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Town Hall Seattle Civics Series
58 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
245. Nesrine Malik and Ece Temelkuran: Making Progress in a Moment of Inequity and Division
In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” This led many after his victory to blame “identity politics” for his win. When Trump was banned from Twitter, he claimed it was an assault on free speech. Columnist Nesrine Malik contended that both of these things were myths, and joined us to explain how these arguments over lies impact the struggle for greater equality in society. In a presentation with novelist Ece Temelkuran, Malik shared from her book We Need New Stories: The Myths That Subvert Freedom, looking at how what she believes to be the lie that American values are under assault creates a solid obfuscation from the real problems. By interweaving reporting with a frank and no-holds-barred analysis of American history and politics, Malik offered a compelling account of how calls to preserve “free speech” are used against the vulnerable; how a fixation with “wokeness,” “political correctness,” and “cancel culture” is in fact an organized and well-funded campaign by elites; and how the fear of racial minorities and their “identity politics” obscures the biggest threat of all–white terrorism. Don’t miss this poignant inspection of the crises roiling American contemporary politics–and the introduction of a radical framework for understanding and identifying it. Nesrine Malik is an award-winning British-Sudanese columnist and features writer for the Guardian. She lives in London. Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known novelists and political commentators, and her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman, Der Spiegel, and more. Her latest book How To Lose A Country: The Seven Steps From Democracy to Dictatorship was internationally acknowledged. Her new book Together is out in May 2021. Buy the Books: We Need New Stories: The Myths that Subvert Freedom by Nesrine Malik Together: 10 Choices for a Better Now by Ece Temelkuran Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
62 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
244. Brad Stone with Karen Weise: The Evolution of Jeff Bezos and Amazon
Jeff Bezos’ empire, once housed in a garage, now spans the globe. Between services like Whole Foods, Prime Video, and Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS, plus Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post, it’s nearly impossible to go a day without encountering its impact. Many argue we live in a world run, supplied, and controlled by Amazon and its founder. But how did this man and his company come to dominate such a large part of modern commerce? Sometimes called Amazon’s biographer, journalist Brad Stone joined us with the deeply reported and vividly drawn portrait of how a retail upstart became arguably one of the most powerful and feared entities in the global economy, also contained in his book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire. In conversation with The New York Times’ Karen Weise, Stone took us from his bestseller which captured the rise of Amazon, The Everything Store, to the Amazon and Bezos of today. He looked at how Amazon has expanded over the last decade especially, with new products like virtual assistant Alexa and with a workforce that has quintupled in size. Stone presented a picture of a man, probing the evolution of Bezos himself, from a geeky technologist to billionaire–and to his transition away from day-to-day activities as CEO to executive chairman. Brad Stone is senior executive editor of global technology at Bloomberg News. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, which has been translated into over thirty-five languages, and The Upstarts: Uber, Airbnb, and the Battle for the New Silicon Valley. He has covered Silicon Valley for more than twenty years and lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Karen Weise is a technology correspondent for The New York Times based in Seattle, covering Amazon, Microsoft, and the region’s tech scene. Before joining The New York Times in 2018, she worked for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News, as well as the nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica. Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9781982132613 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
58 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
243. Virtual Civic Cocktail—Downtown Seattle: Rebuilding a Troubled Superstar
What’s the state of downtown Seattle? How are businesses and other sectors navigating the ongoing impact of the pandemic, recent protests, lack of affordable housing, and other social and economic factors? Hear perspectives from leaders including Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s, and Brian Surratt, Vice President of Real Estate Development and Community Relations for Alexandria Real Estate and former director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, on the history of the Emerald City and their vision to ensure downtown shifts from surviving to thriving. Bob Donegan is the President at Ivar’s, Seattle’s Original Seafood Restaurants. He joined the company in 1997 as the Chief Financial Officer and became President on 9/11 when one of his partners died. In addition to Ivar’s, Donegan volunteers at the Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Historic Waterfront Association, the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts, the Seattle Sports Commission, UW’s Foster School Center from Strategic Leadership, and the Seattle branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. Brian Surratt is Vice President at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, one of the largest developers of life science and technology campuses. Previously, he was the Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. Surratt has been recognized by the German Marshall Memorial and the White House Fellowship programs, as well as Seattle Met Magazine and Puget Sound Business Journal. Surratt is currently a board member of FareStart, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, the Seattle Center Foundation, Downtown Emergency Services Center, Seattle 2030 District, and Downtown Seattle Association. Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Seattle City Club.
