A World Where Girls Are Not for Sale

April 28th, 2011

At thirteen Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, and eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploration. It took time, but she finally broke free of her pimp and her past. Years later, she would arrive in the US to work with women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit, GEMS, to meet the needs of other girls with her history. Rachel's is a true story of resilience, courage and sisterhood.

My conversation with Rachel Lloyd about her memoir Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself

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The Evolution of Political Order

April 25th, 2011

Why is it, that history always seems to repeat itself? While societies are varied and develop in many different ways, there indeed seems to be certain recurring patterns of behavior across time and across cultures. Esteemed political scientist Dr. Francis Fukuyama, in his seminal new work The Origins of Political Order, argues that because of our shared biological foundation, much our our human nature is in fact hardwired, including our propensity to favor relatives, appreciate altruism and a built in tendency to follow rules, to launch warfare and to organize for better societal outcomes. How all of this plays out is the difference between Somalia and America. My conversation with Francis Fukuyama:

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Physics of the Future

April 24th, 2011

Most of us remember growing up and hearing about a world of flying cars, domed living, wrist radios and robots that would take care of our every need. Whether it was the sleek world of the Jetsons, the dark world of Brazil or Bladerunner or the sci fi paranoia of the cold war, we have always been fascinated by what the future might look like. That future may not be here in its entirety, yet, the technology of today may indeed lead to the brave new world of tomorrow. Certainly we’d like to think that technology can give us more than social networking and computerized medical records. World renowned professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku, uses the cutting edge of science and technology to paint a picture of exactly what he thinks our future, or at least our grand kids future will look like.   Kaku's Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100  is  Future Shock meets Star Trek My conversation with Michio Kaku:

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How Science will Shape Human Destiny

April 24th, 2011

Most of us remember growing up and hearing about a world of flying cars, domed living, wrist radios and robots that would take care of our every need. Whether it was the sleek world of the Jetsons, the dark world of Brazil or Bladerunner or the sci fi paranoia of the cold war, we have always been fascinated by what the future might look like. That future may not be here in its entirety, yet, the technology of today may indeed lead to the brave new world of tomorrow. Certainly we’d like to think that technology can give us more than social networking and computerized medical records. World renowned professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku, uses the cutting edge of science and technology to paint a picture of exactly what he thinks our future, or at least our grand kids future will look like.   Kaku's Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100  is  Future Shock meets Star Trek My conversation with Michio Kaku:

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Green: Then & Now

April 22nd, 2011

We are reminded on this Earth Day that few  issues we face are as pressing and our changing environment and our sources and uses of energy. But what we may not know, is that behind all of our current efforts to reduce our impact on the planet, there is a 150 year history of green innovation and progress that is overlooked and has hit so many roadblocks along the way. Alexis Madrigal, senior editor and technology reporter for TheAtlantic.com gives us some history and perspective in Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology My conversation with Alexis Madrigal:

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LA & SF in the 1030s

April 21st, 2011
Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels (WPA Guides)
San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay (WPA Guides)Maybe it says something about the state of urban history today, but to better understand the history and culture of our two great California cities, San Francisco and Los Angles, we need to go back to the 1930’s and look at two volumes originally produced by the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) at the height of the depression. Both truly capture the beauty and authenticity of LA and San Francisco. Add to these volumes an introduction by former SF Chronicle book critic David Kipen and you have far more then just a passing vision of time gone by.  University of California Press has just reissued these two beautiful guides, to Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1930s. Great photos, great writing and a new introduction by David Kipen.
My conversation with David Kipen:

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Understanding the Congo

April 20th, 2011

The events that have been happening in the Congo are truly one of the worlds great tragedies, yet we pay little attention to what's going on there. Millions of war deaths have taken place, more then 3.5 million refugees have fled the country. But even for those trying to understand what's going on, the complexities are stunning. Over 20 rebel groups are fighting, it involves the armies of nine countries and the objectives and causes are even murkier. Jason Stearns is a human right activist who has worked for the United Nations on peacekeeping missions in Congo and whose understanding of the complexity and nuance of the Congo are unparalleled. He tries to explain it us in his book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa My conversation with Jason Stearns:

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Pakistan

April 19th, 2011

While we continue to be at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, it is arguably Pakistan that will shape the future of US success or failure in the region. If Islamic terror is to be unleashed, it will probably come from the mountains of Pakistan. On the other hand, if we are to have success in forestalling terrorism against the West, again Pakistan will be the reason. A nation both regressive and stable, deeply divided and yet somewhat functional because of those divisions, Pakistan is a country of immense size and even larger contradictions. Few understand Pakistan as well as Anatol Lieven. His new work Pakistan: A Hard Country, is a must read for anyone who truly wants to understand this most important part of the world. My conversation with Anatol Lieven:

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A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea

April 18th, 2011

The problems faced by the Fukashima reactor and the explosion last year of the Deep Water Horizon prove conclusively that industrial accidents will happen and that all the engineering and technology in the world can't always devise immediate solutions.

