1. Live Long and Prosper

    February 27, 2015 by MelStar1

    Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy passed away today. He was 83 years old. His final tweet, from 02/22/15, reads: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” Well put, and thank you for the memories.


    Today on StandUP!


    Friday was great, right out of the gate! Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) called in to talk with Pete about the Congressional battle to make sure the Dept. of Homeland Security stays funded. Pete also took the opportunity to get advice on raising succesful, strong daughters from the Senator, seeing as she is the first elected female Senator from the State of Michigan, it seems like a good source.

    In the second hour, author of “The End of Men” and national correspondent for The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin joined us to discuss her article in this month’s issue about the scandal hunters that feast on the skeletons in the Clinton Family closet, “Among the Hillary Haters.”

    Hour three got a little crowded so let’s just lay it out there:

    What a great show, and a great week. If you still listen to the show on Indie 102, that’s great. But why not ALSO check us out on Insight 121? I mean, it’s JUST the main channel we broadcast from…no big whoop.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to rewatch Citizenfour and lose any remaining hope or faith I had in humanity and people in power. :( Oh, and tomorrow’s my birthday. :)





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  2. Seepak!

    February 26, 2015 by MelStar1



    Today on StandUP!


    Alfred’s on his honeymoon and Melanie’s at CPAC! with Margaret Hoover which means this baby bird is learning to fly, and today’s show didn’t just fly…it SOARED.

    Executive Director, CNN Politics, Mark Preston, joined us in the first hour to tell us on a Thursday what everyone will be saying about CPAC on Monday. Pete and Mark also discussed the possible Homeland Security shutdown and a little 2016 Campaign wrangling.

    In the second hour, former Reagan advisor, Treasury official and author of multiple books including his the most recent, “The Benefit and the Burden,” Bruce Bartlett joined us to talk about his experience speaking before Congress about budgets and inflation.

    Then, we were joined for the first time, but surely not the last, by former Asst. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and trial attorney for the DOJ, Laura Coates. We discussed her career and her experience in the District of Columbia, where marijuana has just been legalized for personal growth and private home consumption.

    We kicked off the third hour by checking in with the SiriusXM Insight crew down in Washington D.C. covering the Conservative Political Action Conference. (That’s what all those CPAC!s up top stood for) First we talked to Margaret Hoover, the political strategist, author and host of Get It Right, weekdays at noon East. Then, she passed the mic over to John Fugelsang, comic, personality and prolific Twitter star as well as host of Tell Me Everything, weekdays from 2-5 EST.

    We stayed in D.C. one more time to finish the show, this time talking via phone with Will Sommer. He’s a reporter at Washington City Paper, and he’s been covering the journey towards marijuana legalization in the District.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to go out and get married so I can go on a honeymoon, too! That’s a good reason to enter a lifetime arrangement with someone, right? Free stuff and travel plans?





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  3. Ka Huaka`i Maika`i

    February 25, 2015 by MelStar1

    For the next two weeks, this will be an Alfred-free show. He’s on his honeymoon.


    Today on StandUP!


    Our first guest today is the co-host of Wharton Sports Business Show, Tuesdays at 4pm East on Business Radio channel 111 as well as Faculty Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, Kenneth Shropshire. Pete and Ken discussed how social issues affect the business of sports.  Kenneth’s new book is “Sport Matters: Leadership, Power and the Quest for Respect in Sports.”

    In the second hour, Washington correspondent for The Takeaway, Todd Zwillich, joined us to cover the ongoing battle to fund/shut down the Dept. of Homeland Security.

    Then, Aaron David Miller joined us to talk some more about ISIS, Israel and the ongoing effort to separate Iran from its nuclear ambitions. Mr. Miller is currently the VP for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as well as author of “The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have and Doesn’t Want Another Great President.” 

    We spent our final hour of today’s show in the presence of greatness. He is a professional money manager, founder of the Big Picture Blog at Ritholtz.com, columnist for Bloomberg View, and author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.” I speak, of course, of Barry Ritholtz and today he took us into the minimum wage battle being fought in McDonald’s and Wal-Marts across America.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to Hasselback a bunch of potatoes.





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  4. Ungar Pangs

    February 24, 2015 by MelStar1

    I don’t know about you guys, but here in The Big Snapple you cannot walk five feet without running into some goofus in one of those expensive, trendy, and possibly cruel Canada Goose jackets. Thanks, Obama. And winter. And fashion.


