the inspired minds podcast

Join Sam and Rick as they go in search of ideas for restoring American civic virtue.

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Laura Heymann – Section 230 and the Future of Free Speech on the Internet

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by William & Mary law school professor Laura Heymann to discuss Section 230, which recently has been in the news as people across the political spectrum have called for its repeal. The conversation begins by examining the nature and intent of Section 230 and why internet content is treated differently from newspaper or book publishers. The discussion then dives deeper into the implications of Section 230 on the First Amendment and free speech generally, along with the costs and benefits of social media and internet content as it relates to civil discourse.

Laura Heymann is Chancellor Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School. Prior to joining the faculty in 2005, Professor Heymann was the inaugural Frank H. Marks Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Administrative Fellow in the Intellectual Property Law Program at The George Washington University Law School. She has also served as an assistant general counsel at America Online, Inc., and as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering in Washington, D.C. She also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Professor Heymann has received several awards for her teaching and served as Vice Dean of the William & Mary Law School from 2013 to 2017. She has published numerous scholarly articles in the areas of copyright law, trademark law, and naming, including recently “The Satellite Has No Conscience: Section 230 in a World of ‘Alternative Facts’.”

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Minnijean Brown Trickey & Spirit Tawfiq – Education and Storytelling to Forge Social Justice

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Minnijean Brown Trickey and Spirit Tawfiq to discuss storytelling and education as catalysts of change, particularly in relation to racism and social justice. Through their conversation they examine America’s need for a more inclusive and complete telling of our history, developing a vocabulary for talking about racism as a means to bring bigger change, and educating young people to become societal change agents against racial injustice.  

Minnijean Brown Trickey is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” the students who desegregated Little Rock High School in 1957. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her community work for social justice, including a Lifetime Achievement Tribute by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the International Wolf Award for contributions to racial harmony.  With the Little Rock Nine, she received the NAACP Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Work in Native Human Services from Laurentian University and Master of Social Work from Carleton University, in Ontario Canada, and is the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates.  

Ms. Trickey  is the subject of a documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which has received critical acclaim in international film festivals across the globe.  She has been featured on Oprah, People Magazine, Newsweek, the Ottawa Citizen, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, CNN, the History Channel Turning Points in History, and the HBO documentary, Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later. 

Spirit Tawfiq is an Antiracism Educator & founder of Roots of the Spirit, an organization created to uproot racism through Storytelling, Education and the Arts. She is the creator and host of Roots of the Spirit Podcast, a space to galvanize change through honest conversations about identity, “race,” racism and intersecting social justice issues.

As a professional speaker and playwright, Spirit speaks and hosts workshops in k-12 classrooms, colleges, universities and organizations about her legacy as the daughter of Minnijean Brown Trickey, inspiring people from all walks of life to discover their own roots and our interconnected history.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Jacob hundt – Community, common values, & Education

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Jacob Hundt for a discussion on education as a means of engaging together in community. The conversation explores the influence of common values and shared stories, the value of experiential learning, and the role that conversations in the classroom play in creating moments for personal and intellectual growth.

A big thank you to guest Jacob Hundt. Jacob is a founder and current Director of Thoreau College in Viroqua, Wisconsin. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin. He studied at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, earning a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences.  Since 2004, he has worked as a trained Waldorf high school teacher and guidance counselor at Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua and was a founding board member and instructor of the Driftless Folk School.  Jacob is passionate about the importance of the liberal arts for our civilization and has created a model that enables students to freely choose a post-secondary education dedicated to the cultivation of thinking, feeling, and willing.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Lee Rasch – Ethics in Politics

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Lee Rasch to discuss ethical leadership in politics. Beginning the conversation, they define ethical leadership and then delve deeper, contemplating tough questions: how did Americans become so politically polarized? How do we find middle ground? And what can the average citizen do to encourage responsible and ethical political leadership? 

