“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.


  • Can we dare to think humans are kind? RUTGER BREGMAN, HUMANKIND: A Hopeful History

    That human beings are by nature selfish and driven by self-interest is accepted by Western psychologists, philosophers, and historians. It drives our headlines as well as our laws. But what if it’s not true? RUTGER BREGMAN’s done the research: “Civilisation has become synonymous with peace and progress; wilderness with war and decline. In reality for most of human existence it was the other way around…It’s an idea that might just start a revolution…once you grasp what it really means…you’ll never look at the world the same again.”

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    In WHY THE INNOCENT PLEAD GUILTY AND THE GUILTY GO FREE, Federal Judge JED RAKOFF of the Southern District of NY, makes clear that the US justice system bears little relationship to what the founding fathers contemplated, what the media portrays, or what the average American believes.The US accounts for about 5% of the world’s population yet houses nearly 25% of its prisoners, with one in nine serving a life sentence, and 500K incarcerated for lack of bail. 40% are Black males and another 20% Hispanic males.

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  • WINNER-TAKE-ALL POLITICS-JACOB HACKER & PAUL PIERSON (2011) Best book on How DC Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

    As Congress struggles to accomplish anything beyond pandemic rescue packages, aware that the only chance the Dems have of retaining power in the ’22 midterms is to actually give the American people some of what they desperately need – here’s my 2011 conversation with JACOB HACKER & PAUL PIERSON, authors of WINNER-TAKE-ALL POLITICS: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class – the best book I know re what went wrong, how DC fed inequality paving the way for Trump and minority rule – and what we need to fix to save ourselves.

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  • ALEC MacGILLIS – How is Amazon changing us? FULFILLMENT: Winning and Losing in One-Click America

    During the pandemic, Amazon added 425K workers and 50% more warehouse space, the stock price rose 80%, and the personal fortune of Jeff Bezos increased by $58B. In this country, 100M subscribe to Prime and Amazon reaps half of every dollar people spend online. In FULFILLMENT: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, ALEC MacGILLIS looks beyond the numbers to reveal the consequences its online commerce + immediate delivery revolution is having throughout American society.

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  • DANIEL ELLSBERG (2009) – Pentagon Papers published 50 years ago this month

    Fifty years ago this month, publication of the Pentagon Papers led to one of the proudest moments for the Supreme Court when they upheld the right of the press to publish and the right of the public to know. Here’s my 2009 interview with DANIEL ELLSBERG, whose courageous civil disobedience exposed years of government lies about the war in Vietnam.

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  • ANDREW BACEVICH-AFTER THE APOCALYPSE – How can “national security” deal with climate change, pandemics, racism, democracy?

    When was the last time the US won a war or solved a big problem? ANDREW BACEVICH served in the U.S. Army for 23 years, graduated from both West Point and Princeton, and writes for both The Nation and American Conservative. His lastest book AFTER THE APOCALYPSE: America’s Role in a World Transformed is only 172 pages but asks big, blunt questions. Will the dangers and disasters we have been facing finally move us to abandon a set of beliefs about America, its identity, and its security that have kept us sleepwalking in place – or worse – for decades?

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  • Neuroscientist ANTONIO DAMASIO – SELF COMES TO MIND – Why did the mind evolve? How did the self emerge?

    ANTONIO DAMASIO has spent the past 30 years — with his wife Hanna — studying how the brain operates and written about it in award-winning and best-selling books that readers understand. In Descartes’ Error, he took on the enlightenment’s vision of mind over body and elevated the role that emotion and feelings play in the experience of human rationality. This 2010 conversation focuses on the research, ideas and questions in the book, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. Why do organisms have brains? How and why did the mind and the self evolve? How and why is consciousness created? …and what does it mean once it emerges?

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  • CHUCK COLLINS, co-editor,, THE WEALTH HOARDERS: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions

    A couple of weeks ago Americans filed their income taxes. Well, some of them did anyway. In the last decade, the United States has become the premiere global destination for hidden wealth. It is now the world’s second largest tax haven, moving ahead of Switzerland, and trailing only the Cayman Islands. I dig into this with CHUCK COLLINS, who directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits We talk about his latest book, THE WEALTH HOARDERS: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. You can learn more at

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  • EMAD BURNAT (Palestinian) & GUY DAVIDI (Israeli) co-directors, Oscar-nominated doc, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS (2013)

    This week, as blood is shed yet again between Israel and Hamas, and both sides are willing to kill civilians in pursuit of their domestic political agendas, listen to my conversation with Palestinian EMAD BURNAT and Israeli GUY DAVIDI, co-directors of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS. It tells the story of Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, his wife, and four small children in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Tracking the destruction of each of his cameras, we witness a son grow from a newborn to a young boy while families’ ancient olive trees are bulldozed and protests intensify. We spoke in February 2013, just before that year’s Academy Awards.

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  • NATHAN BOMEY – stories of BRIDGE BUILDERS – bringing people together in our polarized age

    I believe human beings want more than anything to feel seen and heard. From clergy fighting racism in Charlottesville to a former GOP congressman engaging conservatives on climate change and Appalachian journalists restoring social trust with the public, USA Today reporter NATHAN BOMEY shares stories from his new book, BRIDGE BUILDERS: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age. Mostly under the radar, heroic citizens and organizations pursue reconciliation, reject misinformation, and rethink compromise. This is necessary work. You can learn more at

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