63 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
242. Danielle Sered and Nikkita Oliver: Violence, Incarceration, and a Road to Repair
Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered takes aim at issues of mass incarceration, insisting that we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration, but must build practical, moral solutions to displace them. She joined us, drawing from her book Until We Reckon to grapple with the question of restorative approaches to violent crime in conversation with local grassroots community organizer and Creative Justice Executive Director Nikkita Oliver. Sered and Oliver explored whether the needs of survivors of violent crime are better met by asking people who commit violence to accept responsibility for their actions and making amends in ways that are meaningful to those they have hurt—none of which currently happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence. Sered argued that a reckoning is owed not only on the part of those who have committed violence, but also by our nation’s overreliance on incarceration to produce the illusion of safety—at great cost to communities, survivors, racial equity, and the very fabric of our democracy. Together they illuminated how ending mass incarceration and increasing public safety is not just a local issue but is also very relevant to the Seattle-King County region. Join them as they ask us to fundamentally reconsider our relationship to and the purposes of incarceration. Danielle Sered envisioned and directs Common Justice, which develops and advances practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration. Before planning the launch of Common Justice, Sered served as the deputy director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Adolescent Reentry Initiative, a program for young men returning from incarceration on Rikers Island. She the author of The Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence, of Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration, and the book Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair. Nikkita Oliver (they/them) is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney. They are the executive director of Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration and a healing engaged youth-led community-based program. Oliver organizes with No New Youth Jail, Decriminalize Seattle, Covid-19 Mutual Aid Seattle, and the Seattle People’s Party. They have been featured on the Breakfast Club, KUOW’s The Week in Review, and The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, and their work has been seen on the South Seattle Emerald, Crosscut, the Establishment, and more. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781620976579 Presented by Common Justice and Town Hall Seattle.
60 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
241. Kate Aronoff with Bill McKibben: How Capitalism Broke the Planet and How We Fight Back
It has become impossible to deny that the planet is warming, and that governments must act. But some believe that a new denialism is taking root in the halls of power, shaped by decades of neoliberal policies and centuries of anti-democratic thinking. One such is journalist Kate Aronoff, who has written about the climate change fight in her book Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet and How We Fight Back. Aronoff joined us, in conversation with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, to explore her account that examines the forces that she contends have hijacked progress on climate change. Since the 1980s, Democrats and Republicans have each granted enormous concessions to industries bent on maintaining business as usual. And worse, Aronoff said, policymakers have given oil and gas executives a seat at the table designing policies that should instead be the end of their business model. Aronoff argued that this approach will only drive the planet further into emergency. Drawing on years of reporting, she layed out an alternative vision, detailing how democratic majorities can curb pollutors’ power; create millions of well-paid, union jobs; enact climate reparations; and transform the economy into a more leisurely and sustainable one. Our future, Aronoff, challenged, will require a radical reimagining of politics–with the world at stake. Kate Aronoff is a staff writer at The New Republic, and a former fellow at the Type Media Center. Her work has appeared in The Intercept, The New York Times, The Nation, Dissent, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Aronoff is the co-editor of We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style and the co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal. Bill McKibben is an award-winning author and environmentalist. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. In 2014, biologists named a species of woodland gnat—megophthalmidia mckibbeni—after him. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781568589473 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
76 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
240. Combating Racial Animus Against the AAPI Community: Solutions for Change
Xenophobia and bigotry against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are on the rise in cities throughout the country, including Seattle. With nearly 4,000 hate crimes reported in the last 12 months, this trajectory became impossible to ignore when six Asian women were killed in a shooting in Atlanta. Why did this happen? What were the stepping stones that led to this increase in violence? Could those stepping stones have been influenced by a president who used bigoted and racist language in reference to a global health crisis? In the third installment of Seattle University’s “The Conversations,” we hear from former U.S. ambassador to China and former Washington Governor Gary Locke, CEO of Treehouse Lisa Chin, and interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. Journalist Joni Balter and Dr. Larry Hubbell, longtime previous director of the Seattle University Institute of Public Service, moderate an honest discussion with Locke, Chin, and Diaz about the possible causes of this disturbing trend—and offer suggestions on how we can make change around a problem that has a long legacy of harming our communities. With student questions led by Asian Studies Program Director Dr. Yitan Li, you won’t want to miss this essential and urgent conversation. Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Seattle University Institute of Public Service.
