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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Interviews with personalities, experts and authors.


Asylum, Umberto Nicola Nicoletti on
Asylum: Author Umberto Nicola Nicoletti,  Introduction by Filippo Grandi Claudia Cragg speaks here with author, Umberto Nicola Nicoletti, about his fine-art book Asylum. We  discusses the phenomenon of LGBTIQ+ refugees, asylum seekers, and those subject to discrimination in their home countries based on their gender or sexual orientation. More the 40 percent of the countries in the world today still impose prison sentences or the death penalty just for being LGBTIQ+. Asylum is an international project that arose from a collaboration between five associations around the world and photographer Umberto Nicola Nicoletti. Through the use of beautiful “glossy images,” such as those used in fashion and advertising, the project seeks to engender empathy for the subjects involved and their stories. Asylum seekers become celebrities, idols, and heroes as they are. Therefore, it is not photographic reportage but, rather, an art project focused on restoring their dignity. LGBTIQ+ refugees often face double discrimination: in their home country and in their destination, as they are both immigrants and LGBTIQ+. This is especially true in refugee camps, where they are subject to assaults by other migrants. The aim of this project is to give these individuals the identity they are often deprived of when they are reduced to an indistinct mass—and to show the world their true beauty. Umberto Nicola Nicoletti is an Italian photographer and director. He specializes in portrait photography in the fields of advertising, music, fashion, and publishing. He has created international ad campaigns, commercials, book covers and music videos.  The introduction in the book, Asylum, is written by Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Related organizations:   The 519 TORONTO /  CIG Arcigay MILAN /   The DC Center WASHINGTON DC /   Rainbow Migration LONDON /   RusaLGBT NEW YORK 
33:29 6/11/23
The End Of Truss, The End of The GOP? The End of 'Trickle Down'.
'Trickle Down' does NOT work. For KGNU 'It's The Economy' host, Claudia Cragg spoke with's Rob Dietz. He brings a fresh perspective to the discussion of economics and environmental sustainability with a diverse background in economics, environmental science and engineering, and conservation biology (plus his work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors). His expertise has given him an unusual ability to connect the dots when it comes to the topic of sustainability.  Rob is the author, with Dan O’Neill, of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources. Rob has tried, he says, to align his personal life with the principles of a 'steady state economy'.  He lives with his wife and daughter in a co-housing community striving for development rather than growth. Rob Dietz is the Program Director at Post Carbon Institute, where he is responsible for guiding projects from conception to completion. With training and experience in ecological economics, environmental science, and conservation biology, he has built a career aimed at moving society in sustainable directions. Prior to joining Post Carbon Institute, Rob worked as a project manager at Farmland LP, helping to transition conventional farmland to organic. He was also the first executive director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (, taking it from an unfunded start-up organization to an internationally respected leader on new economic thinking.  He is the lead author of Enough Is Enough, a popular book on steady-state economics that Noam Chomsky called “lucid, informed, and highly constructive.” Rob also has produced dozens of articles and presentations on a variety of topics related to sustainability. Rob is a former Presidential Management Fellow, with appointments at the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  He was the first person at the Fish and Wildlife Service to serve as a Conservation Goals Coordinator, a position that combined long-range planning and landscape modeling for the National Wildlife Refuge System. He also did time as an economic analyst at two Washington, DC, consulting firms. His educational background includes a master’s degree in environmental science and engineering from Virginia Tech and an undergraduate degree in economics and environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
31:44 10/20/22
The Museum, Repositories of Controversy and The Stuff of Life
@claudiacragg (DM Twitter) speaks here with Samuel J Redman @samueljredman about his new book, A Short History of Crisis and Resilience. The work, Professor Redman says, celebrates as he sees it the resilience of American - and it must be said many worldwide - cultural institutions in the face of nationl crises and challenges. On one afternoon in January 1865, a roaring fire swept through the Smithsonian Institution. Dazed soldiers and worried citizens could only watch as the flames engulfed the museum’s castle. Rare objects and valuable paintings were destroyed. The flames at the Smithsonian were not the first —and certainly would not be the last—disaster to upend a museum in the United States. Beset by challenges ranging from pandemic and war to fire and economic uncertainty, museums have sought ways to emerge from crisis periods stronger than before, occasionally carving important new paths forward in the process. Redman explores the concepts of “crisis” as it relates to museums, and how these historic institutions have dealt with challenges ranging from depression and war to pandemic and philosophical uncertainty. Fires, floods, and hurricanes have all upended museum plans and forced people to ask tough questions about American cultural life. With chapters exploring World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the 1970 Art Strike in New York City, and recent controversies in American museums from the COVID-19 pandemic to race and gender issues, this timely book takes a novel approach to understanding museum history, present challenges, and the future. By diving deeper into the changes that emerged from these key challenges, Samuel J. Redman argues that cultural institutions can—and should—use their history to prepare for challenges and solidify their identity going forward. The work is a captivating examination of crisis moments in U.S. museum history from the early years of the twentieth century to the present day, The Museum offers inspiration in the resilience and longevity of America’s most prized cultural institutions.
34:05 8/31/22
Sarah Kendzior "Hyperbole" "Too Hot To Broadcast" in May 2020?
