Q&A: TOM FRANK – What’s the Matter with Kansas? / EDGAR CAHN – founder of Legal Services & Time DollarsWritten on January 10th, 2012
This will be a conversation about the state of things as we embark on 2012. I will be joined by TOM FRANK (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) and EDGAR CAHN (founder of Legal Services and Time Dollars). We will talk about their passions and projects.
In his new book, PITY THE BILLIONAIRE, Frank examines how the crash that has hurt so many millions of Americans has delivered wildly perverse political results. He gives us a diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous.
Edgar Cahn was a serial social entrepreneur before the term was invented. In 1974, he and his wife co-founded the Legal Services Program to deliver legal services to the poor, then co-founded Antioch School of Law, where students learned through providing legal services to the poor. Two decades later Cahn created TIme Dollars, a system to bank and exchange services rather than currency.
In the larger conversation, I want to take a fairly big picture, historical, and forward-looking perspective. While I assume we will talk about global economics and international conflicts, the emphasis would be on the US. Though I assume we will talk about the fall election, I want to look more broadly.
Questions like: Where are we as a society – socially, culturally, economically, and politically? What’s working and why is it working? What are your fears and hopes for the year ahead? What stories and narratives will you be paying attention to in the next year?
Maybe something about the battle over the narrative of America’s founding and the American dream. Is there a story in which humanity turns things around?
THOMAS FRANK, a former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper’s. He is the author of The Conquest of Cool; What’s the Matter with Kansas? One Market Under God; and his newest, PITY THE BILLIONAIRE.
EDGAR CAHN teaches Law and Justice, and directs the Community Service Program at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law. A co-founder with his late wife Jean Camper Cahn of the Antioch School of Law, UDC-DCSL’s predecessor; the first law school in the United States to educate law students primarily through clinical training in legal services to the poor. In the late 1980s, Professor Cahn began the Time Dollars project, a service credit program that now has more than 70 communities in the US, UK and Japan with registered programs (www.timebanks.org). He’s the author of several books, including Hunger USA, Time Dollars and No More Throw-Away People.
I’ll be joined by writer-director STEVE STOCKMAN whose new book HOW TO SHOOT VIDEO THAT DOESN’T SUCK has a great deal of smart things to say – not just about shooting videos of your kids’ parties or your company’s new products, but also about the essential role of story in the movies you see in theatres. Stick around. I believe you’ll learn something no matter who you are.
Happy New Year.
I was lucky enough to get to know the great journalist Molly Ivins in the final years before her death in 2007. We were both annual panelists at the Conference on World Affairs that takes place for a week each April in Boulder Colorado. I have been there every year since 2001. Molly attended basically every other year for quite a while longer.
From writing Elvis Presley’s New York Times obituary to becoming the most widely-read self-proclaimed “pain in the ass to whatever powers come to be,” Ivins, often described as a modern-day Mark Twain, made rabid fans and enemies alike with her sharp-tongued humor and unabashed political criticism.
I speak with Oscar-and-Tony-nominated actress Kathleen Turner who portrays Ivins in Red Hot Patriot at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood January 3rd thru February 12th — and with Lou Dubose who co-authored three books with Molly.
From a small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, a raw and powerful documentary WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, their families, and their town. At its heart a story about growing up, the film is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars, where they come from, and their struggles when they return and try to fit back into their previous daily routines. On the podcast, HEATHER COURTNEY, producer/director of the documentary, is joined by DOMINIC FREDIANELLI, one of the young veterans she follows in the film.
Heather Courtney has directed and produced several documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and LOS TRABAJADORES. She was recently named one of Film Independent’s Top 10 Filmmakers to Watch. LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE was the Closing Night film at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2006. LOS TRABAJADORES won the Audience Award at SXSW and the International Documentary Association David Wolper award. She spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Just a quick reminder that the Indie Spirit Award-nominated film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM is now available on DVD, and if you order today, you’ll get it by Christmas!
You can go to http://www.wheresoldierscomefrom.com/dvd.php or see info below for more info on ordering, to read some reviews and to watch the trailer.
Economists, politicians, and pundits insist recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments face record deficits. Today’s guest, RICHARD HEINBERG has a new book, The End of Growth, in which he proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. He talks about the new normal that recognizes the limits to growth imposed by resource and disposal limits, climate change, and population growth.