If there is a litmus test for the new Star Wars entry “Solo,” it lies in one’s perception of actor Alden Ehrenreich who takes on the role of the young Han Solo, once embodied by the one-and-only Harrison Ford. Can this young upstart capture the swagger, arrogance and sense of humor that Ford brought to the part? For my money, I say, “Yes.”

Directed -at least in part- by Oscar-winner Ron Howard, “Solo” is a worthy entry in the “Star Wars” canon, a handsomely produced spectacle and involving origin story that finally reveals how the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. We also discover how Han befriended Chewbacca, how he won his ship from Lando Calrissian, played by the charismatic Donald Glover. We’re introduced to his first love, played by Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones,” and the leader of a roguish band of thieves, played by Woody Harrelson.

While “Solo” isn’t in the class of the original classic “Star Wars” trilogy, it’s more involving and a lot more fun than the other prequels. As Han once said, “You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.”

From the other end of the cinematic universe comes “Little Pink House,” a modestly budgeted social drama featuring a strong lead performance from Catherine Keener. She plays Susette Kelo, a woman who took on the government of New London, Connecticut in an eminent domain case. The city wanted to turn her property over to drug maker Pfizer to make way for a luxury office park. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While it plays a bit like “Erin Brokovich-lite,” “Little Pink House” is an agreeable and informative look at an important issue that probably deserves a good deal more attention.

Susan and Russ have two very different takes on “Disobedience,” starring Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola. The director is Sebastian Lielio, whose Chilean film “A Fantastic Woman” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year. Weisz plays a worldly photographer who returns to her stifling Orthodox Jewish community upon the death of her father. She rekindles a lesbian romance with McAdams, the wife of a young rabbi.

Take Two: “Disobedience” (R)
Episode date : May 25, 2018
On Take Two

The liberal lion of the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is the subject of a loving documentary “RBG.” The film focuses on her rise to prominence and her feminist perspective. While it can be a bit fawning, Russ and Susan agree that it’s a compelling look at a fascinating individual.

Take Two: “RBG” (PG)
Episode date : May 18, 2018
On Take Two

Shamelessly raunchy, unapologetically profane and completely irreverent, Marvel’s R-rated 2016 superhero parody “Deadpool” became a surprise box office smash. The equally obscene sequel doesn’t quite match it, but with a zippy pace, well-staged action and Ryan Reynolds’ cheeky performance, “Deadpool 2” comes close. Marvelites will relish the movie’s self-referential humor, cocky attitude and energy. For hardcore fans, “Deadpool 2” is dead on.

The sex lives of women of a certain age get the lighthearted sitcom treatment in “Book Club.” Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen play friends who are inspired to spice up their love lives when they read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It’s all very cardboard and cliché, but a great cast makes it seem better than it is.

Strong performances from Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola propel the thoughtful drama, “Disobedience.” Weisz plays a worldly photographer who returns to her stifling Orthodox Jewish community upon the death of her father. She rekindles a lesbian romance with McAdams, the wife of a young rabbi. It’s slow moving but builds to an emotional payoff.

John Carroll Lynch and Matt Bomer star in “Anything,” a well-meaning but fitful drama about a widower and his relationship with the troubled transvestite next door. Lynch is fine but much of the story never quite rings true.

Julianne Binoche stars in the oh-so-French character study, “Let the Sunshine In.” Binoche can’t seem to make an emotional connection with her many lovers. This very talky drama from filmmaker Claire Denis depends on Binoche’s charisma to get past a lot of self-pity and navel gazing.

Also opening this week, “Show Dogs” is a family comedy about a human detective and his pooch pal who work a case undercover at a dog show. “Pope Francis – Man of His Word” is a documentary about the pontiff from renowned German director Wim Wenders.

This week on CounterSpin: The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says Israeli soldiers killed at least 60 Palestinians and wounded as many as 2,700 in an eight-hour period pm May 14. Palestinians protesting both the horrific living conditions in Gaza and their inability—despite international law—to leave it, to return to the homes from which they were expelled, along with hundreds of thousands of people, in the 1940s. At the same time—and for many US TV viewers, on a sickening split-screen—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, declared it a “great day for peace.”

Media could hardly avoid revealing the disjunction, even as many worked hard to tell you you weren’t seeing what you thought you were seeing—that the overwhelmingly unarmed people were a violent mob, that the snipers picking them off from a distance were defending their lives.

