1. A Visit to the Dean

    July 31, 2015 by MelStar1

    It’s been 40 years since Jimmy Hoffa disappeared into American lore.


    Today on StandUP!

    Dean Obeidallah filled in for Pete this morning, while Pete & Family took off in search of an elusive and deadly white whale.

    Today’s guests:

    – Daily Beast special correspondent and editor of “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,” Michael Tomasky gave us our fill of Donald Trump and other Beltway news items from the week.

    Seema Iyer is an attorney here in New York, specializing in criminal defense, civil rights and Constitutional law and today she joined us to discuss the recent shooting of Sam DuBose by a University of Cincinatti policeman and the devolution of relations between police and the citizens they’ve sworn to protect.

    – Comedian Scott Blakeman is an old friend of Dean’s, the two having co-created “Stand Up for Peace: The Two Comedian Solution to Middle East Peace.” Scott is also a noted comedy teacher, who counts among his past students Caroline Rhea and Jon Stewart, whose departure from The Daily Show became the focus of today’s segment.

    Haroon Moghul is co-producer of “Avenue M,” a new media project seeking to shed Muslim stereotypes from society. Recently, Haroon has been actively trying to build interest in Joe Biden as a candidate for President, and we discussed what that campaign would look like, what roadblocks it would face and just how cool President Joe Biden would be.


    Make sure to tune into The Dean Obeidallah show tomorrow at 10am EDT on Insight 121, and check back in on Monday where Rick Ungar will be in the StandUP! chair for Pete once more.


    Now if you’ll excuse me I need to find who shot this video of me playing with my bird friends.





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  2. Vacation Redux

    July 30, 2015 by MelStar1

    Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law on July 30, 1965. Now, if he could only get these kids off my lawn.


    Today on StandUP!

    Rick Ungar was in the captain’s chair while Pete and the family ran off for a weekend of fun, sun and clams. Delicious, sun-baked raw clams! We were joined by:

    Jared Bernstein, former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, whose new book is “The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity.”

    – Former Reagan adviser and Treasury official for George H.W. Bush, Bruce Bartlett, who joined us today to discuss his recent piece for POLITICO, “The Moderate Republican’s Case for Trump.”

    Amanda Marcotte, writer for Slate and Rolling Stone, came on to discuss the furor rising from the Right over Planned Parenthood, and why that furor is fueled by doctored and false evidence.

    – Co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research and HuffPo a& Guardian columnist Dean Baker joined us to talk some more economic hoodoo.

    – And we ended the show with a hot blast of Hollywood, as actor/comedian Ed Helms joined us in-studio to discuss the new movie “Vacation,” in theaters now. Here’s Ed Helms on Steve Martin’s prowess with the banjo:


    Dean Obeidallah is in tomorrow, Rick will be back again Monday.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to dodge the raindrops.





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  3. Grant Me This

    July 29, 2015 by MelStar1

    Eisenhower created NASA on this day in 1958, saying “I hope that someday, oh 57 years from now, we will have sent a craft all the way to Pluto. No, not the dog. See? This is why I am creating NASA, because you people are idiots.” Wow.


    Today on StandUP!

    Ulysses S. Grant was an undeniably great military strategist, but history has been less kind to his legacy as President of the United States. Jack S. Blanton Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin, historian and author H. W. Brands gave us the reasons for Grant’s has rotten legacy and why modern historians are giving him a second look. Brands’ 2013 book, “The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace” is a great treatise on the matter.

    Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley stood as pillars of thought on opposite shores of the turbulent tide of the late 60s, and their debates and rivalries are the centerpiece of a new documentary, “Best of Enemies,” that extends the dynamic to the modern day. Morgan Neville won an Oscar for his documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” and Robert Gordon authored a recent ode to Stax Records and Memphis Soul. Today, Pete and Alfred talked to them about the making of “Best of Enemies.”

    P.J. O’Rourke spent 20 years writing in his conservative voice for Rolling Stone magazine after his time as EIC of National Lampoon. Now, he spends his time farming trees in New Hampshire, filing dispatches for the Daily Beast and covering politics of the day with Pete from time to time. Today’s Special: Donald Trump and the Republican Field of Candidates.

