335 episodes

From politics to the personal, we're about solutions. Our weekly podcast features two friends and longtime journalists. Join Richard Davies (ABC News) and Jim Meigs (Popular Mechanics) as they challenge authors, experts and provocateurs in a search for positive, practical ideas. Guests include Alan Dershowitz, a noted legal scholar and defender of civil liberties; Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" and Lenore Skenazy, founder of "Free Range Kids." Topics include politics, parenting, personal finance, human behavior and much more. "How Do We Fix It?" - a repair manual for the real world. Produced by DaviesContent
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How Do We Fix It‪?‬ DaviesContent

    • News
    • 4.6 • 95 Ratings

From politics to the personal, we're about solutions. Our weekly podcast features two friends and longtime journalists. Join Richard Davies (ABC News) and Jim Meigs (Popular Mechanics) as they challenge authors, experts and provocateurs in a search for positive, practical ideas. Guests include Alan Dershowitz, a noted legal scholar and defender of civil liberties; Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" and Lenore Skenazy, founder of "Free Range Kids." Topics include politics, parenting, personal finance, human behavior and much more. "How Do We Fix It?" - a repair manual for the real world. Produced by DaviesContent
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    I Changed My Mind About Nuclear Power: Zion Lights

    I Changed My Mind About Nuclear Power: Zion Lights

    Earth's global average temperature in 2021 was the sixth warmest on record, according to two new reports issued this week by U.S. Government agencies. Scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies report that collectively the past eight years were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880. The research adds to overwhelming evidence of climate change.
    This episode looks at the role played by carbon-free nuclear power in providing one solution to the growing climate crisis. Our guest, British environmental activist and science communicator, Zion Lights, tells us whyt she changed her mind about nuclear safety and reliability. After playing a leading role with Extinction Rebellion UK, Zion left the group and founded Emergency Reactor, which calls on fellow activists to "stop spreading misinformation and fear. Follow the science about nuclear energy." 
    "People are already worried and scared about climate change. Let's look at solutions," she tells us.
    This show is the latest in a series of "How Do We Fix It?" episodes about the need to come up with pragmatic, workable solutions that limit the damage to our warming planet. 
    Recommendation: Richard has spent part of the past year reading literary classics, including the three books of Dante's "Divine Comedy", Virgil's "The Aeneid", and The Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. "My recommendation is to challenge yourself. This may lead you to change your mind about something that's important to how you see the world," says Richard.
    Note: Zion Lights is an amateur astronomer. Her Tedx talk, "Don't Forget to Look Up" is full of curiosity and wonder about stargazing and the universe. 



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    • 26 min
    National Day of Dialogue. Christy Vines

    National Day of Dialogue. Christy Vines

    Our first episode of 2022 is all about a constructive response to the calamitous events of one year ago: The January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
    On January 5th, a coalition of organizations, led by Ideos Institute, will host the first annual National Day of Dialogue. We discuss this invitation to all Americans to push back against deep divides. We also explore the need for hard talk and getting into our discomfort zones. 
    “As a nation, we have largely lost our ability to have hard conversations without judgment, animus, or fear,” says our guest, Ideos President & CEO, Christy Vines. "Deep down we all want to have these kinds of moments with somebody we would disagree with and who we often see as the enemy... Not enough people are getting those opportunities to see the human behind the positions they hold." 
    The National Day of Dialogue is a series of virtual and live events across the country, and the premiere of a documentary movie "Dialogue Lab: America", which includes a series of deep, and sometimes very emotional conversations among individuals from different political and religious beliefs. 
    The event is part of a broader bridging movement that we’re part of on "How Do We Fix It?", as we respond to the deep divides that hold us back and threaten our democracy.
    Recommendation: "Beginner's Mind", 90-minutes of music and audio narration by acclaimed cellist Yo Yo Ma. He speaks of his career and personal story as an immigrant, and invites us “to strip away preconceptions and reclaim a beginner's mind...one open to new questions, explorations, and unexpected answers.” Available free on Audible.

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    • 30 min
    Big News. The Stories You Missed in 2021: Jim & Richard

    Big News. The Stories You Missed in 2021: Jim & Richard

    The Forever Pandemic, Omicron, Build Back Better, Biden, Putin, China, What's Trump got up his sleeve? The media gave these stories ad nauseum coverage in 2021, often marching in lockstep and suffering from a painful lack of imagination about what should be the big news of the day.
    But what about underreported stories: The important news that most of us missed?
    Richard and Jim share their gripes, observations, hopes and insights about the media, science, the environment and global affairs. Our co-hosts are not only solutions journalists with decades of reporting experience, they're also voracious readers and observers of current events.
    In this episode, we learn how COVID has super-charged the development of promising new mRNA vaccines against malaria, lyme disease and other challenging illnesses, the hidden social upsides of remote working on family life, the broad benefits of the private space flight boom, and the hard truths of global energy production. We also examine why curiosity, intellectual humility and overcoming our negativity bias are all needed to gain a better understanding of the world.
    We explore why people have such a hard time accepting progress that is being made in many fields."A lot of times I think it is because the media is afraid that if they mention good news then people will stop the fight for further change," says Jim. "But if you can emphasize the good sometimes that shows these problems can be solved."
    Jim and Richard's recommended news sources: Apart from reading The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other mainstream newspapers, Richard recommends The Economist, GZero Newsletter on global affairs, and the Migration Policy Institute. Jim urges listeners to check out City Journal and eco-modernist reports from The Breakthrough Institute. His other sources include a range of journalists on Substack and Twitter. 


