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Preview: KQED's Forum Podcast


KQED’s live call-in program presents balanced discussions of local, state, national, and world issues as well as in-depth interviews with leading figures in politics, science, entertainment, and the arts.

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:42:56 +0000

Copyright: Copyright © 2016 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Historian Taylor Branch Discusses Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we talk to historian and MLK scholar Taylor Branch about the iconic minister and his lasting impact on the civil rights movement. Taylor is the author of "America in the King Years," a trilogy detailing MLK's life and the civil rights era. The first volume, "Parting the Waters" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. We also talk with a curator from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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Live from the Nation’s Capital: Political News Roundup

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

In a special broadcast from WAMU in Washington, D.C., Forum sits down with a panel of journalists to talk about the latest political news and get an update on the transition to a Trump administration.

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Reproductive Rights Under a Trump Presidency

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

After President-elect Donald Trump's victory, NPR reported that some reproductive health centers and OB-GYN offices experienced an increase in inquiries about long term birth control. That increase reflects concern that the Affordable Care Act may be repealed or altered, making some birth control more expensive or harder to come by. Add in the Republican threat of defunding Planned Parenthood and Trump's pledge to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices and many people are wondering about the future of reproductive rights under a Trump administration.

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New PBS Documentary Explores the Private and Public Lives of Rachel Carson

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, her groundbreaking exposure of the environmental harms posed by the mosquito-killing pesticide DDT. Informed by her alarm over the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, Carson's work challenged prevailing assumptions about chemical safety and contributed to the birth of the modern environmental movement. A new PBS documentary, scheduled to premiere on January 24, examines Carson's writing, research, family life and the challenges she faced as a woman taking on one of the country's most powerful industries. We preview the film.

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Gov. Brown Submits Cautious Budget for California

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

California Governor Jerry Brown's new $122.5 billion budget proposal, released on Tuesday, reflects a cautious approach. With the state projected to run a $1.6 billion deficit, Brown said it was time to be prudent in spending on areas like education, child care and housing. Brown also warned of future economic downturns and a changing political climate in D.C. The governor also asked California legislators to approve the state's cap and trade program in hopes of solidifying its financial success. In this hour, we'll analyze Brown's proposed budget and the future of California's fiscal state.

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The ‘Cancer Moonshot,’ One Year After Takeoff

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

This year, more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. More than 600,000 Americans are expected to die of the disease. That's the backdrop with which the White House launched the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative last year. It's goal is to achieve a decade's worth of progress in the battle against cancer in only five years. Led by Vice President Joe Biden who visited San Francisco earlier this week to discuss the ambitious project, Moonshot calls on doctors, nurses, researchers and patients to identify what is really needed to gain ground on the big C. This hour, we'll find out where the Moonshot stands one year in and discuss its future under a Trump administration.

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Author Zadie Smith Contemplates Race, Identity and America’s Future

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Zadie Smith's latest novel "Swing Time" follows the lives of two biracial girls who dream of becoming dancers, though only one has enough talent to succeed. The two take very different paths into adulthood, one becoming a personal assistant to a pop star, while the other slips back into poverty. Smith, whose debut novel "White Teeth" was widely celebrated, joins us to talk about her writing, her own multiracial background and why the results of America's presidential election resonate so personally for her even though she is English.

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Trump’s First News Conference as President-Elect

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to hold his first press conference since July on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. EST. He will likely face questions about the Affordable Care Act, his cabinet picks, his family's business interests, and U.S. intelligence reports that Russia conspired to elect him. We'll review the issues raised and Trump's responses.

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Looking Back on Eight Years of President Obama

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Tonight, from Chicago, President Barack Obama delivers his farewell speech to America. Not only will Obama’s address be a moment for him to reflect on his eight years in the Oval Office, it will also be an opportunity for the public to do the same. From promises that sank, to those that soared and everything in between – tell us – what will Obama’s legacy be for you?

