The Man Who Fought City Hall

Remember Dennis Kucinich? The former US congressman and outspoken presidential candidate — our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast — got his start in government 40-plus years ago as a 23-year-old Cleveland city councilman. Six years later, as mayor of the city, he took on Cleveland’s political machine, business establishment, and the local mob, who were scheming to get richer by privatizing the municipal electric utility.  

Today’s Secrets Are Tomorrow’s Headlines

Once, it took human agency to leak or gather secret information, as Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers, and Richard Nixon did with his plumbers. Today, hackers, private spies, and an entire network of secret information gatherers make everything we do and say potentially public. And with absolutely no human interaction.  

Bill Gates Has Always Shown Us Who He Is

Reading Time: 18 minutesBill Gates was once considered the “good billionaire.” Today, his personal life and his carefully crafted reputation as a public-minded philanthropist are eroding before our eyes.My guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast is Tim Schwab.

Why We May Never Solve the Gun Problem

Reading Time: 16 minutesWhen we think about guns and gun laws, we immediately think about mass shootings and the assault weapons that make big news. What gets overlooked are simply the huge number of guns on the street and the use of those guns in everyday crimes. We now have more guns in the United States than people.

The Original Inconvenient Truth

Reading Time: 2 minutesWhile we’ve probably known it for a long time, lately we are finding out more and more that things are not what they seem. Or at least not as they were reported.  We were told that nothing leaked from a lab in Wuhan… but that was yesterday.

A Palestinian-American Struggles for Peace in Our Time

Reading Time: 20 minutesThe admonition of John Lennon and Yoko Ono to “give peace a chance” is seldom heard in the Middle East. It is the exceptional individual who, having seen and experienced the worst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can hope for any kind of future.

Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ever Be Explained in Plain English?

Reading Time: 13 minutesLast week, in a much talked about Saturday Night Live comedy routine, Michael Che and Colin Jost attempted to get Elon Musk, playing the role of a financial adviser, to explain cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and Dogecoin in simple English. The best they could do is conclude that “it’s a hustle.”But is it?

A Conversation With Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono

Reading Time: 15 minutesFresh off engineering almost unanimous Senate support for her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill, the junior senator from Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, is our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast.The first Asian woman and the only immigrant currently serving in the US Senate, Hirono explains the need for this hate crimes legislation and why in h

We Are the First Species to Manage Its Own Extinction

Reading Time: 2 minutesWhen the nuclear age dawned, people spoke of being “present at the creation.” Man suddenly had the ability to completely remake the world — or to destroy it.Today, the environmental crises we face, driven by the pillars of climate change, altering our geography, population growth, technology, and short-term thinking, are destroying the planet. S

Software Could End the World

Reading Time: 2 minutesIt would take only one flaw. In billions of lines of code, one flaw — and the banking system, power grid, Pentagon, air traffic control system, hospitals, and the world’s logistics can all be taken down. And the effort may already be underway.The internet was never built with security in mind.

Police Culture Is All About Violence. Can It Be changed?

Reading Time: 2 minutesThe trial of Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, has compelled us to think anew about reconfiguring police power in the United States. Last year, police killed over one thousand US citizens. Yet the vast majority of police officers never point a gun at anyone. 

The Future of Climate Change Rests With Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, and You

Reading Time: 15 minutesThe perils of climate change have not lessened during our COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, we’re a year closer to the ultimate reckoning. This week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast guest, Kimberly Nicholas — a Stanford Ph.D.

Vaccines, Black Americans, and Medical Consent

Reading Time: 18 minutesThe COVID-19 pandemic and the race for a vaccine have opened up long-festering questions about medical consent, transparency, and the role of race in today’s strained health care system. The idea of informed medical consent has long been a fundamental principle of medical ethics.

In Genetics, It’s Always International Women’s Day

Reading Time: 17 minutesWe’ve seen, over the past year, that men have contracted COVID-19 at almost twice the rate of women. Is this just a coincidence, is there some cultural or behavioral reason, or is there something more medically profound at play?According to our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Dr.

Subscribercast #50 – Virtue Ethics vs Virtue Signalling

I continue the more philosophical theme in recent subscribercasts by outlining the ancient Greek model of moral philosophy known as...

It’s a Small World After All

Reading Time: 21 minutesAmid all the forces that are pulling people and nations apart, it may be that only films are bringing people together. Once upon a time, if you wanted to see a foreign language film and get a taste of other cultures and their stories, unless you happened to live in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco or Boston, you wound up in the smallest theater in t

Trump’s Pardon Shakedown

Reading Time: 18 minutesOur returning guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, John Kiriakou, was a 15-year CIA veteran. Then he blew the whistle on the CIA’s use of torture under the Bush administration. As a result, he became one of the very few Americans ever charged with violating the Espionage Act.

Eyewitness Accounts Shed Light on the Cruelty of Slavery

Reading Time: 18 minutesSome 70 years after emancipation, a team of unemployed writers and journalists located over 300 formerly enslaved African Americans, captured their unvarnished stories about life under slavery, and took photo portraits of many of their subjects.

Josh Hawley Told Us Who He Was

Reading Time: 16 minutesWe can’t help but view the final days of the Trump presidency, and the January 6 Capitol insurrection, through the lens of left-right politics. But what if it was about more than political tribalism? What if an extreme strain of religious nationalism was at the heart of what we witnessed? To understand this, we need look no further than Missouri Sen.