Here are all the guests that have been featured in our Ask Anything interview series. They first appear alphabetically below, then reverse chronologically after that.
Andrew’s Ask Anything answers are here.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Sister Jeannine Gramick
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett
Michael C. Moynihan
Veronique de Rugy
Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
- On Truvada/PrEP:
- What is Truvada?
- Why do you think so many people still don’t know about PrEP (Truvada?)
- Do you worry about the public reaction to widespread use of PrEP (Truvada)?
- What are the biggest risks of using PrEP (Truvada)?
- On Columbine:
- Fifteen years later, what lessons remain to be learned from the Columbine shooting?
- What are the biggest misconceptions about the Columbine shooting?
- How did the media get so much wrong about the Columbine shooting?
Dave Cullen is the author of the New York Times bestseller Columbine, a portrait of the two killers and their victims that he spent ten years writing and researching. The book won the Edgar Award, Barnes & Noble’s Discover Award, the Goodreads Choice Award, and was declared Top Education Book of 2009 by the American School Board Journal. He has also written for New York Times, Newsweek, Guardian, Washington Post, Slate, Salon, and Daily Beast. Dave has additionally been a frequent television and radio analyst, appearing on Today, NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, CBS This Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, The Rachel Maddow Show, Hannity, and Morning Edition. He is currently working on a book about two gay colonels, who he has followed for twelve years.
Dave’s videos are also available individually on Vimeo.
- While researching Stay, what did you learn about the typical impact of a person’s suicide on their friends, family, community?
- Do people have a right to kill themselves?
- Which culture has the best approach toward suicide?
- Can we really fault people who only attempt suicide as a result of being unable to withstand severe, debilitating mental illness?
Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, historian and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her new book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, out from Yale University Press. Her The Happiness Myth brings a historical eye to modern wisdom about how to lead a good life. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won Phi Beta Kappa’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “For scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”
Jennifer’s videos are also available individually on Vimeo.
- What are the biggest misconceptions that people in the First World have when it comes to helping Africans?
- How do you feel about questions referring to “Africa” as if those questions could logically apply to a geographical area so large and diverse?
- What’s your take on how foreign aid is awarded to Africa?
- Which countries give the most aid to Africa, and what are the real world implications of those investments, particularly when it comes to a country like China?
- How much of a problem is corruption in Africa, and how can foreign and domestic businesses best handle it?
- Which African countries are setting the best example for the continent?
- What can be done to curb homophobia in Africa?
- What advantages do you think Africa has over other continents?
- What’s a good example of Africa’s “lean” economy in action?
- What are the disadvantages of a “fat” economy?
- How important are environmental issues to most Africans?
Dayo Olopade is a Nigerian-American journalist covering global politics and development policy. She has reported for The New Republic, The Root, The Daily Beast, The New York Times, and many other publications. Currently a Knight Law and Media Scholar at Yale University, her new book is The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa.
Dayo’s videos are also available individually on Vimeo.
- Which part of your experience as a hostage still troubles you the most?
- Which part of your experience as a hostage do you most value?
- How to you respond to criticism that you, Sarah and Josh are partially to blame for taking the risk of hiking near the Iranian border?” / What exactly happened at the border?
- What most shocked you about solitary confinement in America?
- What alternatives to solitary confinement would you recommend to prison officials for handling inmates who are especially dangerous or disruptive, and what reforms should American prisons consider?
- How would you compare your imprisonment in Iran to what we know of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay?
- What was your relationship with your interrogators like?
- When you were imprisoned in Iran, what was your relationship like with the other prisoners?
- What is your current perception of the Iranian people and government?
- What is the biggest misunderstanding that people have about solitary confinement?
- How did you sustain a positive attitude during your imprisonment in Iran?
Shane Bauer is an investigative journalist and photographer who was one of the three American hikers imprisoned in Iran after being captured on the Iraqi border in 2009. He spent 26 months in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, four of them in solitary confinement. Following his release, he wrote a special report for Mother Jones about solitary in America’s prison system. (The Dish’s ongoing coverage of the subject is here.) Shane and his fellow former hostages, Sarah Shourd (now his wife) and Josh Fattal, have co-written the memoir, A Sliver of Light. You can read an excerpt here.
Shane’s videos are also available individually on Vimeo.
- Could you foresee a crowd-funded film model where fans shared in the profits?
- Hollywood producers make a lot of money, and so do actors who appear in movies. Why should an ordinary person with an ordinary job donate to help get a movie made?
