Beheadings and air strikes in Syria, a 50-day war in Gaza with a debatable outcome, a continuing armed conflict with Islamic militants, we all wonder where American interests are headed in the Middle East. Former Bush Administration adviser and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Elliott Abrams tells Jim he sees little change ahead as events unfold.
Obama wants to “pivot” toward Asia. But has he forgotten Iran? Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Adviser in the Bush administration, discusses the sobering possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear plants. How would such a strike be carried out? From the air? A covert operation? Or a Stuxnet cyber attack. He tells Jim there really is a military option.
2 Appearances, most recently Sep 2014
The death in custody of an African-American, Eric Garner, spurred a firestorm of protest after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict the white police officer who tried to subdue him. The Garner incident, its impact on minority communities, and the function of grand juries in such situations are among the topics Jim discusses with his guest, Michael Armstrong who, when District Attorney in Queens County, obtained the indictment of a white police officer for shooting an unarmed African American youth.
The former chief counsel to the legendary Knapp Commission, chair of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Police Corruption and author of the bestselling book, "They Wished They Were Honest," tells Jim why systemic corruption flourished in the New York City Police Department of the 1970's and how the NYPD has succeeded in policing itself today.
2 Appearances, most recently Dec 2014
Only the eighth man to hold the post, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon struggles to make his voice count for peace in a cacophonous world. He tells of the challenges and successes of the office FDR called the "world's moderator."
Matrimonial attorney Jacalyn F. Barnett and former CIA station chief Jack Devine tell it like it is.
The Syrian conflagration, which began as an insurgency, has left at least 40,000 dead in less than two years. Mid-East expert Mohamad Bazzi tells Jim that the conflict may engulf the region in a drawn-out and dangerous sectarian war. Meanwhile, with international recognition of the new rebel coalition, Obama weighs a deeper U.S. involvement as Assad shuts down the Internet leaving an information void that may presage an escalation.
Attorney General Gonzales was forced out over his role in the firing of eight United States Attorneys. Was it all because of the tell-tale emails? Get the inside from Special Watergate prosecutor Ben-Veniste.
Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, recently returned from Kabul where he helped McChrystal with the assessment. Now it's all up to Petraeus.
In a down economy where most get their entertainment from a screen, Lincoln Center Theater is growing up (literally) with a new 131-seat black box theater on the roof of the Vivian Beaumont that will offer experimental theater in a third performance space. The LCT Artistic Director tells of a flourishing theater that will survive the digital age.
In office from January 2014, with the crime rate down, terrorism checked, but community relations strained as police departments fall under a cloud throughout the country, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is in the midst of a major community-based overhaul of the NYPD. He tells Jim Zirin that the police need to heed the words of Sir Robert Peel, and be at one with the communities they serve.
When four days of rioting broke out in London last August with thugs mobilizing on the social media, the British government turned to our own Bill Bratton for advice in handling the violence, the street gangs and the Metropolitan Police. Bill explains his strategy to restore law and order in England.
2 Appearances, most recently Apr 2015
Hillary Clinton says that the cornerstone of American statecraft is the “freedom to connect.” Chinas Internet usage is soaring. Will the Net really lead China to a more open society? Ian tells Jim Zirin where the US-China relation is really headed.
American annual healthcare spending is $3.8 trillion, a whopping 20% of GDP. Obamacare covered millions of uninsured Americans, but did nothing about spiraling costs. Steven Brill, author of the bestseller, America’s Bitter Pill-Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, analyzes the issue and tells Jim what can be done.
Sexting, the transmission of intimate photos or messages from one cell phone to another, is sweeping the country. Journalist Nina Burleigh, author of a compelling Rolling Stone article entitled “Sexting, Shame and Suicide,” tells Jim that the sexting compulsion, which brought down Anthony Weiner has profoundly dangerous implications for today’s teenagers.
Author of a brilliant new book entitled “The Fatal Gift of Beauty,” Nina followed the Amanda Knox case from start to finish. She concludes that Knox’ Italian murder conviction, later overturned on appeal, was a total miscarriage of justice arguing that Knox was unfairly incriminated largely by ambiguous posts Knox and her boyfriend made on the Web.
2 Appearances, most recently Oct 2013
Lyndon Johnson was a President who knew how to get things
done. During the five years of his Presidency, he pushed through
a reluctant Congress hundreds more legislative initiatives than
most Presidents accomplish in eight. His top domestic aide,
Joe Califano, tells Jim Zirin how he did it.
After the King and Kennedy assassinations, LBJ pushed hard for comprehensive gun control, including gun registration and licensing of owners. Congress dithered, and all Johnson got was a ban on mail-order sales, sales of guns to minors and imports of $10 specials. Joe Califano, LBJ’s domestic adviser, tells Jim that Obama needs to act fast before the gun lobby blocks any real legislative changes.
Democrats have attacked Romney for trying to “end Medicare as we know it.” But is it the other way around? Close to 25% of seniors have opted for Medicare Advantage, a private plan subsidized by Medicare. Obama has financed Obamacare with $818 billion in cuts over 10 years, coming mostly from cuts in Medicare Advantage subsidies. Will this result in greater costs to seniors and a reduction in benefits? Former HEW Secretary Joe Califano tells Jim the answer.
The House repealed Obamacare, but the Senate refused to go along. At least one federal judge has declared the entire law unconstitutional. The former HEW Secretary says he sees benefits in Obamacare, which should be preserved, but that reforms are necessary to make the measure work.
Obama claims he can achieve huge savings in healthcare. One part of it is the digitalization of healthcare records. Can he force doctors into the Digital Age? Califano, who was at LBJ's side when Medicare was enacted, knows how healthcare costs can spiral out of control.
Clinton didn't inhale. Obama and Bush went further. But now it's "You've Got Drugs" where Google searches for abusable substances without prescription produce hits in the six and seven figures.