That sort of dissonance has marked elite US media coverage of Gaza for many years. This week we revisit conversations with just three of the people that CounterSpin has heard from who are working to expand and deepen US audiences’ understanding of Gaza—the conflict, the context and the possible ways forward. We’ll hear from James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute; from Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights; and from the Institute for Policy Studies’ Phyllis Bennis.

Gaza & the US Press
Episode date : May 22, 2018
On Counterspin

Dr. J. Drew Lanham is on a mission to diversify the ornithology community. Hear him talk about his passion for nature, birding, conservation ethics, and what happens when a black man goes birding in rural American woodlands. He will speak at Lawrence Public Library Thursday evening and lead a birding outing at Baker Wetlands Discovery Center on Friday morning. He will join us on the phone, and Candice Price and Wayne Hubbard of Urban American Outdoors TV will join us in the studio.

Lanham is intrigued with how culture and ethnic prisms can bend perceptions of nature and its care. He is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature and Sparrow Envy, a book of poetry. The Home Place was named a 2017 Nature Book of Uncommon Merit, the first time in the Burroughs Association history such a designation was awarded. The Home Place was also recently named the 2018 winner of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Reed Environmental Writing Award.


Middle East Round Up: Brian Becker

Iran and Gaza are at both at critical and potentially catastrophic junctures. Iran faces new challenges due to because of Donald Trumps denunciation of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the re-imposition of sweeping sanctions. As well, recent elections in Iraq pushed Irans allies in Iraqs Shia militias”the Popular Mobilization Forces”into second place by nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr.

The element within the Republican Party with deep pockets is the Republican Jewish Committee. They support Netanyahu and his Likud party. The RJC supported both the blowing up of the Iran deal and the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem. Now they support Netanyahus crushing of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Iran also risks being diplomatically out-maneuvered. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow recently, aligning his interests in Syria with Vladimir Putins. In what is becoming routine coordination, Israel forewarned Russia of its attacks on Iran. Viewed from Tehran, Russia, Irans ostensible brother-in-arms in Syria, is more and more unreliable. Its Saudi foes are greatly encouraged by Trumps offensive.

Guest ” Brian Becker, the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition and a leader of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Brian has been a central organizer of the mass anti-war demonstrations that have taken place in Washington, D.C. in the past decade.”

Stories From Trailblazing Women Lawyers
Women Lawyers

Before the Civil War there were six women lawyers in the entire United States of America. By 1890 there were about 200 and by 1900 about 1000. Women then could not even vote.

It was nearly impossible for a woman to get admitted to a law school or find a job when she graduated. Things did not qualitatively change until the late 1960s and 1970s.

By then, as a consequence of a number of factors including the great civil rights movement, the womens movement, and the empty law school seats created by drafting men to serve in the Vietnam War, women were able to fight discrimination and win law school admission first by protesting in the streets and then through legislation, court decisions, and the actions of a few forward looking politicians.

Now half of the students in American law schools are women. They are professors in those very same places, indeed, the deans of the two most prestigious law schools in America, Harvard and Yale, are women. They are partners in law firms, hold important positions and governmental agencies, and are judges on the bench.

They have made a difference in the measure of social justice obtained by people in this country by advancing peoples and womens rights in education, healthcare, employment, discrimination, family life, and violence against women.

Guest “Jill Norgren, the author of the just published book Stories From Trailblazing Women Lawyers. Ms. Norgren is Professor Emerita of Political Science at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is the author of several books including Rebels at the Bar.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Since its formation in January 2006, more than 300 religious organizations have joined NRCAT, including representatives from the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Sikh communities. Members include national denominations and faith groups, regional organizations and local congregations.

Host Margot Patterson talks with Reverend Ron Stief, executive director of the Religious Campaign Against Torture about US torture programs, the new Director of the CIA and much more.

