Episode 70

Rushdie Attack, FBI Debate, Substack, NIMBYs of Silicon Valley

Ravi checks in with Rikki on her appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. Then they start the show with Friday’s brutal attack on Salman Rushdie, an attack on free expression around the world. The hosts then discuss the decline in local newsrooms and Substack’s effect on legacy media, an outburst of NIMBYism in the country’s richest zip code, most expensive zip code in the US, and the surprising rallying call from conservatives in response to the Mar-a-Lago raid: “defund the FBI.” Finally, the hosts close with a few updates on the war in Ukraine.


Ravi and Rikki discuss the horrific attack on author Salman Rushdie and how it connects to the global state of free speech, lamenting the various ways in which America is slipping in its commitment to that value.

The hosts discuss our country’s shifting news mediums, lamenting the death of local newspapers while largely welcoming the rise of independent journalism on platforms like Substack. 

Ravi argues the recent display of NIMBYism in Atherton, California – the country’s richest neighborhood – is especially disappointing in light of the many prominent housing advocates who call it home. 

Ravi and Rikki dismiss the recent cries to “Defund the FBI” from conservatives in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid. They discuss why even the valid criticisms of the bureau don’t get anywhere near a case to abolish it.

Rikki finishes us up with some quick updates about the state of the war in Ukraine.

Salman Rushdie [02:32]

Salman Rushdie and the Cult of Offense (The Atlantic, 08/14)
Salman Rushdie and the Power of Words (The New Yorker, 08/13)
The Disappearance (The New Yorker, 09/10/2012)
Christopher Hitchens on Salman Rushdie’s fatwa, BBC, Feb 12. (YouTube, 02/15/2010)
Ben Affleck, Sam Harris and Bill Maher Debate Radical Islam | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) (YouTube, 10/06/2014)
The Stabbing of Salman Rushdie Renews Free Speech Debates (The New York Times, 08/15)

Independent Journalism [15:34]

Our local-news situation is even worse than we think (Columbia Journalism Review, 02/25)
Resignation Letter, Bari Weiss (Bariweiss.com 07/2020)
The American Press is Destroying Itself (TKNews by Matt Taibbi, 06/12/20)
The Rise of Independent Media (The Science Survey, 01/12/21)
Big media strikes back at Substack (Axios, 11/21/2021)
Why Chris Best Created Substack (YouTube, 08/11)

Silicon Valley NIMBYism [29:43]

The Summer of NIMBY in Silicon Valley’s Poshest Town (NYT, 08/12)
The Billionaire’s Dilemma: Marc Andreessen says he’s all for more new housing, but public records tell a different story. (The Atlantic, 08/04)
The Silicon Valley royalty that populates America’s richest town is fighting tooth and nail to keep 58 new housing units from being built (Fortune, 08/13)
Investing in Flow (Andreesen Horowitz, 08/15)

FBI Debate [39:04]

‘Defund the FBI’–the MAGA Right’s Hypocritical New Slogan (The Bulwark, 08/09)
The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11 (ACLU)
We can’t trust the FBI after its long history of political meddling (New York Post, 08/10)
The Massive Case Of Collective Amnesia: The FBI Has Been Political From The Start (NPR, 01/26/2018)
Krystal Ball: Candace Owens is RIGHT! Defund the FBI!! | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar (YouTube, 08/11)
FBI Press Releases (FBI, 08/16)

Ukraine Updates [52:41]

Ukraine Scrapes to Pay Its Soldiers as Western Funds Slow To Arrive (The Wall Street Journal, 08/12)
US Commits Another $1 Billion In Arms And $4.5 Billion In Aid To Ukraine (Forbes, 08/08)
Ukraine makes gains in Kherson, but Russia’s advantage holds (The New York Times, 08/15)
Will the Ukraine war ring the knell for nuclear arms control? (The Economist, 07/31)