Trump Watch

KPFK Wed Aug. 3: A Socialist in the Senate?

A Socialist in the Senate? Vermont’s Socialist congressman Bernie Sanders seems set to win one of the few US Senate seats next year where no incumbent is running. JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation will explain.

After the New Economy: The Binge and the Hangover That Won't Go AwayAlso: The Bush economy: our economic mythmakers hold that technology will overturn hierarchies, and that the democratizing of information and finance will lead us to a virtual social revolution. But, as DOUG HENWOOD demonstrates, the gap between rich and poor has never been so wide, and wealth never so concentrated. Doug’s new book is After the New Economy; he also edits the Left Business Observer.

Plus: GREIL MARCUS talks about ELVIS COSTELLO (originally broadcast 9-25-2001). Playlist: “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?”; “Less than Zero” (live in Dallas); “Shipbuilding” (“just a rumor that was spread around town”); “All This Useless Beauty”; “Every Day I Write the Book”

New in the audio archive: Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times talks with Jon Wiener on Radio Nation about the conservative Supreme Court justice who became a liberal: Becoming Justice Blackmun
Streaming audio:

KPFK Wed. July 27: The Secret History of Disco

Should Roe go? KATHA POLLITT looks at the argument of Democratic Party insiders who ask whether abandoning abortion rights would win back white Catholics and evangelicals. Katha is author of Subject to Debate and a poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation, was recently awarded the number 74 spot on right-wing hack Bernard Goldberg’s list of 100 People Who are Screwing Up America.

A Field Guide to Getting LostAlso: REBECCA SOLNIT talks about her wonderful new book A Field Guide to Getting Lost — it’s a book about uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. She’s an activist and award-winning writer; her last book was the indispensible Hope in the Dark.
WEB EXTRA: Read Rebecca Solnit, “Taking the Measure of Victory,” at

Turn the Beat Around : The Secret History of DiscoPlus: THE SECRET HISTORY OF DISCO: Peter Shapiro talks about the way disco brought a polysexual, polyracial, polymorphous celebration — to a space beyond the reach of church, state and family; the way it became a worldwide phenomenon; and the way it ended in a homophobic, racist backlash. His book is Turn the Beat Around.
PLAYLIST: Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” 1977, #1
Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive” 1979 #1
Sister Sledge, “We Are Family” 1979 #2
Chic, “Good Times” 1979 #1

KPFK Wed. July 20: Iraq – and Iran

“The Iraq war is over – and the winner is — Iran.” That’s what JUAN COLE says — he’s professor of history at Michigan, and he writes the famous “Informed Comment” blog about Iraq.

Enemy Aliens: Double Standards And Constitutional Freedoms In The War On TerrorismAlso: Bush nominated John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court; how bad is this guy? DAVID COLE will explain; he’s The Nation‘s legal affairs correspondent, professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and author of the award-winning book Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism (New Press), out in a revised paperback edition this month.

In Other Words : Artists Talk About Life and Work Plus: what do Eminem, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, and R.E.M. have in common? All see their their music in relation to social and political issues — that’s what they told ANTHONY DeCURTIS, contributing editor to Rolling Stone and author of In Other Words: Artists Talk about Life and Work. PLAYLIST: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, “Folsom Prison Blues”; R.E.M./Michael Stipe, “Losing My Religion” (Live–Athens GA); Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP, “****/Kill You”; John Lennon Collection, “Instant Karma”

WEB EXTRA: Karl Rove update: “Luckily for Bush, it is not a crime to change the grounds on which you’ll pledge to fire someone.” — Jon Stewart. Watch Jon Stewart on Karl Rove

KPFK Wed. July 13: Robert Scheer on Karl Rove

ROBERT SCHEER talks about Karl Rove’s crime: “To try to conceal the fact that the President had lied to the American public about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program, Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans and send an intimidating message to any other government officials preparing to publicly tell the truth.” Scheer of course is a syndicated columnist and co-author of The Five Biggest Lies Bush told Us About Iraq.

Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the WorldPlus: It’s the 100th anniversary of the Wobblies! PAUL BUHLE has written a fabulous graphic history of the IWW: Mike Davis says “tell the bosses to go to hell and buy an extra copy of this wonderful history.”
The Travelling Wobbly Show opens in LA Sunday, July 17; reception 7-9 pm: at The Workmen’s Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd, LA; 310 552 2007.

Also: GANG OF FOUR launched a post-punk scratchy, funky sound and sang songs about exploitation in love and work. Their 1979 debut album “Entertainment!” has had a huge influence, and now it’s been reissued by Rhino. We’ll speak with co-founder and singer JON KING and listen to some key songs.
PLAYLIST: Gang of Four, “Entertainment!” Rhino R2 78428
#2 “Natural’s Not In It”: “the problem/of leisure/what to do/for pleasure. . . ”
#4 ” Damaged Goods”: “your kiss so sweet/your sweat so sour . . .”
#7 “I Found That Essence Rare”: “the worst thing in 1954 was the bikini . . .”
“To Hell with Poverty” (single)

More stuff to read: Jon Wiener criticizes Alan Dershowitz (and praises Arnold Schwarzenneger), on the LA Times op-ed page Monday:,1,6360784.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

KPFK Wed. July 6: Quagmire in Baghdad

Quagmire in Baghdad: Our Iraq war update with IAN WILLIAMS, UN Correspondent for The Nation and contributor to The Asia Times. His new book is Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776: “Rum was to the eighteenth century what oil is to the present.” He also details the showdown between the Bacardi family and Fidel Castro over the control of the lucrative rights to the Havana Club label.