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    • 28 min
    Changing the Way We Vote: Rob Richie

    Changing the Way We Vote: Rob Richie

    Gerrymandering, low turnout elections, negative campaign ads, and increased polarization are all part of the flawed, fractured U.S. political system. Here we examine the case for constructive changes to how candidates for public office are elected.
    Our guest, Rob Richie, has been the leader of the non-profit advocacy group, FairVote, since co-founding the organization in 1992. He has been involved in helping to develop and implement: Ranked Choice Voting in several states and more than 20 cities, fair representation voting systems in numerous states, Voting Rights Act cases, the National Popular Vote plan in 16 states, and voter access proposals like voter preregistration and automatic voter registration.
    "We're in a winner-take-all environment and it's incredibly tense," Rob tells us. The current voting system allows for only one choice, which can add to bitterness and deep division. "Ranked Choice Voting gives the voter a chance not only to just put an X next to one candidate but to make a series of choices."
    This fundamental reform is attracting growing support among Democrats, Republicans, and independents. In 2021 it was used for the first time to pick the Mayor of New York and the Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. Numerous cities and more states are considering Ranked Choice Voting. 
    The vast majority of Americans live in landslide districts. Rob is also calling for multi-member congressional districts. Both reforms, he writes, would lead to "a more representative and functional congress" that would "regain legitimacy" with voters. 
    Recommendation. Jim is listening to journalist Andrew Sullivan's podcast, "Dishcast". Jim calls Sullivan "a consistently interesting, provocative thinker", who has great free-ranging conversations on his show.


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    • 26 min
    Better Policing — Not Posturing: Nekima Levy Armstrong

    Better Policing — Not Posturing: Nekima Levy Armstrong

    The huge difference between slogans and solutions is a key theme of this episode. While demands to “de-fund the police” or replace entire police departments with something new might sound good in theory, these ambitious experiments in public safety may backfire.
    Our guest is Minneapolis civil rights lawyer and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong. Her recent New York Times op-ed— “Black Voters Want Better Policing, Not Posturing by Progressives”— was written after the defeat of a November ballot initiative that would abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a department of public safety. She expressed frustration over the lack of a detailed, well-researched plan.
    While white progressives mostly voiced support for the proposal, majority-black neighborhoods rejected it. We find out why.
    In the months after the murder of George Floyd, there was a massive outcry over police violence against African-Americans. The protest movement was multi-racial. In many towns and cities, Whites marched alongside Blacks and other citizens of color, demanding change. But what sort of change?
    There’s a racial divide in how different communities view the police. But as we hear in this episode, it’s complicated.
    Recommendation: Richard enjoyed the new movie, “King Richard” — about the extraordinary story of Richard Williams and his daughters, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Based on the true story the film follows the uplifting journey of a family that created a sports dynasty.

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    • 29 min
    Stopping the Next Pandemic. Alina Chan (Part Two)

    Stopping the Next Pandemic. Alina Chan (Part Two)

    A crucial step in preventing the next global pandemic will be knowing where this one came from. Did SARS-CoV-2— the virus that causes Covid-19— jump from animals to humans, or was the outbreak the result of a lab leak? The world still doesn’t know the answer.  
    This episode is part two of our wide-ranging interview with Alina Chan, a postdoctoral scientist who co-wrote an explosive online paper in May 2020. She argued that scientists and governments should investigate whether a virus from a laboratory in Wuhan, China caused the pandemic.
    “It's not about holding one country accountable, because we are all accountable for this,” Alina tells us. “We're all in this together.”
    In this episode, we discuss the need for much greater transparency when viral outbreaks occur. The world needs to adopt new policies and strategies to prevent or mitigate future outbreaks. Proposed solutions include: more regulation of scientific experiments— including “gain of function” research, better lab safety standards, greater international oversight of groups that study how viruses cross species barriers, and a global treaty governing viral research.
    Alina Chan co-wrote “Viral” with British science writer Matt Ridley. “Unfortunately, there are no enforceable international biosafety and biosecurity standards,” they write. Their newly-published book has prompted further controversy and pushback from some well-known scientists. We think a full airing of the questions raised by Dr. Chan’s research is central to our mission at “How Do We Fix It?”
    Recommendation: Jim is reading "In the Heart of The Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex”, by history writer Nathaniel Philbrick. The book won the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The Essex sank after a sperm whale attacked it in the Pacific Ocean in 1820. 


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    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
95 Ratings

95 Ratings

StephQ44 ,

Easy to listen to

Genial and wide ranging. Easy to listen to and learn from

Ljc1 ,

How do we fix it?

This podcast showcases Intelligent, interesting conversations on topics relevant to all. It is excellently written and produced - very thought provoking!

IvyVirginia ,

Another great Democracy Group podcast

A thoughtful consideration of a wide variety of topics. The hosts do not assume to deliver a final solution, but instead explore the topic to give listeners different angles to consider. Interesting and thought provoking.

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