Living in the USA

LA’s Summer of Strikes: Harold Meyerson; After Affirmative Action: John Nichols; Writers and Politics: Adam Shatz

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The Summer of Strikes in Los Angeles continues, with hotel workers picketing hotels from Santa Monica to downtown on July 4 weekend, plus Teamsters preparing to strike UPS and Actors in negotiations with the studios. Harold Meyerson reports.

Also: After affirmative action: what should progressives do to help people of color and other working class students attend college, and pay for it? John Nichols comments.

Plus: what does it mean to be a politically committed

writer? That’s the central question of Adam Shatz’s new book, “Writers and Missionaries: Essays on the Radical imagination.” Adam is The Nation’s former literary editor and the US editor of the London Review of Books.  7-6-2023

L.A. Strikes: Harold Meyerson; Abortion Borderlands: Amy Littlefield; ‘Learning to Drive’: Katha Pollitt

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There are two big strikes in the works in L.A. right now: hotel workers and actors. 15,000 hotel workers are preparing to strike; and 200 people – including City Council and State Assembly members – were arrested during a UNITE HERE local 11 protest. Also, 160,000 actors are on the verge of joining the 11,500 writers already on strike. Harold Meyerson comments.

Next: Crossing the abortion borderland from Texas to New Mexico: Amy Littlefield describes the heroic work being done in both states to provide help to people seeking abortions, one year after the repeal of Roe, and reports on the new obstacles being raised by anti-abortion forces.

Plus: From the archives: Katha Pollitt learned to drive at age 51 – she wrote about that experience for The New Yorker; and in 2015, she was played by Patricia Clarkson opposite Ben Kingsley in the film version, Learning to Drive. This interview was first recorded in 2007.  6-29-2023

Democrats and Working Class Voters: Katie Rader; Doctors vs. Hospitals: Eyal Press; Biden and ‘Freedom’: Eric Foner

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How can Democrats win back at least some white working class swing voters? We have some striking new research about that. Katie Rader discusses the issues that are most likely to mobilize them.

Next: Doctors these days are caught between caught between the Hippocratic oath – “first, do no harm” – and “the realities of making a profit from people at their sickest and most vulnerable.” Eyal Press reports on the ways doctors are fighting back.

Plus: When Joe Biden announced the theme of his reelection campaign he said that the Democrats are the party of “freedom.” But the Republicans claim that they are the defenders of freedom. Who is right?  Eric Foner has the answer – he’s the author of “The Story of American Freedom.”  6-22-2023

Cornel West Should Not be Running for President: Joan Walsh; plus Katha Pollitt on divorce and Brenda Stevenson on the enslaved Black family

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Cornel West is running for president – he can only help Trump win, argues Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation.

also: You might think Republicans would take a breather after banning abortion in the states they control, but no! Instead, they’ve set their sights on a new target: no-fault divorce. The Nation‘s Katha Pollitt reports.

Also: historian Brenda Stevenson talks about the Black family under slavery and after. Her book, a history of the enslaved family in America. is “What Sorrows Labour in My Parent’s Breast.”

And we have an episode of Your Minnesota Moment: the state joins National Popular Vote!  6-15-2023

Actors, Dock Workers, threaten strikes: Harold Meyerson; Shasta County Takeover: Sasha Abramsky; Black Migration: Isabel Wilkerson

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On Strike: An Actors strike looms as the Writers in LA and New York enter the sixth week of their strike. Meanwhile, 12,000 dock workers walked off the job in Southern California after contract talks deteriorated in recent days; they also shutdown operations in Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma.

Also, Biden’s achievements include infrastructure, economic recovery from the pandemic, investment in high-tech, investment in climate. . . how come other people, even the Democrats, have trouble remembering that? Harold Meyerson comments.

Next: Shasta County, California, north of San Francisco, is a pretty place, but right wing extremists have taken over the Board of Supervisors there. They’ve driven out public health workers and pushed to make the county what they call a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” They’re dubbing it a blueprint for the rest of the nation. The Nation’s Sasha Abramsky reports.

Plus: From the archives: Isabel Wilkerson on her unforgettable book about the Great Migration, “The Warmth of Other Suns” – recorded in 2010.  6-8-2023

D.D. Guttenplan on Biden and the Vision Thing; plus Disappearing Islands

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The polls about the 2024 election are not good. Democrats lack enthusiasm for Biden, especially after his debt limit deal. The Nation’s editor in chief, D.D. Guttenplan argues that the president needs to remake his candidacy—now.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: Climate change is raising sea levels, and soon low-lying coastal areas will be under water. But the most severe threat, the brunt of the suffering, is coming first to low-lying islands around the world, even though they are least responsible for global warming. Christina Gerhardt, author of the new book, Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean, is on the show to discuss.  5-31-2023

Biden’s Debt Deal: Harold Meyerson; The Oklahoma City Bombing: Jeffrey Toobin; Margo Jefferson’s Memoir

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Biden’s debt limit deal has left progressives unhappy–Harold Meyerson says it’s the best we could have expected under the circumstances.

Also: The ideological roots of the January 6 insurrection go back decades before Trump entered politics — back to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. Jeffrey Toobin will explain. His new book is ‘Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism.’

Also: a conversation with Margo Jefferson about her memoir, “Constructing a Nervous System.” It’s out now in paperback.  5-31-2023

Minnesota Takes the Lead: Harold Meyerson; plus Eyal Press on Planned Parenthood and Christopher Leonard on the Koch Brothers

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The Minnesota legislature has passed a sweeping pro-worker labor bill that will require paid sick days, ban captive audience meetings during union drives, and more – Harold Meyerson reports.

Also: Has Planned Parenthood gotten too cautious and too corporate? Are the risk managers running the organization? Eyal Press reports on the courage of independent abortion services, and the failures of Planned Parenthood.

Plus: The secret history of the Koch Brothers: how the key to their empire, and their fortune, is a refinery south of St. Paul. “Kochland” author Christopher Leonard has that story.  5-25-2023

A Good Week for Workers: Harold Meyerson; plus Bhaskar Sunkara on Biden and Adam Hochschild on Woke History

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Workers won union recognition is some significant places in the past week.  Harold Meyerson reports on interns and residents in Philadelphia joining the SEIU, a bus factory—in Georgia!—joining the Steelworkers, and dancers at a strip club in LA joining Actors Equity.

Plus: Progressives and Biden: what is to be done—about the 2024 election? Bhaskar Sunkara, president of The Nation, comments.

Also: Ron DeSantis is campaigning for president promising to “stop woke history.” That is, to stop teaching about slavery and its legacy of institutional racism. Adam Hochschild found the history guide DeSantis wants: the Hillsdale College “1776 Curriculum.” He reports on what’s in it —and what’s not.  5-18-2023