show episodes
 
OBSCENE is a new podcast hosted by Maya Contreras (EMMY winning Brewed in NY, PBS, ) discussing systemic inequalities that have allowed discrimination to flourish in the United States. We’ll examine discriminatory policies while discussing the history, influences, and future of those policies that directly impact womxn and marginalized groups. Through stories and interviews with experts, you'll be given new insights into the challenges facing womxn and marginalized communities. Through an in ...
 
Heidi Legg and Tom Ashbrook take on the state of the nation in crisis. From Covid-19 to Trump to the culture and economy, America is in a dizzying Swing State. Anything seems possible in 2020. Swing State brings the voices looking into a wildly uncertain American future at an extraordinary moment in time.
 
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show series
 
Today's interview with Shaina Harrison with NYAGV Shaina on grief and trauma communities deal with due to gun violence: "I think you know when I think about trauma, and especially working in the communities that I serve, I understand that the young folks that I'm working with don't want, they don't have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, right? They, …
 
In this Episode of Obscene, I spoke with Julia Davis, Director of Youth Justice and Child Welfare for Children’s defense fund in New York. She helped me break down what’s in the American Rescue Act, whom it helps, and who it leaves out. We also examine what policies could truly protect and aid children and their families, not just to recover, but t…
 
It will be Trump or Biden, with everything that choice means. In Covid time, with many millions out of work and so much uncertainty around basic questions of health, housing, money for food, the future of businesses and jobs, we wanted to look straight at the US economy in the midst of pandemic and political instability. The great economic journali…
 
Voters are already out in record-setting millions, many in line for hours to have their say. We've tried to be a point of honest clarity in this election run-up, but we all know it's an information war zone out there. We have two leading lights from the news business for their take on the battlefront. Margaret Sullivan is media columnist for the Wa…
 
The 2020 election campaign season is fraught with unrelenting drama – who's infected now, hate-spewing, and the president's latest Tweetstorm – we lose track of the scale of what's really upon us. Beyond masks and death rates, the pandemic, the high court, the economy, democracy, fear of fascism, and all the rest there looms the Big One, our climat…
 
Is there a better way to do journalism than Americans are seeing, hearing, and reading right now? Heidi and Tom dive in with John Gable who set out almost a decade ago to help news consumers get out of their information bubbles and see the world afresh with his website . But is there a way to cover these times with a straight face when the Presiden…
 
Republican super-strategist Stuart Stevens knows the home stretch to presidential elections like very few others. He’s been at the heart of Republican campaigns for decades – for big-name governors, senators, Republican presidents, and contenders: George W. Bush, John McCain, Bob Dole, and most recently as the top strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012…
 
It's been quite an August, for the country and host Tom Ashbrook who lost his beloved dad. They promised they'd be back and take us to November 3 and Election Day. The big issues have put our whole country in a "Swing State" – life and death with Covid-19, the life and death of democracy on the table. Our very first Swing State guest was the great …
 
Ashlee Marie Preston is a Trans Rights Advocate, Cultural Creative & Founder of You “Are Essential”. Ashlee is the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and she has just launched a voter mobilization initiative with Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David called My Vote is My Voice.…
 
Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—the nation’s largest grassroots gun violence prevention group, with chapters in all 50 states effecting change at the local, state and national level. Her book, Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World, was rel…
 
Denise Oliver-Velez has been a political activist and community organizer, was in the Civil Rights movement, women's movement, and AIDS activism movement, and was a member of both the Young Lords Party and the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Denise is currently a Contributing Editor for the progressive political blog Daily Ko…
 
Dr. Merseth discusses language barrier obstacles are still in place for eligible voters even with the language provision in the Voting Rights Act. Dr. Julie Lee Merseth's interests are situated in the field of American political behavior with a dual and overlapping focus on race and immigration. Her research is especially animated by questions of h…
 
Dr. Carol Anderson is a Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation's Divide, a New York Times Bestseller, Washington Post Notable Book of 2016, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. She is also the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying …
 
Rebecca Cokley is the director of the Disability Justice Initiative at American Progress, where her work focuses on disability policy. Most recently, she served as the executive director of the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public polic…
 
A discussion with the NARF Staff Attorney Jacqueline De León on Native American Rights Fund's (NARF) comprehensive study entitled, “Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters.” Jacqueline De León is an enrolled member of the Isleta Pueblo. As a staff attorney at Native American Rights Fund better kn…
 
Perry Grossman, is Voting Rights Attorney. He focuses on litigation and advocacy efforts concerning voting rights and election law issues. Perry’s cases include New York Immigration Coalition v. U.S. Department of Commerce, the successful challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census; League of Wom…
 
