Recent Posts

Rabbi Leonard Beerman: A Force for Goodness: TheNation, 12/29

Rabbi Leonard Beerman of Los Angeles, who died December 24 at age 93, was a great fighter for social justice and peace over the last sixty-five years. His lifelong commitment to nonviolence, Beerman explained, came out of his experience in 1947 in Jerusalem, when he joined the Haganah fighting for Israeli independence. “Luckily, I was spared” killing anyone, he told the Los Angeles Times. “And when I came back, I became a pacifist because of what I had seen: People transformed to just hating, hating, hating. It is no way for humankind to live.”
. . . contined at, HERE

Bob Dylan’s Christmas Album: Is this a joke?
KPFK 12/17

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Bob Dylan’s Christmas album: Is this a joke — or a tragedy?
SEAN WILENTZ explains — he’s official historian-in-residence at the official Bob Dylan website (he also teaches American history at Princeton and is the author of, among other books, Bob Dylan in America.)
WATCH Bob Dylan’s “Must Be Santa” video HERE

Also: it’s the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of World War I, when, after five months of unparalleled industrial-scale slaughter, British and German soldiers stopped fighting and exchanged gifts of food. Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars, calls it “an outbreak of peace celebrated today with extraordinary fanfare.” WATCH the Sainsbury’s Christmas Truce ad for British TV HERE.

Plus: Why the Puritans banned Christmas: it wasn’t always a festival of domesticity and consumerism. Historian Stephen Nissenbaum explains—his book is The Battle for Christmas.

The Day the Troops Refused to Fight: Dec. 25, 1914: TheNation 12/23

100 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1914, in the middle of World War I, British and German soldiers put down their guns and stopped killing each other. The terrible industrial slaughter had already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men. But on that day, thousands of troops climbed out of the trenches in France and Belgium, sang Christmas carols, and exchanged food, gifts, and souvenirs. They traded German beer for British rum. They even played soccer. It’s a unique event in the history of modern warfare. . .
. . . continued at, HERE

They Said ‘No” to Torture: The Nation 12/15

Hidden in the Senate torture report are stories of some heroes—people inside the CIA who from the beginning said torture was wrong, who tried to stop it, who refused to participate. There were also some outside the CIA, in the military and the FBI, who risked careers and reputations by resisting—and who sometimes paid a heavy price. They should be thanked and honored.
. . . continued at, HERE

Prosecute John Yoo, says Erwin Chemerinsky:, 12/12

Torture is a crime, a violation of the Federal Torture Act. Those who engaged in the torture documented in such exhaustive detail in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report should be prosecuted, and those who conspired in that torture should also be prosecuted. They include UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, says Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Law School at the University of California Irvine.
. . . continued at HERE

Prosecute the Torturers: Erwin Chemerinsky
KPFK 12/10

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Torture is a federal crime
, and those who authorized it and engaged in it must be criminally prosecuted:  for comment on the Senate report on CIA torture, we turn to ERWIN CHEMERINSKY — he’s dean of the UCI Law School and author of The Case Against the Supreme Court.  He wrote about prosecuting the torturers for the LA Times.

Plus: Labor’s new reality: it’s easier to raise wages for 100,000 than to unionize 4,000.  HAROLD MEYERSON suggests a strategy for building a low-wage workers’ organization in LA County that isn’t a union, because, much as we’d like to, we can’t get there (unions) from here (America, 2014).  Harold is a columnist for the Washington Post op-ed page and editor-at-large of The American Prospect.

Decommissioned Words: A Q&A with Richard Ford–LA Review of Books 12/7

Q.  In your new book our man Frank Bascombe says he wants to “decommission” certain words and phrases. What’s the idea here? What is on Frank’s list of decommissioned words?

RICHARD FORD: The idea is that we take this wonderful living entity in our lives, and we manage to reduce it to clichés and noun-verb constructions — to reduce it almost to babble, as fast as we can. What Frank wants to do is take out as many of these unlikable words, these corrupting and polluting words, as he can. For example: “I am here for you” — when you really mean just the opposite.
— – continued at LA Review of Books: HERE.

Surveillance and Secret Wars: KPFK 12/03

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Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State: TOM ENGELHARDT
, legendary editor of TomDispatch, talks about something new under the sun: it’s no longer a national security state, but rather a global security one, fighting secret wars that have turned the president into an assassin-in-chief. Tom’s new book is SHADOW GOVERNMENT.

Also: How a despised immigrant cuisine became a dominant force in American eating: UCI historian YONG CHEN tells the story of Chinese food in America, and answers the question, why is Chinese food so popular?  His new book is CHOP SUEY, USA.

Plus: Art, sex, and politics in Manhattan in the seventies: The rise of the gay rights movement and the simultaneous rise of photography in the galleries; photographer Robert Mapplethorpe as the partner of Patti Smith and documentarian of the city’s S&M scene; and then Sam Wagstaff as a legendary curator, and patron of Mapplethorpe: PHILIP GEFTER will explain it all. His new book is WAGSTAFF: Before and After Mapplethorpe: A Biography.

Why it’s impossible to indict a cop: KPFK 11/24

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It’s not just Ferguson, ” says CHASE MADAR — as thousands marched last night in dozens of cities in protest against the grand jury decision not to indict the cop who killed the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.  Chase is a civil rights attorney who writes for The Nation.  Plus BRAD FRIEDMAN of The Bradcast on KPFK.
Also: The war through Afghan eyes: journalist ANAND GOPAL profiles a Taliban commander, a US-backed warlord, and a village housewife trapped between 2 sides.  His book, No Good Men Among the Living, was nominated for the National Book Award.

Plus: the rise of religious fundamentalism across the world’s religions: JACK MILES explains.  He’s editor of the monumental Norton Anthology Of World Religions and won a MacArthur “genuis” award and a Pulitzer.


Harry Shearer’s Nixon, today–and 40 years ago: KPFK 11/19

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on Nixon and Watergate: now, and in 1974. The voice of many characters on “The Simpsons,” Harry has released a six-part TV series where he recreates key moments in the Nixon era–all dialogue verbatim from the White House tapes. The series, produced for British TV, is playing now at YouTube HERE.

And the first time Harry ever did Nixon on the radio was on KPFK in 1974, when the transcripts of Nixon’s White House tapes were first released and KPFK broadcast a reading of key scenes—with Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and Harry as Nixon (a decade later they teamed up to do “Spinal Tap”) — and featuring special guest Mama Cass Elliot as Haldeman. We’ve found the tapes of that historic broadcast, and will play excerpts during this hour.

How better to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Watergate than with Harry Shearer, whose “Nixon” has thrilled listeners for decades? And what better cause than the Pacifica Radio Archives, where our history is available not only to historians, but also to a new generation of listeners and activists?  Please call and pledge during the show: (800) 735-0230