    Today on StandUP!


    SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and Forbes contributor Rick Ungar filled in for Pete today, but Pete is back tomorrow so don’t get too comfy.

    Our first guest is special correspondent for Daily Beast and editor of “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,” Michael Tomasky. Michael has been covering the comings and going of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and he joined us today to discuss just that.

    In the second hour, Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project joined us to discuss recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports claiming that marijuana may be far safer than previously thought, compared to alcohol and other recreational drugs.

    Then Zack Beauchamp joined us from Vox.com to discuss Islamic State and his new piece, “ISIS is Losing.”

    In our final segment of the day, we took a deeper look at the gender wage gap situation. Sabrina Schaeffer is Exec. Director of the Independent Women’s Forum and co-author of “Liberty is No War on Women,” and in her eyes the gender wage gap is not nearly as bad as made out by special interest groups. Conversely, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill),” David Cay Johnston believes that the gender wage gap and gender discrimination are as prevalent now than they ever have been.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go outside and judge people for their choice in high-end winterwear.




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  5. A Hari Situation

    February 23, 2015 by MelStar1

    70 years ago today photographer Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press took one of the most iconic photos of World War II, if not the 20th Century as a whole.


    Today on StandUP!


    After a little bit of Oscarworthy Oscars Wrapup, we moved onto more important things and in the second hour we talked about the gender wage gap in America with co-host of CNN’s “Early Start,” Christine Romans. Actress Patricia Arquette brought it up during her acceptance speech, and if there is one aspect of the Academy Awards worth discussing, this was it.

    Also in the second hour, Pete sat down with Johann Hari, author of the new book, “Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.” Pete and Johann discussed the policy and law enforcement failures of the war on drugs and just how closely race and cultural domination is ingrained in its history. Listen as Johann tells Pete the story of America’s first Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger.


    Our last guest of the day was Graeme Wood, political science lecturer at Yale University and contributing editor at The Atlantic. Wood’s cover story in this month’s issue, “What ISIS Really Wants,” has been hotly debated and highly discussed in the last week. Today Graeme joined us to share his thoughts on the sinister deeds and perceived goals of the highly militarized terror group.


    Programming Note: Pete’s out tomorrow, Rick Ungar filling in. Pete’s back Wednesday. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. 



    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to photoshop myself into wire photos from the Oscars.





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  6. Remember This in July When It’s Boiling Out.

    February 20, 2015 by MelStar1

    It’s cold out. Except for California, which is still technically in a drought.



    Today on StandUP!


    We kicked off the Friday show with another visit with Carlos Warner, the Assistant Public Defender from the Northern District of Ohio whose work has led him to Cuba, where he represents Guantanamo Bay detainees. Pete and Carlos laid the groundwork of just who has been at Gitmo and for how long, before discussing Rep. Senator Tom Cotton’s recent comments on the U.S. military base-turned-detention center.

    After the break, we welcomed Chief Economist for Oppenheimer Funds, Jerry Webman. Pete took Bob Rice’s advice and asked Jerry onto the show to talk about financial markets and the truths and perceptions of wealth and wealth inequality in America.

    Next, comedian Tom McCaffrey joined the show. Tom crowdfunded part of his new film, “Adventures in Comedy,” and we had him on to talk about comedy, family, and the ins and outs of crowdfunding culture. “Adventures in Comedy” is available now through Hulu, Roku and Amazon. Check it out.

    All that remained in the show was for us to close out Presidents Week, and to do that we turned to Andrew Card, who served as President George W. Bush’s White House Chief of Staff from 2001-2006 and currently serves as President of Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Mr. Card opened our eyes to some of the inner workings of life in the West Wing, from daily briefings to acting as a firewall of sorts between the President and the many advisers and staff who seek his attention, to working with the Secret Service to balance presidential security and the flow of the average workday.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to rewatch “The Graduate” so I’m at the top of my game when I disrupt Alfred’s wedding tomorrow in an effort to win back his love.





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  7. The Lincoln Bedroom

    February 19, 2015 by MelStar1

    If this were 1847, today would be the day rescuers first reached surviving members of the Donner Party, who set out from Illinois for the brave new world of California before becoming snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Range. Oh, and some of them ate people.


    Today on StandUP!


    First, our old friend and Constitutional Law Professor at Georgia State University, Eric Segall, joined us to talk about a federal judge’s block of President Obama’s immigration reform, and other judicial and Supreme Court related things.

