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Shaping Opinion


People, events and things that have shaped the way we think.

People, events and things that have shaped the way we think.


Pittsburgh, PA


People, events and things that have shaped the way we think.




Encore: The Battle of Little Bighorn Changed Everything

Historian Andy Masich joins Tim to discuss the battle of Little Bighorn, one of the most well known and possibly misunderstood battles in the history of the American West. An author, speaker and college educator, Andy also serves as CEO of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. In this episode he puts the story of Little Bighorn into perspective for today and how America changed afterward. This episode is an Encore Presentation of one of our listeners' favorite episodes. It was originally...


Memorial Day: A Gold Star Mother’s Story

Marlyn Shipley joins Tim for a special Memorial Day episode where she tells her own story. Marlyn is a Gold Star Mother, which means she lost one of her children in service to the U.S. military. Marlyn’s son Michael was a specialist in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne. He died on December 12, 1985 when the plane that he and 247 other fellow troops were aboard, crashed in Gander, Newfoundland. Marlyn talks about what Memorial Day means to her, about the life of a Gold Star mother, about her son...


The Story Behind the American Front Porch

Author and journalist Michael Dolan joins Tim to tell the story of the American front porch. He’s the editor of American History magazine and the author of a book entitled, “The American Porch: An informal history of an informal place.” In this episode, he talks about how the front porch shaped life in America for well over 200 years. You could say that when it comes to our homes, the front porch was the original social media....


Should We Ban Political Talk from the Workplace?

Steve Paskoff joins Tim to talk about whether it’s a good idea for employers to ban discussion of politics in the workplace. Steve is CEO of an Atlanta-based firm called ELI, Inc. That’s a company that provides workplace culture training for employers. In this episode, Steve explains how to handle the touchy issue of employees talking about politics and other sensitive topics at work. Basecamp is a...


SCOTUS: Is 9 a Good Number?

Mike Davis joins Tim to talk about the current debate over whether or not to expand the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, otherwise known as “court packing.” Mike is president of the Article 3 Project. That’s an organization that focuses on the U.S. Constitution and the judicial branch of government. Mike explains how important it is to preserve the apolitical nature of the judicial branch of government, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in particular....


Surveillance: You’re Being Ranked

Kelley Vlahos joins Tim to talk about how big tech companies are starting to use your data to grade you in ways that may surprise and shock you. The focus of our discussion is your Social Credit Score and how China may be illustrating just how alarming its applications can be. Kelley is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and editorial director at Responsible Statecraft. She’s written about this population monitoring tool that before now was unthinkable in America. That’s the focus of...


Internet Privacy and the Law

Fred Cate joins Tim to talk about how big tech companies could use your personal data without your knowledge or explicit consent and some of the legal issues involved. Fred is vice president for research, a distinguished professor of law and a senior fellow at Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Earlier this month, Alaska was the latest state to take up the issue of consumer...


What to Do About Big Tech and Section 230

Josh Hammer joins Tim to talk about one of the hottest debates over the future of the Internet, the fate of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which is credited with creating the Internet as we know it today and giving Big Tech almost unbridled power. Has that little provision outlived its purpose? We explore. Josh is opinion editor of Newsweek magazine. He’s a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation. He’s counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability...


Nadine Strossen: Fight Hate with Speech, Not Censorship

Nadine Strossen joins Tim to talk about how to fight “hate speech” or harmful speech without censorship. She’s a best-selling author and a Professor of Constitutional Law at New York Law School. She’s also the first woman national President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this episode, she talks about private company censorship, the challenges, some solutions and all of it as addressed in her book “Hate: Why we should resist it with free speech, not censorship....


Walter Iooss Jr.: The Sports Photography Master

Legendary sports photographer Walter Iooss joins Tim to talk about his life and career that has spanned decades. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and in many major media outlets and in unforgettable marketing campaigns. If you were to think of an iconic photo from any major American sport from over the past 50 years, there’s a decent chance Walter is the one who captured that image. Walter talks about his life behind the lens, a lens that has captured household names, helped make...


