Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.
University of California President Janet Napolitano is seen at an event on expanding college opportunity on January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.

University of California President Janet Napolitano joins us this hour to discuss the UC system’s ongoing efforts to mitigate sexual misconduct by faculty, the possibility of an enrollment cap for out-of-state students and the newly-hired Chancellor of UC Berkeley. We’ll also talk to Napolitano about her recent trip to Mexico to promote academic partnerships. What is your question for the UC president?

Author Omar El Akkad poses for a portrait.

“You fight the war with guns, you fight the peace with stories.” That’s from Omar El Akkad’s novel, “American War,” which takes readers 50 years into the future, where the effects of climate change and limited natural resources have caused a second Civil War and split America in two. El Akkad, a longtime journalist who covered Guantanamo Bay, the Arab Spring and the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Missouri, joins us to talk about the novel and how his work as a journalist influences his fiction.

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

President Donald Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order on Tuesday in an effort to prevent companies from choosing low-wage foreign workers over Americans. The order takes aim at the federal government’s H-1B visa program, which is supposed to help businesses hire highly-skilled, temporary workers from other countries. But critics of the program say it undercuts American workers and that most H-1B visas simply go to IT workers. But supporters say the program is vital to the tech industry, and argue that President Trump’s changes could hurt innovation. In this hour, we discuss President Trump’s order and how it could affect Silicon Valley.

Stanford mathematician and NPR Weekend Edition contributor Keith Devlin.

Over a decade ago, mathematician Keith Devlin, also known as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition, set out to research the life and legacy of Leonardo of Pisa, better known as Fibonacci. The Italian mathematician introduced the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and arithmetic to the Western world. “Finding Fibonacci” details Devlin’s journey to revive the long-forgotten mathematician and the people who devoted their lives to understanding his legacy.


A pro-Trump rally in Berkeley on Saturday was met with counter-demonstrations, resulting in violent clashes and at least 20 arrests. Eleven people were injured and seven of those were taken to hospitals, according to police. John Sepulvado, host of KQED’s “The California Report” covered the so-called “Patriots Day” demonstration and “Antifa” counter-protest. He joins us in the studio to talk about the events.

CORRECTION: Early in this episode we referred to the rally in Berkeley as being permitted. That is inaccurate. Identity Evropa, the white nationalist group, organized the rally but the Berkeley Police Department has confirmed that the event was not issued a permit.

a male doctor and patient look at a screen and talk

All men between the ages of 55 and 69 should have the option of being screened for prostate cancer. That’s according to new guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. It’s a departure from 2012, when the task force discouraged screening for cancer with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The procedure has a significant problem with false positives, which can lead to more testing, which in turn can cause impaired sexual functioning and incontinence. We’ll discuss the new recommendation, which is open for public comment until May 8.

Graeme Wood is the author of "The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State."

When he was 25 years old, in the early years of the Iraq War, Graeme Wood moved to Mosul for a job. Within a short time he had narrowly avoided a suicide-bombing and grown accustomed to mortar attacks around his office. Years later, as a journalist, Wood set out to find out more about the people and motivations behind such attacks. The result is his latest book, “The Way of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State.” Wood interviewed converts and enthusiasts of the Islamic State from around the world, many of whom didn’t live up to the stereotype of terrorists who pervert theology. In this hour we’ll talk to Wood about his book and the people and beliefs of the Islamic State.

A small fridge for storing breast milk at KQED in San Francisco.

Supervisor Katy Tang wants to make pumping at work easier for breastfeeding moms in San Francisco. Tang introduced legislation last month that would expand current law by requiring employers to provide a lactation space that is private, not a bathroom, has access to electricity and contains a flat surface and a chair. Current law requires employers make reasonable efforts to provide breaks and a location for pumping, but doesn’t contain such specific requirements. Studies have found links between early breastfeeding and health.

Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Vladimir Safronkov (R) speaks with Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari (L) before they attend a meeting to vote on a Draft resolution that condemns the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria at the Security Council on April 12, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York.

Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye famously wrote that “smart power is neither hard nor soft. It is both.” We talk to Nye about how the U.S. can most effectively wield its power in the world’s changing political landscape. We’ll also hear his views on the Trump administration’s decision to intervene militarily in Syria, the North Korean nuclear threat and what could be ahead for U.S.-Russia relations.

A San Francisco police car sits parked in front of the Hall of Justice on February 27, 2014 in San Francisco, California. A federal grand jury has indicted five San Francisco police officers and one former officer in two cases involving drug and computer thefts from suspects and the theft of money and gift cards from suspects

The two San Francisco police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Amilcar Perez Lopez in the Mission District in 2015 will not face criminal charges. District Attorney George Gascon announced his decision Wednesday, citing insufficient evidence and statements from officers that Lopez may have attacked another man and lunged toward the police officers with a knife before he was shot. Critics have called the shooting an example of excessive force, pointing to evidence that Lopez was shot in the back. The controversy contributed to the resignation of former Police Chief Greg Suhr, who remains listed as a defendant in a civil case tied to the shooting.


No Criminal Charges for S.F. Officers Who Fatally Shot 20-Year-Old From Behind (KQED News)

An illustration of a power cord connecting a heart and a brain.

Imagine that you’re driving South on 101 when you see blue and red highway patrol lights flashing behind you. Do you feel worried? How about anxious, horrified or scared? According to psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, emotions are not something that happen to people, but rather, emotions are constructed in our brains, often with much more nuance than we readily acknowledge. Feldman Barrett joins us to talk about how emotions are made, the link between language and feelings and why assigning emotion to facial expressions has negative effects on everything from childcare to the justice system.

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