Times Like These with Charles Lane

Host Charles Lane of the Washington Post welcomes a distinguished guest twice a month to discuss politics, law, history, and foreign affairs.

About the show

Host Charles Lane of the Washington Post welcomes a distinguished guest twice a month to discuss politics, law, history, and foreign affairs.


  • Episode 16: Janno Lieber on Transforming NYC Transit

    July 28th, 2023  |  35 mins 28 secs
    history, law, politics

    Less traffic. Cleaner air. Safer streets. Better transit. That’s the personal motto of Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. And it’s certainly a good one aspirationally. The challenge is putting it into practice. Lieber joins host Charles Lane to discuss the triumphs and pitfalls of running one of the world’s greatest social and infrastructural experiments: the New York City subway system.

  • Episode 15: Gov. John Bel Edwards on Being a Deep South Democrat

    July 17th, 2023  |  31 mins 30 secs
    history, law, politics

    Louisiana is a unique state and Charles Lane knows its history; his 2008 book, The Day Freedom Died, told the story of the Colfax Massacre of 1873, in which dozens of Black men were slain. And the state has a unique governor, John Bel Edwards, who has been elected to two terms as a rare pro-Medicaid expansion, pro-life Democrat. Charles met the governor at the recent dedication of a monument to the victims at Colfax and asked him to join the podcast to discuss his unusual place in American politics.

  • Episode 14: Josh Kraushaar on Antisemitism and Politics in America

    June 5th, 2023  |  36 mins 10 secs
    history, law, politics

    Political extremism and antisemitism have a habit of going hand in hand throughout history. Josh Kraushaar, veteran political analyst and editor-in-chief of Jewish Insider, joins host Charles Lane to talk about the rise of antisemitism in America, partisan sentiment and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and political trends more broadly.

  • Episode 13: Colbert I. King on D.C., Journalism, and Black History

    April 18th, 2023  |  33 mins 26 secs
    history, law, politics

    Colbert “Colby” I. King has served the nation in a myriad of roles, including as “the unofficial journalistic voice of the city for more than three decades.” He sat down with host Charles Line to share his thoughts on the District’s political limbo, the state of journalism today, and the importance of teaching Black history.

    This episode was recorded on March 29, 2023.

  • Episode 12: Natasha Crampton on Building Responsible AI

    April 5th, 2023  |  40 mins 56 secs
    history, law, politics

    Artificial Intelligence has played a game-changing role across many industries, from banking and health care to retail and manufacturing. But as AI impacts our lives in increasingly direct ways, are companies harnessing its technological power safely and responsibly? Microsoft’s Chief Responsible AI Officer Natasha Crampton joined Charles Lane to discuss Chat GPT software, how system design can be used to remove structural biases from AI, and the ethical implications of our AI future.

  • Episode 11: Anna Lembke on Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence

    March 1st, 2023  |  45 mins 47 secs
    history, law, politics

    Is pain necessary to appreciate the good in life? Has unfettered access to pleasurable stimuli–from drugs and alcohol to internet and streaming TV–dulled our ability to experience true pleasure? Dr. Anna Lembke uses neuroscience and narrative to explore these questions and more in her book Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence. In conversation with Charles Lane, Lembke offers up hope for how to get back to our center.

  • Episode 10: Jorge Castañeda on the Challenges Facing Latin America’s Young Democracies

    January 26th, 2023  |  49 mins 31 secs
    history, law, politics

    Do democracies offer progress or only the promise of progress? NYU professor and former foreign minister of Mexico Jorge Castañeda breaks down some of the challenges currently facing the western hemisphere’s youngest democracies, those of Latin America. From Mexico to Peru and Brazil, a centrist vacuum in the region is contributing to everything from copycat insurrection to populist violence.

  • Episode 9: Jon Grinspan on American Political Wildness

    November 22nd, 2022  |  36 mins 1 sec
    history, law, politics

    Americans have a penchant for telling themselves the darkest version of their history. But Jon Grinspan looks to the wild campaigns of the 1800's to show how the lived drama of the American political experience offers lessons of hope for political participation and civility.

  • Episode 8: Jonathan Zimmerman on America's Public Schools and Parents' Rights

    October 11th, 2022  |  36 mins 19 secs
    history, law, politics

    Are modern ideologies infecting how we educate students about history? Education historian Jonathan Zimmerman joins Charles for a discussion on the politics and history of teaching controversial topics in American schools.

  • Episode 7: Amanda Ripley on why we're avoiding the news

    September 7th, 2022  |  36 mins 36 secs
    history, law, politics

    New York Times journalist Amanda Ripley discusses the psychology behind why nearly half of Americans no longer want to follow the news — and what we can do about it.

  • Episode 6: Kori Schake on Confederate Names and Military Bases

    July 20th, 2022  |  33 mins 11 secs
    history, law, politics

    AEI's Kori Schake discusses the Jim Crow-era naming of military bases after Confederate leaders and the Congressional Naming Commission's inclusive approach to renaming federal entities.

  • Episode 5: Jeh Johnson on public safety

    July 7th, 2022  |  27 mins 55 secs
    history, law, politics

    Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson discusses public safety and border security, and the importance of these issues for political candidates.

  • Episode 4: Michael J. Abramowitz on the future of democracy

    June 21st, 2022  |  34 mins 16 secs
    history, law, politics

    Michael Abramowitz joins Charles Lane to reflect on the disappointed expectations for democratic transition after 1989, and our complacent forgetfulness that democracy is something that must be struggled over continuously.

  • Episode 3: Maya MacGuineas on fiscal responsibility

    June 7th, 2022  |  30 mins 7 secs
    history, law, politics

    Is fiscal responsibility coming back into style? Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, joins Charles Lane to discuss how that reversal may yet come to pass after years of fiscal recklessness by both parties.

  • Episode 2: Ruy Teixeira on the American electorate

    June 1st, 2022  |  36 mins 7 secs
    history, law, politics

    Is the Democratic Party still the party of the White and non-White working class? Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress joins host Charles Lane to assess the party’s strategic positioning today.

  • Episode 1: Governor Chris Sununu on American politics

    May 19th, 2022  |  27 mins 8 secs
    history, law, politics

    As America gears up for a midterm election in the midst of hardening partisan lines and the ongoing war in Ukraine, what are the prospects of the American political future? For the inaugural episode of the new American Purpose podcast “Times Like These with Charles Lane,” the 82nd governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, joins host Charles Lane to discuss matters both foreign and domestic.