ASTRA TAYLOR, What is Democracy? Is it alive and well?

Written on May 20th, 2020

ASTRA TAYLOR takes democracy seriously. In her documentary WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? and the companion book, Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, she explores its early roots as well as its current embattled state. She reminds us that real democracy—fully inclusive and egalitarian—has never existed. Both ancient Athens and the original US were slave states. Can we restore rule of the people to the current American rule of the wealthy? Can democracy handle big challenges like the Coronovirus pandemic and climate change?

Inspiring ideas for troubling times-1) Fritjof Capra on Systems Thinking, 2) Stuart Kauffman, Reinventing the Sacred

Written on May 16th, 2020

In these unsettling times, I turned to the archives for inspiring ideas about the meaning of life. First, my 2009 conversation with physicist FRITJOF CAPRA about one of my favorite books, The Turning Point. Written in 1981, it looks at many domains of human activity, and makes clear that we need to move toward a systems view of reality that sees everything as dynamic and interdependent. True to those themes, in the second half you’ll hear my 2008 conversation with MacArthur award-winning biologist STUART KAUFFMAN about his provocative book, Reinventing the Sacred, in which he offers an inspiring image of God as the ceaseless creativity of the universe and of life itself.

CHARLOTTE ALTER – THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR – Millennials in office. Will a new generation change America?

Written on May 5th, 2020

Millennials have already revolutionized technology, commerce and media. They’re responsible for our major social movements. And there are now 26 Millennials in Congress – five times as many as before the 2018 midterms. TIME magazine national correspondent CHARLOTTE ALTER (cover stories on Mayor Pete, AOC, and Person of the Year Greta Thunberg) examines how millennials have gained power so far — from City Hall to Congress. In her first book, THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR, she asks – How are we going to get to the political future? – and – What’s it going to look like when we do?

ROBERT WRIGHT-Why are Americans divided as they confront a pandemic?

Written on April 22nd, 2020

The American people usually come together when confronting huge challenges – think of WWII and the attacks of 9/11. But today, facing the global pandemic, we are divided – on nearly every aspect of the crisis. In NONZERO, ROBERT WRIGHT contends that evolution and history move us toward greater cooperation, collaboration, and win-win outcomes. We talk about why – though individuals act heroically – the nation remains tribalized.

MARY O’HARA-The Shame Game-The narrative that tells people poverty is their own fault

Written on April 7th, 2020

MARY O’HARA grew up in deep poverty in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the Troubles. In THE SHAME GAME, she fights to break the power of the narrative that excuses the cruel and unjust treatment of our most vulnerable. We talk about her own story and the stories of others who have begun to move past that narrative in their own lives, often through the power of reading and writing, the same pathways that O’Hara herself took. Inspiring.