“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.


  • BARBARA FINAMORE (2019)-Can we cooperate on climate?-WILL CHINA SAVE THE PLANET?

    Recently China led negotiations to end longstanding hostilities between Iran and Saudi Arabia. In the US, we’ve seen how even one person willing to oppose the popular consensus can dictate our nation’s response to climate change. Here’s my 2019 conversation with BARBARA FINAMORE about her provocative book, Will China Save the Planet?, which explores China’s big picture, long-term strategy to reap the technological, economic, and political benefits of seizing leadership of the global response to climate.    

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  • THIRD ACT-Mobilizing Boomers to Defend Democracy & Confront Climate-BOB FULKERSON, Lead National Organizer

    10K people a day pass the 60-year mark. There’s no way to make the changes needed to protect our planet and society unless we bring our power into play. Here’s my conversation with BOB FULKERSON, Lead National Organizer for THIRD ACT, the year-old organization founded by BILL McKIBBEN to mobilize Boomers and older to defend democracy and confront the Climate Crisis. Learn more at and join a National Day of Action 3/21/23. Deliver a message to big banks who fund fossil fuels & climate destruction.

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  • 1) WINIFRED GALLAGHER, Attention, our most valuable resource. 2) TIM RYAN, former Ohio Congressman on meditation
    The world is a crazy place and the battle for our attention has never been more fierce. (1) In 2009’s RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life, WINIFRED GALLAGHER argues that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Worth paying attention to. (2) Former Ohio Congressman TIM RYAN – lost 2022 Senate race to Hillbilly Elegy author, election denier J.D.Vance – urges the practice  of meditation in A MINDFUL NATION: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.  

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  • ANDREW BACEVICH on Ukraine, defense spending, and Bidding Farewell to the American Century
    The countries, conflicts, and causes change, but has military action and defense spending become the one huge thing that unites both political tribes and parties?  So that when one challenges leaders to be more more respectful of other ways of dealing with conflict and more realistic about our goals and how to achieve them  – decision-makers and the media assign such common sense thinking to the fringe. We talk today with ANDREW BACEVICH, co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, about Ukraine, defense spending, and the ideas in his newest book, ON SHEDDING AN OBSOLETE PAST: Bidding Farewell to the American Century. 

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  • INFLATION 101: What’s Really Going On?-ROBERT POLLIN
    I’m calling this conversation with economist ROBERT POLLIN, INFLATION 101. What’s really going on? The current bout of inflation is global, not domestic. It’s higher in other economies than in the US. It’s primarily due to the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And it may already be over. Yet the Fed seems intent on risking recession to fight it with tools that ignore its real causes.

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  • THE FIFTIES: UNDERGROUND HISTORY-Heroes who blazed trails for the ’60s-JAMES GAINES
    In his new book, THE FIFTIES: An Underground History, JAMES GAINES asks: Who laid the groundwork for the ’60s – and then celebrates a few solitary, brave, stubborn individuals who pioneered the radical gay rights, feminist, civil rights, and environmental movements. Their courage and genius changed what it was possible to imagine. As early as the mid-1940s, Harry Hay said “Gay is good.” Pauli Murray laid legal paths for Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Black vets of WWII and Korea said enough is enough. Silent Spring’s Rachel Carson and MIT’s Norbert Wiener warned of potential manmade environmental destruction. You’ll be inspired and you’ll learn a lot. I did.

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  • BRANKO MILANOVIC-When capitalism rules the world, how can we shrink inequality and confront climate change?
    In the first two years of the pandemic, globally the top 1% captured nearly double the amount of new wealth as the other 99%. In Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, BRANKO MILANOVIC says we’re all capitalists now. Liberal capitalism delivers rampant inequality and excess as it fights for hearts and minds with political capitalism, as practiced by China. What are the prospects for a fairer world now that capitalism is the only game in town? 

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  • Method to Supreme Court’s Madness-DAHLIA LITHWICK plus LADY JUSTICE: Women, the Law and the Battle to Save America
    Since 1988, the GOP has won only one national popular vote but has named 11 of 15 Supreme Court justices. The current 6-3 court is a uniquely powerful tool of Minority rule. Their radical decisions last summer went against the majority of Americans on church and state, guns, environmental protection, the climate crisis, and women’s rights. I talk with DAHLIA LITHWICK – senior legal correspondent at Slate and host of Slate’s Amicus podcastabout that eventful term and some of the big cases of the current term. We examine how this court operates in order to achieve their extreme agenda. And we talk about her new book, LADY JUSTICE – stories of courageous and principled women lawyers who worked to hold the line against the Trump administration. 

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  • Looking ahead to 2023-LYNNE TWIST-LIVING A COMMITTED LIFE: Finding Freedom & Fulfillment in a Purpose Larger Than Yourself
    As we reach the end of one year and the beginning of another, many of us take stock of how we live and what we value. Here’s my conversation with LYNNE TWIST about her new book, LIVING A COMMITTED LIFE: Finding Freedom and Fulfillment in a Purpose Larger Than Yourself. She asks us to consider “a commitment to the common good: to something that takes you out of yourself and into the realm of service.” I think the challenge and opportunity Lynne offers in her work and in her new book is timely and worthy of our attention. You can learn more at Lynne’s site,

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  • SARA DAVIDSON, THE DECEMBER PROJECT – Conversations with Zalman Shachter-Shalomi on the meaning & mystery of life and death

    I wish you, your loved ones, and those without loved ones at this time, health, safety, peace, and joy. At this time of reflection, here’s my 2014 conversation with SARA DAVIDSON about her book, THE DECEMBER PROJECT. Sara met every Friday for the last year of his life with 89-year-old Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. What did they talk about? In his words, “When you can feel in your cells that you’re coming to the end of your tour of duty, what is the spiritual work of this time, and how do we prepare for the mystery?”

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