Rachael Myrow

Somini Sengupta

India has the largest number of young people in the world. Forty percent of the population is under the age of twenty. And New York Times journalist Somini Sengupta says young Indians are changing their country profoundly with demands for economic opportunity and social equity. Part memoir, part political history, Sengupta’s book “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young,” explores the barriers and hopes of this dynamic new generation.

A young boy with his face in his hands.

Oakland lawyer Nicole Pittman has interviewed more than 500 people who were placed on sex offender registries for offenses they committed as juveniles — offenses ranging from public urination to rape. But Pittman says the stigma of a registry can be devastating, ravaging the lives of kids and their families, while failing to protect the public. She says youth offenders rarely re-offend and are able to be rehabilitated. Forum talks about juvenile sex offenders and the movement to reform the way they are handled.

Terrorists attacked Brussels during Tuesday morning rush hour, killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 200. A suicide bomber hit the international airport, and another explosion hit a train at the metro station. “What we feared has happened,” said the Belgium prime minister. Belgium has issued a level 4 alert and locked down the entire city. The attacks comes on the heels of last week’s arrest of a central suspect in the Paris bombings by Belgian and French police.

a bart train

BART riders may face an uncertain commute for the next few months. An electrical surge has crippled 58 cars in the fleet and service was entirely shutdown between the North Concord and Bay Point stations on Friday. BART is working to fix the problem, but the agency also made an unusually frank announcement on Twitter, stating that much of its system is at “the end of its useful life.” Forum discusses BART’s short-term reality and long-term fate.

A child writes on a white board,

Charter school advocates are seeking to double the number of students attending charter schools in California by 2022. One advocacy group is suing state school districts – including Oakland Unified – to be able to use more of their classrooms, even though the districts says they’re strapped for space. In this hour of Forum we’ll get the latest on the fight over charter schools in California.

John Douglas Thompson holding a trumpet.

Louis Armstrong’s music blazed trails by popularizing jazz and breaking down racial barriers during a time of segregation. But despite the gains he helped black musicians achieve, Armstrong has also been accused of pandering to whites and of having, as Dizzy Gillespie put it, an “Uncle Tom-like subservience.” A one-man play opening at ACT this week explores Armstong’s complex legacy and his relationships with his longtime manager Joe Glaser and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis. Forum talks with actor John Douglas Thompson and playwright Terry Teachout about Satchmo’s life and legacy.

Louis Armstrong makes an appearance in this Betty Boop cartoon about 30 seconds in.

John Douglas Thompson did a little sampler for the New York Times:

Eric Weiner

Why did Silicon Valley take root in the San Francisco Bay Area and not, say, in Texas? And why do so many attempts at replicating Silicon Valley fail? Journalist Eric Weiner tackles that question in his latest work, “The Geography of Genius,” a globe-trotting investigation into the secrets of human ingenuity. And tell us — why is the Bay Area so conducive to innovation?

Taylor Mac singing in a microphone.

Raised in Stockton, Taylor Mac tells a story of how he stole away to San Francisco as a teen and saw gay people for the first time during a pride parade. The playwright, performance artist, and self-professed “radical, liberal queer” was named by the Village Voice as New York City’s best actor in 2013. Mac returns to the Bay Area this month with a show that was inspired by that long-ago visit to San Francisco, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.”

Elizabeth Strout

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Olive Kitteridge” captivated readers with that collection of short stories centered around a retired schoolteacher and small-town drama in rural Maine. She’ll join us to discuss her newest book, “My Name is Lucy Barton,” which examines the complex relationship between a mother and her seriously ill daughter.

Protesters on the Bay Bridge.

On Monday, protesters from an offshoot of Black Lives Matter shut down traffic for about 30 minutes on the westbound Bay Bridge. Twenty-five people were arrested after they chained themselves to vehicles that blockaded the bridge. The action was organized by Black.Seed, which describes itself as a “Black, queer liberation collective.” In a statement, the group said it shut down the bridge in solidarity with Martin Luther King Jr. and to take a stand against racism.


Can certain perfumes help Alzheimer’s patients recall memories? Could implanting a robotic eye help a blind man see? Berkeley journalist Kara Platoni explores these questions in her new book, “We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time.” She joins us to talk about cutting-edge perceptual technology and what it means for our evolution.

Sharon Scott

Nicknamed the “Queen of Gospel,” singer Mahalia Jackson became a global sensation with her hit single “Move On Up a Little Higher” in the late 1940s. She also brought her powerful voice to the civil rights movement, and made history alongside her friend Martin Luther King, Jr., at the March on Washington in 1963. Now her life’s story is brought to the stage with the West Coast premiere of Sharon Scott’s musical “Mahalia Jackson: Just As I Am.” Scott joins Forum to discuss Jackson’s life and perform her music.

Tens of thousands of acres of almonds, citrus fruits and other drought-stricken crops in the Central Valley currently use oilfield wastewater for irrigation. But little is known about the potential impact on the environment or human health from the use of the wastewater, which may contain chemicals from oil drilling. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has now formed a panel of experts to research safety issues surrounding this practice, which has been touted as an innovative water-saving solution in a time of drought.