From Washington State to Washington, D.C., conversations with the politicians, leaders, journalists, academics and thinkers who shape our world. Hosted by Mark Baumgarten
From Washington State to Washington, D.C., conversations with the politicians, leaders, journalists, academics and thinkers who shape our world. Hosted by Mark Baumgarten
From Washington State to Washington, D.C., conversations with the politicians, leaders, journalists, academics and thinkers who shape our world. Hosted by Mark Baumgarten
As it has done in so many other aspects of American life, the novel coronavirus outbreak has lifted the curtain on the nation’s food-production system. The conditions at meat-packing plants, in particular, have become headline news, as clusters of COVID-19 cases have led to thousands of infections and dozens of deaths. In response many factory farmers ceased operations, leading to fears of disruption to the food supply chain. Citing those fears, the Trump administration ordered these plants to reopen, albeit with additional protective gear for workers. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, host Mark Baumgarten speaks with Leah Douglas of the Food and Environment Reporting Network about the virus’s toll on the food industry and its workers, and whether any amount of protection could get us back to normal. We also speak with Crosscut reporter Lilly Fowler about a recent report showing the virus’s disproportional impact on Washington state’s Latino population.
May 15 2020
Envisioning the future is key to movement politics. But what happens to that vision when the world as you know it comes to a screeching halt? For Democratic activists, that is the current reality, as they prepare for what is being touted as the most important election of our lifetimes. With Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency, organizers are shifting their field operations to account for the coronavirus pandemic while adjusting their messaging for the new reality. But what comes after November? For this episode of Crosscut Talks, host Mark Baumgarten speaks with Leah Greenberg, the co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible, about how her organization is moving forward with its mission to unseat Donald Trump; how she believes former Vice President Biden is handling his campaign in the midst of the crisis, as well as the sexual assault allegation against him; and what the next few months mean for the future of the Democratic Party and the country. We also check in with Crosscut Opinion columnist Katie Wilson about the impending recession and the future of the U.S. economy.
May 08 2020
When Rick Wilson published Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America From Trump and Democrats From Themselves, the world was a simpler place. It was January and the center of gravity for the political world was in the chambers of the U.S. Senate, where the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was set to begin. Wilson, a former strategist for the Republican Party and New York Times bestselling author, was busy fielding interviews about his latest, which provided a kind of road map for Democrats to bring an end to the Trump presidency. Then, about a third of the way through his book tour, everything changed. The novel coronavirus had spread to the United States and, in addition to changing everything else about daily life, changed the political landscape, too. For the first episode of the second season of the Crosscut Talks podcast, host Mark Baumgarten talks to Wilson about what has changed, what hasn’t and whether the Democrats are following his advice. Also, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship talks about the latest Crosscut/Elway Poll and why she enjoys interviewing random strangers.
May 01 2020
Nov 26 2019
The idea of decolonization has been with us for as long as countries have laid claim to land already rich with people and an existing history. And generally it is thought of as the giving back of that land. But there is more to decolonization than mere acreage. As Edgar Villenueva argues, "decolonizing ... is about truth and reconciliation."When it comes to philanthropy, decolonization is especially complicated. While attempting to heal communities hurt by colonization, philanthropists can actually end up doing greater harm. What is needed is a process of acknowledging the truth behind many of these philanthropic efforts and reconciling the impact of the corporate power that fuels them. For this bonus episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, editor-at-large Knute Berger speaks with Villenueva about what it will take to do just that.A nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, Villenueva grew up in North Carolina and is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe. He’s also the author of Decolonizing Wealth, a book that proposes indigenous solutions to dysfunction and inequality in philanthropy and finance. Among other roles, he serves as chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in philanthropy and is a board member of the Andrus Family Fund, a national foundation that works to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth.This conversation was recorded at the KCTS 9 studios in Seattle on Nov. 19 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.
