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The Weeds

The Weeds

Author: Vox

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Politics is how people achieve power. Policy is what they do with it. Every week on The Weeds, host Jonquilyn Hill and guests break down the policies that shape our lives, from abortion to financial regulations to affirmative action to housing. We dive deep and we get wonky, but we have fun along the way. New episodes drop every Wednesday.

Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

718 Episodes
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Since the Dobbs decision almost two years ago, reproductive rights have been at the center of our national consciousness. Two of the latest headlines come from Florida and Arizona: a six-week abortion ban, and a total abortion ban unless the life of the pregnant person is threatened, respectively. Both states have constitutions that name-check privacy rights, but both courts found that those rights don’t extend to abortion. What does privacy look like in the United States, and do we still have it in a post-Dobbs world?  Read more: Do Americans still have a right to privacy?  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Patrick Boyd, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Earlier this year, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos have the same rights as children. The decision sent shockwaves throughout Alabama and raised serious questions about the future of IVF in the United States. While the Alabama legislature has since passed legislation protecting IVF in the state, that doesn’t address the big question behind the court’s decision: What does personhood mean, and what does it mean for the anti-abortion movement?   Read More: Fetal personhood laws, explained - Vox  Alabama’s Supreme Court IVF ruling is a warning to the country - Vox  Opinion | The Anti-Abortion Movement Is Gunning for Fetal Personhood - The New York Times  How America’s Two Abortion Realities Are Clashing - The New York Times  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What if you weren’t allowed to have more than $2,000 at any given time? Could you make it work? For people who receive Supplemental Security Income, this isn’t a what-if — it’s reality. SSI beneficiaries are subject to strict requirements and risk losing their benefits if they have more than $2,000 in financial assets, even if they exceed that by just a dollar. Why is the limit so low, and is anything being done to fix it? That’s today on The Weeds. Read More: Tyler (@tylerlimaroope) | TikTok The Case for Updating SSI Asset Limits | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities    Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
America is in the midst of a child care crisis. The cost of child care has skyrocketed to the point where, in some states, caring for kids in pre-k is more expensive than college tuition or a home mortgage. According to economist Kathryn Anne Edwards, it’s a market failure. So how do we fix it? That’s in today’s installment of our series exploring economic fanfiction and the stories we should be covering this election year. Read More: Kathryn's plan to fix child care Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Rob Byers, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Bringing back the SAT

Bringing back the SAT

2024-03-1327:04

Four years after a pandemic pause, some colleges and universities are again requiring applicants to submit standardized test scores. Inside Higher Ed’s Liam Knox and the University of Delaware’s Dominique Baker explain. This episode of Today, Explained was produced by Avishay Artsy, edited by Matt Collette, fact-checked by Laura Bullard, engineered by Rob Byers, and guest-hosted by Jonquilyn Hill. It originally ran on March 8th, 2024. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The AI election

The AI election

2024-03-0643:482

2024 is a big year for elections, not just in the US but globally: More than 50 countries will be holding elections this year. With rampant disinformation and polarization in politics, fast-moving technologies like AI pose a unique threat to democracy. On a scale from 1–10, how worried should we be about AI and the election? Host Jonquilyn Hill talks to New York Times reporter Tiffany Hsu to find out.  Learn More: The Black Box: Even AI's creators don't understand it - Unexplainable  Test Yourself: Which Faces Were Made by A.I.? - New York Times In Big Election Year, A.I.’s Architects Move Against Its Misuse - New York Times   Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Political philosopher Ingrid Robeyns believes that there should be a maximum amount of money and resources that one person can have. She tells Sean how much is too much and why limiting personal wealth benefits everyone, including the super rich. This episode of The Grey Area originally aired in January 2024. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Ingrid Robeyns. Her book is Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth. Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Be the first to hear new episodes of The Gray Area by following us in your favorite podcast app. Links here: https://www.vox.com/the-gray-area Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by: Producer: Jon Ehrens Engineer: Cristian Ayala Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There are a host of health disparities across the racial divide. Black people are more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Black people are also more likely to be diagnosed with fibroids or die from pregnancy complications. One of the factors in these disparities could be a phenomenon known as weathering — the stress of racism literally aging Black people’s bodies at a faster rate. Host Jonquilyn Hill discusses this with Dr. Uché Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity and the author of Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine.  Read More: Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine by Uché Blackstock  Weathering: The Extraordinary Stress of Ordinary Life in an Unjust Society by Arline T. Geronimus  Health in Her HUE  Irth App  Advancing Health Equity  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Skipping the broom

Skipping the broom

2024-02-1444:143

Romantic relationships are in a weird place right now. Statistically things are shifting, but the numbers are particularly stark for Black Americans. In the last 50 years, the percentage of Black women who have yet to walk down the aisle has more than doubled; now 48 percent haven’t jumped the broom. Professor and author Dianne M. Stewart argues that there are policies in place keeping Black women from partnering, resulting in what she calls forbidden Black love. Could policy shifts have a major impact on the marriage rate? And why does marriage even matter in the first place?  Read More: Black Women, Black Love: America's War on African American Marriage  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Eviction: the scarlet E

Eviction: the scarlet E

2024-02-0742:572

According to the Eviction Lab, about 7.6 million Americans every year face the threat of eviction, and a disproportionate number of those threatened are Black women. This week, host Jonquilyn Hill sits down with New America senior writer and editor Julia Craven to discuss why this disparity exists and what policies could help end evictions for everybody. It’s the first of a special series this month entitled “Black women and ...” that examines the ways policy particularly impacts Black women.  Read More: Eviction Is One Of The Biggest Health Risks Facing Black Children  Eviction Tracking System | Eviction Lab Evictions: a hidden scourge for black women - Washington Post TANF Policies Reflect Racist Legacy of Cash Assistance Evictions and Infant and Child Health Outcomes - PMC  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
It’s an election year, and there are so many different policy discussions we could be having: affordable child care, housing, health care, you name it. Based on how the campaigning has gone so far, though, it seems that hard policy debates and discussions won’t get much — if any — airtime. So, how about we have that discussion? Today on The Weeds: the economic policies we should be talking about.  Read More: Americans’ Working Years Need a Better Ending — Bloomberg  Kathryn Edwards on TikTok (@keds_economist)  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Earth was its hottest in recorded history in 2023. Our winters are shorter, our summers hotter, and our natural disasters more extreme. It’s dark. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. Hannah Ritchie is deputy editor at Our World in Data and author of the book Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet. On this week’s episode of The Weeds, she talks with host Jonquilyn Hill about how the world has never been sustainable, why scientists shouldn’t advocate for policy, and ways to balance optimism and realism when it comes to stopping climate change. Read More: Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet — Hannah Ritchie Hannah Ritchie fights climate doomerism with facts — Vox What If People Don't Need to Care About Climate Change to Fix It? — NYT    Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
To no one’s surprise, former president Donald Trump handily won the Republican Iowa caucuses this week. Despite his recent bout of legal trouble, he still has the backing of a dedicated voting base. But at times, his base feels more like stans than supporters. This week on The Weeds, host Jonquilyn Hill sits down with Vox culture writer Aja Romano to discuss the origins of fandom, the toxicity of stan culture and online harassment, and how we’ve trained politicians to be performers first.  Read More: The “Dark Brandon” meme — and why the Biden campaign has embraced it — explained  Zhang Zhehan is a deepfake: fandom conspiracy theories are getting worse — Vox  What Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ Tour Tells Us About Trump’s Appeal — Politico  2024 campaign: Trump rallies aren't even about politics at this point — Slate  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Harvard and elite institutions like it have been in the news a lot lately. Following the outbreak of war in Gaza, three university presidents — Liz Magill, Claudine Gay, and Sally Kornbluth — testified in a congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus. And since that hearing, two of those three presidents have resigned from their posts. But the criticism of inadequate responses to antisemitism — and the accusations of plagiarism — are just the tip of the iceberg. Weeds host Jonquilyn Hill sits down with the Atlantic’s Adam Harris to discuss.  