The Analyst: Paul Lisnek, WGN-TV

Paul Lisnek is the Emmy-award winning host of Politics Tonight on CLTV News in Chicago and the political analyst at WGN-TV. In our final episode of 2016, Lisnek weighs in on the historic year in presidential politics, the challenges of social media and the responsibilities of news providers – and consumers.

The Obama Chronicler: David Mendell

David Mendell is an award-winning journalist and author of the 2007 book, Obama: From Promise To Power. David covered Barack Obama all the way back in 2003 when the Illinois State Senator ran as a candidate for the U.S. Senate race. Now, with just five weeks left in his second term in White House, Mendell talks about his memories of the the man when nobody knew him – and about Obama’s high points and low points as our country’s 44th president. Michael quotes the Afterword of the upcoming re-issue of Mendell’s book, scheduled for release in February, 2017.

Village Voice Contributor: Ross Barkan

During the summer of 2016, while covering the Donald Trump presidential campaign for the newspaper owned by Trump’s son in law, reporter Ross Barkan took a stand. He saw a conflict of interest, called it out, and risked his own career to do what he believed was right. Ross tells his true tale on this edition of the Mean, and also analyzes the challenges ahead both for the President-Elect and the Democratic Party.

The Scholarship Provider: David Scherer, Cofounder, One Million Degrees

On Thanksgiving Day, David Scherer and Michael talk about the scholarship program they cofounded 10 years ago. One Million Degrees has raised more than $12 million and currently serves 668 community college scholars in the state of Illinois. With a graduation rate above 70 percent, OMD empowers hard-working scholars to achieve their degrees and build successful careers. David tells the story of how it all started and why the program continues to thrive!

Post-Election Commentary & Author Jonathan Rauch

Three days after the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, the “Mean” breaks it all down. In the first part of the program, Michael shares his thoughts about the race and what may lay ahead. Then we hear from Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Scholar and author of “Political Realism: How hacks, machines, big money, and back-room deals can strengthen American democracy.”

The Predictor: Josh Kraushaar, Political Editor at National Journal

Josh Kraashaur knows the numbers as well as anybody, and the Political Editor at National Journal breaks down the presidential race and Senate matchups just a day away from Election Day! Who’ll win the White House? Who’ll hold the majorities on Capitol Hill? Listen to Josh!

Wall Street Journal Congressional Reporter: Kristina Peterson

Only days before the 2016 presidential election, Wall Street Journal veteran journalist Kristina Peterson weighs in on the race and what we can expect from the 115th Congress. Kristina knows Capitol Hill inside and out, and she shares her perspective on what’s working and what’s broken in our congressional system. Tune in to this episode of the “Mean” to hear a genuine pro!

Former U.S. Senator: Jon Kyl

Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R) welcomes the “Mean” into his home in Phoenix, Arizona for a wide-ranging conversation about the problems and challenges in American democracy. The Senator and Michael exchange perspectives on campaign finance reform, the length of U.S. House terms, and the critical issue of long-term fiscal solvency in our country.

The Slugger: Jermaine Dye – World Series MVP of 2005

As the Chicago Cubs try to win their first World Series since 1908, the MVP from the 2005 Series, Chicago White Sox slugger Jermaine Dye, joins the “Mean” and says he’s all in when it comes to cheering for a Northsiders’ championship! Jermaine explains his admiration for Cubs’ Manager Joe Maddon, whom he describes as a great example of a “players’ manager.” He also talks about what the World Series meant to him and Chicago a decade ago, and what a Cubs championship would mean to the city in 2016!

Maryland Congressman: John Sarbanes

A champion for reforming the dirty river of money in Washington, Congressman John Sarbanes (D) talks about how his “Government By The People Act” would return the power back to every day Americans. Sarbanes also talks about our country’s challenges with health care and rebuilding our infrastructure – and connects them right back to the “money flood” problem on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve always been curious about and attracted to innovative ideas and the people who turn them into realities. That intrigue was the genesis of ‘The Golden Mean.’ I hope you'll tune in here for fascinating one-on-one interviews with a diverse spectrum of captivating personalities and interesting thinkers. Please give us a listen!”