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The Delta Variant: What Joe Biden Needs to Do Now–Gregg Gonsalves, plus John Powers on ‘Summer of Soul’

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Joe Biden needs to do a lot more to stop the global spread of the covid virus and its Delta variant—and to prepare the world for the next pandemics. Gregg Gonsalves explains three key actions that are necessary right now.
Also: the story of a music festival in a park in Harlem in 1969: the documentary about it, “Summer of Soul,” is a powerful and moving contributions to the history of the sixties. And the story it tells was completely unknown; the footage sat in a basement for nearly 50 years, and no one cared. John Powers, critic at large on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” comments.  7-28-2021

Start Making Sense

Bipartisanship Lives! Harold Meyerson; Boyle Heights: George Sanchez; Dick Gregory: Ella Taylor

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The one trillion dollar infrastructure bill has made it to the floor of the Senate—where it is expected to pass. bipartisanship lives! Harold Meyerson comments – also on the California recall, and on the most successful economic justice movement of the past decade: the Fight for $15.
Plus: the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. It’s known today as the heartland of Chicano culture. Historian George Sanchez will explain how its multicultural, interracial past made it a bastion of progressive democracy. His new book is Boyle Heights.
Also our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about a documentary on the life of Dick Gregory, the Black comedian of the sixties turned political activist. It’s called “The One and Only Dick Gregory,” and it’s on Showtime.  7-29-2021

Living in the USA

‘We Need a New Federal Writers Project’: A Conversation with David Kipen

Here’s an idea: how about starting a new federal writers project? How about the government hiring a thousand unemployed writers and journalists all over the place to document the unprecedented year we’ve just been through, the COVID year? Congressman Ted Lieu of Los Angeles has introduced a bill to do just that, co-sponsored by Theresa Leger Fernandez of New Mexico. The idea comes from David Kipen….
… Q&A continued at LA Review of Books, HERE

Journalism

Bernie’s Big Deal: John Nichols on the budget, plus Francine Prose on Ethel Rosenberg

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Bernie Sanders recently spoke with our John Nichols about the importance of doing big things in politics–and now Senate Democrats have agreed on a $3.5 trillion budget proposal that would dramatically expand Medicare, provide for paid family leave, subsidize child care, make community college free, and fund some meaningful climate crisis initiatives.  Big things! John Nichols comments.
Also: A comic novel about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg?  Who’d have thought that was possible?   Now Francine Prose has written one:  it’s called “The Vixen,” and it’s terrific.  7-21-2021

Start Making Sense

That ‘Bipatisan’ Infrastructure Bill: Harold Meyerson; Utopia: Jeet Heer; Alvin Aliey: Ella Taylor

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Senate Republicans blocked taking up the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Wednesday-Democrats are trying one more time to satisfy GOP demands on this one. Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: “Utopian” has been a term of abuse in politics for a long time now, synonymous with “irrational” and “impossible.” Instead, we are told,
we should focus on realistic plans to improve things. But The Nation is publishing a special issue in defense of utopia. Jeet Heer explains how the dreams of a good society keep hope alive and expose the inadequacy of present structures.
Also: our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about the new PBS American Masters documentary on choreographer Alvin Ailey.  7/22/2021

Living in the USA

“All Together Now”: John and Yoko’s politics– London Review of Books

Ian Penman claims that John Lennon and Yoko Ono engaged in ‘fuzzy political gestures lacking any real slog or engagement’ (LRB, 17 June). That’s not the way Richard Nixon saw it.  In 1972, after they moved to New York City, he ordered their deportation – to put an end to their political campaigning against him and the war in Vietnam. . . .
… continued in the LRB “Letters,” HERE

Journalism

Rethinking global security: Katrina vanden Heuvel; Haiti: Amy Wilentz

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World politics after the Biden-Putin Summit: Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that we need to rethink what real security means, and that it can’t mean a new cold war, but joint action with Russia and China on climate change, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war.
Also: Amy Wilentz comments on Haiti after the assassination of its unloved president—and the necessity of following grassroots progressive civil society groups in finding a path forward towards free and fair elections.  7-14-2021

Start Making Sense

Biden’s Big Budget: Harold Meyerson; The Sixties: David & Margaret Talbot; Anthony Bourdain: Ella Taylor

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Biden’s Big Budget: Harold Meyerson comments on the Democrats’ agreement to spend $3.5 trillion, and on Bernie’s new status as the architect of some of the most progressive elements of the bill. Plus: plutocrats in space.
Also: triumphs and disasters of the sixties: there’s a new book about the movements of that decade, about some of heroes, and some of the problems. The authors are the brother and sister team David Talbot and Margaret Talbot–David is the founder of Salon.com, and Margaret writes for the New Yorker. The book is called “By the Light of Burning Dreams.”
Plus: our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about ‘Roadrunner,’ a new documentary about Anthony Bourdain, whose massively popular TV shows about food around the world came to focus on politics more than cooking. Bourdain committed suicide in 2018. The film is made by Morgan Neville, whose previous work includes “20 feet from stardom,” the great film about backup singers, and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” about Mister Rogers.  7-15-2021

Living in the USA

Why We Need the Utopian Imagination: Jeet Heer; LA’s Boyle Heights: George Sanchez

Listen HERE
“Utopian” has been a term of abuse in politics for a long time now, synonymous with “irrational” and “impossible.” Instead, we are told, we should focus on realistic plans to improve things. But The Nation is publishing a special issue in defense of utopia. Jeet Heer explains how the dreams of a good society keep hope alive and expose the inadequacy of present structures.
Also: the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights is known today as the heartland of Chicano culture. Historian George Sanchez explains how its multicultural, interracial past made it a bastion of progressive democracy. His new book is Boyle Heights.  7-8-2021

Start Making Sense

Voting after the Supremes’ Ruling: Harold Meyerson; Critical Race Theory: Kim Crenshaw; ‘Summer of Soul’: Ella Taylor

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The Supremes gave the green light last week to Republican moves to make it harder to vote — that gives Democrats and voting rights groups more work to do. Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: “Critical Race Theory” has been attacked on Fox News nearly 1300 times. It’s being banned from public schools and colleges in something like 15 Republican states. But what IS “critical race theory”? And why is this happening now? Kimberlé Crenshaw explains; she teaches law at Columbia and UCLA, and she’s probably the most prominent figure associated with critical race theory—she coined the term 30 years ago. She’s also creator of the concept “intersectionality.” And the hashtag #SayHerName.
Also later in the hour: our TV critic Ella Taylor talks about “Summer of Soul”, a documentary about a music festival in a park in Harlem in 1969 –it’s the most powerful and moving thing I’ve seen about the sixties anywhere – and the story it tells was completely forgotten –the footage sat in a basement for nearly 50 years, and no one cared. Also: “No Sudden Move,” a new caper film by Steven Soderbergh starring Don Cheadle and Benecio del Toro.  7-8-2021

Living in the USA