Created with Sketch.
How Do We Fix It?
35 minutes | Jan 26, 2023
Anti-Racism: The Pro-Human Approach. Bion Bartning
Sixty years ago in his most famous speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his vision of an America transformed. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," he said. Was this an argument for a color-blind society, or should racism be thought of as structural and systematic? Ibram X. Khendi, author of the best-selling book, "How To Be An AntiRacist", argues that "the most threatening racist movement" is the drive for race-neutrality. Our guest, Bion Bartning, argues that instead of emphasizing our common humanity, the approach of Kendhi and others lumps people into simplistic racial groupings. Bartning founded the non-profit group, The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR). In its mission statement, FAIR calls for "advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding and humanity." "Really, we should be anti-racism, the ideology, and not anti-racist, the individual," Bartning tells us. He calls for a pro-human approach. "There is a burning need to reaffirm the core principles of the civil rights movement... integration, healing divisions and moving forward together as one people." He says that in recent years a different form of anti-racism has emerged that goes against these ideas. Bartning launched FAIR after pulling his two children out of one of New York City's most prestigious private schools because he thought that the new anti-racist curriculum was encouraging kids to look at themselves and others primarily through the lens of race and see the world in a pessimistic, grievance-oriented way. We discuss his personal story and ideas in this episode. Recommendation: Richard has just read and thoroughly enjoyed John Steinbeck's beloved 1962 memoir, "Travels With Charley, In Search of America" Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
36 minutes | Jan 12, 2023
Pushing Back Against Polarization: The Village Square. Liz Joyner
One way to help solve America's polarization crisis is to hang out with someone not like you. Someone who sees the world differently or comes from a cultural background, social class, racial or ethnic group other than your own. While social media, political elites and national news outlets profit from polarization, the rest of us do not. This episode looks at one highly successful local initiative to push back against the conflict entrepreneurs who want to make us angry, fearful and divided. Our guest is Liz Joyner, founder and President of The Village Square, a non-profit based in Tallahassee, Florida, dedicated to reviving civic connections across divisions inside American communities. For the past 17 years she's been the leader of an organization that describes itself as "a nervy bunch of liberals and conservatives who believe that dialogue and disagreement make for a good conversation, a good country and a good time" Most of us live in neighborhoods and among friends who think like us, especially about politics. That’s a problem because not only are we divided, but don’t understand the other side. The number of people who say our country is headed in the wrong direction has remained very high throughout most of the past decade. Liz believes that with the help of food and a sense of humor all kinds of people can be in the same room. They don't have to agree, but in many cases she says, Americans are not as divided as we think. "We disagree in soundbites that professional polarizers are working to divide us over, but in paragraphs we agree way more than we think we do," she tells us. As for the polarizers? "l think they're playing us all, and we ought to be done with them," Liz tells us. The Village Square has organized dozens of public events, ranging from a few dozen people to audiences of more than a thousand breaking bread and enjoying a lively conversation. Recommendation: Jim is reading "The Matter of Everything" by physicist and science communicator Dr. Suzie Sheehy. The book is a journey through the experiments that not only unlocked the nature of matter and shaped our understanding of the cosmos, but also changed the way we live. Bonus Recommendation: Jim enjoys listening to The Glenn Show podcast with economist Glenn Loury. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
35 minutes | Dec 29, 2022
What Will We Fix in 2023? Jim & Richard's Predictions
2022 was another year of COVID-induced anxiety with widespread worries about democracy, polarization, climate change and threats to democracy. But in this new year special Richard and Jim say we have reached peak fear. America may well be calming down and headed towards a new sense of normal. Our co-hosts throw caution to the wind with a series of fresh outside-the-box forecasts for the twelve months to come. We make predictions about the retreat of COVID, the outlook for inflation, and the migration crisis on the southern border that threatens havoc for the Administration. Hear what could happen next in Ukraine's war against Russian aggression. We also look closely at China's new struggles with COVID, street protests, and slowing growth. In a special section on technology and science, we focus on stunning advances in cancer and Alzheimer treatments plus new innovations in AI and the likely impact of ChatGTP, the app that's just been released to the public and is already raising ethical issues for schools, universities, and employers. We promise to release a scorecard of how we did at the end of the year. Is Jim right when he says there is a real likelihood of a new energy crisis in 2023? Is Richard's forecast about the 2024 Presidential race on target? Jim and Richard also share their year-end hopes for the new year and recommendations. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
