Previously on Forum

Richard Haass poses for a portrait.

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. Capitol is shown at sunset on January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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.

W. Kamau Bell poses for a photo

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 Information and W. Kamau Bell’s Complete Playlist

Protesters march during the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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.

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.

A United Airlines plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport on June 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

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.

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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

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