6 Appearances, most recently May 2015
He reveals who is the real “client” of the Corporation Counsel
? How independent is he of the Mayor? How well has he done in protecting the public fisc? Corporation Counsel Cardozo answers these and other questions as he tells about the post- 9/11 challenges faced by his office and how he met many of them by going digital.
Author Andrea Chapin became a Shakespearean expert doing research for her historical novel, The Tutor, about an untold year in Shakespeare’s life where he has a steamy love affair with a young widow, who becomes the muse for Venus and Adonis. She tells Jim that Christopher Marlowe did not write the plays of Shakespeare, but that Shakespeare may very well have written the plays of Marlowe.
The hottest news site on the Net these days is BuzzFeed, which is enjoying a viral moment. With its intriguing videos, informative news stories, zany listicles and interactive columns, which viewers
share on Facebook and Twitter, BuzzFeed attracts over 200 million monthly viewers. Greg Coleman, president of BuzzFeed tells Jim of a revolutionary business model that may transform online advertising as we know it.
He tells how Arianna Huffington in five short years transformed a liberal blog into an online platform that may well overtake the daily newspaper.
2 Appearances, most recently December
The “Arab Spring” began in December 2010 with the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, who felt humiliated by the arbitrary conduct of local officials. The act touched off uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria, which transformed the political landscape of the Mid-East. Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman surveys the landscape and tells Jim how things stack up in those countries three years later.
The Mid-East expert just returned from Egypt where she waded through mobs of protesters, interviewed autocrats, and drew some stark conclusions as to what Mubarak's toppling means for the foreign relations of the United States.
Who will Lose the battle in Iran, Khamenei or the Internet? Iran was so terrified of Twitter, it jammed the Net for a day and named Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as co-conspirators in political trials.
3 Appearances, most recently Jan 2014
He answers some key questions about the Middle East: Did Obama really throw Israel under the bus? Is it dangerous to prosecute Mubarak? Can we break the stalemate in Libya? What’s going on in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi, which are far more vital to U.S. interests than Libya? The CFR expert tells how the Twitter Revolution will play out in a post bin Laden world where the boxscore currently stands at Autocrats: Six, Protesters: Two.
Is the Net a force for reform in the Islamic world or just a platform for Al Qaeda? Kohlmann, International Terrorism Consultant, and Cook, Douglas Dillon Fellow, CFR, discuss.
2 Appearances, most recently May 2011
“Definitely yes!” author, health nut, cyclist, lawyer, man for all seasons Chris Crowley tells me. Chris has just written a brilliant book entitled “Thinner This Year” with a nutritionist and two physical fitness trainers where he confides his diet and exercise formula for a healthier longer life.
A top litigator at a leading Wall Street law firm, Crowley retired to write about slowing the aging process. His book, “Younger Next Year,” written with a prominent physician, was a wild success. Now he is writing another book with some new ideas as to how we can lead healthier active lives well into our eighties--and beyond.
2 Appearances, most recently Dec 2012
Last August, Twitter, the social network site, was the victim of a massive denial of service attack. Who did it? Why has Obama delayed appointing a cyber czar when our critical infrastructure is so vulnerable to cyber attack?
In his latest book, “Over Time My Life as a Sportswriter,” Deford provides an endearing memoir of a spectacular half-century career before the bloggers took over. The iconic sportswriter recalls with not too little nostalgia a tumultuous era in sports writing.
With the meltdown in the economy and strong competition from the 'net, is the sports bubble about to burst? NPR Radio's Frank Deford, the best sports writer in the world, explores the darker corridors of sports.
2 Appearances, most recently June 2012
On September 28 tens of thousands of student-led Chinese took to the Hong Kong streets to protest Beijing-imposed limitations on voting rights. They were met with police tear gas, which the protesters warded off with umbrellas, declaring that they would not be moved. China expert Elizabeth Economy tells Jim that she sees little hope of true reform, but is guardedly optimistic that the “occupy Central” movement will produce some degree of change, and not end in Tiananmen-style violence .
China has embarked upon a startling acquisition spree in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, in a relentless quest for minerals, raw materials and energy resources that has the foreign policy community raising its eyebrows, Council on Foreign Relations experts Liz Economy and Michael Levi talk their new red-hot book and tell Jim what there is in China’s actions they worry about.
On November 14, China unveiled its new generation of leaders with an announcement via Twitter. Does the regime’s newly minted connection to the Net presage significant political and economic reforms? Council on Foreign Relations China expert Elizabeth Economy tells Jim that China needs to rid itself of systemic corruption.
China has almost 500 million citizens using the Net. Yet, the government blocks or filters many sites and keywords. The Council on Foreign Relations China hand has just returned from Beijing where she saw a more humbled and fearful China. She tells Jim that its bloggers will survive the censor.
With the Yuan pegged low, China has the largest economic growth rate in the world, but is at the same time plagued by seemingly insurmountable domestic problems, including environmental protection, political dissidence and a closed Net.
5 Appearances, most recently Nov 2014
More than one million apps on your iPhone, and they keep coming. Digital developer Harriet Edelman tells Jim of a new mobile video app called TWRRL, which allows you to insert yourself within a cartoon animation, story or skit. It’s hilarious, you’ll never have a better time, and even Jim got in on the act with two barking dogs.
Sex crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein leads a double life as a top-flight lawyer and the author of 17 mystery novels, the latest of which Devil’s Bridge, is already a best seller. She tells Jim of the evolving standards of rape in America, and answers the question whether the St. Paul’s date rape case should have been brought at all.
