The Didactic Interview: Sofia Ali-Khan

To confront the existential horror of President Trump, I’m joined by my longtime activist friend Sofia Ali-Khan. We discuss our lives as progressive rabble-rousers, educators, and Americans. We sort through the problems we face and some concrete steps for action. Let’s get to work, everybody!

Links to things we discussed:

Here’s the song at the end, “Simply Are” by Arto Lindsay:

The Didactic Interview: Sarah Schulman

Good news, everybody! The Didactic SynCast is back! After months of silence, my podcast is online once again. And what a time to return — I scored an interview with the amazing writer and activist Sarah Schulman, author of the new novel The Cosmopolitans, based on Honoré de Balzac’s La Cousine Bette. Have a listen and subscribe to the new iTunes feed.

Here are links to things we discuss:

Didactic SynCast #98: A Huge Explosion of News

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a podcast, and I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement (and demands) that I’ve gotten. Here, finally, is the new show! (Yay.)

DS#98: A Huge Explosion of News

Top Links + Action

Current Events



Killer Robots, Etc


Lupe Fiasco: “Mural”

Rules and Reminders for Discussing Incidents where Police Kill Unarmed People

Hear ye! Hear ye! Here are the Official Rules and Reminders for Discussing Incidents where Police Kill Unarmed People:

  1. We are all operating with incomplete information. This is difficult and frustrating, because we’re eager to reach conclusions, but for the most part we have insufficient information for such conclusions.
  2. What a person does at certain moments is not the sum total of who they are. Whether discussing suspects or police officers, we should resist the temptation to demonize, angelify, and oversimplify.
  3. As delineated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person is “entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Every person is also “presumed innocent until proved guilty”.
  4. We all have a responsibility to speak honestly and listen carefully, to respond with more questions than accusations. The last thing we want is for dialogue to freeze under the weight of suspicion and fear.
  5. Everyone has the right to be wrong, provided the person is willing to listen in order to be corrected (and owns the error). Those who are correct shall refrain from imposing guilt trips or ridicule against those who err, once the mistake is clarified.
  6. Individual incidents must be judged on the specifics of their own events, but social patterns shall not be ignored. In his memoir “Jarhead”, Anthony Swafford writes: “Every war is different. Every war is the same.” This is true also about incidents where police officers kill unarmed people. (Elements of social identity like gender, race, class, and sexuality rarely surface in the 21st century through overt, explicit hostility. This makes them especially difficult to discuss.)
  7. Despite the differences in our political perspectives, ideological orientations, personal circumstances, ethnic backgrounds, religious affiliations, and levels of formal education, we are all people whose lives are precious and who deserve respect.
  8. As Radio Raheem says in “Do The Right Thing”: “Hate [is] KO’d by Love.”

The Didactic Interview: Adam Sherburne

For decades I’ve been a fan of the industrial music group Consoldiated. Their energetic music and political lyrics lit a fire in me at an early age, and I’ve benefited tremendously from their work.

Today I had the honor to spend an hour talking with Adam Sherburne, former front man of Consolidated and coordinator of a group in Portland called Free Music. We discussed music, capitalism, white supremacy, and a dozen other topics. Check it out.

DS Interview: Adam Sherburne

(I forgot to drop the level of my mic before recording, so the audio is a bit crummy. Apologies all around.)

I should have a full SynCast up before too long. Thanks for listening!