Weekly Wrap: "Simmer Down, Now." : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders From WWNO in New Orleans, NPR Code Switch correspondent Gene Demby and Planet Money correspondent Noel King join Sam to talk through the week that was: a giant inflatable chicken, the President's rhetoric toward North Korea, White House infighting, an instantly notorious Google memo, a lawsuit against Harvard seeking to challenge affirmative action, and the Snap IPO — plus some New Orleans brass band music, a call to a listener in Michigan, and the best things that happened to listeners all week. Email the show at samsanders@npr.org and follow Sam on Twitter @samsanders.

Weekly Wrap: "Simmer Down, Now."

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AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show from NPR's Planet Money, Noel King and, from NPR's Code Switch team, Gene Demby. All right, let's start the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF REBIRTH BRASS BAND'S "THE DILEMMA")

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

She might have thought you were a guy.

NOEL KING, BYLINE: She does. Everyone does.

SANDERS: (Laughter) I'm sorry.

KING: This is very common thing with my name - Noel, Noel King.

SANDERS: No-el (ph). As Aunt Betty said, we've got some great guests here today, Gene Demby from Code Switch, Noel King from Planet Money here for IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. Thank you, guys.

GENE DEMBY, BYLINE: What's good? Thank you.

KING: Thanks for having us.

SANDERS: It's Friday. We're in New Orleans.

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: The rain stopped for a bit.

KING: It's beautiful out.

DEMBY: It's beautiful.

SANDERS: I wouldn't say beautiful. It's really sticky.

KING: It's muggy out.

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: It's a beautiful city on the surface of the sun.

KING: The sun is shining (laughter).

SANDERS: Yes, yes. So we are here for NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists. And it is a party.

DEMBY: Yes.

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's been a lot.

DEMBY: Actually a lot of parties.

SANDERS: It's a lot of parties. And I'm - like, I've been basically overwhelmed since I got here but in a good way. So yeah. Shout out to both of your teams, Code Switch...

DEMBY: Whoop.

SANDERS: ...And Planet Money...

DEMBY: Whoop-whoop.

SANDERS: ...Two podcasts listeners should check out. We're here to talk about what happened this week in the news, in the culture, everything. There's a lot. North Korea and the president's rhetoric, the Snap IPO, Rihanna and Diplo in, like, a faux feud.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: It's really hilarious. And we'll end the show with the best things that happened to our listeners all week. But first, this song - it's very New Orleans. It's a song from the Rebirth Brass Band called "The Dilemma."

(SOUNDBITE OF REBIRTH BRASS BAND'S "THE DILEMMA")

SANDERS: And I'm playing it because when I lived here years ago, I was...

DEMBY: What?

SANDERS: I was an intern in New Orleans for a summer in 2008.

DEMBY: At WWNO?

SANDERS: No, with the Broadmoor Development Corporation. Funny story - my boss back then, she's now running for mayor.

KING: (Gasping).

SANDERS: Yeah, I know.

KING: Wow. Have you linked up since you've been back here?

SANDERS: Not yet. I need to. But she's busy. I'm busy. You know.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: But I used to go to Rebirth Brass Band shows. And when I tell you it was a hot, sweaty mess - like, you walk in, it's 90 degrees. The band is playing. Everyone's dancing. And you're just, like, watching these guys play their horns. And you're like, how do you have the stamina? 'Cause I'm just standing up and I'm falling...

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...Falling down. And then halfway through the show, the tuba player...

DEMBY: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: ...While still playing the tuba...

DEMBY: He's getting it, yes.

KING: Oh.

SANDERS: ...Walks out with the tip jar all through the club...

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: ...And is like, give me your money. Give me your money.

It was the best show of my life ever. So this is Rebirth Brass Band, one of the best brass bands in the city, to welcome us and our listeners to the show today.

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: That's it.

(SOUNDBITE OF REBIRTH BRASS BAND'S "THE DILEMMA")

SANDERS: Are you guys enjoying New Orleans?

DEMBY: Yes.

KING: Yeah, yeah.

DEMBY: It's, like - it's kind of hard to have a bad meal in this city. You know what I mean?

SANDERS: But it's so much food. Like, I have this list of places to go to. And I'm like, I'm not going to get all of them. I can't do it. It's not going to happen.

KING: I'm not going to eat for three days when I get home.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right, we're going to start the show as we always do. I want us each to describe how this week felt - the week of news, the week of whatever - in three words. I can already tell what President Trump's three words would be...

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: ...Most likely fire and fury...

KING: (Laughter) I shouldn't laugh.

SANDERS: Which he - oh, he didn't tweet it. He said it...

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: ...To North Korea's leader. But he isn't here to give us three words; you guys are. What is y'all's?

KING: Gene, you want to go first?

DEMBY: Sure. Mine was actually related to Trump. It's bright red line.

SANDERS: Oh, (unintelligible).

DEMBY: I have been trying to, like, retroactively get read in on North Korea stuff. Right? So the last couple months, you know, as, like, the tensions have been escalating - you know, before it was like - well, they can't consistently build long-range missiles.

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: But once they developed the ability to make long-range missiles, everyone's like, OK, well, the bright red line now is...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...They will have the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads to put on those missiles.

SANDERS: And now they're saying they can do that.

DEMBY: They can do that. Right? And so then the bright red line is...

SANDERS: So does the line keep moving?

DEMBY: It's like, this is terrifying. And the bright red line is, like, well, can they get the missiles to go into outer space and then come back and, like, hit a long-range target on the continental U.S.? And it's like these things keep happening very fast. These lines...

KING: Quickly, yeah.

DEMBY: Yeah, like it is...

KING: These are quick steps (laughter).

DEMBY: It's terrifying. Like...

SANDERS: Well - and also it's so weird because I feel like a year ago, we just weren't thinking about North Korea.

DEMBY: Absolutely not.

KING: No, no.

SANDERS: And all of a sudden, it's all we can think about.

DEMBY: Right.

SANDERS: And they've been trying to do this for a while...

DEMBY: For a long time.

SANDERS: ...So my question to us is, like, should we have been taking this more seriously for years now?

DEMBY: I mean...

KING: I think a handful of analysts probably were. But it's one of those things where there's so much crazy stuff happening in the world...

SANDERS: Yes.

KING: ...Like there's Syria, there's the entire Middle East. And so how much worry can you possibly expend?

DEMBY: Yeah, true.

KING: I mean, as an individual...

SANDERS: And how much does your worry help?

SANDERS: ...And as a reporter.

DEMBY: Right.

KING: None, I've learned.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I spent all week in a panic.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

DEMBY: Right, right, exactly.

SANDERS: Yeah. Well - and what's so weird to me is that, like, the reporting that I hear from people in South Korea, people in Guam - they're kind of like whatever.

DEMBY: Right.

KING: Guam is chilling.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.

KING: It is - calm like Guam is such a thing.

SANDERS: They're like, if it's our time, it's our time.

