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Thom Hartmann: History of Guns and the Second Amendment

Thom Hartmann, often considered the most popular progressive radio host in America, invites us to an in-depth, historically informed discussion of one of the most controversial portions of the U.S. Constitution—the Second Amendment. Hartmann joined us at Town Hall with insight from his book The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment to examine the brutal role guns have played in American history, from the genocide of the Native Americans to the enforcement of slavery (Slave Patrols...


Mollie West Duffy and Liz Fosslien: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work

How do we handle emotions in the workplace? What used to be taboo is now front and center when we talk about a day in the life of the modern worker. Join Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, the authors of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, for a wide-ranging conversation on why emotions are the new secret weapon to success in the office and how to channel yours to feel your best and do your best work. The authors shared learnings, expert advice, comic...


Adam Gopnik: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism

Not since the early twentieth century has liberalism, and liberals, come under such relentless attack, from both right and left. Some say that the crisis of democracy in our era has produced a crisis of faith in liberal institutions and, even worse, in liberal thought. Adam Gopnik, staff writer at The New Yorker, offered us a thorough examination of liberalism—its history and place in the modern day—with A Thousand Small Sanities, a manifesto rooted in the lives of people who invented and...


Caroline Fredrickson: The Democracy Fix

Despite representing a minority of the American public, conservatives are in power in Washington, DC as well as state capitols and courtrooms across the country. Caroline Fredrickson—president of the American Constitution Society—arrived at Town Hall to outline the process by which these conservative representatives came into power. With insight from her book The Democracy Fix, she contended that while progressives fought to death over the nuances of policy and to bring attention to specific...


Frank Langfitt: The Shanghai Free Taxi

The Chinese economic boom, with its impact on the environment, global trade, and the tech industry, has been one of the most important stories of the 21st century. Yet few Americans realize that the boom is largely over, and that the new reality in China—unequal growth, political anxiety, and a newly empowered strongman president—looks eerily like their own. Frank Langfitt took Town Hall’s stage to help us understand this new world. He shared stories from his time in Shanghai offering people...


Lawrence Lessig: Fidelity and the American Constitution

The immense age of our nation’s Constitution presents a fundamental challenge for interpreters. After so much time has passed, how do we read such an old document? Legal scholar Lawrence Lessig arrived at Town Hall to explore one of the most basic approaches to interpreting the Constitution—the process of translation. With insight from his new book Fidelity & Constraint, Lessig contended that some of the most significant shifts in constitutional doctrine are products of the evolution of the...


Anna Fifield: The Great Successor—Understanding Kim Jong Un

North Korea is one of the oddest and most isolated political regime in the world—one that is broken yet able to summon a US president for peace talks, bankrupt yet in possession of nuclear weapons. To understand this unique nation and its significance in our modern political landscape, journalist Anna Fifield contended that we must understand the man who leads it. Fifield offered us a deep and involved portrait of Kim Jong Un, one of the world’s most secretive dictators. Fifield shared...


Parenting Without Pity: Disability Rights Washington

How many individuals with disabilities grow up isolated, wishing they could have built childhood connections with a larger community earlier in their lives? Town Hall Seattle and Disability Rights Washington presented a panel of parents with disabilities who share their insight into how we can build community connections for children with disabilities early in life, as well as ways we can maintain these connections throughout adulthood and create ties among parents with and without...


Annie Jacobsen: The Secret History of the CIA

When diplomacy fails and war is unwise, the president calls on the CIA’s Special Activities Division—a highly-classified branch of the CIA and the most effective black operations force in the world. Almost every American president since World War II has asked the CIA to conduct sabotage, subversion, and even assassination. To unveil the secret world of the president’s guerrilla warfare corps, Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen took the stage with excerpts from Surprise, Kill, Vanish, her...


Red May: Down With Work!

Many of us find ourselves frustrated with our 40-hour work weeks, wondering about the purpose and practicality of our jobs, and even whether or not work is necessary. We find ourselves questioning our capitalist society’s conception of work—that it’s normal and necessary to commit massive amounts of personal time and emotional energy to our jobs. To conduct an inquiry into the activity we least like doing, Kathi Weeks, Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede came together for a Red...


