Apr 7: Chris Mooney on The Republican Brain
Apr 7th, 2012 by Sam

On the Samantha Clemens Show, Saturday morning from 10 to 11am, Samantha welcomes Chris Mooney to talk about his new book “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny the Science — and Reality”


From Amazon:

Best selling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality—it’s just part of who they are.

From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

Science writer Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.

  • Goes beyond the standard claims about ignorance or corporate malfeasance to discover the real, scientific reasons why Republicans reject the widely accepted findings of mainstream science, economics, and history—as well as many undeniable policy facts (e.g., there were no “death panels” in the health care bill).
  • Explains that the political parties reflect personality traits and psychological needs—with Republicans more wedded to certainty, Democrats to novelty—and this is the root of our divide over reality.
  • Written by the author of The Republican War on Science, which was the first and still the most influential book to look at conservative rejection of scientific evidence. But the rejection of science is just the beginning…

Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.

Feb 4: Komen Caves and Football Games
Feb 4th, 2012 by Sam

Susan B. Komen for the Cure has caved to pressure from outside forces and has stopped funding Planned Parenthood.  Tricia Wajda, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood joins us to talk about the Komen Foundation caving to the right-wing and then bending back again…

And for the second half of the show…

Are sports a proxy for war?

Does football epitomize the male infatuation with violently conquering others while exploiting members of the fairer sex?

Is Samantha too much of a “chick” to get it? (Don’t worry fellas, Producer Aaron will set her straight).

May 7: Burkas, Bullies, and Babies – A Women’s Place
May 7th, 2011 by Sam

Happy Mother’s Day!


  • Hadear Kandilwriter, journalist and American-born, Egyptian-educated Egyptian American (whew!)
  • Robin Oliveira, author, My Name Mary Sutter

Can a feminist wear the Niqab and/or a Burka? Should we judge a woman who was raped by the skimpiness of her clothing? Should the government control what happens inside a woman’s body? How far have women come in America and how do they compare with women in other countries? Should we judge societies by how they treat women? Poor women?  Is the separation of women and men in Islamic countries gender apartheid, or analogous to the Elks Club and ladies auxiliary??

Hadear will join us to talk about Muslim feminists, our perceptions of Muslim women, their perceptions of us, what progress women are making in Islamic countries.  We’ll have a look at how status of women varies around the world.

Robin will join us to talk about her novel, My Name is Mary Sutter, the story of one woman who starts out as a midwife and yearns to become a surgeon. Since this was an unlikely occupation for a woman in the mid-1800’s, she was rejected time and again from medical school and eventually answers the call of reformer Dorothea Dix to become a nurse just as the Civil War is beginning.   She was at first even turned down for that because of the strict social regulations of the time for women and men.

How much progress have women made since the Civil War?  How many women around the world live today like Mary Sutter?  And, is American society backsliding with the recent legislation proposed by the Republican dominated House of Representatives?

Jan 15: Right-wing attack speech – just entertainment?
Jan 15th, 2011 by Sam


Guest: David Bernstein, Boston Phoenix

So, why did liberals so quickly conclude that Loughner was a right-wing nut and the shooting was a political assassination?

Was it, perhaps, because there has been a series of such events in the last two years?

Is it because the right-wing media has grown ever more inflammatory?

Is it because the line between the right-wing media and right-wing politicians has blurred?

Is it because death threats against the President of the United States have significantly increased since Obama took office?

Is it because the metaphors used in political speech, especially by the right-wing, has evolved from sports to military and hunting?

Consider this (from Crooks and Liars):

…what’s equally undeniable is that it comes amid a gradually mounting litany of violence directed against “liberal” and government targets, effectively suggesting a fresh onset of domestic terrorism from the extremist American Right.

They go on to list a series of events, beginning with these:

— July 2008A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

— October 2008Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

— December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

Not only that, the language from the right is increasingly casting liberals as “America-hating, totalitarian, domestic enemies,” as described by David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix, in his article Desert Storm: How the GOP and the Sunset State nurture the lunatic fringe. Conservatives say the words are to be taken as metaphors or even entertainment.  If they don’t mean anything, why do they say them?  And, where should society draw the line?

And, how would conservatives react if liberals started showing up at political rallies with guns?

Jul 31: Libs and Cons; Immigration and Morality
Jul 31st, 2010 by Sam


Newsflash!!! Libs and cons view immigration differently!!! We libs are certain that for us, it is a moral issue. Not only is it immoral to let people die of thirst in the desert, it is immoral to not provide healthcare, separate families, withhold a better living standard to people who just out of bad luck were born into a poorer country.

But, is it POSSIBLE that conservatives have their own moral view? That it isn’t just naked self-interest?

We’re going to look at some cutting edge research on the science of morality; studies that have been done globally on the moral intuitions of people and how that effects their stances on immigration and a whole lot of other things.

These guys got together to talk all about it…

Jonathan Haidt has a theory, the Moral Foundations Theory, where he proposes that liberals and conservatives view the world differently:

Moral Foundations Theory was created to understand why morality varies so much across cultures yet still shows so many similarities and recurrent themes. In brief, the theory proposes that five innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too. The foundations are:

1) Harm/care, related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. This foundation underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/reciprocity, related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. This foundation generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulate the theory in 2010 based on new data, we are likely to include several forms of fairness, and to emphasize proportionality, which is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Ingroup/loyalty, related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. This foundation underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/respect, shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. This foundation underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Purity/sanctity, shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. This foundation underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions)

Take the morality quiz to see where you fall…

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