …

Rebroadcast: How to save the endangered monarch butterfly

November 25th, 2022


The fragile beauty of the monarch butterfly. Can they be saved?

Rebroadcast: How a U.S. Marine and an Afghan interpreter forged a bond of friendship in Afghanistan

November 24th, 2022


Zac Zaki and Tom Schueman join us to talk about the friendship they forged in Afghanistan, and what it took to get Zaki out of Kabul.

Rebroadcast: Journalist Putsata Reang shares an immigrant daughter's story in 'Ma and Me'

November 23rd, 2022


Journalist Putsata Reang has reported on many wars. Her own life is defined by the war her family escaped. “What did I owe my mother for giving me life?" The question gripped Reang when she decided to tell her mother …

What Ticketmaster's Taylor Swift debacle reveals about the music industry's monopoly problem

November 22nd, 2022


Congress has tried for years to reign in this ticketing monopoly. Will Taylor Swift Fans make all the difference? Krista Brown and Andre Barlow join …

The inventory glut and what it means for your holiday shopping

November 21st, 2022


Last year at this time, retailers had high demand, but stock was in short supply. This year, that’s turned on its head. So, what does that mean for consumers? G. Tony Bell and Alla Valente join Kimberly Atkins Stohr.

An 'invisible epidemic': Survivors of domestic violence on living with traumatic brain injury

November 18th, 2022


Rebroadcast: An 'invisible epidemic' is causing suffering in millions of women. It affects memory, concentration, balance. We discuss traumatic brain …

The economic impact of the pandemic on women

November 17th, 2022


A new word was coined to describe the economy in the fall of 2020: She-cession. Neat, but maybe too convenient. Claudia Goldin joins Meghna …

Split-ticket voters and their impact on the latest election

November 16th, 2022


In a country that’s increasingly polarized – many voters in the midterms said it doesn’t have to be that way. We hear what ticket splitting tells us …

What Elon Musk's Twitter takeover means for the social media platform

November 15th, 2022


Elon Musk borrowed billions to buy Twitter. Now he has to figure out how to pay all that back. But there’s just one problem. Nilay Patel and Sen. Ed Markey join Anthony Brooks. 

How to slow down and find some meaningful rest

November 14th, 2022


In a world where we emphasize productivity and even celebrate busyness, is constant fatigue inevitable? Or – can we learn and practice meaningful …

Richard Reeves on why the modern male is struggling, and what to do about it

November 11th, 2022


Are cultural and economic forces changing boyhood, manhood and fatherhood? Richard Reeves says yes, and that many men and boys are struggling.

RSV: What's behind the surge, and how to contain it

November 10th, 2022


Children’s hospitals across the U.S. are being overwhelmed by the respiratory infection RSV. Can it be contained, and how? Dr. Meghan Bernier and Saad Omer join Meghna Chakrabarti.

What can we learn from the midterms?

November 9th, 2022


The biggest test of U.S. democracy since Jan. 6, 2021. What do the midterm election results tell us about Americans' belief in democracy and the …

Journalist David Wallace-Wells on climate change and climate hope

November 8th, 2022


After a year of catastrophic weather events, nations have gathered for the COP27 climate conference. The picture is grim, but some climate scientists say they’re encouraged by progress the world has made. David …

The growing threat to ballot initiatives

November 7th, 2022


Important ballot measures are at play in the midterms. In some states, voters are being asked to consider limiting their own right to put …

Colleges’ role in curbing the student debt crisis

November 4th, 2022


The Biden Administration wants to make higher ed more affordable. Why aren't colleges and universities doing more themselves to make getting a degree …

Is customer service bad on purpose?

November 3rd, 2022


Press one. Press two. Try to find a human, but you can’t. Welcome to the nightmare that is customer service. Jeannie Walters and Jared Spool join …

The reality of the drug trade in San Francisco

November 2nd, 2022


An open-air drug market is thriving San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. We explore what's behind it. Randy Shaw, Leighton Woodhouse and Sam Quinones join Meghna Chakrabarti.

The future of affirmative action

November 1st, 2022


The Supreme Court set a precedent for affirmative action more than 40 years ago. Now that precedent hangs in the balance as the court considers it again.

What we know about the midterm elections, from Colorado to Nevada

October 31st, 2022


The midterms are right around the corner, and both parties are talking all about the economy. What message will win with voters? Natasha Korecki, Jon Ralston, Bente Birkeland and Chad Livengood join Anthony Brooks.

Modern conservatism and its discontents in Britain

October 28th, 2022


Britain is on Prime Minister number three, in just the past two months. What's going on with Britain's conservative party, and with the nation they've been elected to lead? Emily Maitlis and Jack Beatty join Meghna …

Should animals have personhood rights?

October 27th, 2022


For years, legal activists fought to free their client ... an elephant. Earlier this year, the state's highest court rejected that argument. But the question's now out there: If corporations can have some personhood …

What's standing in the way of Puerto Rico's recovery

October 26th, 2022


Puerto Rico is recovering from Hurricane Fiona which hit last month. It’s also still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which hit more than 5 years …

First person: Leaving Russia to avoid war in Ukraine

October 25th, 2022


Timothy Snyder says Russian President Vladimir Putin is vulnerable at home, as Russian men leave to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine.

Dmitry …

Historian Timothy Snyder on how war ends in Ukraine

October 25th, 2022


Russia invaded Ukraine eight months ago, seemingly unprepared for the fight Ukraine would put up. Scholar Timothy Snyder answers the question: How …

In 'Half American,' historian Matthew Delmont tells the story of World War II from the Black perspective

October 24th, 2022


More than a million Black Americans fought for the United States in World War II. They fought for a double victory: over fascism and over racism. But …

How the strong U.S. dollar is hurting the global economy

October 21st, 2022


The U.S. dollar is soaring against other currencies, adding to fears of a global financial meltdown. When that happened in 1985, governments took …

The 'Texas two-step': A controversial legal strategy to avoid corporate liability

October 20th, 2022


Corporations facing massive litigation are using a new legal strategy to avoid liability. It’s known as the Texas two-step. Step one: create a subsidiary and transfer a few assets and all the lawsuits. Step two: The …

Big money and big temptation in the world of online chess

October 19th, 2022


Chess is an ancient game of grand masters, now being upended in the digital domain. To add to the upheaval, grand master Hans Niemann has been accused of cheating in more than 100 games. Danny Rensch, Levy Rozman …

Financial columnist Rana Foroohar's lessons for localizing a global economy in 'Homecoming'

October 18th, 2022


If the U.S. is to be less reliant on global supply chains, businesses and consumers are going to have to change expectations. Rana Foroohar joins us to discuss what it'll really take to rebuild the economy at "home." …

Voter roundtable: Listening to Latino voters from across the country

October 17th, 2022


Political analysts call the Hispanic vote a ‘sleeping giant.’ Most still vote Democratic, but the GOP is gaining ground. We'll listen to Hispanic …

What we learned from the Jan. 6th committee's likely final public hearing

October 14th, 2022


In the likely final hearing of the January 6th House Committee, the members laid out their key findings – detail after detail. Eric Cortellessa, Elaine Kamarck, Sarah Longwell and Jack Beatty join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Young people think the country's moving in the wrong direction. Will they show up to the polls?

