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Join KPCC's AirTalk with host Larry Mantle weekdays for lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, the arts, entertainment, and more. Call-in number: 866-893-5722
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    US-POLITICS-SUPREME COURT

    Chief Justice John Roberts (2nd R) and Justice Neil Gorsuch (C) walk down the steps of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, June 15, 2017.; Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a gerrymandering case which could set new rules on how state legislatures draw district lines.

    As reported by Bloomberg news, the Wisconsin case would determine whether legislative maps showing too much partisanship should be deemed unconstitutional. This would be an unprecedented move for the Supreme Court, which has never denounced a legislative map based on partisanship.

    The last time the issue was presented to the court was in 2004, when Justice Anthony Kennedy gave the deciding vote to keep Pennsylvania congressional districts in place. Kennedy said the challengers lacked “a workable standard” to prove there was an overreach in partisanship. The court will hear arguments in October.

    Libby Denkmann speaks to Bloomberg News’ Greg Stohr for a breakdown of what the Wisconsin case could mean for the rest of the country.

    Guest:

    Greg Stohr, Supreme Court reporter for Bloomberg News; he has been following the story; he tweets @GregStohr

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren Hold Progressive Political Rally In Boston

    Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waves as she enters the Our Revolution Massachusetts Rally at the Orpheum Theatre on March 31, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.; Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Women represent 21 percent of our current Congress.

    That’s actually an all-time high, and the numbers for female office holders in the U.S., from mayors to governor to members of the House, are all similarly low, despite women winning elections and raising money at similar rates to their male counterparts.

    So what can be done to encourage women to run for public office?

    That’s something Jennifer Lawless, director for the Women & Politics Institute, has been studying for years. She co-authored a report that found two crucial factors in cultivating girls’ political ambitions: involvement in sports and parental encouragement.

    Female listeners, have you ever considered running for political office and if so, what encouraged or deterred you? Parents, have you talked to daughters about running for political office, or cultivated their ambitions? Why or why not?

    Guests:

    Jennifer Lawless, current director for the Women & Politics Institute and professor of Government at American University; she is the co-author of the report “Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition

    Vanessa Cardenas, director of strategic communications at Emily’s List, a political action committee that aims to elect Democratic women

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Democratic Congressional Candidate In Georgia's Special Election Jon Ossoff Campaigns In Georgia

    Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to the media as he visits a campaign office to thank volunteers and supporters as he runs for Georgia's 6th Congressional District on June 19, 2017.; Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The most expensive House race in U.S. history is under way in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

    The race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff has become a proxy for the national political climate and a bellwether for the 2018 midterm elections.

    The high-profile race has drawn the interest of Hollywood as well. Celebrities from Samuel L. Jackson to comedian Chelsea Handler have voiced their support for Ossoff. In response, Handel and her supporters have run television ads targeting Ossoff’s Hollywood ties. One spot, for instance, is titled “Hollywood Versus Georgia.”

    Guests:

    Ted Johnson, a senior editor at Variety who covers the intersection of politics and entertainment; his piece looking at Jon Ossoff’s Hollywood support was published today

    Celeste Headlee, host and executive producer of talk show “On Second Thought” on Georgia Public Broadcasting; she lives in Georgia’s 6th district

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    ENTERTAINMENT-US-THEATRE-POLITICS-SHAKESPEARE

    People arrive for the opening night of Shakespeare in the Park's production of Julius Caesar at Central Park's Delacorte Theater on June 12, 2017 in New York.; Credit: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    In the New York Public Theater’s latest production of “Julius Caesar,” the titular character is styled as a caricature of President Trump – and the murderous climactic scene, which leaked before the play opened, has angered the president’s supporters.

    Advertisers have pulled back or distanced themselves from the play, as well as the Public, while artists and Shakespeare scholars have defended the staging, saying that art should not be muzzled, and that the play itself is a condemnation of political violence.

    Shakespeare, and “Julius Caesar” in particular, have long been a vehicle for artists to critique those in power. Is this latest iteration all provocation without political substance? Can art offer a rigorous critique of politics? Is this violent imagery dangerous in our hyper-partisan landscape or justified by the play’s ultimate message?

    Guest:

    Bob Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    AFGHANISTAN-US-UNREST-MILITARY-HELMAND-MARINES

    US Marines and Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel hold flags during a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017.; Credit: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    We’re hearing some good news out of Iraq this morning as the Iraqi military is reporting it has surrounded the Islamic State’s stronghold in the Old City of Mosul after liberating the city’s al-Shifaa district.