62 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
239. Senator Mazie K. Hirono with Viet Thanh Nguyen: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story
A young girl was raised on a rice farm in rural Japan when, at seven years old, her mother left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. That young girl would become the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the United States Senate. Senator Mazie K. Hirono joined us to share from her deeply personal memoir, Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story, which traces her remarkable life from her earliest days in Hawaii to her emergence as a highly effective and passionate legislator. In conversation with award-winning writer and fellow immigrant Viet Thanh Nguyen, Senator Hirono talked about the immigrant experience. She related how she entered first grade not being able to read or speak English, and her family lived in a single room in a Honolulu boarding house while her mother worked two jobs to keep them afloat. Those beginnings tied directly to her work as a legislator, determined to help the most vulnerable with a purpose that was grounded in her own experiences of economic insecurity, lack of healthcare access, and family separation–fighting hardest to ensure that a story like hers is still possible in this country. Finally, she explored her emergence, from dogged yet soft-spoken public servant into the frank and fiery advocate we see today, describing how she fought for causes she believed in while striving to remain polite and reserved, both because she had been steeped in nonconfrontational cultures and because she was a woman in politics. But in 2016, as she felt the impending force of a dangerous administration and crucial battles with lasting implications raged, Senator Hirono felt called to give voice to the fire that had always been inside her. Don’t miss this compelling and moving account of a woman coming into her own power over the course of a lifetime in public service–and of the mother whose courageous choice made that life possible. Senator Mazie K. Hirono is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, Manoa and the Georgetown University Law Center. She has served in the Hawaii House of Representatives (1981-1994), as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor (1994-2002), and in the U.S. House of Representatives (2006-2013). She became Hawaii’s first female senator in 2013, winning reelection in 2018. Hirono serves on the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, among others. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. His most recent publication is the sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed. His other books are a short story collection, The Refugees; Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction); and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has also published Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, he is also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781984881601 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
54 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
238. Colin Jerolmack with Ralph Kisberg: Fracking, Freedom, and Community in An American Town
The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend “up to heaven and down to hell,” which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Shale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transform the American economy and geopolitics. But in greater Williamsport, Pennsylvania, landowners leasing their subsurface mineral estates and fracking are personal. Sociologist Colin Jerolmack spent eight months living with rural communities outside of Williamsport as they confronted the tension between property rights and the commonwealth, and he joined us to share from the resulting, deeply intimate book, Up to Heaven and Down to Hell: Fracking, Freedom, and Community in an American Town. In conversation with Responsible Drilling Alliance’s Ralph Kisberg, Jerolmack revealed how the decision to lease brings financial rewards but can cause irreparable harm to neighbors, to communal resources like air and water, and even to oneself. He provided a vivid and heartbreaking account of what happened in a rural Pennsylvania town as a result of what is largely a private choice that millions of ordinary people make without the public’s consent, despite it often being one of the most momentous decisions about the well-being of our communities and our planet. Ultimately, Jerolmack presented us with a question that has been brought into stark contrast over the last year especially: how might our American ideas of freedom change when personal choices can undermine our neighbors’ liberty, and how can individual rights bring unintended consequences for us all? Colin Jerolmack is a professor of sociology and environmental studies at New York University and the author of The Global Pigeon. Ralph Kisberg is a co-founder and consultant to the Board of the nonprofit Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA), an organization to educate and advocate on shale gas development issues. Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9780691179032 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
49 minutes | May 26, 2021
237. Morris Pearl and Erica Payne: The Patriotic Millionaires Explore the Rigging of The US Economy
