Recent Posts

Margo Jefferson on “Negroland”: KPFK 10/7

MARGO JEFFERSON remembers what she calls “Negroland”—the world of the black elite in the fifties, the world in which she grew up. She won the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for her work at the New York Times; now she’s professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts, and she has a new book out: Negroland: A Memoir.

Also: GREIL MARCUS has written many books, starting with the classic Mystery Train and including the unforgettable Lipstick Traces. Now he has several new books coming out, starting with Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations; then the monumental Real Life Rock, the complete collection of his columns over the last 30 years; and he’s found new way of talking about our past: The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs.

Eat food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants: KPFK 9-30

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Seven little words from MICHAEL POLLAN“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. His number one-bestseller, out now in paperback, is IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Michael is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

Also: HENRY FORD’s Amazon colony — historian GREG GRANDIN tells the story of Ford’s biggest failure.  His book Fordlandia is out now in paperback.

Plus: Politics and modern music: Hitler and Stalin went to the opera, and Joe McCarthy subpoenaed composers. What was going on?  ALEX ROSS explains he’s music critic for The New Yorker, where’s he’s written not only about classical music but also about Bjork, Bob Dylan and Radiohead.  His award-winning book, out now in paperback, is THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the 20th Century, and his famous website is

Pope Frances at the White House: KPFK 9/23

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Pope Francis
met Obama at the White House today, part of his campaign to press the world’s last superpower to do more to care for the planet and its poorest people.  We’ll have comment from NATHAN SCHNEIDER, he wrote about the Pope for the Catholic magazine America and for The Nation.

Plus: Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution – that’s the powerful documentary by STANLEY NELSON about Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, and Fred Hampton, who was killed by the Chicago police in 1969—and about the LA Panther shootout 4 days later. The film opens Friday at the Nuart in LA. WATCH the trailer HERE.
Also: LAILA LALAMI’s amazing novel, The Moor’s Account, is out now in paperback.  It’s a fictional memoir of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave who arrived with conquistadores in Florida in 1527. Laila was born and raised in Morocco and teaches creative writing at UC Riverside; her book was nominated for a Pulitzer and won the American Book Award.


Guns on Campus, Texas Style–KPFK 9/16

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Guns on campus: the Texas story
. The Texas legislature recently voted to allow faculty, staff, visitors and students over age 21 to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.  We’ll have comment from MATT VALENTINE; he teaches writing and photography at UT Austin and wrote about guns on campus for Politico.

Plus: The second Republican debate is tonight: JOHN NICHOLS will review the situation, perhaps mentioning Donald Trump.  John of course is Washington Correspondent for The Nation.

Also: The battle for the beach continues: the rich and powerful who own property along Malibu’s 27-mile coastline fight to keep the public away from the sand and surf in front of their houses. Too often the LA county sherriffs help them. But the coastline belongs to everybody, and we have a right to beach access. Now JENNY PRICE has developed an app that pinpoints beach access points—and provides help when the sherriffs arrive.
GET the app HERE:

Hillary and the left, then and now: KPFK 9/9

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Hillary Clinton spent the first half of her political life denying that she was a feminist or a progressive.
Now that the political forces in the Democratic Party have shifted, she needs to convince progressives that she really is who she was once widely believed to be.  MICHELLE GOLDBERG will explain—she wrote the cover story in The Nation about Hillary.

Plus: Steve Jobs, creator of the iPhone and the iPod, is beloved by millions—yet, as ALEX GIBNEY shows in his documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, he was a ruthless corporate exec who exploited Chinese workers (and his own friends) while claiming to “think different.”  We’ll speak with Alex about the man and the movie. WATCH the trailer HERE.
The ACLU opposes funding body cams for the LAPD, because LAPD policy “undermines transparency and accountability.”  PETER BIBRING will explain.

Also: JULIAN BOND died a few weeks ago – he was a hero of SNCC and the civil rights direct action movement of the sixties, and went on to lead the NAACP. We’ll revisit our 2001 interview with him, where we talked about SNCC’s critique of the NAACP—he remembered it well.