DEMBY: Calm like Guam.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Right. I saw this great story the other day in the Times where this woman was like - I think it was the Times - she's like, yeah, well, I'll go into church a little bit more. But for the most part, we know where we're located. This has always been a problem.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: It's really interesting.

SANDERS: It is. It is. What are your three words?

KING: My three words feel a little silly compared to Gene's...

SANDERS: No, no, no.

KING: ...Three words. But they are on the theme.

SANDERS: OK.

KING: They're of the moment. Giant inflatable chicken are my three words for the week.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

KING: So there's this artist from California who has this giant blow-up chicken - 30 feet tall - imagine - 10 feet wide. And he's positioned it on the lawn in back of the White House.

SANDERS: But it's funny because of the hair.

KING: It looks like Trump.

SANDERS: It has, like, Trump hair. Right?

KING: It's got a coif. Yeah. And it is not - I don't mean to be disrespectful. Right? I think the artist is sort of like Trump...

SANDERS: Well, the artist wants to be disrespectful.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Yes, he certainly does.

SANDERS: Right, right, right, right.

KING: He's like, my point is that Trump is a chicken - he will not release his tax returns; he hasn't been forthcoming about what his relationship is with Russia.

But here's what I like about it. It's been a week of such dark news. And I was watching news reports of people going down to see the giant inflatable chicken. And, like, a lot of people being interviewed about it don't get that it has anything to do with Trump. They're just like...

SANDERS: Really?

KING: ...Hey, man - it's a giant inflatable chicken. Yeah.

SANDERS: They don't see the hair?

KING: And it's bringing such joy to my heart.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And I'm like, I will happily watch people watch this chicken - Chicken Don, it's called - all week long.

DEMBY: Chicken Don (laughter).

SANDERS: And, like, throughout the administration, you've seen this kind of - a game of chicken.

KING: Yes.

SANDERS: Like, Tillerson makes a statement about North Korea; then Sebastian Gorka, who's also in the administration, shoots down Tillerson on TV.

KING: Right.

SANDERS: Then you have, like, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, who are in the same party - now Trump is speaking and tweeting against Mitch McConnell. It's just all, like, a lot of kind of playing chicken.

KING: And then there's North Korea too...

SANDERS: Yeah (laughter).

KING: ...Responding like, we are going to get you with the fury of a thousand - and so it's like, oh, everybody's - yeah. Yeah.

SANDERS: Everyone's playing chicken.

DEMBY: We need another chicken pun now.

SANDERS: We do.

DEMBY: 'Cause you got inflatable chicken, you got playing chicken - we need like a hen-pecked. Someone has to make a chicken...

KING: Oh, oh, oh - Gene, come on.

SANDERS: (Laughter) We need three, oh.

KING: It's (unintelligible). Come on (laughter).

SANDERS: You can do it, Gene. You can do it. You can do it.

DEMBY: I don't know.

SANDERS: So to perfectly dovetail with these thoughts, my three words for the week are simmer down now...

DEMBY: (Laughter) Simma dahn nah (ph)

SANDERS: ...Because a lot of us need to. Yeah.

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: That was very good. Do it again.

DEMBY: Simma dahn nah.

SANDERS: My favorite - the "SNL" religion...

DEMBY: "SNL," yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: She did this one thing once where she was like, how do you say Donna Summer in the phone book?

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Summer, Donna. Summer dahn-na (ph). Simmer dahn-nah (ph). Simma dahn nah.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: I imagine John Kelly saying those exact words to Donald Trump.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Anyway, we're going to hold right here for a quick break. We'll be right back with Long Distance, where we call a listener and see what's up where they live this week - BRB.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: All right, we are back. In a moment, we'll go around the table, and we'll each share a news story from the week that we want to talk about. But first, a thing we do every week - Long Distance.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRAKE SONG, "HOTLINE BLING")

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Just a little bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

SANDERS: This is where we call a listener out in the country and ask them what's going on in their neck of the woods. Today on the line from Livonia, Mich. - just outside Detroit - we have Brian (ph). Brian, you there?

BRIAN LABENNE: I am. How are you, Sam?

SANDERS: I'm good. How are you? Did I say it right? Livonia?

LABENNE: Yeah. Yep, you got it right.

SANDERS: Sounds like someone's aunt.

LABENNE: (Laughter) Aunt Livonia.

DEMBY: Aunt Livonia (laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah, like that.

LABENNE: Yeah, I could see that for sure.

SANDERS: Right? You're on the line with my good friends Gene and Noel. Say hi guys.

KING: Hey, Brian.

DEMBY: What's good? How are you, Brian?

LABENNE: Hey, Gene. Hey, Noel.

SANDERS: So before we talk about you and your work and your life and stuff, from what I understand, Brent tells me this is a special day for you.

LABENNE: It is, yeah. It's my 11th wedding anniversary.

DEMBY: Congratulations.

SANDERS: Congratulations.

KING: Yay. Happy anniversary, dude.

LABENNE: Thank you so much, yeah. And it's also kind of crazy because I am 33 years old, so I've been married now for one third of my life.

SANDERS: Wow.

DEMBY: Wow.

KING: Wow.

LABENNE: Yeah. I got married pretty young. And...

SANDERS: What's your wife's name?

LABENNE: Amy (ph).

SANDERS: OK.

KING: How'd you guys meet?

LABENNE: We met at college, a small Christian university in Michigan. It was kind of encouraged to find a wife and get married and all that in that environment - but worked out for us.

KING: I wish my college had done that.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: It's come back to bite me, Brian.

SANDERS: If you find the one, lock it down.

LABENNE: That's right.

SANDERS: What are you guys going to do for your anniversary?

LABENNE: We're keeping it a little low key because we're saving up for a trip later in the year when we can get time off work. But in Michigan, we have a lot of lakes, so we're probably going to go to a lake and go floating and just relax.

SANDERS: That's the dream.

LABENNE: Yeah, it's not bad.

SANDERS: So what do you do out there in Livonia?

LABENNE: Well, I'm actually in IT with a social work agency.

SANDERS: OK.

LABENNE: And I used to be in social work for 11 years before that and just recently switched over to the IT department.

SANDERS: You spent 11 years in social work. With what kind of communities?

LABENNE: I worked a lot for a long time in the homeless community. I worked in a homeless shelter for a while.

SANDERS: OK.

LABENNE: And most recently at a community mental health agency - so people with severe and persistent mental illness.

SANDERS: OK. And so you were doing things like, I'm guessing, helping them get health care?

LABENNE: Yeah. Yep, that was a big thing. You know, also just - I don't know. Social work is kind of crazy because you're essentially in charge of people's lives.

SANDERS: Wow.

LABENNE: And whatever that may entail is kind of what you take care of.

SANDERS: Which can be everything.

LABENNE: Right. It could be everything. And health care is a huge part of that.

