Recent Posts

How Mosques Became FBI Targets after 9-11: Ahilan Arulanantham on State Secrets, plus Amy Wilentz on ‘The Chair’

Listen HERE
We’re still thinking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. After that day, Muslim Americans endured years of racism and discrimination, oftentimes at the hands of the state itself.  The fight against government surveillance of Muslim Americans continues today, as the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to government efforts to conceal FBI abuse of power—in a case dating from 2006, when the FBI in LA hired an informer to infiltrate several mosques in Orange County, California. Ahilan Arulanantham explains—he will be arguing the case at the Supreme Court. He’s a Professor at UCLA Law School and Co-Director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy there.
Also: there’s a new comedy on TV about college teachers and campus politics—The Chair, on Netflix, starring Sandra Oh as the first Asian American woman chair of an English department. Amy Wilentz comments—she’s a professor in the English Department at UC Irvine, which has some surprising connections to the show.  9-16-2021

Start Making Sense

The California recall: Harold Meyerson; plus Alan Minsky on the legacy of Occupy Wall Street

Listen HERE
Harold Meyerson on the sweeping Democratic victory in the California recall: its national significance for the 2022 midterms, and where it leaves California Republicans (with Larry Elder as their leader?). Also, our national politics update: today’s Reconciliation Report, and episode 15 of What Does Joe Manchin Want? Today: the Dems’ revised voting rights bill.
Later in the show: this week is the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and “we are the 99 per cent” – we’ll have an assessment of the achievements and limitations of that movement with Alan Minsky, now executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, and at the time an Occupy activist. 9-16-2021

Living in the USA

Abortion Politics and Republican Power: Rick Perlstein, plus Eric Foner on Tulsa

Listen HERE
Texas, the Republicans are empowering vigilantes to go after people helping women who seek abortions, turning the state’s citizens as bounty hunters. Rick Perlstein explains the long history of how the GOP adopted abortion as a key issue—Rick’s latest book is Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980, out now in paperback. Also: We’re still thinking about Tulsa, about the massacre of Black people there in 1921, probably the deadliest instance of racial violence in the country’s history. It was covered up for a hundred years—how was that possible? Historian Eric Foner comments. 9-9-2021

Start Making Sense

Political Update: Harold Meyerson; Abortion in Texas: Rick Perlstein; ‘Summer of Soul’: John Powers

Listen HERE
Democrats are headed toward passage of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill AND the reconciliation bill: Harold Meyerson reports.
Plus: Abortion politics and Republican power – Rick Perlstein explains the long history of how abortion became a Republican issue – starting in 1972, His latest book is “Reaganland.”
Also: our favorite documentary of the summer that just ended was “Summer of Soul” — John Powers liked it too – he’ll explain why. 9-9-2021

Living in the USA

“Street Cop” and Cartoon Controversies: A Conversation with Art Spiegelman: LA Review of Books

“I wrote back to them saying, ‘Okay, I’ll look at the manuscript and as long as it has no mice or Jews in it, I’ll be glad to consider it.’ I really admire Coover; I’ve liked his work for a very long time. And lo and behold: no Jews, no mice. Best of all, it was a dystopia, but it wasn’t the one I was living in. It was a dystopia next door. It allowed me to approach and inhabit it.”–Art Spiegelman on “Street Cop,” Q&A at the LA Review of Books, HERE 9-7-2021

Journalism

What America Owes Afghan Women: Katha Pollitt; P\plus Eric Foner on Black politics and history

Listen HERE
Katha Pollitt reports on Afghan womens’ organizations and what their leaders are saying about support from Americans—starting with the Afghan Women’s Fund, MADRE, and Women for Afghan Women.
Also, Black politics and history, from the 1870s to the 1930s to today: Eric Foner talks bout how our understanding of Black politics and history, starting with Reconstruction, has changed—and about the historian-activists who challenged the prevailing racist historians back in the 1930s, starting with W.E.B. DuBois and James S. Allen—his book Reconstruction: the Battle for Democracy, has just been reissued with a new introduction by Foner. 8-25-2021

Start Making Sense

Biden’s big idea: Alan Minsky; Afghan women: Katha Pollitt; ‘Chair’: Ella Taylor

Listen HERE
that voters care more about health, education and jobs than about Afghanistan–Alan Minsky explains.
Plus: What Americans owe Afghan women: Katha Pollitt has been talking to women who lead Afghan women’s organizations.
Also: ‘Chair’ is the new campus comedy starring Sandra Oh, on Netflix: Ella Taylor has our review.  8-26-2021

Living in the USA

The Taliban Triumph: Andrew Bacevich, plus John Powers on Dick Gregory

Listen HERE
Over almost 20 years in Afghanistan, the US lost 2,400 troops and personnel. Another 21,000 Americans have been wounded. The mission cost more than a trillion dollars—including 80 billion dollars to train and arm the Afghan army. But that army didn’t resist the recent Taliban advance and now the Taliban control the country and the last Americans are fleeing. Andrew Bacevich comments; his books include America’s War for the Greater Middle East.
Also: There’s a documentary out now about Dick Gregory, the Black stand-up comedian and political activist of the sixties and after. It’s called The One and Only Dick Gregory, and it’s on Showtime. John Powers comments—he’s critic at large on NPR’s Fresh Air.   8-18-2021

Start Making Sense

Afghanistan & American politics: Harold Meyerson & Andrew Bacevich; Ella Taylor on Barbara Lee

Listen HERE
Afghanistan in American politics, past and present: Harold Meyerson explains why the disastrous end of our Afghan war won’t matter in the elections in 2022 and 2024.
Plus: the Taliban Triumph: Andrew Bacevich comments on 20 years of American hubris and ignorance, promises made, and promises broken.
Also: there was only one member of Congress who voted against the authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, back in 2002: Barbara Lee from northern California. Now there’s a documentary out about her: “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power.” Ella Taylor has our review.8-19-2021

Living in the USA

Trump: the Big Loser on the Infrastructure Bill—Joan Walsh, plus Anne Sebba on Ethel Rosenberg

Listen HERE
19 Republican Senators voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Tuesday, after Trump demanded they vote “no.” It took significant concessions by Democrats to win their support for the bill—was that a good idea? Should Democrats help Republicans step away from Trump? Joan Walsh comments.
Also: the life, and death, of Ethel Rosenberg, the accused “atom spy”: who she was, before she was framed by the FBI, before she called their bluff and went to her execution. Anne Sebba has written a really good book about that—it’s called Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy.  8-12-2021

Start Making Sense