Acts of Pod

Acts of Pod Podcast

A weekly podcast where we cover flashpoints in history that help to give context to our current chaotic state of affairs.

43 - Church Rock Uranium Mill Spill
There was nuclear disaster worse than 3 Mile Island and if you haven't heard of it, no one would blame you. It happened it New Mexico on Navajo lands and 40 years on the clean up is still in process. How could a disaster of this scale go so unnoticed? Why would any community be kept in the dark of the continuing dangers a disaster of this scale would pose? We go about answering some of these questions and more as this administration is in the process of taking up uranium mining again on previously protected...

42- Redlining: Something Like a Phenomenon
Imagine if you will, a nation in crisis. A map of every major American city spread across the desk, committees assembled to ascertain the desirability of every neighborhood in every, major, American city. What could possibly go right? Today's episode is a primer on "redlining" or the practice of designating the value of major American neighborhoods so banks and leading financial institutions would have some idea of the risk going into lending to small businesses and homeowners starting back in the 1930s. Th...

41 - The War On Women. What is it good for? Absolutely....um, well, the war on women. Duh.
This week on Acts of Pod, Anne and I discuss the term "The War on Women." During campaign season, a lot of terms get bandied about and here at Acts of Pod we hope to provide a bit more context to help understand not only what they are meant to signify, but the real impact they have when it comes to policy. So, if you would like to join us to get a better understanding of what is meant when that phrase is used and some of the policy that is coming out of campaigns to help redress imbalances, give us a listen...


40 - The Legacy of the Bath School Massacre of 1927
In the small town of Bath, Michigan, an unthinkable tragedy challenged the beliefs of an entire nation, for two days until Lindbergh successfully completed his first transatlantic flight and the story began to disappear from the news. Sadly, it would not be the last time in American History where someone would unleash a deadly attack against our most vulnerable victims, in this case a schoolhouse on the last day of school; but, it did help to establish a pattern of behavior among similarly-minded malcontent...

39 - Mayday. Come in May Day. An ancient holiday comes to symbolize workers' rights
Grab your flower garlands and pass out the ribbons because it's May Day and you know what that means? Labor coalesces into a powerful union and demands the dignity they deserve from a cannibalistic and faceless unknown, like the growth of Spring blossoming from the decay of winter. If you've stuck around through that self-indulgent metaphor, you will love today's episode....

38 - The Violence Against Women Act or There Oughta be a Law
Recently, the Violence Against Women Act has been in the news because it has not received bilateral support. While one would be tempted to think this would be a no brainer, there has been a long, troubled history concerning how to codify domestic violence, how should law enforcement be involved, and what resources can be put in place to support those who are in danger....


37 - Women and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
In the face of impossible odds, a group of women helped to organize a boycott that would launch one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in American history. From printing pamphlets, organizing transportation, feeding fellow protestors or keeping hope alive, it was the vital efforts of women and their sacrifice that would introduce Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to a national audience....

36 - Smedley Butler Saves the Day or The Business Plot Thickens
Imagine if you will, a great nation of promise filled with anxiety about its future. The world is erupting in chaos and corporate interests are balking at the thought of implementing huge social programs to relieve the strain on average citizens. Impossible! Well, of all the unlikely characters to flap their weird butterfly wings, we celebrate the contributions of one Smedley Butler and his untangling of The Business Plot or The Wall Street Putsch....

35 - Tax of Pod: Overview of the Tax Proposals by the Democratic Candidates
Do you have a firm understanding of the differences between a wealth tax and a marginal tax? Could you let us know? This week, we diligently try to plow through the different tax solutions brought forth by the democratic candidates and compare it to the solutions that are in place currently.  We then compare it to the conservative tax policies over the last 40 years that have contributed to growing income inequality. Warning in advance, we did have a couple of glasses of wine in order to take the edge off o...


33 - A Brief History of Women in Tech and Decoding Discrimination
We're taking it back to Lovelace and Babbage to try and trace the history of women in technology. From human computers, to ENIAC programmers, women have been around since the infancy of the technology. Their relative sparseness now in the industry could have several perfectly rational explanations and we take a look at a few of those as well as a few irrational explanations as well....

32 - Nixon's Creeps and their Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
If it wasn't so evil it might be hilarious. Right around the time Nixon was affirming that he was not a crook, a small cabal of Nixon loyalists were busy sabotaging Democratic campaigns. In this episode, we cover the dirty tricks employed by Nixon against his competitors and trace the lineage of these techniques to the most current presidential election. Anne also includes a beautiful tribute to two White House dogs that the world has been so desperate to hear....