SANDERS: You know, so your state, Michigan - it's one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But there are still some unknowns about the future of that bill, the future of Medicaid, because Republicans in D.C. still say that they hope to repeal the health care law. Are people in your community - in the social, you know, worker community - are they worried about possible changes to things like Medicaid? And if so, what's the, you know, reaction to the current state of politics in D.C.?

LABENNE: Well, we actually estimate that 20 percent of the population we serve is covered by Medicaid expansion.

SANDERS: Just the expansion? Wow.

LABENNE: Just by the expansion, yeah. And so in Wayne County, Mich., it's somewhere around a dozen community mental health agencies. And I work at one of those. And at one of those, 20 percent equals around 600. So we are very, very nervous about losing access to psychiatrists, to mental health medication, to needed case management services, to a whole realm of other things.

KING: Can I ask you something? 'Cause my little brother was a social worker for many years - still is one. But he worked with recovering addicts, and he recently switched to a job where he's mostly doing training and grant writing. And I keep asking him, you know, how do you like it? How do you like it? And he's like, I really miss working with people. Like, it's just a totally different - it's a totally different ballgame. And I'm curious - the move to IT, do you miss your people?

LABENNE: I absolutely do, yeah. I think it was the right decision. But...

KING: Yeah.

LABENNE: ...The good thing is I'm still in the same agency I was in before.

KING: OK.

LABENNE: So you know, I'll go fix the computer at the building where I used to work and see a lot of the clients there. And so I'm still connected. I can still see how they're doing but just kind of in a different realm. I think...

KING: Cool.

LABENNE: ...If it would have been a hard cut, that would have been very difficult.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. You know, I forgot to ask this earlier. But, you know, you just left social work after some 11 years doing it. What's, like, a big lesson, or the big lesson, that you learned from your time doing that, in your work with those patients?

LABENNE: You know, I've been asked this question a lot over the years, sometimes in the realm of, like - do you think the people you help deserve it? - which really frustrates me. And I have to do what I can to not yell at people when they ask it that way. And then I'll have people kind of overglorify - you know, talk about how people receiving services are heroes and they face all these struggles. And it's just - I don't know. I fall kind of in the middle, where it's like, they're just people trying to do what they can to survive...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LABENNE: ...Without any safety net below them. And sometimes, it brings out some anger, frustrations. And I think I would most likely be angry and frustrated if I was in a similar situation, so I think that's a normal emotion. And I just think they're just people doing what they can in a system that's very hard to navigate, very hard to understand. And you kind of have to get to know the rules to be able to play the game. And then once you do get to know the rules, people will say you're playing the game too much. It's a hard position to be in, like, seeking social services like that.

SANDERS: Yeah. Well, thank you for the work that you do.

LABENNE: Oh, no.

KING: Yeah.

LABENNE: No problem.

SANDERS: So what are you going to do fun this weekend? Let's talk about fun for a little bit.

LABENNE: Fun, yeah. Well, you know, after I'm done here, I'm actually posting an episode of my podcast to the Internet.

SANDERS: Whoa.

KING: Nice.

LABENNE: I have a podcast as well.

SANDERS: What's your podcast called?

LABENNE: It's called Best Song Ever.

SANDERS: Hey.

LABENNE: I've kind of harassed you a little on Twitter. I don't know if that rings a bell.

SANDERS: Uh-oh.

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Tell me more.

LABENNE: I've tagged you a bunch, and you're pretty responsive. So it's fun when you respond on Twitter, you know. So...

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: I'm going to plug your podcast today, absolutely.

LABENNE: I sent, like, a playlist your way, and you liked it. Yeah. So...

SANDERS: Yes. Oh, yeah. Hey, yeah.

LABENNE: Yeah.

SANDERS: Thank you for that.

LABENNE: Yeah, no problem.

SANDERS: Well, I'm going to let you go have a great weekend. I'm going to download your podcast as soon as this one is done taping. And thanks for being a Twitter friend. And I wish you and your wife a happy anniversary weekend.

LABENNE: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Also, Gene, love Code Switch.

DEMBY: Thank you, man.

SANDERS: Oh, got a super listener.

LABENNE: Every - every - every Wednesday, you know, I get check in my feed, and it's fantastic.

DEMBY: Thank you so much for saying that, man.

KING: Check out Planet Money.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Wednesdays and Fridays.

LABENNE: Right. Right. I will (laughter).

SANDERS: All right, Brian. Have a great weekend. Man, be easy.

LABENNE: Bye.

SANDERS: All right.

KING: Bye.

LABENNE: Yes, bye.

SANDERS: Listeners, be in touch for this segment. If you want us to give you a call in here about anything - anything going on where you live, drop us a note. Tell us what's happening at samsanders@npr.org. Brent even says you can nominate someone for a call if the phone is not your thing. You can say call this one. Call that one. He wants to he says hear more grandparents on the line.

KING: Yes, we all do.

SANDERS: You got really excited.

KING: We all do.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: So before we get to story swap, a quick call out and request. We are trying an experiment next week - a call-in show.

DEMBY: Uh-oh.

SANDERS: So I know you guys are excited about this.

DEMBY: Yes. So this drive time show you're going to like...

KING: Yes.

SANDERS: Maybe. Yeah. Yes. So for two hours on Tuesday, August 15, I will be in a booth here at NPR taking calls from whoever wants to talk. Oh, no. We can talk about anything - problem you're having, if you want to vent about something if you have a question for me, if you have thoughts on the mediocrity of the new Jay Z album - whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: Wow. OK. The production - even the production?

SANDERS: He used the same drum kit for every song.

DEMBY: Yeah, but it's just so - whatever.

SANDERS: I know. I know.

DEMBY: It's hard, but we'll disagree.

SANDERS: Anyways, let's talk it out. Here's how to do it though. Email me. Say what you want to talk about. And then leave me your phone number. That's it, and then we'll call you. But here's the catch. You have to be available at that phone number next Tuesday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. east coast time - Tuesday, August 15.

So again, call-in show, email me your situation and a phone number where I can reach you between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. eastern next Tuesday, August 15. All right? All right. P.S. I'm doing this whole call-in thing with Barrie Hardymon, who is a friend of the show. You guys have heard her before. She's great. It'll be a good deal. I promise. And we'll give Noel's grandma a call.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: From beyond the grave...

DEMBY: The seance.

KING: ...Roxie King.

SANDERS: That's a great name.

KING: I know. She was a great lady.

SANDERS: Yeah? Sounds like it.

KING: She was tough as hell. She would have liked you.

SANDERS: I love it. I love it.

DEMBY: Was she like a - was she like a rock singer or something? Was she like - she had to be like a - she had to be a bass player.

KING: No, no. She just raised a lot of children.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Which is like having a band.

DEMBY: Absolutely.

KING: Yeah. There you go.

DEMBY: Yeah. It's true.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right. Now it is time for the part of the show where we swap some stories from the week that was. I hate to go first, but I'm going go first.

KING: Do it.