    Next, decorated former Marine and veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and author of the new novel, “Green on Blue,” Elliot Ackerman visited StandUP! to discuss his new book and the intricate, difficult relationship between soldier and enemy as well as United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East.

    Then, Pete continued Presidents Week with a bit of a lighter look at what happens inside the Oval Office. Managing editor of Death and Taxes magazine and author of, “Party Like A President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief,” Brian Abrams joined us to talk about presidential excess in all things alcoholic, narcotic and sexual.

    You probably know our last guest from his time as host of the new “Let’s Make A Deal” or his work on “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” but after this morning we know him as the originator of the term “Boston Tag,” Wayne Brady. Pete and Wayne talked about the good works of the Ronald McDonald House, the ups and downs of being famous and the upcoming BET Honors, which Wayne is hosting.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to start getting ready for Alfred’s wedding, which mostly involves sadly realizing that, for a grown man, I own nothing that you’d consider “stain-free.




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  8. Martian-Americans

    February 18, 2015 by MelStar1

    With one month left before the start of Spring, Boston is currently tied for the second snowiest winter on record, about 12 inches away from the all-time total of 107.6, set in 1995-1996.


    Today on StandUP!


    Huffington Post Live host Josh Zepps continued to fill Pete’s Crocs, with Pete due back from the frozen north in time for tomorrow’s broadcast.

    Our first guest was Cathy O’Neil, the blogger behind MathBabe.org and author of the soon-to-be-completed book on big data’s dark side, “Weapons of Math Destruction.” Cathy joined us to talk about the online travel company Expedia, who has absorbed both of its main competitors, Travelocity and Orbitz.

    Next, Bloomberg View columnist and former senior national security correspondent for Newsweek, Eli Lake joined the show to talk with Josh Zepps about ISIS and the White House Summit on Extremism.

    The private program Mars One just selected 100 finalists for a proposed manned mission to Mars, a trip being planned as a one-way only affair. To learn more about the science and realistic chance of starting a colony on the red planet, we turned to Dr. Robert Zubrin, founder and president of the Mars Society, which is dedicated to such things.

    The third hour kicked off with another installment of our Presidents Week programming, and today Pete was joined in a pre-taped interview by former Chief of Protocol of the United States in the Obama administration, Capricia Marshall. We’ve always been curious about just how sitting Presidents keep track of the customs and traditions or world leaders during state dinners and trips abroad, and now we know!

    Our last guest of the day was Alex Davies. Alex is an associate editor at tech, design and culture magazine “Wired,” and today he joined us to talk about the possibility of self-driving cars. Apple, Google and Audi have all made great strides in the field and it is not too far afield to expect yourself in the passenger seat of one during the next decade or so.

    And with that, we bid Josh Zepps adieu until next time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to the supermarket and try on reading glasses, just like my mother.




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  9. Listening to some Zepps

    February 17, 2015 by MelStar1

    Pete is away, skiing, with his family. Normal operations will resume Thursday. Until then, Josh Zepps will be your tour guide.


    Today on StandUP!


    Josh Zepps of HuffPost Live welcomed you all back from the long holiday weekend, and we recapped the top news stories from the last few days, focusing a bit on the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special, all things Australian and this upcoming weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony.

    Our first guest of the day is the Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Richard Dieter. Richard and Josh discussed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s recent moratorium on the death penalty in his state and the changing perception of the death penalty in the minds of Americans.

    Next, we welcomed a distinguished photojournalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic and Time Magazine, Lynsey Addario. Lynsey was kidnapped and held for 5 days while working in Libya in 2011, which is among the many things covered in her new memoir, “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War.” She joined us today to discuss the book and a professional life lived in some of the world’s most volatile warzones.

    Pete may be off skiing the Catskills, but that won’t stop Presidents Week for moving full steam ahead. Today’s PW guest was Michael Gerhardt, author of the book, “The Forgotten Presidents.” Pete and Michael discuss the American Presidents who have fallen below the radar of most Americans. Presidents whose contributions to the nation perhaps don’t shine nearly as bright as a Kennedy, Roosevelt, Lincoln or Reagan.

    Josh Zepps will be in again tomorrow, so if you’ll excuse me I’m going to buy some kangaroo meat on the black market so I can better relate to him.





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  10. Get A Life!

