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tv   2015 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Sunday  CSPAN  April 19, 2015 2:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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>> as we speak, alaska has just legalized general recreational use. and public opinion has shifted very much in that direction. and pretty dramatically. maybe even more dramatically than gay marriage this shift in public opinion to the favorable side. and, you know, 20 years 15, 20 years ago maybe 20% of the american people were in favor of legalization, now something like 60%. and given the evidence we thought it important to write this book, and no one else seemed to be writing it, and i don't think anyone has, about why this is a bad idea. the other thing is and this is very relevant is as public opinion has softened on marijuana -- maybe 60% in favor of legalization -- the scientific evidence is
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overwhelming against it. i was drug czar, director of national drug control policy, '8 9-'90. we didn't have this kind of research then. we had some, smattering. but now it is overwhelming, the harm that marijuana does. and i just have to believe or want to believe the american people are not informed of these facts. and so the point of the book was to get these facts out so they can make a second judgment on this, an informed decision. let me get to the end of my story. i think in colorado which has been kind of ground zero here, that they will reconsider at the end of the day. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: try to put this jeepny back in the -- genie back in the boding and recriminallize because they're starting to see the results. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> and it's day two of
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booktv's lye coverage of the los angeles times festival of books. on your screen the campus of the university of southern california, home of this 20th annual festival. yesterday we covered programs on journalism publishing, world leaders and more, and today we continue our live festival coverage with author panels on u.s. history, california history and crime. you'll also be able to talk with authors such azzam quinones and ben shapiro. they'll sit down with us on our outdoor set to answer your questions via twitter and by phone. check for a complete schedule of today's events, and you can see schedule updates all day long at the bottom of your television screen. all right. we kick off today's "l.a. times" festival inside newman hall on the usc campus. you're going to hear from claudia rankin author of a book called "citizen," which was a finalist for the national book
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award. live coverage of the 20th annual los angeles times festival of books starts now on booktv. [inaudible conversations] >> hi everyone welcome. i'm bridget mullins, i'm a professor here at usc in the master of professional writing program, and i'm so thrilled to be here with claudia rankin today. and i want to thank the l.a. times festival of books curators for asking me to be the moderator and the interviewer today because there are so many amazingly qualified people on this campus at the moment, and i'm just sitting in the catbird
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seat. so i need to make a couple of announcements before we start. please silence your cell phones. and there's a book signing following this session. the book signing is located at signing area one and it's noted on the festival map in the center of the event program. and that personal recording is not allowed. so i as i just mentioned i am so delighted to be here with claudia rankin. just by way of introduction, how many of you have read "citizen"? oh, great. [laughter] this will be a conversation. okay. so as you know "citizen" just won the l.a. times poetry award. [applause] and it won the national book circle critics award in poetry,
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and it was nominated for the award in criticism, which is a first, and i think it speaks to the cross-genre, hybrid nature of the book. her other titles are "don't let me be lonely" and "american lyric," got -- plot," she also writes plays and frequently collaborates with her husband, the filmmaker john lucas, on videos and she is also a chancellor at the academy of american poets. so this book "citizen," has captured america's attention and i mentioned to claudia that i wanted to start with a quote from theater director peter brook from his book "the empty space." he says, "i know of one acid test in the theater, it is literally an acid test." "when a performance is over, what remains?" "fun can be
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forgotten, but powerful emotion also disappears, and good arguments lose their thread." "when emotion and argument are harnessed with a wish from the audience to see more clearly into itself, then something in the mind burns." "the event scorches onto the memory an outline, a taste, a trace, a smell a picture." so that line that the acid test is when emotion and argument are harnessed with a bush from the audience -- a wish from the audience to see more clearly into itself, and so with claudia's work i think that this important book has coincided with this desire for america to see more deeply into itself and she's accomplished this. and so we're just going to start with claudia reading from the book and get her voice in the book. >> well, thank you all for coming out today, this morning.
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it's -- i'm full of gratitude, thank you. so i feel like i have one shot. [laughter] whoa, okay. i'll read this piece that was written because i was curious to know if in the white body there were moments where -- if inside the white body there were moments where whiteness knew that it was behaving because it was white. like there was -- so i asked a friend who i walk with because she owns one of these white bodies. [laughter] and i said can you tell me a time when you know that something that you're doing, you're doing because you are white? and she said, oh, you know in
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l.a. not so much, but when i'm in new york, i know that when i enter public transportation and i see that empty seat next to a black body, i sit in it. there's a sort of scan that happens in me. and i said, well, you know, it's funny, because when you think about the black male body that's something i do myself. so then we had a really -- for me -- great discussion about the ways in which bodies try to, white or black or whatever color, try to step into a breach in the fabric of america into you know places that as ordinary, everyday citizens we know there's a problem. a deep a rooted problem. and we do what we can. and what we can means we take our body, and we put it somewhere. on the train the woman standing
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makes you understand there are no seats available. and, in fact, there is one. is the woman getting off at the next stop? no. she would rather stand all the way to union station. the space next to the man is the pause in a conversation you are suddenly rushing to fill. you step quickly over the woman's fear, a fear she shares. you let her have it. the man digit acknowledge you as you -- doesn't acknowledge you as you sit down because the man knows more about the unoccupied seat than you do. for him you imagine it is more like breath than wonder. he has had to think about it so much you wouldn't call it thought. when another passenger leaves his seat and the standing woman sits, you glance over at the man. he's gazing out the window into what looks like darkness.
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you sit next to the man on the train, bus and the plane, waiting room anywhere. he could be forsaken. you put your body there in proximity to, adjacent to, alongside. you don't speak unless you are spoken to, and your body speaks to the space you fill, and you keep trying to fill it, except the space belongs to the body of the man next to you not to you. where he goes, the space follows him. if the man left his seat before union station, you would simply be a person in a seat on a train. you would cease to struggle against the unoccupied seat; when where, why. the space won't lose its meaning. you imagine if the man spoke to you, he would say, "it's okay, i'm okay." "you don't need to sit here." you don't need to sit, and you sit and look past him into the
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darkness the train is moving through, a tunnel. all the while the darkness allows you to look at him. does he feel you looking look at him? -- looking at him? you suspect so. what does suspicion mean? what does suspicion do? the soft gray-green of your cotton coat touches the sleeve of him. you're shoulder to shoulder though standing you could feel shadowed. you sit to repair whom, who? you erase that thought. and it might be too late for that. it might be too late or too early. the train moves too fast for your eyes to adjust to anything beyond the man, the window the tile tunnel, its slick darkness. occasionally a white light flickers by like a displaced sound. from across the aisle tracks, room harbor world the woman asks
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the man in the rows ahead if he would mind switching seats. it's then the man next to you turns to you, and as if inside his own held, you agree that if anyone asks grow move you'll tell them we're traveling as a family. [applause] >> thank you. so one thing about hearing you read the work is to hear this voice which has -- it's your voice, but there's a dissolve in that there's such identification with the speaker of poem and then with the man in the subway. and so there's -- it's almost as
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if identity dissolves into this identification. there's this -- i just realized now, there's this huge deal of empathy which happens. and i wanted to ask you this, and i think this might be a good time, is the use of the second person. which displaces us a little bit because we look at the book and we know that you wrote it. and you talked a little bit about your process in writing the book where you asked the group mind to come into the conversation. >> uh-huh. >> so i guess that choice of the second person versus i think somewhere in the book you call it the brahman i versus this you which is inclusive. >> uh-huh uh-huh.
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>> it's very striking to start reading the book and to see all these micro-aggressions told in second perp. could you, could you talk about that choice? >> it wasn't a choice initially. i think i started working in the first or in the third person, and then i realized that the struggle of the text was how do you get a reader not to think they already know? because i think these are old problems. they're ancient. and they have stayed with us you know, now we can say centuries, right? and so how do we reenter in a way that allows us to have to interrogate again? and the second person lawed that
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because -- allowed that because it meant that the reader had to say this person is doing that and that person is doing that. and i perhaps see myself standing here. and so those people who said they didn't see race, i don't see race, you're a little obsessed by race because i only see human beings. you know began to say things like, well that person must be the black person, or that body must be the brown body or that's probably a white guy. and then suddenly race enters the space, and then one has to take a position around whether or not one is capable of holding the actions of one of those people. so that, that was the sort of the thinking behind the second perp.
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but -- person. but another part of me loved this idea if you're talking about sort of minorities, that you're actually talking about the second person. that the position of the other is the second person. so on a sort of language level, there was that kind of sort of deliciousness around the way that second person met the use of the word "other." >> there's also a multiplicity of voices in the book a generosity. james baldwin, so many voices in the book and ralph ellison. and i thought of the last line of "invisible man" which is "who knows, but on some level i speak for you." so that idea of the role of the citizen or the responsibility of the citizen is to notice things and to speak about them. and that's that's a role that you've been put in since the
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publication of the book. i don't know how many printings it's had now -- >> i think six. >> six? >> it might be up to six. >> phenomenal. and there's been a change orphan one of the page -- on one of the pages. i don't know how many of you have recent editions but in the edition i have, which is the first edition on 133 i think it is -- no it's -- yeah. it's 134 and 135. and as you know since most of you have read the book, the book moves from micro-aggression from from the second person anecdotes that are really powerful, each and every one, and moves by accretion. and we have a gorgeous lyric essay about serena williams and it moves forward and then we have these macro- aggressions that are sometimes they almost seem like unutter bl. so there's just, it's like a
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breckian signage. break had written around the theater walls, don't stare so romantically. it's almost like that's the architecture of the book as well. so in the recent editions of the book, there are more in memories. there's not just jordan russell davis can, there's not just -- there's now eric garner, john youford, the list goes on -- >> walter scott is outside the lust but inside the list yeah. >> and so there's something of a first responder energy to the book that's kind of, i think, sending waves through america. but also on that facing page, can you talk about what you've done in recent printings of the book? >> well i -- after the killing of michael brown i was thinking
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about darren wilson and you might remember he said it was as if a demon was coming, and i saw, i saw him and i saw hulk hogan. and so i began to think um, what's going on inside that head of his, you know? and i don't mean it -- i think it's important. and so i really was just thinking about those statements. and so i wrote down -- because white men can't police their imagination, black men are dying. and i thought it was the first line to something that i would continue to think about this and think about darren wilson's statements. but then everything else i wrote seemed to fall back into because
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white men can police their imagination, black men are dying. and then do you remember the other policemen asked the black guy to get his license and the guy reaches in the car to get his license and the man shoots him? and then you have the audio recording, and the black guy says to him, why did you shoot me? and he said because you reached into your car. and he said, but you asked me to get my license. and in the voice of the white policeman, you also hear a kind of confoundedness. like he too is like i don't know why this happened. and you can hear it. you can hear it. and so -- which is, i think, a very different kind of body than
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white policeman who shot walter lamar. i mean, we could see that when he picked up the taser and dropped it by lamar's body. i'm not saying that there is one body one white body in terms of this kind of interrogation. but that um, that led me to want to think about what is happening inside the white imagination relative to the black and brown body. but that moment itself is itself. and so i ended up just moving it into a very loose haiku. and putting that replacing that in the later edition of the book. >> it's, it's a very strong haiku moment. it does -- it takes, it takes you, it takes you actually deeper into the book i think. and so, but you also you took out the justice system right?
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is that right? >> i did take out the justice system. initially the page read in memory of jordan russell davis on one side, and then on the other side it said, it had the date of the justice system. that case, if you remember, that was the case where the white guy -- let's call him that, the white guy -- saw russell in the car playing music with his friends, and he shot him. so he shot into -- and he claimed that he was afraid, and that's why he killed him. but, and initially he got off. but then the case somehow -- i don't remember exactly how it went, but now he's in jail. so it seemed like the justice system had actually shown up on that one. so it didn't seem correct to
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leave it there for that. so that led to the desire to change it, to be more accurate, you know? i think when you are as you say, being a first responder, you want to kind of first respond with as much information as you have. and since we had more information, i thought well, we can change it. >> the book folds in a lot of techniques that maybe weren't available to poets from a hundred years ago or even twenty years ago. there's a capaciousness and a conversation that seems to be happening, and you know the book. most of you have read it and it's got a beautiful heft to it. but it's also, it contains illustrations that aren't illustrations. it's not a factic poetry.
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it requires interaction almost in the way that a play script requires interaction. and part of me wondered because i've taught this book three times now, and every time i've taught it i've been amazed at the subtlety, but also the appropriateness of the placement and the resonance of some of the images. and i wondered if you could talk about that process of finding the images or having the images folded into the text but not as an illustration as a scene. >> uh-huh. >> it's almost like a scenic it's an aperture into another conversation, a parallel conversation. >> uh-huh. >> very powerful images throughout. and then at the end you have
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these scripts of situation videos which you can watch online, and they're also very powerful with the techniques of slowing down the action and the voiceover coinsiding. but -- coinciding. so there's a lot of visual, theatrical energy in the book. and so i wondered if you could talk about the um imagines and is this -- images and is this different from your other work? does it expand on a process that you had had before? or is it, is it a natural progression for this project? >> well, i really i love bridget for saying i'm a visionary, but actually i think blake also had poems and imagings. and in his case maybe a little bit more illustrative, i think. so there has been a kind of line
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coming down can. what's different i think about "citizen" and the use of images here has to do with the visual arts community. i had to get permission to use many of them. all of them, i had to get permission to use. and because of that i feel that it opens out the space of the page so that it really is a conversation between the many minds that supplied the stories in this, in this text and the sort of amazing creative minds that created the visual pieces. so i loved that the inclusion of the images meant an opening out of a conversation. and a consideration that one couldn't -- a conversation that
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one couldn't control. that also was exciting to me, because i have absolutely no idea what bridget took from the images that she saw. i mean, i know why i used them but that doesn't account for what will happen when somebody else interacts with the text and the image. so to -- it makes it, the space, much more alive for me. and that was exciting. the, you know the sense that one cannot and does not want to control the reader. let it take them where it takes them. in terms of how it's different from the other work i think that in "citizen" for me the stakes are a little higher. i was, i was very concerned with
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having the images enter the work authentically, so i was interested in what generated the work itself. so, for instance, nick cave i used a piece of his work. i don't know if you -- this is the nick cave piece. he does these pieces that they're actual garments, incredible -- exquisitely made. and he calls them sound suits. and i was really interested in why he made them. and it took me a long time to track down interviews, and there wasn't a lot of writing around it. but finally i found an interview where he said that after the beating of rodney king he thought, well, if it's only just
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about the color of people's skin, why don't we create garments that will coffer that up? -- that will cover that up, and we can start again? we'll just start over. and so he made these sound suits, and they literally cover you from head to foot. and that was supposed to sort of clear the space. why is that interesting to me? there's a fantastic theorist called robin clly. he wrote -- kelley. he wrote a book called "freedom dreams." the last chapter of the book talks about the way that the only way out of this kind of systemic racism that is equal to what it means to be american is to make some kind of surreal jump. but we can't seem to work it out inside. so we're going to have to jump.