NB THE OPINIONS IN THIS BROADCAST ARE ENTIRELY THE OPINIONS AND ALLEGATIONS OF INTERVIEWEE SARAH KENDZIOR AND DO NOT REFLECT THOSE OF THE INTERVIEWER HERSELF.  THIS INTERVIEW HAS NOT BEEN BROADCAST TILL NOW. In May 2020, @claudiacragg spoke for @KGNU to @sarahkendzior about her book #HidingInPlainSight On #MSNBC she said the former president was installed to weaken America’s international posture for the benefit of #Putin and #Russia. Then #toohottohandle ? But it was NOT #hyperbole In May 2020, Claudia Cragg spoke with Sarah Kendzior @sarahkendzior about her book 'Hiding In Plain Sight'. She was previously the author of 'The View From Flyover Country.' Her opinions were at the time often considered 'hyperbole' or 'fanciful nonsense.' If only they had been? Just recently, as a regular MSNBC guest Sarah Kendzior claimed Donald Trump was “installed” as former president to weaken America’s international posture for the benefit of Vladimir Putin and Russia. New York Times bestselling author Sarah Kendzior documents the truth about the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and how the erosion of our liberties made an American dema­gogue possible. The story of Donald Trump’s rise to power is the story of a buried American history – buried because people in power liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt. Sarah Kendzior’s Hiding in Plain Sight pulls back the veil on a history spanning decades, a history of an American autocrat in the making. In doing so, she reveals the inherent fragility of American democracy – how our continual loss of freedom, the rise of consolidated corruption, and the secrets behind a burgeoning autocratic United States have been hiding in plain sight for decades. In Kendzior’s signature and celebrated style, she expertly outlines Trump’s meteoric rise from the 1980s until today, interlinking key moments of his life with the degradation of the American political system and the continual erosion of our civil liberties by foreign powers. Kendzior also offers a never-before-seen look at her lifelong tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – living in New York through 9/11 and in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising, and researching media and authoritarianism when Trump emerged using the same tactics as the post-Soviet dictatorships she had long studied. It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming, but it is worse when we let apathy, doubt, and fear prevent us from preparing ourselves. Hiding in Plain Sight confronts the injustice we have too long ignored because the truth is the only way forward.
30:04 3/3/22
The Prescience of Former CIA Spymaster Jack Devine on Russia and Putin
Claudia Cragg spoke at length just last May with Jack Devine, @JackDevine_TAG, author of  Spymaster’s Prism.  In this book, Devine the legendary former CIA spymaster details the unending struggle with Russia and its intelligence agencies as it works against our national security. (Jack Devine's blog.) Devine tells this story through the unique perspective of a seasoned CIA professional who served more than three decades, some at the highest levels of the agency. He uses his gimlet-eyed view to walk us through the fascinating spy cases and covert action activities of Russia, not only through the Cold War past but up to and including its interference in the Trump era. Devine also looks over the horizon to see what lies ahead in this struggle and provides prescriptions for the future. Based on personal experience and exhaustive research, Devine builds a vivid and complex mosaic that illustrates how Russia’s intelligence activities have continued uninterrupted throughout modern history, using fundamentally identical policies and techniques to undermine our democracy. He shows in stark terms how intelligence has been modernized and weaponized through the power of the cyber world. Devine presents his analysis using clear-eyed vision and a repertoire of better-than-fiction spy stories, giving us an objective, riveting, and candid take on U.S.-Russia relations. He offers key lessons from our intelligence successes and failures over the past seventy-five years that will help us determine how to address our current strategic shortfall, emerge ahead of the Russians, and be prepared for what’s to come from any adversary.
37:41 2/17/22
Peter Hessler, the former longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker,
In view of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics (officially the XXIV Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Beijing 2022) this interview is a repost.  In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China. Hessler writes movingly of the average people—farmers, migrant workers, entrepreneurs—who have reshaped the nation during one of the most critical periods in its modern history. Country Driving begins with Hessler's 7,000-mile trip across northern China, following the Great Wall, from the East China Sea to the Tibetan plateau. He investigates a historically important rural region being abandoned, as young people migrate to jobs in the southeast. Next Hessler spends six years in Sancha, a small farming village in the mountains north of Beijing, which changes dramatically after the local road is paved and the capital's auto boom brings new tourism. Finally, he turns his attention to urban China, researching development over a period of more than two years in Lishui, a small southeastern city where officials hope that a new government-built expressway will transform a farm region into a major industrial center. Peter Hessler, whom The Wall Street Journal calls "one of the Western world's most thoughtful writers on modern China," deftly illuminates the vast, shifting landscape of a traditionally rural nation that, having once built walls against foreigners, is now building roads and factory towns that look to the outside world. Hessler, a native of Columbia, Missouri, studied English literature at Princeton and Oxford before going to China as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1996. His two-year experience of teaching English in Fuling, a town on the Yangtze, inspired River Town, his critically acclaimed first book. After finishing his Peace Corps stint, Hessler wrote freelance pieces for Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times before returning to China in 1999 as a Beijing-based freelance writer. There he wrote for newspapers like the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and the South China Morning Post before moving on to magazine work for National Geographic and the New Yorker.
23:55 1/20/22
A Boost From The Late Great Maya Angelou
What better way to jump into 2022 than with a boost from a rebroadcast of our Maya Angelou interview? This month the US Mint will start shipping quarters featuring Angelou, the first black woman to ever grace the coin. The program was conceived in 2017 and was officially signed into law in 2020. Potential honorees were nominated by the public last year. A fitting tribute to a remarkable person and a remarkable talent.  In May of 2013, the then KGNU News Director, Joel Edelstein, generously invited colleague Claudia Cragg Twitter: @claudiacragg to speak by phone with Dr. Maya Angelou for a one on one interview. It turned out to be one of the very last she ever gave to talk about her then latest book. Explored here is the influence the great woman has had on another Maya, Maya Carter. She was then a 19 year old from Denver,(now just finishing her College freshman year) and, listening to the original KGNU interview, young Maya here tries to explain the effect that Dr.Angelou's life, work, poetry and thinking has had on her and in her initiation of the Motivate & Empower Movement she has founded in her honour. 