- What do you think the public most misunderstands about the entertainment business?
- What is the most difficult part of being a television showrunner?
- What’s your take on the changing dynamic of television now that Netflix/Amazon have entered the business?
- Based on your experiences in the industry, how can TV shows with small but committed fanbases best stay on the air?
- How would you define the business model you’ve developed for the Veronica Mars movie, and what would you change about it if you had to do it all over again?
- Other than the generosity and enthusiasm of the film’s supporters, what has been the most surprising thing about the process of making the Veronica Mars movie?
- What is your least favorite trope in the plots of other TV shows?
- How do you think the character of Veronica Mars stands-up in television’s anti-hero age?
Rob Thomas is an American producer, director and screenwriter, best known for the critically-acclaimed TV series Veronica Mars and Party Down. In 2013 he launched one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time in support of a Mars movie. (Our discussion thread of the innovative, Dish-like project is here.) The movie is out now.
• If the historical Jesus walked into a Catholic Mass, what would his reaction be?
• What is your take on the new pope?
• Did Jesus teach anything new that set him apart from his contemporaries?
• How did Jesus’ message survive?
• Are there any indisputable facts about the life of Jesus?
• What is the best available evidence regarding the life and times of Jesus?
• Why would Jesus’ followers fabricate the story of his resurrection when such claims were like to get them killed?
• Do you ever find it difficult to remain unbiased in your work?
• What is the single biggest misconception that Christians have about Jesus?
• Was Jesus political?
• How do you think Jesus would be received by today’s Christians?
• What has been the most persuasive criticism of your book since its publication?
• In Zealot, it seems like you affirm as historically accurate those parts of the New Testament that fit your thesis, while dismissing those that don’t as later fabrications. How do you sift the reliable from the unreliable in the New Testament?
Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer and a scholar of religions. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and, most recently, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, which offers an interpretation of the life and mission of the historical Jesus. Previous Dish on Zealot here, here and here, as well as Fox News’ treatment of Reza here and here.
• What is the biggest myth about psychedelic drugs?
• How important is some kind of guidance when it comes to having a beneficial psychedelic experience?
• What has been the most encouraging finding from your research on psychedelics?
• What will it take for national policy towards psychedelics to change?
• Are there any promising psychedelics that are not widely known about yet?
• What is your personal experience with psychedelics and how has it influenced your work?
• What does your family make of your profession?
• What are the dangers of psychedelic drugs?
• Should people with a history of mental illness avoid taking psychedelics?
• As a researcher, how do you reconcile the objectivity required by science with the inherent subjectivity of psychedelic experience?
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences.
His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children.
- What are the moral implications of factory farming?
- Is it ethical for Christians to eat animals? / What would Jesus eat?
- How does the animal soul differ from the human soul?
- What’s your take on the ethics of zoos and animal captivity?
- How can people balance their love of animals or pets with their love of animal meat?
Charles Camosy is an assistant professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University. … His early work focused on medical and clinical ethics with regard to stem cell research and the treatment of critically ill newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit, which was the focus of his first book, Too Expensive to Treat? Finitude, Tragedy, and the Neonatal ICU. His second book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, uses intellectual solidarity in an attempt to begin a sustained and fruitful conversation between Peter Singer and Christian ethics. His latest book is For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action.
- What motivated the two of you to make After Tiller? Were you pro-choice activists? / What is the biggest misconception about late-term abortions?
- Of all the women you encountered who decided to have a third-trimester abortion, which situation or story was the most ethically questionable?
- Did you ever witness a situation in which the doctor persuaded a patient not to go forward with a third-trimester abortion?
- How did anti-abortion protesters treat you? Were there any tense confrontations?
- What most surprising you about the doctors in After Tiller? / How were you received by patients at their clinics?
Martha Shane is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. After Tiller is her second feature documentary. Her first was Bi the Way, which had its premiere at the SXSW film festival in 2008 and debuted on MTV’s LOGO channel in summer 2009. She co-directed, produced and co-edited the film. Shane graduated from Wesleyan University in 2005 with a BA in Film Studies.
Lana Wilson is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. After Tiller is her feature documentary debut. Wilson was previously the Film and Dance Curator for Performa, the New York biennial of new visual art performance. She holds a BA in Film Studies and Dance from Wesleyan University.
- How much power does Rouhani actually have?
- How should the US approach new nuclear negotiations with Iran? / What is the biggest mistake the US could make in seeking rapprochement?
