More Perfect: Radiolab's genius podcast about the Supreme Court

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Finally, the Oyez project at Chicago-Kent Law School provides audio and transcriptions of Supreme Court hearings back to 1955, all in the public domain (because they’re works of the US federal government),…

Hey, I think I hold copyright over those. Line up the lawyers!

For me, the best part of the podcast has been all the case-related details they bring up in the show. I took a political science class last year, so it’s been nice to hear more in-depth info about the cases my prof mentioned in passing.

The Radiolab crew, along with TAL’s have done a lot to expand my horizons in certain ways. It makes me open my wallet during pledge weeks.

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Are you also a little bit afraid you’ll get a call from Ira Glass if you don’t?

OMG. Yes!

Could you imagine? He probably has the guilt-trippiest voice I’ve ever heard.

Phone rings
“Hi, Ibrahim. It’s Ira Glass, from This American Life.”
“Um… Uh… Hi.”
“So, I got this number from your local NPR affiliate, and I just wanted you to know it’s Pledge week, and I notice you haven’t donated this time around.”
“Well, *nervous laugh* money’s been getting a little tight…”
“Don’t I know it. Ibrahim, do you know what our bandwidth costs are per month? Per month?”
“Yeah, I hear they’re pretty high…”
“Fifteen thousand dollars*.”
“But I’m sure you only ever catch the program on the radio, right? That’s not something you’re really taking advantage of.”
“You’re not one of those people who does URL hacking to download copies of old episodes, right?”
“Because you know that award-winning quality journalism costs real-”
“Check’s in the mail.”
“I knew you’d come around.”

*This is actually true.


I totally read his parts in his voice in my head…

Radiolab has a tendency to frustrate me.

Usually, about 30 minutes into one of their shows, I find myself trying to get the radio’s attention. I say things like, “but what about XXXX?” or “you’re completely ignoring YYYYY!” Happens every time. Sadly they can’t hear me.

Perhaps they’re trying to fit too much into an hour?

Why does Radiolab date their filenames in month/day/year format? I want my files listed by date, not by month. I always have to rename them to year/month/day format.


Because America!

Awesome. This is something my high school American history classes were definitely missing. We had to learn the names and results of a whole bunch of the famous cases but essentially never learned the stories behind them.

Marbury vs. Madison, complete the blank: judicial review. Something I just learned from Wikipedia: the law the Court struck down as unconstitutional was a provision of the judiciary act purporting to extend the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction (which I’d guess is probably why everyone went along with the idea).

Brown vs. Board of Ed: segregation in schools is illegal, overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson. What I only learned by chance: the NAACP orchestrated the case, recruiting plaintiffs and instructing their parents to attempt to enroll them in white schools, and arranging it so that even though all but one plaintiff was female the lead plaintiff (Oliver Brown) was male because they thought it would play better in court.

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