Early, Steve: Remaking an American City

The power and success of local political action to meet the needs of a community is revealed in the book “Refinery Town:  Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an American City.”

Written by Steve Early, with a Forward by Senator Bernie Sanders, “Refinery Town” describes the political change in Richmond, California, that began in 2000. Richmond was a largely working-class city of 110,000 people, with one of the highest per capita homicide rates, and twice the average jobless rate. Early tells the story of the community organizing that successfully raised the minimum wage, challenged evictions and home foreclosures, and sought fair taxation of Big Oil. In this case, the Big Oil is the Chevron Oil Company, which owns and operates a Richmond refinery, one of the largest oil refineries in California.

Steve Early, formerly a community organizer, activist, lawyer, and union representative, and now the author of “Refinery Town,” spoke with Radio Curious by phone, from his home in Richmond. We began our conversation as he described Richmond’s transformation.

You can listen to the interview here.

The books Steve Early recommends are: “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” by Charlie LeDuff; “Teardown: Memoir of A Vanishing City,” by Gordon Young; and “Home Town,” by Tracy Kidder. This program was recorded on February 20, 2017

Exxon CEO – Secretary of State?

This program is devoted to the pending Senate hearings and possible confirmation of Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State of the United States.

Tillerson, the Exxon Mobile Company Chief Executive Officer, chosen by Donald Trump to the head of the State Department, has a long history in the Russian oil business, as well has having an alleged personal friendship with Vladamir Putin, the Russian President.

Our guest is Andrew Kramer, a reporter for the New York Times, based at its Moscow, Russia bureau for the past ten years.

Kramer shares his reporting on Tillerson’s attempts on behalf of Exxon to gain access to the Russian arctic oil fields, as well as Tillerson’s personal connections to Russia. In addition, Kramer investigated and reported the activities of Paul Manifort in Russia, who within a week after those reports became public, resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

When Andrew Kramer and I visited from New York Times’ Bureau in Moscow on December 29, 2016, he began by describing Tillerson’s history in Russia.

The book Andrew Kramer recommends is “The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy,” by David Hoffman.

This program was recorded on December 29, 2016.

Click here to listen.

Muir, John — An Early American Conservationist

Muir, John — An Early American Conservationist

Posted on April 8th, 2013 in American History,Chautauquan,Environment by LeGov

One of the greatest early conservationists of America was a Scottish immigrant named John Muir who, as a young boy, went first to Wisconsin and then later, as a young man in the 1860s, he moved onward to California. A friend of president Theodore Roosevelt, he successfully sought to preserve the spectacular Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada range, it was joy in his lifetime. Yet the loss of the equally spectacular Hetch Hetch Valley to a dam to provide water for San Francisco was his greatest sorrow. John Muir founded the Sierra Club and is credited with founding the National Park system in the United States.

I visited with John Muir in the person of Lee Stetson in the studios of Radio Curious in October of 1995 and discussed his life and observations.

Originally Broadcast: October 1995.

Click here to visit and listen to our archived program or click on the media player below.

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The Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin

Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call the theory of evolution? These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published The Origin of the Species, 22 years later in 1853. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.

Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Click here to listen now.

McGourty, Glenn — Euphoria of Wine: Varietals and History

The lack of pure water was one of the several things that resulted in the development of wine as a source of potable liquid for human intake.  Putting that aspect of human history in a time and place in relation to social and political events, and the tracing of the different varietals of wine is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.

Our guest is Glenn McGourty, the Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor at the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources located in the hills a few miles northeast of Hopland, in rural Mendocino County, California. This locale has been called the university of our back yard by many of us who live nearby.

Glenn McGourty’s specialty is the history of wine and it’s evolution–how so many varietals came to be and were further developed.  When Glenn McGourty visited the Radio Curious studios on October 18, 2016, we began our conversation with his reflections on the history wine making.

The book Glenn McGourty recommends is “Cold Mountain,” by Charles Frazier.  

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dyer, Michael — The Life of Whalers in the 19th Century

Whaling in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the home of Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick,” is our topic today.  Our guest is Michael Dyer, the senior historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The Whaling Museum reveals the lives of the largest mammals on earth.  The museum’s social history collection shares the monumental stories of those who spent their human lives whaling at sea between the New England coast and half way around the world, as well as their families who yearned for their return.  It explains how the seamen lived at sea, who they were, as well as the captains and owners of the sailing vessels and all those in between. It also explains the economics of the whale oil that lit and lubricated the industrial revolution.

In part one of our series on whaling I met with Mike Dyer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on September 2, 2016.  To put matters it into perspective, we began with I asked him to describe the sperm whale.

In this program, part two of our visit with Mike Dyer, we began when he described the lives of the men who went to sea to hunt the whales.

The book Mike Dyer recommends is “Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of North America,” by Charles Melville Scammon.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dyer, Michael — The New England Whale Hunt  

Whaling in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the home of Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick,” is our topic today.  Our guest is Michael Dyer, the senior historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The Whaling Museum reveals the lives of the largest mammals on earth.  The museum’s social history collection shares the monumental stories of those who spent their human lives whaling at sea between the New England coast and half way around the world, as well as their families who yearned for their return.  It explains how the seamen lived at sea, who they were, as well as the captains and owners of the sailing vessels and all those in between. It also explains the economics of the whale oil that lit and lubricated the industrial revolution.

In part one of our series on whaling I met with Mike Dyer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on September 2, 2016.  To put matters it into perspective, we began with I asked him to describe the sperm whale.

In part two of our visit with Mike Dyer, he discusses the lives of the men who went to sea to hunt the whales.

The book Mike Dyer recommends is “Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of North America,” by Charles Melville Scammon.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Gabbard, Tulsi –Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard:  Sen. Sanders, War and Climate Change

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. She visited Ukiah, California on May 7, 2016, to speak on behalf of presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, and stopped by Radio Curious for a visit.

 Congresswoman Gabbard represents the 2nd Congressional District of Hawaii, the most culturally diverse congressional district in the United States, which encompasses the entire state, except Honolulu. She was twice deployed to the Middle East, is a Major in the Army National Guard, and is a member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. 

 In this interview, Tulsi, as she likes to be addressed, shares some of her personal background, her perspectives on the impacts and consequences of war, and the type of military mentality that the Commander in Chief of the United States Military should have to best serve our country. 

 The book Tulsi Gabbard recommends is the “Bhagavad Gita”  scriptures.

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dr. Martha Richmond : Lead In the Blood – Dangers And How To Protect

Approximately 500,000 children in the United States between the ages of one and five suffer from lead poisoning as a result of lead in their blood above the level for which public health action is recommended.

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified and lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.   This results in short and long term adverse consequences in the exposed children and to society in general.

The level of lead in the blood of children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Martha E. Richmond, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director of Environmental Science, at Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Richmond’s work has centered on lead poisoning in children and involves assessment of environmental regulation to effectively protect public health, including the effectiveness of regulations for air pollutants, and protection of children against lead toxicity.
When Dr. Richmond visited with me by phone from her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on October 19, 2014, she began with a description of the issues surrounding lead poisoning.
The book Dr. Martha Richmond recommends is    Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner.

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Sanders, Bernie — Vintage Bernie Sanders: 1991

Presidential Candidate, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders was a guest on Radio Curious in 1991, early in his first term in Congress. Over the course of his 25 years as an Independent member of the House of Representatives and the Senate he has consistently advocated for economic reform and social justice.  

When Bernie Sanders and I visited in 1991, we discussed what he would do if he were President. This interview, recorded by phone from his office in Washington, D.C., in 1991, began when I asked him to describe his experience in government.   

Click here to listen or on the media player below.