Author Archives: forthrightradio

Rob Dunn DELICIOUS: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human

Returning to Forthright Radio is Rob Dunn, who is a biology Professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. He conducts a Public Science Lab, which engages citizen scientists around the world via the website, robdunnlab.com.

His latest book, DELICIOUS: THE EVOLUTION OF FLAVOR AND HOW IT MADE US HUMAN, has just been published by Princeton University Press, and even though that sounds super academic, Rob writes for the general audience in a humorous and easily understood way. He is the science teacher I wish I had had in high school. To be concise, Rob Dunn is fun. We spoke with him on April 5, 2021.

Links to articles/events relevant to this interview:

Politics & Prose event with Kim Wejendorp and Rob Dunn https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-ima-st_mig&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-st_mig&hspart=ima&p=%22Rob+Dunn%22&type=ff_q3000_A0IR7_set_bfrq#id=1&vid=1870fdb4e435f45ca537bd2bec62373c&action=click

Hunting for truffles in the Iraqi desert – in pictures https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2021/mar/26/hunting-for-truffles-in-the-iraqi-desert-in-pictures

The rice of the sea: how a tiny grain could change the way humanity eats https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/09/sea-rice-eelgrass-marine-grain-chef-angel-leon-marsh-climate-crisis

Thomas Thomas and Bozemanarts-live.com

Out of adversity comes creativity and diversity. When the Covid 19 pandemic shut down just about everything, Thomas Thomas created a website to be a performance platform for local artists,  https://www.bozemanarts-live.com/

In this interview, Thomas Thomas describes his steep learning curve in creating bozemanarts-live.com and supporting not just the artists who appear there, but the performance arts starved shut-in, shut-down Gallatin Valley community, as well.

We spoke with Thomas Thomas on March 19, 2021, about his journey into creating this platform, and the upcoming first collaboration between Intermountain Opera and Baroque Music Montana, “Into the Light: A Musical Celebration of Spring” that will be streaming  on March 20 at 7 PM on https://www.bozemanarts-live.com/

Carl Zimmer LIFE’S EDGE: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

In addition to writing for The New York Times, Discover, National Geographic, the Atlantic, Wired and others, Carl Zimmer is the author of 14 books on science, from his first in 1998: AT THE WATER’S EDGE: FISH WITH FINGERS, WHALES WITH LEGS, AND HOW LIFE CAME ASHORE AND THEN WENT BACK TO SEA to his latest book, which we discuss today, LIFE’S EDGE: THE SEARCH FOR WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ALIVE, just published by Dutton.

He claims to be the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named, Acanthobothrium zimmeri. We spoke with him on March 15, 2021.

We end with poems read by San Francisco poet, publisher and founder of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He died just two months shy of his 102nd birthday on February 22, 2021.

A Tapeworm To Call My Own https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/a-tapeworm-to-call-my-own

What Is Life? Its Vast Diversity Defies Easy Definition. https://www.quantamagazine.org/what-is-life-its-vast-diversity-defies-easy-definition-20210309/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-surprising-origins-of-lifes-complexity-20130716

Meet the Sea Slugs That Chop Off Their Heads and Grow New Bodies https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/science/decapitated-sea-slugs.html?surface=home-discovery-vi-prg&fellback=false&req_id=1216872&algo=identity&variant=no-exp&imp_id=659601079&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage

The Earth’s first breathable atmosphere https://earthsky.org/earth/the-earths-first-breathable-atmosphere

Tardigrades: nature’s great survivors https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/20/tardigrades-natures-great-survivors

John C. Coffee, Jr. CORPORATE CRIME & PUNISHMENT: The Crisis of Underenforcement

After the global financial crisis of 2008 with all the repercussions to our economy and harm to individual lives, not a single high level corporate executive went to prison. Some claimed it was rank politics protecting them, but was there more to the story?

John C. Coffee, Jr., whose book, CORPORATE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: THE CRISIS OF UNDERENFORCEMENT, was published in 2020 by Barrett-Koehler, is Columbia University Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law. Although he has been a law professor at Columbia University since 1980, this book is written for the lay audience.

Professor Coffee has won many awards for his writing, his work in corporate governance, and exploring the interests of activist investors. He has served on the Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the Legal Advisory Board that oversaw Nasdaq. He is a recognized expert on both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Delaware Court of Chancery, the forum in which the vast majority of American commercial disputes are heard.

