Weekdays 2-3 p.m.
  • Hosted by Joshua Johnson

1A is a show for a changing America.

Every day, host Joshua Johnson convenes a conversation about the most important issues of our time. The show takes a deep and unflinching look at America, bringing context and insight to stories unfolding across the country and the world.

With a name inspired by the First Amendment*, 1A explores important issues such as policy, politics, technology, and what connects us across the fissures that divide the country. The program also delves into pop culture, sports and humor. 1A’s goal is to act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.

The conversation isn’t just on air. 1A invites you to join in. We’ll regularly post questions and requests for feedback on this page. And you can talk to us on TwitterFacebook, or by texting 1A to 63735.

1A is produced by WAMU 88.5, and distributed by NPR.

Unprecedented: The Right To Offend

8 hours ago

After “Saturday Night Live” parodied the president in December 2018, Donald Trump tweeted that the show “should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?”

In fact, the right to mock presidents, preachers and other public figures already had been tested in the courts.

In 1983, Hustler Magazine published a joke so offensive that it made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Last week, President Donald Trump cleared three service members. Each of them was accused or convicted of war crimes.

The president issued pardons for two, Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn and Clint Lorance. After a trial this summer, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was demoted, and the president reversed that action.

Presenting The Debutante Ball

Nov 19, 2019

Debutante balls have been a thing for more than 400 years. Queen Elizabeth I first introduced the practice as a way to present her ladies-in-waiting as ready for marriage.

A Conversation With Susan Rice

Nov 19, 2019

Former national security adviser and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice isn’t done talking about President Trump. And it seems President Trump isn’t done talking about her.

A Clash On A Hong Kong Campus

Nov 19, 2019

The situation in Hong Kong escalated early this week as police trapped protesters on the Polytechnic University campus.

About 280 protestors were taken to a nearby hospital to treat their injuries.

Some 600 protestors left the university’s campus in a manner described as “peaceful” by the school’s chief executive.

Releasing "The Report"

Nov 18, 2019

Here is a line from a government report released in 2014:

“The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.”

The New Haitian Sound

Nov 18, 2019

Media coverage of Haiti is usually reduced to unrest and natural disasters.

But Haitian DJ Michael Brun wants to show people a different side of Haiti through his music.

His new album, “Lokal,” is a collection of contemporary Haitian sound, which he says is underrepresented in modern music.

From Teen Vogue:

How We Talk When We Talk About Abortion

Nov 18, 2019

Access to abortion is changing, and so is the way we talk about it.

Some of those who are favor of reproductive rights have used the phrase “safe, legal and rare” as a key part of their platform for decades.

But now, some advocates say that phrase is too stigmatizing, and that we shouldn’t be afraid to center abortion access.

The View Of Impeachment From Capitol Hill

Nov 18, 2019

Millions of Americans watched the House’s first set of public hearings of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

But like we say in journalism, there’s no substitute for being there.

Nick Fandos is a congressional correspondent for The New York Times who’s been reporting on the hearings.

The News Roundup - International

Nov 15, 2019

With guest host Todd Zwillich.

Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales stepped down this week after sustained pressure to resign from the public and military.

Government official Jeanine Áñez has stepped in.

From NPR:

The News Roundup - Domestic

Nov 15, 2019

With guest host Todd Zwillich.

The House of Representatives held its first set of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced his late entry into the Democratic presidential primary.

About 26.2 percent of American households have a smart speaker.

It can play NPR and tell you the weather. It can even read your kids a bedtime story.

Last April, the U.S. Department of Justice said the Alabama prison system is unsafe and unconstitutional.

And recent reform efforts haven’t changed a documented culture of violence and abuse inside the prisons, according to new reporting.

In Defense Of Whistleblowers

Nov 14, 2019

U.S. officials have kept the identity of the whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry confidential, in line with federal laws designed to prevent retaliation.

But others, including the president’s son, have publicized the alleged whistleblower’s name.

Grassroots organizers in Alabama say backlash from Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016 has created a renaissance within Alabama’s Democratic Party.

Nothing brings people together like a common enemy, right? Also, matching jerseys and a rallying cry. University of Alabama football fans have been united by the Crimson Tide for generations, but is chanting “roll tide” really powerful enough to bridge Alabama’s political and social divides?

As Ben Flanagan writes for AL.com:

Jeff Sessions was a senator from Alabama, until he became President Donald Trump’s pick to become attorney general. Then, Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. Twenty months later, he was forced out of the Department of Justice.

Now, he’s running for his old Senate seat.

DACA Goes To The Supreme Court

Nov 12, 2019

Here is a list of the cases the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday: Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, Trump v. NAACP and McAleenan v. Vidal.

Taken together, this schedule means that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, this week.

The 1A Public Impeachment Primer

Nov 12, 2019

The first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine will take place Wednesday and Friday. The House committee investigating the matter is continuing to release transcripts from its many closed-door depositions.

How do we remember what happened during wartime?

One way is through preserving the letters soldiers wrote home. Andrew Carroll has made it his life’s mission to retain them. His cousin, James Carroll Jordan, was a pilot in World War II.

Here’s what one of Jordan’s letters home said:

Most people are familiar with the molecule known as testosterone. But how many actually understand it?

Testosterone is not the male sex hormone. It doesn’t drive aggression. Athletes don’t necessarily benefit if they have more of it.

The News Roundup - International

Nov 8, 2019

The News Roundup - Domestic

Nov 8, 2019

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces a bid for his old Senate seat, much to the reported ire of President Donald Trump.

Public impeachment hearings on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine are set to begin next week.

Watching (And Writing) The Watchmen

Nov 7, 2019

Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Nicole Kassel know they’re working with legendary material as they produce HBO’s new TV adaptation of the comic series “Watchmen.”

They also know that Watchmen’s legendary creator, Alan Moore, will hate whatever they make.

“There is no version of ‘Watchmen’ I could make that would please him,” Lindelof says.

Gen-Z is mobilizing. The weapon of choice? TikTok videos.

The lip-syncing app birthed a viral meme that has become a rallying cry for young people around the country: “ok boomer.” As in, ok, Baby Boomer.

As Taylor Lorenz writes for The New York Times:

Election 2019: The Results

Nov 6, 2019

Five states held big general off-year elections held big off-year elections this week.

Wherever you tried one for whatever reason, an investigation from The New York Times reveals that breathalyzers are often unreliable.

And with a million Americans per year arrested for drunk driving, faulty determinations of an individual’s blood alcohol content could have real consequences.

From The Times’ investigation about these tools:

Meet Lionel. He’s a private eye with Tourette’s syndrome. His boss is shot dead in mysterious circumstances, and Lionel is on the case.

That’s the premise of Motherless Brooklyn, the new film that Edward Norton wrote, directed and in which he stars.

Visiting The Smithsonian With Lonnie Bunch

Nov 5, 2019

What’s it like to run 19 museums, 21 libraries and the National Zoo?

Lonnie Bunch knows the answer now that he’s in charge of the Smithsonian Institution. He previously served as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality headset. The “Veronica Mars” movie. Beloved video game “Undertale.” What do all these things have in common? They were crowdfunded into existence.

While the practice of crowdfunding actually began in the ‘90s, it didn’t truly pick up steam until the foundings of its two largest modern vehicles: Kickstarter and GoFundMe.