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

LISTEN online HERE iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
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

Texas guns campusLISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
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:

The Fight to Redeem the LAPD: KPFK 9/2

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE   iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE   iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE   iTunes podcast HERE
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

LISTEN online HERE   iTunes podcast HERE
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.