Free Forum with Terrence McNally

Saturday 1pm ET, Sunday 5pmET
ProgressiveVoicesNetwork on TuneIn

Terrence is also a fill-in host on KCRW’s NPR shows, To the Point and Left, Right, and Center

Scroll down for recent podcasts. Search for older ones by name of guest.

 “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 – (1) BEN SKINNER, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery & (2) GABOR MATE M.D. IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS: Close Encounters With Addiction

skinner-crime-mate-ghosts

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Skinner(Originally aired April 2009)
Gabor Mate (Originally aired May 2011)

These interviews pursue a world that just might work. That pursuit, however, demands looking honestly at the darker aspects of human behavior, and this week’s interviews deal with slavery and addiction. In both cases, my guests draw on years of personal experience to frame their analyses and their proposed solutions.

To those who say society’s not actually making progress, many point to the fact that at least we’ve eliminated slavery. But sadly that is not the case. 143 years after passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and 60 years after Article 4 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery worldwide, there are more slaves right now than at any time in human history – 27 million. The new slavery, which focuses on big profits and cheap lives, is not about owning people in the traditional sense of the old slavery, but about controlling them completely.

During the four years that BEN SKINNER researched modern-day slavery for his book, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS, he posed as a buyer at illegal brothels on several continents, interviewed convicted human traffickers in a Romanian prison and endured giardia, malaria, dengue and a bad motorcycle accident. But SKINNER says he’s most haunted by his experience in a brothel in Bucharest, Romania, where he was offered a young woman with Down syndrome in exchange for a used car.

Some might call addiction is a form of slavery. I am a long and consistent opponent of the war on drugs and of US policy toward illegal drugs and illegal drug users. I am also someone who advocates for a holistic view of reality, its challenges, and potential solutions. Holistic healing deals with the whole situation – mind, body, emotions, spirit and environment, treats root causes rather than symptoms, and treats as naturally and safely as possible. GABOR MATE, deals with the issues of drugs and addiction holistically. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts proposes approaching addiction through an understanding of its biological and socio-economic roots.
http://acrimesomonstrous.com/
http://drgabormate.com/

Free Forum Q&A – DAVE ZIRIN the Nation Magazine’s first sports editor GAME OVER: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down

unnamed

 

 

 

 

Originally Aired: 2/19/15

When you pick up a newspaper, do you reach first for the sports section? When you sit down in front of a television, do you look first for ESPN or today’s hottest game? Does your mood revolve not just around whether the world is better off today but whether the team you root for won or lost?

I love sports. Playing sports, I’ve probably had more peak moments in which my ego was dissolved and I was able to merge body, mind, and spirit in the pursuit of a goal in full collaboration with others than doing anything else. Sports have always served as a bridge among strangers as well as friends – whether the ability to show up at a basketball court anywhere in the world and join a game within minutes or to strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere regardless of race, class, faith, or nationality. How many fathers and sons have had sports in common when all else seems strained or broken between them?

All of which has a streak of purity about it. But what about professional sports? This week’s guest DAVE ZIRIN fills a fairly unique role in our culture. He takes sports seriously enough to be the first sports editor in the 150 year existence of The Nation magazine. He has for years in books, columns, and commentaries examined both the politics of sports as well as the intersection of the two.

Howard Cosell said “rule number one of the jockocracy” was that sports and politics don’t mix. In his newest book, Game Over, Zirin asserts that modern professional athletes are breaking that rule like never before. From the NFL lockout and the role of soccer in the Arab Spring to the Penn State sexual abuse scandals and Tim Tebow’s on-field genuflections, Dave reveals how our most important debates about class, race, religion, sex, and political power are being played out both on and off the field.

I’ve left my overzealous interest in sports out of the studio for years, but this week — a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, not long after Lance Armstrong finally admits to doping, and a few hours before the NBA All Star game – I break that barrier. Dave Zirin and I will talk about specific events and athletes, but we’ll also examine the role sports plays in our individual lives and in society.

www.davezirin.com

Free Forum Q&A – TEMPLE GRANDIN, one of the most accomplished adults with autism, designer of livestock handling facilities, author, ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN & (2) WALTER ISAACSON, head of the Aspen Institute, author, EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE

grandin-einstein

 

 

 

TEMPLE GRANDIN – Originally aired January 2010
WALTER ISAACSON – Originally aired May 2007

Two extraordinary minds: Interviews about a couple of individuals who, though slow learners as children, grew up to do amazing things.
In the first half, I’ll talk with Temple Grandin, PhD, probably the most accomplished adult with autism in the world. Now a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a designer of livestock handling facilities, Grandin, who didn’t speak until she was three and a half years old, has become a prominent author, speaker and advocate on the issues of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The 2010 HBO film based on her life won seven Emmys, including Outstanding Movie Made for Television, Outstanding Directing – Mick Jackson, and Outstanding Actress – Clare Danes.
In the second half, my guest will be WALTER ISAACSON, former managing editor of TIME magazine and Chairman of CNN, current head of the Aspen Institute, and the author of several bestselling books, including his biography of Steve Jobs. We’ll talk about his biography, EINSTEIN: His Life and Universe.

Einstein discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed. His contributions changed the way we conceive of reality. A new biography makes the point that his scientific imagination sprang from his rebellious questioning of authority – a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. In addition to his scientific genius, he was also noted for his social conscience Besides campaigning for a ban on nuclear weaponry, he denounced McCarthyism and pleaded for an end to bigotry and racism.

www.templegrandin.com

http://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/about-walter-isaacson

Free Forum Q&A – TIM RYAN Congressman, author, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, Recapture American Spirit & WINIFRED GALLAGHER RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life

ryan-gallagher

 

 

 

TIM RYAN (originally aired August 2012)
WINIFRED GALLAGHER (originally aired May 2009)

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” — William James

This week we focus on mindful attention – hailed by ancient spiritual traditions and modern neuroscience alike as one of the keys to the quality of our lives.

In the first half, I’ll be joined by Ohio Congressman TIM RYAN, who offers a radical solution to the stresses and problems that face Americans today — radical in its original meaning of having to do with roots of things. He has written a book, A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. Ryan has a daily practice of mindful meditation and now he’s advocating that the spread of similar practices could help heal us, not just as individuals but as a nation. And his book is filled with examples of how mindfulness is already being successfully applied in education, healthcare, even the military.
Then I’ll speak with bestselling author, WINIFRED GALLAGHER about her book, RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life. In it, she argues that “”The skillful management of attention is the… key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience, from mood to productivity to relationships.” Gallagher came to appreciate this while fighting a fairly advanced form of cancer. Determined not to let her illness “monopolize” her attention, she made a conscious choice to look “toward whatever seemed meaningful, productive, or energizing and away from the destructive, or dispiriting.” Her experience of the world was transformed, and she set out to learn more about the science of attention as well as what we can do to cultivate it.

Here’s one big tip based on neuroscience: GALLAGHER recommends starting your workday concentrating on your most important task for 90 minutes. At that point, your brain may need a break But don’t let yourself get distracted by anything else during that first hour and a half, because it can take the brain 20 minutes to reboot after an interruption.

 

www.timryan.house.gov