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34 minutes | a year ago
EP 263 Why Are Republicans So Much Better at the Game of Politics Than Democrats?
https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Fix-Fight-Courts-Elections-ebook/dp/B07G3J5G9R Even if Democrats often seem to drive the policy agenda forward in American politics, the Republicans long game strategy of chipping away at those gains has been remarkably(or appallingly)successful, depending upon how you look at it. How do they do it? Caroline Fredrickson, author of ‘The Democracy Fix’ explains, in detail, the conservative strategy of building permanent institutions–think tanks, media outlets, rules changes, court packing mechanisms and funding modes–to quietly shift the power balance in their favor over decades. And they’ve done it at every level of government. Even if the dots have been apparent in this effort for years, her writings, for the first time, connect them all in a way that helps you understand that while the GOP may often lose on policy, their determined approach to changing the rules is severely undercutting Democratic initiatives. Do the Democrats have an answer to this? Listen in and find out.
36 minutes | a year ago
EP 262 Is Animal Rights the Next Great Battle for Justice?
http://laanimalsave.org/ Have you seen anyone wearing a mink stole lately? What was once so fashionable is now considered cruel and uncivil. Will eating the meat of an animal fall into this category twenty to 30 years from now? I wouldn’t bet against it. Perhaps we move in this direction because of the impact of meat harvesting on the environment or for health related reasons or the barbaric practices of many slaughterhouse operations. Regardless, the reason the sins of what’s called ‘species ism’,–the practice of discriminating against living things based on their species affiliation’–is coming under attack by diverse groups. And when Burger King starts offering a plant based ‘Whopper’, you know something is afoot in the culture. We discuss these issues with Amy Jean Davis, founder of LA Animal Save and spokesperson for the Save Movement. It is definitely a time when the line between more humane practices that fall under the rubric ‘animal welfare’ are giving way to ‘animal rights’, where even these practices seem unacceptable. We will help you understand the distinctions on today’s podcast.
43 minutes | a year ago
EP 261 The US Needs More Workers, Not a Wall
https://www.aei.org/scholar/pia-m-orrenius/ If the fog of political misdirection could ever clear, perhaps we could have an adult conversation about the true goings on on our southern border. Unlikely. Except in this podcast, scholar Pia Orrenius, of the more conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, clearly explains that our greatest imperative going forward is to ensure enough workers are available to meet American needs. And with our aging population and low fertility rates, those workers are going to come from abroad and often from Mexico. After decades of stricter border security measures, we no longer have an undocumented immigrant crisis, but rather one of families and unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the United States. We try to unravel one issue from the other and, in the process, point out that a wall is a remedy whose time has come and gone. So, let’s move on to discuss asylum, increasing caps on workers and simplifying rules or we won’t have the low skilled workers–yes, low skilled–to perform necessary tasks like home care, agriculture and construction.
40 minutes | a year ago
EP 260 Someday All This Will Be Yours: The Challenges of Family Businesses in America
https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Little-Secrets-Family-Business/dp/1626342601 Did you realize that seventy percent of the businesses in America are family run? As we approach an inflection point where many in the baby boom generation are ready to hand those businesses off to the next generation, we thought it would be a good time to explore the complications that exist when emotion and profit collide. Henry Hutcheson, consultant and author of the book, ‘Dirty Little Secrets of Family Business’, discusses the complexities of this transfer from one generation to the next. He talks about the special attribute that makes family businesses more successful than others, but also points to that factor which can be the ‘family business killer’. If you are in this circumstance or know someone who is, please listen to his compelling presentation now.
40 minutes | a year ago
EP 259 Can The Church Put an End To Child Sex Abuse?
https://religionnews.com/author/tomreese/ Could an international institution, based on moral principles and ethical standards, handle a crisis any worse than has the Catholic Church and child sexual abuse? I’m waiting. It’s gone on for decades and church protection has generally superseded child protection. With cover-up and denial no longer working, in a different moment in time, finally the Catholic Church is taking some concrete steps to deal with the matter as a crime, rather than a sin or a problem to managed. Father Thomas Reese, senior analyst for the Religion News Service, is one of the most compelling writers and critics on this topic. It was an honor to have him join us to discuss this very difficult issue. You will gain perspective and insight into a crisis that has bled the church of parishioners and money, thus jeopardizing its mission. Can it restore faith? Hear the anguished words of a thought leader on what’s been done and what needs to be done going forward.