    U.S.-backed forces will now look at how to go about reclaiming control of the city, which is ISIS’ de-facto capital, without collateral damage to the hundreds of thousands of people suspected to still be in the Old City.

    Meanwhile, Iranian forces launched a missile strike on an Islamic State target in the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour in response to terrorist attacks in Iran’s capital, Tehran, earlier this month. President Trump had previously put Iran ‘on notice’ regarding missile tests, and it remains to be seen how the White House will respond.

    This comes as tensions between the U.S. and Russia heighten after the U.S. shot down a Syrian government jet on Sunday and Russia responded by threatening to target any U.S.-backed jets west of the Euphrates River. It’s all part of a continuing proxy war that the U.S. and Russia are fighting through Syria.

    There are also questions on the horizon about the United States’ future involvement in Afghanistan after President Trump gave Secretary of Defense James Mattis authority to decide on troop levels there, a decision that some are questioning.

    We’ll also take a look at what has happened since four Arab nations cut ties with Qatar.

    Guests:

    Borzou Daragahi, Middle East correspondent for Buzzfeed News; he tweets @borzou

    Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center; he tweets @aarondmiller2

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Veterans Facing Deportation

    Mario Martinez, 54, an Army veteran, is facing deportation after serving four years in California state prison. While serving in the Army in the 1980s, he was deployed to Germany as part of U.S. forces sent to guard the Berlin Wall.
    ; Credit: Dorian Merina/KPCC

    Dorian Merina | AirTalk®

    Army veteran Mario Martinez spent six years of his life fighting for the United States. Now he's fighting for the right to keep living here.

    Martinez, 54, was born in Mexico, but came to the U.S. as a young child and became a legal resident. He joined the Army, served with the 82nd Airborne Division, and earned an honorable discharge. But more than a decade after he left the service, he was convicted of a felony, putting his immigration status in jeopardy.

    "One mistake shouldn't make the rest of your life," said Martinez, who served four years in California state prison for an assault conviction stemming from a 2008 domestic violence case. "I mean, I paid for what I did, I did my time. I did it quietly, went in and got out."

    After Martinez served his time, he was handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that handles deportation for the Department of Homeland Security. He spent another 10 months in detention, then was released on bond in 2014. He currently lives in Southern California, while he awaits a court date in his deportation case.

    Martinez is one of an unknown number of military veterans facing deportation for crimes committed after discharge. They're among the thousands of legal permanent residents who have been allowed to serve in the armed forces despite being non-citizens.

    To read the full story, click here.

    This is the first of two stories. Part two is here.

    Guests:

    Dorian Merina, reporter covering veterans’ issues for KPCC; he tweets @dorianmerina

    Nathan Fletcher, combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp and chair of the Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported coalition; he is a former CA State Assemblymember; he tweets @nathanfletcher

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    GERMANY-US-TRANSPORT-SERVICES-EMPLOYMENT

    Travis Kalanick, co-founder of the US transportation network company Uber, speaking during the opening of the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference in Munich, southern Germany. ; Credit: TOBIAS HASE/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Travis Kalanick has resigned as the CEO of Uber.

    The company has been mired in controversy, including its discriminatory work culture toward women and questionable business practices.  

    Earlier this year, a former Uber engineer named Susan Fowler published a scathing account of her experience at the ride-hailing company. Fowler wrote that she was sexually harassed repeatedly by a colleague. She reported these incidents to Uber’s human resources department but to no avail.

    In the wake of Fowler’s claims, Uber hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to undertake an investigation into Uber’s work culture. The results were recently announced, with Uber’s board overwhelmingly voted to adopt the recommendations. Kalanick took an indefinite leave of absence after the Holder investigation. And to the surprise of many, Kalanick announced his resignation as the company’s CEO today. He remains on the company’s board.

    If you drive for Uber, what do you think of Kalanick’s resignation?

    Guests:

    Johana Bhuiyan, senior transportation reporter for the tech publication, Recode; she tweets at @JMBooyah

    Eric Newcomer, reporter for Bloomberg Technology; he tweets @EricNewcomer

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World - Cocktails

    Women's rights activist Manal al-Sharif attends the TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World, cocktail party at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City.; Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME

    AirTalk®

    Saudi culture is notoriously strict when it comes to what women can and can’t do, and one Saudi woman learned that the hard way when she chose to go against a Saudi custom – women aren’t supposed to drive themselves anywhere.

