Today’s show will open with analysis of the L.A. mayoral election results — and the future of Antonio Villaraigosa and the Latino-labor coalition — with HAROLD MEYERSON — he writes for the LA Weekly, the American Prospect, and the Washington Post op-ed page.

Also: The failures of the CIA: Melissa Boyle Mahle was a CIA covert operative in the Middle East from 1988 to 2002, one of a handful of women agents who spoke Arabic, and the top-ranked female Arabist in the agency. Her book is Denial and Deception: An Insider’s View of the CIA from Iran–Contra on 9/11. She will tallk about how the CIA failed to anticipate 9/11.

Plus: Wall Street and America: Republicans want to convince people that privatizing Social Security with “personal investment accounts” will provide an easy route to wealth. Other voices warn about the political corruption, financial maniuplation and investment fraud perpetrated by Wall Street. STEVE FRASER will explain. His new book is Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life.

WEB EXTRA: “Fascinating” — that’s now the Guardian (London) described Jon Wiener’s new book Historians in Trouble — Find out why:
Listen to Jon Wiener on Historians in Trouble — interviewed on Radio Nation by Marc Cooper.

KPFK Wed. Mar. 2: Suburban Sweatshops

The sweatshop has been reborn: at construction sites, restaurant kitchens, and private homes — where immigrant workers are paid illegally low wages and suffer staggering rates of injury. JENNIFER GORDON tells that story — she’s a MacArthur “genius” and founder of The Workplace Project, an immigrant organizing center on Long Island, NY. Barbara Ehrenreich calls her “a brilliant and admirably modest role model.” Her book is Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights.

Plus: Remembering the counterculture: in the late 1960s, communes sprang up across America — and ROBERTA PRICE joined one called Libre in the Huerfano Valley of Colorado. She spent seven years living and working there, along with 300 other activists from the antiwar and feminist movements. She tells her story in the book Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture.

And HAROLD MEYERSON will talk about the L.A. mayoral race, where the latest poll shows progressive Antonio Villaraigosa pulling ahead of the pack, and incumbent James Hahn in third place. Harold will also provide an update on the AFL-CIO meeting in Las Vegas, where the debate is between money for politics and money for organizing. Harold writes for the LA Weekly, the American Prospect, and the Washington Post.


Our pre-Oscar show looks at the right-wing campaign against Clint Eastwood, or “How Dirty Harry became a Commie”: New York Times columnist FRANK RICH explains.

Plus a Baghdad update from JUAN COLE: he says Iraq “continues to be a godawful mess, with no real security on the major roads.” As for the elections, “they have not had a significant impact on the guerrilla war.” Juan writes the famous Iraq blog “Informed Comment.”

and an update on Israel and Palestine from AMY WILENTZ. The former New Yorker correspondent in Jerusalem also wrote a novel about Palestinians and Israelis, Martyrs’ Crossing; it won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize. Her interview with Peace Now founder and novelist Amos Oz appeared recently in The Nation.

Plus Your Minnesota Moment: AL FRANKEN decided NOT to run for Senator in Minnesota in 2006 — but still might challenge Norm Coleman in 2008.

R.I.P. HUNTER THOMPSON, a fabulous writer and reporter. He described Richard Nixon as “a Born Loser . . . the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and of bleeding string-warts, on nights when the moon comes too close.” (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail)


PAUL KRASSNER — Legendary Satirist, Radical Activist, and Publisher/Editor of The Realist — talks about LENNY BRUCE. Paul has been nominated for a Grammy for his liner notes for the 6-CD Lenny Bruce box set “Let the Buyer Beware.”
Paul also has been writing for The Nation (“Geezerstock: Confessions of an Aging Hippie” and has his own CD out: “The Zen Bastard Rides Again.”
PLAYLIST: Lenny Bruce, “Religions Inc.”; “Reading from the Court Transcript.”

Also: CANCER, CHEMICALS, AND HISTORY: historians David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz showed how the chemical industry concealed the fact that vinyl chloride causes cancer — and there is vinyl chloride in Saran Wrap, car upholstery, and shower curtains. Now the chemical companies are going after Rosner and Markowitz.
Read Jon Wiener’s article “Cancer, Chemicals and History” in The Nation:
Read about Deceit and Denial, the Rosner and Markowitz book
Read about the attack on Rosner and Markowitz at the Deceit and Denial website

Plus: our preview of THE STATE OF THE UNION — with HAROLD MEYERSON — he’s political editor of the LA Weekly, editor at large of The American Prospect, and columnist for the Washington Post.

today’s ITEM FROM THE ARCHIVES: a report from the New York Times in 1967: “United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.”
New York Times, Sept. 4, 1967: Peter Grose, “U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote.”


TOM FRANK explains why so many working class and poor voters in the middle of the country “insist on re-electing the very people who are screwing them”–and what the Democrats can do about it. Tom’s best-selling book is What’s the Matter with Kansas?

