Free Range Kids Founder Lenore Skenazy Talks About Her Two New Inititiaves, Let Grow Play Club and Let Grow Project

Free Range Kids Founder Lenore Skenazy Talks About Her Two New Inititiaves, Let Grow Play Club and Let Grow Project

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed President of Let Grow and founder of Free Range Kids Lenore Skenazy to the newsmakers line to talk about her two new initiatives.

Leahy: On our newsmaker line, our new friend, Lenore Skenazy, the President of Letgrow.org. And really the founder of the Free Range Kids Movement. So, Lenore, I have a question for you. Are you open to it?

Skenazy: I thought you had a great idea for me.

Leahy: I do. I have a question for you. So first, before we get to our idea, why don’t you describe some of the K8 projects that Let Grow has currently?

Skenazy: Oh, thank you so much. Sure. So we just have two school initiatives. They’re both free. So it’s not like I’m selling something. One is like I was telling you before the Let Grow Play Club. We encourage schools to open before after school for kid-led, no adult. There’s an adult in the corner with an EpiPen. But otherwise, it’s just kids playing. And throw a lot of junk out there balls and jump ropes and cardboard boxes.

And if you need some help organizing that or dealing with it, how do you explain it to parents and make them see that it’s not just a waste of time. You can get what we call our instruction kit or something at Letgrow.org. And the other thing is the Let Grow Project. And this is a homework assignment that teachers give kids anywhere from K through eighth grade that says, go home and do something new on your own without an adult.

Without your parents. And of course, you talk about it with your parents. But it’s just to renormalize the idea of kids running an errand. Kids walking to school. Kids go over to a friend’s house. Kids making dinner because parents have been so frightened by this whole culture that is telling them that any time that they’re not helping their kid or watching their kids, their kids in danger, that they don’t even know how to let go anymore.

So I don’t blame them because they’re living in a culture where Parents Magazine says, don’t let your kids ever have a play date without you listening to make sure that they don’t have an argument because if they do, you want to jump in. I mean, Parents Magazine theme has been telling parents that kids can’t do anything safely on their own and that they will live to regret it.

And so the Let Grow Project, because it comes from a teacher just gives parents permission to say, you know what? You can let your eight-year-old walk outside, your nine-year-old go run an errand, and your five-year-old play on the lawn. It’s up to you, but it renormalizes it because everybody at the school is doing it. You’re not the crazy mom. You’re not Lenore. (Chuckles)

You’re just doing something for homework. So those are our two school initiatives. And then the other thing that Let Grow is working on is we are trying to encourage states to change their neglect laws to make sure that like playing outside or walking to school or staying home briefly by yourself, that’s not considered neglect. We want neglect to be actual neglect, not trusting kids with a little bit of independence when the parents feel their children are ready.

Leahy: All very good stuff. So you’re ready for my big idea and like to throw it out there?

Skenazy: I can’t wait. I need a new idea.

Leahy: Well, I’d like to see if you might have an interest. There are some people here in Tennessee that might be interested in starting perhaps a statewide pilot program. Here’s the idea. Let Grow Baseball.

Skenazy: I bet I know what it is. I’m guessing it’s just sort of getting initiative like it’s Saturday morning kids go play baseball.

Leahy: Yeah, well, the idea would be maybe to work with little leagues and maybe even some professional baseball teams to set up everywhere and every county. There are 95 counties in Tennessee, fields where kids can go, perhaps have one adult there, just so that in case somebody falls and needs to go to the hospital, they could take them.

But basically, this is a field that’s open all the time in the summer, in the spring, in the fall, where our kids can go and play baseball and self organize and play baseball the way their dads and their grandfather’s and their great grandfather’s did in America for years and years and years before. That’s the big idea. What do you think?

Skenazy: I absolutely love it. It’s actually an idea that we’ve kicked around something like this. One of our co-founders of Let Grow is a guy named Peter Gray.

