Our Week in Politics & Culture: Mark-Making, Masterworks, and Election Meddling

America isn’t doing great at the moment. The president won’t commit to a peaceable transfer of power if he loses the election, coronavirus cases are going up in many places, and the cops that killed Breonna Taylor weren’t charged with anything significant. Things feel particularly bleak right now, partially because they are. But we’re still fostering political discussion, from Republican hypocrisy (if you can even call it that) to lighthearted stuff like Joe Biden campaign merch. We’ve got that plus RBG’s legacy, artist interviews, a New York Times bestseller, and more.


On Art Uncovered, Kimberly speaks with Tariku Shiferaw, whose ongoing body of work titled “One of These Black Boys” explores mark-making in order to address the physical and metaphysical spaces of painting and societal structures. He is a current participant of Open Sessions at The Drawing Center and an artist in residence at the LES Studio Program.

No. 1 New York Times bestselling author James Rollins joins Kory on Book Talk to discuss Unrestricted Access, an anthology of his short masterworks, including a new full-length novella featuring Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane, as well as nine previously published short stories, gathered together for the first time.

On Radio Dispatch, John & Molly discuss the impact of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy and the fight over her vacant Supreme Court seat. Plus the continued discussion of John’s story on the overlap between cops and far right groups, and NYC once again pushing back the start of in-person schooling.

On BreakThru Radio Weekly, J. McVay is joined by Nikkiesha McLeod, as we return to our series of recurring segments in which we meet the people behind what we do here at BTRtoday. Nikkiesha recently joined us here at BTR as host of our newest podcast, When We See Each Other. Jacqueline Soller and J. McVay discuss the recently released movie I’m Thinking of Ending Things, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman and starring Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley–available on Netflix. Plus a live performance from Photo Ops, recorded exclusively for BTRtoday.


On this week’s 1st Person, C.B. shares a personal story about changing schools, which helped them realize that everyone does not have access to the same resources and we must lend a hand towards gaining equal footing.

On Video Dispatch, John Knefel discusses the recent rise in COVID-19 cases both in the U.S. and globally, and that the reactionary approach by both state and federal governments will lead to even more preventable deaths.


In the Senate GOP’s upcoming push to fill RBG’s seat before the election (thus destroying their own precedent set in 2016), hypocrisy doesn’t begin to cover it.

Even still, some liberal and media types seem frozen as Donald Trump flouts political norms and openly threatens to contest the election. As if their Supreme Court switch-up weren’t evidence enough, it’s pretty obvious Republicans can’t be trusted.

Aside from actively working to degrade American democracy, Trump is holding in-person campaign rallies that have the potential to be COVID-19 superspreader events. It’s possible no person on earth is doing more to ensure the spread of coronavirus.

A pro-Biden Super PAC launched a campaign this week urging progressives to #ListenToBernie. But the tone-deaf hashtag only frustrated online progressives even more, since they’ve been listening to Bernie Sanders for years. Maybe Biden should start.

Even with all his flaws, though, Biden does have a few kitschy campaign items we can get behind. Kinda. Maybe. He’s just really gotta win, cat collars or not.

Other Politics & Culture News …

On Media Matters, Madeline Peltz and Justin Horowitz detailed Steve Bannon’s new national speaking tour to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Sludge’s Donald Shaw reports that the new STOCK Act would force elected officials to disclose their financial holdings—and that the government would actually keep them in a database as public information.

On Thursday, David Sirota published details from a memo circulating Capitol Hill detailing powers Democrats could invoke to block Trump’s SCOTUS nominee.

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar says that if Democrats want to win they need to focus on nonvoters and giving them a reason to go to the polls.