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The Soul of California

Let them share.....That's the goal. Let the leading thinkers, writers, academics, artists and activists talk about their work and the influence of California on that work. In these podcasts, I hope to bring out the myth and the ethos that is not only a leading administrative entity in the United States, but also the world. No commercials, just content. Feed your soul. Keep listening.
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The Soul of California
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Now displaying: 2018
Oct 10, 2018

In this 33-minute episode, Lauren Jabusch of the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) discusses the increasingly important influence and financial impact that divestment is having within the public school system. 

Lauren starts with CSSC's origins as well as the massive reach of the Golden State's public university system and its multi-billion dollar pension schemes, then moves on to the evolution of issues (min. 6) and the engagement with local communities (min. 9). 

She then continues with the subtleties of each issue and winning over hearts and minds (min. 12),  the dual use of facts and storytelling and California's broader influence of divestment in the U.S. and abroad (min. 20). 

Lauren closes it up with keeping a student-run movement going and  her favorite places in California.   

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Sep 11, 2018

In this 41-minute podcast, Stanford’s Paul Brest (and former President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation) gives an overview of the philanthropy sector, explaining the growth of foundations, the trade-off between a foundation and a donor-advised fund and the coordination of foundation policy on big bets, particularly climate change. Much of our discussion touches on aspects of his just released book, co-authored with Hal Harvey, Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy. 

Paul further discusses the trade-off and analysis between what are the benefits of succeeding and the likelihood of that success, the "happy accident" of becoming the President of the Hewlett Foundation, as well as touching on a few of the larger California foundations and their programs. Given the increase in the creation of foundations as well as their experimentation in policies potentially impacting a large swathe of the population, this is a timely discussion about their role. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Next up: Lauren Jabusch on Protest Divestment. 

 

Aug 29, 2018

In this 41-minute episode, cancer survivor Cheryl Buck shares her own experiences of being one of 1.6 million per year diagnosed with cancer. To her, the tumor is just a symptom of an imbalance - the real problem rests with a body's metabolism.  

Cheryl disregarded the usual “cut, burn or poison” approach, embracing the protocol advocated by Dr. Max Gerson, which concentrates on a full court press towards toxicity coupled with nutrients to the nth. Forbidden in the US (but with a presence in San Diego), the Gerson approach has been an option for those diagnosed with cancer, despite fierce opposition from the medical establishment. 

Cheryl discusses the history behind this alternative approach, her own story, the underground hospital and the dedication of the daily routine. Informative. Brave. Timely. 

Next up: Stanford’s Paul Brest on the Philanthropy Movement. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening.  

Jul 24, 2018

In this 39-minute podcast, Obi Kaufmann takes us on a big picture ride of the system, indeed the organism, that is California. Fresh off the surprise hit of his California Field Atlas, Kaufman recounts his beginnings as a painter, respect for the environment verging on the spiritual and his hope about the “wild reimagining” of the Golden State.  

Obi discusses the process of putting together the book (min. 12), his surprise at the extent of the knowledge available (min.18), the coming of the post-carbon economy (min. 24) and the possible “undoing” of projects this century. He then moves on to his feelings about the book’s reception (min. 31), its educational potential (min. 34) and closes off with his favorite place. It’s not a “where” question, but a “when” question. Get your pencil ready....

All through it, Obi remains philosophical, cheerful and moved by the Golden State’s natural beauty and makes the case that we all should be more geographically literate to protect it. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Jul 13, 2018

Politician, icon, myth, Jerry Brown leaves an impression on everyone. Love him or loath him, he is the governor of the 5th largest global economy, with the (moral) authority resembling that of a head of state. 

In this 55-minute podcast, journalist Narda Zacchino shares with us the background to Brown's 1970s revolution as the State's youngest governor, who is now closing out his long career with his fourth term in that office. 

Narda discusses the influence of his father, his messaging in the early days (min. 3), Brown's "canoe politics", and his love of policy (min. 14). She then reflects on his time as Oakland's mayor (min. 16), the eternal rivalry with Texas (min. 20) and "typical" Jerry moments (min. 26). Turning to impact, Narda recounts the good and the work left behind (min. 32) and for the last 15 minutes turns to her own experience as a journalist, the influence of California on the global stage, NorCal vs. SoCal, analog vs. digital and (very likely) California's next Governor.

Next time: Obi Kaufman - the poetry of watercolors, serving as a teaching tool. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening.  

 

Jun 19, 2018

In this 52-minute podcast, author Deborah Miranda discusses the plight of Native Americans in California, who underwent near genocide over the course of two centuries with the Spanish, the Mexicans and then the Americans all but ensuring their extinction. 

Deborah begins with the historical context and the role of the church, the defamation of Native Americans during the Gold Rush (so-called “diggers” and bounties, min. 8), the continuing stereotypes through the Mission Project (min. 13) and developing family trees through cassette tapes (min. 21). 

She continues in discussing language challenges (min. 28), writing and a certain footlocker (min. 31), the hopeful future for Native Americans (min. 36) and closes out with hearing her poem at a graduation and an exhaustive list of established and up-and-coming Native American authors. 

Bonus - Deborah reads two poems at the end! Content meets delivery, making it a great listen. 

Feed your Soul. Keep listening. 

May 16, 2018

In this 52-minute podcast, Richard Walker, author of Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity, discusses the negatives impacts that the Tech Boom has had in the analog world - housing, sprawl, labor, you name it....

