Speakers Forum

Thursday, 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

Barbara Ehrenreich Talks 'Living With A Wild God'

May 8, 2014
Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Living With a Wild God."

Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist and activist known for her wry, acerbic, probing and prolific writings. She writes essays and articles related to social injustice and books on subjects she says don’t make money but fascinate her.

In 2001, Ehrenreich was undergoing breast cancer treatment and putting her papers in order simultaneously. She calls the timing “viciously appropriate.”

Among the many boxes from a lifetime of writing she re-discovered a journal she’d kept as an adolescent. Moved by the questions she found there — "Why are we here? What’s going on in the universe? What is all this about?" — she promised to try to better understand her youthful experience if she recovered.

The result is her latest book, "Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything." She calls it a “sort of philosophical memoir, or a metaphysical thriller.”

Ehrenreich spoke with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman at Town Hall Seattle on April 21.

'Wish You Happy Forever' With Jenny Bowen

May 1, 2014
Jenny Bowen's book "Wish You Happy Forever."

In 1996 Jenny Bowen was in Los Angeles living a comfortable and, she said, not very meaningful existence.

Reading the New York Times one Saturday morning, she and her husband were disturbed by a photo of a little girl in a Chinese orphanage. Bowen’s determination to do something about what she’d seen would change her life, and ultimately the lives of orphans across China.

Bowen founded the organization Half the Sky to better the lives of orphan children living in China’s welfare institutions. Half the Sky operates programs for orphans from birth to adulthood.

All offer loving care, stimulation, education, all the kinds of things a child who lives in a family may have. The Chinese government has invited Half the Sky to train every child welfare worker in the country.

Jenny Bowen spoke at Town Hall Seattle on April 1. She is also the author of a book, "Wish You Happy Forever."

Flickr Photo/Kansas City Public Library

When they were little, they were called Benny and Jenny. They were inseparable. But as they grew up, their lives took different paths. Benjamin Franklin left home; his sister Jane Franklin never did. He taught himself to write; she couldn’t spell. He signed the Declaration and the Constitution; she became a wife, mother, and ultimately, a widow.

But they maintained a correspondence throughout their lives, and historian Jill Lepore says Franklin loved no one more than his sister. Lepore shed light on this story at Seattle’s Town Hall on October 9.

This story originally aired on December 12, 2013.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Kshama Sawant is the first socialist on Seattle’s City Council. Last year, she ran on a campaign platform of raising the minimum wage to $15, taxing the wealthy and rent control.

She spoke with The Stranger’s Charles Mudede about why now is the time for socialism in Seattle. This talk was recorded at Town Hall on March 18, 2014.

Ann Jones' book, "They Were Soldiers."

Battle scars are not always visible.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects almost 30 percent of soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Journalist Ann Jones researched how war affects people’s minds by following troops in the Middle East. Her new book is called “They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars: The Untold Story.”

In it, Jones also looks at how war touches those close to soldiers: spouses, children, doctors and friends. She spoke at Town Hall on March 18, 2014.

Flickr Photo/Michael Ignatieff (CC BY-NC-ND)

“We have to fight for our right to be cold.”

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an Inuit activist who tackles issues indigenous people are facing, including pollution and sustainability. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on March 11, 2014, as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

Sonya Sotomayor's book, "My Beloved World."

Sonia Sotomayor is the 111th justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s also its first Hispanic and third female justice. In her memoir, “My Beloved World,” Sotomayor details her childhood struggle with diabetes, her family life and her drive to become a lawyer.

Sotomayor spoke at Town Hall on March 10, 2014. The talk was moderated by Eric Liu.

Jennifer Ouellette's book, "Me, Myself, and Why."

What defines us? What determines our identity?

Jennifer Ouellette explores how eye color, likes and dislikes, and even hatred of cilantro construct our individual identities. She underwent personality tests and genome sequencing to determine the slight variations that set us all apart.

Ouellette is a blogger for "Scientific American" and the author of “Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self.” She spoke at Town Hall on February 25, 2014.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book "Double Down."

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are the authors of "Game Change," the best-selling story of the 2008 presidential election that was turned into an HBO movie.

In their new book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012," they apply their political knowledge to the 2012 presidential race. They go beyond the headlines to offer an account of a hard-fought campaign on both sides.

They spoke at the First Presbyterian Church on November 12, 2013, in an event sponsored by Town Hall.

ced.berkeley.edu

In a way, Majora Carter’s dog is partially responsible for the existence of a Bronx park. More than a decade ago, Carter was pulled by her dog into a vacant, trashed lot and onto the banks of the Bronx River. After securing a USDA Forest Service program grant, Carter worked with community groups over five years to build the award-winning Hunts Point Riverside Park.

Carter is an urban revitalization strategist who examines the connection between urbanization and the environment. She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on January 22, 2014, as part of the UW Graduate School lecture series.

Ian Haney Lopez's book "Dog Whistle Politics."

Dog whistle politics means using language that appeals to one group of people but may have coded meanings to another. For example, one reason Ronald Reagan did so well with white voters was because he told stories of the “welfare queen” – a woman with “eighty names, thirty addresses, [and] twelve Social Security cards [who] is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”

Dr. Deborah Cohen's book, “A Big Fat Crisis."

Candy by the cash register, 24-hour drive-throughs and constant food advertisements have all contributed to America’s obesity epidemic. More than one-third of Americans are obese, and natural scientist Dr. Deborah Cohen has some new ideas for solving this problem.

In her new book, “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic — and How We Can End It,” Cohen argues in favor of government regulation of unhealthy foods and stricter restaurant guidelines. She spoke at Town Hall on January 22, 2014.

Nancy Bartley's book "The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff."

In 1931, Asotin County Sheriff John Wormell was shot and killed by a 12-year-old boy. Herbert Niccolls, Jr., was almost hung by a lynch mob before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Journalist Nancy Bartley is the author of “The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff: The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls, Jr.” The book reveals Niccolls’ troubled past and early Washington state history. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on January 7.

Joshua Klein's book "Reputation Economic."

In today’s world: Avis discounts car rentals based on its Twitter followers; Carnival Cruise Lines offers upgrades based on Klout scores; Amazon is this-close to pricing goods based on a customer’s online reputation.

Online reputation is replacing currency, technology Joshua Klein argues. How will this affect our future interactions with each other and with businesses? Klein is the author of “Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know is Worth More Than What You Have.” He spoke at Town Hall on January 9.

KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

The Cold War might be over, but the nuclear weapons and the threat of destruction remains.

Joseph Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He’s also the author of “Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.”

He spoke at Town Hall on January 14 about today’s most pressing international security issue — and the steps governments are taking to make the world safer.

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