- What will happen back in Iran if Rouhani’s diplomacy succeeds? If it fails?
- Why should the American public care about rapprochement with Iran?
- How does the Iranian public view the Syrian conflict?
- What is the current state of the Green Movement and its leadership?
- What threat do Iran and Israel really pose to each other, and what could they do to eventually reconcile?
- What’s your take on Rouhani’s recent Rosh Hashanah tweet?
- How can we gauge what the Iranian people think? Can their opinions be polled effectively?
- What is the biggest misconception Americans have about Iranians, and vice versa?
- How much does the Shia/Sunni divide influence the foreign policy of Iran and the rest of the Middle East?
- What effect do sanctions have on Iranian’s everyday lives, and are those sanctions what have now brought the regime back to the negotiating table?
Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States and A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran, and has contributed articles on Middle East affairs to the New York Times, WaPo, Wall Street Journal, and many others. He is also a frequent guest on CNN, PBS’s Newshour, NPR, the BBC and Al Jazeera. You can follow him on Twitter here.
- How did you become involved in story of what happened to Matthew Shepard? / With all of the attention that the Matthew Shepard case has received since 1999, how is it possible the real story hasn’t been told yet?
- What was Matthew Shepard’s involvement with crystal meth and other drugs, and how did you determine that? / How did Matthew Shepard’s involvement with meth lead to his murder?
- Was Matthew Shepard’s murder a hate crime? If not, how do you explain the brutality of Matthew’s death at the hands of Aaron McKinney?
- Why dig up this grave? If your book is widely read and accepted, won’t that effectively destroy the myth of Matthew Shepard, as well as invalidate the cultural and legal efforts based on that myth?
- Why did Matthew Shepard’s murder grab the nation’s attention, and why have people gravitated so passionately to the hate-crime interpretation?
- Were Matthew Shepard’s murderers equally culpable? / Why didn’t Russell Henderson go to trial?
- Your book makes extensive use of anonymous sources, how can you assure critics your account is not conjecture?
- How do you respond to the criticism of your reporting on this case?
- What is some of the evidence you found of a relationship between Aaron McKinney and Matthew Shepard, as well as Matthew’s involvement in the meth scene?
- Who was the real Matthew Shepard and what does his story mean to you?
Stephen Jimenez is an award-winning journalist, writer and producer. He is a 2012 Norman Mailer Nonfiction Fellow and has written and produced programs for ABC News 20/20, Dan Rather Reports, Nova, Fox, Court TV and others. His accolades include the Writers Guild of America Award, the Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting (Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism), an Emmy, and several fellowships at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. A graduate of Georgetown University, he has taught screenwriting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and other colleges. Mr. Jimenez lives in Brooklyn, New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico. His new book, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard, is published by Steerforth Press.
• What, if anything, will replace “the family” as the social and economic support network for life-long singles? In other words, who will take care of you when you’re sick? / As marriage rates decline, especially dramatically among millennials, what new forms or structures of relationships take the place of marriage?
• How has being such a public proponent of staying single affected your dating life? / Is there anything you envy about the lives of your married friends or family?
• What would you say to someone who thinks that not getting married is some kind of personal failure?
• What effect has the widespread availability of porn had on gender relations?
Kate Bolick is currently working on her first book, Among the Suitors: On Being a Woman, Alone, to be published next year by Crown/Random House. She is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and writes regularly for Elle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate. Her 2011 Atlantic cover story, “All the Single Ladies”, addressed why more and more women are choosing, as she did, not to get married. The Dish debated the piece here and here.
• How much do you think Sarah Palin would actually have been able to accomplish, given checks and balances, popular discontent, etc?
• How much of a threat do you still consider the Christianist Right to be? / Of Christianist politicians still in positions of power, who do you think has the most potential to push the country in the wrong direction?
• How did your Catholicism/atheism influence your book?
Frederic Rich is an American lawyer, environmentalist and author. His new novel Christian Nation is a work of speculative fiction imagining what would have happened if McCain had won the 2008 election and subsequently died, making Sarah Palin the president and putting America on the path to theocracy.
• What is the single best way to get Republicans to support marriage for gays and lesbians? / What do you think is the most reasonable case against gay marriage that is made by its opponents?
• What sort of messaging do you think will be most effective in promoting marriage equality to social and religious conservatives?
• Why are you so engaged on the issue of marriage equality?
• What’s next for marriage equality?
