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The San Bernardino Shootings: KPFK 12/2

We open with breaking news at 4pm about the shootings in San Bernardino that left 14 dead and 17 injured: we start with a news update from ERNESTO ARCE, KPFK’s news director, on the scene in San Bernardino, and then go to President Obama’s statement about the shootings.

GREIL MARCUS talks about writing the “Real Life Rock Top Ten” column for thirty years – the column features brief items not only on songs but on all kinds of stuff that delighted or puzzled one of our greatest cultural critics that week. Now Yale University Press has published the first thirty years of the columns in a monumental 600 page book, Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns, 1986-2014.

And JOHN NICHOLS comments on today’s news about the mass shooting and on gun violence in America, and in American politics, today.
John of course is National Affairs correspondent for The Nation — read him at


Bernie & Socialism, Thanksgiving & Football:
The Nation Podcast 11/24

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When Bernie Sanders talked about democratic socialism in his major speech at Georgetown University last week, he used FDR to explain what socialism could do for the country today. But Eric Foner says there’s a much deeper and richer history of socialism in America, and Sanders should call on that when making his pitch to the American people.

Also: Republicans want to block refugees from Syria and Iraq: The Nation’s Julianne Hing has an update on their efforts and what happens next.

Plus: Football has America’s biggest TV audience, especially on Thanksgiving weekend: but Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, asks why anyone even plays football anymore, given what we know about head injuries.

And Ari Berman discusses the latest in the long history of the battle for voting rights—his new book is Give Us the Ballot.

The shootings at the Black Lives Matter march in Minneapolis: KPFK 11/25

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Your Minnesota Moment, news from my home town of St. Paul: White supremacists in Minneapolis shot five people at a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Monday night: well get an update ANGILEE SHAH in Minneapolis—she’s a journalist and blogger and the social media manager at Public Radio International.

Also: HAROLD MEYERSON talks about Bernie and Socialism—Harold of course writes for the Washingon Post op-ed page and The American Prospect

And we’ll have a music segment: the award-winning writer PETER GURALNICK will talk about Sam Phillips, the man who discovered Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Peter’s new book is Sam Phillips: The Man who Invented Rock in Roll.

New from The Nation: “Start Making Sense”
Podcast 11/19

The first episode of our new weekly podcast, “Start Making Sense” from The Nation:
podcast HERE – SoundCloud audio HERE
LAILA LALAMI talks about the origins of ISIS, and what to do about it now.  Laila grew up in Morocco; her novel The Moor’s Account was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Also: The New York Times coverage of Bernie Sanders has been condescending, and terrible: journalist AMY WILENTZ comments on the recent page one story ‘Bernie Sanders Won’t Kiss Your Baby.

Plus: CHARLES BLOW, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, talks about growing up poor and black in rural Louisiana; his book Fire Shut Up in My Bones is out now in paperback.

And TERRY GROSS explains the difference between interviewing Hillary and interviewing Bill. It’s her 40th anniversary hosting ‘Fresh Air’; she’s done 13,000 interviews.  (Recorded in 2004)

Dustin Hoffman, Kurt Vonnegut, John Coltrane:
from the Pacifica Archives: KPFK 11/18

Today we’re featuring gems from the Pacifica Archives, and asking you to support the Archives: they are perserving our history, the sounds of our struggles and our dreams, and the voices of our heroes. Please call during the hour and pledge: 800-735-0230 – or online HERE .

This hour we’ll be featuring rare audio, the source for amazing animation from Blank on Blank: DUSTIN HOFFMAN in 1971, recalling living next door to the building in Greenwich Village blown up accidentally by the Weather Underground. He also says that, as a kid, “I carried a knife taped to my leg. I never used it but it was there.” Watch the animation from Blank on Blank HERE

Plus: Novelist KURT VONNEGUT remembers “learning to walk around looking tough” growing up in Indianapolis. Watch HERE
Also: JOHN COLTRANE in 1966 was living on Long Island. One afternoon, Frank Kofsky took the train out to interview him. Coltrane picked him up at the station. They drove around town. They stopped to talk. (Coltrane died less than a year later.) Watch HERE.

White Workers are Dying: KPFK 11/11

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The white working class is dying – literally
. Their death rate in middle age is rising, while that of all other Americans continues to fall. It’s a shocking discovery, and a revealing one. We’ll have comment from HAROLD MEYERSON—he wrote about it for the Washington Post op-ed page.

Also: In 1692, Massachusetts executed 14 women, 5 men, and 2 dogs for witchcraft. We had another “witch-hunt” in the 1950s, with McCarthyism, and after 9-11, with the roundup of young Muslim men. STACY SCHIFF explains—her new book is The Witches: Salem 1692. (Our conversation was held at the L.A. Central Library as part of the Library Foundation’s ALOUD series; listen to the ALOUD podcast HERE.)

Plus: KPFK Sports! DAVE ZIRIN analyzes the campaign against racism at the U. of Missouri, where the football team led a startlingly successful movementrefusing to play until the president resigned.  Dave is sports editor of The Nation.

Margo Jefferson on ‘Negroland’: The Nation 10/22

Q. You grew up in the fifties in Chicago in a world you call “Negroland.” What was “Negroland”?
Margo Jefferson
: Negroland is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty. Children in Negroland were warned that few Negroes enjoyed privilege or plenty and that most whites would be glad to see them returned to indigence, deference, and subservience.
–“10 Questions for Margo Jefferson,” continued at, HERE.

John Densmore on Bernie Sanders: KPFK 10/14

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, drummer for The Doors, talks about Bernie Sanders — and about the new film Window of Opportunity, a suspensful dark comedy thriller about corporate greed that he produced. It’s screening Oct 28 at 7:30 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood—a benefit for Bernie. WATCH the trailer HERE.

Plus: The day that Dylan went electric: we’ll speak with ELIJAH WALD about the legendary moment in our history at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965—and listen to rare audio of Dylan playing “Maggie’s Farm” that day. Wald’s new book is Dylan Goes Electric!
Also: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is documentary made by the award-winning filmmaker ALEX GIBNEY — is our featured thank-you gift this hour of the KPFK fund drive. We’ll be speaking with Alex Gibney about why people join Scientology—and what happens when they try to leave.

Margo Jefferson on “Negroland”: KPFK 10/7

LISTEN online HERE  iTunes podcast HERE
remembers what she calls “Negroland”—the world of the black elite in the fifties, the world in which she grew up. She won the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for her work at the New York Times; now she’s professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts, and she has a new book out: Negroland: A Memoir.

Also: GREIL MARCUS has written many books, starting with the classic Mystery Train and including the unforgettable Lipstick Traces. Now he has several new books coming out, starting with Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations; then the monumental Real Life Rock, the complete collection of his columns over the last 30 years; and he’s found new way of talking about our past: The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs.