Category: podcast

EP 777 Does America Have the Cultural Capital to Fight Political Exhaustion?

EP 777 Does America Have the Cultural Capital to Fight Political Exhaustion?

We know that liberal democracy in America has always contained contradictions–all men are created equal as slavery defines the economic order of the Revolutionary moment, as one example.  And while we have had a noble, but abstract, commitment to freedom, justice, and equality, tragically, that has seldom been realized in practice.  The fraught politics of this moment, perhaps, reflects the fact that we just may be too tired, depleted and divided culturally–meaning how we define this ongoing experiment and who should be able to participate in it–to reclaim the work to bend the arc of history toward the goal of progress in addressing those wrongs.  It is a frightening notion that what you see on the surface–political polarization, disinformation and general rancor–may be something we no longer have the resources to deal with.  Professor James Davison Hunter, of the University of Virginia, coined the term ‘culture wars’ back in the 1990’s.  In his book “Democracy and Solidarity: On the Cultural Roots of America’s Political Crisis” he frames the argument powerfully that with compromise now a forbidden word in our political lexicon, we may be at a tipping point and have no other way to address it than by force.  It is a disturbing thought from one of America’s per-eminent scholars.

EP 776 The Klansman’s Son and His Journey Out of Hate PART 2

EP 776 The Klansman’s Son and His Journey Out of Hate PART 2

Part 2 of an amazing conversion Check out EP 775  Part 1 first

EP 775 The Klansman’s Son and His Journey Out of Hate

EP 775 The Klansman’s Son and His Journey Out of Hate

Born into a culture of hate and bigotry, R. Derek Black has defined a new path for himself as he describes in his compelling book, “The Klansman’s Son: My Journey from White Nationalism to Anti racism.”  It has been a difficult journey as he has been estranged from family and those in his community of white nationalists with whom he grew up.  He was thought to be the heir apparent to the leadership position his father, Don Black, held in this group who founded the on-line platform, Stormfront.  As you begin to listen to Derek, now in his mid 30’s, you quickly realize that he has thought long and hard about what white nationalism has meant to our American institutions, in contradistinction to our American ideals of equality and justice for all.  The fact that he has made this journey reflects on the possibility for change which he feels is possible for all of us.  At the same time, he is very sanguine about the fraught moment we find ourselves in as many of the extremist views he was raised on take on a more mainstream tinge in 2024.  Our conversation was so compelling, we will make this a two-part conversation.

EP 774 The Mysteries of The White House Explored

EP 774 The Mysteries of The White House Explored

The White House, as a place, conjures up much about our history as we envision the remarkable people and the momentous events that have comprised its remarkable story.  We’ve watched Oval Office addresses, seen press briefings and events of State with major performers there.  If you’re old enough to remember, then First Lady Jackie Kennedy invited us to view some new furnishings she wanted to bring to The White House, which acts as both a place of work and the living quarters for the President’s family.  Destroyed and rebuilt, renovated after neglect and the site of key decisions about war and peace, it remains a symbol of continuity and stability to the American people. Corey Mead, in his book, “The Hidden History of The White House: Power Struggles, Scandals, and Defining Moments” shares stories we have not heard before about what has transpired there throughout time.  We bring the story to this day as we take an aural tour that takes into account the changes in its uses during an era of growing importance as we have firmly established the Imperial Presidency.

 

EP 704 Heat is a Silent, Invisible Killer

EP 704 Heat is a Silent, Invisible Killer

Heat has a pretty ‘cool’ connotation–that song is hot, let’s getaway to a warm destination and that car is smokin’–but in the modern parlance of climate change– heat is anything but.  In fact, it lies at the root of virtually all of the climate related calamities–wildfires, hurricanes and just suffocating heatwaves that may not show up as the cause on a death certificate, but often is.  It not only kills more people directly than the storms and events emanating from it, but it is stealth.  Looking out the window on a nice day, it is impossible to tell whether it’s 70 degrees or 105.  And heat does unimaginable things to the body.  When our internal temperatures hit 102 or 103, we can pass out.  In that process our body is sending blood to the skin, abandoning internal organs, including the brain.  According to Jeff Goodell, a prolific writer on climate issues and author of “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet,” the old, sick and poor are more vulnerable to extreme heat, but the rest of us should not be complacent.  The summer of 2023, the warmest on record, is a harbinger of what’s to come.  And the heat is coming for all of us and will affect migration patterns, our food supply and all life on earth.