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The Secret Life of ‘Stalin’s Last American Spy’

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

It sounds like a Hollywood thriller: Noel Field was a Harvard graduate and rising star in the State Department in the 1930s. He was also a Russian spy. In her new book, "True Believer: Stalin's Last American Spy," journalist Kati Marton examines how Moscow seduced and later betrayed the idealistic young Field. With tensions over Russia's hacking of the U.S. election heating up, Marton joins us to talk about Field's dramatic story.

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President-Elect Trump Signals Shift Toward Protectionism

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

President-elect Trump has said he'll withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate NAFTA and impose new tariffs on imports from China and Mexico. He has also called out U.S. companies like General Motors and Carrier for moving jobs abroad. His positions signal a radical departure from a long-standing bipartisan consensus on the value of free trade, which proponents say benefits workers and consumers alike. We discuss the potential economic impacts of the Trump administration's trade policies.

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Who is U.S. Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions?

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

On Tuesday the Senate plans to hold its confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for United States attorney general. The longtime Alabama senator faces criticism for having prosecuted civil rights activists and for his frequent opposition to immigration reforms like paths to citizenship and visa programs for foreign workers. But his supporters say Sessions brings strong experience to the role: he's been a senator for 20 years and served as a U.S. attorney and as the attorney general for Alabama. We take a closer look at Sessions' background and at his potential appointment as head of the Department of Justice.

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UC Proposes First Tuition Hike for In-State Students in Six years

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The UC Board of Regents will weigh a proposal later this month to raise resident tuition by 2.5 percent, or about $300. Out-of-state students would see a tuition increase of 5 percent, and most students would face fee hikes. Similar increases are proposed at Cal State University. Proponents say the increases will fund more faculty, programs and financial aid. But opponents say that the state should do more to find alternative sources of funding. We discuss the proposal.

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‘The Techies Project’ Reveals Different Faces of the Tech Industry

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

One stereotype of the tech industry looms large -- that it is filled with hoodie-wearing, twentysomething white males. Indeed, African Americans make up only 1 percent of the workforce at Facebook, Yahoo, Airbnb, and Google. That "tech bro" stereotype and the statistics that support it were partly what motivated photographer Helena Price to start "The Techies Project." The website features portraits of workers underrepresented in the tech sector: racial minorities, women, people aged 50 years or older and those without a college degree. In this hour, we'll talk to Price and several other tech workers about their experiences being minorities in the industry and hear their thoughts on how tech can solve its diversity problem.

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Kids in U.S. Far Less Likely to Earn More than Parents, Study Finds

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:30:00 +0000

Upward mobility is fading and growing inequality appears to be the culprit. That's according to a recent study from Stanford University and the Equality of Opportunity Project, which found that the number children in the United States earning more than their parents has dropped to about 50 percent -- a dramatic fall from 1940, when 90 percent of kids born would go on to earn more than their parents. We'll talk to an author of the study about income immobility, growing inequality and what can be done to curb this downward trend.

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Oakland Mayor Names New Police Chief

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf named Anne Kirkpatrick the city's next police chief on Wednesday. Kirkpatrick's most recent position was leading reform efforts within the Chicago Police Department. Prior to that, she was chief of police for Spokane, Washington, a city with roughly half the population of Oakland. Kirkpatrick will be Oakland's first female police chief. We discuss her appointment, which comes after a major sexual misconduct scandal within the department and seven months without a police chief.

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‘The Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah Reflects on his South African Roots

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

When Comedy Central announced that Trevor Noah would be taking over the helm of "The Daily Show" in March 2015, he was far from a household name and few were familiar with the comedian's personal history. That's changed with Noah's memoir, "Born a Crime," which reveals the profound influence apartheid and poverty have had on his life. Noah grew up in a poor South African township, where his African mother and Swiss father's relationship was illegal under apartheid. Noah says he became a "chameleon" to blend in, learning to speak eight languages. We'll talk to Noah about the book, his relationship with his mother and how "The Daily Show" is gearing up to cover the Trump administration.