SANDERS: (Laughter) So we all have been following - or at least I have - the ongoing and mushrooming saga around this secret Google memo that was leaked. An employee there, an engineer there named James Damore, wrote a 10-page memo that was leaked recently all about how Google's diversity efforts around gender and race weren't just misguided, but they were also failing.

And he said some things like this - quoting from the memo. "Women on average have more neuroticism, higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance. This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety and to the lower number of women in high-stress jobs." If y'all could see Noel right now...

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: He also said...

KING: Very high-stress.

SANDERS: He also said, we always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that might not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life. So after this came out, there was a big brouhaha. He was fired. And since that, a few things have happened. First, all of the think pieces.

KING: (Laughter).

DEMBY: Yup.

SANDERS: So many. Second, Google executives reaffirming their commitment to diversity. And then third, now Damore is threatening to sue Google. And since his firing, he has given interviews on YouTube to leaders in the alt-right. And he's become this kind of alt-right hero doing interviews on YouTube, which is, strangely enough, owned by Google.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: And in the latest wrinkle, just this morning, Google has scheduled an all-hands staff meeting to talk about the state of diversity at the company. But they canceled the meeting literally minutes before it's supposed to happen because some of the questions that came in early from employees had been leaked. And then people in the alt-right, like Milo Yiannopoulos, posted the Twitter bios of some of those people. And they were threatened to be, like, doxed.

KING: Geez.

SANDERS: So the meeting was canceled. This thing keeps snowballing. And it got me asking a lot of bigger questions, namely, like, how is this diversity problem, this gender problem still such a big problem? So I talked with someone who knows Silicon Valley quite well. Her name is Tracy Chou. She is a founding adviser for a group called Project Include. They work on issues of inclusion and diversity.

And she, funnily enough, interned at Google 10 years ago. So I asked her this week, do you think things have gotten better in the last 10 years in Silicon Valley?

TRACY CHOU: I suspect it may have actually gotten worse not because they haven't tried but because culture can feed on itself.

SANDERS: And she basically said these cultures can perpetuate themselves. And what was really interesting to me is she said that, a lot of times, the diversity efforts of companies like Google take part in are counterproductive. Take for example the quintessential diversity training seminar.

CHOU: If not done correctly, I think what happens is that these mandatory trainings can engender resentment or cause people to feel like, since they've gone through the training, they are no longer biased. And then there's also the danger that once a team or organization runs one of these trainings, they feel they've checked the box, and they no longer need to do anything else.

SANDERS: And so it's like the more that I dug into this story, I was like, is there a solution? What will ever fix this? I don't know.

KING: Women in leadership, more women in leadership. I don't know either. I'm - but I do know that the thing you hear again and again and again is that it's a pipeline problem, it's a pipeline problem, it's a pipeline problem. But if we've been having a pipeline problem for a decade, surely, surely by this point, we should've fixed the pipeline problem.

SANDERS: Yeah. And it's also bigger than pipeline because we know that once women do make it to a place like Google, they're much more likely to leave...

KING: There you go.

SANDERS: ...Quicker than men do. So something's happening at the culture in these spaces and places that's causing them to want to leave. You know, Tracy was telling me during her time in tech, she faced that thing that folks like her always seem to face. People don't take her seriously...

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Don't think she's as qualified or as smart. And they discount her good ideas. And it's like those are the kind of things that aren't pipeline, you know...

KING: No...

DEMBY: Right.

KING: ...That's workplace culture.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: And a lot, I mean, a lot of workplaces, a lot of, you know, colleges, universities - like, they weren't built to be diverse places to be, like, in the...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...To begin with. And, like, I think there's this, like, very naive notion that you just, like, add more brown people or add more women, and the problem is fixed.

KING: Yeah.

DEMBY: But when you introduce those people, that comes with, like, the allocation of new resources and new considerations, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: I mean, like, this is a problem for a lot of media organizations that are, like - have reputations for being really white and...

SANDERS: Was that cough on purpose?

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: Oh, no, no - is that there's also, like, this built-in suspicion from the people who are coming in, who are people of color, who are women, who might be queer. When they come into these spaces, like, they're already coming in, like, on guard - right? - like, with a sense of that this is going to be a hard culture to navigate and to penetrate.

And so it, like - the psychic reservoirs that people have, right? They have to, like, sort of deplete to stay at work all the time. Like, they don't get refilled at work. They don't have people they can go out with. Hanging out with your colleagues after work is, like, extra work. It is extra...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...Mental energy, you know?

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: If you work at a place like Google, and it's full of people like this guy, like...

SANDERS: You don't want to hang out with...

DEMBY: ...Do you want to hang out with your colleagues after work, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: That is extra effort...

SANDERS: Yeah. Well...

DEMBY: ...That your colleagues don't necessarily think of as extra effort. They just think of that as hanging out.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: I'll tell you the thing that I - because I'm struggling to control my rage.

SANDERS: Oh, let it out.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Let it out.

KING: So I read the memo. And then I read it again. I hate-read it. I rage-read it. I empathy-read it...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Because I'm a woman - right? - I read it in all the different ways...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ...And the thing that really raises one of my eyebrows, like, six feet high - you know, I love when people are like, here's a controversial opinion. I've got some data to back it up. I am out to change your mind, Noel. I actually really like changing my mind.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: This dude was arguing that women are biologically different from men...

DEMBY: Yup.

KING: ...That biologically, I am geared to be more anxious than you, Gene Demby. And, therefore, I can't make it in this world that we call tech or media or whatever. And I just - I mean...

SANDERS: James Damore has not met me because I'm the most anxious person alive.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

KING: I will cop to being highly neurotic...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

KING: ...But I will tell you I work in media. And I know a lot of very, very neurotic, successful men. I mean...

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: ...I don't - I know that people were upset that he was let go. People said, you know, you shouldn't be fired for expressing an opinion. But when you start talking about biological differences between genders - and people smarter than me have said this. What if he had said, biologically, black people are different...

SANDERS: Yup. Well, he sort of did, right?

KING: Yeah.

DEMBY: Biologically, LGBT people are different. Or, biologically, people in wheelchairs...

KING: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...Obviously can't do this work, right?

SANDERS: Well, and also, a lot of what he says in this memo ignores historical reality...

DEMBY: Absolutely.

KING: Yeah.

DEMBY: Of course.

SANDERS: People forget when software engineering first became a thing. It was unsexy, not prestigious. And it was mostly done by women. And as...

DEMBY: Computers were - like, that was the name of their job...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...There were women...

SANDERS: Exactly.

DEMBY: ...Called computers.

SANDERS: Yeah. And as Silicon Valley became ascendant and prestigious and lucrative, men swooped in. But there was a time when, like, coding was a woman's thing.

KING: I want to see him do a debate. Like, I want to give him a chance to, like...

SANDERS: Do you?

KING: ...I want to see...

SANDERS: Do you?

KING: ...Him debate a woman - I do, but I do, though...

SANDERS: OK.