36 minutes | Dec 15, 2022
The Costs of Culture Wars: Curiosity at Risk. Deborah Appleman
In some ways, our culture is less tolerant and more fragile than it once was. The teaching of literature in schools and colleges is often caught in the crossfire of the culture wars. Support for canceling books and authors by the illiberal left and demands to ban books from the reactionary right have led to the removal of important literature from classrooms and libraries. In this episode author and literature professor, Deborah Appleman mounts a rousing case for teaching troubling texts in troubling times. "Our classrooms need to remain a space where critical thinking is taught, tolerance from different viewpoints is modeled, and the sometimes-harsh truth of our history and literary heritage are not hidden," she says. Her latest book is "Literature and The New Culture Wars." Professor Appleman taught high school English for nine years before receiving her doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She is chair of Educational Studies at Carleton College. Her recent research has focused on teaching college-level language and literature courses to the incarcerated. We discuss how free speech and free thinking are under assault from puritans from the right and the left. We examine the costs to curiosity as well as to open and free inquiry— so essential to a thriving democracy. We look at the impact of the recent global pandemic on teaching and education. "Life is tough. Life is hard and full of bumps and bruises,' Professor Appleman tells us. "You can't hide the hurt of life from young people. Literature is not life but it can be in some ways a preparation for what life has to offer us." "Doing no harm does not mean causing no discomfort for students. Learning requires cognitive dissonance. Learning requires that you are off-balance both psychologically and emotionally sometimes....It's in disequilibrium that we learn." Read more here from Pamela Paul of The New York Times. She wrote this year about the impact of book bans on the publishing industry: "Parents, schools and readers should demand access to all kinds of books, whether they personally approve of the content or not. For those on the illiberal left to conduct their own campaigns of censorship while bemoaning the book-burning impulses of the right is to violate the core tenets of liberalism. We’re better than this." Recommendation: Richard has read "This Is Happiness" by Niall Williams and set in a remote village in Ireland. Richard calls the novel "enchanting and wonderful." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
33 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
Our Electricity Grid is Surprisingly Fragile: Meredith Angwin
Every day Americans take the reliable supply of electricity for granted. Except during severe storms, we rarely, if ever, think that the lights might not turn on in the morning. But in some parts of the country, consumers face the threat of rolling blackouts, and sudden surges in the price of electricity. Nearly two years ago, nearly 300 people died when the Texas power grid partially failed during a winter cold snap. California came close to a grid collapse last summer. And New England might be in big trouble this coming winter. Energy analyst, author, and chemist, Meredith Angwin, is our guest in this episode of "How Do We Fix It?" Her latest book is “Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of our Electric Grid.” In recent years, our podcast co-host Jim Meigs has written extensively on energy, and says it's a bad idea to shut down nuclear power plants that supply large amounts of reliable energy and aren't dependent on the weather. But the threatened electricity grid crisis is not just about how we make power—it’s how we deliver power to users. For big chunks of the country that system has changed radically in recent decades. Reforms that were meant to make our energy system more competitive backfired. The fragile gird matters more than at any time in memory for three reasons: - The need to decarbonize energy production to limit the future impacts of climate change. - Modern technology requires a big increase in electricity output. - The geopolitical clash over energy has grown more intense and violent since Putin's 2022 invasion of Ukraine. We also discuss why it's not enough to add more solar panels, wind turbines and hydro-electric power to the system. We need new and improved transmission lines to move all that power. Recommendation: Richard is watching "Extraordinary Attorney Woo", a South Korean TV series about a brilliant rookie attorney who has autism spectrum disorder. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
38 minutes | Nov 17, 2022
Democracy: The Voters Verdict. Layla Zaidane and David Meyers