    Pete’s off for a few days, but we are still open for business. Rick Ungar will be in tomorrow and Dean Obeidallah will steer the ship on Friday.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go to the laundromat on the hottest day of the year.



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  4. Will Attend

    July 28, 2015 by MelStar1

    The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted July 28, 1868. The “equal protection” clause contained within it has been kinda influential.


    Today on StandUP!

    Wendell Potter joined Pete in hour one. He is a journalist with the Center for Public Integrity, as well as a contributor to the Huffington Post and author of the recent, “Obamacare: What’s In It For Me?” Today, he and Pete discussed 50 years of Medicare and current problems in the insurance industry, as well as those still looming on the horizon.

    Gawker has been commenting on media for over a decade, but lately it has been in the media more than ever before. Death and Taxes Magazine editor-in-chief Brian Abrams has written a new oral history of Gawker that’s available as a Kindle Single, and today we spoke with him about the influential blog’s legal troubles with Hulk Hogan, journalistic ethics and Judd Apatow/Bill Cosby.

    Adam Resnick is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer with shows like Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and The Larry Sanders Show. He co-created Fox’s “Get A Life” with Chris Elliott, for whom he also wrote and directed the film “Cabin Boy.” The point is: Adam Resnick has humor flowing from every pore in his body, and today we talked to him about his new memoir, “Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation.”

    You animals get one more day with Pete tomorrow before he heads up to Nantucket for a transfusion of blue blood.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to have a major, painful scalp reduction.




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  5. What’s Up, Doc?

    July 27, 2015 by MelStar1

    Bugs Bunny turns 75 today, making his debut with a young Elmer Fudd on this day in 1940. Bugs would later join the Rat Pack before famously falling out with Sinatra over the difference between carrots and carats.


    Today on StandUP!

    Four time Olympic gold-medalist and the first person who pops into any American’s mind when they hear the phrase “Olympic diver,” Greg Louganis joined us in hour one, where he and Pete discussed the new HBO documentary chronicling his professional and personal life. “Back on Board: Greg Louganis” premieres Tuesday, August 4th at 10pm (EDT) on HBO.

    In hour two, we started off with some audio of former Texas governor Rick Perry urging for both stricter enforcement of existing gun laws and a relaxing of the number of “gun-free zones” in America. While it’s easy to marvel at that logic for hours on end, we decided to explore what open/concealed carry laws really are, and what the rules are from state to state. By that, I mean we asked you guys to call and tell us because we are lazy.

    Then, Godfrey returned to the show in advance of some comedy dates at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC this week. Last time, Godfrey slayed us with his Bill Cosby impression. Today, if I remember this right, Godfrey offered to punch all children in the chest, or something. It was an outrageous segment.

    Just as outrageous is the idea that climate change is still something people find debatable. Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist and Slate’s man on the weather beat, and he joined us for the first time today to discuss the El Nino currently reshaping weather patterns in the Pacific, re-adjusting the timeline for sea-level rise, and some his other recent articles.

    We finished the show with a TL; DR version of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” and talked a little about mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level drug offenses.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to let this Vine loop about 90 million times.





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  6. Psych Out

    July 24, 2015 by MelStar1

    Machu Picchu was built around 1450 AD, but it was only discovered on this day in 1911. Until American archeologist Hiram Bingham set eyes on the ruins, it had been known only to secretive local peasants.


    Today on StandUP!

    Pete had a night on the town with Barry Ritholtz last night, catching U2 at Madison Square Garden. Oddly, though, he managed to spend two hours yesterday afternoon watching the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grill Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Iran Nuclear Deal. That’s what dominated most of the first segment of the show.

    Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig is staff writer for the New Republic and one of our favorite sources for news and insight on issues of ethics and a more Christian angle on things. Today, Pete and Elizabeth led us through the news items of the day, from Donald Trump to mass shootings and the Pope’s upcoming visit to America.

    Matt Taibbi is back as a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and you likely know his books “Griftopia” and “The Divide.” Today, Matt spent the entire second hour with us, talking about Donald Trump, the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, and the greedy bastards of the world.