KING: ...I want see him debate a woman with data because I feel like I could talk up, down and sideways, and James Damore will not hear me. My assumption is he will not hear me.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

KING: I would like to see him...

SANDERS: Well, he can't hear past your neuroses.

KING: (Laughter) Few people can.

SANDERS: Yeah...

DEMBY: I don't understand your lady brain.

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Strangely enough, though - so Google's current head of diversity and inclusion - she was previously at Intel. And while she was there, she tried a kind of - well, not novel actually - but a controversial thing to fix diversity there. She instituted a 40 percent hiring quota for women and people of color.

KING: That is super interesting in the question of quotas. I mean, that...

SANDERS: That's a whole another...

KING: Oh yeah.

SANDERS: We don't have time for that story.

DEMBY: Absolutely.

KING: (Laughter).

DEMBY: Absolutely.

SANDERS: So...

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: ..Speaking of things that don't have a fix, from what I understand, Gene, that might be your story.

DEMBY: This is kind of related. You know, we're talking about big institutions trying to fix diversity. There was this lawsuit filed by this kid named Austin Jia - it's not a kid. I guess he's a young man. He's 19 years old. He applied to Harvard University. He said he did not get in because he was Asian-American. That lawsuit is, like, the brainchild of this man named Edward Blum, who is this fascinating figure...

SANDERS: Who shops for cases.

DEMBY: He literally...

SANDERS: UT case with Abby...

DEMBY: Abigail Fisher. Right.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: The Texas v. Fisher, which is the big affirmative action case from a couple terms ago. Edward Blum literally created a website soliciting...

SANDERS: I remember this.

DEMBY: ...Asian-American kids...

SANDERS: I remember this.

DEMBY: ...Who've thought that they have been discriminated against by the Ivies...

SANDERS: And it had, like, stock photos of, like, Asian people. And I was, like...

DEMBY: Being sad.

SANDERS: ...Do they know they're in this?

DEMBY: (Laughter) Anyways - and so the argument is basically that Asian-American kids are discriminated against by the Ivies and Harvard in particular because they're super-qualified to go to these schools. And they're not getting in. I think that the number of Asian-American kids at these schools...

SANDERS: Capped.

DEMBY: ...Has stayed pretty static.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: And so their argument is this is similar to the way that the Ivies sort of instituted this invisible quota on Jews back in the 1920s. So, like, Asian-Americans are being, like, used as a wedge in this conversation of affirmative...

SANDERS: And it seems as if some white people are using...

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: ...Asian-Americans as a reason to say that affirmative action, period, should not exist.

DEMBY: Right. And the kids who - this kid in this case is from one of those families. And so one of the things that's just fascinating to think about - both this Google story and this Harvard story - is the way we are trying to correct these problems on the back end, like, once we're in these super-elite spaces. Like, Google is a really - I mean, working at Google is really hard, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: Harvard is obviously impossible to get into, right? Like, what's...

SANDERS: Trust me. It ain't.

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: Says the Harvard dude.

KING: You went to Harvard?

SANDERS: Fake Harvard. The Kennedy School.

KING: Oh, wow. All right.

DEMBY: Fake Harvard. It still counts. It still counts.

SANDERS: Also, if any of my former professors are listening, it's not fake.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Liking that master's degree.

DEMBY: But we're trying to get these, like, elite institutions to fix these problems that we haven't figured out in the rest of the society, right? Like, all the advantages that accrue to kids who go to, like, the best schools, the best high schools, the best elementary schools - they have these resumes that look exactly the way...

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: ...That your Stanfords and your Harvards and your Dukes...

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: ...Want resumes to look. But, you know, if you're a black kid or Latino kid from - and it seems like you're more likely to go to a school that doesn't have AP courses, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: Like, your road to that place...

SANDERS: It's just harder.

DEMBY: ...To the same decision point is so much different.

SANDERS: And your track record looks different. You might have two years of working at McDonald's...

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: ...Not volunteering with poor kids at an orphanage in, like, Rwanda.

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: You know, I - like, it's just a different set of life experiences.

DEMBY: Absolutely.

SANDERS: And, I mean, what I really find interesting, though, is, like, when we - there's so much attention paid to the Harvards of the higher-education game. For the majority of students going to college, it's not an issue of whether or not you go to Harvard. It's about whether or not you can afford college, period.

DEMBY: That's exactly right.

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: And there are - like, the bigger thing with schools like Harvard - they don't accept a lot of low-income students, period...

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: ...Regardless of their race.

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: And a lot of these low-income students are facing bigger issues with, like, private student loan debt or for-profit colleges...

DEMBY: That's right.

SANDERS: ...Or not being able to finish school because of family obligations.

DEMBY: Right.

SANDERS: And we forget about those access questions because we're focused on these prestige issues. Yet it's still important, though, you know?

DEMBY: Absolutely.

SANDERS: And so what's interesting now with this affirmative action case at Harvard is that Donald Trump's DOJ - Department of Justice - has gotten involved. And under the leadership of Jeff Sessions, they - did they file a brief?

DEMBY: They said they were going to investigate schools that...

SANDERS: OK. They're going to investigate.

DEMBY: And this is so Trumpian (ph). Julia Craven at the Huffington Post called out to Ed Blum, the architect behind this case at Harvard. She called him. She was, like, hey. So Donald Trump just said that they're going to investigate affirmative action at these universities. And Ed Blum was just, like, I haven't heard about this. He was, like, I actually...

SANDERS: Wait. So Team Trump hadn't called the guy behind the case...

DEMBY: They hadn't called the guy behind the case. Yeah.

SANDERS: Wow.

DEMBY: Yeah, it was crazy.

SANDERS: Interesting.

DEMBY: He was just, like, you know, Trump - shoot him from the hip, you know?

SANDERS: Yeah. Give us a fun, happy story, Noel.

KING: OK. So I want to start with a caveat, which is when I - my story for the week, when I brought this to my editor. And I was, like, I have a story about the dovetailing of two really interesting economic trends. He was, like, shut it down.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I don't even want to hear about one interesting - and he's...

SANDERS: Shut it down.

KING: ...An editor. So he was, like...

SANDERS: Which editor?

KING: ...You can't frame it that way. Bryant Urstadt of Planet Money - lovely man.

SANDERS: He's a nice guy.

KING: Lovely man - but tries to keep our stories popping. So anyway...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ...He was, like, just start with Snapchat...

SANDERS: Yes.

KING: ...Just start with Snapchat.

DEMBY: Yes. OK.

KING: So here's the deal. Snapchat, this big tech company, recently...

SANDERS: First question. Do any of us actually use Snapchat?

DEMBY: I - it's impossible.

SANDERS: I can't.

KING: Can't really figure it out.

SANDERS: It's so hard.

DEMBY: It is.

KING: (Unintelligible) how old is everyone here? I'm 36.

DEMBY: I'm 36.

SANDERS: Thirty-two.

DEMBY: OK.

KING: We're not old people...

DEMBY: Yeah, we are...

KING: I just want to know...

