302 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

How Do We Fix It‪?‬ DaviesContent

    • News
    • 4.6 • 88 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

    Promoting Diversity, Defending Free Speech. Amna Khalid

    Promoting Diversity, Defending Free Speech. Amna Khalid

    In the months after George Floyd’s murder, colleges, universities, non-profits, and large corporations across the country embraced anti-racism and diversity training as a way to promote inclusion and racial justice.


    But do these programs actually work to change minds and achieve their goals? Our guest, associate professor of History at Carleton College, Amna Khalid, argues that while training can improve customer service and knowledge of CPR and Excel spreadsheets, it’s woefully inadequate when confronting complex social problems such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, and racism. 


    Amna grew up under several military dictatorships in Pakistan and came to the U.S. with a passionate commitment to free speech and belief in the power of education to promote curiosity, understanding, and imagination.


    "Through all my journeys what I've come to realize is that people are individuals more than any category that you can put them into," Amna tells us.  "If we really begin to engage with people as individuals then we will do a far better job of diversity and inclusion."


    While critical race theory (CRT) can be one useful tool in our conversations about race, this episode includes criticism of efforts to promote one all-encompassing view of diversity. 
    Recommendation: Richard enjoyed watching "Soul", which won the Oscar this year for best animated feature movie.
     
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    Good Conflict vs. High Conflict. Amanda Ripley

    Good Conflict vs. High Conflict. Amanda Ripley

    What’s the greatest crisis facing America today? — Racism and hate crimes, exploding government debt, climate change, or the mess at the border?
    It may be none of these. 


    America and many other countries are trapped in high conflict. Both sides are paralyzed by fear and anger as they demonize the other. The national narrative of "us versus them" is a threat to democracy and stops us from working together to build a better world.


    Best-selling author and investigative journalist, Amanda Ripley, is our guest. She is well-known for her writing in The Atlantic, Time, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her latest book is “High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out."


    Amanda argues that good conflict involves nuance and complexity. It can teach us to be better people, who are capable of solutions as they move past misunderstandings. Many are trapped in high conflict, which is threatening to tear us apart, creating an even deeper crisis than we have now.


    We discuss "conflict entrepreneurs"— cable TV personalities, talk radio hosts, and politicians from both left and right — who profit from making us angry and fearful.


    "Most Americans want "out" of this high conflict," Amanda tells How Do We Fix It? "They very much want to see a different way of disagreeing among their politicians and the news media. They are frequently tuning out of politics and the news, which is a big problem, but totally understandable."


    Recommendation: Jim enjoyed watching "Long Strange Trip", a highly-praised documentary about the rock band, the Grateful Dead. TV viewers can watch it on Amazon Prime.
     
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    Six years. Six guests. 300 episodes

    Six years. Six guests. 300 episodes

    We’ve made it to our 300th weekly episode! While it’s easy to congratulate ourselves for being among the few podcasts to produce this many shows, Jim and Richard are most proud of our extraordinary range of guests.


    During our first six years together, we've often highlighted out-of-the-box thinkers, who share ideas that are too rarely discussed: People who speak about solutions through an independent lens— neither firmly left nor right. 
    For this episode, we revisit interviews with six guests— or roughly 2% of all the people we've spoken with for "How Do We Fix It?" We begin with the public intellectual and problem solver Philip K. Howard, who was our very first guest. Others featured here are Claire Cain Miller of The Upshot at The New York Times, Mike Rowe, who became famous with the TV show "Dirty Jobs", science evangelist, Ainissa Ramirez, Jerry Taylor, President and Founder of The Niskanen Center, and R&B musician Daryl Davis, who has personally persuaded more than 200 men and women to quit white supremacist groups.
    As Jim says, it's been a great privilege to spend time with so many remarkable people and listen to their remarkable personal stories and ideas. We have used the intimate, informal medium of podcasting to pull the curtain back and dive into a rich pool of ideas at the deep end. 


    We are also grateful to the Democracy Group podcast network (we are founding members), Solutions Journalism Network for grants and advice, and Heterodox Academy for introducing this show and our listeners to a remarkable range of creative intellectuals. Thank you, all!


    This week's Recommendation: What else, but listening to our catalog of shows at How Do We Fix It?
     
