EP 544 Women Deserve More R E S P E C T



 

Men and women both need to listen to this podcast.  Our societal conditioning has put it in all of our heads that men somehow are more authoritative and competent and have the right to let women know that it’s still their club and admission comes with a steep price.  Every woman has a story of being underestimated, overlooked, challenged and patronized in the workplace and, often, in social settings.  Maybe she tried to speak up at a meeting, only to be talked over by her male colleagues.  Despite the progress we’ve made toward the goal of equality, we still fail, more often than we might realize, to take women as seriously as men.  Some men reading this may be rolling their eyes.  Please listen to our guest Mary Ann Sieghart, author of the book ‘The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About It’.  If you argue with the premise, Ms. Sieghart has empirical data to back up her points and a keen sense of what is so difficult to unlodge from our subconscious–that men still dominate the society, based more on confidence than competence.  In fact, women are excelling today in ways that often leave men in the dust.  It’s a must listen.  I know what she has to say will resonate with any fair minded person.


EP 543 America on Verge of Becoming a Majority Minority Nation



 

 

On March 3, 2015 the U.S. Census Bureau told us an important fact and that is by 2044 America would become a majority-minority country. Whites would still be the largest group by size but would be outnumbered in combination by African- Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and others. Politically, this was welcome news to Democrats, yet provoked anxiety and gloom on the part of the GOP. Much of the backlash we see regarding the 2020 election hinges on many working class whites feeling that the country is slipping away from them, just as their economic fortunes have taken a hit by offshoring and de-industrialization. In his book ‘Majority Minority’ Justin Gest describes the issues at play and ways that we can re-build a common good which will redefine a national identity that is more inclusive and stops ‘othering’ so many in this diverse society of ours.


EP 542 Christianity in Crisis in Its Ancestral Lands



 

Pope Francis has done much to bring the world’s attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East.  In the wake of the Iraq War and the rise of the Islamic State, more concern will be needed to offer safe passage for many Christians in places like Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Gaza who find themselves in dire circumstances as both Muslims and Jews threaten their status and their lives.  Some argue that the West doesn’t seem to care about the Middle East’s Christians.  Perhaps the attention to Islamic extremism has per-empted concern for Christians or that the growing secularization in the West leaves this issue for fundamentalist Christians alone to put in the spotlight.  Thankfully, our guest, Janine di Giovanni, author of ‘The Vanishing: Faith, Loss and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets’ gives us a clear picture of what is happening there.  While circumstances are different from country to country, the threat to the religion are clear, present and growing.  Interestingly, for their own political reasons, some of the dictators in the region, like Saddam Hussein, protected these ‘others’ more resolutely than current regimes.  It’s a complicated story but Ms. di Giovanni breaks it down for us.


EP 541 A Paperless Society is Always Just Over the Horizon



 

For what seems decades now, futurists have been dreaming about, and predicting, a ‘paperless’ society.  And while there are many reasons it’s taking longer than some would like, it is getting closer by the day.  I am something of a troglodyte in this regard, still making many payments by check and liking paper back ups for my digital transactions.  Check usage, by the way, has declined nearly ninety percent over the last decade.  Even preparation of this podcast involves reams of paper.  Our guest today, Scott Heric, told me that he has not used a printer in years.  HP gives me awards for the amount I consume.  Mr. Heric is the co-founder of Unionly, the online payment platform, built for unions, which makes payments online effortless.  Clearly vendors see many benefits in going paperless, which include costs, time, errors and environmental damage.  And while we are given choices now as to whether we wish to suspend our paper statements, it is likely in the next decade there will no longer be the option of ‘either or’.  First, we have to have more reliable broadband and more universal access to make this transition possible. Many people will need encouragement and training.  And a key institution, government, must make the change from paper to digital communications if we are to realize this desirable future. It’s a fascinating subject which we all grapple with in our daily lives.


EP 540 Building the Resiliency Cities Will Need to Survive



 

 

From more severe hurricanes to massive flooding to raging wildfires, climate change is having an effect on US cities and their residents, especially the most vulnerable already suffering from environmental injustice.  But behind the headlines of these disasters lie decades of efforts, often spearheaded by grassroots activism, to create more resilient cities.  Our guest, Alison Sant in her book ‘From the Ground Up: Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities’, along with other contributors, shows how cities are reclaiming streets from cars, restoring watershed areas, reforesting urban areas and designing and implementing large-scale ecological restoration along shorelines.  It’s an inspiring story as these local heroes race against time in an effort to lead from the street-level, as politicians in high places dither.  This all takes place against the backdrop of growing climate distress yearly. Sant takes us around the country to see what is happening on streets, in neighborhoods and by people like you and me to forestall the impacts.


