Talk Cocktail

Talk Cocktail

jeffs2009.podbean.com
Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, and thought leaders.


We Are Not Descended From Fearful Men: David Maraniss and “A Good American Family”
May 23 • 25 min
Mark Twain is reported to have said that history does not really repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Today we live in a climate, not unlike the late ’40s and early ’50s, where fear is weaponized, and where suspicion of the other is exploited as a salve…
A Multi-Cultural Society, An Elite Senate, Good and Bad Leaders: How It All Went So Wrong
May 21 • 19 min
Today as we sometimes contemplate the real possibility of the end of the American experience. We think about its roughly 250-year history, often in the context of the people that have led us, good and bad, and taken us to where we are today. So perhaps it…
Fear, Loathing and Immigration: The Battle Was Once Much Worse
May 17 • 22 min
Immigration and the fear of outsiders is a deep strain in the American psyche. It didn’t start with Donald Trump. In fact, it hasn’t even reached its full flowering under this administration. When Trump talked of murderers and rapists coming to the…
Democracies Are Not Forever…Is The US Headed Down The Same Path As Rome?
May 9 • 25 min
Every day, no matter what the issue — whether it’s election integrity, rule of law, climate change, guns, impeachment, or the Mueller report — what’s at stake is not just daily political wins and losses, but the very survival of the republic. As was the…
Outright Lies Are Posing As Today’s Conspiracy Theories
May 6 • 23 min
Long before the Internet, in the early days of talk radio, the all-night hosts were the progenitors of modern-day conspiracy theory. Hosts spent hours talking about crop circles, animal mutilation, Area 51, the Kennedy assassination and all manner of…
The Klan and White Supremacy…Then and Now
May 2 • 26 min
Even though it may not seem like it, domestic terrorism, particularly built around white supremacy, is nothing new. Given that racism is our nation’s original sin, it should not be surprising that in the post Civil War period, the historical efforts to…
We’ll Be OK If We Can Make It to 2040
May 2 • 27 min
America has often been a divided nation. Battles at our founding were often settled at 50 paces.The western ethos that is part of half of America fueled many of those divisions. Brother fought against brother in the civil war. The industrial revolution…
If Democracy Requires Critical Thinking, Are We Doomed?
Apr 29 • 31 min
Ukraine just elected a comedian as its president. A reality TV character holds the most powerful office on the planet. Talk show hosts are driving the agenda of US policy and not a day goes by that we don’t hear talk about more celebrities running for…
According to the World Health Organization, Superbugs are a Greater Health Threat Than Climate Change
Apr 22 • 24 min
Sometimes the personal is professional. It’s not all that common when ones work and one’s survival is linked so inexorably together. They are in the story Tom Patterson and Steffanie Strathdee. Imagine, you’re climbing a mountain, you slip and your spouse…
The Remembered Past vs. The Real Past
Apr 17 • 15 min
Old songs, like old memories, are the purveyors of a kind of double imagery. Triggers of thought that somehow short circuit time and make yesterday’s events today’s reality. So when we write or read about the past, particularly in novels or memoirs, what…
Why Coders Matter and Why They Control Our Future
Apr 10 • 19 min
Think of the millions of hours we spend thinking and talking about technology. About the future, what it all means, and how it impacts us. But before any this happens, before robots or AI, or even making a phone call, someone had to sit down at a screen…
Who We Connect With Impacts Who We Become, and Who We Become Impacts Who We Connect With
Mar 31 • 18 min
Several years ago, the tech company Cisco ran an ad campaign talking about the “human network.” It tried to humanize their networking products as more than just wires and routers but focused on the human beings at the other end of those wires, and the…
The Brave New World of Immunotherapy
Mar 31 • 24 min
It’s hard to believe today, but leaching was once considered a legitimate and effective medical practice. Years from now, we may look back upon chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer in much the same way we now look upon leaching. In labs today,…
Should We Negotiate With Hostage Takers?
Mar 28 • 32 min
In a world that is increasingly more authoritarian, in a political atmosphere that is more and more polarized and tribal everywhere, the threat of global hostage-taking has increased exponentially. As the murder of Jamal Khashoggi illustrates, this threat…
Brave, Not Perfect
Mar 25 • 17 min
A couple of years ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren made headlines with the phrase “nevertheless she persisted.” Sheryl Sandberg told women they had to “lean in.” These approaches, while certainly valuable for dealing with the symptoms of the problems that…
How Our Lives Are Being Run By Algorithms: From the 737 to Our Daily Commute
Mar 21 • 18 min
When Hal asked Astronaut David Bowman to “open the pod bay doors,” it was as if our most primal fear of machines came rushing headlong into the 20th century. Today, in our 21st-century world, we understand the artificial intelligence behind HAL. We see on…
Facebook and Zuckerberg Not Only Screwed Up Reality..They Even Screwed Up Virtual Reality: The Story of Palmer Luckey and Oculus
Mar 12 • 33 min
When we talk about the broad swath of technology and its progenitors in Silicon Valley rarely are we talking about great breakthroughs. A new app for dating or dog walking, the one-hundredth messaging app or new forms of enterprise collaboration are…
How Our Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved
Mar 3 • 26 min
How many times a day do you hear or read someone opining on what’s wrong with America and American politics? As is too often the case we love to look for the simple solution. The one answer that will explain it all. The unified field theory of American…
A Look at Everything that Ivanka Trump Will Never Understand About Working People in America
Mar 1 • 20 min
As underemployment grows and many who once seemed solidly middle-class are losing their economic foothold, the working class is getting larger and more frustrated. Both its size and perspective make the working class more important than ever before. So…
The History of our Future: A Conversation with Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
Feb 25 • 25 min
We’ve talked before about those frightening four words heard all too often. “This time it’s different.” Perhaps, besides Wall Street, nowhere else is that said as much as in Silicon Valley and the among the purveyors of every aspect of today technological…
The Future is Asian
Feb 22 • 27 min
The 19th century has often been referred to as the imperial or British century. The period, after WWII was, in words coined by Henry Luce, the American Century. Today, as we move headlong into the 21st century, we are entering what Parag Khanna sees as…
Patriarchy in the Me Too Era: A conversation with Carol Gilligan
Feb 20 • 23 min
We live in an age of extremes. We talk about it every day with respect to the economic divide, the political divide, the racial divide, and the gender divide. Particularly with respect to gender, how can we explain the election of the most patriarchal…
When Did We Start This “Division Thing?”
Feb 19 • 24 min
We wonder why millennials are different. Imagine growing up in our current highly partisan, polarized political environment, and not knowing anything else. Not knowing an America where compromise is possible, where division within the political parties…
What If The Solution to Fix Democracy is Actually Less Democracy
Feb 15 • 27 min
According to a report just released by Freedom House, a watchdog group that advocates for democracy, political rights, and civil liberties became weaker in 68 countries. The report also says the U.S. freedom score has declined by 8 points (from 94 to 86)…
Why We Need Special Prosecutors….It’s Not For Harassment
Feb 7 • 27 min
Ken Starr, Archibald Cox, Leon Jaworski, Lawrence Walsh, and Robert Mueller. These names are almost as familiar as the Presidents they investigated. What does that say about the role of Special Prosecutors, the power the have, the evolution of their role…
Philip Johnson and the Politics of Architecture, the Architecture of Politics
Feb 4 • 28 min
In an era in which everything it politicized, from the TV shows and the movies we watch to the places we shop, it’s not surprising that architecture and design would also be reflective of the politics of the day. This phenomenon is nothing new. For proof…
Is This The End of Shopping?
Jan 30 • 30 min
All over the world, as populism surges, as creative destruction makes economic change inevitable, the focus on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs is often front and center. Maybe it’s the old romantic of a nation of big shoulders; the factories and…
Black Feminist Politics
Jan 29 • 20 min
The Blue Wave of the recent election would not have been possible without black women voters. The election of Doug Jones in Alabama would not have been possible without the turnout of black women. The recent focus on Stacy Abrams, Kamala Harris, Maxine…
The Wives of the Vietnam Era: What We Learned and What’s Different Today
Jan 22 • 23 min
The poet John Milton writing in the 17th century got it right when he said that “They also serve who only stand and wait.” No better description could be written to capture the essence of military families. Today, as a nation, we have acknowledged that…
Housing, Housing, Housing
Jan 17 • 26 min
Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a modern great migration as more and more Americans move from suburban and rural America to cities. This trend cuts across all demographic groups but has been especially true for millennials and aging boomers. As a…
Disruption, Terrorism, Climate Change…Just Some of the Risk Today’s Corporations Face
Jan 16 • 22 min
Every day we talk about disruption as if it’s mostly positive within the business and consumer environment. But for companies today, both large and small, an array of challenges and potentially disruptive events can have a real negative impact on the…
The Pentagon’s $21 Trillion Con Game
Jan 10 • 23 min
Some of you may recall a few weeks ago, newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a splash, talking about $21 trillion in misappropriated Pentagon money, which she claimed was enough to take care of Medicare for all. She based her…
San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the Future of Cities
Jan 6 • 30 min
Social, cultural and technological change is all around us. We live in an era of upheaval, not unlike the movement from an agrarian to a manufacturing economy that took place 100+ years ago. At the time, many thought it was, to borrow a phrase, the end of…
We All Have A Role To Play In the Biggest Story of 2019
Dec 31, 2018 • 21 min
We think that politics might actually change the world for better or for worse. It probably won’t. It’s certainly more likely that climate change, weather, and rising sea levels will have a far more profound impact. The recent UN report on climate…
With Each New Year, Do We Loose A Little of What Makes Us Human?
Dec 26, 2018 • 22 min
How much of your work day is about emails, texts, Slack, Basecamp or Shift? And how much is about phone calls or meetings or basic human contact? If you’re like most people today, a large portion is devoted to apps, to screens, and to technology. And less…
The Business of Punishment
Dec 20, 2018 • 21 min
The U.S. imprisons a higher portion of its population than any country in the world. The so-called “prison industrial complex” is, for many towns in rural America, a driving force for its economy. At the same time, many of these prisons have been turned…
Is it Possible to Believe in Nationalism and Think Globally at the Same Time?
Dec 13, 2018 • 27 min
It seems that every day, as Trump makes another seemingly horrible comment, we ask ourselves how did this happen? Millions of words have been spilled trying to answer that question. Fascism, bigotry, populism, social and cultural issues, have all been…
What Might Gonzo Journalism Look Like Today? A Look At Hunter S. Thompson vs. Nixon
Dec 11, 2018 • 31 min
At a time when journalism is under siege when the attacks sometimes result in too much caution when the goal of politicians is to attack journalist like they are working the refs, it’s worth thinking about times when we’ve seen full-throated, muscular and…
Bribery, Kickbacks and Corruption: Why It Matters
Dec 5, 2018 • 26 min
When we hear the phrase follow the money, we’ve come to understand that it usually leads back to nefarious political activities, self-dealing and corrupt public servants or worse. But sometimes that money trail leads to something that’s become so…
Democracies Are Not Forever…Are We Headed Down the Same Path As Rome?
Dec 3, 2018 • 25 min
Each day more of our national political and governmental norms fall away. Our national leadership is at best in a moral vacuum, at worst, a corrosive force, an autoimmune disease eating the very fabric of the nation. The violence of the past months…
The Week Politics Went Tabloid: A Conversation with Matt Bai about Gary Hart and THE FRONT RUNNER
Nov 24, 2018 • 28 min
For those that study and write about politics, the holy grail is to find those seminal moments in the nation’s public and political life that change everything. And while the antecedents of those events may be years in the making, they usually create a…
California is Burning - Here’s Why
Nov 20, 2018 • 39 min
For those of you that are old enough, you may remember that one of the crazy ideas that came out of counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War was that we often had to destroy a village in order to save it. It was counterintuitive and maybe it was right or…
Jamal Khashoggi’s Secret Interview
Nov 20, 2018 • 22 min
The world of journalism faces an existential crisis . Attacks on the press as “the enemy of the people” by the president of the United States and other authoritarian leaders is just the beginning. Bombs sent to CNN, reporters spat on at political rallies,…
Why Capitalism Matters and Why We Need to Protect It
Nov 15, 2018 • 21 min
Bill Clinton got it almost right when he said, “it’s the economy stupid.” But it’s more than that. It might be more accurate to say, it’s capitalism, stupid. The system that took thirteen disparate colonies, and in 400 years became the greatest economic…
History in Plain Sight: WWI and the Unknown Soldiers
Nov 12, 2018 • 23 min
Someone wrote a national column last year suggesting that whoever we elect to office should at the very least be able to pass a basic high school test in American history. The fact is, we all should be able to. If only because the past is prologue.…
Notes On Hope from Anne Lamott
Nov 7, 2018 • 16 min
In looking at the world today, not just at our politics, but at our social and moral climate, it’s easy to conclude that there is no hope. Things fall apart, the center does not hold and it does seem in as if, in Yates’ words, “mere anarchy is loosed upon…
Greg Sargent looks at Thunderdome Politics in the Age of Trump
Nov 6, 2018 • 22 min
Just how fragile or resilient are our democratic institutions? For two years we’ve heard that the fundamental institutions, like the courts, the rule of law, and the so-called grown-ups and the permanent govt. would provide guardrails against the worst…
The Forgotten and The Angry: A Search for the Trump Voter
Nov 4, 2018 • 27 min
Every day, as a new Trump embarrassment emerges from the White House, people ask, how did this happen? Millions of words have now been written about the current state of our politics, our country and of our civic discourse. About the anger that abounds.…
Reagan Would Be Such An Improvement Today
Nov 2, 2018 • 30 min
Someone said recently that Donald Trump may not be our worst President ever, the jury is still out. But for sure, he is the worst person ever to be President. The point is that character, personal legacy, personal relationships and upbringing do matter.…
Democracy, Rebellion and Revolution: Pick Two
Nov 2, 2018 • 25 min
Alan Greenspan has argued that the essence of American capitalism is creative destruction. That our tolerance for change, for the new, for being willing to replace incumbents, even when painful, is the essence of what has moved the US to become, in a mere…
Men on the Sidelines of American Life
Oct 29, 2018 • 29 min
It is almost axiomatic to say that so many of the problems that plague men in our society today stem from changes in economics. That technology, globalization, education or lack thereof, are all at the core of the problem. Yet, regardless of who we give…
When They Take Away Your Vote, Who Ya Gonna Call?
Oct 29, 2018 • 22 min
For several years now, we’ve been inundated with fake news about alleged voter fraud. Fraud that simply does not exist anywhere in the country. However, these stories have been used as the basis and justification of voter suppression efforts in several…
The Last Time “Nationalism” Was Embraced…Hitler and his American Friends
Oct 23, 2018 • 26 min
Last night in Houston Trump declared himself a “nationalist, “with all the baggage that the label implies. That phrase, along with things like “America First,” almost instantly bring us back to another time and place. An America, not of 2018, but of 1940…
Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy
Oct 19, 2018 • 26 min
Winston Churchill said of Russia that it was “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Today the same might be said of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and the connection between that interference and the campaign of Donald Trump. We…
Is America Now A Fascist Country?
Oct 18, 2018 • 24 min
The word fascism gets thrown around a lot in the context of Donald Trump. As if he somehow were its progenitor. But the fact is Trump is merely the most contemporary and American exploiter. Right wing nationalist trends, fascist trends, are happening…
Marvin Kalb on The New McCarthyism and the Threat to Democracy
Oct 10, 2018 • 24 min
The founders understood that a free press was a bulwark against tyranny. In the system they set up, they understood that they created inherent tensions between leaders and the press. Historically, those tensions have served us well in that it has…
The Geopolitical Downsides of Fracking Are Downright Scary
Oct 8, 2018 • 23 min
I think it’s fair to say that when most of you hear about fracking, the first thing that comes to mind is the potential environmental damage. This has been a big story over the past several years. What you might not think about is how fracking is changing…
Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth.
Oct 3, 2018 • 25 min
We hear much loose talk these days about all the things that are supposed to unite us as Americans. But there are far more important and powerful forces that divide us. At the center of that divide is the subject of class. Even more than race, the class…
Why Adam Smith Still Matters, And What We Have Not Understood
Oct 2, 2018 • 28 min
We are ten years out from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. The shock waves of those events are still with us today and they take many forms Not the least of which has been the…
Tight and Loose Explains the World
Sep 20, 2018 • 21 min
We spend hours and hours talking about the divides in America and the world today. Red and Blue divisions, class divisions, social sorting, urban vs. rural, left vs. right, progress vs. conservative and the ways we look for the world to make sense. But…
The Myth We Still Tell About the Fall of Lehman Bros.
Sep 19, 2018 • 24 min
We are ten years out from the fall of Lehman Brothers, and the worst financial crises in the lifetime of most of us. But what are we actually marking, and more importantly, what have we really learned? So much of the debate, to this very day, as to what…
The Global Elite’s Effort to Change the World
Sep 18, 2018 • 31 min
It is an accepted axiom of modern life that disruptive change is all around us. Almost every aspect of our lives has felt some or all of this change. It’s equally true that what were once the traditional institutions of government and public policy, that…
The Browns of California
Sep 15, 2018 • 32 min
Joan Didion referred to California as the “golden land.” “The place where the dream was teaching the dreamers how to live. That it was a metaphor for some larger, insidious process at work in American society. One that became a parable of the American…
Voter Suppression 101
Sep 11, 2018 • 36 min
Just a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a distinguished and respected journalist and author, who said that voter suppression to him was like the Loch Ness Monster. A lot of people talked about it, but no one had ever really seen it. I tell this story…
17 Years in Afghanistan….What Have We Accomplished?
Sep 11, 2018 • 29 min
Next month we mark 17 years since the US invasion of Afghanistan, certainly the longest single military effort in US history. Our original goal was to destroy Al-Qaeda and oust the Taliban that were protecting them. Since that time, a great deal has…
Make A Decision!
Sep 6, 2018 • 27 min
We make hundreds, sometimes thousand of decisions a day. What to wear, what to eat, what route to take to work, and what to put on our to-do list. But these are tactical decisions. They get us from point a to point b. But what about the big strategic…
Why DNA Kits May Not Really Tell Us Who We Are
Sep 2, 2018 • 21 min
Perhaps more than at any other time in contemporary history, we have a deep need to understand who we are, what tribe to we belong to, and how, in a rapidly changing, interconnected and homogenized world, do we fit it. Who are we in relation to everyone…
Parenthood in an Age of Fear
Aug 28, 2018 • 21 min
By every objective measure, unless you live on the Southside of Chicago, the world is a safer place today than it’s been for long time. As people like Steven Pinker have repeatedly pointed out, almost every form of violence is less today than it was 50 or…
A Conversation with John McCain
Aug 27, 2018 • 13 min
The last opportunity I had to interview JOHN McCAIN was back in September of 2000, in the thick of the Bush v. Gore campaign and after he had lost the Republican primary to George W. Bush. We talked about his book, FAITH OF MY FATHERS, and even then…
Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East
Aug 25, 2018 • 30 min
Often understanding global affairs, particularly in the Middle East, is like a game of three-card monte. What’s in view is never really a reflection of what’s going on underneath. What’s more, alliances, loyalties and truth is ever shifting and almost…
Are Americans Afraid of Optimism?
Aug 24, 2018 • 26 min
We live in an age of paradox. Crime and murders are down, yet we are more fearful than ever about gun violence. Technology has made life easier in so many ways, yet Silicon Valley is becoming the boogeyman and technology is and will be replacing jobs with…
The Kids Are All Right
Aug 17, 2018 • 29 min
Millions of words have been written about millennials and the Democratic Party. The debate about how left they are, how involved they are, how can, or will they be mobilized to participate in the midterms are all subjects of feature stories and cable news…
The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump
Aug 16, 2018 • 28 min
Almost from the day he was elected, certainly from the day her took office, people have been talking about the impeachment of Donald Trump. His basic failure to divest his business holdings, his refusal to abide by ethical norms, nepotism, cronyism, his…
Even Power Has Been Subject to Change. Here’s How
Aug 15, 2018 • 20 min
Look at any book of quotations, and the subject of power is one of the most discussed topics. Sometimes it seems everyone has an opinion on it. And why not? It is at the heart of all of our relationships, at home, with family, kids and spouses and at…
When Does No Drama Make For A Better Show and a Better Government?
Aug 14, 2018 • 26 min
Deep inside our first reality TV presidency, one designed, whether you like the policy or not, to squeeze maximum drama from every encounter, it’s almost hard to remember that the Obama presidency was 180 degrees away. It was built on the idea of “no…
The Iran Nuclear Deal and The View from Tehran
Aug 13, 2018 • 32 min
For George Bush, it was once part of the Axis of Evil. For Donald Trump, Iran seems only to be part of an axis of firing up his base, placating Israel, and being supine to the Saudis. The Iran Nuclear Deal was far better and more enforceable than anything…
The Mouth That Roared - How Rush Limbaugh Changed America
Aug 7, 2018 • 29 min
It began as a crazy idea. DJs would get bored with music and start talking to the audience. They would take calls, tell stories, and even talk a little politics, sports, and pop culture. Early on, it produced some enduring national personalities like Jean…
Our Crises of Connection - Why We Need to Gather Now, More Than Even
Aug 6, 2018 • 23 min
How many gatherings do you really enjoy? Certainly not meetings. But what about social events? How many times have you felt awkward at a party, an event or even just a gathering of friends. How often have you had the feeling that everyone else was invited…
Is Hope or Change Ever Possible After Trump?
Aug 3, 2018 • 20 min
Once upon a time, hope and change formed the basis of our political discourse. That now seems so long ago. Remember a time when the Koch brothers were the enemy, when we thought John McCain was the far right, when those of us on the left thought the FBI…
GDP = GREATLY DECEPTIVE PROSPERITY
Aug 2, 2018 • 25 min
Wherever you are in the political spectrum, we should at least be able to agree on a set of facts about the forces reshaping our society. The cost of housing, particularly in our cities, continues to rise. The cost of higher education, healthcare, and…
Why Teams Are The New Normal
Aug 2, 2018 • 28 min
Look at any business or education sector today and discussion of teams often dominates the agenda. Teams and partnerships, particularly in business, have become not just the new normal, but almost a requirement. However for every Hewlett and Packard, Jobs…
PUTIN’S INDECENT PROPOSAL
Aug 1, 2018 • 24 min
When Putin singled out Americans he’d like to have sent to Russia for interrogation, a lot of attention was focused on former US Ambassador Michael McFaul. He also mentioned others, including very prominent international businessman, Bill Browder. More…
Lazy Thinking, Intellectual Cowardice and Safe Spaces On Today’s College Campus
Jul 31, 2018 • 18 min
Not since the civil war have we been as tribal as a nation as we are today. What’s worse, is that today, through the power of modern communication, social media, bifurcated business models, and 24/7 news, we can be siloed from dawn to dusk. We never have…
Men Behaving, Or How To Prevent More Trump Supporters In The Future
Jul 23, 2018 • 25 min
There is a boy crisis in America. Girls are graduating from college in far greater numbers. Their numbers in law schools, business schools and in post graduate programs are exceeding boys, and the imbalance keeps growing. Concurrently, everyday we see bad…
Today’s Struggle With Russia Is More Than Cold War 2.0
Jul 21, 2018 • 20 min
Not since the apogee of the Cold War has Russia been so paramount in our national discourse. But Churchill’s “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” is a very different Russia than the former Soviet Union. Although as Churchill pointed out,…
What’s the Matter With America?
Jul 19, 2018 • 30 min
Back in 2004, a full fourteen years ago, Thomas Frank published a book entitled What’s The Matter with Kansas? In it, he looked at how a segment of the population was consistently voting against their own economic self interests. He argued that so called…
Silicon Valley: The Origin Story…Live As It Happened
Jul 12, 2018 • 22 min
When we talk about change, about creative disruption, about all the ways that the world, both local and global is different, it all seems to have it’s genesis in Silicon Valley. The games, the apps, the communication and the nature of life and work…
Driven to Succeed…A Conversation with Dr. Ned Hallowell
Jul 9, 2018 • 28 min
Be it the troubled minds, young and old, that commit mass shootings, the incredible and successful talents that commit suicide, or those that seek solace in alcohol or opiates, mental illness is all around us. What’s encouraging is that we are finally…
Nationalism and Culture Need Not be A Zero Sum Game
Jul 8, 2018 • 32 min
We hear over and over, that we are a nation of immigrants. Unfortunately, we’re hearing it in a boiler factory. We are hearing it over the cacophony of noise about race, about change and about security and raw politics. What’s lost is the reality of the…
THE AGE OF POLITICAL PERSUASION IS OVER To Attract the Next Generation, Politics Must Be About Advocacy, Organization, and Winning
Jul 6, 2018 • 30 min
Fifty years ago, during the last great social and political upheaval in America, young people lead the way. The mantra of the day, of not trusting anyone over 30, defined the generational and political divide. Today we face an altogether different, but…
Groucho Was Right!
Jul 5, 2018 • 32 min
Groucho Marx famously said, upon resigning the Friars club, that he would “never want to belong to any club that would have him as a member.” That line has been used since by those that are afraid of not belonging. What better way to prevent being…
Freedom of the Press and Freedom From Fake News
Jun 27, 2018 • 20 min
The founders were wise enough that they made freedom of the press first among equals, as a constitutional guarantee. They also even understood fake news in the form of the pamphleteers of the day. But they never could have imagined bots and trolls and…
Can Something That’s Popular, Still Be Creative and Good?
Jun 27, 2018 • 29 min
There’s an old axiom with respect to quality and culture that says if something is popular, it can’t be very good. Certainly that’s true for fast-food, overhyped action movies and maybe even some crummy literature. However, there’s a way that creativity…
A Dinner in Camelot: How Far We Have Fallen
Jun 22, 2018 • 20 min
A few weeks ago , the press reported aggressively on the fact that Kim Kardashian had visited the White House. Just as it had the visits of Kid Rock and Ted Nugent before her. With homage toDr. Seuss, Oh, how far we have fallen. On April 29, 1962, John F.…
The Ultimate Silicon Valley Scam
Jun 19, 2018 • 27 min
By now we are all familiar with crimes and criminals on Wall Street. Bernie Madoff, Enron, Ivan Boesky, Barry Minkow and many others that have become household names. On the West Coast, the startup world of Silicon Valley had been somewhat spared from…
Things Can Always Get Worse in America…And They Often Have
Jun 13, 2018 • 27 min
I assume that most of you believe that the state of America has seldom been worse. Racial progress, America as a melting pot, the global alliance that has seen us through the past 75 years, character, civility, and liberal democracy itself, all seem to be…
The Country’s Collapsing…and the Ratings are Great
Jun 12, 2018 • 17 min
Everyday we get another glimpse of just how divided America is. The racial training at Starbucks, the horrendous tweets from Roseanne Barr, and the ongoing collection of psychotic hate filled lies from the president, are just some recent manifestations.…
Conversations with Anthony Bourdain
Jun 12, 2018 • 16 min
Since last weeks tragic news, many have spoken of the multiple talents of Anthony Bourdain. Over the years I had the privilege of learning about Bourdain, in his own words. Beginning all the way back in 2002, I had the opportunity to speak with him…
Suicide Among The Best And The Brightest: Portraits of Resilience
Jun 7, 2018 • 18 min
The great songwriter Johnny Mandel wrote in the theme song for MASH, that “Suicide is Painless.” It’s not. The emotional pain and depression that often leads to it is anything but. Moreover the pain for the survivors is unfathomable. Yet we have…
Bobby Kennedy May Have Been The Last Genuine Progressive
Jun 4, 2018 • 27 min
There are many that believe that solution of our fractured politics is simply for individuals to take power from the grassroots. That bottom up organizing is the antidote to the wave of authoritarianism that is sweeping the world. The counter to that…
The American Tailspin: Can We Ever Pull Up?
Jun 2, 2018 • 20 min
How did our culture, politics and economy get where we are today? Just how bad is it and is it fixable? By comparison, 50 years ago, the country was truly coming apart. War, assassination and riots undermined the very fabric of America. All of this came…
Humans at Our Best and Worst
May 29, 2018 • 17 min
In trying to understand what makes us tick, people still debate the old nature vs. nurture argument. Yet modern science, medicine, psychology and biology all tell us it’s far more complex. In fact it’s a little like a variation of the uncertainty…
Railroads and Highways and Ports, Oh My
May 23, 2018 • 30 min
We hear over and over in our domestic political debates about the need to improve America’s infrastructure, that to do so is good for business and in the big picture, good for the economy and a projection of America as a global leader. Certainly,…
Robin
May 23, 2018 • 33 min
Someone once said of actors that they have their emotions much closer to the surface than the rest of us, in order to make them more easily accessible. If this is true, than it might be said that for some comedians their emotions are not just close to the…
We Think It’s Stormy Now…..1968 Was Far Worse….And We Survived
May 17, 2018 • 24 min
Historians have long written about inflection points in history. In American history, events surrounding the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War & Reconstruction, the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and WWII, are all such points. It’s…
If Gina Haspel is confirmed, will CIA torture begin anew?
May 16, 2018 • 14 min
The debate over Gina Haspel running the CIA has, like most things, devolved into a partisan political debate: The usual tribes, the usual sides, and the usual arguments. But if we can only step back a bit, we see that it’s so much more. It goes to the…
The Moral Horror of Our Times
May 16, 2018 • 32 min
Look at any days news output, and its getting harder and harder to separate fact from fiction. Not because of fake news, but because the real news and the actions of so many cross the bounds of credible behavior. As someone recently pointed out, after a…
Moore’s Law Does Not Apply To Relationships
May 15, 2018 • 23 min
It’s become a cliche, but the fact is that in just the past 10 years, almost everything we do has changed. From the way we drive, take pictures, communicate, shop, to the way we seek relationships. What hasn’t changed is the fundamental underlying idea of…
Globalization and its Discontents
May 12, 2018 • 28 min
Trump, Brexit, and the worldwide populist revolution are not causes, but symptoms. Symptoms of a wider systemic plague of fear of change, anxiety, and a feeling by people of being part of a world they no longer can control or even understand. Technology…
Freedom, Liberty & America…A Look Back
May 8, 2018 • 27 min
In his book Profiles in Courage, JFK writes that courage exists “when a man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.” It’s hard to even think…
Dear Madam President
May 4, 2018 • 19 min
There is a line from the 1973 movie The Way We Were, where Katie Morosky, played by Barbra Streisand, talks about Hubbell Gardner, played by Robert Redford. She says of Gardner/Redford, “In a way he was like the country he lived in; everything came too…
The Fragility of Hope
May 4, 2018 • 25 min
Woody Allen once said that the world was divided into the horrible and the miserable. The horrible he thought were people with terminal cases, blind people, and the crippled. “I don’t know how they get through life,” he said. “It’s amazing to me.” To…
Why We Have More Time to Have No Time
May 3, 2018 • 28 min
Isn’t it interesting that the more we have technology to save us time, the more we complain about not having enough time. Before the digital revolution we never heard as much talk about everyone not having enough time. Just think about how much time we…
Immigration and the False Lure of the American Dream
Apr 30, 2018 • 24 min
There is not a day that goes by that the subject of immigration is not in some way part of our national discussion. However, even with all the talk, there is little focus on either the large number of immigrants that arrive from China, or on the their…
An Important Day In The Life of Robert F. Kennedy
Apr 28, 2018 • 30 min
In 1964 Lyndon Johnson enacted his war on poverty. Three years later Robert Kennedy knelt in a crumbling shack in Mississippi, watching a toddler pick rice and beans off of a dirt floor. What Robert Kennedy saw on that trip would impact him personally and…
The 75-Year-Old Book That Drives Our Politics Today
Apr 25, 2018 • 21 min
The legendary studio boss Harry Cohn once said to one of his writers, that if you want to send a political message, use Western Union. The point was that movies were for entertainment. Some have even tried to make that argument with respect to novels, but…
The Internet Is Killing Democracy Facebook Is the Shiny Object, but the Danger Is Much Larger
Apr 25, 2018 • 20 min
Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg understood how to maximize social media to achieve the highest in democratic ends. The Russians and Cambridge Analytica used that same social media to undermine democracy, to spread lies, and to manipulate facts. Recently…
Neuroscience is The New Moneyball
Apr 20, 2018 • 29 min
I think it was Howard Cosell who first referred to sports at the “toy department of life.” Oftentimes player performance has been put down as people say that “it’s not rocket science.” The fact is however, that we now know it is neuroscience, computer…
Why Tech May Usher in The Universal Basic Income, and Why It’s Really Pro Business
Apr 18, 2018 • 27 min
In the movie Jurassic Park, perhaps the most famous line is that “nature will find a way.” It might just as accurately be said today, that technology will find a way. Think about where we are. Fear of Facebook, the attacks on Amazon, the opioid crisis,…
From The Crusades To The Holocaust: Why History and Love Stories Matter
Apr 12, 2018 • 19 min
Religion, violence, anti-semitism, and the fate of the Catholic Church. All subject as contemporary as today’s headlines. To often we see these headlines and think about these issues in the moment, in the now. Yet to really understand any of these issues,…
Tribes May Be Killing Our Politics, But They May Be The Cure for Depression
Apr 6, 2018 • 30 min
Spend any time watching television and you’ll see the apotheosis of western medicine. There is a drug for everything. We live in a pharmaceutical culture where every pain, ache, and known and unknown disease has its own pill. The areas of mental health,…
What Maxed Out Political Corruption Looks Like
Apr 5, 2018 • 25 min
Lately, there have been countless articles about the rise of authoritarian regimes. One aspect of all of these regimes is, even as we’re seeing here in America, the dramatic extremes in corruption. Often fueled by power, money laundering, drugs, and…
Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It…Or Why Is Everything So Damn Complex?