22:08 1/6/22
Hey, Joe Manchin Grinch! How's your Christmas going..... (Well, you're not Broke In America.)
(That Senator may have made damn sure they'll be NO Child Tax Credits for you coming up, Kiddos!) The authors, Joanne Samuel Goldblum, (@jgoldblum), founder of the National Diaper Bank Network, and journalist Colleen Shaddox argue that the systems that should protect our citizens are broken and that poverty results from flawed policies—compounded by racism, sexism, and other ills—rather than people’s “bad choices.” Federal programs for the poor often fall far short of their aims: The U.S. has only 36 affordable housing units available for every 100 extremely low-income families; roughly 1 in 3 households on Navajo reservations lack plumbing; and inadequate counsel by public defenders can lead to harsher penalties for crimes or time in “debtors’ prisons” for those unable to pay fines or court fees. An overarching problem is that the U.S. determines eligibility for government benefits with an outdated and “irrationally low” federal poverty level of $21,720 for a family of three, which doesn’t take into account necessities such as child care when women work outside the home. The authors credibly assert that it makes more sense to define poverty as an inability to afford basic needs in seven areas—“water, food, housing, energy, transportation, hygiene, and health”—each of which gets a chapter that draws on academic or other studies and interviews with people like a Baltimore resident who had to flush his toilet with bottled water after the city shut it off due to an unpaid bill. This plainspoken primer in the spirit of recent books like Anne Kim’s Abandoned and Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Tightrope, Goldblum and Shaddox interweave macro analyses with examples of micro interventions that might work in any community. A Head Start teacher in Lytle, Texas, says her program saw benefits just from giving toothbrushes (and a chance to use them at a classroom sink) to children who had none at home: “They come here, and they scrub like there’s no tomorrow.”
54:37 12/23/21
For The Holidays, Become a 'Wallet Activist' with Tanja Hester
Tanja Hester, @TanjaHester is the author of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change (November 2021). Clear-eyed and practical, #WalletActivism helps angry, overwhelmed, and disillusioned consumers cut through the marketing lies of companies that have rebranded their problematic practices as “green,” “woke,” and “ethical” to learn how to use their financial power to fight back.  Hester doesn’t offer easy solutions or simple answers. Instead, she helps readers (1) understand the complex, nuanced impact their financial decisions have on both people and the planet, (2) define their own personal financial values, and (3) begin to make better (not perfect), more intentional money moves (from deciding where you live to where you bank and more).  Hester can help your listeners channel their anger into meaningful, realistic wallet activism through an excerpt or interview on: How to define your financial values and decode marketing messages to make more ethical money decisions Where your money lives dictates exactly what you’re funding: How to mindfully choose financial partners (banks, lenders, investments) Former political consultant on how to vote with your wallet Where to channel your energy and activism between elections Understanding scale of food waste + why we have to take it seriously Tips on how to "rightsize" your household consumption to minimize waste How to travel responsibly: Considerations for destination, lodging, and transportation Questions you should ask yourself when choosing companies to work for Sustainable gift giving practices (including secondhand & experiential gifts) Understanding the dark side of decluttering  
40:26 12/9/21
First Genocide Verdict against Islamic State For Killings of Yazidis
(REPOST of June 2018 Interview with Dunya Mikhail) This week, a German court on Tuesday jailed a former Islamic State militant for life after convicting him of involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity over mass killings of minority Yazidis by IS in Syria and Iraq.   It was the first genocide verdict against a member of the Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda that seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 before being ousted by US-backed counter-offensives, losing its last territorial redoubt in 2019.   Claudia Cragg (@KGNUClaudia) speaks here for KGNU (@KGNU) to the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail (@dunyamikhail) In her latest work, 'The Beekeeper of Sinjar', Mikhail - who is herself an Iraqi exile, tells the harrowing stories of (mostly) Yazidi women from across Iraq who have managed to escape the clutches of ISIS. ISIS persecuted the Yazidi people, killing or enslaving those who would not convert to Islam. The women have lost their families and loved ones, along with everything they've ever known. Dunya Mikhail weaves together the women's tales of endurance and near-impossible escape with the story of her own exile and her dreams for the future of Iraq. In the midst of ISIS's reign of terror and hatred, an unlikely hero has emerged: the Beekeeper. Once a trader selling his mountain honey across the region, when ISIS came to Sinjar he turned his knowledge of the local terrain to another, more dangerous use. Along with a secret network of transporters, helpers, and former bootleggers, Abdullah Shrem smuggles brutalized Yazidi women to safety through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Western Turkey. Mikhail was born in Baghdad and earned a BA at the University of Baghdad. She worked as a translator and journalist for the Baghdad Observer before being placed on Saddam Hussein’s enemies list. She immigrated to the United States in the mid-1990s and earned an MA at Wayne State University. Mikhail, a Christian, is the author of several collections of poetry published in Arabic. Her first book published in English, The War Works Hard(2005), translated by Elizabeth Winslow, won the PEN Translation Award, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was selected as one of the 25 Best Books of 2005 by the New York Public Library. Elena Chiti translated The War Works Hard into Italian in 2011. Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea(2009), which Mikhail co-translated with Elizabeth Winslow, won the Arab American Book Award. Mikhail's collection of poetry The Iraqi Nights (2014) was translated into English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and published by New Directions. 