Dec 06 2019
In America, Civil War as long been relegated to history books and Ken Burns films. But recently it has become a live topic. Crosscut gathered a panel of political experts and journalists to discuss the deepening tribalism of extreme partisan politics, identifying root causes of our divisions, discussing the platforms that have encouraged this divisiveness, and exploring what can be done to prevent it. Featuring Manhattan Institute fellow Oren Cass, New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall, political science professor Christopher Parker and journalist Tay Wiles. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie moderated the conversation. This episode was recorded on May 4, 2019 at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.
Note: This episode contains adult language. To listen to a bleeped version, visit our episode page.
Jul 02 2019
There are many things going wrong in the world. And a lot of the time those things seem just too big to do anything about. Especially when it comes to climate change, people often feel helpless. What it will take to make an impact is systemic change, not individual change. But Sarah Lazarovic, an illustrator, visual journalist and columnist for YES! magazine argues that small things do make a difference, and the research shows it. In her column for YES!, a nonprofit media organization focused on solutions journalism, Lazarovic illustrates the tiny shifts in our lives that can help us feel human, find inspiration and have hope. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Lazarovic to offer her insights into some of the simple ways we can all take action. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.
Dec 10 2019
The impacts of climate change are already here. From record-breaking hurricanes to fires and floods, some communities are already in crisis. People living on the coast are especially vulnerable. A number of tribal villages in Alaska and Washington state, for instance, have either already relocated or may soon need to. Millions are calling for policy solutions that will reduce emissions and prevent the most egregious effects of climate change. But in the meantime, adaptation is a must. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited climate scientist Amy Snover and a climate adaptation specialist Michael Chang to discuss this new normal and the strategies we can learn from Native communities on the front lines. This episode was recorded at the KCTS 9 studios in Seattle on Oct. 24 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.
Dec 03 2019
This week we are sharing the first episode of a new podcast from Crosscut, This Changes Everything. Crosscut Producer Sara Bernard hosts this weekly exploration of the cultural, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through interviews with Crosscut reporters, she will show how the virus is changing the world around us now and into the future. For the first episode of This Changes Everything, Bernard talks with reporter Hannah Weinberger about the early days of the outbreak, what she learned about our health care system's preparedness and what it was like to grapple with a new kind of anxiety before it swept the nation.To subscribe to This Changes Everything, go to our show page on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
Apr 08 2020
Jeff Merkley has made a name for himself by challenging President Trump on the courts and immigration, inspiring some chatter that the junior senator from Oregon might run for president. But earlier this year, Merkley joined a rarefied group: Democrats who considered a run for the presidency, but decided against it. Instead, he will be seeking re-election to the Senate where he hopes to thaw the “deep freeze” that he says has rendered the deliberative body largely inert. Merkley, who is among the most progressive members of the Senate and is the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, tells the Washington Post's Philip Rucker how he plans to fix it and what he thinks about the investigation into the president by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019 at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.
Jun 27 2019
Big tech has a diversity problem. Some communities of color and women still represent a disproportionately small percentage of all employees at major tech companies. In 2017, for instance, African Americans made up just three percent of the workforce at Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter. And women represent jut a quarter of all workers in STEM fields. Changing that takes more than just asking companies to do better. It also means creating more access to education and training. For the latest episode of Crosscut Talks, we gathered a panel of industry experts and diversity advocates to talk about what that access could look like. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.
Nov 19 2019
There is a lot at stake in the 2020 presidential election, especially for Democrats. And in Washington state, 2020 marks a big change for the party. Instead of relying on caucuses to weigh in on the primary race, the party voted last year to pick its delegates based on the state's primary election. That primary is being held on March 10, which means that Washington Democrats could have a real impact on a race that is still far from over. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast we gathered political leaders and researchers, including state Democratic party chair Tina Podlodowski and pollster Stuart Elway, to discuss the issues and debate the merits of the remaining Democratic candidates.
