Crosscut Talks
Janet Napolitano on Political Divides and American Security

Janet Napolitano on Political Divides and American Security

March 24, 2020

As former head of the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, Janet Napolitano has had an inside view of what national security really means. In her book, 'How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11,' she discusses the difference between real and perceived threats and shares her thoughts on the Trump administration's approach to those threats. 

For the latest episode of Crosscut Talks, we are surfacing a conversation from last year's Crosscut Festival between Napolitano and David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura and co-host of Slate's Political Gabfest. They talked about Russian Interference, the massive political divide facing the country and much more. And while much has happened since this conversation, including the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Napolitano does provide a valuable perspective on American preparedness.

Invoking the Divine Through Indian Raga with Srivani Jade

Invoking the Divine Through Indian Raga with Srivani Jade

March 17, 2020

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.

Rahm Emanuel on the Power of Mayors and Dysfunction in D.C.

Rahm Emanuel on the Power of Mayors and Dysfunction in D.C.

March 10, 2020

Mayors have been popping up in national discourse more and more often in the past few years. For instance, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has been largely shaped by former mayors suggesting that, in an era of political gridlock, mayors know how to get things done.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivers that same message in his book The Nation City. He takes a close look at the experimentation taking place in the world's urban centers and puts forth the idea of a new kind of political power structure in which ideas flow from city to city, instead of from Washington, D.C.

The former mayor is familiar with that more traditional power structure. He was a senior adviser in the Clinton administration and served as chief of staff to President Barack Obama. 

For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast we invited Emanuel to share his vision of a future shaped by cities, as well as his thoughts on the race for the White House, which took a big turn on Super Tuesday, the night before the talk.

Why Washington State Matters More in the 2020 Presidential Race

Why Washington State Matters More in the 2020 Presidential Race

March 3, 2020

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.

PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

February 25, 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.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Talks Homelessness, Crime and Solutions

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Talks Homelessness, Crime and Solutions

February 11, 2020

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. 

Valerie Jarrett’s Road to the White House

Valerie Jarrett’s Road to the White House

December 17, 2019

Few people know the Obamas as well as Valerie Jarrett. She first met Michelle Obama, then a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson, in 1991, while interviewing her for a job in Chicago city government. From there, Jarrett grew to be the Obamas' most trusted personal confidante -- a relationship that went all the way to the White House. Jarrett was President Barack Obama's longest-serving senior adviser. She oversaw the offices of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. In her memoir, Finding My Voice : My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, Jarrett shares insights from the Obama White House as well as her own powerful journey. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Jarrett to discuss that journey, from growing up in 1960s Chicago to advising the nation's first black president, with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.

The Little Things That Can Make a Big Difference

The Little Things That Can Make a Big Difference

December 10, 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.

The Case for Fixing Philanthropy and Decolonizing Wealth

The Case for Fixing Philanthropy and Decolonizing Wealth

December 6, 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.

Learning to Live With Climate Change

Learning to Live With Climate Change

December 3, 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.