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The Best Politics Podcasts to Help You Make Sense of the 2020 Election

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This is a strange and confusing election year—to put it mildly. It seems impossible to fathom how the spread of COVID-19, protests for racial justice across the country and a vacant Supreme Court seat will factor into who wins on November 3. And many questions remain unanswered: Should you vote in person or by mail? What does the fact that so many pollsters and pundits predicted a Clinton win in 2016 mean for Joe Biden’s poll numbers in 2020?

Dozens of excellent podcasts strive to offer answers and context. They fact-check the candidates’ statements. They explain what is happening in the news and why it matters. And they obsessively track the polls, while pressing upon listeners that they shouldn’t let leads in the race determine whether or not they actually decide to head to the voting booth (or put a stamp on their ballots). Some feature journalists who have reported on Donald Trump and Joe Biden for years, if not decades. Others rely on the expertise of advisors who worked on presidential campaigns for Barack Obama or John McCain for insight into the 2020 race.

These are just some of the best shows that you ought to tune into to keep up with the breakneck pace of political news headed into what will likely be one of the most complicated and impactful elections in American history.

Can He Do That?

Perfect for you if: you want to understand the powers of the president

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, the Washington Post’s Alison Michaels has interviewed other Post reporters about the powers—and limits—granted to the American president. In the run-up to the election, the show has turned its attention to essential questions such as: What is the president’s power over the USPS? What sort of pressure can he exert over the FDA in the race toward a coronavirus vaccine? And how much federal force can the president use against protestors? Given President Trump’s fondness for executive orders, the answers will be crucial to understanding the 2020 election and how the powers of the president may be exercised in the future.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

CNN Political Briefing & CNN Politically Sound

Perfect for you if: you’re short on time

I’m cheating a bit here by pairing these two CNN podcasts together, but they have identical goals, just in two different formats—and differing levels of depth. CNN Political Briefing is a weekly show that churns through election news in 10 minutes or less. It does an excellent job of explaining what’s happening and connecting daily events to larger themes of the election in an incredibly short period of time. Politically Sound offers the same content, but on a daily basis. David Chalian hosts both podcasts, though he’s joined by Nia-Malika Henderson on Politically Sound. Choose whichever better matches your current appetite for political news.

Listen to Political Briefing on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Listen to Politically Sound on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast

Perfect for you if: you want analysis of the polls

When it comes to breaking down political polls, Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight set the gold standard, and while Silver excels on doing just that on the podcast, he is also flanked by political journalists like Clare Malone, Micah Cohen, Perry Bacon Jr., Galen Druke and others who can offer boots-on-the-ground insight into voters’ thinking and how Biden’s and Trump’s respective narratives might be impacting those poll numbers. Together, they create a holistic picture of the horse race. And, as with their updated Election Forecast, the team has been careful this year to contextualize and explain how the probabilities work as much as possible, so that listeners aren’t blindsided if the less-favored candidate wins.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Hacks on Tap

Perfect for you if: you want to know what both sides’ campaign managers are thinking right now

Campaign vets David Axelrod (a strategist for Barack Obama) and Mike Murphy (a strategist for John McCain) come together for a combative but friendly conversation about the 2020 campaign from the perspective of guys who have been there before. The show stands out because the two often exchange war stories from previous presidential campaigns and can offer insight into, say, how a candidate picks their running mate. They are from opposite sides of the aisle, and you will usually disagree with one of them, but perhaps that’s better than listening to hosts who align with all your political views.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In the Thick

Perfect for you if: you want to examine politics through the lens of race and identity

Politics reporting and punditry continue to be spaces dominated by white voices. Futuro Media Group’s In the Thick hosts Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela do not shy away from from examining politics through the lens of race and identity. Along with a rotating weekly panel made up of journalists, academics and political insiders, they tackle issues concerning race that other outlets often overlook or de-emphasize. That frank conversation is needed now more than ever with conflicting narratives from the two presidential candidates about what the Black Lives Matter movement means for the election and future of the nation.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Left, Right & Center

Perfect for you if: you want to hear what the other side thinks

As its name suggests, KCRW’s Left, Right & Center features three panelists each week: one with political leanings to the left, one with political leanings to the right and a moderator, Josh Barro, in the center. The long-running podcast announced rotating panels over the summer and the most recent pairing, the New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie and National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty, showcase the best of the new format. They are able to debate and challenge one another on the truth behind the narratives arising from each side of the aisle in a way that’s both productive and educational for a listener who may not be exposed to people outside of their own political bubble.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

POLITICO’s Nerdcast

Perfect for you if: you want on-the-ground reporting about how this election is actually going to work

In each episode of Nerdcast, host Scott Bland talks with a different POLITICO reporter about their latest investigations, lately into issues like internal upheaval at USPS, the trials and errors of Zoom political fundraisers and how the logistics of a pandemic election are actually going to work. Amid countless podcasts following the horserace or debating the narratives of the 2020 election, it’s refreshing to listen to reporters answer very basic, often overlooked questions about how our democracy functions—or is failing to function—during a political race complicated by the pandemic.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Pod is a Woman