DEMBY: ...Probably millennial-ish (ph).

SANDERS: It's made for the super young...

KING: Millennial-ish. Yeah...

SANDERS: It's made for the super young. It's - like, if you're over 25, you probably don't get Snapchat.

DEMBY: And it was built to be...

SANDERS: And they want it that way, right?

DEMBY: Yeah. They built it...

KING: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...To be...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...Like, sort of a little bit difficult.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: It's exclusive and...

SANDERS: I used to do Snapchat during the campaign all the time, but we had to have our intern, like...

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: ...Hold the phone and do it for me. And so I'd just stand there and talk, but, like, they'd be recording.

DEMBY: Here young person...

KING: Sam Sanders, secrets from the trail.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: More at nine.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Anyway, I cut you off.

KING: I mean, so Snap is this company that went public a couple months ago, and it is a valuable company. It's got a market cap of $16 billion. This is a thriving tech company. It's no Facebook. It's no Amazon yet. But the founders, who are young, kind of want it to be - clearly...

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: ...Want it to be.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: So the S&P 500 is a stock index - is an index of the biggest companies in the world.

SANDERS: OK.

KING: It's an important index. And can I tell you why for people who are tempted to tune out? Do you have a 403(b) through work? Do you put retirement money...

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: I put some money in there.

KING: OK...

SANDERS: Not enough, but...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Hey, same here. Probably all three of us. But the idea is if you have a 403(b) through work, if you have a 401K, if you're putting money into a 529 for your kid's college fund, you are investing in an index like the S&P 500...

DEMBY: Right.

SANDERS: So our money's in there.

KING: ...It's important to you. That's right. That's right.

SANDERS: OK.

KING: So when you hear the S&P goes up, Sam, your retirement is doing well.

SANDERS: OK.

KING: You hear the S&P goes down, Gene, you just took a hit. All right? So the S&P is super important. And a couple days ago, the S&P came out and said, even though we are an index of the biggest companies in the world, we are not going to let Snapchat into our index.

SANDERS: Why not?

DEMBY: Why?

KING: And everyone was, like, why not? It's a big company. It's a tech company. It's thriving. So it's because of this really interesting trend. You have companies coming up like Snapchat and a lot of other tech companies started by young people that are issuing stock - that when they go public, and they issue stock, the way it normally works is you issue stock to your shareholders. And your shareholders then get to vote on important things in the company, like...

SANDERS: Yes.

KING: ...Who is the CEO?

SANDERS: They have a say.

KING: That's right...

SANDERS: They have a share.

KING: ...They have a - thank you.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: You have just defined it. So what Snapchat did was they came out. And they're, like, we're going to issue three different classes of stock. One of them, for the founders - these two young guys, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. One of them gives us all of the power to say whether or not the company can be sold, to say who the CEO should be. Can he be removed? A second class of stock is for people who worked for the company early or were early investors. They have a little bit of power. But the third class of stock for people like you and me investing in the S&P - no power whatsoever.

SANDERS: That seems...

KING: No power whatsoever.

SANDERS: ...Really foul.

KING: Bob Murphy (laughter) and Evan Spiegel - an analyst, a company analyst told me. She's, like, these young men could fall off a bridge, hit their heads, be knocked unconscious, go in the hospital, be in the hospital for, like, weeks, and they would still be in control of...

SANDERS: Oh my goodness.

KING: ...This company, right? So that's been happening a lot with tech companies because why? Young men...

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: ...Who think of themselves and have been told - and maybe they are geniuses.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: And they think that you and me and you - we should be investing in their vision. And if they have a bad quarter or if they - their earnings aren't good...

SANDERS: Yeah. Trust the vision.

KING: ...We're supposed to trust the vision.

DEMBY: Yeesh (ph).

KING: And so the S&P came out and...

SANDERS: Said no.

KING: ...Was, like, you know what? This is a growing trend. Forget it, guys. You're done. You're out of the index.

SANDERS: So what's going to happen next? Are we going to see more companies be Snapchatted (ph) out of the S&P 500?

KING: That is such a good question. And this is the question I was asking analysts all week. And they're, like, you know what? S&P is the first domino to fall. The other stock indices, the big indices - in fact, there was one in London. The Russell Index recently did the same thing...

SANDERS: Really?

KING: ...Like, no more of this. So what I think we'll see is two things. I think more indices will say no. But I still think there will be more companies like Snap coming along that will try to do the same thing, different classes of stock.

DEMBY: What would be the upside for someone who wanted to buy stock in one of these companies in which they had basically no say?

KING: Because imagine that Snap is the next Amazon or the next Facebook, and we miss out, right?

SANDERS: But here's the thing, especially with Snapchat. They have not yet proven that they're a profitable company.

DEMBY: Right.

KING: They have not.

SANDERS: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: So, I mean, I've been watching Snapchat. And their stocks have been falling after...

DEMBY: Have you been snapping Snapchat stock?

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: I don't snap, though. Not snapping Snapchat. After their IPO, you know, they've kind of been floundering. And the problem with Snapchat is as soon as they create a new, fun social media thing, Instagram does it with a bigger audience.

DEMBY: Right.

KING: That's it.

DEMBY: And, like, all these social platforms sort of, like, cycle in and out. And they have, like...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...Their moment in the sun and...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...They disappear. Remember...

SANDERS: Remember Vine?

DEMBY: Remember Friendster?

KING: That's what makes...

SANDERS: Oh, Friendster. Oh boy...

KING: ...The confidence of these young men so fascinating to me. I'm, like, you all must know something that we don't...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ...Because you're 26 or 27 or 28. And you're, like, nah, I got this. I got this.

SANDERS: Nah, I got this.

DEMBY: Even, like, Snapchat's core users will age out of it, right? They're, like, yo, I'm 23 right now. And at some point, they're going to be 30. They're, like, man, I ain't got time to be snapping all this. You know what I'm saying? Like, oh, turn it up...

KING: They're going to be texting, like...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: I can tell you that my experience at NABJ so far has been that people of all ages are Snapchatting (ph) - like, whoa.

KING: Are they?

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: On the dance floor, at the party...

KING: We're out of it, guys.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

KING: We're out of it.

SANDERS: We're out of it. I would say snap us listeners, but, like, don't.

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: We will never see anything...

KING: You can text us.

DEMBY: ...You send us.

SANDERS: Yeah.

KING: Gene, what's your cell?

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right. Time for one more quick break. When we come back, we'll play Who Said That. And we will hear our listeners tell us the best things that happened to them all week.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS'S "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Quick plug before we get back to the show - this summer, I know you do not want to spend too much time having to keep up with the news. So NPR has a great way to streamline your news diet. It's called Up First. It's a 10-minute daily news podcast out every weekday morning. It gives you a quick update on the news you need to know to start your day. Makes you real smart real fast. I listen every morning. You should, too. Grab Up First on the NPR One app or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS'S "FLICKER")

SANDERS: All right. We are back. It's time for my favorite game.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: (As herself) Ooh, when they saying that?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #1: (As character) Who said that?