Richard talks about the origins of the book, then moves on to  inequality (min. 6), why we hate the word "class" (min. 11) and then discusses the culture of commuting and the tech buses (min. 13).

He then highlights regulation challenges (min. 25), the push-pull of private vs. public services (min. 33), tax optimization and whether sustained regulatory chance is possible (min. 40). 

POST-INTERVIEW BONUS: Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Pictures of the Gone World, no. 11 - Closing out his first century, the eternal poet reads the poem that fits so frighteningly well with the Bay Area's Tech Boom and its impacts, despite being written in 1955 (min. 53). Special thanks to City Lights Books for their kind permission.  

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

May 4, 2018

In this 29-minute podcast, Viet Nguyen discusses The Sympathizer, which takes aim at the Vietnam genre, particularly Coppela’s Apocalypse Now, and how it is ripe for parody. He then moves into the impact of literature vs. film (min. 5) and the duality of 30 April - the day in 1975 when Saigon fell (min. 9).

Viet shares with listeners the body of literature and other perspectives coming from Vietnam (min. 10) and recounts his own harrowing early life as a refugee in America and the friendly competition with his brother (min. 14). He then closes with how he writes (min. 18) and his teaching (min. 24). 

Next up:  UC Berkeley's Richard Walker on the Dark Side of Tech - wealth creation at the pinnacle, life altering challenges for the majority. Timely, to say the least.....

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Apr 27, 2018

In this 49-minute discussion, the Godfather of Multiculturalism Ishmael Reed discusses his writing (min. 7), his love of contagions and his just released book Conjugating Hindi (min. 10) and critical acclaim outside of the US (min. 17). He then continues regarding the establishment and the “space” for minority viewpoints, his thoughts on teaching (min. 35) relaxing (min. 39) and oral histories.  

Now entering his ninth decade without one hint of slowing down, Reed remains relevant across a number of art forms. 

BONUS POETRY READING: Ishmael reads three of his poems at the end of the interview - not to be missed! 

Next up: Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen on another perspective of war.  

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Apr 16, 2018

In this 21-minute episode, Kristine Poggioli, co-author with Carolyn Eidson of Walking San Francisco's 49 Mile Scenic Drive, discusses how Carolyn and her implemented a new year's resolution, walking what was originally created to be enjoyed behind the wheel. 

Kristine tells about the drive's origins and then talks about some of her favourite walks, the best views and monuments, the most strenuous and the actual vantage point of walking as opposed to being in a car. 

Putting a new twist on an old concept and for a new generation of those dedicated to healthy living, the 49 mile WALK, turns 80 this year, and is fast becoming a part of the city's bucket list.....

Next up: Ishmael Reed, The Godfather of Multiculturalism. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Mar 17, 2018

In this 33-minute podcast, Susan Anderson of the African American Museum and Library (AAMLO) in Oakland provides the history and context of AAMLO, describes some of its archives and recent events. Shell equally reflects on who writes which narrative, with California not being part of the usual US narrative. 

Susan also touches on the digital/analog aspects that archival institutions face, reaching out to students and some of her favorite archives (even though she wouldn't dare take them to a desert island!). She closes up with overview of her book, which is currently in the works. 

Next up: California's 49 mile scenic drive/walk. 

Feed you soul. Keep listening. 

Feb 22, 2018

Novelist. Law Professor. Art Critic. Yxta Maya Murray juggles her life between the three.

In this 37-minute interview, Whiting Award winner Yxta discusses how listening to defendants tell their story inspired her to come up with 26 lines of text per day. She then continues with  how she juggled writing and a legal career (min. 6), treasures from Latin America in American museums, changing education in the digital age (min. 15), gentrification’s very negative impacts (min.18), how law resembles fiction (min. 25), and how it has been changing in the last few years (min. 32), her latest piece on non-disclosure agreements, and closes with which literature she would take on a desert island. Finally, a bit of  advice to her students. 

All through it, Yxta shows her firm grasp on a broad palette of contemporary issues and challenges, remaining throughout the discussion very accessible. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

Jan 25, 2018

In this 29-minute episode, David Laws recounts the history and background of the "Fairchild Eight" and their Notebooks, what makes them so special technologically and the personalities of each one (min. 6). David then talks about the equivalent today (min. 14), its complete analog beginnings and the memory challenge (min. 16) and closes with how the Computer History Museum acquired the notebooks. 

Although not household names, the work of Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and the other six continues to have an enormous impact on all of us every day. 

Feed your soul. Keep listening.

Jan 9, 2018

The brainchild of the Packard family and built out of the enormous success that has been the Monterey Bay Aquarium, MBARI is a global leader in oceanography, with an extensive array of equipment and the leadership and R&D to back it up.

In this 35-minute podcast, Judith Connor discusses MBARI's origins and mission, the specificities and advantages of Monterey Canyon,  technological advances allowing autonomous and remote research (min. 5), climate change impacts (min. 8), international cooperation (min. 16), communicating the importance of oceans to the general public (min. 18), two of her most challenging dives (min. 26), her getaway island and descending a 20-foot ice shaft in Antartica. 

Throughout it, Judith shows both her love and respect for the ocean and demonstrates the key role that it plays, either directly or indirectly, in our lives. 

Next up - The Fairchild Notebooks with David Laws of the Computer History Museum. Those notebooks changed everything....   

Feed your soul. Keep listening. 

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