Leahy: Dr. Peter Gray, Boston College.

Skenazy: Yes, exactly. Oh, my God. Yes. And so Peter Gray said, why can’t we get sand block baseball going again? Which it sounds like what you’re talking about.

Leahy: That’s exactly right.

Skenazy: The fields are there, but nobody thinks to go, because unless you’re in an organized activity, we sort of think that baseball is just for three-hour practices a week. And we just have to renormalize the idea of kids getting up and going out. And so, yes, figure out how to make it happen. I mean, really, you need two things to happen.

One is for kids to recognize that there are going to be other kids outside. So there will be somebody for them to play with. And then two weeks for parents. Well, I guess you need a couple of things. Two weeks for parents to let them go and not think that the parents have to be in the bleachers all day. No parent wants to be outside as long as a kid wants to be outside. Kids want to be out longer because they just want to play.

And no parent wants to stay there from eight in the morning till seven at night on a Sunday like you used to spend. And then I think it behooves your state to consider what we call a reasonable childhood independence law, which used to be called the Free Range Kids Law when it was passed in Utah, which is just what we were talking about before. Making sure that it’s not mistaken for neglect by letting your kids go outside and play baseball for three hours while you’re at home doing whatever else you prefer to do.

Leahy: That makes an awful lot of sense. I see from his biography that Dr. Peter Gray was the co-founder of Let Grow at letgrow.org. I see from his biography that he grew up in small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He’s a little older than I am. I’m betting every summer he’d go out and play baseball in a sandlot.

Skenazy: Believe me, he did that. And even in winter in Minnesota, he was outside. In the winter he was ice skating, and in the summer he was fishing. And actually, he took a test recently to see, is your child an addict? Because he also believes that his kids like playing video games. That’s not the end of the world either. You don’t want them only doing that, but kids are allowed to have some fun.

And when he took the test are like, do you always think about this activity? Did you wake up and think about this activity? Have you skipped school to think about this activity? And he realized as a child he had been a fishing addict because all he would do was he would just be so interested in getting that pole and going off to wherever the fishing hole was. And look, he ended up a Professor at Boston College. I don’t think all that time spent playing baseball, fishing, hanging out outside, and sometimes even skipping school, just because he had the drive to do something else and some fascination with something.

I mean, what I worry about is the kids growing up being driven from one activity to the other they like them and its fine and I did that with my kids. But when you have some free unstructured time without an adult telling you what to do and why it’s good for you, you develop something else and that’s this internal sense of I can handle things. Life is interesting. I’m pretty intrepid. And without that internal locus of control, you’re very depressed. It’s like going to a job every day where you’re micromanaged. The assumption is that kids today are having higher levels of depression and anxiety because everything is done with them and for them and they dont’ get to do anything on their own.

Leahy: They have no agency, no control.

Skenazy: Yes, absolutely.

Leahy: So Here’s what I’d like you to consider.

If you and Dr. Peter Gray, let’s set up a phone call, and let’s plan this thing out and introduce Let Grow Sandlot Baseball or whatever you want to call it. We’ll introduce Let Grow Sandlot Baseball to every County in Tennessee. The fields are there. We just need to get some private money into it. And I can tell you right now in Tennessee, I’ve been talking to a number of Little League people and some professional major league sports teams that I think would be very interested in helping this happen. And Tennessee of course is the best state in the country to start this…

Skenazy: Because…

Leahy: Because we want to do it because, of course, we have no state income tax, and we have a tradition of freedom and liberty. And it’s, of course, the volunteer state.

Skenazy: Oh, that’s right. I’m thinking about the license plate. Yeah, well, the ideas of freedom and liberty are pretty much dead if you think that people need constant supervision. And that’s what we’re raising kids with. The idea that they’re never safe, and they shouldn’t even feel safe unless somebody else is always watching them, either in person or electronically. And I want to contract this idea that no, actually, you yourself are okay. You can handle things. The world is your oyster. It’s not a threat. So I think it has to start pretty young, and that’s what Let Grow is about.