Last year in the Gulf, black plumes of oil poured out  for 87 days. On the surface people worked round the clock. Teams of engineers and scientist from industry and government did there best to vet and try solutions. It looked as if much was happening. In fact no one knew exactly what to do. A delicate dance had to take place between government and BP, and even the Noble Prize winning Secretary of Energy, didn't have the answers. One mile down, things moved a a truly glacial pace. No one covered this story better than Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post. He was the go to journalist throughout the story and now he's written the definitive account in A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea. My conversation with Joel Achenbach:

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The Bond

April 14th, 2011

Like so many other things in our society, our relationship to animals sends tenuous and very contradictory messages. On the one hand we spend literally billions of dollars on our pets. We have a deep kinship with those animals. Yet in a larger sense, with respect to our food, our habitat and our public policy, we suddenly loose sight of that bond. How is that possible? How can we seemingly have it both ways?

Wayne Pacelle has spent seventeen years with The Humane Society of the US, and the past seven as its President and CEO. He understands the effort it has taken to build the nation's largest animal protection voice. He lays it all out in his book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them. My conversation with Wayne Pacelle:

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Who knows?

April 13th, 2011

We live in an age of extremism. Our politics is stained by the polarization of left and right. Even our entertainment, leisure and shopping is often shaped by the red state and blue state divide. Underlining all of this is not just our politics, but the culture wars that revolve around fundamental religious belief. In fact, nothing has become more extreme and more polarized then religion itself. But is there an alternative to religious extremism? As we seek middle ground in our politics, driven by good will and good intentions, can we in fact find a middle ground between the extreme views of fundamentalism and atheism? Famed prosecutor Vince Bugliosi thinks so. In fact he thinks that agnosticism is not only that middle ground, but that its the real position of morality and faith.

With the same verve with which he prosecuted Charles Manson, examined the Kennedy assassination and successfully prosecuted 105 criminal jury trials in the L.A. District Attorney's office, he now takes on the religious extremists (Divinity of Doubt: The God Question)who, as they have in the past, threaten to take down civilization itself. My conversation with Vince Bugliosi:

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Crazy U?

April 12th, 2011

For many of us, the second biggest expense we will ever make, after a home purchase, is our kids college education. A four year education at a private or even a State University, can cost well over $160,000. For the first time in this country student debt has outpaced credit card debt. Lately much has been written about the cost benefit analysis of that education. We know that among the college educated unemployment has only been around 5% compared with the non college educated at well over 10%. Yet many question not only the value of that education, but most of all the processes that has become both an American ritual, and a right of passage for both kids and parents; a process that Andrew Ferguson says can make us a little bit crazy. Ferguson is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, and the author of Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College. My conversation with Andrew Ferguson:

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Give Smart

April 8th, 2011

Philanthropy is changing. Where it was once a process done by rote, today we expect results, accountability and very measurable metrics. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and others have ushered in, what some see as, the Golden Age of philanthropy. Yet the facts are, that with all of this change, philanthropy still often under preforms. How can we change this? What are the questions we need to ask to make sure that a Golden Age of giving, truly becomes a Golden Age of results? Duke University Law and Public Policy Professor Joel Fleishman is an experienced participant in the philanthropic world and shares some of his expertise in his new book Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results. My conversation with Joel Fleishman:

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Rawhide Down

April 7th, 2011

There are certain events that are seared in the collective memory of the nation. D Day, Pearl Harbor, certainly November 22, 1963 was such a moment. And for many of us, March 30 1981, was also such a day. The near assassination of Ronald Reagan did change history. Thinking about these events and the way they altered history, makes them like triggers of thought that somehow short circuit time and make yesterday’s events today's reality. This is what Washington Post journalist Del Quentin Wilber has done with his book Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. Regardless of your political views about Reagan, it was a seminal historical moment. My conversation with Del Quentin Wilber:

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Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio

April 6th, 2011

Baseball is a game played by teams, and certainly the NY Yankees have had many great ones. Yet from 1936 to 1951, the Yankees were simply about Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio was a man who has since become steeped in mythology. A man of limitations, but also great strengths. A man who didn't always seek the spotlight, but upon whom much of the nation would project and reflect it’s own ambitions and aspirations. Stories of DiMaggio's life after his retirement have painted a less then flattering image of the man. Biographer Jerome Charyn, in his new work Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil, gives us a DiMaggio much more nuanced and arguably much more human. My conversation with Jerome Charyn:

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The Art and Science of Memory

April 5th, 2011

Who are we but the sum total of all that we remember? What if we had total control over what we choose to remember? Imagine if there was a kind of valve to control memory? How much of what we think we have forgotten is still lodged permanently within our memory?  Would more control of our memory allow us to alter our personality or even how we see the world around us? Certainly it would help us remember names at cocktails parties and help us to find our car in the parking garage, but what other impact might it have.  These issues of memory are dealt with in a bestselling new book by Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. My conversation with Joshua Foer:

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