The vast majority of American—71 percent—believe the economy is rigged in favor of the rich. Guess what? They’re right! And Morris Pearl and Erica Payne would know—they’re some of America’s wealthiest “class traitors,” and they joined us to take us on an engaging and enlightening insider’s tour of the nation’s tax code, which is where they say everything starts. With insight from their book Tax the Rich!: How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer, Pearl and Payne explained exactly how “the rich”–and the politicians they control–manipulate the tax code to ensure the rich get richer, and everyone else is left holding the bag. Founders of the Patriotic Millionaires, they unapologetically dismantled the justifications for a tax code that virtually guarantees destabilizing levels of inequality and consequent social unrest. They made a complicated subject accessible and illuminated the practical reforms that they contend will put America on the road to stability and shared prosperity before it’s too late. Don’t miss this powerfully persuasive and entertaining guide to the most effective way to un-rig the economy. Morris Pearl, a former managing director of BlackRock, is chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of hundreds of high-net-worth Americans committed to making all Americans better off by building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation, and ensuring that millionaires, billionaires, and corporation make their fair share of taxes. Erica Payne is founder and president of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of hundreds of high-net-worth Americans committed to making all Americans better by building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation, and ensuring that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. She is the author of The Practical Progressive! Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781620976265 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
55 minutes | May 19, 2021
236. Cass Sunstein: Falsehoods and Free Speech In An Age of Deception
Lying has been a part of society since the beginning. Over the past decade, however, it has become increasingly clear that damaging lies and falsehoods are amplified as never before through social media platforms that reach billions. Lies have abounded: about COVID-19, about vaccines, about public officials, about products. And unfriendly governments have circulated lies in order to create chaos in other nations. In the face of these problems, renowned legal scholar Cass Sunstein probes the fundamental question of how we can deter lies while also protecting one of our most fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech. Sunstein joined us with a powerful analysis of why lies and falsehoods spreads so rapidly now, with support from his book Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception. He examined why free societies must often allow falsehoods and lies, reasoning that we cannot and should not trust governments to make unbiased judgments about what counts as a lie. However, he argued, governments should have the power to regulate specific kinds of falsehoods. And moreover, he believes that private institutions like Facebook and Twitter, have a responsibility to greater exercise their authority to stop the spread of lies. Navigating a fine balance, Sunstein contended that we can reform our laws and policies regarding speech to alleviate the problem–and still protect the promises contained in the Bill of Rights. Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In 2018, he received the Holberg Prize from the Government of Norway, often described as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for law and humanities. Founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, he has been involved in law reform activities in nations all over the world. He is the author of many articles and books, including Nudge, How Change Happens, and Too Much Information. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9780197545119 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
57 minutes | May 13, 2021
235. Virtual Civic Cocktail: The State of Our Democracy – Next Steps for the Democratic Party
What’s ahead for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents when it comes to civics in our country and communities? How can we work together when parties are often divided themselves? This April Civic Cocktail continues an intended multi-part, multi-party series begun in February. With a new administration in the White House, local leaders discuss the next steps for the Democratic Party in D.C., bridging the political divide, and how their national work impacts communities here in Washington State. Join CityClub for a virtual Civic Cocktail program with host Joni Balter and guests Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Suzan DelBene to be part of the conversation. As a 40-year-old nonpartisan, civics-focused nonprofit, Seattle CityClub provides a platform for insightful and educational conversations that include a diverse range of opinions. But sometimes we need to dive deeper into a particular topic, so we can listen and engage in a more thoughtful manner with our community. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is a former Washington State Senator and a lifelong organizer for immigrant, civil, worker, and human rights. She was just re-elected to Congress for a third term with more votes than any Member of the House of Representatives. In 2016, she became the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House. After coming to the United States alone at the age of 16, she later started the largest immigrant rights group in Washington State and is currently one of only 14 immigrants serving in Congress. As the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Jayapal is the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, the College for All Act, the Housing is a Human Right Act, and the Roadmap to Freedom Immigration resolution. She currently serves on the Judiciary, Budget, and Education and Labor committees. Congresswoman Jayapal lives in West Seattle with her husband Steve. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District. First sworn into the House of Representatives in 2012, Congresswoman DelBene brings a unique voice to the nation’s capital, with more than two decades of experience as a successful technology entrepreneur and business leaders. She currently serves as the Vice Chair on the House Ways and Means committee, and the Select Revenue Measures and Trade Subcommittees. In the 116th Congress, she was appointed to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Congresswoman DelBene also serves as the Chair of the New Democrat Coalition and co-chair of the Women’s High Tech Caucus, Internet of Things Caucus, and Dairy Caucus. Before being elected to Congress, Congresswoman DelBene served as Director of the Washington State Department of Revenue. Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Seattle City Club.