October 13th, 2022


Who is least likely to vote in the midterms next month? Young Americans. But are politicians any more likely to listen to young Americans if they …

Pres. Biden wants to end U.S. reliance on China. Could Beijing show us the way?

October 12th, 2022


Key parts of our economy and defense rely on imports from China. President Biden wants to end that dependence. On the flipside, President Xi has been trying to untangle China’s economy from ours for years. How’s that …

Inside one developer's big bet on affordable housing in Los Angeles

October 11th, 2022


A California entrepreneur says he's building affordable homes in South Central LA at half the usual cost. How? By saying no to public funding. Martin Muoto and Mike Loftin join Meghna Chakrabarti.

What the U.S. can learn from the fall of democracy in Chile

October 10th, 2022


Chile is a democracy that fell into dictatorship for nearly two decades. What were the warning signs? Robert Funk, Peter Siavelis and Heraldo Muñoz join Meghna Chakrabarti.

A report card on week one of the Supreme Court’s new term

October 7th, 2022


In its last term the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, limited the authority of the EPA and expanded gun rights. In its new term, the court faces decisions on voting rights, affirmative action, gay rights. Amy …

In 'Illustrated Black History,' artist George McCalman paints Black Americans onto our nation’s canvas

October 6th, 2022


Portraits are about far more than pencil or paint.

But for most of our nation’s history, Black Americans were denied that public honor.

Now, with a …

First person: Living with long COVID

October 5th, 2022


Long COVID is generally defined as having symptoms that persist for more than four weeks. Hanna Tripp has lived with COVID symptoms since March 2020, just as the pandemic began. Hear her story in today's 'First person' …

How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is helping doctors understand long COVID

October 5th, 2022


Thousands of Americans suffer from long COVID, and doctors still don’t understand it. But researchers who’ve spent decades studying Chronic Fatigue Syndrome say they have some answers. Dr. David Putrino and Dr. Lucinda …

Voter roundtable: Conservative voters on what's motivating them to vote in the midterms

October 4th, 2022


Republicans have a chance to take back the U.S. House and Senate in November’s midterm elections. We sit down with conservative voters across the nation to hear what’s on their minds.

Iran's women in revolt

October 3rd, 2022


Women across Iran have taken to the streets after the death of a young woman in police custody. Their government says it will ‘mercilessly confront’ …

How a Texas law could impact First Amendment rights and content moderation online

September 30th, 2022


In Texas, large social media platforms may soon lose the right to moderate their own content. We discuss NetChoice v. Paxton – and how a Texas law …

The danger of being a journalist in Mexico

September 29th, 2022


In Mexico, more than a dozen journalists have been murdered a year, every year, for two decades. In 2012, Regina Martinez was one of them. One reporter wanted to know why. Katherine Corcoran joins Kimberly Atkins-Stohr.

Behind supervised injection sites: A controversial solution to overdose deaths

September 28th, 2022


Only one city in the U.S. has supervised drug injection sites to combat overdose deaths. We discuss a life-saving solution that’s seemingly too …

America’s climate havens of the future

September 27th, 2022


Millions of climate refugees are expected to move north from the South and West in years to come. The mayor of Buffalo, New York says they’ll be welcome. Maria Agosto, Matt Hauer and Beth Gibbons join Kimberly Atkins …

What's behind the recent increase of Venezuelan migrants in Texas

September 26th, 2022


Every day, U.S. border patrol drops off hundreds of Venezuelan refugees in downtown El Paso. From then on, they’re the city’s responsibility. But …

In 'Secret City,' author James Kirchick traces the unknown history of gay Washington

September 23rd, 2022


Post-World War II, there was something seen as even worse than being a communist in U.S. politics: being gay. We discuss how lives and careers were …

Pushback in Russia on Putin's war

September 22nd, 2022


With Russia’s military setbacks in Ukraine, there’s been increasingly open criticism of President Putin and his war. We examine Putin's pressure …

In ‘Lady Justice,’ Dahlia Lithwick profiles women who used the rule of law to challenge Trumpism

September 21st, 2022


Law journalist Dahlia Lithwick profiles female lawyers and judges who challenged the Trump administration in her new book, 'Lady Justice.'

Rebroadcast: In 'Work Pray Code,' author Carolyn Chen reflects on what happens when we worship work 

September 20th, 2022


Many Silicon Valley companies want their software engineers to live for their jobs. And they offer them everything from meals to dry cleaning to spiritual coaches. But is the office really the place to find a life’s …

Essential trust: Trust in the animal kingdom

September 19th, 2022


Jane Goodall formed incredible bonds with chimpanzees in the wild. But were those bonds similar to what we humans experience as trust? It's the first episode of our series "Essential trust."

Remarkable science: How to prepare for the fall season of infectious diseases

September 16th, 2022


Our series of podcast-only episodes called Remarkable Science features conversations with scientists about their work, recorded in front of a virtual audience at WBUR’s CitySpace venue in Boston.

Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, …

The Jackson, Mississippi water crisis and America's crumbling water system

September 16th, 2022


Jackson, Mississippi hasn't had safe drinking water for weeks. The city's mayor says the problem's decades in the making. That makes Jackson a lesson for the entire country. Donna Ladd, Aaron Packman and Catherine …

President Biden's anti-crime bill: Will it make America safer?

September 15th, 2022


President Biden's $37 billion anti-crime plan includes funding to hire 100,000 more police. What's actually in the plan? Richard Rosenfeld and Elie …

Inside Europe's energy crisis

September 14th, 2022


Russia has cut off energy supplies to Europe. It's causing a crisis. How long can Europe hold on? Suriya Jayanti and Tim McPhie join Meghna …

Can political ads influence the outcome of an election?

September 13th, 2022


The midterms are coming, and your TV's already been flooded with campaign ads. But do the ads even work? Do they sway voters at all? Christopher Warshaw and Dan Bayens join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Solutions and next steps in saving the U.S. postal service

September 12th, 2022


This year, Congress actually came up with a solution to help the U.S. Postal Service. A bipartisan bill passed that's the biggest financial reform of …

The Bin Laden papers, and the inside story of al-Qaida's fall

September 9th, 2022


One decade and 6,000 pages of documents later, the Bin Laden papers have upended our understanding of al-Qaida. Nelly Lahoud joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

Censorship wars: Why have several communities voted to defund their public libraries?

