FDL Book Salon Welcomes Terry Golway, Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics

By: Saturday September 13, 2014 1:59 pm

Welcome Terry Golway (Kean University) (Twitter) and Host PhoenixWoman (MercuryRising) (Twitter) Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics We all know the story as it’s the one we were taught in grade school: The Tammany machine was the epitome of public corruption. It ruled New York City with an iron fist [...]

 

Steve Fraser: The Return of the Titans

By: Thursday September 11, 2014 6:40 pm

George Baer was a railroad and coal mining magnate at the turn of the twentieth century. Amid a violent and protracted strike that shut down much of the country’s anthracite coal industry, Baer defied President Teddy Roosevelt’s appeal to arbitrate the issues at stake, saying, “The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for… not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country.” To the Anthracite Coal Commission investigating the uproar, Baer insisted, “These men don’t suffer. Why hell, half of them don’t even speak English.”den

We might call that adopting the imperial position. Titans of industry and finance back then often assumed that they had the right to supersede the law and tutor the rest of America on how best to order its affairs. They liked to play God. It’s a habit that’s returned with a vengeance in our own time.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Rick Perlstein, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

By: Sunday August 17, 2014 1:59 pm

It’s an honor to moderate today’s discussion of Rick Perlstein’s new book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. For American history buffs and scholars alike, Rick’s work needs little introduction. He’s the acclaimed author of three major works on the rise of conservatism in the postwar United States (Before the Storm, Nixonland, and now The Invisible Bridge), whose journalism, criticism and writings on history have appeared in The Nation, Rolling Stone and countless other publications.

Not just do his books hit the best-seller lists and make the end-of-year best-book roundups, they have become part of the canon, required reading for aspiring American political historians—appearing on the syllabi for graduate seminars, a necessary part of the rite-of-passage hazing ritual for graduate students known as the comprehensive exam, and thus filtering down into the undergraduate lecture courses that introduce the college students of this country to twentieth-century American history.

FMLA Anniversary: Dare to Imagine the World We Deserve

By: Tuesday August 5, 2014 7:00 pm

Twenty-one. This number has come to symbolize adulthood. It means good luck in cards. But when it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act, twenty-one stands for “too damn long” – too little progress over too many years.

On August 5, 1993, Congress implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), six months after President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law. For the first time, the United States established the principle that having a baby shouldn’t cost you your job or your health insurance. The law recognized that fathers as well as mothers need time to bond with newborns and that new babies aren’t the only ones who need care. Children, spouses and parents also experience occasional injuries or serious illness and need a hand.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Daniel Schulman, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty

By: Sunday August 3, 2014 1:59 pm

Mainstream political understanding in the United States is increasingly informed by the perception that our elections and lives are being determined by the outsized spending of millionaires and billionaires we will never meet. The poster boys of plutocracy are the subject of this year’s book by Mother Jones senior editor Daniel Schulman in Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.

With a timely release, considering our current national zeitgeist and upcoming midterm elections, Sons of Wichita has been received and celebrated with a twist: Schulman’s tomb of “Kochology” has been received with surprise for its non-condemning tone. The Daily Show host Jon Stewart joked “these Koch brothers almost seem human,” in an interview with Schulman.

Can We Talk About the Economics, Politics and Religion in the Movie Snowpiercer?

By: Thursday July 3, 2014 6:48 pm

I saw the movie Brazil when it was first released in a big domed theater in San Jose.

It blew me away. I dragged others to it so I could see it again and again. I wanted people to see it so we could discuss it. I feel the same way about Snowpiercer.

FDL Movie Night: Getting Back to Abnormal

By: Monday June 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Tonight’s documentary, Getting Back to Abnormal, dives into to the messy issues of race and politics in post-Katrina New Orleans. Our guests tonight–Producers/Directors Peter Odabashian, Paul Stekler and Andrew Kolker–tackle the subject by focusing on the pivotal 2010 city council race for District B. Incumbent Stacy Head, the first white Councilperson from District B in 31 years, was elected in 2006 and has faced charges of racism. Her opponent, Corey Watson is an African-American preacher and the son of a powerful pastor who has no problem telling his congregants that there is no separation between church and state because God owns them both.

The Sounds of Silence — Political Style

By: Saturday May 24, 2014 4:00 pm

It began late Tuesday night and, if we are fortunate, will last at least a week.

But it will return. We have no illusions that there will be continued quiet. That’s because we are in the middle of yet another election cycle.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War

By: Saturday May 10, 2014 1:59 pm

Stephen Kinzer has many fine qualities as a chronicler of recent U.S. foreign relations: his first-hand experience of diverse regions gained from journalistic assignments around the world, his skill at making the past come alive in vivid, pithy prose, and his readiness to engage with the most challenging contemporary policy issues.

For me, though, his most admirable quality is his readiness to put the stories he tells in long-term historical perspective.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes, Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work

By: Saturday May 3, 2014 1:59 pm

A worker bee by nature, Melissa Gira Grant is a busy woman. Primarily a freelance journalist covering sex, tech, and politics, in the streets and everywhere else, she came to reporting by way of writing creative nonfiction (for no money), labor organizing (for almost no money), and sex work (to make up for the no money). She writes true stories, mostly about living people, and only incidentally about her own life, although the media loves to construct her biography and make assumptions about her personal life due to her subversive subject matter.

Grant is very direct in her quest to create positive change regarding how sex work is viewed in society and what the work means in general.

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