    February 13, 2015 by MelStar1

    Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by Allied forces at the tail end of WWII. Author Kurt Vonnegut was a POW being held in Dresden and his survival of that night informed both his novel “Slaughterhouse-Five” and his career at large.


    Today on StandUP!


    Matthew Hoh has been a Marine and an official at the State Department and is currently a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. Today, Matthew joined Pete to talk a little about the passing and signage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act and the motivations and possible outcomes of the President’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) request.

    Next, we welcomed Linda Greenhouse to the show to discuss the upcoming decision the Supreme Court will make involving federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. Linda is a Pulitzer Prize winner and covered SCOTUS for the NY Times for 30 years and is currently a Senior Research Scholar in Law and the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph Goldstein lecturer at Yale Law.

    Then, we checked in with Tracey L. Ross, co-host of SiriusXM Insight’s “Talk Poverty Radio.” Tracey highlighted some of the issues coming up on tomorrow’s show. “Talk Poverty Radio” airs Saturday’s at noon East on Channel 121.

    Earlier in the week we talked to Eugene Levy about the new PopTV show, “Schitt’s Creek,” and today we talked to co-star and fellow comedy legend Chris Elliott in what has to be one of the funniest interviews to air on the show. Basically, Alfred was unmasked as a stalker of Chris’ daughter Abby and faced the wrath of a caring father, devoted runner, and longtime Letterman contributor.

    We closed out the show, and the week, with Pete’s friend and great, great stand up comedian, Steve Byrne. Steve is constantly touring, so there is no reason for you to miss out. Today, Pete and Steve talked about comedy, family, being formerly single, and Steve’s running feud with Dane Cook.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wait at the store for all the Valentine’s candy to go to hell and the Easter candy to descend from Heaven-on-high.





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  11. Mad Again

    February 12, 2015 by MelStar1

    Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. A good way to celebrate the birth of the 16th President of the United States is to watch the documentary film “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” about the time Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and Napoleon Bonaparte saved the world and partied it up in SoCal. Righteous!


    Today on StandUP!


    Tow Truck Tim called at the start of the show, and things kinda took off from there. We talked a lot about the notion of drug testing welfare recipients and expanded to the idea of whether laws can be inherently racist or if it bad actors in government who pervert them for racist means.

    You’d think all that heated discussion would make it awkward for actor, comedian and game show host Bill Bellamy, but he slid right into the discussion and turned in a great half-hour. We also talked a bit about his cousin, Shaq.

    Our next guest,Steve Koepp,  is the editorial director of the new TIME-LIFE book, “Mysteries of the Criminal Mind,” and we thought it would be cool to ask him about the motivations of some of the most notorious criminals in America.

    Then, out of nowehere, Patrick Meagher showed up and talked it out with Pete. Patrick is an old friend of the show and also a host on Mad Dog Radio, who now works out of Los Angeles.

    Then we welcomed Norman B. Anderson, CEO and Executive VP of the American Psychological Association, who wanted to speak today about stress brought on by financial worries. Not many of us talk so openly about it, but our finances and debts can create a lot of stress in our lives and lead to depression and hurt relationships. Trust me, I know.

    Our final guest of the day was comedian Kathleen Madigan. You’ve probably seen her on Letterman, Conan, Leno, or maybe one of the countless shows she does across the country, and if you haven’t you had better. It was a really fun and great segment, if only for her tales of entertaining troops in Iraq with Lewis Black, Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong. Jeez did I really like that part…


    Tomorrow’s Friday, and you know what that means! That’s right, I’m going to slowly make my way home from work, going bar to bar, standing just on the edge of strangers’ conversations, laughing along with their stories until they ask me to leave. Which I will.





    Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our fa.vorite interviews here

  12. Spike, Dean, Steve and Eugene.

    February 11, 2015 by MelStar1

    Boston city schools opened today for the first time since 97 feet of snow fell on the city last weekend. Okay, maybe it wasn’t 97 feet, but it was a lot and because of all the closings, they are considering cancelling spring break. That’s a wicked pissah!


    Today on StandUP!


    Our first guest of the day is an ABC News correspondent and the moderator for the Intelligence Squared debates, John Donvan. Today he joined us to preview the next debate, but Pete also called upon his journalism experience for some insight into the ongoing tribulations of Brian Williams.