Power Struggle: Big Tech and Antitrust Reform

Antitrust expert Bill Baer joins Tim to talk about the growing interest in antitrust and efforts to rein in Big Tech. Bill is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and has a unique view of all of this. He was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and before that he had served as Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission. In this episode, Bill explains how antitrust reform, particularly for Big...


How Free is Speech on the American College Campus?

Princeton professor and author Keith Whittington joins Tim to talk about the current state of free speech, or not-so-free-speech on the American college campus. Keith has a long resume of accomplishments, including the authoring of the award-winning book, “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech.” But in this episode, we talk about Keith’s role in the formation of a new and already growing organization that champions freedom of speech called the Academic Freedom Alliance...


Ricky Cobb: Twitter’s Hilarious Super 70s Sports

The man behind one of the hottest comedy Twitter accounts, Ricky Cobb, joins Tim to talk about his creation called Super 70s Sports. It’s a Twitter account about sports and pop culture from the ‘70s through the ‘80s, which has built a huge following, including many celebrities. Super 70s Sports is a tongue-in-cheek and irreverent tribute to one of the craziest eras in sports and pop culture history. The 1970s....


Don’t Tell Alice Roosevelt Longworth What to Do

Biographer Carol Felsenthal joins Tim to tell the story of one of the most talked about members of a first family in 100 years. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter who was well ahead of her time for her wildness, her outspokenness and her ability to make headlines. And long after Teddy died, Alice continued as force of nature for anyone who was anyone in Washington, D.C. throughout the 20th Century until her death at 96 years old in 1980....


Encore Presentation: The Story Behind the Family Road Trip

This Encore Presentation features advertising veteran and author Richard Ratay (from Episode 21). He joined us in 2018 to talk about how America’s new roadways brought the country and families closer together. The conversation ranges from homespun stories of family on the road, to how pop culture was influenced by America’s growing super highway infrastructure, as they talk about Rich’s book, “Don’t Make Me Pull Over: An informal history of the family road trip.” We release Encore...


Ron Coleman: Free Speech on Trial

Attorney Ron Coleman joins Tim to talk about his U.S. Supreme Court victory for an Asian-American rock band called The Slants over the issue of free speech. Ron details a case that is now a landmark Supreme Court victory for freedom of speech. In June of 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision that marked the end to an eight-year legal battle that pitted the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against a...


Gimme a Break: A Jingle Story

Music composer and arranger Michael A. Levine joins Tim to talk about one of his most famous works, one that you are no doubt familiar with, which came early in his career and has stood the test of time. While Michael has won his share of awards for comprehensive and high-level works of music, the subject to this discussion is the story behind an iconic jingle he crated for a familiar candy bar brand: Kit Kat’s “Gimme a break” jingle and ad campaign....


Emmet Cohen: Next Generation of Jazz

Rising jazz phenom Emmet Cohen joins Tim to talk about a music, jazz and how he’s part of the larger continuum of the jazz lineage. He describes how the music is timeless and has appeal for generations to come. Photo Credit: Taili Song Roth When you listen to Emmet Cohen play jazz piano, he’ll take you back to another time. Never mind that that time was well before his own. Emmet is a millennial, a generation that has...


Cordia Harrington: A Self-made Symbol of the American Dream

One of the most successful self-made women in America (according to Forbes) Cordia Harrington joins Tim to talk about her journey and how it exemplifies the American Dream. Cordia is the founder of The Bakery Companies. It’s a Nashville-based group of companies that have made baked goods for restaurants and food companies like McDonald’s, Five Guys, and Pepperidge Farm. Last year, Forbes Magazine ranked Cordia among America’s top 100 Self-Made Women....


Dr. Judy Ho: Social Media & Mental Health

Dr. Judy Ho joins Tim to talk about something that could affect all of us: social media and mental health. You may have seen her on the TV show called The Doctors, or on the CBS TV network’s Face the Truth. Or, you may have listened to her podcast called Supercharged Life. Judy is a licensed and triple-board certified Clinical and Forensic Neuropsychologist, she’s an author, and she’s a professor at Pepperdine University....