We have a 2022 post-election show with a twist. Instead of focusing on which party is up or down, we open the hood and examine the engine of our democracy. Voters delivered a clear verdict: Most election deniers were defeated as many voters, especially independents, split their ballots, and shunned the extremes. Our guests are Layla Zaidane, President and CEO of Millennial Action Project— the nation's largest nonpartisan organization of young lawmakers— and David Meyers, founding Executive Editor of the democracy newsletter, The Fulcrum. In the days before the election, the media was full of warnings, and perhaps some hyperbole, about the perilous state of American democracy. Both of our guests and podcast co-hosts agree that many of the results were reassuring for the guardrails of the electoral system. "I think when the dust settles we're going to feel pretty good about this election," Layla told us. "Things went really well," said David. "The continued use of voting-by-mail and early voting has gone a long way towards making sure more people had the opportunity to vote and not wait in very long lines." We also examine the arguments over Ranked-Choice Voting, open primaries, and the need for a quicker vote account in some states where results took well over a week to come through. In their conversation after the interview, Jim and Richard debate voting-my-mail, early voting, reforming the primaries, and how to encourage states to make improvements in vote tabulation. Richard favors limited action by Congress, but Jim is vigorously opposed to any federal reforms or interference in how states conduct their elections. Recommendation: Richard is reading "Broken News. Why the Media Rage Machine Divides America and How to Fight Back", by political journalist Chris Stirewalt. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
32 minutes | Nov 3, 2022
Fixing the Housing Affordability Crisis. Ed Glaeser
No other issue has greater potential for common ground than America's housing affordability crisis. Progressives and conservatives alike agree that for far too many Americans there is a critical shortage of available homes. Since COVID erupted in 2020 the costs of apartment rentals and homes to buy have soared. According to the real estate firm Zillow, average U.S. home prices doubled in the past decade. In recent months mortgage rates went up to levels not seen in nearly two decades. With the growing possibility of a recession in the near future, there is no shortage of pessimism in the housing market today. We discuss solutions to the housing mess with Harvard University economist Ed Glaeser, author of "Rethinking Federal Housing Policy: How to Make Housing Plentiful and Affordable", "Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation" and many other books. Among the topics raised: The role played by zoning and environmental regulations in limiting homebuilding, Long-standing local resistance to new housing, The potential for pre-fabricated building to sharply reduce the cost of construction, Why giant companies face far few hurdles to business growth than many small neighborhood firms, and recent moves by some urban politicians on the left to support plans by developers to build new homes, even if much of it is neither subsidized nor fully affordable. "The whole COVID era has been a spectacular time for housing price increases," Glaeser tells us. The shortage of homes for sale is one reason. So is rising demand for additional space as millions more people work from home. Another cause is "the longer-term dysfunction of our housing markets in failing to produce enough supply." Recommendation: Jim is reading "How The World Really Works" by Canadian professor Vaclav Smil, author of more than forty books on topics including energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, and public policy. A special thank you to The Manhattan Institute and Director of Marketing Aaron Ricks for help with producing and recording this episode. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
35 minutes | Oct 20, 2022
Homecoming: The Case for a Post-Global World with Rana Foroohar
For much of the past fifty years, American political leaders of both parties have assumed that globalization and free trade would lead to more opportunity, higher living standards and increased business efficiency. But our guest, author and Financial Times columnist, Rana Foroohar, argues that with supply chain disruptions and growing economic insecurity in much of the world, the long reign of globalization is coming to end. A shift to more resilient and local businesses is now at hand. We discuss the reporting and findings in the brand new book, "Homecoming: The Path to Prosperity in a Post-Global World." "I think the pendulum of the old way is tapped out," Rana tells us. "Cheap money is over. Cheap labor from China is largely over. Cheap energy from Russia is definitely over." The war in Ukraine and the political and economic chaos that followed have brought the fragility of the global economic and political system into sharp relief. We discuss the argument that our economy is far too financialized and that this is leading to greater mistrust, vast inequality and more populist autocrats. As we do in all of our shows, we hear potential solutions. Rana argues that place-based economics and a wave of technological innovations now make it possible to keep investment and wealth closer to home. She makes the case that our economic system needs to be transformed Recommendation: Jim is thoroughly enjoying "Fly on the Wall", a podcast with Saturday Night Live alumni Dana Carvey and David Spade. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29 minutes | Oct 14, 2022
They Changed Our Minds. Alina Chan and Jonathan Rauch
