“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.


  • Biden awards FATHER GREGORY BOYLE the Medal of Freedom-Here’s 2010 conversation re Homeboy Industries and his book Tattoos on the Heart

    In May, FATHER GREGORY BOYLE, founder of HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES in Los Angeles — the largest gang intervention and re-entry program in the world — was honored by President Biden with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Homeboy said that Boyle “…exemplifies the transformative power of compassion, forgiveness, and second chances. For nearly forty years, Father Greg has empowered hundreds of thousands of individuals to break free from the cycles of poverty, violence, and incarceration.” Here’s our 2010 conversation where we talk about his work and his first book, TATTOOS ON THE HEART. We were joined by Luis Perez, one of the senior staff at Homeboy. Learn more:

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  • RICHARD CIZIK, Evangelicals for Democracy – after 28 years at National Association of Evangelicals

    With an eye on the election, I speak with RICHARD CIZIK, founder of Evangelicals for Democracy, which aims to build a community of evangelicals across the political spectrum who champion democracy as an act of Christian faith. Earlier he spent nearly three decades deep inside the Religious Right. In 2008, after 28 years at the National Association of Evangelicals, Rev. Cizik was forced to resign as VP for Governmental Affairs, for publicly supporting civil unions and for advocacy on climate change. Learn more:

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  • DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN(2013)-THE BULLY PULPIT-Teddy Roosevelt took on the Robber Barons and won

    In response to the wonderful positive reaction to last week’s episode with DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN on her new best-seller An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, here’s our 2013 conversation re her book, THE BULLY PULPIT: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, a history of the first decade of the Progressive era when courageous journalists and an ambitious president took on the Robber Barons – the 1% of their day – and won. You can learn more at 

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  • DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN-Best-seller: AN UNFINISHED LOVE STORY: A Personal History of the 1960s.

    In this recording of a recent LiveTalksLA event, I speak with historian and best-selling author, DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, about her latest book, AN UNFINISHED LOVE STORY: A Personal History of the 1960s, which combines personal memoir with presidential history. Her late husband of 42 years, Dick Goodwin, worked closely with JFK and LBJ in the White House, and with Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy on their presidential campaigns. She and Goodwin went through hundreds of boxes of letters, diaries, and documents he’d saved for over 50 years, a record of politics and power in the 1960s. Doris hopes her book reminds us of the enormous progress achieved in those years as well as opportunities lost, and sheds light on our own challenging time offering lessons we might carry forward. Learn more at 


    FF_Goodwin, DK – LiveTalksLA – Full Transcript


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    As perhaps too much public attention is focused these days on the Manhattan trial of one Donald J. Trump, here’s my 2021 conversation with Federal Judge JED RAKOFF of the Southern District of NY. In his book, WHY THE INNOCENT PLEAD GUILTY AND THE GUILTY GO FREE, RAKOFF 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 half a million incarcerated for lack of bail. 40% are Black males and another 20% Hispanic males.

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  • CHUCK COLLINS-Inequality Getting Worse-Corporations pay top brass more than they pay in taxes

    I don’t know if my big question is “Why don’t the rich/super-rich and their corporations get the value of a society that works?” Or is it – “Why don’t they care?” Despite the knowledge that it might be impossible, moving society in that direction calls for getting ideas and models out into the world that show it’s actually possible to reduce inequality. CHUCK COLLINS has been doing that for years in his work and writing. He runs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits and its (highly recommended) weekly newsletter.

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  • JACK KORNFIELD & TRUDY GOODMAN (2015)-Sages, mentors, friends-Reflections on mindfulness in the US

    Earlier this year my dear friend, meditation teacher, TRUDY GOODMAN, experienced a medical emergency that almost killed her. Another reminder of the preciousness and fragility of life and friendship. Here’s my 2015 conversation with TRUDY and JACK KORNFIELD on the occasion of an event at Insight LA, the mindfulness mediation center founded by Trudy. The event featured virtual dialogues with Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Ram Dass (Be Here Now), Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance), Joseph Goldstein (Insight Meditation), and then-Congressman Tim Ryan (A Mindful Nation). We talk about Trudy and Jack’s personal paths, what each of their guests means to them, and tell the story of mindfulness in America over the last 45 years. 

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  • ASTRA TAYLOR-Digging into Democracy, Debt, Insecurity and Solidarity

    In 2020, I talked about democracy with filmmaker/writer/organizer/activist, ASTRA TAYLOR. Four years later, following a pandemic, waves of protests, an insurrection, and a couple of ongoing wars, we revisit our fragile and threatened way of political life.  She’s been busy – working with the Debt Collective, a union of debtors she co-founded, and writing two new books, THE AGE OF INSECURITY and SOLIDARITY: The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea. 

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  • What would nature do? JANINE BENYUS, BIOMIMICRY: Innovation Inspired by Nature

    Earth Day 2024 is April 22nd. Here’s my 2011 conversation with JANINE BENYUS, who coined a term and invented a field called Biomimicry. After 3.8 billion years of R&D on this planet, failures are fossils. What surrounds us in the natural world has succeeded and survived. So why not learn as much as we can from what works? Nature has already solved many of the problems we grapple with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth.

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  • The Myths of Poverty & the Role of Luck-MARK RANK-The Random Factor

    Why does our society produce more poverty than other wealthy countries? Why don’t we or why can’t we change our incentives? I speak with MARK RANK, about his books, THE POVERTY PARADOX and POORLY UNDERSTOOD: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty, and his latest, THE RANDOM FACTOR: How Chance & Luck Profoundly Shape Our Lives & the World Around Us. Learn more at

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