September 8th, 2022


Some school libraries have been forced to remove controversial books. The threat now is on public libraries, where some communities have recently …

Education reporter Anya Kamenetz on how the pandemic changed public education

September 7th, 2022


The COVID-19 pandemic completely upended children’s lives as they knew it. What did they lose? We talk to a longtime education reporter about how the pandemic changed her view of public education. Anya Kamenetz joins …

In 'Survival of the Richest,' author Douglas Rushkoff examines the escape plans of the tech elite

September 6th, 2022


In Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book: “Survival of the Richest," we hear how the tech elite are planning to escape the destruction they had a hand in creating.

Rebroadcast: Inside the lives of social media influencers

September 5th, 2022


The life of a digital influencer. Primp. Place product. Post. And cha-ching! But… that’s not all. “There is such an incredible amount of labor, much of that remains concealed behind the scenes." Brooke Erin …

Rebroadcast: Author Steven Rinella's tips for raising 'outdoor kids in an inside world'

September 2nd, 2022


Phones. TVs. Computers, everywhere inside. But outside, how can we help kids see the forest beyond the screens? Steven Rinella joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

Rebroadcast: Scholar Randall Kennedy's reflections on race, culture and law in America

September 1st, 2022


For decades, scholar Randall Kennedy has been writing about race, culture and the law. “We are certainly much further from the racial promised land …

Inside the science of empathetic joy

August 31st, 2022


Mass grief. Mass outrage. Seemingly everywhere. But can we also learn to share in each other’s joy?

Eve Ekman, Shelly Gable and Amelie, an On Point listener, join Meghna Chakrabarti.

The college educators behind the push to speak freely on campus

August 30th, 2022


Steven Salaita was a rising star in the field of American Indian studies.

In the fall of 2012, he applied for a job at the University of Illinois. Then, he lost everything.

“I had taken to Twitter and other forms of …

Rebroadcast: Protecting whale superhighways

August 29th, 2022


Whales migrate along routes thousands of miles long - oceanic superhighways - that also happen to be corridors of human disruption. We discuss the fight to protect whale superhighways. Kerri Seger and Michael J. Moore …

First person: Former NFL wide receiver Markus Wheaton on finding passion after football

August 25th, 2022


On the most recent episode of On Point, we talked about Serena Williams' retirement. Or, as she calls it, 'an evolution away from tennis.'

How athletes are redefining retirement

August 25th, 2022


After 23 Grand Slam singles and 27 years on tour, Serena Williams says this U.S. Open will be her last.

Williams says she’s “evolving away from …

Life in Ukraine, 6 months into the war

August 24th, 2022


It’s Independence Day in Ukraine.

Official celebrations have been canceled. But the fact that there’s an independent Ukraine at all is celebration enough for Ukrainians.

President Zelenskyy is vowing to fight on. What …

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's life in American politics

August 23rd, 2022


Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy knows what it’s like to fly with presidents. Kimberly Atkins Stohr hears about his life in American politics.

'Real and present danger’: How Trump rhetoric is impacting the FBI after the Mar-a-Lago search

August 22nd, 2022


Donald Trump's supporters are unleashing a torrent of criticism of the FBI after agents searched Mar-a-Lago. What impact is it having? Andrew McCabe and Dennis Lormel join Kimberly Atkins Stohr.

Pod extra: Revisiting a 2013 interview with Salman Rushdie

August 19th, 2022


In 2013, Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with Salman Rushdie, on the tail end of his book tour for Joseph Anton.

Today, in this podcast special, we're resurfacing the 2013 Radio Boston interview with Rushdie.

The history of the price of free speech

August 19th, 2022


Author Salman Rushdie remains in critical condition after a brutal knife attack last week. We'll look at the long history of the price people pay to defend free speech. Jacob Mchangama joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

The wage myths of the modern economy

August 18th, 2022


Why are wages what they are? We talk about the myths that help set wages in the modern economy. Jake Rosenfeld and Larry Mishel join Meghna Chakrabarti.

The Ohio primary and what it means for the general election

August 17th, 2022


We look closely at swing state Ohio, and what the midterms Senate race there says about the appeal of Trumpism nationwide. Gary Abernathy, Haley BeMiller and Jack Beatty join Meghna Chakrabarti. 

A new study says you might need to exercise twice as much. But who's got the time?

August 16th, 2022


A new study finds that the standard recommendation of two-and-a-half hours a week of exercise may not be enough. You might need twice as much …

How a U.S. Marine and an Afghan interpreter forged a bond of friendship in Afghanistan

August 15th, 2022


Zac Zaki and Tom Schueman join Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about the friendship they forged in Afghanistan, and what it took to get Zaki out of Kabul.

How Trump’s generals fought back

August 12th, 2022


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley had written a letter of resignation. In it, he accused former President Donald Trump of betraying the country. But Milley never sent the letter. That's according to a …

How the meatpacking industry skirted COVID safety regulations with the help of the White House

August 11th, 2022


The nation's meatpacking companies skirted COVID safety regulations. And they did it with the White House's help, according to a little known …

Understanding China's military might, and whether Beijing will use it

August 10th, 2022


1996. The last Taiwan Straights crisis. China's was badly outmatched by the U.S. So what's the Chinese military capable of now? Oriana Skylar Mastro and Bonny Lin join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Behind the government-backed effort to create a national EV charging network

August 9th, 2022


The federal government is spending big to usher in an electric vehicle future.

What ideas can make sure the money is well spent? Samantha Houston and Alexander Laska join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Remembering the legacies of Black pioneers Nichelle Nichols and Bill Russell

August 8th, 2022


From the deck of the Starship Enterprise, to the storied parquet of the NBA -- Nichelle Nichols and Bill Russell changed how the world saw Black …

The paradox: How democracy can lead to liberalism — or fascism

August 5th, 2022


In a truly open society, all ideas can flourish -- even those that tear down democracies. New technologies help those ideas spread. So, are fragile …

Rebroadcast: The mental health crisis among American children of color

August 4th, 2022


Youth suicide has been on the rise across the United States. And for young people between the ages of 5 and 12, the suicide rate for Black children is nearly double that of white children. Tami Charles and Kevin …

What happens when American teens get more sleep

August 3rd, 2022


The typical teen body clock and the typical school start time are out of synch. California is pushing back the start of the high school day. Other …

First person: Thinking globally, acting locally to save the monarch butterfly

August 2nd, 2022


First person: Jose Luis Alvarez, co-founder of Forests for Monarchs, and Martha Askins, a retired lawyer, discuss the beauty of the monarch butterfly and conservation efforts to save them. 

How to save the endangered monarch butterfly

August 2nd, 2022


Every year, migratory monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles.

