Aspen Real, But We Gotta Go.

July 2, 2015

The 3rd or 4th week of September is the best time of year to watch Aspen’s colorful aspens become colorful in Aspen.


Today on StandUP!

This is the last live broadcast from the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival, but tomorrow we will be airing a “Best of Fest” highlight some of the many great guests we had this week. Tune in while you drive/grill/eat/sleep.

First up today was Shadi Hamid, Fellow for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, whose most recent book is “Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East.” Shadi and Pete took a tour of Middle East politics, with long layovers in Syria and Iran.

In hour two, Pete had a chance to meet David Frum face-to-face. Though the former George W. Bush speechwriter and current Senior Writer at The Atlantic, the two have never been in the same room together. Frum and Pete went back and forth on myriad issues, and Pete even tried to get David to try, or at least smell, one of Colorado’s newly legal products. No dice. Here, Frum talks Donald Trump:



Then, we said hello to a fellow New Yorker attending #AspenIdeas, Professor of Business Ethics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Jonathan Haidt. Known for his TED talks and his bestselling book “The Righteous Mind,” Pete and Jonathan talked about America’s political divide and whether Wall Streets business ethics are as bonkers as they seem, or if our perspective is just skewed.

At the top of hour three, we welcomed Martin Walsh, Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts. Some of my favorite people are mayors, and true to form, Mayor Walsh and Pete had a great conversation. Topics ranged from Boston’s seemingly endless well of sports-based pride, environmentalism and sustainability, and how America’s recent focus on race relations is being received and discussed:



Out last guest of the day, and the week in Aspen, was Heather McGhee, President of Demos, a public policy organization and think tank. Heather actually shined quite a bit of light on the role a group like Demos plays in politics and how sometimes the best way to approach and issue or pundit is in terms of “Inside the Beltway” and “Outside the Beltway.” Hint: One is more reasonable and prone to common sense, the other is a straight up agenda pusher.

Wow. That’s it. Game over. Have fun on Independence Day. Let’s meet back here Monday.


Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to figure out if those were firecrackers or gunshots.





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July 1, 2015

The largest silver nugget ever mined came from Aspen’s Smuggler mine in 1894, weighing 2,300 pounds.


Today on StandUP!


I can’t believe this is Aspen, Day Three! Of course, I also can’t believe any of my old girlfriends are married with families and happy lives, but there they are on Facebook…living. laughing. loving. Sigh.

After some frank and honest discussion about how Donald Trump could possibly be second in polling amongst Republican candidates, Julia Feder and Kristin Ferguson joined us from the U.S. Green Building Council to help take our minds to a different place, a place where environmentally friendly, energy efficient buildings are growing in number throughout the country, with the aid of their organization.

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations joined us once again. His position gives him the inside track on global politics, so we savor every moment to pick his brain and chide him about the expansive power he obviously wields as head of the New World Order. Here, Richard Haass puts Russian President Vladimir Putin in a historical context:


In the back half of hour two, Pete welcomed Jonathan Ferrara, owner of a New Orleans art gallery bearing his name. Mr. Ferrara is speaking at Aspen Ideas this year on the exhibit he curates in New Orleans, “Guns in the Hands of Artists,” in which art and creativity are used to transform tools of death into works of art meant to provoke thought and discussion about their true nature.

We began hour three with another one of our Aspen Ideas favorites, Grover Norquist. As President of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has amassed nearly as much political capital as enemies. He and Pete don’t agree on anything, really, but there is a mutual admiration that comes through every discussion, like this one, in which Pete asks Grover is he would smoke pot in Colorado, where it is now perfectly legal:



Next, we sat down with with NPR special correspondent and one of the hosts of “All Thing’s Considered,” Michele Norris. She’s here at Aspen Ideas to discuss the “Race Card Project,” which seeks to address the issue of race in America by asking people to sum up their thoughts on it in 6 words on a card. From there, a deeper understanding can often be found.

Our final guest on day three was Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett. In her role, Jarrett oversees the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls. She and Pete talked briefly about the sweeping changes and victories that occurred in the back half of Obama’s presidency, from same-sex marriage to the ACA and the President’s big win on trade. Here, she describes just how the White House went technicolor for same-sex marriage:



Coming up tomorrow: David Frum, Jonathan Haidt, Boston mayor Martin Walsh and goodbye, Aspen!


Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to look for jobs in Portland.





Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here


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The Ballad of John Dunbar

June 30, 2015

Silver mining made Aspen a boomtown in 1879, only to become solely a ranching town by 1893, when the U.S. returned to the Gold Standard.


