The Brass Spittoon
Katharine Hayhoe Talks Climate Change

Katharine Hayhoe Talks Climate Change

June 30, 2022

Katharine Hayhoe is a professor at Texas Tech and the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy. Her most recent book is Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World. Dr. Hayhoe, a Christian, swings by the Porch to discuss faith and science; effective communication on controversial topics; and the role of disinformation in our discussions about global warming. She also shares on her personal encounters with President Barak Obama and Speaker Newt Gingrich, plus gives her opinion on the East Anglia email disclosure and its impact on climate scientists. A shorter written version of the podcast is available on the Plough website.

Chuck Marohn on the Human Errors of Traffic Engineering

Chuck Marohn on the Human Errors of Traffic Engineering

May 10, 2022

Chuck Marohn, the founder of Strong Towns and author of Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, discusses streets, roads, “stroads,” and the perils of the American traffic system.  A trained engineer himself, Marohn once imbibed the discipline’s dominant dogmas.  Today, he advocates for cities and towns where slower moving cars can get us where we want to go faster.


Host:  John Murdock

Guest:  Charles “Chuck” Marohn



 1:15      A boy from Brainerd

3:45       Strong Towns explained

6:30       What’s an engineer good for?

8:45       Breaking through with talking bears

13:15    A need for speed

16:45    So, what’s a “STROAD”?

17:45    The futon of transportation

20:30    Walking to die in the land of Dr. Seuss

27:00    Philando Castile and traffic trolling cops

36:30    I-49, $700M, and the saints of Shreveport

45:30    Lightning Round with Elon Musk, destroyed stop lights, and more

50:00    Wrapping it up, early in the morning


Strong Towns website

Chuck’s late-night video that goes viral

Steve Martin the barber is here to help

Allendale Strong fights I-49


Poetry and Politics with A.M. Juster

Poetry and Politics with A.M. Juster

November 22, 2021

Michael J. Astrue has earned degrees from Yale and Harvard. He had a long and distinguished legal career and held several government positions as well as leadership posts in biotech companies. From 2007-2013, he served as the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. 

A.M. Juster has published something like ten books of original and translated poetry and has served as the poetry editor at First Things and now one of my favorite journals, Plough Quarterly. 

These two men might sound pretty different, but they are in fact the same person. Over the course of his conversation with Jeff Bilbro, they discuss his tangles with Anthony Fauci, whether poets or civil servants are the "unacknowledged legislators of the world," what makes good political verse, the role of humor in poetry, translating Petrarch, and more.


A.M. Juster's website

His recommendation of a Richard Wilbur poem

Will Hoyt‘s Ohio River Journey to the Middle Ages

Will Hoyt‘s Ohio River Journey to the Middle Ages

November 2, 2021

Host:  John Murdock

Guest:  Will Hoyt

Will Hoyt, author of The Seven Ranges, discusses his journey along the Ohio River into the physical, historical and philosophical interior of the strip-mined region where he lives.  In the book, Hoyt transforms the area’s colorful past into a lament over the loss of an “integrative center” last seen in feudal Europe.  Well read and well spoken, this carpenter joins everything from surveying techniques to Jimmy the Greek into a compelling narrative of despair and hope.


2:15   Unhoused Hoyt, Unhoused Ohio

7:00   This book brought to you by Ingram Barge Company

10:00 Big Coal comes to town

14:30 Corporate Power and the 14th Amendment

21:30 Polarization and the destruction of the medieval inheritance

22:30 The Civil War, then and now, explained

27:00 False opposites

32:15 Power chosen over contemplation

33:00 Make America Medieval (Again?)

37:00 Lightning round begins!

37:30 Jimmy the Greek and the Little Las Vegas

39:30 “Play that Funky Music” (almost)

41:00 Camp meeting revival

42:45 Surveying changes the world

44:00 Wendell Berry gets the Incarnation right and wrong

49:00 Wallace Stegner and the American Inklings

50:30 What’s on the cover?


Buy the book

Preview of The Seven Ranges from FPR

Hoyt’s FPR articles

“Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads

Ingram Barge Company

“Play that Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

And if you need help getting that last song out of your head,

try this very topical one:  “Paradise” by John Prine


Also, our thanks as always to Wendell Kimbrough for the use of “The Ballad of Freida the Goose”




Joseph Loconte on War, Friendship, and Imagination

Joseph Loconte on War, Friendship, and Imagination

September 23, 2021

Guest Host:  Jeff Bilbro

Guest:  Joe Loconte

Front Porch Republic editor Jeff Bilbro sits down with Joe Loconte of The King’s College for a spirited discussion of the book-turned-film A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War.  Bonded by war and steeled by friendship, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien produced works of fantasy that have guided us back to reality.      


1:30    Loconte’s Italian immigrant family

4:00    Bleak poet learns to love goodness

7:45    Myth, not just for escapism anymore

9:30    Joe finds Frodo in his 40s

11:30  Lewis finds MacDonald on a train

13:45  Beowulf, Aeneas, and the hero who faces failure

19:00  Pagans love Christian realism

21:00  A letter to Owen Barfield

24:30  Band of Icelandic brothers

27:15  Behind the scenes

33:00  War, friendship, and imagination

36:00  Courage is key

37:15  Creative friendship, pursued deliberately


Buy the book

See the trailer

Get to know Joe

Thanks as always to Wendell Kimbrough


David Cayley on Illich and Institutions

David Cayley on Illich and Institutions

July 5, 2021

Canadian radio broadcaster David Cayley pulls up a chair to discuss Ivan Illich, a renegade priest and professor who argued against schools, missionaries, and modern medicine. Cayley, author of Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey, walks listeners through Illich’s thought and its applications to current tests like the pandemic.