Mar 30, 2018 • 27 min
I don’t think there is anyone that would argue that the world is a far more complex place today. All of the machines and technology that are supposed to make our lives easier have, at times, made it more complicated, more frustrating, and more subject to…
The Israel of 1948 is Over: A conversation with Avraham Burg
Mar 27, 2018 • 24 min
Back in the 1960s, Richard Nixon would talk and write a lot about the Middle East in general, and about the Israeli situation specifically, and he talked about how it easily could become the flash point of the next world war. Certainly almost 60 years and…
The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
Mar 26, 2018 • 24 min
Every so often the media picks up the meme that books and readers are on the decline. That our short attention span, along with our Twitter and Facebook driven culture, has supplanted long form narrative. And it seems that every time those stories…
Why Economic Inequality Can Take Down Our Republic
Mar 22, 2018 • 28 min
What is the nexus between our political system and our economic system? Certainly during the Cold War we fought to defend our political system against the economic threat of communism. So, does it work the other way around? Do we now have to defined our…
Growing Up Muslim: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys.
Mar 21, 2018 • 24 min
Everyday we are reminded how difficult it is growing up, and being a teenger. The work of Jean Twenge and others has shown the impact of technology and social media on our culture. Add to this, the reality of what it’s like growing up black or hispanic in…
Can The Behavior of School Shooters Be Profiled and Shootings Averted?
Mar 20, 2018 • 24 min
There is no question that the easy availability of guns, especially assault weapons, has contributed in some way to the rash of school shootings. However, we would be naïve to think that this is the totality of the problem. Beyond guns, the broader…
Timothy Leary and Richard Nixon, Together Again
Mar 16, 2018 • 29 min
Every day the news gets darker. Polarization is increasing, constitutional norms are being overthrown, the social fabric is tearing and as Yeats said, “the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Still, as bad as it…
They Once Made America Great…But What Did Factories Really Represent? : A conversation with Joshua Freeman
Mar 14, 2018 • 29 min
We often hear that we live in a post industrial world. Yet all of those consumer goods we and the rest of the world love so much, are made in factories. Factories that, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, did not always represent the best of working…
#MeToo in China
Mar 6, 2018 • 22 min
We hear over and over again that the future belongs to China. Looking at what the Chinese are accomplishing in both infrastructure and technology, it’s easy to believe it. But what about in human relations and the issues of the gender wars? As the #MeToo…
Maybe You Are Doing Everything Wrong At Work
Feb 28, 2018 • 30 min
A couple of weeks ago, The N.Y. Times ran a story about “global nomads.” People whose work allows them to plug-in anywhere in the world. This may not be for everybody. But it’s a reminder that the fundamentals of work are changing. How do we work today in…
Political Tribes: A Conversation with Amy Chua
Feb 27, 2018 • 27 min
In the debate about immigration we are reminded of the original notion of America as a melting pot. As a nation that could absorb different cultures, different identities and different ethnic groups. The trade off was the embrace of an American identity.…
Who Was Edward Lansdale, and Why It Matters: A Conversation with Max Boot
Feb 23, 2018 • 18 min
There was a saying during the Vietnam era, the attribution of which is a bit fuzzy, that said “if you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” I suppose this was not inconsistent with another quote of that era that said, “come let us…
Who Owns Your Thoughts?
Feb 21, 2018 • 29 min
Years ago, the great Dorothy Parker said that the movie business was the only business where the assets went home at night….Well that may have had a ring a truth then, but today in a world where intellectual property and human capital are what makes our…
TRUTH DECAY: The Diminishing Role of Facts in Public Life
Feb 21, 2018 • 31 min
Amidst the cacophony of 24/7 news and information that pours in at us every day, we seem to have lost sight of what constitutes truth, facts and actual information. The signal to noise ratio has shifted overwhelming towards noise. Remember, it wasn’t that…
Because Capitalism Works: A Conversation with William Rempel
Feb 14, 2018 • 25 min
Think about what we value today. What we give rewards for as a society? Now imagine, if you can, a business tycoon who is modest and filled with generosity. Who could gamble a million dollars on one roll of the dice, but whose story is a true Horatio…
The Internet Needs To Grow Up: A Conversation with Andrew Keen
Feb 9, 2018 • 28 min
At the time of the invention of writing, Socrates worried that it would destroy memory, and undermine the oral tradition. The invention of the printing press worried many. For those old enough you remember, the fear of television was once pervasive. It…
Deutsche Bank: Where The Dots Of Russiagate Connect
Feb 8, 2018 • 45 min
If you’re following or trying to follow the Trump-Russia story, no doubt your head is filled with dozens of threads: the Trump Tower meetings; the dossier; the names of countless Russians, mobsters, and oligarchs, and bankers; banks in Germany, in Moscow,…
A Model For The Power of Local Agriculture
Feb 5, 2018 • 21 min
It’s ironic that at a time when our air, water and food are under siege, more people than ever seem to care about the protection of all three. Organic grocery sales have never been higher and local agriculture is undergoing a kind of millennial…
A President Who Really Got Things Done: A conversation with Joshua Zeitz
Feb 1, 2018 • 20 min
Elections do have consequences and leaders really do matter. Grassroots voices and organizing can bring attention to a problem, but it’s the job of government, of our constitutional process, to put those policies in place. As modern history tells us, it’s…
Why Art and Artists Matter…Now More Than Ever: A Conversation with Jonathan Santlofer
Jan 25, 2018 • 21 min
In the US. or anywhere else around the world, when freedom is threatened, when liberty is under siege, it is often the artist that comes to the rescue. Not necessarily in the realm of changing politics, but in reminding us why that freedom is important,…
The Network vs. The Despot: A Conversation with Niall Ferguson
Jan 24, 2018 • 17 min
Those that study history know that not only is it not static, but that it tends to go though seemingly recurring periods. We’ve seen times where freedom flourishes, times when despots seem to be the flavor du jour, times where great bursts of innovation…
Timing is Everything! A conversation with Daniel Pink
Jan 19, 2018 • 24 min
Playing Clue, writing, quizzing our kids or friends, or analyzing data to make decisions, we are all familiar with those key question of who, what and why. And yet the question that goes to the heart of what we actually do and how it will turn out, is…
Does Political Organizing Still Matter? A talk with Gordon Whitman
Jan 18, 2018 • 29 min
For those that are politically engaged, and are horrified by the current policy decisions being made and enacted by the current administration, it sometimes seems as if the challenge is overwhelming. Can any amount of the traditional forms of protest, and…
Lawyers, Guns and Money: Understanding the Panama Papers
Jan 17, 2018 • 27 min
In the current debate over taxes we here a lot about offshore funds, the repatriation of corporate dollars, and how lowering marginal tax rates will stimulate the economy and bring all this money pouring back into America. Unlikely! Particularly because…
Not Your Father’s Non-Profit: A conversation with Kathleen Kelly Janus
Jan 16, 2018 • 26 min
Poll after poll tell us that people have lost faith in government and in big institutions to solve the nation’s or even the world’s problems. As that disconnect grows, and it will likely continue to, we are looking more and more to local centric, often…
“Things Won’t Work Out By Themselves” A Conversation with Richard Haass
Jan 16, 2018 • 18 min
In today’s world it’s not just technology that changes quickly. Just twenty-five years ago, some thought we had reached the end of history. That the end of the Cold War would bring about protracted peace, that the ending of the great power struggle…
The Daniel Ellsberg Story You Won’t See In THE POST
Jan 15, 2018 • 34 min
Somebody asked me recently if I thought that this time that we are living through will be as significant and as profoundly influential as the ‘60’s. I don’t’ know the answer to that. What I do know is that there are recurring themes from that period that…
Trump/Russia from 30,000 Feet
Jan 9, 2018 • 24 min
There is an old expression that’s long been part of the training of medical students. It says that if you hear hooves, look for horses, not zebras. The idea is simple. Look first in the most obvious places. Often times the solution is in pain sight and…
This Man Could Have Prevented 9/11
Jan 8, 2018 • 44 min
Bill Binney was an NSA analyst whose work was so effective it was shut down. It threatened to derail the gravy train fueled by the kinds of problems he might have solved — including preventing potential terrorist attacks. The contractors and executives…
Espionage 101: How the CIA, FBI, and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities
Jan 8, 2018 • 26 min
Once upon a time, at the apogee of the cold war, the CIA recruited the best and the brightest from our most elite universities. The likes of George HW Bush, James Jesus Angleton, William Bundy, Porter Goss, and Cord Meyer, all owed their allegiance to God…
Where Is Your Money Sleeping?
Jan 8, 2018 • 22 min
As the new year begins, we often think about what to do with our money. In a world in which we are more socially and politically divided than ever, in which change is happening at an exponential pace, in which technology may lead us to a worse or a better…
A Look At What A Real President Was Like
Jan 8, 2018 • 21 min
I’m not sure when politics became a dirty word. But there was a time when it was a noble profession. When the best the the brightest sought to serve, and when differences of opinion were about how to better the lives of all people, not just those at the…
Our Collective Search for Meaning And What Happens If We Can’t Find It
Dec 27, 2017 • 26 min
From the time we first enter the world, to the moment we read or listen to the morning news, we are trying to make sense of the world. We are trying to discern patterns, to create a narrative, to fit the puzzle pieces together in ways that make sense. All…
Is the Keyboard The New F15?
Dec 27, 2017 • 28 min
You may remember that during the cold war, particularly during the Vietnam conflict, we were told that the battle was for the “hearts and minds” of the enemy. We understood that in conflict, propaganda, particularly as told through narrative, was an…
Sleep…It’s Not Just For Wimps Anymore
Dec 19, 2017 • 29 min
Tune in to the news any day, and there is lots to lose sleep over. Not the least of which is the worry that if we are not sleeping correctly, we will age faster, increase our risk of Alzheimer’s and be susceptible to a host of other illnesses. It’s hard…
The World Will Never Be The Same After AI
Dec 15, 2017 • 31 min
One of the criticisms of Silicon Valley is often that so much talent and engineering is going toward the creation of minor advancements. A new dating app, new forms of banking, or even games. But all of this belies what’s really going on beneath the…
The Joys of Refugees
Dec 12, 2017 • 27 min
In our hyper partisan and over politicized culture, we’re always quick and anxious to talk about DACA, Dreamers, immigration, deportation, etc. Too often even the most well meaning stories are often lost in the weeds of policy and politics. What we often…
Joan Didion: The Center Cannot Hold
Nov 27, 2017 • 9 min
There are many writers that reflect a particular time, place and style. Tom Wolfe, Faulkner, Norman Mailer, to name a few. Each conjures up a specific time and place. It’s very rare that a great writer spans both places and decades. Joan Didion is that…
Chris Matthews on Bobby Kennedy
Nov 13, 2017 • 28 min
Forty nine years ago, on June 5th 1968, the world shifted on its axis. The assassination of Bobby Kennedy, after his victory in the California primary, changed politics forever. It’s might not be too far fetched to say that had Bobby survived, our…
The Refugee Crisis and the Failure of Humanity
Feb 20, 2017 • 19 min
When we talk about the refugee crises in Syria, we are really only talking about a small fraction of the world’s refugee crisis. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are affected by armed conflict and genocide. Refugee populations come from…
Is Music Just an Escape or an Inescapable Part of Life?
Feb 15, 2017 • 27 min
The only thing that may be more pervasive than talk of Russia today is music. Music is everywhere. It seems no space, public or private, is not in some way filled with music. Even sporting events are now enveloped in music. In spite of music having been…
“Stoking the Star Maker Machinery”
Feb 13, 2017 • 19 min
We are in the midst of awards season. The Oscars, the Grammys, the Golden Globes. They are all about both content and popularity. But what is the nexus and separation of the two? To many people, if it’s popular, it can’t be “good.” To others, choosing…
The New Power of Women at Work
Feb 11, 2017 • 23 min
While there may be 63 million more cracks in the glass ceiling, the recent election brought into bold relief the challenges faced by women in leadership and in the workplace. While electoral politics is not the perfect hothouse for understanding the…
These are the Guy Who Are Changing the World
Feb 7, 2017 • 25 min
It’s kind of amazing that we spent a whole Presidential campaign talking about jobs and outsourcing and immigration, when the fact is that all of that is yesterday’s news. The real impact on future jobs, income and how we conduct our lives is not coming…
The Humanity That’s Missing From Our Health Care Debate
Feb 6, 2017 • 28 min
Every day we hear what’s become today’s language of medicine. Time with patients, bending the cost curve, managed care, health saving accounts, primary care, etc. It’s all about medicine as a commodity. And certainly it is an often finite and limited…
How Real Is The Prospect of This Being the Asian Century?
Feb 2, 2017 • 21 min
So how many Asians countries have we offended this week? This in spite of the fact that the 21st century may very well be, as many have predicted, the Asian century. The rise of China and the strength of many other Asian economies take on greater…
It Is Happening Here
Feb 1, 2017 • 26 min
In business we often hear those meaningless four words, “this time it’s different.” Usually it means that it isn’t. That it’s just a delusional way to look at the same old problems. In the current political landscape, it certainly seems things are really…
Microdosing…Maybe the Answer to the Next Four Years….It Was the Answer for Ayelet Waldman
Jan 26, 2017 • 20 min
Every day scientists go to work and make discovers, or at least observations, that help make the world a better place. The ongoing expansion of our knowledge of chemistry, of physics and of biology should be the holy grail that we look to to make all of…
Not Carnage, but Hope and Hard Work
Jan 23, 2017 • 28 min
Contrary to recently misplaced words from the President, cities like Detroit and other places in the industrial heartland are not places of carnage. They are and will continue to turn around. Not by dystopian rhetoric, but by the love and hard work and…
Scenes From a Marriage
Jan 17, 2017 • 21 min
Amidst all the noise of politics, especially on the national stage, we forget that it’s still made of up of real people with real lives; complex relationships and evolving marriages Someone once said that the key to political success was learning how to…
It Did Happen Here
Jan 12, 2017 • 22 min
Fear is a funny thing. In our personal life, it often holds us back from things we know we should do. In our nation’s collective life, fear often makes us do crazy things…to have a kind of national emotional and moral breakdown that feeds on the sum total…
Jane Jacobs Understood that Cities Have Always Reflected The Best of Us
Jan 9, 2017 • 27 min
More and more of us are moving to cities. Look at any demographic map and it’s clear we are becoming a more urban nation. Cities are the vital link in our cultural, social and economic well being. And no one knew more, or understood cities better than…
Why Cities Matter…Today More Than Ever
Jan 4, 2017 • 32 min
While Rural America may have made its voice heard in our recent election, the numbers show that more and more Americans, as well as citizen around the world, are moving to cities. Look at any demographic map of the US and it’s clear that we are becoming a…
We could use her comedy perspective today!
Jan 2, 2017 • 24 min
It would be very easy these days to have contempt for where celebrity culture has taken us. Nonetheless, sometimes celebrities just by virtue of their talent, their fame and their own ambition are able to make change in the world. Whether it’s making…
Why So Many Homeless Families in America?
Dec 29, 2016 • 22 min
When we talk about the homeless, especially in our major cities, we imagine those that are visible on the streets and sidewalks. We don’t see the two million plus children who are homeless. The children and families living in cars, or motel rooms, or…
Without The Rocket Girls, There Would Be No Hidden Figures
Dec 29, 2016 • 13 min
Long before NAPA’s Hidden Figures of the 1960’s space program, there were the The Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. When Sally Ride blasted off as the first American woman into space back in 1983, she may not…
How Parents Must Raise A Generation That Will Save Us
Dec 28, 2016 • 20 min
Parenting has gone from something natural to something that has become a job with many specific rules, fears and requirements. In fact it’s both more than than and less than sum total of all those rules. It should be a partnership with our kids, a kind of…
Spy vs. Spy…Then and Now
Dec 19, 2016 • 28 min
Listening to our political discourse today, vis a vis Russia, it brings back powerful reminders of the Cold War. A time when spies and covert action existed in what Le Carre called “a moral twilight.” And yet when we think about people like Kim Philby or…
What We Can Learn from War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World
Dec 18, 2016 • 19 min
In these troubled and uncertain times, it seems that the only thing we can take comfort from is history. Civilizations, empires and nations come and go. But how it happens and why is where we find lessons that may comfort us and maybe save us. Few periods…
Understanding The Forces That Are Shaping the World
Dec 12, 2016 • 27 min
Just as the existential question of why individuals succeed and fail, vexes every aspect of both public policy and personal debate, so to with nations. History tells us of the rise and fall of nations. In so doing it gives us clues about economics,…
The Nordic Model and Why It Works
Dec 9, 2016 • 30 min
Whenever political discussion, particularly on the left, turns to what policies will really work to improve the lives of the middle class, invariably there is talk about the Scandinavian model. Countries like Norway, Denmark, Iceland Sweden and Finland…
We’ll always have sex?
Dec 2, 2016 • 22 min
It seems as if creative destruction and technology are changing everything …even sex. This may be problematic given the degree to which sex is connected to everything else; marketing, relationships, essentially all forms of human interaction. As Emily…
Imagine If Wonder Could Replace Fear
Dec 1, 2016 • 25 min
“Children’s playthings are not sports and should be deemed their most serious actions,” Montaigne wrote. Freud regarded play as the means by which the child accomplishes his first great cultural and psychological achievements; through play he expresses…
In The Cloud, No One Can Hear You Think
Nov 29, 2016 • 23 min
Not a day goes by that you don’t pick up your smartphone to access a piece of information. Every dinner party or get together has the scene where everyone races to their phones to look up a fact or prove a point. It’s so easy….so easy in fact that we…
Can Entrepreneurship Save the World?
Nov 27, 2016 • 28 min
A not terribly successful American President was right when he said that “the business of America is business.” In fact, today it would be safer to say that the business of the world is business. Whether through globalization, or just through the…
Some of Us Want To Go To Canada…Elon Musk Wants To Go To Mars
Nov 27, 2016 • 25 min
Fifty four years ago JFK, at the height of the Cold War, set us on a path to the moon. Today, absent the Cold War and in a world where a new photo or dating app becomes a billion dollar effort, it’s hard to think in terms of such massive, global and…
Why Presidential Appointees Matter
Nov 25, 2016 • 27 min
Back in 1992 the mantra of the Bill Clinton campaign was that “it’s the economy stupid.” Surprising, since the majority of American campaigns for President have always been about the economy. However since the 1970’s that economy has been changing…
Using Design Thinking for Life
Nov 22, 2016 • 26 min
Look around your home or office, or even your car. Everything there was designed. Albeit not always well. Sometimes with an eye towards function, sometimes looking at form and sometimes with thought into the human interface. Wouldn’t it be great if…
Why the Growing Gap Between Business and the Public Hurts Both
Nov 17, 2016 • 23 min
Herbert Hoover said that “the business of America is business.” If he were around today, in the age of globalization, he might have referred to the business of the world. Yet as our current election shows, as the recent Brexit votes showed, the connection…
Scenes from a McMarriage
Nov 16, 2016 • 27 min
Think about those things that are usually the most personal, the most intimate and complex. A few of them are what goes on inside a marriage, why and how people give away money (there is a reason many do it anonymously) and the degree to which the…
What We Can Learn From Looking At Economic Interests That Crossed the Battle Lines During the Last Civil War
Nov 15, 2016 • 18 min
It’s always so interesting all the assumptions we make about history. They tell us something about the assumptions we might be making about our divide today. When we think about the Civil War era, for example, we think in clear lines…the North vs. the…
Why the Isis rhetoric to restore the Caliphate is exactly like Trump wanting to Make America Great Again.
Nov 7, 2016 • 19 min
It’s hard to imagine today, but the East, what we refer to now as the Middle East, was once a pinnacle of civilization. Like all great civilizations, it struggled with conflict between personal values and its laws, about succession and tribalism and…
Every Single Aspect of Today’s Immigration Debate, We’ve Heard Before
Nov 2, 2016 • 26 min
We are a nation of immigrants. For 240 years we have opened our arms to those seeking to come to America and for many of those years New York has been ground zero. But the immigrant story, even in, or especially in New York, has not been one of ease. The…
Why aren’t we having this conversation about Medicare and Healthcare?
Oct 31, 2016 • 26 min
Medicare has often been referred to as the third rail of American politics. Because it has become so woven into the fabric of American life, so necessary and vital for seniors, , both politicians and those that have legitimate interest in improving public…
What Can History Teach Us About Our Current Political Climate
Oct 28, 2016 • 14 min
How many times have we heard that this election is like no other? That this is an extinction level event, threatening the very fabric of the republic. And yet history tells us that we’ve survived far worse. Be it the civil war, McCarthyism, violent labor…
The Desert and the Cities Sing
Oct 28, 2016 • 16 min
Looking at the broad sweep of history and change in the 20th and 21st Century, it’s arguable that the dynamics of Israel, its relationship to its neighbors and the meaning of the Zionist project, remain one of the most complex, historic and creative…
Inequality….the great American Divide
Oct 25, 2016 • 23 min
More than race and more than gender, class and wealth are the great divide in America today. There was a time when those with wealth represented a kind of noblesse oblige. They had sense of obligation to the larger society that had allowed them the…
A Contrarian View of Inequality
Oct 24, 2016 • 35 min
If there is a central political principle that organizes what little policy debate there is in this election it seems to be centered around the idea of “income inequality.” From the embrace of Bernie Sanders by millennials, to boomers and traditional…
Are the Mexican Drug Wars a Kind of Disneyland for Teenage Boys?
Oct 18, 2016 • 24 min
Part mythology and part the result of the current Presidential campaign, we have this image of the US/Mexican border as divided territory. We hear folks talking about it as if at one time north was north and south was south and never the twain would meet.…
Greil Marcus explains Bob Dylan
Oct 14, 2016 • 28 min
For any music to be successful, there must be that special bond between performer and listener. Perhaps nowhere has that bond been stronger then in the unique relationship between Bob Dylan and music critic extraordinaire Greil Marcus. Marcus explasins…
How Nice This Would Be Today!
Oct 13, 2016 • 21 min
Back in 1960, in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the world took note of the decadence of life in the Italian capital of Rome. Inspired by two major political/sex scandals of the era, the film, which would win the 1960 Palme d’or in Cannes, depicted a Rome that…
Why Presidential Staff Matter
Oct 12, 2016 • 20 min
Because we are in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, we know that much coverage goes to the people around the candidate. We want to know who will be the advisors. Who gets to whisper in the ear of the President and who might have the last word…
When Good People Get Caught Up in Racial Cleansing
Oct 4, 2016 • 18 min
It is the original sin of America. 240 years later the issue of race still animates a significant portion of political and social discourse in this country. A nation founded on the idea of all men being created equal, has at its corresponding co-founding…
Why Acceleration Equals Anger
Oct 3, 2016 • 17 min
We throw around a lot of words and ideas about technology, about disruption, about progress and about the impact of technology in speeding up our lives. The fact is the speed up is more than just technology. As we move to cities at increasing rates, as…
I Wonder Who’s Kissinger Now?
Sep 30, 2016 • 26 min
Few modern day political figures have had more written about them than Henry Kissinger. From his own three volume, almost 4000 page memoir, to scores of books and articles. So why another we might ask historian Niall Ferguson. Partly because beyond the…
How Well Do We Really Know Our Parents?
Sep 27, 2016 • 28 min
No matter how close or estranged any of us may be for our parents, there always linger the questions of how well do we know them…that is really know who they are. Think about the questions kids wonder about, what their parents really do a work, their sex…
Where Is The Truth We Have Lost In Information?
Sep 23, 2016 • 16 min
We are awash in information. Estimates are that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day. That’s everything from data from space probes to your photos on Facebook. Google alone process approximately 3.5 billion requests per day. But as TS…
Religion, Politics and Culture…Oh My
Sep 20, 2016 • 36 min
It is the job of historians and journalists to take contemporary information and give context and connection to events far beyond the time in which they happened. This is true for wars, for politics and for religion. It’s true even in these highly…
Race and Medicine
Sep 19, 2016 • 21 min
Nothing in the medical world is the way it used to be. Change is everywhere. The economic pressures, the political pressures and the very men and women who choose medicine as a career, has all being undergoing disruption. Add to this maelstrom the issue…
If You Want To Understand America, Look At Its Food
Sep 16, 2016 • 21 min
We’ve all seen the pushback to Michelle Obama as she has attempted to improve food quality and nutrition in our nation’s schools. In part, it reflects the degree to which everything is politicized these days. But it also reflects the degree to which food…
Strangers in Their Own Land
Sep 14, 2016 • 33 min
The very fact that an unqualified, demagogic, racist could be close to the Presidency tells us less about the candidates and more about the shape and mood of America in the 21st Century. The red/blue divide is after all, not about pure politics. It’s not…
A Stranger in a Strange Land
Sep 12, 2016 • 25 min
It’s a funny thing, all this talk about trade and globalization. On the one hand it’s used to divide us. To create walls and differences. But in fact, it has been one of the most powerful forces in shrinking the world. In allowing us to move personally,…
Rock’s Darkest Day
Sep 8, 2016 • 24 min
We think that events move at a rapid pace today. But back in the late 1960’s, events spiraled out as if in a whirlwind. In 1967 San Francisco experienced the Summer of Love. Just two summers later, we would all experience men landing on the moon,…
“What Does Home Mean To You?”
Aug 31, 2016 • 20 min
When the national conversation does turn to real economic issues, it’s usually about numbers. Growth, GDP, home ownership and of course, the ongoing and too slow recovery. What we often overlook is the impact of those number on real people. Not just those…
Hillbilly Elegy
Aug 29, 2016 • 26 min
Amidst all the talk of the things that divide america, Race and Class always rise to the top. Over the years there have been many efforts to understand the social, cultural historical and policy underpinning of both of these divisions. And sometimes even…
Parents should be Gardeners and not Carpenters
Aug 26, 2016 • 25 min
For those of us that are parents, or grandparents, we are told over and over that parenting is the most important job we will ever have. The assumption is that if we buy Baby Einstein, enroll our kids in the best preschool, (sometimes costing as much as…
“Stoking the Star-Maker Machinery”
Aug 17, 2016 • 18 min
Hollywood has always served a dual role, as both a reflection of the times is operates in and a projector sending out its light showing the broader changes taking place in society. Just as the original Hollywood moguls, people like Warner and Selznick and…
An American Heiress in a Time Far More Violent Than Our Own
Aug 10, 2016 • 19 min
There are many defining markers of particular eras in American history. One of them is notorious crimes. Think about it. Sacco and Vanzetti , the Lindbergh kidnapping, Jeff McDonald, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, O.J. Simpson and the kidnapping of Patty…
Back to School
Aug 7, 2016 • 25 min
People used to joke that the one subject that everybody talked about was the weather. Today, it may very well be that the subject is education. Listen at school events, at the grocery store, at sporting events, everywhere there are parents and children,…
Why Streisand Still Matters
Aug 5, 2016 • 20 min
Pick up any celebrity magazine in any grocery store line and the people gracing the cover were almost certainly unknown five years ago and most likely will be forgotten in another five years. Such is the transitory nature of celebrity culture today. Of…
How the World is Getting Faster, Faster
Aug 4, 2016 • 17 min
We throw around words and ideas about technology, about disruption, about progress and the impact of technology in speeding up our lives. The fact is, it’s more than just technology. As we move to cities at increasing rates, as the workplace demands…
Why the nuclear codes still really matter
Aug 2, 2016 • 19 min
In this time of asymmetrical warfare, terrorism, and the war images that have been projected into our living rooms since Vietnam, it’s easy for those not alive fifty years ago to forget, or even not even consider, the fear, the horror and the specter of…
From Kabul to the Oval Office
Jul 27, 2016 • 33 min
Daniel Patrick Moynihan is often quoted as saying that “you can have your own opinion, but not your own facts.” This is as true in looking at the world, as it is here at home. There are lots of opinions about the US role and US actions in the world,…
Can We Really See Russia From Any Window?
Jul 27, 2016 • 24 min
In October of 1939, Winston Churchill said of Russia that “I cannot forecast to you the actions of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Today, almost 25 years…
Could Star Wars Help Us Solve The World’s Problems?
Jul 25, 2016 • 21 min
It’s no surprise that the influence of western popular culture is everywhere, even in our affairs of state. Remember when Ronald Reagan spoke the phrase “evil empire?” It was just five years after the release of the original Star Wars. The Empire was on…
The War at Home
Jul 20, 2016 • 21 min
Confucius may have said it first, but the oft quoted and repeated phrase, “wherever you go, there you are,” can certainly apply to families in the military. Even in a culture as mobile and connected as ours, the reality of constantly moving, long…
Success and Luck
Jul 15, 2016 • 26 min
As a society, we’ve all been brought up to believe deeply in the idea of the self made man. The power of persistence and hard work. The Horatio Alger mythology of pulling oneself up by your own bootstraps. In modern political theology we hear about…
Bobby Kennedy
Jul 14, 2016 • 27 min
For those of us that old enough, when we think back to JFK and Camelot, we think of a time of innocence, of renewal and of possibility. And then the 60’s happened. There has been a lot of talk lately about the 60’s. About the fissures it opened up, and…
How Digital Memory May Change What Makes Us Human
Jul 8, 2016 • 29 min
Back in 320 BC Socrates worried about how written language would impact our ability to remember. This was long, long before moveable type, the computer, the pda or any form of digital technology. Socrates worried that reliance on simply writing would…
Campaign 1776 - The War That We Almost Lost
Jul 3, 2016 • 25 min
On this day, upon which we celebrate the birth of the “American Experiment,” it’s important to remember that it was not preordained. In spite of today’s overheated patriotic rhetoric, the revolution, the victory of the Continental Army, the success of…
Love Wins
Jun 27, 2016 • 18 min
Oliver Brown, the lead plaintiff in Brown v. the Board of Education was a parent of a child denied access to a Topeka Kansas School. Clarence Gideon changed the way poor defendant are treated in court. Ernesto Miranda and Jane Roe both, in their own ways,…
Who Started the War On Government?