But for decades, their population has been declining. Now, the monarchs are …

Behind the new study changing how doctors view depression

August 1st, 2022


You’ve seen the pharma ads saying depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. But for years, doctors have known that's not entirely true. A big new study confirms that, and it’s come as a shock to …

'On Point Live' from KPCC: A conversation with The Black List founder Franklin Leonard

July 29th, 2022


Franklin Leonard is founder of The Black List, a company and production studio that searches for the best screenplays that aren't getting attention …

Unpacking bipartisan efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act

July 29th, 2022


A new bill proposes critical updates to the Electoral Count Act of 1887, but is it enough to prevent another Jan. 6th? Matthew Seligman, Derek …

The COVID lessons we didn't learn for the monkeypox outbreak

July 28th, 2022


Monkeypox is spreading across the country, with numbers rising. COVID was supposed to be a wake up call for American public health. So how did this happen? Aaron Gettinger and Dr. Ali Khan join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Amid rising violence, a look inside the possible return of stop-and-frisk in Philadelphia 

July 27th, 2022


There were more than 560 homicides in Philadelphia last year. Now, some elected officials are calling for the return of a controversial policing …

Americans are avoiding the news. What can journalists do?

July 26th, 2022


Amanda Ripley is a journalist, and even she, like millions of Americans, decided to turn off the news. So what needs to change? Ripley has an answer, and it begins with giving people hope.

Joe Segal, Amanda Ripley and …

James Webb Space Telescope: Humanity's deepest glimpse into the universe yet

July 25th, 2022


The James Webb Space Telescope has sent back its first images. We'll discuss the deepest glimpse into the story of the universe human kind has ever had.

Catherine Espaillat and Steve Finkelstein join Meghna Chakrabarti.

What the Jan. 6 committee learned about the Capitol attack, 18 months later

July 22nd, 2022


As its series of hearings wraps up, what has the January 6 committee revealed about Donald Trump and the attack on the Capitol?

Rep. Jamie Raskin, …

A 'transition candidate': Where is America headed next?

July 21st, 2022


During the 2020 Presidential campaign, Joe Biden called himself a “transition candidate.” But transition to bring America where?

Mike Lux, Jonathan Lemire and Jack Beatty join Kimberly Atkins Stohr.

The political marriage between the GOP and militias

July 20th, 2022


In several countries, elected politicians are making deals with violent militias. Is America next?

Rachel Kleinfeld and Bill Kristol join Kimberly …

The un-separation of church and state

July 19th, 2022


In decisions involving state funding for religious schools and prayer on a high school football field the conservative majority on the Supreme Court …

How to navigate the current stage of the COVID pandemic

July 18th, 2022


Omicron BA.5 is the new dominant COVID strain in the U.S. New mutations. A new set of questions.

Dr. Ashish Jha, Professor Marlene Wolfe and Dr. …

The Eichmann tapes and the comforting myth of the 'banality of evil'

July 15th, 2022


The banality of evil. Hannah Arendt's famous observation during the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the ‘architect of the Holocaust.’ There's new evidence …

How 'normal' Republican staffers paved the road to Trump

July 14th, 2022


“America never would have gotten into this mess if it weren’t for me and my friends.”

That's how Tim Miller begins his new book "Why We Did It."

The history of far-right populism, from the John Birch Society to Trumpism

July 13th, 2022


Decades before QAnon, far-right conspiracists were already pushing a conservative political agenda. We discuss the history of far-right populism – …

How a Supreme Court case on federal elections could imperil democracy

July 12th, 2022


Some Republicans say state legislatures should have the power to override federal elections. The Supreme Court is taking up a case that could make …

Online extremism and the digital footprint of mass shooters

July 11th, 2022


Analysts studying recent mass shootings say there's a previously unrecognized pattern. It begins in the darkest corners of the internet.

We discuss the online training ground for mass shooters. Alex Newhouse and Emmi …

The crypto market meltdown: Could it pave the way to new regulations?

July 8th, 2022


The crypto market is in meltdown, with $2 trillion lost so far. Could it pave the way to new regulations? Hester Peirce and Molly White join Meghna …

Lessons from America's brief experiment with universal free school meals

July 7th, 2022


A pandemic program that worked, but was eliminated anyway. We hear what's behind the end of the universal free school meals program. Lisa Davis, …

Pod Extra: Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Ed Markey on actions the government can take to improve the airline industry

July 6th, 2022


On Point senior editor speaks with Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the actions the …

Unfriendly skies: Will airline service ever improve?

July 6th, 2022


A pilot shortage exacerbated by pandemic staff cuts and a mandatory retirement age has led to thousands of flight delays and cancellations. After a $50-plus billion bailout during the pandemic, why does airline service …

How the Supreme Court's EPA ruling will shape government power

July 5th, 2022


The Supreme Court upended 40 years of deference to agencies like the EPA. They've ruled that the EPA can't aggressively regulate carbon emissions. …

Rebroadcast: Historian Jon Grinspan on the last time Americans fought for democracy

July 4th, 2022


Rebroadcast: Historian Jon Grinspan says Americans in the past fought to fix democracy. But what does that mean for Americans today?

"Many of our problems have, if not identical moments in the past, parallels and …

Rebroadcast: Who's to blame for America's polarized politics? Tom Nichols says 'All of us'

July 1st, 2022


Who's to blame for America's polarized politics? The government? The media? Special interests? Tom Nichols says the problem is 'all of us.'

Tom …

What Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony reveals about the truth behind Jan. 6th

June 30th, 2022


As January 6th rioters closed in on the Capitol, the Trump White House did nothing. Cassidy Hutchinson, former senior aide to then White House Chief …

How the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade will alter the lives of women of color

June 29th, 2022


Unlike when Roe was first decided in the 1970s, women needing abortions now are more likely to be women of color who are already mothers. How will …

In 'An Immense World,' Journalist Ed Yong helps us perceive the world the way animals do

June 28th, 2022


What if you could taste the world’s electrical fields? Hear vibrations in a leaf? Or see magnetic currents guiding you home? Science writer Ed Yong …

Inflation, record-high gas prices, interest hikes: Making sense of our confusing economy

June 27th, 2022


Record-high gas prices. Interest rate hikes. A tight jobs market. Inflation at a 40-year high. We discuss the confusing state of the American economy. Rana Foroohar joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

What we know about the forces behind the Jan. 6th insurrection

June 24th, 2022


The January 6th select committee is continuing to pick apart the events and forces that led up to the attack on the Capitol. After weeks two of …

Title IX, 50 years later: Why female athletes are still fighting for equality

June 23rd, 2022


50 years ago, Title IX outlawed sex-based discrimination at federally funded schools. But in collegiate level sports, you’d be pushed to know it. …

COVID reinfections, emerging variants: Your pandemic questions, answered

June 22nd, 2022


COVID reinfections were considered rare in 2020, but emerging variants have now made them increasingly likely. We discuss what we now know about COVID-19. Akiko Iwasaki and Dr. H. Cody Meissner join Kimberly Atkins …

As war drags on in Ukraine, is it time to talk compromise?

