“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 – 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.
- Free Forum – JARED DIAMOND, COLLAPSE: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
Originally aired April 2005
Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. The subtitle claims “societies choose to fail or succeed.”
- Free Forum – Trump Takes Office, Millions Hit Streets with Drew Dellinger, Richard Eskow & Mark Hertsgaard
I recently broke my two-year hiatus with a show of reflections on the election and the path forward. I couldn’t resist again this week, following the inauguration of Donald Trump and the millions around the US and the globe who marched yesterday. in protest. I discuss recent events and the meaning of the marches with: • Richard (RJ) Eskow (www.patreon.com/thezerohour), host of the syndicated radio show The Zero Hour, was a writer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. • Drew Dellinger, Ph.D. (drewdellinger.org), founder of Planetize the Movement, is the author of the award-winning poetry collection, Love Letter to the Milky Way, and the upcoming book, Martin Luther King—Ecological Thinker: Toward a Cosmology of Connection. • Mark Hertsgaard (markhertsgaard.com), Veteran journalist, Investigative Editor of The Nation, and the author of seven books including HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth and On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency.
- Free Forum – RESPONDING TO TRUMP Eddie Kurtz, Courage Campaign – Colby Devitt, Standing Rock First NEW SHOW since 2014. Opens w 15 minute commentary.
After hosting and producing this show for 17 years, I stepped away from recording new live interviews nearly two years ago, but I couldn’t resist commenting about Trump’s election and our path forward confronting his administration. The Courage Campaign is spearheading resistance in California with a mix of online and ground organizing and action. Colby Devitt shares her experience at Standing Rock and her work in the campaign to divest from banks funding the pipeline.
- Free Forum Q&A – JACK KORNFIELD & TRUDY GOODMAN A CELEBRATION of MINDFULNESS
On November 15, InsightLA, the leading Los Angeles-based Mindfulness Meditation organization, will host LIVING WITH A JOYFUL SPIRIT AND A WISE HEART, a day of deep teachings and timeless wisdom that will feature Trudy Goodman and Jack Cornfield in dialogue via video with a “who’s who” of the pioneers of mindfulness meditation in the West – Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Ram Dass (Be Here Now), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance), Joseph Goldstein (Insight Meditatino), and Congressman Tim Ryan (A Mindful Nation). Both Trudy and Jack turn 70 this year. In the course of the conversation, we talk about their personal paths, what each of their guests means to them, and we tell the story of mindfulness in America over the last forty-five years.
Trudy Goodman has trained and practiced in two fields for over 25 years: meditation and psychotherapy. She studied developmental psychology with Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Carol Gilligan, and for 20 years worked in a full psychotherapy practice. Since 1974, Trudy has devoted much of her life to practicing Buddhist meditation and teaching mindfulness. In 2002, Trudy founded InsightLA.
Jack Kornfield is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. His books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies. They include, A Path with Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; Buddha’s Little Instruction Book; and A Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.
- Free Forum Q&A – TINA ROSENBERG: Fixes column at nytimes.com JOIN THE CLUB How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World
Originally aired July 2011
If you want to change people’s behavior – get them to use condoms, stop smoking, eat more healthy foods, for example – how do you do it? Though the examples may be contemporary, the question is old as society itself. What have we tried? Carrots – gold stars, awards, recognition, money, religious rewards…And sticks – guilt, shame, ostracism, punishment – both on earth and in the hereafter. So what works?
In her book JOIN THE CLUB, TINA ROSENBERG identifies a successful strategy based on harnessing the positive force of peer pressure. She tells stories of how it has reduced AIDS among teens in South Africa and smoking among teens in the United States, made villages in India healthier and more prosperous, helped minority students get top grades in college calculus, and even led to the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. Creative social entrepreneurs are starting to use peer pressure to accomplish goals as personal as losing weight and as global as fighting terrorism.
If you’re committed to changing behavior – from your own diet or habits to societal responses to climate change or inequity – join the club.
- Free Forum Q&A – MICHAEL LEWIS MONEYBALL; THE BIG SHORT; THE BLIND SIDE BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World includes a profile of Greece post-global crash
Originally aired October 2011
As the two countries play a high stakes game of chicken, it’s a good time to see what Greece and Germany looked like in the aftermath of the global crash. Who better to be our tour guide than best-selling author MICHAEL LEWIS?
Lewis’s book, BOOMERANG: Travels in the New Third World is made up of articles originally published in Vanity Fair and picks up where 2010’s THE BIG SHORT left off. Governments are the focus of this book. Mostly because they have taken on the bad debts of the too-big-to-fail banks, so now they are themselves at risk. Now politics and culture become much more important as to how they will deal with that risk. The book also profiles Ireland, Iceland, and California.
Both Ira Glass and Malcolm Gladwell say today’s guest is their favorite storyteller. In his books and magazine articles, Lewis writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, fatherhood. Stuff that matters to a lot of people. He’s smart and he has a sense of humor. Once a trader at Salomon Brothers, he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR’S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street during the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with his last two books, a column for Bloomberg, and articles in Vanity Fair. We also talk about the twisted path taken to get MONEYBALL into movie theatres.
- Free Forum Q&A – LESTER BROWN, Founder of Worldwatch and Earth Policy Institute author of PLAN B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Originally Aired October 2009
We are in a race between tipping points in natural and political systems.
Which will come first? Can we mobilize the political will to phase out coal-fired power plants before the melting of the Greenland ice sheet becomes irreversible? Can we halt deforestation in the Amazon basin before the forest becomes vulnerable to fire and is destroyed? Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to save the Himalayan glaciers that feed the major rivers of Asia? Can we win this race?
LESTER BROWN thinks we can…
In his book, PLAN B 4.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION, BROWN lays out the symptoms, the diagnosis, and the cure. He estimates that we could solve all the world’s greatest problems for $200B a year – less than half the US defense budget.
PLAN B 4.0 is a comprehensive plan for reversing the trends that are undermining our future. Its four overriding goals are to stabilize climate, stabilize population, eradicate poverty, and restore the earth’s damaged ecosystems. Failure to reach any one of these goals will likely mean failure to reach the others as well.It’s time for Plan B: an all-out response at wartime speed proportionate to the magnitude of the threats facing civilization.