Ken Mehlman is a businessman, attorney, and political figure who held several national posts in the GOP and Bush administration. He managed Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, which used anti-gay marriage arguments to win the critical state of Ohio, and subsequently chaired the RNC from 2005 to 2007. After that, Mehlman worked for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, then became the Global Head of Public Affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity firm. In 2010, Mehlman came out as gay, making him one of the most prominent openly gay Republicans and a major advocate for the recognition of same-sex marriage. He also serves on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
• How polarized is Egypt right now, and could the situation turn into a civil war?
• Could Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have prevented this coup/revolution, or did economic and political events simply conspire against them?
• How has Egypt changed since 2011? Did the revolution ever end?
• What is the future of Islamism in Egypt, as well as the rest of the Middle East?
• What most surprised you about the events leading the ouster of President Morsi?
• What is the most critical thing that Westerners (analysts, journalists, etc) get wrong or simply miss as they attempt to interpret events in Egypt?
• What should Egypt’s military and political establishment do differently this time to make sure the country has a more stable Democratic system in the future?
• What’s your review of the Obama Administration’s approach to Egypt?
• To what extent do the people in Egypt really believe the US is behind what happens in Egypt, and how can the US dispel those fears?
Michael Wahid Hanna is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, where he works on issues of international security, international law, and US foreign policy in the broader Middle East and South Asia. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, and al-Jazeera. Additionally, his Twitter feed is a must-read for anyone interested in Egyptian politics.
• What part of your new book were you most hesitant about including?
• What part of your book should your right-wing critics relate to most?
• Has your understanding of bisexuality changed at all?
• How do you talk to your son DJ about sex?
• What do you think is the most important accomplishment of the It Gets Better Project?
• What can straight people learn from gay people’s relationships?
• What do you see as the biggest risk of a monogamish relationship?
• Which socially conservative critic of yours do you most respect?
• Which political issue have you changed your mind on since you began your public career?
Dan Savage is a columnist, author, media pundit and theater director. His syndicated sex-advice column, Savage Love, appears in several dozen newspapers. He additionally writes the SLOG blog and produces the Savage Lovecast podcast. Dan and his husband Terry also started the It Gets Better Project in 2010 in an effort to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults (and others) convey the message that these teens’ lives will inevitably improve. Andrew’s (May 2013) conversation with Dan about sex and marriage at the New York Public Library is here.
• Do you still have hope for the GOP?
• How would you characterize your ideology?
• Why should conservatives care about inequality?
• Is fiscal compromise possible?
• Can governments solve climate change?
• How can we squeeze more value out of the money we spend on education?
• Which conservative thinker do you most respect?
• What’s your take on the current unrest in Turkey?
• What should the US do about Syria?
• What are the best and worst things the US can do in its relationship with China?
• What has been Obama’s biggest mistake and biggest achievement in foreign policy?
• Should the US have intervened in Libya? How are the Arab Spring countries doing?
• What has been your biggest misjudgment when it comes to US foreign policy?
• What threat to the US worries you most? / Is there a major crisis in foreign affairs that you feel is being ignored?
Fareed Zakaria GPS airs Sundays on CNN, as well as via podcast. Zakaria is also an Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, a Washington Post columnist, and the author of The Post-American World, The Future of Freedom, and From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role.
• What has most surprised you about spending time in a nursing home?
• What made you want to train your dog Pransky as a therapy dog, and what does that training entail?
• How did residents at the nursing home respond to your therapy dog team? Any particularly emotional memories?
• What do you think is the most prominent difference between people who are content in old age and those who are not?
• How has working at a nursing home changed your perspective on how we care for the elderly?
Sue Halpern is the editor of the The New York Review of Books‘ ebook series NYRB Lit and a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College. She is the author of six books, including Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Frontlines of Memory Research and Migrations to Solitude: The Quest for Privacy in a Crowded World. Her most recent one is A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher.
• What triggered your mission to fight fracking?
• Do you believe that fracking is the lesser evil compared to coal and
• How realistic are wind and solar as sufficient forms of energy for the US?
• With the proper regulations in place, can you conceive of an
environmentally sound form of fracking?
• What was the most shocking finding in the course of researching your new film?
• Why should conservatives and libertarians be concerned about fracking?
• How do mineral rights play into the fracking debate?
Josh Fox is an American filmmaker and environmental activist. He is the writer/director of the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary, Gasland, and has subsequently become one of the nation’s most prominent critics of hydraulic fracturing. His new film, Gasland Part II recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will air on HBO this summer.