Mar 03 2020
As the impacts of climate change become more apparent, communities along the coast are facing difficult decisions. Two of those communities, the coastal villages of Queets and Taholah, are currently developing plans to relocate. These are ancestral homes to the Quinault tribe, but they've become unsustainable, in part due to rising sea levels. Crosscut video producer Sarah Hoffman and science and environment editor Ted Alvarez have spent more than a year in the presence of the tribal members contemplating the move. The resulting documentary, The Rising, premieres this weekend on KCTS 9. The aim of the film is to present this story from the perspective of the people living it. The key, say the journalists, is to show up, get out of the way and listen. For this bonus episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Hoffman and Alvarez to talk about how they went about doing that. This conversation was recorded at the KCTS9 studios in Seattle on Oct. 24 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.
Nov 29 2019
Ask anyone who has lived in Seattle for the past few years and they will tell you: The city has changed, dramatically. This is a result, in large part, of the booming economy fueled by the major tech companies based here. New jobs at these firms have brought thousands of new residents, plenty of new construction and a cost of living that has radically transformed what it means to live in the city. Challenges abound in this new version of the Emerald City, and few people agree on how to address them. But someone needs to. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast, we invited three city leaders tasked with doing just that to talk about Seattle's problems and some potential solutions. Mayor Jenny Durkan leads off the episode with a discussion about housing, homelessness, crime and controversial tax proposals. New Seattle City Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Tammy Morales round out the conversation with a fresh perspective on how to fix what's broken.
Feb 11 2020
In a time of newsroom layoffs, hot takes, "fake news" and intense political polarization, it can be difficult to find in-depth journalism that takes the time to explore underrepresented communities or attempt to tackle the world's toughest questions. But Fred de Sam Lazaro is someone who's been doing just that for over three decades. Lazaro is the executive director of the Under-Told Stories Project, a journalism and teaching endeavour that documents the consequences of poverty around the world and the work being done to address them. He is an award-winning journalist who's been a correspondent with the PBS Newshour since 1985. He's reported from over 70 countries on topics such as labor, sex trafficking, public health and immigration, and directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the acclaimed documentary series, Wide Angle. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast, he talks with Crosscut editor-at-large Knute Berger as part of the Communiversity series hosted by Centrum, a Port Townsend-based nonprofit arts organizations.
Feb 25 2020
The 2020 election is almost a year and a half away, but the race is already on. There are two dozen Democrats, and one Republican, lining up to challenge President Donald Trump. And the news cycle is dominated by big questions about who can win, and how. So Crosscut gathered a panel of pundits from the Seattle area to weigh in on the big issues, assess the candidates and speculate on Trump’s chances for a second term. Featuring conservative talk radio host Michael Medved, former chair of the Washington State Republican Party Chris Vance, political scientist Christopher Parker and Sharon Mast, who serves as the secretary of the Western States Caucus of the Democratic National Committee. This conversation was recorded on June 13, 2019 at Fremont Abbey as part of Crosscut's News & Brews series.Note: This episode contains adult language. To listen to a bleeped version, visit our episode page.
Jun 21 2019
Some activists need to use loudspeakers, but others are fortunate enough to already have the world’s attention. Colin Kaepernick, for example, showed how a single act — and the commitment to repeat it — can both inspire and agitate on a national scale. But how does one turn fame into societal change? Prominent social justice activist and author DeRay McKesson leads a conversation with hip-hop artist Macklemore and Super Bowl champion Doug Baldwin Jr. about how the two socially active figures choose a cause, make positive change, and keep working through it all. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019 at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.Note: This episode contains adult language. For a bleeped version, go to our episode page.
Jun 04 2019
She has been in congress for less than 3 years, but Pramila Jayapal is already shifting the conversation in the other Washington. As the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus at the dawn of newfound Democratic power, the Seattle-area representative has been instrumental in persuading Democratic leadership in the House to more fully embrace its more left-leaning contingent. She has raised the profile of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal while continuing to champion the immigration issues that she first worked on prior to her political career. Crosscut political reporter Melissa Santos asks the U.S. Representative what it means to be a powerful progressive in the Trump era and a woman of color in this new congress. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019 at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.
