Thwarting Democracy, The Battle For Voting Rights (Encore)

Since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act, many states have pushed changes to voter laws that raise disturbing connections to the past. On this week’s show, we’ll hear about hard-fought battles for voting rights and the implications of new laws.


Reverend Tyrone Edwards, civil rights historian in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana; Tyrone Brooks, Georgia State Representative; Clifford Kuhn, Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; JT Johnson, civil rights organizer; Allen Secher, rabbi; Jerel James and Tamia Adkinson, docents at Civil Rights Museum of St. Augustine; August Tinson, testified in U.S. vs Fox (1962); Gary May, professor of history at the University of Delaware and the author of Bending Towards Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy.

Host: Laura Flynn
Producers: Laura Flynn, Andrew Stelzer, George Lavender, Jasmin Lopez
Contributing Producers: Anna Simonton and Dina Weinstein
Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
Web Editor: Kwan Booth

Sports and Social Justice

With a nod to Muhammad Ali’s groundbreaking protest of the Vietnam War, we review today’s anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick through the voices of two Pacifica affiiate sports shows: The Louisiana All-American Sports Show (WHYR, Baton Rouge) and Not Another Sports Show (WRFU, Urbana, IL).


Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick.


Julius Lester (Muhammad Ali, 1968)
Coach Perry, Eric Hatfield, Gerard Piper (Louisiana All-American Sports Show)
Neil Parthun (Not Another Sports Show)

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part 7

We continue this week on From the Vault with our presentation of one of the most important dystopian novels written in modern history, George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The entire book was read on-air by longtime Pacifica morning show host Charles Morgan in 1975. Morgan was joined by legendary voice over artist June Foray, widely known for her work in Disney and Warner Brothers animated productions – in particular as the voice of Rocky in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon.

Please enjoy part seven of this quintessential Pacifica recording.

The Handsome Family

Our guests on Art of the Song are Brett and Rennie Sparks, together known as the Handsome Family. The Husband and wife duo experienced unexpected worldwide fame when their song “Far From Any Road” was picked as the season 1 theme song for the HBO hit show, True Detective. Their songs have been covered by artists including Jeff Tweedy, Amanda Palmer, and Andrew Bird (who released an entire record of Handsome Family covers). With their unique mix of country instrumentation and intriguing surrealist lyricism, their music explores the unseen stories, people, and places of the American West. We spoke with Rennie and Brett in our Albuquerque studios.

7th Inning Stretch with The San Rafael Band, Paul Burch & the WPA Ball Club, Bryan Sutton Band, Davina & The Vagabonds and Raul Malo

By Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots Producer

It must be October. A day after the Chicago Cubs pulled off a four-run ninth-inning comeback against the Giants to secure their Division title (rock!), this week’s Roots featured: a band called the WPA Ball Club, Aly Sutton dressed like a cast member in A League of Their Own and four basses (we pun out of love). They were all acoustic upright basses belonging to four very different and thoroughly wonderful bands. Then we capped the night off with a solo performance which I can in no way force into my baseball metaphor. Except to say that we won. Our seventh birthday show looked really good on paper and it sounded amazing in actuality.

Jim Lauderdale brought a big diverse audience together with a fantastic country song he co-wrote with Bruce Robison called “It Changes Everything.” The room was more than primed for the unexpected juxtaposition of Latin grooves and banjo wielded by Rafael Vasquez in the opening set. His San Rafael Band opened with a rippling instrumental featuring accordion, congas, a stellar drummer and the old five-string. In his interview the beatific Vasquez told us that on top of his deep Tejano background, he was deeply moved by seeing Earl Scruggs live decades ago. Vasquez donned nylon string guitar for “En Panama,” an original song that glowed with his seasoned, relaxed voice. The set closer really stretched out with passionate grooves and a fantastic electric guitar solo by the band leader. This all came about because John Walker (who guest emceed this evening) met Rafael through the latter’s day job driving customers to and from their car repairs at a local dealership. John always has his ears open for true roots musicians and their stories.

The WPA Ball Club brought a Nashville all-star lineup of musicians, including Fats Kaplin on fiddle/mandolin and Jen Gunderman on keys, while their leader Paul Burch brought a set of amazingly evocative songs about the life of Jimmie Rodgers. You just couldn’t play more authentically and coherently than this ensemble did, as Burch portrayed America of the 1930s. “Meridian” set the scene in Rodgers’ home town, where 40 trains a day are said to have passed through. Gunderman brought the perfect barrelhouse piano rolls and trills to “Black Lady Blues” and a romantic accordion on “To Paris.” The major to minor shifts in “Fast Fuse Blues” perfectly captured the hot, short decline of Rodgers’ health. And “Cadillacin’” was a dark boogie of early celebrity indulgence. Get Paul’s album Meridian Rising if you know what’s good for you.

