Track 1: Streaming, Download
Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler, has written an interesting new book called What's The Matter With Kansas? offering an analysis of "how conservatives won the heart of America". It's a fascinating, witty, and exceptionally well-written analysis of contemporary American politics seen through the lens of the Kansas politcal scene over the last couple of decades. [This book was discussed on Left Out on June 15th. Track 3 contains the audio. This time we'll have Thomas Frank to join the discussion.]
Some possible topics to touch on:
- The Great Backlash (defined on page 5, but developed throughout the book, like also on page 157.) A phenomenon created and nurtured by the right.
- The great irony of people supporting conservative republicans against their own economic interest. (Although I think this is a bit over-stated on page 7, where you say they're not getting any results on core issues like abortion, where I think they are getting results.)
- "Values" are more important than economic issues.
- The truth of how business is the problem (Boeing page 88)
- The deterioration of Kansas. And how this is accepted as thought it's a force of nature. (p 239)
- Discussion of "backlash books" of right-wing authors, like Coulter, Hannity, Brooks (chapter 6). The Plen-T-Plaint (page 123) Fox News seems to play a significant role (mentioned a lot).
- How do we fight this?
Paul Heckbert is a computer graphics researcher who lives in Pittsburgh. He's here to talk about things you can do to make a difference on the political scene, i.e. letters to the editor, sign-making, bumper stickers, meetings, voter registration, donations, email, web sites, etc. He's done a lot of this himself, and can share his personal experiences.Some notes from Paul: How to learn more about what's happening, and get involved: Radio National Public Radio, excellent news coverage, WDUQ FM 90.5 in Pittsburgh in the morning and evening, streaming audio and schedule at http://wduq.org/ Air America Radio, the Al Franken Show from 12-3 weekdays is very funny, streaming audio at http://www.airamericaradio.com/ TV Channel 13 in Pittsburgh, PBS, WQED, Lehrer NewsHour (6-7pm weekdays), and Charlie Rose (12-1am weekdays) are excellent. OnQ weekdays 6:30-7pm (& repeats), OffQ Fridays. Email them your suggestions -- they're responsive! http://wqed.org/tv/index.shtml Link TV, DirecTV channel 375, "Mosaic: News from the Middle East" program. NewsWorld International: DirecTV channel 366, Canadian news: "Foreign Assignment" and "International Newsfirst" programs. BookTV, on C-SPAN2 on weekends, book talks by authors. http://booktv.org/ C-SPAN, huge video archive, e.g. Clinton's speech to the Democratic convention 7/26. http://c-span.org/ Books Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Al Franken, well-researched condemnation of FOX, Bush, etc. Funny! The Great Unraveling, Paul Krugman. Insightful, penetrating book about failures of the Bush presidency in economics, foreign policy, the environment, and other topics. Collection of columns from the NY Times. Against All Enemies, Richard clarke. Big picture on the world of terrorism from 1980-2003. Obliviously On He Sails, Calvin Trillin. Anti-Bush poetry. Magazines The Nation, weekly, short, liberal. Available at better newsstands & bookstores & Whole Foods. Salon, online only, http://salon.com/ Movies Fahrenheit 9/11 Web http://moveon.org/front/ Excellent organization, very dynamic: petitions, letter-writing campaigns, TV ads. Bumper Stickers, Shirts, etc http://irregulartimes.com/ http://www.democracymeansyou.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc http://www.seeyageorge.com/ Sign-making inspiration http://freewayblogger.com/. Large signs over freeways. Hilarious! Inspired! Paul's pictures of signs, etc, at various Pittsburgh peace rallies: http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~ph/pix/bush_visit_03_12/index.html Pittsburgh Activism Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Avenue, Garfield (west of East Liberty), organizes marches and protests, sells bumper stickers, you can get on their email list, http://thomasmertoncenter.org