Jun 13 2019
Climate change is impacting our planet, and it's also impacting us — our emotions, our psychology and our worldview. And now, it's a concept that artists and curators are tackling too. The art they create and select helps translate and explore some of these impacts and underscores the connection between art and the environment. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited four artists and curators to discuss the work they do and the role they play in a climate-changing world. Taking part in the talk are mixed-media installation artist RYAN! Feddersen, art historian and curator Barbara Matilsky, sound artist Judy Twedt and conceptual artist Chris Jordan. This episode was recorded at Seattle University on May 4, 2019 as part of the Crosscut Festival. During the panel we displayed some of the art work under discussion. To see this work, go to the episode page.
Nov 12 2019
The relationship between music and spirituality spans the globe. Indian ragas are an especially powerful and unique example of this tradition. Thousands of years ago, Hindus envisioned them as manifestations of the divine. While some songs are memorized, the style itself is largely a melodic framework for improvisation.
For the latest Crosscut Talks podcast, we partnered with Centrum, a Port Townsend-based arts organization, to gather musicians and scholars to discuss the history and theory of this music, and to play it.
Award-winning Hindustani vocalist Srivani Jade and professional tabla player Ravi Joseph Albright performed selections with local musician Saikat Ray and sat for conversation with Wes Cecil, professor of English and the Humanities at Peninsula College.
Mar 17 2020
Journalist Charles R. Cross tells us what live music has done for Seattle, and what could happen if local venues don’t see any economic relief. When the novel coronavirus took hold in Washington state, live music venues were some of the first businesses to go dark. It made sense. Little was known about the virus then, but it was clear that crowded rooms of people dancing, shouting and singing were not advisable. Now, as the nation looks forward to the potential of reopening, it has become clear that these venues will be among the last to re-open. When they do reopen, there are likely to be far fewer of them. Cross discusses the efforts to secure government assistance for these businesses.
Oct 22 2020
Michael Kirk, the director of ‘The Choice,’ tells us what the presidential candidates’ response to tragedy, failure and humiliation tells us about how they lead. The two candidates are old. In fact, President Donald Trump was already the oldest American to assume the presidency when he was sworn in for his first term. Now he is four years older and his opponent Joe Biden is even older than that, by three years. So, both men have had a lot of time to wrack up successes, which they have obviously leveraged in their quests for political power. But both candidates have also experienced their fair share of personal crisis and the failure and humiliation that often accompanies such moments. Perhaps more than their fair share. Some of these tragedies were thrust upon these men and some were self-inflicted — and many involved issues of race — but they all demanded a response. It is in these responses, says director Michael Kirk, that the true character of the candidates is revealed. This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, Kirk talks about his latest installment of "The Choice" for Frontline, which chronicles two lifetimes of crisis that have culminated with an election defined by crisis. Plus, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship talks about our recent poll on protests and policing.
Oct 15 2020
Elie Mystal tells us why expanding the court isn't an outlandish idea, and how it might work. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last month, her death marked the beginning of a fresh debate over the future of the Supreme Court. But the biggest question of that debate wasn't who would take her place. President Trump was expected to nominate one of a list of conservative figures that he had previously made public — which he did soon after, naming Amy Coney Barret — and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell quickly made public his plans to put that nominee up for a vote before the election, all but assuring that the court would remain decidedly conservative for years to come. The biggest question, rather, was what Democrats were going to do about it. The answer, says Mystal, is to pack the court. On this week's episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, the justice correspondent for The Nation tells us why he believes Democrats must embrace the idea of adding seats to the court and filling them with liberal justices even if that seemingly radical act undermines the court's legitimacy. Plus Crosscut Reporter Hannah Weinberger discusses the cascading impacts the wildfire smoke is having on Washington state.