June 21st, 2022


U.S. aid is helping Ukraine in its ongoing battle with Russian invaders. But ongoing conflict comes with a risk. As war drags on ... is it time to talk compromise? Anne Applebaum, Steven Simon and Ivanna …

The Supreme Court of mistrust

June 20th, 2022


Despite their differences of opinion, the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have always regarded mutual trust as a pillar of their …

Smarter health: How Greece used AI to reopen its borders and curb COVID

June 17th, 2022


Summer 2020. The worldwide COVID death toll had hit half a million. And the Greek government had a decision to make.

How could the nation open up …

Smarter health: How AI could change the relationship between you and your doctor

June 17th, 2022


Will artificial intelligence replace doctors? It's the final episode in our series “Smarter health." Dr. Sumeet Chugh and Stacy Hurt join Meghna Chakrabarti.

How New Mexico is learning to live with the megadrought

June 16th, 2022


The Western megadrought. This year, it's brought early, record-breaking wildfires to New Mexico. The drought is forcing permanent ecosystem changes. …

How the NRA's creed defines America's gun debate

June 15th, 2022


For decades, the NRA has said that America's astronomical rate of gun violence is "the price we pay for freedom." We'll look at that creed, and how …

Jan. 6th hearing: Will the committee's message break through to the American people?

June 14th, 2022


Congress's January 6th select committee is broadcasting its hearings directly to Americans.

But with partisan gaps widening, and fewer people saying Trump is responsible for the attack on Congress, can the hearings …

Author Steven Rinella's tips for raising 'outdoor kids in an inside world'

June 13th, 2022


Phones. TVs. Computers, everywhere inside. But outside, how can we help kids see the forest beyond the screens? Steven Rinella joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

Smarter health: Regulating AI in health care

June 10th, 2022


Health care is heavily regulated. But can the FDA effectively regulate AI in health care? It's episode three of our series “Smarter health."  

Gun laws in America and how the ATF was set up to fail

June 9th, 2022


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives enforces gun laws already on the books. How can enforcement happen when the very agency …

In 'Work Pray Code,' author Carolyn Chen reflects on what happens when we worship work 

June 8th, 2022


Many Silicon Valley companies want their software engineers to live for their jobs. And they offer them everything from meals to dry cleaning to spiritual coaches. But is the office really the place to find a life’s …

Inside the science of empathetic joy

June 7th, 2022


Mass grief. Mass outrage. Seemingly everywhere. But can we also learn to share in each other’s joy?

Eve Ekman, Shelly Gable and Amelie, an On Point listener, join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Adm. James Stavridis on what decision-making in the heat of battle can teach civilians

June 6th, 2022


Admiral James Stavridis knows what it takes to make decisions in battle. Stavridis says the things needed to make good decisions in war are not that different from what's needed to make good decisions in everyday life. …

Smarter health: The ethics of AI in health care

June 3rd, 2022


AI, ethics, your care. It's episode II of our special series “Smarter health."

Glenn Cohen and Yolonda Wilson join Meghna Chakrabarti.

In 'Secret City,' author James Kirchick traces the unknown history of gay Washington

June 2nd, 2022


Post-World War II, there was something seen as even worse than being a communist in U.S. politics: being gay. We discuss how lives and careers were …

Can Texas find its way out of the state's gridlocked gun debate?

June 1st, 2022


Texas used to have some of the strictest gun laws in America. But since they were relaxed, there have several mass shootings across the state. We talk to Texans about the laws they've stripped away. Rep. Joe Moody and …

The fragility of unenumerated rights

May 31st, 2022


Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on abortion shows the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade on the basis that abortion is “not deeply rooted …

Burn pits: Behind the 'silent killer' ignored by the U.S. government for years

May 30th, 2022


REBROADCAST: Burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Vast piles of U.S. military waste set alight, pouring smoke into the air that U.S. soldiers would …

Smarter health: How AI is transforming health care

May 27th, 2022


American health care is complex. Expensive. Hard to access. Could artificial intelligence change that?

It's the first episode in our series …

Inside LA's struggle to address its unhoused crisis

May 26th, 2022


It’s estimated that more than 60,000 people live on the streets and in the parks of Los Angeles. Or put another way – 20% of all unhoused Americans – are in LA. Can the city find a way to house everyone who calls LA …

A school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, gun control and American politics

May 25th, 2022


Following the mass shooting of 19 elementary school children in Uvalde, Texas yesterday, we ask what will it take for us to find the political will …

Remarkable science: Exploring our AI and robot-supported future

May 24th, 2022


Life with robots once seemed possible only in science fiction.

But today, scientific advances in artificial intelligence and robotics have ensured that robots are a part of our everyday lives.

On May 13, the Day of …

The people of Ukraine on life during war

May 24th, 2022


Since the start of the war, we’ve listened to voices from Ukraine. As the war grinds on, how do Ukrainians see things? Ivan Gomza, Olga Buzunova and Mariana Budjeryn join Meghna Chakrabarti.

'Great replacement theory' and its deep roots in America

May 23rd, 2022


Great replacement theory -- the erroneous belief that there's an effort underway to 'replace native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains.' That fear has moved from the fringes to the mainstream. As many as …

Trailer: 'Smarter health,' an upcoming series from On Point

May 20th, 2022


The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country in the world.

But Americans are not as healthy as people living in other rich nations. …

How climate change is moving the world's forests north

May 20th, 2022


Trees are on the move. Because of climate change, the world’s forests are heading north. What does this mean for us and our survival? Ben Rawlence joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

The corporate monopolies behind the national baby formula shortage

May 19th, 2022


The a national baby formula shortage. The reason? Corporate monopolies, poor quality control and federal regulation. Matt Stoller joins Meghna …

What CPAC's embrace of Viktor Orban says about the state of U.S. politics

May 18th, 2022


In an archive edition of On Point: As American conservatives meet for their conference in Budapest, we learn more about why they're gathering to hear Viktor Orban. Jack Beatty and Kim Scheppele join Meghna Chakrabarti.

Journalist Putsata Reang shares an immigrant daughter's story in 'Ma and Me'

May 17th, 2022


Journalist Putsata Reang has reported on many wars. Her own life is defined by the war her family escaped. 

