Here are the podcasts I recommend listening to from the past week.
Code Switch – “No Words”
This extra podcast reflects on the horrible week of atrocity and death in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas.
ProPublica – “How New Jersey Has Embraced ‘State-Sanctioned Loan Sharking’ to Students”
The title really says it all, but it’s really shocking to hear how one state’s student loan program is so exploitative.
Life of the Law – “Bail or Bust”
“There really are two systems of justice. There’s one for people who can make bail, and one for people who can’t.” So begins another story of how the incarceral state is rigged against the least privileged in America.
Ben Franklin’s World – “Age of American Revolutions”
Revolutions broke out across North and South America in the late 1700s and early 1800s. These are their stories, and how the United States – itself a revolutionary republic – responded or didn’t to their fellow seekers of independence.
Song Exploder – “Kill V. Maim by Grimes”
The amazingly talented Claire Boucher, who records as Grimes, breaks down the creation of one of her latest songs.
This week’s To the Best of Our Knowledge asks Do Protests Still Matter. I grew up inspired by the history of mass movements to use protest for Civil Rights, women’s equality, labor rights, and anti-war to bring about great change. In the 80s and 90s, I visited Washington, DC often and every time would see a protest of dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of people marching from some cause. It seemed that protests were so routine that they no longer received media coverage and certainly did not seem to be influencing elected representatives in the government. In 2007, as part of the ALA Conference in Washington, I went to the US Capitol and visited the offices of my representative and senators to advocate for libraries. I noticed that there were other groups working for other causes wearing matching t-shirts and carrying their own petitions. I never met any elected representatives, just their administrative assistants who politely asked me to drop my petition in an inbox. Again, I really wondered if protest was so commonplace as to have any affect at all.
In recent years, first with Occupy Wall Street and then Black Lives Matters, I’ve been inspired by mass movements innovating to get attention to their causes through long-term encampments, blocking streets, and other more “in-your-face” tactics. They seem to have helped stir conversation about inequality in our nation, but they’ve also met with police repression and a widespread commendation of “extremism” in tactics that ignores the severity of the problems they’re trying to address. It makes me worry about how in the future the people’s voices if protest is no longer an effective means of expression and resistance. I remain optimistic though, and if you read this blog you know I’ve participated in demonstrations and rallies for Boston Public Schools and plan to remain active in the future.
What do you think? Do protests still matter? In what ways can people express their voices and opinions to make change for the better?
I was impressed listening to former big league catcher and current MLB manager Mike Matheny discuss the culture of youth sports, the subject of his new book The Matheny Manifesto. He also had some fascinating stories of his major league experience and concussions. It actually made me like a St. Louis Cardinal!
This weeks podcast of the week is the music program The Sounds in My Head which offers up a special all-women episode.
There’s a lot of good music here, I am especially fond of Childbirth, Prince Rama, Colleen Green, Plush, and Habibi.
I just started following a new podcast bringing my total number of subscription up to 60! (Yes, I know I have a problem, but I don’t listen to every single episode).
Code Switch is an NPR project featuring discussions about race and identity, an interesting and important, albeit challenging topic.
So far there are two episodes: #1 discusses whiteness and #2 is about black and brown people being outdoorsy.
Check it out!
The topic of this week’s Decode DC is the worst decision ever made by the United States Supreme Court. Korematsu v. United States validated interning Japanese-Americans during World War II, and has never been overturned. With the idea of surveillance and internment of Islamic-Americans under discussion in the 2016 election, a lot of people are asking if this Supreme Court decision could allow it to happen again. The discussion here is alternately chilling and reassuring.
Testing is a big topic of debate in education circles these days. Tests are increasingly been used not just evaluate what students are learning in class but to make high-stake decisions such as a student advancing in school, whether teachers are given rewards or are fired, and even to justify closing entire schools! With tests being given so important, a lot of classroom time is being given over to test preparation, and a lot of money is being given over to the publishers of the tests and test prep materials.
The American History Guys at the BackStory podcast provide an interesting historical background to testing in the United States. The first written tests in American schools only date to the 1840s. But there are other types of tests, and podcast examines the tests of faith for early Puritans, the civil services tests, and the questionable scholarship behind the IQ test and the Myers Briggs test. It’s a fascinating hour of history.
Gentrification is a serious issue for anyone who cares about the future of cities. For every neighbor “revitalization” there’s pressure on long-term communities to be pushed out.
How can we make cities places that don’t have winners and losers? Can we have housing that’s affordable in neighborhoods that aren’t derelict? Can more prosperous people move to the city and live side-by-side with the working poor?
The Nation and WNYC collaborate to ask these questions in an 8-part podcast series “There Goes the Neighborhood.”
Subscribe and listen at your favorite podcast source.
Show 534 of WBEZ Chicago’s music show Sound Opinions combines some of my favorite things: music, history, and social justice! Hosts Jim and Greg discuss the importance of music to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s and play uninterrupted tracks of brilliant songs such as “Mississippi Goddamn” and “A Change is Gonna Come.”
This is a brilliant episode of a consistently good radio program.
Listen here: http://www.soundopinions.org/show/534
“My Damn Mind” is an episode of This American Life that tells the story that ties together several topical issues: Alan Pean, an African-American man living in Houston suffers from a delusional episode but in his lucid moments has the presence of mind to go to the hospital for help. Except, while at the hospital he doesn’t get a psychiatric evaluation and ends up being shot by the police!
The story is also covered by The New York Times.