Free Forum with Terrence McNally

Saturday 1pm ET, Sunday 5pmET
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Terrence is also a fill-in host on KCRW’s NPR shows, To the Point and Left, Right, and Center

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 “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

On Free Forum we explore 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. It’s all based on the fact that I believe we can do better and I want to find out how.

I engage the most visionary thinkers, writers, and doers I can find to make sense of the current moment and shed light on the path ahead. One week Michael Lewis explains the Wall Street crash, the next Father Greg Boyle and one of the thousands of gang members he’s hired at LA’s Homeboy Industries, offer hope. Other recent guests include Atul Gawande MD of The New Yorker, Temple Grandin, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, outspoken Afghanistan Parliament member Malalai Joya, Cornel West, Craig Venter, and Robert Wright.

Free Forum Q&A – MINDFULNESS JON KABAT-ZINN WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE; COMING TO OUR SENSES: HEALING OURSELVES AND THE WORLD THROUGH MINDFULNESS TRUDY GOODMAN founder, InsightLA in Santa Monica

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Originally aired September 2010

You startle awake to a rude alarm clock. Nothing you’d rather do than sleep a bit more. Coffee gets you going enough to make it out the door. On your morning commute you zone out, oblivious to radio reports of weather disasters or war casualties. At work, juggling your cell phone, landline, and email, you speak to countless faceless people without leaving your desk. You grab lunch over a pile of paperwork. Driving home, you look up to notice what must have been a beautiful sunset. At day’s end, you’re back where you started.

What’s getting lost in your daily shuffle? What toll is stress taking on your body? How could you lead a fuller, happier life?

JON KABAT-ZINN says the answer may be “living life moment by moment as if it really mattered.” He believes that by practicing mindfulness, we can literally and metaphorically come to our senses – as individuals and as a society. And there’s growing scientific evidence to back him up. TRUDY GOODMAN has done a lot to make that practice accessible here in LA, with the InsightLA center in Santa Monica.

http://www.insightla.org/

John Kabat-Zinn

DISRUPTIVE: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY Pamela Silver & George Church

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I’m excited to offer the first episode of DISRUPTIVE, my new monthly podcast series produced with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The mission of the Wyss Institute is to: Transform healthcare, industry, and the environment by emulating the way nature builds, with a focus on technology development and its translation into products and therapies that will have an impact on the world in which we live. Their work is disruptive not only in terms of science but also in how they stretch the usual boundaries of academia.

In this inaugural episode, Wyss core faculty members Pamela Silver and George Church explain how, with today’s technology breakthroughs, modifications to an organism’s genome can be conducted more cheaply, efficiently, and effectively than ever before. Researchers are programming microbes to treat wastewater, generate electricity, manufacture jet fuel, create hemoglobin, and fabricate new drugs. What sounds like science fiction to most of us might be a reality in our lifetimes: the ability to build diagnostic tools that live within our bodies, find ways to eradicate malaria from mosquito lines, or possibly even make genetic improvements in humans that are passed down to future generations. Silver and Church discuss both the high-impact benefits of their work as well as their commitment to the prevention of unintended consequences in this new age of genetic engineering.

http://wyss.harvard.edu/

 

Free Forum Q&A – MARCIA COYLE Chief DC Correspondent, The National Law Journal Supreme Court Correspondent, PBS News Hour THE ROBERTS COURT: Struggle for the Constitution

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Originally aired July 2013
I struck up a conversation with a hip looking man in his late 20s-early 30s in a movie line on LA’s west side shortly before the 2004 election between George Bush and John Kerry. When asked who he planned to vote for, the young man answered that he hadn’t made up his mind. I said to him, “Two words. Supreme Court.” To which the young man replied, “Oh, are we voting for them too?”

While we may be disappointed in his apparent lack of civics knowledge, in his own way, he spoke the truth. The most lasting actions a president takes may be his appointments to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court justices serve for as long as they wish or as long as they are able. Their decisions very often set precedents that can live forever. Bush had appointed John Roberts Chief Justice in his first term, but according to today’s guest, it was his second term appointment of Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor that really solidified the Roberts Court.

O’Connor had been a much more moderate conservative than Alito has proven to be. The center of the court shifted to the right, which may matter little in decisions with large majorities – more than 50% of cases each term are decided unanimously or by 8-1 or 7-2 votes — but can be crucial in decisions decide 5-4.

MARCIA COYLE has chosen to focus her book THE ROBERTS COURT: The Struggle for the Constitution on four such 5-4 decisions – Citizens United on campaign finance; District of Columbia v Heller on gun control; on race in school choice; and on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

 

Free Forum Q&A – SYSTEMS THINKING (1) FRITJOF CAPRA, author of several books including The Tao of Physics; The Turning Point & (2) NORA BATESON, director AN ECOLOGY OF MIND doc re: her late father, Gregory Bateson

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(1) FRITJOF CAPRA – Originally aired April 2009
(2) NORA BATESON – Originally aired July 2012
Both interviews this week explore systems thinking – one of the key ingredients of a world that just might work.

First. I speak with FRITJOF CAPRA, who wrote a book in 1981 that greatly influenced my view not only of science, medicine, agriculture, energy, and even politics – it influenced my view of reality. That book was THE TURNING POINT, and its message is as profound and revolutionary today. “We live today in a globally interconnected world, in which biological, psychological, social, and environmental phenomena are all interdependent. To describe this world appropriately we need an ecological perspective which the Cartesian world view does not offer. What we need, then, is a new ‘paradigm’ – a new vision of reality; a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values.” Capra wrote those words in its preface.
In the second half my guest will be NORA BATESON, and we’ll talk about AN ECOLOGY OF MIND, the wonderful documentary she’s made about her father, the late anthropologist GREGORY BATESON. Her documentary is subtitled A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson. It tells of the unique anthropologist, philosopher, author, naturalist, and systems theorist, who was ahead of his time in seeing reality as made up not of things or even of ideas, but of relationships. The film features interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra, Whole Earth Catalogue publisher Stewart Brand, cultural philosopher and poet William Irwin Thompson; and Nora’s sister, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson. Nora’s film will introduce Bateson to a new generation and remind many of us of the impact her father had on the way a lot of people perceived the world.

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” Those are the words of the late Gregory Bateson – and I couldn’t agree more.