American Fever Dream

American Fever Dream
From under the desk to in your ears, V. Spehar joins Betches Media in a new podcast dedicated to curing the collective malaise brought on by our chaotic political environment. Every week, Spehar and co-host Amanda Duberman (news director, Betches) will tenderly guide you through the biggest moments in politics and pop culture with a healing dose of perspective and humor. Rather than spiral over the latest unprecedented event, the hosts dig for the 2024 political tea you *really* want to hear while offering all the information you need to be an empowered citizen, without the side of despair to keep you up at night.

Latest Episodes

Where to Start

Monday, March 4th, 2024

Today’s Headlines: Starting with updates from Gaza, President Biden announced US military aid drops directly into Gaza following the tragic deaths of over 100 Palestinians during a humanitarian aid attempt. Additionally, Biden proposed exploring the possibility of opening a maritime corridor to increase aid delivery, while Vice President Kamala Harris called for an immediate ceasefire in the region. Transitioning to the US political scene, Donald Trump secured wins in Republican presidential primaries in Missouri, Michigan, and Idaho, edging closer to officially clinching the nomination. Trump, at a rally, accused President Biden of orchestrating a conspiracy to overthrow the government, echoing his ongoing rhetoric. Project 2025, a plan reportedly designed by Trump and his allies, surfaced with dystopian proposals such as using the Insurrection Act to enforce martial law and overhauling the Department of Health and Human Services into the "Department of Life." In an alarming move, Trump invited Hungary's authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Mar-a-Lago, highlighting their shared authoritarian tendencies. In a progressive step, Missouri lawmakers, led by Ashley Aune, proposed legislation to overturn a 50-year-old law prohibiting pregnant women from divorcing. Lastly, Walgreens and CVS announced plans to sell abortion pills, coinciding with the upcoming Supreme Court hearing on the legality of mifepristone access. Resources/Articles mentioned in this episode: Reuters: Biden says US military to airdrop food and supplies into Gaza BBC: Israel-Gaza war: Kamala Harris urges more aid for starving Gazans WA Post: Trump wins GOP contests in Idaho, Michigan and Missouri AP News: Trump escalates his immigration rhetoric with baseless claim about Biden trying to overthrow the US Axios: "Department of Life": Trump allies plot abortion crackdown for second term AP News: Hungary's Viktor Orbán to visit former president Donald Trump at Florida home next week USA Today: A Missouri law forbids pregnant women from divorce. A proposed bill looks to change that Axios: CVS, Walgreens to start selling mifepristone abortion pills in some states Morning Announcements is produced by Sami Sage alongside Amanda Duberman and Bridget Schwartz Edited by Grace Hernandez-Johnson

Friday, March 1st, 2024

Today’s Headlines: Let’s start with Congress, after Mitch McConnell announced his resignation from his leadership role in November, Senator John Cornyn declared his candidacy for the Republican Senate leader position. Cornyn, known for his conservative stance, previously engaged in negotiations on key legislation such as gun safety and tech development funding, earning him both praise and criticism. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Cindy Hyde-Smith led Republicans in blocking a bill by Democrat Tammy Duckworth aiming to protect IVF access following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling, sparking controversy. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin faced scrutiny in the House Armed Services Committee regarding his handling of health issues, while President Biden signed an executive order to safeguard Americans' personal data from adversarial nations like Russia and China. The administration also initiated an investigation into potential data security risks posed by Chinese-manufactured smart cars. In Texas, a historic wildfire continues to ravage the landscape, with over a million acres already burned. Lastly, France made history by voting to constitutionally protect abortion rights in response to concerns over the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. Resources/Articles mentioned in this episode: The Texas Tribune: John Cornyn announces he’s running for Senate GOP leader  AP News: Republicans block Senate bill to protect nationwide access to IVF treatments CBS News: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies before Congress about his hospitalization: "I did not handle it right" AP News: Biden acts to better protect Americans' personal data such as health records and finances  ABC News: Biden orders US investigation of national security risks posed by Chinese-made 'smart cars' NBC News: Texas wildfires live updates: Massive blaze covers over 1 million acres, becoming largest in state history BBC: French Senate backs enshrining right to abortion in constitution Morning Announcements is produced by Sami Sage alongside Amanda Duberman and Bridget Schwartz Edited by Grace Hernandez-Johnson

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

Today’s Headlines: Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, announced that he is finally stepping down from leadership in November, following his 82nd birthday. Despite relinquishing his leadership role, McConnell plans to fulfill the remainder of his term, which is approximately two more years, but will not seek reelection. In Congress, bipartisan agreement emerged on a short-term stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown, proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, extending funding for certain agencies for one to two weeks.. Meanwhile, updates from the Michigan primaries reveal slight shifts in vote shares for President Biden and Donald Trump, with Biden securing 81.1% of the vote and Trump maintaining his lead with 68.2%. Legal battles involving Trump unfold, as the Supreme Court agrees to hear his appeal regarding immunity from criminal prosecution in the January 6th election interference trial, while a circuit court judge in Illinois rules him ineligible for the state's primary ballot due to the insurrection clause. Additionally, a New York state appeals court judge denies Trump's request to delay payment of his $450 million penalty in a civil fraud trial, requiring him to post a $100 million bond within 30 days. Lastly, Wendy's clarifies that their AI-enabled dynamic pricing menus aim to offer discounts and values at different times of day rather than implementing surge pricing. Resources/Articles mentioned in this episode: AP News: Mitch McConnell to step down from Republican Senate leadership | AP News NY Times: Congressional Leaders Strike a Short-Term Deal to Avert Partial Shutdown NY Times: Michigan Republican Primary Election 2024 Live Results: Trump Wins NBC News: Supreme Court to decide Trump’s immunity claim in election interference case NBC News: Illinois judge rules Trump ineligible for Republican primary ballot over Jan. 6 riot NBC News: Judge denies Trump request to post $100M bond instead of 'impossible' $464M penalty in N.Y. fraud case CNN: Wendy’s says it won’t use surge pricing | CNN Business  Morning Announcements is produced by Sami Sage alongside Amanda Duberman and Bridget Schwartz Edited by Grace Hernandez-Johnson

The Hosts

Amanda Duberman
Amanda Duberman is the senior director of News & Special Projects at Betches Media, where she spearheads politics and news coverage across platforms and built Betches News, an Instagram platform for politically engaged millennials and Gen Z women. She’s a seasoned host and journalist who previously held senior editorial roles at HuffPost, where she covered and drove content strategy around women’s issues, politics, and culture.
V. Spehar (They/Them)
Vitus “V” Spehar is an accomplished TikToker, political advocate, and host of the newest podcast from Betches Media. Their signature brand, Under The Desk News, started out as a series expanding on news events in a nutshell and quickly became GenZ and Millennials go-to source for news. V’s in-depth citizen journalism led them to collaborate with notable figures like former President Obama, President Biden and more than a dozen members of Congress to inform their massive audience in a sustainable way while pushing for civic participation.

Featured Guests

Katie Couric
Tammy Duckworth
Kirsten Gillibrand


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