    In the third and final hour of the show, we bid adieu to Psychology Week with a segment that was more debate than roundtable. Dr. Dolores Malaspina is the Anita and Joseph Steckler professor of psychiatry and child psychiatry at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and host of The Psychiatry Show on SiriusXM Doctor Radio channel 81, Tuesdays at noon EDT. Dr. Peter Breggin is a Harvard educated psychiatrist and former Nat’l Institute of Mental Health consultant who, through, his writing, has become a reformer in the world of psychiatry from his private practice in Ithaca, NY. Today, we asked the two to sqaure off on the prevalence and efficacy of psychiatric drugs. It got fairly heated, I’d say. Still a great segment, though. Check it out.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to made some hard judgments about the overall career of Rod Stewart.





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  7. Oslo & Utoya

    July 23, 2015 by MelStar1

    Four years ago, Norway suffered a heartbreaking loss of life at the hands of a domestic terrorist. Reading about the aftermath and causes, it is hard to not see the parallels and disparities to America, post-9/11.


    Today on StandUP!

    At the top of the show, we talked Summer vacation do’s and dont’s with a guest appearance from a vacationing Mark Preston. We also dismantled a caller who thought we should all leave the country if we hate it so dang much.

    Next, Pete welcomed Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. You’ll never guess what they talked about. Seriously though, you should check to see if your state offers incentives for solar energy. It can help ease your monthly electric bill and take a load off the power grid AND the planet.

    In hour two, we said “hello!” to two-time George Polk Award winning journalist for Vanity Fair and Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald. His 2012 book, “500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars,” was a New York Times bestseller. Today, he and Pete talked all about guns and the never ending battle to regulate/deregulate the sale and possession of firearms.

    Then, we continued Psychology Week with Emory University Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation,” Drew Westen. The role of psychology in politics was the main topic of discussion today, and it was enlightening because, hey, who ever really gave deep thought into just how much of our politics is affected by our own or someone else’s psychological make-up before? Coming up tomorrow: the dramatic conclusion to Psychology Week with a roundtable featuring NYU’s Dolores Maspina and Dr. Pete Breggin.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go home and pack for a pretty big move.





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  8. Early Wednesday Morning

    July 22, 2015 by MelStar1


    Edward Hopper was born in Nyack, NY on July 22, 1882. His paintings almost serve as historical documents of American life in the fast-changing first half of the 20th Century. This is my favorite, though not his most famous.


    Today on StandUP!

    At the top of the show, we talked Sandra Bland’s arrest, and later death, taking your calls and reviewing the dashboard camera video of the arrest.

    Then, President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten joined us in the first hour to talk education, reform and why her organization has given Hillary Clinton their endorsement so early in the election cycle.

    Saturday Night Live head writer and host of Weekend Update, Colin Jost, joined us in the second hour to discuss “Staten Island Summer,” a new comedy he wrote that draws from his life on Staten Island. It was fun and funny and yes of course I asked him if he’s ever been to the creepy, abandoned Depression-era farming commune. It’s amazing and I just assumed everyone hung out there.

    Next, Jeffrey Goldberg called in to discuss national and international politics. Jeffrey is a national correspondent at The Atlantic and author of 2008’s “Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.” While we couldn’t quite pin him down on sure-thing Presidential nominations, we did get his take on the Iran deal and more.

    Lastly, we scheduled another session with Psychology Week. On the couch today was Professor of Psychology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, Ronald Miller, and I think we had some real breakthroughs on abnormal psychology and the value (or not) of the DSM-5 manual. Psychology Week continues tomorrow with Emory University’s Drew Westen on psychology in politics!

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go see about a mouse.





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  9. Wipeout

    July 21, 2015 by MelStar1

    Today is the anniversary of the great tsunami. Of course, I’m talking about the one that devastated Alexandria, Egypt in the year 365. Duh.


    Today on StandUP!

    We kicked off today’s show with a look back at one of our favorite interviews from the Aspen Ideas Festival. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is currently in Vatican City for a conference on human slavery and climate change, along with other American mayors and politicians from across the globe, so we decided to hear once again what the mayor had to say. If you haven’t checked out the newer features of the app and online player, like search and keywords for on-demand shows, you should; you’ll never have to miss a segment like Mayor Walsh’s interview again.

