A possible wall on our border with Mexico, the future of NAFTA in question, a peace treaty with the rebels (later overturned by the voters) for which Colombia’s President Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize, an impeachment in Brazil, Argentina again open for business, and Venezuela in turmoil, Latin America continues to mystify us. Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Shannon O’Neil takes the long view, and tells Jim that political upheaval aside, there is great cause for optimism in the hemisphere.
In his new cable talk show “Star Talk,” astrophysicist extraordinaire Neil de Grasse Tyson combines hilarity, pop culture, celebrity guests and science to the joy of his many fans. Neil the amazing tells Jim that levity combined with gravity is a recipe for learning about the universe, and just plain fun.
Women only got the vote in 1920, and every since 10 women have unsuccessfully sought the presidency. Lynn Sherr, first woman to anchor a regularly scheduled prime time TV network series, compares the policy positions of Phyllis Schlafly and the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton and tells Jim why, misogyny aside, the country is “ready” for its first woman President.
With Iran fighting ISIS on our side in Iraq and Syria, and a nuclear deal concluded, traditional allies in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Israel are worried whether there has been a tectonic shift in U.S. attitudes toward Iran. Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, tells Jim there is much work to be done to build trust, and engage Iran in new security arrangements designed to achieve stability in a war-torn, region.
With the shocking revelations of the “Panama Papers,” we have seen an apparently corrupt Prime Minister resign in Iceland, corrupt governments weakened in Brazil and Argentina, and anti-corruption candidates winning out
in India and Indonesia. Veteran risk analyst Michael Moran tells Jim of heightened political risk arising out of a new tendency towards zero tolerance for corruption everywhere in the world.
For centuries, the Vatican has used a devil’s advocate to vet all applicants for sainthood. Today, our military,
the intelligence community and the private sector employ a technique known as “red teaming” to test vulnerabilities, play war games and give an alternative strategic and tactical analysis of a proposed action. Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Micah Zenko, author of a fascinating book called Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy, tells Jim of a principled way to arrive at the right answer.
New York’s iconic natural history museum has opened an exhibition of one of the largest dinosaurs ever identified. It is a Titanosaur some of whose ancient fossilized bones were discovered by a farmer in Patagonia. Ellen Futter, president of the Museum and Mark Norell, its chief paleontologist, tell Jim that they will continue their hunt for dinosaurs well into the twenty-first century.
At Harvard, University-issued table placemats give students talking points on lines to take with their parents in discussing immigration policy. At Yale, students savaged a faculty member whose wife questioned University guidelines on appropriate Halloween costumes. At Princeton, students took over the President’s office to demand removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from University institutions. Noted author, and former dean of Princeton’s iconic Woodrow Wilson School, Anne-Marie Slaughter, tells Jim that the situation requires prudent management and patient listening.
With more and more people living longer, contemplating 30 years or more of retirement, and facing less money and more time with one’s spouse, the emotional and financial adjustment may be daunting. Best selling author and financial journalist, Jane Bryant Quinn tells Jim how to finance your retirement, and make the “golden years” work for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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