Wed. 2/14: “The US vs. John Lennon” on DVD

It’s the KPFK fund drive, today cohosting with Suzi Weissman, and featuring the new DVD, “The US vs. John Lennon,” during the hour.
“The U.S. vs. John Lennon” tells the story of Lennon’s transformation from loveable moptop to anti-war activist, and recounts the facts about Nixon’s campaign to deport him in 1972. With Walter Cronkite, Gore Vidal, Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, G. Gordon Liddy, Yoko Ono, and Jon Wiener–and archival footage of Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Lennon.

We’ll also be featuring the soundtrack CD from the documentary, and the book on which the documentary was based: Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files – and also the 2-CD audio documentary from the Pacifica Archives, “John Lennon: The Political and the Personal,” featuring interviews with, among others, Pete Seeger and Abbie Hoffman.

Wed. 2/7: The Obama-thon

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American DreamLISTEN TO THIS SHOW ONLINESUBSCRIBE TO PODCAST
“Black Like Me”: GARY YOUNGE explains “the magnitude of the Obama-thon currently taking place.” “What the nation has liked most,” Younge says, “is not what Obama has said or done but what he is. In short, Obama is a black man who does not scare white people. This is mostly not Obama’s fault. He is who he is.” Gary writes for The Guardian and The Nation.

Also: Girl Groups of the Sixties: a 4-CD Rhino box set, nominated for a Grammy, features the lesser known but more revealing singles and B-sides: One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found. Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote, “to hear all these long-suffering voices is to realize that feminism didn’t arrive an instant too soon.” GARY STEWART and SHERYL FARBER will explain. (Originally broadcast 11-30-2005)

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic [American Empire Project] (American Empire Project)Plus: CHALMERS JOHNSON talks about his new book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republicon the unintended consequences of our dependence on a permanent war economy. It’s a staggering tale of American hubris from “our most prescient critic of American empire and its pretensions.” (Andrew Bacevitch) In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the goddess of retribution, who punishes human transgressions of the right order of things and the arrogance that causes them.

Wed. 1/31: Howard Zinn on America’s Future

HOWARD ZINN talks about America’s current political and ethical crisis. His new book is A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.
Special event Thurs Feb. 1, 730pm: readings from
Voices of a People’s History of the US with co-author Anthony Arnove, Alfre Woodard, Rosie Perez, Elizabeth Pena, Mark Ruffalo, and members of Ozomatli:
All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid St., Pasadena.
It’s a fundraiser for Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace. info at or 626-683-9004

Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in Americaalso:
Black power in America:
in his new book Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America, PENIEL JOSEPH “reveals a hidden world of black intellectual ferment and purposeful political organizing” — Raymond Arsenault in the Washington Post. Before Stokely Charmichael’s defiant cry on the Selma to Montgomery March in 1966, there was James Baldwin, and Malcolm X, and Amiri Baraka. Peniel E. Joseph is an assistant professor of Africana studies at SUNY–Stony Brook.

About AlicePlus: CALVIN TRILLIN of The New Yorker talks about his picks for the 2008 presidential race, and reads from his new book, About Alice. Trillin is also Deadline Poet for The Nation:
Calvin Trillin, “The Great Decider” (with apologies to The Platters)
Oh yes I’m the great decider (ooh ooh).
I’m resolute, and I am strong (ooh ooh).
I’ve said a prayer, so no need to care
If all my decisions are wrong.

Wed. 1/24: State of the Union: Grim

Last night in his State of the Union address, President Bush called for continuing war in Iraq – while his approval rating is at an all-time low, 28 per cent. (The lowest in history was Nixon’s, 25 per cent – right now Bush is ahead by 3.)
Jews and American Popular Culture [Three Volumes]JOHN NICHOLS will comment – he’s Washington correspondent for The Nation, he writes “The Online Beat” blog at, and his new book is The Genius of Impeachment.

Plus: Jews and American Popular Culture: PAUL BUHLE talks about the deep influence of Jews in American art, literature, politics, humor and sports. He edited the new 3-volume anthology on the subject. “Relief for the Jews! How about relief from the Jews?” – Harry Cohn, president of Columbia Pictures, quoted in Jews and American Popular Culture.

Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and ReconstructionAlso: Democracy and slavery: for a brief moment, the country tried genuine interracial democracy. In the era of emancipation of Reconstruction in the 1860s and 1870s, the federal government passed laws promising former slaves equality and political rights, including the vote. Historian ERIC FONER will explain – his book Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction is out now in paperback. (originally broadcast 1-25-06)

More stuff to read: my piece “Iraq: Counting the Dead,” at – the UN count of 34,000 civilian deaths last year is almost certainly far loo low.

Wed. 1/17: Bohemian L.A.

Bohemian Los Angeles: and the Making of Modern PoliticsLISTEN TO THIS SHOW ONLINESUBSCRIBE TO PODCAST
A community of artists, Communists and homosexuals co-existed from the 1920s through the 1960s in the “Red Hills” above Silver Lake. Here, communists cultivated their individuality, gay men developed identity politics, and both provoked a right-wing backlash. Hurewitz’s new book is Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics – he teaches history at Hunter College in New York.
READ Martin Duberman in The Nation on Bohemian Los Angeles.

Plus: HAROLD MEYERSON talks about the Democrats and the war. Harold of course is Acting Editor of The American Prospect and op-ed contributor to the Washington Post.

ASK ME HOW TO AVOID BEING LEFT BEHIND 11 oz. White MugAlso: The Rapture as a video game: JOSHUA BEARMAN of the LA Weekly talks about Left Behind: Eternal Forces, based on the best selling series of 12 books by evangelical minister Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It’s “an evangelical tool for teens” with a narrator who says God will take his people to heaven, but “for those Left Behind, the Apocalypse has just begun.” Josh was featured on “The Super” episode of This American Life with Ira Glass last week.