So we’ll have our first phone call with the Let Grow Sandlot Baseball-Tennessee Star idea. And then we’ll invite you down here to Nashville. You and Dr. Peter Gray to talk to some baseball people. Look at some fields, and let’s get this thing rolling.

Skenazy: Let’s aim for the stand. Now you know how little I know about baseball. That wall at the back. How about a home run.

Leahy: If you build it, they will come.

Skenazy: Especially if you don’t go there with them.

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

Precipice of Tyranny: Liberal Feminist and Author Naomi Wolf Sounds the Alarm on the Rise of Facism and Censorship in America

Precipice of Tyranny: Liberal Feminist and Author Naomi Wolf Sounds the Alarm on the Rise of Facism and Censorship in America

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed liberal, feminist, author, and freedom lover Naomi Wolf to the newsmakers line to talk about the rising tides of fascism in the United States.

Leahy: In studio, the all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. And on our newsmaker line, we are delighted to have an interview with someone I never thought I would ever have a chance to interview, Naomi Wolf who is a graduate of Yale and a Road Scholar, was an advisor to the 1996 Bill Clinton campaign and the 2000 Al Gore campaign. Turns out, I think we have something in common now. Welcome Naomi, thanks for joining us.

Wolf: Thank you so much for having me. Good morning.

Leahy: Well, your appearances on Tucker Carlson were just fantastic. You are a liberal, you’re a feminist author, a journalist, but you are decrying censorship and lack of freedom in America. Tell us a little bit about what you stand for and what the reaction has been to you.

Wolf: Sure. Well, I did go on Tucker Carlson twice, and I spoke about my concerns that we’re in a time of what I call Step 10 of the 10 Steps to Fascism. I wrote a book describing 10 steps to fascism 12 years ago, and we’re literally here at the precipice of tyranny. And it’s been coming for a while. But my argument, I’m trying to kind of warn people, and a lot of people are aware, they just want kind of more detail, that under the guise of what has been a real medical crisis our rights and freedoms are being suspended and withdrawn, and specifically about censorship.

All tyrants, censor. that is common in a police state, whether it’s on the left or on the right totalitarian or fascist. And I’m very concerned seeing the erasure or purging of conservative voices from social media. It’s not good for our country. Yes, I’m liberal, but we need a free America and we have First Amendment rights for a reason. And these private platforms are free to purge voices, but they’re purging conservatives. And then when I spoke up to unite across left and right and to reclaim America and to reclaim our Constitution, I was purged. (Chuckles)  So that was one of the things I was discussing.

Leahy: How surprised were you, Naomi, that you were purged when you started to speak up because you’re a very well-known American liberal thinker?

Wolf: Well, certainly it was more like shocked. And the thing about those kinds of suspensions. I was suspended from Twitter three times, from Facebook video, and on several platforms. They never really give you the exact reason. A nominal reason was medical misinformation. But I’ve been saying the same things and critiquing aspects of this pandemic advice, which I think is being kind of exploited by some bad actors like Big Pharma and Big Tech just for profit. I’ve been saying the same thing for a year.

So it was notable that only after I was on a national television show with well known conservative that I got booted. I’m very concerned. I mean, look, having studied closing societies for 12 years and warning about encroaching fascism for 12 years it’s not the first time I’ve been warning people about this. It’s just we’ve gone further than ever. And it’s more kind of Draconian-like. Massachusetts is under emergency law.

New York is under emergency law. California is under emergency law. I can’t say how serious that is, right? In America, it’s more like, yes, it’s bad that it happened to me, but it’s bad that it’s happening. And once people start to be censored, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? You don’t know what you’re not hearing. You don’t know what news you’re not getting.