• Why is US health care so expensive, and what was the most surprising thing you learned which researching your Time cover story?
• How have non-profit hospitals become so profitable? With a follow-up about how difficult it was for Steven to decode medical bills.
• How does the US health care system rank compared to other developed nations? With the follow-up: Which free market-based reforms we should pursue to help remedy that?
• Which aspect of Obamacare do you wish got more attention?
Steven Brill is an American journalist who has written for Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Harpers and Time. He is also the founder of CourtTV and American Lawyer magazine. Brill’s most recent venture is the business Journalism Online, which he sold to RR Donnelley in 2011 for a reported $45 million and now has more than 400 publications using its Press+ service to charge for digital content. He also founded Verified Identity Pass, Inc., a New York-based company that operated the Clear airport security fast-pass, a pre-cursor to the current Federal Trusted Traveler program.
• How do you reconcile your sister’s cancer with God’s plan?
• Do you still consider yourself a Republican?
• Do we over-treat cancer?
• Which stereotypes about small towns and the South do you find most offensive?
• What would you say to people who left their hometowns because they really didn’t fit in – and what about people who grew up rootless or who don’t have a community to return to?
• What should we learn from your sister Ruthie’s example?
Rod Dreher is a blogger at The American Conservative as well as the author of the book: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life.
• What would be the ideal position for Obama to take on Iran and why hasn’t he taken it?
• How much longer will Iran stay a theocracy?
• Are Israel’s fears of a nuclear Iran overblown?
• Do you think Iran’s enrichment of uranium is legitimate?
• What’s your view of the Ahmadinejad’s regime?
• Is there still a rift between the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad?
• What’s the biggest misconception about Iran you encounter on a regular basis?
Flynt Leverett teaches international affairs at Pennsylvania State University and is a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation. Hillary Mann Leverett teaches international affairs at Yale and American University. During the Iranian uprising of 2009, the Dish continuously clashed with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the most well-known skeptics of the Green Movement. The husband and wife team continue to blog at The Race for Iran.
• What were your first thoughts upon hearing your diagnosis?
• Do you fear death?
• How have your prayers changed since your illness?
• Is faith for fools?
• Has your illness shaped the way you see the national health care debate?
• What were the worst and best the Bush administration?
• What major change is necessary for conservatism to revive itself?
Andrew: I’ve known David Kuo since he worked in the Bush White House as Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. When he was working there, he suffered a brain seizure while driving and, without his extraordinary wife, Kim, taking the wheels from him, they might both never have survived.
But they have. David was diagnosed with brain cancer and left the Bush administration, reflecting in his conscience on his work there. The result was a book, Tempting Faith, that came out at almost the same time as The Conservative Soul. We found ourselves estranged from modern Republicanism and united by faith in Jesus. Thus a friendship was born, and it’s one I have treasured deeply. We have talked together, joked together, laughed together and prayed together. And the cancer has come and gone and come back again. When I saw him last, he had difficulty walking very far. … He has helped me so much over the years in my own spiritual journey; and it would be true to say simply that I love him and am proud to have him here.
• What do you think is the biggest misconception of libertarianism?
• Why do you call Noam Chomsky a junk historian?
• What do you miss most about Christopher Hitchens?
• What’s the biggest lesson you learned from the Jonah Lehrer debacle?
• Do you have any regrets about “Draw Mohammad Day”?
• What do you make of Glenn Beck’s new media empire?
• Are there libertarian solutions to large collective-action problems (such as global warming)?
Michael C. Moynihan is an American journalist and the cultural news editor for The Daily Beast/Newsweek and formally the managing editor of Vice magazine. Before that he was a senior editor of the libertarian magazine Reason.
• How do you talk to climate change skeptics?
• Is it too late to adequately prevent climate change?
• What can individuals do, regardless of public policy, to help the environment?
• Which species’ extinction concerns you the most?
• Why are you so opposed to the Keystone Pipeline?
• What is the greatest environmental victory of the past ten years?
• What’s the scariest environmental problem that isn’t being talked about enough?
• What are the ways market capitalism can aid the fight against global warming?
• What is your opinion of nuclear energy?
• How do you prepare your children and grandchildren for a worst-case environmental scenario?
Bill McKibben is one of the world’s leading environmentalists and writers. He is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him ‘the planet’s best green journalist’ and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was ‘probably the country’s most important environmentalist.’
• Is the political climate in the UK more civil than in the US?