28 minutes | a year ago
EP 258 There Is No Planet B
https://www.amazon.com/There-No-Planet-Handbook-Break/dp/1108439586 Did you ever know someone who, about every 15 to 20 years, decides that the old house has too many problems, so they just build a new one. That’s been my MO for years. And it’s worked for me, as I’m not the most handy around the house. However, Mike Berners-Lee tells us that won’t work for the problems we have been making on earth during this unique period, called the anthropocene(he’ll explain). In his book, ‘There Is No Planet B’, he sounds the alarm about the next period which he calls the make or break years as to the condition of the planet, but assures us that the changes we need to make are achievable and that we will actually enjoy and benefit personally from new food choices to new energy sources to new modes of transportation. He offers hope within the confines of a clear warning that changes must be made. This continues our commitment to keep this issue in front of our listeners in understandable and compelling ways.
30 minutes | a year ago
EP 257 Teen Suicides Are Soaring As America Mourns
https://www.windycitynanny.com/ The suicide rate among white teens, between 10 and 17, was up 70 percent between 2006 and 2016 and while black teens kill themselves less often than white youth, the 77 percent increase was even higher. And a study of pediatric hospitals recently found admissions of patients ages 5 to 17 for suicidal thoughts and actions more than doubled from 2008 to 2015. White males are at the highest risk for suicide(which goes along with earlier podcasts we have published on the boys’ crisis in America). Enough with the numbers. Why is this happening and what can we do about it? Florence Ann Romano, ‘the Windy City Nanny’ and I aren’t experts on the subject, but we are two concerned adults who discuss factors and warnings anyone within reach of a teen should consider and know. That’s what makes this episode an important one to listen to.With complicit social media, spotty mental health services, access to firearms and a range of other issues, like unaware or irresponsible adult role models, we have a problem. Hopefully, you will gain a bit of information here that might put you in a position to recognize the signs of danger and be able to do something about it, before it’s too late.
33 minutes | a year ago
EP 256 American Suburbs: A Radical Idea Turned Conventional
https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Suburbs-Experimental-Fringes-American/dp/1948742365 Or, at least, that’s the ‘conventional’ wisdom. Perhaps, however, these quiet, leafy, homogeneous places have more to offer than meets the eye. Our guest, Amanda Kolson Hurley, author of ‘Radical Suburbs’ will challenge your thinking about suburbs and open our eyes to today’s suburbs which are more diverse, interesting and challenged than we might consider. In her book, she presents case studies on suburbs that had most interesting beginnings and invites us to think again about the historical and present day role of the suburbs in a vibrant metropolis. These ‘little boxes’ still have the majority of Americans within their borders and present an option Americans have long coveted to live out the American Dream. And to add a layer of complexity to the conversation, don’t confuse inner ring with outer ring suburbs. They each have very distinct characteristics. We also discuss the fascination that millennials have with urban life and its impact on suburbs as more creative alternatives need to be designed to attract them back to where many grew up.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 255 Is America on the Brink of a Second Civil War?
https://classics.stanford.edu/people/ian-morris It is a provocative question and it’s being discussed by serious historians. Is the polarization in America the antecedent to a physical conflict that pits the red versus the blue, rather the blue and gray? First people look for a correlation between 1859 and the current era. A State Department official, Keith Mines, was reported to have said ‘it is like 1859, everyone is mad about something and everyone has a gun’. Yet others believe that if the cauldron that was boiling over in the 1960’s, between a raging overseas war, civil rights unrest and political assassinations wasn’t enough to tip us over into a hot civil war, this period won’t either. While some boldly say that the clock is ‘two minutes to Fort Sumter’, our guest, Ian Morris, a historian and archaeologist at Stanford University, tends to think the worst can be averted. We explore whether our current disunion could lead to an actual break-up of the country. It will get you thinking.
