Our American Discourse feature - landing

Our American Discourse

Great knowledge need not wither on the academic vine. We bring you the smartest minds from the University of Southern California and beyond, wrestling with the defining challenges of our time. In their research, we find wisdom. In their voice, hope.

Hosted by Anthony W. Orlando, Our American Discourse reminds us that we’re never too different to learn from each other, nor too divided to find common ground.

Listen to the individual episodes on the Our American Discourse page, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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Our American Discourse - landing

The Very First OAD Mixtape

Are you a fan of “Our American Discourse” but missed some episodes along the way? Or maybe you just haven’t been willing to make the time commitment and you want to know if it’s worth it? Then check out this compilation of some of the best moments in our previous episodes. And even if you’ve heard them all, it helps to be reminded just how much we’ve learned and how entertained we’ve been by the guests we’ve been fortunate to interview. With the holiday season just around the corner, think of this mixtape as our gift to you.

This episode features luminaries such as: Lisa Schweitzer, Paul Haaga, Rob Asghar, Gregg Van Ryzin, Jennifer Brinkerhoff, Melissa Bird, Johanna Thunell, and Raphael Bostic.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

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What’s Lost in the Transition from Refugee to American Citizen

What becomes of a refugee when they’re no longer a refugee? We spend so much time talking about migration caps and vetting that we seem to ignore all the Americans living amongst us, trying to acclimate to their new country after the harrowing journey from their former homeland. Would it surprise you to learn that they start their new life in substantial debt? Or that they don’t have many of the basic items they need to live, let alone feel like a human being? Wouldn’t you like to know how you can help?

In this episode, Miry Whitehill tells us the inspirational story of how she started helping these former refugee families—and how she created an easy way for you to help them too. She created MirysList.org.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

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Sports and Racial Justice in America

To some, it represents the highest ideals of our society. To others, it is a symbol of unfulfilled potential at best, outright oppression at worst. Are we referring to the American flag? Or to American sports? This debate is about more than one athlete or one gesture. It is about an institution, a system of competition, dominance, and deeply ingrained beliefs. In this episode, we examine this balance of power—and the protestors who are trying to change it. In front of a live audience at the USC Gould School of Law, Prof. Jody David Armour interviews ESPN writer Jason Reid about Colin Kaepernick, political activism, and being black in America.

Special thanks to the USC Gould School of Law for sponsoring this event and allowing us to record as part of this ongoing series of conversations bringing you the smartest minds from the University of Southern California and beyond, wrestling with the defining challenges of our time.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play.

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Why So Many Women Can’t Access Health Care

In Imperial County, just outside San Diego, 5.5 percent of teenage girls become pregnant every year. Twice the rate in the rest of California. Why is teen pregnancy so rampant here, when it’s been declining to record lows statewide? And why has it received so little attention? My guest solved both of these mysteries. What she found will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about women’s health care—and the politics that determine whether it’s accessible for all.

In this episode, inspirational speaker and social work professor Melissa Bird brings us face-to-face with American women who form the very bedrock of their communities—and their incredible, invisible struggle to take care of themselves.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play.

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How to Stop Feeling Marginalized and Start Engaging in Politics

You may think politics isn’t for you. It’s for the elites. It’s for the rich and powerful. It isn’t for people who look like you or talk like you or live like you. Well, that may be the world we’ve constructed, but it’s not inevitable. You deserve better.

Still not convinced? Good! This episode is for you! Learn how you can become a part of the solution.

In this episode, inspirational speaker and social work professor Melissa Bird knocks down the misconceptions that marginalize us and replaces them with the attitude we need to take on the injustices in our nation today.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the Soundcloud player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play.

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The Great American Housing Finance System and the Role of the Federal Government

Housing is local, but money is global. What is the best way to allocate our resources toward housing affordability? How far are we from that goal? How do we even agree on what affordability means?

In this episode, our resident housing finance expert Richard K. Green will walk us step-by-step through these winding routes we’ve constructed to access the American dream.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the Soundcloud player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play.

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Transit-Oriented Development

People are moving back into the cities. But where should they go? In an age of congested freeways and greenhouse gas emissions, gentrification and concentrated poverty, suburban sprawl and all sorts of inequality, where is the best place to build, to live, to walk, and to shop? One answer has been touted to address all those problems: near public transit. In this episode, we define, describe, and debate “transit-oriented development” with Seva Rodnyansky.

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Paid Family Leave and Work-Life Balance in Today’s America

Why do both a majority of both parties want paid family leave, and when are they going to get it? Where do we draw the line between work and life in today’s America? And what does it mean for the all-American centerpiece of our society: the family?

In this episode, we explore the future of our sacred family values and the policies that affect them with Johanna Thunell.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the Soundcloud player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloud, or Google Play.

