Start Making Sense

The Battle on the Abortion Borderland, plus RFK Jr.

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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.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense, 20 percent of likely Democratic voters tell pollsters they support Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his primary challenge to Joe Biden. Joan Walsh joins the podcast to tell the story of her history with Kennedy and his anti-vax crusade.

Transcript HERE   6-29-2023

How Democrats can win Working-Class Voters; how Doctors are Fighting—against Hospitals

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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 joins the Start Making Sense podcast to discuss the issues that are most likely to mobilize them.

Also on this episode: 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 is on the show to report on the ways doctors are fighting back.  Transcript HERE   6-22-2023

Cornel West Should Not Be Running for President; plus the GOP vs. Divorce

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Cornel West is running for president as a third party candidate, so he’s not going to get many votes. Nevertheless, Joan Walsh argues, he could discourage Democrats from voting, which would make Trump’s election more likely.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: 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 is on the podcast to discuss.  6-15-2023

The Far Right’s Takeover of Shasta County, plus the Enslaved Black Family: Sasha Abramsky on politics, Brenda Stevenson on history

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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.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense, historian Brenda Stevenson dissects the Black family both under slavery and after. Stevenson is the author of a new book on the history of the enslaved black family, titled “What Sorrows Labour in My Parent’s Breast.”  6-8-2023

Is Planned Parenthood Too Cautious? Plus: Writing and Politics

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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.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: What does it mean to be a politically committed writer? That’s the central question of Adam Shatz’s talks new book, “Writers and Missionaries: Essays on the Radical imagination.” He joins the podcast to discuss. Shatz is The Nation’s former literary editor and the US editor of the London Review of Books.  5-25-2023

Jeffrey Toobin on the Roots of Jan. 6; Adam Hochschild on Anti-Woke History

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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 joins the podcast to explain. His new book is Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism.

Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: 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

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