SANDERS: Do you watch "Housewives?"

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #2: (As character) Who said that?

KING: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

BURRUSS: (As herself) Who said that?

DEMBY: Which "Housewives" is this?

KING: I'm really behind...

SANDERS: This is Atlanta.

KING: ...On pop culture.

DEMBY: OK.

SANDERS: This is Atlanta.

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: All right. So the game is very simple. I share a quote from the week. You guys have to guess who said that. We'll do three or four of these today - probably just three. The winner wins nothing.

KING: Oh.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

KING: Gene...

DEMBY: OK.

KING: ...Welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: First quote - "we found this was an extreme property. It's an entire area of the community...

DEMBY: Oh, OK, I know, I know.

SANDERS: ...All the common areas. I was pleasantly surprised." Who said that?

DEMBY: This is that story out of San Francisco...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: ...About the couple who bought the block.

SANDERS: Yes. Ta-da.

DEMBY: That is the most...

KING: I knew this.

SANDERS: ...San Francisco...

KING: I knew this. You jumped on it faster.

SANDERS: So this story is crazy. It was reported first Monday by the San Francisco Chronicle. This young couple looking for a good real estate deal found the best deal. For about $90,000, they bought one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco. Not the houses...

DEMBY: Yeah, just the whole...

SANDERS: ...Just the street.

KING: The street.

SANDERS: So all these people own these million-dollar mansions, but the street that they live on is now owned by these two people, these - their names are Tina Lam and Michael Cheng.

KING: Props, guys.

SANDERS: Props. They did it. And so they were able to do it because there was a $14-a-year property tax for the street that got lost in the wash, and addresses got mixed up. And so no one paid it. And it was up for auction.

KING: All these rich people didn't pay their $14 bill.

SANDERS: I know.

KING: And now...

SANDERS: Well, it seems like it was a glitch on the side of the homeowners' association.

KING: Oh, it always is.

SANDERS: And they said, we moved offices, and y'all didn't mail us the right bill. (Laughter) I don't know.

DEMBY: And the city said like, oh, there's nothing we can do about it now.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: The street has been sold.

SANDERS: Yeah. And so now the folks that bought the street, Tina and Michael, are like, we might charge the people that live here for parking.

KING: That is gutsy. That is gutsy.

SANDERS: And a further wrinkle - so this really exclusive, crazy street, which has now been bought by two Asian people - turns out this property previously, up until, like, a few decades ago, had a racially restrictive covenant on it. And it was not allowed to be sold to anyone but white people. And now this.

KING: There you go.

SANDERS: I tell you, this story - ironic's not the word, but it's just - the story's cray (ph).

KING: It's something else.

SANDERS: The story's cray.

KING: It's something else.

DEMBY: It's the most San Francisco story I've ever heard.

SANDERS: Right?

KING: Yes.

SANDERS: Right?

KING: Yes.

SANDERS: All right, next quote, hands on buzzers.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: "This sounds like a reggae song at an airport." Who said that?

DEMBY: Rihanna said this.

SANDERS: Hey, Gene is on a roll.

KING: Gene, you are winning by a lot.

DEMBY: Oh, that's not fair. So you guys didn't hear this, but Noel actually was saying that she doesn't listen to a lot of music, so she probably wouldn't have got this.

SANDERS: I know, I know.

DEMBY: Oh, that's not fair.

SANDERS: It's OK.

KING: That's OK, that's OK. Tell us about the - because I'm going to go download it on my phone.

(LAUGHTER)

DEMBY: There was - so Diplo from Major Lazer...

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: ...Was being interviewed by a magazine.

SANDERS: GQ.

DEMBY: OK. Yeah, I didn't know if it was GQ.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: He was being interviewed by a magazine. He says that he wanted to collaborate with Rihanna on a...

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: ...Song. And Rihanna said (laughter) that his music sounded like...

GENE DEMBY AND SAM SANDERS: Reggae at an airport.

SANDERS: Which - also, I don't have a problem with reggae at an airport.

KING: No one does.

SANDERS: So Rihanna was having this listening session. Basically, a lot of producers come in, play her a ton of tracks, and she picks the track she likes, then they make a song around it.

DEMBY: There's a Planet Money episode about this.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah. She did not like any of Diplo's tracks...

DEMBY: Wow.

SANDERS: ...And told him that it sounded like a reggae song at an airport. Once he told this story, people were kind of clowning him. But he tweeted later, if you've been inside the private airport me and Rihanna use, you'd realize it wasn't actually an insult.

DEMBY: (Laughter) First of all...

KING: Good comeback, Diplo.

DEMBY: ...That's disgusting.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: And so then some rando (ph) on Twitter said, well, if we're talking about reggae and stuff, how about Diplo curate all the music for all the terminals at Miami's airport that go out to the Caribbean? And then Miami airport - their official account on Twitter - and Diplo himself on Twitter said, sure, why not?

DEMBY: What?

KING: That's a nice end...

SANDERS: So hopefully that happens.

KING: ...To a salty story. I love that.

SANDERS: Hopefully, that happens. Also, I don't hate Diplo. He's made some hits. So the biggest song of 2015, "Lean On" by Major Lazer...

DEMBY: Yeah.

SANDERS: You know that song?

KING: Mmhmm.

DEMBY: It's a great running song.

SANDERS: Yeah, that's...

DEMBY: So you know this song.

KING: I'm sure I do.

SANDERS: But Diplo wrote that. Diplo's written a lot of songs for Beyonce. Like, he produced "Paper Planes" from M.I.A.

KING: That song I know and love.

SANDERS: He's done some hits.

KING: That I'm on repeat.

SANDERS: He's done some hits. He's done some bops.

KING: OK.

SANDERS: I'm not mad at Diplo. Diplo and Rihanna, collaborate.

KING: Yeah.

SANDERS: All right, Gene is up two. We only have one quote left. So it's probably over, but there might be a double-touchdown-field-goal.

KING: Who knows?

DEMBY: (Laughter).

KING: Who knows?

DEMBY: Sports.

KING: It's a real toughie.

SANDERS: All right, here's the quote - "God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food, but don't buy too much avocado toast, or you'll never be able to afford a house. And they were shook."

KING: OK.

SANDERS: Who said that?

KING: Definitely the Bible. Definitely the Bible.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: No, that was the - this great McSweeney's article...

SANDERS: Yes.

KING: ...About if God was a millennial. That was super.

SANDERS: Yes, yes.

KING: That was really funny.

SANDERS: The article was...

KING: Really funny.

SANDERS: ...So good that - it's called "And God Created Millennial Earth."

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: And it basically wrote out the creation story from Genesis...

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: ...As if it were written by a millennial. I've got to share a few of those. First verse - in the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth - #creationgoals, #earthisbae.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Second verse, now the earth was formless and basic.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was low-key hovering over the waters.

KING: Yes.

