Old Mole Variety Hour
The Old Mole burrows down to the roots of the great issues of our time – the struggles of ordinary people for democratic and sustainable ways of life. The Mole goes where corporate media fear to tread, supporting grassroots challenges to top-down authority and giving voice to movements that shake the foundations of an unjust society. The Moles' perspective is democratic, broadly socialist, and feminist. (We count Karl Marx as a friend).
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In times like these -- times like the 1930s and 40s -- a tradition of protest music emerges that sings from the viewpoint of working people and people who can't find work. Last week's show was about contemporary rap music. This week, we feature music from the Great Depression by the likes of Pete Seeger and Josh White. These musicians consciously made music that touched on many aspects of the growing working class movement: unemployment, Jim Crow and lynching, union organizing, anti-fascism, etc. They wanted to bring a generalized pro-working class perspective to the popular arts. Radical musicologist Brad Duncan is back to talk with with Bill Resnick about all this.
What is the unemployment situation today, and what can and should be done about it? Dedrick Muhammad, researcher and writer at the Institute for Policy Studies talks with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about jobs and the performance of the Obama adminstration in creating them.
It's time to stop talking about charity for Haiti and start talking about justice--about recovery, responsibility and fairness. Frann Michel puts the Hatian disaster in historical context and demonstrates how " Haiti was made poor--by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers and by the IMF and the World Bank" (Richard Kim, The Nation). You can read this piece here, where you'll find links to much more information.
Media critic Robert McChesney was in town this week to talk about his new book, co-authored with John Nichols, Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy. The Old Mole's Denise Morris talks with him about what independent journalism needs in order to survive. McChesney is co-founder of Freepress, and you can read an article summing up his book here.
Book Mole Larry Bowlden reviews Portland writer Heidi V. Durrow's first novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. It's about being neither black or white in a world that thinks in black and white.
An archive of Larry's reviews can be found here.
Hosted by Bill Resnick, this show features music of the Great Depression, a discussion of what Obama has and has not done to create jobs, putting Haitian poverty in historical context, a conversation about how to save journalism (and what it needs to be saved from); and a review of a novel about the confusions of bi-racial identity.
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4. Larry Bowlden reviews The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.
Oregonians will be voting on two state tax measures that increase what corporations and wealthy individuals contribute to State government. Steve Novick from the Yes For Oregon campaign talks with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about what the measures would do and the fallacies in the arguments of the opposition. You can contact the campaign at 411 N.E. 19th Ave. Portland, OR 97232 | 503-234-0444 or through their website.
James Cameron's new blockbuster movie Avatar has been widely debated: what is it really saying about people with disabilities, the environment, racism, colonialism, and other important social questions? Our Movie Moles Frann Michel and Denise Morris have a rousing good time taking down the pretensions of this huge movie phenomenon. Their blog has lots of quotes from and citations of the ongoing discussion of the film.
Can electricity be produced locally where it can be controlled by local communities? Yes, claims Judy Barnes of Oregonians For Renewable Energy Policy in this conversation with Bill Resnick. She points to the example of Germany where it is possible for residents to sell back to the system the energy they produce themselves with solar panels or windmills -- or maybe even by riding their stationary bikes! Barnes will be speaking at a Community Forum on Building a Green Oregon, Saturday, January 16 and the First Unitarian Church, SW 12th and Salmon, starting at 10 am.
Radical musicologist Brad Duncan talks with Bill Resnick about the political rap artists The Welfare Poets, Chosan, and Black Skeptik. We hear samples of their music followed by a discussion of their music as the poetry and the politics of everyday life. Here are links to videos of Black Skeptik, "Rent"; Chosan, "This is My America;" and The Welfare Poets, "Warn Them."