38:16 12/2/21
The Holiday Season Throws Cults Into Sharp Focus?
The holiday season can be fraught for all kinds of reasons for so many. But just imagine how very alarming and emotionally harrowing it must be for those whose family members are in a cult. Perhaps you are, or perhaps you have friends or family who are (they may even be seeking to LEAD a cult themselves!) but at this time of year you'll more than likely have to spend time with them. What to do? Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg speaks here for @KGNU Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins with Dr Steve Hassan about this book, 'The Cult of Trump' but this content is helpful to all those in this situation.  This is a thorough discussion of how #Trump, #QAnon and others use cult-like mind-control techniques to manipulate and maintain an unwavering support base. How is it that even now, post-election, Trump, with his highly documented failures, lies, anti-social behavior, remains the darling of right wing politics in the US. Hassan breaks it down delving into Trump's early influence of Norman Vincent Peale's "positive thinking", prosperity Christianity, to hisnsymbiotic relationship with Fox News. The combination of such odd bedfellows as the NRA, Christian fundamentalists, Russia and the Catholic Church, who form the basis of Trump's peculiar appeal makes for fascinating, but occasionally frightening listening and reading of the book. Steven A. Hassan, PhD, MA, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC is one of the foremost authorities on cults and mind control. He has been involved in educating the public about mind control, brainwashing, and destructive cults since 1976. He holds a Master's degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Steven received a Master's in 2020 from Fielding Graduate University. He later earned a doctorate in the Organizational Development and Change (ODC)program at Fielding’s School of Leadership Studies. Hassan did a TEDxBeaconStreet talk in 2018 entitled: Is Technology Controlling Your Mind? He was a participant in the "Dismantling QAnon" TEDXMidAtlantic program in 2020.
32:52 11/25/21
The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War
Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg) speaks here with Dr Leonard Rubinstein. @JohnsHopkins @bermaninstitute #CentreForPublicHealthAndHumanRights #CentreForHumanitarianHealth  Bringing together extensive research, firsthand experience, and compelling personal stories, Perilous Medicine also offers a path forward, detailing the lessons the international community needs to learn to protect people already suffering in war and those on the front lines of health care in conflict-ridden places around the world. Rubenstein―a human rights lawyer who has investigated atrocities against health workers around the world―offers a gripping and powerful account of the dangers health workers face during conflict and the legal, political, and moral struggle to protect them. Pervasive violence against hospitals, patients, doctors, and other health workers has become a horrifically common feature of modern war. These relentless attacks destroy lives and the capacity of health systems to tend to those in need. Inaction to stop this violence undermines long-standing values and laws designed to ensure that sick and wounded people receive care. In a dozen case studies, he shares the stories of people who have been attacked while seeking to serve patients under dire circumstances including health workers hiding from soldiers in the forests of eastern Myanmar as they seek to serve oppressed ethnic communities, surgeons in Syria operating as their hospitals are bombed, and Afghan hospital staff attacked by the Taliban as well as government and foreign forces. Rubenstein reveals how political and military leaders evade their legal obligations to protect health care in war, punish doctors and nurses for adhering to their responsibilities to provide care to all in need, and fail to hold perpetrators to account.
25:58 11/11/21
Celine-Marie Pascale Discusses 'Living On The Edge'
Claudia Cragg (Twitter: @claudiacragg) talks to Celine-Marie Pascale @cmpascale about her new book, 'Living On The Edge: When Hard Times Become A Way Of Life' published by @politybooks. For the majority of Americans, hard times have long been a way of life. Some work multiple low-wage jobs, others face the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising costs of living. Sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale talked with people across Appalachia, at the Standing Rock and Wind River reservations, and in the bustling city of Oakland, California. Their voices offer a wide range of experiences that complicate dominant national narratives about economic struggles. Yet Living on the Edge is about more than individual experiences. It’s about a nation in a deep economic and moral crisis. It’s about the long-standing collusion between government and corporations that prioritizes profits over people, over the environment, and over the nation’s well-being. It’s about how racism, sexism, violence, and the pandemic shape daily experience in struggling communities. And, ultimately, it’s a book about hope that lays out a vision for the future as honest as it is ambitious. Most people in the book are not progressives; none are radicals. They’re hard-working people who know from experience that the current system is unsustainable. Across the country people described the need for a living wage, accessible health care, immigration reform, and free education. Their voices are worth listening to. As a sociologist who studies language, Dr. Pascale's research concerns culture, knowledge and power. Her most recent book, Living on the Edge: When Hard Times Become A Way of Life is forthcoming in 2021 from Polity. Living on the Edge draws from conversations and in-depth interviews with people across Appalachia, on Standing Rock and Wind River Reservations, and in struggling communities within the bustling city of Oakland, California. Dr. Pascale is also the author of three other books. Her first, Making Sense of Race, Gender and Class: Commonsense, Power and Privilege in the United States (Routledge, 2007) won the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociology Association Section on Race, Class and Gender. Her second book, Cartographies of Knowledge: Exploring Qualitative Epistemologies (Sage 2011) won the 2012 Distinguished Book Award from the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry for “charting new territories." Pascale’s third book Social Inequalities & The Politics of Representation: A Global Landscape was published in 2013, has been recognized as a field defining collection of original scholarship. For more information see:
25:38 10/28/21
Solving The Essential Racism and Sexism In The Occupy Movement
Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg - Twitter) talks with Heather Hurwitz about her book, 'Are We The 99%." Despite cries of “We are the 99%,” signaling solidarity, certain groups were unwelcome or unable to participate. Moreover, problems with racism, sexism, and discrimination due to sexuality and class persisted within the movement. The protestors that comprised the #OccupyWallStreet movement came from diverse backgrounds. But how were these activists—who sought radical social change through many ideologies—able to break down oppressions and obstacles within the movement? And in what ways did the movement perpetuate status-quo structures of inequality? Are We the 99%? is the first comprehensive #feminist and intersectional analysis of the Occupy movement. Heather McKee Hurwitz considers how women, people of color, and genderqueer activists struggled to be heard and understood. Using immersive first-hand accounts of activists’ experiences, online communications, and media coverage of the movement, Hurwitz reveals lessons gleaned from the conflicts within the Occupy movement. She compares her findings to those of other contemporary protest movements—nationally and globally—so that future movements can avoid infighting and deploy an “intersectional imperative” to embrace both diversity and inclusivity. Dr. Hurwitz Ph. D. is currently a Project Staff Researcher at Cleveland Clinic and can be reached on Twitter at @heathermhphd (with related info. at @funwsoc and @BarnardCollege.)
28:55 10/14/21
Human and Material Detritus at Mumbai's Deonar Waste Mountains
"'I came to see the mountains as an outpouring of our modern lives,' Roy writes, 'of the endless chase for our desires to fill us.' Readers of Behind the Beautiful Forevers will be drawn to this harrowing portrait." — Publishers Weekly Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg) speaks here with journalist Saumya Roy about her new non-fiction work, Castaway Mountain.  All of Mumbai’s possessions and memories come to die at the Deonar garbage mountains. Towering at the outskirts of the city, the mountains are covered in a faint smog from trash fires. Over time, as wealth brought Bollywood knock offs, fast food and plastics to Mumbaikars, a small, forgotten community of migrants and rag-pickers came to live at the mountains’ edge, making a living by re-using, recycling and re-selling.   Among them is Farzana Ali Shaikh, a tall, adventurous girl who soon becomes one of the best pickers in her community. Over time, her family starts to fret about Farzana’s obsessive relationship to the garbage. Like so many in her community, Farzana, made increasingly sick by the trash mountains, is caught up in the thrill of discovery—because among the broken glass, crushed cans, or even the occasional dead baby, there’s a lingering chance that she will find a treasure to lift her family’s fortunes.   As Farzana enters adulthood, her way of life becomes more precarious. Mumbai is pitched as a modern city, emblematic of the future of India, forcing officials to reckon with closing the dumping grounds, which would leave the waste pickers more vulnerable than ever.   In a narrative instilled with superstition and magical realism, Saumya Roy crafts a modern parable exploring the consequences of urban overconsumption. A moving testament to the impact of fickle desires, Castaway Mountain reveals that when you own nothing, you know where true value lies: in family, community and love.        Saumya Roy is a journalist and activist based in Mumbai. She has written for Forbes India magazine, Mint newspaper, Outlook magazine,, and Bloomberg News among others. In 2010 she co- founded Vandana Foundation to support the livelihoods of Mumbai’s poorest micro entrepreneurs by giving small, low interest loans. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Blue Mountain Center, Carey Institute for Global Good and Sangam House to write this book. She attended a conference on environmental humanities at KTH, Stockholm in 2017 to share her research, and contributed a chapter to Dharavi: The Cities Within/ (HarperCollins, 2013), an anthology of essays on Asia’s largest slum. Roy was a fellow of the National Foundation of India in 2012, and has Masters Degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and Mumbai’s Sophia College, where she teaches magazine writing.  
30:14 9/30/21
Isn't The Case For Us All To Work With Our Hands Not Stronger Than Ever Now?
In this (reposted) interview, Dr. Matthew B. Crawford talks to Claudia Cragg @KGNU about 'Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good. This iconic book also explores why some jobs offer fulfilment while others leave us frustrated. It answers the question as to why we so often think of our working selves as separate from our 'true' selves? Over the course of the twentieth century, Dr. Crawford argues that we have separated mental work from manual labour, replacing the workshop with either the office cubicle or the factory line. In this inspiring and persuasive book, he explores the dangers of this false distinction and presents instead the case for working with your hands. It will also force many a parent to question why today they are only pushing their kids hard towards academic (grade-based rote-learning, mulitple choice) success, turning them only into knowledge workers many of whom will be doomed to remain for an eternity on the very bottom of the pile. The publishers believe that Dr Crawford "delivers a radical, timely and extremely enjoyable re-evaluation of our attitudes to work" and no doubt a great many listeners to this interview might well agree.  Matthew B. Crawford majored in physics as an undergraduate, then turned to political philosophy (Ph.D. Chicago). His writings for The New Atlantis, A Journal of Technology and Society, bring the two concerns together, and consider how developments in the sciences influence our view of the human person. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he also runs a small business in Richmond. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago. He is a contributing editor at The New Atlantis, and is also a motorcycle mechanic.