Guest Host: Michael Sauter


0:30 Murdock asks, “Storied thinker or Tolstoy story?”

2:15 David Cayley, a man of Ideas

3:00 Sauter conversation with Cayley begins

4:00 Cayley on cassette

8:00 Corruption of the best is the worst, the West in a nutshell

10:15 Charles Taylor in the secular amen corner

11:45 Place, Limits, and Liberty (and Illich)

12:45 Freedom and the Wackosphere

13:45 What is enough?

15:45 “Three Dimensions of Public Choice”

18:00 Technologies you can’t put down

21:00 Free-relatedness and dependency on others

22:15 The risk of birth

24:30 Doorways to nowhere

27:00 Computerized people and COVID

29:30 Cayley’s death cult

31:00 Apocalypse and revelation

33:30 Beware an institutionalized Incarnation

35:30 Illich and friends around the table


Full interview and Sauter review

Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey

Obituary in The Lancet

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch

Find Your Way Home

Os Guinness on Liberty and Hope

Os Guinness on Liberty and Hope

May 2, 2021

Prolific author and social critic Os Guinness discusses the current challenges for liberty and his hopes for the future. The Chinese-born, English-educated, Irish-rooted scholar who lives in America also shares insights from his time at L’Abri and talks some Arsenal football.


2:00 “Home” to Os Guinness

3:30 Beer in his blood

5:15 Under his own vine and fig

7:45 Hospitality lessons from Edith Schaeffer

10:45 The 1960s, Jefferson Airplane and the long march

12:30 The Call, place, and the Jesus Go-Fest

16:00 Soccer Super League

17:15 A quiet voice?

18:45 Civility and respect for words

19:30 Books over tweets

22:00 An intellectual knee on the neck of America

24:00 Freedoms, negative and positive

25:30 The pandemic and liberty

27:00 Respecting others in a free society

28:30 A Magna Carta from Mount Sinai

31:00 Civic education and the value of transmission

32:00 1776 v. 1789

34:00 Approaches to justice and Black Lives Matter

36:45 A post-rights world?

38:00 (Chief Justice) Burger for lunch

39:30 7 year-old revolutionary refugees of the world unite

42:00 Hope in the face of stark realism


The Magna Carta for Humanity


The Williamsburg Charter

Find Your Way Home

John de Graaf, Affluenza, and Stewart Udall

John de Graaf, Affluenza, and Stewart Udall

March 22, 2021


Filmmaker John de Graaf pulls up a chair to discuss his 1997 documentary Affluenza; a forthcoming project on Arizona politician and JFK/LBJ’s Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; the politics of beauty; and a whether John Muir should be cancelled.  Singer/songwriter Wendell Kimbrough closes out the show with “The Ballad of Freida the Goose” from his album “Find Your Way Home.”


0:50  An FPR podcast, really?

2:15  “Home” to John de Graaf

3:15   Vachel Lindsay and the “Gospel of Beauty”

4:45  Gracy Olmstead's Uprooted

6:00  From Berkeley to a frozen Midwestern VISTA to Seattle

7:30  It all started with the film of the year

8:45  Alan Chadwick, master gardener

9:15  “Affluenza” explained

12:30  20 million views, a best-seller, and in the dictionary

15:45  Beloved by BYU

16:45  Take Back Your Time

18:30  French to Fox News?

20:00  Pandemics and “the good life”

25:00  David Brower, Republican

28:00  Floyd Dominy, a dam man

30:45  Stewart Udall, liberal conservative

35:30  LBJ pressures Udall on Vietnam

38:45  Barry Goldwater, Democratic donor

42:00  Politics of Beauty

43:00  GDP as Holy Grail?

46:15  Cancel John Muir?

50:15  Udall as cultural Mormon

51:00  Will beauty save the world?

52:00 Wendell sings “The Ballad of Freida the Goose”



John Murdock at Front Porch Republic

John de Graaf at Front Porch Republic

Films of John de Graaf

Vachel Lindsay

Gracy Olmstead’s Uprooted (reviewed here and here)


David Brower

Stewart Udall

Floyd Dominy

“Find Your Way Home” album by Wendell Kimbrough

Prospects for Localism

Prospects for Localism

January 27, 2021

The FPR leadership has decided to make a foray into a new medium (for us). And given this transitional moment in American politics, this seems like a good time. We hosted an on-line discussion that, hopefully, provides an interesting and unique take on current events. For years now we have sought to articulate an alternative to the nationalist, globalist, uniformist vision that has so captivated the ruling classes. The Trump presidency is ending in chaos, and the Biden agenda is yet to be implemented. What are the prospects for localism? Does the post-Trump era open up possibilities for a renewal of local affections and attentions? What challenges are likely to arise in the coming months and years? What strategies should localists pursue? 

Four long-time Porchers joined us for this conversation: Patrick Deneen, Bill Kauffman, Katherine Dalton, and Jeff Polet.

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