    We are all too familiar with Dean Obeidallah at this point. Whether he is hosting his own eponymous show on Saturday mornings, filling in for a vacationing Pete, or writing thought-inspiring columns for CNN and The Daily Beast, Dean is always ready to fight Islamophobia and small-minded thinking. Now, along with comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid, Dean will be presenting the Muslim Funny Fest through Thursday here in New York City. Dean and Maysoon shared festival info and also their take on recent politics and news.

    In hour three, we continued Psychology Week with a look at child psychology with Research Professor from the Boston College Dept. of Psychology, Peter Gray. Check out his TED talk online, and his new book, “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.” Psychology Week continues tomorrow with a look at Abnormal Psychology with St. Michael’s College professor, Ronald Miller.

    Then, we wrapped up today’s show with another visit from the President of the Volusia Teachers Organization, Andrew Spar. Pete and Andrew talked about the current state of education and just what it is teachers do during the summer when they aren’t bursting our children’s brains with knowledge.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to stand in a 120 degree smelly steel-and-concrete tube so I can go home.



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  10. Tranquility Base

    July 20, 2015 by MelStar1

    46 years ago today, MTV finally got the footage it needed for their sign-on.


    Today on StandUP!

    Georgia State University Constitutional Law professor Eric Segall joined us in hour one to tell tales from his book, “Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges,” discuss the fascinating views and writings of Judge Richard Posner, and generally pal around with Pete.

    In hour two, Pete had something come up real quick so Melanie, Alfred and I had a chance to talk to CNN’s Chief Financial Correspondent, Christine Romans, about our favorite things to eat at the beach and grill her about her life spending summers on the mighty (and muddy) Mississippi River. When Pete returned, we talked a lot about the right age to expose our children to technology, and the moral dilemma of hackers breaking open AshleyMadison.com and threatening to reveal the identities of its client-base of 37 million or so potential philanderers.

    Today was also the kickoff of Psychology Week, another installment of our critically acclaimed and internationally recognized week-long deep dives into mind-expanding topics of great importance. Giving us an overview of psychology, from the beginnings through Freud and into the 21st century, was Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Psychology Dept. at Duke University, Phillip Costanzo.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to watch this on a loop.




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  11. Tragic Kingdom

    July 17, 2015 by MelStar1

    Disneyland opened 60 years ago today. Adult park admission was $1, and little mouseketeers could get in for $.50. 


    Today on StandUP!

    We spent most of the first hour taking your calls and reactions to yesterday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Conversation wandered between how we define terrorism now, the vulnerabilities of servicemen here at home, and how ISIS can radicalize and motivate US citizens from thousands of miles away.

    In the second hour, we continued discussing Chattanooga, but also took a larger look at the week’s political stories. Yes, that means we talked Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton. Oh, and the WE in this case is Pete, joined by MSNBC National Correspondent Joy-Ann Reid, Forbes Magazine Senior Political Contributor and SiriusXM POTUS 124 host Rick Ungar, and HuffPo Live and “We The People Live” host Josh Zepps.

    There’s a great new documentary in select theaters and on-demand right now, called “Do I Sound Gay?” Journalist and filmmaker David Thorpe joined us to discuss his film, and to explore the history, stigma and nuance of what is generally called “gay voice.” We also learned about “code blocking,” which Pete totally copped to.

    And that about does it for this week. We had some real highs and some real lows. Let’s just all spend the weekend on a blanket, somewhere outside, in great weather and maybe Monday we’ll find out that Donald Trump was just kidding this whole time.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to finish my masterpiece.




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  12. Moon Men

    July 16, 2015 by MelStar1

    Apollo 11 set off for the moon on July 16th, 1969. By “moon,” of course, I mean a Hollywood sound stage, with Stanley Kubrick directing.


    Today on StandUP!

    Fans of the tv series “Hercules” and “Andromeda” were in for a treat in hour one, as actor (and 2nd generation Norwegian, we would learn) Kevin Sorbo and his wife, actress and radio host Sam, joined us to talk about their new film, “Hope Bridge,” and the topic of suicide that it broaches.