    So when Manal al-Sharif took a stand and filmed herself driving the streets of Khobar in 2011, it caused an uproar; the video garnered more than 120,000 views within a few hours, and al-Sharif was imprisoned for “driving while female.”

    It’s this journey of accidental activism and self-discovery that Manal covers in her new memoir, “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening.” From her past as a conservatively observant Muslim to her present as the head of the Women2Drive moment, “Daring to Drive” tells the story of a Saudi woman who took the wheel – and her life – into her own hands.

    Manal will be speaking at the “ALOUD” series at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles June 21. For more information, click here.

    Guest:

    Manal al-Sharif, a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia; her memoir is “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening” (Simon & Schuster, 2017); she tweets @manal_alsharif

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Golden Motel -

    Two-year-old Elyiah Balam and four-year-old Jeniah Balam are living with their family at Golden Motel.; Credit: Maya Sugarman/KPCC

    AirTalk®

    It’s the constant struggle with many solutions proposed for Los Angeles's chronic homelessness issue: how can we solve the homeless problem if communities aren’t willing to house them?

    The latest initiative to stop short of completion is the Golden Motel project, which developers announced on Monday would not be going forward. Denver-based nonprofit developer Mercy Housing planned to purchase the old building near Temple City and convert it into housing and services for homeless veterans and the formerly homeless. Mercy says it withdrew its application for permits to renovate the building after the Golden Motel owners decided to go with a bidder who was offering more instead of waiting for Mercy to get the additional money and support they needed.

    As many projects like it do, the Golden Motel project faced considerable pushback from residents of the neighborhood surrounding it. They say the project was well-intentioned but worried about the size and scope of the project, the potential for more property crimes, decreases in property values and risks to neighborhood children.

    How can the city and county of Los Angeles communicate better with members of communities where homeless housing projects are being proposed? Or is the battle between developers and communities fated to be a stalemate forever?

    Guests:

    Chris Ko, director of homeless initiative and the "Home for Good" program at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles

    Lucy Liou, resident of Temple City who opposed the Golden Motel project

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Testifies To House Intel Committee Hearing On Russia Interference In Election

    Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in an open hearing in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. ; Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was on-deck at Wednesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearings, part of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election.

    As reported by POLITICO, Johnson said in his testimony that the Democratic National Committee didn’t think it was necessary to involve the Department of Homeland Security following the election hack. The information from the DNC hack, published by Wikileaks, is considered part of a strategy to hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    U.S. officials believe that possible intermediaries from Russia obtained and leaked the information to help elect President Trump. Johnson also said in his testimony that despite his attempt to bring light to Russia’s cyber intrusion, political obstacles prevented him from taking action. Libby Denkmann speaks today to POLITICO’S Austin Wright, who was at the hearing.

    Guest:

    Austin Wright, congressional reporter for POLITICO based on Capitol Hill; he was at the House Intelligence Committee hearing

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    TOPSHOT-MEXICO-US-BORDER-WALL

    A Mexican family stands next to the border wall between Mexico and the United States, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on May 23, 2017. ; Credit: HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The Department of Homeland Security schedule calls for the construction of border wall prototypes to be completed by July 22, and Congress has already allocated $20 million to the endeavor.

    Those prototypes must be 30 feet tall, unclimbable and must prevent digging for at least 6 feet under the wall. But what if tech is a smarter solution than concrete?

    That’s the thrust of a recent New York Times article “On the Mexican Border, a Case for Technology Over Concrete,” which lays out an array of technology – from sensors to helicopters to drones – that could create a virtual wall. One aspect of this solution is that it would accommodate for the geographic regions that aren’t suited for a physical wall. Additionally, if there’s a specific area that needs focus, such as a drug trafficking trail, resources can be shifted flexibly to that location.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is facing potential legal pushback in California, with two key pieces of legislation introduced that aim to divest from the wall: SB 30 which would prohibit the state from doing business with a person or company that works on the wall and AB 946, which would make California drop pension investments in border-involved companies.

    What’s the case for a figurative wall of technology rather than 30 feet of concrete, and is it a realistic option? What’s the current state of the legal challenges to the border wall? What do we know about the prototypes thus far?

    Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

    Guests:

    Ron Nixon, homeland security correspondent for the New York Times; his latest article is “On the Mexican Border, a Case for Technology Over Concrete;” he tweets @nixonron

    Phillip Molnar, business reporter for the San Diego Tribune; he tweets @PhillipMolnar

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Life On Kandahar Air Base

    U.S Air Force Staff Sargent Ryan Propst (center) plays "Call of Duty" video game with a small group of service members at the United Service members Organization (USO) lounge at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) December 8, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. ; Credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    It’s no secret that video games have long been used to recruit and train the military.

