Business for Good: A Conversation With George Zimmer

One of the criticisms of politics and punditry today is that it often gets caught up in the tyranny of the impractical &; ideas that sound good but may not take flight in the real world.    With this in mind, the WhoWhatWhy podcast is always seeking to expand our horizons to include conversations with smart people who have to make hard decisions and solve real  problems every day because their livelihood depends on it.  

When the Metaverse and Evolution Collide

Is the “metaverse” or any totally digital world good for us? Can our mental capacities evolve fast enough to exist in the digital world without anxiety and anger?    In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, the sometimes controversial evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying talk about their new book, A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century.   

Our Insatiable Appetite for Street Drugs: Why Fentanyl and Why Now?

Heroin, crack, meth, opioids, and now fentanyl. The US appetite for drugs is insatiable. Add Mexico’s sophisticated illegal drug marketing and distribution skills, and the combination is deadly.   Our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Sam Quinones, looked deep into the opiate crisis in his award-winning book Dreamland. Now, in his latest work, The Least of Us, he takes on fentanyl, the deadly drug of the moment, more addictive and profitable than previous opioids.  

Are Psychedelics the Cutting Edge Treatment for Mental Illness?

  The new mRNA vaccines that have blunted the deadly COVID-19 pandemic signal only the beginning of a true revolution in modern pharmacology. New treatments are on the horizon for almost every major disease, and there is even talk about significantly extending life spans. But what about mental health? In this area, treatment still relies on the kinds of drugs that dull the senses and cover up symptoms.     What, if anything, is ahead for getting to the root of diseases like depression, PTSD, trauma, substance abuse, and other brain disorders?   

Iran, Russia, China, and the Taliban

Are Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, and China a new axis of power? Is the Taliban really reformed, is terror still an instrument of policy, and what should the US be most afraid of in the region?   These are just a few of the questions we discuss on this week’s WhoWhayWhy podcast with Middle East scholar and author Shay Khatiri.    

ClandesTime 221 – The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment is one of the most enduring paranormal conspiracy theories in American history. In this episode we examine this theory, its sociological and cultural impact, why the Pentagon refused to help make a movie based on the story, and why it has persisted for so long.

The Direct Line From 9/11 to January 6th

In the world of 24/7 media, events are reported at warp speed, a full news cycle is a few hours, and events of 20 years ago seem ancient. And yet for many, 9/11 feels like yesterday.     It’s in that dissonance that we can seek to understand how the events of 9/11 are directly connected to Donald Trump.     In this week’s special WhoWhatWhy podcast we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Spencer Ackerman, author of Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump.    

Labor Day and the Changing Nature of Work

For many, this Labor Day marks a fundamental shift in the nature of work.    While no one expected that a pandemic, however disruptive in the short term, would fundamentally alter the workplace, it has. Suddenly, we are in what my guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, workplace expert and professor of management Scott Behson, calls the “great resignation.”  

Stop the World… So America Can Get On

Have our misadventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan finally shattered the myth of American exceptionalism? Where once that belief was the projection of a nation trying to lead by example, it morphed into the self-delusion of leading by having a bigger gun.  

America Is No Longer a Serious Nation

We have become a nation of narcissistic adolescents. We want what we want when we want it,  and if we don’t get it, we stomp our feet at the ballot box.    We are not according to our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, author, journalist, and professor at the Naval War College Tom Nichols a serious country. We have lost the ability to solve big problems.   

The News About the News

  Digital journalism has been with us for over 35 years yet the news business still hasn’t  figured out how to adapt to the creative destruction of the digital world.    What started out as news products for free and the democratization of information via lower barriers to entry, today is a chaotic business trying to figure out subscriptions, recurring- revenue business models, nonprofit news, a changed role for advertising, and where news fits in amid the impact of social media  

Criminalizing Mental Illness

People with mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police in America than those who are mentally well. That’s a startling statistic offered by our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, but one that shows how punitive our response can be to those in need of psychiatric care. As crime and homelessness once again come to dominate debate on the state of urban America, there’s little discussion on either the role of mental illness or society’s response to it.

The Second American Revolution — Will It Ever Be Won?

In the 1960s and early 1970s political and social battles were fought by people who were trying to reshape America. Sixty years later, we are still at war.   My guests on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, David and Margaret Talbot, label that war the Second American Revolution. The issues revolved around armed conflict abroad (Vietnam), civil rights, feminism, gay rights, Native American rights, workers rights, and the role of celebrities in the political process.   

Haiti: Can a Vibrant Culture Save a Failed State?

Haiti is a vibrant country. It’s also a nation that regularly suffers the horrors of kidnappings, murders, and corruption, a country where gangs are more powerful than the police and military. Its citizens repeatedly have reached for democracy, only to see their efforts fail — often with the complicity of the United States — and their options for the future narrow.  

George Packer Explains It All

How do we see each other? Has the SARS-CoV-2 virus made us more fearful of our neighbors? Are we hopelessly and forever divided into our tribes? In their respective campaigns for reelection, Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984 each carried 49 states. Would that be possible for any candidate today? Why didn’t a worldwide pandemic a literal threat to every human being bring us together?  

From Juneteenth to July 4th: The Ongoing Quest for Freedom

The events celebrated each Juneteenth (June 19) took place in Galveston, TX, in 1865. It’s been an officially celebrated state holiday in Texas since 1980. So why is Juneteenth having its national moment now?   In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast we talk with Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award- winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, the author of On Juneteenth.  

A Constitution of Knowledge

Truth is under siege in America, and tribalism is on the rise. Keeping these two powerful forces in balance has been the key to what George Washington called the “great experiment” of American democracy for almost 400 years. Why are they in play so strongly today? What do they have in common, and how are trolling, disinformation, social media, and cancel culture all adding to the problem?  

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.