KQED's live call-in program presents wide-ranging discussions of local, state, national and international issues, as well as in-depth interviews.
Coming up on Forum:
Last year, California's public pension system had over $300 billion in assets - enough to meet only 77 percent of its obligations to public employees, retirees and their families. In his new book, "California Dreaming," Lawrence McQuillan notes that the predicted shortfall threatens more than public employees' retirements, but may also seriously disrupt public services, limit the borrowing capabilities of state and local governments, and impose huge costs on taxpayers. McQuillan, an economist and senior fellow at the think tank The Independent Institute, suggests six reforms that he says are key to solving California's pension crisis.
Greece needs up to 60 billion euros over the next three years to stabilize its finances, according to the International Monetary Fund. The analysis comes in advance of Sunday's referendum, when Greek citizens will vote on whether to accept the latest terms of the European Union's bailout. We'll get an update on the referendum and the threat the Greek debt crisis poses to the Eurozone and to the U.S. economy.
Recently on Forum:
Betty Reid Soskin is, at 93, the oldest national park ranger in the United States. She came to the Bay Area in 1927 as a six-year old girl, and now works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond. Soskin's tours reflect her perspective as an African-American woman in the Bay Area during the war. She says the park is a place where, "America can revisit its past and move together to a more compassionate future." We talked to Soskin as part of Forum's First Person series profiling the leaders, innovators and others who make our region unique.
The dollar is strong, which makes this summer a great time for international travel. That is, if you can afford the expensive flights. If not, there are plenty of great summer vacation spots just a drive away. We talk with three travel writers to get their tips.
In his new book, "Our Kids," Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam looks at how income inequality is creating an opportunity gap that puts the American Dream out of reach for many families. Putnam uses examples from his hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio, and across the country to illustrate the challenges of rising from poverty. Author of the influential 2000 book "Bowling Alone," Putnam joins us in the studio.
The Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, proclaiming their freedom from Great Britain. We celebrate that day with fireworks and BBQs, but there's a deeper history to the men and women who crafted our nation's first beginnings. We talk with historians about the stories behind our country's independence.
In the two weeks since a balcony in downtown Berkeley collapsed, killing six people, new details have emerged about reported construction flaws and inadequate building oversight. The firm that built the balcony has paid out $26.5 million in construction defect settlements over the past three years, according to an investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle. We'll talk with reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken about his findings and Alameda County's criminal probe into the collapse.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to hire more police officers in response to the city's growing population. But is hiring more officers really the best way to combat crime? We discuss the latest research on the relationship between the number of cops and crime reduction.
An LGBTQ-themed mural at a San Francisco art gallery was set on fire this past Monday -- in a series of acts of vandalism on the painting since its installation in June. The mural titled, "Por Vida," is outside the Mission District's Galeria de la Raza and has become a flash point for hot button issues in the neighborhood from gentrification to racism to homophobia.
Hispanics reached a historic milestone in California last week: they are now the Golden State's largest single ethnic group, according to new U.S. Census estimates. The new data confirms projections made last year by California's Department of Finance. But while Hispanics make up 39 percent of the state's population, they still lag when it comes to voter turnout and political clout. We'll talk about what the demographic shift means for state and national politics.
Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner and for a lot of people that means firing up the barbecue. We've gathered local food writers and chefs to share their tips and recipes for grilling everything from home style meats to vegetarian fare. We'll also open up the phone lines to hear from you -- what stumps you when it comes to grilling? Or, if you happen to be a master of the barbecue, share your secrets.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up a case on the constitutionality of requiring public employees to pay union dues Tuesday, as a condition of their employment. Ten California teachers say their free speech rights are being violated because their donations contribute to the union's political agenda. Organized labor groups are closely watching the case, which is viewed as a major challenge to the way public-sector unions finance their operations.
Michael Oren is ruffling feathers from Washington D.C. to Jerusalem with a new memoir chronicling his tenure as the Israeli ambassador to the United States. Released just days before the deadline for a U.S.-backed nuclear agreement with Iran, "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide," offers a biting critique of President Obama's priorities in the Middle East and a behind-the-scenes look at the world of international diplomacy.
Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world's first comprehensive law guaranteeing equal rights to individuals with disabilities. But the ADA has had critics, particularly in California, where state laws make it easier for plaintiffs to sue businesses over violations and to collect damages. We'll discuss the history of the landmark law, its ongoing relevance and new efforts to protect and expand rights for people with disabilities.
When NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" featured Kim Kardashian West as its weekly celebrity guest, listeners were not pleased. They flooded NPR with complaints, threatening to pull their donations and calling Kardashian West "a shameless strumpet." The reality TV star's upcoming appearance at a Commonwealth Club event has further spurred the online debate. In light of her controversial NPR appearance, we'll explore the question: Who belongs on public radio?
Amid the intense debate about parents' rights versus public safety, the California State Assembly passed a bill on Thursday requiring that almost all children be vaccinated. The new law would eliminate all non-medical exemptions including those for personal and religious beliefs. Unvaccinated kids would be refused admission to both public and private day cares and schools. The bill now goes back to the State Senate for approval before moving on to the governor's desk.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday on an Arizona redistricting case, upholding the redistricting commission's power to draw congressional maps. We'll discuss this and other Monday decisions.