Sheldon Wolin DEMOCRACY INCORPORATED: Managed Democracy & the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

We recently rebroadcast this interview with political theorist, Sheldon Wolin, from September, 2009. His final book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, was published in 2008, He coined the term inverted totalitarianism in 2003 to describe what he saw as the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin analysed the United States as increasingly turning into a managed democracy (similar to an illiberal democracy). He uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” to draw attention to the totalitarian aspects of the American political system while emphasizing its differences from proper totalitarianism, such as Nazi and Stalinist regimes.
He died in 2015 at the age of 93.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, beloved poet, founder of City Lights Books and Publishing, and defender of free speech, died on February 22, 2021 at the age of 101 (just shy of his 102nd birthday) in San Franciso. We end with selections of his poetry in his own voice.

Thom Hartmann The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

Thom Hartmann returned to Forthright Radio on 2/3/21 with the latest edition in his Hidden History series, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICAN OLIGARCHY: Reclaiming Our Democracy from The Ruling Class, just released on February 2nd by Barrett-Koehler Publishing.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Issac Asimov

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” Voltaire.

Thomas Paine said it best: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Jamie Harrison THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING

In this edition of Ecotones, award winning Livingston author, Jamie Harrison, discusses her latest book, THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING, published by Counterpoint Press.

It’s a multi-generational saga set in Livingston in 2002 and the north shore of Long Island in 1968. The main character, Polly, is recuperating from a serious head injury, as a long awaited family celebration for her Great-Aunt Maude’s 90th birthday and the annual fourth of July extended family get together is overshadowed by the disappearance of her young friend, Ariel Delgado, who was swept away in the flooded Yellowstone River under mysterious circumstances.

While maintaining suspense as the Livingston community comes together to search for Ariel, Jamie Harrison explores in mellifluous, spellbinding prose, the nature of memory, the complexities of family heritage and secrets, and how children see and understand the world. Above all, The Center of Everything is about the different kinds of love, interweaving idiosyncracies and experiences through her extended family and community.

Listeners who enjoyed her penultimate book, THE WIDOW NASH, will recognize a continuation of Dulcey’s tale down the generations from the 19th to 21st centuries.


Jamie Harrison is also the author of the Jules Clement/Blue Deer Mystery series, which are slated to be reissued this year by Counterpoint Press. We spoke with her on Jan. 8, 2021.

Richard Kreitner BREAK IT UP: Secession, Division and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

Within an hour of this interview with Richard Kreitner on January 6, 2021, a mob left a rally in front of the White House in which Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump, Jr. had exhorted them to march down Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol building and fight.

Kreitner had noted that the world was astounded by the peaceful transfer of power from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800. Now, 220 years later, for the first time in U.S. history we have NOT had a peaceful transfer of power.

His book, BREAK IT UP: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union, documents how we have been divided from the very beginning of our republic, and his analysis affords a clearer perspective of our current situation.

Three weeks to the day after the death of the last Confederate widow (shown above), insurgents paraded their Battle Flag throughout the nation’s Capitol, which Secessionists had been unable to do during their insurrection in the 1860s.

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.” Hannah Arendt

Articles Cited in this interview:

Now Is Not the Time for Unity https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/biden-unity-history/

Chaos as Pennsylvania GOP state senators refuse to seat Democrat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoF4iCoTZb4

Last Known Widow Of Civil War Veteran Dies At 101 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/civil-war-veteran-widow-helen-jackson_n_5ff51131c5b6ea7351c66821

Trump won’t attend Biden’s inauguration: Why that’s ominous after his Capitol siege https://www.salon.com/2021/01/11/trump-wont-attend-bidens-inauguration-why-thats-ominous-after-his-capitol-siege/

At least 12 GOP senators to challenge Biden’s win https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/02/ted-cruz-electoral-college-challenge-453430

Rosendale says he’ll oppose certification of some electors https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/montana/rosendale-says-hell-oppose-certification-of-some-electors/article_42f0b298-c022-5d91-b855-b49770a5518e.html

Texas congressman suggests ‘violence in the streets’ after judge rejects bid to force Pence to overturn Biden’s win https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/politics/texas-congressman-suggests-violence-in-the-streets-after-judge-rejects-bid-to-force-pence-to/article_1e6dc8df-da07-5cf4-96b5-a3183c702a31.html#tncms-source=infinity-scroll-summary-siderail-latest

Sasse Slams GOP Effort to Challenge ElectionResults as a ‘Dangerous Ploy’ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/us/politics/ben-sasse-election-results.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Ben Sasse calls fellow Republicans “institutional arsonists” for Electoral College stunt https://www.salon.com/2020/12/31/ben-sasse-calls-fellow-gop-sen-josh-hawley-an-institutional-arsonists-for-electoral-college-stunt/

