Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Brian takes your suggestions for tomorrow's conversation. Call or comment here!
To vote for your favorite of four of the listener-submitted suggestions, go to our poll here.
Where do you vote for the topic for tomorrow? I want to vote for the nyc bucket list - you have to make these things more apparent on the website, it is always hard to find these options!
Self Defense: The Last Taboo
In light of the Trayvon Martin shooting, how about a conversation on self defense and the use of force and deadly force. After civil rights for minorities and gay rights, I believe talking about self defense is the last great taboo.
The laws on the judicious use of force and lethal force have been well established for well over a century, yet too many people have preconceived notions of when you can or can't defend yourself against an attack.
There were too many falsehoods and half truths spewed by media pundits, reporters, politicians and others in regards to the Trayvon Martin case.
It would be refreshing to dissect the true facts of self defense law. It would be nice to debunk the myths of "Stand Your Ground" and talk about what the law actuall allows and doesn't.
As a New York City paramedic for the last 16 years and as a gun owner, I cringe when I hear people repeat and perpetuate myths and stereotype concerning self defense.
Hi, Brian, There are two topics that I would like to have you do on your show: One is priestly celibacy and the other mortgage fraud/foreclosure. You have addressed this last topic before, but I would like to have people brainstorm ideas as to how the borrowers who got scammed can get their money back and justice. The banks got bailed out, but we didn’t. Eugenia Renskoff
I would love to hear a conversation about what would happen to the cost of college education if colleges had to co-sign their students' loans.
Imagine what would happen to some of the degrees. If a student wouldn't be able to pay-off their loan based on the degree, would the college be willing to cosign their loan?
Topic: NYS Lottery vs NYS Education Needs
Wasn't the lottery (a type of gambling) originally legalized under the pretense that the proceeds would go to schools, or is that an urban myth? Seems to me that our schools are failing and our lottery prizes are unnecessarily high - can't we take some of those millions and help the state's schools, and therefore our children and our future?
Let's talk about unequal pay for women. The Lilly Ledbetter Act and US Supreme Court decision shows how much more and work we need to do. Thank you.
Its not income inequality that is truly the issue. Its the Affordability of Basic Living that is truly the problem. I dont begrudge the people who want to work so hard to make +/-500K/year. Go for it! The problem is the cost of basic living expenses compared to what we lower wage earners earn. Its the percentages of income spent on basic living expenses that is truly the problem.
Being safe, warm, properly and well nourished should not be so expensive, should not consume so much of wages for the lower wage earners. Period.
What the ever increasing wage disparity is going to do in the next decade or less - is ghetto-ize vast numbers of neighborhoods that were once deemed Middle-class, and good, clean, safe places to live. Places that the poorer, and younger strive to move to...soon there will be the Rich enclaves, and the rest of us...which will only cause serious social unrest, and probably revolution of some sorts...
10 years+ and still no apology
The significant issue I had with Santorum is that he was in office (Senate) on 9-11. I vowed then, and maintain today, to never vote for anyone who held an elected Federal office on that date.
The discussion topic I have NEVER heard on radio programming is: Why does the Government consider it acceptable to ignore issuing an apology to the electorate after failing in their most important tennant cited in the Constitution?
The practices and policies of the Administration for Children's Services (ACS)in New York defy reason. The ACS seems as happy to charge parents with neglect, and remove children from families, as the NYPD is to conduct stops and frisks. Children are removed from healthy families if a single drug test of the mother shows marijuana in her system. This is a dark corner of our city which exists only because it is hidden.
Widespread use of public funds - often borrowed - to give Trillionsof Dollars in benefits to the wealthy and well connected few inthe form of bailouts, contracts, monopolies, drilling rights, cheapsale of public assets, special tax breaks,etc.
Lack of any meaningful legal accountability by the wealthy and well connected. It's not just that the Banks are too big to fail - theHEADS of banks, and rich investors are too big to be prosecuted.They are above the law.
No legal accountability for abuses of police powers - particularlyby secret police.
Stagnation and decline for the majority of the population.Reduced standard of living, reduced job and life security,diminished opportuntunity for current generation relative topast.Increasing self-perpetuating concentration of wealth at thevery top. Decreased socio-economic mobility.Loss of infrastructure.Loss or sale of public assets.Loss of industrial base.Economic policies which benefit the well connected few andforeign interests at the expense of the vast majority of thepopulation.Decreased investment in the future - decreased access to highereducation (which is free to the public in much of the 1st world),decreased funding of R&D, etc). Where are we in the worldin terms of quality of education, number of university grads,number of "STEM" grads, etc) ?
Increasingly 3rd world distribution of wealth.What countries do we compare to in terms of wealth distributionand upward socio-economic mobility ?
Health :3rd world access to care and life expectancies to go with itfor a large portion of the population. Where are we in the worldin terms of life expectancy ?
Work Conditions :
Less annual vacation than China or India.No meaningful cap on weekly hours worked - China on the other handdoes have a cap of less than 60 hours.
Employment at Whim.Lack of regulation with teeth - worst case for the wellconnected is a fine not jail time.Unemployment and underemployment.Decreasing safety net.
DISCUSS THIS QUESTION WITH CALLERS AND PEOPLE ON THE PROGRAM.(Maybe some economists and public policy people, and the ACLU/NYCLUand/or perhaps some Occupy Movement people and so on).
Here's a topic for discussion :
Has the US become a Banana Republic ?
Political :Ubiquitous SurveillanceHighest number and proportion of population in prisonElimination of voting rights for millions of former prisoners -a disenfranchisement that often follows racial lines and isthe difference between many states voting Republican or Democrat.Gerrymandering to the extent that a minority of the voters routinelycontrol the majority of the legislatures - and that most legislatorsare almost impossible to vote out of office.
Ubiquitous policing and decreased freedom of assembly. Domestic drone surveillance coming soon.
Virtual elimination of effective right to trial by a jury of one'speers (more than 90 % are "settled" otherwise prosecutors becomepunitive).