Jun 23, 2016 • 29 min
In 1953 in his first Inaugural Address, Dwight Eisenhower talked about the positive impacts of government. Thirty years later Ronald Reagan castigated the role of government. Twelve years after that we heard this from Bill Clinton that “the era of big…
The Future is Inevitable
Jun 17, 2016 • 20 min
If there is one overriding meme today it’s about fear. Fear of change, fear of a shrinking world, fear of the impact of technology; in short fear of an unknown future. Regardless of that fear, the future is inevitable. It’s the place we are all going to…
Before the Play, There Was the Book
Jun 15, 2016 • 29 min
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda, before the Play there was the book. Miranda has talked about how his inspiration was Ron Chernow’s 2004 book about Hamilton. Here is my May 2004 conversation with Ron Chernow about HAMILTON.
The Power of Grit
Jun 13, 2016 • 22 min
We are a nation that believes deeply in the Horatio Alger story of hard work and pulling oneself up by their bootstraps. In political terms this has translated into an ethos of individualism, which arguably has been corrosive to our body politic. In part,…
What Really Helps Children Succeed?
Jun 11, 2016 • 25 min
We know that children living in poverty generally tend to do worse academically than middle class kids. We also know that even some kids from wealthy backgrounds fail or breakdown. We’ve come to learn, in part through the writing of my guest Paul Tough,…
The Tribal Bonds of Soldiers
Jun 7, 2016 • 15 min
“We hear of of war and the rumor of war.” We thank our soldiers for their service and we think that we are welcoming them back into society. But what are actually welcoming back into? They return often with an experience we cannot really comprehend. An…
The end of humans
Jun 6, 2016 • 30 min
If anything represents the new new thing in our technological age, it’s the arena of artificial intelligence. From the factory floor to the glittering glass office of law firms, smart machine are doing job, after job, after job. The conversation about…
How to deal with conflict all around us
Jun 1, 2016 • 22 min
Look around us. Conflict is everywhere. In our culture, certainly in our politics, in the broader world and in our interactions with institutions. Sometimes, to try and seek shelter from that sea of conflict, we look into our own personal relationships…
Finance vs. American Business
May 28, 2016 • 22 min
Recently I had a conversation with a Professor at UC Berkeley about the subject of Power. In the course of the conversation he referred to what he saw as key centers of power. People who he saw as exercising real power. He referred to great generals,…
Power…it’s not what it used to be.
May 26, 2016 • 24 min
Whether we want to believe it or not, every relationship we have…with a friend, a spouse, a child or co-workers, has a power dynamic as a part of it. Power may shift and morph, but it’s a part of every relationship and often a force for good. In…
The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation
May 25, 2016 • 22 min
We throw around the word globalization without really thinking about all of its impacts. The instant and free flow of goods around the corner and around the world comes with a cost. The iPhone delivered overnight from China, the speciality coffee from…
Susan Cain and The Secret Strengths of Introverts
May 23, 2016 • 21 min
We live in a world of bombast and noise. Sometimes it seems the volume is turned up full blast, all the time. A quick look at our Presidential campaigns is ample evidence. We forget that for leaders, or just average folks, sometimes quiet can have amazing…
A Surfing Life as Art
May 19, 2016 • 26 min
The poet William Blake talked about art as “seeing the world in a grain of sand.” I suppose that what he also meant was the ability to move in so tightly on something, that inside of it, we could construct an almost fourth dimension, through which to view…
Are Riots and Insurrection on the Horizon?
May 16, 2016 • 19 min
Not since the 1960’s have we lived in a time of more public anger. Today, issues of race, economic disparity, power imbalance and distrust of traditional institutions, have all conflated to bring us to what some believe is the brink of insurrection. But…
Why Physics Matters! - Part II
May 13, 2016 • 20 min
A Scottish writer, back in 1915, coined the phrase “think globally, but act locally.” While it was about grassroots movements, it could just as easily have been about our understanding of the universe. The fundamental laws of physics which govern the…
Why Physics Matters!
May 12, 2016 • 23 min
For better or worse, particularly for those of us here in the Bay Area, we have come to think of science in rather utilitarian terms. A better phone, a better app, or a better car. In fact science, especially theoretical physics, is or should be the real…
Even Burglar’s Prefer the City
May 10, 2016 • 21 min
Think about our built environment and how much of it is designed around safety and security. The gated communities, the numbers on top of office buildings, the entrances and exits, garages and elevators. eyes on the street. Now imagine seeing our daily…
The Silicon Valley Business Model, Circa 1920
May 9, 2016 • 22 min
Ask any of the 20 and 30 somethings working in tech in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and I assure they think they are inventing the world. But the fact is that most, including some that have become household names, are merely leaving footprints in the…
Can You Remember When Bipartisan Public Policy Once Mattered?
May 5, 2016 • 23 min
It’s hard to believe from the rhetoric coming from both sides of the campaign trail this year, but there once was a time when policy mattered. When candidates on both sides talked about programs and public policy. Perhaps it was Reagan wanting to shrink…
How Family Trauma is Carried in Our Genes
May 4, 2016 • 22 min
How many times have you experienced an even mild form of depression, or anxiety or obsessive fear and wondered “how you got this way.” It turns out the answer may have as much to do with your ancestry as with your circumstances. While today with things…
Patient Zero and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine
May 2, 2016 • 32 min
We hear it in all the loose talk about health care. About the wonders of medicine, about how we are living longer and about the advances of our doctors. The fact is we are mostly still in the dark ages. The standard treatment for cancer today, poisoning…
One Upon A Time, Clean Air and Clean Water Were A Bipartisan Desire
Apr 29, 2016 • 24 min
There is seemingly nothing in our society today that has not become politicized. From what bathrooms we use to the soda we drink, to the food we eat. Sometimes if feels as if common sense and good judgment have gone out the window. We forget there are…
Is American Unity Still Possible?
Apr 26, 2016 • 20 min
American history shows us that amidst election season we are often divided. That partisan rancor is often high and it is a healthy part of the passion of democracy. But today we seem to have something worse. While we’ve been here before as a county, we…
Girls & Sex
Apr 22, 2016 • 27 min
As they have done in so many other areas, the millennial generation has picked and chosen which parts of their social and sexual legacy they want to inherit. Particularly for millennial girls who were handed a legacy of sexual revolution, increased…
The House That Jack Buiit
Apr 19, 2016 • 26 min
If I gave you all a quiz and asked you to name five tech visionaries and entrepreneurs in the US, you’d all pass. If I asked you to name even one visionary entrepreneur in China, the world’s largest market, you’d probably come up empty. If you didn’t,…
When Revolutionary Violence Was Commonplace
Apr 18, 2016 • 24 min
It’s funny how history often pokes its head out in the framework of contemporary events. Remember during the government shutdown a few years ago, commentators said that the radical elements of the GOP were acting like terrorists from the 60’s and 70’s? We…
Liberty vs. The Common Good
Apr 13, 2016 • 28 min
The debate that raged between Apple and the Federal Government was on the surface about security, privacy and encryption. However, in a larger sense it’s about the balance between our liberty and right to privacy vs. what some perceive as the greater good…
How enlightenment remakes us
Apr 8, 2016 • 22 min
For most of us, the pressures of daily life in the 21st Century are intense. Emails, calls, social media, commutes, every changing technology, all on 24/7. Regardless of the economic and social discussion from all of this, there is the question of the…
We know more and understand less than every before
Apr 5, 2016 • 27 min
T.S. Eliot wrote, in 1934. “Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” He might have written those words yesterday. Certainly we’ve never had more…
What’s The Matter With Democrats?
Apr 3, 2016 • 30 min
When we examine the roots of today’s chaos in the Republican party, we see that much of it has been caused by the party using and manipulating social issues to hold together Red State voters, while ignoring and even acting counter to their real economic…
Anne Garrels’ reports from Putin Country
Mar 29, 2016 • 28 min
A popular desire for authoritarian rule in the face of a changing and sometimes shaky economy. A overheated sense of nationalism, to cover up uncertainty about the future. Scapegoating and military adventurism as a salve for a lack of purpose and policy,…
The Industries of the Future
Mar 25, 2016 • 29 min
Just for fun, pull out or get a copy of the originally published version of the best seller What Color Is Your Parachute. Originally published in 1970, virtually no job that it listed that even touches technology, is even close to the same today. Remember…
Can We Thrive At Midlife?
Mar 23, 2016 • 26 min
We’ve all heard it before. Sixty is the new fifty, fifty is the new forty, etc. It’s all in the service our fear, or dread of aging; of death and the lost endless possibilities of youth. We believed that as we turned the corner onto the proverbial back…
Andy Grove R.I.P. - Our conversation from 1996
Mar 22, 2016 • 13 min
Andy Grove, perhaps more than anyone other than Steve Jobs transformed technology, drove the growth of Silicon Valley and shaped the views of so many of the people that run tech companies today. To say that he was the Godfather of Silicon Valley would not…
The Math Myth
Mar 21, 2016 • 23 min
If we examine why so many students don’t graduate High School, we find that failure to succeed at High School math is often at the core of the problem. Yet we are told almost every day that STEM and that math are the keys to the kingdom of success in the…
Not Even Strip Clubs Are Not Safe From Corporate Homogenization
Mar 16, 2016 • 20 min
The power and reach of corporate America has become a staple of our political dialogue. Consolidation and corporatization has touched almost every area of our culture. The Disneyfication of our communities is almost complete. Food, retail, coffee,…
Making Sense of the Meaning of Life
Mar 15, 2016 • 26 min
In this age of consumerism, instant gratification and information, it’s often hard to think about something as abstract as the “meaning of life.” The ideas of birth, death, and infinity, which used to introduce a popular television show of the early 60’s,…
Obama and the Black Community
Mar 14, 2016 • 20 min
Last week Elizabeth Warren gave a scathing speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, about the seven year efforts, on the part of Republicans, to delegitimize the Obama Presidency. From the birther efforts to Mitch McConnell, saying that his goal, from day…
The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
Mar 11, 2016 • 29 min
Today, globalization faces a crisis of its own success. The international movement of goods, money, communications and ideas has been going on since even before the 12th Century. However, today the context of that globalization has changed. Where once…
Nation on the Take
Mar 9, 2016 • 26 min
Money and politics have become synonymous. Politicians spend that majority of their time raising money, (which they claim they hate) while the cost of campaigns escalates and more money is needed and more money needs to be raised. And where does that…
Immigration Creates Heros
Mar 8, 2016 • 22 min
It’s funny how history repeats itself. In the mid 19th Century, partly in response to the Great Famine, waves of Irish immigrants came to America. Most landed in New York, to seek a new and better life. Then as now, questions of immigration, assimilation…
Why the Contextual aspect of Health Care can Save Lives and Money
Mar 5, 2016 • 22 min
With all the technology around today, doctors still often fail to make the right diagnosis. Usually not due to any failure of knowledge or smarts, but because diagnostics is often as much art as science. As such, it requires an almost intuitive and/or…
Imagine if Bernie Sanders became a right wing intellectual? Stranger things have happened.
Mar 2, 2016 • 21 min
Although, incorrectly attributed to Churchill, most of you have heard the quote that “if you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 40, you have no brain.” While it’s a little silly, it does go…
He Used Journalism as a Way to Understand the World
Feb 29, 2016 • 18 min
It always amazing with famous people, particularly those that sit atop the world stage, to find out things, even after decades, that we didn’t’ know. It’s interesting information. But most of all it reshapes how we understand them and the how these new…
A Rare Look at America at its Best
Feb 26, 2016 • 22 min
Say the word immigration today, and the political implications are both ugly and controversial. On the plus side a survey out just this week shows that a significant majority of young people in the US see themselves as citizens of the world, and not just…
Teens that Read….Imagine
Feb 23, 2016 • 28 min
While I have not seen the movie, I do know from talking to some teens that the new film Pride and Prejudice Zombies has actually inspired kids to ask questions about Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austin.It’s a surprise that in our media saturated culture,…
Artist, Critic, Beauty and Truth
Feb 22, 2016 • 26 min
How many times have you gone to the movies, or to an art exhibit or read a book and not really felt that you’ve completed the experience until you’ve talked about the movie or show or exhibit with someone else? Either the person you went with, or somebody…
With every song in our pocket, why do we listen to the same stuff over and over and over again?
Feb 19, 2016 • 19 min
This year, in a very tired and traditional way, the Grammy’s focused on the world of Pop music. But the fact is, no matter how traditional the show, what’s undeniable is that the world of music is nothing like it was twenty years ago. Today, in your…
The New World of Medical Tourism
Feb 18, 2016 • 24 min
We are all driving cars with parts made all other the world. Our phones, our appliances, our banking is either made, touched and/or connected to every part of the world. Globalization is not going away. In fact, it expanding to now include even our health…
The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X
Feb 17, 2016 • 27 min
I suppose it’s the historian’s curse that sometimes the people they are writing about become such icons, that getting to the truth becomes impossible. Certainly two such icons of our time, of the civil right era, are Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.Both have…
We had all been warned!
Feb 14, 2016 • 19 min
Millions of words have been written about Donald Trump. But one thing always seem to be certain with Trump. Unlike the warnings in the security industry, past performance is absolutely an indication for future returns.So what exactly do those past…
Why we always fall for the con
Feb 10, 2016 • 18 min
Paper Moon, The Sting, American Hustle, The Grifters, House of Games, The Matchstick Men; just a few of the movies we love about con men and hustlers. Yet in real life, we don’t love the likes of Bernie Madoff, or Barry Minkow, or Steven Kunes or Charles…
The Future We Want
Feb 9, 2016 • 30 min
Think about how much the world has changed in just the past 25 years and then think about how little our politics has changed. Not just that we’re still talking about Clinton and Bush, but that the issues, the ideas and the ways in which they are…
The GOP end game
Feb 2, 2016 • 25 min
This year’s GOP primary race, perhaps more than others, does not exist in a vacuum. When Barry Goldwater accepted the GOP nomination in the SF Cow Palace in 1964, he spoke of extremism in the defense liberty and eschewed moderation. Ever since that…
Why Congress needs creative destruction
Feb 1, 2016 • 29 min
There must be a dozen books out right now talking about the disfunction in our politics. Every day pundits, commentators and journalists analyze why our political system doesn’t work.Most all of them don’t see the forest from the trees. What they miss,…
Why the GOP is only a local party now!
Feb 1, 2016 • 24 min
This is a political year like few others. The traditional laws of political gravity have so far, not seemed to apply. Part of it is due to the collection of candidates, the public mood, and the long simmering divisions within the Republican party.It’s…
Caught Between Two Worlds
Jan 26, 2016 • 20 min
Two of the most powerful threads in American history are the immigrant experience and America at war and the impact that those wars have had on the nation and it’s peopleThe impact of WWII, the Japanese American experience and the relationship with Japan…
The Woman Who Are Transforming the Arab World
Jan 25, 2016 • 24 min
Last month Saudi woman cast their votes for the first time in municipal elections in Riyadh. And while this is an incredibly positive development in the region, it also, by its very nature points out how limited many of these woman are and how the deeply…
What does the GOP do now?
Jan 21, 2016 • 26 min
After its loss in the Presidential election of 2012 the Republican Party felt it needed to do its own after action report. In the end, it was determined that all was basically ok and that the party only needed to broaden its tent and do a little better…
Why Political Marriages Matter
Jan 18, 2016 • 29 min
What goes on inside of a marriage is always a mystery. With a political marriage, even more so. We all know the stories of the neighbors who have the apparently idyllic marriage, that ends in divorce. Or the couple that battles incessantly, that have been…
With Each Fill-Up we Support Repression, Tyrants, War and Terrorism — The Link Between Natural Resources and Violence
Jan 18, 2016 • 26 min
How many times have we heard the phrase, “Big Oil,” when sometimes what we really mean is authoritarian oil. There seems to be a direct and long standing historical nexus between those nations that have much in demand natural resources and countries which…
Why Place Matters
Jan 13, 2016 • 23 min
We live today in a world of instant communications. Our computers coupled with services like Skype, allow us to travel to anyplace on earth at the speed of light. We have seen the surface of the Moon and of Mars and have been in meetings with participants…
The Brave New World of Health - It’s not your father’s healthcare
Jan 13, 2016 • 21 min
There is almost nothing that we do the way we might have done it just ten years ago. The way we book travel, get a car, find places to stay, take photographs, date, communicate with your friends, or consume the news. Creative destruction is everywhere.…
The Art of Memoir
Jan 5, 2016 • 20 min
We live in a culture that is about sharing. First we shared music, then we shared our likes on Facebook, our photos on Instagram, our dating preferences on Tinder and now we share our cars, our houses, essentially our life.Amidst all of this, has been our…
A spotlight on child abuse at the Horace Mann School
Dec 26, 2015 • 26 min
No matter how many times we hear the stories of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church, it’s hard to grasp that such things could go on, that they could go on for so long and that so many could be involved as both perpetrators and in the cover up.…
Have we Mainstreamed Islamaphobia?
Dec 21, 2015 • 21 min
The world has changed in many ways since 9/11. One of those clearly has been the way we look upon Muslims, South Asians and Sikhs. Arguably these attitudes and prejudices and the degree to which they have become embedded in the fabric of our national DNA…
Imagine a non religious world? Imagine Peace
Dec 21, 2015 • 31 min
Think about the real divisive issues today, both at home and in the wider world. Radical Islamic faith tearing apart the Middle East. The faith that drives suicide bombers to the far corners of the planet, and at home, divisions about abortion, marriage,…
Why is the technology to simplify our lives, so complicated?
Dec 14, 2015 • 26 min
We’ve been told for years that one of the key goals of technology was to simplify our life. In fact, for many people the opposite has happened. The combination of complexity, feature creep, and the ever updating world of new technology has made the…
A great many children left behind
Dec 11, 2015 • 28 min
There is a school of thought in crisis management that says, if you have a completely intractable problem, sometimes the only solution is to create a larger problem. In fact, to blow things up to the point where you get to start over. Sometimes that’s a…
What did he know that his sons did not?
Dec 8, 2015 • 28 min
When Oliver Wendell Holmes talked about Roosevelt’s first class temperament, he never explained why that was important.It didn’t explain how, for a future President presiding over victory in two wars in just one term, without braggadocio, might matter,or…
Sinatra at 100
Dec 5, 2015 • 34 min
To say that music and pop stars today are transitory is an understatement. Very few performers today are building careers for the ages, as did entertainers like Frank Sinatra. Now on the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth we’re joined by poet David…
How’s Your Faith?
Dec 2, 2015 • 24 min
In these highly polarized times, we all hear the admonition, especially around holidays and family get-togethers, to make sure you never discuss politics or religion. So what is it about both of these subjects that are so personal, so internal so…
Out of Africa
Dec 1, 2015 • 24 min
Even long before the current extreme stratification of America, we heard about two Americas. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Michael Harrington and than John Edwards all talked about two nations living side by side. One of relative middle class ease on the…
Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice
Nov 29, 2015 • 27 min
We have seen that in almost any area of public endeavor, changing the status quo is almost impossible. The combination of entrenched special interests, coupled with the basic human resistance to change, in an era where change is a constant, creates a…
China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Wines
Nov 27, 2015 • 44 min
But what happens when two countries, two trading partners do not have parity on the production of a particular product, but have interlocking and conflicting needs, jealously, interests and misunderstandings? The results, can create a crisis on a global…
Why Lincoln would be appalled by today’s income inequality
Nov 20, 2015 • 23 min
How many of the candidates that are running for President today, have the depth of character and ideas that, if they were to be elected, we still might be talking about them, studying them and being surprised by them, 150 years after their death? The…
How Art Shapes our Nature
Nov 18, 2015 • 21 min
We live in this world usually someplace between the mundane and the absurd. But regardless of which, it’s one that is probably organized to the Nth degree. Our technology is almost embedded in our personal DNA, in order to keep us on task. But is all this…
Witchy Woman - Salem 1682
Nov 13, 2015 • 19 min
We think we know a lot about American history. About the events that shaped the formation of the republic. And while that knowledge might get you an audition for Jeopardy, at its roots sometimes, it’s also true that everything we think we know is wrong.…
The Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Nov 6, 2015 • 26 min
It used to be, during the dark days of the Cold War, watching the Kremlin and trying to read meaning into every nuance, tea leaf and coming and going, was elevated to an art form.Today, it’s the same for the Fed. Every meeting, every utterance of the Fed…
The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Nov 5, 2015 • 37 min
We’ve seen that different cities often emerge as the the center of their times. This has been true from the Greek city states, through the Roman Empire and right up until the present, here in America. It seems that every major cultural, social and…
Eric Bogosian tells of the plot that avenged the Armenian Genocide
Oct 29, 2015 • 23 min
Everything starts somewhere. Even very bad things.Many of the tremors we face today had their roots in the Ottoman Empire, in the run up to the First World War. In what’s come to be called the Armenian genocide. There we began to see the rise of Muslim…
Can the under two hour marathon be accomplished?
Oct 28, 2015 • 18 min
This Sunday over 50,000 people will run in the NYC Marathon. For many participants, part of the appeal is to be part of something larger and more personal than a Facebook group. For others it’s about achieving a personal best. But for a much smaller group…
Is Robin Cook afraid to go to the Hospital?
Oct 23, 2015 • 19 min
Most of us will go into the hospital at some point. When we do, we might be subject to anesthesia, even for a minor procedures. What goes on while we’re asleep is, at least to the patient, a complete mystery. At the same time, we look to the technology of…
How Frederick Forsyth’s real life exceeded his expectations
Oct 22, 2015 • 22 min
In the movie Broadcast News, William Hurt asks his colleague, as written by James L Brooks. “what do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Aaron Altman, played by Albert Brooks tells him, “keep it to yourself.”Bestselling author Frederick…
Sanitized Death from Above
Oct 15, 2015 • 27 min
In the desire to go to war, there is always the effort to sanitize warfare. Shock and Awe, Death from Above, are all about disconnecting man from the faces on the ground. It’s also about how the decisions are made to go to war. It’s always easier when…
Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
Oct 12, 2015 • 27 min
Before Dick Cheney, before Homeland Security, even before the Cold War itself, there existed forces within the US Government bent on shaping their own agenda for personal political gain, financial gain and perhaps worst of all, out of a self serving…
Syria Burning
Oct 12, 2015 • 12 min
The US seems to be giving up on training Syrian rebels. The Russians continue the bombing of ISIS targets, even while some of their missiles land in Iran. Refugees continue to flee from Syria. All while ISIS continues on the march, Palestinian protests…
Is the country even worse off than it seems?
Oct 12, 2015 • 33 min
As a nation we have often faced existential crisis. The Civil War, the onset of the industrial revolution, the robber barons, the great depression, McCarthyism, the struggle for racial equality, assassination and the changes of the 60’s Each time,…
Detroit once symbolized America
Oct 7, 2015 • 22 min
Every great city has it’s defining era. Not always good, but certainly one that shapes its fortunes and reinforces its place in the urban pantheon. For New York it was perhaps the 50s, for Paris the mid 1920s, for San Francisco the ‘60s and for Hollywood,…
A Not So Random Walk Through L.A.
Oct 6, 2015 • 26 min
The lyrics say that “nobody walks in L.A.” That certainly has been true, in a city whose inhabitants were long hermetically sealed inside their cars…as if in a pneumatic tube shuttling from place to pace. L.A. was for a long time, a place where as John…
War of the Whales: An environmental adventure story
Oct 2, 2015 • 21 min
We all know the old bromide, you can’t fight City Hall. Well imagine how tough it must be to take on the US Navy. Especially if the cause is about the condition of whales, and those who are fighting are an environmental lawyer and a Navy whistleblower.…
This woman changed and defined Hollywood in the 70’s
Sep 24, 2015 • 27 min
Hollywood is a like sports or politics. Each generation gives us stars and personalities that both reflect the culture and tenor of the times and also transcend it in ways that pave the way for the next generation.By the 1970’s Hollywood had seen a lot of…
War Correspondent to the World’s Women
Sep 21, 2015 • 24 min
The world today is a dangerous, unstable and violent place. And while Stephen Pinker tells us that today is less violent than at any other time in human history, images from Africa and the Middle East would seem to belie that.But when we look at places…
The Moral Panic of the 1980’s
Sep 16, 2015 • 29 min
We see today in the debate regarding immigration, a little bit about the the ways that falsehood and mass hysteria, mixed with doses of fear and change, can create a movement.Back in the 1980’s a combination of delayed reaction to the 60’s, to the rise of…
The Making of Asian America
Sep 14, 2015 • 24 min
For reasons that are both complicated and simplistic, immigration has become the issues of our time. Fifty years ago the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act put in place the system we have today. That system has helped make us a nation of of…
Labor Day for Domestic Workers
Sep 8, 2015 • 24 min
Imagine one movement the combines every contemporary progressive social issue; race, immigration, Civil Rights, the labor movement, gender discrimination. It may sound on the surface like the ultimate impossibility. In fact, they all did converge in the…
Is College Football worth the cost?
Sep 2, 2015 • 25 min
In spite of a rough stock market and a bumpy economy there is one business, not a tech company, that has grown revenues from $229 million in 1999 to over 800 million today. That is the business that is the ten largest programs in College football. It’s a…
The Gift of Failure
Sep 1, 2015 • 31 min
I’ve often told the story of a newly minted teacher considering her first job. She had several offers, but in the end there were two that were intriguing to her. One in a difficult and struggling inner city school district; the other in a very wealthy,…
Wes Craven - The Joy of Being Scared
Aug 31, 2015 • 12 min
Through the efforts of both critics and audiences, we’ve come to understand that “genre films,” are just as significant as mainstream films. Few mastered the genre of horror and suspense to the degree that Wes Craven did. From his first, LAST HOUSE ON THE…
Oliver Sacks R.I.P
Aug 31, 2015 • 20 min
How do we navigate the world in spite of change? It’s one of the central tenants of modern society. Over and over again, Oliver Sacks used the experience and metaphor of debilitating conditions to explain the amazing resilience of the human mind. A…
The not so perfect storm
Aug 27, 2015 • 23 min
The phrase “The Perfect Storm” has come to mean a lot of things. Most notably the unique and singular coming together of disparate forces to mark a disaster. In that context the City of New Orleans experienced the perfect storm not just from the…
The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing
Aug 25, 2015 • 35 min
When we think about the iconography and the history of contemporary policing and urban criminal justice what comes to mind? Sixty years ago it was Dragnet and Joe Friday. Later, everything from Adam 12 to the work of Joe Wambaugh. Then their was the…
Plenty Ladylike
Aug 25, 2015 • 18 min
Even today, fifteen months before Election Day, we are in full political campaign season. And while we hear a lot of loose talk about issues, it’s easy to forget that politics is also about both the art of governing, and sometimes doing so in the real…
Beat L.A.
Aug 18, 2015 • 22 min
One of the ongoing conundrums in sports is whether it’s about the team or the individual? Back in the early days of the NFL, Pete Rozelle believed passionately, that in a game played only once a week, the team was the key to marketing. In Basketball,…
Why Addiction is Not a Disease - Recovering from Recovery
Aug 18, 2015 • 19 min
We have developed what amounts to an addiction/industrial complex. Each year billions are spent, in both public and private dollars, to treat, cure, and mitigate addiction. But is it working? Are today’s so called “best practices,” having measurable,…
Life after Nuclear War
Aug 7, 2015 • 21 min
As we debate the ins and out of nuclear proliferation, on editorial pages and in the drawing rooms of Georgetown; in the halls of Congress and in the boiler room political operations of AIPAC, it’s worth taking note, on this 70th anniversary of the dawn…
From a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League
Aug 4, 2015 • 25 min
As we debate immigration, we still always look favorably on the “Dreamers.” The young undocumented students thriving here in America. It’s easy to romanticize that experience and even draw conclusion from the success of individuals.The greater challenge…
Eighty Years Ago, Paperback Books Were Considered “Creative Destruction”
Jul 31, 2015 • 20 min
Today when we think about the publishing industry, we usually think about the ways that it is changing to accommodate the digital world. E-books, E-readers, cloud storage and white backgrounds dominate the conversation.But believe it or not, there have…
Is Water the Sine Qua Non of “red” and “blue” America?
Jul 30, 2015 • 28 min
I’m often the first to criticize the way in which we are too quick to put things in political terms. Too often the rush to label “red” or “blue” America gets us into trouble. But one aspect seems to hold. We are bluer politically as we get closer to…
The New Science of Criminal Injustice
Jul 29, 2015 • 33 min
We are told, almost from childhood, that we have a legal system and a government of laws and not of men. Yet it is a system created by man and subject to the biases, frailties and inherent actions of human behavior.Yet from such a system we often dispense…
Are you ever surprised that you are being lied to?
Jul 21, 2015 • 25 min
To about the same degree that Captain Renault was “shocked, just shocked” to find gambling going on Casablanca, that’s how shocked many of us are to find that politicians and business leaders lie to us.Whether it’s the latest candidate promising to make…
Big Science and The Launch of the Military Industrial Complex
Jul 16, 2015 • 22 min
We all remember Ben Franklin flying his kite, or Alexander Graham Bell calling for Watson, even Jonas Salk working quietly in his laboratory.Today science, or at least big science, is a global effort. It involves governments, private enterprise,…
Baseball’s Endless Season - Is it too long?
Jul 14, 2015 • 15 min
As we hit the half way mark in the Baseball season, how many players are injured, how many are burnt out already? Are we creating a softer group of players or is 162 games in 180 days, just too many games? Washington Baseball writer Barry Svrluga explores…
Primates of Park Avenue
Jul 10, 2015 • 21 min
We have always studied other cultures so that perhaps we could better understand our own. The realm of cultural anthropology has provided us keen insights into our evolutionary nature and why we do the strange things we do, as human beings.Wednesday…
How to Keep Listening When the World Wants a Fight
Jul 6, 2015 • 22 min
Listen to any of the Republican candidates and it’s clear that the culture war issues that have driven so much political debates over the past 50+ years, are still going on.Our political discourse is has polarized as ever. Even to the point where we’ve…
Being Nixon: A Man Divided
Jun 27, 2015 • 30 min
Most of us know the legendary story of the group of blind men who touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk or the tail.. They then compare notes and learn that they are in…
Nixon’s the One
Jun 27, 2015 • 25 min
Most of us know the legendary story of the group of blind men who touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk or the tail.. They then compare notes and learn that they are in…
Charles and Ray Eames and the technology of timelessness
Jun 23, 2015 • 33 min
Long before Steve Jobs and Jony Ives bridged the divide between design and technology, before Target began selling Michael Graves tea kettles, Charles and Ray Eames made the connection between design, public perception and function. They created designs…
Before Jobs, Musk, Hewlett & Packard, or Ford…there were The Wright Brothers
Jun 19, 2015 • 24 min
We live today in what many consider the age of technology. Everyday there are new apps, new ways in which incumbency is disrupted. But very few of the creators or inventors of today, understand the long view, or the way they are changing the world.Steve…
A Russian Spy, A Double Agent, The FBI and Hooters Parking Lot
Jun 17, 2015 • 18 min
Today boys want to grow up to be professional athletes, or tech billionaires. But there was time when being a secret agent seemed like just about the coolest thing to do. Whether it was the literary exploits of Bond or Bourne, or the real story Philby, or…
Never bet against Elon Musk’s vision of the futrue
Jun 16, 2015 • 25 min
There is always someone that leads us into the future. Someone whose vision and entrepreneurship combine to make the next big idea, the next big thing.This has been true from Franklin, to Edison, from From Henry Ford to Thomas Watson, from Bill Gates to…
Would the real Alex Vause please stand up
Jun 12, 2015 • 19 min
Many of you, I’m sure, think you’d love the idea of seeing your life portrayed in movies or television. But imagine if you knew nothing about it. If one day, you saw an ad for a TV show, and you, or at least your life, was the central character. Would you…
How the law is shaping families and how new kinds of families are shaping the law
Jun 11, 2015 • 23 min
In the world of families, all eyes are on same sex marriage. In the Courts, in Statehouses, and in the political arena. But on the ground, in the households and families where people live, this is just one manifestation of the change in family structures…
Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship
Jun 5, 2015 • 25 min
Today we have talking heads and pundits. But back in the second half of the 20th Century we had writers and public intellectuals, whose ideas, attitudes and personalities became a part of our public discourse.Two of those that were the touchstones of the…
Who cares what Jefferson would do?
