Previously on Forum

Protesters from a coalition of groups demonstrate the conviction of Wikileaker Bradley Manning late August 21, 2013 in front of the White House in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, President Obama shortened Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence, allowing her to be released in May after spending almost seven years in jail. The former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks. Some Manning supporters also called for the pardon of Edward Snowden, who is facing espionage charges for intelligence leaks. But the White House said there was a “stark difference” between Manning, who stood trial in the U.S., and Snowden, who is living in Russia under temporary asylum. We examine the politics and precedent of pardons.

Kevin Starr poses for a portrait.

On Saturday, California lost its longtime historian and former state librarian Kevin Starr. The USC professor, who penned an eightvolume series on California that the Los Angeles Times called “indispensable,” died of a heart attack at the age of 76. Starr, who was known for his trademark bow tie and straw boater hat, won a Guggenheim fellowship and was awarded a National Humanities Medal. He was appointed as California’s state librarian by Arnold Schwarzenegger and served from 1994 2004. In this segment we remember Starr and his influence on the Golden State.

The sun sets on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building ahead of inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Donald Trump on January 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.

After months of controversy over cabinet appointees, ties to Russia and conflicts of interest, president-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday. We’ll preview the inauguration with KQED’s Scott Shafer and Bloomberg’s Shannon Pettypiece. We’ll also check in with Bay Area voters headed to D.C. and find out what’s motivating them to travel to the nation’s capital this weekend. And we want hear from you: What would you like a Trump administration to do for California?

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be the next Secretary of Education, testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Billionaire philanthropist and school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, is among the incoming administration’s most controversial cabinet picks. DeVos favors a free-market approach to education and has long advocated for charter schools and school voucher programs. While her supporters hope that her appointment will lead to more options for students, others fear it will hurt public schools and weaken charter-school accountability. We discuss what DeVos’ confirmation could mean for schools nationally and here in California.

Joe Cotchett poses for a portrait.

Joe Cotchett has made a name for himself winning jury verdicts in the millions – sometimes billions – of dollars against Wall Street, big banks and other corporations that have harmed the public. He took on PG&E after the deadly San Bruno explosion, Wells Fargo for its fake accounts and Lincoln Savings & Loan for swindling investors. Cotchett was also reported to have been on Gov. Jerry Brown’s short list to replace Kamala Harris as California Attorney General. The Burlingame attorney, whose star power brings Nancy Pelosi and Willie Brown to his birthday parties, joins us to talk about his career and his new book “The People vs. Greed.”


For more than 20 years, neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan has treated
patients who have debilitating physical symptoms — such as pain
and seizures — with no identifiable cause. These patients,
O’Sullivan notes, “find themselves trapped in a zone between the
worlds of medicine and psychology, with neither community taking
responsibility.” O’Sullivan joins Forum to talk about her new book
“Is It All in Your Head?,” an exploration of psychosomatic disorders
and their causes.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August, 1963, on The Mall in Washington, DC, during the 'March on Washington'

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we talk to historian and MLK scholar Taylor Branch about the iconic minister and his lasting impact on the civil rights movement. Taylor is the author of “America in the King Years,” a trilogy detailing MLK’s life and the civil rights era. The first volume, “Parting the Waters” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. We also talk with a curator from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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exas abortion provider Amy Hagstrom-Miller looks on as Nancy Northup, President of The Center for Reproductive Rights speaks to the media outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC

After President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, NPR reported that some reproductive health centers and OB-GYN offices experienced an increase in inquiries about long term birth control. That increase reflects concern that the Affordable Care Act may be repealed or altered, making some birth control more expensive or harder to come by. Add in the Republican threat of defunding Planned Parenthood and Trump’s pledge to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices and many people are wondering about the future of reproductive rights under a Trump administration.

Rachel Carson on her porch in Southport, Maine, 1955.

In 1962, Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” her groundbreaking exposure of the environmental harms posed by the mosquito-killing pesticide DDT. Informed by her alarm over the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, Carson’s work challenged prevailing assumptions about chemical safety and helped birth the modern environmental movement. A new PBS documentary premiering on January 24 examines Carson’s writing, research and the challenges she faced as a woman taking on one of the country’s most powerful industries. We preview the film.

More Information on the Documentary

California governor Jerry Brown talks about new efforts to cope with climate change during a panel discussion at the 18th annual Milken Institute Global Conference on April 29, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s new $122.5 billion budget proposal, released on Tuesday, reflects a cautious approach. With the state projected to run a $1.6 billion deficit, Brown said it was time to be prudent in spending on areas like education, child care and housing. Brown also warned of future economic downturns and a changing political climate in D.C. The governor also asked California legislators to approve the state’s cap and trade program in hopes of solidifying its financial success. In this hour, we’ll analyze Brown’s proposed budget and the future of California’s fiscal state.

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