Speakers Forum | KUOW News and Information

Speakers Forum

Thursday, 11:00 p.m. - midnight 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.

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Sandra Tsing Loh's book "Madwoman in the Volvo."

We've all done it — that crazy RV trip to Burning Man. It leads to all sorts of problems. In hindsight, maybe not a great idea, but you make the best with what you've got, right? Well, perhaps, if you’re anything like our guest this week. Her trip proved to be the start of an arduous journey, but it makes for a great story. 

Sandra Tsing Loh’s new book is “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” In it she takes on her experience of menopause.

Flickr Photo/Senate Democrats (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week on Speakers Forum, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tells the story of her life and her vision of a progressive America. Warren is known as an advocate for consumer protection. She was largely responsible for the hard-won establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Flickr Photo/Downing Street (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The financial crisis of 2008 is widely referred to as the worst fiscal disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It threatened large financial institutions with collapse and resulted in bank bailouts and downturns in stock and housing markets around the world.

Nomi Prins' new book, "All the Presidents' Bankers"

In Nomi Prins' new book "All the Presidents' Bankers," she delves into over a century of close ties between the White House and Wall Street. Using archival correspondence, she explores the ways a small group of influential people, elected and not, has shaped American policy at home and abroad. The book details economic expansion, contraction and crises from the panic of 1907 to today, in the context of what Prins calls America’s genealogy of power.

Flickr Photo/Commonwealth Club (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Tony Kushner is the author of "Angels in America," a two-part play inspired by the tragic rise of the AIDS epidemic. "Angels" debuted on Broadway in 1993, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony award for Best Play that same year.

Seattle’s Intiman Theatre will be staging a production of "Angels" this summer, opening August 12.

Kushner spoke with writer, editor and It Gets Better project co-founder Dan Savage at Town Hall Seattle on May 10.

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.

Kshama Sawant On Why It's Time For Socialism In Seattle

Apr 17, 2014
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.

The Untold Story Of War With Ann Jones

Apr 10, 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.

‘Our Right To Be Cold’ With Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Apr 3, 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.

‘My Beloved World’ By Sonia Sotomayor

Mar 27, 2014
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.

‘The Science Of Self’ With Jennifer Ouellette

Mar 20, 2014
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.

‘Dog Whistle Politics’ With Ian Haney López

Feb 27, 2014
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.”

Ending Our ‘Big Fat Crisis’ With Deborah Cohen

Feb 20, 2014
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.

‘The Boy Who Shot The Sheriff’ With Nancy Bartley

Feb 13, 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.

Online Reputation As Currency With Joshua Klein

Feb 6, 2014
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.

Nuclear Weapons Today With Joseph Cirincione

Jan 30, 2014
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.

Inside The Teenage Brain With Daniel Siegel

Jan 23, 2014
Daniel Siegel's book "Brainstorm."

The teenage brain can be a mystery to adults. UCLA psychiatry professor Daniel Siegel debunks myths about adolescence to show how teens learn new skills, connect with others and demonstrate limitless creativity.

Siegel is the author of “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.”

He spoke at Town Hall on December 13, 2013, in a lecture presented by ParentMap.

Dave Isay On The 'Ties That Bind'

Jan 16, 2014
Dave Isay's book "Ties That Bind."

Ten years ago, Dave Isay began StoryCorps by building a soundproof booth in Grand Central Terminal. People arrived in pairs to interview each other about their lives.

Today, StoryCorps airs stories weekly on NPR, and more than 30,000 interviews have been recorded and archived in the Library of Congress. Isay has also compiled some of the stories into books. His most recent is called “Ties That Bind: Stories of Love & Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps.”

He spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 17, 2013.

In 1963, one of the most controversial books of the twentieth century was published. “Eichmann in Jerusalem” presented Adolf Eichmann not as a sociopath — but as an ordinary person who simply believed his actions were normal. The author of this book, political theorist Hannah Arendt, refers to this theory as the “banality of evil.” Arendt was a Jew who fled Germany in the early 1930s. 

Yale professor Seyla Benhabib offers an overview of the controversy surrounding Arendt’s book, and what lessons it can teach us about humanity. Benhabib spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on October 24, 2013 as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

Julia Serano's book "Excluded."

Julia Serano has challenged exclusion in the feminist and queer movements for years. As an activist and trans woman, Serano was shocked to see some people challenge one type of sexism while ignoring — and sometimes furthering — others.

In her new book, "Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive," Serano calls for a new, inclusive approach to battling sexism. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 4.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Dec 20, 2013
Joshua Greene's book "Moral Tribes."

As humans, we’re designed to work together with certain groups of people while fighting off others. In modern times though, our tribes have been forced closer to others, sparking clashes. What is a practical way to solve these problems? And how can different tribes move forward together?

Psychologist Joshua Greene traces the roots of morality and conflict in his new book, “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.” He spoke at Town Hall on November 15.

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Dec 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

What would you say if you had five minutes onstage and a captive audience?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes and twenty PowerPoint slides to get a point across. Speakers at November’s event touched on a variety of topics, including living in two cities, superbugs, and little-known facts about "Hamlet."

Ignite Seattle 22 took place at Town Hall on November 20. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

StoryCorps Love Stories With Dave Isay

Nov 22, 2013
Flickr Photo/las-initially

If there's one tradition that's never faded away in our history as people on this earth, it's storytelling. StoryCorps is a massive oral history project whose mission is to record, preserve and share the stories of Americans from all background and beliefs. It was founded in 2003 by radio documentary producer Dave Isay.

People tell their stories in mobile booths all around the country, and selected stories air nationally on NPR. All of the stories are preserved in the Library of Congress, with the hope that it will one day become a public, searchable database. Isay spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on February 7, 2012.

Dean R. Owen's book "November 22, 1963"

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Journalist Dean R. Owen collected interviews from notable civil rights leaders, White House staff, and others connected to Kennedy for his book, “November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”

Owen spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 14. He was joined by Patricia Baillargeon, a contributor to his book who served as assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt.

A History Of Woodrow Wilson With A. Scott Berg

Nov 14, 2013
A. Scott Berg's book "Wilson."

It’s been a century since Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, and the president has a compelling history. He was 10 years old by the time he learned to read, and yet he ultimately became a scholar and the president of Princeton University.

He led the United States through WWI and helped establish the League of Nations. A serious stroke left his entire left side paralyzed, and his disability became the argument for the 25th Amendment.

A. Scott Berg’s new biography of Wilson came out earlier this fall. Berg spoke on September 18 at Town Hall in a talk moderated by KUOW’s Steve Scher.

Mental Health In China With Michael Phillips

Nov 7, 2013

China is listed as a country with one of the highest rates of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health services often carry a stigma, though that’s starting to change. The government recently passed the country’s first national mental health law.

Michael Phillips has lived and worked in China since 1985 at the end of the Cultural Revolution. He discussed China’s mental health landscape at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall as part of the graduate school lecture series on October 15.

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