60 minutes | May 5, 2021
234. Kerry Killinger and Linda Killinger with Enrique Cerna: How the Last Financial Crisis Informs Today
In 2008, the American economy collapsed, taking with it millions of Americans’ jobs, homes, and life savings. The ensuing financial crisis was devastating, and many are still feeling its effects today. But despite the crisis, the US government has yet to implement policies that would prevent a repeat of the Great Recession. Why is that? Kerry Killinger, the former CEO of Washington Mutual Bank, and Linda Killinger, the former vice chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, joined us with a critical analysis of the actions that led to the financial crisis—and to sound the alarm about how we may be on track to repeat our same mistakes. In conversation with journalist Enrique Cerna, and with insight from their book Nothing Is Too Big to Fail: How the Last Financial Crisis Informs Today—all proceeds of which will be donated to charity—they held a microscope to the very policies and corruption that led to the major economic recession. By exploring the shrinking middle class, escalations in racial injustice, and current fiscal policies, they argued that our economy is in a fragile place, barely strong enough to survive a shock caused by an international conflict, cyberattack, or global pandemic. But they believe no institution, government, or country is “too big to fail,” and that we can learn from our past mistakes and take action to return our country’s economic system—and democracy—to one that is secure. Kerry Killinger was the chairman, president, and CEO of Washington Mutual Bank. He is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a fellow in the Life Management Institute. He was chair of the National Education summit of Achieve and American Banker’s Banker of the year, received President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Award for his philanthropy, was vice chair and chair-elect of the Financial Services Roundtable, vice chair and chair-elect of the Federal Reserve’s Thrift Industry Advisory Council, and was vice chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. He was elected to the American Society of Corporate Executives. He is currently the CEO of Crescent Capital. Linda Killinger was vice chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines and chair of its audit/finance committee. She was also a consulting partner in an international accounting firm specializing in strategic planning and merger/acquisitions for financial institutions. She was the publisher and editor of Overseas Business magazine. Prior to that she was appointed by Governor Robert D. Ray as the director of administration for the Iowa Department of Human Services, which included the prison system, mental health hospitals, AFDC and other human service programs. She was appointed by Governor Tom Vilsack to chair his Committee for a Comprehensive Housing Strategy for Iowa. She currently is the CEO of Olympic Consulting. In 2002, Linda and Kerry founded the Kerry and Linda Killinger Foundation which has the mission of public policy reform and social and racial justice, building community and access to the arts. Enrique Cerna is a veteran journalist with more than four decades of experience. He has been honored with nine regional Emmy awards and numerous other journalistic honors. In March, he was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Washington State University Board of Regents. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781948122764 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
55 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
233. Nicholas Freudenberg and Mark Bittman: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health
Freedom of choice lies at the heart of American society. Every day, individuals decide what to eat, which doctors to see, who to connect with online, and where to educate their children. Yet, many Americans don’t realize that these choices are illusory at best. By the start of the 21st century, every major industrial sector in the global economy was controlled by no more than five transnational corporations, and in about a third of these sectors, a single company accounted for more than 40 percent of global sales. So, why does this matter? Public health expert Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg believes it matters a great deal. In his book At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health, he confronts how globalization, financial speculation, monopolies, and control of science and technology have led to free consumer choice being all but gone, and with it, the personal protections guarding our collective health. He joined us in conversation with global food culture expert Mark Bittman to argue that the world created by 21st-century capitalism is simply not fit to solve our most serious public health problems, from climate change to opioid addiction. With an incisive investigation and impeccably detailed research, Dr. Freudenberg looked toward a better future, arming ordinary citizens with the knowledge of our current state of being—and insight for what we can do to ensure a healthier collective future. Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH, MPH, is Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, and Founder of Corporations and Health Watch, a website that monitors the impact of corporations on health. He is the author or co-author of five other books and more than 100 scientific articles. His work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. Mark Bittman has been a leading voice in global food culture and policy for more than three decades. His first cookbook was Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking, and he has since written or co-written thirty others, including the How to Cook Everything series. His writing has been seen in The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, and he was a Today show regular, as well as appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and NPR’s All Things Considered, among others. He has hosted or been featured in four television series, including Years of Living Dangerously on Showtime and On the Road Again with Gwyneth Paltrow. Buy the Books: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9780190078621 https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9781328974624 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