Martyrs' Crossing (Ballantine Reader's Circle)Plus: Israel’s Gaza pullout plans: our Palestine-Israel update with AMY WILENTZ, contributing editor to The Nation, former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker, and author of the award-winning novel about Palestinians and Israelis Martyrs’ Crossing.

Also: Take me to the river: poet and environmental visionary LEWIS MacADAMS, founder of Friends of the L.A. River, reads from “The River, Book Three,” a mini-epic about his life and work among the trash bags and red-wing blackbirds of the LA River.
Tues July 12,7 PM: Lewis premieres “The River, Book Three” at the downtown LA Public Library, 630 W. 5th St.: free but reservations recommended.
Also on the FoLAR calendar: Sunday, July 17, 4:30 PM: A Down by the River Walk, “Saunter In Studio City”: In the east San Fernando Valley, the River runs along many TV/movie studios, including Warner Bros, Disney, DreamWorks, Universal, and CBS. Historically the more-or-less natural River served as the back lot location for various studio productions, including Westerns. Meet at the Laurel Grove Footbridge (at the intersection of Laurel Grove and Valleyheart).
PLAYLIST: Talking Heads, “Take Me to the River” from Stop Making Sense Live CD

KPFK Wed. June 29: Bush, Schwarzenegger & King Tut

HAROLD MEYERSON comments on the Bush speech defending the war Tuesday night — and on Donald Rumsfeld’s remark on Fox News Sunday that the war may go on for “eight, 10, 12 years.” Harold writes for the LA Weekly, The American Prospect, and the Washington Post op-ed page.

Also: GARY INDIANA explains Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to power. His new book is The Schwarzenegger Syndrome — it’s a witty and biting travelogue through the intersection of celebrity culture and American political life. Gary has published six novels; his essays have appeared in the Village Voice, the London Review of Books, and the LA Times Book Review.

Plus: Art and power in L.A.: CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT of the LA Times talks about the scandal at the Getty, the world’s richest art institution, over the lavish pay and perks for its CEO Barry Munitz — and about LACMA‘s King Tut show, which is now going on a 24/7 schedule to accomodate the crowds.

more stuff to read: In The Nation this week, Jon Wiener asks why Alan Dershowitz, famed defender of the First Amendment, wrote Gov. Schwarzenegger asking him to intervene in the publication of a book criticizing Dershowitz. The book is Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah.

Radio Nation June 3: JOHN DEAN

Worse than Watergate“: that’s what JOHN DEAN says about the Bush White House practice of secrecy and deception. John Dean of course served as counsel to President Nixon at age 31, a job he did for a thousand days.

Plus: So far this month in the Iraq insurgency, more than 450 Iraqis and dozens of U.S. troops have been killed. We’ll have our update on what the New York Times calls “the mystery of the insurgency” from U. of Michigan historian JUAN COLE: he writes the famous “Informed Comment” blog about Iraq at

Also: John Brown was the militant abolitionist who led an assault on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in the hope of inciting a slave insurrection. Some people call him a terrorist, but he was right about one thing: slavery was a system of violence that could not be ended in the US without war. Columbia University historian ERIC FONER comments. (There’s a new book on John Brown, written by David S. Reynolds.)

Finally: SARAH VOWELL is one of the great voices of public radio in America today for her work on This American Life. Now she’s gone on the road to find the locations of American political violence — and to ponder their lessons — in her new book Assassination Vacation.


KPFK Wed. June 1: Utopia and the A-Bomb

War, politics, idealism, passion, deceit, and betrayal: they all come together in the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the a-bomb and accused communist, told by KAI BIRD and MARTIN H. SHERWIN. Their book is American Prometheus: The Triumph of Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Plus: Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, nominated by Nixon in 1970, was the rarest of men: a conservative Republican who became a liberal as he grew older. Blackmun wrote the decision in Roe v. Wade and eventually came out against the death penalty, declaring “I shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death.” LINDA GREENHOUSE is the New York Times Pulitzer-Prize winning Supreme Court reporter; her new book is Becoming Justice Blackmun.

Also: It’s time for utopian thinking: That’s what UCLA historian RUSSELL JACOBY says: “The choice we have is not between reasonable proposals and an unreasonable utopianism. Utopian thinking does not undermine or discount real reforms. Indeed, it is almost the opposite: practical reforms depend on utopian dreaming.”” His new book is Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age. Terry Eagleton, writing in The Nation, calls it “a book to be treasured.”