Recent Posts

The Constitutional Solution to the Debt Limit Crisis, plus Victor Navasky Remembered

 

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House Republicans are refusing to raise the debt limit, threatening that the US will default on its bond payments. But the Constitution has the solution for President Biden — that’s what historian Eric Foner says. He joins the podcast to shed light on a little-known section of the 14th Amendment.

Also on this episode, we’re still thinking about Victor Navasky, who died on Jan. 23. He was editor or publisher of The Nation for 27 years, starting in 1978, and author of several books, including one about his life in magazines, titled “A Matter of Opinion.” We’ll listen to our conversation about that book, recorded in 2006.  2-2-2023

Start Making Sense

The Debt Limit and the Constitution: Eric Foner; plus the 1619 Project, Victor Navasky Remembered, and Oliver Sacks ‘Tripping in Topanga’

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House Republicans are refusing to raise the debt limit, threatening that the US will default on its bond payments.  But the Constitution has the solution for President Biden – that’s what historian Eric Foner says.  He joins the podcast to shed light on a little-known section of the 14th Amendment.

Next: Republicans continue to work to limit teaching about Black Americans’ place in our history. Meanwhile, the 1619 Project, the book offering what the authors call “a new origin story” about the United States, was released as a docuseries on Hulu.  Martha Jones, a historian at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the contributors, talks about the battle, the book, and the larger project.

Also: we’re still thinking about Victor Navasky, who died on Jan. 23. He was editor or publisher of The Nation for 27 years, starting in 1978, and author of several books, including one about his life in magazines, titled “A Matter of Opinion.” We’ll listen to our conversation about that book, recorded in 2006.

Plus: Oliver Sacks was a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine, and wrote widely about the brain; the NY Times called him “the poet of laureate of medicine.”  We revisit an interview with him about tripping in Topanga – and his book “Hallucinations” – recorded in 2012, he died three years later.  2-2-2023

Living in the USA

How to Defeat Kyrsten Sinema; Universal Basic Income in L.A.: Steve Phillips on politics, Sasha Abramsky on poverty

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Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona senator who quit the Democratic Party in December, is up for reelection next year, and will be challenged by progressive Democrat Ruben Gallego. Steve Phillips points to evidence that her chances of reelection are poor. His new book, “How We Win the Civil War,” has a chapter on Arizona politics.

Also: What if government provided a basic income to all residents?  Something like $1000 a month? How much could that change inequality and poverty? Sasha Abramsky reports on the experiment in Los Angeles with Universal Basic Income.  1-26-2023

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Red States and Green Energy: Harold Meyerson; Kyrsten Sinema and Ruben Gallego: Steve Phillips; UBI and LA: Sasha Abramsky

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Every Republican voted against the clean energy tax credits that made up the bulk of the Inflation Reduction Act.  Yet, the clean energy projects, for solar, wind and battery technology – are going to Republican states.  Why?  Harold Meyerson comments.

Plus: Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona senator who quit the Democratic Party in December, is up for reelection next year, and will be challenged by progressive Democrat Ruben Gallego. Steve Phillips points to evidence that her chances of reelection are poor. His new book, “How We Win the Civil War,” has a chapter on Arizona politics.

Also: What if government provided a basic income to all residents? Something like $1000 a month? How much could that change inequality and poverty? Sasha Abramsky reports on the experiment in Los Angeles with Universal Basic Income.  1-26-2023

Living in the USA

Abortion rights battles return in the 2023 elections; plus wages at Walmart

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Abortion rights voters are reshaping politics in the coming political season—starting with a special election to the Virginia State Senate. Also: the most important election of 2023 is for the open seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. John Nichols explains.

Also: Walmart is the biggest employer in America, and the Walton family, the children of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is the richest family in the world. The company has raised wages and become more socially conscious-but it provides a case study of the limits of socially conscious capitalism. Rick Wartzman will explain – his new book on Walmart and its workers is titled “Still Broke.”  1-19-2023

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Bernie’s Priorities: Harold Meyerson; UC Strike, Cont.: Nelson Lichtenstein; Abortion Voters: John Nichols; Happy in Denmarkr: Joshua Holland

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Senator Bernie Sanders gave a major speech on Tuesday about the lives of working Americans – Harold Meyerson comments. Also: the coming primary for Diane Feinstein’s senate seat.

Plus: the UC TA strike: just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in – with “attestation” forms to dock back pay. Nelson Lichtenstein explains.

Also: Abortion remains a potent force mobilizing liberal and progressive voters in the upcoming 2023 state legislative races – John Nichols has our analysis.

And Joshua Holland explains why people in Denmark are so much happier than people in the USA.  1-19-2023

Living in the USA

Fintan O’Toole on the Next Insurrection; Katha Pollitt on “She Said”

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If you were planning a future coup, what could you learn from the failure of Trump’s efforts on January 6? Fintan O’Toole says it would need a better story – not attacking Congress, but “defending democracy.” He teaches at Princeton, and is the author most recently of We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland.

Also: Who’d want to see a movie about Harvey Weinstein? But the film “She Said,” about the two New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, is not about Harvey; it’s about the system that protected him. And it’s really good. Katha Pollitt comments.  1-12-2023

Start Making Sense

Unions at Yale and UPS: Harold Meyerson; Coups in the US: Fintan O’Toole; “She Said”: Katha Pollitt

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After a 30-year campaign, Yale finally recognized UNITE-HERE as the union representing TAs. Harold Meyerson reports – and also on the Teamsters as they prepare to strike against UPS in August.

Plus: f you were planning a future coup, what could you learn from the failure of Trump’s efforts on January 6? Fintan O’Toole says it would need a better story—not attacking Congress, but “defending democracy.” He teaches at Princeton, and is the author most recently of We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland.

Also: who’d want to see a movie about Harvey Weinstein? Well, the film She Said, about the two New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, is not about Harvey; it’s about the system that protected him. And it’s really good. Katha Pollitt comments.  1-12-2023

Living in the USA

Nelson Lichtenstein’s Post-Mortem on the UC Strike and Andrew Bacevich on America’s “Very Long War”

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Teaching Assistants and other grad student employees at the University of California won a historic victory in their strike last month. What does that mean for other universities and other union organizing campaigns? Nelson Lichtenstein joins the show to comment.

Also this week, Andrew Bacevich talks about our “very long war” going back to the sixties, and the relative insignificance of Donald Trump. Bacevich’s new book is On Shedding an Obsolete Past: Bidding Farewell to the American Century.  1-5-2023

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The House Republican Mess: Harold Meyerson; plus Nelson Lichtenstein on the UC Strike Victory and Andrew Bacevich on “The Long War”

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Harold Meyerson analyzes the Republican failure to elect a Speaker of the House – and what it tells us about the future of the new Congress.

Teaching Assistants and other grad student employees at the University of California won a historic victory in their strike last month. What does that mean for other universities and other union organizing campaigns? Nelson Lichtenstein joins the show to comment.

Also this week, Andrew Bacevich talks about our “very long war” going back to the sixties, and the relative insignificance of Donald Trump. Bacevich’s new book is On Shedding an Obsolete Past: Bidding Farewell to the American Century.  1-5-2023

Living in the USA