21:50 9/16/21
COVID19, Its Possible Lab Origins and the indispensable Horseshoe Crab
Claudia Cragg (Twitter: @claudiacragg) speaks here with William Sargent about his book, Crab Wars, now out in a newly revised edtion. Surviving almost unmolested for 300 million years, the horseshoe crab is now the object of an intense legal and ethical struggle involving marine biologists, environmentalists, US government officials, biotechnologists, and international corporations. The source of this friction is the discovery 25 years ago that the blood of these ancient creatures serves as the basis for the most reliable test for the deadly and ubiquitous gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for life-threatening diseases like meningitis, typhoid, E. coli, Legionnaire’s Disease and toxic shock syndrome. Because every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate, a multimillion dollar industry has emerged involving the license to “bleed” horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. Since his youthful fascination with these ancient creatures, William Sargent has spent much of his life observing, studying, and collecting horseshoe crabs. 'Crab Wars' is a thoroughly accessible insider’s guide to the discovery of the lysate test, the exploitation of the crabs at the hands of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, local fishing interests, and the legal and governmental wrangling over the creatures’ ultimate fate. In the end, the story of the horseshoe crab is a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences of scientific progress and the danger of self-regulated industries controlling a limited natural resource. In his 'Terror by Error: The COVID Chronicles' Sargent delves into the murky, often intertwined worlds of medical research and biological warfare to determine if Covid-19 was caused by accidents similar to those that have occurred from 1617 to the present.
25:07 9/2/21
How Ordinary People Saved a Country From Greed
Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg speaks with Robin Broad and @IPS_DC's John Cavanagh, authors of The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed. In a time when countless communities are resisting powerful corporations: from Flint, Michigan to the Standing Rock Reservation, from Didipio in the Philippines to the Gualcarque River in Honduras, The Water Defenders presents the inspirational story of a community that took on an international mining corporation at seemingly insurmountable odds and won not one but two historic victories. In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales, brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera, and others soon discovered that the river system supplying water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination as a result. With a group of unlikely allies, local and global, they committed to stopping the corporation and the destruction of their home.  Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this little-known story – a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders and – surprisingly – victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about progress and prosperity, while providing valuable lessons for those fighting against destructive corporations in the United States and around the world. Robin Broad and John Cavanagh are a husband-and-wife team who have been involved in the Salvadoran gold mining saga since 2009. Robin is an expert in international development and won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on this project, as well as two previous MacArthur fellowships. A professor at American University, she served as an international economist in the US Treasury Department, in the US Congress, and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. John is Director of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, an organization that collaborates with the Poor People’s Campaign and other dynamic social movements to turn ideas into action for peace, justice and the environment. He previously worked with the United Nations to research corporate power. Broad and Cavanagh helped build the International Allies group that spearheaded the global fight against mining in El Salvador. They have co-authored several previous books together.-
48:41 8/19/21
Just Because.... Joanne Greenberg, One Of Our Most Interesting Past Guests
No apologies. She is always just delightful.  Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg speaks here with Joanne Greenberg (born September 24, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American author who published some of her work under the pen name of Hannah Green. She was a professor of anthropology at the Colorado School of Mines[1][2] and a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.[3] Greenberg is best known for the semi-autobiographical bestselling novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964). It was adapted into a 1977 movie and a 2004 play of the same name. She received the Harry and Ethel Daroff Memorial Fiction Award as well as the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction[4] in 1963 for her debut novel The King's Persons (1963), about the massacre of the Jewish population of York at York Castle in 1190. Greenberg appears in the Daniel Mackler documentary Take These Broken Wings (2004) about recovering from schizophrenia without the use of psychiatric medication.[5] Her book In This Sign (1970) was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie titled Love Is Never Silent, aired on NBC in December 1985.
17:15 8/12/21
M. J. Fièvre on How To Be A 'Bad Ass Black Girl' (w update to help Haiti!)
UPDATE: For those who want to help Haiti, M.J. suggests there are two options for two different solid organizations. Ayiti Community Trust and Fokal.  and ************************************************************** Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg) speaks here with M.J. Fièvre, 9@MJ_Fievre), a Haitian-born writer and educator who has lived in Florida since 2002. Her latest book is 'Bad Ass Black Girl' from Mango Publishing.  “This book is a celebration, an affirmation, a history text, a little bit of memoir, and an exuberant prayer for the prosperity of Black women.” ―Ashley M. Jones, author of Magic City Gospel Fièvre was born in Port-au-Prince and was educated there, going on to earn a BEd from Barry University and a MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She self-published her first mystery novel Le Feu de la vengeance at the age of 16. At age 19, she signed her first book contract for a Young Adult novel. Fièvre was editor for the 2012 anthology Ainsi parla la terre / Tè a pale / So Spoke the Earth. She is secretary for Women Writers of Haitian Descent, an organization based in Florida. She has published stories in English and French in several American literary journals. She has worked as a translator and interpreter and taught at a middle school in Davie. Most recently, she has been a professor at Miami Dade College. Fièvre is editor for the literary journal Sliver of Stone. She is the head of Florida publishing company Lominy Books.
40:24 8/6/21
stef m. shuster On The Banning of Medical Care for Transgender Youth
In the US, several states are making strong moves to ban medical  treatment for transgender youth. The laws are intended to prohibit doctors from providing gender confirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers or gender-confirmation surgeries or from referring patients to other health care providers. Claudia Cragg (Twitter: @claudiacragg) speaks here for @KGNU with stef shuster (Twitter: @stefshuster). shuster is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology. shuster earned their M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Iowa with a certificate in Gender Studies, and a B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Broadly, their research and teaching interests include medical sociology, gender, inequality, and social movements. In their book, Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender (NYU Press, 2021), shuster makes an important intervention in how we understand the development of this field and how it is being used to "treat" gender identity today. Drawing on interviews with medical providers as well as ethnographic and archival research, shuster examines how health professionals approach patients who seek gender-affirming care. From genital reconstructions to hormone injections, the practice of trans medicine charts new medical ground, compelling medical professionals to plan treatments without wide-scale clinical trials to back them up. Relying on cultural norms and gut instincts to inform their treatment plans, shuster shows how medical providers' lack of clinical experience and scientific research undermines their ability to interact with patients, craft treatment plans, and make medical decisions. This situation defies how providers are trained to work with patients and creates uncertainty. As providers navigate the developing knowledge surrounding the medical care of trans folk, Trans Medicine offers a rare opportunity to understand how providers make decisions while facing challenges to their expertise and, in the process, have acquired authority not only over clinical outcomes, but over gender itself.
