Previously on Forum

Over four decades ago, the last U.S. helicopter lifted away from Saigon and the North Vietnamese Army captured the city soon thereafter. Now, a new documentary from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick takes a panoramic look at the conflict, including accounts from 79 witnesses from all sides of the war. The 10-part series premieres Sept. 17 on PBS. Long-time collaborators Burns and Novick previously worked together on “The Civil War” and “Prohibition” documentaries. Burns and Novick join us to talk about the lasting effects of the Vietnam era and the stories they uncovered from a decade’s worth of filming.


Ken Burns, filmmaker & historian, “The Vietnam War”
Lynn Novick, producer & documentary filmmaker, “The Vietnam War”

Their new documentary, “The Vietnam War,” premieres Sept. 17 on PBS.

Millions will turn their eyes skyward on August 21. They’ll be donning special glasses to watch the first total solar eclipse stretching coast-to-coast in America in a century. The eclipse — when the moon blocks the sun’s rays from hitting Earth — will cut across the mainland United States. Only a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will have total darkness, but people across the country will be treated to a partial eclipse. Hotels have sold out in prime viewing spots and Google has distributed more than 2 million eclipse-viewing glasses to libraries across the country. Retired Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi joins us today to talk about the eclipse and how best to see it. We briefly talk at the top of the hour with SF Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Carolyn Lochhead about the GOP’s latest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Andrew Fraknoi, professor emeritus of astronomy at Foothill College; author, “When the Sun Goes Dark”
Carolyn Lochhead, Washington, D.C. correspondent, San Francisco Chronicle


On Wednesday President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender people from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity. The ban reverses a decision under President Barack Obama that allowed them to serve. Trump tweeted that the military needed to focus on “victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” As many as 11,000 transgender people serve in the active military and reserves, according to a RAND Corporation study. We discuss the ban.


  • Aaron BelkinDirector of the Palm Center, author of “How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
  • Robert Reidsenior managing editor, Stars & Stripes

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency has determined that North Korea will be able to field a “reliable, nuclear-capable” intercontinental ballistic missile by next year, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Earlier estimates held that North Korea would not have ICBM capability until 2020. Meanwhile, North Korea’s state-run news agency reported Tuesday that Pyongyang would launch a nuclear strike at “the heart of the U.S.” if it tried to remove Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un. The threat came in apparent response to CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s statement last week that he hoped to find a way to separate the rogue dictator from his nuclear stockpile. We discuss the status of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and the international community’s response.


  • Robert Litwak, director, International Security Studies, Wilson Center

Related Links:

Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout Woodrow Wilson Center

Washington Post article on Pentagon’s report

An effort is underway to make the Bay Area more “age friendly,” by enhancing cities with infrastructure and services that better enable the elderly to remain active participants in their communities. Ten of the fifteen cities in Santa Clara County are now designated as “age friendly” by the World Health Organization, with the rest following suit in November. We’ll discuss “age friendly” options with James Goodwin, an expert on aging and a leader in the movement. And we’ll hear about what Santa Clara plans to do for its older population – from pop-up social spaces for seniors to a pilot volunteer driver program for seniors without access to transportation.


  • James Goodwin, head of research, Age UK
  • Diana Miller, seniors agenda project manager, Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services

President Donald Trump spoke at the annual Boy Scout National Jamboree in West Virginia Monday night. For 80 years, presidents have been invited to speak at the jamboree, traditionally avoiding politics. But Trump dove into politics anyways – talking about the crowd size at his inauguration, the “fake media,” and “killing Obamacare”. The Boy Scouts of America replied that the organization is “wholly nonpartisan and does not promote any one position,” but came under fire that its reply was not critical enough. Boy Scouts and troop leaders join us this hour to share their reactions to the president’s speech.


  • Wendell Baker, assistant scout master of Troop 234 (Moraga); head of Northern California chapter of Scouts for Equality
  • Ted Genoways, Eagle Scout who authored Washington Post opinion piece

Related Links:

Boy Scout of America’s response

A worker stands on the roof of a home under construction at a new housing development on November 17, 2016 in San Rafael, California.

The Bay Area added thousands of jobs in June, according to a report released last week by the California Employment Development Department. But some economists warn that the region’s job growth could soon stall as high housing prices and weak transportation infrastructure make it hard for companies to recruit the workers they need. We look at current economic trends in the Bay Area and who is — and is not — benefiting from the region’s robust economy.