• Would the U.S. be better off under a parliamentary system?
• Would you rather have Obamacare or the British NHS?
• Would you explain the “Plebgate” scandal that led to British Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell’s resignation?
• What are the pros and cons of covering US politics from across the Pond?
• What’s your take on independence for Scotland?
Alex Massie a conservative Scottish journalist, blogger at The Spectator, and former Washington correspondent for The Scotsman. He was short-listed for the 2012 Orwell Prize for his blogging.
• What’s your take on the current state of the drug war?
• What most impressed you about Obama?
• Why was Bush unable to get Bin Laden?
• What impact has Osama Bin Laden’s death had on terrorism?
• What’s the biggest surprise you came across during your reporting for The Finish?
Mark Bowden is a writer and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books including Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War; Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw; Worm: The First Digital World War; and most recently, The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
• Which city is better: DC or NYC?
• What is the best policy idea that no one is talking about?
• How Could Obama Have Improved The Economy?
• Who should lead the GOP?
• Is the GOP in demographic trouble?
• Which 2012 presidential candidate has the better tax plan?
• What is the conservative approach to inequality?
Reihan Salam is a conservative political commentator, columnist and author. He is a columnist for The Daily and lead writer of The Agenda blog at National Review, as well as a policy adviser at e21 and a contributing editor at National Affairs.
• Why are women louder during sex?
• What’s is gangbang porn so popular?
• How did agriculture change sex?
• Why do humans have more sex than animals? And why are so many marriages sexless?
• What was the most surprising discoveries you made while researching your book? (hint: WWII swingers)
• What is the most unorthodox culture with regards to sex?
• Where does jealousy come from?
Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., is a psychologist, teacher, and author. Together with his wife, Cacilda Jethá, M.D., he is a co-author of the New York Times best seller, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. Chris just launched a podcast called “Tangentially Speaking” and is developing a social networking site, KōTangle – for a “sexy, intelligent community without the sleaze and shame typical of many conventional dating or swingers sites.”
• What’s been the most unfair criticism of your book?
• How can Obama help Israel and Palestine?
• What’s your take on the Jewish generational divide?
• Is Netanyahu trying to get Romney elected?
• Why is it worth preserving Israel as a democratic Jewish state?
• How is Zionism in crisis?
• Will Israel soon bomb Iran?
Peter Beinart is a senior political columnist at The Daily Beast where he is the editor of Open Zion. He is also a former editor of The New Republic and has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books among other periodicals, and is the author of three books, including The Crisis of Zionism.
• What is your favorite song?
• What are your thoughts on Occupy Wall Street?
• What were your first impression of Provincetown?
• What is your idea of the perfect day off?
• What’s it like raising a child in Las Vegas? (also which public figure do you most admire?)
Dina Martina is an American performer of whom everyone at the Dish is a massive fan.
• When were you most disappointed in President Obama?
• What did the Trayvon Martin story mean to you?
• Which black figures hinder race relations?
• Why do we love violent sports like football?
• How do you talk to your son about race?
• Do you think the GOP is racially motivated?
• Do you still play Dungeons & Dragons?
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.
• Why all the doomsday fear-mongering?
• How are you preparing for the apocalypse?
• What’s the best part about working for The Daily Show?
• Who is the funniest person in the world?
• What’s your advice to those who can’t grow a proper mustache?
• What’s your summary of human knowledge in three minutes or less?
• Why aren’t you ‘The World’s Most Interesting Man’?
• Which party’s 2012 political convention was “comedically” better?
• What are your thoughts on Clint Eastwood’s 2012 RNC speech?
John Hodgman is an author, actor, and humorist. He has written numerous books, including The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All. He has also appears regularly on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
• Is today’s hookup culture a positive thing? Also, this answer led to a long thread of reader responses here.
• Is ‘The End Of Men’ good for women?
• What’s wrong with a male-biased blog?
• Have minority women surpassed men?
• Are we heading towards a matriarchy?
• What are your thoughts on the GOP’s abortion stance?
• Why are boys doing so badly?
• To what extent is the wage gap due to discrimination? Other factors? Readers responded to this answer here.
Hanna Rosin is senior editor at The Atlantic and a founder and editor at DoubleX, Slate’s women’s section. She is also the author of the book The End of Men based on her story in the July/August 2010 Atlantic.
Why is the penis shaped like that?
What role does the foreskin play?
• Why is the prostate a source of pleasure?
• Why is the vagina shaped like that?
