Category: podcast

EP 768 Climate Science and Denial Go Back a Long Way PART 1

EP 768 Climate Science and Denial Go Back a Long Way PART 1

Climate change(aka global warming)and warming denial– human-engineered and accelerating at a rapid clip–have been on display in America for at least 4 decades, dating back to when then Vice President Al Gore shared with us “An Inconvenient Truth.”  Scientists were aware of what our industrial and consumer advances–electricity, gas guzzling cars and growing use of fossil fuels–would mean to the planet over time as carbon dioxide was trapped in the atmosphere, generating the greenhouse gases which vex us today. While scientists were developing a consensus about the problem, dogged deniers, many of whom were the merchants of doubt who sold us cigarettes as being good for our health, attacked the science.  Their hi jinx brought us “Climate Gate” and have been successful(if we want to call it that)in influencing public opinion to this day. Their efforts make tackling the issue a lower priority than many other more temporal issues, thus the creating political inertia limiting efforts to mitigate it.  In his masterpiece of a book, our guest, David Lipsky, author of “The Parrot and the Igloo” gives us much to laugh and cry about as he tells a history so little told or understood in this time of climate weirdness.  Now that fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and heat make the reality inescapable, what will we do?  David was so interesting and entertaining we offer you a rare two-part podcast.

EP 767 Often Misunderstood Rural America

EP 767 Often Misunderstood Rural America

Many books have been written in the recent period about rural America.  The beginning of this literary push to better understand  the opportunities, problems and malignancies of what one author coined ‘overlooked Americans’ in the hinterlands of non-metropolitan areas was J. D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” which raised many questions. It dealt with the character of his family and people in order to determine the reasons for their own misfortune.  Some have focused on the economic insecurity brought on by the corporatization of farm work and the loss of manufacturing jobs to cheaper labor in China and other places.  It’s a complex tangle of politics, economics and culture, as well as elements of an American way of life that has vanished in the minds of rural residents.  Brent Orrell, senior fellow, domestic policy at the American Enterprise Institute(aei.org) is our guest today.  He, along with Tony Pipa, of the Brookings Institution have been collaborating on talks called “On the Front Porch” in an attempt to better understand rural America and find commonalities with the growing metropolitan populations.  Their goal is to overcome the benefits many politicians have realized in creating urban/rural divisions.

EP 766 The(Present) and Future of War is in Space

EP 766 The(Present) and Future of War is in Space

His day job involves commenting on what’s happening in real time around the globe but David Ignatius, the highly respected foreign affairs columnist of the Washington Post, also uses his journalistic sources and methods as the basis for compelling fiction. Thus his latest spy novel “Phantom Orbit” offers great insights into the importance of America’s nascent Space Force and the untold consequences for space warfare.  That warfare he tells us as we weave from what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine, back to the elements of his novel, is a key reason that Ukraine has been able to track and defend itself against a better equipped Russian military.  We ask David to take us around the globe and into space to better understand the forces at play attempting to undermine American superiority technologically in low orbit, as well as the situation in the Middle East and U.S.relations with China.

EP 765 Better Solutions Available for Men with Enlarged Prostates

EP 765 Better Solutions Available for Men with Enlarged Prostates

One of the fastest growing demographic cohorts in America is men over the age of 60.  Growing with this group, in a majority of instances, is their prostate.  That gland gets much attention primarily as men age and doctors track their PSA number for the potential of being cancerous..  Less discussed, but quite impactful, is another number–the size of the prostate, which tends to enlarge over the years for many men.  The greatest impact of that growth is the effect it has on the urinary tract, which results in constant trips to the bathroom, particularly at night, and the inability to fully empty the bladder.  As host of this podcast, I shared my own difficult experience in this realm at the top of the podcast with Dr. Daniel Kellner, of Yale Urology and Yale School of Medicine.  I’m trying to get the word out that this condition is something to be mindful of.  In my case, the seriousness of this was brought to light following routine hernia surgery when I was unable to urinate for days following the procedure and ended up in an emergency situation with acute kidney injury.  The month long journey resulted in having Dr. Kellner perform a laser surgery, called HoLEP, to hollow out the prostate, not remove it, giving me renewed urinary function going forward.  We discuss issues related to this topic, in full, on today’s podcast.

EP 764 Are We Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Places?

EP 764 Are We Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Places?

The pursuit of happiness is a birthright for those of us who are American citizens. It’s right there in the Declaration of Independence, which itself seems rather odd.  We are not guaranteed that state of satisfaction and by recent polling and just a good look around there are lots of unhappy people in this country.  Prestigious colleges offer courses in ‘happiness’ as a society of grievance looks for ways to turn a frown upside down.  First things first, our guest, Adam Gopnik, the esteemed writer from the New Yorker Magazine and author of “All That Happiness Is” gives us a way to look at happiness in the pursuits that are inner-driven and all consuming.  Call them hobbies, avocations or personal growth pursuits these accomplishments differ from outer- directed achievements which may accrue to us from our work, for instance.  In our  super-sized work society, maybe we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Let’s discuss on this podcast.

