From Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, WILD LIFE follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in mid-life, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur, Doug Tompkins, left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer like Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit, and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina. WILD LIFE chronicles the highs and lows of their journey to effect the largest private land donation in history.
WILD LIFE will screen at the Mendocino Film Festival on Friday, June 2nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Festival Tent, as well as Sunday, June 4th at 10:20 a.m. at Coast Cinemas.
Katherine S. Newman became the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs of the University of California in January of 2023. She was simultaneously appointed as the Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at U. C. Berkeley. Dr. Newman is the author of fifteen books on topics ranging from technical education and apprenticeship, to the sociological study of the working poor in America’s urban centers, middle class economic insecurity under the brunt of recession, and school violence on a mass scale. She has written extensively on the consequences of globalization for youth, on the impact of regressive taxation on the poor, and on the history of American political opinion on the role of government intervention.
Her latest, co-authored with Elizabeth S. Jacobs, a senior fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute, is MOVING THE NEEDLE: WHAT TIGHT LABOR MARKETS DO FOR THE POOR, published this month by the University of California Press. We spoke with Dr. Newman on April 24, 2023.
We end this edition of Forthright Radio with audio from the last floor speech that Montana’s first transwoman elected to Montana’s State Legislature, Zooey Zephyr, before she was censured by the necessary 2/3 vote of House on April 26, 2023. Her offense? Calling out that the gender affirming health care they were outlawing would result in deaths, and used the phrase, “blood on their hands.”
Articles pertinent to this edition of Forthright Radio:
You may recall the horrifying news that hit the airwaves on March 26, 2018 about a van that had driven off the 100 foot cliff on HWY 1 just south of Juan Creek between Rockport and Westport on the north coast of Mendocino County, CA. Bad as the initial reports were, as more was learned about what had actually happened and what led up to it, the horror only grew.
Texas based journalist, Roxanna Asgarian, began investigating the tragedy within a day. Her investigations since have resulted in her book, WE WERE ONCE A FAMILY: A STORY OF LOVE, DEATH, AND CHILD REMOVAL IN AMERICA, published in March, 2023 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
She writes it as the true crime story that it certainly is, but her primary goal was to uncover the untold stories of the birth families of the six Black children taken from their families, who did NOT want to give them up, and who were making efforts to keep them, when the deeply flawed child welfare system thrust them first into the foster care system, and then fast tracked them into out of state adoptions.
Roxanna Asgarian reports about courts and the law for the Texas Tribune. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Magazine and Texas Monthly, as well as other publications. She received the 2022 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for WE WERE ONCE A FAMILY: A STORY OF LOVE, DEATH, AND CHILD REMOVAL IN AMERICA. It goes well beyond the earlier, sensationalist reportage by the mainstream press and delves into the systems and history that allowed this murder/suicide to happen. We spoke with her via Skype on April 10, 2023.
Tragic as this story of innocent children taken from their birth families by a Child Protection Service system which purports to protect children, it is but one aspect of our society that does NOT protect innocent children.
Once again, another mass shooting at a school ended in the murder and traumatizing of children, this one at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN, which led to protests at the State Legislature, the expulsion of two young black representatives, their unanimous reinstatement to represent their districts, and more diverse voices calling out the politicians only too happy to maintain the status quo.
One mourns the loss of the Hart children, particularly Devonte Hart, whose famous “hug heard around the world” – showing Devonte’s tear streaked face at the age of 14 hugging a white police officer during a tense demonstration protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. He, with his “Free Hugs” sign, would have been 20 years old now. What might he have become, had his life not been cut short, his body never found?
The broadcast ended with Cheryl Wheeler’s song, “If It Were Up to Me,” which you can hear using this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op7agdIFOGY. It is sadly even more relevant than when she first recorded it in 1997.
Philip Bump is a national columnist for The Washington Post. Prior to that, he led politics coverage for The Atlantic Wire. He focuses on the data behind polls and political rhetoric, as well as writing a weekly newsletter, “How To Read This Chart.”
His first book, THE AFTERMATH: THE LAST DAYS OF THE BABY BOOM AND THE FUTURE OF POWER IN AMERICA, looks at the overlap of the end of the baby boom and the upheaval in American politics and the U.S. economy.
After our interview with Philip Bump, we share excerpts from a conversation with former Congresswoman, Pat Schroeder, from 2014 at the Library of Congress.
At the age of 31 and the mother of two young children, she defeated an incumbent Republican congressman in 1972, and then was re-elected 11 more times before leaving Congress in 1997, disgusted with the obstructionist shenanigans of Newt Gingrich. In 1988 she ran for president of the United States.
Born in 1940, she would be designated as being in The Silent Generation, but she was anything but silent. It was she, who designated Ronald Reagan as the “Teflon President.” She served on the House Armed Services Committee, and you may be surprised by what she has to say about NATO. The final excerpt is from the end of an hour long conversation, responding to a question from the audience asking if she were president, what five things would she do immediately.
Henry Giroux, author, journalist and public intellectual, is the internationally acclaimed Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy and Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest at McMaster University.
He has written more than 56 books since his first book, Ideology, Culture and the Process of Schooling was published in 1981. He has been generous with us over the years with his time, insights and analysis, as he published books such as Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism; Disposable Youth: Racialized Memories, and the Culture of Cruelty; The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine; Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle; America at War with Itself; American Nightmare: The Challenge of US Authoritarianism; and The Terror of the Unforeseen.
