Monday, May 04, 2009

In his new book Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise, talk show host Tavis Smiley looks at how crucial issues like health care, education, the economy and the environment manifest themselves in our communities and why he thinks, now more than ever, we should hold politicians and ourselves accountable for what’s gone wrong. You can also hear Travis Smiley’s radio show Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM on AM 820 WNYC.


Tavis Smiley

Comments [14]

In Chicago

[[13] AFisher from Queens May 04, 2009 - 12:44PM Does anyone else find Tavis as offensive as I do?]]

yes. and when i stumble across his show on the weekends and hear the elaborate greetings he exchanges with his guests - "greetings and salutations, my brother!" "always a blessing to speak with you brother tavis!" - i think of ralph kramden and ed norton exchanging lodge greetings.

on the other hand, he does get some interesting and important people on his show. if you can clear away the stylistic under brush, there's some good stuff there.

May. 04 2009 10:27 PM

Dear Leonard. With reference to your interview with Tavis Smiley, I felt that one of the very illuminating moments was in the personal exchange between Tavis and you at the end. The spontaneity and the frankness showed the security of the participants for me. It made both of you shine as real people with whom I and the listeners can identify. This vital element of spontaneity and security which allows the discussants to exchange complex ideas and information in a lively manner with confidence is often overlooked in the public arena. Many good leaders are keenly aware of it and this is an essential part of our democracy where a public figure is not afraid to be him and herself. The whole world admired the spontaneous manner in which Barak Obama interrupted and quickly corrected the fumbling Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of United States during the Presidential swearing in Ceremony. The spontaneity allows the leaders to accept the guiding principle of trust between the leader and the led. That we all have needs, ambitions, imperfections and are trying to make an imperfect world a little better. It allows us, as you and Tavis showed us, a sense of humor towards ourselves. I found Tavis’s use of the word, “Jesus!” meaning “Wow!” alluring and so was your humor that you don’t write best sellers like Tavis... Just win awards! Your interview was full of good questions and planning and adds a valuable dimension of intellectual depth to Tavis Smiley’s personality for me. Since one of the under-currents of the discussion was to empower the people, I suggest that you and Tavis follow this valuable exploration by running a public forum in the new green studio inviting students on the theme of Power to the people and tell them how you empower yourself personally and lead them to empower themselves. Yours in appreciation. Professor BA Tejani.

May. 04 2009 03:01 PM
AFisher from Queens

Does anyone else find Tavis as offensive as I do? His rhetoric is as excellent as it it pernicious.

May. 04 2009 12:44 PM
paul colin from TRIBECA

Please remind Tavis that this recession is affecting workers (like me) who are working in the service sector just as much if not more
than people in "blue collar jobs"
look at the stats!

May. 04 2009 12:36 PM
Norman from Manhattan

"Down the middle isn't always the best approach."

Herbert Simon, the Nobel laureate economist, made that argument in an article in Science magazine.

He said that you can represent two alternatives as two peaks. A choice in the middle is the valley between them.

May. 04 2009 12:26 PM
the truth from bkny

It is a BIG contradiction.

May. 04 2009 12:23 PM
Norman from Manhattan

So what's your biggest disappointment with Obama?

May. 04 2009 12:23 PM

Tavis just said how he is soo happy that the President & the Republican Chairman are both black, but Americas No 1 problem is still issues of RACE... Is that not a contradiction.

May. 04 2009 12:19 PM
joe e from brooklyn

QUESTION: I don't get what Mr. Smiley means when he says we should all hope that every president is successful. Does he regret that Bush was unable to privatize social security???

May. 04 2009 12:17 PM

Since Reagan, the Republicans have lured southern whites to vote against their financial interests in favor of a social conservativism. What does Mr. Smiley think of the Republican's current strategy to lure blacks with socially conservative agenda against their self interest? How does he see himself as part of this current strategy?
Thank you.

May. 04 2009 12:14 PM
the truth from bkny

Now I know why BET let you go....Tavis Smiley does NOT speak for me. Wonder if jealousy played any part here.

May. 04 2009 12:13 PM
Leon Freilich from Park Slope


“We’re not going to pay for their crisis!”
The workers of France are yelling,
Determined to completely reject
What the bankers are selling

The French they love to demonstrate
And often sound so funny
But every Great Recession or so
They seem right on the money.

May. 04 2009 11:54 AM
Melissa from NY

I cannot wait! I love Tavis Smiley! I heard he has a new documentary coming out...has anyone else heard of it? Let me know as I would love to see it!!

May. 03 2009 06:41 AM
steveb from

Just HOW does one hold government that don't answer our emails accountable?
All we get are press releases stuffing up our in-boxes, if that. lets us track bills lobbyists have gotten proposed.
Newspapers occasionally report bill progress.
We of course don't get paid to track bill progress.
My emails always include links to more info to be
tweets or Direct Mails via twitter either. Knock, knock, anybody home?
You'd think our reps would forward emails on topics handled by reps
in other regions - like to other departments within a big corporation.
Thankfully Nancy Pelosi accepts emails from outside her congressional region
as the Speaker of OUR House!
Until we the folk can get bills proposed that don't make good press due to
loss of a child or similar calamity gov't serves the lobbyists, over lunch.

May. 02 2009 01:56 PM

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