Left, Right & Center

Left, Right & Center

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Biden has 99 problems and the ports back logs are just one

The Port of Los Angeles will now be running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, under a new plan announced by President Biden. Right now his administration is juggling a lot of problems that are weighing down voter confidence in his presidency: supply chain logjams, rising inflation, ...  Show more

We’re doing this again?

It’s been an especially stupid week in Congress. Members of Congress are fighting over the debt limit – an archaic, post-war provision from the 20th century. Both sides of the aisle agree that the debt limit needs to go up… but they disagree on how. Democrats can do this on their ...  Show more

Uncontrolled spread

It’s...past the wire for Democrats and their votes on two big spending packages that are the priorities of President Biden. As we recorded this episode Friday morning, the promised day for a House vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill had passed and Democrats were still f ...  Show more

Deep dives on Hispanic and Latino voters, and the future of abortion access in the US

This week, guest host and Left, Right & Center contributor Keli Goff takes a deep dive into two issues in the news right now. First: she speaks with Geraldo Cadava about what Democrats and Republicans misunderstand about the “Latino vote” and what they get right. Geraldo says the ...  Show more

Cliffs, drugs and taxes

Democrats have spent weeks talking about their big spending plans, and now they’re talking about how to pay for them. Some ideas: tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans, a capital gains tax regimen, and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices directly with p ...  Show more

Required to require

This week, President Biden announced a sweeping new mandate for American workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Companies with 100 or more employees are mandated to require employees to be vaccinated or take a weekly test. Health care workers and federal government employees and co ...  Show more

Is this the end of Roe?

This week, a new law took effect in Texas prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most women are aware that they’re pregnant. There are many state laws that seek to impose bans on abortions after a certain point in pregnancy, but none are designed the ...  Show more

The bombing at Kabul airport

A suicide bombing near the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members just days ahead of the withdrawal deadline. The Biden administration still plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31. Does this deadly attack change that calculus? Also: Democrats in the House are testi ...  Show more

The Chaos in Afghanistan

Kabul has fallen. While this was expected to happen, the U.S. government has been surprised by how quickly the Taliban took over. At the start of this week, there were as many as 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. Now, Americans, along with thousands of Afghans, are trying to flee ...  Show more

Policy and people after plagues

The Delta surge continues, and case counts are especially high in the Southeast. There’s now less optimism about herd immunity (for several reasons) and it’s looking like covid is on its way to being endemic – a disease that’s likely to be with us for a long time but becomes less ...  Show more

Mind your own business

The vaccine mandates are coming. In New York, you’ll now need to prove you’re vaccinated to go to a restaurant, bar, gym or entertainment venue. Other American cities are considering similar rules. In the last week, more businesses are announcing rules about vaccines. How would i ...  Show more

Vaccines, masks, carrots, sticks

Masks are back. The CDC says even vaccinated Americans should resume wearing masks as the Delta variant sends case counts skyrocketing. But why are we still talking about masks when the most effective tool to fight COVID is the vaccines? What’s stalling government vaccine mandate ...  Show more

Rush before recess

Congress is in that busy mode before it goes on vacation. What’s moving forward? Right now, it’s the negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure framework and Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending package. What’s stalling? Voting rights and police reform. Josh Barro talks ...  Show more

The Democrats’ go-big budget

This week on Left, Right & Center: Senate Democrats have their plates full between the bipartisan infrastructure bill they’re already working on and a new $3.5 trillion spending bill they announced this week. This one would be mostly social spending: paid family leave, child care ...  Show more

Leaving Afghanistan

On this week’s Left Right & Center, Josh, Liz and Ross talk about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. But what do we have to show for America’s longest war? And should we fear a return of the Taliban to power? Then: We now know who’s winning the Democratic ...  Show more

Special presentation of All The Presidents’ Lawyers

This week’s episode is a special presentation of All The Presidents’ Lawyers, a KCRW podcast that Josh Barro and Ken White host. It’s all about the legal problems of presidents and their associates. This week: the indictments of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and variou ...  Show more

It’s Infrastructure Week, again!

A bipartisan success story: That’s how President Biden wants us to remember the infrastructure deal he announced this week. It was an opportunity for the president to remind people that he gets Congress, he knows how to reach across the aisle, and he’ll still reassure progressive ...  Show more

Or else

After a highly anticipated summit between President Biden and Vladimir Putin, here’s what we’re left with: if Russia’s going to cyberattack the United States, they should not target sixteen critical areas of American society and infrastructure, or else. What does that mean? And w ...  Show more

Secret Congress

Joe Biden is in Europe. He’s meeting with the G7, then he’ll see European and NATO leaders and meet one-on-one with Putin. European leaders are relieved Trump is gone, but does that mean they have an alignment of interests with Biden ashe seeks to challenge Russia and China? And ...  Show more

An improved jobs report but still a long road to economic recovery

The jobs report for May was better than April but still left a lot of room for improvement. Workers are being more selective, which may not be a bad thing. With a tight labor market and a material shortage, is this the right time for a big infrastructure package? Negotiations con ...  Show more

Sausage making

Congress has been unusually productive lately. The sausage making process is actually getting us some sausage — in this case, a bipartisan plan to boost spending on applied science research, framed as a way to compete with China. There is less agreement on the bipartisan commissi ...  Show more

Look at Congress being normal again

There is a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. Joe Biden told Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he expected a significant and swift de-escalation, which he got. But the Biden administration’s overall approach to Israel and Palestine has been to keep expectations low ...  Show more

Is it time to cut unemployment benefits?

Inflation is back! It may not be here to stay — there’s a lot of weirdness in the economy right now — but with wages rising quickly despite surprisingly weak job growth in April, some states are moving to cut off unenhanced unemployment benefits in an effort to drive more America ...  Show more

Where are all the jobs?

The April jobs report number was disappointing. We expected a million new jobs and only got 260,000. There are a few factors that could be slowing job growth: a very specific reason why manufacturing jobs are down, enhanced unemployment benefits, disrupted child care and school s ...  Show more

The low-rated, kinda sleepy and quietly radical speech

President Biden made his first address to a joint session of Congress. It didn’t get big TV ratings, but the content reflected big changes to what he’d have the government do, with trillions of dollars in new spending on infrastructure and social programs. So is Joe Biden a quiet ...  Show more