31 - The Scopes Trial or the Same Old Monkey Business
This week we cover the Tennessee trial of John Scopes who was indicted for teaching evolution in the classroom in 1925. We trace the beginnings of the long feud between fundamental religious belief straining against oncoming modernity and how those trends continue in the present day....

30 - A Brief History of Voter Suppression or Block the Vote
In this week's episode we give a brief history of voter suppression techniques used in American history from the exclusive original requirements for voting, to voter ID laws. While the 15th amendment provided the legal protection for voters, those protections were not enforced until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Stay tuned for the inventive methods used to discourage voting from different populations that included robocalls, threatening billboards, pamphlets dropped from planes, exact match, purging of vot...

29 - The Southern Strategy: Dog Whistlin' Dixie
The Southeastern voting block, or the solid South, was not always republican. Around the 1950s, right about the time Brown V Board of Education was decided, the republicans began to woo back the Southern vote. In this episode, we'll map out the seduction of the Southern voter and point out some historical dog whistle campaigns that have been in use for nearly 60 years....


28 - The Salem Witch Trials or Who You Calling a Witch?
On this very special Halloween episode of Acts of Pod, we cover the Salem Witch Trials. We take a deep dive into the economic and political conditions that made this possible and how this story has been used in political discourse over the years. Could we make the devil more boring? You shall soon see. Happy Halloween!...

27 - The UN Climate Change Report or Don't They Know It's The End of the World
Have you read the UN report on climate change? Well, you're gonna want to sit down. Or better yet, why don't you just get the news from your buddies at Acts of Pod who are handling the news with grace. Totally unrelated, does anyone have access to a bomb shelter and/or a fresh water source? Hit us up on twitter....

26 - Woman's Day Off: For No Reason We're Covering Successful Women's Protest Movements
Kvennafridagurinn, or Iceland's monumental Woman's Day Off campaign, had the participation of 90% of the nation's women. The next year saw legislation passed, and in the next five years Iceland would elect their first female President. In this week's pod we outline just a few of the successful female run protests and the power of these campaigns to effect change when all women join forces to fight for each other's interests. There is no particular reason we are detailing successful female led protest moveme...


25 - License to Ill: The Current State of American Healthcare. A Brief History of the NHS and its Power as a Precedent
In today's episode we cover the current state of American healthcare, how prices became out of control and possible changes that could be made to help the average consumer. We talk about the possibility of socialized medicine here and use the history of the implementation of the National Health Service in the UK as a precedent. We also honor the Manchester Music scene briefly, so we welcome Stone Roses fans....

24 - The Hottest Button to Button: The Consequences of Criminalizing Women's Reproductive Choices and the Unforeseen Tragedies those Policies Have Wrought Historically and Presently.
Yikes! Back at again with the bleakest subject material around, but to be fair, we would never stack the Supreme Court against your best interest! While there is plenty of panic to go around with voting rights, marriage equality rights, employment security, healthcare etc., we thought it would be helpful to focus on one hot button issue that keeps being raised which is the possible overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision. To help put this into context, we felt it might be helpful to show what happens in tho...

23 - The Digital Divide
After a long and successful grassroots campaign, activists were able to ensure net neutrality and have internet access classified as a utility like water or power. That was in the halcyon days of 2015, since then the FCC under this administration has overturned that ruling and we are just now beginning to see the effects of that decision. How should internet access be viewed in these times with so many jobs and vital life saving services made possible through its use? Should your location determine the qual...


22 - Buckle up Buttercup: The Sordid History of Seatbelts and Consumer Advocacy
What would you begin to think if a shadowy group of men began asking all of your co-workers and friends about your life, began tailing you and calling you at all hours of the night? Maybe an FBI sting? In the case of Ralph Nader, he was trying to advocate for auto safety when he became the center of a smear campaign directed by GM. This week's episode is a brief history of consumer advocacy in the US and a quick update on how consumer protections are being treated by our current administration....

21 - The Clean Water Crisis in Flint
Thirsty? Well, if you're living in Flint this is still not an easy problem to solve. We're talking dirty water in a Michigan town. Surprise...the water crisis hits an economically underserved minority community. Meanwhile, the corporate stakeholders have been given low cost solutions to bypass the corrosive, lead-filled, and bacteria-ridden water supply. Pour a tall glass of tap water and join us!...

20 - Honor thy Mother: The Crisis of Maternal Mortality Rates in the U.S.
Over the past 20 years, every developed nation has been able to nearly eliminate all deaths related to the complications from childbirth. All except one, the United States, whose rate of maternal mortality has actually grown over the past 20 years. ProPublica and NPR recently underwent a year long study and collected over 60,000 records to help locate a potential cause. Sadly, this study helped to quantify the real life and death risks that systemic racism and misogyny can continue to play in our every day ...