I’ve loved Bryan Sutton for a whole lot of years now, and one of my Nashville dreams has come true getting to know him and work with him on bios and video. Because it’s been a close-up view of an evolution I’d have watched intently as a fan in any event. His playing has deepened and his commitment to musical leadership and songwriting has grown into the tight, hot quartet Sutton fronts today. They opened with a twisty instrumental and then kicked into the hot, high bluegrass of “Chase The Moon.” The slower and airier “Don’t Look For Me” offered a lovely stylistic contrast, and that segued into a remarkable duo performance pairing Bryan on banjo with fiddler Mike Barnett. The song of reconciliation and the crisp Appalachian groove was mesmerizing. Sutton closed with “The More I Learn,” which truly feels like his playbook for success – stay humble and keep listening.

Like the voodoo parlors of New Orleans, Davina Sowers brings a fascinating dash of darkness to her bright and brassy jazz. Her complexities and intelligence keep the Vagabonds from being even close to campy or old-fashioned. Especially transfixing were the muted horn choruses in “Louisiana Fairy Tale,” in which trumpet and trombone seemed to speak in tongues. Drummer Connor Hammergren sang through a megaphone in a duo with Davina on that one – a tune all dressed up in formal American harmony with everywhere to go. Her original song “Sugar Moon” was mysteriously slow – a waltz guided by heavy brushes on the drums, bowed bass, tandem horns and Davina’s incredible phrasing. A dropped beat in each of the song’s cycles made it even more interesting, and Davina closed it with an a cappella passage that left everyone frozen. A striding “St. James Infirmary” closed the set.

Raul Malo made a joke on stage about what a bad idea it is to follow a band with horns as a solo performer, but in fact his acoustic spotlight performance was the ideal denouement to an energetic evening. I couldn’t believe when he opened with “Siboney” from that great Los Super Seven album of a decade ago. I spun that track obsessively when it came out, so hearing Raul sing it over a rhythmically thumped acoustic guitar was amazing. I would not have thought a person could pull off the Mavericks’ “Come Unto Me” solo but Raul did with groove and brio, testimony to the sturdy melodies that he composes. “Here Comes The Rain” was simply gorgeous, and “Back In Your Arms Again,” a song Raul said brought his band back together, had a tight backbeat and tons of energy.

The gang took on “Hey Good Looking” at a wild tempo, driven by Davina’s band, and it was loud and lusty and fun. The crowd offered up its sixth standing ovation of the night and we signed off the air. Seven years down. However many more to go.

God is My Doctor: When Religion Clashes with Modern Medicine

The Ultimate Test of Faith

Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid blood transfusions because of the Biblical mandate to “abstain from blood.” Christian Scientists understand sickness as an illusion that can be corrected through prayer. It’s one thing for an adult to choose spiritual approaches to healing, but what if a child’s life is at stake? We talk to two guests: a medical doctor who studies vaccinology, and a former Christian Scientist who says she was persuaded by her church not to take her dying son to the hospital in the late 1970s. Featuring Rita Swan, founder of Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD) and Dr. Paul Offit, author Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine.

“It’s a Religion of Choice”:  A Christian Scientist’s Perspective

Christian Scientists believe that illness is a spiritual problem, not a physical one, and that it can be eliminated through careful thoughts and prayers. Phil Davis was the national spokesperson for the Church of Christ, Scientist from 2004-2010.  When we spoke to the former spokesperson for the church back in 2009, he told us that Christian Scientists would never insist that parents forgo medical treatment for a sick child, and that their religion does not require believers to avoid all modern medicine. 

Nuns Now:  On the Frontlines

Continuing our Nuns Now series, we talk to Sister Kathleen Erickson about how she assumed as a girl she would get married and live on a farm… and then became a Sister of Mercy instead. Deeply concerned about justice, peace and the poor, her work has taken her to immigration detention centers, to scruffy border towns, and even into police custody as she protested nuclear weapons. She represents a kind of religious activism popularized in movies like “Dead Man Walking,” and she says her work has also been an education in the long-term consequences of U.S. policy in Central America.

Dakota Access Pipeline: Dispatch #5 and Gloria La Riva: Presidential Candidate

Dakota Access Pipeline: Dispatch #5

The battle over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Two weeks ago the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC dissolved the injunction against the company which is building the pipeline. They plan to complete construction of a 1172 mile subterranean pipeline which will go from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa, and into Illinois. It is 30 inches wide and will carry 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day underneath the Missouri River and through the sacred land of Standing Rock Sioux Indian burial grounds. Twenty-two percent of the pipeline is already completed, although the Army Corps of Engineers has placed a stay on that part of the pipeline passing through the land it controls which borders both sides of the Missouri River. If the pipe breaks, which is common, the drinking water of some 15 million people will be imperiled. Knowing this, the government and the pipeline company changed its plans to have the pipeline pass close to the large city of Bismarck, North Dakota and instead rerouted it through Indian lands, in violation of several treaties with the Sioux Indians and international law regarding the rights of indigenous people.