Today on StandUP!

Day Two of our week-long broadcast from the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado!

Check out the first half-hour if you like stories about playing catch with celebrities or fly fishing or eating too much marijuana. Check out the rest of the show if you like those things but ALSO very, very, great guests.

President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen, joined us in the back-half of hour one. The main topic of discussion was the Supreme Court. Here, Mr. Rosen weighs in on whether the dominant influence in the court is Chief Justice John Roberts or perpetual swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy:



In hour two, we caught up with journalist, filmmaker, public health advocate and SiriusXM host Perri Peltz. An Aspen resident, Perri is perennially involved in the Aspen Ideas Festival and she shared an inside look at a panel she will be moderating with  Ta-nehisi Coates and others.

Then, Pete welcomed Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans, like Charleston, South Carolina, has a long and complicated history that is greatly intertwined with America’s slave-owning past. Last week, Mayor Landrieu made headlines when, at a conference, he formally apologized for the role his city played in the slave trade. Here, Mayor Landrieu tells Pete that it takes more than removing a flag to remove the disease of racism.



Hour three brought us two great heavy-hitters from The Atlantic, which is fitting since The Atlantic is the main presenter of Aspen Ideas Festival.

James Fallows is the National Correspondent for The Atlantic, an author and a pilot to boot! Today, he and Pete dug deep down on the Iran Nuke Deal and other major new items, like what it’s like to have your plane searched after flying in from a pot-friendly state.

Steve Clemons is the Washington at-large editor for The Atlantic but also Senior Fellow and Founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. Steve is an Aspen Ideas insider, with all the hot tickets and programs to check out. He also makes a killer joke at Pete’s expense near the end of the show. Definitely worth a listen.


Tomorrow, we talk to Richard Haass from the Council on Foreign Relations and NPR’s Michele Norris, among others.


Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to drive to Chisholm, Minnesota to pick up Moonlight.






Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here


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Aspen Ideas Kickoff

June 29, 2015

The Hotel Jerome opened in downtown Aspen in 1889, bringing with it one of the first elevators west of the Mississippi River.


Today on StandUP!

For the third year, Pete & Co. have brought the wagon train out to Aspen, Colorado for the Aspen Ideas Festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. All week long, Pete, Melanie and Alfred will be rubbing elbows with industry leaders, world leaders and thought leaders, all the while eating some of the finest organic hot dogs you’ll ever taste.

But first…there was a little hiccup at the top of the show, which meant I got to basically do whatever I want (play you Pete’s great interview with Fox News anchor and author of the new memoir “Getting Real,” Gretchen Carlson, mainly.)

Then, things took off in earnest, as Pete welcomed his first guest, Atlantic Senior Business Editor Derek Thompson. Derek took us deep inside the economic turmoil Greece is facing right now, where the debt crisis has the potential to affect not only Greeks, but the EU and stock prices around the globe.

At the top of hour two, we spent some time with Michelangelo Signorile, SiriusXM host over on the left-centric Progress channel. Michelangelo gave Pete a first-hand report on the celebration in New York following Friday’s Supreme Court decision, as well as his sharp political assessment of GOP resistence to the ruling, and where things go from here.

Next, Pete spoke to Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn who currently serves as that company’s VP of Product Management. Mr. Blue is at Aspen Ideas to speak about Rework America Connected, an initiative with the Markle Group to help Americans today prepare and take advantage of the technologically connected marketplace of tomorrow. Here, Pete asks Allen Blue about the impact of money on his life, and the impact of LinkedIn on the lives of others.



Hour three began with a quick check-in with Kitty Boone, Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Director of the Aspen Ideas Festival. Kitty gave us all a preview of what to expect from this year’s installment of #AspenIdeas, including the Comedy Night, which will put Pete on stage after the iconic and legendary comic, Katie Couric.

We closed out the first day in Aspen with a great sit-down with an actress whose roles have made her an unmistakable part of the Hollywood landscape: Angela Bassett. She’s speaking this year at Aspen on aging & long term care planning and to help Genworth roll-out the R70i Aging Experience, a revolutionary piece of tech designed to help the user understand and actually FEEL the effects of aging on their body. She also had to break Pete’s heart a bit when she answered his go-to question whenever he’s in Colorado: Have you tried the pot?



Coming up tomorrow from Aspen: The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and much, much more. Also, we’ll find out how many organic hot dogs the gang ate.


Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to book a trip to the Adirondacks.




Miss the show? Catch it here. Listen to some of our favorite interviews here




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