While Voter Suppression and Disenfranchisement have a deep impact on elections, Dr. Bernard L. Fraga research found that there still a gap in voter participation amongst marginalized groups even if voting barriers were removed. We discuss this and his book "The Turnout Gap" in this interview. Dr. Bernard L. Fraga is a political scientist who studie…
 
Bob Dylan was the protest icon of a generation. “The times they are a-changing,” sang Bob Dylan and “a hard rains’ gonna fall.” Now, those 1960s protests are deep in the rearview mirror. A new generation is in the streets, with demands for a racial, cultural, gender, economic and structural accounting that might make Dylan look tame. At 79, with a …
 
Know Your Price, Dr. Andre Perry's dynamic new book, offers concrete policy solutions that lift up Black communities and asks us to invest in Black people as he defines six Black-majority cities whose assets and strengths are undervalued. A fellow at the non-partisan Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., Dr. Perry has long studied economic model…
 
At the same time as protests erupted across American cities and the world demanding racial equity, the cities have become dystopian scenes of military hold. Gen. James Mattis now warns of division from the very top as a threat to American democracy. Many protests began peacefully until the nefarious, often violent, opportunists arrived. Who are the…
 
The country is in crisis. Riots, protest, police brutality, pandemic. What do we tell our kids to help them understand? And how do we get them educated in our time of Covid-19? When and how do they go back to school? We reached out to leading educator Dr. Jennifer Price. She knows the public school world, the private school world, and how children'…
 
In a hard week, Bakari Sellers– the youngest-ever member of South Carolina's state legislature, CNN commentator and influential African American attorney–points this nation forward in his new book, My Vanishing Country. Another black man chokes and dies under the knee of a cop in Minnesota, white privilege and a black birdwatcher meet in Central Pa…
 
Drawing on real life research and technology, P.W. Singer's new technological thriller, Burn In, shows how AI gets real fast and asks who controls our future. Will Siri, Alexa and smart houses and, above all, AI robots overtake the human grasp on our destiny? Will tech moguls pull the strings? For good or ill? The Wall Street Journal calls Singer "…
 
The scenes at the White House press briefings have been wild for years. Crazy talk about injecting bleach and light are the latest. Ashley Parker covered Mitt Romney in 2012 and Jeb Bush and then President Trump's run for the Presidency in 2016 when she was with The New York Times and she now covers the Trump White House for The Washington Post. Fr…
 
The world is desperate for a vaccine. It’s a life or death race with massive geo political implications. A game of exposure, time and risk as more mutations of COVID-19 increases the monumental task for the scientists. The need for speed and scale is enormous. Omar Khan is part of the biotech revolution for nucleic acid vaccines based on an RNA del…
 
Dipayan Ghosh’s new book, Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design calls for a Digital Bill of Rights, anti-trust action on Big Tech and new rules to ensure the tech titans have American democracy in mind. But in this interview, he surprised us! He says YES to Google digitizing NYC with Governor Cuomo, YES to Big Tech runnin…
 
Robert Reich, American economist, professor, and author who served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton cares deeply about this country. You can hear it in his voice as he walks us through the shortcomings that are failing the American people, a society deeply cracked under the strain of COVID, the lost Am…
 
Sarah Kendzior, author of The View From Flyover Country in 2016 and her new book Hiding in Plain Sight, studied autocrats in Central Asia then came home to find one, she says, elected in her own country, the USA. She's a bare-knuckled critic of the Trump administration and she has been ringing the bell that this is a "transnational crime syndicate …
 
When, how and will college students get back on campus? University of California Professor Christopher Newfield wrote The Great Mistake in 2016 on how we wrecked public universities and failed the middle class. Now COVID-19 has knocked schools flat. He calls for refunding and rebuilding public higher ed at the end of neoliberalism. Talk about presc…
 
In 1989, at the age of 29, Bill McKibben wrote The End of Nature, serialized in The New Yorker. Hit with plague, not to mention draught, floods and swinging temperatures, Bill is with us to look at how we seize this moment to restart how we live and mitigate the next tragedy before it is too late.
 
