Saturday, August 29, 2015

Labor Day Musical Special

New World Notes #391, 29:13 (September 1)
Broadcast quality MP3 (40 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Bindery workers assembling the Sears, Roebuck catalog (1942)
(Click to enlarge.)

American Labor celebrated in some really good contemporary songs--by Anne Feeney, The Foremen, Mad Agnes, John McCutcheon, Utah Phillips, and David Rovics. Featuring (in order of appearance)

David Rovics, The Day the Minimum Wage Workers Went on Strike. An upbeat celebration of the working class and of strength in solidarity ... with some very nice banjo picking

Mad Agnes, Katie. A witty and sharp critique of bourgeois life from the perspective of the long-suffering--and admirable--cleaning lady

The Foremen, Workin' on an MBA. Comic satire of the cushy life & boundless self-pity of the men in the gray flannel suits--set to a tune that recalls a chain gang work-song. Yep, one of those voices is Roy Zimmerman's

Utah Phillips, Moose Turd Pie. Spoken, with a little guitar. Utah recalls (with only the slightest hint of exaggeration) the worst job he ever held

Anne Feeney, Business News / Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! A beautiful rendition of an 1890's song about unemployment. A fine homage to Simon & Garfunkel's 1965 classic "Silent Night / 6 o'Clock News" and a good song in its own right

John McCutcheon, Doing Our Job. McCutcheon applies Cal Ripken Jr.'s modest remarks upon breaking a major-league record to working people generally. A long-overdue celebration of the best of American working-class values.

This installment was previously broadcast in September 2010.

Charles C.Ebbetts, Lunch: Rockefeller Center (1932)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges

New World Notes #390, 28:15 (August 25)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Ralph Nader

A conversation between two great Progressive activists and essayists: Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges. (Technically, Nader is interviewing Hedges.) They discuss
  • the corruption of the System, including the Democratic Party
  • the oppression by the 1% of everyone else
  • the sad plight of college students and other young people in the ravaged American economy
  • the necessity of nonviolent popular rebellion
And they agree that--by staying within the corrupt and corporate-controlled Democratic Party--Left-ish presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is doing more harm than good.

Introduction by KD.

Chris Hedges

Excerpted from an installment of the KPFK-FM program, Ralph Nader Radio Hour, July 11, 2015. Audio courtesy of

Chris Hedges' new book is Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt (Nation Books, 2015).

Friday, August 7, 2015

Taken for a Ride

Part 1: New World Notes #388, 28:26 (August 11)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #389, 27:22 (August 18)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)


A documentary on how General Motors destroyed America's light-rail transit systems and then created the Highway Lobby. That forced Americans to buy cars, build millions of miles of new road, and suffer the bad results--greater expense, long commute times, destroyed cities, air pollution, and worse.
Jim Klein directed this 1996 documentary film, which I have (at long last) adapted to radio.
Los Angeles "Red Cars" (streetcars) slated for destruction

In Part 1: How GM bought up and intentionally destroyed city trolley systems, replacing the rapid and efficient streetcars (which commuters loved) with slow, crowded, polluting diesel buses (which commuters hated). GM built the buses and secretly owned the bus-line companies, but their real goal was to force people to buy cars.

In Part 2: How GM--aided by the oil companies, road-building companies, tire companies, and others--formed the "Highway Lobby" to ensure that almost all funding for transportation would be spent on new roads.  And about the struggle by cities to halt the growth of urban highways and promote more sensible--and more humane--transportation systems.

Alas, the Lobby--in cahoots with Silicon Valley--has a vision for the future: automated cars, and three times as many of them.