Recent Posts

Jon Ronson: Shame on the Internet–KPFK 4/22

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The internet is a place where faceless commenters try to destroy lives and careers, where the punishments often outweigh the crimes, and where (ironically) there are no consequences. Best-selling author and radio person JON RONSON explains: his new book is So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
Jon talks about public shaming with Monica Lewinsky HERE.

Also: The untold story of women’s involvement in the Zapatista movement. HILLARY KLEIN will explain—she spent six years in Chiapas, and her new book is Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories.

Plus: A report from Detroit, where poor people face an almost biblical foreclosure crisis: tens of thousands of people could be thrown out of their homes–and the city has plans to turn their neighborhoods in to “water retention basins.”  LAURA GOTTESDEINER has that story—she writes about forgotten America for Mother Jones, The Nation and  TomDispatch.

Remembering Vietnam, in Fiction and Fact:
KPFK 4/15

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The best political novel of the year
is The Sympathizer—it starts with the Fall of Saigon in 1975. We’ll speak with the author is VIET NGUYEN—he teaches at USC, and his book is “fascinating and darkly comic” (T.C. Boyle). Viet Nguyen will be speaking at the LA Times BookFest at USC Saturday at 4:30.

Also: It’s the 50th anniversary of the first march on Washington to end the Vietnam War – organized by SDS, April 17, 1965. We’ll talk with TOM HAYDEN about how the Vietnam War is being remembered today – at the official Pentagon commemoration website, and at a conference of anti-war activists in Washington DC, coming up on May 1-2. (Conference Info HERE.)

Plus: the LA art scene of the sixties – that’s the subject of a new book by WILLIAM HACKMAN, Out of Sight. Bill argues that the art of LA tells us more about America at mid-century than does the art of New York City. He will be discussing and signing tonight/Wed, 6pm at Arcana Books in Culver City, and tomorrow/Thurs., 7pm, at Book Soup on Sunset Strip.

Victory for the Carwasheros: KPFK 4/8

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The victory of the carwasheros! HAROLD MEYERSON
analyzes the unionization of LA carwashes, notorious for paying low wages—and no wages. How did they do it? State government played a crucial role. Harold wrote about the carwasheros for The American Prospect.
April 15 demo in LA for low wage workers: info at

Plus It’s the 150th anniversary of The Nation magazine. Editor and publisher KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL talks about the magnificent 268-page special issue that’s out now, and the celebration tomorrow/Thurs. night in LA at the Hammer Museum, Wilshire & Westwood, 7:30pm, the one-night, west coast premiere of Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple’s documentary “Hot Type” about magazine, followed by talk-back with Barbara Kopple, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Amy Wilentz–and also Norman Lear. This event is free but tickets are required–available at the Hammer box office one hour before the program.

On the Run in Black America: KPFK 4/1

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What “getting tough on crime” has meant for one black community in Philadelphia
: sociologist ALICE GOFFMAN spent six years seeing the young black men around her stopped, searched, raided, and beaten by the police. Her book is ON THE RUN: Fugitive Life in an American City—it’s out now in paperback—it’s “astonishing—and riveting.” – New York Times Book Review.

How the Vietnam war redefined our nation: on the 50th anniversary of the start of the war,  CHRISTIAN APPY talks about the continuing struggles over its meaning and legacy. His new book is AMERICAN RECKINING: The Vietnam War and our National Identity.  READ Chris Appy at HERE

Why do intelligent people join Scientology—and why do they stay? Oscar-winning documentarian ALEX GIBNEY interviewed eight high-ranking people who left, and who provide some explanations. His documentary GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY and the Prison of Belief is playing on HBO now.
WATCH the trailer HERE.

It’s time to end college tuition–and abolish student debt: The Nation 3/23

The mother of all problems in higher education today is high tuition at public colleges and universities, which forces students into decades of debt and makes for-profit schools seem like a plausible alternative.  Making four years of college free is not only fair; it’s also politically possible.
. . . continued at The Nation, HERE

Barney Frank’s ‘Stupidest’ Decision:, 3/20

One of the “stupidest” decisions Barney Frank ever made, he says in his new memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics, was bringing Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to Harvard in the fall of 1966, at the height of the Vietnam War. I agree; I was there. But the story Frank tells in his book is, to put it generously, incomplete. What he did was even stupider than he acknowledges.
–continued at, HERE

How the CIA took over the National Student Assn: KPFK 3/18

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How the CIA turned the National Student Association into a covert operational weapon in the Cold War—and how Ramparts magazine exposed the deception in 1967: KAREN PAGET tells that story. Her new book is Patriotic Betrayal.

Plus: Bibi Netanyahu won the Israeli elections — after coming out against Palestinian statehood.  It’s hard to think of an uglier victory in recent history.  HAROLD MEYERSON will comment: he wrote about the election for the Washington Post: HERE.

Also: GEORGE PELECANOS worked as a line cook, bartender, and woman’s shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992. He was also a producer and writer for The Wire on HBO, and a producer and writer for the HBO series Treme—two of the greatest things ever on TV. Now he’s published his first collection of short stories – it’s called The Martini Shot.


Break-in at the FBI: KPFK 3/11

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Burglary at the FBI: Media, PA, 1971
: we’ll speak with one of the burglars, Bonnie Raines, who stole documents that revealed massive FBI abuse of power, including COINTELPRO. The book is The Burglary—we’ll also be speaking with the author Betty Medsger. The film 1971 about the break-in opens Friday at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. WATCH the trailer HERE.
Also: 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese are still coping with unexploded bombs and Agent Orange. George Black will report—he has the cover story this week in The Nation.
SUPPORT Project Renew in Vietnam: HERE.
Plus: a new kind of civil disobedience: a student debt strike. Students are refusing to make any more payments on their federal student loans. Astra Taylor will explain – she’s a filmmaker and activist, and she wrote about the debt strike for the New York Times op-ed page, HERE.