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    Fighting Hate and Self-Loathing With Love: Chloé Valdary

    Fighting Hate and Self-Loathing With Love: Chloé Valdary

    Recent mass shootings and the explosion of rage outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are reminders of threats posed to us all by anger, fear and loathing. On social media and in the hyper-partisan ways political issues are debated, many of us objectify others. Those who belong to the wrong tribe are often targets of personal scorn.
    In a Twitter post, our guest, writer and entrepreneur, Chloé Valdary, says: "if you do not possess the power to love, and especially love your enemies, then you don't really have the power."
    In this episode, first released in 2020, Chloé talks about her antiracism program, Theory of Enchantment, which uses the music and messaging of Beyoncé, Disney movies and pop culture as educational tools, teaching social and emotional learning in schools, and diversity and inclusion in companies and government agencies. 
    The three key principles involve:
    1. We are human beings, not political abstractions.
    2. Use criticism to uplift, not tear down.
    3. Lead with love and compassion.
    Recommendation: Jim and Richard have the 2020 book, "Utopia Avenue" by British novelist, David Mitchell.
     
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    Infrastructure. How To Pay For It: Maya MacGuineas

    Infrastructure. How To Pay For It: Maya MacGuineas

    Stifle that yawn. Infrastructure just got exciting again.


    President Biden announced a $2 trillion plan to rebuild roads and rails, repair bridges, modernize airports and seaports, create hundreds of thousands of union jobs in the solar and wind power industries, boost housing, expand broadband access to regions that are poorly served, and speed-up the transition to a climate-friendly economy. Total spending on his proposals could be as much as $4 trillion over the next decade. 


    We explain the President's ambitious plan, which amounts to the biggest spending initiatives in decades, and look at how to pay for it with one of the nation's top experts on the budget and taxes— Maya MacGuineas, President of the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.


    Maya MacGuineas praises recent efforts to spend big on COVID relief, and also discusses ways to restore fiscal balance through reducing unproductive tax breaks, and reforming the tax code. "The bad news is that we had a mountain of debt before the crisis and we have a much larger mountain now."


    In their conversation in the second half of this episode, Jim takes a deeply skeptical look at the Biden infrastructure proposals, while Richard applauds the President for going big and tackling a huge piece of public policy that was usually neglected by prior administrations.


    Recommendations: Richard calls "Minari" and "The Father" two remarkable new films that are well-worth watching.
     
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    Fixing The Grid: Our Relationship With Electricity. Gretchen Bakke

    Fixing The Grid: Our Relationship With Electricity. Gretchen Bakke

    Our lives depend on it and most of us don't give it a moment's thought. But when the electricity goes off we feel frustrated— powerless.


    America's grid was an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, but as the recent sudden freeze and severe power outages in Texas have shown, our electricity infrastructure is fragile and in need of basic repair, especially as the world faces the growing reality of extreme weather events and climate change. On their own solar and wind power are not enough to meet rapidly growing electricity demand. What are other viable, carbon-free alternatives?


    We discuss strengthening the grid, re-imaging it according to modern values, and our relationship with electricity with cultural anthropologist, Gretchen Bakke, author of "The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future."


    "It's not just that electricity is a modern marvel," Gretchen tells us in this episode. "It almost starts to feel like a natural right. With the pandemic, we really feel how important electricity is to being connected with the world. Everything is plugged in."


    Recommendation: Jim is watching the hilarious French TV series, "Call My Agent" on Netflix. Richard suggests that we watch more movies and TV shows with subtitles from all parts of the world.
     
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
88 Ratings

88 Ratings

justin kempf ,

So eclectic

This podcast spans across such a broad range of topics and interests. And they find ways to make almost every discussion interesting. I find myself drawn to areas I might have overlooked if not for their inquisitive approach.

Justin Kempf
Democracy Paradox

Arlie K ,

Authentic and Empowering

It’s obvious that Jim and Richard put extraordinary effort into finding guests that are authentic and truly care about being a positive force in this world. No matter the topic, I always walk away feeling refreshed and inspired. A new favorite!

TheOfficialMichaelBolton ,

The Most Refreshing Politics Podcast

Are you exhausted with cable news networks that spend 24 hours a day trying to stir up outrage on both sides of the aisle? I was too. How Do We Fix It is a remedy to your frustration. This is a truly excellent podcast that I look forward to every week. Jim and Richard are great hosts, and in an era when most political journalism is just talking heads on cable news shouting over each other, it’s truly refreshing to hear two people disagree amicably while also talking in a thoughtful, nuanced way about major issues in American politics. Listening to this podcast will challenge your assumptions no matter which way you lean, and I think that’s a very good thing. Check it out.

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