“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.


  • LUIS RODRIGUEZ-Native roots, Latinx experience, and a sage call for reconnection

    I sought out LUIS RODRIGUEZ, writer in many genres, activist, and the former poet laureate of Los Angeles, for his sage take on the city, the state, the nation, and the experience of Latinx people in all three as we emerge from the Trump presidency. I got even more than I’d expected. Grounded in his native roots, his latest book, FROM OUR LAND TO OUR LAND: Essays, Journeys, and Imaginings from A Native Xicanx Writer, calls on humanity to reconcile with nature and to reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the divine. You can learn more at

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  • AMY BACH (2009) Why Justice Loses on a Daily Basis in America’s Courts

    Attorney AMY BACH spent eight years investigating the chronic lapses in courts across America. Lawyers sleep through trials. False confessions and mistaken eye-witnesses convict the innocent. The rich walk, the poor go to prison. Her book, ORDINARY INJUSTICE, reveals a culture of complicity among prosecutors, defenders, and judges that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving.

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  • DAVID DALEY-Fighting minority rule-RATF**KED: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count; UNRIGGED: Americans Battling Back

    The US holds one national popular vote and Republicans have only won that vote once since 1988. Yet they have held the presidency nearly 12 of those years, and as a result, they dominate the Supreme Court. They hold 50 Senate seats though they’ve received millions fewer votes than Democrats in Senate elections. DAVID DALEY charted the worst of the Republicans’ efforts in his best-seller on gerrymandering, RATF**KED: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, but he also draws hope from the citizens he writes about in UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy

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  • NOREENA HERTZ-THE LONELY CENTURY – How do we restore human connection?

    I believe human beings want more than anything to feel seen and heard. That’s why I wanted to talk again with NOREENA HERTZ economist, journalist, and author most recently of THE LONELY CENTURY: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart. One of the things I appreciate about Hertz’s approach here is that she broadly defines loneliness as a lack of connection, which opens us up to consider all the ways and all the spheres of our lives where we are lacking or losing connection. And how has our ongoing experience of the pandemic making that both better and worse? You can learn more at

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  • DAVID KIRP (2011), KIDS FIRST: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children’s Lives and America’s Future

    Increased tax credits contained in the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package signed this week could lower child poverty more In 2021 than any other year In U.S. history. That is a really big deal. It turns Naomi Klein’s notion of “shock doctrine” on its head – enacting policies in response to a crisis that promise to make things better than before the crisis began. So what else could we do for children? Here’s my 2011 conversation with David Kirp about his book, Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children’s Lives and America’s Future. This stuff has all been tried and it works.

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  • SHERRY TURKLE turns the conversation on herself-THE EMPATHY DIARIES: A Memoir

    SHERRY TURKLE mourned the loss of conversation in ALONE TOGETHER: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other and called for its restoration in RECLAIMING CONVERSATION: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. In THE EMPATHY DIARIES: A Memoir, she turns the conversation on herself, and weaves together her very personal story and her evolving insights on technology, empathy, and ethics. Among her questions: How did her role in keeping family secrets influence her as a researcher, a teacher, a writer, and a woman? To learn more about the book and read an excerpt:; more about Sherry’s work:

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  • STEVEN GREENHOUSE, Can Unions Make a Comeback? – Beaten Down Worked Up: The Past Present and Future of American Labor

    STEVEN GREENHOUSE covered labor for the New ¥ork Times for 19 years. Unions played a key role when the American economy created the greatest middle class the world had ever seen. Given how clearly unions improved the lives of hundreds of millions of laborers, why did workers allow corporations and government to weaken and shrink those unions? What can we do about it? Can our shared vulnerability to the pandemic and its destruction of the economy help us recreate the post-war experience of shared prosperity? We talk about greenhouse’s latest book, Beaten Down Worked Up: The Past Present and Future of American Labor.

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  • WADE DAVIS (2002), NatGeo Explorer-in-Residence-Let’s take a break from the news-The Light at the Edge of the World

    Impeachment #2 is over, Trump is still off Twitter, vaccines are on the rise, and Biden is committed to relief for American families. Let’s take a breath – and listen to my remarkable 2002 conversation with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence WADE DAVIS, about his wild path to the corners of the earth from the Amazon to the Arctic, his experiences with psychotropic plants, the pluses and minuses of Western progress, and the threats to indigenous peoples as told in his book The Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures.

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  • MICHAEL MANN, THE NEW CLIMATE WAR-Climate scientist was attacked for “hockey stick” graph

    In 1999, MICHAEL MANN co-authored a scientific paper that included a graph that tracked temperatures over the last 1000 years. Known as “the hockey stick,” it showed that climate change was real. His integrity attacked, he learned the strategies and methods of those who would postpone and disable our efforts to deal with climate change. In his latest book, The New Climate War, Mann debunks false narratives and argues that all is not lost. He believes Biden is on the right track, but warns we won’t succeed unless we learn to recognize and defeat the latest tactics of the forces of inaction.

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  • DANIEL GOLEMAN, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence – The critical skill of attention

    Biden’s pitching unity, but he seems determined to go big and the Dems sound serious about accountability. Pandemic numbers are easing and vaccines increasing, but we fear the unknown of virus variants. Normal is not around the corner. How will we come out of this – as a society and as individuals? Here’s my 2014 conversation with DANIEL GOLEMAN. In his book, FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, he cites the latest neuroscience to make the case for the power and impact of where we choose to put our attention. Like a muscle, use attention poorly and it withers; work it in the right way and it strengthens.

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