19 - Tennessee Valley Authority Figures: When you care enough to give a dam
This week, in light of the news of Ivanka Trump's new job training initiative, we take a look back at the inception of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Not only was it a successful infrastructure project that went on to light the valley to this day, but at its height, provided 28,000 jobs and cutting edge farming technique training. As Anne is quick to point out, there were indeed flaws, but it does offer at least an outline of what is possible when a government invests in an area's potential....

18 - Nestlé: A Baby Formula For Disaster
Recently, at the World Health Organization assembly, the current U.S.  administration caused quite a stir when it raised concerns about the language in a bill that asked to "promote, protect, and support breastfeeding." Startling, because there has been a long, sordid history filled with everything from dressing saleswomen as nurses, to leading women to believe that their own breast milk may be an insufficient food source long after science had verified "breast is best." Also, there is talk about the best w...

17 - Reaganomics, Mental Illness, and Homelessness
In this episode the gang's all here and we cover the stigmatization of the homeless over time as well as the uptick in homelessness as a result of significant cuts to mental health spending under Reagan. Those in most need of treatment are much more likely to end up in jail rather than a psychiatric facility. We discuss possible fixes for these issues going forward....


16 - We Can Be Sheroes: Shirley Chisholm as Progressive Pioneer
Shirley Chisholm led a no-nonsense campaign for the House and later for president with the slogan "Unbought and Unbossed." She fought both racial and gender based discrimination to represent her district with a platform that is very similar to progressive candidates of today. Her courage forged a path for candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other women now seeking office to fight for their communities’ shared values....

15 - A Brief History of Diet Culture
From Socrates to Weight Loss Tea there has hardly been a time when we have been free from diet culture. On this very special episode, our guest host and I act as your two weird Aunties critiquing a long storied history of strange diets, and how we've come to a peace about our own bodies and hope you celebrate yours as well....

14 - Remix Edition
This week we bring you updates on some of the news we’ve covered in previous pods! Enjoy the literal sounds of summer because Anne recorded outside as we update everything from the Pruitt scandals to child separation at the border....


11 - Income Inequality or eat the rich they’re gluten free!
This week we give a basic introduction to wealth and income inequality. We take a look at the peaks of inequality in our own history dating back to the market crash of 1929, and analyze how the disparity of wealth has been used as a tool of oppression since, well, time immemorial. It’s hilarious!...


10 - A Brief History of the Plastic Bag
This week we do a deep dive into the history of the plastic bag. “It’s funnier than you think,” says only one person. For a product with a fairly short life span, it’s managed to create quite a bit of damage. If you can forgive a bit of an echo, we are not in fact haunted, and we’d love to walk you through the rise and fall of the plastic bag....

9 - A Second Look at Monica Lewinsky
This episode we take a look back at the Clinton scandal of the 90s as viewed through a more contemporary lens. We compare the attitudes towards the Clinton investigations as opposed to current investigations and catch up with some of the 90s moral crusaders in the present! Spoiler alert - moral indignation does not age well....

8 - McCarthyism: Are you now, or have you ever been, an Act of Pod?
Riding the second wave of a red scare, Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted a series of trials meant to out secret communists in the State Department and all sectors of public and private life. Can his rise and fall shed any light on a current administration seduced by conspiracy theories, loyalty pledges and a strict interpretation of what an American is and what it is that makes America great? Spoiler Alert – It can....


6 - Student Loans: Generational Grift
We delve into the history of the student loan. In only twenty years an entire financial machine has cropped up to enrich every participating member of the system...except, of course, the student....

5 - Cuyahoga River Fire and the Establishment of the EPA
In light of the Scott Pruitt scandals out of the EPA, we thought it would be instructive to revisit the establishment of the agency, its original purpose and intent, and see how and/or if those goals are being maintained by Pruitt and his coterie of body guards and silent phone booths....


4 - OxyContin Origin Story
Does your drug dealer have a wing at the MET or exhibits at the Tate Modern? Today we cover the history of the modern opioid epidemic and the billionaire family right at the center of it, the Sackler Family of Purdue pharmaceutical....

3 - Misinformation Campaigns
With the breakout news of the role of Cambridge Analytica in the elections and Russian interference, we take a look at the history of disinformation campaigns as a branch of psychological warfare....

2 - Leaded Gasoline: Another Generation's Problem
There was a point when the decision was made to go with lead over ethanol for a smooth ride. Is lead a neurotoxin? Sure. But it’s a lot harder to trademark ethanol and we have shareholders to consider....


1 - The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
Our current administration touts deregulation as a pro-growth strategy. There was time when these regulations were in fact hard fought victories for employees with little protections. We examine the tragedy known as the "The day the New Deal was born" the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire....