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January 05, 2017 09:01 PM PST
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originally aired September 2010

As we celebrate holidays with family, loved ones, and friends, may we reconnect with the deepest, truest parts of ourselves and the human experience. May we reaffirm the simple value of seeing, hearing, respecting, accepting and loving one another. May we call forth and share the best of who we are. Science and sages both say the practice of mindfulness can help us to do these things on a regular basis. Please accept my offering of this conversation with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Trudy Goodman.

December 19, 2016 11:21 AM PST
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(originally aired December 2012)

The late evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould called humans "the primate who tells stories..." And it's not just Gould. Anthropologists have found societies that have existed for millennia without the wheel, but they've never found one that doesn't tell stories. In fewer than 300 pages of THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL, JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL traces the cultural and scientific connections between story and the human brain, touching on nearly every facet of society long the way.
For humans, story is like gravity-it's this powerful and all-encompassing force that we hardly even notice because we are so used to it. But gravity is influencing us all the time, and story is too. Most of us think that our time in the provinces of storyland doesn't shape or change us. But research shows that story shapes humanity at the historical, cultural, and personal levels. Story isn't a frill in human life-something we do just for kicks. Story is a vastly powerful tool. By educating ourselves about story, we can use to learn that power in our own lives. -- Jonathan Gottschall

December 09, 2016 04:51 PM PST
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(originally aired April 2010)
In need of some good news, meet Father Gregory Boyle.
In 1998, Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention program in the United States. Serving 12,000 clients a year, 8,000 gang members from 700 different gangs, it offers wrap-around, comprehensive services to those for whom hope is rare. As of 2010, Boyle had buried 168 of his homies. He fills his first book TATTOOS ON THE HEART with their stories. I read it cover to cover on a plane flight and cried at least a dozen times. Father Boyle's compassion is boundless.

Free Forum - 1) DREW WESTEN, THE POLITICAL BRAIN The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Nation's Fate (originally aired August 2007) 2) SUSAN JACOBY THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON (originally aired July 2008)
December 09, 2016 03:21 PM PST
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This week two interviews recorded before Obama
was elected in 2008 that help explain what just happened.
Trump is just the latest. Though it's a successful political and electoral strategy, the Right's stand against intelligence leaves the US unable to deal successfully with the complex and dynamic circumstances we face as a nation and a society. Back in 2007, DREW WESTEN made clear that Democrats almost always present the best arguments - but lose elections to Republicans who have mastered the art of emotion and story-telling. In 2008, SUSAN JACOBY traced the historical roots of Americans' proud know-nothingism in The Age of American Unreason.

Free Forum - ROBERT WRIGHT, The Evolution of God
December 01, 2016 10:44 PM PST
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Originally aired August 2009

81% of White Evangelical voters chose Trump. If that implies that God's message changes with political winds, don't be surprised. In The Evolution of God, ROBERT WRIGHT makes the case that this has always been the case.

The book follows the changing moods of God as reflected in ancient Scripture, and according to WRIGHT, "The moral of the story is simple: When people see their interests threatened by another group, this perception brings out the most belligerent parts of their religion. Such circumstances are good news for violent extremists and bad news for moderates." A print version of this interview was 3rd most discussed article of the week at AlterNet.org the weekend in July 2009.

Free Forum - TOM HAYDEN Our last interview, four years ago this week, We talk electoral politics and Tom strongly endorses Barack Obama.
October 29, 2016 12:24 PM PDT
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Tom Hayden (12/11/1939-10/23/2016)

Tom Hayden wrote the Port Huron Statement in 1962 and for the next 54 years worked passionately, smartly, and effectively for the ideals it espoused. Wise beyond his years at 23, he retained the passion and yearning of youth until his passing this week at 76. Radical, pragmatist, public servant, legislator, author, teacher, mentor, organizer, and baseball player. I stopped doing new interviews in 2014 and this is our last conversation. Recorded on the eve of the 2012 election, we talk electoral politics and he offers a ringing and detailed endorsement of Barack Obama.

Free Forum - DAVID KIRP, KIDS FIRST Five Big Ideas to Transform Children's LIves and America's Future
October 13, 2016 07:29 PM PDT
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Originally Aired July 2011

DAVID KIRP envisions an effort to support and develop children based on a simple "Golden Rule:" Every child deserves what's good enough for a child you love. In KIDS FIRST, he offers on-the-ground accounts of initiatives that work - and that could affordably be implemented everywhere - to achieve five key priorities:
1) strong support for new parents,
2) high-quality early education,
3) linking schools and communities to improve what both offer children,
4) giving all kids access to a caring and stable adult mentor,
5) providing kids a nest egg to help pay for college or kick-start a career.

Free Forum - WILLIAM McDONOUGH CRADLE to CRADLE: Remaking the Way We Make Things
October 13, 2016 07:27 PM PDT
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Originally Aired February 2002
Architect, designer, thought leader, and author, WILLIAM McDONOUGH'S vision for a future of abundance is helping companies and communities think differently. In Cradle to Cradle, he and chemist Michael Braungart present an integration of design and science that provides enduring benefits for society from circular economies of safe materials, water, and energy - while eliminating the concept of waste.

Free Forum - BILL McKIBBEN climate activist, founder 350.org author, The End of Nature; Deep Economy
September 24, 2016 09:17 PM PDT
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Originally Aired August 2002
BILL McKIBBEN is a great writer - hundreds of New Yorker articles (1982-87), The End of Nature (1989), The Age of Missing Information (1992), Deep Economy,(2007) and Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist (2013). He is an impactful if reluctant activist, founder of perhaps our most effective climate change organization, 350.org. In this 2002 interview, meet him 6 years before the founding of 350.org.

September 22, 2016 11:13 PM PDT
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Originally aired July 2002
Faith is a word loaded with promise and controversy. Facing a frightening political season, terrorist threats, corporate corruption, and constant change, where do we place our faith? Or is faith today naïve or worse, a form of denial? Join me for this July 2002 interview with SHARON SALZBERG, author of FAITH: TRUSTING YOUR OWN DEEPEST EXPERIENCE, and ask yourself what faith means to you and what role it plays in your life? SALZBERG has been a student of meditation since 1971, and leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. A co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, Sharon is also the author of Loving Kindness; A Heart as Wide as the World; and and Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation.

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