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Build, Baby, Build: Make the City Affordable Again

If you live in a major city, you probably know that the rent is “too damn high.” What if the city’s rental affordability crisis were in your hands? Would you do something about it? We think you might, and that’s why you’ll want to hear from the one renter who’s taking on big-city politics and showing us all how it’s done.

In this episode, we get down to the grassroots of housing advocacy with Sonja Trauss.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the Soundcloud player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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Who’s Really in Charge? Government Bureaucracy Under Attack

Bureaucracy is so boring. Who cares? Not you, right? Well then, you’re in for an unwelcome surprise because the people who run our government from day to day aren’t the ones you voted for. Our democracy depends on the men and women of the bureaucracy. They execute the laws, and lately they’ve been doing it without supportive leadership, without the trust of the public … without a voice.

In this episode, William Resh is their voice, and we would be wise to listen.

Listen to this episodes of Our American Discourse by clicking on the orange play arrow, or subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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Tell ‘Em What They Need to Know: The Virtues of an Informed Electorate

They say we live in the Information Age, but more and more, it feels like the public understands less and less about what really matters. How should you invest your money in a volatile economy? How should you vote when you don’t like your choices? The information is out there, but often it’s manipulated, spun, and diverted from your attention. The more information we have, it seems, the more education we need to understand it. That’s why, according to Paul Haaga, good financial advice and good journalism have never been more valuable. In this episode, he gives us an ample share of both.

Listen to this episodes of Our American Discourse by clicking on the orange play arrow, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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Citizens Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Americans are fed up. The government is not living up to their expectations. Trust is deteriorating every year.

Donald Trump rode this wave of dissatisfaction all the way to the Oval Office. But does he really understand why citizens are dissatisfied? Do citizens themselves understand why the government appears to be failing them?

In this episode, we question these perceptions—and the solutions they imply—with Gregg Van Ryzin, Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark.

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Federalism and the Battle for Partisan Power

We think we know how federalism works. Republicans believe in states’ rights, and Democrats want a strong federal government, right? Not so fast. New research reveals a whole different tug of war playing out on Capitol Hill. Our legislators don’t always do what they say, but they do have a strategy to design and implement our laws. It turns out that federalism is ground zero in their battle for partisan power—and now we finally know how the game is being played.

In this episode, we go behind-the-scenes with the researcher who uncovered these terms of engagement, Pamela Clouser McCann.

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The Art of Leadership in Precarious Times

The great leadership gurus usually tell a story of virtue rising to the top. They advise us to think positive, treat everyone with respect, and follow our moral compass. But we don’t have to look far to see leaders who turn this wisdom on its head. Negativity, disrespect, and divisiveness seem to be the order of the day. Were the experts wrong? Is good leadership dead? Surely there must be a more realistic way to understand the whims of the masses—and make straight their path once more.

In this episode, we get a more realistic take on leadership from the contrarian guru Rob Asghar.

Listen to the individual episodes of the Our American Discourse podcast by clicking on the orange play arrow on this page, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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The Ethics of Governing

PhD candidate Anthony Orlando discusses the “Ethics of Democracy” in the latest episode of Our American Discourse.

Democracy is a dialogue. It requires our leaders to ask, to listen, and to react. Good governance thus hinges on conversation and consent—and whether we like it or not, conflict. Planners and policymakers have to balance competing needs, never more so than in today’s polarized environment. How do they do the right thing? Does such a thing even exist? Citizenship demands that we engage with these uncomfortable questions, especially in this troubled era.

Listen to this episode of Our American Discourse by clicking on the orange play arrow on this post, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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Good Governance and the Democratic Process

The “causes of faction are…sown in the nature of man,” said James Madison. But could the founders have foreseen the level of political polarization we’re seeing today? They certainly tried. That’s why we have separation of powers, checks and balances, and the Bill of Rights. In many ways, these institutions are under attack. Power has been concentrated, and minority rights have been threatened. How shall become of our constitutional system?

In this episode, we navigate this treacherous onslaught with Dean Jack Knott.

Listen to the individual episodes on the Our American Discourse page, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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Migrant Entrepreneurs: The In-Between Advantage

Immigrants exist between two words: their country of origin and their new home. In this nexus lies unique challenges—and opportunities. The immigrant communities who maintain bonds with their origin, or “diasporas,” can bring what they have learned back with them. They can transform developing nations and spur economic growth with their entrepreneurship. They can bridge the divide between the prosperous and the poor—and inspire lasting change.

In this episode, we explore these transformative individuals with Jennifer Brinkerhoff.

Listen to this episode by clicking on the orange play arrow to the right here, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

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The Affordable Housing Crisis

Our first episode of the Our American Discourse podcast, features a conversation with Raphael W. Bostic. We confront the affordable housing crisis.

Throughout the country, Americans are moving into the cities, and construction isn’t keeping up. Rents are rising faster than incomes. Housing costs are eating away an increasing share of the average family’s budget. Without sufficient renewal, the existing housing stock is aging, and the quality is declining. Affordability has reached crisis levels.

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