“What did I owe my mother for giving me life?" The question gripped Reang when she decided to tell her mother …

When does life begin? Exploring how different religions answer the question

May 16th, 2022


Different religions in America have different answers to the question of when life begins. If the government adopts one definition of life when it comes to abortion access, is it restricting the free practice of all …

Rebroadcast: How to cut through the 'noise' that hinders human judgment

May 13th, 2022


Rebroadcast: If you consult three doctors and get three different opinions, that’s an example of what Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel …

The mental health crisis among American children of color

May 12th, 2022


Youth suicide has been on the rise across the United States. And for young people between the ages of 5 and 12, the suicide rate for Black children is nearly double that of white children. Tami Charles and Kevin …

The legacy of uranium mining on Navajo lands

May 11th, 2022


For more than 40 years, millions of tons of Uranium ore were mined from Navajo lands to make nuclear weapons. Thousands of workers were exposed to deadly radiation.

Those workers are about to lose funding to cover …

Why China won't relent on its 'zero COVID' strategy

May 10th, 2022


In Shanghai, the long near total lockdown has meant empty streets, food insecurity, and rising anger and dissent. So why is China still pursing its iron clad COVID-zero strategy?  Don Weinland, Dr. Yangyang …

In Latin America, abortion access is expanding. Why is the U.S. moving in the opposite direction?

May 9th, 2022


In the United States, Roe v. Wade is on the brink of being overturned. But across Latin America, abortion access is expanding. Why is the United States going in the opposite direction from much of the world on abortion …

Pod extra: The lawyer who argued for Roe in Roe v. Wade

May 6th, 2022


In a podcast extra, Meghna Chakrabarti reflects on a 2017 conversation with Sarah Weddington, the Texas attorney who successfully argued Roe v. Wade …

The science of headache disorders

May 6th, 2022


More than half the world's population experienced a headache disorder in the past year. Why? Dr. Amaal J. Starling and Dr. Peter Goadsby join Meghna …

Remembering the 1 million Americans lost to COVID

May 5th, 2022


The U.S. is approaching a grim milestone – one million dead from COVID-19. Millions more Americans trying to figure out how to live life without the person they loved. We remember those we've lost to COVID. Micki …

Social scientist Yascha Mounk on American democracy and how we can find common ground

May 4th, 2022


Politics feels like a centrifugal force, pushing, tearing American democracy apart. So what glue can hold us together? Yascha Mounk and Jack Beatty …

Inside Florida's property insurance crisis

May 3rd, 2022


Florida property insurance is a hot mess. One word: Litigation. In fact, more than 75% of all property insurance lawsuits in the United States originate in Florida. Mark Friedlander and Jeff Brandes join Meghna …

The federal government's role in causing and fixing the student debt crisis

May 2nd, 2022


The Biden Administration has delayed the restart of student loan repayments. We discuss the federal government's role in causing and fixing the …

The algorithms behind America’s growing infatuation with Formula One racing

April 29th, 2022


Intensity. Drama. Speed. Americans are falling in love with Formula One racing. However, is the new motor sports fandom real, or driven by a Netflix …

The risks and rationale of expanding NATO

April 28th, 2022


Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed the Nordic nations toward NATO. How will it change European security? Emma Ashford, Heli Hautala and Wess Mitchell join Meghna Chakrabarti.

How NATO expansion happened in the '90s

April 27th, 2022


NATO expansion in the '90s. U.S. Defense Secretary Les Aspin asked in 1993: "How do you deal with the question of membership?" Ultimately, the Clinton administration's answer to that question may have had more to do …

What happens to women's rights when democracy backslides

April 26th, 2022


From Nazi Germany to Mussolini’s Italy, fascists worked to repress the rights of women by restricting education and abortion rights. Now, there are …

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt on democracy, social media and how to fix America's 'ailing' institutions

April 25th, 2022


Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt says America is in trouble.

He sees it on college campuses and through social media.

Haidt joins Meghna …

On Point Presents: 'China's quarantine queen' from Endless Thread

April 24th, 2022


While you were tending to your quarantine sourdough starter, Chinese YouTube star Li Ziqi was growing mushrooms, making peach blossom crowns and listening to the sound of blooming roses.

Join Amory Sivertson and Ben …

Pod extra: A pro-gun community in Louisiana leads the charge on disarming domestic abusers

April 22nd, 2022


Some states and local law enforcement agencies have taken it upon themselves to develop their own firearm hand-in laws that they can effectively …

The next phase of the Jan. 6 investigation

April 22nd, 2022


The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection will soon make public what they’ve found. Congressional historian Ray Smock says the stakes are high.

Kimberly Atkins Stohr hosts a discussion on the next …

The inside story of Georgia’s shift left

April 21st, 2022


Georgia, once solid red, is looking more purple than ever. We hear the inside story of Georgia’s shift left, and what it can teach Democrats …

The legacy of Title 42

April 20th, 2022


A controversial immigration policy meant to keep COVID-19 out of the U.S. is set to end next month. But despite claims of the policy causing a …

The politics of calling the Russia-Ukraine war a genocide

April 19th, 2022


Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden declared genocide was taking place in Ukraine.

"I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a …

The complicated history of women's fitness

April 18th, 2022


Personal fitness for women used to be considered unladylike. That all changed with fitness pioneers like Lotte Berk and Judi Sheppard Missett. But look closer and there’s much more to the story than jazz shoes and leg …

On Point presents: 'Belly Up' from Last Seen

April 17th, 2022


When three friends went on a rum-fueled rampage one night deep in the Nevada desert, they never expected the trouble they would find themselves in a …

How microplastics affect human health

April 15th, 2022


Water bottles. Shopping bags. Computers. Medical equipment. Food containers.

We're living in an invisible miasma of microplastics. What's it doing to human health? Erica Cirino and Heather Leslie join Meghna …

Ambassador Bill Taylor on the U.S.-Ukraine relationship

April 14th, 2022


Ambassador Bill Taylor has been the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine twice, most recently under President Trump. He joins Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss how the United States’ relationship with Ukraine is changing.

Understanding Biden's proposal to tax billionaires' unrealized gains

April 13th, 2022


According to the White House, billionaires in America pay income tax at a rate that’s just half that of the average worker. President Biden is proposing taxing the unrealized gains of the richest Americans — assets the …

A disinformation expert's guide on combatting online abuse

April 12th, 2022


Online attacks and harassments have become a fact of life for many women online. Can it be stopped? Nina Jankowicz joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

How open-source intelligence is shaping the Russia-Ukraine war

April 11th, 2022


There's an unprecedent number of intercepted audio coming out of the Russia-Ukraine war. How is it changing what's happening in Ukraine?

John …

On Point presents: Space heist (or, how to steal a planet)

April 10th, 2022


WBUR, the home of On Point, makes a handful of podcasts you may not have heard before, and we want to change that.

So, we’re continuing with our …

Behind the decades-long fight to close the 'boyfriend loophole'

April 8th, 2022


An effort to get guns out of the hands of abusive boyfriends failed again in Congress. We discuss the story behind the two-decades old fight to close …

AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler on the future of America's labor movement

April 7th, 2022


Last year, Liz Shuler became the first ever woman elected president of the country's largest labor union. She joins us to talk about where the labor …

Pod extra: How personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary inspired one family's debt journey

April 6th, 2022


Jennifer and Tyrone Harris had $230,000 of debt. But after four years, they paid down their debt entirely. How did they do it?

