379 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
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

How Do We Fix It‪?‬ DaviesContent

    • News
    • 4.6 • 99 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
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Anti-Racism: The Pro-Human Approach. Bion Bartning

    Anti-Racism: The Pro-Human Approach. Bion Bartning

    Sixty years ago in his most famous speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his vision of an America transformed. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," he said. 
    Was this an argument for a color-blind society, or should racism be thought of as structural and systematic? Ibram X. Khendi, author of the best-selling book, "How To Be An AntiRacist", argues that "the most threatening racist movement" is the drive for race-neutrality. Our guest, Bion Bartning, argues that instead of emphasizing our common humanity, the approach of Kendhi and others lumps people into simplistic racial groupings.
    Bartning founded the non-profit group, The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR). In its mission statement, FAIR calls for "advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding and humanity."
    "Really, we should be anti-racism, the ideology, and not anti-racist, the individual," Bartning tells us. He calls for a pro-human approach. "There is a burning need to reaffirm the core principles of the civil rights movement... integration, healing divisions and moving forward together as one people." He says that in recent years a different form of anti-racism has emerged that goes against these ideas.
    Bartning launched FAIR after pulling his two children out of one of New York City's most prestigious private schools because he thought that the new anti-racist curriculum was encouraging kids to look at themselves and others primarily through the lens of race and see the world in a pessimistic, grievance-oriented way. We discuss his personal story and ideas in this episode.
    Recommendation: Richard has just read and thoroughly enjoyed John Steinbeck's beloved 1962 memoir, "Travels With Charley, In Search of America"

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 33 min
    Pushing Back Against Polarization: The Village Square. Liz Joyner

    Pushing Back Against Polarization: The Village Square. Liz Joyner

    One way to help solve America's polarization crisis is to hang out with someone not like you. Someone who sees the world differently or comes from a cultural background, social class, racial or ethnic group other than your own.
    While social media, political elites and national news outlets profit from polarization, the rest of us do not. This episode looks at one highly successful local initiative to push back against the conflict entrepreneurs who want to make us angry, fearful and divided.
    Our guest is Liz Joyner, founder and President of The Village Square, a non-profit based in Tallahassee, Florida, dedicated to reviving civic connections across divisions inside American communities. For the past 17 years she's been the leader of an organization that describes itself as "a nervy bunch of liberals and conservatives who believe that dialogue and disagreement make for a good conversation, a good country and a good time"
    Most of us live in neighborhoods and among friends who think like us, especially about politics. That’s a problem because not only are we divided, but don’t understand the other side. The number of people who say our country is headed in the wrong direction has remained very high throughout most of the past decade.
    Liz believes that with the help of food and a sense of humor all kinds of people can be in the same room. They don't have to agree, but in many cases she says, Americans are not as divided as we think. "We disagree in soundbites that professional polarizers are working to divide us over, but in paragraphs we agree way more than we think we do," she tells us.
    As for the polarizers? "l think they're playing us all, and we ought to be done with them," Liz tells us. The Village Square has organized dozens of public events, ranging from a few dozen people to audiences of more than a thousand breaking bread and enjoying a lively conversation.
    Recommendation: Jim is reading "The Matter of Everything" by physicist and science communicator Dr. Suzie Sheehy. The book is a journey through the experiments that not only unlocked the nature of matter and shaped our understanding of the cosmos, but also changed the way we live.
    Bonus Recommendation: Jim enjoys listening to The Glenn Show podcast with economist Glenn Loury.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 33 min
    What Will We Fix in 2023? Jim & Richard's Predictions

    What Will We Fix in 2023? Jim & Richard's Predictions

    2022 was another year of COVID-induced anxiety with widespread worries about democracy, polarization, climate change and threats to democracy. But in this new year special Richard and Jim say we have reached peak fear. America may well be calming down and headed towards a new sense of normal. Our co-hosts throw caution to the wind with a series of fresh outside-the-box forecasts for the twelve months to come.
    We make predictions about the retreat of COVID, the outlook for inflation, and the migration crisis on the southern border that threatens havoc for the Administration. Hear what could happen next in Ukraine's war against Russian aggression. We also look closely at China's new struggles with COVID, street protests, and slowing growth.
    In a special section on technology and science, we focus on stunning advances in cancer and Alzheimer treatments plus new innovations in AI and the likely impact of ChatGTP, the app that's just been released to the public and is already raising ethical issues for schools, universities, and employers.
    We promise to release a scorecard of how we did at the end of the year. Is Jim right when he says there is a real likelihood of a new energy crisis in 2023?
    Is Richard's forecast about the 2024 Presidential race on target?
    Jim and Richard also share their year-end hopes for the new year and recommendations.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 30 min
    The Costs of Culture Wars: Curiosity at Risk. Deborah Appleman

