show episodes
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
Love Town Hall? Become an insider! In The Moment with Jini Palmer offers a slice of Town Hall culture and puts you in the room for exclusive behind-the-scenes conversations. Listen in as a rotating cast of prominent local voices, along with Chief Correspondent Steve Scher, get to know upcoming speakers before they visit our stages. Get an insider perspective you won’t find anywhere else—a weekly snapshot of all things Town Hall. Fans of Seattle public radio will recognize Steve Scher from hi ...
 
The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
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In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” This led many after his victory to blame “identity politics” for his win. When Trump was banned from Twitter, he claimed it was an assault on free speech. Columnist Nesrine Malik contended that both of these things we…
 
The United States is the only country in the world that sentences thirteen and fourteen-year old offenders, mostly youth of color, to life in prison without parole, regardless of the scientifically proven singularities of the developing adolescent brain. In 1991, Ian Manuel, then fourteen, was sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide cri…
 
Paul Shoemaker believes America is approaching a looming inflection point. The author and social impact leader says that the massive upheavals over the last year is emblematic of how the social, economic, and health challenges facing us in the 2020s are radically different from those we faced even one generation ago. But far from feeling downtrodde…
 
Jeff Bezos’ empire, once housed in a garage, now spans the globe. Between services like Whole Foods, Prime Video, and Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS, plus Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post, it’s nearly impossible to go a day without encountering its impact. Many argue we live in a world run, supplied, and controlled by Amazon and its found…
 
“By turns raw and mystical, steeped in loss but also reconciliation, it is a book that challenges our preconceptions, in regard to content and form.” So says author David L. Ulin about The Spring, the debut book from author Annie Connole. Connole joined writer Frances McCue in a virtual conversation about the book-length lyric essay. Together, they…
 
What’s the state of downtown Seattle? How are businesses and other sectors navigating the ongoing impact of the pandemic, recent protests, lack of affordable housing, and other social and economic factors? Hear perspectives from leaders including Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s, and Brian Surratt, Vice President of Real Estate Development and Comm…
 
Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you’ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that you’ve thought “they’ll never understand” or “do I really want to bring that up?” or “it’s not going to go well, so why even try?” The founder and host of WNYC’s popular podcast Death, Sex & Money presente…
 
Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered takes aim at issues of mass incarceration, insisting that we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration, but must build practical, moral solutions to d…
 
American cities are currently faced with a two-pronged challenge: dealing with our climate crisis, and managing the lack of housing that is affordable and healthy. Our housing is not only unhealthy for the planet, green affordable housing expert Dana Bourland believes, but is also putting the physical and financial health of residents at risk, with…
 
The 1970s were as turbulent as the 1960s were radical. In David Laskin’s new novel, What Sammy Knew, this is the historical backdrop in which we find 17-year-old Sam Stein, a Long Island native raised in a cushy suburban life of live-in housekeepers and insular wealth. On New Year’s Eve 1969, Sam is forced to come face to face with the uncomfortabl…
 
For some it seems that most of the news about academic social sciences—anthropology, economics, political science, etc—is negative. But in response to the criticism he’s seen, political science professor Matt Grossman argues that, far from crisis, social science is undergoing an unparalleled renaissance of ever-broader understanding and application…
 
Ronit Plank was six years old when her mother left her and her four-year-old sister for India to follow Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a cult guru at the center of Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country and whose commune was responsible for the largest biological attack on US soil. This was the beginning of a very long road to Plank grappling with the toll…
 
It has become impossible to deny that the planet is warming, and that governments must act. But some believe that a new denialism is taking root in the halls of power, shaped by decades of neoliberal policies and centuries of anti-democratic thinking. One such is journalist Kate Aronoff, who has written about the climate change fight in her book Ov…
 
In the hundreds of walks that you’ve taken this past year, to get out of the house and flee from screens, have you noticed things around you that you have questions about but don’t have the tools to answer? Maybe you’ve wondered how exactly that mushroom got there or thought again about the mysterious migratory patterns of birds. Join New York Time…
 
Join us for a spotlight on one of our partner bookstores, Estelita’s Library, a “justice-focused community library and bookstore” originally located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Local Journalist Mike Davis chats with Estelita’s co-founder Edwin Lindo about the history and founding of the bookstore and considers the impact the Library has on the…
 