Virtual Elimination of Due Process Rights - from unreasonable search andseizure to habeas corpus.
Secret prisons and secret courts, unlimited detention and evensummary executions of US citizens.
Start date ? In the 2000 election, the Republican nominated Supreme Courtappointed the SON of the former Republican president in a State controlledby his brother. This made him President. One year later, with the "Patriot Act" the loss of liberties escalated.
Legal Bribery of Politicians via Supreme Court decision (Citizens' United)including by Foreign interests via shell corporations.
(Continued in next post)
The Adam Gopnik article about prisons in the Jan 30th New Yorker devastated me and everyone I talked to who read it. It is not often addressed in the media that more black men are in some way entangled in the criminal justice system than were enslaved those short 150 years ago. The mass incarceration of our black men may be our lasting legacy as a nation, and we dare coin the phrase 'post-racial.' we all need to talk about this more with each other.
There is so much dishonesty in election campaigns. Candidates and/or their surrogates can say almost anything, fact or fiction, and for the most part it goes uncontested. The fact checking organizations are too few or too limited to deal with the onslaught of lies. Can the American electorate find a way to hold candidates to the truth? As journalists often do when they have misstated something, they print a retraction or a correction. Wouldn't we be better served if we could find a way to hold candidates to the truth, at the frequency with which the lies are told? Are there ideas out there for us to consider? What do people who have worked in this field have to offer? Is there no penalty for telling lies?
While the outcry against all the testing that students are submitted to these days is understandable, it might be constructive to discuss the POSITIVE side of standardized testing. E.g.--As the operator of a private tutoring company, I come across students ALL the time from ALL walks of life who somehow have reached their respective tests without learning certain basics. These tests, in spite of all their well documented failings, often reveal large, sometimes crippling educational gaps that can, if test and prep results are properly analyzed, be remedied.
Can we get some more conversation going about the Dream Act? Making higher education available and affordable for undocumented immigrants is not only a human rights issue but also serves to enrich the academic fabric of our country.
How about addressing the idea/problem of people using hospital emergency rooms for their primary medical care? As a paramedic I see this on a daily basis and it is something that affects the lives of all New Yorkers (and all Americans) and the medical care that they receive. With the recent closings of several hospitals in the city due to overwhelming debt, I think we should examine current practices like; the of taking intoxicated, undomiciled people to the hospital simply to get them off the sidewalk/subway platform, calling an ambulance to go to the hospital for a prescription refill and how personal responsibility must play a role in taking care of ones' health. No one has addressed when and when not to call 911. And what occurs when one does so in a nonemergency situation.
I had an interesting conversation with my daughter-in-law Angie over the Easter holiday weekend. Angie is the mother of my twin 1 1/2 year old granddaughters Bianca and Veronica. I asked Angie what she thought about Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing food for her toddler Bear. Angie said it was gross but then offered me this interesting tidbit about what her pregnant friend Bree is planning to do with the afterbirth. She's going to have it ground up and put in capsules which she can take daily so that she won't get post-partum depression. Apparently Bree's mother was a flower child, gave birth to Bree at home and planted the afterbirth under a pear tree. So that's why Angie asked what Bree she was going to do with the after birth. Angie and my son Nathan live in Brooktondale, NY 10 miles away from Ithaca and Bree lives in Syracuse.
I wanted to support the suggestion of one of the callers today regarding the National Defense Authorization Act, which is one of several examples at the Federal level of our civil rights being compromised. Not enough media attention is being paid and I'm afraid we will all pay a serious price if public awareness is not raised about the dangers we face in this area.
This is such a diverse and interesting list-- please use these topics to create a weekly segment!
Someone called in talking about cellphone use. My wife and I always talk about how crazy cellphone use has become. You have to dodge people walking down the street with their noses buried in their cellphones oblivious to anyone else. If they start to walk into you and you alert them they look at you with a blank look, walk around you continuing to look at their phones with nary an apology or a revelation of "oh wow I need to pay attention". They also stop on the subway stairs as soon as they have a connection and hold up everyone behind them. Just amazing how clueless they are. It is like a mass drug epidemic. Or zombie invasion.
There are several topics on which I have had soem interesting discussions lately:1. The pros and cons of teacher tenure and what alternative would you propose to avoid the reason it started: a teacher will just do whatever the principal says to avoid being fired if no tenure.
2. Is gerrymandering a large reason for the real divisiveness and lack of cooperation among politicians? If a voting district is based on real lilfe community lines, then you have a mix of people in the district, and the electied official wwill have to eal with both sides; if you rig the voting district so it is all one side or hte other, then the politician seemes to lean more and more to the extreme to get those votes.
3. Are people who are dealing with elderly relatives finding the financial institutions more obstructive than ever - and what do they do? I am handling my aunt's financial and health affairs - she had a stroke and her right side is paralyzed; she has no chidlren and I and a cousin are named as agents under her power of attorney. I spend hours on many days just trying to get bansk or credit card companies to allow me to handle her affiars. For several weeks I have been dealing with the Bank of America regarding my aunt's credit card; they tell me the Power of Attorney must be "certified" - but I have had at least three different definnitions of what that means; finally they agreed that it means that there is an additional notarized page they are requiring, but it must have the notary's stamp and seal; they know that NY does not require a seal on a notary's acknowledgemnt, so many notaries do not have a seal - but they will not accept the power of attorney without one. There are half a dozen notary publics in my office and not one has a seal. I realize I can go out and find someone who has one - but this is weeks of dealing with one institution and sending them one thing after another, and getting a different additional requiest each time. Wells Frgo told me that although they've accepted her power of attorney and I am named on her accounts, they are not accepting it for her safe deposit box and they won't discuss the box and apparently the customer relations number, which is on the notice from the Safe Deposit Box Operations Dept.regarding the box - does not deal with safe deposit boxes and there is no one who can be reached by phone to deal with it. It seems that these financial institutions are just making up rules, despite the laws, as they go along. Are others finding it difficult to handle day to day affairs of their elderly relatives?