    The Costs of Culture Wars: Curiosity at Risk. Deborah Appleman

    In some ways, our culture is less tolerant and more fragile than it once was. The teaching of literature in schools and colleges is often caught in the crossfire of the culture wars. Support for canceling books and authors by the illiberal left and demands to ban books from the reactionary right have led to the removal of important literature from classrooms and libraries. 
    In this episode author and literature professor, Deborah Appleman mounts a rousing case for teaching troubling texts in troubling times. "Our classrooms need to remain a space where critical thinking is taught, tolerance from different viewpoints is modeled, and the sometimes-harsh truth of our history and literary heritage are not hidden," she says. Her latest book is "Literature and The New Culture Wars."
    Professor Appleman taught high school English for nine years before receiving her doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She is chair of Educational Studies at Carleton College. Her recent research has focused on teaching college-level language and literature courses to the incarcerated.
    We discuss how free speech and free thinking are under assault from puritans from the right and the left. We examine the costs to curiosity as well as to open and free inquiry— so essential to a thriving democracy. We look at the impact of the recent global pandemic on teaching and education. 
    "Life is tough. Life is hard and full of bumps and bruises,' Professor Appleman tells us. "You can't hide the hurt of life from young people. Literature is not life but it can be in some ways a preparation for what life has to offer us."
    "Doing no harm does not mean causing no discomfort for students. Learning requires cognitive dissonance. Learning requires that you are off-balance both psychologically and emotionally sometimes....It's in disequilibrium that we learn."
    Read more here from Pamela Paul of The New York Times. She wrote this year about the impact of book bans on the publishing industry: "Parents, schools and readers should demand access to all kinds of books, whether they personally approve of the content or not. For those on the illiberal left to conduct their own campaigns of censorship while bemoaning the book-burning impulses of the right is to violate the core tenets of liberalism. We’re better than this."
    Recommendation: Richard has read "This Is Happiness" by Niall Williams and set in a remote village in Ireland. Richard calls the novel "enchanting and wonderful." 

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 33 min
    Our Electricity Grid is Surprisingly Fragile: Meredith Angwin

    Our Electricity Grid is Surprisingly Fragile: Meredith Angwin

    Every day Americans take the reliable supply of electricity for granted. Except during severe storms, we rarely, if ever, think that the lights might not turn on in the morning.
    But in some parts of the country, consumers face the threat of rolling blackouts, and sudden surges in the price of electricity. Nearly two years ago, nearly 300 people died when the Texas power grid partially failed during a winter cold snap. California came close to a grid collapse last summer. And New England might be in big trouble this coming winter. 
    Energy analyst, author, and chemist, Meredith Angwin, is our guest in this episode of "How Do We Fix It?" Her latest book is “Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of our Electric Grid.” 
     
    In recent years, our podcast co-host Jim Meigs has written extensively on energy, and says it's a bad idea to shut down nuclear power plants that supply large amounts of reliable energy and aren't dependent on the weather.  
     
    But the threatened electricity grid crisis is not just about how we make power—it’s how we deliver power to users. For big chunks of the country that system has changed radically in recent decades. Reforms that were meant to make our energy system more competitive backfired. 
    The fragile gird matters more than at any time in memory for three reasons: 
    - The need to decarbonize energy production to limit the future impacts of climate change. 
    - Modern technology requires a big increase in electricity output.
    - The geopolitical clash over energy has grown more intense and violent since Putin's 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
    We also discuss why it's not enough to add more solar panels, wind turbines and hydro-electric power to the system. We need new and improved transmission lines to move all that power.
    Recommendation: Richard is watching "Extraordinary Attorney Woo", a South Korean TV series about a brilliant rookie attorney who has autism spectrum disorder. 


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 31 min
    Democracy: The Voters Verdict. Layla Zaidane and David Meyers

    Democracy: The Voters Verdict. Layla Zaidane and David Meyers

    We have a 2022 post-election show with a twist. Instead of focusing on which party is up or down, we open the hood and examine the engine of our democracy. Voters delivered a clear verdict: Most election deniers were defeated as many voters, especially independents, split their ballots, and shunned the extremes.
    Our guests are Layla Zaidane, President and CEO of Millennial Action Project— the nation's largest nonpartisan organization of young lawmakers— and David Meyers, founding Executive Editor of the democracy newsletter, The Fulcrum.
    In the days before the election, the media was full of warnings, and perhaps some hyperbole, about the perilous state of American democracy. Both of our guests and podcast co-hosts agree that many of the results were reassuring for the guardrails of the electoral system.
    "I think when the dust settles we're going to feel pretty good about this election," Layla told us. "Things went really well," said David. "The continued use of voting-by-mail and early voting has gone a long way towards making sure more people had the opportunity to vote and not wait in very long lines."
    We also examine the arguments over Ranked-Choice Voting, open primaries, and the need for a quicker vote account in some states where results took well over a week to come through.
    In their conversation after the interview, Jim and Richard debate voting-my-mail, early voting, reforming the primaries, and how to encourage states to make improvements in vote tabulation. Richard favors limited action by Congress, but Jim is vigorously opposed to any federal reforms or interference in how states conduct their elections.
    Recommendation: Richard is reading "Broken News. Why the Media Rage Machine Divides America and How to Fight Back", by political journalist Chris Stirewalt.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
99 Ratings

99 Ratings

laurieinsm ,

Nuance, Intriguing Guests Combine With Warmth and Great Conversation

I always enjoy this podcast. It's intriguing guests, offering interesting takes on a variety of topics, combined with the knowledge and insights of it's hosts, draws me back again and again.

dennis.karpf ,

Dennis Karpf

Nuanced, sensible and practical. Refreshing to find this common sense podcast. You will, too.

StephQ44 ,

Easy to listen to

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

Top Podcasts In News

The New York Times
NPR
The Daily Wire
Crooked Media
Cumulus Podcast Network | Dan Bongino
SiriusXM

You Might Also Like

Dan Senor
Radio America
The Bulwark
Bill Kristol
Commentary Magazine
The Ricochet Audio Network