    Steve Levine covers energy, tech and politics for Quartz and he has written a new book titled, “The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World,” and he joined Pete this morning to discuss his book, electric cars, emerging battery technology, and how moguls and nations alike are racing to be the first to the top of the energy cell mountain

    Then, we welcomed SCTV alum and star of multitude comedy films, Eugene Levy and his son Daniel, who together have created the new series, “Schitt’s Creek,” premiering tonight on PopTV. Pete, Eugene and Daniel talked about Canada, comedy and raising a family in show business.

    Dean Obeidallah isn’t just a comedian and host of the excellent “Dean Obeidallah Show” every Saturday morning at 10east here at SiriusXM Insight, he is also a person who just last week had a meeting with the President. We talked with Dean about that, then we argued about a military intervention in the fight against ISIS, and then we gave Dean the bum’s rush to make way for our next guest…

    Spike Lee! Director of such classic modern American films as “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X,” Spike joined us today to talk about his new horror project that he funded through crowdfunding. Pete also subjected Spike to one of his patented, heard-only-on-this-show “Lightning Round” segments.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to rewatch Pete’s appearance on The Nightly Show over and over again. Examining it, memorizing his ticks, absorbing all of his nuance, becoming Pete.





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  13. A Parroty Show

    February 10, 2015 by MelStar1

    New England is getting pummeled with so much snow this winter, there is a petition circulating to have the region renamed New Iceland! HAHA! Just kidding. There is no such petition. That would be stupid.


    Today on StandUP!


    Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Beast, John Avlon, and writer and contributor to National Review, Will Cain, joined us for their regular segment on all things political. We got sidetracked at the beginning with some loose talk on whether or not birds are worthy pets, and sidetracked at the end with more discussion on Brian Williams’ mis-remembered tales of derring do in Iraq.

    In the second hour, comedian, actor, and now director David Cross joined us to talk about his new film, “Hits,” a dark comedy about America’s obsession with fame, set around small town politics in upstate NY. And we checked in on Pete’s 4 year old bet with David that he will never join Twitter. Spoiler Alert: He still hasn’t.

    Next, we were joined by a man with tremendous foreign affairs experience, Thomas Pickering. He’s been ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, Jordan, and is currently a distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution. We asked Amb. Pickering to join us on the topic of Jordan and the fight against ISIS, but we couldn’t help but pick his brain on Russia/Ukraine tensions as well.

    Our final guest of the day is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as author of numerous books on the Vietnam War. Today, Christian Appy joined us to discuss his new book, “American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity,” about teaching the lessons and story of the Vietnam War to current and future generations.


    Set your DVRs or have some Sanka after dinner so you can watch Pete return to the old Colbert Report studio tonight as a panelist on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore! 11;30/10:30 Central on Comedy Central. Will Pete be mistaken as some sort of ghost or vagrant? Will the producers use CGI to give Pete a full, lush head of hair? Perhaps most importantly: Will he “Keep it 100?”


    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to place an order for a six foot party sub and eat the entire thing myself over the course of a week, python style.





    Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here.

  14. Spending the Night at Grammys

    February 9, 2015 by MelStar1

    Sam Smith and Beck walked away with the biggest honors at the Grammys last night, but Kanye West walked away with the biggest chip on his shoulder. 


    Today on StandUP!


    If you watched HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher this weekend, you saw the host and his panel hold forth a great many views on medicine, vaccinations and health care. Pete decided to run a few of these by Dr. Aaron Carroll, Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University as well as the co-author of several books dispelling health-related myths and legends. If there could be on universal takeaway from the segment, it would be to never take a singular person’s opinion on matters regarding your family’s health, least of all someone on television.

    Last week, the Federal Communications Commission made moves to justify enacting a policy of “Net Neutrality,” and we asked Tim Karr, the Senior Director of Strategy at Free Press, to explain once again what “Net Neutrality” is and what a lack of it could mean for anyone who uses the Internet to consume media, conduct business, or purchase goods and services.

    In between all of our segments today, we kept coming back to a story from Alabama. The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court asked judges in the state to resist issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state, an order that goes against a Supreme Court decision that such licenses must be honored. In light of that, we took to the phones and asked you throughout the show to tell us something actually *good* about Alabama. So, what’s good?

    Our last guest of the day has his own show over at Al Jazeera America called “Real Money,” and today Ali Velshi joined us to go a little deeper into the US jobs numbers released last Friday. Pete and Ali also talked infrastructure and the ongoing scandal involving NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I am going to find a doctor willing to put me into a medically induced coma until at least the end of March.





    Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here.