#162 The Fall and Rise of Small Towns: Dar Williams

The New Yorker called  Dar Williams  "one of America's best singer-songwriters.” Williams is also passionate about urban planning and revitalization. Her new book, "What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician's Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities" is both a well researched and well-written account of the death and rebirth of American towns and cities. The book is full of practical solutions and inimitable accounts of small towns. Listen.

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#161 A Fresh Look at Freedom: Russell Shorto

We discuss the American Revolution and the meaning of freedom with acclaimed historian and journalist, Russell Shorto, author of the 2018 book, "Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom."
Russell Shorto is also the writer of a fine new podcast series, "American History Tellers."

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#160 The Good News About Drones: Mehdi Salehi

"Wherever there's a problem, I'm pretty sure you can find a use to overcome that problem utilizing drones," says our guest, Mehdi Salehi of the Parsons School of Design. His company, Drone Labs, specializes in drone design, R&D, data collection and analysis.

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#158 Our Towns. Solutions & Reinvention. James Fallows - Part 2

In part two of our conversation with James we look at the ways many local business owners, city planners, educators and citizens have worked in pragmatic and inventive ways to improve life in their communities.

James and Deborah Fallows are the authors of "Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,", 

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#157 Our Towns. Solutions & Reinvention: James Fallows

"This still can be the country people would like to think it is," says well-known journalist James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine and co-author of "Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America." He says that most people don't realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself.

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#156 The Next Debt Crisis: Maya MacGuineas

"The debt will be as large as our entire economy by the end of the decade", says Maya MacGuineas, President of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "Every indicator that you could look for in terms of the numbers is on flashing red alert."

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#155 The Great Environmental Debate: Charles C. Mann

Our guest, journalist, Charles C. Mann, author of new book, "The Wizard and The Prophet", is a correspondent for The Atlantic, Science and Wired. Two of his previous books, 1491 and 1493, were widely-acclaimed best sellers.

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#154 Fighting Gang Violence: Jonathan Green

Our guest, Jonathan Green, is the author of the new book, "Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood and Betrayal." He tells the hair-raising story of how SMM dealt with rivals, as well the role the gang leaders played in the crack epidemic.

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#153 A Solution for Israelis & Palestinians? Dahlia Scheindlin

We speak with Israeli public opinion analyst, strategic consultant and peace researcher, Dahlia Scheindlin, who is hopeful that a new peace agreement will emerge. In addition to her work with Israelis and Palestinian, she has expertise in conflict resolution in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Dahlia is co-host of the podcast, The Tel Aviv Review.

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#152 Stopping Sexual Harassment: Claire Cain Miller

We revisit our interview with New York Times journalist Claire Cain Miller, who writes for The Upshot. Miller explains the challenges ahead in the fight for equality and respect for women in the workplace.

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#151 Microtrends = Big Changes: Mark Penn

When we focus on the future, we usually look at the big things: Will the current crisis with North Korea be resolved peacefully? Is President Trump likely to face a big setback in the midterm elections? When will the next recession hit?

Our guest, political consultant Mark Penn, argues that the future is not shaped by broad forces, but by quiet changes-- Microtrends-- within narrow slices of the population.

We hear about "Techno-Luddites", the rise of internet marriages, the huge increase in the number of Americans living into their nineties, and why these and many other trends will have a profound impact on the future of jobs, society and politics.

Ten years ago, Mark showed how the behavior of one small group can exert a surprisingly large influence over the whole country. Now, in his latest book, Microtrends Squared, there are more fascinating examples.

Mark Penn is a pollster and political consultant. He worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as for Microsoft. In the ‘90s he identified the rise of the “Soccer Moms” who helped elect Bill Clinton. In 2007, he wrote the book Microtrends, detailing many similar trends.

#150 The New Movement to Restore Civility

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."

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#149 Fixing Capitalism: Luigi Zingales

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."

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#148 The World Is Getting Better: Gregg Easterbrook

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."

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.

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

"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."

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#145 Making Luck Happen: Janice Kaplan

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 ."

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#144 What Works to Prevent Gun Violence: James Burnett

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

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#143 Will #NeverAgain Bring Lasting Change? Elizabeth Matto

"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.

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