“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.


  • MARSHALL GANZ-Public Narrative – Key to Successful Organizing

    Whether trying to influence involvement in foreign wars, fight for social justice, or win an election, effective organizing is crucial. Here’s my 2012 conversation with MARSHALL GANZ, who dropped out of Harvard in 1964 to participate in Freedom Summer, worked for years as one of the lead organizers for United Farm Workers, and helped devise the grass-roots model for Obama’s 2008 campaign. Now a lecturer in public policy at Harvard, I can say without reservation, we need to learn from him. You can find more at

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  • NELSON LICHTENSTEIN -Labor Is Delivering + Bill Clinton, Fabulous Failure?

    I talk with NELSON LICHTENSTEIN, History professor at UC Santa Barbara, and the author of several books on labor in America including State of the Union: A Century of American Labor. First, about the resurgence of unions in America – highlighted by good new contracts at UPS, Kaiser Permanence, and Big Three automakers, as well as successful organizing at newer huge employers like Amazon, Starbucks, and Trader Joes; and second, about his latest book, co-authored with Judith Stein, A FABULOUS FAILURE: The Clinton Presidency and the Transformation of American Capitalism. 

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  • MICHIO KAKU-QUANTUM SUPREMACY: How the Quantum Computer Revolution Will Change Everything

    I speak with theoretical physicist, futurist, and best-selling author, MICHIO KAKU, about his latest book, QUANTUM SUPREMACY: How the Quantum Computer Revolution Will Change Everything,

    eventually illuminating the deepest mysteries of science and solving some of our biggest problems, including global warming, world hunger, and incurable disease. What is quantum computing? Where do we stand? What are the obstacles? What is the promise? What are the warnings? Learn more at This episode was recorded as a LiveTalksLA event May 5th, 2023 in Santa Monica. 

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  • NANCY MAC LEAN (2018)-DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: The Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America – a long march to minority rule

    In the five years since I recorded this conversation with NANCY MAC LEAN about her book, DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, events have confirmed her analysis and her warnings. We now have minority rule, led by Mitch McConnell, Mike Johnson, Donald Trump, and the radical 6-3 Supreme Court. She has been passionately attacked on the Right, and passionately celebrated by those who care about democracy

    You can learn more her at – search for Nancy MacLean.

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  • JOANNA SCHWARTZ-SHIELDED: How the Police Became Untouchable

    Responding to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, millions marched in 2020 to protest police brutality. Though Floyd’s killers faced charges and were found guilty, we learned that it remains extremely difficult to hold police accountable. Decisions of the Supreme Court, state and local governments, and policy makers have made them all but untouchable. In SHIELDED, UCLA law professor JOANNA SCHWARTZ shares the stories of victims, exposes the ways in which our legal system protects police, reveals the weakness of their justifications, and calls for sustained citizen engagement to make change.

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  • Warnings of the ’08 crash – (1) KEVIN PHILLIPS (April 2008) Bad Money – (2) ROBERT FRANK (July 2007) Falling Behind. Phillips died October 9.

    Two conversations with warnings of the ’08 crash to come. KEVIN PHILLIPS is best known for his 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority articulating Nixon’s Southern Strategy which nearly 50 years later delivered us Trump. Phillips in time grew disillusioned with the GOP, and wrote books like The Politics of Rich and Poor; Wealth and Democracy; American Theocracy. In April 2008 we talk about Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism. Phillips died October 9th at 82. Second half, you’ll hear my 2007 conversation with economist Robert Frank on two of his books. The Economic Naturalist: in Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas and Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class,

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  • Are unions making a comeback? STEVEN GREENHOUSE, longtime NYTimes labor correspondent

    STEVEN GREENHOUSE covered labor at the New York Times for 19 years. When we last spoke in the early days of the Biden administration, workers’ share of income had slid to its lowest level since the 1940s and the percentage of workers in unions was the lowest in over a century. But unions are winning these days – winning contracts, winning strikes when necessary, and perhaps most critically in the big picture – winning popular support, especially among young people. He’s author of Beaten Down Worked Up: The Past Present and Future of American Labor.

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  • MICHAEL LEWIS (2010)-THE BIG SHORT- in which one of the great “explainers” defines a lot of terms.

    MICHAEL LEWIS’s new book, GOING INFINITE, the story of Sam Bankman-Fried and the rise and fall of crypto exchange FTX, is the #1 Selling book on Amazon. Here’s my 2010 conversation with Lewis about another #1 best-seller, THE BIG SHORT. In telling the story behind the Oscar nominated film, one of the great “explainers” defines a lot of terms – securitization, derivatives, credit default swaps – you remember. I think it’s one of my favorite episodes.

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  • TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY-DANIEL ZIBLATT-Why has American democracy reached the breaking point?

    I believe minority rule to be one of the most dangerous challenges facing American society with enormous impact for the fate of the world. I’m excited to engage with Daniel Ziblatt, about his latest book, TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY:Why American Democracy Reached the Breaking Point, co-authored with Stephen Levitsky. Their previous book, How Democracies Die, was described by The Economist magazine as “the most important book of the Trump era.” You can learn more at This episode was recorded as a LiveTalksLA event September 21, 2023 – link to video.

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  • The NOT Great Escape-JONATHAN TAPLIN-THE END OF REALITY: Four Billionaires’ Fantasy of the Metaverse, Mars, Crypto, and Immortality

    JONATHAN TAPLIN’s new book THE END OF REALITY picks up where MOVE FAST & BREAK THINGS left off. It documents how – rather than confront and solve the critical challenges we face – some of our wealthiest and most powerful men are plotting their escape – from transparency and regulation with crypto, from real life with the metaverse, from planet earth with colonies on Mars, and from death itself with transhumanism and cyborgs. This fantasy/nightmare is being sold by four billionaires – Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreeson, and Peter Thiel.

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