In my opinion the single biggest threat to the existence of NY and its Boroughs, is not war, terrorism, the economy or even a rise in sea levels (although that is oft ignored for the danger it is soon to become), it is the Fracking.Ohio is suffering multiple earthquakeshttp://cleantechnica.com/2011/11/04/natural-gas-fracking-good-at-creating-earthquakes/Pennsylvania is discovering poisoned livestock, sickened residents and methane coming from internal plumbing within homes near fracking sites."14 of the nation’s most active hydraulic fracturing companies used 866 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products — not including water. More than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or are listed as hazardous air pollutants.” Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/12u8y)" Chemicals pumped into the "EARTH" to fracture shale layers and release methane gas to be collected. The companies have successfully lobbied to have the type of chemicals being used kept secret from locals despite the danger to health and the pollution of Aquifers.Recently the push to frack in upstate NY has been increased, as a Hydro Geologist commented when asked about the NY shale fracking stated, if you want to use the most efficient way to poison your aquifer frack in the area.NY relies on the water from Sterling Forest and Upstate NY, without the millions of gallons of clean potable water the city COULD NOT EXIST. Heavy metals and other toxic chemicals require complex processes to be removed from water, if we poison our water upstate we will need huge multi billion dollar water treatment plants to give us water that is potable, water we already have now. Why swap a relatively small profit for a few with some job creation upstate for huge expenses later, the health of whole communities, the fertility of land and the potential demise of the city.Brian you drink NY water, you have stated that before. This requires attention and you are the conduit for such examination. If not tomorrow, soon and on multiple occasions this danger, propounded by a few super powerful companies who are seeking profit at the expense of New York's future, must be discussed.
Put me in as a vote for discussing income inequality... I mean, the fairness and sustainability of income disparity.
The caller that spoke about how income equality greatly decreases creativity, motivation, and reward. While that is a great argument against doctors and laborers having the same income it isn't relevant to the problem we've come to call income inequality.
Maybe we could use crowdsourcing to rebrand this issue in a way that is less likely to provoke cries of class warfare and socialism.
you are the last person on the planet to join facebook...
who are you?
Hot Button issue due to entrenched belief systems is ZPG, not just for China, but as a global mandate.
can i second Stu from Mountainside? i agree 100%. journalism barely exists anymore and supposed journalists have no idea what their true role is supposed to be- a public service.bill moyers editorializes but i think he's the last of a great tradition. when he's gone there's no one to carry the flame. and, i know it won't happen on this show, but can we discuss the use of crowd sourcing in news situations and how it should be considered journalistic malpractice?
My suggestion for your conversation starter is inspired by Susan Cain's recent book, Quiet. The question is:WHAT ARE WE ALL LOSING BY NOT VALUING INTROVERTED STRENGTHS AND GIVING THEM EQUAL TIME, and giving way to extroverted fast answer, swift action priorities and attention spans instead.
Thank you for this opportunity.
I posted this earlier, but thought of an addition:
Thomas Kinkade: Great Art or Schlock? And contrast to the recent 60 Minutes episode of Morley Safer at the Miami/Basel Art Fair.
I agree with Lisa. We need a conversation about the effectiveness of alternative medicine and why the medical, pharmaceutical industries and the media suppress this information. Of course it is because curing people is not financially beneficial for those industries. That attitude is criminal. Many books have been written about this subject. One author you should interview is Tanya Harter Pierce who wrote "Outsmart Your Cancer", an excellent and well documented book.
Why is the city just letting the New York State Pavilion to deteriorate?If this structure was in Manhattan this would have been restored years ago.
I would like to be part of a conversation among people who are nominally members of a religion, but who no longer feel they can embrace important tenets of it.
I believe this conversation is important for two reasons. 1) Religion seems to me to be one of the last great remaining polarizing forces, both in domestic politics and international relations. That makes me wonder why ... 2) I have lived and worked all over the world, where I met many "nominal" Catholics, evangelicals, Jews, Muslims. I would like to understand why they don't just abandon their religion altogether.
Great idea for a show! We all need to engage in more genuine dialogs, and a key part of defining that is asking the conversants what's important to them.
The Role of News Media: News media was originally a public service construct - government requirements on media companies to ensure a consistent flow of unbiased information about our society and for our citizens. Media companies viewed this as the cost of doing business. Most of news media today is purely a profit pursuit. Too many journalists no longer challenge the newsmakers, ensuring that they uncover and report the truth. Rather, they provide megaphones for the newsmakers and offer color commentary as if the public is watching a football game between the Democrats and Republicans (or the conservatives and the liberals, or the rich and the poor, or whomever is playing that day) in a battle to win a game, allowing and in many cases enabling newsmakers to say whatever they want - unfettered by facts and unchallenged by the journalist.
There is a remarkable show presently on view at the American Museum of Natural History about Bioluminescence. But who can visit it? Not ordinary working families with children certainly, as the entry fee is prohibitively expensive.To enter the museum (a fee) and visit this special show (an extra fee), each family member will be spending $15 - 25 dollars (including each child.) So who is attending this worthwhile and fascinating exhibit? Wealthy New Yorkers and well-to-do suburbanites and visitors to the New York area. Not ordinary New Yorkers whose children could really stand to benefit, be stimulated and possibly educated. This is sad.
"I love you George Bailey and I'll love you till the day I die!" said Donna Reed in it's a wonderful life. George et al were the 99 percent and Mr. Potter was the 1 percent. The republicans have tried to appropriate the George Bailey prototype as representing the good old days. Well guess what....they are virtually voting for Mr. Potter and the stinking HELL that comes in the wake of his rampant , un-civic practices! I guess George and his community were a bunch of COMMUNISTS sucking the government teat, right? And we wouldn't want to put any restrictions on Mr. Potters business endeavors?Yeah, truth be told, the republicans are virtually PUSHING George off that bridge. Oh, and Clarence, get your Angel Kumbaya helpfulness out of here; helping people is that "CARETAKER" crap!