More stuff to read: my piece on the season premiere of “24,” the Fox TV show starring Kiefer Sutherland that makes the case for torture more successfully than the Bush White House.

Wed. 1/10: Barbara Ehrenreich on Collective Joy

Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy LISTEN TO THIS SHOW ONLINESUBSCRIBE TO PODCAST
says “fight for your right to party!” In her new book Dancing in the Streets she talks about the human inclination for collective joy, expressed through the ages in ecstatic celebrations of feasting, costuming, and dancing—and how that desire has been suppressed in modern society.
Barbara will be speaking at the downtown LA Public Library next Tues, Jan. 16, at 7pm in the “ALOUD” series.

Plus: President Bush tonight calls for more US troops to be sent to Iraq: JOHN NICHOLS will comment – he’s Washington correspondent for The Nation and writes “The Online Beat” blog at

The History of Havana (Palgrave Essential Histories)Also: Dick Cluster and Rafael Hernandez talk about their new book The History of Havana: “a historical crossroad of the New World, a stage of scenic architecture, rhythmic sound-scapes, remarkable artistic genius, foreign invasions, struggles for personal and national freedom and independence – today a vibrant, complex world-renowned city, in a new global moment, creating its future in the throes of the fall of the Soviet Union, the lure and hooks of tourism, natural disasters, and the challenges of Empire” — Harry Belafonte.

More Stuff to read: my new pieces “Imagine No More Secrets: Problems with 25-year Declassification Rule” (LA Times);
Are Evangelicals “American Fascists”? (LA Times Book Review)

Wed. 1/3: Iraq Apocalypse

Iraq Apocalypse: JUAN COLE reports on the rising tide of political violence following the grisly execution of Saddam Hussein — with Shiite observers chanting “Moktada, Moktada!” the name of the cleric whose death squads have “made an indescriminate industry of killing Sunnis” (New York Times). Juan Cole writes a column for and the indespensible Iraq blog “Informed Comment.”

Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, And Lipstick Lesbians READ “Top ten ways the US enabled Saddam Hussein” by Juan Cole

Also: GAY L.A.: LILLIAN FADERMAN and STUART TIMMONS talk about the history and politics of sexual outlaws from the 1920s to the present: the LAPD’s 80-year reputation as the nation’s most homophobic police force, the remarkably free lives of Hollywood lesbians in the 1930s, and the rise of gay politics in the 1960s. Lillian Faderman is the award-winning author of numerous books including Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers; Stuart Timmons’s biography of gay movement founder Harry Hay became a Book of the Month Club selection. Their book is Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians.

Palestine: Peace Not ApartheidPlus: JIMMY CARTER and the Jews: leading Jewish organizations and spokespeople have attacked Jimmy Carter’s new book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. CAMERA, for example, says “Jimmy Carter Distorts Facts, Demonizes Israel,” and Alan Dershwitz calls the book “indecent.” AMY WILENTZ will comment – she was Jerusalem correspondent for the New Yorker, and wrote an award-winning novel, Martyr’s Crossing, about Palestinians and Israelis.

More stuff to read: my new piece “America’s Complicity in Saddam’s Crimes” at

Wed. 12/27: Gerald Ford’s Legacy: Cheney & Rumsfeld

Gerald Ford died yesterday, but he lives on in two of his key appointees: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Their impact on America today is greater than Ford’s. JOHN NICHOLS comments: he’s Washington correspondent for The Nation, and writes The Online Beat at
READ my piece “Gerald Ford’s Legacy: Cheney and Rumsfeld” at

Report from Ramallah: Palestinian politics have been on the verge of chaos as Fatah and Hamas battle for power –MARK LeVINE has just returned from Ramallah with a report: is a Palestinian unity government possible? Do the Israelis want negotations? Mark teaches Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and writes for the L.A. Times, Tikkun, Le Monde, and The Nation.

Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He MadeALSO: EARL WARREN transformed America as Chief Justice, first of all with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, declaring segregated schools unconstitutional. But before Eisenhower appointed him, he had a long career in California politics that was not so liberal. JIM NEWTON of the L.A. Times will explain: his new book is Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made.

More stuff to read: My piece “James Brown, Godfather of Soul” at

Wed. 12/13: The U.S. v. George Bush et al.

A 20-year prosecutor lays out the case against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Colin Powell. The charge: conspiracy and fraud in taking the country to war. ELIZABETH de la VEGA is the author of U.S. v. George W. Bush et al.

ALSO: The great RICKY JAY talks about the world of “deceptive practices.” He’s one of the world’s most accomplished sleight-of-hand artists, and has appeared on TV and in movies, including David Mamet’s films “House of Games”, “Homicide,” “Spanish Prisoner,” and “Heist.” His award-winning show “Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants” is running at the Geffen Theater in Westwood through Jan. 27. (originally broadcast Sept. 26, 2001)

The Economics of Global TurbulencePLUS: falling wages and rising unemployment: the world economy over the last 50 years has been plagued by over-production and excessive competition; the result is a long-term crisis since the early 1970s. UCLA historian ROBERT BRENNER is the author of The Economics of Global Turbulence. “Here, at last – something good out of the left” — The Wall Street Journal.

MORE STUFF TO READ: my TruthDig piece, “Was Nixon Worse? Counting the dead in Vietnam and Iraq”
And at, “John Lennon’s Legacy: Did “Give Peace a Chance’ Save a Single Life?”