Representatives of someone 180 indigenous tribes from United States of America, Canada, and Latin America and hundreds of other people, calling themselves water protectors, are camped out in North Dakota as the winter sets in to protest the pipeline construction. Last week the charge of participating in a riot was dropped by Judge John Grinsteiner against journalist Amy Goodman of the television and radio show Democracy Now! which is broadcast on nearly 1200 stations. Earlier, the charge of trespass was withdrawn against her. She had been interviewing people and her crew was filming an attack by private pipeline security with dogs biting the Native American protesters.

Guest ” National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. Hes also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense ” Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez ” [email protected]


Gloria La Riva: United States Presidential Candidate

Here on Law and Disorder we continue our interviews with candidates other than the two major parties. This week we talk with Party for Socialism and Labor Presidential Candidate Gloria La Riva.

Guest – Gloria La Riva is a labor, community and anti-war activist based in San Francisco, California. Born in Albuquerque, N.M., Gloria attended Brandeis University where she was active in affirmative action struggles. Gloria has been a key organizer of many mass demonstrations and other actions opposing the wars and occupation in Central America, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and elsewhere. Gloria has worked for decades to defend Cubas sovereignty and against the U.S. blockade. She was awarded Cubas Friendship

ARTSPEAK RADIO -October Extravaganza!

Maria talks with Art Director Jenny Mendez with the Mattie Rhodes Art Center, Sarah Hyde Schmiedeler-Francis Family Foundation Educator, Family Programs & Events at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Suzanne Gladney founder of the Migrant Farmworkers Project with Luke Trinka, and musician/artist/performer Pablo Sanhueza.

The Nelson Atkins Museum presents the annual 2016 Annual Dia de los Muertos, Sunday November 6 from 10 am to 4pm at the Nelson-Atkins Museum located at 4525 Oak St. KCMO. The event is free, no tickets required.
Kirkwood Hall October 26-November 6
Experience a towering centerpiece in Kirkwood Hall­ featuring over one hundred paper maché skulls decorated in collaboration with the Mattie Rhodes Center, local artists, area students and the museum community. You are invited to add your own special remembrance. Artists demonstrations, live music, performance, and poetry readings are scheduled for this beautiful celebration!
Nelson Atkins-Museum 4525 Oak St. KCMO

Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund (MFAF) is based in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1984, MFAF’s services were organized originally as part of Migrant Farmworkers Project (MFP), a project of Legal Aid of Western Missouri. MFAF was established as a separate non-profit in 1998, and was accorded 501c3 IRS status in 2003. MFAF serves and empowers Missouri’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers. MFAF’s staff meet with migrant farmworkers when they first arrive at the orchards in late summer to determine their eligibility for public benefits, for medical and dental services, and to complete school enrollment forms. From then until workers migrate elsewhere, MFAF seeks to meet critical needs and assist with a variety of health and other issues. For those families that settle in the area, ongoing assistance is provided.

Pablo Sanhueza is a Chilean born and raised latin percussionist and bandleader. Since his arrival to Kansas City in 2003 He has distinguished himself as one of the foremost young exponents of Latin American and Caribbean music across the midwest. Since 2005, Pablo has led Makuza, a Kansas City based eight piece contemporary salsa ensemble, his latin jazz quintet as well as freelancing for many projects. Most recently Pablo is co-leading The Kansas City Latin Side All Stars, a project in collaboration with The American Jazz Museum.
Although primarily self taught, Pablo has enjoyed the guidance of Jazz saxophonist and composer Bobby Watson, with whom he toured Europe in 2006, appearing at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Red Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and Champs Elysees in Paris, France. Pablo also has studied with Afro-Cuban legends Jesus Alfonso, Sandy Perez, ( Muñequitos de matanzas) & Felipe Villamil ( Master artist at National Endowment for the Arts, Congolese masters Titos Sompa & Mabiba Boegne, Brazilian mestre Carlos Barrao ( Axe Capoeira), Senegalese drummer choreographer Fara Tolno and Zimbabwean choreographer, percussionist Rujeko Masango (Tony award winning first dancer and director of Broadway’s Fela Kuti the musical)
In recent years Pablo has found himself performing alongside some of the Latin Jazz legends and African drumming masters who had inspired him in his early years. Poncho Sanchez, Titos Sompa, Dave Valentin and Bobby Watson are among the international artists Pablo has had the honor to play with.

Blue Room 1600 E. 18th St. KCMO
Thursday October 27 Time: 7:00 pm