How do you tell the difference between truth and lies? The answer involves a careful process of seeking knowledge that may contradict our long held beliefs. In this episode, our hosts share two conversations with expert guests who changed Jim and Richard's minds about how they approach topics central to our understanding of politics, science, and society. Journalist and scholar Jonathan Rauch is the author of the best-selling book, "The Constitution of Knowledge". He makes a stirring case for the social system of checks and balances used by scientists, lawyers, business leaders, and researchers to turn disagreements into verifiable facts. Alina Chan is a Canadian molecular biologist specializing in gene therapy and cell engineering at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she is a postdoctoral fellow. Chan is the co-author of "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19." When she and several other scientists raised the possibility that the SARS CoV2 could have escaped from a lab, Chan's research was dismissed by many leading scientists and mainstream journalists. Some declared that her work was "a conspiracy theory." But Chan continues to ask crucial questions. The world needs to know the true origins of the pandemic in order to prevent the next dangerous virus from causing a future pandemic. A full and open investigation was never done. Both of our interviews underline the need for nuance, curiosity and open-minded approaches to the world's great problems. The "global network of people hunting for each others' errors is far and away the greatest technology ever invented," Rauch tells us. The constitution of knowledge, he says, "is a global conversation of people looking for truth, and more especially, looking for error." Recommendation: Richard is reading "Broken News" by political journalist Chris Stirewalt. This new book provides a crisp, passionate, well-judged argument of how the media rage machine divides America. Reporters in newsrooms are incentivized to write news stories that are full of emotion and anger. These reports very often get the most clicks and social media attention. This emphasis on anger and rage has polluted journalism, Stirewalt argues. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
34 minutes | Sep 29, 2022
Junk Science in the American Criminal Justice System. M. Chris Fabricant
No one will ever know how many innocent people have been sent to prison because of junk science and flawed forensics. In this episode, we hear from Innocence Project attorney M. Chris Fabricant about how America’s broken and racist criminal justice system often relies on bogus scientific evidence for convictions. Chris is the author of the new book, “Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System.” Best-selling writer John Grisham calls it an “intriguing and beautifully crafted book that …illustrates how wrongful convictions occur.” We explore the urgent need to fix the system and improve the quality of evidence presented in courtrooms. Independent crime labs are among the solutions that we discuss. “Jurors go into court with the expectation that there will be scientific evidence available, and that this evidence will be conclusive. This is just not the reality at all,” Chris tells us. We learn that forensic “experts” call themselves scientists but the current system lacks safeguards that keep science objective. Worse, this very questionable discipline has been corrupting the American justice system since at least the 1970s. Chris Fabricant is the director of strategic litigation for the Innocence Project— a remarkable legal organization that works to free prisoners jailed for crimes they did not commit. Over three decades, the Innocence Project has freed more than 300 unjustly convicted prisoners. And more than 40% of those cases involved the misuse of forensic evidence. In this episode, we hear about cases of people wrongly convicted, many of them on death row. The interview begins with the remarkable and tragic case of Eddie Lee Howard, who spent 26 years in prison insisting that he was innocent. He was finally freed early last year after his murder conviction was overturned after a years-long legal defense by The Innocence Project. Recommendation: Richard and Jim both read and recommend “Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World”, by Simon Winchester. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
35 minutes | Sep 16, 2022
Clean, Green, Affordable Energy: Jim Meigs
Energy prices have skyrocketed this year. Rolling blackouts are still a threat in California, and as winter approaches Europe is facing a full-blown crisis that may cause widespread suffering, factory closures and a deep recession. Angered by the West's support of Ukraine, Russia has shut down supplies of natural gas that European nations had relied on for decades to heat homes and run industry. The EU, United Kingdom and others are now scrambling to find new supplies and reassure their citizens that the crisis can be contained. In this episode we discuss efforts to reduce carbon emissions and consider why the outlook for affordable energy has deteriorated. Our podcast co-host Jim Meigs is the expert source for this episode. He argues that shutting down nuclear power plants, having unrealistic expectations of solar and wind production, and ignoring years of threats from Russia have all contributed to the energy crisis. Earlier this year, Jim joined the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow and a contributing editor of City Journal. His recent commentary for the magazine, "The Green War on Clean Energy", makes the case that progressives and socialists in the environmental movement have waged a fight against technology that would cut carbon emissions. Jim says that "nuclear energy is the only technology to dramatically reduce America's carbon footprint." We consider the case for and against this view. We examine promising new technologies such as carbon capture and improved battery storage. And we look at the Republican ridicule of ambitious attempts to fight climate change, and consider whether conservative views about the need for action are fundamentally changing. Recommendation: Richard has just read "Land: How The Hunger For Ownership Shaped The Modern World", by Anglo-American author and journalist, Simon Winchester. This 2021 book received glowing reviews.may Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
