Recent Posts

White Vigilantes and Black Protest: John Nichols on Kyle Rittenhouse; Eric Foner on Housing

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We’re still thinking about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in Kenosha, where Republicans have been celebrating the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of a 17-year-old who shot three people, killing two, during the street protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake. John Nichols comments on the threat from white vigilantes to Black protest, and on the broader anti-democratic moves by Republicans in Wisconsin and nationally.

Also: Racism in America for decades led to strict housing segregation. But historians are now showing that that wasn’t simply the result of white people refusing to live near Blacks—segregated housing was the result of a carefully organized, long-term effort to establish a legal basis for systematic racial discrimination. And the groups that succeeded were not the KKK or White Power groups. It was realtors’ organizations. Eric Foner reviews that history.  11-24-2021

Start Making Sense

Kyle Rittenhouse, Republicans, and Vigilantes: John Nichols, plus Eric Foner

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Racial justice and injustice in America today. We are relieved by the guilty verdicts and life sentences for all three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia. But we’re still thinking about the Not Guilty verdict for Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with shooting three people, killing two, during the street protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. John Nichols comments on that trial, and its broader significance.
Also: Racism in America for decades led to strict housing segregation. But historians are now showing that that wasn’t simply the result of white people refusing to live near Blacks–segregated housing was the result of a carefully organized, long-term effort to establish a legal basis for systematic racial discrimination. And the groups that succeeded were not the KKK or White Power groups. It was realtors’ organizations. Eric Foner reviews that history.  11-24-2021

Living in the USA

Why Republicans Want to Ban the 1619 Project: Martha Jones, plus Gregory Boyle on gangs

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Republicans continue to work to ban teaching about Black Americans’ place in our history – their legislation, proposed in 27 states, would prohibit teaching the 1619 Project, which has just published a book offering what the authors call “a new origin story” about the United States. Martha Jones, a historian at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the contributors, talks about the battle, the book, and the larger project.

Plus: Father Greg Boyle is the founder of Homebody Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program on the planet. He’s got a new book out now, it’s about “the power of extravagant tenderness” and it’s called “The Whole Language.”  11-18-2021

Start Making Sense

Politics from Glasgow to Texas: Harold Meyerson, plus Rebecca Solnit on George Orwell

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Our politics commentary with Harold Meyerson starts with the House preparing to pass Biden’s Build Back Better bill, then to Glasgow for the climate summit, then Texas where Beto is running for governor.
Plus: We’ll talk about politics and pleasure with Rebecca Solnit –she’s probably best known as the author of “Men explain things to me.” Now she has a new book out – it’s called “Orwell’s Roses.”
Also: Your Minnesota moment, news from my home town of St Paul, where the city attorney has announced he’s not going to prosecute any cases involving broken taillights – he says he hasn’t been able to forget about Philando Castile.  11-18-2021

Living in the USA

Trump Will be a Lousy Candidate in 2024: John Nichols, plus Rebecca Solnit on George Orwell

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The Democrats need to do big things fast if they want to have a chance of winning in 2022 and 2024. John Nichols says that Trump will be a “lousy candidate” then—but he will still pose an even greater threat to American democracy than he did in 2020.

Plus: Rebecca Solnit talks about politics and pleasure, about knowing your enemies, and about joy as an act of resistance to authoritarianism—on the right, and on the left. Her new book is Orwell’s Roses.  11-11-2021

Start Making Sense

Build Back Better gets closer: Harold Meyerson; plus Francine Prose and Ella Taylor

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The House will pass a Build Back Better bill next week, maybe–Harold Meyerson explains.
Plus: A comic novel about Ethel Rosenberg? Francine Prose has written one–“The Vixen”–and it’s terrific.
Also: EllaTaylor on “Passing,” the film about a Black woman passing for white in New York City in the 1920s – playing now on Netflix.  11-11-2021

Living in the USA

Cancel Bail Debt, Abolish Student Debt: Astra Taylor; plus Adam Shatz on John Coltrane

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The Debt Collective has a new project: Cancelling probation debt of formerly incarcerated people. They’re actually doing it, for tens of thousands of people—and setting out to abolish bail debt completely in California. Astra Taylor explains how they’re going about it, and reports on the continuing campaign to get Joe Biden to use executive action to cancel student debt.                                                                   Plus: John Coltrane was the tenor player who started out with Miles Davis in the fifties and then in the mid-sixties set out to pursue music as a quest for spiritual enlightenment. His most popular work was “A Love Supreme.” Now, a live performance from 1965 has been discovered and released—and Coltrane people are calling it “nothing short of a revelation.” We’ll talk about Coltrane’s place in Black culture with Adam Shatz.  11-4-2021

Start Making Sense

Democrats in Defeat: Harold Meyerson; The Unground Railroad: Eric Foner

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Tuesday was a dark day for Democrats: Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia was not particularly surprising. But how did he manage to present himself both as a Trump supporter and as a more moderate, less crazy kind of country club Republican? Harold Meyerson has our analysis.
Plus: how a small group of people challenged an unjust law and changed history: Eric Foner talks about the Underground Railroad and its challenge to the Fugitive Slave Act in the years leading up to the Civil War. His book is “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.” (first broadcast in January, 2015).  11-4-2021

Living in the USA

The Politics of Kidnapping in Haiti: Amy Wilentz; plus Dave Zirin on ‘The Kaepernick Effect”

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Who really runs Haiti—the government, or the gangs? The kidnappings suggest it’s the gangs – and the leader of the gang that kidnapped 16 Americans has openly expressed political ambitions. Amy Wilentz explains.

Plus: Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest, taking a knee, became the symbol of resistance to racial injustice in America. Dave Zirin talks about how that political movement has swept through college and high school sports. His new book is  “The Kaepernick Effect.”  10-28-2021

Start Making Sense

The threat from Manchin & Sinema: Meyerson; Amy Wilentz on Haiti, Adam Shatz on John Coltrane

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Obama spent months negotating with reluctant Dems over his health care bill. The result: massive losses in the midterms. Is Biden making the same mistake with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: who really runs Haiti: the government, or the gangs? the kidnappings suggest it’s the gangs – and the leader of the gang that kidnapped 16 Americans has openly expressed political ambitions. Amy Wilentz will explain.
Plus: John Coltrane: of course he was the tenor player who started out with Miles Davis in the fifties and then, in the mid-sixties, set out to pursue music as a quest for spiritual enlightenment. His classic work was “A Love Supreme” — a single piece, 33 minutes long, it became the most popular record of his career. Now, a live performance from 1965 has been discovered and released – and Coltrane people are calling it “nothing short of a revelation.” Adam Shatz will comment.  10-28-2021

Living in the USA