Rich countries, poor counties, China or America: who funds whom, who allies with whom? Are we heading to a Cold War with China or a new multi-polar world? Will the Eurozone survive and with whom will post-Brexit Britain choose to align? Is Europe’s stability vulnerable as Italy and Spain fall under economic stress? Historian and journalist Dominic …
 
Voting rights in America have long been fraught but this 2020 Presidential election risks dramatic turns if people cannot vote. We sit down with journalist Ari Berman who is knee-deep in reporting on voting rights and ballot casting and we arrive at some pretty dramatic and plausible scenarios: Half of voters wanting to vote by mail in states where…
 
How are we all doing four-weeks in? Tom and Heidi take to the couch with Cambridge psychotherapist Jill Forney to unpack isolation, virtual living, massive uncertainty, job and financial stress and this new normal. How long can this go on? What will tomorrow look like? It’s a mental and physical game of survival and Jill Forney shrinks us through i…
 
Where’s the relief money? Derek Thompson of The Atlantic has been writing brilliantly on how Denmark is moving radically at light speed to save its economy - and America is not. He brings ideas on a better way. Plus we dive into his latest reporting on coronavirus "test and trace" solutions from authoritarian China to less invasive versions in Sing…
 
Heidi and Tom head into a freewheeling conversation with MIT Futurist and optimist Andy McAfee. As co-founder and co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Andy studies how digital technologies are changing the world. Even Andy, sees the gravity of this moment. Heidi pushes hard on the big tech …
 
We turn to doctors on the frontline in two of our nation’s top medical cities, San Francisco and Boston. Dr. Anita Demas gives it to us straight on how to deal with it when you are sick and Dr. Anna Cervantes-Arslanian, one of five critical care directors running Covid-19 response for the Boston Medical's ICU team, asks us all to stay in for the sa…
 
Tom Ashbrook and Heidi Legg team up to bring you a new podcast with voices across America in a sudden Swing State of mind. Life and death, a crashing economy, and the way we live has been upended. Our first interview with historian Heather Cox Richardson whose daily Letters From An American has over 500,000 readers each morning, helps us to underst…
 
On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization’s office in China heard the first reports of a previously-unknown virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in the city of Wuhan. On March 11, 2020 that virus, now named COVID-19 better knowing as the Coronavirus outbreak was now characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Today t…
 
Maya Contreras interviews political wonk Stephen Robinson. Stephan is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. "Wonkette is an American online magazine of topical satire and political gossip, established in 2004 by Gawker …
 
Hello, I’m your host Maya Contreras and welcome to a new season of obscene. This is a special holiday episode, the official new season of Obscene will start the first week of January 2020 were I’ll be talking to candidates running for office, voting rights, and policy issues you should be on the lookout for at the ballot box and so much more. Befor…
 
Except from the Episode: "Hello everyone! It’s me, Maya Contreras, host of Obscene podcast! On the last episode, you heard an excerpt of my interview with Ben Williams of the Princeton Gerrymandering project. Here is the full episode. I hope you’ll enjoy it. On June 27th, The Supreme Court essentially blocked the citizenship question from being add…
 
Excerpt from this episode: "It’s the 4th of July, and I know a lot of folks out there aren’t feeling very patriotic, and I completely empathize. It’s difficult to feel patriotic given what is happening at the border, with reproductive rights, and when there are military tanks rolling down the streets of DC that took over $2.5 million dollars away f…
 
On Episode 11 of Obscene, Host Maya Contreras interviews Reproductive Justice Advocate, Renee Bracey Sherman on the importance of Abortion Storytelling, Abortion Funds, and Abortion Access. "Renee Bracey Sherman is a Chicago-born, Midwest-raised activist, writer and reproductive justice activist committed to the visibility and representation of peo…
 
Episode 11 is with Jalessah Jackson. What is Reproductive Justice? Host Maya Contreras takes a deep dive on this subject with Jalessah Jackson, Georgia Coordinator at SisterSong. "Jalessah Jackson is a mother, womanist, and interdisciplinary scholar of training whose research explores the connections between popular culture and critical theories of…
 
Excerpt from Episode: What we need in 2020 is something that we’ve never had in the history of this country, a Women President and a Women Vice President. Its clearer than ever that we need a woman at the top of the ticket, and you won’t find anyone who agrees with that notion more than Rebecca Sive. Rebecca Sive is a speaker and commentator on wom…
 
Excerpt from episode: "I want to look at the media’s playbook. I want to know why the media crafts or goes with a script, I wanted to know how the media influences our elections, their biases, and their “game framing” of political news and media coverage. Luckily I got to speak with Dr. Regina Lawrence, Associate Dean, SOJC-Portland, and Director o…
 
From Obscene podcast host Maya Contreras: "In this episode, I want to talk about the impact the media is having when they are missing the frames to see the big picture of women in politics and women in power. For the interview today, I speak with Dr. Valerie Sperling, Professor of Political Science at Clark University. Dr. Sperling teaches a variet…
 
Excerpt from this episode: "Today I want to highlight one program that has had a positive impact on incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, called Defy Ventures. Defy’s vision 'is to end mass incarceration and cycles of recidivism by using entrepreneurship as a tool to transform legacies and human potential'. Before I speak to Defy Ventures’ …
 
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