305 episodes

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

KCRW's Left, Right & Center KCRW

    • News
    • 4.1 • 3.8K Ratings

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

    Biden has 99 problems and the ports back logs are just one

    Biden has 99 problems and the ports back logs are just one

    The Port of Los Angeles will now be running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, under a new plan announced by President Biden. Right now his administration is juggling a lot of problems that are weighing down voter confidence in his presidency: supply chain logjams, rising inflation, a slowing job market and gridlock in Congress. The persistent list of problems now 10 months into Biden’s first term runs counter to the “return to normal” message he successfully ran on when he beat then-President Trump in 2020. But is the president being proactive, or is he opening himself up to blame for problems plaguing the entire global supply chain that are mostly out of his control?

    This week, we bring on special guest Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report to talk about what voters want from the economy and the president right now. Some Americans are feeling a lingering sense of unease, as the country continues to face labor and goods shortages tied to the pandemic.

    Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats still can’t come to an agreement to pass Biden’s domestic agenda. How does political polarization affect the way voters think about the administration’s handling of the economy? We discuss.

    Next on the show: Redistricting is underway as we head into next year’s midterm elections. As was the case 10 years ago, Republicans have an advantage because they control more state legislatures, while some Democratic states, like California, have put redistricting decisions in the hands of independent commissions. But how many seats could Republicans realistically pick up next year through redistricting alone, especially since demographic changes in some major swing states would seem to favor Democrats? A hotly contested gubernatorial election in Virginia next month could give us some clues. Also, what the heck is ‘bacon-mandering’?

    Then: our panel discusses vaccine mandates and religious exemptions, specifically among Catholics. The Catholic Church’s official position is that getting vaccinated is morally permissible, but sincerely held religious beliefs should be honored as a valid basis for exemption. As vaccine mandates become more commonplace, how does society negotiate those tensions?

    Finally: Why adults need to stop making Halloween sexy, and why the “woke” Fed is really just doing its job.

    • 50 min
    We’re doing this again?

    We’re doing this again?

    It’s been an especially stupid week in Congress. Members of Congress are fighting over the debt limit – an archaic, post-war provision from the 20th century. Both sides of the aisle agree that the debt limit needs to go up… but they disagree on how.

    Democrats can do this on their own. What are they afraid of? Attack ads? Taking up too much floor time when they have other legislation they could be working on, like the infrastructure bill and the spending bill that….they still haven’t agreed on? Republicans say Democrats should raise the debt limit by themselves, but Democrats insist Republicans need to help them out. But just in the nick of time before a partial government shutdown, Republicans allowed Democrats to fund the government for about two more months, so over the holidays, we can do this all over again.

    Then: President Biden’s approval rating is tanking. A new Quinnipiac poll puts him at just 38 percent approval on the job market and a dismal 25 percent approval rate on immigration. What’s the source of this dissatisfaction?Could the problem just be that Biden isn’t taking credit for the good things his presidency has done, and not “owning” enough conservatives?

    Next: Professor Kate Shaw joins the panel to talk about the controversial new law in Texas that bans abortions after six weeks, which was preliminarily enjoined this week by a federal judge. This might go all the way to the Supreme Court, which is already hearing oral arguments in December about a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Does the Constitution actually create a right to abortion? And if Roe is overturned, what can Democrats do to protect abortion access?

    And finally: having kids might not be that bad an idea, even today… but if you send them to school sick, Liz Bruenig has some words for you.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Uncontrolled spread

    Uncontrolled spread

    It’s...past the wire for Democrats and their votes on two big spending packages that are the priorities of President Biden. As we recorded this episode Friday morning, the promised day for a House vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill had passed and Democrats were still fighting amongst themselves on both the price tag of the spending bill and what to prioritize between social and climate spending. All eyes are on the Progressive Caucus, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, and they’re watching each other. Where will this end up?

    Then, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb talks about the major failures of the pandemic in the United States, why he has lots of feedback for the CDC in particular, and how approaching pandemics like national security threats could serve us better the next time around.

    All that, plus the media company that wasn’t, moving the fences back, and some proof that vaccine mandates are effective.

