Previously on Forum

sunlight shines through the bars of a jail cell

The U.S. private prison system incarcerates 126,000 people and provides beds for 65 percent of immigrant detentions. In her new book “Inside Private Prisons,” Lauren Brooke Eisen lays out the history of these prisons, including how they burgeoned during the 1980s tough on crime trend. Eisen joins Forum to discuss her book, why she thinks private prisons need more oversight and what can be done to improve an opaque prison-industrial complex.

Wes Anderson sitting behind a microphone.

Director Wes Anderson has earned a devoted following for his visually stunning movies with evocative, memorable music choices. On Thursday, as part of San Francisco’s comedy festival, SF Sketchfest, more than 30 accomplished musicians from around the country are converging for one night of performances of the entire soundtracks of Anderson’s movies Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Forum welcomes some of the musicians in the studio to play songs from the soundtracks, and we want to hear from you. What song in a Wes Anderson movie has stuck with you?

laptop with Facebook logo

The social media giant Facebook has begun implementing changes to users’ news feeds that prioritize posts from friends and family over those from news organizations and businesses. The Menlo Park-based company says its new algorithm, which also elevates posts that generate the most engagement, will give users a more positive experience. But media companies, nonprofits and businesses that rely on Facebook to distribute information worry they’ll lose their audiences. We discuss what the changes will mean for users and publishers.

Robin Lakoff speaks into a microphone.

Influential UC Berkeley Professor Emerita Robin Lakoff has studied and written about linguistics for more than 40 years. Her latest book, “Context Counts: Papers on Language, Gender and Power,” assembles Lakoff’s key work, with analysis from other linguists, early-career essays and personal reflections. Lakoff joins us to discuss “Context Counts,” and how politics and gender continue to color American political discourse under President Trump.


Robin Lakoff, professor emerita, Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley

Two people walk past an apartment with a "For Rent" sign.

Tuesday is the final day for San Francisco residents to rent some or all of their homes through sites like Airbnb or HomeAway without registering with the city, and the companies are already feeling the effects. Only a fraction of Airbnb hosts have met city requirements, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Other sites have seen their rolls slashed by far more. One city official said there are so few listings on FlipKey that it looks like a “massacre.” Forum discusses how fewer short term rentals and added regulations will affect the city’s housing crisis, and the people who depend on extra income from home sharing sites.


Carolyn Said, staff writer, San Francisco Chronicle

A janitor works at the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, on March 4, 2013.

The #MeToo movement has captured the nation’s attention with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of women in high profile industries. Less attention has been paid to the sexual abuse women suffer in working class jobs. A team of reporters from KQED and other media outlets has checked back in on its 2015 investigation, “Rape on the Night Shift,” about the sexual abuse of immigrant women janitors. They found women organizing, and learning how to fight back.


Sasha Khokha, host, The California Report Magazine, KQED

Bernice Yeung, reporter, Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting


“Rape on the Night Shift” is a collaboration of Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Frontline, Univision, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and KQED.


Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) listens during a news conference to discuss the rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump, at the U.S. Capitol, May 11, 2016, in Washington, DC

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced last week that his office had reached a $102 million settlement with the British oil company BP. The lawsuit claimed that the company overcharged government facilities for almost a decade. This is not the only story putting Becerra in headlines. He’s also one of several attorneys general suing the Trump Administration over the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, a suit that got a boost last week when a judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the program. We’ll check in with California’s top law enforcement officer.

Author Amy Tan arrives at a State Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore at the White House in Washington on August 2, 2016.

For Amy Tan, author of the “Joy Luck Club,” the past is never far away nor fully laid to rest. In her new book, “Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir” she explores the depths of the Chinese-American experience and shares harrowing childhood memories, including her emotionally-complex relationships with her suicidal mother and Baptist-minister father growing up in Oakland, California. Tan joins us in the studio to discuss her latest work.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with President Sauli Niinistö of Finland at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 28, 2017.

The slur heard round the world: Lawmakers, nations and much of the American public are condemning the news that President Donald Trump disparaged African nations as “shithole countries” and questioned why the U.S. would want to admit immigrants from Haiti. The President is denying the reports of his language but Senator Dick Durbin stands by his account of yesterday’s meeting. In this half hour of Forum, we get your reaction to this latest news.

machinery in place to clear debris after mudlsides in a residential area

At least 17 people have died and 43 remain missing after heavy rain caused massive mudslides in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. The slides also destroyed at least 50 homes and damaged 450 more in Santa Barbara County. We’ll get the latest on the disaster and find out how burned out areas of the North Bay can avoid a similar catastrophe.

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