Collecting Villains is the Fun Part (w/Anna Merlan)
54 min

Drew and Roth talk to Anna Merlan of Vice about good truck stops, and conspiracy theory enthusiasts. Plus, the usual shenanigans, like the Funbag! Anna's excellent book, Republic of Lies is available now. Visit 

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AM Quickie
AM Quickie
Nov 24, 2020: Biden-Trump Transition Officially Begins
Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The General Services Administration informed the Biden campaign that they were finally ready to begin the formal transition of power process, according to a letter sent by it’s head Emily Murphy this afternoon, shortly after Michigan official certified its election results. Meanwhile, a new leaked report exposes a shocking, pervasive surveillance campaign waged by Amazon upon everyone from labor movements to environmental activists. And lastly, the Biden campaign has released a slew of cabinet picks. Here’s how they stack up. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Donald Trump’s tenure as president, including his extremely lackluster coup attempt, are coming to an end. On Monday evening, General Services Administration head Emily Murphy told the Biden campaign that she would begin the formal transition process of power. The GSA had been under fire for days because of Murphy’s apparent reluctance to begin the process, which Democrats thought was evidence she was under pressure from the Trump administration to hold off. Murphy denied this in her letter to Biden on Monday, but come on. The decision means that the government can use federal funding to start Biden’s transition process and that Trump’s officials have to coordinate with their counterparts in the incoming administration. Trump took things, well, it’s actually pretty hard to tell. He fired off two tweets shortly after Murphy’s announcement trying to make it look like the whole thing was his idea, saying quote: “Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.” Does that tweet read like not something Trump would say at all to you? Certainly sounds like a real adult took over the Twitter app for that one. But it appears that the GOP and White House staff are waking up to the fact that Trump really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. His legal efforts to dispute the vote have so far turned up approximately nothing, and even several GOP officials urged Murphy to just get on with it. Adding insult to injury, Michigan officially certified its election results on Monday. The best sign of all this: even the megacorporations are deserting him. On Monday, General Motors dropped its support for Trump’s legal battle against California’s emissions laws. What do they say about rats and sinking ships again? Amazon Spying, Again! Meanwhile, remember Amazon? Sure you do. Well we’re here with another update of Jeff Bezos’s retail and everything else monopoly being a terrifying dystopian fascist empire. The crime du jour? Domestic surveillance. According to internal reports leaked to Vice’s Motherboard, the company has been waging a widespread, organized surveillance campaign on labor groups as well as social and environmental movements, primarily in Europe. Their goal, it seems, was to keep tabs on all of their employees’ organizing attempts to sniff out every possible hint of a union forming. To do so, Amazon contracted the notorious Pinkerton Detective agency. Yes, the literal Pinkertons, famous for union busting way back in the olden days of the Homestead massacre. Motherboard reports that Amazon collected data including the exact date, time, location, number of participants and a description of what happened at most labor organizing events. And they did this for all kinds of stuff, including using social media to track organizations it saw as quote “threats,” like Greenpeace, the Yellow Vest protests in France, and Greta Thunbergs climate strike movement. In one case, the reports indicate that a Pinkerton spy was inserted into a warehouse in Poland in 2019 to investigate an allegation that managers were coaching their employees in how to complete job interviews. Amazon denied that they use the Pinkertons to spy on workers. But really, at this point, who believes a single thing they say? Biden's Cabinet Has A Lot of Knobs We finally have a pretty comprehensive look at Joe Biden’s Cabinet. There’s a lot of names out there, so let’s go over some of the biggest picks rapid-fire. First, we’ve got John Kerry. Sorry, he’s not actually on the cabinet, but he will be Biden’s quote “climate czar,” which climate journalist Emily Atkin said was sign that Biden is going for a middle-of-the-road approach that hinges on GOP support. Not exactly the rapid, revolutionary change we need, but we’ll see. Next up, Antony Blinken is getting the nomination for Secretary of State. He’s well-liked by the general liberal establishment but is also a creature of the icky strategic consultancy world, and probably won’t be a major departure from the Obama-Clinton State department years. Former Fed chair Janet Yellen is expected to take Treasury Secretary. She isn’t exactly Wall Street friendly, but nor is she an open progressive fiscally. Biden’s pick for Director of National Intelligence is Avril Haines. If you recognize that name, you might have read one of the many articles about her developing Barack Obama’s drone strike policy and covering for the CIA’s torture programs during the Bush administration. Yay! Rounding out the international relations corps is Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor and veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the UN. Sorry to Pete Buttigieg for missing out on that last one. And finally, Biden will nominate Cuban-American immigratn Alejandro Mayorkas to be his secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a historic first for the agency, which, then again, shouldn’t even exist and was started by George W. Bush to consolidate power and infringe on civil liberties. So, in other words, pretty much what we’d expect so far. No word yet on whether Bernie Sanders will be able to nab the Labor Secretary spot and maybe get some work done there, nor on whether Rahm Emanuel will successfully worm his way into the administration. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: 87 year-old Diane Feinstein announced on Monday that she will not seek the Judiciary Committee Chairmanship or any ranking position in Senate Leadership when the new Congress comes in in 2021. That would mean that if the Democrats do manage to win the Georgia runoffs and take the senate, there’s no chance Feinstein would be in charge. We can only hope that retirement follows! Republican Kelly Loeffler, one of the most openly corrupt politicians in the Senate, is returning to the campaign trail for her January 5 Georgia run-off despite the fact that she might have COVID, seeing as she tested both positive, then inconclusive, then allegedly negative in the past 3 or so days. What do they say down in Georgia? Bless her heart. In the bad news column, the surge of coronavirus cases that used to be largely contained to the upper midwest is now nationwide, the New York Times reports, showing that cases have risen sharply in nine non-Midwest states in recent days. This thing is going massively up all over. But finally, in very good news, we have a THIRD major company that claims to have a vaccine that’s 90 percent effective in early tests. AstraZeneca joins Pfizer and Moderna as companies with a supposedly working vaccine. That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today! We’ll be with you for one more morning tomorrow before heading off to eat large amounts of food. Over to Sam. NOV 24, 2020 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn
7 min
Blocked Party
Blocked Party
Stefan Heck & John Cullen
Episode 105: Gina Harms v. A Comedian
Gina Harms (comedian, Dear Pop Culture) joins the show for some more local comedy scene drama, as we get the scoop on open mic "hierarchy" and the entitlement of room-runners in a baffling and childish Block Tale. It's also a big episode this week for the Blocked Boys, as Stefan finally creates an Instagram account for his cat and John finally gives everyone what they want and proposes to Becca. Amidst stories of engagement, both in the very real, betrothed sense, and in the fake, online sense, we talk about proposing at ballparks, chaos meals, Princess Diana nostalgia, Stefan's mustache, and the Blocked Boys receive one of the weirdest pitches of all-time. If you want to receive more weirdness, you can head on over to, where $5/month gets you access to THREE bonus episodes and ONE live episode every single month. This past week, we put out the third instalment of our beloved Trivia Party series with Chris James and Christine Bortolin, and this week ahead, you get the epic conclusion of our D&D adventure with Jamie Loftus and Branson Reese, a tale for the ages. Your donation also gets you access to our entire bonus episode back catalogue, an invitation to our very nice and cool Discord server, and our undying love. We've got plenty of new, fun stuff all the time, so be sure to check it out. Gina Harms is a comedian from Vancouver, BC and she just launched a podcast about nostalgia and pop culture called Dear Pop Culture, which you can find on Instagram at @DearestPopCulture and wherever you get your podcasts. You can follow her on Twitter at @GinaHarms.
1 hr 19 min
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