And also, once people start to be censored because of their political views, we can’t unite as a people against oligarchs. And basically, that’s what I see happening which is that the left and right are becoming really less important. And what’s really important is that we need to unite a kind of freedom against tyranny. We need to have these partisan discussions across party lines so we can mobilize quickly to regain our rights because there’s a certain point at which it’s really too late. And so when you start to have censorship, that becomes much less possible.

Leahy: Naomi, our all-star panelist here Crom Carmichael has a question for you.

Carmichael: Naomi, I can name some Republicans who would agree with you. I’m talking about now Republicans that are holding office. Can you name any Democrats who are holding office with the exception of maybe Tulsi Gabbard, and I’m not even sure she is still in office. Can you name any Democrats who agree with you office holders?

Wolf: Oh, gosh, that’s a tough question. I’m glad you said ‘who hold office’ because there are many, many decent, patriotic liberals like me at a grassroots level who are just ordinary Americans and are horrified about what’s happening around them. No, I can’t. I confess I cannot name people on a national leadership level who are speaking out against the silencing of conservative voices. They should.

There’s a reason for that, which is these tech platforms are some of the biggest donors on the Democratic side. And I am a Democrat, right? Both parties have their big special interests like the Republicans have guns and fossil fuels. So they’re not speaking up against guns and fossil fuels. Maybe they should. But no, at a national level, I have not, sadly, heard other Democrats say this is not good for America.

It may be convenient that President Trump was banned from Twitter. It may be convenient that Ben Shapiro was told that he might be kicked off of Amazon servers. But that’s bad for America. And the other problem is, these giant tech platforms are private companies, so they can do that. So we really need to have a reckoning as Americans. And one of the dangers of lockdown is that we can’t gather in the town hall.

We can’t gather in churches, in synagogues, or even comfortably on the street in Massachusetts, where I live. Where there’s a nonsensical mask mandate and speak to our neighbors in clean public spaces. And I think that’s one reason, like the tech companies prolong lockdowns and are kind of behind some of these ridiculous policies to force us to wear masks to keep us out of gathering and assembling, which is our First Amendment because it’s a war against human spaces. Because in human spaces, we can say, look, let’s unite and talk about this and create other spaces to have these big civil conversations.

Leahy: Naomi, are you optimistic or pessimistic about our ability to stop this movement as you describe, toward fascism in the country?

Wolf: Well, I’m very, very worried. I mean, it depends on us, right? We don’t have much time. I do see more and more awakening. I do see more and more people across the divide that are not sleepwalking into whatever Dr. Fauci says we ‘have to do.’ I do see parents across the political divide very upset that their kids have been out of school for a year or are forced to wear masks in school for no good reason.

Draconian measures controlling every aspect of their lives. I do see people saying I should be be able to reopen my business. But we are under emergency powers like I am a very privileged American, and in the state of Massachusetts, there is nothing I can do to reopen my society. There’s nothing I can do to help small business owners I know, reopen to full capacity.

There’s nothing I can do to take the masks off kids’ faces or off my own face. I risk a fine walking outside by myself if I’m not wearing a mask. That’s what tyranny looks like. We have no time at all. And I’m really glad we’re having conversations like this because we all have to literally rise up peacefully and start doing a bunch of things, including running candidates at the state level to reclaim statehood and ban emergency measures.

Leahy: Naomi Wolf, American Liberal, author, supporter of freedom. Thanks so much for joining us here today on the Tennessee Star Report. Will you come back?

Wolf: Anytime. Thank you so much.

Leahy: We appreciate your coming on.

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio
Photo “Dr. Naomi Wolf” by Naomi Wolf.

 

 

 

 

Back From CPAC, Republican Robby Starbuck Discusses His Priorities in the Race for Nashville’s Fifth Congressional District

Back From CPAC, Republican Robby Starbuck Discusses His Priorities in the Race for Nashville’s Fifth Congressional District

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Republican candidate for Nashville’s fifth district Robby Starbuck to the newsmakers line to discuss his appearance at CPAC over the weekend, what motivated him to run for office, and his top priorities.