DEMBY: (Laughter).

SANDERS: This one's my favorite. Verse 22, then God said - woke as ever - be fruitful and increase in number, and fill the water and the seas. And let the birds increase on the earth, which was VV (ph) on-brand for God.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: This whole thing is just beautiful. Oh, last one, and God saw all that he had made, and he literally couldn't even.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: And there was evening. And there was morning. And God said - and God was like, for Heaven's sake, this place is cray (ph). I'm out. And he requested an Uber, and it was so.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: There's one other verse that I can't find right now, but it's basically like, and God said, let there be light, and it was lit AF.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: This was just the perfect thing.

KING: Genius article.

SANDERS: The author of that article - Sara K. Runnels. I tried to find her on Twitter this week. I could not. Sara K. Runnels, if you're out there, thank you for this. It was so good.

KING: It's killer.

SANDERS: So Gene, you won. But Noel, we still think you're great.

KING: By a hair.

SANDERS: It's because you're so neurotic.

KING: Next time. It's because I'm (laughter)...

DEMBY: We can have a rematch.

SANDERS: All right, we're almost out of here. But first, I got to plug Tuesday's episode. It's a deep dive, but this one's a bit different. I spent a whole day a few weeks ago at the offices of The Onion.

DEMBY: Wow.

SANDERS: I went to Chicago, and they let me hang out with them for a day. It was super fun. I took, like, three recording kits and three big old fuzzy mikes and just stuck them in their daily editorial meeting.

DEMBY: What is the office like?

SANDERS: Well, you got to listen to find out, Gene.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: It's a nice office. It's really weird. Like, I was telling them there, at The Onion's office, I was like, whenever I read you guys, I can't be quiet. I'm laughing. I'm talking about it. I'm loud about reading The Onion. But when you're in the offices of The Onion, it's super quiet.

KING: Really?

SANDERS: They're really introverted. We talk a lot about that. They were fascinating.

KING: I can't wait to hear that.

SANDERS: It's super fun. I talked with senior writers and editors there. I sat in on a big editorial meeting. We talked about the news, what they do, how their jobs are different now that news is basically just a daily parody of itself. It was really fun. Drop in on Tuesday. It's going to be unlike the Tuesday stuff you've heard before, but I think you'll like it.

DEMBY: That's what's up.

KING: Listening party.

SANDERS: Yeah, The Onion. All right, let's end this show as we always do. Each week, we ask our listeners to send us a recording of themselves sharing the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage them to brag. We get a lot of good audio. Brent pulled it together in a little montage that we're going to play right now.

SARAH: Hey, Sam. This is Sarah (ph) in Camano Island, Wash. The best thing that happened to me this week is I finished my first week on the floor as a brand new registered nurse.

SANDERS: Congrats.

SARAH: And I laughed. I cried. It was amazing and heartbreaking...

SANDERS: Wow.

SARAH: And confirmed that this is my calling.

SANDERS: Wow.

SARAH: And not to take anything in life for granted.

KING: Nice.

SARA: Hi, Sam. So the best part of my week was introducing my adoptive dad, the man who raised me for 33 years, with my biological mother...

SANDERS: Wow.

SARA: ...Who gave me up for adoption when I was just a baby.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

SARA: It was amazing to bring two people that I love and cherish so much together. And we got to share some delicious Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DEMBY: Wow.

SARA: So it was overall just the best lunch I think I've ever had.

LILY: The best thing that happened to me this week is that I finished moving into my first grown-up apartment.

SANDERS: Yes.

DEMBY: Yes.

MADDIE: Struggling to park today, an older woman stopped me and, step-by-step, taught me how to parallel park.

SANDERS: Aw.

KING: Yes.

WENSTON: This week is actually my girlfriend's birthday. I plan on surprising her with a brand new kitten.

SANDERS: Oh.

BROOKE: Hey, Sam. The best thing that happened to me this week was, after months of background checks and interviews and so many doctors appointments, I finally medically pre-qualified for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

DEMBY: Wow.

SANDERS: Whoa.

BROOKE: I deploy in October to McMurdo Station. I'm so excited.

SANDERS: Congrats.

JAMIE: Hey, Sam. This is Jamie (ph) in, Post Falls, Idaho. Best thing that happened to me all week was having my two nieces spending some time out here with us in Idaho. They're from Billings, Mont. And between the two of them and my daughter, all of them between the ages of 8 and 11, we just had a heck of a week - going to the theme park and going to the beach. And they gave me a pedicure, and I let them French braid my hair - which was really painful, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

JAMIE: At any rate, it was just so awesome to have them out here and enjoy all those great memories and participate in childhood with them all over again. Love you, Nya (ph) and Britton (ph).

DEMBY: Aw.

JAMIE: Can't wait to have you back here. Uncle Jamie loves you.

SANDERS: Aw.

JAMIE: Thanks, Sam.

LILY: Thanks.

WENSTON: Have a great one.

BROOKE: Bye.

SANDERS: These are always the best.

DEMBY: I know. Those people are so lovely.

KING: You got to get that lady on the phone when she gets to Antarctica.

DEMBY: Yo, seriously.

SANDERS: Oh, I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: That's...

DEMBY: What's going on around here? (Laughter).

KING: Look around, you know, what does it look like? (Laughter).

DEMBY: She's like, it's...

SANDERS: Gray.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: So thanks to Sarah, the nurse. Sara (ph), who was adopted - amazing story. Lily (ph) Maddie (ph) Rhiannon (ph) Wenston (ph) and Brooke (ph), and thanks to Uncle Jamie up there in Idaho. Also, shout out to Cynthia (ph), who wrote us. She made some great progress in her physical therapy this week. Congrats on that. Brent and I listen to all of these that come in. We just wish we had time to play them all but we don't. But know that when you hit send on those emails, it lands in our inbox. And we listen. And we hear it. And we appreciate it. To all those who want to share their best thing all week, you can do that at any time throughout the week. Just record yourself and send the file to Sam Sanders at npr.org We are done.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE DILEMMA")

SANDERS: It's time to, like, go party.

DEMBY: Turn up.

KING: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Turn up in New Orleans. We're going to head back to NABJ and try to stay up with the youths. They keep dancing all night long.

DEMBY: And Snapchatting.

KING: Snapchatting (laughter).

SANDERS: Snapchatting. This week, the show was edited by Jeff Rogers and Steve Nelson, produced by Brent Baughman. To the wonderful team at WWNO, thanks for having us here - super appreciate it. Special thanks to Jenni Lawson here at the station...

DEMBY: Woot.

SANDERS: For helping us out all week and also helping out our friends at 1A who taped a show or two here as well. Refresh your feed Tuesday morning for The Onion.

DEMBY: Yes.

SANDERS: Until then, thanks for listening, talk soon. Thank you, Rebirth Brass Band. You got to see them live. It's epic. It's epic.

KING: Yeah - and (unintelligible).

SANDERS: You know. They're - it's good.

KING: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE DILEMMA")

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