Living in the USA

Stacey Abrams: Harold Meyerson; Gary Younge on Josephine Baker, and Father Greg Boyle

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Some really good news from Georgia: Stacey Abrams is running for governor!
Alongside Raphael Warnock for reelection as senator. Harold Meyerson comments – also, news from Texas and California.
Also: being Black in America, and being Black in France: Gary Younge will talk about Josephine Baker, the Black American dancer who went to Paris in the twenties and later renounced her American citizenship. She was interred at the Pantheon, alongside Voltaire and Rousseau, last week.
Plus: Father Greg Boyle — the founder of Homebody Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program on the planet– has a new book out now, it’s about “the power of extravagant tenderness” and it’s called “The Whole Language.”  12-9-2021

Unions vs. Amazon: Harold Meyerson; Omicron & Inequality: Gregg Gonsalves; Beatles ‘Get Back’: Gustavo Arellano

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Unions are taking up the fight against Amazon – notably the Teamsters, notably in Southern California. Harold Meyerson explains. Also: gerrymandering – and the wild card at the Supreme Court.
Plus: The new Omicron variant of Covid-19: Gregg Gonsalves argues that it serves as a reminder of how little we’re doing on pandemic prevention. Meanwhile, Republicans are describing Omicron as a Democratic plot to bring back mail-in voting.
Also: Gustavo Arellano talks about “The Beatles: Get Back,” the amazing and indispensable new 8-hour documentary.  12-2-2021

Kyle Rittenhouse, Republicans, and Vigilantes: John Nichols, plus Eric Foner on the Racial Politics of Housing

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Racial justice and injustice in America today. We are relieved by the guilty verdicts and life sentences for all three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia. But we’re still thinking about the Not Guilty verdict for Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with shooting three people, killing two, during the street protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. John Nichols comments on that trial, and its broader significance.
Also: Racism in America for decades led to strict housing segregation. But historians are now showing that that wasn’t simply the result of white people refusing to live near Blacks–segregated housing was the result of a carefully organized, long-term effort to establish a legal basis for systematic racial discrimination. And the groups that succeeded were not the KKK or White Power groups. It was realtors’ organizations. Eric Foner reviews that history.  11-24-2021

Politics from Glasgow to Texas: Harold Meyerson, plus Rebecca Solnit on George Orwell

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Our politics commentary with Harold Meyerson starts with the House preparing to pass Biden’s Build Back Better bill, then to Glasgow for the climate summit, then Texas where Beto is running for governor.
Plus: We’ll talk about politics and pleasure with Rebecca Solnit –she’s probably best known as the author of “Men explain things to me.” Now she has a new book out – it’s called “Orwell’s Roses.”
Also: Your Minnesota moment, news from my home town of St Paul, where the city attorney has announced he’s not going to prosecute any cases involving broken taillights – he says he hasn’t been able to forget about Philando Castile.  11-18-2021

Build Back Better gets closer: Harold Meyerson; plus Francine Prose on Ethel Rosenberg and Ella Taylor on ‘Passing’

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The House will pass a Build Back Better bill next week, maybe–Harold Meyerson explains.
Plus: A comic novel about Ethel Rosenberg? Francine Prose has written one–“The Vixen”–and it’s terrific.
Also: EllaTaylor on “Passing,” the film about a Black woman passing for white in New York City in the 1920s – playing now on Netflix.  11-11-2021

Democrats in Defeat: Harold Meyerson; plus Eric Foner on the Underground Railroad

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Tuesday was a dark day for Democrats: Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia was not particularly surprising. But how did he manage to present himself both as a Trump supporter and as a more moderate, less crazy kind of country club Republican? Harold Meyerson has our analysis.
Plus: how a small group of people challenged an unjust law and changed history: Eric Foner talks about the Underground Railroad and its challenge to the Fugitive Slave Act in the years leading up to the Civil War. His book is “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.” (first broadcast in January, 2015).  11-4-2021

The threat from Manchin & Sinema: Meyerson; Amy Wilentz on Haiti, Adam Shatz on John Coltrane

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Obama spent months negotating with reluctant Dems over his health care bill. The result: massive losses in the midterms. Is Biden making the same mistake with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: who really runs Haiti: the government, or the gangs? the kidnappings suggest it’s the gangs – and the leader of the gang that kidnapped 16 Americans has openly expressed political ambitions. Amy Wilentz will explain.
Plus: John Coltrane: of course he was the tenor player who started out with Miles Davis in the fifties and then, in the mid-sixties, set out to pursue music as a quest for spiritual enlightenment. His classic work was “A Love Supreme” — a single piece, 33 minutes long, it became the most popular record of his career. Now, a live performance from 1965 has been discovered and released – and Coltrane people are calling it “nothing short of a revelation.” Adam Shatz will comment.  10-28-2021

Dems scale back big plans: Harold Meyerson; plus Dave Zirin on ‘The Kaepernick Effect’

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The latest on the Democrats’ reconciliation bill: Harold Meyerson reports on the big cuts demanded by Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Also: gubernatorial elections threaten Democratic power in Virginia, and Republican power in Texas.
Plus: The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin talks about what he calls
“The Kaepernick Effect” – how an NFL quarterback who had never been an activist made “Taking a knee” THE symbol of protest against racial injustice, & how hundreds, if not thousands, of young athletes followed his example. Many of them—often high school students, women as well as men—faced ostracism, condemnation, death threats, and more. Dave Zirin’s new book is “The Kaepernick Effect.”  10-21-2021

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

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