Perfect for you if: you want a discussion of the most important issues to women in this election

Three veterans of the Obama White House—Alejandra Campoverdi, Darienne Page and Johanna Maska—are producing a new and promising political podcast. They usually begin with a more wide-ranging conversation about the week’s political news, and each of the hosts brings her own background in politics to bear to analyze the candidates’ strategies. But most of the show is dedicated to interviews with women like former Second Lady Jill Biden, Time’s Up leader Tina Tchen and Sarah Lenti, the Executive Director of the Lincoln Project, about how they wield their power and advocate for wide range of issues.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Pod Save America

Perfect for you if: you want to hear interviews with the biggest names in the Democratic party

It’s impossible to write about political podcasting without recognizing the dominance of Pod Save America. The hosts—ex-Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor—initially made a splash during the 2016 election with their bro-y, self-satisfied Keeping It 1600 podcast. After Hillary Clinton lost that election, the hosts kicked into high gear, establishing the activist-minded Crooked Media and spawning 18 other podcasts. But Pod Save America remains their most essential listening because of its pull with big-name guests. They snagged Obama’s last interview of his presidency, and since then it’s become a necessary pit stop for every major player in the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Rational Security

Perfect for you if: you’re interested in foreign policy and national security, particularly election interference

Listening to the Lawfare Institute’s Rational Security podcast feels like having an intellectually engaging but enjoyable policy debate with your nerdy friends—if your friends just happened to be experts in national security and the law. Given that so many podcasts discuss political news more broadly, the specificity of this one is truly a boon to politics wonks: The Washington Post’s Shane Harris and his panel of Brookings Institute scholars—Tamara Cofman Wittes, Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey—can really dig into and debate complex arguments, lately with an eye toward foreign interest and interference in the 2020 U.S. election.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Slate’s Political Gabfest

Perfect for you if: you want to listen to an intellectual debate that’s been waging for 15 years and counting

Hosts John Dickerson, David Plotz and Emily Bazelon have been debating politics since this podcast launched in 2005, and they have cultivated the sort of well-honed dynamic that can only be earned after years of weekly debates about topics like healthcare policy and voter suppression. They often disagree, amicably, which makes for a much more intellectually engaging listen than a political podcast full of simpatico guests and hosts. For those who have listened for years, tuning in can be a comfort. For newcomers, it’s rare to find a podcast where the hosts can disagree without taking trumped-up stances they maybe don’t even fully intellectually endorse for the sake of creating conflict.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Stay Tuned With Preet

Perfect for you if: you want to understand the legal complexities of this election

Sometimes it feels like every politician has a podcast these days. Many are self-promotional and offer little insight into the politician herself or D.C.’s inner workings. But former U.S Attorney Preet Bharara’s CAFE podcast is a show of substance. Bharara, who served under Obama and was fired by Trump, delves into social justice issues and politics with guests, often famous ones like Senator Cory Booker and journalist Jake Tapper. Bharara’s show is at its best when he’s able to bring his legal expertise to discussions about topics like Robert Mueller’s investigation or the ethics of using unidentified federal agents at protests in Portland. And if, as some political prognosticators have warned, the election results are contested, he will undoubtedly be an essential voice to guide listeners through the legal process.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

The Brown Girls Guide to Politics

Perfect for you if: you want to meet some truly remarkable BIPOC women running for office

This Wonder Media Network show highlights some seriously badass BIPOC women in politics who unfortunately don’t get the platform they ought to have on other podcasts. Host A’shanti Gholar interviews women like Representative Barbara Lee of California and Virginia Delegate and gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy about their experiences and work in short, digestible 20-minute episodes. Their career paths are truly fascinating and inspiring—Delegate Foy, for instance, became one of the first women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute and ran for and won her office while pregnant with twins.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

The NPR Politics Podcast

Perfect for you if: you want to know what happened in the political world today and why

Need an update on the political happenings of the day? NPR has got you. But unlike a lot of straight news NPR shows, the NPR Politics Podcast allows its correspondents’ personalities to shine. They crack jokes and offer small anecdotes as they deliver the daily news and contextualize the daily barrage of political news within the larger conversations around issues like racial justice, the pandemic and Russian interference on Facebook headed into the election. If you prefer not to tune in every single day, they also produce a weekly roundup of news to catch you up on the most important stories and analysis.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

The Weeds

Perfect for you if: you are a policy wonk

In order to manage your election anxiety, you may want to dig deep into policy, polls and punditry. If so, Vox’s The Weeds podcast was made for you: some combination of Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, Jane Coaston and Dara Lind come together twice a week to discuss everything from what the Republican Party was actually trying to say about itself and its future at the Republican National Convention to the finer points of the “White Paper of the week.” Yglesias has been known to antagonize other pundits and journalists on Twitter and surely takes up points on the podcast that feel designed to irk his fellow hosts, but that makes for a lively debate.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

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Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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