“The finest rock songwriter after Dylan.” “The best electric guitarist since Hendrix.” Who is this man? A man who packed more than a lifetime of experiences into his late teens and twenties? None other than international and longtime beloved music legend Richard Thompson. The master of British folk music joined us with an intimate look at the early…
 
Xenophobia and bigotry against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are on the rise in cities throughout the country, including Seattle. With nearly 4,000 hate crimes reported in the last 12 months, this trajectory became impossible to ignore when six Asian women were killed in a shooting in Atlanta. Why did this happen? What we…
 
As the world’s scientists declare a “climate emergency,” the fight to protect our planet’s ecological resources and the people that depend on them is more urgent than ever, argues journalist Audrea Lim. But she believes that the real battles for our future are taking place far from the headlines and international conferences, in mostly forgotten Am…
 
Since our 2017 season, hosts Jini Palmer, Steve Scher, and local correspondents have interviewed hundreds of luminaries, local officials, and national and international thought leaders as part of our In The Moment podcast. This month, we celebrate the series’ 100th edition with a special introspective episode that reflects on how Town Hall faced th…
 
In publishing today, some of the most expressive, form-breaking, innovative writing seems to come from Native authors. While the written tradition often overlooks Indigenous authors, in recent years we have seen a small increase in Native people telling their own stories in their own ways. In a conversation facilitated by author Kristen Millares Yo…
 
A young girl was raised on a rice farm in rural Japan when, at seven years old, her mother left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. That young girl would become the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the United States Senate. Sen…
 
Have you ever asked someone, “How are you?” while not really caring about their actual response? And why would you need to, when we are conditioned to rarely respond to this question honestly? This is an example of deception and self-deception, and it happens in little and big ways around the world every single day. While this example may seem inno…
 
In what ways can words reach across time and distance, to speak with the dead, the unborn, past selves, and future possibilities? How do poets engage in conversations that can animate and embody what is not yet or no longer here? In this episode, correspondent and Lyric World host Shin Yu Pai talks to poet Meredith Clark about her lyric book-length…
 
Marlon Peterson grew up in 1980s and 90s Crown Heights, raised by Trinidadian immigrants. Amid the routine violence and crack epidemic that would come to shape the perception of his neighborhood, Peterson spent his childhood preaching the good word alongside his father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness. The specter of the American Dream loomed large, and…
 
The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend “up to heaven and down to hell,” which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Shale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transfor…
 
The vast majority of American—71 percent—believe the economy is rigged in favor of the rich. Guess what? They’re right! And Morris Pearl and Erica Payne would know—they’re some of America’s wealthiest “class traitors,” and they joined us to take us on an engaging and enlightening insider’s tour of the nation’s tax code, which is where they say ever…
 
Many believe that COVID-19 has exposed everything that’s wrong with decades of the world’s governments betting on militarism, competition, and wealth creation. But is a better world really possible after this crisis? Author John Feffer collected insight from dozens of the world’s leading thinkers and activists to answer this question, and he joined…
 
Sandy Hook Elementary. Las Vegas. Pulse nightclub. Virginia Tech. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sometimes it seems as though time is measured by the distance between mass shootings. But how did we get here? In this week’s episode, correspondent Agueda Pacheco Flores talks with journalist Seamus McGraw about his book From a Taller Tower: The…
 
The roster of Warner Brothers Records and its subsidiary labels reads like a roster of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Prince, Van Halen, Madonna, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, and dozens of others. But the most compelling figures in the W…
 
Lying has been a part of society since the beginning. Over the past decade, however, it has become increasingly clear that damaging lies and falsehoods are amplified as never before through social media platforms that reach billions. Lies have abounded: about COVID-19, about vaccines, about public officials, about products. And unfriendly governmen…
 
For hundreds of years, trees have lived side by side, evolving, perceiving one another, learning and adapting their behaviors, recognizing neighbors, and remembering the past. They compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, eliciting warnings and mounting defenses. And at the center of it all are the Mother Trees, mysterious, power…
 
What kind of beat is irresistible to listeners, and how is it achieved? What makes a musical collaboration successful? What can musical minds teach us about innovation? They don’t think like we do, and in the creative process, they don’t act like we do. R. Michael Hendrix believes it isn’t a coincidence that some of the world’s most respected creat…
 
What’s ahead for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents when it comes to civics in our country and communities? How can we work together when parties are often divided themselves? This April Civic Cocktail continues an intended multi-part, multi-party series begun in February. With a new administration in the White House, local leaders discuss th…
 