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and it seemed like nick cave had jumped. so i was really interested in the sort of back story behind the pieces, on the pieces taken at the million man march, or one of them was he used a text the text from sor rah neil thurston, i feel the most -- [inaudible] when i'm thrown against a background. so there was a real historical conversation going on in the use of the different pieces. >> i think that's more of what i meant, is that there's there's a dependence or interdependence or ability to engage with technology and with documentation and with collective memory and collective questions in a way that wasn't available, i think, before the internet. >> yeah. >> and so the book becomes a really large conversation that people are having all over
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country. so one question i also had about the use of images and the way that a lot of the book sends you looking, it sends you like zora neil hur stomp says research is formalized curiosity. we have a curiosity you whet our appetite. i'm curious about the choice. i mean, in some ways it seems perfect as does the closing text, a prose poem. i can hear the even breathing. maybe you would read that for us and then talk a little bit about the choice of the turner painting at the end of the book? because i, i think the book it's it must have been really challenging to end this book -- [laughter] to come to some sort of -- or there's no finality for it because it seems you're folding back into it.
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it is like a theatrical production. there's more going on. but for now, for this entity this is the end. so maybe you could read this last page and talk about the painting. >> okay. no it's true. it was impossible to end this book. my friend karen green, is in the back and she knows. i was talking constantly like how do you get out of here? [laughter] but, you know, i had another friend who kept saying, oh, just write some more of those micro-aggressions, and i'm like i'm not just going to keep writing those. so i literally would be thinking and thinking, like, how do you end this? because you don't want to suggest artificially that there is an ending, that there is any way in which one can reconcile these things happening
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day-to-day for these bodies. i can hear the even breathing that creates passages to dreams. and, yes i want to interrupt to tell him/her/us/you/me i don't know how to end what doesn't have an ending. tell me a story he says wrapping his arms around me. yesterday i began. i was waiting in the car for time to pass. a woman pulled in and started to park her car facing mine. our eyes met, and what passed passed as quickly as the look away. she backed up and parked on the other side of the lot. i could have followed her to worry my question, but i had to go. i was expected on court.
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i grabbed my racquet. the sunrise is slow and cloudy dragging the light in but barely. did you win, he asked? it wasn't a match, i say. it was a lesson. and that was one of those things, those moments where i wrote down exactly what happened. i was -- i went to have my tennis lesson, and i was sitting in the car eating a banana and thinking, how do i end the end of the book? [laughter] and this woman drove up, and she looked at me, and then she backed up. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. and i thought -- this is kind of silly, but i jumped out of the car and i said, i know i'm going to ask her why she did
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that. [laughter] and i started walking towards her car which probably freaked her out even more -- [laughter] like oh, my god the big black lady's coming after me. [laughter] but then i thought, oh, my god i'm going to be late. ross who i take lessons from, would have not been happy. so i just thought, oh, i can't do both things. and then what is she really going to say to me? you're right i am a racist. [laughter] i'm really sorry. and the book ends with this image by turner. i think isn't turner at the getty right now? >> yes. >> yeah. i need to get over there. i love turner i've always loved turner. i've always felt there's a thing, you can be a constable perp, and you can be a turner person. and i've always been a turner person because turner's so moody, and everything's so cloudy, you know?
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so i was thinking about this image as the final image because it seemed to me it embodied what it meant to move through a landscape or a sea scape in this case where you think you see what you see and, in fact, it looks nice. i mean, there's something very beautiful about this image if you just glance at it. so it holds a kind of normalcy. and even beauty. but then when you are pulled in to examine what is actually happening, you see that in this case the slaves have been thrown overboard which was a practice that was engaged for two reasons.
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one, if you had sick and dying slaves on a slave slip -- slave ship and you arrived, nobody would buy them, obviously. so it would just be property that was that -- literally. but if you toss them overboard, then you could say the insurance would have to pay for them. that would be lost property. so there was that practice of just tossing anybody who was failing in any way overboard. and in this case there was a storm coming he felt he was going to -- people were ill on the boat and he, so he dumped all of the black bodies. when he arrived the owner of the property -- the black bodies -- was like, what
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happened to my property? hey. and the other shipmates said it was his decision to throw them out. so he was put on trial for that. but turner actually was upset that they were killing the black bodies. and so you gotta like him, you know? [laughter] to move it out of the realm of commodity and into the human realm where it started and should stay. so that was -- and you can when i went to purchase the image you can purchase it with the detail, and it seemed to enact this idea of what happens when you start to be conscious, what happens when you look? what happens when you interrogate actually what's going on? there it is. and because all of this shit is
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happening because of visual triggers right? it's just, oh, she's got brown skip oh, she's got -- she's a black. it's a visual. i wanted to end in a visual moment. and that's why the visuals are important to this book because it is at the source of the bias and the racism. >> i thought i was a close reader, but i'm beginning to think i'm not because -- [laughter] is this last piece the only time that you write in first person? >> it is. >> okay. >> that inside the macro-aggressions. it was a moment of owning that i in the final -- because i wanted the end to do a different thing. and so in that sense i thought in this moment i'm going to own the i in terms of my own -- you
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know, toni morrison talks a lot about not being interested in the white gaze and many of her books, in fact have very few white people in there. but, you know, i -- as much as i, i'm a lover of tony morrison -- tony morrison there's no way that this work is possible without morrison's work and also her critical work "playing in the dark." i think that it's a false construction to act as if i am not interacting with white bodies all the time including my husband's. so, you know, that would be problematic. [laughter] so i -- but one can own the i and one does own the i relative to one's self. so i did want to do a kind of
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corrective around that. >> that's fascinating, and i read that -- i read an interview with lauren berlance and with her work on trauma a, and while i think the subject of the book is race, the subtext is trauma in that traumatic reexperiencing of these beliefs or these deeply unconsciously-held behaviors that aren acted on a -- are enacted on a daily basis. and early in the book i think it's the last section of the first micro-aggressions the character is going to visit a trauma counselor, a therapist. the image facing it is the really striking image of the
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hybrid girl/deer and the animal, the self as animal. and i wondered if you could talk about your study of trauma or your relationship with trauma? i was also thinking about your book that -- i think it's "plot" that has a lot of virginia woolf written through and her writings on ptsd and just how you -- i think it's a new thing, a rare thing to bring trauma and racism together in this way. and it is, it is -- it must be an ongoing trauma. so if you could talk about that a little bit. >> that's, that's a great question and yeah as you're speaking, my mind is like --
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the, i -- you see? [laughter] there it is. well, i've always been entered in trauma. i don't know how many people have watched that film by claude lensman, shoa? it's an eight-hour documentary in which lensman has gatt ored people together -- gathered people together who are more or less the last survivors of the camps. and many of them are, you know getting on in age. and he wants them to tell him exactly what has happened to them. and they have moved on in the sense that they've grown up kids and moved to israel in the case of one guy, a barber. and somehow that information was locked down. and lensman's mission was to get
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them to retell exactly what happened to them. and he made a decision in that documentary not to use any historical footage. so he was relying on those people to bring forward everything, the history the emotional space, the pragmatic details of those moments. and so the documently is really about -- documentary is really about watching lensman on a certain level getting people to enter the side of trauma and to hold that place. and he would he would ask them questions, and they would be happy to speak to a certain point, and then they would stop.
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and he would say, no, you have of to -- what happened next? like, so the nazis said dig up that area, and you went to dig up the area and then what happened? and the person would just be like, that's it i'm done. thank you. i've told you everything i need to tell you good-bye. and lensman was like no, no, no no. what happened next? what happened? and the body would break down. it would literally break down. they would start crying, they would not be able to go on. and you would wait, you would wait with them. until they would say something like as i started to shovel in the dirt, i saw the body of my wife. you know? it was one of those -- even i'm b remembering him say it, and it breaks my heart still. and so i was really interested in how narrative, how the actual
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storytelling is tied to the holding of the grief and the trauma. and so i wanted in a way to collect these stories my own and the stories of my friends, because these moments even though they're small in the sections that contain the micro-aggressions, they're also heartbreaking. because they often happen between you and a friend. you and a colleague. you and a moment in the day that is not supposed to be spectacular. that's supposed to be ordinary, that's supposed to allow you to pass through. and then it just it gets all gummed up. and you spend all of your time trying to get past it so you can
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do the next thing. i mean, i began to think of white privilege actually, as mobility. as the ability to just move through life without -- with the normal stresses that are human stresses without this added thing. that has to be negotiated by brown and black bodies every day. and it is every day in some way. so that's how i was thinking about trauma um in relationship to this text. there's also john henry a friend told me this phrase, john henry is the idea that black bodies have to work hard just to
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get through the through their lives. and so the stresses that get built up around that become actual physical things like high blood pressure, for example. and so -- and within the medical community, this is recognized as a sip dream. it's an actual syndrome. in fact somebody from the harvard school of health called me up and said he was going to use this book in his classes now. in order to talk about that, and also the psychiatric convention next year -- whatever that is -- [laughter] called me and asked me if i would come and talk. so that sense of the accession and what that accretion of bias does to the body is something
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that the text in an underground way is interested in. and it's something that lauren bellant, the critic in cruel optimism writes about. she's very interested in the ways in which the body acts out relative to its own frustrations and trauma. >> thank you. i was so curious about that and the structure of the book as well because it seems like it goes along, and something's forgotten, and then there's a trigger, and there's a memory. and in the book different characters or different voices advise the noticing voice to stop noticing. >> uh-huh. >> just stop, don't pay attention. you know get along, along. don't register it. but there's this insistence -- i don't know if it's an insistence, but it's a registering of it over and over.
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and two of the figures who are deeply registered, one is serena williams through the lyric essay and the visuals, and the other is the situation video. and i bond ored if you could talk -- wondered if you could talk a little bit about why you chose sports figures. what is it about these athletes? >> well, it's not so much the sports figures themself, it's the, it's sports. the fact that those things are documented and replayed. so if the difficulty is, wait did she just say that? ah. and then you say, did you just say that? and they're like what, i didn't say anything. oh, i thought i heard you say something, but okay. whereas in sports you can replay it. you know that's the thing about sports something happens and they're like wait and then they replay it. and so it's easy to document and
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look at and address the questions of these moments of aggression that happens within a space using sports figures. so in the world cup, that was -- do you guys remember? that was the world cup, and maserati, the italian player says something to -- [inaudible] and nobody knows what was said. but zadan walks by him, decides not to let it go -- whatever it was -- turns around, comes back and head butts him. and then they're all so dramatic in soccer, right? maserati falls down like, oh, my
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god, you know? but he was able to get up a second later. so clearly -- [laughter] so it was almost like ballet. it was beautifully enacted. but in the space of the time between that action and the public finding out what was said, everything erupted in terms of race. everybody -- the newspaper, the chat lines everything was like oh, he called him a dirty arab. he called him a nigger, he called him this, he called him that. and they brought in lip readers -- [laughter] and the lip readers said yeah that's what he said he said he was a dirty arab. he said, you know, that's what they saw the lips saying. and to me, that was pass a nateing. it's like, you know everybody knows that racism is right under the surface of these
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interactions. and so the minute there is discomfort and confrontation, the language of racism comes in. it turns out that what he said was "your sister is a whore." and that, that is also fascinating because in writing about european racism it's been said the way the european will get at the algerian is by insulting the women in their families. so in a sense, he did enact a moment of racism in exactly the way it had been documented it would occur back in the 1940s when he wrote "black skip, white mask." -- "black skin white mask." so that's sort of my interest in
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sports. i'm also now interested in sports because i became interested in sports, you know how those things happen? in watching serena williams, i became a huge tennis fan. i began playing tennis and i love playing tennis. i'm now a huge fan of rafael nadal, if anybody afterwards wants to talk about whether he thinks he's going to be able to win the french open again this year i'm yours. [laughter] >> and it also brings you and the reader into a larger conversation because there's so much interest around sports. >> uh-huh exactly. it's a national treasure. [laughter] >> as is we're approaching the end here so i will just say as is your book, claudia. it's a, it's a book that i think hearing you read from is such a privilege, the tone and the work that went into it, which we didn't even touch on, the process. there's so much to talk about
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here, as you know. so thank you for being attentive, and let's give a warm thank you to claudia. [applause] >> thank you. thank you bridget. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> and you're watching booktv on c-span2. that was claudia rankine talking about her book, "citizen." it was a national book award finalist. this is booktv's live coverage from the 20th annual los angeles times festival of books held on the campus of the university of southern california. you can see us, another california day out here with the sun shining and big crowds. about 150,000 people attend this festival every year, held over a weekend in april and booktv will be live all day. to get the full schedule, go to, or you can follow the updates on the bottom of your screen throughout day. well joining us here on our outdoor set at usc is author and longtime journalist sam quinones. his most recent book is called
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"dreamland: the true tale of america's opiate epidemic." mr. quinones, what is it art portsmouth ohio that's -- about portsmouth, ohio, that's central to your book? >> guest: a stand-in for the rest of the country really. it had gone through a period of great economic development. it was a wonderful small town atmosphere. it had it had a lot of industry there. when all of that goes away it opens itself to a tremendous social problems, let's say, unemployment, a lot of depopulation, a lot of people leave, but also isolation. crucial to this book, it was an isolation, a fragmentation that went on in the town that made it easy work for opiates. opiates, heroin and the other opiate-based drugs are the ultimate in kind of narcissistic kind of drugs.
