History

Bursting the Overpopulation Myth, with Marian Tupy

Marian Tupy joins Tim to burst the myth that the world is overpopulated. Through his work, he has demonstrated that as the world’s population has grown, humankind has actually become more abundant. Marian is the founder and editor of HumanProgress.org, and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. He is the coauthor of: The Simon Abundance Index, Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting, and Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet.

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What is Going On with Vatican Art?, with Eric Armusik

Catholic artist Eric Armusik joins Tim to talk about the current trend at the Vatican to embrace ugly art at the expense of so much beauty it could showcase. Eric paints classical figurative art. His work is reminiscent of the old masters. His works are inspired by grand and vivid murals that he first saw in Gothic cathedrals as a child. But what caught my attention was a social media post from Eric that highlighted something we all may have noticed but may not have thought much about, which is how the Vatican seems to have gotten away from this sort of beauty and realism in its own art.

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1979: City of Champions

This is a Special Edition of the Shaping Opinion Podcast called “1979: City of Champions.” In this extended episode (90 minutes), we take you to when Pittsburgh became the “City of Champions,” and how its impact went well beyond the field, or just baseball or football fans. In the end, it’s about what sports can do to bolster an entire people who are going through hard times. Guests include: Kent Tekulve, Joe Gordon, Lanny Frattare, Michael MacCambridge, John Steigerwald and Walter Iooss, Jr. This is the story of Pittsburgh, City of Champions, like you’ve never heard it before.

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Encore: She Spied on the Germans in WWII

Julia Parsons joins Tim to talk about her role as a code-breaker during World War II. Julia was part of a a team of Navy women stationed in Washington, D.C. during World War II who worked to decipher German submarine messages that were sent in secret code using the Enigma machine. Her work relied on the now legendary Bombe machine invented by Alan Turing. This episode was originally released on July 22, 2019.

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Encore: CNN’s Aaron Brown Tells His 9/11 Story

Former CNN lead news anchor Aaron Brown joins Tim to tell his story from September 11, 2001, where he brought the event to 1.4 billion viewers around the world, live as it happened. It was Aaron Brown on that day, standing on a rooftop in New York City, bringing us one of the most historic and tragic moments of our generation in real time. This episode is part of our special series, “9/11: A Generation Removed.” This episode was originally released on September 7, 2021.

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Encore: Free Speech is the Most Basic Human Right

Author and professor Eric Heinze joins Tim to talk about freedom of speech and expression at the most fundamental level. He recently wrote a book on free speech, but it’s not exactly what you might expect. He explores free speech in a larger more fundamental context than America’s First Amendment. He talks about it in the context of universal human rights. Eric tells us about the thinking behind his new book called, “The Most Human Right: Why Free Speech is Everything.” This episode was originally released May 9, 2022.

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Kent Tekulve – The Closer

If you like baseball you’ll love this interview. If you like Pittsburgh sports, you’ll love this interview. Former Pittsburgh Pirate closer and World Series Champion Kent Tekulve joins Tim in this special extended episode. Kent talks baseball, Pittsburgh, how to teach kids about sports, and somewhat about life.

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Encore: 7 Random People on Their View of The American Dream

In this episode we hear from seven people who talked with Tim to answer the question, “What is the American Dream?”  Tim set out to get the answer to the question on the streets of his hometown, Pittsburgh.  You’ll hear from Vidya, Dwayne, Chuck, Leah, Jack, Tamara and Charlie. Each person was selected randomly in “man on the street” interviews, and we had no idea what they would say, but all of their answers were moving, thought-provoking and inspiring. This episode was first released July 4, 2022.

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Encore: How the Nazis Turned Ordinary Men Into Kill Squads

Historian and author Christopher R. Browning joins Tim to talk about his study of the Holocaust and the “Final Solution” in Poland. In this episode, Christopher discusses his book, “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland” and how a group of otherwise average, everyday men turned into one of Hitler’s most prolific killing squads in World War II. This episode was first released January 24, 2022.

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Encore: Mark Seal on the Making of The Godfather

Author Mark Seal joins Tim to talk with Mark about the subject of his popular new book about the making of The Godfather movie. The book is called, “Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli.” Mark has is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair where he’s covered scandals, history makers and pop culture icons. This episode was originally released January 10, 2022.

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Encore: New Years’ Traditions

Alexis McCrossen, a professor at SMU and an expert on how cultures have marked time in history, Joins Tim to talk about our New Year’s Eve traditions with a special focus on the story behind that Times Square Ball Drop. This episode was first released on December 24, 2018.

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Encore: 7 Random People’s Favorite Holiday Memories

Today is Christmas. We’re in the peak of the American holiday season, which started at Thanksgiving. So, it is with this in mind that I thought I’d take to the streets of Pittsburgh once again and talk to people about their holiday memories. That’s what this special holiday edition of the Shaping Opinion podcast is about. This episode was originally released on December 19, 2022.

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Encore: The Real Story Behind Santa Claus

Author Gerry Bowler joins Tim to discuss the story of Santa Claus. Gerry is the author of the book entitled, “Santa Claus: A Biography.” He talks about everything from Santa Claus’s birth and evolution over the centuries, to his role in modern day culture. Santa Claus the philanthropist, Santa Claus the gift giver, and Santa Claus the ad man. This episode was originally released on December 17, 2018. Parental warning: If your child believes in Santa Claus, you may not want him or her to listen.

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Encore: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Historian and author Terri Crocker joins Tim to talk about the still remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 at the outset of the First World War. Terri wrote the book, “The Christmas Truce: Myth, memory and the First World War.” In this episode, we look at the Western Front where against all odds and their commanding officers, German and British troops, and others stepped out into no man’s land on Christmas Day for a day of peace. This episode was originally released on December 23, 2019.

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A Children’s Episode

This is our special Children’s Episode. It was written and produced for young listeners and was inspired by a movie that Tim recently saw. It is not designed to entertain, though it may. It is not designed to educate, though it will. It is designed to make the listener think, to question and to want to know more. As you listen, please know I can’t know what you like or don’t like, or more importantly, what your kids like or don’t like, unless you tell me. Please use the contact form on this site. That will help me plan future episodes.

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