Oct 08 2020
Terrion Williamson, the director of the Black Midwest Initiative, discusses how parachute journalism is hurting Black people in America's heartland. When the video of Minneapolis police officers killing George Floyd went viral in the spring, the Minnesota metropolis quickly transformed into a theater of discontent as the nation's battle over race and policing unfolded in its streets. The center of that conflict has shifted throughout the summer as it has fueled partisan rancor, but it has often returned to Midwestern cities where Black Americans have been shot by police in questionable circumstances. These news items are just the latest example of national media descending on a Midwestern city to tell a story of Black Americans in distress. Whether it is gun violence in Chicago, economic collapse in Detroit or the water crisis in Flint, Americans on the coasts and throughout the country are over-and-over again shown a picture of Black life in the heartland that is devastating. But that life is both more vibrant and more complex than these stories let on, says Williamson. On this week's episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, she discusses the harm that is caused when we only pay attention to Black Midwesterners in crisis. Plus, Crosscut reporter Emily McCarty tells us how college towns are coping during the pandemic.
Sep 30 2020
Director Jeff Orlowski talks about his hit documentary and how his work on climate change helped him prepare to tell the story of social media run amok. In the early days of social media, the promise was real. By democratizing connection, a new breed of tech companies seemed to be doing good in the world: reuniting long-lost family and friends, providing a platform for pro-democracy political movements, helping those isolated by interest or identity to find a sense of belonging. Also, there were a lot of cat memes. The future was bright, until it wasn't. In recent years, social media platforms have been conjuring a different vision of the future: digital dystopia. As seen in the new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, these platforms are now intense battlegrounds where misinformation is elevated and partisan division is deepened. At the root of the problem, says Orlowski and the many former tech executives he interviews, is a business model that feeds on attention and prioritizes shareholder value. For this week’s episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, Orlowski discusses his documentary, how his work covering the climate crisis has helped him navigate this social crisis, and what he believes must be done to save our society. Plus, Crosscut reporter Melissa Santos tells us how a conspiracy cult flourishing on social media has now infiltrated electoral politics in Washington state.
Sep 24 2020
Jacob Ward, host of 'Hacking Your Mind,' tells us why humans are more susceptible to misinformation and partisanship, and what we can do about it. Humanity is facing some daunting challenges right now. The pandemic, massive wildfires, civil unrest and economic uncertainty all threaten the livelihoods of billions on a daily basis. Such challenges demand a rational, thoughtful response. Yet that doesn't appear to be what's happening. Public health recommendations from experts are discarded along with possible responses to climate change that are supported by science. Meanwhile, social problems that demand considered contemplation and collective action serve as fuel for political partisans. Instead of coming together to battle a crisis, people are more divided than ever. At fault, says Ward, is our own evolutionary biology. As detailed in Hacking the Mind, a new PBS series hosted by the former Popular Science editor in chief, the attributes of the human mind that helped humanity survive in prehistoric times may be putting it at risk in modern times. This week on Crosscut Talks, Ward discusses the reasons humans are so susceptible to misinformation and manipulation, the role that social media plays in amplifying our worst tendencies and what can be done to fight this biological reality. Plus, Crosscut reporter Margo Vansynghel tells us what restaurant workers really think about going back to work.
Sep 17 2020
NBC News journalist Jacob Soboroff talks about Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy, its origins and its possible return. When it was first reported that the United States government was systematically separating families at the southern border, the news was met with a kind of disbelief bolstered by a presidential administration that denied it had any such policy. But the signs that America was headed for a hardline approach to immigration policy were abundant in Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency. Once he was elected, his rhetoric turned to action, as his administration sought to transform American immigration policy on almost every front, but especially on the southern border. Eventually public resistance led the president to back down and rescind the policy, the policy the administration had denied existed. But before there was a public battle over the 5,400 immigrant children held by the federal government, there was another battle taking place within the federal government that pitted political appointees against career bureaucrats. This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, Soboroff talks about that hidden fight, which he details in his book Separated: Inside an American Tragedy, how it likely prevents more families from being separated and whether the reelection of Donald Trump could result in a return to family separation. Plus, Crosscut reporter Lilly Fowler talks about one of the unintended consequences of pandemic relief in our prisons.