Chris Thornberg,
founding partner, Beacon Economics
Micah Weinberg, president, Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council

When Bay Area primary care doctor Vanessa Grubbs discovered that her boyfriend wasn’t getting the donated kidney that he desperately needed, she decided to give him one of her own. During the process, Grubbs discovered racial disparities in the way donated kidneys are allocated: Approximately 1 in 3 transplant candidates are African American, but they receive only 1 in 5 of all donated kidneys. Grubbs joins us in studio to tell the story of her journey from kidney donor to, ultimately, kidney doctor. We’ll also hear about the dialysis industry and why critics think it is overly aggressive and in need of further regulation. We’ll also check in with a Washington Post reporter about the latest with the health care debate on Capitol Hill.

Vanessa Grubbs,
associate professor of medicine and a nephrologist, University of California San Francisco; author, “Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers: A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match
Mike DeBonis, congressional reporter, Washington Post

President Donald Trump reacts with Vice President Mike Pence (R) after Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC

The Washington Post reported last week that White House lawyers were researching President Trump’s pardoning authority in light of the investigation into his campaign’s connections with Russia. Administration officials have downplayed the story, but the issue was clearly on the president’s mind on Saturday. He tweeted that he had “complete power” to grant pardons. How far does the president’s pardoning authority go? Could he, for example, pardon himself? We’ll delve into those legal and political questions in this hour. We’ll also get the latest on the Russia sanctions deal working its way through Congress.

Josh Meyer, senior investigative reporter, Politico
Brian Kalt, professor of law, Michigan State University
Jennifer Epstein, White House reporter, Bloomberg

The gas-powered Valley Generating Station is seen in the San Fernando Valley on March 10, 2017 in Sun Valley, California.

Over 10 years ago, Al Gore starred in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” a fervent call to curb climate change. Now, the former vice president is back with “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which chronicles Gore’s efforts to keep the fight against global warming front and center. Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk join us to talk about the film. And later in the hour, we’ll hear from Al Gore.

Bonni Cohen,
co-director, “An Inconvenient Sequel”
Jon Shenk, co-director & cinematographer, “An Inconvenient Sequel”
Al Gore, former vice president; Nobel Prize Winner; author, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

More Information:
An Inconvenient Sequel website

a summer salad

Zucchini ribbon salads, gazpacho and ice cream tacos … such is the bounty of summer! In this hour we talk with local chefs and food writers about their favorite summer recipes and find out what they serve when the vegetables are abundant and the heat makes cooking unappealing. And we want to hear from you: What cooking challenges do you face during the summer months? What is overtaking your garden that you need to use up? And of course, we welcome your go-to summer recipes.


Elaine Johnson, senior food editor, Sunset Magazine

Nick Balla, chef-owner, Duna; former chef, Bar Tartine

Ellen Fort, editor, Eater SF

Further Reading:

President Donald Trump (C) delivers remarks on health care and Republicans' inability thus far to replace or repeal the Affordable Care Act, during a lunch with members of Congress in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also in the picture (L to R); Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

It has been a busy week in politics. Bloomberg News reported that Special Investigator Robert Mueller is looking into President Trump’s personal financial dealings — something the President warned would be crossing a “red line” and outside the scope of Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference. That warning came during an interview with the New York Times in which President Trump also said that we would never have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he knew Sessions were going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Also, after a week where Senate Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office reports that about 32 million people would lose health insurance over the next decade under the Senate’s most recent plan to repeal the ACA. Our round table of reporters and experts discuss the latest news from Capitol Hill.

Jennifer Steinhauer,
congressional reporter, New York Times
Phil Ewing, national security editor, NPR
David Mark, executive editor, Morning Consult

The corner of Haight and Ashbury marks the center of the famous Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California, 16 June 2007.

Fifty years ago about 100,000 people came to San Francisco to take part in the musical and cultural revolution known as the Summer of Love. That year brought us familiar and enduring hits like the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and the “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procul Harum. But what ever happened to songs like “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith, which reached number 20 on the Billboard charts? We’ll look back at the musical legacy of the Summer of ’67, including some of the then-popular tunes that have been lost to history.

Further Reading:

Emmanuel Hapsis,
editor and writer, KQED Pop; cohost, The Cooler, KQED’s Pop Culture podcast

Joel Selvin, San Francisco-based music journalist; author, “Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day”

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