“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.


  • Election Reflections with ROB JOHNSON-Not as bad as feared, not as good as desperately needed
    I share election reflections with ROB JOHNSON, President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking ( and host of the podcast Economics and Beyond. What happened? Who made the difference? How could so many vote for the party of grievance and lies? Why does the “good news” feel so profoundly disappointing? How can we turn things around? Will we deal with the critical challenges we face?

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  • As we await final counts and interpret results-ASTRA TAYLOR (2020) Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone

    can’t get Plato’s Paradox out of my head: Democracy inevitably leads to tyranny. The rich always want to get richer and the poor will follow demagogues who promise to overthrow the rich.I first learned of Plato’s pessimistic prophesy  In ASTRA TAYLOR’S documentary WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? and her companion book, Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone.  Here’s our 2020 conversation. We explore democracy’s early roots as well as its current embattled state. Next week I’ll respond to the election with Rob Johnson of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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  • DAVID DALEY, author RATFU_ _ED and UNRIGGED on voter suppression and our upcoming mid-terms

    November 8th is the last day to vote in the current elections. Our democracy is under threat as is the availability, validity, accuracy, and reliability of voting and vote-counting. Between closing poll sites, purging voter rolls, and putting obstacles in the way of voting by mail, some states are going to great lengths to keep you from voting. I talk with DAVID DALEY, senior fellow at, author of RATF**KED (gerrymandering) and UNRIGGED (electoral reforms) re the good news and bad news regarding our upcoming mid—terms.

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  • How do Republicans plan to keep you from voting? – Investigative journalist GREG PALAST (2020)

    The final day to vote – what used to be Election Day – is just over a week away. Here’s my conversation with investigative journalist GREG PALAST recorded prior to election day 2020. He laid out voter suppression efforts – closing poll sites, purging voter rolls, manipulating voting machines, and putting obstacles in the way of voting by mail – that The Trump administration and many state governments used to keep Americans from voting. Yet turnout broke records. Sadly Republican tactics are the same this year and we assume they’ve learned from their mistakes. We won’t know how well till the votes are counted – and certified. 

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  • DAVID CORN, The Stakes of the MidTerms:- AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS: How The Republican Party Went Crazy
    In AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS, DAVID CORN reminds us that Trump and Trumpism is not a radical departure for the Grand Old Party. Picking up the story at the end of World War II, he traces a continuous, long, deep-rooted Republican practice of boosting and weaponizing the rage and derangement of the Right, nurturing and exploiting fear and loathing fueled by paranoia, grievance, and tribalism. John Birch to The Big Lie, Rush Limbaugh to Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones, The Religious Right to the Supreme Court. And a very real threat to democracy up and down the ballot in the mid-terms. We talk about that history as well as what’s at stake in these elections.

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  • We need to be able to work together on climate JOANNA CHIU, CHINA UNBOUND: A New World Disorder.
    Recent headlines: Taiwan Politicians Dismiss Musk’s ‘ill-Informed and Belittling’ China Comments. In Global Slowdown, China Holds Sway Over Countries’ Fates. A Dilemma of US-Trained Chinese Scientists: Stay or Leave? US Tries to Hobble China Chip Industry with New Rules. How did we get here?  How do we navigate our relationship moving forward? I talk with JOANNA CHIU, a senior journalist for theToronto Star, who served for years on the ground in China as a correspondent for European news agencies and the Associated Press, about her first book, CHINA UNBOUND: A New World Disorder. You can learn more at

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  • As DeSantis & Abbott pull cruel political stunts-GREG GRANDIN (2019), THE END OF THE MYTH: From the Frontier to the Border Wall
    Here’s my 2019 conversation with GREG GRANDIN about his book, THE END OF THE MYTH: From the Frontier to the Border Wall. Grandin reminds us that patrolling the border has often brought out our worst, and writes, “The border wall is America’s new myth, a monument to the final closing of the frontier…a symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped history, but now finds itself trapped by history, and of a people who used to think they were captains of the future, but now are prisoners of the past.”

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  • Is STEVE LOPEZ of the LATimes really thinking about retirement? – INDEPENDENCE DAY
    STEVE LOPEZ, award-winning columnist at the LATimes and best-selling author (The Soloist), just won a prize from Harvard for political reporting, but I don’t think of him as a “Political Reporter”. He’s a story-teller and the leading characters in his stories are the unsung heroes of Los Angeles. We talk about how he sees his role at the Times and in the community, his current take on Southern California and the state of journalism, and his new book (out 11/1), INDEPENDENCE DAY: What I’ve Learned about Retirement from Some Who’ve Done It and Some Who Never Will

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  • Climate Week: California’s Clean Energy Jobs Plan – Economist ROBERT POLLIN & Union leader DAVE CAMPBELL
    It’s Climate Week – the annual gathering of the climate community with the UN General Assembly and the City of New York – which seems a good time to share some good news. Here’s my August 2021 conversation with economist ROBERT POLLIN, and DAVE CAMPBELL, Secretary-Treasurer of Southern California’s United Steelworkers Local 675 (who represent oil-workers) about the California Climate Jobs Plan. Initiated by labor unions, written by Pollin and others, it pursues the state’s ambitious clean energy goals while creating a million new jobs through 2030. Learn more about their work at 

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  • Is the press finally up to the climate emergency? MARK HERTSGAARD-COVERING CLIMATE NOW
    Recent headlines: Temperatures in Europe Smash Historic Records. Lake Mead Plummets to New Low. Only ‘Rapid Action’ Can Prevent Worst Marine Extinction in 250M Years. UN’s Leading Climate Scientists Call Latest Climate Report Nothing Less Than “Code Red for Humanity.” Here’s my conversation with MARK HERTSGAARD, co-founder/Executive Director of Covering Climate Now. a global journalism initiative to help “news media cover the defining story of our time with the rigor and urgency it deserves.” Mark’s also the environment correspondent for The Nation and author of several books including HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. We’ll get an update on the crisis as well as efforts to report it well enough to turn things around. 

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