Recent Posts

Winning in 2022: John Nichols, plus Melina Abdullah on the LAPD and Ray Suarez on “Going for Broke”

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Some pundits say the only way Democrats can hold the House and Senate in 2022 is by appealing to swing voters in Republican states by talking about economic issues—and NOT talking about climate change, immigration reform, or policing. John Nichols challenges that argument.

Also: The co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA, Melina Abdullah, talks about the LAPD, and how they showed up, in force, at her house twice in the week since she filed a lawsuit over a similar incident last year. We call it “SWATting,” and we also call it retaliation.

And The Nation and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project are launching a new podcast: “Going for Broke,” personal stories about how the pandemic made it a lot harder for working class people to pay the rent, stay in their homes, or find a new job. Host Ray Suarez provides a preview—he’s best known for his work on NPR and PBS.  10-14-2021

 

Start Making Sense

Winning in 2022: Harold Meyerson; Draft Resistance: Bruce Dancis; “Pauli Murray”: Ella Taylor

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What’s the best strategy for the Democrats for 2022, when the odds are against them for holding the House and Senate? Pundits say the Dems should stop talking about climate, immigration, and the police. Harold Meyerson disagrees.
Plus: draft resistance in the Vietnam era: there’s a new documentary, “The Boys Who Said NO!” with it’s online launch this weekend, and an online event Sunday at 5pm featuring Joan Baez, Daniel Ellsberg, and others–we’ll speak with one of the resisters featured in the film, Bruce Dancis, about his time in prison – he served 19 months.
Also: our TV and film critic Ella Taylor talks about the new documentary about Pauli Murray, one of the most fascinating, and little known, activists and strategists of the civil rights and feminist movements. It’s playing now on Amazon Prime Video.  10-14-2021

Living in the USA

America’s Lunatics: Katha Pollitt; plus John Powers on Percival Everett’s Emmett Till novel

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Are we a nation of lunatics? Katha Pollitt has been thinking about that—about the millions of people who say that Satan-worshipping pedophiles control American politics and media, or that, if you’ve come down with Covid-19, you should pick up some Ivermectin at the local feed store.

Plus: The murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 is probably the most famous lynching in American history. Now, there’s a novel about it that’s wild and funny. The author is Percival Everett—it’s called The Trees. And it’s really good. How is it possible to write a comic novel about a lynching? John Powers explains—he’s critic at large on NPR’s Fresh Air.  10-7-2021

Start Making Sense

Biden Backs the Left: Harold Meyerson, plus Melina Abdulla on the LAPD, & Louis Menand

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Biden backed the Progressive Caucus in insisting that the bipartisan infrastructure bill not be voted separately from the reconciliation bill. But the question remains: What does Kyrsten Sinema want? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: The co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA, Melina Abdullah, will talk about the LAPD showing up in force at her house twice in the week since she filed a lawsuit over last year’s similar incident – we call it ‘swatting,’ and we also call it retaliation.
plus: we’ll talk about the use of the concept of ‘freedom’ during the cold war – Louis Menand will explain – His book is ‘The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War’–has been longlisted for the National Book Award.  10-7-2021

Living in the USA

Controlling the Police: What is to be Done? Erwin Chemerinsky, plus Eyal Press on Dirty Work

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Many proposals to reform the police were made after the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer the largest protest movement in American history. But the problem, Erwin Chemerinsky argues, is not just the police; the Supreme Court has empowered the police and subverted civil rights. Erwin is Dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, and author of many books—most recently Presumed Guilty.  Also: dirty work—and the people who do it: the low-income workers who do our most ethically troubled jobs. Eyal Press will explain—his new book is Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America.  9-30-2021

Start Making Sense

Reconciliation: The Solution–Harold Meyerson; Carol Sobel on the LAPD, & Occupy at 10

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How to cut the cost of the Democrats’ “Reconciliation Bill” without eliminating programs? Harold Meyerson says make it a four-year bill program instead of ten. Also: reapportionment in California, and a new mayor for LA.
Plus: Civil rights attorney Carol Sobel talks about the LAPD’s dramatic increase in the use of dispersal orders in response to the protests of the last couple of years–declaring “this is an unlawful assembly” & “you are ordered to disperse.” Carol represents Black Lives Matter Los Angeles in a lawsuit against the LAPD.
And we’re still thinking about Occupy Wall Street,which began 10 years ago–Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce of the City University of New York have been studying, and thinking about, the achievements and limitations of the Occupy movement.  9-30-2021

 

Living in the USA

Biden’s Disastrous Deportation of Haitians: Amy Wilentz; plus Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce on Occupy Wall Street

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Joe Biden is deporting 15,000 Haitian refugees who crossed the border at Del Rio, Texas, to a country ravaged by assassination, earthquake, poverty, and gang violence—it’s a disastrous move. Amy Wilentz comments; she’s been reporting on Haiti and Haitians for more than two decades.
Also: Ten years ago this week, a small group of young radicals declared “We are the 99 percent” and set up camp in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district. Instead of a few people protesting for a few days, the movement exploded; hundreds of thousands of people joined Occupy camps in more than 600 US towns and cities. CUNY professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce comment.  9-24-2021

Start Making Sense

Filibuster reform: Harold Meyerson; Haitian refugees: Amy Wilentz; ‘The Stone Face’: Adam Shatz

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Our Washington political update starts with the Fox News report, “Democrats tee up filibuster reform by forcing issue on immigration, voting rights.” Harold Meyerson comments on that – and on reports that Dan Quayle saved American democracy on January 6.
Also: Amy Wilentz on Haitians and Haiti – and Joe Biden’s disastrous decision to deport those 15,000 Haitian refugees who crossed the border at Del Rio, Texas, sending them back to a country ravaged by assassination, earthquake, poverty, and gang violence.
And we have the story of a Black writer who moved to Paris in the fifties and discovered French racism – aimed at Algerians. Adam Shatz explains—he’s written the introduction to the new edition of a novel called “The Stone Face,” by William Gardner Smith, originally published in 1963 and now republished by New York Review Books.  9-24-2021

Living in the USA

How Mosques Became FBI Targets after 9-11: Ahilan Arulanantham on State Secrets, plus Amy Wilentz on ‘The Chair’

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We’re still thinking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. After that day, Muslim Americans endured years of racism and discrimination, oftentimes at the hands of the state itself.  The fight against government surveillance of Muslim Americans continues today, as the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to government efforts to conceal FBI abuse of power—in a case dating from 2006, when the FBI in LA hired an informer to infiltrate several mosques in Orange County, California. Ahilan Arulanantham explains—he will be arguing the case at the Supreme Court. He’s a Professor at UCLA Law School and Co-Director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy there.
Also: there’s a new comedy on TV about college teachers and campus politics—The Chair, on Netflix, starring Sandra Oh as the first Asian American woman chair of an English department. Amy Wilentz comments—she’s a professor in the English Department at UC Irvine, which has some surprising connections to the show.  9-16-2021

Start Making Sense

The California recall: Harold Meyerson; plus Alan Minsky on the legacy of Occupy Wall Street

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Harold Meyerson on the sweeping Democratic victory in the California recall: its national significance for the 2022 midterms, and where it leaves California Republicans (with Larry Elder as their leader?). Also, our national politics update: today’s Reconciliation Report, and episode 15 of What Does Joe Manchin Want? Today: the Dems’ revised voting rights bill.
Later in the show: this week is the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and “we are the 99 per cent” – we’ll have an assessment of the achievements and limitations of that movement with Alan Minsky, now executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, and at the time an Occupy activist.  9-16-2021

Living in the USA