58 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
232. Alec MacGillis with Margaret O’Mara: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
In 1937, the famed writer and activist Upton Sinclair published a novel bearing the subtitle A Story of Ford-America. He blasted the callousness of a company worth “a billion dollars” that underpaid its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and sometimes dangerous assembly line labor. Eighty-three years later, the market capitalization of Amazon. com has exceeded one trillion dollars, while the value of the Ford Motor Company hovers around thirty billion. We have, Alec MacGillis contends, entered the age of one-click America—and as the coronavirus makes Americans more dependent on online shopping, its sway will only intensify. Award-winning journalist MacGillis has embarked upon a literary investigation of the America that he believes falls within the shadow of Amazon. His book, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, MacGillis told the stories of those who’ve thrived and struggled to thrive in this rapidly changing environment, and he joined us in conversation with UW history professor Margaret O’Mara to share what he’s gleaned. From our own Seattle to suburban Virginia to Baltimore and beyond, he ranged across the country gathering insight into the impact that Amazon has had. The reach has stretched to Congress as well, MacGillis explored, with lobbyists and government contractors. With empathy and breadth, he demonstrated the hidden human costs of the other inequality between the country’s “winning” and “losing” regions, inviting us to an intimate account of contemporary capitalism. Alec MacGillis is a senior reporter for ProPublica. He worked previously at The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and The New Republic, and his journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and other publications. He is the author of The Cynic, a 2014 biography of Mitch McConnell. Margaret O’Mara is a professor of history at the University of Washington and a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. She is the author of several books, including The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America. Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9781250829276 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
61 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
231. Christopher Sebastian Parker with Lance Bennett and Kenan Block: What the Attack on the Capitol Means for the Future of American Democracy
On January 5, the run-off election in Georgia flipped the state and created opportunity for a Democrat-led Senate. On January 6, armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol Building, resulting in dozens of injuries and several fatalities. UW Professor Christopher Sebastian Parker believes that Donald Trump as chief executive was making matters worse. Yet despite Trump no longer being in office, there seems to be reticence to reckon with the true impact of the actions on January 6. What happened before Trump that created conditions that made us vulnerable? What will be the lasting effects of Trump’s rhetoric? And what can we discern about the future of American democracy from that Wednesday afternoon? Parker joined us for a livestreamed panel discussion with University of Washington colleague and political scientist Lance Bennett as well as media and communications expert Kenan Block to dive deeper into an analysis of the current moment. This panel of experts drew on their knowledge of public opinion and social science to explore the possible long-lasting ramifications of the events on January 6. Looking at partisan divisions, the role of media, social justice movements, and more, they examined the pressure points in the country that were thrown into stark relief on that day—and that could impact the future of our national democracy. Christopher Sebastian Parker, PhD., is the Stuart A. Scheingold Professor of Social Justice and Political Science in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. He is the author of several books, including Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South, Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America, written with Matt Barreto. His work has appeared or been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN.com, and more. He has also appeared on MSNBC, PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel. Lance Bennett, PhD., is Emeritus Professor of Communication and Political Science at the University of Washington and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Journalism, Media & Democracy at UW. He is the author of 12 books, including News: The Politics of Illusion and The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics, and most recently, Communicating the Future: Solutions for Environment, Economy and Democracy. His work focuses on restoring democracy and creating economies better adapted to the environmental crisis. After a long career in journalism, Kenan Block currently heads up Kenan Block Media and Communications, a firm that helps a variety of clients tell their stories. A fifth generation Seattleite, Block’s award-winning journalism career spanned over a dozen years in Washington, D.C. covering politics and national affairs for the PBS NewsHour and later MSNBC. He covered four presidential campaigns, the Congress, White House, and Pentagon during his career. He was part of the team that launched MSNBC, serving as the Chief Washington Producer for The News with Brian Williams. Block was a founding board member of Town Hall. He lives in Seattle and is active in civic and political affairs. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
