Living in the USA

LA’s Progressive D.A.: Jody Armour; The Supremes & Trump: David Cole; “Coded Bias”: Ella Taylor

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L.A. elected a new progressive district attorney last month – George Gascon – and he just announced the sweeping changes he will make, starting with an end to cash bail and to sentencing “enhancements.” Jody Armour explains: he’s the Roy Crocker Professor of Law at USC, and his new book is “N*gga Theory: Race, language, unequal justice, and the law.”
Also: last week the Supreme Court heard arguments on Trump’s effort to change the way seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned.
It has been based on a state’s total population, as the Constitution requires; he wants to exclude the undocumented, which would mean California would lose 2 or 3 seats. David Cole reviews the arguments—he’s national legal director of the ACLU.
Plus: Our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about the documentary “Coded Bias,” and the women of color, scientists, who organized the Algorhythm Justice League; plus the Kate Winslet film “Ammonite,” and “Driveways,” Brian Dennehy’s last movie. 12-10-2020

Trump Watch

Georgia Voters: Harold Meyerson; Trump Kids: Amy Wilentz; ‘Small Axe’: Ella Taylor

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Joe Biden got six million more votes than Donald Trump—so how come the Democrats did so poorly in the Senate and House elections? Harold Meyerson has an analysis – and some comments on how the Dems could win the Georgia Senate runoff.
Also: how are the Trump kids dealing with the refusal of their father to admit he lost the election? Amy Wilentz will comment—on another episode of The Children’s Hour, stories about Ivanka, Don Junior, Little Eric—and Lara. But who IS Lara Trump? Answers, later in this hour.
Plus our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about the series of five films about West Indians living in London in the sixties and seventies, made by Steve McQueen, the British artist and filmmaker—it’s play now on Amazon Prime. It’s called “Small Axe.”  12-3-2020

Trump Watch

The Fight for Georgia: Stacey Abrams

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All eyes are on Georgia now, as the campaigns for both senate seats are underway to determine which party will control the US Senate. For Democrats, the starting point for winning in Georgia is the historic work of Stacey Abrams. When she ran for governor of Georgia in 2018 as the first African American and the first woman candidate, she got more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, including Obama and Hillary Clinton. But because of Republican vote suppression she was not elected. Nevertheless she paved the way for Biden to win the state—a historic victory. We spoke with her in April 2019, about how she built the coalition that now hopes to win two senate seats in January.  11-25-20

Trump Watch

Mike Davis on Trump Voters; Gregg Gonsalves on Vaccine Profits; Ella Taylor on ‘The Crown’

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Mike Davis on Trump voters: Latinos in south Texas and white workers in the rust belt—and Biden’s big mistake: allowing Trump to claim “the economy” as his issue, instead of connecting jobs to controlling the pandemic.
Also: Monday we had good news on a covid vacine from Moderna, created with a billion dollars of taxpayer funding. Gregg Gonsalves takes up the question, Why does Moderna get to keep all the profits?
And Ella Taylor talks about this season’s guilty pleasure on TV: “The Crown” – in season four, Margaret Thatcher fights the queen, and Prince Charles marries a woman he doesn’t love: Princess Diana. 11/20/2020

Trump Watch

Trump’s Tactics Will Fail: Harold Meyerson; BLM Victories in LA: Jody Armour; “Collective”: Ella Taylor

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Harold Meyerson argues that none of Trump’s tactics to hold on to the White House will succeed—the lawsuits are ridiculous, the proposals for Republican state legislatures to send their own Trump electors to Washington won’t work. But the fact that Trump got more votes than any Republican in history gives him a lot of power over the party.
Also: the huge victories Black Lives Matter won at the polls in L.A. County: Jody Armour explains, starting with electing a progressive District Attorney, George Gascon. Jody’s new book is N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.
And our TV critic Ella Taylor recommends “Collective,” a terrific documentary about corruption in Romania.  11-12-2020

Trump Watch

What Biden can do on Day One without the Senate: Harold Meyerson; Trump voters: Joan Walsh; ‘Queen’s Gambit’: Ella Taylor

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Harold Meyerson considers the consequences of failing to win control of the Senate–and points to dozens of far-reaching executive actions Biden could take without Senate approval.
Plus: Joan Walsh of The Nation says, ‘It shouldn’t have been so close.”
and TV critic Ella Taylor reviews “The Queen’ Gambit,” the terrific series on Netflix about the protofeminist female chess champion in Cold War America.  11-5-20

 

Trump Watch

White Voters and Joe Biden: Harold Meyerson; The Chicago 7: Lee Weiner; Borat: Ella Taylor

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Harold Meyerson reviews Biden’s excellent recent poll results in swing states, and looks at the Democrats’ long standing problem with white male voters, and what can be done to bring them back into the party. Also: The one union that’s doing door-to-door precinct work during the pandemic.
Also: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ – the new Aaron Sorkin film – is the most-widely reviewed movie in America right now; 250 critics have written about it. Of course it’s about the trial of leaders of the antiwar protests at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 in Chicago –the indicted included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Bobby Seale, Davie Dellinger, John Froines and Lee Weiner – and we have a conversation with Lee Weiner – about the movie, and what really happened.
Plus: This week more than ever we need a bit of relief from the election
–maybe the new Borat movie? Sasha Baron Cohen’s return with his memorable character from ‘Khazakstan’–but of course it’s all about “President MacDonald Trump.” Ella Taylor will talk about “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” 10-29-20

Trump Watch

Disputed elections, past and present: Eric Foner; David Byrne’s utopia: Ella Taylor

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Maybe the November election will have a big enough vote for Biden so that it can’t be challenged in court; maybe the Republicans won’t dispute the outcome. But maybe they will – we’ve had other disputed elections in our history — of course we had the Supreme Court stopping the count in Florida in 2000–and there was another one, much less well known–the election of 1876. For some comparisons we turn to Eric Foner — he’s won the Pulitzer prize, the Bancroft Prize and the Lincoln prize for his work, most of which has been about Reconstruction.
Also: making music together in a dark time: that’s David Byrne’s utopia. there’s a movie about it, and it’s playing now on HBO Max: “American Utopia.” Ella Taylor comments. 10-23-20

Trump Watch

The fight for voting by mail: Pramila Jayapal; “Trial of the Chicago 7”: Ella Taylor

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When Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee recently that voting by mail on a large scale presented a “high risk” for “massive voter fraud,” Pramila Jayapal challenged him—with evidence. She’s co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she represents Seattle, and she talks about the fight against Trump for voting by mail. Her new book is Her new book is “Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.”
Plus: The new Aaron Sorkin film, “Trial of the Chicago 7,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, opens on Netlfix Friday–Ella Taylor comments on the film, and on other political films of the week.  10-16-20

Trump Watch

Pence’s Lies in The VP Debate: Harold Meyerson; Lessons from Ohio: Sherrod Brown; Alex Gibney’s Covid-19 doc: Ella Taylor; John Lennon tribute

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Pence faced an impossible task in the VP debate Wednesday night – defending Trump’s inaction on the pandemic; but Kamala Harris also faced challenges: she couldn’t be an angry black woman. Harold Meyerson comments.
also: Ohio SenatorSherrod Brown talks politics and history, and the lessons Biden should learn from his recent reelection in Ohio, where he won by 8 points in a state Hillary lost by 6.
plus: “Totally Under Control” is Alex Gibney’s powerful new documentary on Trump’s Covid-19 failures – Ella Taylor comments.
Finally, we remember John Lennon – tomorrow, Oct. 9, would have been his 80th birthday.  10-8-2020

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