Living in the USA

The GOP vs. Voting: Harold Meyerson; Advice to Men: Katha Pollitt; “In the Heights”: Ella Taylor

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Republican efforts to make it harder to vote, and easier for their judges and state legislatures to reverse elections they have lost, may backfire: Harold Meyerson comments. Also: rethinking the Green New Deal.
Also: Katha Pollitt talks about a new book of advice for men – Jordan Peterson’s international best-seller “Rules for Life”. Rule Number One: “stand up straight, with your shoulders back.”
And our TV critic Ella Taylor will review “In the Heights,” the wonderful new Lin Manuel Miranda musical on HBO Max about young people of color singing and dancing in Washington Heights at the north end of Manhattan. 6-16-2021

The Filibuster vs. Democracy: Alan Minsky; Israeli politics: Amy Wilentz; ‘Lupin’: Ella Taylor

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What does Joe Manchin want? Doesn’t he want Democrats to have equal voting rights? Without filibuster reform, Republican attacks on voting will broaden. Alan Minsky explains: he’s Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America.
Plus the earthquake in Israeli politics: Amy Wilentz comments on the end of Bibi Netanyahu, after 12 years as Prime Minister, and on the new governing coalition that includes for the first time in Israeli history an Israeli Palestinian Islamist party as part of the government. Amy, who was Jerusalem bureau chief for The New Yorker, will talk about what this might mean for Palestinians inside Israel, and on the West Bank and in Gaza.
Also: TV talk with Ella Taylor, who reviews “Lupin,” the French comic heist series about a sort of Robin Hood who’s a Black immigrant, reckoning with racism in France and the country’s legacy of plunder. Season two opens Friday on Netflix.  6-11-2021

Progressives & Biden: Alan Minsky; Tulsa & history: David Perry; Tulsa on TV: Ella Taylor

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Progressives and Biden:  the threat of a bipartisan “compromise” on infrastructure; Biden’s ‘American Families Plan,” $1.8 Trillion for workers, students and families, financed through higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans—and healthcare reform, which will pass only with filibuster reform in the senate. Plus: Enbridge Line 3, the tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota, will face nonviolent direct action protests this Monday, organized by the Treaty People Gathering.
Also: White politics and Black history in Tulsa: historian David Perry talks about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and how it was covered up, as a “riot,” for most of the century.
And more on Tulsa: our critic Ella Taylor talks about documentaries about the events there—on PBS and the Nat Geo channel, as well as on the History channel. Plus: highlights of Pride month on TV.  6-3-2021

Bipartisan Biden? Harold Meyerson; Adam Shatz on Edward Said; Ella Taylor on “Don’t Look Back”

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A group of moderate Republicans led by Mitt Romney are offering Joe Biden a bipartisan compromise on infrastructure-one trillion that would fund traditional roads and bridges, leaving out all of his proposals for a Green New Deal. Will he go for it? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: As many Democrats urge Biden to take steps toward self-determination for Palestinians, Adam Shatz recalls the life and work of Edward Said, the most prominent voice of Palestinians in America until his death in 2003.
Plus: we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday with Ella Taylor by watching “Don’t Look Back,” the wonderful 1967 documentary by D.A. Pennebaker, about Dylan’s 1965 tour of England.  5-27-2021

Palestinians v. Israel: Rachel Kushner; California’s Economic Boom: Harold Meyerson: ‘Underground RailRoad”: Ella Taylor

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Rachel Kushner reports on Palestinian life inside the refugee camp that’s inside Jerusalem, and on the current crisis–her report, originally published in the New York Times magazine, appears in her new book of essays, “The Hard Crowd.”
also: Harold Meyerson comments on Gavin Newsom’s plan to give money to almost all Californians, and to provide massive funding for homeless housing and universal preschool.
and our critic Ella Taylor talks about “The Underground Railroad,”premiering Friday on Prime video–10 one-hour episodes of a historical drama about American slavery, and escaping from slavery.  People are saying it’s “the most ambitious take on American slavery since ‘Roots’” –that was on TV in 1977, more than 40 years ago.  5-13-2021

Senator Mazie Hirono on politics; Harold Meyerson on Eli Broad; Ella Taylor on “Exterminate the Brutes”

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Mazie Hirono, Senator from Hawaii: She’s the only immigrant currently serving in the Senate, and she was the first Asian American woman elected to that office, starting in 2013. She talks about the need for filibuster reform and Supreme Court reform, about the storming of the capitol on January 6. Her new autobiography is Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story.
Plus: Harold Meyerson talks about the politics of the billionaires in LA, starting with Eli Broad, who died last week – he co-chaired Democrats for Nixon in 1972. His other big cause: charter schools.
And our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about “Exterminate All the Brutes,” a 4-part documentary now streaming on HBO Max –a sweeping historical argument about four cenuries of white supremacy, colonization, and genocide. It’s amazing that such a radical documentary would be streaming on the prestige channel in America – which suggests the world is changing after Donald Trump on the one hand and black lives matter on the other.  5-6-2021

Biden’s 100 Days: Harold Meyerson: Amy Wilentz on Hunter Biden; Ella Taylor on the Oscars

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Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, his Covid Relief bill, his infrastructure proposal, and his vaccine rollout mark him as the boldest and most successful president since FDR–Harold Meyerson explains.
Also: Republicans keep complaining about Hunter Biden–Amy Wilentz comments on his memoir of suffering and addiction–it’s called “Beautiful Things.”
Plus: The Oscar for Best Documentary went to “My Octopus Teacher” — Ella Taylor has a critique.  4-29-2021

The George Floyd Verdicts: Jody Armour, Harold Meyerson; Earth Day Action: Mark Hertsgaard

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The guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis made history—and came only after millions of people took to the streets, for months, in hundreds of cities across America. Jody Armour comments—he’s the Roy Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, and author of “N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.”
Plus: Harold Meyerson argues that compelling video of police abuse of power has NOT led to convictions of cops in the past – in the Rodney King case, for example; what’s different here is the BLM Movement.
Also: Earth Day 2021 is the world’s largest civic event—three days of climate action by millions of people around the world. Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation’s environmental correspondent, says that for starters we need to start using the term “climate emergency” rather than “climate issue” or “climate crisis.”  4-22-2021

Why the Union lost at Amazon: Harold Meyerson; Breyer Retire: Joan Walsh; ‘Our Towns’: Ella Taylor

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At the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, the union lost the vote by more than 2 to 1. What happened? Harold Meyerson has our analysis—also comment on hazard pay for grocery store workers, and corporations for voting rights.
Plus: Should Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer retire? That would give Biden a chance to nominate a younger replacement – he’s promised a Black woman.
Also, our TV critic Ella Taylor comments on “Our Towns,” a documentary about good things in smaller cities across America; plus “Another Round,” the Danish film by Thomas Vinterberg about four high school teachers bored with their work who come up with an unusual solution. And “Shiva Baby.”  4-15-2021

Biden & Infrastructure: Harold Meyerson; Covid & Big Pharma: Gregg Gonsalves; “Bloodlands”: Ella Taylor

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Joe Biden has redefined “infrastructure” to include workers – Harold Meyerson explains what’s in the biggest ‘public works’ bill in 50 years.
Also: Big Pharma profits while the Global South waits for covid vaccines: Gregg Gonsalves comments.
And Ella Taylor talks about “Bloodlands,” a BBC thriller set in Northern Ireland 20 years after the end of “The Troubles” — when a murder investigation threatens to bring them back. Also: “Keeping Faith,” a BBC thriller set in Wales – both on Acorn TV.  4-1-21