Episodes

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The Reality of War

Kenneth Rendell, founder and director of the Museum of World War II—the most comprehensive global collection of artifacts and documents from the Second World War—shares what drove him to preserve the history of that cataclysmic conflict to help prevent it being forgotten or repeated. Starting with a childhood coin collection, Rendell refined his knowledge to become a top world expert in document validation, unmasking some of the most notorious forgeries—including the Hitler diaries and Mormon archives.

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The Spirit of 1776

Dr. Robert McDonald, West Point Professor of History and author of Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson’s Image in His Own Time, discusses what was hailed as the “Revolution of 1800”—one of the most contentious elections in American history, the stakes of which make those of the current election pale in comparison. McDonald establishes how Jefferson embodied the spirit of 1776 in his westward looking ambitions, aiming to liberate America in body, mind, and spirit.

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Whiskey—A Higher Spirit

Rick Wasmund, CEO and Owner of Copper Fox Distillery, discusses whiskey’s rich history, from its Irish and Scottish roots to its American heritage—with Johnny Appleseed's brandy, Pennsylvania rye, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the innovations he and others are contributing to the tradition today. Wasmund, a featured interviewee in CEI’s new short film, I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit, describes the production process and the extensive “whiskey tribe” who makes it all possible.

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American Cuisine

Paul Freedman, Yale University Professor of History and author of the recently published Ten Restaurants that Changed America, charts American history over the last 200 years through the nation’s cuisine. Distinct and varied, Freedman describes the quintessential restaurants that characterize American fare, from ethnic and regional to industrial dishes. Delmonico’s defined the international standard for prestige and Antoine’s the vibrant regional fare, while Howard Johnson’s pioneered the franchise and Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters helped cultivate a more sophisticated palate.

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Money, Politics, and the FEC

Lee Goodman, member and former chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), discusses money and politics and their connection to free speech. Goodman recounts how the FEC was created as part of the post-Watergate reforms to curtail government persecution of political opponents and details how the party defending free speech has flip flopped since the mid-century McCarthy era. In the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, progressive attacks on free speech have spread from campus speech codes to the IRS and state attorneys general. (Photo by: Gage Skidmore)

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Transcending Bipartisanship

Avik Roy, President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) and author of the study, “Transcending Obamacare,” discusses how he founded FREOPP to forge meaningful bipartisan reform at the federal level, starting with health care. Roy points to the successful consumer-driven systems in Singapore and Switzerland—which subsidize only the least well-off while still offering free-market access to coverage, the latest technology, and high performance to the populace at large—as the models for FREOPP’s reform proposals.

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Big Science Bubble

Dr. Daniel Sarewitz, Professor of Science and Society at Arizona State University and co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, discusses how the modern Big Science enterprise grew out of the post-World War II Military-Industrial complex. Conceived under the guise of protecting scientific integrity, the system has become an insular, self-perpetuating culture that encourages quantity rather than quality research, Sarewitz argues. Meanwhile in practice, most scientific discoveries follow rather than lead technology in its relentless pursuit of new products and services.

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Big Science Impact

Dr. Jeremy Berg, Editor-in-Chief of Science and Professor of Computational and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, unpacks the declining public trust in the $50 billion publicly funded science industry—from the replication crisis to the politicization of science.

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Penniless Presidencies

Alan Axelrod, author of Full Faith and Credit: The National Debt, Taxes, Spending, and the Bankrupting of America, opens the conversation explaining why the U.S.’s perilous gross debt to GDP ratio may be past the point of no return. Axelrod’s stories of our most to least fiscally responsible presidents reveal our trajectory—from the parsimonious George Washington to Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase extravagance, Abraham Lincoln’s budget busting Civil War, and modern presidents’ bailouts paving the road to national bankruptcy.

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