Every June, human rights and faith organizations join together to mark Torture Awareness Month when the United Nations declared June 26th the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, because the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT for short) went into force on that date in 1987.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invites you, and your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or faith community, to join people of faith throughout the world in commemorating June as Torture Awareness Month. Let them know how you might be involved this June: contact Kristin Schol at 202-853-9012

National Religious Campaign Against Torture
110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 502
Washington, DC 20002
Telephone – 202.547.1920
Website – http://www.nrcat.org

Risk Factors That Lead To Gun Violence
*With another school shooting just last week JoJR felt this interview from December 2015 might help in the ongoing discussion on gun control.
Risk Factor Gun Violence

Does hunger as a child contribute to violent tendencies later in life? Are the mentally ill more likely to commit violent attacks? Do video games, movies and other media desensitise people to violence? Can collaborative community programs change the culture of violence in our community. At this fall’s conference on Gun violence at the Kaufman Foundation, Dr Jean McCabe spoke about how poverty, hunger and prevailing gender roles can lead to violent behavior.

Host Melvin Merritt talks with Dr Jean McCabe about some of the myths and facts of what contributes to gun violence and suicide.

Jean M. McCabe, Ph.D

Dr. Jean McCabe is a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Dr. McCabe was on faculty with UMKC for ten years, where she developed and directed the Community Counseling Center. Previous to that, she was Associate Director of Psychological Counseling Services at Catholic Charities. She has also been employed in federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and was a Federal Probation & Parole officer. For the past 20 years, Dr. McCabe has been engaged in full time private practice with Wilson & McCabe, Psychological Counseling & Consulting.

Wilson & McCabe, Inc.
6220 Blue Ridge Cutoff, #206
Kansas City, MO 64133

JoJR Calendar for the week of May 21st

On Saturday, May 12th, prisoners at Crossroads Correctional Center attempted to peacefully negotiate improved conditions however the situation escalated and they ended up hot wiring forklifts, tearing down gates, and destroying parts of the prison. It is unclear exactly everything that happened as the Missouri Department of Corrections has not said much about the incident. According to one guard interviewed by the media the administration was made aware this action was coming and did nothing to prevent it, putting guards and prisoners at risk.

The Kansas City Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW is asking that those who are concerned to call MODOC officials today, May 21st to express your concern for the rights of prisoners to safe conditions and to be treated humanely.

They ask that you call and/or email The following officials.
Warden of CRCC Rhonda Pash – 816-632-2727 email [email protected]
Director Anne L. Precythe – 573-751-2389 email [email protected]
Deputy Director Matt Sturm – 573-526-6607 email [email protected]
Director of Facilities – Alana Boyles email [email protected]
You can find email addresses for these officals and more by going to the Kansas City Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW Face Book page – https://www.facebook.com/GKCIWOC/

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KKFI Jazz Calendar for February 27 – March 5

March 1, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on KKFI Jazz Calendar for February 27 – March 5
KKFI Jazz Calendar for February 27 – March 5

This is the KKFI Jazz Event Calendar for the week of Monday, February 27th to Sunday, March 5th. This is shared for the benefit of jazz music lovers. Please check with the music venue to confirm details of the event. …

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Under the Radar’s Fifth Anniversary Show at KKFI

February 23, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on Under the Radar’s Fifth Anniversary Show at KKFI
Under the Radar's Fifth Anniversary Show at KKFI

On Sunday night, KKFI’s Under the Radar a weekly show featuring local artists and musicians celebrated it’s 5th Anniversary.  The show was a gathering of local musicians and supporters including: Drew Black and Dirty Electric, The Electric Lungs, Missouri Loves …

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KC for Refugees Fundraiser at Record Bar

February 23, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on KC for Refugees Fundraiser at Record Bar
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Back on Jan 20th (Yea, yea I know.),  the Musicians for Active Justice held a fundraiser at the Record Bar for local non-profit KC for Refugees. The event featured a number of great local rock bands including:  Emmaline Twist, Hipshot Killer and (the)medicine theory. …

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KKFI Jazz Calendar for February 20 – February 26

February 20, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on KKFI Jazz Calendar for February 20 – February 26
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Morning Mix – Leftovers from The Winter Pledge Drive

February 14, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on Morning Mix – Leftovers from The Winter Pledge Drive
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Join Host Beth Pike as she dips her hand into the proverbial box of musical chocolates to see what “sweet” musical treats it brings.  We’ll start with some leftovers from the final show of the pledge drive, Paul McCartney and …

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Galactic Brought New Orleans Funk to the Madrid

February 13, 2017 By KKFI 90.1 FM Comments Off on Galactic Brought New Orleans Funk to the Madrid
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