42:21 7/22/21
Now streaming on Amazon Prime, from Maria Diane Ventura, 'Your Color'
Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg speaks here with Filipina American filmmaker, Maria Diane Ventura (Instagram @mariadianeventura) whose new film 'Color' (German: Deine Farbe) is streaming on Amazon Prime from today, 15 July 2021.  The movie, written and directed by music producer and artist manager Ventura, is a tale of friendship between two young men who leave their German hometown for a freer life in majestic Barcelona, where fate and choices threaten their once unbreakable bond. It is a multi-cultural production from Europe, Asia, and America. The story revolves around reluctantly studious Karl and free spirit Albert who document their youthful adventures and provocative ideas whilst breaking free from their small town and their predetermined futures. Although they dream of becoming voices of their generation, their new lives in the big city are not as easy as they had once envisioned. As the adolescents ponder their purpose on camera, diverging ambitions take a dark turn. This film serves as a timely commentary on mental health, self-limitations, and connection in the digital age. Ventura wrote the film as a reflection of her own internal state and feelings of displacement after leaving her comfort zone. “As an immigrant myself, who moved to New York to find a better future for my family and at the same time immerse and acclimate to a new culture and environment, I started writing this film while I was still living in Manila dreaming of a better life thinking that, if I move away, all my problems and suffering would magically disappear,” she said. “I wrote this film about two boys wanting to escape their small town only to find themselves with a different set of problems in the real world.” “Your Color” stars established German actors Jannik Schümann The Aftermath and Monster Hunter) as Karl and Nyamandi Adrian (Tribes of Europa) as Albert. The film also stars Juan Carlos Lo Sasso (Another Cloudy Day) as Julio and Romina Küper (Baby Bitchka) as Kristina.
39:01 7/15/21
"Smart and Just On One Side, vs. Free and Real On The Other"
Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg (comments, suggestions, ratings welcome) speaks here with George Packer staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, and The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq. Americas, says Packer, is"...trapped in two countries. Each one is split by two narratives—Smart and Just on one side, Free and Real on the other. Neither separation nor conquest is a tenable future. The tensions within each country will persist even as the cold civil war between them rages on.
38:27 7/8/21
Dennis Kucinich, the Energizer Politician
Claudia Cragg @claudiacragg, speaks here with former Cleveland Mayor Dennis J. Kucinich (1977 – 1979). Twitter: @Dennis_Kucinich In his new book, Kucinich  gives an unprecedented, fully documented  insider’s account of his battle against a shadow city government which allegedly engaged in corporate espionage, sabotage, price-fixing, cut-throat competition, anti-trust activities,  organized crime, and wholesale fraud.  That is, until Kucinich, then America’s youngest big-city mayor at age 31, fought back, risking assassination attempts and the destruction of his personal life.    One of America’s largest banks threatened to upend the city financially unless the new Mayor Kucinich agreed to sell the city’s publicly owned electric system, Muny Light, to the bank’s utility business partner, handing them a monopoly and the ability to raise electric rates to the sky.   The "powers that be" subverted the media.  They tried to buy Kucinich, and when they discovered he could not be bought, they tried to kill him.  Key points are:- A political battle that is more relevant today than ever, given corporate influence over government decisions at all levels - - which is why utility monopolies in Texas, California, Illinois, and Ohio have crushed consumers with sky-high rates, price gouging and criminal behavior.   Why utility bills and taxes are so high and who is really making the decisions effecting their social and economic life.  A road map showing how a principled approach to everyday life can empower each of us to find the courage to do the right thing. THE DIVISION OF LIGHT AND POWER  by Dennis Kucinich (Finney Avenue Books; June 8, 2021)
24:19 7/1/21
Former Ag Secretary and Congressman Dan Glickman
Claudia Cragg speaks to former Congressman Dan Glickman, @DanRGlickman, about his new book from the University Press of Kansas, Laughing at Myself: My Education in Congress, on the Farm, and at the Movies. Secretary Glickman (he held the post of Agricultural Secretary in the Clinton administration) tells his story of a classical family background, religious heritage, and “Midwestern-nice” roots, and how it led to a long and successful career in public office.  Now at almost 77 and newly retired from the Aspen Institute, Dan is known throughout Washington as one of the most approachable politicians with relationships on both sides of the aisle.  He tells a now infamous story of how his name was actually proposed for the job as Secretary of Agriculture by Bob Dole and Leon Panetta.  What he has written combines Dan's sense of humor with serious reflection on his rise from the middle of nowhere to becoming a successful U.S. politician and the first Jewish secretary of agriculture.  A religious man that cherishes his strong family ties, Glickman shares the lessons he has learned about success, compromise and staying true to yourself – even when stepping into the shoes of the most powerful man on Earth (a chapter in the book and his recounting of the 1997 Inauguration when he was chosen as the designated survivor). 