Richard and Jim's Quick Announcement
Starting this week we will publish new shows every other Thursday. After seven plus years of being a weekly podcast, Jim and Richard decided that we need a little more time and love to make and share each new show. We will also be sharing more details on our newsletter sent to friends and free subscribers of our podcast. You can sign up for regular updates right here on the website. Unlike substack and other independent publications, our solutions journalism podcast is entirely free. If you'd like to support us, please go to our funding page at Patreon. Since we started "How Do We Fix It?" seven years ago both hosts have become even busier. Richard works as a consultant, producer or host of other podcasts and writes a column for The Fulcrum, a daily online newsletter about bridging divides and democracy. Jim was recently given the honor of being a senior fellow and contributing editor of City Journal at the Manhattan Institute. Next week we'll release a new podcast episode based on some of his latest research and reporting on energy. As always, thanks for listening! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
35 minutes | Sep 2, 2022
Trump, Power Politics, Populism & Democracy. Darrell West
The recent controversy about the seizure of classified government documents at Mar-a-Lago is only the latest example of outrage over former President Trump's behavior, and the responses to it. But the forces shaking American democracy didn't begin with Trump's arrival on the political scene. We learn why populism, polarization and other threats to public institutions will likely last for the foreseeable future. Our guest, Darrell West, vice president of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., is the author of "Power Politics: Trump and the Assault on American Democracy." He's the author of 19 books on American politics and has won several prestigious awards for his writing. In this episode we discuss why the grievances exploited by Trump that existed well before he became president, the threat of extreme authoritarianism, the role played by technological and social media, and Darrell West's constructive advice for protecting people, organizations and the country from challenges to democracy. Our lively conversation also looks at the systemic causes of current threats to American democracy, procedural justice, and a reason-based society. Jim and Richard also debate Darrell West's analysis of the challenges that we all face. Recommendation: Jim is reading "The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War 1" by Lindsey Fitzharris. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
Democracy Reform: Ranked-Choice Voting. Rob Richie
Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is a promising way to boost electoral turnout, reduce polarization, and cut the public cost of running elections. This relatively new reform is now being used in 55 states, cities and counties. In August, Alaska implemented ranked-choice voting for the first time since a 2020 referendum revamped its elections. Our guest, Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote, makes the case for how it works and why RCV is a viable way to improve electoral politics. Right now, he says, we are in this "incredibly intense winner-take-all environment" in most states. Ranked-choice voting could change the equation. Instead of picking just one candidate, voters rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice: first, second, third and so on. If your first-choice candidate is in last place, your vote counts for your highest-ranked candidate who can win by getting more than 50%. RCV removes voters' concerns that their favored candidate could split the vote. Alaska and Maine now use RCV for all presidential and congressional elections. Beginning in 2023, Hawai will use it for some federal and local elections. Open primaries and ranked-choice voting will be on the ballot this November in Nevada. The vast majority of Americans live in landslide districts. To make elections more competitive, Rob is also calling for multi-member congressional districts. Both reforms, he tells us, would lead to "a more representative and functional Congress" that would "regain legitimacy" with voters. RCV is now winning support among Democrats and Republicans. In 2021 it was used for the first time to elect Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City and in the Republican primary for the Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. Numerous cities, counties and states are actively considering Ranked Choice Voting. In their conversation, Richard and Jim debate the merits and drawbacks of RCV. Richard embraces it wholeheartedly, while Jim cautiously supports using it in primaries, where the current system can lead to more extreme candidates being selected by their parties. Recommendation: Richard urges voters to read and share The 2022 Midterm Elections Participation Guide, just published by Citizen Connect. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30 minutes | Aug 19, 2022
Democracy Reform: Propositions & Ballot Initiatives. Jenna Spinelle
