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Previously on Forum

With so many arts events around the Bay Area this fall, it’s hard to know where to focus your attention. Enter our annual fall arts preview. This season’s offerings include an installation in the Presidio’s former military bunkers, a Dada World Fair and a two-carat diamond made from an architect’s cremated ashes. From the traditional to the cutting edge, we’re previewing the arts and culture calendar with KQED’s senior arts editor Chloe Veltman. And we’d like to hear from you: Which events are you excited for this season?

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As voters gape at the news of this year’s presidential race, Forum talks with Carlos Watson, executive producer and host of PBS’ eight-part series, “The Contenders.” The series examines sixteen of the most influential campaigns for president. From flame-throwers like Howard Dean and Pat Buchanan to straight-talkers like John McCain and Shirley Chisholm, we’ll discuss the also-rans who changed politics.

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The Contenders: 16 for ’16 website (PBS.org)

Eloy Ortiz Oakley will take office as the new chancellor of California’s community college system in December. Oakley is a product of community college himself and will be the first Latino to serve in the role. A longtime leader in public education, Oakley comes to the state job from Long Beach Community College District, where he designed a system that provides a year of school tuition-free. We’ll talk with Oakley about managing California’s 2.1 million community college students and 113 campuses, which make up the largest higher-education system in the U.S.

Cannabis industry research firms predict that if legalized, California’s marijuana industry will grow to nearly six and a half billion dollars by 2020. In preparation, Silicon Valley money is pouring into cannabis industry startups. But many existing small pot businesses worry they’ll be squeezed out of the industry by bigger players. Forum discusses the likely winners and losers in the battle for marijuana revenue, how legalization could change California’s economic landscape and the challenges of taxing and regulating recreational pot.

More Information:

Humboldt’s Pot Economy Braces for Possible Legalization (Forum archives)

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced a peace accord Wednesday with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ending a 52-year war with the guerrilla group. The war claimed more than 220,000 lives and displaced millions before a ceasefire was reached in June. Under the agreement, which some critics denounce as too lenient, FARC members would serve no prison time if they confess to their crimes. The treaty must be ratified by a public vote on October 2. We discuss the history of the conflict and the implications of the peace deal.

W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu are two stand-up comedians who aren’t shy talking about race, stereotypes and bias. In their new podcast, the longtime friends mix it up with another hot-button topic: politics. They join us to talk about their podcast, “Politically Re-Active,” and how they make controversy laughable in their new stand-up albums and daily lives.

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Stanford University announced a new alcohol policy earlier this week that will ban hard liquor at undergraduate parties because of the “dangers that arise from that misuse.” Some see this policy change as a response to the highly publicized sexual assault case against Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, who blamed his actions on the the school’s “party culture” and binge drinking. Advocates for sexual assault victims are concerned that blaming intoxication trivializes the crime and lets perpetrators off the hook. Stanford maintains that the new policy is formulated to address binge drinking and is not a response to the Brock Turner case. We’ll discuss the problem of alcohol on college campuses and its role in sexual assault.

Since July’s terror attack in Nice, coastal towns across France have banned the full-body swimsuit known as a “burkini.” France already bans public use of the burka and Germany is debating similar legislation. Tensions over when and where the burka is allowed raise larger questions over cultural exclusion and the struggle to assimilate. We’ll discuss how Muslim women have adapted and what the burka symbolizes to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

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Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. had secretly airlifted $400 million dollars to Iran, coincidentally around the time that Iran released four Americans from prison. The U.S. State Department says it wasn’t a ransom payment, but part of an older settlement from a failed arms deal. The reporter on that story, Jay Solomon, looks deeper at the contentious history between the U.S. and Iran in his new book, “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East.” We’ll talk to Solomon about the long-standing power struggle between America and Iran that often plays out behind the scenes.

Residents of Lake County are starting to return home as firefighters put out the last remnants of the Clayton Fire, which burned nearly 4,000 acres and destroyed approximately 300 homes and buildings. The Clearlake man arrested for starting the fire is suspected to be a serial arsonist – he’s charged with starting 12 fires in the area and has been under investigation over the past year. In this hour, we talk with forensic investigators about what motivates arsonists and why so few are convicted in court.

 

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In “Jungle of Stone,” journalist William Carlsen recounts the story of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood whose perilous trek through the jungles of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico led to the discovery of ancient Mayan civilization. We’ll talk with Carlsen about their 2500-mile journey, which he retraced in a beat-up Toyota Corolla. We’ll also discuss the Mayan’s great achievements, why their sophisticated culture vanished and what can be learned from its collapse.

On Sunday, a federal court in Texas blocked an Obama Administration policy directing that transgender students at public schools be allowed to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity. The ruling, which applies nationwide, bars the federal government from enforcing the policy or investigating related discrimination claims. We discuss the decision and how it may affect ongoing transgender rights cases.

In a victory for teacher unions, the California Supreme Court Monday denied review of Vergara v. California, keeping in place a ruling that nullified a 2014 decision that California’s teacher protection laws were unconstitutional. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that the education code made incompetent teachers too hard to fire and that, in effect, minority and poor students were disproportionately taught by ineffective teachers. Monday’s ruling stated that “Administrators — not the statutes — ultimately determine where teachers within a district are assigned to teach.” We’ll discuss the court’s decision and possible next steps for groups challenging current teacher protection laws.

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