• What’s your take on the mystery of female ejaculation?
• Is there an evolutionary advantage to being gay?
• Is there an evolutionary advantage to believing in God?
• Is homosexuality nature or nurture?
• What’s the most controversial thing you’ve written?
• Has writing about sex affected your sex life?
Jesse Bering Ph.D. is the author of The Belief Instinct and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? and is a regular contributor to Scientific American, Slate, and Das Magazin (Switzerland). His writing has also been featured in many other sources, including New York Magazine, The Guardian, Discover, The New Republic, NPR, and the BBC. Bering is the former director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University, Belfast and began his career as a psychology professor at the University of Arkansas. His next book will be on the curiously scandalous science of human sexuality.
• How was your wedding?
• What are your plans post-congress?
• What’s your biggest regret while in Congress?
• In Congress getting worse?
• When will we see the end of DOMA?
• How are Dodd-Frank’s critics wrong?
• How could Democrats have prevented the housing crisis?
• What’s the most outrageous thing Andrew has ever said?
• Who is your favorite Republican colleague?
• Over your career, which political event or scandal has most shocked you?
• What’s your biggest criticism of Obama? Biggest plaudit?
• What did you make of Romney back in Massachusetts?
Barnett “Barney” Frank has been the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district since January 1981. He is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (2007–2011) and is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.
• What idea presented in your book gives you the most existential angst?
• Why is there something rather than nothing?
• Who is your favorite philosopher?
• Any favorite religious jokes?
• What do you make of the ‘New Atheists’?
Jim Holt a prominent essayist and critic on philosophy, mathematics, and science, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books. He is the author of two books, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes and Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story - additional Dish coverage of that book is here, here and here.
• What’s been your strangest discovery about outside spending?
• What is the sneakiest form of campaign finance?
• What is your biggest worry about Citizens United?
• Should Bush administration officials be tried for war crimes?
Jane Mayer is an American investigative journalist who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995. She is the author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. She has most recently reported on the powerful Koch brothers and the raving lunatic Bryan Fischer, and has written extensively on the influence of outside money this political season. Catch up on her work here.
Jay Rosen teaches journalism at NYU, where he directs the Studio 20 program and writes the blog PressThink. He also streams his press criticism through Twitter and Tumblr. His ideas have been featured on the Dish numerous times, some highlights of which are here, here, here and here.
• Who is behind Obama’s Af-Pak policy?
• What are the ties between the drug war and Afghanistan?
• How hands on is Obama with Drone warfare?
• Is it better to kill or capture our enemies?
• Is the ‘Fast and Furious’ for real?
Daniel Klaidman’s is a special correspondent for Newsweek, where he has worked since 1996, serving as investigative reporter, Middle East correspondent, Washington bureau chief, and managing editor, before his current position. After 9/11 he led Newsweek‘s award-winning coverage of the attacks and their aftermath. He is the author of Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency.
• What role should the government have in the private sector?
• Why are you against tighter financial regulations?
• Why didn’t the Bush tax cuts succeed?
• How is Paul Krugman wrong?
• Hasn’t austerity is Europe failed?
• How will the Euro crisis affect the 2012 US election?
Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy issues. She has testified numerous times in front of Congress on the effects of fiscal stimulus, debt and deficits, and regulation on the economy. de Rugy writes regular columns for Reason magazine, the Washington Examiner, and blogs about economics at National Review Online’s The Corner.
• Why should Catholics stay in the church?
• How would you reform the Catholic church?
• Should women be allowed into the priesthood?
• What was the most disheartening moment during the Vatican’s ongoing effort to silence you?
• Do you agree with the Vatican’s criticism of American nuns?
• Where do you stand on the contraception battle?
• What do the Bishops say about civil marriage and what’s your response?
• Do you think civil marriage should be available for gay and lesbian couples?
• What in the Bible backs gay rights?
Sister Jeannine Gramick is a Roman Catholic religious sister and a co-founder of the activist organization New Ways Ministry, a Catholic social justice center working for justice and reconciliation of lesbian and gay people with the institutional Catholic Church. After a review of her public activities on behalf of the Church that concluded in a finding of grave doctrinal error, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared in 1999 that she should no longer be engaged in pastoral work with lesbian and gay persons. In 2000, her congregation, in an attempt to thwart further conflict with the Vatican, commanded her not to speak publicly about homosexuality. She responded by saying, “I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right [to speak]. To me this is a matter of conscience.”
• Should we get rid of the DEA?