EP 539 A First Job Like No Other



 

 

 

Will Haskell was about to graduate from Georgetown University when concerns about college affordability, climate change and other liberal causes hastened his entry into elective politics.  It takes a lot of courage for someone who had not held a full-time job to contest a state senate seat in the Fairfield County suburbs of Connecticut held for years by a Republican incumbent.  Many thought it was quixotic of him to take the plunge in 2018, imagining that he was in it only because no one else stepped forward.  It turned out he was in it to win it…and he did.  And in trying to hold on to the seat in 2020 found that his approach to the job garnered even more support, wherein he won 7 of the eight towns in his district with over 58 percent of the vote.   In his early stage memoir ‘100,000 First Bosses: My Unlikely Path as a 22-Year-Old Lawmaker’, Haskell describes the learning curve and his own misconceptions of who the state lawmakers he served with were and how they went about their work.  Prior to his time in the state legislature, aside from a trip with his dad just before deciding to run, he had never been to Hartford, the state’s capitol city, or its legislature.  It’s a book about discovery and growth, as well as encouragement for America’s young people, particularly Gen X’ers, not to wait their turn.


EP 538 The Practice of Meditation Growing in America



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Meditation is certainly trending in America. Perhaps, it’s growth can be attributed to the stress of the pandemic or the quieting of the American mind while spending more time at home. Whatever the reason, it’s benefits can be profound according to research. It can help with stress, burnout insomnia and anxiety, while also demonstrating positive impacts on conditions ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to increasing an enzyme needed to delay the onset of diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Schools are now including mindfulness activities into their daily routine as are many businesses with great results in productivity increases. Joining us to discuss meditation is Dr. Krishna Bhatta, the founder of Relaxx, an app that helps people achieve their meditation goals.


EP 537 The Entrepreneurial Spirit Awakening in a ‘Tiny’ Way in America



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Small business is the engine of America’s private sector and in a moment when many people are abandoning their jobs, often they are looking for the opportunity to replace their paycheck income with a successful small business that gives them more freedom and self determination.  And while it is not for those who lack the courage to fail, it’s a great moment to take a hold of the efficiencies that technology affords to a small business to outsource and automate your way to success with the right idea.  Most important is finding your niche in sectors that are emerging before others find a path there.  Elaine Pofeldt, a business journalist, is the author of the new book ‘Tiny Business Big Money: Strategies for Creating a High Revenue Microbusiness’.  She offers very practical advice on this podcast as to the process you should undertake if you are considering such a major move in your life. As she demonstrates, bigger is not always better, but smarter and more targeted can be.  This podcast is clearly worth your time.

 


EP 536 Lincoln Re-Wrote the Constitution: Who Knew?



 

 

Abraham Lincoln is often called the Great Emancipator. Yet perhaps his equally valuable contribution to the rights of American citizens was to rip up the Constitution of 1787 and replace it with the one we have today. The original Constitution, nowhere included a stated commitment to equality for each of us. It was a document built on compromise, which accepted the enslavement of those who came to our shores from Africa and held back rights to many others, including women and those who were not white, male property owners. Lincoln took extra-Constitutional measures to replace pre Civil War America with one that aspires to become a more moral country. Where we are in the process of ‘becoming’ remains an open question, but certainly is a far cry from 19th century America. In his compelling book, ‘The Broken Constitution’, Harvard Law Professor, Noah Feldman portrays the struggles Lincoln went through to make the war one more about emancipation than his initial goal of preservation of the Union. As a podcast dedicated to the future, we ask this great scholar to weigh in on the challenges the Union faces today.


EP 535 Do Sanctions Work?



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America and its allies in NATO have just applied the most onerous sanctions yet on Vladimir Putin, his fellow kleptocrats and the people of Russia. The question is how effective will they be? In many ways that depends on what the objective was in putting them in place. If it was to stop his invasion of Ukraine, obviously it did not work. Since it came after Russia invaded a sovereign country, as of this moment, it has not stopped the conflict. It clearly is affecting the Russian economy and the daily lives of its citizens. Ben Coates, a Wake Forest University professor, is investigating the history of economic sanctions in the 20th century. While these measures taken against Russia are unprecedented, such pressure on a country usually effective thirty percent of the time. There are so many angles to the sanctions question and so many derivations from embargoes to export controls to trade sanctions to asset freezes. While Putin calls it an economic act of war, he is looking for ways around it. Like many of the topics we deal with on this podcast, it’s complicated. Listen carefully and gain new insights into a term that has many meanings.