Start Making Sense

Bhaskar Sunkara on Biden in 2024, plus Josh Gondelman on the Writers Strike

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

Also: 11,500 members of the Writers Union are on strike against the film, TV and streaming companies, with picket lines up in L.A. and New York. Both sides of the fight have prepared for a months-long conflict. Award-winning TV writer Josh Gondelman is on the show to explain the issues.  5-11-2023

Start Making Sense: Impeach Clarence Thomas; plus Joe Biden, the GOP, and ‘Freedom’

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D.D. Guttenplan, editor of The Nation, argues that it’s time to impeach Clarence Thomas. He also says it’s time to remove and replace Diane Feinstein, whose inability to serve is denying the Democrats a majority on the Judiciary Committee..

Also on this episode: Joe Biden announced that the theme of his reelection campaign will be that the Democrats are the party of “freedom.” But the Republicans claim they are the defenders of freedom. Who’s right? Eric Foner, author of “The Story of American Freedom,” joins the show to discuss.  5-4-2023

Rebecca Solnit on Climate Action, plus John Nichols on Abortion Politics

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It’s getting late to take action about the climate emergency, but it’s not too late: that’s what Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua say in their new book, “Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility.”

Also: abortion rights will be a key issue for Democrats in the 2024 election, especially after Republican judges have tried to ban medication abortions. John Nichols comments.  4-20-2023

Elie Mystal, Joan Walsh, and Chris Lehmann on Trump and His 34 Felonies; plus Afghan Girls

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The question with Donald Trump and his 34 felonies: Can he really be brought to justice for paying off Stormy Daniels? On this week’s Start Making Sense, we feature highlights of The Nation’s roundtable discussion with justice correspondent Elie Mystal, national affairs correspondent Joan Walsh, and D.C. Bureau Chief Chris Lehmann.
Also this week, we have a discussion of Afghan girls who escaped from the Taliban. It’s the story of a boarding school that evacuated its students from Kabul during the chaotic withdrawal of the Americans. SOLA, the School of Leadership Afghanistan is the place where Afghan girls study to become members of the generation that will one day lead a peaceful and united Afghanistan. The founder, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, explains.  4/12/2023

John Nichols on Progressive Victories and Chris Lehmann on Trump’s Felonies

The landslide victory of the progressive candidate in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race, Janet Protasiewicz, ten times bigger than Biden’s, shows how abortion wins elections. And in Chicago, progressive candidate Brandon Johnson won the race for mayor. John Nichols joins the show to discuss these victories.

Also on this episode: Will Trump’s indictment on 34 felonies change anything in the 2024 election? Or had everybody already decided what they think about Donald Trump? The Nation’s DC Bureau Chief, Chris Lehmann reports.  4-5-2023

Low-Paid Workers Strike and Win in LA; Minor League Baseball Players Form a Union

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In Los Angeles last week, a three-day strike by 30,000 public school custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and teacher’s aides ended with a 30% pay increase. Harold Meyerson, the editor-at-large of The American Prospect, joins the podcast to discuss.

Also: For a century, thousands of young baseball players have lived with low wages, overcrowded housing, and all-night rides in uncomfortable buses in order to play in baseball’s minor leagues, hoping to eventually make it to the majors. Now, their lives are changing because they organized a union. Kelly Candaele and Peter Dreier have more on that story.  3-30-2023

Start Making Sense: Katha Pollitt on Women in 2023, plus Christian Appy on Protest in 1969

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American women in 2023: the news is bad, but it’s not all bad. Katha Pollitt is on the Start Making Sense podcast to explain.

Also: the largest anti-war demonstrations in American history were the protests in the fall of 1969–with more than two million people in the streets demanding “End the War in Vietnam.” But did those demonstrations help end the war? Historian Chris Appy comments on the new documentary, “The Movement and the ‘Madman,’” out on PBS American Experience March 28.  3-23-2023

Start Making Sense: John Nichols on Banks and Regulations, plus Gregg Gonsalves on Masks and Covid

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Since the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last week, we need to understand how and why medium-sized banks have been allowed to avoid strict supervision from federal banking authorities and avoid safety requirements. John Nichols comments.

Also: Do masks work to help stop the spread of COVID-19? A New York Times columnist recently said that they don’t, and cited an authoritative review of research as his source. But it turns he was wrong about that study. Gregg Gonsalves is on the show to explain.  3-16-2023

Start Making Sense: Ron DeSantis says ‘The Left Made Me Do It”; plus our Oscar preview with John Powers

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Ron DeSantis has written a political autobiography, “The Courage to be Free.” The Nation’s DC Bureau Chief, Chris Lehmann calls it “a paranoid rant disguised as campaign memoir.” Chris joins us on this episode of Start Making Sense to discuss it.

Also: Sunday is Oscar night in America and, as usual, we have a lot of complaints about the nominations. So does John Powers, Critic at Large on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. We talk about this year’s films we didn’t like – and some we thought were wonderful.  3-9-2023