39 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 254 Beware of the Weapons of Math Destruction
https://weaponsofmathdestructionbook.com/ As a child, mathematics was Cathy O’Neil’s passion: ‘math provided a neat refuge from the messiness of the real world’. After teaching for a time, she began to apply her math wizardry for players on Wall Street and saw first hand how dangerous mathematical models, or as she titles her book, ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’ can be. They may look cleansed and pure, but according to her, they contain the goals and biases of those who create them. And they tend to stack the deck against the poor and dispossessed who have always been discriminated against, no matter who or how the counting is done. In the book and in this episode of the podcast, she explains how algorithms now dictate everything from teacher evaluations to bank credit ratings to predictive policing and we need to understand how they are designed, by whom and for what ends. This is particularly important in an age when THE growth industry in this country is predicting our behavior and selling it to marketers of all types. Given her concerns, we felt she offered another perspective of analytics which gives you much to consider after listening to our previous podcast with Rebecca Costa.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 253 Science Can Conquer All
http://www.rebeccacosta.com/ Rebecca Costa is an amazing woman. She is a sociobiologist and a futurist. She proclaims that a faith in science and empiricism will pay off in conquering many of the world’s challenges if we trust it and follow its dictates. Of course, human beings can be rational, at times, but often rely on emotions(and biases)in their decision-making process. She urges us to follow logic and data as it will help us to avert danger, get a head start on what may seem to be intractable problems and make this world a better place on the whole. She will discuss concepts like foreknowledge and preadaptation, which allow new insights in all realms of human activity–if we follow the information. She believes that advances in Big Data, predictive analytics artificial intelligence and the like has brought nations, businesses and individuals to the edge of clairvoyance. She has no illusions that we act on the information available and, thus, we fall short in utilizing it to its full advantage. It’s great to have her insights as I struggle to even find the right questions to put to her. Hopefully, you will glean much from her answers. The next podcast we will publish, however, takes a less confident view of analytics as currently applied. Consider this part one of a two-part mini-series.
36 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 252 Is a Head Transplant Really Possible?
https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/videos/head-transplantation-the-future-is-now-tedx-talk-by-drsergio-canavero-295184 As John Lennon once said in song ‘you may call me a dreamer’. Well, Italian neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero has been called that and worse with his long pronounced intention to do a head transplant. You read that correctly. Not a facial transplant…a head transplant. While some may say it’s a true medical moonshot, others consider him to be perpetrating a medical fraud that is impossible, given the skill, technology and techniques never accomplished before. So which is it? I interviewed him back in 2016 and today he’s still in the news, so we decided to publish the interview. Recently, he said that the ability to treat ‘irreversible’ spinal cord injuries, a necessity to accomplish his ultimate goal of the head transplant. All of this raises profound questions related to medical science, ethics and surgical questions. We thought you’d find his thoughts on the work interesting, to say the least. Is this all sensationalism or the next medical frontier? You decide.
42 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 251 The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy
https://www.amazon.com/Lot-People-Are-Saying-Conspiracism/dp/0691188831 Conspiracy theories are as old as politics. But, according to Russell Muirhead, the Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College and Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics is Politics and Government at Harvard University, in their new book, ‘A Lot of People Are Saying’, there is a new twist–conspiracies today have introduced these shadowy tales with no theories attached to them at all. The intention is not to explain events, but to engage in a political take down. Classic conspiracy theory insist that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence–especially facts ominously withheld by official sources–to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. It demands no evidence, doesn’t connect dots and doesn’t examine shadowy plotters. Through repetition(like the President’s penchant for the phrase that constitutes the title of the book)and bold one word assertions(‘rigged’, ‘fake’, ‘witch hunt’)they target the foundations of the democracy to de-stabilize our politics for their advantage. It is a political trend that we have caught up with and lay bare in this episode.
25 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 250 I Am a Stranger Here
https://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Myself-River-Literary-Nonfiction/dp/0826360718 For many in America they are at different stages of the ‘woke’ process. Recognizing the social changes afoot, they are sympathetic to them, but don’t want to become totally removed from the places from which they come. Yet, those places may seem lost in time. Debra Gwartney, like our last guest, Darrell West, struggle with the question of where she belongs. She explores the challenge women, in particular, can sense of up rootedness and yearning for a deep and authentic connection to a home that now feels so distant and unwelcoming. In her memoir, ‘I Am a Stranger Here Myself’, she does a remarkable job of painting a picture of the pioneer women who preceded her in the American West, and her situation growing up in 1950’s Idaho and going home today. Join Debra in seeking answers to the question of how you can hold on to your beliefs and still go home to places you love.
37 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 249 Divided Politics, Divided Nation
https://www.brookings.edu/book/divided-politics-divided-nation/ This episode, along with the next we will post, examine how hard it is to go home when the politics of the times are as rancorous as they are. Given the transient American culture, many of one generation leave home both physically and culturally. Returning to that place can be unsettling and dissonant, as American politics has turned into a blood sport. Darrell West, author of ‘Divided Politics, Divided Nation ‘ tries to bridge the gap as one who left a conservative dairy farm upbringing for the halls of academe in the East. He writes a heartfelt account of the tribes we have entered into and how we might try to find some common ground. He explores how we have reached this boiling point and how we might turn some of the noise down in the best interests of the nation.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 248 Student Achievement Gap Fails to Close Over the Last 50 Years
https://www.hoover.org/profiles/eric-hanushek Let that headline sink in for just a moment. Differences in the performance on math, reading and science tests between disadvantaged and advantaged U.S. students have remained essentially unchanged for nearly half a century. And in that time period, we established a federal Department of Education, saw funding changes meant to address the problem throughout the country, developed early childhood education and remedial initiatives and tried new models of schooling, including magnets, charters and others. The study which documents this sad fact is a joint effort of Harvard and Stanford University, two of our nation’s most prestigious higher education institutions. Presenting the findings and methodology is one of the co-authors, Eric Hanushek, of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. It’s one of the most important topics we will report on to you this entire year. Please listen.
45 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 247 Retirement Insecurity in the Age of Inequality
https://www.amazon.com/Downhill-Here-Retirement-Insecurity-Inequality/dp/1250119464 Just as millions of baby boomers are reaching their golden years, the state of retirement for many in America is something of a disaster. The pension process has collapsed, union protections for most in the private sector have evaporated, the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, set up to protect benefits hard earned, is itself in financial jeopardy and Social Security is on the clock as to when it will run short of resources to assure current benefits. What’s left is the overworked 401K which was never set up to be the only avenue for savings, but rather a supplement. And, yet, still some observers say there is no crisis. Katherine Newman, author of ‘Downhill From Here’ provides stark data and heartbreaking stories to make the case that the crisis is real and imminent. She discusses how retirement insecurity is the twin of the vast inequality that’s eating away at America’s social fabric. She is a remarkable sociologist and this episode demands your attention as the problem affects more than just the baby boomers.
41 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 246 How To Get Rid Of A President
History has given us a guide to removing unpopular, unable or unfit chief executives. And, despite all the chatter about impeachment, it’s only one method. And come to think of it, it’s never been successfully carried out to its final conclusion–that being a conviction in the U.S. Senate and removal of the sitting President from office. The one case where the threat of impeachment led to removal was Richard Nixon in 1974, when he resigned in lieu of facing the true likelihood of a conviction for crimes committed during Watergate. David Priess, author of ‘How To Get Rid of a President’, offers many examples throughout our history as to how presidents have been removed or diminished while in office. They may not have occurred to you so I know that this episode will be a learning experience and a fun way to impress your friends. During the interview, I referred to it as 50 ways to lose your leader. It’s fascinating and I assure you you’ve not thought about this question in the way you will after giving David a listen.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 245 No One at the Wheel
https://www.amazon.com/No-One-Wheel-Driverless-Future/dp/1610398653 Imagine a day when you will be outlawed from driving. According to Samuel Schwartz, also known as ‘Gridlock Sam’, when he was New York City’s Traffic Commissioner, it would be for your own good. The carnage we have left on the roads as drivers is startling when you compare it to world wars and other forms of human destruction. In his book, ‘No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future’, Schwartz says that autonomous vehicles offer great financial rewards and societal benefits, not the least of which being our own survival. He thinks the social change they will usher in is even greater than the onset of the automobile itself. Talk to someone about this and you will sense a great deal of skepticism as to whether this will ever happen. Unless hundreds of companies–tech and automakers alike– are in the business of throwing away money, you can bet on it. Take a listen to ‘Gridlock Sam’ on this episode. Then convince your friends.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
EP 244 Super Aware/Intelligent Machines
https://www.supersystemic.ly/ “Dear Machine” writes Greg Kieser, author of the book of the same name and founder of Supersystemic.ly, ‘we know you’re coming so can we just get along’. These super aware/intelligent machines(SAIMs) may seem like science fiction but as they get closer to reality the question is how will humans respond when, or if, we are not the smartest beings on earth. There are fears from some that they will think for themselves, run amok and be put to malevolent purposes. Others hope that they make life much easier and better for humans. Finally, there’s another camp of skeptics who believe that they will never come to do more than tasks humans program them to do. Who really knows? Mr. Kieser is using this book to encourage humans to prepare for the emergence of SAIMs and explores what this might mean for all of us.
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