I would like a conversation on world wide population growth. Population growth drives most of the major problems on Earth, from global warming to resource depletion to water and food supply. Yet most of the media coverage aims at how we can solve these problems through technological means rather than getting at the root cause which is TOO MANY PEOPLE and EVEN MORE PEOPLE as time goes by.
To Susan : being able to submit and take "abuse " for lack of a better term implies strength. "you can take it" " you can deal with it". Men do this as well, when they voluntarily test themselves with hardships against superior forces, persevering thru them and coming out unscathed. Facing a superior power and coming thru that contest intact is a sign of defiance. Is that not what Christianity, with its martyrdom all about?
Sexuality between male and female is at it's essence , an act of invasion, an injection of the other into ones self if you are a woman. It requires submissive postures to be consummated. This is just the nature of the mechanics and morphology of mammalian reproduction. We should not let present culture attempts to obscure this in order to right the wrongs of sexism blind us. It is what it is.
I am inclined to believe that women are well aware of this fundamental truth. And whilst a male point of view would in all of this see submission, it is within the realm of reason to believe that penetration/invasion is just the opposite way of viewing absorption/engulfment. Which side has the strength and is dominant is then a matter of perspective. I believe the let down is when a feminist perspective becomes corrupted by a male orientation and way of seeing things.
The other side of this novel is the fascination of people in the current culture with wealth and power, and the urge to be near and engage ( have a relationship ) with it. Any time two people engage, dependency is initiated on both sides.
Topic: Effectively addressing teen drinking and drug use
As the parent of a NYC high school kid, I've had to deal with the prevalence of drinking and illicit drug use among today's teens. This isn't just an issue in NYC. Even at high-performing high schools, lots of kids consider it normal to smoke grass after school (or before) to relax, or to "party" on the weekends by using everything from beer to LSD to "enhance" their fun. In terms of prevention, the standard approach is essentially "zero tolerance" and equating drug use with drug abuse. Yet this approach tends to end any conversation with teens about what they're really doing. I really want my teen to abstain completely (as I do), but in our culture, many adults use alcohol (and pot) but not to the point of abusing it, i.e. becoming dependent. In fact, using alcohol is considered normal. Teens see this and scoff at the double standard toward their own use. Teens are usually not persuaded by the fact that their brains and bodies are still developing, that early use often leads to problems with abuse later in life. They want to behave like adults, and so they do: their substance use is a mirror they hold up to the adults of our society, and what we see in that mirror SHOULD be sobering.
The salient points are these:
Teen use and abuse of alcohol and drugs is more widespread than many people realize -- we need to wake up to the fact. Every year I hear about teens dying as a result of drug use, even if that isn't the cause that is announced. Partying isn't an innocent, harmless activity.
We need a more realistic conversation about substance use and abuse, perhaps along the lines of the conversation about sexual activity: we don't want you to have sex for numerous reasons, but if you do, educate yourself and take precautions.
We need to look honestly at our culture's encouragement of using substances to "take the edge off" or feel good. A society cannot become wise if citizens avoid looking at and being with their own sadness, dissatisfaction, loneliness, or sense of purposelessness. In Buddhist teachings, practitioners are advised not to consume substances that "cloud the mind." This can be interpreted to mean anything that can be abused addictively, such as video games, TV, food, sex, religion, etc. But the primary target traditionally is alcohol. How wonderful it would be if our culture deliberately condoned "clarity of mind"! We might be able to solve a few problems.
Is the growth of government entitlements causing the death of Unions. Unions seem to have less and less power. Is part of the reason that the benefits we used to expect from our employer we now look to the government for. The energy that used to go into striking is now focused on making demands on the government. Those in the country illegally can afford to work for lower wages because their children receive free medical from SCHIP, their kids are fed at school etc. Remove those benefits and they would want enough money from their employer to feed, cloth and treat their family.
The conservatives are great at branding. They are not above calling something the "death tax" or "job killing" or "death panels" (which we know through the testimony of that hospital president already exist!).Are we (liberals) too literate to stoop to slogans? To hell with that!We've got to fight fire with fire! I say go the distance. Rush Limbaugh is complaining about a community that is feeding dinner to hungry children; pulling out the "caretaker society" epithet.. I think we have every right to call that program "Christian Charity for Children" program. Hit 'em where they live! Oh, and they're always complaining about us helping starving children overseas and not taking care of our own.......but they DON"T WANT to take care of our own!
I would like to hear a discussion about why NYC's urban school system, which makes literate the majority of its children,many of whom are poor or from immigrant families and which produces students who go to schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science and then on to the Ivy Leagues, is thought to be failing. I wont say the bar is set to high but it is set incorrectly.
Further, I'd like to hear a discussion about why NYC's teachers are blamed for any poor performance by their students. Police are not blamed for the acts of criminals and our soldiers were not blamed for our country's defeat in Vietnam. Teachers have become a convenient talking point for politicians, the media, and the education industry.
Can Brian invite a guest from one of these good government groups to discuss why does New York City still have the Office of the Borough President. The citizens are paying significant payroll for staff and the office holder for services which I believe could be re-deployed in the respective boroughs for better value. Why can't there be a procedure for a regular citizen (compared to a businessman like Mr. Lauder) in NYC to propose a public referendum?
I would like to hear a conversation from Jonathan Haidt about the moral roots of liberals and conservatives. I first heard this discussion on a TED 2008 talk. Personally, I gained a better understanding of my own prejudices (if I may be so honest) and feel more comfortable with those "other" people after my re-education.
Thank You,I would like to see a conversation and a national movement to the return of the people of the United States to be called, Citizens not Consumers.
Consumers = Something to be at war with, used, diagnosed, divided etc.
Citizen = Valued member of a Country, Responsibility, Activist, etc.
I had a great conversation with my friend Joanna about left and right brained (dominant) people, and how they learn and function-- but specifically how they follow their passions. I am very right-brained and emotional (a musician, a writer who is studying to be a nurse), and she is very left-brained and rational.