22:18 6/24/21
Dr Neil Schachter in the NY War On Covid For More Than 16 Months
After 16 months on the front lines of the COVID war in New York at Mount Sinai, Dr Schachter @MountSinaiNYC does not focus on exhaustion or trauma, but rather the possibilities that have come with dealing with such wide-scale and going medical trauma.  Dr. Schachter is currently the Maurice Hexter Professor of Pulmonary and Community Medicine and Medical Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He has established and directs the Mount Sinai Pulmonary Rehabilitation program. Author of five books and over 400 articles and abstracts on pulmonary disease, Dr. Schachter is past president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York, the Connecticut Thoracic Society and the National Association of Medical Directors of Respiratory Care. He currently serves on the board of directors and as the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. In 2005 he was an honoree of the American Lung Association of the City of New York at their annual Life and Breath Gala. In 2016 he received the Will Ross Medal Award from the Lung Association. Dr. Schachter is an advocate for environmental lung issues. He worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center for healthier factory standards and increased workers' compensation for men and women in cotton textile mills. He lobbied for tougher anti-smoking laws in New York City on behalf of the Lung Association and the Coalition for Smoking or Health. He is currently completing a study on the health effects of air pollution on children with asthma in the inner city neighborhoods of New York City. In Schachter's new book, The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu, you can learn how to learn strategies to avoid getting pummeled by a cold.
30:53 6/17/21
The Urgent Housing Issue, All Hands On
Jonathan Cappelli is a true champion for affordable housing in the Denver metro area. An experienced urban planning, real estate, and community development professional, Cappelli is focused on finding ways to bring equitable and sustainable development to communities across Colorado.  N.B. In this interview, Mr. Cappelli focused on Denver and, he says, neglected to mention "Homeless Solutions for Boulder County". People living in Boulder, they can call them too.  The Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NDC) is a coalition of 16 Metro-Denver nonprofits that build homes for middle- and low-income residents and who seek to strengthen neighborhoods with community-oriented businesses and innovative human services. In addition, NDC works to educate metro-area stakeholders and municipalities about the importance of affordable housing and decrease the percentage of metro-area residents who are housing-cost burdened by facilitating strategic collaboration between members. Launched in 2009, NDC initially worked to coordinate the efforts of metro-area nonprofits in the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a Congressionally funded initiative aimed at mitigating the effects of foreclosures in areas of greatest need.NDC was a big advocate for Denver creating an affordable housing plan in 2013 and a dedicated affordable housing fund in 2015, by demonstrating the increasing need for additional housing resources as Federal funding lagged. Collectively, the collaborative has an impressive resume, having created 7,000 affordable multifamily and single-family homes; helped 3,492 families with foreclosure prevention, housing rehabilitation, and down-payment assistance loans; and provided home-buyer assistance counseling to over 35,776 households over the last nine years.
31:30 6/3/21
Denver Post columnist, Sue McMilllin 
Claudia Cragg speaks with Denver Post columnist, Sue McMilllin on the difficulties of trying to rent an affordable apartment.
24:49 5/27/21
Speaking with Mother Jones Michael Mechanic, 'Jackpot' Author\
Claudia Cragg speaks here with Mother Jones' senior editor @MichaelMechanic (Michael Mechanic) who offers a harsh wake-up call for the millions of American  dreamers who still believe that winning the lottery—or just simply having obscene wealth—will change their lives for the better. The author ushers readers past the velvet rope to reveal the lifestyles of the ultrawealthy and the ever more expensive ventures they have to indulge in to not only keep themselves amused, but to outdo their wealthy peers. One of the most interesting factoids in this well-researched book is that, according to one study, a person’s “self-reported positive emotions improved with rising earnings up to a satiation point at about $65,000 per year. Negative emotions…declined as earnings increased, reaching an inverse satiation point at $95,000.” As Mechanic demonstrates throughout this eye-opening book, once the contentment with one’s finances ends, the addiction to “extrinsic” goals—e.g., buying mansions, cars, and other luxury goods—leaves less time for the “intrinsic” pursuits that give us real grounding. Mechanic shows how the ultrawealthy make their money and how U.S. tax laws and loopholes allow them to keep building it—but he also provides a cautionary tale about the myriad headaches that unbridled wealth can bring. Mechanic is happy to report that the rich are often bored and miserable—and (surprise!) less compassionate unless they can balance their extrinsic and intrinsic pursuits. Though the text is often a gleeful sendup of the absurd eccentricities of the superrich, the author also spotlights a few billionaires who find genuine spiritual contentment in giving their wealth away. “For an actual rags-to-riches tale,” writes the author, “one might turn to Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who grew up penniless in rural Texas and went on to become an icon in the world of philanthropy.” [Kirkus Reviews]  
26:34 5/13/21
Donnel Baird's BlocPower
Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg - all comments, reviews, suggestions welcome) speaks here for @KGNU #ItsTheEconomy with Guyana-born Donnel Baird, founder of BlocPower, This is a startup that markets, finances and installs solar and #green #energyefficiency technology to help houses of worship, non-profits, small businesses and multifamily projects to slash their energy costs. Baird spent three years as a community organizer in Brooklyn and one year as a voter contact director for Obama For America. He managed a national Change to Win/LIUNA campaign to leverage Dept. of Energy energy efficiency financing to create green construction jobs for out of work populations. He partnered with the Washington Interfaith Network to generate a $100m government investment in underserved communities in the District of Columbia. Baird has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A from Columbia Business School. 
26:12 5/6/21