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they're very individualistic. you close in on yourself. and that's why this was one place. all of those factors together. it had lost -- it had a beautiful, gorgeous swimming pool, probably one of the largest swimming pools in america where life itself took place. it revolved around this swimming pool. people grew up at the swimming pool, they were observed by families parents were watching them. you would start out as a toddler and then move to the deep end as a teenager, and then when you had kids you go back to the shallow end. it was this wonderful part of life, essential part of life, and with deindustrialization with people leaving the pool eventually lost a lot of its people and finally had to close. and with that the town lost its central square. the pool was called dreamland. and it seemed like this kind of metaphor stand hip for the country -- stand-in for the
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country, the swimming pool and the beautiful community feel that it created. and that's why i decided to kind of center a lot of the book and title the book for it. because the pool itself just fills me with such enormous warmth and sadness, too because that's gone. >> host: well, your book is kind of a two-track book about oxycontin and black tar heroin. >> guest: correct. >> host: how did both of those substances get to portsmouth, and what effect did they have on the community? >> guest: well, it's true, the book was -- i envisioned it as kind of a twin tale of drug marketing. this is a drug trafficking and drug plague that has no guns involved. not colombians fighting their way into miami, this is all about marketing. ..ç[kñt(xai
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and never stopped and got to places where you're prescribing hundreds of pills for almost any kind of ailment that before had never been -- they'd never been prescribe for. on the other hand, you have a small town in a forgottenbtj smuy mexico a counsel called jalisco, onew3 ofe1 mexico's mallest statesjfxdr tan connection to farmers that grow opqápuu)qj they develop']/çó way
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of selling heroin bz!ekñi tar heroin, kind oflp sticky -- looks likexd ai]çó tootsie role and theyw3 sell itfá like pizza. they use@?=p)keting to delivery convince customer service. deliver it to your door.uui in 1998, for the first time, the first time in the history of america, when black tar heroin from mexico crosses the mississippi river to get to places like ohio. they lan in columbus, one guy in
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particular tell the store he comes to columbus and establishes there. they then begin to sell and their system is unbeatable because it is hitting presicily at the time when the heavy, heavy promotion of pain pills opiate pain killers is happening in that area. that whole area was columbus at its center is ground zero for this endem mcrealy. that's -- epidemic. thaty it first takes hold and is most destructive. they come just as that's taking place, and their collision, pills and heroin together, is -- creates enormous devastation continues to create enormous devastation, and that's a story that has been repeated roos -- across the country so vermont, alabama, never hood highway highway before, now have it because pills start thread first, and this collision story kind of takes place over and over virtually nationwide nice
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today. >> host: what's been the effect of this new addiction? >> guest: well there's so many. one thing is to really tax our infrastructure rehabilitation infrastructure. and also it's hit places or neighborhoods where people simply are not prepared for it. they just don't know what to do. and it's hard, too because this is i believe, the hardest drug to kick. the addiction to this drug opiate black tar heroin or opiate addiction in general, they're molecularry similar have a similar effect on the brain. that's enormously difficult to kick. requires families -- people mortgages houses, use up college savings to get their kid through some form of rehabilitation. and again, to get back to the idea this is not something that started with the drug mafia. most of these things start with some drug underworld, columbians
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and this starts with doctors and the mafia figured it out are and fully onboard but didn't start we them. >> host: san quinones is our guest, his book is called "dreamland." about the true tail of america's opiate epidemic. numbers are on the screen if you want to participate in our conversation here in los angeles. mr. quiñones, you worked for "the los angeles times" for a long time. what kind of reporting did you do? >> guest: i had left before that for ten years in mexico. i came up here. this was my home region. i wanted to work for "the los angeles times" to cover things related to mexico, so i covered immigration, i covered neighborhoods, where lots of immigrants live. i covered street gangs. as i got back here, the drug war, the very vicious drug washing kicked off in mexico and so i began to cover that as well. that's what led me -- i was at the "los angeles times" when i
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came on to this story initially wrote a three-part series for the paper about the jalisco boys we call them. so that was the kind of stuff. i got more of a in-depth expertise in mexican drug trafficking after the war kicked off in mexico, when i was in mexico, the real story was immigration. the real story also was political change. the drug trafficking was always there but they didn't think it was that important. then win 2004 2005 2006 i began to see -- it became apparent this was the big story so i wrote a lot about that as well for "the los angeles times." ten great years. >> host: from your book "dreamland" amid this madness, the sons and tours of business owners the children of sheriffs captains and doctors and lawyers, saw a future in oxycontin. some recorded pills as a response to economic catastrophe the way some poor mexican
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villagers view drug trafficking. dealers who could not have found a legitimate job in port mouther. bartered pills to feed their kids. some remodeled dilapidated houses. others bought cars and truck. >> guest: what happen is because of economic decline there drew up an oxycontin economy. because of the economic decline together with the enormous number of pill mills clinics run we quack doctors who give you whatever prescription you want for cash mom fee. people come in every month and get their prescription and go. this created an enormous oxycontin economy in the up to of the town. there were more pill mills mills there except for florida. and it -- it kind of took away with it a whole generation of people who had grown up after
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the heyday of sportsmouth. portsmouth was a giant. it had steel mills shoe factories, and a lot of that went away in the '80s, the '70s and '80s and what was left -- then the pool dreamland closed. what was left, walmart, chain stores, and finally eventually pills and pill mills. that was the main locally owned business to start in portsmouth was pill mills for a good number of years. late '90s, early 2000's and that had a devastating effect on the town, which i think is now coming back from in a very hopeful way. for a long time this oxycontin economy, you could buy anything for pills. you could buy cable tv service because the cable tv guy was addicted too. you could pay him in pills. you could by t-bone steaks kids
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shoes, ransom your boyfriend who was kid indianed for pills. cash almost had no value. pills had value because so many people were addicted to it. within that walmart became the essential part of the oxycontin economy, because walmart was the place where under one roof you could steal everything you've needed to make your habit that day. so if a dealer -- they would make up lists for the shoplifters-need a circular saw and t-bone steak and shoes for my kids. used to be in portsmouth if you want evidence to steal those things you have to go from shoe store to grocery store to one after another. all those stores were gone. all under one roof, under walmart's roof. and of course, the greeters and the employees were not tremendously motivated because they were making $10 an hour. weren't going to face off a jinxie over shoplifting so
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people began to just make runs on walmart. walmart really became the foundation for the oxycontin economy because you could go there and steal everything you needed to make your hit for the day, make your net for the day. >> host: you have covered a lot of dramatic or big issues like this. were you shocked by what you found in portsmouth? >> guest: i was shocked by what i found there and also shocked what i found in jalisco. i was probably more shocked by what i was finding in the wealthiest suburbs of america, too. these are people who have done the best. in the last 15, 20 years of the economic runup we have had since the mid-90s, let's say they have done so, so well. they have everything they need. they have every house, hey gadget, every car, everything they need, and yet their kids are getting addicted in mass
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numbers. that's where the problem shifted after it went through appalachia. went to the wealthy suburbs. all the kids, who ben fitted most from the runup of the last 15, 20 years are getting addicted to drugs used of all things to numb pain. one cop was driving me around and said, what pain? where is the pain? there is pain. there's the pain of people who have not really been able to, i guess, feel happiness in some way, achieve the happiness they thought was coming with enough stuff. so that shocked me. portsmouth with the ox oxycontin and the sad departure of the swimming pool, and jalisco, a little town in the middle of nowhere that provides now heroin -- i counted 17 states and another eight states where
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they'd come and gone. i'm not sure if they're still there yet. you're talking about half the country from a town the size of this quad where we're sitting and 23,000 people live there all of this one shocking in after another. surprising amazing thing after another in this story, i have to say. >> host: sam quinones is our guest. "dreamland" is the become. jeff, you're first up today. >> caller: well, shocking information. drawing in the prosecution of the children, you ought to look at that. that one of the most shocking thinks i have seen. so far as chemistry in the body men have been targeted to be made worthless by the woman's movement and shocked at how organized they are. >> host: let's hear from sam. >> guest: i'm not sure what to say about the last comment.
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i would say that -- look, opiate addiction is essentially slavery. you lose -- you have the free will to take it the first time. although frequently people do it on the advice of doctors. that's how they start. so i think they're doing something that is okay for their bodies but obviously a lot of times recreational use will lead to opiate addiction. when that happens though, after that happens, the idea of free will goes out the window. you don't -- i don't believe you actually have a choice. essentially comes to depend almost physically on the drug, and so, therefore, anything is fine. people steal from their grandparents. people will do home invasion robberies. people kidnap others and prostitution is one of those things. they would never do if they were
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not strung out. so, i'm not sure what else to say about that. >> host: he also brought up the issue of prostitution which is -- not really a subtheme of your book but you do bring in the fact that prostitution -- >> guest: i just view all -- whenever you get addicted to this drug it's -- you're prostituting yourself. might be sex for money. another form of prostitution is simply, i am selling myself to the idea of being -- of a pursuit of an idea of being pain-free, or numb, or ufolk or --ow for -- uforric. it's hard to see anything -- i also find that the addiction is such that everybody is a prostitute. not just the girls on the street. you're -- all of us, once you're addicted become kind of -- we
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are all mortgage our lives. we spend all day long, as common heroin junkies at 7:00 with a hit, and then by 11:00 another one, and 3:00, another, and 7:00 or 8 -- it's like constant treadmill. you could spend years doing nothing but pursuing this one idea of, i need to be pain-free. or i northeast not to be sick. a lot of times. >> host: 202 74-8- -- we're talking with journalist sam quiñones about "dreamland" about drug trafficking, drug addiction, and opiates in america. beverly in el cajon california. >> caller: hi. i just turned this on just before i called in so i don't know if you covered this question already, but my question is do you think that
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advertising on mainstream tv for drugs, prescription drugs has contributed to drug addiction in this country? >> guest: you know a terrific, terrific question. i think in several ways -- one of them is to get us into the idea, used to the idea there's a pill for every pain or every issue. so a pill is a solution for everything. and that is, i believe, far too widespread in this country right now. it means you basically -- we as americans don't have to take accountability for our own health, our own bodies our own exercise and diet. i definitely believe that -- in the book i talk about how oxycontin was first promoted which was for the first six years it was promoted as you might promote an over the counter drug. they cave away
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hats and pens and a cd called "swing in the right direction with oxycontin." ed had a collection of swing tunes from count basie benny goodman. there was this feeling like you could prescribe this because it was virtually nonaddictive when used for pain and that came from a lot of pain specialists. but the idea was we can promote these things because they aren't -- they're not addictive. and a pill is a solution. and i think in general we have far too much of the advertising for these -- for pill rolls off kinds. the overarching feeling is what they're trying to impart is there's a solution in every pill, for every problem that you have. that's very dangerous. >> host: edward, washington, north carolina you're on booktv with sam kin quiñones.
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edward? i'm sorry. we have to move on. just reminder to viewers you have to turn down the volume on your tv if you get through. you'll get a delay otherwise. just listen through your telephone and you can hear everything with'll move on to the next call and that's joan. joan is in new york. joan? good afternoon. >> caller: wonderful, i'm a naturalist. i have all my neighbors on pills, blah blah. as far as the -- >> remind our viewers to turn down their television, otherwise they tend to listen to those. joan is a naturalist. i wanted to ask you about the -- how oxycontin was developed and purdue pharma's role. >> guest: they came up with a
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time release formula years before. they're british branch of their company, came up with a time release formula and at first it was for morphine. they marketed it at first for morphine for terminal cancer patients. it was enormously effective for terminal cancer patients. you could take one pill instead of six or eight. this is not a trivial thing. very important innovation, very important advance to be able to not always think of when the next pill is you have to take you. can take one pill twice a day, and be relatively pain-free. the problem came when they began to market -- they did this for oxycodone and ban to market is as a cure for all kinds of pain not just terminal cancer. what's when it was inleashed on the entire market. before they had a market that was really limited, and of course it was terminal, and
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people were dying so it was a limited market for this drug. it was then a time release thing over 12 hours. then they market oxycodone that way, called it oxycontin, oxycodone tippous and it becomes -- -- oxycodone continuous and becomes more than most people can imagine in their lives. i want to make it clear, ms con tin was a huge boom to people with cancer. they could have a decent life, and sounds like it served those patients well the problem is you're marketing it to people with the same idea, oxycodone the people with wisdom teeth bad back, a back elbow, broken rib, apen dissurgery -- appendix surgery and it kind of exploded.
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>> host: is purdue pharma still in business -- >> guest: oh, yes, doing very well. >> host: -they're cullable in your view in the spread of oxycontin? >> guest: they promoted this heroin-like drug aviation it was over the counter. take a very knew on -- knew oned view of the company others don't. they were marketing this drug at the very time when there was a whole cadre of pain specialists saying we -- opiates are nonaddictive when used for pain. we can use these now. and we should -- if there's some thing, time release pain killer opiate pain killer, we should use it. there was only one on the market oxycontin at the time. so the company -- they eventually were charged federally with misbranding. they pleaded guilty to one
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misdemeanors charge on misbranding and paid $634 million. 34 million of which was paid by the top three executives and they went on. they have since racked up very, very large sale billions of dollars in sales with that same drug. what they haven't done is promote it the way they used to with the cds and that kind of stuff. that has changed. but the thing is they've got all these doctors in the country around the country promoting these -- prescribing these drugs almost as if they were nonaddictive and that has led to an enormous -- i call it a rising sea level of pills, all across the country. and these are -- regardless of what they say these are intensely addictive drugs and its shown to be that. and so it's a company -- i am
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not going to comment on the sincerity. i think there's some sincere people within and it maybe some not so sincere people. a same with he pain specialize. they have led the genie out of the aboutle and the effects are all over the country, and it's frequently -- not just people recreationally abusing these drugs. many times it's people using them exactly as directed and then they get addicted and then it's -- you know. >> host: next call comes from suan in toledo, ohio, you're on booktv. go ahead. >> caller: hi, sam. how are you? >> guest: very well. you? >> caller: i'm all right. i love what you're talking about. i just -- i'm so glad i tuned in. i first have a question and a comment. my question is, what is the difference between oxycodone and oxycontin and what would be the street value as somebody that is
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addicted to it would purchase it? >> guest: right. and -- >> host: before he answers that what is your comment you wanted to make? >> caller: my comment, yes. i'm a teacher and i work for toledo schools and i was actually told by a student in a high school that they are selling heroin, that they actually make their own combination of different kinds of drugs, and they sell it throughout the school throughout the high school and i just could not believe it. so i asked one hoff the -- there are three guys, and they were all juniors and seniors and i said come over here. i have an undergrad in journalism and i'm intryinged by information. so i go to this guy, you really sell this stuff? he said yes, i sell highway haren -- heroin in the schools i go to different parts of toledo i go to monroe, michigan, and he said, could
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make a lot of money for it, and i said why do you do it? he said because i can make money. i just -- >> guest: of course, it's now -- >> host: thank you. >> guest: it's a vast underworld. started out when the boys from jalisco were the main ones, particularly in your part of ohio. now of course the underworld has figure this out and everybody is a dealer. to answer your question, oxycodone is the drug in oxycontin. oxycontin is really just a time-release formula wrapped around oxycodone could be 40-milligrams, 80, for a while they had 160-milligrams but stopped that. oxycodone, a synthetic opiate, similar to heroin, like hydro co don't is as well and these drugs are -- hydrocodone as well and these are used for pain and they marked oxycontin
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as a time release saying it goes over 12 hours and oxycodone into your body and -- on the streets, everything goes for -- all these pills go for a dollar a milligram. so 40-milligrams is 40 bucks. 80-milligrams is 80 bucks. i have herd addicts have 300-milligrams a day. that's $300 you're buying what, six or eight pills a day, depending on your habit. >> host: next call is frank in indianapolis. frank? you're on the air. go ahead. >> caller: yes, thanks for taking my call. currently the government is using patient satisfaction surveys as a means of rating hospital. s and physicians. one of the criteria is did is my
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pain being managed? and they're rated on a scale. so physicians are concerned with how to approach that problem. thanks. >> host: frank, are you a physician? >> caller: yes. >> host: and tell us your experience? are you being raided as a pain management provider? >> caller: i'm not but the er talks are concern with of that because they want to satisfy a patient. sometimes they feel maybe pressure to prescribe something that may not be necessary. that's one of -- >> host: as a physician, frank have you seen effects in indianapolis of what we're talking about here, with the black tar heroin and the oxycontin? >> caller: you yes, i'm also the coroner for marion county.
