Category: Authors

David Feldman Show: Ralph Nader’s State of The Union

ralph nader

Ralph Nader for the hour. Ralph’s new book is Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns.

“What sets Ralph Nader apart is that he has moved beyond social criticism to effective political action.”—The New York Times

“Nader is at his polemical best inveighing against specific issues from the skyrocketing costs of college education to the Keystone XL pipeline to new traffic safety concerns that harken back to his pivotal game-changing 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Admirers of Nader will find much to savor here as will anyone seeking to understand the mind of a man who singlehandedly sparked a new era of citizen-driven political and consumer activism.” —Publishers Weekly

From the jacket, “The column is the most natural literary form for a citizen’s advocate, and Ralph Nader may be its most robust and forceful practitioner. The Big Book of Ralph Nader Columns presents a panoramic portrait of the problems confronting our society and provides examples of the many actions an organized citizenry could and should take to create a more just and environmentally sustainable world. Drawing on decades of experience, Nader’s columns document the consequences of concentrated corporate power; threats to our food, water and air; the corrosive effect of commercialism on our children; the dismantling of worker rights; and the attacks on our civil rights and civil liberties. Nader also offers concrete suggestions to spark citizen action and achieve social change.”

Also with us is Steve Skrovan, the director of An Unreasonable Man, the documentary about Mr. Nader, and KPFK Program Director Alan Minsky.

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Is America A Police State?

Dr. Robert Brame On America’s Increasing Taste For Locking Americans Up

  • 50% percent of black males and 40% of white males will be arrested by the time they’re 23, according to Dr. Brame’s new study.
  • Is America a police state?
  • An arrest record, with no conviction, can make it impossible to find a job in some states.
  • Violent crime has plummeted yet the number of Americans getting arrested continues to rise.
  • Dr. Brame says nobody’s sure of the role Roe versus Wade plays in the sharp dip in violent crime.

Listen to the original broadcast.

Now comes news that nearly 40% of white males in America are arrested by the time they’re 23.  Is America a police state? Joining us is Dr. Robert Brame. He is a Criminology professor at the University of South Carolina, and the lead author of this study.

Police state? 50 percent of black males in America will be arrested by the time they're 23.

Police state? Nearly 50 percent of black males in America will be arrested by the time they’re 23.

David: Dr. Brame, nearly 40% of white men have been arrested by the time they’re 23. So America either has a serious problem with white men or the police, which means America has a serious problem with white men.

Now, these are arrests, not incarcerations. My son’s best friend is black. At the age of 18, he was arrested for marijuana possession. Never convicted, but ended up spending a week in the L.A. County jail, and then was sent home.

Does that count as an incarceration, or does that count simply as an arrest?

Dr. Brame: Well, that’s an arrest, followed by a period of detention.

40% of white men have been arrested by the time they're 23.

Police state? Nearly 40% of white men have been arrested by the time they’re 23.

David: So you can spend a week in the county jail and that’s just an arrest, not an incarceration?

Dr. Brame: That’s not what we normally think of as incarceration. So that experience you just described would be an arrest with a period of pre-trial detention.

David: If you’ve been arrested but never convicted, certainly that doesn’t show up on your record, right? When you’re looking for a job, running for office or applying to college, having been arrested but not convicted, that doesn’t show up on your record, right?

An Arrest Often Remains Part of  Your Police Record

Dr. Brame:  You have to take into consideration that the laws that govern the use of criminal history records vary tremendously from state to state. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is that an employer can ask you many questions on a job application. So if an employer wants to ask you about whether you’ve ever been arrested or not, unless the state has a law that governs the kinds of questions about criminal history that can be asked, they can ask you that question. You, as an applicant, decide whether to answer that truthfully or not.

Dr. Brame: Just having an arrest record with no conviction can affect opportunities to get a license in some states, it can affect your eligibility to get student loans, it can affect your relationships with friends and family. Yes, it can affect you if you’ve been arrested without being convicted, certainly.

David: Professor Brame, violent crime is down dramatically in America. What do you say to those who maintain this is all good, we introduce Americans to the criminal justice system at an early age, and it scares them straight?

Dr. Brame: The basic idea that you lay out is correct. Homicides today in the United States, the homicide rate today is as low as it’s been since the early 1960’s. That’s a fact.

Dr. Brame: What we’re not sure of is how much of that is due to criminal justice system policies, or, on the other hand, how much of it is due to other things that are not as much under the control of the criminal justice system, or other things that are under the control of the criminal justice system, but they are different than arrests.

