Living in the USA

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

Biden’s next big thing: Harold Meyerson; Michelle’s memoir: Amy Wilentz; Q-Anon: Ella Taylor

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Biden’s next big thing: after the success of his $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, Biden’s economic recovery bill is ready for prime time. Harold Meyerson explains. Also, the Democrats’ voting rights bill – and the unlikely union organizing Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama.
Also: Michelle Obama’s memoir is out now in paperback – It’s called “Becoming,” and it has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide in hardcover. The book avoids politics—which seems strange for the person the New York Times called “the most outspoken first lady in modern history.” Amy Wilentz comments. (originally broadcast in November 2018).  3-25-21

Bernie & the Covid Relief Bill: Harold Meyerson; Black Lives Matter & the LAPD: Carol Sobel; “Rosa Luxemburg”: Ella Taylor

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Bernie Sanders and Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid relief bill: it’s the most important piece of social legislation at least since Medicare in 1966, 55 years ago. The bill that became law is nothing like Joe Biden’s politics over the last 30 years–nothing like the Democrats under Obama, or Clinton–and very much the culmination of Bernie’s politics over the same period.
Plus: Black Lives Matter versus the LAPD: a new official report in Los Angeles says the police in LA  violated the law by attacking and arresting BLM marchers  in last summer’s protests. Civil rights attorney Carol Sobel will explain.
And our TV critic Ella Taylor will talk about “Rosa Luxemburg,” the movie, directed by Margarethe von Trotta starring Barbara Sukowa, won won Best Actress for the role at Cannes in 1986.  3-18-21

Biden’s Triumph: Harold Meyerson; Parents in Prison: Chesa Boudin; ‘Night of the Kings’: Ella Taylor

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Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar covid relief bill is about to become law, seven weeks into Biden’s presidency. It’s a huge achievement. Harold Meyerson comments.
Also, Chesa Boudin, the recently elected progressive district attorney of San Francisco, talks about prisoners as parents—he grew up with parents in prison (David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin).
And our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about “Night of the Kings,” a drama set inside a men’s prison in Ivory Coast –– it’s been shortlisted for the Oscar for best Foreign Feature.  3-11-21