The promise and perils of direct democracy are at the heart of the debate over voter propositions and ballot initiatives. They have emerged as one way that citizens in more than two dozen U.S. states can vote directly on policy and bring issues they care about to their fellow voters. This episode is inspired by the recent podcast series, "When The People Decide", from The McCourtney Institute for Democracy. The show's producer, writer and host, Jenna Spinelle, tells the stories of some remarkable people who have organized initiative campaigns across the country. We speak with her about the history of ballot measures, including California's Prop 13 in 1978, and more recent efforts to expand Medicaid. Ballot initiatives are "a very powerful tool that citizens have, particularly when there is broad support for change to an existing policy or law", Jenna tells us. Over the past four decades in California and elsewhere the political establishment has been frequently shaken by the results. In this episode we hear about the story of Desmond Meade, the voting rights activist who led a winning ballot initiative to change Florida’s constitution to give people like him — with past felony convictions — the right to vote. Desmond is Executive Director of The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which led the campaign that resulted in America’s largest expansion of voting rights since the civil rights era. We also speak about Katie Fahey, the democracy activist who led the successful grassroots effort to ban partisan gerrymandering in Michigan. At "Voters Not Politicians", she organized thousands of volunteers who collected over 425,000 voter signatures for Proposal 2, a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to create an independent redistricting commission. We also spoke at length with Katie in episode #262. Recommendation: Jim is reading "Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System" by M. Chris Fabricant. In their regular conversation at the end of the show, Jim and Richard discuss their skepticism of proposed federal ballot initiatives. Our podcasts are part of the Democracy Group podcasts network. "How Do We Fix It?" is a production of DaviesContent. We are supporting members of Bridge Alliance Education Fund. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31 minutes | Aug 12, 2022
What Personal Passion and Purpose Bring To Our Lives
World-renowned author and scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson became fascinated with astrophysics when he was a teenager. Best-selling science writer Mary Roach is known for her quirky humor and wide-eyed curiosity as she explores the often bizarre science of human behavior. This episode includes six unique perspectives about passion, purpose, and meaning in our own lives. Investment advisor and wealth manager Karen Firestone shares a story about a chance encounter with advice columnist Ann Landers, who gave her a new understanding of risk vs. reward. Obstetrician-gynecologist Rose Gowen speaks about her mission to get her small city with a large obesity problem to exercise more and eat better food. Emily Esfahani Smith, author of "The Power of Meaning", talks about her passion for learning from strangers. Long-distance trucker Finn Murphy reveals a long-time love of America's roads and highways. What we share today was sparked by our guests who bring deep intellect, emotion, and enthusiasm to the microphone as they reflect on what excites and moves them about their work and fields of expertise. All of us can learn from their wisdom as we seek ways to lead more fulfilling lives and make a difference to others in huge and tiny ways. This episode was first recorded in 2017. Recommendation: Jim has been thoroughly enjoying the new 2022 Netflix series, "Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres". Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27 minutes | Aug 5, 2022
Framing Is Vital For Survival. Kenneth Cukier and Francis de Véricourt
From pandemics, populism and climate change, AI and ISIS, inflation and growing tensions with China and Russia, we are faced with enormous challenges— some of which threaten our existence. In this episode we discuss how we are all influenced by our personal perspectives and prejudices— our frames— and how we can use mental models to see patterns, solve problems and go beyond a narrow lens of red vs. blue or "us" vs. "them." Our guests are Kenneth Cukier, deputy executive editor of "The Economist" and Francis de Véricourt, professor of management science at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. Both are co-authors of "Framers. Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil." This innovative book shows how framing is not just a way to improve decision-making in an age of algorithms and machine learning, but also a matter for survival at a time of upheaval. Real-world examples of how framers changed the world include: The rapid rise of #MeToo, which went viral on Twitter after the actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a request to her followers: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Successful, innovative responses to Covid-19 were made by the governments of New Zealand and Taiwan. Recently, the Federal Reserve was forced to change its inflation frame before beginning a series of interest rate hikes. In our interview we learn why the advice to "think outside the box" is useless, and how to understand the role of mental models in our own daily lives. Recommendation: Jim and Richard suggest a puzzle: The New York Times Spelling Bee. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
36 minutes | Jul 29, 2022
Common Ground. The People vs. Congress: JP Thomas, Gail Hoffman
