Recent Posts

Thinking Big about politics and the virus: Mike Davis, plus Christopher Shay on the crisis, and Amy Wilentz on Jared and Ivanka

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It’s time to think big about the coronavirus crisis and the 40 million workers who have lost their jobs—while the rest struggle to hold on to what they’ve got.  Everything seems more fragile now, and the cruelty of the system has never been clearer. For some big thinking about where we need to go and how to get there, we turn—again—to Mike Davis.
Also: Christopher Shay talks about The Nation’s special issue on thinking big about the political requirements, and political opportunities, of this historic moment.  He’s a senior editor at The Nation.
And we have a new episode of The Children’s Hour, stories about Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. and little Eric, told by Amy Wilentz—today, Jared’s failed effort to procure PPE for FEMA, and some outrageous remarks from Don Jr. and Eric—while Ivanka celebrates “exciting platforms the private sector has created to upskill our workforce!” (her exclamation point).  5/28/2020

Start Making Sense

Tara Reade vs. the Evidence: Katha Pollitt; “Shirley”: Ella Taylor; “Kochland”: Christopher Leonard

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Did Joe Biden sexually assault Tara Reade in 1993? Katha Pollitt examines the evidence—and concludes that it supports Biden’s denial. Especially significant: the PBS NewsHour interviews with 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women; none said they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade.
Also: Film critic Ella Taylor has news you can use — some recommendations about virus-time television. In particular: the new film “Shirley” starring Elisabeth Moss and novelist Shirley Jackson.
Also: Your Minnesota Moment: today, the secret history of the Koch Brothers: how the key to their empire, and their fortune, is a refinery south of St. Paul. Christopher Leonard has that story—his book is “Kochland.”  5/28/2020

Trump Watch

How well do you know your L.A. history? Take our 1960s quiz (L.A. Times)

Take our LA-in-the-Sixties quiz:
1. “Tanya” was:
A. Gidget’s best friend
B. a Rolling Stones song
C. the nom de guerre of Patty Hearst in the Symbionese Liberation Army
D. A legendary back-up singer for Ike and Tina
. . . continued at the LA Times HERE  5-24-2020

Journalism

Does the Evidence Support Joe Biden, or Tara Reade? Katha Pollitt; plus John Powers on TV during the pandemic

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Did Joe Biden sexually assault Tara Reade in 1993?  Katha Pollitt examines the evidence—and concludes that it supports Biden’s denial.  Especially significant: the PBS NewsHour interviews with 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women; none said they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade.
What to watch, and read, while the stay-at-home orders are in effect: John Powers recommends “The Sleepers,” a Czech spy thriller, on HBO GO, and the 1950s Hollywood noir novels of the amazing Alfred Hayes, from New York Review Classics.  John is Critic at Large on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR.  5-21-2020

Start Making Sense

The Labor Movement After the Virus: Harold Meyerson, plus Greil Marcus on ‘The Great Gatsby’

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High unemployment usually hurts working class organizing–“except when it doesn’t,” Harold Meyerson says. He looks a the possible futures for the labor movement when the virus is finished. Harold is executive editor of The American Prospect.
Also: Greil Marcus has a new book out–it’s about The Great Gatsby and its place in American culture and American life–including on Saturday Night Live with Andy Kaufman. Greil of course has written many books, Starting with the classic “Mystery Train” and including “Lipstick Traces.” His new book is titled “Under the Red White and Blue: Patriotism, Disenchantment and the Stubborn Myth of The Great Gatsby.” 5-21-2020

Trump Watch

LSE Live YouTube event: Mike Davis and Jon Wiener with Robin Kelley and Glyn Robbins on L.A. in the Sixties

LSE’s Department of Sociology will host a live discussion about Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties on June 8 at 10 am PST. Davis and Wiener in conversation with Glyn Robbins will discuss the background to the book and its relevance today, particularly in the context of urban crisis.
Click HERE to register for this event.

Events

The fight for universal vote-by-mail: David Cole, plus Katha Pollitt on right-wing women

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Universal vote-by-mail: it’s obviously necessary for our Nov. 3 election, but Trump, of course, is against it.  He said that if we were to adopt voting by mail, “you’d never have another Republican elected in this country again.”  David Cole explains why it’s essential for our democracy—and why Trump is wrong that it would bring the end of the Republican party.  David is National Legal Director of the ACLU, and legal affairs correspondent for The Nation.
Also: Katha Pollitt talks about right-wing women.  We’ve never forgotten that, in 2016, exit polls showed that 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton.  Now there’s a TV miniseries about beginnings of the political organizing of right-wing women: it stars Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schafly, and it’s called “Mrs. America.”  5/14/2020

Start Making Sense

The Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party: Nichols; Those Trump Kids: Wilentz; The Supremes & Inequality: Cohen

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Before Bernie and AOC, before Jesse Jackson and George McGovern, there was Henry Wallace, FDR’s vice president, who fought for the soul of the Democratic party in the 1940s. John Nichols tells that story, and links it to today’s battles between progressives and Wall Street Democrats—his new book, out now, is “The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.”
Also: One of the key forces making inequality greater in America has been the Supreme Court — Adam Cohen will explain — his new book is, “Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America.”
Plus: a new episode of “The Children’s Hour” with Amy Wilenz, stories about Ivanka, Jared, Don Junior, and little Eric–boy are those kids in trouble this week! Amy of course is our Chief Jared Correspondent—and was just awarded a Guggenheim fellowship.
5-14-2020

Trump Watch

Red May event: Live on YouTube, Mike Davis and Jon Wiener in conversation with Magally Miranda Alcazar

YouTube live event for Seattle’s Red May: Magally Miranda Alcazar in conversation with Mike Davis and Jon Wiener about “Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties” – broadcast May 12, 2020.
Magally Miranda is a grad student in Chicano Studies at UCLA; she has published in the New Left Review and The Nation.
watch HERE

 

 

 

 

Events

Fighting for the Soul of the Democratic Party: John Nichols, plus Amy Wilentz on Jared and Ivanka

Listen HERE
Before Bernie and AOC, before Jesse Jackson and George McGovern, there was Henry Wallace, FDR’s vice president, who fought for the soul of the Democratic party in the 1940s.  John Nichols tells that story, and links it to today’s battles between progressives and Wall Street Democrats—his new book, out this week, is “The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.”
Also: a new episode of “The Children’s Hour” with Amy Wilenz, stories about Ivanka, Jared, Don Junior, and little Eric–boy are those kids in trouble this week!  Amy of course is our Chief Jared Correspondent—and was just awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. 5-7-2020

Start Making Sense