#150 The New Movement to Restore Civility

The National Week of Conversation is a bold attempt to reduce the yawning gap between Republicans and Democrats. More than 100 groups across the country are involved in online and in-person events  from April 20th to April 28th.

We look at how the project works and why it can make a difference.

With American politics increasingly dominated by personal insults, name calling and dogma, a growing movement for greater civility is emerging. "The ever-widening gulf..is one of the most significant trends to emerge in U.S. society in the past two decades," says a Gallup polling analysis.

Our guests in this episode, John Gable and Joan Blades, are leaders of a growing project to bring Americans together to talk it out, mending the bitter partisan divide "one conversation at a time." #ListenfFirst and #NWOC are the hashtags they use on social media.

"When you only talk to people just like yourself, and we only get information that confirms what we already think, we become much more extreme in our beliefs and much less tolerant," says John.

Living Room Conversations, the group Joan co-founded, is hosting five online events as part of the National Week of Conversation. AllSides, the website that features news reports from the left, right, and center, is also deeply involved. Big Tent NationBridge Alliance Partners, NCDD, The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, and The National Institute for Civil Discourse are organizing partners. 

Since we started our weekly news solutions show nearly three years ago, "How Do We Fix It?" has been committed to addressing the crisis of political paralysis. We are pleased to promote this cause.

Source: https://www.ted.com/talks/joan_blades_and_...

#149 Fixing Capitalism: Luigi Zingales

From internet giants Facebook, Amazon and Google to telecom titans AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, American capitalism is increasingly dominated by huge and politically well-connected business behemoths.

We look at the case for reform, including stronger anti-trust regulations, innovative use of the Interstate Commerce Clause, better pay for government regulators, and reform of the tax code.

Our guest, finance professor, Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, makes a crucial distinction between free markets and big business. Luigi is the author of two widely reviewed books: "Saving Capitalism from Capitalists (coauthored with Raghuram Rajan) and "A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity." He is also the co-host of the popular podcast, "Capitalisnt."

In this episode of "How Do We Fix It?" Luigi presents arguments to reduce the power of crony capitalism and restore competition at all levels as an engine for economic growth and fairness.

#148 The World Is Getting Better: Gregg Easterbrook

The facts are hard to deny. We live longer, infant mortality continues to fall, we are richer, less subject to violence-- and despite uneven progress, the world is more democratic than it was 50 years ago.

And yet so many people are gripped by pessimism and fear.

Donald Trump was elected President after repeatedly claiming "our country is going to hell." A recent poll found that just three-in-ten Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. The number of Americans who think the country has a strong national character declined sharply in the last two decades.

Our guest, journalist Gregg Easterbrook is author of the new book, "It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear."

"If you're an optimist you think that problems can be fixed," says Gregg. "If you're a pessimist, you think the world is going to hell and there is nothing I can do about it."

We look at why our pessimistic outlook has been blurred by the rise of social media, and is getting in the way of urgently needed reforms, from reducing climate change to fixing the national debt.

#147 America's Leadership Crisis: Davia Temin

With turmoil and never-ending drama in the White House, and record numbers of departures from top levels of the Trump Administration, it is safe to say that America is facing a leadership crisis. According to recent polls, a solid majority of US voters disapproves of Trump's leadership.

In corporate America, the once-celebrated Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is facing growing criticism over his late and insufficient response to privacy concerns and the Cambridge Analytica data hijacking scandal.

University administrators, media titans and the leaders of the US Gymnastics movement have all faced angry protests for mishandling cases of sexual abuse, assault and harassment.

This episode looks at how leaders can avoid the mistakes and embarrassment that could ruin their reputation, lead to their downfall and cause their employees and associates great harm. 

Our guest is the highly respected crisis communications and leadership strategist, Davia Temin.

She speaks from a place of deep experience and passion about the crucial importance of ethics, honesty and diversity, as well as the need for leaders to communicate quickly and clearly, especially in times of crisis. We learn about the do’s and don’ts of crisis communications as well as the benefits of coaching and training. 

#146 Google is Forever. No Second Chances: Brian Hamilton.

Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or Google; internet platforms are a huge force in our daily lives. The recent scandal over the Steven Bannon-affiliated Cambridge Analytica is the most recent example of the downside of data.

This episode of "How Do We Fix It?" is about search, and how it can condemn former inmates to a life sentence without work. In their case, the internet is a "help not wanted" sign, preventing them from getting a job and putting their lives back on track. The cost to ex-prisoners and their families is enormous.