Sep 03 2020
Reporter Leah Sottile discusses how an internet meme became a violent new movement. When people began appearing at state capitols across the country in the spring, demanding that their governments rescind the restrictions put in place to contain the emergent coronavirus pandemic, there were well-known groups in attendance: Trump supporters, anti-vaxxers and militia-members. But among the ranks of the disgruntled was a new kind of reactionary. Wearing Hawaiian shirts with their tactical gear and carrying long guns, these men — and they were predominantly men — flew a different kind of flag: A black-and-white version of the American flag featuring a single floral stripe and an igloo where the stars would go. These were the adherent of Boogaloo, a leaderless movement that has sprung into the public sphere in recent months, bringing with it confusion and violence. The confusion is due to the inconsistent politics of its followers and the violence is in the service of a disturbing aim expressed by many of the adherents, to bring about the downfall of American society. This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, Sottile discusses her recent story for the New York Times Magazine that explores the origins of this new cultural force, what makes it different from the right-wing militias she has covered and why it's so difficult to understand exactly what it is that the Boogaloo wants. Plus, Crosscut reporter Manola Secaira tells us what happens to a tourist town when the tourists don't show up.
Aug 27 2020
Conservative Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen discusses the split he sees between President Trump and many of the people who vote for him. When the Republican National Convention opens next week, it will be entering uncharted territory. Not just because of pandemic considerations that will prevent the party from packing an arena with delegates, but because those delegates will be supporting a party that is not using the quadrennial event to introduce an updated party platform and a president who is running without any new policy goals that might address the considerable problems the country faces. And while politics watchers can make some safe assumptions about the run-of-show for the convention, the future of the Republican Party is far more difficult to discern, especially if you believe that the president could very well lose the election. Where will the populist fervor that has overtaken the party in the Trump era go if Joe Biden wins the presidency? And how might the leftward pull of the populists in the Democratic Party ultimately affect what a new Republican Party might look like and how it might govern? For this week's episode, we invited Olsen to discuss the rift he sees between Trump and his party, the possibility that Trump could beat the odds and win re-election, and what he believes might happen to the Republican Party and its voters if he loses. Plus, Crosscut city reporter David Kroman discusses the sudden resignation of Seattle's police chief.
Aug 20 2020
Reporter Levi Pulkkinen discusses his investigation into the prison health care system, where a treatable illness can put a prisoner in a body bag. Gross medical negligence in America's prisons isn't anything new. As long as there have been reporters investigating this nation's corrections departments there have been gruesome tales of medical procedures gone wrong and the prisoners who suffer. But new reporting from Crosscut suggests that poor medical care for the incarcerated in Washington state is more prevalent than just the extreme cases. Reporter Levi Pulkkinen found that nine of 10 prisoners who leave our prisons in body bags die from illness. And these aren't just older prisoners finishing their life sentences. Nearly a third of those who die from illness are under 55. The prisoners and families Pulkkinen interviewed for the investigative series, "Prison's Other Death Sentence," say that delays in care that result in poor, sometimes fatal outcomes are a normal part of the prison health care experience. For this week's episode of Crosscut Talks, Pulkkinen discusses what is at the root of all this suffering, why people on the outside should at least acknowledge that suffering and whether state lawmakers may introduce a new normal into prison health care. Plus, Melissa Santos discusses the court case that has every newsroom in the state on edge.
Aug 13 2020
This week, tech historian Margaret O’Mara visits us to discuss what could be in store for the Big Four. Last week's congressional hearings on Big Tech lacked some of the pomp and circumstance of previous antitrust hearings, but there was little doubt that it was a big deal. A gathering of that much raw economic power — even if it was via videoconferencing — is itself notable, but the fact the lawmakers were actually challenging that power is exceedingly rare. The CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple had been brought together to defend their companies against accusations of anti-competitive practices, and lawmakers were prepared with evidence from a yearlong investigation. It was a very different look from a federal government that had for decades been largely deferential to a tech industry that had brought innovation and growth to the economy. And it appeared that regulation could be in the offing. For this week's episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we are speaking with O'Mara, the University of Washington history professor and New York Times columnist, about what happened in the hearing, what regulation might look like and where the tech industry could be headed as a result. Plus, Crosscut staff reporter Agueda Pacheco Flores tells us how the pandemic is impacting Seattle partner dance scene.
