Start Making Sense

Joseph Stiglitz: What Workers Need Right Now; plus Katrina Vanden Heuvel on Solidarity

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says the US has “one of the poorest systems of unemployment insurance in the world”—and that our number one priority should be to keep workers connected to their jobs.  His book People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent is out now in paperback, with a new preface.
Also: Katrina vanden Heuvel talks about solidarity with the front-line workers fighting the virus—starting in New York, where people cheer hospital workers coming off their shifts at 7pm every night.  4-22-2020

Mike Davis: Is Coronavirus Ushering in a New World Order? plus Barbara Ehrenreich on low-wage work

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Mike Davis talks about the fragmentation of Europe, the marginalization of the WHO, the danger to Africa, and whether China will emerge less powerful in the world economy because of the rise of economic nationalism.  Mike wrote about the avian flu in The Monster at Our Door.
Also Barbara Ehrenreich reports on her experiment in trying to survive on low wage work.  Her classic essay, “Nickel and Dimed,” is the lead piece in her new book, a collection of essays titled Had I Known.  We recorded this interview when Nickel and Dimed was published, in 2002.  4-16-2020

What the Pentagon Knew about the Coronavirus—in 2017: Ken Klippenstein, plus Amy Wilentz on Jared and Laila Lalami on “The Other Americans”

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The Military Knew Years Ago That a Coronavirus Was Coming.  The Pentagon warned the White House about a shortage of ventilators, face masks, and hospital beds in 2017, according to a document obtained by Ken Klippenstein, The Nation’s Washington Correspondent – but of course Trump ignored the warning.
Also: Jared Kusher has a new job on the White House coronavirus task force—and Ivanka is at home, reading “The Odyssey” and playing the guitar.  Amy Wilentz comments – she’s our Chief Jared Correspondent.
Plus: Nation columnist Laila Lalami talk about her novel “The Other Americans”–it’s about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant in a small town in California.  It’s a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story. And it’s out now in paperback. 4-3-2020

Mike Davis: Science v. Politics of the Coronavirus; plus Rebecca Solnit on Becoming a Feminist

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Mike Davis talks about who gets forgotten in a pandemic—and about the political, and economic, obstacles to making faster progress on effective anti-viral medication and a vaccine.  Mike is the author of many books, including City of Quartz and The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu.
Also: Rebecca Solnit talks about how she became a feminist, and a writer—in San Francisco in the eighties, “the queerest city in the world.”  Her new book, a memoir of sorts, is Recollections of My Nonexistence.  4/2/20

E.J. Dionne: The Coronavirus and the election; plus Melina Abdullah on Black Lives Matter and Katha Pollitt on “Contagion”

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What’s our strategy for beating Trump in November?  Is the Coronavirus making that easier, or harder?  E.J. Dionne analyzes the effect of the virus on politics – he’s a columnist for the Washington Post, and his new book is Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates can Unite to Save Our Country.
Also: How the coronavirus is changing the issues, and the tactics, of Black Lives Matter – a conversation with Melina Abdullah, one of the founders of the LA chapter and a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA.
Plus: Katha Pollitt has some recommendations about what to watch, and read, during those days at home, starting with the classics–Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year” and “The Decameron” by Boccaccio.  3/25/20

Paul Krugman: The Coronavirus and the Economic Crisis; plus John Nichols on elections and Amy Wilentz on the Kushners and the Coronavirus

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Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist, says we don’t have an easy way of responding to the economic threats posed by the coronavirus, and Trump’s preoccupation with the stock market is a big mistake. Krugman’s new book is Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future.
Also: we’ll talk about the Republican senators who say paid sick leave for people with the coronavirus will “make workers lazy”—that’s what Ron Johnson says, he represents Wisconsin, and we’ll talk about that with our man in Madison, John Nichols. John also examines everything that went wrong with Tuesday’s elections, and talks about what we must do to ensure there’s no postponement of the November election.
And we’ll also talk about the Kushners and the coronavirus: Jared has been working in some unusual ways, and there’s also virus news about Ivanka and Don Junior. Amy Wilentz reports—she’s our Chief Jared Correspondent.  3/18/2020

Nichols on Bernie’s Next Steps; Steve Phillips on Big Data; Adam Hocschild on “Rebel Cinderella”

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Despite Bernie’s big losses in Michigan and elsewhere on Tuesday, he’s staying in the race to challenge Biden on the issues which Democratic voters support.  John Nichols assesses the situation, and talks about what we need to do now about the coronavirus and the elections.
also: What Big Data says about beating Trump: Steve Phillips explains — he wrote New York Times bestselling book Brown Is the New White and he’s the founder of Democracy in Color.
Plus:  the story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of the early 20th century.  Rose Pastor Stokes has been forgotten, but now a new book tells her amazing story: “Rebel Cinderella.” Author Adam Hochschild explains. 3-11-20

Super Tuesday: The Earthquake. John Nichols and Joan Walsh, plus D.D. Guttenplan on Bernie Sanders

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John Nichols analyzes the bad night for Bernie–and the tasks that remain if Biden is going to be defeated in the primaries.
Plus: Joan Walsh covered the South Carolina primary and saw first-hand the results of Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Joe Biden.  Also: The meaning of Elizabeth Warren’s defeat.
And D.D. Guttenplan presents the case for Bernie and his movement–The Nation endorsed them this week. 3/5/20

Nominating Bloomberg Would Destroy the Democratic Party: Jeet Heer, plus Rick Perlstein on Bernie and Robert Edelman on Sports

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Bloomberg can’t win the primaries, but he might try to get the nomination if Bernie doesn’t go to the convention with a majority of delegates.  Jeet Heer argues that nominating Bernie would destroy the Democratic Party and assure Trump’s reelection.
Plus: political pundits are supposed to put forward strong opinions – that’s their job.  The rest of us may be confused and uncertain and anxious, but the pundits are full of convictions and arguments.  Today we depart from that rule and talk to Rick Perlstein – although he has argued for social democracy for decades, he’s got some doubts of his own about Bernie, while he acknowledges all that Bernie has achieved.
Also: the Cold War was fought in many ways: it was a traditional political and military confrontation, but it was also a cultural contest on a global scale – and one of the most important arenas in the cultural contest was sports. Historian Robert Edelman explains: he’s co-editor of the new book The Whole World Was Watching: Sport in the Cold War. 2/26/20

Elizabeth Warren: Unity Candidate? Joan Walsh, plus Bob Borosage on Bernie and John Sayles on ‘Yellow Earth’

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Pundits have declared that Elizabeth Warren is finished, but we’re not so sure. Joan Walsh points out that, while Warren came in third in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire, only 64 delegates have been selected—there are more than 1,900 delegates still to be picked. The case for Warren at this point remains potent, especially given the success of progressive women in the 2018 midterms.
Also: Bernie has already won the ideas primary in the Democratic Party. That’s what Bob Borosage argues—he sets the agenda for the race and the other candidates define themselves in relations to his positions.
Plus: John Sayles has directed two dozen films, including Matewan and Lone Star. Here he talks about his new novel, Yellow Earth—it’s about what happens when shale oil is discovered underneath an Indian reservation in the North Dakota badlands—and outsiders descend. 2/20/20