Up Close and Personal with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

October 29th, 2020

Sherrod_Brown_NDAA_1088x725-700x470.jpgThe United States Senate was once considered the world’s greatest deliberative body. As we witnessed in the first presidential debate, it’s entirely possible that honest debate in America is actually dead. And why should we assume that the US Senate is any different?

But rather than coming to mourn what once was, perhaps by summoning up the history of some of those senators who once infused the body with all that made it and the country great, we can almost by sheer force of will create an environment that might let it bloom once again. After all, isn’t that why we study history, why we visit monuments and capitals and museums. So that we might take with us, in some primal and visceral way, the inspiration of the best that came before and integrate it into doing good today?

In part, this is what US Senator Sherrod Brown, does in his new book, Desk 88. 

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with Sen. Sherrod Brown

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Is Socialism Coming To America?

October 27th, 2020
Screen%2BShot%2B2020-10-27%2Bat%2B11.41.26%2BAM.pngBernie Sanders an avowed Democratic socialist, never a member of the Democratic party, ran two failed presidential campaigns, and yet he has succeeded in moving the Democratic Party to the left.

AOC, is a one-term congresswoman with no previous political experience and yet her Democratic Socialist views have gotten attention on a national scale.

Particularly among young people, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the state of capitalism and free markets today. Even the likes of billionaires such as Chase’s Jamie Diamon and Salesforce’s Mark Benioff have talked about the need for a new more inclusive capitalism. 

While this is essentially about the economy, it’s also about shifts in the social, cultural, and political landscape. The coronavirus has laid bare many of the lurking flaws in our system and the politics of the moment magnify everything.

Is this a tectonic shift in the politics of America or a temporary blip in an otherwise centrist nation?

John B. Judis breaks this down in his new work The Socialist Awakening: What's Different Now About the Left.

 
My conversation with John B. Judis: 

Are We So Divided that Secession Is The Only Answer?

October 23rd, 2020
1_peASrXNwaaf-SFd3RWLRKA.pngThere was a time when there were things that united us. Through most of the 20th century for example they were things that had nothing to do with politics. They were movies and TV shows and books and sports and one of the three choices for getting our evening television news. We were for a long time part of a commonweal, a kind of national town square that provided our water cooler conversation around the things we had in common. 

Over the past 40 years all that changed. Technology and the proverbial long tail atomized us into our individuals interests. The explosion of thousands of sources of news, entertainment and information satisfied us, satiated us really, but took away our common bonds.

The result is where we are today. On the verge of session. Divided as never before in an environment so fragile and truly the house divided will not stand.

David French has been thinking and writing and living this experience. He brings it forward in Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.

 
My conversation with David French: 

Jimmy Carter: A Good and Decent Presidency

October 14th, 2020
Screen%2BShot%2B2020-10-14%2Bat%2B3.01.22%2BPM.pngBefore his massive failure with the Covid crises, someone remarked that Donald Trump may not turn out to be the worst President we ever had, but for sure he will be the worst person ever to be President. In many ways, Jimmy Carter is the opposite. He may not have been a great President, but he may have been one of the best people to ever be President.

It’s hard to say if the problems that Carter faced, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, inflation, unemployment, and the Iranian hostage crisis, might have happened to any President of that period. But history tells us they were the crisis he was dealt. And the nature of them brought out some of Carter's worst, not his best qualities.

It really is a job that’s about the nexus between crisis and character. Sometimes they line up and sometimes they don't. For Carter, it was often out of sync. Jonathan Alter tell the whole story in His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life.

 
My conversation with Jonathan Alter:  

Is White Collar Corruption the New Normal?

October 12th, 2020
Screen%2BShot%2B2020-09-28%2Bat%2B1.53.15%2BPM.pngFitzgerald got it right. The rich are different. Even in the way they commit crimes.

Law and order phrases are shouted from rooftops with respect to street crime, as small time criminals are abused by law enforcement and often overcharged. The reality is that crimes of much bigger significance, and many more victims, are committed in and from the boardroom.

While anger is still palpable in many places over those executives not not charged as for their role in the 2008/2009 financial meltdown, many smaller but similar white collar crimes have been committed with no oversight, no punishment and not even any more anger.

Has high end while collar crime simply become an acceptable cost of doing business? Has it become the collateral damage of capitalism that we are willing to accept? This is where Jennifer Taub takes us in Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crimeir?t=jeffschechtma-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1984879979.

My conversation with Jennifer Taub:

The Reverend Michael B. Curry: Advice for Times Like This Week/Month/Year

October 5th, 2020
TELEMMGLPICT000164014145_3_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqwtUT54c80eKHJHMfvK9NImtWLkXH92jWt3mkAOR8y98.webpThe world has been through tough times before. Wars, depression, the threat of Armageddon, and racial hatred are all nothing new. And yet something seems different today. Perhaps it’s the result of a generation that focused on the self. The me generation, the culture of selfishness, the enduring power of the work of Ayn Rand and obsessive focus on self esteem. Maybe these things have come together to make this moment as corrosive as it feels. 
 
So what the answer? The Beatles said that “all we need is love.” The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, also thinks love is the answer, but in a less sentimental and more transformative way. Reverend Curry garnered worldwide attention to his idea in his sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markel in May of 2018. 
 
Now he has taken it step further in his new book Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times 
 
My conversation with Rev. Michael B. Curry:

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