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>> guest: you're talking to the front line. i have relatives in indianapolis so i know what is happening out there. you know, pain -- i'm sour -- doctor surveys start evidence as a good idea, growing out of the pain -- the patient rights revolution that took place in the '60s and '70s, that doctors need to listen more to patients. a good idea-obviously. but then of course it became -- was taken far too far and then people began being judged on how well they didn't -- not they treated you but whether or not they gave you the pills you wanted and too often we as patients, american patients, are so demand neglect pills that we insist we have or think we need, that frequently when a doctor is reluctant to do so, the first thing we do -- and it's particularly helped now by the internet. you go onand give the doctor a bad score. this has made lots of doctors nationwide, because of our
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own -- referring to parents american patients in general -- our own unwillingness to listen to doctors i think, basically. very reluctant and very gun shy. now they're reluctant not to prescribe it. a very difficult situation to put a doctor in. you have a doctor who may be judging -- given his or her own clinical experience, this person may actually need to lose weight or get more exercise or maybe a variety of other thing that the person may need. but if you don't give the person the pills the person wants, the patient wants the next thing you know you have a bad survey score. this has been extremely debilitating to hospitals and doctor morale around the country. >> host: and we have one minute left and tom in nebraska. you have 30 seconds. please go ahead, sir. >> caller: billions of dollars spent on the war on drugs. they're still all over the
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police. millions of lives lost. is the war on drugs winnable or should we just legalize everything? >> host: there's the $60,000 question. >> guest: i don't know. we have legal opiates. we have legal addiction maintenance, called methadone. i don't recommend it if you're addicted to anything, a situation of slavery. i would say that i have -- there's a very very complicated question. i think we need to start with marijuana. i don't thing legislation of marijuana is being done well. regulate it more like beer and wine. but i don't know, man. it's a tough question, and for the moment -- i mean, legalizing heroin i guess i adapt -- can't say i'm in favor of legalizing heroin no. >> host: sam quiñones journalist, reporter with "the los angeles times," writes about
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issues. his book "dreamland. the true tail of america's opiate epidemic." >> guest: love c-span. thank you. >> several hours of coverage at the "los angeles times" festival of books. another chamber of commerce day in in california. up next, the panel on california history. this is live coverage on booktv. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone.
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my name is bill, and i'm a member of he history depth here at usc. before we begin let me remind you. please make certain your cell phones are off throughout the entire session. following our discussion this afternoon, there will be a book signing by our three authors and that will be in signing area number one on the festival map, but if you have any -- need help finding that ask our green-shirted colleagues. the last reminder is that person recording of the sessions is. no allowed. so let's begin. -- is not allowed. warm welcome to tower session on california lies and california history. a pleasure to be here with my friend cozy colleagues. we'll talk and then make certain to hold time for your questions and comments, which if you keep them crisp, will allow as many of you as possible to exchange thoughts with our distinguished panel. our focus today is on three
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saints and three sinners which given to the complex ahis ma tick of life and california, ayes up to three people, not six. in splendid form, all three of our authors investigate and calculate not only the lives of their subjects but the legacies of them. making this an especially rich exploration of the california that once was, but also the california that is and perhaps will be. we start immediately to my left with professor steve hackel of uc riverside, scholar of colonial america and the world of new spain, and now one of the authorities on father junipero serra, especially by way of this book. steve's teaching and his work remind us all that colonial america need not be only focused on new england pilgrims and purr tans -- puritans. that it can come to the far west. to i me left, stan diford water
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to the angels, reconsideration and rereckonning of william mulholland. as close to the largest in life or maybe largest in death figure we have here in southern california history. it's ironic that mulholland garners religious adjective's are seems placed in biblical al gore. some say he is our most -- robert town behind hinted he might be noah. others thing he is the sir pant in the southern california garden or the eden that was once the valley. present and responsible for our region's original riparian sin and then this cesar chavez, christ-like behavior. the the crusades, miriam pawel in the center of tower panel, continues the tenacious research
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and writing she began in her book "the union of their dreams." that book led to this one the fit full-happening biography of chavez sent against the daunting complexity of post war colorado. those are the three guests, authors and writers of. i'll start with the simple question and just move lineally from my left down through the penallist in your booking what if anything, did you set out to correct? steve. >> thanks, bill. what i set out to correct in the book was a sense that junipero serra, principle missionary establishing missions in california when michigan station was sounded, set out to disspell the motion he was born in 1769. his life began with that first mission in san diego. but he was born in 1713 in majorca and was 56 when he came to california and that whole
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adult life before he came here. have been overlooked by many scholars and seemed to them to be not significant. the second thing i wanted to correct was the sense that our colonial history is one of 13 english colonies on the atlantic coast. but here we have a very rich history in california that begins in 1769 with the spaniards and long before with native peoples and i think we have almost 40 million people in our state. my sense was we actually need to understand our own colonial history as californians. >> thank you. miriam? >> i would go back to your introductory comments about saints and sinners. i very much set out to show that cesar chavez was a heroic figure and complicated and both a saint and sinner at the same time. until this book really he has been portrayed in what i
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think -- when i call mythical terms, so that you see everybody knows he is a name on schools and streets and he is on a postage stamp, but people didn't know who cesar chavez was and there had been a very strong effort to oversimply identify his life tremendously that i think did him a disservice because i think that his humanity and his strength and his weaknesses are part oft what makes him so interesting and makes his story so remarkable. so i set out to separate the man from the myth, and to do that i do that in a way that hopefully conveys why he created the mythology, so many of the things that people may actually know about him or think they know are not necessarily completely true. or factually accurate. but they were part of the mythology. and i wanted to show why he did that and how that developed some
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also portray him in all of his complexity and dimensions. don't think his faults take away at all from his important historical position or his place as an important hero. >> thank you. les? >> i was determined to open by saying, we probably wouldn't be here today if it were not for what william mulholland accomplished. others might say, well, we're about not to be here anymore. because of what he accomplished. there's some truth to both statements. i think that everybody knows a little bit about william mulholland. i'm not so sure that the -- everybody knows the whole story of mulholland, and that's what i set out to do. in some ways i knew from the dipping, even though robert town sent me down this path of inquiry when he said shortly
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after chinatown came out, i wish i could have told the entire true store because i thought that was just as interesting a tale as the one we made up. and i his -- chinatown is one of my favorite films but it's a work of folks. what mulholland did took place after the turn of the 20th 20th century. and i think, however, that a lot of times people come out of chinatown or think they know the history of water in southern california. and so in some ways fine myself trying to -- find myself trying to rewrite the myth of chinatown. in particularly in the place that he did it, where there was no infrastructure, was to me astonishing. i know they put the publishers put monumental in the subtitle of the book.
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that was not me but i don't think that is an overstatement to talk in those terms of what he did. it made him at the time the most popular man in all los angeles. he was a lot like noah cross in chinatown in that he had that larger than life personality and that great personal power. the only different was he was a good guy and probably would have kicked noah cross on his backside and talked to him while he was doing that. he was that kind of person. when he finished the aqueduct they came to him in 1913 and said we need somebody to run against the progressives. bill you could become mayor in a heartbeat, and he look at the party that had come into his office to try to convince him of this and he said mayor? i'd rather give birth to a porcupine backward.
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he had no interest in politics and he had one interest and that was bringing the water to the people. >> one thing that separates buy owinggraph from a chronicle of one's life is that really rich and nuanced biographies tell us as much about the time period of the subject as it does about the sum's life so it's set again the backdrop of california hoyt and all three books do that. so starting with steve and moving on to les and then miriam, tell us about the california your subject lived? what's going on in california at the turn of the 20th century, in the 1960s. that's a broad question so i'll ask you to be fairly brief, but tell us about the backdrop. >> hell, underpair roeser a comes into a lat that has been peopled richly. indians lived here 12,000, 13,000, 14,000 years ago, and the world he comes into, it's
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note garden of eden but anyones are successful in terms of raising their open food are clothing themselves and their own societies and civilizations. roughly 350,000 people lived here before he came in 1769. the world that he tries to create is one that did not exist in 1769. he imagined a place where people all speak the same language, spanish, all pray to the same god, a catholic god, and that is what he tries to create and he is up against a tremendous challenge, both logistically and the fact that native people speak many languages and have many cultures. so he enters a world of incredible diversity tremendous bounty in terms of natural environment and what indians produce, and he tried to i think narrow everything down and compartmentalize and it make it more uniform. i could say more about california then but i'll leave
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it at that. >> les? >> well, to give you some sense of a marker for the era that mull hall land came from -- mull hole land came from. the outlived wyatt earp by six years, and played the same role in taming the west. certainly this part of the west. there were 7,000 people in los angeles when moll holland came here in the 180s. by the time -- 1870s. by the time he became water commissioner and the city was about to buy out the private water company for which he worked worked up from ditch digger to superintendent, there were 100,000 people in 1900. by the time he finished the aqueduct in 1913 there were almost half a million. it was the bane of mulholland's existence who kept insisting it didn't matter what he did to try to place conservation limits on
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water consumption here in the l.a. basin if the people didn't stop coming. and the commissioner said, well-what are we supposed to do, bill? we're running oust water. and his suggestion, i think only half in jest, was maybe we should shoot the president of the chamber of commerce. and when the commissioners decided they wouldn't do that is when mulholland turned to fred eaton and said, show me that water source. he had been trying to get people interested in since the 1890s and of course, that is where the real meat of my book begins to talk about how he laid the foundation for this explosion of population from a dusty sea cede town really to a -- >> cesar chavez was born in
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arizona in 1927 and grew up on family farm they lost in the depression. so he moved to california the same month that the grapes of wrath comes out. and the california that he encounters as a 12-year-old child is that which is described so eloquently by john steinbeck so that's his initial exposure to california and his life as a migrant farm worker as a kid, colors much of -- drives much0. what shapes his later life. he lived through a remarkable period of change in california. the depression, the war, the cold war, there is a very lengthy fbi file on him, kept by j. edgar hoover, and then in the '60s enormously important in propelling him to the national status he gains at that point in time and to fueling the movement because most of the early support for the farm worker movement comes from the bay area comes out of the free
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speech movement, people who are coming back from the summer or '64 in mississippi, the civility rights movement. those are their early people who are attracted to this new essentially the civil rights struggle of the west. so the '6s so are hugely important. and then as he moves through into the 70's and 80s, reagan is an important antagonist both in sacramento and later in washington. and by 1984 when the mom is really in decline he says something that is so visionary that i think it's worth repeating in terms of california history, which is he gives a famous speech in 1984 at the commonwealth club in san francisco where he says, in 20 to 30 years the cities of california will be run by poem who look like me. and that was not something that other people were saying then and it was something that obviously as we know came true. so, in some ways he was both a product of his time and he
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foresaw where the history of california was going. >> so, miriam, we'll start with you on this one0. to a greater and lesser degree all three subjects had some inclining we would be talking about them. tell us how cog any sent they were or even tried to same their own historical memory to our time. let's start with chavez, who may be the most clear example of this. >> cesar chavez saved everything. he was very aware of his own place in history inch 1967 he made an arrangement to donate all of the -- to preserve ask donate all of the papers of the united farmworkers and everything related to historyings to a labor library detroit michigan, where are there thousands of box 0 documents and also of tapes hem tape-recorded much of the deliberations in the important momentness conferences in the united farmworkers from late '6s
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so into the early 80s. if estimated i spent 1500 hours listening to tapes. that's conserve. tive. so he lift this rich record and that makes him a fascinating subject for me because he was both creating his own mythology and then preserving the history because he really understood, i think, that ultimately -- he was self-taught. he left school after eighth grade but was an avid reader and he read biographies as important important historical figures and flood his place in -- understood his place in history. and to show how much that was true he was -- in 1969 for much of the year he had a terrible back problem and he was examined by a doctor who had been president kennedy's doctor in the white house, and we know this and we know all the details of it, which i was able to quote and recount in the book because he had the presence of mind,
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while he could not set up in bed without holding on to a bar to turn on a tape recorder and preserve the interview for hoyt. >> les? >> well, i think mulholland, become a public servant and force really to deliver an annual report to the board of water commissioners, knew that pretty much everything he did in official capacity was going to be part of the public record, and he didn't have to worry too much about it. he was an interesting guy in that he had never so much as finished high school let alone gone into an engineering class, read -- yet was the model for the builders of the panama candle came out to study some of the things he was doing in bring the a would get down -- aquaduct down from the owens valley. he would read shapes spear
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into -- shakespeare into the night and one of his famous quotes, damn man who doesn't read books. a rather unusual statement for an engineer. he -- my apologies to engineers. [laughter] >> i know, you're all very well-read and well-rounded folks. but mulholland was asked -- it was suggested to him, bill, why don't you write your autobiography and tell us how you came to be. i'm not sure who put him up to it but he started and there was a fragment of an autobiography that was lost for a number of years. the only person who read it in the early days was back in the 1930s when he had retired and was getting on, and he submitted this fragment to a young woman at the time elizabeth sprigs working on a masters degree
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here and her thesis was william moll holland and she -- mulholland and she interviewed him a couple of times. he wanted to show her where water began, really, in los angeles, took her athlete glendale narrows where much of the water from the l.a. water pool is underground there big pumping stations, and he took heroine, showed here where he used to work and the shack he lived in and then took her to a place where there's not far from the mulholland fount, and there's a big oak tree and he said i planned that oak tree. she said, you did? she said yes i was cleaning occupant the ditch and the ditch was undercutting the sapling, and he said i dug it up and found a place where i thought it might drive, and now look at it. it was by that time a tree a couple of feet around and the
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said to sprigs you know i saved its life once. i remember -- i wonder if it still remembers me today. and i think -- i use that as a metaphor for his own sense of his place in history. he was not so sure that los angeles was going to appreciate him after he was gone but that's about as much as he ever said about the matter. >> steve? >> the question i think you're asking was to what extent did these titans of california history create a maplery they hoped would go into the future that people would -- did they try to shape future views how they would be remembered in the future? serra was very different. he was not a public servant. the way mulholland was. he didn't have a tape recorder
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like chavez help didn't have those sorts of institutional or technological ways of recording his actions. but what he did have was a tremendous ability to write very, very skilled letters and memos that i think the probably imagined one day would be read by other francis scans -- fran skissans who were important in california. so he did try to create an archive. most important thing serra did in terms of trying to shape how posterity would remember him was through his actions. he lived a life that he learned as a young man in majorca, when he was studying to be a priest reading book after book chronicle after chronicles of the francisans who came to z. nothing in serra's life that was original or creative. he lived a life according to a plan that other saints had lived. and i think that he had with
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him, of course, very dear friend from his childhood who was with him for almost his whole life, who wrote a -- published in 1787 two years after serra died. this was a clear attempt to shape future views of serra's life. but i think it's no surprise, wouldn't be a surprise to serra's friends, compatriot that we're at a point that the current poach has declared he will cononnize sir rescuer because everything serra did from his adult years until his last breath in mission san carlos, in the was -- he had chose -- surrounded by those who had chose to be with him when he died. a sincere but calculated way of fulfilling a life he thought was a plan to one day be considered to be a saint.
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>> i appreciate the rev reference to the word titans. you have all written wonderful books about the titanic figures in california hoyt who are not of course without controversy. both in their own lives and also unto today especially unto today. so i'm curious about the reception of your book and the ways in which you may have heard from readers about touching nerves-about reaction both pro and con. tell us about individual reactions to the work you have done and i'll start with miriam. >> um, well, cesar chavez died in 1993 and this is the first biography that has been written of him. the reason for that was not that people didn't know there was this enormous resource of material that to draw on, nor were people ignorant of his importance in history. but the people who knew the most about cesar chavez didn't want to write the biography of him because hoff this fear that
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writing anything critical about the preeminent latino ike cop of our times would be negatively received particularly by latinos, and that was my reaction when people said you shouldite a biography of cesar chavez and i became convinced the lack of serious scholarship or complex work is the reason people don't know about him today. and people do not know who he is. particularly young people, but people of all ages. he has faded from our collective memory and i took this on because i decided that in writing about him i could actually help restore him to he place in history he deserves, and i think perhaps the most gratifying thing to me has been the response from mexican american audiences because they
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get it. than don't in some ways i think the expectation that people would be critical or upset about anything that was said about cesar chavez was that not idol tri -- the most satisfaction to be welcomed by audiences like the riverside latino network. >> thank you. steve, tell us about individual reaction. >> well, i one of the great pleasures and difficulties to the modern age, it's true for you, too -- it's easy for people who read your work to find you and to send you e-mails or letters and to let you know exactly what they're thinking when they put the book down. which i think is quite instructive. so i get regularly -- i wouldn't
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call fan mail but i get responses, and -- >> you should call it fan mail. >> some are fairly predictable. people who follow in the line of the -- find my book to be unfair. my goal was to put serra back in history, really, to understand his context, his world and see why he act it as he tide without assuming it was just a message from god. so people -- some people are uncomfortable with he book. people who want a book that describes serra as a sinner, as a homicidal maniac who raped and tortured indians who was unlimited in his cruelty to native people, they find the book to be unsatisfactory and not tough enough. but in the middle, lots and lots of people who took their kids when they were fourth graders to missions finally feel like they get a sense of who this man was
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and his place in california ahead. but what i often find is that people hold my book up against preconceived changer to cure of who he was. it's interesting people don't know who sees sass char very is. people don't know who underpair roeser a is, nor do they want to know. they gist want to into him as a saint or sipper and don't want to kind of grapple with the complexities of his life. i guess to answer, lots of different responses from lots of different quarters in california. >> i have the advantage because there was no biography of cesar chavez in rising on a blank slate so i was not being compared to the other biographies in the way you were. >> les? >> well, i of course get some comments along the lines of i prefer chinatown.
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[laughter] >> i've already said i like chinetown, too. but it doesn't have much to do with what actually happened. and the -- there oar comments that of the sort, well, if it weren't for him we went be in the mess we are today. so there's been some blow back from that...
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who forced water meters on an unwilling customer base in southern california this newfangled invention that wasn't impractical until the late 1800s, first water meter in l.a. was in all the bout 1892. mulholland had done his research found out that it would cut a water bill in half if people actually had to pay for what they use. astonishing concept, right? and there were a number of concepts including cutting off water to public parks and so forth and so on that back them into this corner.
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i really wanted to tell the story about a larger-than-life guy who did an amazing -- an impossible thing and look what the result was for better for worse. >> if you look at our three subjects of our biographies, one thing that stands out is a breathtaking energy, a prodigious energy to do the things they did over multiple decades of their last labor. if we set aside the outcome of the energy piece for a second tell us if you would about your subjects keys don't scale. what is it they were so good at besides being remarkably energetic. >> many scales. energy was something he had a lot of. he had on the one hand and a credible ability to have this very narrow life according to the lives of the saints. he had a tremendous ability to
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defer any sort of pleasure until the next life. stir in ashes into his food course material to irritated skin depriving himself of what you would say is the normal family existence was not anything he had any interest in for a day, he certainly pushed it out of his life. he had a deep deep religious faith that he never wavered. there is no moment in which he like mother teresa questioned his catholicism in any way that we know of. it was permanent in him. unflinching. what he did have the surprise me and might surprise many of you with incredible command of the spanish language. he was born speaking marching, learned cattle on and the language of empire. his memos that he wrote back to mexico city to really allow him to amass the power he has in california to establish missions and outsmart the governor hatha
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viceroy in his corner. they are quite masterful. they are at times funny humorous witty. they are brutal in their assessment of others and ultimately incredibly effective. this is a man he would not want to go up against. whether it's a soldier in mexico for a priest in mallorca who wasn't toeing the line or a governor in california. they all lost. this is a guy who is small, pugnacious never stops doing what he wanted to do. he didn't flinch his power. he was unrelenting and very, very skilled. >> sounds like cesar chavez to me. the single-minded list. mary, tell us a little bit about chavez. >> one of the differences you
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followed a plan. one of the amazing things was there was no plan. he created a menu is both a visionary and also a brilliant strategic thinker. he was most comfortable in the role that he called the nonviolent viacom in taking on the vfw and had its greatest success when ronald reagan was governor of california and richard nixon was the president. also fearless about taking on power. he was a charismatic leader in this remarkably untraditional way. freethinker king or a kennedy. cesar chavez is not a good public speaker, didn't like doing it. use all of that too is enormous in the image for a convince people to follow him. time he was working and starting to sound workers which people found impossible, he convinced people who were the poorest of
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the poor and not protected by any health safety and labor laws that by banding together and uniting and the only thing they had to get to the struggle was they could take on and when over the most powerful, then the most powerful industry in the state of california and forced to california to sign contracts with their poorest workers. a remarkable david versus goliath story that certainly was due to all the things he said in terms of intensity, but incredible intelligence and ability to lead. >> tell us about mulholland skill set. >> mullen was the consummate manager. he undertook the largest civil engineering project in history at that time. $23 million, brautigan on time under budget he seen only city
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employees. imagine someone proposing that he would do that today. he had -- he was a meticulous accountant. he could tell you that a small river would cost 21 cents to drive. a large rabbit, some of the size of your forearm would cost $5.67. he could calculate how far a mule could pull a pipe on a bale of hay that it had consumed. but he also had a knack of getting people to want to do what he wanted them to do. part of it was his sense of humor. part of it was the fact that he was himself a doer. one of his great line with the hated the paperwork of the office. his big line was that a letter
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in the basket long enough and it will take care of itself. people loved him. one of his drivers talked of taking him out to oregon once for a consulting gig and on the way home i stopped at a restaurant and the waitress came up and announced that a special was caught fish and he didn't miss a beat and said yes that's the best part of the fish. [laughter] >> so i'm curious if the three of you could come up way a short description of the ways in which he pursued the research on these books. these are deeply researched books. if said all the academic expectations about primary source. briefly walk us through the ways in which a rate of the research to pull these biographies together. >> a lot of the research in california places familiar to
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many of us in the field. i was really committed to expanding our understanding the on the california years and which has been about with a lot of people focused on the serious because that is the california mission. i wanted to learn about his life in mallorca, which took me to the island twice. spectacular food great archives in nature medicine on his knowledge and ability. what is new in the book explains his life and a lot of work in mexico city which is where the central archive for newsday and is located, the national archives in mexico city. years of a really unknown. he came to new spain as an adult and he spent the years from
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about 17531758 working in a series of missions in northern new mexico sierra quarter. this is appeared about his life that relatively has been not studying all. i wanted to unlock that. my hope was to find correspondent had been lost of other scholars. i didn't find much but i found a lot of records that helped me understand his years there in mexico city a lot of documents that help us understand his work with the inquisition which is a central feature of his character, an important role he took on and it's very difficult for people today who believe to face saint sarah in a position in the same sentence. this is a part of his life overlooked very much. a lot of research out of the traditional archives here in california. >> thank you. how about for mr. mulholland. >> i became aware early on. a lot of the public records would be in the public records that the minutes of the county
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commissioners and the department keep a pretty thorough archive. one of the real -- i came across finally the fragment of autobiographies lost for a good long time. i came across early on catherine mulholland biography of her grandfather, very interesting story. 500 pages long almost in manuscript form essay was published. it turns out she did the editors about a thousand pages and they said we can't use all this stuff and all this material will just have to cut that out and most papers -- all the original work is all of the notes up at cal state northridge. so that was a treasure trove for
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me. you are hearing this from a person who start off in the business as a novelist and i got to a point where i needed a fact we just make it up. i'm still trying to tell a story. you have to change the story to fit the facts you have and i suppose any journalist could have told me to begin with. >> miriam, before returned to you, let me note that will map out that this part of the panel and then we'll miss your questions and comments in a few minutes. there'll be a microphone you can speak to. let me have them answer the question for us. >> is is that before there's a huge archive in university in
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detroit. there also were researches and places they keep really good records. in stanford university deals with as you were saying part of cesar chavez flies come he didn't spring full-blown is a slum worker leader in 1965. he had a ten-year apprenticeship or you learned how to be a community organizer. there's records in stanford where he has to file report every week. so you can actually chase his education as a community organizer. also the advantage is people are still alive and i was able to conduct interviews of people who i did not quote in the book big used as a resource to help me
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understand what the primary sources were saying. i also went to other places he had been in the upper important to him. i went on the ruins of the family homestead it was important because getting a sense of a place of a biographer is also important. >> one final question if the panel can be brief. there's also one step towards the kind of closure and getting it to a wider audience. i know full well the biographies the yours you've written about stay with you in ways that are probably not known to all of us. can you tell us a little bit about how your life continues to be shaped by the people you now know a great deal about? steve.
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>> well we were out socializing, i guess early january and he asked me at that point what his next after serra? i've showed that skin. i'm moving on. 10 days later the pope said he was going to canonize him. [laughter] so i thought was this close chapter of my life academically is reopened again and i've done a lot -- a been a lot of interesting sessions where people talk about serra legacy today. i've learned more about him in the last three months than i had before. serra continues to be a polarizing force in californian history. book, while it is done and out i could add another chapter in terms of how people have responded to the announcement, native people, catholic church and all of the hoopla and controversy today. so it continues.
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very much present in my own scholarly life. >> i wrote a book about a man named henry flagler have built-in browser from miami to key west over 150 miles of ocean water. people come up to me and say that mr. flagler must've been fascinating and i wish you had a chance to speak with them and spend time at him. the truth is i'm not so sure how interesting he would've been in real life. it probably shows in the way talk about them, he was a fascinating individual that i wish i had a chance to spend some time with. obviously a multifaceted sort of person. when i was finishing the book i was sad because i got prior to that time to spend everyday in the company at least imaginatively with william mulholland. i thought i'm not going to get a chance to do that anymore.
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there is going to be another book that i'm still a little sad about it. >> i get asked a lot about what is the legacy of cesar chavez today and i think that his legacy in many ways has never been more relevant to us today because we are at a moment in time where the labor movement and social progressive causes in this country are in deep trouble and under attack in many ways. what he was able to do without the support of the politicians or event laws has such tremendous relevance today. i think about him a lot in that context that we need to get back to the things he did an attack dixie pioneered there were so successful in forcing social change when we're at a moment in time for that appears so difficult to do with the protections we have taken for granted and the labor movement has taken for granted.
