John Nixon was the lead CIA analyst tasked with studying Saddam Hussein during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It fell to Nixon to identify Hussein when he was captured, interrogate him while in U.S. custody, and present what he learned to the Bush White House. Nixon’s book is Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.In the Spiel: Don’t blame the provocateur, blame his followers. Today’s sponsors:The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kinds of topics. Get a free trial when you sign up by going to TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/gist. Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
     
There’s a term in poker called tilt—when players become overwhelmed by bad news and it starts clouding their decision-making. Poker star Annie Duke talks to guest host Maria Konnikova about the psychological tricks that pro card players use to get through rough patches and how it applies to our political climate today. Duke has written several books about poker and sits on the board of How I Decide, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged young people make better decisions. For the Spiel, Maria breaks down what Donald Trump is doing to our brains. Today’s sponsor: Indochino, the company that’s reinventing men’s fashion. Go to Indochino.com to get any premium Indochino suit for just $389, plus free shipping, when you use promo code gist at checkout.And Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. Try it today with$4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods atKeurig.comwith code TRYGMC. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
For years, Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver took on the powers that be in their influential podcast The Bugle. But the show went on hiatus in 2014 when Oliver became the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Now, Zaltzman is rebooting the show at a most opportune moment for satire. “It’s like throwing the javelin of truth into the swamp of corruption,” says Zaltzman. “But javelins in swamps don’t always work out.” For the Spiel, a Lobstar of the Antentwig. Today’s sponsors:Wunder Capital. Earn up to 8.5 percent annually while diversifying your portfolio, curbing pollution, and combating global climate change. Create an account for free at WunderCapital.com/gist. Wunder Capital: Do well and do good.Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
     
Chris Licht is the executive producer for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which has surpassed its late-night competition since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. On The Gist, Licht explains why he’s not worried about going viral or catering to a younger audience: “I think you can be likable and pointed.”For the Spiel, who was it, again, who warned us that Trump was in cahoots with the Russians?Today’s sponsors:Hit Showtime original series Billions, starring Emmy winners Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. Billions returns Feb. 19 with new episodes every Sunday at 10 ET/9 CT. Download the Showtime app now to start your free trial.Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. When it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender, work with one that has your best interests in mind. Use Rocket Mortgage for a transparent, trustworthy home loan process that’s completely online at QuickenLoans.com/Gist. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
Jedediah Purdy understands President Trump’s supporters better than most champions of the left, having grown up in rural West Virginia (he has the greased-pig award to prove it). But he’s still befuddled by the prospect of peeling away voters from the president’s camp. Purdy’s recent piece in theNew Republic is titled “America’s New Opposition.” For the Spiel, an annotated history of one of the Trump administration’s favorite lies. Today’s sponsors:Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with DD Perks. Earn a free Dunkin’ Donuts beverage when you enroll by using promo code DDPODCAST, and speed past the line in store with on-the-go ordering. Download the Dunkin’ app and enroll today.Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.
     
John Darnielle has always had a facility with words. As singer and songwriter behind the Mountain Goats, Darnielle has made pop poetry about lonely outsiders and cultural marginalia. Now, in his second novel, Universal Harvester, he explores the lives of desperate people in a small Iowa town. He also talks about a song title so good that no singer could ever do it justice. In the Spiel, how competent people are quietly undoing Trump. Today’s sponsors:ZipRecruiter.Post your job listing to all the top job sites with a single click. Try it for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/gist. Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with$4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods atKeurig.comwith code TRYGMC.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
David Frum has emerged as a leader of the Republican resistance in the months since President Donald Trump’s election. On The Gist, he shares his dismay that the disparate forces opposing the Trump administration can’t seem to get over old squabbles. He also explains the narrow political portfolio he’s settled on and why Never Trumpers should focus their activism. Frum is a senior editor at the Atlantic. For the Spiel, the agony and the ecstasy of watching Stephen Miller.Today’s sponsors:Betterment, the largest automated investing service. Get one month managed free when you go to Betterment.com/gist.The Great Courses Plus, a video learning service that offers lectures on all kinds of topics. Get a free trial when you sign up by going to TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/gist.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
On The Gist, guest host Julia Ioffe of the Atlantic talks about the similarities and surprising differences between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin with Miriam Elder, world editor at BuzzFeed. Elder shares her idea of how the two leaders fit into a global story unfolding right now. Plus, Ioffe and Elder explain “whataboutism” and other vocabulary lessons from their time reporting in Moscow.In the Spiel: The Trump presidency is quickly putting the lie to an old Russian saw. Today’s sponsors:Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with DD Perks. Earn a free Dunkin’ Donuts beverage when you enroll by using promo code DDPODCAST, and speed past the line in store with on-the-go ordering. Download the Dunkin’ app and enroll today.Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother tasting cup. Try it today with code TRYGMC.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
Elvis Costello is one of the most accomplished songwriters of his generation. In his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, he details his songwriting process, his encounters with everyone from Paul McCartney to Joe Strummer, and his place in a rapidly changing music industry. Costello is up for a Grammy this week for the audiobook version of Unfaithful. For the Spiel, a fairly pointless history lesson from Ted Cruz. Today’s sponsors: Dunkin’ Donuts. Upgrade your day with DD Perks. Earn a free Dunkin’ Donuts beverage when you enroll by using promo code DDPODCAST, and speed past the line in store with on-the-go ordering. Download the Dunkin’ app and enroll today. And Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. And now, as a special listener promotion, get $4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with the code TRYGMC. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.
With elections coming up in France and Germany, Facebook is working with media organizations across Europe to avoid the fake news pox that struck the United States last year. Slate’s senior technology writer Will Ormeus joins us to discuss the strides being made against political hoaxes online. Also, we answer the question: Does office coffee make us more productive? What does it accomplish as a work perk? Does it taste any better because it’s free? The Sporkful’s Dan Pashman investigates as his employer, WNYC, looks for a new workplace brew.For the Spiel, on the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Today’s sponsors: Policy Genius. Shop and compare all the top-rated life insurance companies in one place. Go to PolicyGenius.com today to save over 70 percent off other prices for life insurance. And Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee is passionate about making a smoother-tasting cup. And now, as a special listener promotion, get $4 off when you buy two boxes of most Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods at keurig.com with the code TRYGMC. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at slate.com/gistplus.