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.

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.

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.


Tavis Smiley on Martin Luther King: KPFK 2/4

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The last year of Martin Luther King’s life was “hell”
—that’s what TAVIS SMILEY says. We’ll speak with him about how King’s 1967 speech criticising the Vietnam war was denounced not only by the mainstream media—the NYTimes called it “disastrous and self-defeating”—but also by most of black America as well. Tavis of course hosts a show on PBS; his terrific new book is DEATH OF A KING:The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year.

Also: Why I Won’t Serve in the Israeli Army—Israeli refusenik Moriel Rothman explains why we went to jail rather than “be part of a system whose main task is the violent occupation of millions of people.”

Today is a fund drive day at KPFK—we’ll be featuring Tavis Smiley’s book Death of a King as our thank-you gift, along with rare Martin Luther King from the Pacifica Archives. Please call and pledge during the show: 818-985-5735

Gitmo Diary: ‘A Vision of Hell’ — KPFK 1/28

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Guantanamo Diary is an incredible document, the true first-person account of a “high-value detainee,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi—John Le Carre calls it “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka: perpetual torture prescribed by the mad doctors in Washington.” We’ll speak with Slahi’s editor LARRY SIEMS and his attorney NANCY HOLLANDER.
WATCH the video HERE.  READ the original manuscript HERE.
SIGN the ACLU petition HERE.

Also: Historian ERIC FONER on the hidden history of the underground railroad—his new book Gateway to Freedom shows how a small number of people can accomplish great things–and change history.
Plus: KPFK Sports! Sunday is the Superbowl, a big day for brain damage. We’ll have comment from STEVE ALMONDhe wrote the book AGAINST FOOTBALL