Politics And Society
Monday, September 16, 2013
Political journalist John Nichols describes how massive campaign spending has come to define our politics and challenges American democracy. His book Dollarocracy: How the Money and the Media Election Complex is Destroying America, which he co-authored with Robert W. McChesney, explains how our elections are becoming controlled and managed by consultants who wield millions of dollars and influence our politics as never before. He argues that after the Citizens United ruling, American citizens are in danger of becoming less informed and more open to manipulation.
Monday, February 04, 2013
Political commentator E. J. Dionne argues that Americans can't agree on who we are because we can't agree on who we've been. In Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent, he offers both a tour of American history—from the Founding Fathers to Clay and Lincoln, on to Populism, the Progressives, and the New Dealers—and an interpretation of our moment's politics. He reclaims the American idea of the federal government as an active and constructive partner with the rest of society in promoting prosperity, opportunity, and American greatness.
Monday, October 01, 2012
MSNBC political analyst and Salon columnist Joan Walsh looks at the cause and effects of the rise of divisive politics over the last 40 years in this country. In What’s the Matter with White People she makes the case that changes unleashed in the 1960s pitted Americans against one another politically in new and destructive ways—while economically, everyone fell behind except the wealthy.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Arun Chaudhary, the first official White House videographer, talks about his experience capturing behind-the-scenes moments of the president and his administration. First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time gives a unique view of the government and the president in these historic and challenging times.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of Network, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, talks about being a progressive voice in the Catholic community, this summer’s nine-state Nuns on the Bus tour, and what the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious means for the mission of nuns in this country.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Comedian and political commentator D. L. Hughley explains why he thinks the nation is heading in the wrong direction. In I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes Is Ruining America, he points out that despite the country’s pride in itself, we are no longer the best. In terms of life expectancy, we're 36th—tied with Cuba; in terms of literacy, we're 20th—behind Kazakhstan. He offers his opinions on what might improve our future.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Stephen Prothero talks about putting together The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation, an exploration of texts that unite, divide, and define Americans today. He includes works such as Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Twain’s Huck Finn, the speeches of Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan, and the novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Ayn Rand.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer talks about rewriting the United States Constitution to improve upon the one we have, which has triggered more than two centuries of arguments about what it actually says. In Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America he argues that while we think of the Constitution as a well-designed blueprint that laid the foundation for the strongest republic ever created, it’s actually more of a haphazard series of blunders shaped by petty debates, drunken ramblings, and desperate compromise.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Supreme Court lawyer Linda Hirshman tells the story of the gay rights movement, detailing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America. Her book Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution recounts the long roads that led to recent victories—from the start of modern struggle for gay rights at Stonewall in 1969 to states legalizing gay marriage, the armed services stopped enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Francoise Mouly, New Yorker art editor, talks about how the magazine creates its signature covers commenting on the political and cultural events of the day. Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See shows the sketches that didn’t make the cut and explains the stages in the evolution of a cover that has an edge but stands the test of time.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discusses the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia—the country where she was born—and the events of World War II that shook her life before she turned twelve. Her memoir Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War: 1937–1948 draws on the memories of her and her family, her parents' written reflections, interviews, and newly available documents to give an account of the most tumultuous 12 years in modern history.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
In 2009, religious conservatives launched a campaign in Texas to change how evolution was described in the state’s science textbooks. Director Scott Thurman talks about his documentary, “The Revisionaries,” which chronicles the fight over what would go into the state’s textbooks and its impact beyond the state’s borders. We’re also joined by Kathy Miller, the president of the Texas Freedom Network, which has worked to defeat initiatives backed by religious conservatives. “The Revisionaries” is being screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Robert Kagan, one of the country’s most influential strategic thinkers, looks at whether America is in decline and shares his view of what the world might look like if the United States let its influence wane. The World America Made investigates what the world would look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus on solving its problems at home and asserts that the current pessimism about America’s stature is misplaced.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Ira Shapiro recounts the Senators of the 1960s and 1970s who overcame opposition to civil rights, passed Great Society legislation, and battled the executive branch on Vietnam, Watergate, and its abuses of power. In The Last Great Senate, he looks at how the Senate changed with the 1980 elections, and he offers insight into how the Senate used to work and what happened to diminish it.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Former Democratic senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold explains why he thinks the American public has gotten inadequate information to explain 9/11, Al Qaeda, and events related to the war on terror. In While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era, Feingold argues that the nation’s inadequate response to 9/11 have undermined our ability to adjust to America’s new place in the world, and has weakened our national security and our constitutional values. He suggests ways to engage with the rest of the world and fellow citizens in a more thoughtful way.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Gernot Wagner, economist at the Environmental Defense Fund explains why the things individuals do—buying local produce, eating less meat, bringing reusable bags to the grocery store—won’t end up making much of a difference in halting global warming. Instead he argues that economics will. In But Will The Planet Notice: How Smart Economics Can Save the World he puts the onus for curbing global climate change on smarter economics, not science, politics, or activism.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Thomas Byrne Edsall discusses why he believes battles over scarce resources will increasingly define American politics—and how we might mitigate the damage from these ideological and economic battles. His book The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics looks at the major issues of the next few years—long-term deficit reduction; entitlement reform, notably of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; major cuts in defense spending; and difficulty in financing a continuation of American international involvement.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, discusses why the economic crisis and recession has brought about the revival of conservatism. In Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right, Frank examines the conservative idea that the economic system be made harsher on the recession's victims and offer bigger rewards for winners.
Monday, December 12, 2011