George Packer: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. Journalist George Packer took Town Hall’s stage to relate Holbrooke’s ambitious, headstrong narrative in Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. Through Holbrooke, Packer shared the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well...


Rachel Louise Snyder with Sydney Brownstone: No Visible Bruises

Whether we call it domestic abuse, private violence, or even intimate terrorism in America domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime. The World Health Organization deemed it a “global epidemic,” and yet too often it remains locked in silence, even as its tendrils reach unseen into so many of our most pressing national issues. Acclaimed journalist Rachel Louise Snyder took the stage to deliver a reckoning with this urgent and widespread problem with insight from her...


Red May: Neoliberal Seattle

Red May is a month-long festival of radical thought and art that brings together speakers and thinkers to explore alternatives to capitalism. This event centered the discussion on investment and expansion in our own city. Here’s what the organizers of Red May have to say about this evening: “You think it’s your home but it’s their investment. You think you belong in this city. In reality, you’re just collateral damage. Ask the Urban Growth Machine and the Electeds who enable its relentless...


Red May: Nancy Fraser and Bhaskar Sunkara "The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born"

According to some, politics as usual is being rejected across the globe and faith in neoliberalism is fracturing beyond repair. Leading political theorist Nancy Fraser, in conversation with Jacobin publisher Bhaskar Sunkara, dissected neoliberalism’s current crisis and asserted that we might be able to wrest new futures from its ruins. Fraser outlined the ways that global political, ecological, economic, and social breakdown—symbolised, but not caused, by Trump’s election—has destroyed faith...


Stacey Abrams: Lead From The Outside

Leadership is hard. Convincing others—and often yourself—that you possess the answers and are capable of world-affecting change requires confidence, insight, and sheer bravado. Political leader Stacey Abrams took the stage to share her awareness of the experiences and challenges that hinder anyone who exists beyond the structure of traditional white male power—women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make a difference. Abrams presented insight from her...


Alex Kotlowitz with Ross Reynolds: Love and Death in Chicago

The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Journalist and storyteller Alex Kotlowitz joined us with a deeply intimate collection of chronicles from the lives of individuals who have emerged from this violence—all gathered together in his book An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago. Kotlowitz met with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds...


Roger McNamee with Ross Reynolds: A Reckoning With Facebook

Longtime Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee would have howled with laughter just a few years ago if he had been told he would soon be devoting himself to decrying the massive social media engine that is Facebook. But despite his career as a mentor of tech leaders and his large shareholdings in Facebook, that’s exactly what McNamee is doing. He took the stage in conversation with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds for an exploration of his book Zucked. McNamee offered us his unflinching account of...


Karl Eikenberry: Fighting Extremism in Fragile States—From Crisis Response to Prevention

What can we do to prevent violent extremism and promote peace in the world? For some—such as Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan—the answer comes through understanding. Eikenberry drew on his thirty-five year career in the United States Army to lead a discussion about the role of diplomacy and development in addressing the root causes of conflict. Joining him was Najia Hyder, Mercy Corps Regional director for Caucasus, and Central and South Asia. Eikenberry shared insight...


Transforming Washington’s Mental Health System

With a lack of access to mental health services, people with mental illness often get swept into the criminal justice system. But on December 11, 2018 a federal judge approved a landmark class action settlement known as “Trueblood” that addresses this criminalization of mental illness—and has the potential to transform Washington’s mental health system. Town Hall Seattle joined forces with Disability Rights WA for a panel discussion on the state of mental health services and protections...


That’s Debatable: Technology Will Save Us

Will advances in artificial intelligence, geoengineering, and bioengineering save or destroy the human race? That’s debatable. KUOW and Town Hall invited you to join us at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on Sunday, March 24 for the latest event in KUOW’s That’s Debatable series. At this Oxford-style debate, a panel of smart Seattlites squared off on the proposition, “Technology will save us.” The conversation kicked off with an audience vote. Then both sides gave their...