“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.


  • ROBERT JAY LIFTON-LOSING REALITY-Trump, Fox, & Online BS v Pandemic & George Floyd’s death

    Psychiatrist and author ROBERT JAY LIFTON has spent a lifetime not turning away from our dark side: writing about Hiroshima survivors, Nazi doctors, and the Japanese cult that released sarin gas in Tokyo’s subways. Now 93, he finds the darkness closer to home. He wrote the foreword to The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Experts Assess a President, and his latest book is LOSING REALITY: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry. How can Trump’s alternative facts compete with the harsh realities of this moment?

    Continue reading →
  • CONNIE RICE-Decades fighting to change the LAPD-POWER CONCEDES NOTHING

    “We’re still fighting the last battles of the Civil War,” according to attorney CONNIE RICE in a recent interview. Rice has for decades been doing the hard work of police reform. She believes, “There’s a war within American policing … Does it continue to go with the policing that descended from slavery, which is containment suppression? Or do they go toward community healing, wraparound safety, public health policing — which doesn’t even promote cops for making arrests?” Here’s my 2012 conversation with Rice about her book, POWER CONCEDES NOTHING.

    Continue reading →
  • 60s.2.0 Meets OK Boomer – Necessary Allies

    My 20-minute commentary calls for Millennials and Boomers with shared values to forge a movement large enough, creative enough, diverse enough, and powerful enough to successfully confront the critical problems we face. 60s.2.0 – 21st century tech in the service of the best of ‘60s values – meets OK Boomer – the impatience of the young with the failures of the old. “If the challenges we face are big enough to turn us against each other, then they must be big enough to bring us together.”

    Continue reading →
  • MOVEMENT VOTER PROJECT-Funding the grassroots wins elections + makes change – ELIZABETH FERNANDEZ

    ELIZABETH FERNANDEZ has worked on voter education and GOTV campaigns, helping to register thousands of new voters. She’s now Communications Director of MOVEMENT VOTER PROJECT, which offers a clear break from failed electoral strategies of big donors, big consultants, and big TV ad buys. MVP helps donors move their money to the best local community-based organizations in key states, who are alive on the ground 365 days a year, election or not. In 2018, they moved more than $13M to 350+ groups in 42 states – in almost every competitive US House, Senate, Governor’s race and ballot measure. You can learn more at

    Continue reading →
  • GEORGE PACKER, We Are Living in a Failed State

    GEORGE PACKER’s recent essay in the Atlantic, We Are Living in a Failed State, was being quoted a lot – before George Floyd’s death and the ensuing days of rage. Packer is the author of 2013’s THE UNWINDING, which reported on a country growing vulnerable to a demagogue like Trump, and 2019’s Richard Holbrooke biography OUR MAN, just out in paperback. He’s a staff writer at The Atlantic and I reached out after reading two of his recent essays The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions and We Are Living in a Failed State. We talk about how it all fits together.

    Continue reading →
  • ASTRA TAYLOR, What is Democracy? Is it alive and well?

    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?

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

    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.

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

    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?

    Continue reading →
  • ROBERT WRIGHT-Why are Americans divided as they confront a pandemic?

    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.

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

    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.

    Continue reading →