For example, putting more police on the street or the decline of crack cocaine markets have both been proposed as potential explanations for the crime decline, and those don’t really have anything at all to do with how often people are arrested.

Dr. Brame: But it would be an unjustified leap from the evidence at this point to say that the violent crime declines that we’ve seen say in the last 20 years or so, that those are due to arresting people more often. I don’t think that’s consistent with the evidence we have right now.

Has Roe v. Wade Played Any Role In Violent Crime Dropping?

America's incarceration rate has spiked since Reagan became president.

Police state? America’s incarceration rate has spiked since Reagan became president.

David:  Is there any evidence to suggest that Roe v. Wade is responsible for the precipitous drop in violent crime?

Dr. Brame: I don’t think the research on that speaks with one voice, so I think it’s fair to say that research is controversial. And I don’t think we have a good consensus understanding of the effects of changes in abortion laws and abortion guidelines on violent crime.

David:  If getting slapped by your father, an authority figure, sends you into therapy, what does being thrown to the ground and arrested by a police officer do to a 16-year-old white male?

Dr. Brame:  To me, it would be traumatic. This is where the research needs to go is to try to understand this. We look at the effects of the types of schools that kids go to, we look at the effects of the types of food they eat, how much TV they watch, we look at the effects of all those sorts of experiences on life outcomes. Given how widespread arrest experiences are, we need to better understand what the total effects of the arrest experience is, both beneficial and harmful on people’s future behavior.

So that’s one of the issues we are hoping to shed light on with this research and future research.

David: Is this our nature? Have we always been arresting people?

Dr. Brame:  I think we have a lot more police officers in schools today than we used to. We’re much more likely to arrest people for certain kinds of drug offenses, domestic violence, dating violence kinds of issues that maybe then weren’t as likely to result in arrests a generation ago. Unfortunately, no simple answer to that question.

Dr. Robert Brame is a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina.

Listen to the original broadcast.

Have you been arrested? Do you fear America is becoming a police state?  Please join the conversation below.

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40 Percent Of White Males Arrested By Age 23

Here in the United States one out of three black men will go to prison in their lifetime, a statistic Americans have grown comfortable with as our prison population, the largest in the world, swells to nearly two million.

Now comes news that 40 percent of white males in America are arrested by the time they’re 23.

All this according to a new study published today in the journal of Crime and Delinquency.

Joining us is Dr. Robert Braim, he is a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina, and the lead author of this study.

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“David Sedaris’s Favorite Story Teller”


David Sedaris’s favorite story teller Dylan Brody talks about performing in front of 3,000 people with David Sedaris. Then he recites the seven minute story he told that night. Our lady female woman doctor returns to tell the boys that their Attention Deficit Disorder is a figment of the pharmaceutical industry’s craven imagination. Also the Nation Magazine’s Moscow correspondent Alec Luhn fills us in on the protests in Ukraine. Michael Snyder talks movies. Plus new music from Will Ryan and The Cactus County Cowboys. This is the episode that almost didn’t happen. You can smell the tension in the air. But we did it. We almost had a fistfight break out, but everybody calmed down. Please subscribe to this show for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

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“Welcome Black Professor Armour!”


One of this show’s most requested guests ever has come black! Law Professor Jodi Armour returns to offer up some surprising thoughts on Mandela, The Paradox of Black Patriotism, Chris Rock and Welfare Queens.  Jody Armour is Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, where he specializes in race issues in legal decision-making. Professor Armour also writes the “Nigga Theory” blog and is author of “Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America” published by New York University Press.   Today’s program includes Will Ryan And The Cactus County Cowboys featuring Hal Lublin and Jeremy S. Kramer.

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History of Breasts


Author of “Breasts: A Natural And Unnatural History” Florence Williamson stops by to talk implants, male breast feeding and what’s in your milk. Did you know that breast milk contains substances similar to cannabis? Or that it’s sold on the Internet for 262 times the price of oil? Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial—and so vulnerable?

In her informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon’s office where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas to the laboratory where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.

Plus Howie Klein talks about the new movie “The Wolf Of Wall Street.” Also Will Ryan and the Cactus County Boys featuring Cactus Chloe Feorenzo, Bill Burr, Mark Thompson, Jane Edith Wilson, Felicia Michaels, Cynthia Adler, and Mike MacRae. Portions of today’s show are written by Ben Zelevansky, Mike MacRae, webmaster Jimmy Lee Wirt from Shop War On Christmas and David Feldman.

Please subscribe to this show for free as a podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, and give us a great review.

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