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it is not legacy of cesar chavez the community organizer that stays with you the most. >> now will turn to questions. as i call, please make sure you have a microphone. let's go right here. gentleman in the white shirt. >> i'm just wondering a little bit about the writing process. it felt like writing this book that is anywhere from one to four years there's no. i would imagine that you admire the people you're writing about. but then to write for so long in all the research, what is the motivation number keeps you persist in not that? it is the love you have for your subject or whatever it may be. >> it is wanting to understand who this person was in peeling away the layers of the golf ball until you really can get as close as you can to understanding who he was what
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drove him and what shaped his life. >> well, one for years, probably not. closer to 10 in the building on 15 years of work before that. people do assume that those of us to read biographies admire the people i write about. maybe we even like them. some people do. not necessarily in my case. said it was a very different kind of person. wouldn't fit in well with our world today. why do we do this? there are professional requirements to publish books of course, but for me, the central thing is how do we understand this man who brought such great change to california and who has not been treated in an historical sense by biographers ever. the church as sort of promote a of him. i think i wrote the first historical biography of him. that was necessary.
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how do we understand how this man made these decisions at this time, it seemed so incomprehensible to us today. >> well, i started off as a storyteller and when i hear someone like robert towne say that this other story that he didn't tell was just as good as what he did tell in chinatown. for heaven sakes, how could i not be drawn to that material and i looked and i said i think he is ready. what kept me going through those three and a half four years was the desire to tell the story and do my best to body up for it in a form that other people would want to read and enjoy. >> other questions? right here. lets go here and then across the aisle. and just a chronology of facts.
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one is the shape you think about the st. francis, disaster assertive germanic. they help you structure it the narrative and keep them interested. >> that is what one discovers about the figure who's not well known. for serra, the key turning point is the decision in 1749. he's 35 years old. he is traveling around
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procedures. it goes with one other companion to mexico city as a missionary. that's a dramatic thing i ought to understand why he did that. later in life there's a key moment in the 1770s. up until that moment, what is astounding is serra really believed upon first sight of the franciscfrancisc ans california indians would throw down their culture and converter. he believed they were just like that come her. but the rebellion he has to call into question all of his assumptions about native conversion and he does change. his letters change. his worldview changes then he goes on. those moments are key for sort of explaining the larger characters we are trying to write about.
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>> i will give you two quick ones. 1962 cesar chavez wrecks away from a well-paying job as a community organizer. he missed to delano california in the middle of nowhere with $1200 in savings with this stream of starting a union for farmworkers which is never been done. it's one of his greatest moment in the right a series of letters that are just enormously revealing and personal and understanding what these attempting. he's on the cover of "time" magazine would get them they are in large part in 1968 it takes the first of three long fast that he does. he fast for 20 days days paired robert kennedy on the verge of
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announcing for president comes to break probably the most famous iconic picture of cesar chavez. any catapults into a way he hadn't before. >> it is a tragic story. i do start the book with a recapitulation of the st. francis dam disaster. you know tragedy depends upon your knowledge of potential somehow misguided, gone awry without concept of evil. there is no such thing as good without catastrophe. there is no real appreciation of triumph. i think that all of these books depend upon our awareness of the
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cesar chavez the good father as complex human beings battling some being that otherwise they would just be encyclopedia articles to important moments in history, which is of course how i got history as a kid. there wasn't much attention to the story structure part of it. it was remember this and it will be on the past and once the test was over i forgot it. i still know 1066 as important as years go more so than 67 or 1065, but i don't know why. >> aestheticism and catholicism played a role in serra flight. did mulholland have a role there? >> i couldn't get out?
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>> something about his devotional life, if there was one. >> well, he was born in belfast. he immigrated from dublin ,-com,-com ma but he was not practicing. he understood the nature and was gracious to folks who believe. he himself was pretty pragmatic individual. very moral but not a church goer. >> a little-known fact about cesar chavez is the church did not support the grape strike when it began almost 50 years ago because the pillars of the catholic church where the growers. although the catholic church later plays an important role initially it was not on the side of the workers. >> right here in the center. microphone is coming.
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>> a question for steve. they stun your research i am interested in your opinion should necessarily be canna sides? >> yeah, thank you for the question. thanks dad. that is the $64000 question isn't it? for people who are extraordinarily devout cat i am not a catholic. that question is easily answered. the answer is yes because he lived his life according to this plan and checked out the boxes and he meets the requirement. i think a more interesting -- some people think serra is actually not going to be canonized. certain native american groups are protesting and that is tired of reasonable to believe they can stop the process. that is not going to happen. may 2nd the pope is going to go to rome and say special mass.
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to me that says this is full speed ahead. there is now reconsidering canonizing the man. an interesting and important question for all of us is what is going to happen to the statue, which is an issue we as concerned citizens from the people in can play a role in. serra statue is the third 1931 and today she is in any way is a very awkward and perhaps in congress symbol for a diverse state that represents many people as in many lifestyles in many views and believes in technology and materialism. serra does the work for who we are as californians. the question is is serra is recalled, who should replace him? it took over 30 years to decide who would be put there in 1931.
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i think we should have a stately conversation on this. it should be a wide discussion that should allow us to think about her history as californians can find one new person or two new people who do represent california today who space-bar origins and diverse to be. it is troubling to me that one committee and the legislature could make a decision to replace him without a larger statewide conversation about it. >> well put. >> next question. >> i think the way californians were treated was really, really horrible and the missions created ultimately became death factories because the diseases that were so widespread. should be canonized the california missions as institutions of social change? absolutely not. the question before the church
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is how that is character, faith, virtue is and it's hard for us to separate the two but the catholic church has separated those two. >> the answer with the two people should be are obviously william mulholland and cesar chavez. [applause] >> as much as i am tempted to end right there, we do have a question. >> i thought of californians is having remarkable ability to self reinvent and these three titanic figures it seems like i've had throughout their lives careers have had just the opposite, the ability to sustain the vision of the south which creates all of these things in california. i wonder on that note if there sustained vision of the self makes them somewhat anomalous as
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california figures and if that is worth thinking about if we look at who we looked to as leaders in california. >> cannot respond to that? i did say serra wasn't original or creative, but he does south bend. he clearly is focused on the beginning. he was a professor at a very airtight lectures and sermons to my work into his language. he lives in veracruz and speaks in the same style and people walk out. he gets no response and he reinvents himself as a fiery sort of charismatic, theatrical creature who can reach a wideout in and that explains how is so successful as a missionary in the new world. so he does ring and dramatically. all with the same goal in mind
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converting people to catholicism. >> you know he's a micro-farmworker, community organizer, founder of a union and a movement and ultimately at the end of his life when there isn't much left of the farmworkers union he becomes a symbol of its economy is meant that in his heyday and in its heyday he really issue. he also goes through various phases. is very consistent and very true to what he believes in the beginning and what its goals are over time. by the end of his life in the last 10 or 20 years, there is an enormous conflict between movement communion and what ultimately leads to the demise of the union piece of it. himself is fair to dissent ergo i come up on the 50th anniversary in september and he says we have to find a cross between being made union.
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he's often talked about as a labor leader and i say i do not think about him in that way. he was very critical and didn't want anything to do with them. he was the founder of the movement. it's very true to his observation about the what the movement is throughout his life. >> i think mulholland took one look at this place and fell in love with it. when he was asked to come up with a way to allow it to become something even greater than he had ever imagined before he said to red tape. there's got to be a way to do this. you can still drive the route to the acrobat and see the cement pipes that carry water down one side across the desert for end up the opposite side without any gravity. he's the guy who figured out how to do it. he was one of these people that sent it this is for doing i will figure out a way to do it.
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he carried it out that vision. >> well, we have three mag sent upset in their coverage of the 18th, 19th and 20th century did a lot to chew on about california history. rich, nuanced while research. mr. nick actually not only authors but excellent questions from you all. [applause] please remember authors will be signing an outstanding. number one. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> that was a panel on california history.
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live from "the los angeles times" festival of books. this is the 20th year this festival has in its existence for many years at ucla. a couple years ago moved to the campus of the university of southern california, which is where we are now. several hours of live coverage still to come on booktv on c-span2. you can follow a set twitter at time of cbs are handled. or go to our website to find the full schedule and throughout the day at the bottom of your screen, the yellow bars i schedule updates. you can follow that as well. there is a new book out on several bestsellers list and it is called "ghettoside: a true story of murder in america." and it is written by los angeles times reporter, jill leovy. she is joining us now at "the l.a. times" festival of books.
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who was bright in l.a.? >> guest: brands finale isn't 18-year-old living in south los angeles, the son of an lapd homicide detective who is black. his mother was an anagram from costa rica. he was murdered in 2007 and the story of his murder is the central narrative of the book at her side. throughout the case the investigation of the case and the eventual prosecution to defendants. >> host: the fact his murder was solved was that rare? was that you need? >> when i calculated the 20 years prior to his dad was particularly for black men if you use 40% or 45%, you would be in the right territory. it depends the way you look at it. you can look at how many are convict did bush gives you a
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smaller number are how many are cleared by means other than the rest. i think 40% for that part of the city at that time. >> how does that compare to the rest of the nation and the rest of the city question aren't >> one of the things i said was officially reported a non-reliable numbers in my point of view. i looked at 16,000 homicide cases and in the city of l.a. and counted each case in the resolution. nationally for urban areas 50% was reported for the largest urban areas. again i think those are a bit inflated and sometimes nodded in a malicious way they are easy to solve cases that accumulate outside of urban areas.
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>> what is the term nhi and why to use that question art >> guest: you know the acronym was in the vernacular of prosecutors were in the 80s. in that no human involved and it was a quip that people would say for certain crimes that didn't attract a lot of public notice or public outrage. the murders of black men particularly black gang members typically got no news coverage and elicited outrage. there were things that followed from that. very concrete resource allocation that depended on whether a case got a lot of attention or not. nhi i think actually has a dual meaning. obviously there's the disturbing implication for the police are saying they don't care. it was also used as lack humor. the world is not going to care
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even if we do. it is not so much in these in the 2000 when i was reporting "ghettoside." was something the cops.web, but it was still the case a homicide got no press coverage are very vital and there is a sense that they didn't receive the attention that were more unlikely as they would rarely receive. >> host: jill leovy if it's a book about lack on black crime? >> guest: yes. specifically black on black murder good for a couple reasons is that murder matters. if i ascribe the most destructive, where people lose their lives. also the most measurable. it is much harder to underreport murderers and other crimes and this is obvious to crime data how much is happening, how much is officially reported. a murderer tends to be a more
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accountable climate. it gives you an indication of a phenomenon going back decades and decades and black communities in america that is a consequence of lawlessness. a long painful history of wallace is in black america which is what you see in the other places. >> you do some historical analysis in here as well. i can't find a page right away, to use a lawlessness also has it own rules. >> guest: you know it is not hobbesian. it is not every man for himself. very quick rewind to go authorities lose their grip when there's no one to turn to people forge other structures. so there is an organization to informal justice of wallace as.
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i think as a society we look at from the disk and can we say senseless gang violence. up close it is not exactly senseless and what we call gang violence is a factual organization in the world. in sort of a civil war environment. you see it on the frontiers. and it's a process by which people affiliate and try to seek protection from each other and police themselves which is a term scholars sometimes you paradox that we think of the violent of the inner city is a of self policing. i came to believe that it is self policing in a better kind of policing. >> host: 202 if you want to talk to someone about her new story, "ghettoside: a true story of murder in america."