His latest book is INSURRECTIONS: EDUCATION IN AN AGE OF COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS, just published by Bloomsbury Press. We spoke with him via Skype on February 8, 2023 about the multiple crises with which we are faced.
George Monbiot’s latest book is Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet, published by Penguin Books.
Since the 1980s, he has traveled the world doing on-the-ground investigations of how global dominant systems destroy crucial wildlife habitats and displace peoples from their ancestral homelands, while contributing to catastrophic climate change. This has led to his being made persona non grata in seven countries, sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in Indonesia, shot at, beaten up by military police, shipwrecked, stung into a coma by hornets, and pronounced clinically dead in Lodwar General Hospital in North-western Kenya from cerebral malaria.
From the first of his 13 books published in 1989, POISONED ARROWS: An Investigative Journey Through the Forbidden Lands of West Papua; to Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding; to his radio programs, and long standing weekly columns in The Guardian, he has informed us in delightful prose through the powerful lens of his political philosophy for social and ecological justice and sanity.
Professor Clarence Lusane is the interim Chair of Howard University’s Department of Political Science and current Director of the International Affairs program. For more than 40 years he has written about, and been active in, national and international human rights, anti-racism politics, democracy building, and social justice issues such as education, criminal justice, and voting rights. Among his books are The Black History of the White House; Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century; and Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs.
We spoke with him about his most recent book, Twenty Dollars and Change: Harriet Tubman and the Ongoing Struggle for Racial Justice and Democracy, published by City Lights Books.
Nate Gowdy’s book, INSURRECTION, of photos he took on January 6, 2021, as he was swept by a mob of Proud Boys and Three Percenters onto the steps of the US Capitol Building came to my attention. In the second part of today’s Forthright Radio, we share excerpts from an extended interview with Nate Gowdy about his work, and what he experienced that day.
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Professor, Howard French, was awarded 2022’s Museum of African American History (MAAH) Stone Book Award as well as The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, for his latest book, BORN IN BLACKNESS: AFRICA, AFRICANS, and the MAKING of the MODERN WORLD, 1471 to the SECOND WORLD WAR, published by Liveright.
Before returning to academia, he was a New York Times foreign correspondent in West and Central Africa, as well as the Times’ bureau chief in the Caribbean and Central America, before becoming their Tokyo bureau chief and then their bureau chief in Shanghai, China. In addition to the New York Times, he has contributed to the New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, The Guardian Longreads and Foreign Policy.
His earlier books include A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa; China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa; and Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power.
We spoke with Howard French on December 20, 2022 via Skype, overcoming numerous technical difficulties.
We ended the 12/23/22 broadcast version of this program with the Ukrainian folk song, Shchedryk, from a recording by Helena Androsova singing all of the voices first with English then Ukrainian Lyrics. It is known in the U. S. as Carol of the Bells. You can hear/view her performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqeJ38DThVc
Christopher Marquis is Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the Judge Business School of The University of Cambridge.
He and his co-author, Kunyaun Qiao, have written the book, MAO AND MARKETS: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise, published by Yale University Press. It explores the seeming contradiction of capitalism under Chinese Communist Party rule. Part history, part economics, it uses the tools of academic data analysis to assess how China’s economic success is being shaped by the ideology and philosophy of Chairman Mao Zedong.
Professor Marquis’s interest in China began while he was in high school, when he did an independent research project on the role of Confucianism in contemporary China. He first traveled there in 1996, and he has marveled at the speed with which the mudflats across the Huangpu River from Shanghai’s waterfront became the city of Pudong, the financial capital of China, where three of the tallest buildings in the world now stand encircled by 20 miles of high rises. He spoke with entrepreneurs from many regions of China and brings their very human stories to his narrative.
His earlier book, BETTER BUSINESS: HOW THE B CORP MOVEMENT IS REMAKING CAPITALISM, focused on the ways companies can effectively shift from a shareholder to stake holder orientation.
We spoke with Christopher Marquis on November 21, 2022.
After learning of President Xi’s early life experiences – his being “sent down” from Beijing to manual labor in a remote, rural area for 7 years after the purging and arrest of his father, Xi Zhongxun, during the Cultural Revolution, made me think of his contemporary, Ai Weiwei, and his early life experiences. Born in 1957 in Beijing, he was exiled in 1958 when his father, poet Ai Qing, was accused of “rightism”. How differently the two men influence the world today. One, a ruthless authoritarian consolidating close to absolute control over the lives of 1.4 billion people, and the other undaunted, despite brutal state repression, in his artistic expression of beauty, creativity and human rights.
Award winning author and journalist, Adam Hochschild, is the author of eleven books. He returned to Forthright Radio to discuss his latest book, AMERICAN MIDNIGHT: THE GREAT WAR, A VIOLENT PEACE, AND DEMOCRACY’S FORGOTTEN CRISIS, published by Mariner Books.
While a college student in the early 1960s, Adam Hochschild worked on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa, and he was also a civil rights worker in Mississippi. He was a writer and editor for Ramparts magazine, and a co-founder of Mother Jones. He has been a lecturer in the UC Berkeley School of Journalism for many years. In 2014, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In our earlier interviews, he discussed his books, BURY THE CHAINS: PROPHETS AND REBELS IN THE FIGHT TO FREE AN EMPIRE’S SLAVES, and KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST: A STORY OF GREED, TERROR AND HEROISM IN COLONIAL AFRICA.
We spoke with him via telephone from his home in the Bay Area on October 25, 2022.