60 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
230. Virtual Civic Cocktail—The State of Our Democracy: Bridging the Political Divide in WA
Many believe that partisan politics has created a roadblock in efforts to reach across the aisle and forge ahead. Nationally, the chasm separating Democrats and Republicans can be felt to be vast, but what about here in Washington state? Is it possible that similar divisive politics could be holding up progress beneficial to all? If so, what are recommendations for characteristics and qualities needed in future leaders to govern more effectively? Join Town Hall Seattle and Seattle CityClub for a virtual Civic Cocktail program with host Joni Balter and guests Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, and Caleb Heimlich, chair of the Washington State Republican Party. Tune in for an in-depth conversation with the guests, including audience questions. As a 40-year-old nonpartisan, civics-focused nonprofit, Seattle CityClub provides a platform for insightful and educational conversations that include a diverse range of perspectives. The youngest State Republican Party Chairman in the country, Caleb Heimlich has served as Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party since his election in January of 2018. He is a respected member of the Republican National Committee and was unanimously elected Vice Chairman for the Western Region, and a member of the RNC Executive Committee. Upon graduation, he worked for Americans for Prosperity in Washington DC and then for AFP in Washington State organizing grass roots activists. That led to being hired as the Political Director of the WSRP in 2011, promoted to Executive Director in 2013. Tina Podlodowski is the daughter of two naturalized U.S. citizens who fled post-WWII Europe as refugees. As a first-generation American, “union kid,” and lifelong Democrat, Podlodowski has spent her life fighting for equity and equality and gained prominence as a visible leader in both the Democratic party nationally, and the LGBTQ community nationally and internationally. After a career as an executive at Microsoft, Podlodowski won an at-large seat on the Seattle City Council with 65% of the popular vote. Podlodowski won her first term as State Party Chair in 2017. Nationally, Podlodowski is proud to be the Western Association of State Democratic Committees Vice President (representing all of our Western States), Chair of the DNC Western States Caucus (again, representing all of our Western States), and a member of the 2021 DNC Executive Committee. Special thanks to CityClub’s premiere partner Comcast, and media partner Seattle Channel. Presented by Seattle City Club and Town Hall Seattle.
56 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
229. Abdul El-Sayed and Micah Johnson: A Citizen’s Guide to Medicare for All
The coronavirus pandemic reignited a debate that has been raging for years: healthcare. There are few issues as consequential in the lives of Americans as healthcare. Every single American will interact with the healthcare system, and most people will find that interaction less than satisfactory. And yet for every dollar spent in our economy, 18 cents goes to healthcare, leaving many to ask: what are we paying for, exactly? Doctors Abdul El-Sayed and Micah Johnson joined us to present a simple guide to America’s most debated policy-in-waiting. Using their book Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide as a base, they related how, although healthcare policy is notoriously complex, what Americans want is simple: good healthcare that’s easy to use and doesn’t break the bank. And two-thirds of Americans want the government to provide universal health coverage. Is Medicare for All the solution? El-Sayed and Johnson offered a serious examination of this complex subject, offering viewpoints on how Medicare for All would transform the way we give, receive, and pay for healthcare in America. Don’t miss this conversation that is perhaps more significant than ever before. Abdul El-Sayed, MD, DPhil, is a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He rebuilt Detroit’s Health Department after the City’s bankruptcy as the youngest big-city health commissioner in a major US city. He ran for Governor of Michigan in 2018 on a state-level single-payer platform in a bid endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The Nation, and Current Affairs. He holds a doctorate in Public Health from University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a medical degree from Columbia University. Micah Johnson, MD, is a physician and a health care researcher, writer, and policy advisor. He served as a health policy fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives and has advised presidential campaigns on health care reform. He holds a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and he received his MD from Harvard Medical School. He is currently a resident physician in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9780190056629 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To make a donation or become a member click here.