    With first-person shooter games, soldiers have endless access to new information to train them on the latest fighting techniques. And gaming companies benefit too. With veterans’ help in development, games are becoming more realistic. But the relationship between gaming and the military has one more step to take--actual combat. Will Roper is the director of the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office. His job is to think outside the box in terms of what comes next in U.S. military capabilities.

    As reported by Wired, Roper is looking into gaming technology’s use in the future of war. And hypothetically, this could mean tasking gaming developers with ways to give soldiers technological advantages in combat. For example, making a headset with the ability to show what’s behind you, where your fellow soldiers are and new information from your commander, just like in a first-person shooter game. And what about the role of gaming companies? What ethical considerations would they have to take?

    Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

    Guests:

    Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED Magazine; he wrote the WIRED article, “The Pentagon looks to videogames for the future of war”; he tweets @nxthompson

    Corey Mead, associate professor of English at Baruch College CUNY and author of the book “War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Gov. Jerry Brown Reveals Revised California State Budget

    California Gov. Jerry Brown shows charts to reporters during a news conference where he revealed his revised California State budget on May 11, 2017 in Sacramento, California.; Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    A bill that changes California’s recall election rules were passed last week along with the state budget, to the anger of Republican lawmakers and many political observers in the state.

    The maneuver was used by the state’s Democratic lawmakers to essentially bail out a freshman Senator in danger of being recalled. The lawmaker in question, Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) has been a target of a recall effort because of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $52-billion transportation package.

    Newman was one of many Democrats who voted in support of the so-called gas tax, but he has been singled out for a recall because of his narrow upset victory in the November election.

    Critics say that the real intention of the recall is to strip Democrats of its supermajority in the legislature.

    AirTalk invited Senator Newman as well as Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon to participate in our conversation, but both declined our requests for comment.

    Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

    Guests:

    Katy Murphy, Sacramento-based reporter for the Mercury News and East Bay Times who covers state government; she was at the vote for the recall election rule change last week; she tweets @katymurphy

    Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman and current radio talk show host who’s leading the effort to recall Senator Josh Newman

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Senate Lawmakers Address The Media After Their Weekly Policy Luncheons

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is one of 13 Senate Republicans working behind closed doors to craft new health care legislation they hope will replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.; Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    After weeks of speculation about what Senate Republicans might be putting into their version of an Affordable Care Act replacement bill, the public is finally getting a look at the nitty-gritty of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

    The 142 page bill was unveiled Thursday on Capitol Hill and does not stray terribly far from the House’s version that passed last month, a bill that President Trump called“mean.” It’s still a major overhaul of the system, eliminating the individual mandate that required most people to buy insurance or face a penalty, slashes federal funding for Medicaid expansion, and keeps the ACA requirement that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions. It also offers more in terms of federal subsidies for individual insurance buyers than the House version did. You can read more about those differences here.

    The question now becomes whether or not Senate Republican will be able to pass the bill successfully. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote next week, but there are still questions about the support of several Republican Senators, and they can only afford to have two Republican ‘no’ votes if they want the bill to pass

    What else is in this bill that the average American should be aware of? Just how drastically does it differ from the House version? What will be the politics of getting the bill passed?

    Read the full text of the BCRA here.

    Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

    Guests:

    Adriel Bettelheim, health care editor at POLITICO; he tweets @abettel

    Lisa Mascaro, L.A. Times congressional reporter; she tweets @LisaMascaro

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Activists March Through NYC Protesting Killings Of Black Men By Police

    Police watch activists gather in front of The Metropolitan Museum of Art as they march up 5th Avenue in response to the recent fatal shootings of two black men by police, July 7, 2016 on the Upper East Side in New York City.; Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Last week, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges in the fatal shooting of black motorist Philando Castile.

    Castile’s girlfriend had Facebook livestreamed the immediate events after the shooting in 2016. But on Tuesday, dashboard cam video was released showing the events leading up to the shooting, as well as footage from a squad car that shows Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter during the aftermath.

    In light of this footage, we want to hear from you about your reactions, as well as what experiences have shaped your view of law enforcement. Did you have a positive or negative view of police officers growing up and why? What experiences shaped your perspective, and has it changed over the years?  

    Guest host Libby Denkmann in for Larry Mantle

    Guest:

    Jody Armour, professor of Law at the University of Southern California

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.