It ended up becoming a conversation about conversations, and how a really good one is basically one where an idea is edited down and refined between two or more people to find a common thread.
I would like to hear a conversation about why adoption recordsin most of the country remain sealed to adults. This effectivelyshortens the lifespans of adoptees who are not allowed to practicepreventive medical care. The list of countries, all of Europe, Mexico,Canada, Israel etc. have unsealed records for adults yet only fouror five states provide this luxury.
People keep stopping me to talk about Fifty Shades of Grey, the new "Mommy Porn" BDSM novel, which features a virginal college grad who agrees to be the "submissive" to a billionaire named, of all things, "Christian." She is spanked, bound, and blindfolded. Maureen Dowd's recent Op-Ed about it suggests that women may be biologically pre-disposed to sexual submission. This is a shocking thing for her to say--totally unexpected given her staunch feminist positions. William Bennet says the novel proves that feminism isn't working. Women reading it keep telling me the novel makes them feel powerful. What does the novel's popularity mean? Does it prove that women have gained sexual freedom--or that they are still bound and gagged? Nobody seems to know. Everyone wants to talk about it.
Disclaimer--I have a particular investment this topic. I am an English professor and I have co-written a CNN Op-Ed on this with a colleague from Princeton. Our Op-Ed was denounced in The Telegraph in the UK. Here are the links:
Another Disclaimer--I LOVE the Brian Lehrer show and I'm dying to be on it!
I would like to know why we can't have presidential candidates have an open forum where they can simply state their ideas/plans for their presidency and how they would attempt to accomplish them. Pure and simple. I feel at such a loss that I am not interested in listening to the arguing and debating because after said debates, I know very little about the candidates and am honestly disgusted with the mudslinging.
An open forum...perhaps 1/2 hour to 1 hour on television. State your beliefs and how you will attempt to accomplish your goals. Why not?
My girlfriend and I talk about leaving; Albeit it's more of or less fanciful and not real I guess...Where are you guys possibly heading to?
Cloisters is pretty awesome if you haven't been...
Our schools are scheduled and taught in a manner geared to a society that has almost nothing to do with today's world and what we know about learning, the brain and children's body rhythms. WHat are people;s views of how to change our educational systems so that we can support relevance and leadership in the world?
"answer the question!"Will media interviewers ever force guests to answer the question?Pull the fader down on the mixing board on the guest if they don't answer first, and then explain!Repeat the question!Guests, mostly Republicans, go way off the question to side step it.Many people I know have noticed the lack of true answers.Why not force "What is YOUR opinion?" of "What do YOU think?" or the big one..."What is the actual data supporting the statement?"
How social media and the reliance on technology such as texting has resulted in less face-to-face interactions between people, and how non-physical communication will effect our society.
When Robert Bales killed those 19 men, women and children in Afghanistan I never heard a conversation about who those 19 people were. I heard a lot about Robert Bales and his wife, but who were those 19 people? I tried to google it and only found two sites (one an anti-war site and one a Canadian newspaper) that listed the names of those 19 people, but not their ages or anything about them. If Bales had come home and lost his mind and gone into some suburban US neighborhood and dragged American men, women and children from their homes in the middle of the night and slaughtered them, we would know all about those victims. We'd know their names, see their pictures on the cover of the papers, we'd know what they did, if the kids were good in school or played soccer. Why don't we care about those 19 people when they are Afghans? I just don't understand it.
Definitely do NIDA, and income inequality. For the latter, 93% of wealth in 2010 went to the top 1%: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/concentrated-wealth-is-a-long-term-threat-to-america/2012/03/27/gIQAMJt1eS_story.html?hpid=z3
Brian - you should do a follow up on a show you did last year on the "Morality" of having children if one cannot/does not send them to college.
Your show is amazing, by the way...
Re: the conversation: I do not think we talk about over population and zero population growth. To me this is our most important issue that WE can control. As citizens, we can not control bombs, terrorists, etc. but we can certainly plug up our privates! Having a child is a SERIOUS issue. If can't take care, love a child, don't have it unless you are seriously committed to his/care. Check your motivation when you want to have a baby.
Also, I liked the hoarder habits of the over 50's folks. Is it because New Yorkers live in such small spaces and we are interested in so many ideas other wise we wouldn't be here?
I also liked the theme of private spaces. Jerks speaking loudly on cellphones, dressing likce slobs, etc. drive me nuts.
Here's another topic: The ugly architecture in America. The ugliness of neighborhoods as the one in which I live. Very depressing!
This American Life had a terrifying show recently on the influence of lobbyists in American politics. Is there any way of addressing the outsized influence of money and lobbyists on our political process, when all our politicians are entrenched in this system as soon as they start campaigning and even more so once they are elected?
THE END OF WATER. Not just in the Middle East, although Tom Friedman's article is a good starting point, but examining the steady reduction of water tables, persistent droughts, over-population, forest fires and fire danger, reduced flow of Rio Grande, threat to water supply by chemical "fracking", and on and on and on...The end of water AND the end of oil are PREDICTABLE crises that will DWARF all the other debates currently lighting up the electorate.
Which leads to a second, but related, topic: the inability of the American voting public to look beyond their noses. In good times they want the government to get out of the way; but when the nation hits a crisis its always WHERE IS THE GOVERNMENT? WHERE WAS THE GOVERNMENT? WHY WEREN'T THEY ON TOP OF THIS?
Why isn't dog breeding regulated? It's amazing that we have all sorts of laws protecting endangered species, but we have no laws that protect the breeding of Man's Best Friend. Even cats aren't bred in the way dogs are. Dogs are and have been amazing companions for humans (there is some science that indicates that without dogs mankind might not have stood a chance hunting) and yet we disregard them now that they are seen as ornamental accessories. We get all revved up over domestic/farm animals but yet there isn't any organization lobbying for the regulation of dog breeding. Not just anyone is allowed to breed a horse, but any jackass that thinks he can be a dog breeder is free to do so. This is not only about overcrowded kennels and the preposterous quantities of dogs that are euthanized daily, but maybe the problem isn't about dog owners not 'fixing' their pet, but about the lawless practice of breeding in the first place. In NY pet owners have to apply for a license to own a pet, but breeders don't even have to get permission to breed. Absurd, absurd, and ridiculous.