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Kevin Smokler’s Love Letter to ’80s Teen Movies

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Why do teen movies from the 1980s endure? In his new book "Brat Pack America," San Francisco-based author Kevin Smokler celebrates films like "The Breakfast Club," "Back to the Future" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" through interviews with cast members, fun trivia and visits to iconic locations including the Chicago suburbs and Santa Cruz (Santa Carla in "The Lost Boys"). We'll talk to him about the book, and we want to hear from you: What '80s teen flick ruled your world?

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Breaking Down California’s New Laws

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

On January 1st, scores of new state laws will go into effect. We discuss several of the regulations, including expanded controls on guns, a higher minimum wage and new restrictions on ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft. We'll also preview the new political year in Sacramento, where Democrats are enjoying a new supermajority and are gearing up to fight President-elect Donald Trump's agenda on several fronts.

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Rebroadcast: How to Find the Elusive ‘Sweet Spot’ of High Productivity and Low Stress

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 18:30:00 +0000

Complaining about being busy has become a badge of honor in this age of compulsive multitasking. But doing too many things at the same time has been shown to hurt productivity and mental health. In her new book “The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work,” UC Berkeley sociologist Christine Carter outlines how adopting micro-habits and strategically saying “no” can decrease stress and increase efficiency.

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Rebroadcast: Berkeley Author Yaa Gyasi on Her Acclaimed Slavery Epic, ‘Homegoing’

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

While traveling to Ghana on a Stanford research fellowship, Yaa Gyasi visited the Cape Coast Castle, where she learned about the role Africans played in perpetuating the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This knowledge became the impetus for her debut novel “Homegoing,” which chronicles the lives of two Ghanaian sisters and their experiences of slavery. We speak with Berkeley-based Gyasi about the novel, which has been named a New York Times notable book for 2016.

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Rebroadcast: Physicist Richard Muller on the Nature of ‘Now’

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:30:00 +0000

The concept of now has challenged philosophers and physicists for thousands of years. Even Albert Einstein is said to have thought that “now” was outside the realm of scientific understanding. But in his new book, “Now: The Physics of Time,” UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller says that much has changed since Einstein’s era and that the world is now capable of conquering the concepts of time and now. Muller argues that time, like the universe, is expanding, and what people experience as “now” is really the edge of newly-forming time. Muller joins Forum to discuss the nature of “now” and to explain why we perceive time the way we do.

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Rebroadcast: Stanford Historian Makes Case for American ‘Enlightenments’

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The American Enlightenment is often viewed as a singular era bursting with new ideas as the U.S. sought to assert itself as a new republic free of the British monarchy. In her book, “American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason,” Stanford historian Caroline Winterer says the myth and romanticization of an American Enlightenment was invented during the Cold War to calm fears about totalitarianism overseas. We talk to Winterer about her theory and hear her thoughts on what she views as America’s multiple periods of enlightenments in fields ranging from farming to religion.

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What Are You Optimistic About for the New Year?

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

After a divisive U.S. election season, a surprise Brexit and ongoing geopolitical tensions across the globe, the approach of New Year's Eve and the end of 2016 might come as a relief to some. We speak to Bay Area artists and thinkers about what they're looking forward to in 2017 and hear about the health benefits of optimism. And we'll open the phone lines and invite you to share: What are you optimistic about for 2017?

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Obama Administration Expels 35 Russian Diplomats Over Cyber Attacks

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

In a dramatic response to alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, the Obama administration on Thursday expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the Washington D.C. embassy and the consulate in San Francisco. The U.S. will also close two Russian intelligence-gathering compounds. Despite recommendations from his foreign minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that he would not retaliate. Russia continues to reject the allegations of hacking. We discuss escalating U.S.- Russia relations with the New York Times' David Sanger.

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