KPFK Wed. 7/19: Israel Goes to War

Israel has killed
over 300 Lebanese, most of them civilians, while Hezbollah rockets have killed 30 Israelis, 15 of them civilians. In Gaza, one Israeli soldier has died from his own army’s fire, while Israel has killed 103 Palestinians. Israel claims this disproportionate violence will destroy Hezbollah and Hamas, but in the past popular outrage over Israeli attacks on civilians has strengthened Israel’s enemies. (photo credit: LA Times: Beirut on 7/16)
We’ll have analysis from three angles:

AMY WILENTZ on the Israelis — she was Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker, and she’s a contributing editor of The Nation. She wrote a prize-winning novel about Palestinians and Israelis, Martyr’s Crossing.

HAROLD MEYERSON on Bush’s response: “The world’s sole remaining superpower has been super-absent from any role in mediating and mitigating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — partly because until recently the president didn’t believe in diplomacy, partly because he believed that the key to regional stability was deposing Saddam Hussein.” Harold writes for The Guardian in London, the LA Weekly, the American Prospect, and the Washington Post, where his piece “The Guns of July” appears today.

ADAM SHATZ on Hezbollah: Adam interviewed the head of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, at his headquarters in Beirut in 2003. Adam is literary editor of The Nation; his article “In Search of Hezbollah” appeared in the New York Review. He’s also editor of the book Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Israel and Zionism.


KPFK Wed. 7/10: The Democrats and the War

John Nichols, Washington Correspondent for The Nation, talks about the Democrats and the war – and the coming contest in Connecticut, where George Bush’s favorite Democratic senator, Joe Lieberman, is facing a strong challenge in the Democratic primary from anti-war progressive Ned Lamont. John writes The Online Beat at

American Prometheus : The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Vintage)PLUS: War, politics, 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. “Devastated by the atom bomb’s legacy of fear, he became a vocal and passionate opponent of the Strangelovian madness that gripped the world because of the weapons he helped develop.” The book is American Prometheus: The Triumph of Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer –it won the Pulitzer Prize; it’s out now in paperback. (Originally broadcast 6/1/05)

AND: Your Minnesota Moment: the deformed frogs of LeSueur– what are they trying to tell us? (originally broadcast 7/11/00)

The Woods

ALSO: SLEATER-KINNEY, the great all-girl punk band, is breaking up. “They came from the Pacific Northwest; they were young; and they had things to say” – Rick Moody. We’ll speak with GREIL MARCUS about the trio and their music. Sleater-Kinney’s latest CD/LP is The Woods (2005);
Greil Marcus’s latest book is Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (2005), a “biography” of the Dylan song.
PLAYLIST: “Ballad of a Ladyman,” “Was it a Lie?” from All Hands on the Bad One (2000) (originally broadcast 7/12/00)

KPFK Wed. 7/5: Tom Hayden: An Exit strategy for Iraq

Democrats want to “wave the white flag of surrender” in Iraq: that’s what President Bush says. Vice President Cheney accuses the Democrats of “defeatism” in the global war on terror. And now Republicans are planning to use the war to win at the polls in November. TOM HAYDEN talks about on the politics of the war – and what the peace movement can do in the upcoming elections.
Timothy Leary : A BiographyTom has been working on “An Exit Strategy for Iraq”.

Plus: TIMOTHY LEARY: “While he may have been the leading spokesmodel for LSD, Leary remained to the end an old-fashioned booze hound, as well as a snake-oil peddler of the most traditional American sort. Had he been born a decade or two earlier, he would probably have been offering to cure arthritis through the application of the electric belt.” That’s what LUC SANTE says — he is the author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, and he teaches writing at Bard. His piece about Timothy Leary was the cover story in the New York Times Book Review.

The Lemon Tree : An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle EastAlso: A story about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict told through the experiences of two families with claims to the same stone house in the town of Ramla. The book is The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, and the author is SANDY TOLAN – he’s written for the New York Times Magazine and dozens of other magazines and newspapers. HE’s also produced dozens of radio documentaries for NPR and PRI. He teaches international reporting at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and he writes for the PBS Frontline web site.

KPFK Wed. 6-21: The US vs. John Lennon

Working Class Hero: The Definitive LennonNo show today — the KPFK fund drive continues.
Web Extra: take a look online at the trailer for a new documentary, The U.S. versus John Lennon” — or go to The film, which opens September 15, provides a compelling look at Lennon’s transformation from lovable mop-top to anti-war activist –and also tells the true story of how and why the U.S. government tried to silence him. (The trailer is also running in theaters, before the Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”) The message: “War is over — if you want it.”

ALSO: VICTOR NAVASKY in L.A.: the Publisher Emeritus of The Nation will be reading and signing A Matter of Opinion at 730pm Friday 6-23, at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., L.A.. Victor is also a guest on The Tavis Smiley Show on Friday, KCET Channel 28, 11pm.

KPFK Wed. 6/7: Harold Meyerson: The Elections

Election Analysis with HAROLD MEYERSON: Phil Angelides will challenge Arnold in Virginity or Death! : And Other Social and Political Issues of Our TimeNovember; Jerry Brown defeated Rocky Delgadillo for the Democratic Party nomination for attorney general; and Democrat Francine Busby lost the San Diego Congressional seat vacated by Randy “Duke” Cunningham to a Republican.
Harold is Political Editor of the LA Weekly, editor at large of The American Prospect, and op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.