Joint Statement from Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5541

Trump’s Republicans have dumped Lincoln – they’re the Confederacy now https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/04/trump-republicans-electoral-college-sedition-secession-lincoln-confederacy

Trump’s phone call to Brad Raffensperger: six key points https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/04/trumps-phone-call-to-brad-raffensperger-five-key-points

Americans’ acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/26/americans-acceptance-of-trumps-behavior-will-be-his-vilest-legacy

Matthew Rozsa: How the MAGA Crowd Is Motivated by Aesthetics, Not Ideas

Matthew Rozsa is a political blogger and staff-writer for Salon.com. Since 2012, In addition to covering politics, he has written about American history, social justice causes, popular culture, and the concerns of the high-functioning autistic community. Toward that end, he appeared on Sesame Street, where he interviewed Elmo and Julia, a character who also has autism.

At a time when American democracy is weathering grave challenges to the peaceful transfer of government, where the constitutionally required meetings of the Electoral College in numerous states had to be conducted in secret, due to credible threats of violence by those seeking to overturn the certified votes, Matthew Rozsa has a lot to say of what is happening and how it has come to this.

At the end, high school Head Soccer Coach, Hunter Terry, reads his Letter to the Editor, “Our ‘American values’ include knowing how to lose,” published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on December 16, 2020,

Head Soccer Coach, Hunter Terry

Articles cited in this interview include:

Trump the fascist artist: How the MAGA crowd is motivated by aesthetics, not ideas https://www.salon.com/2020/12/05/trump-the-fascist-artist-how-the-maga-crowd-is-motivated-by-aesthetics-not-ideas/

Why the 2020 election looks a lot like 1876 — with one crucial difference https://www.salon.com/2020/11/07/why-the-2020-election-looks-a-lot-like-1876-with-one-crucial-difference/

It’s not the first time that an outgoing president refused to work with an incoming one https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/its-not-the-first-time-that-an-outgoing-president-refused-to-work-with-an-incoming-one/

There are economic reasons that Trump’s coup attempt won’t work, experts say https://www.salon.com/2020/11/15/there-are-economic-reasons-that-trumps-coup-attempt-wont-work-experts-say/

The internet has become captured by the right. The Gravel Institute is trying to take it back https://www.salon.com/2020/11/29/the-internet-has-become-captured-by-the-right-the-gravel-institute-is-trying-to-take-it-back/

Conservative women often don’t perceive sexism as a social problem. Here’s why https://www.salon.com/2020/11/28/conservative-women-often-dont-perceive-sexism-as-a-social-problem-heres-why

Biden’s economic adviser picks are underwhelming the left, to say the least https://www.salon.com/2020/12/07/biden-neoliberal-picks-for-economic-advisers-neera-tanden-brian-deese/

Rebekah Jones, Florida’s COVID-19 whistleblower, says Gov. DeSantis has health officials “terrified” https://www.salon.com/2020/12/11/rebekah-jones-floridas-covid-19-whistleblower-says-gov-desantis-has-health-officials-terrified/

Trump Has Never Believed in Democracy https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/opinion/donald-trump-election.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Our ‘American values’ include knowing how to lose https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/letters_to_editor/our-american-values-include-knowing-how-to-lose/article_af157cc7-3d47-5716-bccd-29acb6e9edb6.html

Donald Trump and the Aesthetics of Fascism https://inthesetimes.com/article/donald-trump-and-the-aesthetics-of-fascism

Trump won’t attend Biden’s inauguration: Why that’s ominous after his Capitol siege https://www.salon.com/2021/01/11/trump-wont-attend-bidens-inauguration-why-thats-ominous-after-his-capitol-siege/

Thomas Frank THE PEOPLE, NO: A Brief History of Anti-Populism

Thomas Frank is an historian, political analyst and journalist. Although he was a college Republican, he became highly critical of conservatism, and as you will hear in this interview, of the Democratic Party as well. A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s, Thomas Frank is the founding editor of the on-line magazine, The Baffler, and he writes regularly for The Guardian. Among his eleven books are WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? THE WRECKING CREW: HOW CONSERVATIVES RULE; PITY THE BILLIONAIRE: THE HARD-TIMES SWINDLE and THE UNLIKELY COMEBACK OF THE RIGHT; and LISTEN, LIBERAL: OR, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE PARTY OF THE PEOPLE? His latest book is THE PEOPLE, NO: A BRIEF HISTORY OF ANTI-POPULISM, published by Metropolitan Books.