Is aging a disease? How old does your body say it is? How can we live longer, healthier lives? Dr. David Sinclair, Harvard professor of genetics and bestselling author, joins ISB co-founder and genomics pioneer Dr. Lee Hood for a conversation about the very latest in aging research. David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of…
 
On January 1, 2014, Rwanda’s former head of external intelligence Patrick Karegeya was found murdered in the bed of his upscale Johannesburg, South Africa hotel room. His nephew David Batenga became concerned after it had been several days since anyone had heard from him, and demanded the hotel open the door, despite the “do not disturb” sign on th…
 
The message that the patriarchy and toxic masculinity negatively impacts men and boys as well as women has gotten louder in recent years. But what does that understanding mean for mothers who want to raise feminist sons? Seattle University journalism professor Sonora Jha joined us to offer her own thoughts about this complex and important question.…
 
In 2008, the American economy collapsed, taking with it millions of Americans’ jobs, homes, and life savings. The ensuing financial crisis was devastating, and many are still feeling its effects today. But despite the crisis, the US government has yet to implement policies that would prevent a repeat of the Great Recession. Why is that? Kerry Killi…
 
In 2015, the United Nations gathered for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. What resulted is arguably the most significant global agreement on the reduction of climate change: The Paris Agreement. On Earth Day 2016, 174 countries signed the agreement, including the United States (which withdrew in 2020 but officially rejoined in F…
 
What would it look like if we vowed to protect 50 percent of the earth’s land by 2050? Award-winning author and veteran New Yorker staff writer Tony Hiss believes it could be the key to saving millions of species and conserving the planet. Hiss talks with Senior Correspondent Steve Scher in this week’s episode to discuss Rescuing the Planet: Protec…
 
For many generations, Americans were sold the idea of upward mobility. But today’s generations are unfortunately and unexpectedly struggling with downward mobility, both financial and emotional. A new essay collection gives irreverent and empathetic voice to this generation, hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net, and author Annabelle …
 
Freedom of choice lies at the heart of American society. Every day, individuals decide what to eat, which doctors to see, who to connect with online, and where to educate their children. Yet, many Americans don’t realize that these choices are illusory at best. By the start of the 21st century, every major industrial sector in the global economy wa…
 
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is one of the leading physicists of her generation. She is also one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. The star theoretical physicist joined us in conversation with S…
 
Will pandemic, protest, economic instability, and social distance lead to deeper inequalities, more nationalism, and further erosion of democracies around the world? Or are we moving toward a global re-awakening to the importance of community, mutual support, and the natural world? The New Possible: Visions of Our World Beyond Crisis argues that th…
 
Was Shakespeare a timeless prophet, a verbal innovator, a technical genius, a man who encapsulated the human condition as no one else has? Well, sort of. But Shakespeare expert Emma Smith argued that much of what we are taught about Shakespeare is not important. She contended that the inconsistencies and uncertainties in his plays are not a problem…
 
In 1937, the famed writer and activist Upton Sinclair published a novel bearing the subtitle A Story of Ford-America. He blasted the callousness of a company worth “a billion dollars” that underpaid its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and sometimes dangerous assembly line labor. Eighty-three years later, the market capitalization…
 
Fly fishing, historian Mark Kurlansky has found, is a battle of wits, fly fisher vs. fish–and the fly fisher does not always (or often) win. The targets–salmon, trout, and char; and for some, bass, tarpon, tuna, bonefish, and even marlin–are highly intelligent, wily, strong, and athletic animals. The allure, Kurlansky learns, is that fly fishing ma…
 
Popes and their inquisitors, emperors and their hangmen, commissars and their secret police–throughout history, all have sought to stanch the free flow of information. Efforts have ranged from being burned for attempting to translate the Bible, to dictionaries and encyclopedias being forbidden, to works of literature and science and history being t…
 
Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by …
 
On January 5, the run-off election in Georgia flipped the state and created opportunity for a Democrat-led Senate. On January 6, armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol Building, resulting in dozens of injuries and several fatalities. UW Professor Christopher Sebastian Parker believes that Donald Trump as chief executive was making…
 
In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. But user behavior suggests that these platforms are also powering deep social divisions online. What is the truth? What can we do to find a balance? Sociologist Christopher Bail joined us to challenge co…
 
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