Leahy: We are joined by Robby Starbuck who gave a great speech at CPAC the other day and was very well received. Attacking big Tech in his Monopoly. He’s running for congress here in the fifth congressional district in Davidson County. Good morning, Robby.

Starbuck: Good morning Michael. How are you doing today? Thanks for having me.

Leahy: Well, happy birthday. Your birthday was over the weekend and you announced for Congress and gave a ten-minute speech that was very well received at CPAC. How did that come about?

Starbuck: Well, that’s actually you know, that’s an interesting question. It’s a long line, like anything good in life a lot of good people telling good people, hey,  you should meet this person and you should meet this person. I mean that’s kind of the nature of life. So eventually it got to the people who run CPAC. And they reached out to me or like hey, we’ve been told that you’re doing great things and we looked you up. We saw what you had to say. We watched some of your other speeches and we would love to have you. And it was really that simple.

Leahy: You’re a director and producer known for your cinematic style that you’ve brought to the music video genres. You’ve directed a number of Hollywood stars like Natalie Portman, Jamie Foxx, Brad Pitt, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel.

Starbuck: That’s right.

Leahy: You have quite a background there. What happened when you said you were a Republican back in 2015?

Starbuck: I don’t think there’s anything worse you can say in Hollywood than admitting you are a Republican. So it didn’t go. You go from being invited to all the parties and all that stuff, which I never went to anyways and never liked. I was never one of those people. But you’re invited to everything and everybody loves you and blah blah blah and you come out and say you’re a Republican and it’s like telling them you’re a leper and you want to touch them. (Leahy chuckles) 

It’s the worst possible thing you could do. But I would do it over and over again And I said that in the CPAC speech that I would do it over and over again despite the loss of business and the way my kids were treated and all that. Freedom runs in my DNA from my family coming here from Cuba. I will always be eternally grateful to America because I would not be alive if it were not for the existence of America.

So every chance I get to stand up for freedom I will take it and I will do it. And I saw the signs many years ago that what happened in Cuba could happen here. And when it got to that boiling point where I knew I had to make a decision about whether to keep my career or to speak up, it was a very easy decision for me. One because of what happened in my family. Leftism stole everything from them in Cuba. And I mean literally everything.

But secondarily because I know that if I didn’t do anything one day when I go to heaven my grandma would be waiting there with a shoe and she’d be smacking me with it for the rest of eternity. And she would rather me take that beautiful experience and have turned it into help for me hitting me with that shoe if I didn’t do something now. So it was a very clear decision that I had to do something.

Leahy: When did you formally announce your candidacy for the Republican nomination in the fifth congressional district here in Nashville?

Starbuck: Well, I first actually did it after the election in November because I was so upset about how things were running. And sort of how some of the establishment were defending the ideals that I hold, which when I say defending, I mean they were not defending it. And so I felt like I’ve got to stand up and do something. And I also saw a great opportunity to get rid of one of the Cooper’s because I don’t know that I have met very many people in Nashville who care for the Coopers. And I think that is the best opportunity there’s ever been to get one of them out of office.

Leahy: Now, do you have a campaign website?

Starbuck: For now people can go to FreedomForever.us. People who live here for have lived here for a long time will know that we have to redistrict this year. And so there’s a minute possibility the district name or number rather changes. So we’re waiting another week or two before we do the filing where we’ll start fundraising doing all that stuff. But you can sign up at FreedomForever.us right now to sign up to volunteer.

We’re also going to help other candidates who don’t have as much of a national platform that are great candidates because I think one of the problems we have in America as you know, we’ve seen some of these people who are just there in there for 20 terms and they’re not doing anything. All they’ve done is rename a post office in the 20 years they’ve been there or 40 years whatever it is.

And we need real fighters for America and fighters for freedom. So I’m going to do everything I can to help other candidates that really have sort of the more American agenda that we can help with. And if I can use that platform to help others I will. FreedomForever.us is the best place for us to do that.

