KPCC Blogs


The Promise: President Obama, Year One

The Promise: President Obama, Year One

Over a year into his term in office, President Obama has faced leading the nation through a continuing war in Afghanistan, one of the worst economic eras since the Great Depression, and now the BP oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. Jonathan Alter, Chicago-native and longtime Newsweek columnist, assesses Obama’s first year as president [...]

Profiting from poverty: how the working poor became big business

Profiting from poverty: how the working poor became big business

Adding insult to injury, the poor are the most likely to fall prey to scams. In his new book, Broke, USA: From Pawnshop to Poverty, Inc., New York Times writer Gary Rivlin looks at what he calls the “poverty industry.”It used to be just pawn shops that offered short-term cash for the remaining valuables of [...]

Shot in the back: accident, momentary loss of reason, or homicide? The case of Johannes Mehserle

Shot in the back: accident, momentary loss of reason, or homicide? The case of Johannes Mehserle

Shouting, chaos and confusion at the Fruitvale BART (Bay Area Rapid Transition) station in Oakland on New Years Day 2009 ended with Oscar Grant III, a young, African American man, shot in the back by twenty-eight-year-old, white BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle. The shooting, widely viewed on YouTube and local news outlets, ignited a massive [...]

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone

Larry Mantle sits down with Director Debra Granick and actress Jennifer Lawrence to discuss their new film, Winter’s Bone, which portrays the trials and tribulations of a young woman growing up deep in the Ozark mountains. The film was the recipient of the both the Grand Jury Prize and the Screenwriting award at this year’s [...]

Arms control for the uncontrollable: Obama policy toward Iran, North Korea & our own arms sales

Arms control for the uncontrollable: Obama policy toward Iran, North Korea & our own arms sales

President Obama has laid out an ambitious vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, and backed up his words by signing a treaty with Russia that drastically reduces the nuclear stockpiles of both countries. But there’s a lot of work to be done with rogue countries like Iran and North Korea, with American allies [...]

Manhattan Transfer returns to Playboy Jazz Fest

Manhattan Transfer returns to Playboy Jazz Fest

In its 40-year career, jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer has earned 10 Grammys for a unique sound spanning boogie-woogie to vocalese. On their latest album "The Chick Corea Songbook," the quartet puts their take on compositions by the influential jazz keyboardist. And on June 13, the Manhattan Transfer will co-headline the Playboy Jazz Festival [...]

What’s in your puppy’s chow? And is it worth the price tag?

What’s in your puppy’s chow? And is it worth the price tag?

Tell the truth – do you sometimes cook people food for your pet? What’s that you say? Absolutely not! Okay, but you do buy the fancy premium pet food, right? How can you resist that holistic all natural stuff that promises to be nothing but the very best for your pet? It seems many of [...]

Is psychiatry in crisis?

Is psychiatry in crisis?

As medicines for mental illness have become more varied and effective, fewer patients are spending time on the psychiatrist’s couch. Is this a good thing, or bad? According to Dr. Daniel Carlat it’s a troubling sign, and psychiatrists themselves are to blame. Carlat believes that psychiatrists have become pill-pushers for the pharmaceutical industry, overprescribing medications [...]

John Waters: Role Models

John Waters: Role Models

An outlandish character with an affinity for the weird, extreme and shocking, John Waters is not the man you want your kids to idolize. But in his new memoir, Role Models, Waters looks at the people he finds most inspiring and influential to his life, including himself, Johnny Mathis, Charles Manson groupie Leslie Van Houten [...]

Searching for baseball’s fastest pitcher

Searching for baseball’s fastest pitcher

When pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg takes the mound tonight for his major league debut with the Washington Nationals, baseball fans will be hoping to check out his 100 mph fastball. Who is the fastest pitcher ever? Baseball writer Tim Wendel tries to find out in his new book High Heat. He joins guest host David [...]