Jun 4, 2015 • 22 min
If we have problems in America, the solution is usually simple, check with the Founding Fathers. Can’t figure out modern health care, check with the Founders. Can’t deal with modern weaponry on America’s streets, check in with the nation’s Founders. Need…
The fall of CrackBerry
Jun 2, 2015 • 23 min
Many years ago, Harvard Business School perfected something called the “case study method.” A new educational innovation that presented the challenges confronting companies, nonprofits, and government organizations—complete with the constraints and…
One Nation Under God…and Corporation
May 26, 2015 • 25 min
It was Churchill who reminded us that history is written by the victors. Well this is as true of religious history as it is of military, political and geopolitical history. Do you ever wonder how our religious and political divides of today came to be?…
The Brain and the Gut…together again
May 24, 2015 • 33 min
We all remember the youthful spiritual song Dem Bones, about the angle bone being connected to the shin bone, the thigh bone being connected to the hip bone, etc. What the song didn’t include is the connection between the stomach and the brain. And it’s…
Can a Well-Tuned Brain keep up with the modern world?
May 21, 2015 • 27 min
Everyday it seem the world speeds up. The advances of technology, the need to make faster decisions, multitasking and a sometimes dizzying array of options, are all part of the creative destruction that is making the world a more efficient an in many…
There once was a time in Washington when negotiation and compromise were not dirty words
May 17, 2015 • 19 min
In talking to someone recently about my guest, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, they went into a bit of tirade of criticism of him, saying that he was “just one of those Democrats they trot out to make things go away, to sweep things under…
Project Based Learning for the Military and Business
May 15, 2015 • 22 min
It has often been conventional wisdom that the military is always fighting current wars, based on lessons learned from the last war. That’s why we used centralized WW2 tactics in Vietnam, and then turned around and used the lessons of Vietnam in Iraq. But…
Why Peter Pan is the model of our Infantile Age
May 14, 2015 • 23 min
We are a culture obsessed with youth. We are told that youth is wasted on the young, but we do everything in our power to stay young.Growing up is seen as giving up. We are told that with each passing year, doors close behind and head of us. In short,…
Every generation has its own disease that moves from doomed to hopeful
May 11, 2015 • 24 min
It sometimes seem that every generation has its disease. In earlier generations it was Tuberculosis, in the 40’s and 50’s the fear and the scourge of Polio gripped the nation.In the 80’s and 90’s, the fear and reality of AIDS overwhelmed the national…
A Philosophy of Happiness
May 7, 2015 • 20 min
Someone once wrote that happiness is serious business. But should happiness be a goal in and of itself, or is it simply a construct for achieving what we really desire, and helping us in finding our pace in the world? Woody Allen in Annie Hall, saw the…
Why we are all stronger in broken places
May 5, 2015 • 23 min
Nietzsche said “that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” Little did anyone know at the time that those words have a powerful psychological basis. Everyday we hear about trauma. About people surviving horrible tragedy to themselves and to their…
Ken Robinson on Creative Schools
Apr 28, 2015 • 28 min
For years now, Sir Ken Robinson has been tirelessly explaining that conformity in education does not work. That it is the enemy not only of creativity, but of an authentic life. But understanding the problem, even articulating it as brilliantly as Sir Ken…
How simplicity can thrive in a complex world
Apr 28, 2015 • 22 min
Earlier this month most of you completed your taxes. Probably either you had someone else do it, or you spent hours navigating the complexity of the Federal tax code. Perhaps that tax code is the apotheosis of complexity…with the possible exception of…
Our Kids
Apr 27, 2015 • 27 min
Back in 1995, Robert Putnam argued in his bestselling book, Bowling Alone, that civic life in America was declining. That we had reached a kind of apogee from things like the closing of the American mind, our culture of narcissism and the ideas of people…
The new white, middle class, suburban heroin addict
Apr 24, 2015 • 31 min
For years we’ve had just one image of the drug wars. Images conjured up from movies like the Godfather or Scarface, or reading about the LA battles between the Bloods and the Crips.But drugs, like everything else, are subject to the pressures and demands…
Why men fight and why we love to watch
Apr 23, 2015 • 22 min
Hundred of years ago if men wanted to settle a personal matter, even a political one, they picked up swords or guns and dueled their way to resolution. We all remember everything from d’Artagnan to the Gunfight at the OK Corral.Today there are many that…
Water in all the wrong places
Apr 20, 2015 • 24 min
Those of us in California know all too well what’s its like to be living in the midst of a drought. Gov. Jerry Brown recently put in place restrictions demanding that urban water use be cut by 25%. Already the push back is coming. In a state where…
Barney Frank
Apr 17, 2015 • 29 min
One of the big things missing in politics today is historical and institutional memory. The sense of collegiality, of institutional respect and the positive value of public policy, seem to have been replaced by gotcha politics, partisan positioning and…
The capital of 20th century urbanism
Apr 15, 2015 • 23 min
Sometimes, even the most interesting of subjects are presented to us in more or less predictable or at least accepted ways. It’s rare that a work of ideas come to us in an truly imaginative form. But that is exactly what David Kishik has done with The…
We are in the Golden Age of Public Shaming
Apr 13, 2015 • 17 min
There once was a time, back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when public shaming was the norm. The stockades, corporal punishment, torture marks and even the famed Scarlet Letter, all represented ways in which society could express it’s scorn.Today, with…
In Defense of Liberal Education
Apr 7, 2015 • 23 min
The rate of voter participation in America continues to decline. Yes, some of it is our politics today. But another part of it just may be a failure to embrace the true education for citizenship.And it’s no wonder. Some of the fundamental ideas of what it…
RoadTrip Nation’s ROADMAP
Apr 7, 2015 • 23 min
Everyday we hear and read more about how life is changing. Probably while we were sleeping last night, someone came up with an app that will alter the way we work or play or interact.It’s not surprising then that all of this profoundly impacts the careers…
The real evolution of Steve Jobs
Apr 3, 2015 • 30 min
One of the dangers of our celebrity culture today, is that we tend to look at those who’ve attained that status, regardless of their field of endeavor, as fully formed human beings, whose life began and ended with the achieve that catapulted them into…
Creative Destruction comes to Warfare
Apr 2, 2015 • 28 min
Technological change and creative destruction is everywhere. It’s changed the way we work, the way we interact with each other, the foundation of education, and not surprisingly the nature of warfare.We’ve all seen the media images of drones giving us…
Editing life code
Mar 31, 2015 • 2 min
Conventional wisdom has long held that evolution is something that takes place slowly and over centuries. Concurrently we know that technological changes, and changes in the human condition have speeded up at a hyper multiple pace. We have often thought…
The Myth of America as a “Christian Nation”
Mar 30, 2015 • 23 min
It was Churchill who reminded us that history is written by the victors. Well this is as true of religious history as it is of military, political and geopolitical history. We’ve all been been told since childhood of the Christian foundation of America.…
Boston’s other unsolved crime
Mar 23, 2015 • 26 min
Art theft is always a funny thing. The public is usually fascinated by the story, but can seldom feel the kind of empathy with the theft, they feel if their neighbors car were broken into.Art theft, at the highest level is a very special an almost elite…
Eating Viet Nam
Mar 20, 2015 • 21 min
Historians and journalists have devoted millions of pages to trying to understand the world. In fact, it may be a lot simpler than that. Just maybe it can be done by eating.We’ve all seen politicians in America, campaigning by eating the local foods and…
Space is a family business
Mar 18, 2015 • 19 min
Even back in the tumultuous 60’s we were enamored with the space program. The idea of man “slipping the surly bonds of earth,” captured the nation’s attention at a time when so much other news was negative. Kids everywhere wanted to be astronaut. There…
Gary Wills on The Future of the Catholic Church
Mar 16, 2015 • 26 min
If there is a single point of cognitive dissonance in our world today, it revolves around change. We love change. We think we like to embrace the new, and yet we fear change. We hang on to a the past, forgetting that the past, that feels oh so…
The End of College
Mar 12, 2015 • 28 min
Our College and University system in America grew up in opposition to the old European model. Americans didn’t want to be locked in to specific training or apprenticeships. We believed that the goal of education was to engage the mind in the realities of…
Suicide is not Painless
Mar 10, 2015 • 22 min
Most of us remember the theme song from Mash, “Suicide is Painless:”Through early morning fog I seevisions of the things to bethe pains that are withheld for meI realize and I can see…Philip Connors, through the suicide of his brother, would come to see…
How the Constitution Invented Hollywood and Silicon Valley
Mar 9, 2015 • 20 min
Few classes in law school are drier and more arcane than courses on patents and copyrights. And while the debate about intellectual property includes the worlds of entertainment, literature and technology, we don’t often make the connections between those…
LBJ, Selma and the Great Society
Mar 7, 2015 • 26 min
Our mission statement as a country tells us we are a government of laws, and not of men. Yet without great men, including Adams, who said this, we would not have the laws that have provided the framework for our greatness.Today, the laws that shape our…
Lies, Damned Lies and Love
Mar 5, 2015 • 26 min
As novels and movies have repeatedly shown us, when both partners in a relationship tell the story of that relationship, the images, the memories, the experience is generally profoundly different.Even in good or strong relationships, the perception is…
The Federalist Society and the conservative Revolution
Mar 4, 2015 • 28 min
As we watch presidential candidates, on both sides, putting together their respective teams for 2016, it reminds us that politics and public policy is indeed a team sport.Both sides draw from a deep bench of those that served in previous administrations…
This is your Brain on Food
Mar 3, 2015 • 28 min
We’ve all heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” Yet when we think about some of the things we consume, the fast food, the junk food, the endless meals out, assembled with unknown ingredients, perhaps it’s no surprise that we have an obesity…
What we don’t see about the Middle East
Mar 2, 2015 • 16 min
To the extent that we are all the sum total of our wider experience and our private moments, imagine how that might be magnified amidst the terror, turmoil, and violence of Middle East.A place where even the quiet moments of love, life and even pain are…
Lemony Snicket vs. The Pirates
Mar 2, 2015 • 10 min
It was Thoreau who said that “the masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” The characters at the center of Daniel Handler’s new adult novel We Are Pirates want very badly to avoid that fate. And yet, they find that sometimes the alternative is even…
Chuck Todd captures the Catch 22 of the Obama Presidency
Feb 27, 2015 • 26 min
Fifty-five years ago Joseph Heller gave us the paradox of Catch 22. It came to mean a set of contradictory ideas and rules that conflicted with themselves. And while Catch 22 remains a cornerstone of American literature, it also just might be a…
Can Boomers afford to age with dignity?
Feb 26, 2015 • 26 min
It’s been said that if you live to an old age, you give give up all the things that make you want to live to an old age. At a time when 10,000 boomers a day are reaching retirement age, when the generation that sought to change the world, is being changed…
Filmmaking that truly stands the test of time
Feb 25, 2015 • 24 min
Can you imagine if immediately after 9/11, filmmakers like Scorsese, Spielberg, Coppola, Fincher or Apatow would enlist in the military to make films about the war on terror? Films that would show America at war against its Taliban and Middle East…
Tales from Both Sides of the Brain
Feb 23, 2015 • 25 min
How many times have you heard someone say that they were of two minds on a particular subject? What they were in fact reflecting and acknowledging, is the idea that we are literally of two minds. That the left and right hemispheres of the brain represent…
The Man Who Couldn’t Stop……The Man Who Couldn’t Stop……
Feb 20, 2015 • 26 min
How many of you have ever left the house, gotten half way to your destination and were convinced that you had left the oven on, or left the door open, even though the rational side of you knew you had not? The more you tried to think about it, the more…
The Science behind Touch, Pleasure and Pain
Feb 19, 2015 • 27 min
For the ten million or so people that saw Fifty Shades of Grey this past weekend, or the many more millions who read the books, in a way what they were doing is trying to understand touch. The complex ways in which our bodies and our brains process…
Lynsey Addario: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War
Feb 18, 2015 • 23 min
There is a principle in physics known as the uncertainty principle. the idea simplified is that it’s impossible to observe or measure certain phenomenon without having an impact on that which is being observed or measured.In many ways we might look for…
Has Italy always been falling apart?
Feb 17, 2015 • 24 min
Back in the early 1960’s, in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the world took note of the decadence of life in the Italian capital of Rome. Inspired by two major political/sex scandals of the era, the film which would win the 1960 Palme d’or in Cannes, depicted a…
Miranda July
Feb 17, 2015 • 14 min
Short Stories, films ,novels and performance art. Over the years we’ve spoken to many guest that do some of these things, at the top of their profession. However, Miranda July has done them all and all of them exceedingly well Her collection of short…
Just how dangerous is Vladimir Putin? Ask Bill Browder!
Feb 16, 2015 • 34 min
We often throw terms around in our political and geopolitical debates like capitalist, and communist, and oligarch, and class divide. But very few who use these hot button terms truly understand the deep essence of what they really mean.One of those that…
Marriage today is not your parents marriage…but it just might be your grandparents
Feb 16, 2015 • 21 min
It was Woody Allen who said that “marriage was the end of hope.” We know from the behavior of millennials today that while they strongly favor equality of marriage, they are not to keen on the institution for themselves.Arguably marriage today, like so…
Is the perfect Battery the holy grail of the electronic age?
Feb 13, 2015 • 23 min
If any one issue has dominated both our international and domestic dialogue it is the subject of energy. A developed and developing world, with every increasing energy needs and, in spite of the current glut, not an endless supply of oil.Enter alternative…
Fear, Hope and Dread
Feb 11, 2015 • 22 min
It is often said that to name something is to understand it. If that’s true, than Scott Stossel has a greater understanding of anxiety than anyone else. In his book, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind, he takes us…
Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America
Feb 7, 2015 • 24 min
Why is it that certain cultural and/or ethnic groups tend to have successes, far in excess of their percentage of the population? Jews, Indians, Iranians, Chinese, Mormons, and a few others.These groups are simply more financially and academically…
Vidal
Feb 6, 2015 • 53 min
Today we have talking heads and pundits. But back in second half of the 20th century we had writers and public intellectuals, whose ideas, attitudes and personalities became a part of our public discourse.Gore Vidal was one of those. He wrote about…
The paid dogs of war
Feb 4, 2015 • 26 min
The world is a dangerous place. We no longer have the moral clarity and security of the cold war, or of earlier wars where we knew precisely who our enemy were. Today, as non state actors battle nations and each other, the asymmetry of conflict has…
Alexandra Fuller
Feb 3, 2015 • 18 min
It is one of the tragic ironies of the psychoanalytic age that we are attracted to people, particularly our partners, who often turn out to be the very ones that begin to repel us later in life.At first, its those once endearing and now annoying habits.…
The Brain’s Way
Feb 2, 2015 • 23 min
Imagine a machine that can rewire itself, finds its own way to work around non working circuits, heal its own bugs and viruses, find and adapt to new sources of energy and know when it needs repair and attention.No, it’s not the latest product from…
A Biography of PTSD
Jan 30, 2015 • 29 min
Sometimes the reality of war is just too complex and absurd to be understood in real time. Perhaps that why books about war are so powerful and important. That’s why novels like Catch 22, Slaughterhouse 5, The Things they Carried, A Rumor of War, and The…
The last time the music business died
Jan 28, 2015 • 21 min
As music and the music business evolves today, the content of the music often plays second fiddle to the debate about economics. About digital royalties, performance royalties, Pandora, Spotify, etc. In many way the medium impacts the message, the songs…
The Legacy of Tahrir Square…Four years later
Jan 27, 2015 • 22 min
Revolutions are hard AND exciting. They combine courage and new ideas and the excitement of once in a generation change. However what’s even harder, is what comes next. The way in which the apogee of a moment of revolutionary fervor sticks and is…
Personality and temperament determine everything!
Jan 23, 2015 • 22 min
F. Scott Fitzgerald, in The Great Gatsby, defines personality as “an unbroken series of successful gestures.” Certainly that is the outer manifestation. But science, brain research and cutting edge psychology tells us that it’s all part of a much more…
Congress then and now….Lyndon Johnson and the Battle for the Great Socieity
Jan 20, 2015 • 24 min
American political history is a complex and dynamic process. In that process, there have been periods of entropy and period of great progress and imagination. Both have been a function of a political system designed by our founders. But also, the temper…
The media history that must be the context for the Net Neutrality debate
Jan 16, 2015 • 19 min
So many of the weaknesses of our media today are blamed on the digital revolution. Certainly the transition to digital has rendered change. But to a large extent those changes only magnify some of the fundamental flaws that afflicted American media as it…
The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years
Jan 14, 2015 • 22 min
Our nation was founded in opposition to dynasty. From the push back to George III, to our concerns about another Bush/Clinton Presidential race, Americans have always been suspicious of the dynastic impulse.Yet today, we seem to be smothered in a dynasty…
Can anybody save Yahoo?
Jan 13, 2015 • 29 min
Just as we demand a lot from our political leaders today, we also demand a lot from CEOs. Even if they are not founders, they need to be telegenic, charismatic, visionary, have a detailed plan, and adept at working the politics of the boardroom. They need…
The Political Classroom or can we ever teach citizenship again?
Jan 13, 2015 • 21 min
We live in an age in which everything has become politicized. The coffee we drink, the food we eat, the shows and movies we watch, and the cars we buy,all seem to convey some kind of political message.Where once these things represented class, or taste,…
The Internet is Not the Answer
Jan 10, 2015 • 30 min
The industrial revolution changed the world. It changed the nature of work, it displaced workers, it ushered in the Gilded Age and created more inequality. It shrank the world, drove consumerism, and reshaped political ideology.The Internet revolution,…
The Killing of the Creative Class
Jan 8, 2015 • 28 min
Long before radio, I spent years in Hollywood. This was just as the Word Processor and the high volume copy machine were taking hold. When those things came along, everyone joked that screenwriting software and easy access to copying machines would lower…
Close Encounters of the mystical kind
Jan 5, 2015 • 16 min
It was Churchill who said that when the present sits in judgment of the past, we loose the future. Obviously not the attitude of memoirists.But also not the attitude of someone who looks back on the totality of one’s life and tries to understand who they…
The Medicalization of Ordinary Life
Dec 31, 2014 • 27 min
When something goes wrong with a car or an appliance, or even the human body, the “instructions” for repair are often clear. However my guest argues that the manual that tries to define the parameters and terms of mental illness, is without that kind of…
Sit right down and write myself a letter
Dec 27, 2014 • 26 min
What might our knowledge of history be like if snapchat had been around in earlier centuries?The good news is that it wasn’t. In a time when people wrote letters, not texts or emails, those letters got saved and later curated. Letters that give us little…
The Sounds of Silence…Deaf Culture and what it means to hear
Dec 26, 2014 • 24 min
Remembering the early days of the cell of phone, we all remember, “can you hear me now.” For most of us this was modern nuisance. But for some, those that are hearing impaired, or profoundly deaf, those words have far greater meaning. While much progress…
What caring and service really means
Dec 24, 2014 • 17 min
What would it take for you to give up your Western lifestyle, move to Ghana, live in a mud hut and commit yourself to helping thousands of lost children?You would think that this kind of thing only happens in the movies, or in literature. That real lives…
Language is Culture, Culture is Language
Dec 23, 2014 • 13 min
To achieve proficiency in a new language late in life is near impossible. But suppose you didn’t just want to learn the language, you wanted total immersion. You wanted to learn the culture, the origins of the language, to become one with the language.…
Why Learning Beats Knowing
Dec 23, 2014 • 21 min
It used to be that the classroom prepared you for a career. Today your lifetime career is a classroom, where you must be continuously learning. In doing so, the horizons open up and opportunities abound.The traditional straightjacket of education and…
A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World
Dec 22, 2014 • 14 min
One of the foundations of the changing nature of education, is the idea of deeper learning. Direct, hands on mastery of content, though solving real world problems in a collaborative way. This has created dramatic results in all academic areas.But it’s…
The quest driven life
Dec 19, 2014 • 17 min
To dream the impossible dream has been the great engine of progress in the world. From the early explorers, to scientists and engineers, to man’s quest to explore the planets. The story of exploration is the story of mankind. When John Kennedy laid down…
We may be an insignificant and fleeting moment in time…and we know it
Dec 18, 2014 • 25 min
Conventional wisdom has long held that we live in a vast and indeed expanding universe, in which we humans are but a seemingly small and insignificant part. But in that classic view, are we not giving ourselves enough credit? Perhaps we are more unique…
Gus Speth explains why the Environmental Movement still matters
Dec 17, 2014 • 26 min
Perhaps part of what plagues us when we think about most issues today, is that we tend to see them in very myopic ways. The world is a more and more complex place, and yet we do the opposite of what we should do. We too often silo information or…
Why Dreamers matter!
Dec 16, 2014 • 16 min
How often does a story leap off the pages of a magazine, to become a book, a documentary and a major motion picture? Very rarely. And when it does, it’s clear that the story it tells has touched a powerful nerve among readers and viewers. Such is the…
The best places to work
Dec 12, 2014 • 24 min
We’ve recently seen year end lists of the best places to work. Free food, massage, pets, and a beautiful campus are all contributing factors. However, research, behavioral analysis and science can also tell us what make a workplace effective, productive,…
The healing power of our pets
Dec 7, 2014 • 14 min
While the origins of the quote are sketchy, Harry Truman, frustrated by the problems he faced in the White House, is reported to have said that “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”Today the same might be said of our pets in general, or in the…
Cheryl Strayed’s WILD
Dec 5, 2014 • 18 min
Back in the 1940’s theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the serenity prayer. You all know it. It tells us to accept those things that we can’t change and the courage to change those we can and the wisdom to know the difference. Over the years, it’s been…
If you’re afraid of Genetically Modified Food, you’ll really be afraid of Genetically Modified Humans
Dec 4, 2014 • 20 min
During the recent Ebola scare, we were often reminded of the dozens of science fiction thrillers that set the stage for our fears. From the Andromeda Strain, to World War Z, The Stand and The Hot Zone, to name just a few.Today, the cutting edge of genetic…
Only satire can save us now
Dec 3, 2014 • 26 min
We live in an ironic age. The speed of modern communication, juxtaposed with the traditional entrenched problems we face, provides a disconnect that only humor can bridge.Think about it this way. How often has humor engaged us to better understand…
Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production
Dec 2, 2014 • 28 min
Even amidst the concerns about the impact of cattle on global warming, the disgrace of industrialized farming and slaughterhouses, and the increased worldwide population that has sworn off beef, it’s still very much a part of our diet. And perhaps it…
Is Word of Mouth advertising driving Black Friday this year?
Nov 28, 2014 • 26 min
John Wanamaker, the famous department store magnate, once said that he knew that at least half of his advertising budget was wasted. Problem was, he didn’t know which half. For anybody that’s in business today, you know how difficult it is making your…
The Marshmallow Test
Nov 26, 2014 • 22 min
I can’t even count the number of times that guests on this program have spoken about what’s become known as the Marshmallow Experiments. In conversations ranging from business, to public policy, to personal psychology, the impact of this experiment in…
Valerie Plame’s BURNED
Nov 26, 2014 • 20 min
We live in an information age. The goal of virtually every App on our phone, and most websites, is perfect information; about the world, about our neighbors, about our friends and about ourselves.So how is it, that with all this information, the world is…
The Business Moments You Can’t Ignore
Nov 26, 2014 • 26 min
It was actually Winston Churchill, not Rahm Emanuel who said that we should never let a serious crisis go to waste.A crisis often creates a great opportunity to face, to talk about, and even sometimes to act on issues that had been previously frozenOr, as…
Mark Leibovich’s portraits of Citizens of the Green Room
Nov 23, 2014 • 20 min
Someone once remarked that when they saw a snake and a vulture having sex in Washington, and thought it was just business as usual. Fitzgerald said that he rich were different, because they have more money. Politicians are different, usually because that…
National Book Award Winner, Jacqueline Woodson
Nov 20, 2014 • 14 min
Recently we spoke of the 50 Anniversary of Freedom Summer and the early flowering of the civil rights movement. Much has been written of the historical roots and narrative of those events. But now Jacqueline Woodson tells her personal story and the larger…
Language and Cultural Evolution
Nov 18, 2014 • 21 min
When we do think about the state or origins of language, we often think about it as something based in the distant past. But language is very much a living thing, with a direct nexus to our cultural evolution. The choices we make about the words we use,…
Technology will keep us together
Nov 17, 2014 • 21 min
As we listened to election results last week, the one thing we heard over and over again is the slicing and dicing of the electorate. Into generations, incomes, ethnicity, etc.Certainly we hear repeatedly about the complexity and challenges of today’s…
Leading with Intention
Nov 16, 2014 • 18 min
In a business environment as data driven as ours is today, it’s not surprising that we don’t view success through the lens that Fitzgerald used to describe Gatsby, who saw his success as “an unbroken series of successful gestures.”Still success to be…
The Uncensored History of the Food Network
Nov 14, 2014 • 22 min
If the past 30 years of television has been about anything, it’s been about specialization. While ESPN was the leader and Granddaddy of specialty television programming, you can now watch nothing but Sci Fi, or old movies, or cartoons, and of course…
Rules for Assassins
Nov 12, 2014 • 21 min
Throughout history, from Cesar thru Lincoln, from Archduke Ferdinand and Gandhi through the Kennedys and Malcolm X, a bullet has changed the world.But what’s different when assassination is not a random deranged act, but an instrument of policy. First,…
Ratchets, Hatchets & Pivots
Nov 11, 2014 • 19 min
We are in the midst of a great migration to cities. The number of farms and people engaged in agriculture continues to decline. Yet human ingenuity has produced abundant resources of food, through innovation and technology. Historically, when disaster has…
Why Motivating People Does not work
Nov 10, 2014 • 19 min
Todays workplace bears very little resemblance to that of our parents. It’s multi generational nature, its focus on employee empowerment and its reflection of broader changes in society, education and culture, all create a perfect storm that requires…
Love, Sex and Popular Culture in 21st Century America
Nov 7, 2014 • 26 min
Back in the early 1960’s the world took note of the decadence of life in the Italian capital of Rome, in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Inspired by two major political/sex scandals of the era, the film, which would win the 1960 Palme d’or in Cannes, depicted a…
The making of Super Althletes
Nov 4, 2014 • 19 min
Almost no aspect of life has not been touched by the forward march of science and technology. The world of sports is no exception. When we watch a game, or even multiple games as in the Olympics, we want to see things we’ve never seen before. The…
Just how absurd is life on the West Bank?
Nov 4, 2014 • 19 min
The Middle East is always ripe with stories. Unfortunately, few get to the heart of the absurdity of the human condition there. In much the way that Catch 22 or Mash did for our wartime military, The Hilltop, a new novel by esteemed Israeli writer Assaf…
By the Book
Nov 3, 2014 • 22 min
How many of you have been asked recently to name your favorite or most influential books? It’s a process that has been all the rage on social media. And while such lists have been around for a long time, perhaps what inspired this current flare up is New…
The Lessons of 1970’s S. Africa
Nov 3, 2014 • 30 min
The world of historical fiction always plays an interesting role. On the one hand, it’s an entertaining way for us to understand, often from 30k feet, the broad historical sweeps of history. But beyond that, it’s an opportunity for us to see, up close and…
Literature vs. The Future
Oct 31, 2014 • 23 min
Although it doesn’t seem like it in today’s world of images and 140 characters, words, stories and literature once moved people and nations and changed the world. In fact, even in our own nation, the act of reading was once even seen as subversive. Yet it…
Superstorm Sandy +2 years - What have we learned?
Oct 30, 2014 • 21 min
As we watch day after day, the government response to a potential Ebola crisis, we are reminded of so many mistakes that various government agencies have made in response to other disasters. It hardly fills us with confidence.Katrina, of course, remains…
The Birth of the Pill
Oct 28, 2014 • 25 min
There are many legacies of the 1960’s. The Civil Rights movement, the antiwar movement, and the efforts of women to have reproductive choice. Of these, arguably the reproductive freedom of women has had the most profound, lasting and global impact.Before…
Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice
Oct 26, 2014 • 26 min
When we think about the Supreme Court, and its hushed, hallowed halls, and John Adams dictum that we are a nation of laws and not of men, words that do not often come to mind are passion, Salsa Dancing, ambition, and people skills. Yet all of these have…
How the World Works
Oct 24, 2014 • 26 min
Today, as we look around the world, it sometimes seems to be spinning out of control. It feels like a time, to quote Yates, when the falcon cannot hear the falconer, when the best lack all conviction and the worst seem full of passionate intensity.Does…
The Robots are coming
Oct 23, 2014 • 24 min
For a while now technology has seemed to focus on only one aspect or another of information. Everything from Google to Facebook, to Instagram, to all aspects of the sharing economy are essentially all about trying to achieve perfect information.Slowly the…
Understanding the Internet of Things
Oct 23, 2014 • 27 min
Although the origins of the quote are a bit murky, the idea that the only way to predict the future is to invent it, certainly seems true in the 21st century. In fact, that future is being invented right now. As technology moves from dedicated devices, to…
The Week Politics Went Tabloid
Oct 20, 2014 • 29 min
For those that study and write about politics, the holy grail is to find those seminal moments in the nation’s public and political life that change everything. And while the antecedents of those events may be years in the making, they usually create a…
Capitalism vs. The Climate
Oct 19, 2014 • 17 min
It was actually Winston Churchill, not Rahm Emanuel, who said that we should never let a serious crisis go to waste.A crisis often creates a great opportunity to face, to talk about, and even sometimes to act upon issues that had been previously frozenOr,…
How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life
Oct 19, 2014 • 25 min
Some of you may have seen the story recently that marriage is at an all time low in America. We also know that two out of three Americans are overweight, or obese. Is there a link between these two issues?Has our national physical decline and the rise of…
Terrorism and the Search for Justice
Oct 17, 2014 • 24 min
For decades, it seems, we’ve read and watched stories about suicide bombers in the Middle East. We process the information without emotion, as we do most news stories. Then 9/11 happened and suddenly suicide bombers took on a new meaning for most…
Superintelligence
Oct 16, 2014 • 20 min
Whether we are thinking about our smart phones, or HAL in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001, we are usually deeply conflicted about artificial intelligence. Will it be a panacea to enhance the already unique power of human intelligence or, like HAL, will its…
The no problem, problem
Oct 15, 2014 • 26 min
Revolutions are often exciting. The stir change, mobilize ideas, and are often at the cutting edge of excitement. Yet what happens after revolutions is often the work that matters. The problem is that it’s hard work. The cameras are off, the story has…
I’m not the boss of me
Oct 14, 2014 • 21 min
The common portrayal of Millennials is as generation that is narcissistic, self absorbed, entitled and demanding. Yet they are almost 90 million strong and will soon be taking their place in leadership in business, in politics and in almost every other…
Daring: My Passages
Oct 13, 2014 • 23 min
Kierkegaard said that “life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” Such is the powerful value of memoir and reflectionSometimes, though, that reflection takes in more than just the individual life, it becomes a way to reflect on…
How Change Happens
Oct 11, 2014 • 22 min
We often say that actions have consequence. So do ideas. And we don’t always know the full extent of those consequences. Just as the science of splitting the atom, changed the nature of geopolitics and may still reshaped civilization, so the ripple…
A new perspective on the Middle East
Oct 10, 2014 • 23 min
When we think and talk about the Middle East today, we look at it terms of the religious and ethnic strife and extremism that define today’s conflicts. We also assume that these conflicts has been going on for centuries. That the holy wars and clash of…
Cosby
Oct 8, 2014 • 33 min
The recent suicide of Robin Williams puts into bold perspective that we really don’t know very much about the inner lives of the people that make us laugh. From Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor, from Johnny Carson to Bill Cosby, the demons and private lives…
How many scandals can we understand at once?