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748-8200 for those of you in eastern actual time zones. 748-8201 in the mountain or pacific time zones. we are on location in los angeles at "the l.a. times" festival of books. the camp said the university of southern california. someone we are sitting at this beautiful campus, $60,000 a year to go here. the neighborhood to investigate, how close to where we are sitting? >> guest: i could watch as some of the homicide and i reported on from this campus yet i worked mostly further to the south but this area south of the freeway is the northernmost and westernmost point of what used to be a very long like celebration in the city of los angeles. institutionally it is a legal
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product and you cannot sell your house to a black person. those overthrown by supreme court in the 40s. the actual task of getting people to stop de facto observing really to decades after that. for a long time up through the 80s the "los angeles times" used the phrase be grow community for an area to the east of here, old south central along central avenue. that has been the term for decades prior to that because it was such a separate world. such an absolute invisible wall that plays black residents of the city in different neighborhoods and white residents. here we are kind of at the top left hand corner of what i consider my coverage area when i was covering homicide. today, almost 20% of los
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angeles' population is down on paper to 8% or 9%. i think it's actually lower than not. this area, a majority latino has changed a great deal. >> south central became a term without learned in the early 90s that the riot in l.a. the term has gone away right? officially it no longer has any use. what i found as a lot of people these neighborhoods still use it and they still use it and they might use this cynically, but also price only. many people are part of the name and referred to the area by the same name. there is no other adequately comprehensive name for this part of the city. the replacement names were all smaller neighborhood in pieces and child. the idea was to ruin the stigma, but they also you know
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unintentionally removed a political definition for an area from it harder to mobilize when you don't give it a name and you don't call it south-central. south-central move to central avenue to the east of the original south central avenue. people started to move west and central avenue in later decades of the 20th century. the term now is a bit fuzzy. refers to those areas and also to the west and south of central avenue. >> host: how many murders in l.a. county every year question or >> guest: l.a. county is in the five or six hundreds. l.a. city is down to 250 260. that is miniscule. the homicide report was a blog project. there were almost a thousand homicides a year and now countywide come a much larger area than l.a. city in the low
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six hundreds. >> host: jill leovy, and "ghettoside," do you advocate for anything? >> guest: one thing that is so commonsensical i can't call it advocacy. maybe it's not as obvious as it should be. fall the homicides which are kind of the same crime but with a lot dire consequence. i think it is important to say that because a lot of the criminal justice debates today are about mass incarceration and what people on the left, you actually see people in the right taken this up now because it cost so much to have people in place and is. you can talk about it if you catch them. if you never catch them the
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whole thing is irrelevant. this is not the kind of study. it's not my own way of looking on it. the data sent just it is not how severely you will be punished. it is the likelihood of being caught that will deter people from crime. if you look at murder, you can make an argument for decades and decades the likelihood of being caught created a lower price for committing these crimes. it was so unlikely to be caught that it cheapens it and it has been a fact in terms of the frequency. >> host: before we talk about the book anymore, let's take some calls. art in sacramento, california. you were on with "l.a. times" reporter, jill leovy. >> caller: hayek on the thank
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you for having me. i appreciate what you said about this also been an issue around the globe. what is your take on the failure of the system to actually have good enforcement within these committees? why is it the authorities don't have a better handle on providing error just as in giving safety and security to does people that are innocent in the community because sometimes in the data you turn to the strongest person in the community in madison the police all the time. so corruption dysfunction within the police, within the city government exacerbates the problem? as an independent contractor, it is terribly dysfunctional. the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
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we can see the dysfunction of the system sales lot of money spent and sometimes in the dirt we take things in her own hands because the government doesn't function. >> host: let's leave it there. let's get a response from jill leovy. >> guest: interesting question brought up by the collar. from the very beginning of what ari said one thing that was so persuasive for me in formulating this idea of lawlessness amok in another context internationally and think how similar they are, how similar the barrios in american cities, even like 19th century contacts, the homicide rate for irish immigrants in the 1890s to new york city was almost exactly what it was in south-central l.a. and compton in the navy
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sent to thousands. you see matches similar to raise the homicides and interaction with authority. one thing that is interesting about black american history as we are not talking about a vacuum. we're not talking about nonsense. but talk about dysfunctional criminal justice. i was like a partially functioning system. the partially functioning system works because if there were a vacuum you actually get organization in the vacuum. it's sad no really takes hold. always a situation of chaos and competition. that explains a lot about why this has been a perpetual in black america. what it would take to fix you see i always a member from chief bernard at the lapd was because
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the criminal justice system, but it is five parts about related things jammed together and they don't work together well. >> host: from "ghettoside," jill leovy writes many critics today complain the criminal justice system is heavy-handed and unfair to authorities. we are great deal about capital punishment drug laws supposed misuse of eyewitness evidence, traveling high levels of blackmail incarceration and so forth. to assert that black americans suffer from too little application, not too much seems at odds with common perception. >> guest: i did write that. it is not as much of a paradox as it sounds like. i am talking about two different things. they are important things. i came to believe the way you respond to violence in a society is foundational. it is what you build everything
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else on. so if you have a system that responds adequately, response stickers late when human beings are hurt or killed you can develop a lot of law on top of that. if you do a lot of minor enforcement for crimes that don't hurt people in that you leave the hurt unprotect dead, that is a completely different thing. that is the very dish another. you are hammering people for the small stuff and you shrug your shoulders and turned the other way when they need the protection and might of the state to stand up physically, to have their backs to use the phrase the man in south l.a. to justify the gang membership. what does that mean that someone has their back? if someone hurts you, they know all your friends will be after them. the state needs to assume that
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role. you need to have the knowledge no one else that the knowledge. so if you spend all your time as the criminal justice system has hammering in the south and outlay small nuisance crimes. but you are leaving that is not going to build the legal structures or system postcode next call comes from sherry in apple valley caliph wordnet. >> caller: thank you very much. i'd like the author to address the incredibly effective police
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officers such as detective skaggs that she writes about in her book. i keep waiting to hear her talk about these incredible people that have a 100% clearance rate. please have her address that. >> host: who is john skaggs? s. go when you write a book you don't want to talk about it because you are done with it. john skaggs is the main character. he investigates the murder. he is a tall guy a california guy, a surfer. he's republican, which is true of a lot of colleagues in the lapd. he takes a lot of personal pride in this particular job of investigating black on black murder in high crime areas, some and it doesn't draw a lot of warrior within the lapd. it's not a glamorous job, but his job he learned to craft a over years and years of scores
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and scores of cases. so when he gets the case finally, he has a lot of real expertise that apply to the case and also this unequivocal personality purity of somebody's very high-energy, very action oriented, drinks 12 cups of coffee a day and in the end is so relentless in the pursuit of this case that it does end up in court although it had originally been thought to be one of the cases likely to remain unsolved. it was very, very interesting to work with john skaggs on a lot of levels. to give you an idea of the kind of source he was i spent at least two years reconstructing everything about the case. we had some hours long interviews that i taped and maybe a year and a half into that in five or 10 interviews than it and there it ain't, john
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skaggs said to me what is this for anyway? you know i am writing a book. it wasn't a theoretical idea. he wanted to know what i was doing and then he went on talking. so focused on the work that it just didn't even matter to him. i was completely taken back by the question, but every legislator character is very consistent. people are who they are. >> host: from "ghettoside," something intimate and nation acquiesced, shooting, stabbing, inner-city black men suggested these men were expendable. it is better off without them. >> guest: next call comes from art. you are on booktv. >> caller: heiko meyer to mention a lot of its economical and obviously a racial attached to it.
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an upstate new york producer all. we seem to see a lot of the same things going on here and it's predominately white. a lot more economical situation being involved in it. obviously we have a lot of black crime and a lot of white crane. it seems to be more and more going towards economic as the nation is going in the way it is. is honored if you think this is a future trend that we will see more white people involved in situations and therefore may be become the more mainstream issue. as usual with things -- >> host: jill leovy. thank you, sir. >> guest: i think not. groups are growing down precipitously. the economic pain is very
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tricky. you have about equal poverty for blacks and whites in south l.a. but much higher death rates for homicides for blacks and latinos. you see this around the country. during the great depression, homicide rates fell. there is some indication that it's the opposite. it is when you bring in a very lucrative black market, think of crack in the 80s but that is when fights broke out. it is actually the entrance of a way to make money into an underground economy that will be gasoline on the fire and not the other way around. i suspect there is some lack market that is lucrative helping to drive that. but to address the spirit of the
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question, i certainly think any group of people under the right conditions is vulnerable to high homicide rate. if you're not been anywhere at anytime throughout history and it does not happen to black people because they are black. it happens because of historical conditions. >> host: greg tarboro north carolina. go ahead. >> caller: ms. leovy, am i pronouncing that correctly? >> host: leovy. >> caller: leovy, i'm so sorry. in any event i saw the statistics. i don't make money doing this i might be wrong. i heard over all more people die from suicide than they do from car accidents. i know particularly in black communities in general for those of us who are able to get college degrees and not do drugs
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and not shoot anybody or hurt anybody. it seems as though tmv is there is a failsafe. you know, someone who has a decent job there is tmv to start the ball rolling and usually with caucasian if it happens that is not a problem. >> guest: yeah, it's a great point. posted as to the issue of reversing minor crimes. really an interesting thing that came out of the controversy is that although italy shooting had in decatur had a lot of the protests, in the end with the federal government came in and said what is really about, what did they come up with municipal infraction and this terrifies story of the way municipal code violations have been really wielded like a weapon against the black population.
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.. >> host: here's the book. ghetto side, the true story of murder in america. our live coverage from in the "los angeles times" festival of book continues. up next, national of american history. you'll heard from edward larsen about george washington and richard reeves talk about
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japanese american intermment. we'll have more call yips in -- callins as well. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome to "the los angeles times" festival of books. this session is history american milestones. i'm your moderator john weiner. i teach american history at uv irvine and write for the nation magazine now celebrating its 150th anniversary as america's oldest weekly. [applause] >> this magnificent 260 pain issue is available in its entirety for free on the web site for our panel today you know the
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rules. cell phones, on or off. >> off. >> book signing will that be before or after the session? >> after. >> our format today, i get to ask the first question to each author. we'll have ten minutes for an answer, then i'll ask a followup for maybe two or three minutes for response. panelists will have time to talk to each other if they want and then we'll open it up to questions from the floor. first we'll start with richard reeves. of course he received dozen of awards for his work in print television and film, published more than 20 books, tran lated into more than a dozen languages, including chinese and thai. his books include president kennedy, profile of power, it's now considered the authoritative work on the subject won several national awards best nonfiction work of the year by times, book
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of the year by washington mom. richard reeves columnist his column appears in more than 150 newspapers and web sites. from 1979 to 2014. his new book is officially published april 21st a day after tomorrow but we have copies here. it's called "infamy: the shocking story of the japanese american interment in world war ii." "please welcome back, rich reeves. applause. >> so, my question i have a question for you. this world war ii internment of japanese americans, 120,000 people, two-thirds of them citizens mostly from california, sent mostly the owens valley if you go to mammoth, you drive past the site. these were people who were not
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charged with any crime, much less found guilty. nevertheless they were imprisoned for four years of world war ii. when i teach about it. they ask how could this have happened, and what was it like for the japanese-americans who lived in manzanar for three or four years. this is what your book is about. >> well, how it happened is that it has happened again and again through american history starting with obviously the native americans the for tories, who didn't support the revolution sided with the british, were killed or driven off their lands, and on and on through american hoyt, as each immigrant group was kind of pulled into the country for labor, the chinese to build the railroads, the eastern europeans
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for the steel industry. northern europeans for farming. and we knew all along there was great deal of hatred, prejudice that they weren't like us, until they were us. and all of the people in this room come from those people. so, it is happening again and again, and i ten to write books -- a second question -- how was it? how would you like living in a horse stable in santa anita for months and then being transferred into tar paper shacks without plumbing, without heat without cooking facilities. in the most warren parts of america where the ten relocation centers were places no one ever lived before or ever would again. tulie lake in california, is a
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lava bed. manzanar was built on the dried-up remains of owen valley -- of owens lake. one of the kids from l.a. who went -- found out she was coming to tulie lake, packed -- they were allow ode to bring only what they could carry, which usually meant two suitcases. but she packed a bathing suit because she was going to tulie lake without knowing there had not been water in the lake for 500 years. as i said, i guess i write books in batches. i wrote a trilogy of presidential biographies, of kennedy, nixon, and reagan and the last book i did before this was about the berlin air lift. and i wrote that book because of abu ghraib. these were the better angels of our nature at that time, as
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lincoln said and i wrote the book because i did not feel that the america i grew up in and the america i'm hopelessly in love with, was the same as abu ghraib. then as things escalated that was the angel side -- i wanted to keep islams out of -- i wanted to write about the dark history of america which was dramatized in these so-called relocation camps or pioneer colonies. and the beginning of the book really is about the toxic mix of fear racism, greed, and fear,
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racism greed, put out because the californians, led by the attorney general of the state, man named earl warren, wanted the land, the fishing boats -- at that time japanese accounted for 40% of the agriculture in the state of california. of course when they were sent to the camps their bank accounts were frozen. so that they then lost all their land to foreclosure. to their caucasian neighbors. which is what in many ways it's all about. the first driver was the press including the newspaper that paid the rent for this room to say nothing of the hearst papers both here in l.a. and san francisco, who felt, although they got the line from earl warren that a jap is a jap
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and you can't trust them you can't tell them apart, and we've got to lock them up. the villains -- this not a book about japanese, it's a book about americans on both sides of the barbed wire. as john mentioned, two-thirds of the people incarcerated -- they were not interned. that's a legal term meaning you're an alien. two-thirds of them were american insides, born in the u.s.a. their parents could not -- no oriental could become a citizen of the united states between -- after the oriental exclusion act of 1924, until the japanese were allowed to apply for naturalization in 1952. after they had spent the better part or some of them -- of their lives in prisons. so that on the one side of the fence, the villains are people
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we revere, from the outroar, the fear that the press -- much of it made up -- the battle of los angeles was one of the famous battles of world war ii. you may remember when after 12 hours of firing shells, we still missed the enemy, which was a navy weather balloon. so that people were terrified. the press was feeding that. politicians, as always, would follow the press, and among the people who come out as villains in the book, are franklin roosevelt, who signed the order putting the japanese into these camps, and a strain -- strange fellow, roosevelt, a hero but believer in thing like eugenics and felt that the japanese were 2,000 years behind caucasians. we learn that wasn't true.
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2,000 years behind because of the shape of their skull. so he wanted to institute a national program to change the shape of their skulls over 2,000 years so they wouldn't be so aggressive. germans, he wanted them all castrated. earl warren was the attorney general of california, and he was the one who sold the idea of putting the people into prison to the press. he made up maps showing how close japanese americans lived to military bases, to airfields, to forts to fuel depots to power lines without mentioning, of course, they had been there for 50 years. before the bases were built or the power lines were sent. and earl warren's theory, which
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he articulated many times in the press and in -- before congress was that the fact that there was never a single act of japanese sabotage in world war ii, that was proof that they were planning a big one and it would all be directed from tokyo. roger baldwin, the founder of the aclu forbid -- aclu attorneys -- he was a friend of roosevelts -- forbid any aclu attorneys to file suits which mentioned race as being a factor. in all of this. of course race was the factor to many people. after all, we were fighting germany and italy at the same time and if we do the same thing to them as we did to the 120,000 japanese on the west coast, we would have had to build prison comps for
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50 million people -- prison camps for 50 million people, including many of us in this room. but baldwin would not let the aclu attorneys mention race and the young ones the real civil libertarians, quit and the aclu almost collapsed over that. walter lippmann then the greatest columnist in the country, best known columnist, most intellectual columnist in the best papers met with earl warren for a long lunch and then repeated almost word for word in two columns warren's arguments why the japanese should be put in concentration camps. two days after the column. roosevelt signed and gave him real cover with liberals -- roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which put the japanese
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behind -- japanese-americans behind bashed wire. edward r. murrow, from the state of washington, gave a series of speeches arguing that when the west coast was bombed by the japanese, if you looked up a lot of them would be wearing university of washington sweat shirts or wearing university of washington rings. and finally, the cartoonist, the most liberal newspaper in the country, p.m. in new york, did a series of cartoons the most famous of which showed buck-toothed japanese coming down the whole coast and picking up dynamite and saying with telescopes looking for orders from tokyo. his name was dr. seuss. >> dr. seuss. wow. >> i'll just finish the one
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thing. the living considers were horrible by any standards. they were worse than prisoner of war camps oregon -- camps, on the other hand, the americans deal with problems we, by moving on, and we did move on, and there's no doubt in my mind that brown v. topeka which was written by the same earl warren desegregating public facilities in the south, was a direct effect redemption, of the incarceration. in his oral history berkeley does gigantic oral histories of california governors. in the sixth day of questioning amelia frye, the woman doing the questioning, at berkeley, finally said to warren, after talking about all his triumphs
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and i want to talk now about 19 -- what happenin' 1942. warren broke into tears walked out of the room and never came back. >> richard reeves. [applause] >> we'll have a lance to come back to this in the question period. i would have thought it was impossible at this point to come up with a new store about abraham lincoln and the civil war. but scott martelle has succeeded. the author of four other books, including blood, passion, the ludlow massacre and class war in the northwestern west himself new book is "the mad man and the assistant: the strange life of the as sane of abraham lincoln. welcome back scatter martelle last tuesday was the 1 other
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anniversary of the anation of abraham lincoln. everybody know who killed him what john wilkes booth but the man who killed john wilkes booth would be the ultimate footnote to ahead. if a grad student told me they watched to write a ph.d dissertation in history on your subject, your topic week have said it's impossible help was famous for ten minutes, not even 15 minutes, maybe -- it would be nice to know about him but you'll never be able to get enough material. but you have done it. you have filed this guy's life is immensely revealing about a lot of things in the american history, starting with the civil war and religion in the 19th 19th century, politics in the 19th century. but we didn't know any of that. you didn't know how it would be possible to write this when you started it. what made you think there was a whole book that could be written
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about korbet and how were you able to get enough material on this obscure guy to write this excellent book? >> i didn't really know i could at first. i just finished my previous book, which was about a guy who went to find john paul jones' body in paris, missing for 100 years, beginning with the french revolution, and i was looking for another idealism had a couple of dry holes and my editor at the chicago retrue press send me an e-mail and asked if i ever had or boston korbet. he castrated himself and killed john wilkes booth. if anything know anything about him, that's the only thing they know, he castrated him. so i thought i'm a journalist i can run with that. the rest doesn't matter. right? but it wasn't quite that easy. it took a lot of digging around. before we knew we had enough material for a book. i had a year to do this book, quick turn-around.
