#136 Ending Sexual Harassment: Claire Cain Miller

The fight against sexual harassment was the hot topic in Hollywood at the Golden Globes Awards, with outspoken and inspiring remarks by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and others. But allegations of bullying or inappropriate behavior by powerful men are still being made almost every day.

 

Despite widespread outrage, little focus has been given to effective measures that can be taken by employers to reduce the number of cases and improve the workplace environment.

Our guest is journalist Claire Cain Miller, who writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot, a New York Times site that covers policy and economics. She tells us what works and explains the challenges ahead in the fight for gender equality and respect. 

A recent survey found that nearly half of women said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment at work at least once in their careers. A 2015 study revealed that only one-quarter to a third of women who experience sexual harassment report it.

Solutions:
Empower bystanders to act, giving everyone the tools to help prevent harassment. Bystander training is still rare in corporate America, but it has been effectively used in the military and on college campuses.  In some cases, direct action may work. One example was Charles Sonder, in the Snackman case, who disrupted a fight on a New York subway train by standing between a couple and loudly eating chips. 

Other examples of how to disrupt harassment: Drop a book, ask the victim to come to a conference room or if they want to get coffee. Talk to the victim to make sure she is OK, You might say: “I noticed that happened. Are you alright with that?”

Encourage civility:  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission designed a program to create a culture of respect for everyone, such as spotlighting contributions by people who are marginalized. The program also offers helpful things to say in situations when you want to act but don’t know what to do.

Claire Cain Miller says frequent workplace training programs can help. Employees and managers should be encouraged to report harassment. Professor Ian Ayres of Yale Law School has written "information escrows"-- creative and safer ways to help harassment victims who may fear that reporting wrongdoing to harm their careers. 

Among other potential solutions: Gender equity with more women in senior executive positions; greater diversity in occupations now dominated by either men or women; generous workplace and family leave policies.

#135 What's Ahead in 2018: Richard and Jim's Forecast

2018 is certain to bring surprises. In this episode, Jim and Richard bravely venture out onto the high diving board of ideas and plunge into the pool of predictions. We also asked listeners and "How Do We Fix It?" guests for their forecasts of the year to come.

Well-known author and skeptic Michael Shermer says "2018 will be the best year in the history of humanity as measured by health, longevity, medicine, technology, science and culture."

Disruptive marketer and communications designer Geoff Colon tells us that "people are tired of how noisy the world has become. So I see more people deleting apps from their phones and spending less time in the Twitter-verse."

Jim and Richard give their predictions on the 2018 mid-term elections and the new tax code (they go out on a limb here). Both forecast troubled days ahead for Facebook, Google and other giant internet firms, as they run into a buzz saw of criticism over their business practices. 

On the international stage, Richard predicts the U.S. will continue its recent retreat from diplomacy and be weaker as a result.  China's strength will grow. Jim says U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will be a shining star in the Republican party.  

What are your predictions? Go to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Tell us what you think, using the hashtag #FixItForecasts. Our Twitter i.d. is @fixitshow. Find us at "How Do We Fix It?" on Facebook and Instagram.

#130 A Fresh Look at Freedom: Russell Shorto

We discuss the American Revolution through six different pairs of eyes with acclaimed historian and journalist, Russell Shorto, author of the new book, "Revolution Song."

This episode examines the meaning of freedom in a fresh new light and has special resonance during the week of Thanksgiving. 

As he did with "The Island at the Center of the World," which looked at the Dutch impact on Manhattan and the founding of the nation, this book examines American values, drawing deeply on diaries, letters and autobiographies to flesh out six important lives. They include an African-American man who freed himself and his family from slavery, a Seneca tribal warrior who became a wise and respected political leader, and George Washington himself. 

When he began working on "Revolution Song" six years ago, "I thought I was doing history," Russell tells us. "I thought these things were long ago settled. I didn't think I would be living in a time when freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of speech would be even debatable or under attack."

"The intertwined stories of "Revolution Song" give a sense of how far-reaching a phenomenon the War of Independence was," wrote a book reviewer recently in the New York Times
Russell Shorto makes the case that the Revolution is still being fought today and its ideals are worth defending. 
 

#128 Solutions for America's Opioid Epidemic: Sam Quinones

America’s opioid epidemic is an addiction crisis like no other the country has ever faced. Deaths outnumber car crash fatalities.

Since 1999, 200,000 people have died from overdoses related to Oxycontin and other prescription painkillers.

The scourge is the result of a terrible double whammy: The relentless marketing of pain pills and the ruthless efficiency of drug pushers from one small Mexican town, who deliver heroin like takeout pizza.

Our guest, Sam Quinones, author of the highly praised book "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic," is our guide to this complex tragedy. We look at the roots of the epidemic and possible solutions. 

From innovative treatment programs in Kentucky jails to drug courts in Buffalo, New York that offer help for addicts, but also demand accountability, there are ways to reduce the immense pain, suffering and damage.

"This issue allows us to come together as Americans," says Sam.  "Every addict cannot go it alone. They need to be surrounded by services and people who can offer help."

"We've destroyed community in this country in a million different ways and heroin is what you get when you do that."

#125 The Harvey Weinstein Sex Scandal: What Next? Anne Thompson

The public downfall of film boss, Harvey Weinstein raises deep questions about the culture of Hollywood and its longstanding tolerance of sexual misbehavior by powerful men.

Rumors about Weinstein's outrageous behavior had been an open secret in Hollywood for years. But Weinstein, a king of independent film, was able to cow the media, and had the power to break the careers of any women who dared go public with complaints.

All that changed recently when a New York Times investigation uncovered dozens of allegations that Weinstein had engaged in rampant sexual harassment. A deeply reported article in The New Yorker included additional accounts of coercive behavior and sexual assaults on the part of the studio chief.

Anne Thompson, Editor-at-Large for the movie-news site, Indiewire, is our guest. Anne is a veteran entertainment journalist who has worked for the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Entertainment Weekly. She's the author of the book, "The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to The Oscars."

This episode looks at why so many women spoke out now and outlines ways that the entertainment business—and other industries—can become less tolerant of abuse. We look at the explosive growth of the #metoo movement on social media and examine tools victims can use to fight back. Thompson argues that it is possible to change Hollywood's abusive culture and that the Weinstein scandal provides an opportunity for change.

#124 Russia's Threat to U.S. Democracy: Amy Knight

How should the U.S. and other Western nations deal with Vladimir Putin and well-documented threats to democracy from the Russian government? What are the most effective ways to push back against hacking and other attacks?

Ever since Vladimir Putin came to power, his critics have turned up dead on a regular basis. According to our guest, Amy Knight, this is no coincidence. In her book "Orders to Kill" and during this episode of "How Do We Fix It?", she exposes a campaign of political murder during Putin's reign that includes terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

Called "the West's foremost scholar of the KGB” by The New York Times, Amy Knight traces Putin's journey from the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the late 1990's to his rise to absolute power in the Kremlin. 

In this episode, we also explore President Trump's defense of Putin and his denial that the Russian leader has murdered opponents. 

Amy Knight explains how human rights groups in the west and Putin's brave and outspoken critics in Russia could weaken the Kremlin.

Web Extra: Listen to Amy Knight explained why she was interviewed by the KBG when she was a young college student.