Monthly Archives: December 2019

EP 303 Should College Athletes Be Paid?

  In recent years, the calls for the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) to relax its rules prohibiting athlete pay have grown louder and louder.  The argument is that student-athletes should share in revenues of college sports because they are a ‘product’ that so many others, like coaches, television networks and advertisers, are benefiting from directly.  In the process, they sacrifice their time, talent and, often, their bodies and while their scholarships, for the most talented, are a good starting point, they represent too little compensation for too much work.  Many colleges are actually able to lessen their marketing costs and increase enrollments because of the added value of the visibility of their athletic programs.  It’s even got a name– ‘The Flutie Effect’.  Nevertheless, opponents of ‘pay to play’ say that a number of problems will emerge if this change is made, including tax liabilities for the players and difficult issues around compensation for athletes in non- revenue generating sports.  Others wonder what impact it will have on Title IX and women’s sports overall.  Regardless, there is legislation in California that would allow student athletes to be compensated for their likeness and image by a third party, like NIKE.  It’s a fascinating topic and one that is being reviewed in courts and state legislatures throughout the country.  Attorney Marc Edelman, specializes in sports law and is a tenured Professor of Law at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York.  He joins us today to discuss.

EP 302 Is There A Difference Between Fighting Poverty and Promoting Prosperity Around the Globe?

Starving children on street corners,  Slums without adequate clean water and sanitation.  A sense of hopelessness in the air that is almost palpable. We, Americans, are moved by these scenes and should be.  The question is whether traditional anti-poverty programs and foreign aid can really ameliorate these conditions over the long term.  Or whether they provide a band-aid, with the donor feeling good, but the effects short-term for the recipient.  (Let alone how much gets siphoned off by corrupt regimes).  Along comes Clayton Christensen, the disruptive innovation guru at Harvard and two of his associates, Efosa Ojomo and our guest Karen Dillon, putting their thoughts about long lasting prosperity, the type that America gained over a long stretch of time ,into the book, ‘The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty’. Co-author, Dillon, says that instead of fixing the visible signs of poverty, we would be better off creating lasting prosperity through market creating innovations.  She points to examples around the world and describes what results from innovation in places you might not imagine. It’s a way of considering the daunting problem of poverty through a different lens.  It’s a different approach to economic development and nation building from a team that has virtually redefined ways of building success in so many areas of business and service delivery.  Could this work? Listen in. 

EP 301 Are We Really Going to be Able to Live to 150?

The answer is no.  At least, given the real science of anti-aging as it exists today.  The true goal of real scientists is to improve the health span, not necessarily the life span. Now, mind you, there is a great deal of work going on in labs throughout the world on the subject and the spending on life enhancement and extension is a serious business which will go from 110 billion dollars presently to 610 billion dollars in 2025, according to reports.  Unfortunately, the many products that define their purpose as ‘anti-aging’ in pharmacies today is alluring, but unscientific.  The work is being done in fields such as senolytics, stem cell research, immune therapies and regeneration of organs.  Pioneers like Greg Bailey of Juvenescence says that ‘science fiction has become science’ in this field and that ‘progress will happen faster than people think’.  We turn to Dr. Judith Campisi of the Buck Center for Research on Aging for a clear picture of the state of play in the industry today and what it means going forward.

EP 300 Why Do Women Love True Crime?

The statistics tell us that men more often than not are both the perpetrators and victims of violent assault and murder.  Yet if you look at the audience for the growing number of media outlets devoted to it, women are obsessed with it.  Movies, TV shows and networks, books and podcasts may have trouble filling the pipeline for stories about true crime as the actual number of homicides has been going down, while the fascination with the topic continues to skyrocket.  Author Rachel Monroe, who admits to having fallen into a crime funk from time to time, dissects the various ways and reasons that women seem to have ‘Savage Appetites’.  She studies four women, in particular, each relating to one of four archetypal crime figures: the all knowing detective, the wronged victim, the crusader defender and the dark, raging imaginings of a killer.  How does a woman’s vulnerability in our society explain this phenomenon?  How is this genre not just sensationalist entertainment, but a window into political and social realities worth taking seriously?  Now even this podcast enters the realm of true crime. 

EP 299 Are FanDuel and DraftKings Upending Sports in America?

