Talking about politics, thinking about the Left. Hosted by Jon Wiener, co-author of "Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties," contributing editor at The Nation, and broadcast live at KPFK 90.7FM in LA Thursdays at 3.
The 'Bipartisan' Infrastructure Bill: Harold Meyerson; Utopia: Jeet Heer; Alvin Aliey: Ella Taylor
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.
Biden's Big Budget: Harold Meyerson; The Sixties: David & Margaret Talbot; Bourdain: Ella Taylor
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.
Voting after the Supremes: Meyerson; Critical Race Theory: Kim Crenshaw; 'Summer of Soul': Taylor
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
The Gates Foundation: Tim Schwab; Kyrsten Sinema: Aida Chavez; Katha: Dr. Seuss, Eric Foner: Obama
First, the divorce last May, and then Warren Buffett resigned as a trustee last week; so, who exactly IS Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world, giving his money to? Tim Schwab, writer of award-winning reports on the Gates Foundation, explains.
Next Up: the political transformation of Kyrsten Sinema: Aida Chavez of The Intercept reports.
Also: Dr. Seuss Enterprises took six of his books out of print because they contained racist drawings. Katha Pollitt comments.
And, Obama's best-selling autobiography, "A Promised Land" reminds us of a time when Donald Trump barely existed on our political landscape and in our consciousness. Historian Eric Foner comments.
Voting rights: What Now? Harold Meyerson; Jimmy Carter: Kai Bird; 'Rebel Hearts": Ella Taylor
Tuesday Republicans blocked the Senate from even beginning to consider voting rights legislation. Chuck Schumer said afterwards, “In the fight for voting rights, this vote was the starting gun, not the finish.” Now what? Harold Meyerson comments.
Also: Most of us think of Jimmy Carter as a failure as president, the Democrat who opened the door to Reagan, and the only president whose work AFTER leaving office was better than his work IN office. Kai Bird says we need to reconsider Carter and his presidency: He had more accomplishments, and was more complicated, than people realized. Kai’s new book is called “The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter.”
And Ella Taylor talks about LA’s rebel nuns of the sixties – Sister Corita and her friends at Immaculate Heart College. They’re the subject of a new documentary, called “Rebel Hearts.”
GOP vs. Voting: Harold Meyerson; Advice to Men: Katha Pollitt; "In the Heights": Ella Taylor
Republican efforts to make it harder to vote, and easier for their judges and state legislatures to reverse elections they have lost, may backfire: Harold Meyerson comments. Also: rethinking the Green New Deal.
Also: Katha Pollitt talks about a new book of advice for men – Jordan Peterson’s international best-seller “Rules for Life”. Rule Number One: “stand up straight, with your shoulders back.”
And our TV critic Ella Taylor will review “In the Heights,” the wonderful new Lin Manuel Miranda musical on HBO Max about Dominicans singing and dancing in Washington Heights at the north end of Manhattan.