How a small group of people eliminated slavery in the British Empire: ADAM HOCHSCHILD, founder of Mother Jones magazine explains. His new book is Bury the Chains, and it’s filled with implications for our movements today. Read an excerpt at

Hillary Clinton wants to find “common ground” with opponents of abortion rights; JOHN NICHOLS will comment on this and other strategies for the Democrats. He writes “The Online Beat” at, and his is new book is Dick: The Man Who Is President.

kpfk Jan. 19: Iraqi Elections

THE IRAQI ELECTIONS: comment and analysis from JUAN COLE — he knows more about Iraqi politics than just about anyone, and writes the crucial “Informed Comment” blog.

Plus: THE LIFE AND CAREER OF AN IMAGE: David Greenberg, author of the award-winning book Nixon’s Shadow, traces the transformation of Tricky Dick into spin doctor, scapegoat, statesman, and paranoiac — the president we can’t forget.

Also: how the US government tried to use JAZZ AS A WEAPON IN THE COLD WAR: Penny von Eschen tells the story. Her new book is Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War. Playlist:
1) Dizzy Gillespie, “Manteca” – from At Newport (Verve, 1957)
2) Louis Armstrong, “Cultural Exchange” – from The Real Ambassadors (Columbia, 1962)
3) Duke Ellington, “La Plus Belle Africaine” – from Soul Call (Verve, 1966)
4) Randy Weston, “African Cookbook” – from African Cookbook (Atlantic, 1972)


BARBARA EHRENREICH has some good news: a new website that matches you with a NEW country appropriate to your personal tastes and values! It’s Barbara wrote the classic Nickel and Dimed: on (Not) Getting By in America, which has now sold over one million copies. Read about in her latest column in The Progressive.

Plus: our update on the Palestinian elections and what’s next in the mideast: today with historian RON ROBIN, he’s Dean of Students at Haifa University and author of Making of the Cold War Enemy: Culture and Politics in the Military-Intellectual Complex and Scandals and Scoundrels: Seven Crises that Shook the Academy.

Also: DAVID THOMSON, our greatest living film critic and historian, talks about Hollywood past and present; he wrote the classic New Biographical Dictionary of American Film and his new book is The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood — it’s about “the murder and the majesty, the business statistics and millions of us being moved, the art and the awfulness.”


CHRIS HEDGES on war: he says “The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief.” But our embedded reporters “dine out on the myth about war and the myth about themselves as war correspondents.” He ought to know–he’s a veteran New York Times war correspondent, and author of War is a Force that Gives us Meaning and What Every Person should Know about War.

PLUS: PETER DREIER and MARK VALLIANATOS of Occidental College talk about The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City — their new book. Barbara Ehrenreich says, “With this rich account of its community and labor struggles, the City of Angels — and Apocalypse — becomes the the city of hope.”

ALSO: BOB DYLAN LIVE 1964: Princeton historian SEAN WILENTZ has been nominated for a Grammy for his liner notes; he’s historian-in-residence at the official Bob Dylan website. We’ll talk about 1964, and about Dylan’s move from political songs to more personal, visionary and apolitical music.
PLAYLIST: “The Times They Are A-Changin'”; “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”; “With God on Our Side”; “It’s All Right Ma”; “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

KPFK Wed. Dec. 29: Susan Sontag remembered

SUSAN SONTAG died yesterday — She was a towering public intellectual who had the courage to test the limits of coventional thought and to challenge both the Right and the Left. We’ll have comment from STEVE WASSERMAN, editor of the Los Angles Times Book Review.
Read Steve Wasserman’s obit in the LA Times.

The music that mattered–from the decade that didn’t: “Left of the Dial” is a Rhino 4-CD set covering the ’80s musical underground. GARY STEWART, who works under the slogan “Opinions Galore,” will talk about the music and the decade.
PLAYLIST: Pretenders “Message of Love” 1981; English Beat “Mirror in the Bathroom” 1980; Gang of Four “To Hell with Poverty” 1981; Dream Syndicate “Tell Me When it’s Over” 1983; X “”Johnny hit and Run Pauline” 1981; Husker Du “Don’t Want to Know” 1986

PLUS: IAN WILLIAMS of The Nation looks at the Palestinian elections and the phony neocon scandal over the UN’s Iraq oil-for-food program. Ian’s new book is The Deserter: Bush’s War on Military Families, Veterans and His Past.


KATHA POLLITT, columnist for The Nation, asks “how long did it take Republicans to write their thank-you note to the Christian right?” Answer: “About five minutes.”
Katha recommends supporting the National Network of Abortion Funds,

Plus: in the wake of John Kerry’s shattering defeat, it’s once again the labor movement that has plunged itself into a far-reaching debate over the changes it needs to make to rebuild a progressive, more equitable nation. HAROLD MEYERSON reports; he’s a columnist for the LA Weekly and the Washington Post.

Also: the punk rock politics of JOE STRUMMER: he transformed punk from its early nihilistic politics into a social movement. Antonino D’Ambrosio explains; his new book is Let Fury Have the Hours: The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer. Antonino also is founder/director of La Lutta New Media Collective.