EP 773 From Inflation to the Private Equity Bubble: Where is the Economy Headed?

EP 773 From Inflation to the Private Equity Bubble: Where is the Economy Headed?

Many money matters are trending in our economy.  Some, like softening, but stubborn, inflation still tops the list of what people sense about these economic times.  And while recent price reductions at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and grocery food chains, like Stop & Shop, suggest retailers are sensing that consumers have reached a tipping point and are pulling back, how much it continues to ebb may well predict the outcome of the November elections.  Jared Dillian, the editor at Jared Dillian Money(jareddillianmoney.com) and the author of “No Worries: How to Live a Stress-Free, Financial Life” delves deeply with us on the hobby horse we have ridden on this podcast before and that is the excesses in the gargantuan private equity market.  Its latest victim is the beloved Red Lobster chain.  We also discuss other trends like price spikes in gold, copper, metals and commodities and this quiet moment when it comes to oil and gas prices.

EP 772 Is Liberalism a Way of Life?

EP 772 Is Liberalism a Way of Life?

Our guest, Alexandre Lefebvre, author of “Liberalism as a Way of Life”, poses a provocative question–where do our values and beliefs come from in a time when fewer of us claim to belong to a specific religion or follow it in any meaningful way? We might say from our parents, our friends, our experiences, or human nature, but, in fact, he argues that liberalism is where most of us gain our value structure in today’s democratic societies. And while liberalism is normally associated with a political philosophy, his definition is much broader. He posits that liberalism permeates all walks of our life from the home to the workplace and shapes our thinking about how to treat one another in a diverse society. His original thinking suggests that you do not need to be liberal, plus something else, like identifying with a religion, to be a good person, satisfied that you are living a purpose-driven life. He sees liberalism as intrinsically fulfilling and a fun way to be. It’s a concept you’ve likely not thought about before and we are glad to bring it forward on today’s podcast.

EP 771 Just Because We’re Not Talking About It Doesn’t Mean the Opioid Crisis Has Gone Away

EP 771 Just Because We’re Not Talking About It Doesn’t Mean the Opioid Crisis Has Gone Away

The opioid crisis doesn’t get the headlines it once did, but in no way should that fact be interpreted as suggesting it’s gone away.  By all accounts it remains stubbornly destructive and shocking in its impacts.  We’ve moved it out of the doctor’s office and pharmacists hands into the laps of the cartels which have replaced plant-based opioids with fentanyl and methamphetamine, which are cheaper synthetics.  Its path of destruction in America, once a disease of despair in rural enclaves, is now everywhere.  It’s cheap, plentiful and available year round.  We wanted to see how this scourge was trending and so we turned to Sam Quinones, the reporter whose books on the subject, “Dreamland” and “The Least of Us” have been the most praised of the many written.  His proximity to the subject and great expertise, along with a large dollop of humanity that permeates his writing, makes him according to the New York Times Book Review our leading chronicleer of the pain epidemic.

EP 770 How Can We Work to Live an Antiracist Life

EP 770 How Can We Work to Live an Antiracist Life

Biases, prejudices and preconceptions are part of living.  Sometimes it’s because of the way we were raised, the messages we receive through various sources and the politics of this moment, as the GOP’s presumptive presidential candidate refers to people coming across the border as ‘animals’.  In the multi-racial and multi-ethnic society in which we live, which will be majority minority in the foreseeable future, we need everyone working together.  Shelly Tochluk and our guest, Christine Saxman, have a combined 45 years of experience facilitating White antiracist dialogues and have put that experience to practical effect in their new book, “Being White Today: A Roadmap for a Positive Antiracist Life.”  In it they provide insight into what it looks like to operate from eight different positions in the White racial identity journey and they provide concrete approaches for how to navigate conversations about race with other White people at different points on the racial identity journey.

EP 769 Climate Science and Denial Go Back a Long Way PART 2

EP 769 Climate Science and Denial Go Back a Long Way PART 2