Leahy: FreedomForever.us. Now tell us about the redistricting you anticipate for I haven’t seen a lot that says that the fifth district will be that much different in the 2022 election than it is in 2020. Do you have any indication that will be significantly different?

Starbuck: I think that it will be. I do. I think people are going to be surprised. I do think that they will re-district the fifth and we have the room to do it. If you go back a decade ago and you take a look at a lot of the redistricting plans there were you can look and see that those outer districts if you go back when you say hey, what would have happened in these elections had we done it 10 years ago? We would have won every one of those districts by significant margins and we would have won the Nashville district five and done so easily.

I think it’s a no-brainer and I think a lot of people in the legislature understand that. But it’s a no-brainer to better represent the will of citizens here in Tennessee. And if you look at a state like Tennessee you look the way we vote and you go around anywhere it’s insane that we have two people in Congress who are Democrats in the state of Tennessee. Not just Democrats, but they’re voting you know with the far left many times. The very far left. We’re not talking about the blue dog Democrats of 20 years ago. It’s a very different party now.

Leahy: If elected, what would be your first top priority?

Starbuck: My top priority not just when I’m first elected, but for the entire time would be to protect and expand freedom. And that’s the lens I’m going to look at everything through. Am I protecting freedom and my expanding it and I’m making life better for people? If things are not making life better or easier for people in this district and it’s not expanding and protecting freedoms that they have here, then it’s not something that I’m going to throw my weight behind. But those are the very simple things and I’m going to look through the lens of when I’m looking at policy.

Leahy: Your speech was about pushing back against Big Tech. What specific legislation in Congress would you support to push back against Big Tech?

Starbuck: So I support Josh Hawley’s model. I want to break up Big Tech. You look at the effect it had on small businesses. Let’s take Amazon for instance. We used to do this as Republicans. We used to trust-bust. And these companies like Amazon, they’ve destroyed small businesses. So many small business owners have lost their businesses lost their way of life because Amazon was allowed to play really dirty games with how they grew their company.

They did it in a way where their business model was essentially to lose money in order to choke out small businesses until they had such a large market share that they couldn’t be beat anymore. And so we need to look at those companies through that lens. And then on top of that there’s just the freedom of expression issue. Social media has turned into the public square and we need to treat it that way.

And people whether they are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or a Communist I believe you have the right to your voice in the public square. And I think we have seen far too much censorship. We’re seeing now with the Amazon they cancel conservative books even. And you have the majority of books sold on Amazon. All of these companies, social media companies, and big tech companies as a whole largely need to be broken up. And the few that do not need to be broken up do need some regulations in place that make it very clear that they cannot discriminate against people for their political beliefs.

Leahy: Do you support or oppose the revocation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the Communications Act of 1996, which provides litigation liability against censorship efforts by Facebook, Google Twitter, and that crowd?

Starbuck: Yeah, so the truth is the best way to handle 230, for now, is to rewrite it. We need to rewrite it, but it can’t be entirely cooled because what will happen then is and I think for a lot of people this hasn’t been explained fully, but what would happen if we pull 230 entirely? And we just got rid of it with nothing in its place? Then social media companies would not allow you to post immediately.

So if there were some big event happening today and you wanted to post about it and you said oh I saw this great speech today blah blah blah you would submit it and Twitter would have to hold that Tweet and have it reviewed by legal to ensure that it was not something that they saw as a legal issue. And so I don’t think that that is something Americans want to deal with when you’d have to wait a week for your posts to be approved. So I think revising it and making it very clear is the path forward.

Leahy: Robby Starbuck director and candidate for Congress in the fifth congressional district for the Republican nomination. Will you come in studio and talk more with us in the future?

Starbuck: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would have done it today. If it was just this was so tight coming back.

Leahy: We got you on that one, Robby. Thanks so much for joining us. Have a great day. We look forward to seeing you in the studio.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio
Photo “Robby Starbuck” by Robby Starbuck.