• What are your biggest civil liberty fears?
• Is Obama worse than Bush on civil liberties?
• How bad is Obama’s record on whistleblowers?
• Will Bush officials ever be tried for torture?
Scott Horton is a contributing editor of Harper’s who blogs about civil liberties at No Comment. If you haven’t yet read his award-winning piece “The Guantánamo ‘Suicides‘”, you should definitely do so. Here is my long take on the report.
• How has your opinion of Princess Diana changed?
• What was the best moment in at the Women In The World Conference?
• What was your most satisfying achievement at The New Yorker?
• What is the worst thing about living in England?
• Which controversial Newsweek cover did you kill?
Tina Brown is a journalist, magazine editor, columnist, talk-show host and author of The Diana Chronicles, a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. She is the current editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek and the former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.
• How has Obama dealt with Israel?
• Will Israel attack Iran – and should it?
• What do you think of rap music today?
• Can hip hop be conservative?
• How powerful is AIPAC?
• Is torture ever justifiable?
• What doesn’t suck about Beltway culture? (a rebuttal to Ackerman)
Eli Lake, is the national security correspondent for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and a frequent contributor to the Bloggingheads.tv. He previously covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.
• Which country has the best tax system?
• When will Republicans become sane again?
• What’s one of the biggest myths about the American tax system?
• What’s a VAT and why do we need it?
• What is the biggest misconception about Reaganomics?
• What do you think of Paul Ryan and the GOP’s fiscal future?
Bruce Bartlett is an American historian whose area of expertise is supply-side economics. He served as a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under President George H. W. Bush; he also served on the staffs of Representatives Jack Kemp and Ron Paul. He is the author of “The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform – Why We Need It and What It Will Take.”
• Has your opinion of violence changed?
• What most endangers the trend towards world peace?
• What was the most violent period ever?
• Does income inequality create crime?
• Does organized religion help or hurt global peace?
• Would you erase all nuclear weapons?
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author. He is a Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.The Dish has extensively aired and debated aspects of his most recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. A sizable sample of that debate here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
• Where should you eat in an unfamiliar city?
• What’s the best American and, er, British food?
• What is the healthiest cuisine in the world?
• What ethnic foods should Americans be eating?
• Why is cheap food better than expensive food?
• Should we feat genetically modified foods?
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. He also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.
• What’s the GOP’s biggest delusion?
• How should the GOP treat climate skeptics?
• Should we increase taxes to fix the deficit?
• Was the stimulus a failure or a success?
• How should we respond to a recession?
• How do you fix a problem like entitlements?
Jim Manzi, perhaps most sane and thoughtful voice at National Review, has had a regular presence on the Dish for many years. Jim is the founder and Chairman of Applied Predictive Technologies, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of the book Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society.
• What harm has same-sex marriage caused?
• Should religious institutions accept gay marriage?
• Can millennials be persuaded against gay marriage?
• How do your critics most misrepresent you?
• What’s the difference between gay marriage and interracial marriage?
• How did your experience as a single mom shape your views?
• Why is gay marriage worse than heterosexual divorce?
Maggie Gallagher is a conservative commentator and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, the leading organization opposed to same sex marriage.
• What do you hate about Beltway culture? (Eli Lake’s rebuttal is here)
• What has been your most memorable experience in a war zone?
• Is Afghanistan screwed?
• What’s your biggest beef with Obama?
• Is closing Gitmo still worth it?
Spencer Ackerman is an American national security reporter and blogger. He began his career at The New Republic and currently writes for Wired magazine’s national security blog, Danger Room.
• What was W’s biggest mistake? (and readers responded here.)
• Could Obama ever get your vote?
• How should the GOP approach female voters?
• What would you change about the GOP?
• How is Iran different from reports of WMDs in Iraq?
Jennifer Rubin is an American conservative columnist and a blogger for the Washington Post.
• What changed your mind on marriage equality?
• Would you support affirmative action based on class?
• Why do the wealthy stay married more than the poor?
• Why not redistribute income?
• What criticism of the bell curve did you most take to heart?
• Has the drug war affected class divisions?
Charles Murray is an American libertarian political scientist, author, columnist, and pundit currently working as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 and the co-author of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.
• What makes you more creative?
• Are creative types prone to mental illness?
• Is the Internet killing creativity?
• Is ADD good for creativity?
• Does cannabis increase creativity?
• What’s the most profound study you know?
Jonah Lehrer is an American author and journalist who writes on the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities.