Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why can't choice be a settled issue?

The debate over artion rights has consumed our politics for decades. It seems that each time the freedom to choose seems like a settled issue, the nation becomes more divided. Why has this issues had such resiliency, why can’t the values of due process and privacy prevail, and why is this still even an issue of debate among young woman?

This story is all the more powerful through the lens of a woman who has been at the forefront of the movement. Her tireless efforts have put herself in danger, while fighting so hard for the rights of other woman. Merle Hoffman shares her story in her new memoir  Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room.

My conversation with Merle Hoffman

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Friday, January 27, 2012

The need to go there!!

I have a friend who doesn’t understand the value of travel. He thinks that the virtual world provides him all of the insight he needs into new places and new experiences. I think nothing can be further from reality and believe that author Pico Iyer is a living embodiment of that. For years he has introduced us to his experiences of the world in books like "The Lady and the Monk," "The Global Soul" and "The Open Road." In his new work, The Man Within My Head he shares with us his own internal journey of a life lived not behind a screen, but in the real world, interfacing with real people and real experience.

My conversation with Pico Iyer:

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Thursday, January 26, 2012


It was Oscar Wilde who said "the cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." For to long we've been very good at measuring how much, the price of everything is, but very bad at figuring out value, defining what value means, how it to can be measured and celebrated as the currency of an interconnected, global society. Dov Seidman, in his work and in his new book How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, argues that "our world is being dramatically reshaped. The rules of the past no longer apply. In the 21st century, it's no longer what you do that matters most but how you do it."

My conversation with Dov Seidman:

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay is a remarkably resilient body of water. In spite of the urbanization and cosmopolitan life of the 46 cities that surround it, the ethos of the Bay Area continues to make sure that the environmental restoration is ongoing. Ariel Rubissow Okamoto's book Natural History of San Francisco Baytakes us on a tour of this remarkable body of water.

My conversation with Ariel Rubissow Okamoto:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Up is down, down is up...

Just as we often use living viruses to cure disease, so the Right argues that the cure for financial crises, environmental degradation, minimal national investment and no energy policy is less of all of them. The idea, which the country bought into in 2010, is that only by less regulation, more crony capitalism and more rewards for the economies winner, can we solve the problems of the average Americans. Sounds like Alice in Wonderland, but it's the basis of the platform of this years Republican candidates. Thomas Frank, bestselling author of "What's the Matter with Kansas," explains what's going on in his new book Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right.

My conversation with Thomas Frank:
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The conscience of Los Angeles

Bobby Kennedy used to be fond of quoting George Bernard Shaw in saying that “some men see things as they are and ask why, other see things that never were and ask why not.” It can be said that esteemed civil rights attorney and activist Connie Rice has shared that vision in the work she has done, both in the courtroom and on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Rice is the co-founder and co-director of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles. She has received more than 50 major awards for her leadership of diverse coalitions, and her non-traditional approaches to litigating major cases. She is a graduate of Harvard and of the New York University  Law School and has been called "the conscience of Los Angeles." She has now written a memoir Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones.

My conversation with Connie Rice:

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nuremberg, 9/11 and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The subject of how to deal with war crimes has plagued the moral conscience of civilized man for millennia. In more modern times, after World War II, the allies debated how to treat the Nazi leaders. What emerged from that debate, the Nuremberg Trials, would become the precedent for post war justice. But how we deal with war crimes in the terrorist era is another matter. Where war is ongoing, where civilian destruction is part of the enemy's plan, and the news cycles feeds martyrdom, how do we proceeded? The debate over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and how the mastermind of 9/11 should be tired reflects this debate.

Few know the subject better than William Shawcross.  A distinguished journalist and author, his father, Hartley Shawcross, was Britain's lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.  His brilliant analysis of the current situation is Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

My conversation with William Shawcross:

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Monday, January 16, 2012

How mad are they?

Conservatism evolved from the reaction against the elitism of the French Revolution. It was given up for dead in the mid 1950’s then redefined by Bill Buckley and others in the early ‘60s, as a duel between Christianity and atheism and the struggle between individualism and collectivism. All of this history is the primordial stew out of which the modern Tea Party movement emerges. Today the Tea Party, bolstered by its 2010 success, is reshaping the Republican Party, conservatism and the nation in ways that are generating profound negative and frightening consequences.

Theda Skocpol, Harvard Professor of Government and Sociology and past President of the American Political Science Association explains, in her new, in depth look at The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

My conversation with Theda Skocpol:

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Beyond Capitalism

If nothing else is clear about this years Presidential election, it’s certain that not only our economy, but our current forms of capitalism are going to be on trial. From the early rhetoric of the campaign, to the Occupy and Tea Party movements; the success of Ron Paul, even a recent piece by Lawrence Summers in the Financial Times assessing that state of capitalism, prove that our current systems and institutions are seeing pressure as never before.

But how will all of this play out? Will we be asking the right questions and will the politics keep up with the reality of technology and our changing and interconnected world?

These are just some of the questions as by University of Maryland Professor Gar Alperovitz in his new book America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy.

My conversation with Gar Alperovitz

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Plots Against the Presidents

The shocks of the current economic crises have confused the country. Historically like all such confusion, it can give rise to fear and allow demagogues of both the left and the right to exploit those fears.

Back in 1932 we were in a similar situation. At the depths of the Great Depression, FDR came to office with a basket full of ideas to try and solve the nation’s problems. Not unlike today, many of those ideas infuriated both the left and the right. Today, Wall Street bankers have become public enemy number one, while gun ownership is at an all time high. In the 1930s, the results of a similar crises resulted in similar dangers. Historian and journalist Sally Denton looks back at a time that all to closely parallels our current situation.

My conversation with Sally about her new work The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Spy vs. Chip

After watching Mission Impossible and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy you've seen both the past and the future of espionage. We all remember stories of espionage during the Cold War. The rainy, grey streets of Eastern Europe, the moral twilight of Le Carre, U2 flights and prisoner exchanges on a deserted bridge. Today espionage has gone digital; with keystrokes rather than microfiche, with the likes of hackers like Kevin Mitnick replacing James Bond. At the same time the stakes have never been higher, as all of our secrets are more vulnerable than even.

Former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, Joel Brenner takes us inside this new world of America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare.

My conversation with Joel Brenner:

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Monday, January 2, 2012

What makes New York City so safe?

It estimated that in the next decade as much as seventy percent of the world's population will be living in cities. How we make those cities safe, may very well determine the quality of life for future generations. There is no better example of keeping crime down than what happened in New York where, over nineteen years, the crime rate dropped 80 percent! Criminologists and urban planners have been at a loss to explain the dramatic drop in crime, but in his book The City that Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control, U.C. Berkeley's Franklin Zimring explains the tactics and techniques that have challenged long-held notions about law enforcement.

My conversation with Franklin Zimring:

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