The Fight to Redeem the LAPD: KPFK 9/2

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.

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 the Center for Constitutional Rights, which won the court case and negotiated the settlement.
WATCH video depositions of men with decades in solitary HERE:

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.

Finally, we’ll revisit our 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

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 crminal, 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.

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.


After Charleston: What South Carolina really needs: KPFK 6/24

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After Charleston: Taking down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state capitol is a good idea, but a symbolic one – to move towards equality the state needs voting rights, health care, and education. JUAN COLE explains – his blog is Informed Comment.
Meanwhile Muslims too have been targeted. MARGARET TALBOT reports on one hate crime: the murder of three young Muslim college students in February in Chapel Hill.  Police said the murders were motivated by “an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.”  Margaret is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Also: LA will begin police sweeps of homeless encampments under a new law passed by the city council yesterday: HEATHER JOHNSON of the ACLU of Southern California will explain what’s wrong with that approach to ending homelessness.

Life and Death in the Red States: KPFK 6/17

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Life and Death in the Red States:
KAI WRIGHT reports from Kansas on the human toll of Republican refusal to expand Medicaid for millions of sick Americans. Kai is Features Editor of The Nation magazine and reported from Brownback’s Kansas.

Plus: The history of The Nation – the magazine, America’s oldest weekly, now celebrating its 150th anniversary.  Susan Sontag in 1982 said a person who read only the Reader’s Digest would have been “better informed about the realities of communism” than someone who read only The Nation.  Was she right?  D. D. GUTTENPLAN explains. His new book is The Nation: A Biography.

Also: Vladimir Nabokov and American politics. The author of Lolita spent 20 years in the US in the forties and fifties, and drove through the West every summer. ROBERT ROPER analyzes Nabokov’s strange political profile: refugee from both Stalin and Hitler, enemy of racism and defender of free speech—but also a supporter of the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon.
Roper’s new book is Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita.

LA Labor’s Really Bad Idea: KPFK 6/10

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Today the LA City Council voted for a new city minimum wage of $15 an hour. But organized labor had asked for an exception for union workers, who could be paid less. What was behind this terrible proposal? HAROLD MEYERSON will comment; he writes for the Washington Post, the American Prospect, and the LA Times op-ed page.

Also: Banned in Abu Dhabi: ANDREW ROSS advocated rights for workers there, who are building a new Guggenheim museum and an NYU campus. He teaches at NYU, and will tell the story of how the United Arab Emirates barred him from entry.

Plus “Ready—and excited—for Hillary”: KATHA POLLITT, explains why: it’s because “Clinton is running as a feminist–and that matters for all women.”
Katha is a poet, essayist and columnist for The Nation; her most recent book is PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Why Cuba Matters: Tom Hayden on KPFK 6/3

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Why Cuba Matters: TOM HAYDEN
on the end of America’s 50-year campaign against the Cuban revolution. We’ll recall the tumultuous history of Cuba in American life, from the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis to the decades of the embargo. We’ll also talk about the prospects for democracy in Cuba–and the fears of capitalist restoration. Tom’s new book is Listen, Yankee! Why Cuba Matters.
Also: Only one senator voted against the Patriot Act after 9/11; yesterday, 76 Senators voted to repeal the NSA’s collection of cell phone data on all Americans, and President Obama signed the bill. Thank you EDWARD SNOWDEN, for revealing what the NSA was doing. We’ll have comment from LIZA GOITEIN—she’s co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Videotape the police? There’s an App for that: KPFK 4/6

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The ACLU in California has released a free smart-phone app that allows people to send cellphone videos of police encounters to the ACLU, automatically—and the ACLU will preserve the video footage, even if the cops seize the phone and delete the video or destroy the phone. The app, “Mobile Justice CA,” works for both iPhones and Android users. It’s available at Apple’s App Store and at Google PlayHECTOR VILLAGRA of the ACLU-SoCal will explain.

Plus: It’s official: Bernie Sanders will be debating Hillary Clinton as they compete for the Democratic presidential nomination. JOHN NICHOLS will comment on the significance of the announcement by the DNC—he’s Washington editor of The Nation, and blogs at  And ALAN MINSKY will introduce clips of Bernie speaking recently in Hollywood — Alan is Program Director at KPFK.

Abortion rights & gay rights: Katha Pollitt KPFK 4/29

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Why are reproductive rights losing while gay rights are winning? KATHA POLLITT has some answers: for starters, she says “the issues are not as similar as we think.” Katha is a columnist for The Nation; her most recent book is Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Also: In PETER CAREY’s new novel, Amnesia, “Australia’s last surviving left wing journalist”—an idealistic and unreliable character—sets out to write a book about a young female hacker facing extradition to the US. Peter has won Britain’s Booker Prize twice.

Plus: Voting rights, the proper response to terrorism, the relationship between political and economic democracy —these are questions Americans confronted 150 years ago when the Civil War ended and Reconstruction began. ERIC FONER will comment—his most recent book is Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.