Previously on Forum

Gideaon Rachman poses for a portrait.

The surging economic power of China and other Asian nations, coupled with the West’s diminishing influence, is redefining the world order, according to Financial Times commentator Gideon Rachman. He sees events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as signs that the West is adapting to — as opposed to shaping — the global economy. Rachman joins us to talk about America’s loosening grip on world affairs and his book “Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond.” We’ll also talk to Rachman about current U.S. economic and foreign policy as President Trump embarks on his first overseas trip.

a man bends over in pain

The cost of treating back pain in the U.S. exceeds $100 billion each year — and a good chunk of that money gets spent on worthless treatments. That’s according to journalist and investigative reporter Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, who suffers from chronic back pain herself. Ramin’s new book, “Crooked,” pulls back the curtain on the back pain industry and provides strategies for navigating the plethora of treatment options. What questions do you have?

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin’s Website (mentioned on-air)

When filmmaker Mira Nair shot “Monsoon Wedding,” she didn’t realize the 2001 movie about an Indian family preparing to celebrate an arranged marriage would become a cult classic. Nair has turned the film into a musical, currently playing at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The director, whose credits include “Mississippi Masala,” “The Namesake” and “Queen of Katwe” joins us to talk about her career and her decision to re-imagine “Monsoon Wedding” for the stage.

Hundreds gather for a Black Lives rally outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on July 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, where people demonstrated following recent police shootings in the US of civilians amid concerns of frayed relations between police and minority communities.

Zeynep Tufekci has been studying and participating in global social movements for more than a decade. Nowadays, she says, a tweet can unleash a global awareness campaign, and a Facebook post can mobilize millions. But, she argues, the political achievements of many modern social movements, such as Occupy, are not proportional to the energy and crowds they inspired. Tufekci, a ‘techno-sociologist’ and author of the new book “Twitter and Tear Gas,” joins us to talk about networked social movements and why some fail where others succeed.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a oversight hearing on Capitol Hill December 14, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday announced that the Department of Justice has named former FBI director Robert Mueller special counsel for its investigation into Russian election tampering. The announcement comes amid controversy over President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, who according to the New York Times, wrote a memo stating that Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s Russia ties. Mueller, who served as FBI chief from 2001 to 2013, is “authorized to prosecute federal crimes” arising from the Russia probe, according to the DOJ order. We bring you the latest updates and take your legal questions.

Emily Bazelon, staff Writer, New York Times Magazine; co-host, Slate Political Gabfest

David Alan Sklansky, professor of law and co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, Stanford Law School

A photo of the sign for Rikers Island, New York's largest jail.

Journalist and filmmaker Bill Moyers joins us to talk about the latest developments in Washington, including the appointment of a special counsel for the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. We’ll also hear about his new PBS documentary about Rikers Island, New York’s largest prison.

Mentioned On Air


Bill Moyers, journalist and political commentator; press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to local, state and federal law enforcement about a recent spate of gang related killings on April 28, 2017 in Central Islip, New York.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo last week instructing federal prosecutors to seek the maximum sentences possible. The order reverses Obama-era guidelines that limited penalties for low-level and nonviolent offenders. The federal policy change comes as California begins implementation of Proposition 57, a measure passed last fall that allows early release of those in prison for some nonviolent felonies. We’ll look at how both policy changes could affect California and the ideological and practical contradictions they raise.

Kathryn Haun, federal prosecutor, Northern District of California

Alex Busansky, president, Impact Justice

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the FBI on Capitol Hill May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump pushed ex-FBI director James Comey to scrap the investigation into former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s Russia ties, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The Times cited a memo consisting of Comey’s notes from his conversation with Trump. James Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, said on Tuesday he will seek copies of Comey’s memos. We’ll talk with UC Berkeley political scientist Thomas Mann and Washington Post reporter Matt Zapotosky about the latest news out of the White House and about whether the president may have obstructed justice.

Thomas Mann
resident scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Matt Zapotosky
reporter, Washington Post

Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai outside the American Enterprise Institute before his arrival May 5, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Federal Communications Commission will hold a first vote Thursday on chairperson Ajit Pai’s proposal to eliminate current net neutrality rules. Pai’s plan would repeal 2015 regulations that give the FCC the authority to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The current regulations prevent ISPs from selectively charging tolls or slowing down service for specific websites or apps. We’ll discuss the effects of the proposed repeal on consumers, ISPs and emerging start-ups.

Larry Downes
project director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy; author, “Unleashing the Killer App,” and co-author, “Big Bang Disruption”

Evan Engstrom
executive director, Engine

Max Dickstein stands with other upporters of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator and operator of the Silk Road underground market, in front of a Manhattan federal court house on the first day of jury selection for his trial on January 13, 2015 in New York City.

In 2013, FBI agents arrested 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, otherwise known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the mastermind behind an underground website where people could buy and sell drugs, firearms and other illegal items. But how exactly did Ulbricht, an Eagle Scout from Texas, become the head of Silk Road, a multimillion dollar Deep Web marketplace? Journalist Nick Bilton set out to answer that question in his new book, “American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road.” Bilton joins us to discuss his findings and the fascinating and illicit world of the Deep Web.

Guest: Nick Bilton,
special columnist, Vanity Fair; author, “American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind behind the Silk Road”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Mother's Day event hosted by First Lady Melania Trump for military spouses in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, May 12, 2017.

President Donald Trump revealed classified intelligence about ISIS to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in a meeting last week, according to the Washington Post. President Trump is already facing widespread criticism for his firing of FBI Director James Comey in the midst of the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who was present at the meeting between Trump and the Russian officials, called the Washington Post’s story “false,” saying that intelligence sources and threats were not discussed. We’ll bring you the latest developments.

Related Links:
Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information to Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador (Washington Post)

Why do humans behave the way we do? To answer this age-old question, Stanford University biologist Robert Sapolsky spent ten years connecting the dots between a wide range of scientific disciplines. The result is his new book “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst,” which probes into the deepest mysteries of human behavior, from xenophobia and tribalism to morality and justice.

F.B.I. Director James Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee September 28, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Richard Painter, former chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, says that Watergate was a “third rate burglary” compared to President Trump’s firing last week of FBI Director James Comey. Painter joins Forum to discuss the fallout from Comey’s dismissal, including President Trump’s intimation Friday that he has “secret tapes” of his conversations with the former Director. We’ll also hear Painter’s take on a letter released Friday by the President’s lawyers, who say that his tax returns show only “immaterial” income from Russian sources.

teenager holding a phone

Neuroscientist Frances Jensen says that when her two sons became teenagers, she marveled at their ability to stay focused for a test, yet still commit major lapses in judgment almost daily. The contradictions, she explains, have both emotional and physical roots: teens are more affected by stressful situations than adults, and their brains are years from being fully developed. Jensen joins Forum to talk about her book ‘The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.’

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