Three-out-of-four ex-offenders are unemployed at least a year after they finish their jail sentence. Less than half are working five years after their release. At a time of almost-full employment, this is a drag on the economy. 

"When people get out of jail, their internet profiles can stay with them forever," says business executive, Brian Hamilton, founder of "Inmates to Entrepreneurs," an outreach group that helps ex-offenders start their own businesses. "There is systematic discrimination against these people by employers who always Google people."

We discuss the social and economic cost and consider whether people should have the right to have their past removed from their search profile, say after ten years. We hear from Brian how learning entrepreneurial skills can help large numbers of former inmates get a foothold in the jobs market.
 

#145 Making Luck Happen: Janice Kaplan

What do Mark Zuckerberg, hockey great Wayne Gretzky, and best-selling novelist Lee Child all have in common? They all worked to make luck happen for them.

In this episode with award-winning author, editor and journalist, Janice Kaplan, we learn about the exciting ways you can grab opportunities and improve your life. 

There is a clear difference between random chance and luck. The case is made in the new book that she wrote with risk-taking expert Barnaby Marsh, "How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love and Life ."

Luck includes chance, but it is not a one-time event and also involves a combination of talent, open-minded research, and hard work.

We learn to how change the odds, why it may be important to move to places where your chances of success improve, and why having a positive outlook boosts your chances of long-term success.

Winning the lottery, says Janice, "is not a great example of the kind of luck we're talking about, where you do have an input, where you can change things."

#144 What Works to Prevent Gun Violence: James Burnett

The debate over gun violence is deeply polarized, but almost everyone agrees it's an urgent problem and that far too many people are being killed and injured by firearms in the United States.

The toll is more than 100 deaths per day-- a much higher rate than in other wealthy nations. Unlike the appalling killings in Parkland, Florida, Newtown, Connecticut, and at other schools, most gun murders involve a single victim and don't get national media coverage. Mass shootings account for less than 2% of all gun-related deaths.

In this episode, we ask: of all the widely-touted proposals to reduce the rate of gun violence, which ones would actually work the best?

Our guest in James Burnett, Editorial Director of The Trace, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom that shines a light on America's gun violence crisis. 

We have an estimated 300 million guns in America-- about one for every household. But would banning military-style weapons and bump stocks be more effective than improving the system of federal background checks? Are red flag warnings a smart answer? 

Weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which 17 people were killed, Florida Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D) proposed new legislation that would encourage states to create gun violence restraining orders. Other proposals include improving gun safety education, more spending on research about guns, mental health treatment and public health solutions: recognizing gun crime as a preventable public health problem. 

#143 Will #NeverAgain Bring Lasting Change? Elizabeth Matto

Within four days of the mass shooting at Margaret Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead, Never Again was born.

In this episode, we ask whether young millennials, who grew up after 9/11 during a time of school lockdowns, will become effective advocates for lasting social and political change.

Digitally savvy students-- survivors of the massacre-- turned to social media with the hashtag #NeverAgain. This activist campaign for sweeping changes in gun control laws became a national phenomenon with a mass following on Twitter and other social media platforms. 

March For Our Lives is planned for March 24th by kids and families "to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools," says the group's statement.  

"This generation has become more in tune and in touch with the avenues of political power," says Professor Elizabeth Matto, Director of the Center for Youth Political Participation at the Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University, and the author of "Citizen Now: Engaging in Politics and Democracy.

"They understand that there's a difference between simply raising awareness and sharing something on Facebook, and directly linking it to the political process and showing adults how to hold politicians accountable," she tells "How Do We Fix It?"

#142 The Next Space Race: Joe Pappalardo

The impressive launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the touchdown of two boosters back at Cape Canaveral minutes later, are the latest milestones in a thrilling comeback story. Space is becoming sexy again and the pace of innovation is remarkably fast.

Not since the days of John Glenn,the Apollo moon launch, and the Space Shuttle program has spaceflight been so exciting.

In this episode, technology journalist Joe Pappalardo, author of the new book, "Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight", tells us why the emerging space race is different this time, and includes a vital role played by SpaceX, Blue Origin and other private companies. Their drive may lead to stunning advances in the human quest to explore and understand the universe.

The goal of entrepreneur and billionaire visionary Elon Musk, is to put men and women on Mars. In addition to the shining ambition of interplanetary travel, Musk's firm, SpaceX, has already sharply cut the cost of rocket launches. Learn more about current breakthroughs as well as how NASA can play a leading role in this episode of "How Do We Fix It?"