American voters are deeply dissatisfied with the government in Washington. They feel shut out of Congressional deliberations. We discuss a promising new initiative that helps engage citizens much more directly in the work of Congress and state legislatures. While Congressional gridlock has reached a new high, groundbreaking new research that we report on in this episode shows that the American people are far less polarized than elected officials. There is extensive bipartisan common ground on a surprising range of controversial issues— from abortion and immigration to the environment and law enforcement. Our guests are Gail Hoffman, President of The Hoffman Group, a public affairs strategist and consultant for the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, and Voice of the People. She has served in federal and state government, including in the Clinton White House and in the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General Janet Reno. JP Thomas is Voice of the People's Director of External Relations, and an organizer and government relations professional, who develops campaigns and strategies to promote the use of public consultation to consult citizens on key public policy issues. "When you actually look at the things that need to be done to fix things in this country, the degree of agreement and commonality is remarkable," Gail tells us. The debate in Congress is not a reflection of the American people and where they stand and the American people know that." The Program for Public Consultation has developed detailed policymaking simulations that put citizens in the shoes of a policymaker. They get a briefing on policy options under consideration and evaluate the pros and cons of an issue and then make recommendations. We walk through this process and discuss how this detailed research is profoundly different from traditional polls and surveys of voters. This effort to "put the public back in public service" was recently featured in The New York Times. Recommendation: Richard enjoyed the hit movie "Top Gun: Maverick". We discuss the impact of the film's enormous success at the box office. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
41 minutes | Jul 22, 2022
The Fight to Save Discarded Places: Michelle Wilde Anderson
Neighborhood, local and regional inequality has been overlooked too long. In this episode we visit four cities and towns with deep poverty and gutted public services— where entire communities are struggling to hold on. Our guest is Michelle Wilde Anderson, a professor of property, local government and environmental justice at Stanford Law School. Her new book is "The Fight to Save the Town: Reimagining Discarded America". "We have given up on many of these places", Michelle tells us. Discarded America is "a term that describes active decision making." She reports on efforts to revive four communities— Stockton California, Lawrence Massachusetts, Josephine County Oregon, and Detroit. The focus is on local activists, community leaders, elected officials and others who have poured their heart and soul into fighting for the places where they live. In these places and others some of the most basic aspects of local government services have been dismantled. We learn about the devastating impact of the foreclosure crisis, opioid addiction and long economic decline as jobs and entire industries moved offshore or to other parts of the country. As always with our podcast, there is also a focus on solutions, as we discuss examples of civic pride and rebuilding. Book Review: "Building Back Better— One Community at a Time (New York Times). Our Recommendation: Richard is watching the FX drama series, "The Old Man", starring Jeff Bridges, Jon Lithgow, Amy Brenneman and Alia Shawkat. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
The Science of Polarization. Peter Coleman
The January 6th hearings are a reminder of the impact of hatred for the other side and toxic polarization. We are rigidly divided by our politics, Facebook and other social media sites, and by news media. Nearly half of us have stopped talking with someone about political topics as a result of what they said in person or online. Our culture of contempt is dividing us all and making America ungovernable. How do we use science and proven methods to reduce toxic polarization and push back against conflict entrepreneurs? This episode presents a way forward. We repeat this episode with Peter Coleman, who is a leading expert on intractable conflict and sustainable peace. Peter is a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University and director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. Peter's new book is "The Way Out. How to Overcome Toxic Polarization." We discuss research on how deeply divided societies can and do change. We learn more about the role you can play to navigate these times most effectively – as well as what to look for in groups and organizations in your community that are already at work making America more functional again. In this episode, Peter praised the work of the Bridging Divides Initiative, a group that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States. The initiative supports efforts to grow and build local community resilience throughout elections and other periods of heightened risk, laying the groundwork for longer-term efforts towards reconciliation. Recommendation: Jim is listening to the podcast series, A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs, a history of rock from 1938 to 1999, hosted by Andrew Hickey. aWjyPCPZFrs0sg4bAoNd Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Terms of Service
Your Privacy Choices
© Stitcher 2023