I would like to hear more about the recent initiatives of the New York Public Library. Why does this institution feel the need to close the branch of Science, Business and Industry branch on 34th street and the Mid Manhattan branch. Was it really necessary to open a Grand Central branch when Staten Island had to wait for years to have a branch in an under-served neighborhood in Mariner's Harbor.
Why do they feel the need for a cafe at the Main branch at 5th Avenue and 42nd street? The priorities of the NYPL could be discussed. Why do they spend on collections of movies in DVD format when they could possibly spend more on the book collection?
Is political campaign rhetoric getting more untruthful and can anything be done to stop this trend? Not unrelated, have we lost any pretense at civility in politics?
I've been interested in having more friends from various races, background, religions but find my work (school psychology), my hobbies and interests (music, hiking, travel) and other aspects of my life don't lend themselves to meeting a more diverse crowd. I'd like to know if other people are interested in this and how other people might achieve more diversity in their lives.
The "S" word----SOCIALISM.It seems like ANY attempt to act for the common good is called SOCIALISM!On one hand the right wingers abhor government and believe in going back to the old days when folks gathered together to help each other out...yada,yada, yada, but the minute folks gather to help each other out.....IT'S SOCIALISM! And, BTW, when they say the "S" word......they really mean the "C" word!!
I had a conversation with my daughter's boyfriend who is Native American a few months ago which has stuck in my mind. It started with how Enland refused to allow the Iroquois lacrose team to enter Great Britain under their Native Americans passports for the international competition last summer even though we in the U.S. accept them. Native Americans are the true forgotten minority in our country. He talked about the difference between the BIA sponsored councils and the ones of tribe elders. He also told me how the Cayugua people have no reservation of their own and to have actual Cayugua owned land bought land on the shores of the lake that is named for them. How ridiculous is it that? How much more marginalized can a minority be? When we as a country have done so much damage culturally and economically to this monority why do we so effectively ignore their poverty and their issues?
I had a really good conversation with my relatives about nuclear weapons and have they had a positive or negative affect on the world. The media doesn't really talk about nukes very much anymore.
Please discuss creating incentive to get off entitlement programs. Currently if you are on food stamps, health plus, live in public housing, receive tax credits etc. Every time you receive a raise, your benefit is reduced. In some cases you could actually end up with less money in your pocket after a raise at work, depending on how your benefits are effected. I never hear this discussed or ideas on how to correct this disincentive program. One suggestion would be that food stamps only purchase basics - uncooked rice, flour, butter etc. That way even if you lose your food stamps, you are gaining the freedom to use your food dollars more freely. Under the current system a family of four earning $20,000 availing themselves of all benefits would need to increase salary to almost $130,000 before to make up for cost of all benefits lost. That is a huge disincentive to work your way up the ladder.
I'm curious about the television programming from this country that is seen in different parts of the world. Is it commendable or cringeworthy? Does it present a vision of the US that is at all reasonable? Is it programming that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the US viewing public? Is it contributing to the perceived decadence of the West? I'm wondering what is being promoted and who is making those promotional decisions.
BTW, the same questions could be asked of the movie industry, but I think we are more aware of what movies get world-wide distribution. But for those of us who don't travel broadly overseas, fill us in on what's on TV.
My neighbor and I frequently have a beer together after we finish our outdoor chores. I'm fairly liberal politically and socially, and my neighbor is libertarian. While I think we should pay our fair share in taxes, my neighbor doesn't want any of hios tax money suporting "welfare cheats who lay around and drive expensive cars." We usually avoid talking about these things, but the beer got us going. We're still good friends regardless of our philosophical chasm. Maybe we should chat more with people we disagree with.
I was talking over the weekend with a female friend about how our husbands (and other husbands, but I'm generalizing) don't seem to be able to see past those rough years when young children dominate the household agenda. Both of our husbands have expressed a feeling of emptiness, of wanting to move out, get divorced, etc because things just aren't the same any more...how they are bored, not satisfied, things aren't exciting...Whereas the women/wives seem to be able to take a step back and say, you know, this will pass, these are hard years but they'll pass. Women seem to know that everyone with small children goes through these difficult self-denying and relationship-denying years and that eventually we'll get back to ourselves and our spouses again. I think it's fascinating how different the male/female perceptions are. And I think we can each learn from the other's perspective.
The double standard in the Bloomberg administration. Bloomberg doesn't want to publish the data about the new 911 system but insists that it's appropriate to publish ratings of teachers based on student scores on standardized tests.
In a "written" conversation with my son, he was musing over the fact that today's cultural icons among young people are "designed" by American Idol and NFL Drafts and the like. And yet, we, as a society, consistently bemoan the fact that our young people are ill-educated and can't seem to write or speak articulately. In an article in the Atlantic recently, there was a piece highlighting 10 writers who showed early flashes of exceptionalism (like Susan Sontag, Stephen King...and more). My son's point was that if we wanted to have the academic subjects valued in schools we need to go back to valuing them in society and culturally.
I have been discussing the KONY2012 as a phenomena. Not only how that played out (which was/is fascinating)- but also what it means about empowering youth- the new power of youth and the intersection of the internet today- it brings up many interesting issues- especially as an educator and mother- how are places of learning integrating, thinking about, helping children think critically about all the information available to them. Also, look at the youtube statistics for who was watching it most. When I looked, when it was viewed by a couple million, it was mostly females between the age of 13-17. Interesting.
This issue came up a few times when I attended the IDEC (international democratic education conference) in Puerto Rico. People who are interested in kids, learning, and the world as it is are discussing these issues.
