New Orleans, Mon Amour : Twenty Years of Writings from the CityParadise is lost: Remembering New Orleans
For two decades ANDREI CODRESCU has been living in and writing about his adopted city, where, as he puts it, the official language is dreams. Andrei is a refugee born in Transylvania who found his home in a place where vampires roam the streets and voodoo queens live around the corner; and where, in the French Quarter, no one ever sleeps. Alas, as we now know, Paradise is lost. His new book is New Orleans, Mon Amour — an epic love song, a clear-eyed elegy, a cultural celebration, and a thank-you note to New Orleans in its Golden Age.

Forever Free : The Story of Emancipation and ReconstructionFor a brief moment, the country tried genuine interracial democracy — in the era of Reconstruction following the Civil War. Historian ERIC FONER explains; his new book is Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction.

It was thirty years ago today: the legendary “Born to Run” album is back, remastered. ANTHONY deCURTIS of Rolling Stone will comment on the album where Bruce Springsteen left behind his adolescent definitions of love and freedom. Anthony’s most recent book is In Other Words : Artists Talk About Life and Work.
Born to Run
PLAYLIST: “Tenth Avenue Freezeout”; “Thunder Road”; “Backstreets”; “Born to Run.”

“it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us. . . .”

More Stuff to read: Jon Wiener on “UCLA’S DIRTY THIRTY” from The Nation


On Michael JacksonTHE MYSTERIES OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Margo Jefferson, the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer for the New York Times, talks about the weirdness and the alleged criminality, the great music and the dancing, and the rise and fall of the one-time king of pop. Her new book is On Michael Jackson.
Margo will be speaking Sunday Jan 22 at 5pm at the UCLA Hammer Museum -Wilshire & Westwood.

Also: our Washington update with DAVID CORN, on the CIA’s recent attack on the Pakistani village — an attempt to kill al Qaeda’s No. 2 man – but instead it killed a dozen civilians. “No one pays for this. No one is punished.” David is Washington editor of The Nation, and author of The Lies of George W. Bush.

Bury the Chains : Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's SlavesPlus: how a small group of people eliminated slavery in the British Empire: it took them 50 years, but they never gave up.
Adam Hochschild will explain: His book Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves is out now in paperback.

MORE STUFF TO READ: “Bush on Bin Laden’s Satellite Phone: Wrong Again” by Jon Wiener —

My Lai Hero Hugh Thompson: KPFK interview 2/2000

The man who stopped the My Lai massacre, Hugh Thompson, died on Jan 6, 2006.
He was a military helicopter pilot who put his helicopter down between the soldiers and villagers, ordering his men to shoot their fellow Americans if they attacked the civilians. “There was no way I could turn my back on them,” he later said of the victims. We’  interviewed him in February 2000.

also on this show on KPFK Wed. 1/11: SAM ALITO is sort of like ROBERT BORK: he has a long and full record of challenging liberal positions on presidential power, abortion, civil rights and control of corporations. More than any nomination in memory, his threatens to finally transform the court. ROBERT SCHEER will explain: he writes a syndicated column and edits

Plus: Israeli Prime Minister ARIEL SHARON’s massive stroke has caused an earthquake in the political landscape there – he had dominated Israeli politics for two decades and had been expected to win the next elections. But does the sudden end of his politicl career make any difference to the Palestinians? 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.



A Tale of Love and DarknessAMOS OZ, the great Israeli peace activist and novelist, will talk about the future of the Mideast, and about his memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness – it’s a fantastic book about growing up in Jerusalem in the forties and fifties, and it’s out now in paperback. (archive edition, originally broadcast 12/04)

ALSO: Jack Abramoff and the Mideast: JUAN COLE notes that Abramoff took money from Indian tribes — and gave it to right-wing Israelis establishing illegal settlements on Palestinian Land. Juan is professor of history at Michigan, president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association, and he writes the famous “Informed Comment” blog.

Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National SecurityPLUS: Spying on Americans – we’ll have an update from DAVID COLE of the Center for Constitutional Rights and The Nation magazine — he says Bush acted in direct violation of a criminal law. David’s new book is Terrorism and the Constitution, and he wrote recently in The Nation about the many ways President Bush has abused the power of his office.

Also: FRANK WILKINSON died Monday — he fought HUAC for 25 years, and went to jail for nine months in 1961 for refusing to anwer the question “Are you now or have you ever been?” He’s also a hero of Freedom of Information — his FOIA lawsuit led to the release of his FBI file, 132,000 documents, the largest on any individual ever released under the FOIA. Frank’s story was featured on Ry Cooder’s recent CD “Chavez Ravine” — we’ll listen to Ry sing his song about Frank, “Don’t Call Me Red.”
READ the New York Times obituary on Frank Wilkinson (it’s pretty good).