Plus: KATHA POLLITT talks about VIRGINITY OR DEATH! And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time. “Witty, astute and relentlessly logical” – Publishers Weekly. For Example, Katha argues that creationists should be permitted to oppose the teaching of evolution so long as they agree to forgo the benefits of the theory –such as flu vaccines.
Rip It Up and Start Again : Postpunk 1978-1984Katha is a poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation.

Also: The years after punk: in the new book Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. SIMON REYNOLDS says that the postpunk of early eighties stands as “a fair match for the Sixties” in terms of the idealism, the urgency, the excitement, and the musical innovations of the era.
PLAYLIST: Public Image Limited, “Public Image” single (Oct 1978); Gang of Four, “Natural’s Not In It,” Entertainment (1979); The Specials, “A Message to you Rudy,” The Specials (1979); Talking Heads, “Once in a Lifetime,” Remain in Light (1980)

KPFK Wed. 5/31: Victor Navasky: Magazines & Politics

A Matter of OpinionVICTOR NAVASKY is the renowned editor, writer, and teacher who has been at the helm of The Nation for almost thirty years, during which its circulation rose from 20,000 to nearly 200,000. He argues that, even in the age of the internet and Fox news, independent journals of opinion are vital to the health of democracy. His book A Matter of Opinion is out now in paperback – it’s a wonderful book, and a funny one too.
(archive edition, originally broadcast April 20, 2005.)

Also: the atrocities in Haditha and the upcoming primaries: our political update with JOHN NICHOLS, Washington correspondent for The Nation — he writes “The Online Beat” blog at

Plus:1973 Nervous Breakdown : Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties AmericaThe birth of post-sixties America: The turning point in our recent history came in 1973, when the Vietnam war ended, the Watergate hearings began, and Roe v. Wade became law. Andreas Killen will comment; his book is 1973 Nervous Breakdown.
PLAYLIST: Rolling Stones, “Angie, ”Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City,” Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get it On.”

MORE STUFF TO READ: Jon Wiener on the LA Times op-ed page:
Gun Research ‘Freak’-Out

KPFK Wed. 5/24: American Fundamentalism

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian NationalismThe bad news about right-wing Christians and their efforts to take over the country: A parallel culture has much of the heartland in the grip of a feverish religious fundamentalism. MICHELLE GOLDBERG will explain — she writes for, and her new book is Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism.

Also: The downsizing of America: 30 million full-time workers have lost their jobs since the early 1980s – but corporate layoffs haven’t made our economy healthier. That’s what LOUIS UCHITELLE argues – he writes about labor for the New York Times, and his new book is The Disposable American.

The Dark Tree : Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles (George Gund Foundation Book in African American Studies)Plus: Jazz and the community arts in Los Angeles: STEVEN ISOARDI uncovers the nearly lost history of a revolutionary community movement: the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, started by Horace Tapscott when he left a successful career in Lionel Hampton’s band in 1961. The Arkestra provided affordable, community oriented jazz and jazz training in southern California. Steven Isoardi’s new book is The Dark Tree.
The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra plays at the World Stage in Leimert Park, 4344 Degnan Blvd. in South LA, Sunday May 28, 3pm.
Steve Isoardi discusses and signs The Dark Tree at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, Thursday, June 1, 7pm.

Web extra: The Blue Nation — Chris Bowers’s current political map of the US.

KPFK Wed. 5/10: 100 Years of Regime Change

Overthrow : America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to IraqThere’s nothing really new about George W. Bush’s war to remove Saddam Hussein; for more than 100 years, presidents have been sending troops to change foreign governments they don’t like. And in almost every case, STEPHEN KINZER argues in Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq, the invasions and coups have had “terrible unintended consequences.” Kinzer has reported for the New York Times from more than 50 countries.

Plus: Can the Democrats Win? HAROLD MEYERSON looks at the chances of regaining a Democratic majority in the House, and the Senate. Harold writes for the LA Weekly, the American Prospect, and the Washington Post op-ed page.

A Woman of Uncertain Character : The Amorous and Radical Adventures of My Mother Jennie (Who Always Wanted to Be a Respectable Jewish Mom) by Her Bastard SonAlso: our Mother’s Day segment: Before the CLANCY SIGAL of the classic Going Away, before Clancy Sigal was blacklisted in the 1950s, there was Clancy the boy on the road with Jennie, his fierce and fabulous mother, a fire-eating bohemian of the 1930s and 1940s. She taught him never to scab and never to tell the cops who they really were. Now she is gone, and Clancy has finally broken his vow of silence. The result is glorious: A Woman of Uncertain Character: The Amorous and Radical Adventures of My Mother Jennie (Who Always Wanted to Be a Respectable Jewish Mom) by Her Bastard Son.
Clancy Sigal also wrote the screenplay for “Frida.”
see/hear Clancy Sigal: Dutton’s Bookstore, 447 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, May 21, 2pm

More Stuff to read: Jon Wiener in the LA Times on Stephen Kinzer’s book Overthrow.