Personal finance expert Michelle Singletary reflects on 25 years of her column 'The Color of Money'

April 6th, 2022


For 25 years, Michelle Singletary has dished out personal finance guidance at the Washington Post. Who did she turn to for advice?

Solutions for America's teacher shortage

April 5th, 2022


America doesn't have enough teachers. The Biden administration is calling for states to spend and recruit more. Will that work? Linda Darling-Hammond joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

What a Russia-Ukraine peace agreement might look like

April 4th, 2022


A Russia-Ukraine peace agreement. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants concrete security guarantees. Would Russia accept? Ret. Lt. Gen. …

On Point presents: 'Murph' from Last Seen

April 3rd, 2022


WBUR, the home of On Point, makes a handful of podcasts you may not have heard before, and we want to change that.

Every Sunday for the next month, …

First person: A scientist's discovery puts space into focus

April 1st, 2022


The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency's most ambitious space observatory ever. A million miles away from Planet Earth, it is designed to look back to the …

The remarkable story of the James Webb Space Telescope

April 1st, 2022


Peering deeper into the universe than we ever have before. We hear the remarkable story of the James Webb Space Telescope. Marcia J. Rieke and Nikole …

The American far-right's Russian embrace

March 31st, 2022


Influential voices on the American far-right, such as white nationalist Nick Fuentes, are genuflecting to Russia. How close, and how dangerous is the far-right's Russian relationship? Jason Blazakis, Natalia …

What the U.S. can learn from South Korea's COVID strategy

March 30th, 2022


In January, South Korea had about 4,500 new COVID cases a day. By mid-March, that number ballooned to over 400,000. But at the same time, South Korea has one the lowest COVID death rates in the world. So, how are they …

No food, medicine or electricity: The truth about life in Ethiopia's Tigray region

March 29th, 2022


Ethiopia’s government has turned the northern Tigray region into a virtual prison. Five million people. No way in. No way out. No food, no medicine, no electricity. How long can the world look the other way? Etana …

2 former U.S. officials on America's next steps in the Russia-Ukraine war

March 28th, 2022


Alexander Vindman and Lawrence Wilkerson have unique histories that have brought them to two different views on what the U.S. and Europe must do as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine. We hear from them both. Ret. …

Protecting whale superhighways

March 25th, 2022


Whales migrate along routes thousands of miles long - oceanic superhighways - that also happen to be corridors of human disruption. We discuss the fight to protect whale superhighways. Ari Friedlaender joins Meghna …

Inside Missouri's push to ban out-of-state abortions

March 24th, 2022


A legislative proposal in Missouri would make it illegal for a woman to cross state lines to receive a legal abortion. Restricting a woman's freedom …

Life during war in Ukraine

March 23rd, 2022


For millions of Ukrainians who have not -- and cannot -- leave their cities, how are they enduring life in a warzone? Alevtina Kakhidze and Ivan Gomza join Meghna Chakrabarti.

What would a 'no-fly zone' mean for Ukraine?

March 22nd, 2022


Big rhetoric around three simple words. But what would a "no-fly zone" really mean in the skies over Ukraine? John Kornblum and Lt. Gen. David …

What Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's history as a public defender means for the Supreme Court

March 21st, 2022


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be the first former public defender on a bench full of former prosecutors and corporate lawyers. What difference …

China's place in the Russia-Ukraine war

March 18th, 2022


The U.S. and NATO have warned Beijing not to back its ally. What China chooses to do now will have worldwide implications for years to come. We talk about it. Tong Zhao, Dr. Yangyang Cheng and Oriana Skylar Mastro join …

Pod extra: Dr. Celine Gounder on how political divisions shaped the U.S. COVID response

March 17th, 2022


Dr. Celine Gounder is a senior fellow and editor-at-large for public health at Kaiser Health News. She shares where the U.S. struggles in talking about the pandemic, and what we can do to fix it.

COVID, 2 years later: Lessons learned from a global pandemic

March 17th, 2022


COVID, two years later. We discuss building trust and lessons for leaders who will face the next pandemic. Richard Tofel and Jack Beatty join Meghna Chakrabarti.

How the global financial system enables oligarchy

March 16th, 2022


Sanctions are squeezing Russia’s economy, but not its wealthiest. We look at how the global financial system enables oligarchy, and how to fix it. …

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's profile in leadership

March 15th, 2022


Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has defended his country, deftly used the media, and galvanized the world. We hear a profile in leadership. …

What to know about the threat of nuclear war

March 14th, 2022


Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear arsenal on high alert. What are the strategic, and political moves necessary to avoid the …

Are we entering a new Cold War era?

March 11th, 2022


The Cold War was defined by the fear of mutually assured destruction. Does Russia's invasion of Ukraine signal a new Cold War? Mary Elise …

Burn pits: Behind the 'silent killer' ignored by the U.S. government for years

March 10th, 2022


Burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Vast piles of U.S. military waste set alight, pouring smoke into the air that U.S. soldiers would breathe. Why …

Inside Ukraine's refugee crisis

March 9th, 2022


More than one million Ukrainians have been forced to across the border. We hear more about the humanitarian and refugee crisis as Russian attacks in Ukraine intensify. Sarah Deardorff Miller, Natasja Bogacz, Kateryna …

The economic front in Russia's war against Ukraine

March 8th, 2022


The international community may not be sending soldiers. But does isolation from the global economy constitute a form of economic war against Russia?

Investigating possible war crimes in Ukraine

March 7th, 2022


Bombing and encircling civilians in cities, indications that cluster bombs may have been dropped. Is Russia committing war crimes in Ukraine?

Jeffrey Edmonds, Richard Weir, Philippe Sands and Jack Beatty join Meghna …

Russians reflect on the Russia-Ukraine war and the consequences at home

March 4th, 2022


Apollinaria Oleinikova is 18-years-old. For most of her life, she was a carefree Muscovite. Now, she's publicly protesting, along with other …

First Person: Behind the wheel of a 'self-driving' Tesla

March 3rd, 2022


On today’s show, we discussed the ethics of autonomous vehicles and the recent incidents involving Tesla’s “full self-driving” beta software. 

In a …

Tesla and the ethics of self-driving cars

March 3rd, 2022


Self-driving technology has come a long way in recent years, but it remains far from perfect. And that's partially because of decisions made -- not …

5 key takeaways from Biden's first State of the Union address

March 2nd, 2022


President Biden's first State of the Union address covered everything from war in Ukraine, to COVID, to inflation.

