Ursula K. Le Guin, a novelist best known for her prolific output, including the Earthsea series and “The Left Hand of Darkness,” died Monday. She was 88. In more than 20 novels and innumerable short stories, Le Guin used science fiction and fantasy to address some of Earth’s toughest realities, including inequality. She was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 2014 National Book Awards, where she delivered a rousing, some might say, foretelling, speech.
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.”
Ursula spoke with Forum on Sept. 28, 2000. Here is that interview, published online for the first time.
January 23 is a state holiday honoring the birth of the late disability activist Ed Roberts. Roberts, who was paralyzed from the neck down after contracting polio as a child, was the first severely disabled person to attend UC Berkeley. He also co-founded Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living, which on Tuesday will honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the disability rights movement. We’ll check in with the three honorees as we discuss Roberts’ legacy and the state of disability rights today.
Pictures of Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park became some of the most memorable images from the devastating North Bay Wildfires in October: the middle class neighborhood lost more than 1,300 homes. As part of Forum’s series on rebuilding after the fires, we take a close look at Coffey Park as construction begins on the first house to be rebuilt since the Tubbs fire tore through the subdivision. We want to hear from residents of Coffey Park — do you plan to return? Why or why not?
The federal government shut down early Saturday morning after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a deal on a spending bill. We’ll examine the politics behind the shutdown and find out what impact it is having in California and across the country.
The most significant shift in national defense strategy in almost two decades was unveiled last week by US Defense Secretary James Mattis. The big takeaway: Competition from global leaders like China and Russia is now the biggest threat to national security, replacing the fight against terrorism. Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass joins us to dissect the new strategy, and to discuss how best to tackle the most pressing U.S. foreign policy challenges at a time when populism is rewriting the old world order.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill that will keep the government open through February 16. But the Senate vote remains uncertain, as Democratic lawmakers promise to block the bill because it does not include protections for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. We’ll analyze the latest developments.
“Playlist,” a new annual series by the Oakland Symphony, features concerts with songs curated by leading thinkers and luminaries. The series debuts Friday with music selected by comedian and Emmy-winning CNN host W. Kamau Bell. Bell joins us in the studio to discuss his song selections, the latest headlines and his show “United Shades of America,” which explores race, culture and history. And we want to hear from you — what song is getting you through these extraordinary times we are living in?
More than 100,000 Bay Area women are expected to take to the streets in Women’s Marches on Saturday. The marches in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose come a year after millions of women nationwide protested in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. Organizers say this years marches will focus on increasing female political representation as the 2018 midterm elections loom.
Carey Perloff is stepping down as artistic director of ACT after directing the company for a quarter century. Her final show, Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” is playing until Feb 4. Forum talks with Perloff about her career, the future of theater in San Francisco and her final production.
Hawaii and Japan both experienced false alarms about nuclear missile strikes in recent days. Such errors are raising questions about the reliability of emergency warning systems and how notification of a nuclear attack would unfold in California. Recent wildfires and landslides have exposed weaknesses too, leaving many people wondering if they will be adequately notified when danger strikes. Forum discusses California’s emergency alert system with the director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci.
An Aeromexico plane almost landed on a runway occupied by another commercial jet at San Francisco International Airport last week, marking the third close call at the airport in the past six months. And in response to two incidents at SFO last year, Air Canada has begun a comprehensive safety review of all operations. We’ll discuss recent incidents and passenger safety at the airport.