    Then, Dr. David Casarett of University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine joined the show to discuss his new book, “Stoned: A Doctor’s Case Study for Medical Marijuana.” With the tide of public opinion changing rapidly on marijuana in general, it is important to remember that the use of medical marijuana is still a topic for debate in state legislature’s nationwide. Pete and Dr. Casarett discuss his work and just how substantial the effects of weed can be on symptoms of various major illnesses.

    In our open phones segment, we went back and revisited some of the topics that came up during Pete’s segment with the Sorbos, taking your calls along the way.

    Finally, in hour three, Pete welcomed back Gareth Porter, independent investigative journalist and historian. Gareth’s recent article for TruthOut is, “Obama Pins Fate of Nuclear Pact on Documents from an Iranian Curveball,” and Pete took his measured take on the recent Iran Nuclear Deal and the motivating factors for all nations involved.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go sing at my church.





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  13. No Sports Day!

    July 15, 2015 by MelStar1

    The action movie that defined the genre for at least a decade came out on this day in 1988. Do you know what it is? No cheating.


    Today on StandUP!

    The Boy Scouts of America, whose national museum was for a time located in the same Kentucky town in which I attended university, decided this week to reverse it’s long-standing ban on gay leaders. Although it still have to pass a vote of the national executive board, we thought the occasion deserved another visit from Zach Wahls, marriage equality activist and founder of Scouts for Equality, an organization that has spent years fighting for this very decision.

    Our next guest spent three years as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, where he was named an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. What that means is that if you want to talk the Euro, the Eurozone and the finer points of the Greek bailout, you would have a hard time doing better than booking Adam Posen. So we did.

    After Adam’s segment, we talked for a bit about what nation would qualify as the greatest in the world, and why don’t we, as Americans, talk more about the policies that work well for other nations?

    Then, we welcomed back Joshua Keating, a staff writer at Slate focusing on foreign affairs. Between the Iran Nuclear Deal and the quick defrost of Cuban-American relations, President Obama has been making a lot of moves on the International Stage lately. We sought out Joshua for discussion and context, based on his latest written piece, “After Six Years, We’re Finally Getting the Foreign Policy Obama Campaigned On.”

    Somehow, at the end of the show, we ended up talking about DVDs and CDs. I tend to think they are outdated, a money-sink and a source of clutter. Alfred thinks owning tangible, real copies of the things we love creates a permanent connection and good vibes, or something. What matters most is what you think, so Pete took your calls on the matter.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna watch the world fall apart on No Sports Day.




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  14. New Horizons

    July 14, 2015 by MelStar1

    This morning, the NASA New Horizons space probe reached Pluto for the first time. How could they tell? From the bark, dummy. From the bark.


    Today on StandUP!

    Overnight, a deal was announced that will keep Iran’s nuclear ambitions in check for a decade or more, and this morning the President began efforts to make sure the deal passes cleanly through Congress. For perspective and details on the negotiations and the final product, Pete turned to author and VP for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Aaron David Miller, who warned Pete that, though this deal is historic, getting all emotional about it’s lasting importance may be setting ourselves up for disappointment if it proves ineffective.

    In hour two, we welcomed back Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award-winning journalist and author, David Cay Johnston. Currently writing columns for Al-Jazeera America and enlightening minds at Syracuse University, David joined us today to discuss Donald Trump and the relationship and opinion he’s built up with The Donald since his days covering Atlantic City’s nascent casinos for The Philadelphia Enquirer. He’s compiled a list of questions for Trump, and all of us, to ponder at AlterNet.

    Following all of David Cay’s Trump Talk, we couldn’t help but segue into the immigration debate. Pete got all liquored up last night and said some things, and we spent the rest of the hour talking to you guys about it.

    Then, we talked to Dr. Gary Slutkin, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. While that’s impressive, today Pete wanted to talk to Dr. Slutkin about his OTHER job, as founder and CEO of Cure Violence, an organization that works to prevent violence and criminal recidivism by using the same methods epidemiologists use to treat contagious diseases.

    The show wrapped up with Alfred’s beautiful dissection of a clip from Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, wherein he Hulks out on Eric Bolling.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to use taxpayer money to build a new stadium for my sports franchise.





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