    • 56 min
    Deep dives on Hispanic and Latino voters, and the future of abortion access in the US

    Deep dives on Hispanic and Latino voters, and the future of abortion access in the US

    This week, guest host and Left, Right & Center contributor Keli Goff takes a deep dive into two issues in the news right now. First: she speaks with Geraldo Cadava about what Democrats and Republicans misunderstand about the “Latino vote” and what they get right. Geraldo says the parties oversimplify voters’ profiles and overlook important factors like geography, the rural/urban divide, class, and many others. Keli and Geraldo discuss the faults of thinking about groups of voters as monoliths — Keli points out that she longs for the day that campaigns approach Black voters like they would swing voters. What do we know about the appeal of the Republican party to Hispanic and Latino voters over the past few decades? And should Democrats be more concerned about whether their strategy is effective?

    Then, Keli discusses the new laws restricting abortion access in Texas with Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood and president of Take The Lead, a national organization advocating for gender parity. Gloria talks about the slippery slope of similar laws, what she fears is ahead for abortion access, and makes a case for new laws that would guarantee women’s rights to live as full citizens in the United States.

    • 50 min
    Cliffs, drugs and taxes

    Cliffs, drugs and taxes

    Democrats have spent weeks talking about their big spending plans, and now they’re talking about how to pay for them. Some ideas: tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans, a capital gains tax regimen, and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies which would cut what the government pays and cutting costs for other American consumers. But can progressives and moderates agree on how to do these things? And how much will the scope of the plan shrink in the process? Then there are the cliffs: hello, a government shutdown is looming September 30, and the debt limit needs to be raised. Can Democrats manage to squeeze out a compromise by the end of the month? And how will that affect the fate of the spending plan?

    The FDA is reviewing the case for a COVID booster shot. Should Americans be getting a third (or fourth, or fifth…) shot when the rest of the world remains unvaccinated? DR. PETER CHIN-HONG of UCSF talks with the panel about the disagreement among the Biden administration, the medical community and public health officials about whether booster shots are needed now, and how to balance a vaccination campaign and a booster strategy.

    Also: California Gov. Gavin Newsom soundly defeated a recall effort. Does this tell us anything about next year’s midterm election?

    And finally: Josh thinks Larry Elder is NOT the future of the California GOP. Also, why Tim might take heat from space Twitter after we publish this.

    • 55 min
    Required to require

    Required to require

    This week, President Biden announced a sweeping new mandate for American workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Companies with 100 or more employees are mandated to require employees to be vaccinated or take a weekly test. Health care workers and federal government employees and contractors must be vaccinated. Companies will have to give employees paid time off to be vaccinated, plus more time to recuperate from any side effects. Is this the right thing to do?

    Democrats are already making tough choices on their spending bill. Will they have to cut and trim their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill into a much smaller one? What will end up on the cutting room floor?

    Then: our relationship with Europe was supposed to be warmer with President Trump out of office but it doesn’t really seem to be the case. What happened? Do European leaders have reason to be frustrated still? EMMA ASHFORD joins us to discuss the grumbling.

    And, finally: Josh rants about ice cream with chocolate chunks before he’s gently reminded by his producer that we already know he thinks frozen chocolate is bad because he ranted about it three years ago. Josh hasn’t changed his mind, and ice cream hasn’t changed either.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
3.8K Ratings

3.8K Ratings

A_Trap ,

Get Rid Of Megan

LOVE this podcast. However, Megan Is unbearable. She is callus about sensitive issues, specifically the Texas abortion law that has been discussed in the latest episode. She is rude and laughs in both the host and guests faces. This is not an issue to laugh about and throw to the side. She minimizes the law by saying “it’ll go away in a few years” she clearly shows no sympathy for women who now have no options in their own state and are forced into a corner. Please get a new person for your “right” opinion side. Bring in someone respectful and thoughtful.

Wretched Man 63 ,

First time listener

This podcast was refreshing, smart and honest. Rarely do I hear a podcast or other media source truly balanced, this podcast has met the mark though, thank you!

mbishdirndd ,

Fell far from the glory days

David Dayen’s dry and highly technical commentary makes me want to stab myself in the eye, just to escape the boredom of listening to his nondescript and boring voice. Please bring back someone with a semblance of a pulse.

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