KPFK Wed. 9/28: The Red Cross Money Pit


Operation USATHE RED CROSS MONEY PIT: The American Red Cross has raised more than $800 million for Hurricane Katrina victims. This would be justified if the organization had to pay the cost of the 300,000 people it has sheltered. But FEMA and the affected states are reimbursing the Red Cross under preexisting contracts for emergency shelter and other disaster services. The existence of these contracts is no secret to anyone – except for the American public. Richard Walden comments – he’s president of Operation USA.

Voices of A People's History of the United StatesPlus: HOWARD ZINN talks about disasters, natural and political – Howard’s new book is Voices from A People’s History. Join Howard, Danny Glover, Viggo Mortensen, Marissa Tomei, Alfre Woodard, Sandra Oh, and others for a night of dramatic readings from people’s history: Wednesday, October 5, 8 PM, Japan America Theatre, 244 South San Pedro Street downtown LA in Little Tokyo. Info: 213-680-3700;

Also: INTELLIGENT DESIGN ON TRIAL : This week the Dover, PA court is hearing the lawsuit over teaching “intelligent design” as a requirement in the high school biology curriculum.
Subject to Debate : Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture (Modern Library Paperbacks)

Nation magazine columnist KATHA POLLITT comments: she calls intelligent design “road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true.” But today 40 percent of high school biology teachers don’t teach evolution, either because it’s socially unacceptable in their communities, or because they themselves don’t believe in it.

KPFK Wed. 9/21: Mike Davis, Live from New Orleans


The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian FluMIKE DAVIS saw it coming: a year ago he warned what would happen in New Orleans: “The evacuation of New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Ivan [in 2004] looked sinisterly like Strom Thurmond’s version of the Rapture. Affluent white people fled the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less — mainly Black — were left behind in their below-sea-level shotgun shacks and aging tenements to face the watery wrath.” He will report live from New Orleans.

Mike’s new book is The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu, published last week by The New Press.

jean danielAlso: ADAM SHATZ on The Jewish Question in France: how France’s most eminent journalist, Jean Daniel, has for half a century been both a friend to Israel and a defender of Palestinian rights: “a trapeze act that he has managed with extraordinary grace.” He shows that, in proclaiming “tribal loyalty” rather than “the universal application of justice,” “the Chosen People have, alas, revealed themselves to be altogether ordinary.”

Adam is literary editor of The Nation; he wrote about “The Jewish Question” for The New York Review of Books.

Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American DreamPlus: BARBARA EHRENREICH’s book Nickel and Dimed has sold more than a million copies and was on the bestseller list for 102 weeks. Now she has a terrific new book out – Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. It’s an undercover exploration of the shadowy world of the white collar unemployed. The story is alternately grim and hilarious.
Barbara will be reading and signing Bait and Switch FRIDAY at 720pm at Skylight Books, 1818 Vermont Ave. in L.A.


a harrowing BBC-TV report from New Orleans
Even on Fox News, Geraldo Rivera and others were outraged.

KPFK Wed. Sept. 14: Is L.A. Next?


FEMA declared in August 2001 that the three mega-disasters most likely to hit the US were (1) a terrorist attack on New York City; (2) a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans; and (3) a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. Now we’ve had the first two. Is The Myth of Solid Ground : Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and FaithL.A. next?

For comment and analysis we turn to DAVID L. ULIN. His new book, The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith is out now in paperback. Mike Davis calls the book “a wry, hugely original, and scary exploration of the unstable boundaries between science and folk magic in California’s culture of disaster.” Dave Ulin is also the new editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

ALSO: Does New Orleans have a future?

codrescuANDREI CODRESCU, the poet and novelist born in Romania who lives in Louisiana, says “New Orleans had a great period, and now it is going to sink into some kind of glorious mess, like Venice, and become just a tourist spot. People will come . . . to feel the grandeur of what was once there.”

PLUS: the life and music of Jimi Hendrix:

Room Full of Mirrors : A Biography of Jimi HendrixCHARLES CROSS is the author of Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix. Charles Cross will be reading and signing at Book Soup on Sunset Strip at 7pm Wed.
“Hey Joe” (Smash Hits)
“Purple Haze” (Smash Hits)
“All Along the Watchtower” (Experience Hendrix)
“Room Full of Mirrors” (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

QUOTABLE: Bill Maher’s message to George Bush: “Mr. President, this job can’t be fun for you any more. There’s no more money to spend — you used up all of that. You can’t start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Now it’s time to do what you’ve always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company, and the baseball team. It’s time.”

RECOMMENDED: “This American Life: After the Flood.” GREAT interviews – listen online at scroll down to “After the Flood.” Click on the Real Audio icon.

KPFK Wed. Sept. 7: New Orleans: Sadness & Anger


As we’ve followed the news from New Orleans, it’s been a week of sadness and anger that’s been pretty overwhelming at times. Mainstream network news has been outraged by the president’s indifference to human suffering there, so we can do something else. We can ask, do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
Dr. John big 2For comment, we turn to HARRY SHEARER, who has been living in New Orleans part of the year. He’s the host of “Le Show” on KCRW, and also a star of The Simpsons on Fox TV, and he wrote about New Orleans for the L.A. Times op-ed page.
Louis Armstrong, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?” (The Great Chicago Concert 1956)
Fats Domino, “Walking to New Orleans” (The Fats Domino Jukebox)
Dr. John, “Iko Iko” (All By Hisself – Live at the Lonestar)
Mahalia Jackson, “When the Saints Go Marching In” (Live at Newport 1958)
The Marsalis family, “Struttin’ with some barbecue” (The Marsalis Family Live)
Neville Brothers, “Brother John” (Uptown Rulin’)
Neville Bros Poster 1“I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music came from New Orleans.” —Ernie K-Doe, 1979

ALSO: The destruction of New Orleans presents a defining moment in American politics. HAROLD MEYERSON talks about the “stuff happens” presidency, and about how the president’s failures might affect everything from the Supreme Court to the war in Iraq. Harold wrote the cover story for The American Prospect this month, “Their War Too,” on the pro-war pundits. He also writes for the LA Weekly and the Washington Post op-ed page.