In a podcast special, On Point news analyst Jack Beatty shares 5 key takeaways from Biden’s big speech. …

What Putin's destruction of Grozny in 1999 means for Ukraine now

March 2nd, 2022


In 1999, Putin ordered the airstrikes and bombing that razed the Chechen capital of Grozny. Could he do it again, in Ukraine? Andrew Harding, Michael …

The intergenerational impacts of global learning loss

March 1st, 2022


In 2020, almost every single child on planet earth was out of school, due to COVID.

Lost school years. Lost learning around the world. What impact …

Inside the European Union's response to the Russia-Ukraine war

February 28th, 2022


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the greatest test of European resolve in a generation. Will it transform the EU? Tom Nichols, Nina Jankowicz, Naomi …

Next moves for the U.S. as Russia invades Ukraine

February 25th, 2022


Despite warnings from the West, Russian troops are advancing on Ukraine. If sanctions don’t work, what should the U.S. do next? Derek Chollet, Angela …

How political vitriol impacts public servants

February 24th, 2022


Vitriol against public servants is increasing. What impact does that have on who stays in politics – and for the health of democracy? Marico …

The consequences of the friendship gap

February 23rd, 2022


The percentage of people who say they don’t have a single close friend has quadrupled in the past 30 years, according to the Survey Center on American Life. What's driving the American friendship gap? Jennifer …

The growing diversity in America's suburbs

February 22nd, 2022


The “suburbs” have become a hot constituency in recent years. But has the term enveloped the full range of their residents? R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy …

What to know about Biden's Supreme Court nominees

February 21st, 2022


President Biden is considering who he’ll nominate to the Supreme court. She’ll make history in more ways than one. So who does the president have in mind? Gloria Browne-Marshall and Renee Knake Jefferson join Kimberly …

Full interview: Sen. Amy Klobuchar on a new trustbusting era in the Senate

February 18th, 2022


Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights. She’s also on the Judiciary …

More than money: Solutions for reining in monopoly power

February 18th, 2022


For antitrust reformers, the size and power of companies like Google and Facebook represent more than a threat to consumer welfare. It’s the final …

More than money: Defining American antitrust law, from Bork to Khan

February 17th, 2022


From Robert Bork's "consumer harm" to Lina Khan's "democratic harm," we discuss the ideas that drive the government's approach to antitrust …

More than money: Antitrust lessons of the Gilded Age

February 16th, 2022


The nineteenth century saw the rise of great monopolies. Americans pushed back. What changed? 

We discuss lessons learned from antitrust action in …

More than money: Microsoft and the big tech question

February 15th, 2022


Microsoft wants to acquire Activision-Blizzard for almost $70 billion. Microsoft says it won't harm consumers. But is the mega-merger a new kind of …

More than money: The monopoly on meat

February 14th, 2022


Our series "More than Money: The Cost of Monopolies in America" is a week-long exploration of the hidden power of monopolies in the U.S.

Today's …

Is it time to end school masking?

February 11th, 2022


In just days, several states have suddenly reversed course on masks in school. But not everyone agrees. We talk about whether now's the right time to …

The failures and future of the Paycheck Protection Program

February 10th, 2022


The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help workers stay afloat during the pandemic. But new analysis finds most PPP funding went to the richest 20% of Americans. David Autor and Lydia DePillis join Meghna …

What the Rooney Rule reveals about football, coaching and race in America

February 9th, 2022


Three days before his interview for the New York Giants’ head coaching position, Brian Flores learned that the job was already promised to someone else. Flores is now suing the NFL. We talk about football, coaching, and …

The Russia-Ukraine crisis and how Ukrainians are finding a new sense of national identity

February 8th, 2022


Ukraine has a long, fraught history with Russia and the Soviet Union. How do Ukrainians see themselves now? Vitaly Chernetsky, Timothy Snyder and Sevgil Musayeva join Meghna Chakrabarti. 

Protecting democracy, or political distraction? Inside efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act

February 7th, 2022


The Electoral Count Act is at the center of Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Now, the Senate is considering reforming the …

Wordle and the future of the internet's favorite word game

February 4th, 2022


A simple word game has taken the internet by storm. But now that the New York Times owns the game, can the wonder of Wordle last? Jonathan Knight, Ian Bogost and Katy Pearce join Meghna Chakrabarti.

The battle for California's rooftop solar

February 3rd, 2022


A third of all the nation's rooftop solar panels are in California.

Now, the California public utilities commission says it’s time to pull back the …

The moral, military and financial cost of Guantanamo Bay, 20 years later

February 2nd, 2022


20 years ago, President Bush ordered the creation of a secretive prison at Guantanamo Bay. Many were innocent. Many were tortured. Two presidents tried to close Gitmo -- and failed. And we’re still stuck with it. …

Evaluating the effectiveness of vaccine passes

February 1st, 2022


A year ago, Israel was the first country to issue a strict vaccine passport. Now, some health officials say the Green Pass did not stop the omicron variant, and is no 'longer relevant.' We evaluate the effectiveness of …

Operation North Star: The military veterans working to protect Afghan allies from the Taliban

January 31st, 2022


The U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan last year. Now, U.S. vets are coming together to help the Afghans who did so much for them.

Hear about Operation …

Justice Stephen Breyer, his replacement and the future of the Supreme Court

January 28th, 2022


Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring after more than two decades at the Supreme Court. Who might President Biden call to replace him? We discuss what …

Redefining poverty in the United States

January 27th, 2022


The way we often think about poverty in the United States is as an individual failing, social welfare professor Mark Robert Rank says. So, what would …

The indigenous communities rising up to protect the gray wolf

January 26th, 2022


The federal government removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list last year. Now, hundreds of gray wolves have been killed. We hear how …

How sedition charges against the Oath Keepers will shape the Capitol investigation

January 25th, 2022


Seditious conspiracy. The Justice Department has levied the charge on 11 people associated with the January 6 Capitol attack. But what is seditious …

Omicron, health care and what's really going on in America's hospitals

January 24th, 2022


With the omicron wave, hospitals have been crushed by the surge in patients. But COVID is a symptom, not the cause of hospitals being overwhelmed. What needs to change? Dr. Vivian Lee joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

The Democrats' messaging problem, and how to fix it

January 21st, 2022


From infrastructure to child care, Democrats are pushing for issues with broad public support. So why do so many Americans believe our country is headed in the wrong direction? Jack Beatty, Mike Murphy and Anat …

Pod Extra: A survivor discovers her brain injury, and takes her power back

January 21st, 2022


There are potentially tens of millions of domestic violence survivors with undiagnosed brain injuries. Their stories are slowly coming to light. In a …

First Person: 'The shame did not belong to me. The shame belonged on him'

January 20th, 2022


The suffering caused by domestic violence is emotional, spiritual and physical. But there's one aspect of that suffering that is almost invisible: …

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