Aug 07 2020
When the Chinese government enacted new national security law that outlawed dissent in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, it signaled a new, and perhaps final, stage in the city’s pro-democracy movement. Since 2014, activists had staged sit-ins and clashed with police while calling for greater transparency in the city’s elections and decrying Beijing’s influence over its government and police. The new law, which went into effect at the end of June, made it illegal to even speak of such things. Now many activists and sympathizers have been shutting down social media accounts, or even fleeing the city, for fear of being arrested. Some political leaders in the United States, meanwhile, have denounced the new law, despite the state department’s support for the Hong Kong police, a force that has sought to quell dissent. For this week’s episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we speak with Wilfred Chan, a contributing writer to The Nation and a Hong Kong leftist, about the new law and the movement it threatens to quash. He shares his views on the history of protest in Hong Kong and the complicated role that the United States has played in the conflict. Plus, Crosscut city reporter David Kroman tells us what happened after Seattle activists learned the feds were coming to town.
Jul 30 2020
When the Joe Biden campaign introduced its Build Back Better plan earlier this month, it was delivering what promised to be a kind of silver bullet. The presumed Democratic nominee for the presidency was proposing to fuel an economic recovery, beat back climate change and deliver racial justice through a robust package of programs and standards that would reshape a large portion of the U.S. economy around clean energy. The price: $2 trillion. It was a bold move from a candidate not known as a leader on climate and so it isn't surprising that much of the plan is borrowed, some from his former opponents. This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, environmental policy expert Leah Stokes talks about the work that led to this plan, tells us who is responsible for what and contemplates the likelihood that this silver bullet will ever be fired. Plus, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship walks us through the latest Crosscut-Elway Poll, which looks at Washington voters' attitudes toward the pandemic response and asks, "Are you wearing a mask?"
Jul 23 2020
Patty Murray has been busy. As the ranking member on the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the senior senator from the state of Washington is intimately involved in developing legislation to guide federal oversight of the areas of American life most impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the last month alone she introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act and issued a white paper calling for legislation that would assure that a vaccine be made available to all Americans. But Murray is also in the minority. At a time when so much is at stake, the Democratic lawmaker is tasked with both identifying solutions that she believes will save many lives and pushing them through a legislative process dominated by Republicans at a moment of hyper-partisanship. On this week's edition of the Crosscut Talks podcast we speak with the Senator about her efforts to shore up schools and day care providers, the deep frustration she has for the Trump administration's approach to the pandemic and how, exactly, she plans to turn her plans into action. Plus, Crosscut reporter David Kroman delivers the latest on the Seattle's efforts to rethink public safety and policing.
Jul 16 2020
Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe discusses electoral excitement in the era of coronavirus. For years, the presidential election of 2020 has been touted as the most important of the modern era. There was little doubt that the months leading up to the November election would be filled with packed arenas and firey stump speeches. Instead the dominant images of the early stages of the general election have been empty seats in Tulsa and basement communiques from Delaware. With multiple crises dominating the national conversation, the presidential race has taken a backseat to more immediate concerns. Meanwhile President Donald Trump's handling of these crises appears to have done serious damage to his approval rating and the threat of coronavirus has limited the public appearances of his challenger Joe Biden. In the race for the White House, enthusiasm has been hard to come by. We invited Plouffe to weigh in on the state of the race. We talk about the apparent lack of excitement for these campaigns, whether it is a sign of things to come, and if dread and anger will replace enthusiasm as the driving force for this election.