Read More: An Existential Threat to American Higher Education — The Atlantic   Republicans are weaponizing antisemitism to take down college DEI offices — Vox  The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal—and How to Set Them Right (Hardcover) | Loyalty Bookstores  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Erica Huang, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2023 was a big year for unions. WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes brought Hollywood to a standstill, and the UAW made historic gains for nearly 150,000 of its members. But despite all of the commotion around unions, membership is still way down from its peak — and has been steadily declining since the 1950s. Was the past year a sign of an upcoming resurgence in the labor movement? Weeds host Jonquilyn Hill talks to journalist and organizer Kim Kelly to find out.  Read More: More in U.S. See Unions Strengthening and Want It That Way  Labor unions aren't “booming.” They're dying. The UAW Strike May Have Finally Set Us Up for a General Strike Fight Like Hell: The Untold History Of American Labor Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Erica Huang, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nearly four years after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and years after school reopenings, schools still face a major challenge: Students aren’t showing up. An estimated 14.7 million students didn’t show up regularly in the 2022-23 school year and were “chronically absent.” As data rolls out, states are realizing that they can’t address chronic absences without strategic plans to target it. Today on The Weeds, Vox reporter Fabiola Cineas explores what chronic absenteeism is, how it affects children's learning in both the short and long term, and what strategies have a proven track record of getting kids back to school.  Read More: Why so many kids are still missing school - Vox Read more from Fabiola Cineas  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Fabiola Cineas, guest host Sofi LaLonde, producer Erica Huang, engineer Colleen Barrett, fact-checker  A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
It’s hard to get Americans to agree on any topic these days, but a majority of them do agree on one thing: The country is in a mental health crisis. Young people in particular are struggling, and Vox senior health correspondent Dylan Scott wanted to see what is being done to help them. He found the work of Sherry Molock, a researcher and retired pastor, who is running a suicide prevention pilot program out of Black churches in New York State. Today on The Weeds: The current mental health crisis and the story of one researcher’s long pursuit of good, empirical data.  Read More: How Black churches could lead the way on teen mental health - Vox More reporting from Dylan Scott Lifeline.org Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Dylan Scott, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Most of us love a bargain, but when it comes to our wardrobe, there’s a high cost for those cheap clothes. Fast fashion has taken the world by storm, with brands having tens of thousands — if not over a million — designs available at any moment. The consumption comes at a cost: the factory workers making those outfits are often underpaid and working in terrible conditions, and some countries have literal mountains of synthetic clothing filling their landfills. This week on The Weeds, host Jonquilyn Hill talks with Vox deputy editor Izzie Ramirez and author Elizabeth Cline about the scope of fast fashion, and how we got here in the first place. Read More: Buy Less Stuff - Vox  Why you shouldn’t shop at fast fashion retailers like Shein - Vox  Your stuff is actually worse now - Vox  Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This episode of Decoder with Nilay Patel originally ran in early November. Patel and former President Barack Obama discuss AI and the future of the internet. They talk about President Biden’s recent executive order on AI, the First Amendment, democracy, and if the government could – or even should – regulate social media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
If you are frustrated with how expensive everything feels right now, you’re not alone. Inflation has fallen from last year’s high, but prices haven’t. And while the rise in prices of goods has slowed, people are pretty unhappy with the economy right now. But a lot of experts are saying the economy is in a good spot right now. So why doesn’t it feel that way? Weeds host Jonquilyn Hill discusses with Vox senior correspondent Emily Stewart and Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute.  Read More: Inflation in the US isn’t the issue. High prices are here to stay. - Vox  Sign up for The Big Squeeze newsletter - Vox  Submit your policy questions! We want to know what you’re curious about. Credits: Jonquilyn Hill, host Sofi LaLonde, producer Cristian Ayala, engineer A.M. Hall, editorial director of talk podcasts Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (126)

Carl Davidson

I'm truly not one of those nitpicky people who has the propensity to complain about everything, but the vocal fry of the guest made this conversation absolutely unbearable to listen to. I couldn't make it more than ten minutes before I gave up.

