Should Donald Trump Make Us Rethink the Reagan Legacy For the Worse?

September 29th, 2020
Screen%2BShot%2B2020-09-29%2Bat%2B3.36.20%2BPM.pngDay after day people ask “how we got here?” In fact we don’t need a time machine. All we need do is to look back at the political history of the past 50 years and and we can see exactly how we got here.
 
With the rise of Reagan in the mid 70’s we can see with almost GPS precision, that map that got us to our tribalism that so deeply divides us today. 
 
We see the meanness, the racism, the quest for raw political power, particularly on the right. And while Reagan may have masked it in sunny optimism to make it digestible, it would later become the stuff of talk radio and the exploitation of populist anger. 
 
All of this is captured by Rick Perlstein in his new book Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980  
My conversation with Rick Perlstein:

Science and Politics are Now Linked

September 23rd, 2020
 
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If you picked up the New York Times one day last week, you would have discovered that about half of the stories on the front page were directly related to science. Think about what we are dealing with; public health, vaccines, climate change, fires and hurricanes, technology, privacy, transportation, artificial Intelligence, medicine, the frontiers of space and of our oceans and this is just some of it. 
 
The future of science is the future of mankind. As a result science journalism has come into its own, as recently we have seen that poor science reporting can lead to dangerous misinformation. Leading that effort in quality science journalism is Scientific America. It has been the gold standard and is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States. 
 
Last week, for the first time in its 175 year history, it dipped its toe in political waters making a presidential endorsement for the very first time. Explaining this decision is the Editor and Chief of Scientific America, Laura Helmuth
 
My conversation with Laura Helmuth: 

The Curse of the US/Britain Special Relationship

September 15th, 2020

download%2B%25281%2529.jpegBack on the 4th of July I saw a hat that said, "Make America Great Britain Again."  A good laugh, even more so when superimposed on the current relationship between the two countries.

Certainly there is that much vaunted “special relationship''. Not just between the countries, in an abstract geopolitical way, but between leaders that have been shaping and reacting to the world at similar times and in similar ways for the past seventy-five years.

While Great Britain may have lost its empire, its connection to the US in contemporary times, has kept it relevant and dynamic. But after seventy-five years is that relationship due for a refresh? If so, perhaps it will require a degree of honesty about the relationship that has been heretofore lacking on both sides.

Ian Buruma looks at the contemporary history of that relationship in The Churchill Complex: The Curse of Being Special, from Winston and FDR to Trump and Brexit.

My conversation with Ian Buruma: 

A Conversation with Brian Stelter

September 14th, 2020

Donald_Trump_Sean_Hannity_1088x725-700x470.jpgCNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter takes a deep look at Fox News, its power, and its stars in his new book Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

My conversation with Brian Stelter.

A Spouse Also Runs: A Conversation with Chasten Buttigieg

September 8th, 2020

Screen%2BShot%2B2020-09-08%2Bat%2B2.48.39%2BPM.pngAs the late Richard Ben Cramer so brilliantly detailed in his seminal book “What it Takes.” running for president, as a serious candidate, is one of the hardest, most grueling and challenging things one can do. Cramer wrote about the 1988 campaign, before the internet, before 24/7 news and yet he said even then that politics had become a kind of a public utility, with hot-and cold-running politics any time of the day or night.

Today in our hyper politicized non stop news environment it’s even worse.

Now imagine breaking barriers and taboos along the way, as Pete Buttigieg did as the first LGBTQ candidate.

Just as challenging, again as Cramer wrote about, is being the spouse of the candidate. For Chasten Buttigieg, a 31 year old gay man with not political experience, he had only his own personal experience and history from which to draw upon.

He shares that journey in his new memoir I Have Something to Tell You: A Memoir.

My conversation with Chasten Buttigieg: 

Remember When Diplomacy and the Arts Once Mattered?

September 1st, 2020

Screen%2BShot%2B2020-09-01%2Bat%2B9.31.59%2BPM.pngImagine a time when diplomacy mattered.  When the arts mattered. And when they could actually work together to project America at its best. Oh how we might long for the days of the Cold War.

Clausewitz said that diplomacy was simply war by other means. During the Cold War, that diplomacy took many forms. From Richard Nixon showing Khrushchev around an American Kitchen, to Ping Pong diplomacy with the Chinese

A little known form of diplomacy was the role that the arts played in the Cold War. Uniquely in the realm of dance in the hands of one of its great practitioners, and leaders, Martha Graham. Although Graham claimed she was not political, her company and her work were a real part of America’s Cold War propaganda apparatus.

Victoria Phillips tells the story in Martha Graham's Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy

My conversation with Victoria Phillips:

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