Jul 09 2020
Journalist John Dickerson tells us what it takes to succeed in the White House, why President Trump appears to be failing and whether Joe Biden would be any good. In the last few months Trump has been challenged by the kind of crises that demand leadership. Yet, the manner in which he has responded to the pandemic, civil unrest and economic collapse appears to have turned the electorate against him. Once a favorite for re-election, Trump is now more likely to join the handful of presidents who voters have ousted at the ballot box. A moment of apparent presidential failure is as good a time as any to discuss what a successful presidency might look like. On this week's episode of Crosscut Talks we are sitting down with Dickerson to do just that while talking about his latest book, 'The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency.' Plus, Crosscut's resident historian Knute Berger tells us why the top job in Seattle is no breeze itself.
Jul 02 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement has made a tremendous amount of progress in a very short time. In a single month, it has gone from an afterthought for many Americans to the leading topic of conversation in the nation and a major catalyst for change. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets in support of the movement's message, and polling shows that a majority of Americans at least sympathize with its aims. It remains to be seen whether this latest chapter of America's ongoing civil rights movement can hold the public's attention and favor long enough to result in real change. For this week's episode, we are joined by Nikkita Oliver, one of the movement's leading voices, to talk about the work being done by the activists, the demands being made of city leaders and where she sees the fight for Black lives going from here. Plus, reporter Hannah Weinberger provides us with a coronavirus update, parsing the details of and concerns over the state's reopening plan.
Jun 25 2020
Amicus host Dahlia Lithwick joins us to discuss the possible motivations for this week's most surprising ruling. When the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court nearly two years ago, the consensus was that the highest court in the land had tilted even further to the right. The expectation was that the conservative lean of the court would shape the current term, rife with hugely consequential cases. So it has been with some surprise that the court delivered two big victories to two traditionally liberal causes in its early rulings, first extending employment protections to gay and transgender workers and, later in the week, preventing the Trump administration from immediately ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority in both cases and Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch penned the majority opinion in the landmark case for LGBTQ rights. Did we misread this court? Or is something else going on here? Lithwick tries to answer these questions while talking about the first of these two decisions. Plus: Crosscut reporter Lilly Fowler tells how an older generation of Black leaders views Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. Note: This conversation took place prior to Thursday’s DACA ruling.
Jun 18 2020
On this week's episode we speak with former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper about tear gas, cop culture and ridding racism from American law enforcement. In the week's since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, the conversation around policing in America has taken a drastic shift. City leaders across the nation are responding to a sense of injustice, or maybe sensing a change in public opinion after videos of police violence against protesters have proliferated, and considering reforms that were far outside the mainstream just days ago. As activists encourage them to "Defund the Police," some have signaled that significant change is coming. While the exact shape of that change has yet to take form, the apparent goal is to re-engineer our idea of public safety, investing in at-risk communities, collaborating with those communities and replacing many police officers with specialists in social and mental health services. On this week's episode of Crosscut Talks we explore what these leaders are seeking to discard, and what will come in its place, with Stamper, who in addition to his 34 years as a police officer, has been a reform advocate. Plus, Crosscut city reporter David Kroman tells us what impact the movement to defund the police is having on Seattle City Hall.
Jun 11 2020
Resmaa Menakem (My Grandmother's Hands) and Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility) join us to talk about the responsibilities they believe white Americans have in this moment and what would need to happen for change to take hold. Following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the streets of America have filled with activists seeking justice for Floyd and broader reforms of racist police practices. While the protests have been immense and intense, they are not without precedent. Over the past few years, the deaths of Black Americans captured on video have inspired numerous demonstrations again and again. Among the people at these protests are Black Americans and other People of Color for whom systemic racism is an everyday threat. But there are also many white Americans who may be aware of the white supremacy woven into the nation's culture, but are not directly threatened by it. When the protests are over, these Americans have the option to let racial justice fade into the background, a luxury not afforded many of their neighbors. Our guests discuss what would need to happen for these Americans to stay in the fight. Plus, Crosscut photo journalist Matt McKnight tells us what he witnessed on the streets of Seattle during last weekend’s unrest.
Jun 04 2020