Nov 15th
Reply

Deb Fernandez

Please stop using the term "birthing person" until you cite me a case where a man gave birth.

Jul 11th
Reply

Aaron Britton

One of the most disingenuous political podcasts out in leftist media

Nov 7th
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Midnight Rambler

fuck the new York times

Sep 7th
Reply

Hans T

"I would never think of enlisting in the Army. I would rather live, not die." what an arrogant, ignorant, and snobbish think to say. I have served in the Army for almost 20 years and I too would rather live than die. That is not what differentiates those who choose to serve from those that do not. I listen to The Weeds podcasts to hear intelligent conversations about major issues but that was some sophomoric bullshit.

Aug 11th
Reply

Aaron Britton

One of my favorite episodes so far

Aug 7th
Reply

Philly Burbs

if black kids are not taking advance courses who's fault is that? not all kids black & white can take advance courses that being said education starts day one. if a kid is failing in school who needs to take charge? the parents.

Jul 19th
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Philly Burbs

I don't know any school.that doesn't teach slavery. or teaches whites are better than black people. disagree? show me. we have class privilege over white privilage. why doesn't one black leader come out, write exactly what CRT is, put it on paper & send out press releases? take questions & be open when people disagree with you? people fear change. people do not want to be blamed for someone else failures when they 1. they are having a hard time themselves 2. none of their relatives owned slaves or were slaves. 3. black people want us to listen to them but they refuse to listen to whites, it's ok to call whites names & reduce them to a label you. not vise versa

Jul 19th
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Philly Burbs

The most racist people I know voted for Obama. They had hope for change & didn't see a black man. They saw that guy they worked with who was a work friend. Then Fox news went into overdrive.

Jul 9th
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Aaron Britton

Fascinating conversation

Apr 17th
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Greg Fishman

read this title having not checked the news in two hours and it nearly gave me a heart attack. jeeze.

Nov 6th
Reply

yakurbe 0112

I'm really confused. how is the argument that we should put aside or differences to take down the powerful, wealthy elites not a class argument?

Oct 18th
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yakurbe 0112

This podcast contained the best argument I've actually heard thus far to actually vote for Biden, rather than simply against Trump, as a leftist. If Biden is actually non-ideological (rather than ideologically neoliberal which idk), and is forced (and also able) to remove the filibuster, the left wing of the party will be in a position to bargain in congress with the dems for real change. there's a number of assumptions there, but none are too, too crazy. it's at least worth thinking about. certainly more than "we can push him left after he gets into office". the outcome looks the same, but this has an actual mechanism by which it could work. so thank you and good job. you've given me more to think about.

Oct 6th
Reply

Jemi Assefa

it would be great to get reference to some of the statics and Data discussed

Aug 19th
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Ghost Rider

it is broken

Aug 13th
Reply

Ryan Pena

man I'm so glad they did this pod. just had this conversation with someone yesterday about the supposed epidemic of child sex trafficking. crazy how people believe this stuff

Aug 11th
Reply (1)

yakurbe 0112

I like this guy

Aug 4th
Reply

Samuel Marcucci

If Biden picked Warren it would mean a republican governor in Charlie Baker would appoint her successor though right?

Jun 28th
Reply

Carl Davidson

FANTASTIC interview and guest. A very illuminating and explanatory discussion about qualified immunity.

Jun 20th
Reply

Gwendolyn S

Damn, the Biden advertisements at the end were boring AF.

May 31st
Reply
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