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild PossibilitiesTwo takes on the year in review:
REBECCA SOLNIT says it was “a bad year for Goliath” – but not necessarily a good one for David. “Thirteen months ago,” she writes at, “when Bush was reelected, the despondent around me seemed to think that our future was graven in stone. But in the best and worst of ways, in this wild, wild year that ends so differently than it began, it has turned out to be written in water.” Her book Hope in the Dark is out now from Nation Books in a new edition.

ALSO: Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy DemocracyJOHN NICHOLS picks “the most valuable progressives of 2005.” John’s new book is Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy–he writes The Online Beat blog at

And JEFF CHANG talks about hip-hop politics. In his new book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, Jeff shows how hip-hop was “forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica,” and how it has been “a generation-defining global movement.”
PLAYLIST: Africa Bambaataa, “Don’t Stop – Planet Rock” (1982); Public Enemy, “Fight the Power” (1988); India Arie, “Video” (2001); Kanye West, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” (2005).

A FINAL NOTE: Radio Nation’s last broadcast with host Marc Cooper on KPFK 90.7 FM will be this Friday 7-8am – the program will move to Air America radio, where the Laura Flanders show will become “Radio Nation with Laura Flanders” – heard in L.A. on KTLK 1150am Sunday nights from 8-11pm. Cooper started Radio Nation at KPFK in 1996, and the show is currently heard on more than 100 public and community stations. Cooper’s recent guests on Radio Nation have included Seymour Hersh, Gore Vidal, and Barbara Boxer, as well as Nation writers like David Corn and Victor Navasky. (Recently Marc has been guest hosting “Left Right and Center” on KCRW 89.9 FM.) So it’s time to say thank you to one of the greatest interviewers working in radio today — he gave me my start in show business, as a guest host on Radio Nation.


Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National SecuritySpying on Americans: George Bush says it’s a good thing – and he also thinks the president has the power to do it. DAVID COLE disagrees – he teaches law at Georgetown and his new book is Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties for National Security. His new article in The Nation looks at the many ways President Bush has abused the power of his office.

Also: gay cowboys and straight cowboys: JOHN POWERS will explain the difference — a talk about Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” and Tommy Lee Jones’s “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.” John writes the “On” column for the LA Weekly, he’s a commentator on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross.”
Sore Winners : American Idols, Patriotic Shoppers, and Other Strange Species in George Bush's AmericaHis book Sore Winners: American Idols, Patriotic Shoppers, and Other Strange Species in George Bush’s America is out now in paperback.

And we”ll have our Washington political update with HAROLD MEYERSON. Harold is political editor of the LA Weekly, editor at large of the American Prospect, and op-ed page columnist for the Washington Post.

Plus: YOUR MINNESOTA MOMENT: neighbors of a state prison in suburban Minneapolis say they do NOT want a 12-foot security fence built – they say the prisoners make good neighbors.



Dec. 8 is the 25th anniversary of the killing of JOHN LENNON. We’ll commemorate that anniversary by listening to some rare audio from the Pacifica Radio Archives documenting Lennon’s engagement with the anti-war movement of the sixties: ABBIE HOFFMAN talking about John Lennon in a 1981 interview, PETE SEEGER rembering how he lead half a million people singing “Give Peace a Chance” at the Washington Monument in 1969, Lennon’s own voice from the bed-in in Amsterdam in 1968 and the Free John Sinclair concert in 1971 – and, throughout the hour, some of our favorite Lennon music.
Playlist: “Instant Karma!,” “Come Together,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” “John Sinclair,” “Stand by Me,” “Oh Yoko.”

Also: KPFK SPORTS! Today: a look at the Oakland Raiders fan empire with JIM MILLER and KELLY MAYHEW, authors of the new book Better to Reign in Hell: Inside the Raiders Fan Empire.

Plus: What’s next in California politics: SHEILA KUEHL, state senator from Santa Monica, with comment and analysis.

Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI FilesToday’s news update: Twenty-five years after John Lennon’s murder, the FBI has declared it will appeal a recent federal court decision ordering release of the last ten pages of the Lennon FBI file. The FBI says it would not release files about Lennon on the grounds that they contain information provided by a foreign government under a promise of confidentiality.
More info:

KFPK Wed. 11/30: IRAQ — and GIRL GROUPS

Girl Groups of the Sixties: LISTEN ONLINE
Raw emotion, youthful energy, and teenage angst in a new 4-CD Rhino box set: girlgroupsOne 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 CHERYL FARBER, producers of the 120-track collection, will explain. PLAYLIST: “Needle in a Haystack,” The Velvelettes (1964); “Nobody Knows What’s Going on in my Mind but Me,” The Chiffons (1965); “Nothing but a Heartache,” The Flirtations (1968); “I Never Dreamed,” The Cookies (1964); “I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song),” The Ikettes (1961)

Port Huron Statement : The Essay That Launched the Revolution of the 1960sPLUS: The war in Iraq has reached a decisive moment, now that all major Iraqi political parties have called for an American withdrawal. TOM HAYDEN asks “is the war ending — or is the anti-war movement ending in 2006?” Tom will talk about “What To Do For Peace Now.” Plus Tom’s appeal for clemency for Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the convicted murderer facing the death penalty despite his important work for a gang truce.
Tom’s most recent book is a new edition of The Port Huron Statement: The Visionary Call of the 1960s Revolution, for which he’s written a new introduction, “The Way We Were.”