Formerly a top prosecutor, now a bestselling mystery novelist, Linda headed the sex crimes unit in the Morgenthau District Attorney’s office. She analyzes the DSK case from perp walk to dismissal, gives Jim her take on what really happened, as well as a sneak preview of her next book
2 Appearances, most recently October 2015
The Boston PD never knew the FBI had questioned Tsarnaev. With more sophisticated intelligence reaching deep into the Islamic community, state-of-the art surveillance cameras, and a great track record of stopping terrorist plots before they go operational, the NYPD would have been well positioned to thwart the Boston tragedy, argues former NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counter-terrorism Richard Falkenrath. He tells Jim what needed to be done.
Does the Net help us catch terrorists or help al Qaeda recruit home-grown operatives? Hear why we are safer today than we were on 9/11. Learn the answers from NYPD Counterterrorism Czar Commissioner Richard Falkenrath. .
2 Appearances, most recently May 2013
As top-notch prosecutor, defense attorney and Bar leader, Bob Fiske became one of the best known and highly respected lawyers of his generation. He writes a sweet memoir of his career in a new book entitled Prosecutor Defender Counselor, and tells Jim which role gave him the most satisfaction.
She tells how gypsy tribes in Europe have been victims of Nazi genocide, hate crimes, mass deportations and unspeakable violence. Her NGO, Human Rights First, has used the new media to call attention to their plight.
The Brothers Tsarnaev slipped through the cracks and brought untold damage to Boston. Homeland security expert Stephen Flynn examines their motivation, analyzes the investigation, and tells Jim why public resiliency is key in the aftermath of any attack.
founders have made green-screen technology available to you and me.
The American Museum of Natural History, long the home of dinosaurs, pterodactyls,stuffed animals and other defunct species, has now become an world class research and teaching institution energized by an arsenal of digital technology. The AMNH President tells Jim Zirin about the Museum’s extraordinary evolution.
Cecilia was a top narcotics prosecutor putting bad guys in jail. Now, as head of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, she is chasing fraudsters who sell fake diamonds on the Internet. She tells Jim that millions of dollars in diamonds change hands every day online in legitimate transactions, but you have to be careful.
Was it in US interests to make an interim deal with Iran even if they didn’t totally agree to stop enriching? Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus Les Gelb tells Jim that any slowdown in Iran’s nuclear program is meaningful, and what we are giving them in return in relaxation of sanctions costs us very little.
Criticized for controversial new productions featuring renowned theatrical directors and extravagant price tags, Met Opera General Manager Peter Gelb stared down his detractors, won growing audiences and rescued the institution from stagnation. He tells Jim how he won respect for his “new vision” from unions, critics, donors and the general public.
Peter Georgescu came to the US in 1954 as a refugee from Communist Romania. Not speaking a word of English, he had to learn a lot quickly. Overcoming adversity, he attended Exeter, Princeton and Stanford Business and rose to the top at advertising agency Young & Rubicam. He has now written a blockbuster book about his life and tells Jim that there is a “constant choice” in our daily lives if we are to fulfill the American dream. And he tells how he uses digital marketing to sell his book.
The Chairman Emeritus and Author "The Source of Success" was a teen-age refugee from Communist Romania who some 40 years later became Young & Rubicam's top dog. talks about the impact of interactive ads online.
2 Appearances, most recently Feb 2013
The Environmental Defense Fund Program Director and former Rockefeller Foundation Chairman discusses whether global warming is an environmental fact or fantasy? Is it a threat to life? Can the Internet help stop it?
Jack Goldsmith took on the White House. He reversed John Yoo's opinion's that blessed torture. But Bush and Cheney refused to back down and vetoed a bill proscribing waterboarding.
The government’s weapons against the press have shifted from censorship to indictment of leakers to dragnet subpoenas. Obama has indicted six leakers on national security matters-- more than all of his predecessors combined. He may have already indicted Julian Assange for publishing leaked information. James C. Goodale, author of the bestselling book, Fighting for the Press, tells Jim Zirin of the way forward.
Goodale, lawyer for the New York Times in the legendary Pentagon Papers case, explains that the Supreme Court's landmark decision handed down in June 1971, holding the press had the right to publish classified leaked Defense Department documents, renders untenable the prosecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.
2 Appearances, most recently May 2013
As a compulsive blogger and Tweeter, as well as a publisher of ebooks, writer Emily Gould was certain to write of virtual relationships. Her first novel entitled Friendship is about the relationship of two 30-year old women whose lives intersect with the Internet in a poignant and engaging way. Emily tells Jim that online connection is an overarching feature of how a crossroads generation communicates.
She discusses the current state of casual Internet relationships. Millions post to Facebook or elsewhere on the Net the most intimate details of their lives to be read by perfect strangers. Emily argues that privacy, as much as we might like it, is out the window in the Digital Age.
We probe whether some things are so intimate they are better off unblogged. Or in the digital age is everyone's private life fair game? Emily discusses the flexible rules of the blogosphere which have made her a new media star.
3 Appearances, most recently Oct 2014
Russia had been dismissed as a third rate country--a "Burundi with missiles." Now, having struck a deal with the US on Syrian chemicals, Russia has emerged as a major player on the international stage. Kissinger Associate"s Russian expert Tom Graham tells Jim that there are grounds for optimism we can work with the Russians on Iran and other Middle Eastern issues.
The Russian expert from Kissinger Associates tells how much U.S.-Russian relations have been damaged by the WikiLeaks cables, and whether ratification of the START treaty will help “re-set” the relationship.
2 Appearances, most recently Sep 2013
The biographer of Speaker Thomas B. Reed tells about the Gilded Age in America from 1870-1893, a time of dysfunctional government and deep partisan divide over such issues as international trade, monetary policy and foreign wars. Sound familiar? Reed, a staunch Republican from Maine, ungummed the government and broke the logjam.
As CEO and Chairman of Bear Stearns, he saw the firm grow into a titan. Then came 2008, and the world turned upside down. Ace Greenberg pulls no punches as he tells of the sinking of an “unsinkable” ship.
A huge oil shock, the ruble in free fall, horror in Pakistan, the failure to reach agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons,and a cyber attack from North Korea all make for an earthshaking disorder. In a sobering interview, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass tells Jim that he forecasts 30 years of continuing global unrest.
Obama recently said he wanted to take the Nation off a "perpetual war footing," in favor of robust diplomacy, foreign aid and more measured responses. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass agrees. But will Susan Rice? Taking the line of his new best-selling book, Foreign Policy Begins at Home, Richard tells Jim that America's claim to leadership is based mainly on economic power, and we have much to do domestically if we are to maintain our primacy abroad.
The Council on Foreign Relations President elaborates a new foreign policy doctrine he has devised for the 21st Century called "Restoration." He explains how Restoration informs our decision whether to strike Iran, give aid to the Syrian opposition; and, above all, rebuild fiscal and economic stability at home.
The redoubtable Council on Foreign Relations president considers whether it is the surging price of oil, the implosion of the Japanese reactors, revolutions in the Middle-East, Iran, North Korea, China or al Qaeda. Then, he gives an answer that will surprise you.
The CFR President, who advised both Presidents Bush, tells Zirin about his fascinating new memoir "War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars," and how his alarms in 2003 fell on deaf ears.
I will go to my grave "not knowing the answer" as to why we went to war in Iraq, says the former Bush administration insider. President of Council on Foreign Relations Haass explains how the Internet can rationalize US foreign policy.
6 Appearances, most recently Jan 2015
FBI Director Robert Mueller said recently that the "information age means you don't need training camps to become a terrorist; all you need is an Internet connection." Counter-insurgency expert TX Hammes talks about terrorism in cyberspace and what you may do to stop it.
With the candidates sharply diverging as to what is to be done about the "cult of death" known as the Islamic State, Princeton Professor Bernard Haykel, the Nation's leading secular authority on ISIS, tells Jim that the wisest course of action may be for the US not to overreact.
Bob Herbert left the New York Times almost four years ago where he was a top Op-Ed columnist. He has written a best-selling book about 21st century America in which he sees that LBJ’s “ Great Society” has become a hollow promise, and tells Jim he imagines a greater nation.
A country divided for 75 years, Korea has been called the “last outpost of the Cold War.” Its President, Park Geun-hye, has made reunification a priority before she leaves office in 2018. Air Force Colonel Clint Hinote, Commander of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, tells Jim that if reunification is to be accomplished, it must happen soon.
Snowden revealed a massive NSA spying program that embarrassed our relations with friendly countries and reminded many Americans of Orwell’s 1984. Was he a traitor or a whistleblower? CIA spymaster Fred Hitz tells Jim that Snowden might have better made his case for clemency had he thrown himself on the mercy of an American court rather than fleeing to the eager arms of Putin.
The former CIA Inspector General discusses just how harmful were the WikiLeaks leaks, and whether Julian Assange is to be praised as a new media hero or hunted down and punished for violations of the Espionage Act.
Kipling's Kim called espionage the "Great Game." Which is stranger spy fact or spy fiction? Oswald Ames and Kim Philby or Jean Le Carre and Alan Furst? Former CIA Inspector General Hitz spills the secrets to Jim Zirin.
3 Appearances, most recently Mar 2014
The world seems plagued by instability, and American foreign policy doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it. Obama failed to show up in Paris. Europe is besieged with rising nationalism and anti-Semitism. The Middle East is chaotic. Russia continues its moves on Ukraine. Nuclear talks with Iran face domestic opposition in both countries. China’s leader is ruthless as he cracks down on dissidents.Foreign Affairs Editor Emeritus Jim Hoge tells Jim we are hanging in there, but our grip is loosening.
When charismatic China politician Bo Xilai stepped on too many toes during a power change, the government ousted him from his top party posts, charged his wife with murder and shut down the websites that supported him. As Israel weighs its options to throttle Iran’s nuclear threat, Israelis launch an Israel Loves Iran website to bypass their leaders and connect directly with the Iranian people. James Hoge tells of digital power in a dangerous world.
2 Appearances, most recently Jan 2015
The lawyer, author and social reformer wants to overhaul the American legal system, and he wants the Net to help him do it.
With 93,000 dead in two years, the G-8 seeks Syrian peace talks. Obama reluctantly wants to supply the rebels with light arms and anti-tank artillery. But is this enough to withstand the murderous forces of Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah? Syrian expert Ed Husain tells Jim of a "regional approach" to stop the bloodbath.
Confronted with a rising death toll in Syria, documented by YouTube video clips, that shocked the conscience of the international community, Kofi Annan elaborated a six-point plan to avert a further bloodbath. But will it work? Mid-east expert and blogger Ed Husain gives Jim Zirin his view of the way forward.
2 Appearances, most recently June 2013
Al Qaeda's Christmas Day attempt to bomb a plane nearly spelled disaster. Obama said there was a systemic failure. Was it because the government failed to follow key recommendations in the 9/11 Commission Report?
Is the newly created Director of National Intelligence just another layer of bureaucracy? Will intelligence reform prevent another disaster such as Iraq or a 9/11? Former 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean shares his views.
2 Appearances, most recently Jan 2010
As New York City Police Commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly thwarted 16 terrorist plots against the City. He tells Jim of the lessons learned from the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, how we can intensify our counter terrorism efforts nationwide, and even answers the question whether he might run for Mayor.
Leading Mayoral candidates Quinn, deBlasio, Thompson and Liu all want to throttle the NYPD with an Inspector General and a curtailed stop and frisk. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks the candidates’ policing strategies will make the City less safe. He tells Jim that stop and frisk saves lives, and the NYPD already has amply sufficient oversight and regulation.
The legendary New York City Police Commissioner tells whether in waging the war on terror we have struck the right balance between security and privacy.
Is another terrorist attack on New York City inevitable? In Paris, London, Madrid and Mumbai, terrorists used blogs and cell phones to communicate. Does the Net make us safer or more vulnerable?
4 Appearances, most recently December 2015
David created a blog, Cyberdissidents.org, to support dissident pro-democracy bloggers in Iran and throughout the Arab world. He tells how his work impacted a revolution.
The author of the bestseller, “The Facebook Effect,” tells the true story of the development of Facebook which you didn’t get in the hit movie.
The "Business Week India" Bureau Chief explains how the Net has helped raise the standard of living in the second largest growing economy in the world? What more must India do to emerge from third world status?
With Internet censorship spiking, the U.S. has become increasingly concerned that technology will undermine freedom of expression. Law Professor Molly Land tells Jim that a 1966 international treaty on civil and political rights was prescient in providing a digital framework for protecting human rights around the world.
Are bloggers journalists? Can a journalist be a blogger? Lemann, Dean of Columbia Journalism School and new media critic, answers the question.
The LA Times calls him “the most powerful and dreaded investigator in the world.” Terry Lenzner, author of the red-hot new book, The Investigator, recalls his remarkable half-century career in private and public sleuthing, and shares with Jim the secrets of his amazing success.
This holiday season has seen an alarming rise in instances of identity theft. Consumer advocate Adam Levin tells Jim that in the digital age your personal data is as valuable to you as money, and of what you should do to protect yourself from widespread schemes to defraud.
Derek Lidow sold his startup semi-conductor business for over $100 million,. Now, he teaches a standing room only class at Princeton where he teaches undergraduates how to do it. He tells Jim that the key to startup success is not a good idea, but skilled entrepreneurial leadership that gives a good idea the legs it needs to get off the ground.
Jim Lindsay focuses on the relationship between foreign policy and domestic political considerations at the Council on Foreign Relations. He surveys the candidates, considers the domestic political fall-out from Obama’s Iran deal and the failed policies in Syria, and tells Jim it is early days to predict whether these factors will affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Foreign affairs experts are worried that our Russian deal on Syria, the Snowden affair, Internet balkanization, and the government shutdown have combined to undermine international perceptions of US leadership. Jim Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations tells Jim Zirin that we will need to do much to regain our position of global primacy.
2 Appearances, most recently October 2015
Everything is global these days: economics, trade, politics, whatever. So is the art world. MoMA’s Director Glenn Lowry tells Jim the whys and wherefores of MoMA’s global aspiration, which reaches as far as China, as near as Iceland and South America.
MOMA's director discusses Google’s recently unveiled “Art Project,” presenting to millions of online viewers over 1,000 art treasures in 17 of the world's greatest museums. He says that in the digital age "bricks and mortar" museums will be supplemented by "virtual" museums situated only a click away.
2 Appearances, most recently Mar 2015
Anointed one of the “50 Most Powerful Women” in business, Susan broke the “glass ceiling” and put together a string of successes as a print journalist, at ABC-TV where she produced “Desperate Housewives,” winning six Emmys, and as CEO of Martha Stewart. Today, she is knocking the cover off the ball at the Gilt Groupe. She tells why e-Commerce works.
In 1941 Cairo was a boiling cauldron with Nazi spies, agitators, Muslim Brothers, refugee Jews, Brits and Americans all swimming around in a stew of intrigue. Egyptian expat, Juliana Maio tells Jim about her bestselling novel "City of the Sun" and what her research informs us about today's Egypt.
Considered one of the greatest trumpeters ever, Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis is a man with a mission. As JALC celebrates a milestone 25th anniversary, he continues to develop audiences for jazz. Using the social media, he has become an advocate for all art forms, which he seeks to integrate into a unified American culture. He tells Jim that once you turn freedom loose, there is no telling where it will go.
Richard Mason's latest novel, “History of a Pleasure Seeker,” is also published in a multimedia edition. He tells Jim of an amazing application for iPads and smartphones, which combines video, music and photography. And if you are into audiobooks, actor Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” reads you the text.
Beheadings in Syria, military trials in Guantanamo, rising Antisemitism in Europe, a dysfunctional immigration policy, we live in a world pervaded with grave challenges in human rights. Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First, a non-governmental organization, tells Jim of gains over the past year, and of serious setbacks as well.
Hacking generally has a pejorative meaning, namely, someone who accesses a computer by circumventing its security system. But, hacking may also refer to excellence in programming —the kind of innovation that built the Internet. Penn Professor Andrea Matwyshyn knows the difference and tells Jim Zirin how to stay away from the dark side of the Internet.
Last year Steven Chen was a college dropout, and Chad Hurley wanted to go to grad school. This year, they sold YouTube for $1.65 billion even though their startup had never turned a profit. Is the tech bubble about to boom or bust?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing magazines online? What does the future of magazines look like? James Michaels, Editor of Forbes Magazine, and Mike Edelhart, President and CEO of Zinio Systems, Inc., discuss.
We live in a chaotic world. Will Europe implode? Will ISIS proliferate its venomous brand to North Africa, Yemen or Bahrain? Will there be, as Leon Panetta has suggested, a terrorist attack on the United States? Is our government dysfunctional, particularly our foreign policy? Risk analyst Michael Moran gives Jim his assessment of what’s in store in 2015.
The world in 2014 is a risky place. What are its greatest perils—a nuclear accident, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or an economic meltdown? Risk analysis expert Michael Moran takes Jim on a global tour, analyzes the probabilities and gives his financial and strategic outlook for the coming year.
2 Appearances, most recently Feb 2015
He tells Jim how dictatorships use the Net for their own repressive ends--and why the cyber-utopians have got it all wrong.
Obama said he wanted to “pivot” US foreign policy toward Asia, implying that we would have a lighter footprint in the Mid-East and give up one interest for another. Vali Nasr, Dean of the Nitze School at Johns Hopkins and author of the best-selling book The Dispensable Nation
tells Jim that we cannot turn our backs on the region and hope to exert any influence on China, Korea or Japan.
Presidential hopeful Donald Trump wants to deport six million illegal Mexican immigrants, including their families, who may be birthright American citizens, and then build a wall along our southern border by confiscating $12 billion earned by Mexicans in the United States. Council on Foreign Relations Latin American expert Shannon O’Neil tells Jim whether the Trump plan is bad for America.
In recent decades, Mexico has turned the corner politically and economically, while immigration and security issues persist. Council on ForeignRelations Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies Shannon O'Neil tells Jim that we are two nations indivisible, and that the two countries must collaborate further in their own national interests.
The Latin America expert and blogger uses her blog latintelligence.com
to reposition United States foreign policy in Latin America.
3 Appearances, most recently November
Serena Palumbo, an accomplished lawyer, leads a double life as a superstar online chef. Her instructional recipe videos for Italian food have won her thousands of web followers and a reality TV gig. She tells Jim Zirin about the vagaries of a charmed double life--and even serves him some lasagna.
The doctors missed the signals on Aaron Alexis, the DC Navy Yard shooter who had sought professional help. Leading psychiatrist Herb Pardes tells Jim how we have failed our obligation to the mentally ill, and says what can be done about it.
Republicans have made it a priority to repeal or reform the Healthcare Reform Act, but the president and CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital, explains how soaring healthcare costs can be curtailed without new legislation.
2 Appearances, most recently Sep 2013
Bob Pigott is a New York lawyer who likes to walk the City’s streets in search of landmark courthouses. He leads us on a delightful tour of the City, and shares his encyclopedic knowledge of New York’s legendary legal history as he takes Jim through the buildings where it all happened.
He has over 1.2 million followers on Twitter. When he Tweeted his posse, "I need a cure for hiccups right now," he instantly received a torrent of suggestions.
The technology columnist for the New York Times
explains what makes some tech products an e-hit or an i-miss.
2 Appearances, most recently Jan 2010
With the government seeking the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombing, we are reminded that capital cases are still with us. Federal Judge Michael Ponsor of the District of Massachusetts, tells Jim about his best-selling novel, The Hanging Judge
, a riveting yarn about a capital trial in the federal court where justice almost goes off the tracks.
Some 45 years ago, the Boston Fine Arts Museum purchased
a precious Italian Renaissance painting attributed to Raphael.
Then, the trouble started.The Museum lost its legendary director,
its money, and the painting itself in a legal dust-up that never
should have happened. Biographer and art historian Belinda
Rathbone, who happens to be the director's daughter, tells
Jim how she uncovered the truth about the whole affair.
Bill Clinton's Undersecretary of Commerce and President of Washington's National Foreign Trade Council, talks about the fall-out for the Bush administration since DP World pulled out of a deal to acquire six US ports and terminals.
Former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo saw Directors of Central Intelligence come and go as controversy increasingly enveloped the Agency. Author of the bestselling book, The Company Man, he tells Jim how he reacted to the “torture memos” of the Bush administration, and how he couldn’t stop the CIA from destroying tapes of the “enhanced interrogation” of al Qaeda chieftain Abu Zubayda.
Without paying a dime in royalties, Google's Book and Library Projects have scanned tens of millions of copyrighted works, and made significant portions available to the public. Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson tells Jim of a decade-old billion-dollar infringement suit against Google that the Guild has fought to the doorstep of the Supreme Court.
With 4500 American servicemen killed in Iraq and 32,000 wounded, we are still paying the price for the war in returning servicemen with post traumatic stress disorder. Author Roxana Robinson, in her latest novel Sparta, writes of a Marine veteran, who can’t relate to the society for which he fought so bravely. She tells Jim that the price of the war in human terms is incalculable.
2 Appearances, most recently February 2016
She says that a delicate balance must be struck between free expression and free trade as Human Rights First calls out Microsoft for helping the Russians crack down on dissidents.
The top trial lawyer tells how digital evidence has revolutionized the conduct of trials.
On January 30, 1972, during a civil rights march in Northern Ireland, the British Army killed 13 civilians. The eminent English jurist, Lord Saville, was tasked to conduct a public inquiry into what happened that 'Bloody Sunday'. The report concluded that the soldiers were unjustified in firing and led to an unqualified apology by Prime Minister Cameron. In an exclusive Digital Age interview with Professor Richard Susskind, Lord Saville says that digital technologies were indispensable to the inquiry.
Can Carson edge out Trump? Did Bush stop bleeding? Did Rubio and Cruz make too many gaffes? Can any of them stop Hillary? Veteran political analyst Doug Schoen talks the strength and weaknesses of the candidates, and gives Jim Zirin some predictions for the future even though it is still early days.
The United States Senate now holds a narrow Democratic majority. On November 4, Americans will elect 36 senators for seats occupied by 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans. To gain control of the Senate, the GOP needs six seats, and must defeat more than two incumbents. Will they do it? Veteran political analyst Doug Schoen tells Jim that there is one central issue transcending each campaign—President Obama’s declining popularity.
Romney's campaign was on life support and then he cleaned Obama's clock in the first debate and soared in the polls. In the second debate, Romney stumbled badly. Top pollster Doug Schoen analyzes the variables for Jim and calls the race for Obama.
The premier political analyst analyzes poll results, measures the Republican slate, reads the tealeaves and calls the race. He also speculates about unexpected events, such as an Internet-launched third party candidacy, which could derail Obama's re-election.
The Democratic political strategist talks about the way forward for Obama as he faces a Republican House and a Senate where Democrats cling to a razor-thin majority.
Scott Brown may owe his Massachusetts Miracle to the $1 million a day he raised on the Internet. Since then Obama can't seem to do anything right.
Most polls say that Obama has it. But which poll are you supposed to believe? There are blogs that offer a snapshot of all the polls combined. Will the bloggers be the ones to call the election?
Who wins, who loses, who's in, who's out? Hear an expert's analysis of where we are in the Presidential primary races by the top Democratic pollster and pundit.
8 Appearances, most recently November 2015
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, like Donald Trump, recognized that politics is war. John Sedgwick, author of War of Two, the best selling book about the famous duel between one of our Founding Fathers and our third Vice President, tells Jim of many parallels between the current shoot-out for the White House and the political clash that claimed Hamilton's life.
Adam, a top cyber-war strategist, assesses the escalation in China's cyber-attacks on U.S. interests and argues that as China steps up the hacking, America must change its game plan, shore up its defenses and counterattack.
Chinese hackers recently attacked Google, but no one knows for sure who did it. Cyber- warfare represents a real threat to the Nations interests. What are the attackers motives? Must we heighten our state of readiness?
2 Appearances, most recently Mar 2012
He explains that commercial litigants traditionally bear their own legal expense, and the cost may be catastrophic. Many drop good cases, or lose their businesses entirely, because they run out of money. Recently, however, third parties have advanced legal costs. Is such funding illegal or unethical? Does this new structure stir up meritless litigation or improve access to justice?
With pro-Russian protesters storming governmental buildings in East Ukraine, Putin seems poised to invade Ukraine to restore order. Will he do it? Will he go on to Moldova or the Baltic states to whom we owe common defense obligations under NATO? Russian expert Stephen Sestanovich tells Jim Zirin that Obama must support Ukraine economically and show a more robust response if Putin’s geopolitical ambitions are to be deterred.
The distinguished author tells us what we can learn from Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President. Though a man of few words, Coolidge believed in less government, balanced budgets, lower taxes and a climate friendly to business. Unemployment averaged 3.3 per cent. Yet, in the vortex of the Great Depression and the New Deal which followed, his legacy has all but disappeared.
Projecting a sour, almost misanthropic, personality, Andrew Cuomo, who aspires to the presidency, has enjoyed a 35-year political career, tarnished by episodes of raw ambition, betrayal of friends, and punishment of enemies. Writer Michael Shnayerson, author of the best selling unauthorized biography, The Contender, tells Jim Zirin why, in his view, our Governor Cuomo is a flawed tragic hero.
The former Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, now Director of Policy Planning at the State Department discusses whether Saddam Hussein can get a fair trial? Would an international trial be fairer?
In 2009 Jeff Smith was a PhD, a Missouri state senator, and a rising star in the state Democratic Party. Sentenced to one year and one day in prison for filing a false affidavit in connection with a Congressional primary campaign he had lost almost five years earlier, Smith served his time working in a warehouse at a medium security federal prison. He tells Jim of a corrupt and racist penal system that only encourages recidivism and squanders a treasure in human potential.
Since World War Two, Japan has relied almost exclusively on the United States for its security framework to counteract China's attempt at hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, right wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes mutual security arrangements with India, Australia and Indonesia as he refuses to acknowledge the horror of Japan’s militaristic past. Sheila Smith tells Jim that the US must craft a new policy to manage the Japan relationship.
The CFR Japan expert defines what is meant by the "pivot" and compares Japanese Internet freedom with China’s crackdown on free expression. She tells Jim of Japan’s recovery from the March 11 “triple disasters", Prime Minister Noda’s dramatic December trips to Beijing and Delhi, how Japan will manage its security concerns with North Korea, and what this all means to United States interests in the region.
2 Appearances, most recently Nov 2014
An outspoken centrist in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, Olympia Snowe overruled her pro-choice convictions and voted to confirm Alito and Roberts. Later, she also voted to confirm Sotomayor and Kagan. Hear her tell Jim why she left office, although her re-election was certain, and how she now proposes to end the dysfunction in Congress.
As we embark on our first bilateral negotiations with Iran in 35 years, the question arises whether Tehran is sincere about a deal or is merely playing for time while its military arm perfects nuclear weapons. Former State Department Legal Adviser Abraham Sofaer tells Jim we must employ the same policy that worked with the former Soviet Union—engage Iran diplomatically, while we forcefully confront Iranian attempts to project power beyond their borders.
The Fiscal Cliff bill may have saved us from the brink, but there is trouble ahead as we approach the “March madness” of raising the debt ceiling, approving the budget and dealing with the mandatory spending cuts known as the sequester. Investment banker Peter Solomon tells Jim how things will likely play out with a new Treasury Secretary and a deeply divided Congress.
Fiscally hemorrhaging, Greece was about to be turned down for EU membership until bankers convinced the Greek treasury to buy digitally priced currency swaps to sidestep regulatory requirements. Then the banks shorted Greece.
Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman proposed a single global regulator who will gather economic data from all countries and assess risk via the Internet. But the late Bruce Wasserstein of Lazard pooh-poohed the idea.
3 Appearances, most recently Jan 2013
The iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art has posted a substantial part of its collection online, and showcased its art treasures one-by-one in a series of blogs called “82nd and Fifth.” Sree Sreenivasan, the Met’s first chief digital officer, tells Jim that there is a vital connection between the virtual and the traditional bricks-and-mortar museum.
Last year, mega-firm Dewey & Leboeuf filed the largest law firm bankruptcy in US history, leaving in its wake a criminal investigation and a spate of litigation. Richard Susskind, author of bestselling book, Tomorrow's Lawyers, tells Jim that Dewey was victim of an outmoded business plan as much as of factors unique to itself.
Susskind argues that the time charges oriented business model of the large law firm is flawed, and that if lawyers don’t reinvent themselves, and use technology to package their services, they will surely risk extinction.
2 Appearances, most recently Oct 2013
Snowden’s revelations prompted Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to cancel a planned state visit to Washington to meet with Obama. She even threatened to remove Brazil from the world wide web. Latin American expert Julia Sweig tells Jim that the motivation for the spying is inexplicable, and that the damage to our relationship with a friendly neighboring country is incalculable.
Brazil, long disparaged as the "country of the future," has become the world's seventh largest economy with an astonishing growth rate of 7.5%; its first female President, Dilma Rousseff, is talking turkey with Obama and Hu Jintao; and its free press and social media have turned it into a vibrant democracy. Julia tells Jim Zirin what has happened to Brazil...and why.
2 Appearances, most recently Nov 2013
Science is on the march in the heart of New York City. With five Nobel laureates on its faculty, Rockefeller University scientists are working to unlock the mysteries of dread diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. Rockefeller's President, Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, tells Jim of some of Rockefeller's breakthrough discoveries, and updates the prospects for further advances in the service of humanity.
Before there was a debt crisis in Europe, the Japanese banks had their own problems with non performing loans. Gillian Tett of London's Financial Times and Japanese banker Mat Nagato tell Jim Zirin how Japan solved its banking crisis in ways that should be lessons learned for the Eurozone.
Prosecutor and law professor Frank Tuerkheimer studied “forgotten trials of the Holocaust” and wrote a brilliant book about it. He also went to Israel to interview Eichmann’s prosecutor, Gabriel Bach. He tells Jim the inside story of trying the perpetrators of the genocide of six million Jews, punishing the guilty and spreading the facts of a horrific crime upon the public record.
From Viet Nam to 9/11 the Veteran NBC/CNN Anchor has seen it all. Hear him tell Zirin how the Internet has preempted the field of television reporting.
He talks about his vision for the FDR Four Freedoms Park as the project nears completion. Planned in the 1970’s for the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the shadow of the UN, and designed by renowned architect Louis Kahn shortly before his death, the Park will take a commemorative space into the digital age.
Does the Supreme Court fairly interpret the Constitution or do judges impose their personal views on the law as written and intended? Prominent attorney Gerald Walpin tells Jim of his new book, The Supreme Court vs. The Constitution, arguing that some justices have gone too far in deciding that the Constitution means what they would like it to mean.
We can kill them with drones or hit squads, capture them, detain them forever or try them, but which tactic will stand up best in court? Columbia Law Professor, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow and former Bush administration assistant to the national security adviser, Matt Waxman reviews the options and tells Jim which is the best way to go.
David Westin enjoyed 14 eventful years as president of ABC News. He covered the death of Princess Diana, the 2000 tied election, 9/11, two wars and the financial crisis. Now he has a new venture.He tells Jim of his strategic plan and predicts that the Internet will never eclipse the mainstream media.
Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson bet $10M on a start-up called Twitter. Five years later, Twitter has no profits, but it has brought down governments and a Congressman and is valued at $8B. Fred tells Jim Zirin what accounts for Twitter's meteoric rise.
Lawfully married to Thea Spyer, her companion of 40 years, Edith Windsor found herself the beneficiary of Ms Spyer’s estate but was denied the spousal deduction for federal estate taxes. She sued, claiming that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. Edie and her lawyer Robbie Kaplan tell Jim that historic discrimination against gays warrants a “heightened scrutiny” of laws denying them equal benefits.
For most of the past 15 years, veteran diplomat Frank Wisner has been part of a secret back channel, negotiating the Iran nuclear deal on a second tier with high-level Iranians, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. He tells Jim why the deal, despite imperfections, is in the national interest.
When Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, people wondered whether it was an al Qaeda hit or the lawless action of an enraged mob. Some in Congress called for an end to foreign aid to Libya and Egypt. Former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner surveys the Middle East and tells Jim why we are there to stay.
The former Ambassador to Egypt and India answers tough questions, such as "Can America really democratize the Middle East? Do we have the technology to deal with the challenges of a global economy?"
3 Appearances, most recently October 2015
Congress approved an 11th-hour deal to raise the debt ceiling, in the face of dire threats that not to do so would bring down the global economy. But, instead of resolving the crisis, the lawmakers merely kicked the can down the road four months. Financial Times chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, tells Jim that the US debt ceiling is “the legislative equivalent of a nuclear bomb aimed by the US at itself.”
Journalist Graeme Wood wrote the most widely-read article in the history of The Atlantic. His subject was ISIS, and what makes it tick. He tells that ISIS is a “very Islamic” apocalyptic movement, and that its brutality is totally consistent with its vision of a global Caliphate and its interpretation of Islamic law.
Internet misconduct has ruined reputations and lives. What do you do if your online identity is stolen? Or your privacy invaded? Suppose you are defamed? Can the truth ever catch up with the libel? The author of a brilliant new book, "Violated Online," tells Jim how you can protect yourself, and even fight back, by remembering a few simple rules.
Is the Zagat survey real? Is the commentary legitimate or made up by editors who never saw the restaurant? Learn about how Zagat is using the Net to take its survey to a new level.
Obama says he is free to use drones to attack senior members of al Qaeda who are planning to attack the United States. So far drones may have killed as many as 4700 people, including American citizens. What, if any, limitations should be placed on the President in using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists? Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Micah Zenko tells Jim that definitive standards are necessary to prevent drone attacks from spinning out of control.
The veteran CUNY TV Talk Show Host Interviews Jim Zirin on his best-selling book, The Mother Court-Tales of Cases That Mattered in America's Favorite Trial Court, and Jim tells some of the sensational "war stories" to come out of the Southern District.
Turning the show upside down, Ambassador Bill vanden Heuvel is “host for the day.” He interviews Jim about his book, The Mother Court—Tales of Cases That Mattered in America’s Greatest Trial Court, drawing “the guest” out masterfully on why he wrote the book, and what he knows of the legendary judges and lawyers, who walked the halls of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. He even gets the “guest” to spill some of the great stories in the book.