More stuff to read in the LA Weekly:
“The heart of the matter”: Bill Bentley’s great piece on New Orleans music
“A New Orleans Journal”: Ben Ehrenreich’s compelling eyewitness reporting

KPFK Wed. Aug. 31: Steal This Vote


Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in AmericaSTEAL THIS VOTE: ANDREW GUMBEL, U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, “documents the simple truth: Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times. Gumbel tells better than anyone else the historyof votes bought, stolen, lost and litigated – because of a corrupt political environment created by both parties. His new book is Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America .
More stuff to read: Andrew Gumbel responds to the “posse of internet screamers” who have called him a “conspiracy journalist” and a “left-wing hack.”

Why They Don't Hate Us : Lifting the Veil on the Axis of EvilPlus: FROM BAGHDAD TO GAZA: MARK LeVINE talks about the human face behind the veil of “the axis of evil” – from young feminists wearing headscarves to Muslim metal heads. Mark teaches Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and writes for the L.A. Times, Tikkun, Le Monde, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Huffington Post; his new book is Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil.

Also: “MACK THE KNIFE”: when Bertold Brecht wrote the song in 1928, he considered Mack the embodiment of the perfect capitalist — vicious like a shark. What happened to “Mack the Knife”? Will Friedwald explains: his book is Stardust Melodies: A Biography of 12 of America’s Most Popular Songs. (originally broadcast 6-18-02) PLAYLIST: “Mack the Knife”: Threepenny Opera/Original Cast (1954); Louis Armstrong (TV, 1965); Ella FitzGerald “Live in Berlin” (1960); Sonny Rollins “Sax Colossus” (1956).

NEW AUDIO: Listen to Tom Hayden, “An Exit Strategy for Iraq Now”

KPFK Wed. Aug. 24: Commie Girl Goes to Crawford


COMMIE GIRL GOES TO CRAWFORD: REBECCA SCHOENKOPF, who writes the great “Commie Girl” column for the OC Weekly, flew to Texas last week to visit Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey. She also got a glimpse of President Bush, but only on TV at the hotel bar: “The president looked happy, relaxed, pretty great, and he should have,” she says: “his schedule that day had included a nap, lunch with Condi, some fishing, some ‘reading,’ a two-hour bike ride with reporters and a Little League game. It did not include a visit to Camp Casey.”

The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State ALSO: THE GODLESS CONSTITUTION: Did the Founding Fathers want America to be “a Christian nation”? ISAAC KRAMNICK says the Founding Fathers had no problem with a Christian people — but they were firm in their insistence on a secular government. His new book is The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State.

Baghdad Bulletin: Dispatches on the American Occupation PLUS: BACK FROM BAGHDAD: DAVID ENDERS of Mother Jones spent the past month in Iraq – he returned to Falluja, where US forces brought massive destruction and left a devastated city. His new book is Baghdad Bulletin: Dispatches on the American Occupation.

KPFK Wed Aug. 17: An Exit Strategy for Iraq

An exit strategy for Iraq now: TOM HAYDEN explains how to do it: shift from a military model to a peace process. Tom wrote about it for the L.A. Times op-ed page on Tuesday.

The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and DissentGaza update: today the Israeli army moved in on Jewish settlers who are resisting the pullout, and Palestinians prepare to return to land they lost in 1967. ROANE CAREY will comment; he’s a senior editor at The Nation and co-editor of The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent.

Son Of The Rough South: An Uncivil MemoirAlso: KARL FLEMING began his life in the bleak, poverty-striken tobacco landscape of North Carolina. He went on to become one of the key civil rights reporters of the sixties, covering Bull Conner’s fire hoses and police dogs in Birmingham in 1963, the Birmingham church bombings, and the murder of three civil rights workers during Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964. now he’s written a stunning memoir: Son of the Rough South.

KPFK Wed. Aug. 10: It’s Gaza Pullout Time!

It’s Gaza pullout time! The long-awaited, and long overdue, withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza strip begins this weekend. Is this the first step towards a broader withdrawal — or the last? ROANE CAREY will comment; he’s a senior editor at The Nation and co-editor of The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent.

The Unknown American Revolution : The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create AmericaAlso: “Can America be happy?” America’s first great radical, Tom Paine, asked that question in 1776. His answer: “As happy as she please.” The unruly energy, democratic ideas and profound sacrifices of the American Revolution came not from the fabled “founding fathers.” They came instead from the bottom up. UCLA historian GARY NASH will explain: he says the American revolution was a people’s revolution; his new book is The Unknown American Revolution.

Boogaloo : The Quintessence of American Popular MusicPlus: The story of black popular music: behind the funk of George Clinton, behind the Memphis soul of Otis Redding, stand the gospel music of Sam Cooke and Mahalia Jackson. ARTHUR KEMPTON will explain — his new book is Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music. PLAYLIST: Mahalia Jackson, “Take My Hand Precious Lord”; Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, “Touch the Hem of His Garment”; Otis Redding, “I’ve Been Loving You too Long”; George Clinton, “Flashlight.”

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