“Terrence McNally consistently goes for the long ball.”
Robert Wright, The Moral Animal; The Politics of God.
“…Grounds for hope, rays of light, and a damn fine hour of radio.”
Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence; Ecological Intelligence.
Free Forum explores the lives, work and ideas of individuals I suspect hold pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work. We look at new, innovative and provocative approaches to business, environment, health, science, politics, media, and culture – all based on the fact that I believe we can do better and I want to find out how. Guests include Michael Lewis, Atul Gawande, Temple Grandin, Nicholas Kristof, Cornel West, Arianna Huffington, Craig Venter, and Father Greg Boyle. Recorded from 1996-2014, Progressive Voices streams the most memorable interviews weekly. Podcast are, of course, available any time.
You can browse podcasts below, search by name of guest in the Search window at the top of the site, or check the alphabetical list of guests here.
- Free Forum – ROB JOHNSON, Director, INSTITUTE FOR NEW ECONOMIC THINKING
Prior to the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Rob Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee and a DIrector at Soros Fund Management. He also worked in the music and film industries (Exec Producer, Oscar winning doc, Taxi to the Dark Side). “The concentration of wealth and power that created a twin crisis of representation – in politics and in expertise – set the stage for Donald Trump’s election victory, and has put America’s founding principles at risk.”
- Free Forum – CHIP BERLET, author, RIGHT-WING POPULISM IN AMERICA
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump.” Of a spike in reported incidents of “hate” violence, SPLC reports, “37% of them directly referenced either President Trump, his campaign slogans, or his infamous remarks about sexual assault.” CHIP BERLET has investigated hate groups, theocratic fundamentalism, civil liberties violations, police misconduct, surveillance abuse, other anti-democratic phenomena.
- Tap the Unique Power of Story and Narrative
In this podcast, I go solo. Rather than interviewing others, I share with you the best of the work I do to help organizations develop more engaging narratives and tell better stories. Learn why narrative is uniquely powerful as well as the recipe for a good story – whether in a Hollywood screenplay or a one-to-one conversation.
- Free Forum – JONATHAN SMUCKER, Roadmap for Radicals including some hard won lessons of Occupy
Currently organizing where he grew up in Lancaster PA (as a Menonite), he was involved with Occupy Wall Street and has a lot to say about what worked and what we can learn from what didn’t. Example: The rituals of assembly ended up standing in for strategy, becoming an end rather than a means. Smucker questions the left’s tendency to identify as “the righteous few”, where purity can become an obstacle to amassing enough power to win. He doesn’t use the term “activist” because he believes that (self-)identification separates fighting for peace and justice from the rest of life, and creates an us which can leave out others. Insightful stuff.
- Free Forum – CHRIS MOONEY, The Republican Brain The Science Behind Why They Deny Science
Originally Aired April 2012
CHRIS MOONEY wrote the best-selling THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE in 2005. This book asks a deeper question. Does science have anything to teach us about why? And it turns out science does. Political parties reflect psychological needs – GOP wedded to certainty, Dems to novelty – and there lies at least one root of our divide.
- Free Forum – Two warnings from over a decade ago 1) ARUNDHATI ROY, author, essayist, activist. (September 2004) 2) DAVIDSON LOEHR, AMERICA, FASCISM, and GOD (December 2005)
First, the incomparable ARUNDHATI ROY, award-winning novelist, activist and essayist who speaks truth to power. “It was wonderful that on February 15th , in a spectacular display of public morality, 10 million people in five continents marched against the war on Iraq. It was wonderful, but it was not enough.”
Then my interview with DAVIDSON LOEHR, minister, Texan, and author of AMERICA, FASCISM AND GOD. “When fascism comes to America, it will gain power by poisoning the channels of communication…and creating an Orwellian kind of 1984.”
- Free Forum – Two classic political interviews from 2004 THOMAS FRANK, WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America GEORGE LAKOFF, DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
Originally Aired in 2004 They noticed trends, asked questions, offered warnings and gave advice.
“Why does the pro-life factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh repeatedly vote for the party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his job, and less likely to benefit him economically?”
– Thomas Frank
“In politics framing is about making sure the debate takes place in language that fits your worldview. Framing trumps facts and self-interest.”
– George Lakoff Twelve years later their worst fears came true.
- Free Forum – STEPHAN SCHWARTZ New book, 8 LAWS OF CHANGE
Since 1991 STEPHAN SCHWARTZ has been following trends that are shaping the future, and has tracked the rise of fascist and identitarian politics, a Great Schism, and the Theocratic Right. His new book 8 LAWS OF CHANGE is based on years of research to show how nonviolent compassionate life-affirming change can be achieved. I’ve subscribed to his Schwartzreport for years – four articles each day with comments – well worth reading.
- Free Forum – What are you willing to sacrifice? TIM DeCHRISTOPHER Civil disobedience (bidding) at public lands auction landed him 21 months in prison.
Originally aired June 2013
In 2008 TIM DeCHRISTOPHER disrupted a highly disputed BLM auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of land. Tim outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7M Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. Yet DeChristopher was tried on two federal felonies and spent 21 months in prison.
- Free Forum – (1) Sessions is AG, Trump’s attacking judiciary. so you’ll hear longtime NYT Supreme Court reporter LINDA GREENHOUSE (originally aired May 2005) (2) Betsy DeVos confirmed by Pence so you’ll hear 30+ year LA public school teacher RAFE ESQUITH
Originally aired November 2005
The last week gave us an Attorney General with a terrible record on civil rights and the drug war, a Supreme Court nominee in the mold of Scalia, the President attacking the judiciary, and an Education Secretary with no experience of public school. Listen to my 2005 interviews with the wise and knowledgeable Linda Greenhouse and Rafe Esquith, award-winning 5th grade teacher, famous for the Hobart Shakespearians.