EP 763 Israel and Hamas: How is the Conflict Trending?

EP 763 Israel and Hamas: How is the Conflict Trending?

Aaron Stein, president of the Foreign Policy Research Institute(fpri.org), shares his insights with us on the Israel-Hamas conflict.  With as many critical issues affected by it, first and foremost the lives of the hostages and citizens on both Israel and Gaza, we wanted to find an expert to help us to better understand these turbulent and fast-changing events.  For example, is the long negotiated U.S.-Saudi Arabian mutual security pact moving forward or in jeopardy?  And will Israel join in this pact with Saudi Arabia to go along with long held treaties with Egypt and Jordan?  Given that this would require a path toward a two-state solution is the Netanyahu coalition interested in that?  What will the impact of this conflict be on President Biden and his re-election chances?  We discuss all this and more on today’s podcast.

 

EP 762 Is Today’s U.S. Senate Up to the Task the Framers Intended?

EP 762 Is Today’s U.S. Senate Up to the Task the Framers Intended?

The U.S. Senate has particular Constitutional responsibilities and political duties.  As the deliberative body it is meant to check the impulses of a more rambunctious House of Representatives, confirm judicial appointments, ratify treaties and, when necessary, act as the jury in the event of the impeachment of the President or Cabinet officials.  Ira Shapiro, Senate scholar, former staffer and U.S. Trade Ambassador, focuses on the impeachment responsibility in his updated version of “The Betrayal: How Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans Abandoned America,” recently released.  In a blistering indictment of his own, Shapiro assigns principal blame to Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, considered by Shapiro and others to be the most powerful Senate leader in history, for the opportunity he let pass to convict former President Donald Trump after his second impeachment.  Trump’s election denialsim led to a mob insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.  While the U.S. Senate, by 2022, was functioning well enough to pass major pieces of bipartisan legislation, questions remain about the body’s ability to function effectively in these turbulent political times.

EP 761 Murder Case Decades Back Reminds Us How People ‘Othered’ Can Be Wrongfully Accused

EP 761 Murder Case Decades Back Reminds Us How People ‘Othered’ Can Be Wrongfully Accused

When Alvin Ridley’s wife was discovered dead in their home, residents of the small town of Ringgold, Georgia assumed the recluse, hoarder, and odd fellow naturally murdered her.  His difficulty in communicating what took place added to the conclusion many had drawn about his guilt.  As it turns out, they were proven wrong in a court of law, thanks to the interesting, often contentious, bond that developed between our guest, McCracken Poston, Jr., Ridley’s lawyer, and the defendant.  Poston’s new book, “Zenith Man: Death, Love, and Redemption in a Georgia Courtroom,” was many years in development as he analyzed what happened then in relation to the better vantage point he now has decades later.  While Poston juxtaposes his own struggles at the time personally and professionally the more complicated puzzle involved Ridley’s adult autism, not understood back then, and the rare condition that led to his wife’s death.  Many people today still fall through the cracks of the criminal justice system because of autism and mental illness.  The case may have been settled satisfactorily, and mental health is given greater parity today with physical conditions, but the crisis of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed developmental conditions persists in the criminal justice system.

EP 760 America’s Two Major Parties: Hollowed Out and Underperforming

EP 760 America’s Two Major Parties: Hollowed Out and Underperforming

While our parties may only from time to time have lived up to the mission of truly organizing our political discourse and developing serious nuts and bolts efforts toward major transformations that benefit our society. Yet when they have, the impact had been remarkable. So says today’s guest Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld, political scientists and co-authors of “The Hollow Parties: The Many Pasts and Disordered Present of American Party Politics.” In the book they point to two such seminal moments in our modern history. They argue that today Democrats and Republicans are both failing us in a period of hyper partisanship that has modern roots in the 1970’s. In ways, para-political groups, or ‘party blobs’, as they call them, have assumed many of the activities previously attended to by parties. And these SuperPAC’s, think tanks, and media hosts are entwined with parties but they are not actually a part of them. So, were we better off in the days of smoke-filled backrooms and party bosses? We will discuss all of this today on the podcast.

 

EP 759 Warning: The Media You Consume May Be Hazardous to Your Understanding of What’s Really Going On

EP 759 Warning: The Media You Consume May Be Hazardous to Your Understanding of What’s Really Going On

The Rascals had a song out years back called ‘How Can I Be Sure’?  And while those lyrics pertained to love, the same question could, and should, be posed today about the media content you are devouring from a range of sources–legitimate and sketchy.  The ability to discern which is which gets harder by the day as content is vomited out in quantities that are staggering.  Our guest, Nolan Higdon, is a prolific writer and lecturer on the topic of media literacy in this baffling age.  He has authored a number of books to help us become a model media citizen.  In his view we need to answer several question about what we read and see: is the content journalism? who is publishing the content? What is the evidence? And there are others.  What you are about to listen to is a wide ranging discussion of what’s available in this evolving, perhaps unraveling, digital media landscape and how you should prepare yourself to consume it.