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Civil Discourse Podcast

Companion to the podcast

Inaugurations Gone Wrong (Aired 1/19/2021)

Nia and Aughie discuss "unusual" historical Presidential Inaugurations. From snubs to brawls to illness to drunk vice-presidents, inaugurations of the past have not always run smoothly.

Weird Investigations (Aired 1/26/21)

Alien investigations/FOIA

Bigfoot Investigations/FOIA:

Bermuda Triangle

Aughie and Nia discuss government investigations into unusual phenomena. Included in this podcast are investigations into UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle.

Characters in Public Service (Aired 2/2/21)

Aughie and Nia welcome back Bill Newmann, professor of political science at VCU, to discuss larger than life characters in American public service. They touch upon Presidents Johnson and Truman, as well as Governors Huey Long and Ann Richards, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. 

Alexei Navalny (Aired 2/9/21)

Nia and Aughie welcome Judy Twigg, VCU Political Science professor, to discuss the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. Dr. Twigg also gives a bit of the background of the current opposition positions to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Exemplars of Public Service (aired 2/16/21)

Aughie and Nia welcome Bill Newmann as they discuss the public service careers of Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus. In addition to serving in multiple positions in government, Richardson and Ruckelshaus refused to fire Archibald Cox, the lead investigator of Watergate, at the behest of President Richard Nixon.

Texas v Pennsylvania in Depth (aired 2/23/21)

Nia and Aughie explore the Supreme Court ruling in Texas v. Pennsylvania, et al. Included in the discussion are the principles of standing, justiciability, arguments between the states, and the Special Master's position.

Vaccines Around the World (Aired 3/2/21)

Nia and Aughie welcome Judy Twigg, political scientist with a public health specialization, to discuss the worldwide vaccine response to COVID-19. The discussion ranges from joint efforts to vaccinate world populations to the concept of soft political power in terms of worldwide health care.

Warren Commission (Aired 3/9/21)

In this first of a series on government Commissions and their reports, Aughie and Nia discuss the Warren Commission, convened in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They explore the members, findings, and conspiracy theories surrounding the work of the Commission.

Rogers Commission (Aired 3/16/21)

Next in a series on Commissions and their reports, Aughie and Nia explore the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, also known as the Rogers Commission. The Commission described the Challenger tragedy as "an accident rooted in history".  The nine recommendations of the Commission were rooted in improving safety in the shuttle program.

The 9/11 Commission, pt 1 (Aired 3/23/21) and pt 2 (Aired 3/30/21)

Aughie and Nia tackle the 9/11 Commission report and outcomes in the next two episodes of this series. Part 1 concentrates on the precipitating event and the report. Part 2 concentrates on the USA PATRIOT Act and other outcomes following the report. 

The Brownlow Committee, pt 1 (Aired 4/6/21) and pt 2 (Aired 4/13/21)

The Brownlow Committee and report provide the next two episodes in the Commission series. Part 1 is a discussion of the goals of President Roosevelt in forming the Committee as well as their general recommendations. Part 2 is a discussion of the outcome of the Committee's report, including the many offices within the Executive Office of the President.

Shafer Commission (Aired 4/20/21)

Nia and Aughie discuss the work of the The Shafer Commission. The discussion touches on Reefer Madness and moves to the 1974 report and the recommendations regarding decriminalization of recreational marijuana use. The Commission's report on marijuana use was largely ignored by the Nixon Administration.

Tower Commission (Aired 4/27/21)

The Tower Commission, established in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, was to investigate and review the proper role of the National Security Staff  in the sale of arms to Iran. Aughie and Nia discuss the scope of the investigation, from the Congressional mandates regarding arms sales to the lack of cooperation of some of the intelligence agencies. They also touch on the concurrent Congressional investigations.

Kerner Commission, pt 1 (Aired 5/4/21) and pt 2 (Aired 5/11/21)

n these two episodes of the Commission series, Nia and Aughie explore the report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission. In the first part, Aughie and Nia discuss membership, precipitating events, and list the recommendations. In part 2, they discuss the public reaction to the recommendations, and the ongoing political fallout from the Commission's work.

Banking Commissions pt 1 (Aired 5/18/21) and pt 2 (Aired 5/25/21)

  • National Monetary Commission series
  • Pecora Investigation
  • Review of the Report of the Commission on Money and Credit - Hearings before the Joint Economic Committee
  • Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reports

The next two episodes find Nia and Aughie exploring the four major Banking Commissions from 1907 to 2010. In part 1, they discuss the National Monetary Commission and the Pecora Investigation. In part 2, they look into the Commission on Money and Credit and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Moynihan Commission (Aired 6/1/2021)

In the final episode of the Commissions series (and Season 6), Aughie and Nia look at the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, also known as the Moynihan Commission. Coming at the end of the Cold War Era, this report discusses the need for careful review of secrecy decisions to limit the potential harms from too many documents being declared secret.