Start Making Sense
Start making sense 300

Political talk without the boring parts—featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the week in news. Hosted by Jon Wiener and presented by The Nation Magazine.

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    Why does Trump want to defund libraries? Sue Halpern

    Trump's budget sought to cut federal support for public libraries to zero. What's he got against libraries? Sue Halpern comments; her new novel is “Summer Hours at the Robber’s Library.” (Republicans in Congress rejected Trump's cuts in the budget they adopted last week.)

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    How Trump Radicalized the Parkland Kids in Their Fight Against Guns: George Zornick, plus Micah Sifry on Facebook and Sue Halpern on Trump vs. Libraries

    Last Sunday’s Rally for Our Lives shows that having Trump in the White House has made the demands of those wonderful Parkland kids more radical. George Zornick comments on the ways the Parkland students have transformed the fight for gun control. Also: It’s time to break up Facebook: that’s what Micah Sifry says, as Facebook’s business model—selling users’ data to advertisers, including political campaigns—has exposed the problem of monopoly power on the internet. Plus: Why does Trump want to defund libraries? Sue Halpern explains; her new novel is “Summer Hours at the Robber’s Library.”

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    Should Ivanka be Indicted? Amy Wilentz

    Should Ivanka be indicted? She’s been part of some of the Trump administration’s conspiracies to obstruct justice, including the decision to fire James Comey as FBI director. Amy Wilentz reviews the evidence and considers the arguments.

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    Anna Deavere Smith: The School-to-Prison Pipeline

    Anna Deavare Smith talks about the school-to-prison pipeline—that’s the subject of her one-woman show, called “Notes from the Field,” which dramatizes the real-life accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in a system where young people of color who live in poverty get pushed out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. It’s playing on HBO through the end of March.

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    Hey, Democrats Are Actually Running to Win! Joan Walsh on the Democrats’ new strategy, Amy Wilentz on Ivanka, and Anna Deavere Smith on the school-to-prison pipeline

    After years of getting beaten in state legislative races, the Democrats have a new energy and a new wave of candidates—especially after last year’s stunning victories in Virginia. Joan Walsh reports. Plus: Should Ivanka be indicted? She’s been part of some of the Trump administration's conspiracies to obstruct justice, including the decision to fire James Comey as FBI director. Amy Wilentz reviews the evidence and considers the arguments. Also: Anna Deavere Smith talks about the school-to-prison pipeline—that’s the subject of her one-woman show, called Notes from the Field, which dramatizes the real-life accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in a system where young people of color who live in poverty get pushed out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. It’s playing on HBO through the end of March.

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    Katha Pollitt: What the Russiagate Skeptics Get Wrong

    Katha Pollitt takes up the central arguments of those on the left who are Russiagate skeptics, who say that focusing on Russian interference in the election means neglecting more important things, and that, so far, nothing proves that Trump and Putin colluded in the election campaign.

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    Robert Reich: Trump vs. the Common Good—plus Katha Pollitt on Russiagate Skeptics, and Remembering the My Lai Massacre

    Robert Reich says it’s time to turn away from the unbridled greed and selfishness of the Age of Trump and restore the ideal of the common good. Reich was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor; his new book is 'The Common Good.'

    Also: Katha Pollitt takes up the central arguments of those on the left who are Russiagate skeptics, who say that focusing on Russian interference in the election means neglecting more important things, and that, so far, nothing proves that Trump and Putin colluded in the election campaign.

    Plus: March 16 is the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre. We have an interview with the man who stopped the My Lai massacre, American helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson.

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    A Foreign Policy for the Left: Michael Walzer

    Michael Walzer argues that a foreign policy for the left has to begin with internationalism, and with the choice of comrades abroad.  His new book is A Foreign Policy for the Left.  Michael edited Dissent for three decades and is the author of many books, including Just and Unjust Wars.  He wrote about “A Solidarity of Leftists” for The Nation.

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