65 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
228. Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire with Diane Ravitch: The Threat to Public Education and the Future of School
Betsy DeVos may be the most prominent face of the seeming push to dismantle public education, but educational policy experts Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider believe she’s part of a larger movement that’s been steadily gaining power for decades. While support for public education today is stronger than ever, Berkshire and Schneider argue, the movement to save our schools remains fragmented, variable, and voluntary while those who seem set on tearing down the public school system are unified, patient, and well-resourced. Berkshire and Schneider joined us, in conversation with historian of education Diane Ravitch, to discuss their book A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School. With remarkable insight, they explored the network of conservative elected officials, advocacy groups, funders, and think tanks that have aligned behind a radical vision to unmake public education. They described the convictions underpinning the work of the dismantlers and how it fits into the current political context, giving us an up-close look at the policies—school vouchers, the war on teachers’ unions, tax credit scholarships, virtual schools, and more—that support the intentions of this network. Finally they looked forward, surveying the potential impact on public education if this network is successful. Sounding an alarm, they presented a call for public reckoning on behalf of the millions of families served by the American educational system—and many more who stand to suffer from its unmaking. Jennifer Berkshire is a freelance journalist and a host of the education podcast “Have You Heard.” Her writing on the politics of education has appeared in the Nation, Salon, the Baffler, the Progressive, and the New Republic. Jack Schneider is the author of three books and an award-winning education historian. He is a host of the education podcast “Have You Heard” and an assistant professor at UMass Lowell. He co-founded the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment, a partnership of eight MA public school districts and their local teacher unions. He is a regular contributor to the Atlantic and the Washington Post. Diane Ravitch is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She served as the Assistant Secretary of Education during the Bush I administration. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). She is the author of 13 books, the editor of 14 others, and has written over 500 articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications. Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781620974940 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
61 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
227. Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones: Black Lives Matter at School
How can educators help destroy entrenched inequalities and enact the values of Black Lives Matter in their classrooms, schools, and communities? Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, both educators and members of the Black Lives Matter at School movement, joined us to discuss this question. They believe that the United States is in the midst of an urgent moral and legal crisis over the safety, liberty, and well-being of Black young people. In an edited collection, Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice, they have gathered essential essays, interviews, poems, resolutions, and more from educators, students, and activists who have been building the Black Lives Matter Movement across the country. Hagopian and Jones layed bare the institutional racism inherent in our educational system, and present a critical call to radically reshape learning environments to make them safe, supportive, and transformative for all students. Jesse Hagopian is a member of the Black Lives Matter at School steering committee and teaches Ethnic Studies at Seattle’s Garfield High School. Hagopian is an editor for Rethinking Schools magazine, the co-editor of the book Teaching for Black Lives, and the editor of the book More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High Stakes Testing. Hagopian serves as the Director of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award. Denisha Jones is a member of the national Black Lives Matter at School steering committee and Director of the Art of Teaching, graduate teacher education program, at Sarah Lawrence College. Denisha is an education justice advocate and activist. She serves as Co-Director for Defending the Early Years, Inc, and is the Assistant Executive Director for the Badass Teachers Association. Currently, her research focuses on utilizing the BLM at School curriculum as cultural citizenship and documenting the value of play as a tool for liberation with an emphasis on global approaches to play. Buy the Book: https://bookshop.org/books/black-lives-matter-at-school-an-uprising-for-educational-justice/9781642592702 Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.
60 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
226. Sara Sinclair with Gladys Radek and Althea Guiboche: Voices from Indigenous North America
“Over the last three years in cities and on reserves and reservations across the continent, I have listened to Native people’s stories of loss, injustice and resilience. They are stories that echo Chief Peguis’ story. In myriad ways, each narrator’s life had been shaped by that same struggle: how to share space with a settler nation whose essential aim is to take all that is ours.” These are words from an article oral historian Sara Sinclair wrote for Salon last year, speaking about her mission to hear and share contemporary Indigenous stories. This mission led to the creation of her edited collection How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America. It gathered inclusive and diverse narratives from Indigenous voices, with a common thread: all of their lives have been shaped by loss, injustice, and resilience. Sinclair was joined in this virtual conversation by two of the narrators from How We Go Home, to discuss their own stories and experiences. Join them for this impactful and essential conversation about the cruel, ongoing dispossession of Indigenous people in North America—and their astounding spiritual wealth and fortitude. Sara Sinclair is an oral historian, writer, and educator of Cree-Ojibwe and settler descent. She is the editor of How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America. Sinclair teaches in the Oral History Masters Program at Columbia University. She has contributed to the Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative, and Memory Archive; Obama Presidency Oral History; and Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project She has conducted oral histories for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the International Labor Organization, among others. She is co-editor of Robert Rauschenberg: An Oral History. Althea Guiboche (Métis/Ojibwe/Salteaux) is a narrator in the oral history book, How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America. After experiencing homelessness with her own young children, Althea became a community advocate for Winnipeg’s most vulnerable populations. She started the organization Got Bannock?, which serves meals to hundreds of people, in response to the constant need she saw around her. Althea helped to develop a definition of Indigenous homelessness in Canada that considers the structural issues contributing to the disproportionate number of Indigenous people among Canada’s homeless communities. Buy the Book: https://bookshop.org/books/how-we-go-home-voices-from-indigenous-north-america-9781642594089/9781642592719 Presented by Town Hall Seattle, Chief Seattle Club, and Urban Native Education Alliance. To make a donation or become a Town Hall Seattle member click here.
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