Oct 7, 2014 • 24 min
If you’ve ever borrowed money for anything, from a mortgage to a student loan, you’ve been impacted by LIBOR. The London Interbank Offered Rate. The global standard for interest rates.The problem is, like so many other recent aspects of our financial…
Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles Blow
Oct 6, 2014 • 24 min
When we talk about America’s history of segregation, its not just about race and class, but also about geography. Even as the civil right movement would begin to take hold in the late 60’s and seventies, there were parts of America, particularly in the…
Writing in the 21st Century
Oct 3, 2014 • 22 min
Years ago, in Hollywood, someone once remarked that the amount of bad screenplay writing increased with the advent of the copy machine. The same claim was later made when word processing and screenwriting software came along.The fact is there is a lot of…
Gratitude & Trust
Oct 2, 2014 • 31 min
The world is a crazy place. Everyday here we talk about all the forces that are impacting us, making life more complex, confusing and making so many people less sure of who they are, how they fit in, and whether the decisions they make lead them in the…
The world’s first tech start-up
Sep 30, 2014 • 20 min
Socrates was worried about the rise of written text. He feared that it would change our habits of mind and not allow us to remember.The printing press would spark another revolution, as mass produced text would change the world. Not unlike our current…
How technology is reshaping philosophy
Sep 26, 2014 • 23 min
We’ve all played the game of thinking about and listing the most important inventions in the progress of mankind. Certainly from the wheel, to the printing press to the transistor, there are plenty to choose from.But seldom do we think about philosophical…
Foreign Correspondent
Sep 26, 2014 • 27 min
Once upon a time we got our international news through the relentless reporting of foreign correspondent. The Vietnam war may have brought war into our living rooms for the first time, but reporters still provided context. Citizens would come to…
Words to eat by
Sep 25, 2014 • 22 min
Few things ignite all of our senses to the degree that food does. Once simply a form of sustenance, food today, in restaurants or in markets, represents status, sexuality, politics, and education. Where all of this comes together, is not just in taste, or…
This is your brain on narcissism.
Sep 24, 2014 • 25 min
Like it or not, the nature of our society and of our culture today is focused inward. Walk down any urban street, vs. 40 years ago and instead of looking out, we’re look down or inward. At our phones, our images, at our own world. In a culture where self…
Instant Gratification and the Decline of Institutions
Sep 23, 2014 • 27 min
It seems quaint now, but there was a time we had to rely on others for most of our needs. We had to rely on family for food, operators to place calls, travel agents to book travel, the post office to deliver mail, and large institutions to fulfill our…
Technology, IS making us smarter!
Sep 22, 2014 • 27 min
If we were to listen to many of the Cassandras out there today, you would think that technology, information, and progress were all bad.They are the same people who would have objected to the printing press, the telephone, television and the…
Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence
Sep 17, 2014 • 21 min
It seems that every generation seeks to find fault with the adolescent generation coming of age. Just as the parents of boomers eschewed the 60’s, so today, we boomers are all too quick to criticize and disparage the state of Millennials.Perhaps if we…
Why do we celebrate diversity, and then try and co-opt it?
Sep 17, 2014 • 27 min
Be it immigration, race or sexual orientation, we have an odd human tendency to expect that tolerance and integration to really mean sameness.The idea of a social, political and cultural melting pot is often seen as the primary metaphor for accepting…
The New Capital of Big Data
Sep 16, 2014 • 28 min
Is there anyone that believes that we still have a measure of privacy? Not only are there cameras everywhere, not only is big data a part of almost every business, but the uses of the this data, not by the NSA, but by corporate America, are becoming ever…
The Boys In The Boat
Sep 12, 2014 • 23 min
Think about some of the great themes and conflicts of our times. Freedom vs. Tyranny, the 1% vs the 99%, East Coast values. vs the Western ethos, team effort vs individual effort, the US vs Russia, the triumph of the Greatest Generation, craftsmanship vs…
The 9/11 generation
Sep 10, 2014 • 23 min
As we approach this anniversary of 9/11, it’s worth noting that the Afghan war has become the longest in American history. Also, to think about how many of the men and women who have served in that war, were motivated and inspired to act, by those events…
The Gold Rush…then and now
Sep 9, 2014 • 24 min
When we talk about success, be it on Wall Street, or Silicon Valley, or even the boom in natural gas, we always talk about it as “the new gold rush.” In part because the Gold Rush represented the mobility, energy and adventure of Americans in pursuit of…
Do we need a constitutional amendment to take money out of politics?
Sep 8, 2014 • 24 min
Election day 2014 is fast approaching. At the end of the process, we will have spent over three hundred million dollars to decide if Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid will have a two vote margin.While there are many social, political and psychological reasons…
Don’t watch another Football game, until you listen to this!
Sep 6, 2014 • 29 min
Once upon a time, our national pastime had nine innings, a long season, a pastoral setting and the worship and appreciation of the Boys of Summer.Today, that pastime has been replaced by 60 minutes of intense violence. With words like blitz and gridiron.…
The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
Sep 4, 2014 • 28 min
We are deep in the heart of back to school season. Therefore, it’s worth noting that while we have had dozens and dozens of conversations, on this program, about the improvement and mechanics of education, about its need to transform itself into a modern…
What deeper learning is all about
Sep 3, 2014 • 22 min
While the world is changing around us, while creative destruction consumes so many areas, sometimes it seems like education stagnates. After all, many, if not most, of our schools still operate in a manner designed in an agrarian world; pre Internet, pre…
Change or perish in education…How to build a better teacher
Aug 29, 2014 • 24 min
Almost every aspect of our culture and economy has been touched by technology and creative destruction. Still, three areas have lagged behind, and all three are beginning to be addressed and changed. They are finance, healthcare and education.Although…
Information….adapt or perish
Aug 25, 2014 • 23 min
So much of the way our brains and nervous system are hardwired, emerges as man did, from the primordial stew of life. Clearly, modern science tells us we are more suited to be hunter gatherers than we are multitasking and purveyors of Google Glass.Yet no…
The Power of Creative Pairs - The Powers of Two
Aug 24, 2014 • 26 min
Ginger Roger once said, of her partnership with Fred Astaire, that she did everything he did, “but backwards and in high heels.” In many ways this gets to the heart of partnerships. Two people that have a similar mission, but see it perhaps in opposite…
The Real Cost of Fracking
Aug 24, 2014 • 22 min
Across the country, fracking—the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing—is being touted as the nation’s answer to energy independence. Energy companies have repeatedly assured us that the process is safe,But is there a hidden cost, a hidden…
The fall of Nixon and the rise of Reagan
Aug 21, 2014 • 28 min
We often think of the 60’s as a time when the left was in the ascendancy. When great social movements, like the women’s movement, the antiwar movement and the civil rights movement were given their birth. In fact, arguably, the most lasting legacy of the…
Have we reached the end of American community?
Aug 18, 2014 • 27 min
The world has changed. We can intimately and immediately know what’s taking place in the far reaches of the world or across America. But we often don’t know what’s going on with our neighbors and in our own community.Today we are a part of many…
Have we reached The End of Absence?
Aug 18, 2014 • 27 min
There once was a time before the internet, before the automobile, before air conditioning, and television and radio and even before the printing press. All these inventions and many others, dramatically transformed the ways in which we live. At the time…
Three Women at Home and at War
Aug 14, 2014 • 26 min
Those that have been through it, say that the experience of being in a combat zone is like no other. It is all consuming. In so many ways it eliminates the real world of life and its mundane everyday chores and problems. Yet the men and women engaged in…
Looking at Feguson through the eyes of the South in 1964
Aug 13, 2014 • 27 min
Fifty years ago this summer, Americans, both black and white, gave their last full measure of devotion in an effort to register African American voters in Mississippi.The violence that resulted, the death of three civil rights workers, the beatings, the…
Do you believe in magic?
Aug 12, 2014 • 15 min
Perhaps it’s the state of the world today, but everywhere fantasy seems to be in ascendancy. The retelling of Narnia, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Lev Grossman’s The Magician series, all speak to what seems to be a compelling need. Lev Grossman has…
Can we ever achieve a shared truth about the legacy of slavery?
Aug 11, 2014 • 23 min
When Barack Obama was elected President, we heard lots of loose talk about this being a post racial society. It was as if a magic pill had taken the issue of race and identity out of our consciousness.Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact,…
What did he know and when did he know it….is a Nixon defense even possible?
Aug 8, 2014 • 29 min
For 40 years, the Focus of the conversations about Watergate has been what did the President know and when did he know it. The revelations from the release of and the listening to more and more of the 3700 hours of White House tapes, has pretty much now…
What did he know and when did he know it….is a Nixon defense even possible?
Aug 8, 2014 • 29 min
For 40 years, the Focus of the conversations about Watergate has been what did the President know and when did he know it. The revelations from the release of and the listening to more and more of the 3700 hours of White House tapes, has pretty much now…
Is our long national nightmare over yet?
Aug 7, 2014 • 28 min
For journalists, for historians, and for political junkies, Richard Nixon is the gift that keeps on giving. There are over 3700 hours of Nixon tapes and only a portion have been released and deconstructed. Even as we mark this 40th anniversary of Nixon’s…
The deep trouble of exploration
Aug 6, 2014 • 17 min
From the undersea adventures of Jules Verne, to Peter Benchley’s The Deep to Jim Cameron’s The Abyss, we flock to movies and literature that takes place underwater. We are fascinated by, but know so little about, the undersea world. In fact, a recent…
The ecological history of greater New York
Aug 5, 2014 • 25 min
In communities all across America debates rage about zoning, building, and development. In most cases, however, the debate is around the margins. Most places have long since evolved into what they are. New York City is perhaps the penultimate example.…
Why Vietnam still matters
Aug 3, 2014 • 27 min
Think about the things that shape our world, our perceptions and our culture. For a large part of the population, the experience of America’s mistakes in Vietnam has long shaped our engagement in the world. The country’s disrespect, at the time, for the…
Parenting 101 - Lead with Acceptance
Aug 1, 2014 • 23 min
Every generation of parents wants their children to do better than themselves. It seems though that to accomplish that today, as NY Times columnist Tom Friedman and others have warned, “average is no longer good enough.”So how do we reconcile this with…
How good intentions created the student loan crisis
Jul 31, 2014 • 31 min
The student loan crisis has reached epic proportions. Beyond the basic fact that it could be the next financial cries, with debt exceeding one trillion dollars, its impact on higher education, at a time when that education is a prerequisite for today’s…
Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century
Jul 29, 2014 • 21 min
Suddenly talk of income equality and poverty has become more acceptable. Perhaps it’s the political season, or Thomas Pikitty’s book, or perhaps it’s just the reality of what we see all around us in America.But how does talk turn into action and what kind…
Good…Evil…Indifferent
Jul 28, 2014 • 23 min
It has been argued that more evil is committed in the name of banality, than purpose. Certainly a look at our current golden age of television, confirms that. Don Draper, Walter White, and Tony Soprano never really seem to make up their minds about being…
Do Fathers Matter?
Jul 24, 2014 • 28 min
When Hanna Rosin wrote The End of Men, did it also portend the end of fatherhood? There is no question that gender roles have been dramatically changed in the past 50 years. That in almost every measurable metric, women are not just pulling ahead of, but…
Does the US have more A*holes today?
Jul 23, 2014 • 24 min
Everyday we encounter jerks. Some have recently argued that the number of jerks has increased exponentially as we all experience greater stress and more frequent encounters, in denser urban environments. But when those jerks go to far, than they truly…
How Immigration became illegal
Jul 23, 2014 • 25 min
Immigration has once again become the issue of the day. Children are pouring across the border. Misinformation is rampant and our national attitude has become mean spirited. We say we are a nation of immigrants, yet what we really mean by that seems very…
The Vacationers
Jul 22, 2014 • 13 min
It’s long been said that if you really want to get to know someone, travel with them. The corollary is that if you really want to get to know members of your family, go on a vacation with them. The crucible of that experience usually brings out both the…
What happened to good seafood at a good price?
Jul 21, 2014 • 24 min
America has more ocean and more coastline than any other nation. We produce more fresh seafood than other nations. Yet the amount of seafood extracted from those oceans, that we keep here in the US, is very small. Why this disconnect? Why is our…
How Millennials are changing the Middle East
Jul 18, 2014 • 30 min
Technology is transforming the world. But so too are millions of young people throughout the Middle East, whose attitudes, desire for freedom and more cosmopolitan views, are transforming nations. When these forces combine, the results can be powerful.…
The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor
Jul 17, 2014 • 18 min
Living in the West, it’s easy to forget that one-sixth of the world’s population subsists without sustainable sources of food, medical care, or housing. More than a billion people around the world are believed to live on a dollar a day… or less. While the…
Is there any hope for the US / Iranian relationship?
Jul 16, 2014 • 32 min
Few nations have as long a history of uninterrupted conflict and misunderstanding as the United States and Iran. The markers along that road are tall. The US coup that installed the Shah, the hostage crisis, Khobar towers, Lebanon, holocaust denial and…
The real Chinese American experience
Jul 14, 2014 • 24 min
Several trends are shaping the world today. One is immigration and migration. The mass movement of peoples from rural to urban area and across borders, in search of a better life.Concurrently, globalization and cultural homogenization are confusing the…
The beginning of an era and the end of innocence
Jul 14, 2014 • 20 min
For ten days in March 1971, the Rolling Stones traveled by train and bus to play two shows a night in many of the small theaters and town halls where their careers began. No backstage passes. No security. No sound checks or rehearsals. And only one…
Where’s the beef?
Jul 12, 2014 • 22 min
To paraphrase Shakespeare, that fault is not in our food, but in choices we make. Specifically about what we eat, where it comes from and the policy choices that surround it.There is no questions that we are meat eaters. But given the forces of big…
How the immigrant feels
Jul 11, 2014 • 20 min
Immigration seems the issue on everyone’s mind today. Yet with all the thinking and all the talking, we forget half the story. It’s not just about how the receiving country deals with new immigrants, it’s also about the immigrant’s experience and how that…
A Spymaster’s Story
Jul 10, 2014 • 25 min
It’s easy to forget that long before the intelligence failures of 9/11, the misinformation about Iraq’s WMDs and what has become almost the militarization of the CIA, the agency had done well as the bulwark of American Intelligence efforts in the Cold War…
A Spymaster’s Story
Jul 10, 2014 • 25 min
It’s easy to forget that long before the intelligence failures of 9/11, the misinformation about Iraq’s WMDs and what has become almost the militarization of the CIA, the agency had done well as the bulwark of American Intelligence efforts in the Cold War…
Dead laws and broken government
Jul 9, 2014 • 21 min
We all know that our system of government is broken. Mostly we attribute it to bickering and bitter partisanship. But also, in part, it’s the fault of millions upon millions of pages of rules and regulations that seemingly govern every aspect of our…
Why John Wayne still matters
Jul 8, 2014 • 29 min
Back in the last 1960’s there was a very famous ad campaign that asked, What Becomes a Legend Most? In fact, the real answer to that question is not the fur coat that was advertised, but really, it’s for a real legend to have a good biographer.John Wayne…
The Bronx is calling
Jul 7, 2014 • 20 min
Whether you grew up in a big city or a small town, if you moved away and then went back to visit, years later, everything had probably changed. It probably triggered a kind of nostalgia that both made everything old new again, and at the same time…
The tangled roots of American independence
Jul 4, 2014 • 21 min
History is a funny thing. Time goes by, books are written and we think we know all there is to know about a particular time and place. Yet the complexity we sometimes feel about ourselves and about modern life, is no less true for history.The true…
Why we love our Vodka
Jul 3, 2014 • 24 min
We eat candy bars, because it’s a tastier sugar delivery system than just eating sugar granules. Some smoke cigarettes, because it was once seen as a status form of nicotine delivery. Chewing tobacco just didn’t have same kind of image.In many respects,…
The information age, long before the internet
Jul 1, 2014 • 22 min
A few days ago, The New York Times ran a story about how libraries in New York were helping to provide WiFi in parts of the city. Obviously the link between libraries and information is long standing. But imagine that in the 1930’s, long, long before the…
David Boies & Ted Olson and The Legal Case for Marriage Equality
Jun 30, 2014 • 14 min
Already 2014 has been a huge year in the freedom to marry movement. Advocates have won 16 out of 16 federal and state court decisions across the country. Polls show support at an all time high of 59%. But, although it may seem that way, this didn’t happen…
Laurence Tribe on The Roberts Court and the Constitution
Jun 28, 2014 • 26 min
The Supreme Court today is more influential than ever. From Citizens United to the rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, privacy and free speech, the current Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has has had profound influence. Yet it remains a…
The shame of juvenile prison in America
Jun 27, 2014 • 22 min
The American rate of juvenile incarceration is seven times that of Great Britain, and 18 times that of France. It costs, on average, $88,000 a year to keep a young person locked up — far more than the U.S. spends per child, on education.To examine that…
Why how we approach cancer treatment matters.
Jun 26, 2014 • 21 min
How often have we witnessed tragic events and then, not too long thereafter, heard jokes about those events. What this teaches us is not disrespect, but it continually reminds us that humor is often the only way we can grasp and understand tragedy. That…
Why is anyone listening to Antonin Scalia?
Jun 25, 2014 • 30 min
Few phrases get used more today than “creative destruction.” What it really reflects though, is simply the way in which the world has changed. Our forefathers, along with the very founders of the country, couldn’t have imaged everyday things like air…
What if you discovered your father was a notorious serial killer?
Jun 24, 2014 • 33 min
For centuries theologians have argued about how the sins of the father might fall upon their children. Freud talked about the need for a father’s protection of his children. And Geoffrey and Tobias Wolff showed us how a deceptive father can impact his…
Ceasar Chavez and the nobility of poverty
Jun 18, 2014 • 23 min
One of the overwhelming ideas of the 20th Century has been the struggle of people throughout the world, to achieve a middle class life. The Horatio Alger mythology of pulling oneself up by their bootstraps has informed most of the American experience, but…
Why is Green Building Exploding?
Jun 17, 2014 • 23 min
When we think about building today, almost anywhere on the planet, be it a house or a gleaming glass, steel and concrete office building, we almost reflexively think about how the building was build and how green is that building?Market forces have made…
THE American Spirit
Jun 16, 2014 • 19 min
Few products are more American than Bourbon. In fact some argue that the Kentucky spirit IS the American experience, distilled and sealed in a bottle.While the English have their Scotch, the Irish their Whisky, Latin America their rum, and Mexico it’s…
Is Hemp the coming disruptive Agricultural Revolution?
Jun 16, 2014 • 19 min
Imagine one of the strongest fibers on the planet, a potential energy sources, and something used by our founders, that is now illegal. That is the story of hemp. Sometime comic/journalist Doug Fine tells me how we all may be Hemp Bound: Dispatches from…
Junipero Serra’s mission and the Founding of California
Jun 15, 2014 • 23 min
If you are a Californian and especially if you went to school in California, its history and the remarkable life of Junipero Serra were an important part of that education. In the mid 1700’s Junipero Serra would leave Spain for the New World. The Catholic…
Films Not to be MIssed
Jun 14, 2014 • 18 min
Think about the movies we remember. They are a little like old songs, or great books, or great meals. They are purveyors of a kind of double imagery, instantly making yesterdays events todays reality. But with movies there is something more, in the way…
Are the Koch Brothers really as bad as they seem?
Jun 10, 2014 • 32 min
If I said we were going to talk about a story that involved grand homes, yachts, priceless painting, messy romances, private investigators and armored limousines, you probably wouldn’t think it was the story of a family and a group of men who have been…
Console Wars
Jun 10, 2014 • 16 min
Long before Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were battling it out on retail shelves, a small but nimble competitor very nearly unseated Nintendo as the top game maker of the 90’s.This history of that battle for video game market supremacy between Sega’s Genesis…
D Day and The Mantle of Command
Jun 6, 2014 • 25 min
We mark the the 70th anniversary of D Day. Not only one of the most significant events of the 20th Century, but one of the most significant decisions ever made by a President to send men into harms way. In a world in which decision making has become an…
The ongoing Dance of Anger
Jun 6, 2014 • 29 min
In the 1960’s anger was a powerful motivator in civic discourse, as we protested, marched, fought and found new ways to understand relationships. In 1976 Howard Beale told us we had to get up, and get angry! in 1985, Dr. Harriet Lerner explained how anger…
Tinker, Tailor, Hacker, Spy
Jun 4, 2014 • 26 min
Creative destruction, change, automation, the Internet of everything. These are all the issues that seem to impact every aspect of modern life. And whether you believe these things are good or bad, is not relevant. What is relevant is that they are…
The Hoops Whisperer: Inside the Heads of Basketball’s Best Players
Jun 3, 2014 • 20 min
No question we are at the apogee of basketball playoffs. Today, almost as much attention gets focused on star coaches as on the star players. After all, who but stars can manage the egos of today’s NBA players?However, one man, who is not yet a star, but…
How only science and kindness help people with addiction
May 26, 2014 • 28 min
Ever since the war on drugs became a political and cultural issues in America, we have seemed to be unclear as to how to deal with the very human reality of dealing with those afflicted by addiction.Too often “just say no,” became a mantra, not just about…
The Sabotaging of the American Dream
May 26, 2014 • 24 min
In spite of some interesting rhetoric and some self selecting experiments, like those done by Peter Thiel, along with the outlier careers of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, college is essential for success in today’s workplace.Pew’s recent statistics show…
How innovation keeps proving the catastrophists wrong!
May 26, 2014 • 20 min
Throughout time there have always been those trying to stop the forces of progress. Fear of the new and fear of technology, has been the stuff of both horror and science fiction and of many dystopian visions of the future.Today, too often in the name of…
The War Through Afghan Eyes
May 26, 2014 • 20 min
The war on terror, that began on 9/11/2001 still goes on. The war in Afghanistan that began shortly after, that was once dubbed “the good war,” is America’s longest war. Sadly the landscape of that nation today, does not reflect the either the lives or…
Once upon a time, protest really did make a difference
May 26, 2014 • 25 min
Once upon a time protest mattered. People got angry at the actions of government and actually acted upon it. While the protests of today, like Tea Party rallies and Occupy Wall Street, often call attention to a problem, arguably they are not intended to…
The Tolerance Trap
May 24, 2014 • 23 min
Fifty years ago the nation passed the Civil Rights Act. Six years ago we elected an African American as President of the United States. Yet contrary to the hopes of many, we do not live in a post racial society. While gay rights and gay marriage are often…
Gender Intelligence in the workplace
May 23, 2014 • 23 min
As the recent Jill Abramson kerfuffle at the New York Times, has shown, gender issues still impact the workplaces of even the most public and apparently tolerant of companies.Perhaps in seeing that, and so many other examples, we might realize that we are…
How the Russian Revolution is still impacting all of us today!
May 22, 2014 • 26 min
Understanding history can be a two edged sword. On the one hand it is imperative that we understand the forces that have shaped nations and peoples. On the other hand, often when the present spends too much time sitting in judgment of the past, the future…
Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction
May 21, 2014 • 23 min
Today it is technology that brings “creative destruction” into our lives. Silicon Valley and its related communities sit at the epicenter of change. But in the 1960’s and 70’s it was very different. It was art and ideas and personalities that changed the…
The Chinese vs. The American Dream
May 20, 2014 • 22 min
Perhaps it’s the idea of 1.3 billion people. Or that half a billion have moved out of poverty in such a short time. Perhaps it’s that China is has moved so rapidly to become the world’s second largest economy. Or perhaps it’s the environmental degradation…
Creativity: The Perfect Crime
May 19, 2014 • 21 min
On the morning of August 7, 1974, forty years ago, Philippe Petit illegally strung a tightrope between the towers of New York’s World Trade Center, then under construction. For 45 minutes, he performed a ballet in the sky, as he moved back and forth…
Ralph Nader’s Emerging Left-Right Alliance
May 17, 2014 • 18 min
Back in the 1960’s and 70’s we were deeply divided as a nation. Issues like Civil Rights, Vietnam and the Cold War created deep tensions. Yet in Washington, things did get done. The passage of the Civil Rights act, the creation of the EPA, and even public…
The Purpose Economy
May 14, 2014 • 24 min
For the majority of the boomer generation, and generations that preceded it, work was mostly an obligation. A way of earning one’s way in the world, a way of paying for the perceived American dream. Today that’s changed. Today the work itself is often the…
If you thought the current VA scandal was bad…listen to this!
May 14, 2014 • 23 min
Today we have an all volunteer military. When young men and woman join the Marine Corps, they do so to serve their country. They know full well they the work may put them in harms way. That a bullet, or a grenade, or an IED might cut their life short, at…
Where could this car take you?
May 13, 2014 • 25 min
Think about advertising for new cars. Better yet, think about looking at a new car in the showroom. That experience is all about possibilities and dreams. It’s about what that car can do for you, not just where it will take you geographically, but where…
A Handbook for Preppers…..Knowledge for the rest of us
May 12, 2014 • 26 min
Particularly in the First World, it’s amazing how fragile our world is. Remember how upset we get if our cell phones don’t work, or our computers get glitchy? So imagine if the electrical grid collapsed, or the fuel or food supply was curtailed, only for…
The Sixth Extinction
May 9, 2014 • 18 min
When the nuclear age dawned, people spoke of being “present at the creation.” Man suddenly had the ability to completely remake the world anew, or even to destroy it. Today, we have that same power. The environmental crises we face, driven by the pillars…
Japan and the Art of Survival
May 7, 2014 • 25 min
Back in the 1980’s we thought Japan was not only the number one economic power, but we thought it was taking over the world. The Japanese bought iconic properties like Rockefeller Center, and Pebble Beach. We were looking at Japanese schooling and trying…
An Idea Whose Time Had Come
May 3, 2014 • 24 min
Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, newsmakers and opinion shapers, and sheds light on the issues of the day, from local stories to national and international headlines and ideas.
You Are Not Special
May 3, 2014 • 18 min
Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, newsmakers and opinion shapers, and sheds light on the issues of the day, from local stories to national and international headlines and ideas.
Pencils of Promise
May 1, 2014 • 19 min
Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, newsmakers and opinion shapers, and sheds light on the issues of the day, from local stories to national and international headlines and ideas.
The Rise of Superman - Ultimate Human Performance
Apr 30, 2014 • 26 min
Jeff Schechtman talks with authors, journalists, newsmakers and opinion shapers, and sheds light on the issues of the day, from local stories to national and international headlines and ideas.
What is The Confidence Code?
Apr 29, 2014 • 25 min
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Black Power
Apr 28, 2014 • 24 min
Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy notwithstanding, the past year has seen us engaged in a celebration of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the March on Washington and Freedom Summer. All seminal events in the amazing history of the Civil Rights…
Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice
Apr 26, 2014 • 30 min
It’s always good when we are having legitimate debates about public policy. And when the subject is education, it’s even better. However, amidst all the debate, we should not forget that there are people deeply engaged, every day, in the effort. The…
How the Rise of Working Women has Created a Far Less Equal World
Apr 24, 2014 • 28 min
Except perhaps for brief periods of historical time, there have always been cultural divides in America and in the world. Sometimes it’s been about race, or about ethnicity. Sometimes about gender or status. Today, that divide is fueled by education,…
A Life Lived in Restaurants
Apr 22, 2014 • 23 min
For many people, particularly in urban America, restaurants represent the place where they live life. Spending time with friends, memorable meals, socializing and simply being a third place, not home, not office, but an urban extension of their lives.For…
Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers
Apr 20, 2014 • 20 min
There once was a time when technology was sold just to business to help create new and “softer” consumer products. Today, we know there is a mass market for technology itself and it’s often sold directly to consumers.Given that new, particularly…
All the President’s Bankers
Apr 17, 2014 • 30 min
At this point in our history, it should come as no surprise that the adage “follow the money,” applies not just to tracking down criminal activity, but to virtually every aspect of our economic and political system.In a world where free markets are…
How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues
Apr 17, 2014 • 18 min
When we talk about drugs, or see the myriad array of pharmaceutical ads, we usually hear about a whole range of unique side effects. These are not just side effects, they are real effects with real medical consequences.This is true not just for the…
How to really create a culture of innovation
Apr 16, 2014 • 24 min
In almost every way, today’s workplace is very different than the world of Mad Men. Yet one thing seems to be consistent. The nexus between the culture of an organization and its performance, is direct and powerful.But what constitutes that culture, and…
Class, Cultures and Social Movements
Apr 15, 2014 • 30 min
Progressive and social activists are too often portrayed as latte drinking, sushi eating, Volvo driving, arugula eating, white wine sipping, Birkenstock wearing, NPR listening, New York Times reading, tofu eating…etc. You get the idea. This isn’t just…
The making of a monster in wartime: How Torturer Happens
Apr 13, 2014 • 28 min
The task of bearing witness to war and terror, even for a journalist, is not to reduce events to our own understanding, but by acknowledging and reporting them, to serve both the dead and the living. Thierry Cruvellier has done this as one of the only…
Money is not what you think it is
Apr 12, 2014 • 30 min
Few things are more ubiquitous than money. Yet what seems so simple, can often become so complex. Money is far more than just the notes and coins we carry in our pockets. It’s part of a complex system of debits and credits and clearing. Just look at the…
Advertising and the Golden Age of Radio OR Everything Old, is New Again
Apr 11, 2014 • 23 min
During what was once considered the “golden age of radio,” from roughly the late 1920s until the late 1940s, advertising agencies were the most important source of radio entertainment. Most nationally broadcast programs, on network radio, were created,…
Jared Diamond on Evolution and the Future of the Human Animal
Apr 10, 2014 • 23 min
From High School biology class, to treating the most complex diseases, evolution lies at the core of our existence. Whether we’re trying to figure out world conflict, medical breakthroughs or even what might happen if we encounter alien beings, evolution…
All Joy and No Fun
Apr 9, 2014 • 29 min
Think for a moment about how much has changed about life, just in our own lifetime. Everyday there are new ideas or new products that disrupt existing paradigms. Is it any wonder then that parenthood today is very different than in our parents or…
How Paris became Paris
Apr 8, 2014 • 22 min
Bogie reminded us “that we’ll always have Paris.” Indeed, we will. Paris defines what a city should be. Beyond it’s being a City of Lights, a Moveable Feast, and so many other things, it is a model, the model for what urban life should be. And that’s how…
Our quantified self - Or how our own data will make us happier
Apr 7, 2014 • 21 min
Today, digital privacy is on everyone’s mind. We know that every time we search, use an App, make an online purchase, or even go to the doctor, more and more information is being collected about us. The degree to which we can do anything about it, or even…
Fear and Loathing in the Atomic Age
Apr 4, 2014 • 24 min
From the discovery of x rays at the turn of the century, to the tragedy of Fukushima, we’ve had 120 years of the nuclear age. Yet something that was once so modern, so cutting edge, filled with so much promise, is now viewed as a scourge upon…
An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon
Apr 2, 2014 • 29 min
In Heart of Darkness, Conrad spoke of exploring up river with a “general sense of vague and oppressive wonder. Like a weary pilgrimage amongst hints of nightmare.”Paul Rosolie made a journey into his own heart of darkness, as he engaged in an…
Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story
Apr 2, 2014 • 19 min
Who among us is not multitasking? The idea of watching or working multiple screens is now a term of art. But are the pressures, demands and distractions producing an anxiety that has some long term consequences?Simply viewed, has the evolution of our…
There is no privacy! Should we just get over it?
Apr 1, 2014 • 19 min
Back in 1999, almost fifteen years ago, Sun Microsystems then Gadfly-in-Chief Scott McNealy made his infamous statement that “you have zero privacy anyway, get over, it.” There was a kerfuffle at the time, mostly that he had the nerve to say such a thing.…
The Road to Global Prosperity
Mar 30, 2014 • 27 min
On of the strongest arguments for globalization and free trade, is that nations that do business together don’t go to war. The corollary of that is that continued economic growth depends upon no major wars. In other words, global prosperity depends on…
Why we still need to work with our hands….
Mar 30, 2014 • 21 min
In the Netflix series House of Cards, Vice President Frank Underwood, a man dealing with and plotting the the fate of of the world, takes time out to work with his hands and craft, lay out and paint Civil War figurines. He says it’s a form of…
The Changing Face of the Business of Hollywood
Mar 29, 2014 • 22 min
When it comes to Hollywood, William Goldman certainly may have been right when he said that, “nobody knows anything.” Certainly the forces that drive Hollywood have always been somewhat mysterious. Why and how pictures get made, why some get to be hits…
Why “the mall” in Pakistan is too important to ignore
Mar 28, 2014 • 25 min
T.S. Eliot may have had the best take on trying to understand the world when he said that, “we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Perhaps that is…
Dancing Through It
Mar 27, 2014 • 17 min
Years ago I was having dinner with a friend and a friend of hers, who was a member of the Joffrey Ballet. I asked this young woman, how is was that she became a professional ballerina? Her answer still sticks with me. She said that she started at six…
Portrait of an Artist as a Dead Man
Mar 25, 2014 • 18 min
William James talked about “the bitch goddess success,” and the strange sacrifices that it takes from us. Today, the same might be said of the pursuit of fame. Whether it’s thousands of “Likes” on Facebook, millions of Twitter followers, ones own reality…
Three Young Americans Imprisoned in Iran
Mar 25, 2014 • 31 min
Ever since the Iranian hostage crisis in November of 1979, political and diplomatic relations between the US and Iran have been irreparably ruptured. Thirty years later, three young Americans would be hiking near the Iraq / Iran border. They would be…
Why General Relativity still matters
Mar 21, 2014 • 18 min
We all know the equation E=MC2. We’ve all read about Einstein’s theory of general relativity. But how many of us know what it means, how it came to be and how relevant it might be today, one-hundred years after it was put forth.Much has been written about…
The Birth of Right and Left
Mar 21, 2014 • 25 min
Today, virtually everything in society has become atomized by the left/right, red/blue debate. Whether it’s culture, entertainment, politics, sports, science and health, all are shaped by how we see the liberal vs. conservative divide. But rarely do we…
No One Has the Time
Mar 20, 2014 • 25 min
We all intuitively know that the greatest gift we can get today, is the gift of time. We just don’t have enough. The pressures and stresses of work, parenthood, family and personal commitments pull us in multiple directions, all the time.The technology…
The Looming Generational Showdown
Mar 19, 2014 • 29 min
We spend a lot of time talking about technological change. The impact that everything from our phones and the Internet to self driving cars are having on the way we live. The fact is, the single greatest factor in changing the way we live, may be the…
How well do we handle feedback?
Mar 17, 2014 • 25 min
Someone once referred to advice, as sanctioned nagging. It’s cute, but the fact is that we get advice all the time. Some of it is valuable, much of it useless. But do we miss the value of the good advice by our defensiveness, by our pre programmed fight…
This Bud’s for you..The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch
Mar 14, 2014 • 32 min
In this age of startups, creative destruction, public companies and activist investors, it’s hard to imagine the idea of creating a huge industrial empire, run by successive generations of familyFew empires exemplify this better than the history of…
The Vatican: One Year After Francis
Mar 12, 2014 • 25 min
Winston Churchill one refereed to the former Soviet Union as an enigma, wrapped in “a riddle, surrounded by mystery.” Much the same might be said about the Vatican. A large bureaucracy, competing political interests, the potential and reality of scandal…
Joe McGinniss, RIP
Mar 12, 2014 • 29 min
As a 26 year old reporter covering the Nixon campaign in l968, Joe McGinniss would go on to write one of the seminal works of political reporting. The Selling of the President 1968 would portray the next level of media in politics. If the televised…
The invisible hand, that isn’t
Mar 10, 2014 • 23 min
Just like in The Wizard of Oz, sometimes it seems that events, coincides and serendipitous good fortune happen as part of a grand plan. Later we think that it’s the the result of a great and powerful force pulling the ropes and levers. Only much later do…
Modern Love
Mar 10, 2014 • 26 min
Some people have jobs that are often very disconnected from everyday life. But Daniel Jones’ job is a form of daily life incarnate. As the long time editor of the Modern Love column in The Sunday New York Times Magazine, since 2004 Jones is perhaps the…
Is education the only route to more economic equality?
Mar 7, 2014 • 32 min
I think we can all stipulate that we continue to witness growing income inequality in America. Class mobility is at an all time low and if we don’t begin to address the problem, the consequences for American democracy will be severe.But even if we embrace…
The Making of Network
Mar 6, 2014 • 29 min
Most of you know that the mad prophet the airwaves was Howard Beale. The very idea that we can listen to a clip from Network, made 38 years ago, and its sounds as relevant as if it were written yesterday, speaks to the genius of Paddy Chayefsky’s script,…
What if the government got really good at technology and felt it had to protect us from ourselves?
Mar 4, 2014 • 24 min
When we think about the cutting edge of technology, our thoughts usually turn to Silicon Valley, or to other tech centers around the world. When we think about technology and government, we tend to think about failure. The inability of the government to…
James Meredith, Civil Rights and the rise of Black Power
Mar 3, 2014 • 28 min
The recent debate and court challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reminds us of what was the once and future fragility of registering black voters in the south. Back in 1966, a year after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, James Meredith, who…
Statistics never lie…That’s the first lie
Mar 2, 2014 • 22 min
Years ago the Wall Street Journal ran an ad campaign referring to itself as the “Daily Diary of the American Dream.” Today, we might say that the barrage of statistical information we get about the economy is that kind of diary. Just this morning, we…
Is Cold War strategy relevant to dealing with Russia today?
Feb 28, 2014 • 29 min
Amid the violence and upheaval in the Ukraine and the Russian response, a debate has broken out in Washington about the relevance of Cold War strategy. Whether it still should be relevant to viewing Russian actions and geopolitics?It would be interesting…
Batter Up
Feb 26, 2014 • 20 min
As sports stories go, the legendary rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers, is one of the best and most enduring. Yet it’s a rivalry that has had it’s had its dark and ugly moments. One of the those moments came a couple of years ago as Giants fan Bryan…
Demographics are destiny
Feb 25, 2014 • 25 min
We know that there are powerful demographic trends taking place in the US. That the economic divide in America is widening at an almost geometric pace. That certain groups repeatedly, in spite of powerful evidence to the contrary, vote against their own…
The Twilight of the American Enlightment
Feb 24, 2014 • 27 min
For those that didn’t live through the 50’s and early 60’s, Mad Men has given us a clearer idea of so many of the changes that were impacting the nation and the culture.The post war period freed up Americans. We were no longer bound by the needs of the…
Why the collapse of Detroit matters to all of us
Feb 22, 2014 • 21 min
Jane Jacobs, writing about the life and death of cities, reminds us that people living in vigorous cultures typically treasure those cultures and resist any threat to them. So how and why, she wonders, can a people so totally discard a formerly vital…
Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Feb 21, 2014 • 17 min
When we hear talk of the reinvention of our lives, I think re reflexively think this is something we do in our 30’s or 40’s or even 50’s. Today though, men and woman are both reinventing themselves into their 60’s and beyond. Sometime it’s to pursue new…
Hillary
Feb 20, 2014 • 27 min
Twenty two years ago a relatively unknown Governor of Arkansas was on the ropes in his presidential campaign. He had been accused of marital infidelity and with his wife by his side, went on 60 Minutes to plead his case to the American people. His wife,…
Could we have won the space race without the German scientists?
Feb 18, 2014 • 22 min
Few questions occupy us more today than what do we need to know and when do we do we need to know it, with respect to what our government is doing. How much should we know, particularly in times of war and what might really jeopardize national…
The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine
Feb 17, 2014 • 20 min
Years from now, we will look back on the way we treat cancer today, with poisons and chemo and radiation, and we’ll look at it exactly the same way we view leaching and snake oil. Today, many look for alternative cutting edge cures, they may be the…
Careless People
Feb 15, 2014 • 28 min
When we deconstruct the essential elements of our culture today, celebrity culture, the privilege of wealth, the importance of popular culture in shaping the broad national conversation, even our obsession with the automobile, we find it all had its roots…
The Up Side of Down
Feb 15, 2014 • 28 min
How many of us have taken great leaps out of fear? How often has a failure, or being fired, or jilted resulted in being forced to take actions that turned out to be positively life changing? Often in our personal journey, when we get lost in the…
Writers, Musicans and other Fans Remember
Feb 15, 2014 • 22 min
We are often quick to use the term “cultural phenomenon.” Through the back lens of history though, few things truly are. Yet fifty years ago we experienced something that lives up to that idea. By now we’ve all been regaled by memories of the Beatles’…
The new era of competition with China
Feb 14, 2014 • 28 min
Great powers ebb and flow. A random walk through history shows the Turks, the Germans, the British, the Japanese, the Spanish have all, at one time, shaped geopolitics. For most of the past century, America has stood atop the world. Now China, after three…
Silent Cal and American prosperity
Feb 13, 2014 • 27 min
When FDR became president in 1933 he called for “bold, persistent experimentation.” He believed that it was essential to do something! This was a far cry from Warren Harding, who said in 1920, “that any experimentation will add to the confusion. Our best…
Lincoln astride the world: America’s first age of globalization
Feb 13, 2014 • 25 min
America has long gotten itself involved in civil wars around the world. In Korea, Vietnam, Spain, on the African continent and more recently in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq and Syria. It should not be surprising then to realize that other nations were engaged…
iDoc 1.0
Feb 9, 2014 • 21 min
We look to technology as the panacea to solve so many of today’s problems. Yet we fear technology. When it goes wrong, like stealing our credit card information, or not allowing easy access to a government website, we get angry. Clearly, our emotional…
The Ghost Particle
Feb 9, 2014 • 18 min
Even in the world of physics, celebrity culture often rules. We’ve all heard about the search for the so called God particle, the Higgs Boson and the large Hadron Collider.Yet those in the know, in the astrophysics community, have had their eyes focused…
The Repression of Putin and The Passion of Pussy Riot
Feb 5, 2014 • 28 min
In just days the Winter Olympics begin in Russia. In some respects the world comes to a nation that may be even more repressive than the Moscow of the 1980 Summer Olympics.While President Putin has released some political prisoners, including two members…
Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival
Feb 3, 2014 • 26 min
From the founding of the republic and the debates over slavery, until the passage of the Civil Right act in l964, took nearly 200 years. With respect to the civil right issues of our time, from the Stonewall Riots in 1969, to the President of the United…
Thank You for His Service
Feb 3, 2014 • 15 min
John Lennon who wrote that “life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.” Or as the old Yiddish proverb goes, “man plans and god laughs.” Artis Henderson experienced this in the most complex, profound and sorrowful way. After altering her own…
The not so sweet reality of sugar
Jan 31, 2014 • 28 min
What are the forces that cause us to continue eating when we know we should stop? Why has the quality of food that most Americans eat, deteriorated even while more and more healthy choices are available? Why are our children experiencing an epidemic of…
The “poisoned chalice” of international justice
Jan 30, 2014 • 23 min
While the United States has, since it founding, prided itself on the idea of justice for all, those principles have seldom found expression in the international realm, until relatively recently.Former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who would…
What Big Data Tells Us About Human Culture
Jan 29, 2014 • 18 min
We pretty well understand how evolution impacts living organisms. But is it possible that there is a similar kind of survival of the fittest at play with respect to culture, ideas or even to language?If so, with no DNA trail, how do we determine its…
Secrets and Lies
Jan 29, 2014 • 19 min
From the highest levels of international and governmental affairs, to the most personal and intimate relationships, secrets and lies are often at the heart of so many narratives. We embrace privacy, yet we want truth. As individuals and as a society we…
Music, DNA and our culture of fear
Jan 27, 2014 • 13 min
We have all had the experience of hearing a familiar and likable piece of music from a long time ago. Suddenly the music short circuits time and makes yesterdays events, today’s reality. It’s as if that song triggers primal changes within us, that allows…
The Power of “Microresolutions”
Jan 23, 2014 • 20 min
Everyday most of us battle our own demons. These Demons often prevent us from doing perhaps the hardest thing there is, that is initiating and adapting to personal change.With the New Year, I’m sure we’ve all made resolutions. By now most are long…
Roger Ailes, Then and Now
Jan 23, 2014 • 22 min
Sometimes we just go on with politics as usual and then something comes along that changes everything. In our lifetime, the political landscape has shifted on its axis several times. The Nixon- Kennedy debate for one. It changed the perception of…
Only the paranoid and fast will survive
Jan 21, 2014 • 28 min
SLR cameras, pagers, paper maps, travel agents, home telephones, answering machines, transistor radios; all quaint reminders of days gone by. Today whole new industries are taking over from the old. The way we find places to stay when we travel,…
Can we be happy thinking about happiness?
Jan 21, 2014 • 29 min
Someone once wrote that happiness is serious business. But should happiness be a goal in and of itself, or is it simply a construct for achieving what we really desire, and helping us in finding our place in the world? Woody Allen in Annie Hall saw the…
And now onto basketball…
Jan 19, 2014 • 26 min
The reporting of and understanding of sports always seems to be a balancing act between the importance of teams vs. the primacy of an individual player.Certainly in basketball, the decision was made a long time ago, that individuals stars would drive the…
The Power and the Purpose of the Teenage Brain
Jan 16, 2014 • 35 min
A young Johnny, played by Marlon Brando in THE WILD ONES, is asked what he’s rebelling against? He answers “what have you got?” Rebellion and the youthful the desire to shapes one’s identity, have long been a part of the adolescent experience. Today…
The uniqueness of how we deal with death
Jan 14, 2014 • 27 min
The recent controversy surrounding Bill Keller’s column about Lisa Adams, and subject of illness and dying in general, brings into bold relief just how personal the subject is. Dealing with death is little like marriage and fingerprints. No two are ever…
Mistakes make us human
Jan 13, 2014 • 22 min
To live a full life is to make mistakes. Unlike Fitzgerald’s suggestion of “personality as an unbroken series of successful gestures,” for most of us life is messy, complicated and often filled with regret and anger. When we look back we realize we are,…
Is torture ever justified?
Jan 10, 2014 • 29 min
Back in the dark days of the Cold War, John le Carre published The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. It cast a light, as only fiction sometimes can, on covert actions that are not a clear choice between good and evil, but one where the methods that western…
If Twinkie’s were outlawed….
Jan 7, 2014 • 23 min
As we continue to debate health care in America, as more people come into the system, the single most significant effort is now to figure out ways to reduce cost. Perhaps the best place to start, is with the one epidemic that accounts for no less than 10%…
No Pryor restraint
Jan 5, 2014 • 29 min
Richard Pryor would become be the single most influential performer of the second half of the Twentieth Century, and certainly he was the most successful black comedian ever. Controversial always and enigmatic throughout his lifetime, Pryor’s performances…
Dorothea Lange
Jan 2, 2014 • 25 min
Long, long after the death of LIFE and LOOK, we once again live in a world of images. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest all cater to that proverbial idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet perhaps it’s because we have too many images, or that they…
Belated justice for Alan Turing
Jan 2, 2014 • 19 min
Alan Turing, the great British mathematician who cracked Nazi codes, set the stage for our digital age and later killed himself after the government chemically castrated him for being gay, received a posthumous royal pardon last week, 61 years after his…
Will the Rocky Mountain high be spreading?
Dec 31, 2013 • 22 min
Recently reports proliferated that in the House of Representatives, during the government shutdown, while meeting late into the night, the smell of booze was rampant. Perhaps if they had been smoking pot, instead of drinking alcohol, the government would…
Do statins do more harm than good?
Dec 28, 2013 • 22 min
Recently you’ve probably heard that the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association are seeking to expand the use of statins. Cholesterol lowering drugs, that some have said should be put in our water supply. But really how safe are…
It is more dangerous than ever to be a war corespondent. That never bothered Marie Colvin
Dec 27, 2013 • 17 min
We often hear career counselors and teachers talking to young people about following their passion. Obviously good advice. But for some, that passion comes with a price. For esteemed war correspondent Marie Colvin, that passion, her desire to bear witness…
Why are we so Social?
Dec 26, 2013 • 22 min
Why is it that the pain of rejection in High School often stays with us for life? Not being asked to the prom, not making the team, or that first broken heart. All seem to imprint us in ways that scar us for life. And what is the connection between those…
What the very tough taskmaster can still teach us
Dec 24, 2013 • 18 min
Today it seems that every piece of evidence supports kinder and gentler parenting, a more cooperative workplace and a stress free education that supports deeper learning. Tiger moms, and Tiger teachers and the excessively tough boss seem to be…
Can anyone be a Superhero?
Dec 22, 2013 • 21 min
Audiences flock to see them. What’s the appeal? When we hear about real life heroes like Sully Sullenberger, or Wesley Autrey, who who jumped onto NY subway tracks to save man from an oncoming train, we are captivated.Perhaps our fascination is because we…
Unemployment - is it personal or systemic?
Dec 20, 2013 • 23 min
The unemployment rate still sits at a around 7%. Million of Americans, blue and white collar workers, have experienced long term unemployment. But the 2008/2009 recession didn’t just impact the US. Unemployment in many other Western nations is even…
Mitch Albom’s “The First Phone Call from Heaven”
Dec 18, 2013 • 17 min
Each day life gets more complex. There are more pressures on our time, we are pulled in more and more directions. To ground us, we look for the universal in everyday life. Those things that create order out of the chaos and cynicism of daily existence. We…
Peter Max
Dec 17, 2013 • 21 min
There is an old saying about popular culture, that if it’s popular, it can be good. This philosophy has at various times permeated music, film, literature, and especially the world of art. Sometimes it’s no doubt true. But there are also profound…
North Korea has long been an outlaw nation
Dec 16, 2013 • 25 min
With the execution of an uncle of Kim Jong Un, we saw another example of the brutality of the North Korean regime. Perhaps more than any other nation, North Korea is disconnected from the norms of civilization.This has been the case for some time, and…
American Healthcare: Spending more is getting us less
Dec 13, 2013 • 26 min
It’s amazing sometimes how simple ideas get lost in the big picture. Back in 1923, President Warren Harding proposed a federal department to look after the nation’s health, education and welfare. The department was finally created by Eisenhower in 1953.…
The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
Dec 12, 2013 • 19 min
Even looking at the broad sweep and scope of history and change in the 20th century, it’s arguable that the dynamics of Israel, its relationship to its neighbors and the meaning of the Zionist project remain one of the most vexing and truly complex issues…
Why low income equals low trust
Dec 11, 2013 • 22 min
Back in 1996 welfare as we knew it was forever changed by President Clinton. But while public policy can address issues like food stamps, child care, Medicaid, and many other aspects, it can never address issues of trust. We know from Civil Rights…
To Sell is Human
Dec 10, 2013 • 27 min
Perhaps it’s our popular culture, but the business of selling has gotten a terrible reputation. Whether it’s Willy Loman trying to be “well liked,” or Harold Hill hoodwinking people from town to town, or Alec Baldwin’s character of Blake in David Mamet’s’…
Angry White Men
Dec 8, 2013 • 22 min
The number of angry white men in America is on the decline, just as talk radio, that panders to and inspires them, is also aging and declining. Yet their continued presence tells us a lot about change in America and the divides that separate race, gender…
After Mandela
Dec 6, 2013 • 31 min
Nelson Mandela stands as one of our greatest symbols of the struggle for freedom. His shadow will always infuse the politics and culture of South Africa. Yet almost one half the county is under 25 and doesn’t know or remember their nation in anything but…
Glamour
Dec 4, 2013 • 31 min
Most of us, over a certain age, remember when getting on a transcontinental or international flight was glamorous. We dressed to travel. Strong pilots and beautiful stewardess framed the wonders of the journey. The glamour of air travel imbued us with a…
Can an artist be true to his work and still do good in the world?
Dec 3, 2013 • 25 min
Whenever we see or hear great art, we are usually inclined to wonder about the forces that created it. What constitutes the artistic life? What influences, combined with what DNA creates the perfect storm of artistic temperament, vision and creation?Long…
Terrorism’s new future
Dec 2, 2013 • 26 min
Five years ago, on the evening of Nov. 26, 2008, heavily armed Pakistani terrorists raced to infiltrate the five-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. At the same time, as part of a coordinated attack, other tourist sites in Mumbai were also attacked.Throughout…
Immigration = Great Food
Dec 1, 2013 • 16 min
When we look at the immigrant history of America, it can perhaps best be told through great food. As neighborhoods emerged and changed, so did the restaurants. This is just as true today. Roy Choi is one of the founders of the food truck movement. But…
Sex and the Genome
Nov 30, 2013 • 21 min
We’ve all heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The notion that men and woman are different is deeply inculcated in our culture. Yet today science, our growing understanding of the human genome and the interaction of culture and genetics,…
James Wolcott and Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs
Nov 29, 2013 • 25 min
Let’s face it, our attention spans have been decapitated by modernity. Our knowledge, criticism and even entertainment now comes to us in 140 neat characters. We ourselves can be critics, just by clicking on a “thumbs up.” Today, serious commentary and…
Vampires and Angles and Werewolves, oh my!
Nov 27, 2013 • 15 min
For over thirty years, and through over thirty books Anne Rice has captivated us with her imaginative fiction. She has become one of the most beloved novelists of our time. With each new book or series, she not only reinvents herself, but reinvents whole…
How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency
Nov 25, 2013 • 19 min
When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, and came in second in the New Hampshire primary, he dubbed himself “the comeback kid.” The idea being that , Americans loved and admired the story of resurgence. The ability and the character to come back from…
The Smartest Kids in the World
Nov 23, 2013 • 29 min
Like almost everything else in our globalized world, education is now competitive. We are long past the time when American kids could stand on the ramparts and look down at the rest of the world. Even some of our most prestigious and wealthiest…
Oswald acted alone…
Nov 22, 2013 • 29 min
If the assassination of a President took place today, we’d all know about it in a matter of seconds. Alerts, tweets, the Internet. We’d all have the same facts, literally in an instant. In a way that microsecond information impacts the way we process the…
It was the Mafia….
Nov 22, 2013 • 29 min
kennedy-everett.jpg” imageanchor=”1” style=”clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;”>Fifty years ago this week, the nation experienced one of the seminal moments of the 20th century. Along with two world wars, the dawning of the…
The Generals - American Military Command from WWII to Today
Nov 10, 2013 • 24 min
In the private sector, when corporations get into trouble they replace the CEO. When sports teams repeatedly have a losing season, invariably they replace the coach. If sales are down, managers are replaced. Yet in the military today, it’s very rare that…
The resilience of the human spirit
Nov 10, 2013 • 26 min
Woody Allen, in Annie Hall, said that he felt that life was divided into the horrible and the miserable. The horrible he thought were terminal cases, and blind people, and those with severe disabilities. He said, “I don’t know how they get through life.”…
# Tweet, Tweet
Nov 9, 2013 • 20 min
For years people have referred to Hollywood as being like High school with money. Well, Hollywood has matured a lot. But today the same might be said about the tech world. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the story of the rise and rise of Twitter.…
The Psychopath Inside
Nov 7, 2013 • 27 min
Even if you are not a football fan, you’ve all seen the diagrams of plays with all those X’s and O’s. It makes you think, and even sometimes makes the players and coaches think, that they have it all figured out. If you just follow the pattern, you will…
One family’s life defines the 20th Century
Nov 6, 2013 • 21 min
When we look at the emergence of the diaspora of any ethnic group, we realize how important immigration is. To the Jews of the 20th century it was everything. Some would migrate to America and become pillars of both capitalism and communism. Some would…
What it means to be human
Nov 5, 2013 • 24 min
We know that genes help make us what and who we are. But, of the 25,000 genes we possess, a relatively few are significantly different from person to person. Some of those genes are often referred to as the Compatibility Genes. Genes that both impact our…
Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them
Nov 3, 2013 • 28 min
Imagine if decisions in Washington, or at any level of government for that matter, were really made on the basis of policy. If careful analysis could win out over politics. Certainly the current health care debate would be very different. But so would our…
A beacon of democracy or an apartheid state?
Nov 2, 2013 • 35 min
If I said that this conversation was about authoritarian politics, the religious right, the rise of Christianist fundamentalism, a demographic crisis facing one political party, and the continued rise of military power, you would easily assume we would be…
The Everything Store
Oct 31, 2013 • 28 min
We all know, or have heard about life in Silicon Valley. The perks, the collegiality, the PowerPoint, the team ethos. In fact, perhaps the most successful company to master the Internet is none of those things. It engages in predatory pricing, it is…
New York as a metaphor for America in the 50’s
Oct 31, 2013 • 30 min
-Mark Helprin, whose novels include Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War and Freddy and Fredericka, is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute.Helprin holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and did…
Minerva Schools at KGI
Oct 30, 2013 • 18 min
Higher education, like so much else in education is beginning to change. While the American higher education system is the envy of the word, it still needs some modernization. Just like other form of education, it has remained pretty much the same…
“A riddle wrapped in an enigma, inside of a mystery.”
Oct 29, 2013 • 22 min
Back in the days of the former Soviet Union, we use to look to any public clue to try and understand what went on behind those Kremlin walls. It gave rise to a whole group of people who were referred to as Kremlinologist.Today, it seems we look at the…
The panic, pleasure and history of CANDY, in one bite
Oct 26, 2013 • 23 min
This week marks the official start of candy season. The bags of Halloween candy, followed by chocolate turkeys, chocolate gifts, the Chanukah chocolate, endless Christmas candy, all portend to a season of secret consumption by adults, a watchful eyes on…
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
Oct 25, 2013 • 19 min
At the Harvard Business School, which George W. Bush attended, there are many case studies about business partnerships. One of the recurring themes is that in tough times partnerships are easy. When everyone is struggling for a common goal, unity is…
Occupy Wall Street…two years later
Oct 25, 2013 • 26 min
The “one percent,” “occupy,” “income inequality,” are all ideas and phrases that have become part of our national political conversation and all born of the movement that started in Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan, two years ago. The degree to which…
Where They Were From
Oct 23, 2013 • 23 min
Usually when we all have conversations about race and poverty, it’s usually in a very abstract way. We often loose sight of how these realities impact peoples lives. Not in a political or policy sense, but simply with respect to what life is like in the…
Palling around with Bill Ayers
Oct 22, 2013 • 18 min
During the government shut down, many commented that the radical elements of the Republican party were acting like terrorists. Even if we might have disagreed with their goals, the Tea Party ideas of direct action, grassroots organizing and commitment to…
League of Denial
Oct 19, 2013 • 36 min
We worry about too big to fail. Yet bank losses pale in comparison to the degree to which the National Football League, has been too big to tell the truth. Its denials have seemingly directly resulted in the death of NFL players. Even worse, it has…
Why Social Media is the norm and why mass media was the fad
Oct 18, 2013 • 20 min
We look at social media today, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as if it’s something new that could revolutionize the world. In fact, the antecedents of social media define the very evolution of civilization. It is the mass media, newspapers, broadcasting…
Fear of pain and other stories
Oct 17, 2013 • 23 min
We all remember, or have learned about, FDR telling the nation that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In fact, it along with a clip from The Kings Speech is being used in a commercial for a new technology that might help us overcome, what…
It really does take a village
Oct 16, 2013 • 16 min
Edwidge Danticat’s new novel, Claire of the Sea Light is set in a small seaside town in Haiti where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and her father wonders if he should give away his young…
Having it all in 2013
Oct 16, 2013 • 21 min
In 1982, at the height of the feminist movement, Helen Gurley Brown, published a book entitled Having It All, love, success, sex and money. A popular TV movie of the time, was also entitled Having it All and had Dyan Cannon with a high powered job on both…
How we think we do it!
Oct 11, 2013 • 27 min
While talk of sex is all around us, the fact is that the origins of our reproductive lives are still a mystery. And while 50 years ago Masters and Johnson set out to try and find the science of sex, much has transpired since in our understanding of…
Proof that Hollywood or Broadway is really High School with money
Oct 11, 2013 • 23 min
Although the provenance is somewhat sketchy, it has often been said that show business is High School with money. The point being that the battles, the cliques, the backstabbing, and yes even the deal making that consume Hollywood, are often the same…
The spy who was forced in from the cold
Oct 9, 2013 • 20 min
Spies and covert agents are, by their very nature required to live lives of secrecy. So when some spies, for whatever complicated reasons, become household names like Aldrich Ames, Kim Philby, or Robert Hanssen, it’s a big deal. In 2003, the outing of…
When Politics Worked
Oct 8, 2013 • 24 min
Our founding fathers created a system of government that respected opposing points of view and was designed to work even across differences. Throughout most of American history it has worked. One time it did not was in 1861, when Abraham Lincoln, said the…
Vietnam 1963…Finding Madame Nhu
Oct 4, 2013 • 24 min
From the days of Caligula, right on through to the Clinton’s, the role of First Ladies has always been complex, political and sometimes exotic. What’s interesting is how often we ignore the role of First Ladies, in nations other than our own. In fact,…
Calcutta
Oct 4, 2013 • 26 min
Jane Jacobs, in writing about the rise and fall of great cities, talks about a quality even meaner than urban ugliness or disorder. That is, the idea of “pretend order,” achieved she says by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to…
The Golden Age of Children’s Programming
Oct 2, 2013 • 24 min
Last week, during the Emmys, we heard a lot of talk about this being a golden age of television. Certainly with shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and Newsroom, who could argue? However for children’s television, the golden age may very well have…
The first casualty, of the first war of the 21st Century.
Oct 1, 2013 • 22 min
When we look at a tragedy like 9/11, we think of who and what we lost at that moment. We forget that a future is also lost. That many of those killed that day may have changed and reshaped the future. Certainly Danny Lewin, who was on AA flight 11, the…
Why has the debate over the Affordable Care Act been so UNPRECEDENTED?
Sep 29, 2013 • 24 min
Throughout all of the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st, right up until this moment, many have worked hard to institute some measure of affordable health care and health care reform in America. A country that, prior to the passage of the…
“The Girl” speaks about Roman Polanski and what happened 36 years ago
Sep 27, 2013 • 24 min
In 1977, a 13 year old aspiring actress was invited to do a photoshoot with a famous film director. What happened that day, still makes headlines around the world: Director Roman Polanski, then 43, gave Samantha Gailey then 13, a hefty helping of…
The America’s Cup will never be the same
Sep 26, 2013 • 23 min
This has been an amazing week for sailing, for Oracle team USA, for it’s crew and for Larry Ellison.In many ways Ellison is the true manifestation of what creative destruction and Silicon Valley is all about….dreams, passion, vision, innovation and the…
“An unbroken series of successful gestures.”
Sep 25, 2013 • 18 min
Scott Fitzgerald wrote of Gatsby, “that if personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promise of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines…
Ecstatic Nation
Sep 24, 2013 • 25 min
When we look at the vast expanse of history, we find that their are periods when the world seemingly shifted on its axis: When change is dramatic, when our whole way of looking at and understanding events changes. Perhaps the 60’s was such a period,…
Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Safety
Sep 22, 2013 • 28 min
Since the dawn of the age of nuclear weapons we have only imagined the complexity of systems that are involved in the use of those weapons. Those of us that grew up during the cold war are all too familiar with the nuclear football that follows the…
Do we need a new war on poverty?
Sep 19, 2013 • 29 min
It’s been almost 50 years since Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty.” It’s been more than 50 years since JFK was moved by the poverty of Appalachia and Bobby Kennedy by the poverty of the South Bronx.Today’s poverty may not be as dark or desperate,…
Held hostage for 460 days
Sep 19, 2013 • 32 min
Many of us remember the 1978 movie Midnight Express, where Billy Hayes is held and tortured by his Turkish captors, as attempts are made to extract ransom.Well imagine today, a young woman caught in a similar situation, kidnaped and held by brutal…
The reselling of the Presdient
Sep 19, 2013 • 25 min
Look at any campaign, for student body President to the President of the United States and we see some key ingredients. The clarity and strength of the message, the quality of political organization, the discipline of the candidate, the get out the vote…
My Brother, My Sister
Sep 17, 2013 • 24 min
Even though our culture is dripping with sex, topics of sexuality don’t always come easily to our understanding or to our conversation. It has taken generations for gays and lesbians to begin to achieve their full measure of acceptance, and there is still…
Why Wilson matters
Sep 16, 2013 • 33 min
Last week President Obama, in addressing the issue of Syria, talked about America’s unique role in the world. Russian President Putin would go on to criticize the idea of American exceptionalism. The fact is that Obama’s commitment to and Putin’s…
Why we should welcome adversity
Sep 14, 2013 • 23 min
We are all familiar with the words of Nietzsche who said, “that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” It has become a kind of mantra for a society in which everyone seems under siege, or faces some kind of adversity. But is it true?We’re told that we…
A Better Way of Death
Sep 14, 2013 • 29 min
When we speak of death and sickness, it is often as if we are engaged in the language of war. We are battling, fighting, staving off. Perhaps we’d be better to think of it in language from the 17th Century poet John Donne, in “Death Be Not Proud.” That…
9/11/2012 - Benghazi, Libya…just the facts
Sep 11, 2013 • 33 min
On 9/11 of last year the US Mission in Benghazi, Libya, an isolated ad hoc outpost, was attacked. The small security team from the diplomatic security service, was no match for large numbers of jihadist forces that would attack, in what has been called “a…
Masters and Johnson
Sep 10, 2013 • 31 min
Today we are a culture steeped in Sex. It’s part of almost every aspect of our politics, our culture, and our economy. It’s about selling cars, and also the dispensing of medical care.But just 60 years ago, it was a subject that was all but taboo. We not…
Working Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty
Sep 8, 2013 • 24 min
It used to be that we had a somewhat standard expectations as to what it means to be a grown up. It they weren’t norms really, at least they were a general set of expectations: College, marriage, a house, a car, kids…all the accouterments of the American…
Back to School
Sep 5, 2013 • 25 min
Few subjects get as much attention as education. Yet in many ways it’s like the weather. We talk a lot about it, but sometimes it seems we can do very little. Perhaps the most important thing we can do is focus on teachers. For they are at the ramparts of…
The Design of the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge
Sep 3, 2013 • 25 min
The Bay Area is, in many ways, defined by its bridges. Once famous for their architectural beauty and cutting edge design, the new span of the Bay Bridge may be equally famous for its faulty construction, inflated costs and mismanagement.While its…
The End of Night, or Why We Shouldn’t be Afraid of the Dark!
Sep 3, 2013 • 14 min
Whenever there are lists of the greatest and most profound inventions of all time, we almost always hear, among other things, about air conditioning, the internal combustion engine and electric light. This last one, electric light, has seen to it that…
The Distraction Addiction
Sep 2, 2013 • 27 min
Throughout history we have always looked at technology as a tool to make life easier. Whether it was a wheel, a shovel, a pencil or today, our smartphones. Our current technology was in many ways designed and sold to make us more creative. Instead, in…
T.E. Lawrence and the Making of the Modern Middle East
Aug 30, 2013 • 26 min
History and great historical sweeps are generally not just a series of unfortunate events. Rather, they are part of long connected progression of events, that circle around and become knotted in each other and that have far reaching consequences that last…
The City that punches above its weight class
Aug 28, 2013 • 29 min
Given all the accolades that come to San Francisco, from its role in shaping our culture, and its inspiration for Tony Bennett, it’s often hard to believe that there are conflicting views. Recently, the co-founder of a start-up, credit card processing…
Religion and mass incarceration
Aug 26, 2013 • 28 min
It has been said, although the origin is uncertain, that there are no atheists in foxholes. The same might be said of prisons. Particularly prisons in America; a country that has both a high regard for religion and and an even higher regard for mass…
The last 100 days
Aug 22, 2013 • 24 min
Because there is no preparation for the burdens and responsibly of the Presidency, it would take JFK, almost nine-hundred of his thousand days to reach his apogee. With the death of his infant son Patrick, as a catalyst, the final 100 days of the Kennedy…
Elmore Leonard 1925 - 2013 - Be Cool
Aug 20, 2013 • 26 min
From the police logs in local newspapers to the Metro sections of major metropolitan dailies, from the pablum of TV drama, to pulp fiction, crime always sells. But few dramatized it better than Elmore Leonard. He was the author of 45 crime novels…
Why Brainstorming Doesn’t Work - The case for thinking Inside the Box
Aug 20, 2013 • 20 min
Who hasn’t sat in endless brainstorming sessions, trying to be creative. We’re told to think outside the box, to magically conjure up new and different ways of doing things. Often without structure. Yet when we look at the history of innovation, we find…
This Cheese Does Not Stand Alone
Aug 20, 2013 • 26 min
A magical cave, a piece a cheese, a 260 lb man, a modern journey into a time past, and a new, old understanding of food and life. Just a few of the elements of Michael Paterniti’s new literary work of nonfiction, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love,…
The Life and Times of Charles Manson
Aug 17, 2013 • 23 min
Often times through fictional characters we are able to capture an entire ethos. Certainly Jay Gatsby defines a certain era, as does Don Draper, as does Woody Allen’s Zelig. It’s a rare thing when a real life characters does this. But such is the case…
One continent, indivisible…
Aug 16, 2013 • 21 min
We are coming up next year, on the 20th anniversary of NAFTA. It has created tens of millions jobs, more integrated a continent, and dramatically increased trade. Yet, for politically expedient reasons, we constantly seem to be re litigating these…
Queens of Noise
Aug 15, 2013 • 25 min
It’s hard to believe today, but there once was a glass ceiling in Rock ‘n Roll. That is, before the teenage members of the Runaways in the mid 70’s released four albums for a major label, toured the world and broke down barriers that would open the way…
Jack Germond R.I.P.
Aug 15, 2013 • 12 min
He was almost like a character out of The Front Page. He loved newspapers, he loved reporting and most of the time, he loved politics. In 2000 though he stopped writing his nationally syndicated column because he was fed up with what our political system…
The Future of Elections in America
Aug 14, 2013 • 19 min
Reporting on presidential campaigns has become a kind of quadrennial ritual in which, after the election is long over, we get to go behind the scenes to understand what made the campaigns tick; what mistakes were made by the looser and what was done right…
A Bipolar Life
Aug 10, 2013 • 21 min
Kay Redfield Jamison, in her class book about depression, The Unquiet Mind, says that “manic-depression distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviors, destroys the basis of rational thought, and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It…
Be all that you can be
Aug 6, 2013 • 22 min
Look at most people that have achieved great success and you’ll probably find a great coach or a great mentor. As a culture steeped in the ethos of success, its surprising really that we don’t’ put more emphasis on and greater value for coaching and…
John Palmer 1935 - 2013
Aug 4, 2013 • 7 min
In this age in which news is often conflated with entertainment and job hopping is de rigueur, John Palmer was the anomaly. He reported for NBC for over 40 years. He covered the White House, the Middle East and reported on some of the most important…
Technology is in your Brain.
Aug 2, 2013 • 19 min
We are all connected. In a macro sense the Internet and technology connects us all. But think about all of our individual networks. Our social networks, on and off line, our business networks, our networks as customers, as consumers and as family members.…
Is youthful pain the key to success?
Aug 2, 2013 • 23 min
We know that real success demands strange sacrifices of those who worship at its alter. But do those willing to make those sacrifices possess of a unique kind of obsessiveness, the proverbial fire in the belly, that is often only fueled by youthful pain…
You can’t understand China today, without understanding this.
Jul 31, 2013 • 29 min
We know that for individuals, youthful pain, psychological trauma, and shame can have profound effects. It can be a driver to depression, or an engine of great achievement. Just as the high school nerd or scapegoat may spend his whole life trying to gain…
The historical Jesus vs. The religious Jesus
Jul 29, 2013 • 24 min
It is the job of historians and scholars to take new and contemporary information and give context and connection to events far beyond the time in which they happened. This is as true for wars, as it is for the story of Jesus. Thus it is no accident that…
Why we won and why it still matters
Jul 26, 2013 • 25 min
As we watch events unfold in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, one thing should become very clear. Revolutions are very difficult. To change the direction and fate of nations does not come without much pain and sacrifice and in fact it usually does…
How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour
Jul 26, 2013 • 34 min
The economy and Wall Street are once again front and center. President Obama is engaged in a series of major policy addresses about the economy. Elizabeth Warren and CNBC are engaged in a kabuki dance about the future of Wall Street. Larry Summers, part…
Washington - Two Parties and a Funeral in America’s Gilded Capital
Jul 25, 2013 • 20 min
When we try and conjure up a place that is all about power, ego, success, money, hard work, personal baggage and branding, most of us would think first of Hollywood. As Orson Wells said of Hollywood, ”Hollywood is Hollywood. There’s nothing you can say…
Difficult Men and Television’s Third Golden Age
Jul 25, 2013 • 21 min
Today, we are in what some consider the third golden age of television. Many programs are the talk of National Public Radio and of the most elite dinner parties. They have become a significant part of our cultural conversation. So what changed? Was it the…
How
Jul 23, 2013 • 14 min
Old songs like old photographs are the purveyors of a kind of double imagery. They are short circuits in time that make yesterdays events, today’s reality. One such song, is “DANCING IN THE STREET” by Martha and the Vandellas. Almost a work of art, it…
The moral twilight of war
Jul 21, 2013 • 17 min
After 9/11 and the onset of the war on terror, it became clear that we might be in a permanent state of war. What we forgot, was that war does not exist in a vacuum. It brings out the best and worst within us. It forces us to face a moral paradox that we…
Animals and Humanity
Jul 18, 2013 • 28 min
One of the great values of art is that it gives us a unique window on the world. It forces us to be present and in the moment and allows us to channel our own feelings and thoughts into the work of another. In many ways animals, particularly our companion…
Six College Kids and a Billion-Dollar Empire that Came Crashing Down
Jul 16, 2013 • 16 min
Some college kids start whole business out of their dorm rooms. Think Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell. Some other students, at the University of Montana, started a business that would be raided by the US Department of Justice and would lead one of its…
A father, two sons and one of them murdered by Charles Harrelson
Jul 14, 2013 • 28 min
As with the family of Trayvon Martin, sometimes a verdict is even more devastating than the crime. This is what happened to the family of noted trial lawyer David Berg, after his brother was killed in cold blood, in a hit set up by actor Woody Harrelson’s…
Finding Happiness Singing with Others
Jul 14, 2013 • 22 min
Most of us remember the joyful song about teaching the world to sing, in perfect harmony. It was later used as an incredibly popular Coke commercial. Some of you may have seen the contestant on American idol with a serious stutter, that disappeared when…
Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Who Took America to War
Jul 11, 2013 • 23 min
As we once again debate America’s role in the world, this time in the Middle East, it’s worth noting that there is most assuredly a deep strain of isolationism that courses throughout American history. Perhaps nowhere was this more apparent than in the…
Revolutionary Conservatives
Jul 9, 2013 • 30 min
Imagine a nation at war, a financial crisis, congress divided, bitter partisanship, battles over taxation and the role of banks and corporations. Members of government who believed in trickle down economics and who thought that business interests should…
There really was a golden age of hijacking…
Jul 6, 2013 • 25 min
It’s hard to imagine today, but there was a golden age of hijacking. Over a five-year period, starting in 1968, commercial jets we hijacked nearly once a week, using guns, bombs, and jars of acid. Some hijackers wished to escape to Cuba, or Saigon. Many,…
Gettysburg +150
Jul 1, 2013 • 22 min
Today we mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. One of the great battles of any war and one of the most significant in US history.Yet, even a century and half since the Civil War, we are still learning new historical facts, new insights…
Paris
Jun 28, 2013 • 21 min
There are but a few places on the planet that conjure up whole images, thoughts and emotions. Regardless of whether you’ve been there or not. London, New York, Ireland and Paris, to name a few. All are the subjects of sweeping novels by internationally…
The patients point of view
Jun 28, 2013 • 25 min
Ours is an age which we consciously pursues health, and yet often only believe in the reality of sickness. Susan Sontag, understood this when she said in Illness as a Metaphor that “any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment…
Mexico and the United States, and the Road Ahead
Jun 27, 2013 • 24 min
The Mexico / U.S. relationship is front and center today in the US Congress. But how much do you think members of Congress know about what’s really happening in Mexico?If you were to think about a country that has made remarkable economic progress; a…
Bill Dodd
Jun 26, 2013 • 13 min
My conversation with Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd
You must remember this….
Jun 26, 2013 • 28 min
Tower of Basel
Jun 25, 2013 • 20 min
It’s no surprise that the world financial markets are shrouded in secrecy. We don’t need a whistleblower to tell us that. But in an age in which what happens in Greece or China or Singapore can have ripple effects in financial markets around the world,…
History is the Third Parent
Jun 23, 2013 • 24 min
Edmund Burke wrote “that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.” But what happens when good men do take action, and the net result of their efforts is to, in some way, fuel the evil and worst of all, become…
The power of family
Jun 20, 2013 • 16 min
If we were to look at and try to understand the vast panoply of how people live their lives, how we connect with each other, hurt each other and help each other, we’d see that we would look first at families. Not just because, as Woody Allen says, “we…
Alysia Abbott’s memoir of her father
Jun 19, 2013 • 27 min
It is that rare event that happens when a life and a time come together in a way that better enables us to understand both. Alysia Abbott has lead such a life.Her father, poet, writer and literary figure Steve Abbott was one of the early leaders of the…
The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
Jun 18, 2013 • 30 min
Few people understand president Obama better than Jonathan Alter. He has covered Obama since his days in Chicago. He wrote an early Newsweek cover story that help bring Obama to national prominence and has been one of the preeminent chroniclers of Obama’s…
An Inner History of the New America
Jun 15, 2013 • 30 min
Earlier in the week I spoke with British MP, Jesse Norman about Edmund Burke and the old idea of Conservatism as a way to address social order and care for the needs of generations past and future. After reading George Packer’s new book The Unwinding: An…
Farm to Health
Jun 13, 2013 • 26 min
We see demographic statistics that in the next 20 years more than 65% of the world will live in cities. We seem to be moving further and further from the land. In spite of it’s current romanticism, the number of family farms continues to shrink, at the…
Mexico’s Descent into Darkness
Jun 12, 2013 • 24 min
As is the case with most of our political debates in this country, we never seem to understand context. As immigration reform is once again front and center, the debate about immigration, particularly from Mexico, should be about more than just numbers…
Why is Thinking Clearly so difficult?
Jun 11, 2013 • 17 min
TS Eliot wrote, in 1934, “Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” He might well have written those words yesterday. Certainly we’ve never had more…
The Education of Samantha Power
Jun 7, 2013 • 25 min
Samantha Power is brilliant and President Obama’s pick to be the newest member of his cabinet and our new United Nations Ambassador. Her views have often been controversial, but always with a deep moral grounding. Part of this comes from her study of and…
Back to the Future
Jun 6, 2013 • 26 min
Imagine the world of today’s high technology, but instead of sleek Apple like design, it is all powered by steam, driven by gears and could actually be taken apart and fixed. That’s the world of Steampunk. Brian David Johnson is a futurist at Intel and…
Big, Hot, Cheap and Right
Jun 6, 2013 • 26 min
Throughout the history of America, and its federalist system, different states have personified, both politically and economically, the ethos of a particular era. New York would came to represent the economic boom of the 20’s and Chicago with its big…
The Autistic Brain
Jun 5, 2013 • 25 min
We are creatures of exploration. Today with so much information available to us, and travel so easy, we might be like Alexander the Great with no more places left to conquer. But perhaps the one great mystery, the one great area still left for…
Is Mass Extinction Possible?
Jun 4, 2013 • 22 min
When we think about the future, and the vast array of dangers that we face as a society and a species, how big do we think? Is our future measured in days, weeks, hours or perhaps millennia? For Alvy Singer, the Woody Allen stand-in in Annie Hall, the…
Bad Boy
Jun 3, 2013 • 25 min
Eric Fischl is one of America’s most celebrated and accomplished artists. At a time in the 80’s when painting was declared to be dead, he and others of his generation prevailed and gave new life to art. Through the years Fischl sought to bring his work…
“Priest, Author, Scholar, Scold.”
Jun 1, 2013 • 21 min
The New York Times in their obituary called him a “Priest, Author, Scholar, Scold.” Andrew Greeley was all of these. “A Roman Catholic priest and writer whose outpouring of sociological research, contemporary theology, sexually frank novels and newspaper…
Confessions of a Sociopath
May 30, 2013 • 25 min
Imagine if you could say things and interact with people unrestricted by conscience. If you had an unfettered capacity for risk, engaged in irresponsible behavior, and felt it unnecessary to conform to social norms. For this to happen one of two things is…
How the Green Generation came of age
May 29, 2013 • 26 min
Even amidst all of the domestic and international policy issues that come and go with each administration, perhaps the one that has the greatest staying power, is the environment. The roots and reasons go back almost thirty-five years. Originally…
Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know
May 29, 2013 • 24 min
It’s hard to imagine that for young people growing up today, seeing the Middle East as the center of American military and foreign policy concerns, that for over fifty years and eight Presidents, Cuba had been at the center of American concerns. Ninety…
The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert
May 27, 2013 • 21 min
Look around at our culture today. Oddity is all around us. Reality television takes us to the fringes of human behavior. The Supermarket tabloids provide a freak show we secretly devour, while waiting in line. We seem to seek comfort, or perhaps reinforce…
The Making of America’s First Muslim College
May 24, 2013 • 27 min
The recent events in Boston once again raise questions about the place of Islam in modern American society. The impacts for muslims trying to live and practice their faith in the US, is that they often run headlong into popular misconceptions about the…
In search of moral behavior
May 23, 2013 • 20 min
One of the central tenants in the debate about religion, is that some claim it provides the only construct for understanding moral behavior. In fact, science, research and even our own pets should tell us clearly that empathy, cooperation, fairness and…
Finding Your Story
May 22, 2013 • 17 min
We would all like the ability to see the future. Unfortunately, few of us have the appropriate psychic powers. What we can do however, is invent the future, at least our own. For we each have our own unique path, our own unique story that is evolving…
The New Reality of Adoption
May 18, 2013 • 19 min
Adoption today is a far cry from the idyllic portral we imagined and maybe have even witnessed, years ago. It has become engaged in international politics, domestic politics, and the abortion debate. Add to this, the current complexity of the process, the…
The New Gospel of Adoption
May 15, 2013 • 30 min
In the world of international adoption, market forces have always played a key role. The issues of supply and demand impact both policy and outcomes. But the adoption business, which has long been the province of religious and secular agencies, has lately…
The Plateau Effect
May 14, 2013 • 25 min
Often it seems as if there is a hopelessness with respect to personal progress. That it is our ultimate destiny not to go forever forward, but at some points to be pushed back or stuck in our past. It would seem that this is almost a part of our DNA as a…
The Philadelphia Chromosome
May 14, 2013 • 26 min
Someday, perhaps 20 or 30 years from now, or maybe even sooner, we will look back at the way we treat most cancers today and be shocked at the barbarism of it all. The surgery, the killer chemicals of chemo, all will be looked at the way we view the…
How Nonotechnology Will Change Civilization
May 11, 2013 • 18 min
We face a vast array of global problems. Not the least of which is our environment and the way in which the expanding western industrial model of abundance, seems certain to geometrically grow these problems. Many think that somewhere, in some abstract…
The Interestings
May 7, 2013 • 18 min
How many of us think about what you wanted to be as a child? A time when the world was filled with possibility. When your parents told you that you could do or be anything. When you would sit with your friends for hours, talking about what kind of…
If you are caught or captured the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions…..
May 7, 2013 • 22 min
We all grew up with our own impressions of what covert actions were all about. John le Carre talked about the moral twilight in which these activities operated. But never has that line between military, espionage and covert actions been more blurred than…
Bunker Hill
May 6, 2013 • 26 min
For the past several week all eyes have been on Boston. In some ways it’s a good reminder of the important role that city has played in our nation’s history. Boston is the fulcrum from which the revolution was launched. Now, bestselling author Nathaniel…
Humanity Beyond Our Differences
May 3, 2013 • 21 min
Suppose we found out that most of what we know about history and what shapes it, is wrong. That the traditional manichean world view, that history only marched forward on the feet of soldiers, is not the whole story. In fact we didn’t get to our…
Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East
May 2, 2013 • 28 min
There is an old saying that says that if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat every problem as if it is a nail. So too for American policy in the Arab world. If every problem looks like an existential threat, then perhaps it’s because we…
Manhunt
May 1, 2013 • 10 min
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, would set off the ten year search for Osama bin Laden. That manhunt would end exactly two years ago today, on May 1st, 2011. In between, was one of the greatest detective stories of our time. CNN’s national security analyst…
Life After Prison
Apr 30, 2013 • 23 min
One of the consequences of the vast numbers of men we incarcerate in America is that over 700,000 people each year are being released from prisons. Many have served long sentences and are woefully unprepared to integrate back into society. Especially a…
One Photo. Endless Possibility.
Apr 30, 2013 • 15 min
When we look at a photograph or a piece of art there are usually two imaginations at work. The artist or photographer, and the viewer whose interpretation gives the work life, energy and meaning. Author and filmmaker Marisa Silver has taken a single,…
The Rebirth of a Great American School System
Apr 29, 2013 • 24 min
There is an apocryphal story about the state of education, which tells the tale of a man who falls asleep, ala Rip Van Winkle, 100 years ago. He wakes up today and is totally disoriented. Everything is new and different. Transportation, technology,…
Death on the Border
Apr 25, 2013 • 21 min
In the world of extreme right wing rhetoric, particularly on the subject of immigration, it often seems that the practitioners are always upping the ante in order to get attention. Listen to any hour of talk radio and you get the idea. However, what…
We are all citizens of Hollywood
Apr 24, 2013 • 15 min
Wherever we live, we all, to some extent live in Hollywood. We are shaped and influenced by its messages, its ideas and by connection, to it’s people. Perhaps by having a better understanding of the people that populate and drive that community, we might…
Overcoming Addiction
Apr 22, 2013 • 29 min
Back in 2008, David Sheff wrote a memoir that has become became a landmark in our understanding of addiction. Beautiful Boy was his powerful and personal story of the battle he fought alongside his son Nic, who was addicted to alcohol and various drugs.…
The Age of the Image
Apr 22, 2013 • 25 min
Every hour, 72 more hours of video are uploaded onto Youtube. The moving image has become the literature of our time. Perhaps not since the development of moveable type has the context of our world and our understanding of it, changed so dramatically. But…
The Long Walk
Apr 21, 2013 • 22 min
Some of our soldiers have come back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan missing arms and legs. We’ve heard about the phantom pain that often accompanies those losses. The feeling of pain in a limb that is no longer there. In many ways the same is true…
Children Having Children
Apr 18, 2013 • 17 min
We baby boomers are aging. With all the talk about health care and retirement and 401k’s and endless mail from the AARP, the one subject that seems to get skipped, is what it will be like being a grandparent. We’ve spent so many years doting on and…
The Central Park Five
Apr 16, 2013 • 23 min
1989 New York was a time in which social systems were breaking down. The crime rate was peaking, crack was a serious epidemic, racial animus was strong and it was safer for black and latino teenagers to hang out in Central Park, than to hang out on the…
Jacob Barnett explains it all to us.
Apr 13, 2013 • 21 min
One of the all too many problems with education today, is its relentless focus on what kids can’t do, as opposed to what they do well. This is particularly profound when it come to children with special needs. If we need evidence of this, we need look no…
What 4th Graders Teach Us About World Peace
Apr 13, 2013 • 27 min
Amidst all the talk about the importance of education, and all the endless debates about public policy, we often forget that at the heart of the debate, is what it means to be a teacher and the awesome power and responsibility that comes with that job.…
Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright
Apr 10, 2013 • 32 min
Today the digital revolution has ushered in a whole new set of concerns with respect to piracy, copying and the very definition of who owns certain intellectual property. In fact, music copying and piracy is as old as recorded music itself. Moreover…
Murder, Money and Mystery in China
Apr 10, 2013 • 29 min
In November of 2011, a British businessman by the name of Neil Heywood was found dead in a hotel room in China. The reverberations of that death would reveal both deep and systemic corruption as well as surprising layers of conflict within the Chinese…
Between Man and Beast
Apr 8, 2013 • 23 min
Just as the politics our our time, often makes it difficult for science to find its way, so too was this the case in Victorian times. No where is this more in evidence than in the adventurers of a young man who would emerge from the jungles of Africa with…
Secrets and Lies
Apr 6, 2013 • 19 min
The great French novelist Andre Malraux once wrote that “man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” Certainly the secrets we all keep as individuals and as families place a heavy burden on us. Too often we think we are keeping secrets, when…
WILD
Apr 5, 2013 • 18 min
Back in the 1940’s theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the serenity prayer. You all know it. It tells us to accept those things that we can’t change and the courage to change those we can and the wisdom to know the difference. Over the years it’s been…
Creative Destruction for Dictators
Apr 4, 2013 • 27 min
We are always talking about how some area of our lives has been changed by creative destruction. We know that it’s widespread and impactful. In fact, even dictators today have felt the results of this creative destruction. It’s much harder and more…
Secrets of Happy Families
Apr 3, 2013 • 27 min
Families are a little like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. That’s why it often seems so ridiculous that so many people think they know what is best for families. The strict structure of the Chinese, the laissez faire of the French, the coolness of…
Truth, Lies and The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
Apr 3, 2013 • 19 min
We’ve talked often about the obligations and responsibilities of memoir and the way in which our memory, more than our truth, shapes our past. Imagine if fiction took on this confusion. If even in the context of fiction, we would lose sight of the truth,…
What makes Buzz?
Apr 2, 2013 • 19 min
Why do certain products and ideas become so popular? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious than others, and what makes some online content go viral? These are just a few of the questions that Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger takes up in…
Dollars & Sex
Mar 31, 2013 • 21 min
The song says “money can’t buy me love.” But we know that’s not really true. The fact is, the same market forces that drive our economy, also drive our search for sex and love. Issues like abundance, scarcity, the price of commodities…like beer, all…
Creative Intelligence
Mar 30, 2013 • 25 min
No one questions that we are going through a period of dramatic change. The world, the nature of work and relationships are changing faster than at any other time in human history. Succeeding and managing in this environment, will require a degree of…
Why do we always get it wrong?
Mar 27, 2013 • 21 min
Forty plus years ago, in Vietnam, we saw how the best and the brightest could ignore history, ignore truths and facts and conduct one of our nation’s most disastrous wars. Ten years ago this month, we saw how lies, inept personnel and poor and corrupt…
The Fog of 10 Years of War
Mar 22, 2013 • 23 min
All the talk about drones lately seems to miss the larger point. What compels us, what disturbs us, is the sanitized way in which we conduct warfare today. The disconnect from death, violence and the human suffering that is war. Kurtz understood war by…
Wall Street, Gambling and Baseball
Mar 20, 2013 • 18 min
What do you do if you are a veteran Wall Street trader who worked for Lehman Bros. when the collapse came? To make matters even worse you were struck down by an ambulance and had to go through months of recovery. Then when you finally returned to work,…
The Myth of Christian Martyrdom
Mar 19, 2013 • 17 min
We live in a culture where victimhood is too often embraced. Usually, because we seem to lack internal motivation, we look to it to galvanize our actions. Buy why is this culture of victimhood so pervasive now? Perhaps it springs from the early Christian…
Big Data
Mar 17, 2013 • 23 min
We know that companies like Amazon have vast amounts of data on our purchases and that they use it in order to recommend other products to us; just as Netflix can recommend our movies. But imagine aggregating millions of pieces of medical data, all with…
Baseball as a Road to God?
Mar 16, 2013 • 14 min
This past week saw the pageantry of religion in the selection of a new Pope. Next month we will experience a different kind of pageantry, as the baseball season opens and for many it will be a kind of religious experience in its own right. Long the…
Song Without Words
Mar 15, 2013 • 25 min
Remember, as a kid, playing the old game of telephone? Someone says something, and passes it on. After it goes through 5, 6 or more people, it often comes out very different on the other end. Well imagine if everything you heard had to go through that…
Raising Oenophilia
Mar 13, 2013 • 21 min
Often we associate writers with a particular place and their unique abilities to capture the essence of that place. Steinbeck with Monterey and Salinas, Frances May with Tuscany, Pete Hamil with New York, and James Conaway with the Napa Valley. The author…
Oh, the places you can go….
Mar 12, 2013 • 21 min
Vietnam, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa, Burma are just some of the places in the world that have seen the profound violation of human rights and social justice. Beyond that, what they all have in common are the efforts of one woman, Nobel…
Defeating the culture of bullying
Mar 10, 2013 • 20 min
Many us have powerful and painful memories of High School and Middle School. Sometimes, if we were not the most popular kid, something happened that we still remember as if it happened yesterday. The scar tissue of those years is even tougher if we were…
Should technology save the world?
Mar 8, 2013 • 23 min
Imagine a “connected” car that when the check engine light comes on, it diagnoses the problem, contacts the appropriate repair place and makes the first available appointment for you, all without you having to do anything. Effortless, frictionless and…
The House that Herring Built
Mar 7, 2013 • 28 min
It sometimes seems like everything is going through change. Yet there are some institutions that, the more they change, the more they remain exactly the same. This is true for an appetizing store on Manhattan’s lower East Side, that from its pushcart…
India and The Middle East
Mar 4, 2013 • 15 min
India and The Middle East
Mar 4, 2013 • 10 min
One of the central tenants of fiction has always been to tell stories of human scale and human frailty, set against the backdrop of powerful and uncontrollable events in places of mystery and beauty. Two new novels, one by esteemed author Manil Suri (The…
The price of ignorance
Mar 2, 2013 • 31 min
As the movie Lincoln reminds us, sometimes crass politics has noble ends. But even crass politics, must be guided by truth, by facts and by evidence. Today in our politics, facts, information and empirical data have simply given way to what’s become the…
A Prison of belief
Feb 27, 2013 • 32 min
The idea of a new, “modern” religion is a little confusing on its face. Especially one that claims millions of converts each year and that has focused its attention on money, and Hollywood. Today, Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning author of THE…
What do woman want?
Feb 25, 2013 • 25 min
Back in the 1930’s, Freud said that “the great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is what does a woman want?” In the eighty years of research…
Wanting to win
Feb 24, 2013 • 22 min
We hear over and over again that cooperation and teamwork are the keys to 21st century success. Yet we live in a competitive age. We are reminded daily that success in the office, or on the field, or in the world, requires competition and competitive…
Citizenville
Feb 22, 2013 • 20 min
Thirty-two years ago, Ronald Reagan, in his first Inaugural, said that government was not the solution, but the problem. Since then, we have been on a sustained path to tear down or discredit government. Today, in 21st century America, in an era of social…
Why we are really divided by politics and religion
Feb 21, 2013 • 23 min
While it certainly may seem as if our social, political and moral debates are a kind of tower of babel, or more like a kind of moral food fight, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that there is a basic moral underpinning to it all. That the culture…
Saturday Night Widows
Feb 20, 2013 • 20 min
Few experiences in life are more personal than grief. There is simply no formula. We’re all told about the stages of grief, but research now tells us that this is simply not true. As Anais Nin said, “we each see things not as they are, but as we are.” We…
Raising Global IQ
Feb 18, 2013 • 24 min
A new school recently opened in New York called Avenues World School. Its curriculum is focused on creating students who are citizens of the world. It’s tuition is 40,000 a year. But Some parents are willing to pay it, because they see the value of their…
One World
Feb 15, 2013 • 22 min
Kishore Mahbubani is a writer, professor, and a former Singaporean diplomat who served twice as ambassador to the UN. In his new book The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, he argues that the world has seen more positive change…
Glide
Feb 14, 2013 • 25 min
Back in the 60’s protest was de rigueur. The anti-war movement and the struggle for civil rights were front and center in the nation’s consciousness. During that period many institutions sprung up to give voice to hope and to the causes of the day. Today,…
Ike’s Bluff
Feb 12, 2013 • 23 min
Donald Rumsfeld had an interesting philosophy. He often said that sometimes the solution to a small intractable problem, was to create a much bigger problem or crisis which would, he thought, often make the bigger problem easier to solve. In some ways…
Tenth of December - George Saunders
Feb 10, 2013 • 19 min
We live the a world usually between the mundane and the absurd. Except that sometimes, it’s hard to tell which is which. George Saunders, in his brilliant short stories, helps us all to navigate that landscape. Whether it’s the talons of corporate…
The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks
Feb 8, 2013 • 20 min
This past Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks. She would become one of the most well know women of the twentieth century. When she died in 2005, her body was placed in the Capitol rotunda. Yet the narrative of her life is often…
FOB
Feb 7, 2013 • 18 min
Amidst all the political talk about immigration, we forget the most important part. That throughout history, immigration has been the way that cultures renew themselves. The way in which the vibrancy of cultures stay relevant, the way in which we connect…
The Cloud
Feb 6, 2013 • 20 min
No matter how much we love our technology, it would be foolish to think that it has only positive effects on us. The impact on our lives has been so profound and our acceptance so overwhelming, that arguably in some way, it must rewire us to see and think…
You can go home again..
Feb 6, 2013 • 18 min
Today there are conflicting forces at play in our nation. On the one hand it appears that progressivism is on the rise. That the walls of prejudice continue to fall. However, we are also becoming a more urban nation. That urbanism goes hand in hand with…
Always be selling
Feb 2, 2013 • 24 min
Perhaps it’s our popular culture, but the business of selling has gotten a terrible reputation. Whether it’s Willy Loman trying to be “well liked,” or Harold Hill hoodwinking people from town to town, or Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s’ Glengarry Glen Ross,…
Our Mind-boggling Universe
Jan 31, 2013 • 20 min
We humans have this seemingly innate desire to measure everything. Yet what are we really observing, what are we measuring? Since we can only observe a narrow slice of the world around us, most of the universe exists far beyond what we can see, hear, feel…
The Myth of the Perfect Girl
Jan 30, 2013 • 17 min
Twenty years ago we were engaged in a great national effort to make sure that girls were not left behind. From the travails of Ophelia to the full implementation of Title IX, we knew we wanted our daughters to have it all. Well, as the saying goes, beware…
A Kiss before you Go
Jan 29, 2013 • 16 min
Few things are more personal than how we grieve. While society is often quick to judge and volumes have been written about the process, no one can know how we individually feel pain, love and loss. In the end though, it’s like so many things in life. We…
Rage is back
Jan 28, 2013 • 13 min
New York in the late ‘70s; it was a time that is often derided, yet it was a time of great artistic expression, of raw energy and of diversity. A time before homogenization and disneyfication. It was a time when Graffiti was everywhere and the…
The Startup Playbook
Jan 25, 2013 • 16 min
Here in the Bay Area, particularly Silicon Valley and San Francisco, we have seen one of the greatest concentrations of business startups the world has ever known. Aside from very smart young people working for them, what else do they have in common? Why…
The last campaign
Jan 24, 2013 • 24 min
The inherent drama of presidential campaigns has given us a long line of great political reporting. From Theodore White, who set the bar in 1960, through Timothy Kraus, Richard Ben Cramer, who left us recently, Joe McGinniss and even Hunter Thompson.…
Whole Business
Jan 23, 2013 • 22 min
Maybe it was Gordon Gekko declaring that “greed is good,” or before that, Silent Cal Coolidge saying that “the business of America is business.” Or maybe it was simply the financial crash of 2008/2009? Whatever the reason, business today has an approval…
A Man of Letters
Jan 22, 2013 • 13 min
Maybe it’s technology, or just the nature of our society today, but we seem to have long lost the art of writing letters. Letters were a way we once touched based with our friends; a way of exchanging ideas and feelings, of sharing the complexity and…
US + Them
Jan 17, 2013 • 24 min
Certainly the world is getting smaller. As a result, every day in both our professional lives and our personal lives we are forced to deal with people who are different from ourselves and perhaps different than what we are used to. And sometimes, perhaps…
The Myths of Happiness
Jan 17, 2013 • 20 min
Woody Allen once said the world was divided up into two groups. “The horrible and the miserable.” The horrible are people with painful or terminal diseases or deformities; and the miserable…well, that was everyone else. The good new is that this isn’t so.…
Not Good News
Jan 14, 2013 • 29 min
It may very well seem as if the fundamentalist right has been lying low. That there fervor of several years ago, has faded. In fact, they may only be practicing a new kind of stealth operation to make greater inroads into America’s public schools. At…
Human Potential and Sixties Culture
Jan 11, 2013 • 20 min
We talk a great deal, in the political context, of still fighting the culture wars of the ‘60s. Yet in that discussion we sometimes miss the larger points of what changed in that period. It wasn’t just politics, and war and drugs and race. It was a…
Willpower
Jan 10, 2013 • 20 min
As the new year begins, and we make the requisite resolutions, we somehow know that most will not be kept. In part, this is due to the gap that exists between what we want and what we actually do. In understanding that gap, we essentially define who we…
Laurie Rubin
Jan 10, 2013 • 23 min
Laurie Rubin was born blind, but has never allowed herself to be defined by her disability. She is an internationally celebrated Mezzo Soprano, a jewelry designer, a water skier and a graduate of Yale. She is also the author of a new memoir and CD, both…
A Spoonful of Sugar….
Jan 9, 2013 • 23 min
A spoonful of sugar does not make the medicine go down! In fact, it maybe that spoonful of sugar that is the very reason we may need the medicine. Walk into any convenience store or supermarket and sugar seems to be a key ingredient in most of what we buy…
The Last Runaway
Jan 8, 2013 • 17 min
Maybe it’s the fact that we keep trying to move to a post racial America, or that we’ve re-elected a black President. Maybe it’s the movie Lincoln, or Django or that we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. But the…
1775 A Good Year for Revolution
Jan 8, 2013 • 25 min
In life there is often a disconnect between what we mark, what we celebrate and the actual underlying reasons that we do so. We mark births and deaths, yet the back story for both may have been years in the making. We mark the beginning and end of wars,…
Selling to China
Jan 7, 2013 • 22 min
With US domestic markets facing greater competition; with the margins on most products shrinking, American companies are looking for international opportunities. When they do, the first place they usually look is to the worlds largest market, in China.…
America’s Second Act
Jan 3, 2013 • 30 min
Scott Fitzgerald said that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Yet today we know there are third and fourths. Coupled we this, we’ve all heard about the impact of eduction and the value, especially for older workers, of retraining and the…
Nuclear Shadow 2.0
Dec 27, 2012 • 24 min
For Baby Boomers who grew up in the shadow of the Cold War and the nuclear age, we thought all of that ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. It seemed as if the Cuban missile crisis, 50 years ago, was the apogee of our nuclear fears. But…
Surfing the Middle East
Dec 14, 2012 • 22 min
John Stuart Mill said, back in 1848, that “It is hardly possible to overstate the value, in the present low state of human improvement, of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action…
Nano
Dec 11, 2012 • 21 min
Many fear that technology is out of control. But perhaps, what’s really out of control is an imbalance of values. Over the last few centuries we humans have drastically valued technology as a solution to the problems of life. Consequently the emotional…
We’ve been here before
Dec 6, 2012 • 24 min
If we were talk about a time of bitter angry partisanship, flawed leaders lusting after women and power, worried perhaps more about their legacy than their constituents. Politicians who were accused of being pragmatic rather than idealistic. Who sometimes…
The Patriarch
Dec 5, 2012 • 28 min
Forty-nine years ago last month JFK’s assassination brought the end of Camelot. Yet the Kennedy legacy and even the Kennedy Dynasty still continues. A political dynasty that was, at its core, the dream of one man. Joseph Patrick Kennedy the father of…
Faith is complicated…and simple
Dec 5, 2012 • 17 min
Faith today is a complicated business. There is organized religion, politics, irony and expectation. Yet, at its core it’s a simple idea. The notion that we don’t have all the answers, that we should express gratitude for what we do have and that we can…
Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
Dec 4, 2012 • 28 min
Once we were a nation defined by our sameness and by our homogenization. The Levittown like subdivisions, The Organization Man, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. Today we are a nation defined by our differences; from each other and from any kind of an…
Paging Dr. House!
Nov 27, 2012 • 26 min
If the debate about healthcare has taught us anything, it is the consequence and impact of unexpected disease. One illness can put us into poverty. But it can also literally make us crazy. Imagine an illness, a medical mystery at first, that exhibits all…
Where are the great woman chefs?
Nov 20, 2012 • 24 min
Why are there so few big name woman chefs? How are they different than men in the kitchen? Why have both Julia Child and The Food Network done a disservice to women in the kitchen? Powerhouse food journalist Charlotte Druckman takes us behind the kitchen…
In France, they do kiss on main street
Nov 19, 2012 • 27 min
One of the many, but essential things that separates America and France are their attitudes toward love and sex; or as Joni Mitchell said, “in France they kiss on Main street,” The French love, love. It occupies a special place in their pantheon of…
The changing legal landscape of same-sex marriage
Nov 14, 2012 • 27 min
It is, arguably, the civil rights issue of our times. Same sex marriage has also become one of the most politically volatile. It divides red and blue states, most profoundly divides generations and, perhaps more than any other single political issues,…
The Boys of Pointe du Hoc
Nov 9, 2012 • 28 min
On June 6th 1984, Ronald Reagan gave one of his most powerful speeches marking “the Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” who took on one of the toughest missions of D-Day. Now, acclaimed military historian Patrick O’Donnell takes us up close and personal with these…
Florida Again
Nov 5, 2012 • 26 min
As we saw this past weekend, every time we enter a major election, the politics of voting rights moves front and center. While the methods used and those using them to suppress voter turnout seem to shift with time and with each election, the debate seems…
The Case for Government
Nov 1, 2012 • 25 min
Deep within the American DNA is the faith in rugged individualism. The idea that we are the captains of our fate and that what we accomplish is solely by our own initiative and the sweat of our own brow. The problem is the reality is far different. Much…
America’s Unwritten Constitution
Oct 29, 2012 • 34 min
Perhaps more than at any other time in the history of the world, democracy is on the march. But the idea that people, individual citizens could engage in the practice of self government wasn’t always so. In fact, it was only with the creation of our…
The New Global Elite
Oct 25, 2012 • 25 min
It was Scott Fitzgerald who said that “the rich are different than you and me.” Today that difference goes a lot deeper. The very rich are very different! And that difference, that gap, is coming to define the future of America and of democracy. Former…
American movies and the Cold War
Oct 24, 2012 • 29 min
This week we mark what was arguably the height of the Cold War, in the 50 anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That Cold War would, for years, permeate every aspect of our culture. The paranoia and anxiety of the period was perhaps most notably…
Netflixed
Oct 22, 2012 • 23 min
Creative destruction, while it may destroy and reshape individual companies, is an ongoing process. We all remember the earliest days of pay-per-view movies, which begat home video and the VCR, which gave rise to quaint local video stores, which gave us…
Obama v. Roberts
Oct 19, 2012 • 24 min
We are reminded every day how polarized our politics have become. The gap between the Republican and Democratic parties is wider than ever. The lack of bipartisanship is not because we have leaders of ill will, but because the gap in ideas and vision has…
Strom Thurmond’s America
Oct 16, 2012 • 28 min
The longest serving US Senator from South Carolina made a career out of what he called “unreconstructed racism.” Arguing in a 1948 presidential campaign speech, that “there are not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down…
Progress in a Networked Age
Oct 8, 2012 • 27 min
We are all part of networks. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. All bring people together to share news, opinions and life. But in all this excitement about social networks, are we missing something? Why aren’t we using them to better decipher our…
What’s the Matter with White People?
Oct 2, 2012 • 25 min
Back in 1980 Ronald Reagan rode into office on the strength of what were then called “Reagan Democrats.” Blue collar, less educated, middle class workers who, until Reagan, were part of the New Deal coalition. Today, many of these voters are lost to the…
How Children Succeed
Sep 28, 2012 • 21 min
Why is it that poor children seem to do consistently worse academically than middle class kids? On the other hand, why do some wealthy children fail or breakdown while occasionally kids from the mean streets of urban neighborhood, can reach monumental…
Stimulus
Sep 27, 2012 • 29 min
Rahm Emanuel, the current Mayor of Chicago and the President’s former Chief Of Staff said, during the height of the economic crisis “that you should never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Obama did not. And now Time Magazine senior editor Michael…
The Ethicist
Sep 26, 2012 • 27 min
Each day we are confronted by some kind of ethical dilemma. As life gets more complicated, as technology and speed often exceed our ability to handle it, ethical questions seem more frequent. .Perhaps it’s because we are looking for some grounding. Some…
Telegraph Avenue
Sep 25, 2012 • 17 min
Set in 2004, in Berkeley, Michael Chabon’s new novel, Telegraph Avenue, his first in five years, gives us characters trying to hold back the end of an era; a time when 70’s values and ideas are fading into the sunset, and the full onslaught of the 21st…
The End of Men
Sep 20, 2012 • 26 min
Back in 1966, James Brown first recorded “It’s a Man’s, Man’s World.” 1966 was a time of Mad Men, it was the same year that Betty Friedan founded NOW, and three years after the publication of the Feminine Mystique. Today, 46 years later, women are…
The Twilight War
Sep 19, 2012 • 28 min
If there is any one problem that has run through the center of American foreign policy over the past 30 years, through five successive administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, it is the poisoned relationship with Iran As students yelled “death to…
The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power
Sep 18, 2012 • 31 min
As we continue to re-litigate the 60’s, it’s worth remembering that the FBI’s war on student radicals, particularly at UC Berkley, was responsible, perhaps more than anything else, for Ronald Reagan’s rise to power. The activists that were part of the…
Why Wall Street Always Wins
Sep 17, 2012 • 32 min
To date there has not been a single prosecution, much less a serious investigation into the events that brought the US economy to its knees. The SEC has not changed the rules, the Senate has repeatedly kowtowed to the big banks and “too big to fail” is…
Geeks takeover campaigns
Sep 14, 2012 • 24 min
Technology and creative destruction have impacted every aspect of society; from how and what we buy, to the movies we see, how we listen to music, get mail , go shopping, and do virtually everything. It should come as no surprise then, that it’s also…
What did we know, and when did we know it?
Sep 12, 2012 • 30 min
For eleven years U.S. foreign policy and even domestic attitudes about our place in the world, have been shaped by the reaction to the events of 9/11. But that reaction did not take place in a vacuum. In many ways, as we are coming to learn, the Bush…
Not Working
Sep 10, 2012 • 21 min
Two Hundred and Fifty years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville tried to figure out what made America tick. He traveled the country, talked to people and came away with a pretty good and enduring idea of America’s character. In the post-depression years, Studs…
Julia
Sep 7, 2012 • 24 min
Today the Wine Country has become the Hollywood of celebrity chefs. But back in the 50’s there was no cooking channel, and their were no foodies. There were just TV dinners, tuna noodle casserole and the emergence of fast food culture. But along came…
Delay, Delay, Delay
Sep 4, 2012 • 27 min
Almost every aspect of lives moves at rapid pace. We struggle to keep up. We’re told we have to keep up or get left behind. That to delay, is to procrastinate and that just may be the cardinal sin of the digital age. But what if delay, be it a few…
Smoke Signals
Aug 30, 2012 • 30 min
The culture wars in America have resulted in a war on women, a war on science and a ridiculous war on drugs. Many of these strains come together in the debate over cannabis. While marijuana still remains illegal under federal law, more than half of all…
Ascent of the A-Word
Aug 29, 2012 • 21 min
People are often shocked by profanity, but after all, that’s the point. Profanity is a kind of social punctuation that we use when we need to shock, or describe in ways that other words just may not suffice. Perhaps few profanities today are as common or…
Privacy
Aug 17, 2012 • 33 min
I’ve often quoted the former head of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNeally who once said, almost a decade ago that, “there is no privacy, get over it.” And that was before Facebook, apps, Foursquare, location based retail, etc. To a large extent this raises…
Marilyn
Aug 7, 2012 • 32 min
50 years ago this week, the world awoke to the death of Marilyn Monroe. At her death she was already one of the most well known Americans of the twentieth century. In death she would become even more famous. Steeped in mythology and contradiction, she…
Who Gets What When Tragedy Strikes
Aug 6, 2012 • 27 min
When disaster strikes and loss happens, both human loss and economic loss, people look to be both assured first and then compensated. The assurance is often the job of government, of social institutions and of friends, neighbors and family. When people…
KP2
Aug 2, 2012 • 25 min
The Hawaiian monk seal ranks as the most endangered marine mammals in American waters. Also one of the cutest! Only about 1,100 of these seals are in the sea surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. When a two day old seal pup is attacked and abandoned,…
Teach Your Children Well
Jul 31, 2012 • 31 min
The story goes that Marissa Mayer, the newly minted CEO of Yahoo, and a former VP at Google, once declined an otherwise brilliant job applicant at Google because they had once gotten a C in a math class. Clearly in today’s competitive world, academic…
The Sandcastle Girls
Jul 30, 2012 • 21 min
Over the course of his career, bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on a spectacular array of journeys. An isolated Vermont farmhouse, the Roaring Twenties on Long Island, and the last six months of World War Two in Poland and Germany…
The Intention Economy
Jul 30, 2012 • 30 min
Our relationship to the things we buy and the companies we buy from, is constantly changing. David “Doc” Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, argues that to date, it’s been a kind of master/slave relationship. Think of the rhetoric. Merchants…
True Believers
Jul 28, 2012 • 19 min
It’s hard to believe sometimes that forty-plus years after “the sixties,” after Vietnam, civil rights, feminism, and sex drugs and rock and roll, we are still litigating the issues raised in that period. Clearly it is one of the seminal inflection points…
Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?
Jul 26, 2012 • 22 min
To paraphrase a marketing expression, science, it not just for nerds anymore. If we want to fully understand the human condition, including our sexuality, our relationships and our desires, we need to understand science. Every month in Scientific America…
Barack Obama: The Story
Jul 23, 2012 • 29 min
George Bernard Shaw once observed “that life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” For many people that is undoubtedly true. Bill Clinton might be the penultimate example of that. But for Barack Obama, it has always been about…
Death by a thousand puffs
Jul 18, 2012 • 23 min
We all know cigarettes are bad for us. We know they are the only legal product that, if used as directed, will kill us. What we don’t know is the degree to which tobacco companies manipulate their product. The way they add hundreds of harmful chemicals…
The Locavore Myth?
Jul 16, 2012 • 26 min
“Eat Local” has become the mantra of a new generation of food activists. Implicit in the locavore argument is the belief that it combines healthy eating and a high standard of environmental stewardship, while delivering important economic benefits and…
Twilight of the Elites
Jul 11, 2012 • 29 min
It has not been a good decade. Since the dawn of the 21st century, almost all of our ideas of community, culture, even our notions of what constitutes a country; not to mention how we communicate, do business, read, think and see are being transformed and…
The war within the war for Afghanistan
Jul 9, 2012 • 29 min
There is an old saying that goes, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” When we look at US foreign and military policy since Vietnam, it’s shame on us. Buy why? In Vietnam, the best and the brightest lead us into disaster. In Iraq, the…
EXIT
Jul 2, 2012 • 23 min
Why do we fear change so much? Is it just change, or is there something else? We love the new, yet part of what goes with that, with change, is ending something before we can begin anew. And this, the business of endings and exits, we are not very good…
Nora Ephron
Jun 29, 2012 • 17 min
In an era in which Hollywood still deals with the lack of woman as writers, producers and directors, Nora Ephron was a triple threat. Her loss will be felt profoundly, not only by her family, but to her industry. Several years ago I had the chance to talk…
There must be a better way to do this…
Jun 25, 2012 • 25 min
Modern life has seen to it that almost everything in our society has been subject to a kind of creative destruction. We’ve talked many times about the impact of technology and science in traditional medicine. But what about psychoanalysis. Up until now,…
It’s a Bird…It’s A Plane, It’s……
Jun 22, 2012 • 26 min
The character of Superman made his first appearance in June of 1938, some 75 years ago. The character touched a nerve in the hunger for heroism in the run up to WWII. But what has allowed this character to evolve and endure for almost eight decades?…
The truth about lying
Jun 21, 2012 • 20 min
When congressman Joe Wilson stood up during a speech by President Obama and said, “you lie,” he could have been talking to all of us. While we are told to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we seldom do. From corruption in our…
Sam, the banana man
Jun 19, 2012 • 27 min
Balzac said that “behind every great fortune, there is a great crime.” For some fortunes, there is more than one. Little have we known that behind every humble banana, there is a great story, some great crimes, and certainly some great characters. Sam…
The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
Jun 18, 2012 • 22 min
Restaurant reviews, foodies and food criticism have all become a major part of the culture. I sit here writing this, at the epicenter of American Food, Wine and Celebrity Chiefs. But this wasn’t always the case. There was a time before food critics,…
America the Philosophical???
Jun 14, 2012 • 25 min
Judging by most of the political discourse, reality television, TMZ, tabloids newspapers and magazine and some social networking, it might be safe to argue that we are a nation of philistines. Yet long time social critic Carlin Romano, in his new work…
An Extraordinary Father and Son
Jun 13, 2012 • 29 min
There is a wonderful quote about travel from TS Eliot who said that “we shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” The same might also be said of…
The real digital divide
Jun 11, 2012 • 21 min
If you watch movies or read novels or simply understand the drama that is the human condition, you know that human behavior is often shrouded in mystery. Why we do what we do, how we act and what we think about at four AM, are at the heart of what make us…
The real Dark Arts
May 29, 2012 • 26 min
From Mati Hari, to Nathan Hale, to Herbert Philbrick; each is a chapter in the pantheon of espionage. Each had what George Smiley called “the ability to survive by virtue of an infinite capacity for suspicion.” In the modern day world of espionage,…
Reinvent or Die
May 24, 2012 • 26 min
It may not be possible to predict the future, but one sure way to see that future, is to invent it, or reinvent it. This is what companies are doing every day as they have to find ways to adapt to change, creative destruction and new models of growth.…
The Candidate
May 23, 2012 • 27 min
We are already in the midst of the Presidential political season. Where once labor day was the official start of our national poltical drama, today it is a multi-year, multi-dimensional business. One in which presumably ordinary people must acquire that…
Is anybody in charge here?
May 21, 2012 • 21 min
When we think of a globalization, we tend to think of a world more connected, more unified and more equal in terms its power politics. It’s one of the ironies of globalization that it has really made the world more fragmented, more regional and more…
The era of
May 18, 2012 • 27 min
It may be hard for young people to remember, but there was a time before 500 channels, before Hulu and itunes and Apple TV. A time when three networks accounted for almost the sum total of what we watched, and more importantly what shaped our popular…
The real Front Page
May 17, 2012 • 21 min
The business of daily journalism is under siege. The practice of putting out a morning paper each and every day, of searching for scoops, of pushing, editing and curating great reporters and making sure that paper reaches your driveway each morning, is a…
Retirement on the Line
May 16, 2012 • 26 min
The recent recession has created a great reset in a many areas of our economy, particularly with respect to labor markets. Globalization, automation, education and changing demographics have all played a roll. Additionally, young people have struggled for…
Exxon Mobile and American Power
May 15, 2012 • 22 min
Perhaps the recent economic crises reminded us that corporations and business matter a lot. Over many decades we’ve seen the balance of power between government and business; the breakup of Standard Oil in the Gilded Age, the breakup of IBM, the…
The Moral Limits of Markets
May 14, 2012 • 27 min
On Sunday, Tom Friedman’s column talked about a new book by Harvard Professor Michael Sandel. In it, he looks at our cynicism and growing lack of civic engagement. Our stubborn refusal to engage in real discussion about real ideas. Secondly, he examines…
The Dark Magic of San Francisco
May 11, 2012 • 26 min
Every major cultural, social and political movement of the modern era seems to be anchored in its own place and its own decade. Post war sensibilities were shaped by and centered in New York in the1950’s. It was the time of Mad Men and The Man in the Grey…
The Great Divergence
May 10, 2012 • 25 min
All this talk about the one percent did not happen overnight. For 30 years the income gap in this country has grown geometrically. The middle class, that once provided the engine of American growth in the second half of the 20th century has shrunk and…
The Presidents Club
May 8, 2012 • 31 min
To be President is to be both anointed, yet at the same time scarred for life. To date, only fourty-four men have had that experience and can fully understand what that means. Never have more than six of them met, at any one time. It is arguably the most…
Hunting in the Shadows
May 3, 2012 • 20 min
There is a fundamental law of physics that says that for every action, there is a corresponding and equal reaction. One year ago, the demise of Bin Laden created much speculation as to what Al Qa’ida’s reaction might be and what it meant for the future of…
Why Creating Innovators matters
May 1, 2012 • 25 min
We used to worry that schools were inadequate for the late 20th Century: that a system built around an agrarian calendar and 19th century ideas, was insufficient. Today, the disruptive impact of technology, information and globalization have once again…
The Last Days of Old China
Apr 30, 2012 • 21 min
The China we are all to familiar with today is a modern nation, moving rapidly from a rural to an industrial economy. A center of commerce and modernity. But just before WWII China, particularly Peking, as it was known then, was a colonial outpost, a mix…
Do the twenties matter?
Apr 25, 2012 • 24 min
Research tells us that we probably will have many careers in our elongated lifetime; that we may even have many spouses. This is a far cry from the the post war boomer ideal of one career and in some cases one job and one spouse. Given all of this life…
How Goofing Off Drives Success
Apr 25, 2012 • 17 min
The culture of business today, particularly in the world of tech, is not modeled after Sterling Cooper. While in the days of Mad Men twenty-percent of the time might have been spent boozing and flirting, later to be supplanted by golf, today that same…
Is wearing a bracelet or a ribbon enough?
Apr 25, 2012 • 27 min
We live a world in which we want everything to be easy. We want instant gratification, sound bite politics, fast food and instant cures for all problems. We also want our philanthropy to be easy and painless. If we can go shopping or just wear a bracelet…
Gluttony and Hubris in an Age of Epic Inequality OR Why Greed is Not Good
Apr 24, 2012 • 30 min
The level of economic inequality in America today exceeds every other Western nation. This is ironic when one realizes that it was the rise of the middle class that built post war America. So what has happened in three generations, in just sixty years,…
Entrepreneurs and The Coming Prosperity
Apr 23, 2012 • 25 min
We sit at the apogee of four hundred years of human progress; never have we been closer to democratizing that progress to every corner of the globe. Yet here we sit today, in a nation fearful, paralyzed and seeing our futures almost choked off by that…
Equal Pay and Fairness - a radical idea
Apr 19, 2012 • 24 min
Equal pay for equal work. Sounds like such a simple idea. Yet it had to take an act of congress and the support of the President to make it a reality. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed by President Obama. It was passed with…
Is it possible?
Apr 18, 2012 • 40 min
On June 12th, 1994 a double homicide took place in Brentwood, CA. that would forever change the way we view crimes, criminal procedure and the American justice system. No crime and trial has ever drawn a bigger audience than the trial of O.J. Simpson for…
Israel on the brink
Apr 17, 2012 • 27 min
In his new book The Crisis of Zionism, esteemed journalist, author and professor Peter Beinart argues that Israel is in danger. Not just from outside forces, not just from Palestinians or Iranians, but from the unraveling of its own core values, central…
Mike Wallace
Apr 16, 2012 • 22 min
As many of you saw last night, 60 Minutes devoted an entire program to a retrospective of Mike Wallace’s remarkable body of work. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Wallace back in 2006, just after his retirement from 60 Minutes, and upon the…
The Summer that changed Baseball - and America
Apr 13, 2012 • 22 min
1968 was certainly one of the most tumultuous years in American history. It was a year of political turbulence, civil unrest and violence; the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. It was a time…
Atheism 2.0
Apr 12, 2012 • 25 min
The battle between religion and secularism seems to have reached a feaver pitch in the US. Alain de Botton argues in his new work, Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, that there may be a middle ground. That religions…
Great Soul
Apr 10, 2012 • 30 min
There are very few individuals for whom just the mention of their name conjures up a complete set of beliefs and values. Gandhi is certainly one of those. So it is remarkable that as India continues to go through its current transformation, that Gandhi’s…
when God talks back
Apr 9, 2012 • 29 min
It seemed that everywhere we turned last week religion was front and center. Easter, Passover and even our political dialogue all contained different sides of religious discussion. But what happens when the religious rhetoric goes to extremes? When…
From North Korea to Freedom
Apr 6, 2012 • 25 min
If there was ever any question about the human instinct for freedom, the story of Shin Dong-hyuk’s escape from a North Korean prison camp will lay that doubt to rest. North Korea currently holds as many as 200,000 political prisoners in a half-dozen labor…
The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today’s Families
Apr 5, 2012 • 23 min
Youth sports are more than just a pastime. They are a multi-billion dollar business that begins in elementary school and continues into a college system, certainly as competitive as the pros. The movies Hoosiers, Hoop Dreams, Friday Night Lights and Lucas…
This is Your Brain on Emotions
Apr 4, 2012 • 24 min
We live in a world in which we praise logic and reason. Yet to a large extent we are still ruled by our emotions. Moreover, new research shows us the power of emotions and that to very real extent, we do just as well making our decisions and choices from…
Jonah Lehrer explains How Creativity Works
Apr 3, 2012 • 26 min
George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, that “some men see things as they are and ask why, others dreams things that never were and ask why not.” This is often quoted in a political context, but could also be said to be a central question of creativity.…
The Making of The Military Industrial Complex
Apr 2, 2012 • 30 min
Last night on 60 Minutes we learned how man’s reach into space has been virtually shut down over three billion dollars! While certainly this is real money, it is but a mere fraction of America’s defense budget, much of which goes for waste, fraud, abuse…
The Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration
Mar 30, 2012 • 27 min
As all the talk, misstatement and misrepresentation about Foxconn plays out in the media, it’s worthwhile to try and really understand how the Chinese economy works and how the macro issues of China’s great migration helps explains so much that we don’t…
The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government.
Mar 29, 2012 • 26 min
If any movement has defined our times, it is the movement towards power in both government and business and the balance between the two. In fact the occupy movement protesting against the rising power of business and the tea party movement protesting the…
The Unfinished Revolutions
Mar 28, 2012 • 20 min
A year ago it appeared as if the Arab world would be forever transformed. The Arab Spring would move like a tsunami, taking out dictators in its path. Yet as we are now beginning to see, the the removal of old regimes was just the beginning. The larger…
Why have we made so little progress?
Mar 27, 2012 • 27 min
Sometimes it’s reassuring, but often times very sad, that the strains of history repeat themselves in ways that show how little we’ve learned. From 1915 to 1970, the internal exodus of almost six million African Americans from the South changed the face…
The modern plague
Mar 20, 2012 • 24 min
We live in a country where obesity and diabetes is a bigger problem than poverty. Where a staggering one in two Americans suffers from “diabesity.” We are now raising the first generation of Americans that will live sicker and die younger than their…
Why do we hate White Bread today?
Mar 16, 2012 • 28 min
In a culture in which everything is political, even the humble loaf of bread isn’t spared. In fact going all the way back to the 19th century, bread said a lot about who you were, or who you wanted to be. Today, it’s fair to say that old fashion, store…
The Imperial Presidency 2.0
Mar 14, 2012 • 22 min
As Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith states at the outset of his new book, “war and emergency invariably shift power to the Presidency. Permanent war and permanent emergency threaten to make the shift permanent.” Many believe that that 9/11 and the…
Old Habits Die Hard
Mar 12, 2012 • 24 min
Why is it so hard to loose weight, to quit smoking, to go the gym regularly?Much of the answer lies in the power of habits. The same forces that allow us to back out our driveway without conscious thought and to brush our teeth each day without using…