Can we please talk about the public/private sense of space that one of the callers suggested? Living in NY, we all bump into each other and influence each others stress level. I think with all the self-exposition that new media like Facebook, Twitter and blogging inspire, people are completely loosing the meaning of private and public
If a transgender woman --a woman born male-- receives the same sexism that a natal woman does, if a transwoman is discriminated against in ways that she, the same person, was not as a male, this is a very interesting window into gender roles, no?
this is the health care issue that needs to be addressed... the fact that even for people with insurance from their employer, the deductible is still too expensive and can literally eat up any meager savings a person has. mine is 1800 dollars. I can go for one checkup a year and a preventative gyno visit but anything else and I'm paying. I'm fair-skinned with skin cancer risk and a dermotologist checkup is not considered a covered "preventative" visit. so I'd pay out of pocket for that.
topic: even for the insured in the US - it's so expensive people can end up spending all of their money on healthcare. no wonder our economy flags. we can't spend it on anything else. sub-topic: why can't we discuss how healthcare REALLY works in other countries?!!!
My spouse and I have decided to leave New York this summer, possibly forever. This was a really tough decision for us. I'd love to have a conversation about what it means and how it feels to leave NYC. I'd also like to hear suggestions from listeners for creating a sort of NYC "bucket list" -- what should we try to do before we go?
One of the conversations I have with people on the street all the time, and everyone understands it seems, is about how misguided "sustainability" is.
For business it's about just being 98% about sustaining growing profits from ever shrinking resources, not about sustaining the earth at all. For individuals about things like buying symbols for self-affirmation, like avoiding the use of plastic bags when what we put in them has 1,000-50,000 times the real, and growing, impacts on the earth... Somehow everyone understands that's how the economy works, and no one ever mentions it in the media.
The argument I've heard from leading advocates, for decades, is that you can't discuss the problems with the theory for fear of undermining popular support. That ignore entirely the greater harm of letting people trust in seriously misguided methods, and so also keeps them from helping society with understanding the real moral we face.
Why is there such denigration against Steve Jobs since his death. Not necessarily by the press or media, just common people who delight is referring to him as a "jerk". They also seem to love to tote out all his private baggage. They cannot see (or unaware) how he changed so many things and so much of life as it exists today. They like to brag, "I never bought any of his products!" So, you don't drive a Ford - but you have to give credit to Henry Ford, same is true of the light bulb inventor. Where does this hostility come from?
I had a conversation with my uncle yesterday who is in his 60's (I'm 31). He thinks that in the next 50-100 years the family unit will be no more in American culture. He believes that the roles men play today are diminishing and that women will not need, depend on, or prefer relationships with men in order to start families. I disagree. I believe women my age are definitely marrying less and not having as many or any children at all, and, for those who want it, are choosing family-life later in life. For me, family-life is attractive. I am married and my husband and I both agree children will fit better in our lives later perhaps in the next 5-6 years.
I want the utility and fairness of the electoral college to be up for discussion in this country. I know many young people who don't vote because they live in states that always go either red or blue. The electoral college makes a handful of swing states the only relevant political actors in presidential elections: isn't this taxation without representation? As I understand the logic behind the electoral college, it is no longer relevant, and it's a significant obstacle to full political participation.
Thomas Kinkade: Great Art or Schlock?
How about the way so many of these issues are discussed as yes-or-no q's., when they're really matters of degree? For example, in regard to 1 caller's suggested topio of income inequality, *some* income inequality may be good if it provides an incentive for doing better work, but in our current situation it's way out of proportion. Why is it so hard to have a discussion in terms of degree rather than 2 absolute & opposite positions, & how do we change that?
Have a show examining why "anti-war", "the left", supposedly "progressive" people, moderate Muslims, are NOT demonstrating outside the Syrian Consulate/Mission in New York City, which represents the Assad regime that has murdered over 9,000 people, and continues to kill innocents daily.
I'm eager to have discuss the appropriate role and potential limitations of a progressive government. Most of the dialogue I hear on the subject is pitted as either a) emotional - liberals care about people vs. conservatives don't, or b) simplistically ideological - conservatives believe in limited government, liberals believe in redistribution of wealth. I would love to hear some thinking around under what circumstances we need government - what role can govt play where markets don't work on their own....what factors cause markets to fail in terms of providing services. e.g. govt builds infrastructure b/c it's hard for the private sector to raise large amounts of capital for assets that have 50 year + lives and payback periods and can access low cost of capital....or e.g. govt funds schools because there is a modest cultural consensus that we should 'redistribute wealth' to create equal opportunity for children.....or e.g. govt manages the police and military because it's better for our society to have institutions with monopolistic and democratic control over institutions with the power to do violence....or e.g. we need govt as a master insurance provider for the elderly and sick (social security and healthcare) b/c no single 'saver' can or should be expected to cover unpredictable spikes in costs, or accurately predict how long they will live and therefore need to save. in other words, in what kinds of instances do we need govt. What is the progressive ideological premise better defined? I am a progressive Democrat, and feel my leadership and community are not making a strong case beyond a sort of crisis management of our social and economic problems.
Thank you very much.
Is it just me, or does the fact that Mike Bloomberg's wealth has increased from 4 billion in 2002 to 22 billion today seem a little strange? The economy has been horrible, and NYC is deeply in the red. If one were to read that Caesar was worth 10 million Denarius, he stayed in office for 12 years, Rome went Bancrupt, and Caesar was woth 45 million Denarius at the end of his reign, then the history student would say, "It's obvious what happened." why is it that noone really looks into this?
detaining US citizens at the border when returning from overseas and the seizure of all their electronic devices. for a guest glenn greenwald from salon.com who recently wrote the article about the filmmaker laura poitras who has been repeatedly detained when returning home.http://www.salon.com/2012/04/08/u_s_filmmaker_repeatedly_detained_at_border/singleton/
Why is Israel's nuclear program not part of IAEA. Nor is it discussed much in the news. Also, a tally of just how many so-called "militants" are killed by the IDF every year.