A big thank you to guest Lee Rasch. Lee founded LeaderEthics-Wisconsin, a non-profit/non-partisan organization committed to promoting ethical leadership among elected officials, in 2018. He serves as the Executive Director of the organization. Prior to this experience, he served as President of Western Technical College from 1989 to 2017. Throughout his career, he has actively promoted leadership development, continuous improvement, economic development and sustainability at the national, statewide and local levels. He has written articles and given numerous presentations on these topics. Lee was Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Wisconsin Technical College System for more than 15 years, and he was a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1994 and 1996. In his spare time, Lee sings in a quartet and plays bass guitar in a rock band.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

andrew o’shaughnessy – Thomas Jefferson’s legacy

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy to discuss the civic importance of education, especially as Thomas Jefferson viewed it in the context of the American experiment. Examining the principles of the founders, in particular Jefferson, they discuss how education can teach us to put aside self-interest for the public good and the role of education in America’s progress as a nation. Additionally, they discuss Jefferson’s optimistic view of America and the continued debate over the complex legacy of the founders.

A big thank you to guest Andrew O’Shaughnessy. Andrew is Vice President of Monticello, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean and The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire. The latter received eight national awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Society of Military History Book Prize. His newest book, The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind:’Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University, will be released in 2021.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Crista Valentino – Youth Engagement & Conservation

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam discuss youth engagement and leadership with guest Crista Valentino. They touch on youth engagement, and how youth are making a difference in conservation and the world today. Sam and Rick bring the discussion full circle by connecting youth engagement and empowerment to American civic virtue. 

A big thank you to guest Crista Valentino! Crista founded CoalitionWILD in 2013 based on the recognition that youth leadership in conservation is an untapped potential for positive change. She continues to be an international spokesperson and advocate for the integration and support of youth in leadership and decision making about the planet. With a decade of experience navigating collaborations with global environmental leaders and fostering grassroots community action, Crista’s work bridges the gap found between generations, cultures, and tactics to bring about sustained change for the future.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 


Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Joseph Bruchac – THE POWER OF STORIES

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam begin with a discussion about the role that stories and storytelling play in our lives, particularly that stories express virtue and help us make sense of our world. They are joined by Joseph Bruchac, renowned storyteller and writer, who elaborates on the power storytelling has on us and those around us. 

A big thank you to guest Joe Bruchac! For over forty years Joe has been creating literature and music that reflect his indigenous heritage and traditions. He is a proud Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and respected elder among his people. As an award-winning storyteller, Joe has shared tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands around the world. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults, and in 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

rusty cunningham – WISDOM & JOURNALISM

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam continue their discussion of American civic virtue, highlighting wisdom and its role in American media and culture. The conversation continues as they are joined by guest host, Rusty Cunningham. Please join them as they contemplate journalism and its relationship to wisdom. 

A big thank you to guest host, Rusty Cunningham! Rusty recently retired as executive editor of the La Crosse Tribune and River Valley. He has been a journalist for more than four decades — the last 41 with Lee Enterprises — and is the fourth consecutive member of his family to serve as a journalist. He and wife Gail have a son, Corey, a doctor of musical arts from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

daniel wildcat – Indigenuity

Join Sam and Rick as they kick off their first episode of the Inspired Minds Podcast, as they search for ideas to restore American civic virtue.  In today’s episode, Rick and Sam discuss the meaning of values and virtue and their relationship to American civics, as well as the connection between civic virtue and climate change. Later, they are joined by guest speaker Daniel Wildcat for a discussion about “indigenuity” (indigenous ingenuity) – drawing on ancient wisdom to solve contemporary problems. 

A big thank you to guest speaker Daniel Wildcat! Dan is a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. He is director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Center and member of the Indigenous & American Indian Studies Program at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Dr. Wildcat has been an invited speaker on American Indian worldviews at Goddard Space Flight Center, National Museum of the American Indian. Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth College, University of Kansas Medical School, Kansas State University, University of California (Riverside) and many other institutions. He is the author and editor of several books, including Power and Place: Indian Education In America, with Vine Deloria, Jr.; and Red Alert: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West