Like two superheros, the back story behind the start up war of FanDuel and DraftKings is fantastical and the characters larger than life. Perhaps more compelling is the explosion they set off in fantasy sports and legalized gambling in America.  We have just begun to feel the ripples as state after state is getting in on the action, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018.  We’re at the early stage of a battle only a decade old that is poised to change your relationship to sports.  It’s hard to imagine that governments, major sports leagues, media companies and 60 million fanatics would now consider the wagering aspect of sports as intrinsic to that experience as the competition.  Albert Chen, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated and author of ‘Billion Dollar Fantasy’ joins us for a primer on this fast evolving part of our society’s future.  As a novice myself, I try to walk through this story, step by step, so that those of us who have seen some of the avalanche of advertising and marketing by these two behemoths can understand the complexities of this burgeoning industry.  I’ll bet you’ll find it a fascinating listening.  

EP 298 America, the Gerontocracy

: ‘Our leaders, our electorate and our hallowed system of government itself are extremely old’, so begins a compelling article by Timothy Noah on  And while age can be a virtue, when accompanied by wisdom and experience, it can also define the issues and interests a society chooses to be most concerned about.  Some of those might not be as far-reaching as future generations would like.  So, as America is poised to see a battle for president among men in their seventies(perhaps)and as leadership in both chambers of Congress is of the same age, should we ask ourselves whether that’s a good thing on the whole?  Or, perhaps, we should ask that huge cohort of millennials why they are not voting in the numbers they should in order to compete for the positions of power that the baby boomers continue to hold on to.  Let’s state the obvious: baby boomers are living much longer than previous generations and they vote in greater numbers, too.  And speaking of aging, we might also want to consider our system of government itself.  That, too, is old and less than fully functioning.  No nation has a Constitution older than ours and harder to amend if recent practice is any guide.  Enjoy this interesting discussion of all these issues on this podcast.

EP 297 American Health In Crisis

 America’s patchwork for payment of medical expenses has ostensibly left the poorest and sickest among us vulnerable in ways unlike virtually any other advanced nation in the world.  To call the whole system a mess is an understatement.  That’s why it continues to get so much bandwidth in our political debate.  And while the Affordable Care Act has brought more coverage to millions of Americans, it hasn’t pieced together this fractured system into a coherent whole.  So the debate goes on.  Will it be Medicare for All?  A public option cobbled on to the existing private market?  Or will we leave insufficient enough alone? No one knows.  But until we agree on whether health economics is to be underpinned by the goal of making certain that a rich child and a poor child have the same access to medical care, we will continue struggling with the vagaries of our current system.  Preeminent Princeton economist, Uwe Reinhardt in his final book, ‘Priced Out’, completed just before he died recently challenged us to take into account the economic and ethical costs of American health care.  His life partner, Tsung Mei-Cheng, a researcher at Princeton University, helps explain his thinking, and hers, about this crucial subject.  If you want a primer on how we got here and ways out of this morass, this is your podcast.

EP 296 Can Corporate Media Tell Us What’s Going On In a Post-Truth America?

Sure there are blogs, podcasts and citizen journalists, and even public television and radio.  But, the vast majority of citizens get their information from a dwindling number of outlets that aren’t under the control of six major corporations in this country.  While the role of the media in our society is to investigate, inform and provide a crucial check on political power, are some of those obligations shaded in service to an increase in profits and the need to ‘entertain’ so as to attract more listeners, viewers and readers?  Studies show that the time spent covering public policy issues is being diminished in the media while the horse race and ‘show’ part of the process is accentuated.  One must ask whether a Donald Trump presidency ever would have been possible without an attendant desire for ratings, because he was good for business, and a simultaneous dumbing down of the our public discourse in the news media and lack of focus on civic education in our schools.  Mickey Huff, our guest, along with Nolan Higdon explore all these issues in the book, ‘The United States of Distraction’.  It’s a very important read and a compelling listen, as he lays out how we got here and, in the book and on the podcast, some ways we may reclaim an informed civic culture–before it’s too late.

EP 295 Does the Medical Community Provide ‘Care’ Anymore?

: Renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Arthur Kleinman, learned a lot about caregiving when his wife, Joan, suffered early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  It made him re-assess much about his own professional approach to patients and that of the medical community, in general.  In his book, ‘The Soul of Care’, he looks at why care is so central to our lives–and how it’s at risk in today’s world.  He says that the political atmosphere and medical business necessities and metrics work against it.  He offers candor and wisdom, having taught at Harvard for over 40 years, in this conversation and challenges our notions about healthcare today.  It was astonishing to hear him remind us that at any given time in this country over 50 million Americans are performing the long, hard, unglamorous work of caregiving.  And, yet, he also suggests that its richness in meaning is vastly undervalued.  We have an engaging conversation about the role of doctors and other allied medical professionals in providing care in our country.  It’s  all about health care reform, with a strong side of humanity, on this podcast.