We should be talking more about the working adult children who are caring for their aging parents. The average $300.000 lost in lifetime wages and retirement, the effects on their health and the $34 billion companies spend to cover their workers who are caring for mom & dad or other aging loved ones.
I'd like to see a discussion of whether the police department (specifically police officers and leadership) should be held to and expected to abide by a moral standard of behavior. I'm concerned specifically about the culture of marital infidelity that we've seen in some news stories (and that I've additionally seen in practice through several friends that work in the NYPD and describe their and their friends behavior). I've also become aware of several affairs between commanding officers and NYPD civilians. Another issue of concern is the amount of binge drinking and subsequent drunk driving which, if my NYPD friends are correct, is rampant within the department. I'm often incensed that these behaviors occur in the department, but am tempered by the knowledge that I am far from a perfect person and have been guilty of all of these indiscretions at one time or another.
Should the NYPD be held to a higher standard? We hold our politicians to one - why not the NYPD?
I'm not a mystic or even particularly spiritual, but the most interesting conversation I've had this week was me and a friend asking random people to tell us if they've ever encountered a ghost or had a psychic reading.
We were astonished by the range of people and experiences that were shared. Very interesting, tho probably not appropriate for this forum.Perhaps in October.
I would like you to cover the unemployment rate in regards to issues such as workers w/o high school education have the highest unemployment rate, the rate of unemployment for HS grads, rate of unemployment for four year colleged educated, etc. Also the unemployment rate as it applies to various groups such as African Americans vs white Americans.
Two striking recent findings: 1) high rate of autism in New Jersey and 2) earlier puberty age among girls, especially black and Latino girls --> any correlation or common cause (e.g., chemicals, diet, lifestyle, etc.)?
I think it would be great to have a conversation about whether or not students should attend college right out of high school. So many people I know are discussing how much pressure is put on kids to go to college, when the reality is many kids are not even certain what careers they're interested in, or would suit them. Because college is so expensive now, why isn't there a greater conversation about conserving those thousands of dollars, and avoiding taking on crippling student loans, UNTIL the student has lived on their own for a bit and truly feels certain and focused on a career?
Follow up question - why does it seem so taboo to encourage kids to work or travel when they graduate high school so they start learning who they are on their own?
High rents and the what NYC will look like with continued gentrification. What is so wrong with ethnic neighborhood preservation?
Topic: What is an individual's responsibility for behavior in their local community?
I've lived in the same lower manhattan apartment for over 30 years. When I see people throwing trash on the sidewalk or bicyclists riding on the sidewalk, what should I do and what do I do? It's hard to tell people to pick up after themselves if no one else does. With more rental bikers from the South Street Seaport area trying to get to west side, tourists tend to ride on the Worth Street sidewalk instead of walking their bike or riding on the street. How do I stop this behavior which is bound to become worse and exacerbate pedestrian / biker feelings?
Can we please have a conversation about the shelter system in NYC, the ACC. New Yorker's love their pets but many people may be unaware of the shameful condition of our shelter system (among other topics concerning animal welfare ie; central park carriage horses, designer puppy stores etc).
Be honest - is your life consumed by entertainment?Do you need 300 channels, two cell phones, and three game consoles?
Please talk about pumping breast milk at work!I am a mother of 7 months old baby. I returned to full time work after maternity leave. I am trying to keep nursing my breast milk to my baby, so I pump milk twice at work in a tiny-stinky bathroom.Although I asked about law and lactation room in a company, I wasn't provided the room. Also my co workers and boss wouldn't understand why I have to take time to pump in a busy working environment.I want to know what the other working mom are doing at work. They stop nursing? How Tina Fey and Rachel Zoe are dealing with it??
Brian, we as a society have not sufficiently explored the implications of the new Supreme Court decision permitting the police to strip search every person who is arrested (in a state of innocence until proven guilty, supposedly, under our system), even in the absence of a reasonable suspicion of a hidden weapon or contraband (in violation of the 4th amendment's prohibition against search in the absence of probable cause).
Why there is no coverage with the regard to self immolation in Tibet against the 'Hell on earth' repression by the Chinese Govt. We as a freedom lover, also the public needs to know
I think the best conversation I had recently was when I tried to convince my friends (which are center to sort of left on the political spectrum) the left have had more ideas for the good of humanity...(single payer system, civil rights, green technologies, transit) then the right...In this country...
"I recently flip flopped on the issue of..."
Ps re that art question, how is it that the purchase of a 10k bathroom sink is tax deductible -- but a 2k piece of artwork is not??
Conversation Topic - "The real wages of servers in NYC restaurants." Do people know that servers are legally paid around $4.00 an hour? Tips are not simply "gratuity" in NYC but are considered wages.
We were told the banks were too big to fail and they were given much of our money. They seem to be even bigger now. Why hasn't this changed!?
The REAL reason why gas prices are high.
Switching federal elections to a "alternative vote system" to better represent peoples views. The republicans are fracturing, the dems are boring, and third parties are excluded. Our system needs to change.
Most of my interesting conversations start with, "Hey did you hear that thing on NPR?" Some of my friends have started saying, "The word on the street is..." instead of mentioning NPR.
I was part of an amazing lecture and conversation last night about the lack of transparency in the Western medical model about proven alternatives to pharmaceuticals, surgery, radiation, etc. There are so very many examples of things that have proven to help people with cancer, heart disease, etc.
As so many politicians are running as religiously devout, why do reporters not ask them about this, when caught in lies - usually about their opponents or their positions? In other words, "How can you be devout, when you are lying?"
Gold buying racket on 47thstreet. I had a horrible experience at a supposedly reputable business
I agree with John A. Something about renewable energy progress, the dropping price of solar, or the freak, record-setting weather we've been having.
Why do people never talk about CONSERVING energy? We talk about fracking, oil solar, wind but never any mention of conservation! it makes me crazy.
So, can we stop starting a sentence with "So" ????
Renewable energy progress.Use examples from worldwide, for example Germany supposedly has made tremendous progress. Do they have more sunlight or just more resolve?
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.