The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of DeceptionALSO: President Bush in a speech today announced a “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” For comment and analysis we turn to DAVID CORN — he’s The Nation‘s Washington editor and he writes the “Capital Games” column for the magazine. He’s also a commentator on Fox News, and his most recent book is The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception.

BOB SCHEER UPDATE: Susan Brenneman, Deputy Op-Ed Editor of the L.A. Times, invited MIKE DAVIS to write a “long essay” for the Times op-ed page. Mike replied: “Dear Susan, I hate to respond to your kindness with a polemic, but after the purging of Bob Scheer there is no way that I would contribute to the Op-ed section or even allow one of my pieces to be reprinted. As in the past, please be assured that I have only the highest respect for you and other friends at the LAT, but I won’t collaborate with the institution. Hope you understand. warmest, Mike Davis”



scheerIRAQ UPDATE: For the first time, Iraq’s political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of US forces, putting new pressure on the Bush White House. ROBERT SCHEER will provide comment and analysis: in his column today, at, he says “You’ve got to hand it to Dick Cheney; no other modern politician has come so close to perfecting the theater of the absurd. Even as he protests his innocence of lying about matters of state, he lies about matters of state.” Next Tuesday Scheer launches TruthDig.Com— a web magazine providing provocative content and in-depth coverage of current affairs — sign up today!

The art and soul of Sam Cooke: a black performer who was among the first to blend gospel music and secular themes — from “You Send Me” in 1957 to “A Change is Gonna Come” in 1964.
Dream Boogie : The Triumph of Sam CookeFriend of Malcolm X and Cassius Clay, he was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 1964. PETER GURALNIK , author of DREAM BOOGIE, will talk about the triumph of Sam Cooke – and we’ll listen to some Sam Cooke songs.
PLAYLIST: “Touch the Hem of His Garment” 1956
“You Send Me” 1957
“Bring it on Home to Me” 1962
“A Change is Gonna Come” 1964
“Twistin’ the Night Away” 1962

ALSO: E. L. DOCTOROW’s amazing new novel, THE MARCH
The March : A Novelis set in the middle of Sherman’s Civil War march from Atlanta to the sea, the moment of revolutionary destruction of planter property and liberation for thousand of slaves. Richard Eder of the L.A. Times described it as “a serious novel that is at the same time entrancing fun: a panoramic vision of war filtered through its disorders; often brutal and, at times, oddly human.”
DAVE ULIN, book editor of the L.A. Times, will comment – he wrote about Doctorow for The Nation.

KFPK Wed. 11/9: Voters to Arnold: NO!


will have analysis of Tuesday’s election results, where voters rejected every one of Schwarzenegger’s ballot propositions — plus an abortion-parental consent initiative designed to get conservatives to the polls. It’s a stunning defeat for the governor.

Harold is political editor of the LA Weekly, editor at large of the American Prospect, and op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.
(Arnold portrait by Caricature Zone.)

PLUS: Republican defeats around the country:
Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy JOHN NICHOLS comments on good news for Democrats from New Jersey and especially Virginia, a red state where Bush himself campaigned last week. John is co-author with Robert McChesney of a new book, TRAGEDY & FARCE: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy.
John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation; Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois.
Nichols and McChesney will be talking about Tragedy and Farce Wed. nite at 730pm at Barnes & Noble, 1201 – 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica.

Don't Get Too Comfortable : The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World ProblemsALSO: DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE: DAVID RAKOFF looks at American greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity — and explains why “the cudgel-like USA Patriot Act” convinced him he should become an American citizen. (He had been a Canadian citizen.) David Rakoff is a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s “This American Life” with Ira Glass.

Bad news: the LA Times is killing Robert Scheer’s column. Scheer has been a hero and friend of mine for 25 years, and his column has been indispensable, exposing the lies and coverups of the Bush White House — and has been attacked relentlessly by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The Times‘s publisher seems to think a blander, more centrist op-ed page will help slow their declining readership. Let the Times know we want Robert Scheer back: Write a letter to Jeffrey M. Johnson, Publisher; Los Angeles Times; 202 W. 1st St.; Los Angeles, CA 90012