The Fight to Redeem the LAPD: KPFK 9/2

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The LAPD and the battle to redeem American policing
– we’ll speak with JOE DOMANICK, one of our best writers on the police, has a new book out: it’s about the campaign to reform the LAPD after the Rodney King riots, and it’s called Blue.

Also: The summer the confederate flag came down: historian ERIC FONER explains what happened—and why Donald Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship is a bad idea.

PLUS: Big news yesterday: California has agreed to end solitary confinement in state prisons – several thousand people will now be freed from solitary, often for a decade or more. It’s cruel and unusual and the sensory deprivation amounts to a form of torture. We’ll speak with Sam Miller of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which won the court case and negotiated the settlement.
WATCH video depositions of men with decades in solitary HERE:

Finally, we’ll revisit our 2012 interview with OLIVER SACKS, the wonderful neurologist and writer who died on Sunday—we talked about his experience with LSD in 1963, in a segment called “Tripping in Topanga.”

Why California is so different politically:
KPFK 8/26

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Why is California so different
politically from the rest of the country–so much more progressive? HAROLD MEYERSON has some answers—he writes for The American Prospect and the op-ed pages at the Washington Post and the LA Times.

Also: Henry Kissinger, war criminal, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and,  GREG GRANDIN says, source of many of our current problems in the world. Greg’s new book is Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.

Plus: KATHA POLLITT, columnist for The Nation, talks about Learning to Drive, her New Yorker essay about the aftermath of a big break-up. It’s been made into a film, playing now in LA.  It stars Ben Kingsley as the driving instructor – and Katha is being played by the wonderful Patricia Clarkson.
READ about the book HERE.
WATCH the trailer HERE.

Donald Trump is Number One: KPFK 7/22

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Donald Trump
is so crazy it seems like a waste of time to talk about him, except for one thing: according to the latest poll, he is way ahead in the race for the 2016 GOP nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, Scott Walker. (Jeb Bush is third.) JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation will comment.

Plus: How the American South drives the low wage economy: HAROLD MEYERSON of The American Prospect explains that the Southern labor system–with low pay and no unions–is wending its way north.

And we’ll also talk about GORE VIDAL: we are featuring the DVD of the award-winning documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia as a fund drive premium on KPFK, along with my book of interviews with him, I Told You So: Gore Vidal Talks Politics. Please call and pledge during the hour: 818-985-5735.

Bill McKibben: “a rare emotion: hope” KPFK 7/15

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says the progress on solar power has given him what he calls “a fairly rare emotion: hope.” Bill is one of our heroes –a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. He also spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone pipeline, going to jail in the process, and launched the fossil fuel divestment movement. He wrote about solar power for the New Yorker, HERE.

Once again, we’re not done with the sixties: TODD GITLIN says Bernie Sanders’s start in the sixties explains how he got where he is today. Todd teaches journalism and sociology at Columbia; he wrote the classic history The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. He wrote about Bernie’s roots in the sixties for The New York Times, HERE.

Also: Gay marriage won by arguing for equality. Should abortion rights be making an equality argument? KATHA POLLITT, columnist for The Nation, talks about opposition to women’s equality as a key issue of our time. She wrote about the equality argument for abortion HERE.

Republicans and science: what happened? KPFK 7/1

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In the first half of the 20th century the Republicans were the party that most strongly supported scientific work—they thought it would advance economic progress and national security.  NAOMI ORESKES looks at what happened—she’s professor of the history of science at Harvard and wrote about “The Hoax of Climate Denial” for TomDispatch.

Plus: BERNIE SANDERS is in Madison tonight, and so is our man JOHN NICHOLS. He’ll talk about Bernie and Hillary–and also Lincoln Chaffee, one of the other guys running in the Dem. Primary–he says “it’s time to bring Edward Snowden home.”

Also: poverty in the former capital of the Confederacy: SASHA ABRAMSKY of The Nation reports from Richmond, Virginia, where the city’s leaders have begun reaching out to the poor and working-class people they have so long ignored.