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so i researched, 40 years in the daily journal and i discovered that in 1878, he had done a homestead in kansas. he moved to kansas well after the war and while he was out -- he was porn in london, moved to new york, raised in new york city so he was a city kid and went to kansas to be a farmer and that worked out about as well as you expect it would. and he had spent nearly five months in the andersonville prison camp. that is an absolutely horror of a place and ruined his health. he decided to apply for a government pension military pension, and to do that you have to file all these affidavits and get people to write affidavits about what you were like when you were healthy, which is before the war. about the nature of the injuries
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and what his physical life was like now. so that was a treasure trove of material. the pension bureau record inside the national archives. and spoiler alert. co-core bette disappeared from an insane asylum and a man claiming to be boston corbett saying get me declared uninsane, and the guy who was appointed guardian of his estate, realized this wasn't the real boston corbett so he began filing complaints and the government began investigating the guy and the big investigation came up who is the real boston corbett and the lawyer traveled to new jersey at one point to talk to people who knew corbett in the early part of his life and so the treasure trove of material from that stuff. and as corbett's guardian he had
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all of corbett's letters. so there's self hundred letters people had written to corbett. he had the pension file affidavits the investigator stuff. i knew him when he was in new york and healthy and 20. little stories, and his ten minutes of fame was actually more like three hours. he was an early celebrity. so you read the newspapers from that era and there are stories all over the country about boston corbett, most wrong. so people were tracking him during that time. as that happened, there were these interesting memoirs and recollections, people who had been at andersonville with him. so as the historian that -- once you find where that little thread is to pull, i was amazed how much material was out there to get on him. except for his early life. i sort of struck out london years. >> you told "the los angeles times" in an interview you found yourself sympathetic to boston corbett.
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i wonder why that was and whether you thought that is important to making the book a success? >> if you go online and look at boston corbett you see the guy was a crazy religious zealot. i mentioned the self-castration. he -- his wife died when he was young help was stilt a healthy young male. all in the book. but he had a sexual young man's libido and was a street creature and his libido kept getting in the way of his pros the tieding so hi took a pair of scissors one day -- >> we are on live tv here family hour. >> not looking for a demonstration. >> and even worse is dinnertime on the east coast. sorry about that. but after doing this, corbett went out to dinner and then went to a prayer meeting and then he came home and decided he ought to see a doctor and spent a month in a hospital in boston. and that is the ludicrous
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extreme because of his religious faith, and i'm not a person of faith but i began to build sympathy for him. he genuinely thought if he lived every minute of every hour of every day of every week of his life he could lead the perfect christian existence and he was living in new york, working as a finisher making no money and he was an alcoholic after his wife died. so we find drunks in the streets, pick them up, bring them back to his room, and dry them out, clean them up, get them sober, get them a job push them out, go find another one, and he lived his life like that you. have to admire somebody with that kind of devotion to not saying i'm other christian but to actually living that day-to-day. liked the guy. >> thank you scott mar tele. [applause] >> edward larson is win of the
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pulitzer prize in history for this book summer for the goads. the scopes trial and america's continuing debate over science and religion. he is university professor of hit -- history at pepperdine and received the richard russell teaching award from the university of georgia himself new book which we are talking about today is "the return of george washington, 1783 to 1789." please welcome to the l.a. festival of books, ed larson. >> scott wrote a book about a person nobody knows anything out. i looked in amazon, how many books with the name of george washington in the title, 65,261. you have written one more.
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you are brave man, and we salute you for that. most historians would regard this as impossible finding something new to say about george washington but you have citiedded magnificently in this book, as the constitution, not a small thing yet somehow neglected by 55,261 other historians. how did you come up with this, and what exactly is new in your book? >> well, thank you. i'm glad you agree there's something new there what i do with my books the book you mentioned, the one that won the pulitzer prize, the scopes trial, fit that standard. what i do is i try to take a subject that people know a lot about, or at least think they know a lot about. this widely known, and find gaps in the historical research. so with the scopes book, for example, as much as we all knew
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it from the wonderful play and great movie, "inherit the wind" and from reading" only yesterday." a classic book of the 1930s, no historianed a ever written a book about the scopes trial. so i was able to brick historical message to and it up pack it as an historian would and two of my biggest fans became bob lee and jerry lawrence, who wrote "inherit the wind." he said we were really talk about mccarthyism and we used that vehicle. so i followed that up with a book on the galapagos island. but i dealt -- not focused on darwin's work there but all the other scientific work done, and a lot of it i researched wright in this building because this is named for allen hancock and allen hancock, and the early usc
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was the main funder along with stanford, of research in the galapagos island and allen hancock would take his ship there every year, and so i got to read about that and learn all about that. and then similarly with the 1800 book the 1800 election book, because no one ever unpacked the 1800 election book as a current event, such as making of the president in 1960, and doing it that way rather than in a broad scope. looking for gaps in the literature in the historical literature was -- and that's how i came to the washington book. i never thought i'd write a book about george washington but what it was for years i taught american history at university of georgia for years, some when you teach american history as the survey card, you spend a couple days on the american revolution and it's all about george washington and then you spend a couple days talking about the cob -- confederation period and the country was going
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to hell in a hand basket. the british had not evacuated the forts in the west and the frontiers people were making deals with the spanish to flip that way, and how vermont was conspiring with the british to leave america and join the -- join british canada, and of course, the rebellion, which frightened washington greatly in massachusetts, and the radical printing of paper money in rhode island and georgia, where there was chaos and then see the native americans armed by the british and spanish retaking most of georgia. literally the country was physicalling apart and each of the states were sovereign unto themselves because we were under articles of cob federation -- confederation which gave no power to central government. they can't raise taxes they couldn't have an army. they can't effectively run the country, and each state was competing against the other states to a -- aggrandize itself
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and causing the collapse of its whole and a great sense among europeans they were just going to re-annex the colonies. we talk about that, and then of course we go to the constitution and the presidency, and it's all about washington again. but in that middle two days when you're talking about the confederation you hear nothing about george washington. he disappeared. they say he went home to his -- mt. vernon and was a farmer again. even if you read biographies of washington, even great ones even the multivolume ones, when they get to this period, they say he went home to mt. vernon. they talk about him as a farmer. there's something to say about him as a farmer. ...
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motivated by a desire to leave a legacy and its legacy with as he called it a government of the people, where there was no republican governments in the world. they were all monarchies or some sort of dig dealerships here and he wanted to create a government of the people. he saw it all collapsing and he wouldn't care. he was set at mount vernon and do nothing. i went back fortunate enough to get a fellowship to live in
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mount vernon for a while, went through the papers, writing, everyone who visited all the people visiting mount vernon to find out what he was during that period. i was a little like the famous book about eisenhower. he didn't want to put it forward because it would look like he would create the job of running the country, job he retired from. he really did want to be president, but he wanted -- he believed he was the product of the enlightenment. he believed in individual liberty. he believed in private property and the sovereignty of america and he was engaged from the day he went back to the day he came back and was inaugurated. he was engaged before he went back with a circular letter to the state, which is the most widely known document at the time and fighting for a more perfect union. a consolidated government, a national government or of the
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software. so what i was able to follow with meetings happening of mount vernon, he would have done the people coming to mount erdmann. james madison spent the months before going to philadelphia going to mount vernon. george washington was involved in every meeting before the plane was created during the constitutional convention working with madison about working with morris, working with the others, he was orchestrating the creation of a constitution during the ratification process. he was involved in that at every stage. so that sort of story hasn't been unpacked before. that is the story i thought when our constitution and government is challenged, he had strong polls that he was also working
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with all different people so he knew how to compromise. he was a retail as well as the wholesale politician. he had a goal and he produced -- i will just close i saved one comment. often people describe james madison as the architect of the constitution. that could well be true. he drafted large portions with governor morris and james wilson. as james madison the architect of the const duchenne i say george washington was a general contractor. if any of you out to house does the look more like a contractor having in mind who gets it done a maoist george washington's role in it was a delight and privilege into me more than i expect it when i jumped into this project. i did ultimately to a boat. i thought it would lead to an article. but it's an exciting story and gave me a new vision of a sort of a later george washington
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was. [applause] >> edward larson. >> there is a dark side to the constitutional convention. of course that is slavery. washington of course was a slave owner. the word slavery famously does not appear in the constitution, but it is present in three different places, the three fifths clause about how slaves to be a representation in the house, the fugitive slave clause in the original constitution and there is a provision the slave trade could be respect you for a period of years. so watching tim is a key figure in the final form of the the constitution. what was his role in the debate over slavery at the constitutional convention and in those final compromises? >> he was very much part of the compromises annihilate those out of the boat.
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people forget the electoral college would forget that for slavery. the people who decide to come to duchenne they wanted to have everyone vote here the southern states knew that half the people were slaves out voted by the north. the electoral college was a way to get the state disproportionate representation in choosing a president i worked with a series of presidents leading up to the civil war. washington was a part of all of them. he was troubled by slavery which makes him different in a way that jefferson and madison. he ended up freeing his slaves. his final decision to say this is the one we use any tears that want to give that frees the slaves. he's been pushed during the revolution. he was very close during the revolution. i was very close, very loyal.
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with a man who had very close friends that hamilton lafayette, all took a very strong position against slavery and pleaded with them during the revolution to free slaves as a symbol to everyone now said he agonized over that decision. realize how important it was and keeping the union together in the event becoming a main concern. benjamin franklin to his credit takes a much bigger lead in trying to oppose lavery. he goes on with the constitution and its justification and he met often with washing them and may have involved somewhat. franklin who is the creator of the society of america said if we don't see the union there never will be slavery in the south because patrick henry was trying to leave the south in two the consideration in washington
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may have been involved somewhat but certainly wasn't often working out compromises because he believed the south would never stand without the compromises. >> thank you. at larson. the >> we have a chance for the panelist to talk to each other ask questions for each other. would anyone like to converse? did you get the sense washington's approach to slavery was based in his personal morality or because he stood to gain, he lost his three laborer. >> washington had inherited a variety of slaves working on mount vernon. most of the slaves came through and married very well. >> we all did. he thought he would have to work for a living and by his
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brother's death he ended up inheriting land but then there is the richest widow in the state who brought many, many slaves with her. he couldn't create those ways anyway but deeper down secret is kept slaves and made them employees of some sort. he cut it for that out individually. in a larger sense he was in a slave state in many southern states oddly enough the only reason south carolina fought in the war it was protecting liberty to own slaves. he knew he was dealing with the citizen that pull together and deep down he believed the whole system as it was at that time would collapse without it and takes time to make changes. he ended doing that and it's better than nothing. it is a far cry from what we should expect from him and a far
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cry from what we had with hamilton and franklin over we had with hancock or others who actually did the sacrifice and did not slaves. >> moving on the question, to today, how christian were his buddies on how christian was the const to duchenne? >> george washington stopped attending church during the revolutionary war. he would go when he was president, but always made a point of leaving before communion. the minister was the great airship of philadelphia police george washington did not believe in the christian revelation. before the revolution he had a large plantation and he was on the vestry and a large
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plantation. from everything i've been able to read, george washington like most of the other founding fathers was some sort of a unitarian. he had a profound sense of providence and the profound sense of providence and belief in god was critical to his whole world view. u.s. many theists are not sick. he profoundly believed in providence would probably put them somewhere in the category of a unitarian. that would be true of jefferson probably more unitarian. same with franklin at the end. they come out somewhere because if you want to get a christian during this period, you would look at witherspoon or john jay. >> i was fascinated by both of your books. i have long been fascinated by
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your work by the whole japanese internment. i thought about how warring could have gone through this. do you think at the time believed what it was too ignorant do you think at the time he was angling because this is a great step to higher office and ends up becoming the most popular governor in history. >> i think that he acted not as a believer, but as a politician. this is what the public wanted. people were afraid and he rode the back of the history to the governorship against culvert olson who had been asked that were less vigorous in condemning japanese americans. i want to mention one thing about the world intern med. if you deal with people who live in this world. internment is something done.
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enemy aliens interned during wartime. so while the word internment has lived on is what happened with the japanese, for most of them they were not aliens. they recently jailed. not interned. they have no rights no charges, no nothing. >> i have another question. .com and you say in your book he was a celebrity after he killed john wilkes booth. we are very familiar with the term celebrity in our society. it must've been something different in 1865. >> not really. we think of celebrities in terms of social media twitter him old world knows that happens. we are at the early stages of that because the telegraph party existed. the research was fascinating.
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he was killed within a day or two all of you can go online the library of congress and do this chronicling america site just skimming from the early days. he threw in the years 1860 and plug in boston corp. its name in january 19th of february nothing marcia and come the end of april his salary the country. anybody with any access who lived in a settled village area with the local paper and telegraph he was within 48 hours of the time he killed moose. obviously torn times. to the north he was a hero. to the south he killed a hero. 30 was getting hate spiders.
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i'm not a psychologist, but he had paranoia perhaps bipolar. definitely a fear of organizations. the brothers were out of the secret societies coming to get them. he carried a gun everywhere. he shut down the court proceeding. every time this happened and zips around the country. people are following what was happening and they went crazy in 1887 and started all over again and it disappeared from the insane asylum a year later. >> just say a word about what might've been the cause of his mental illness, his paranoia. >> hard to diagnose 150 years on but not as a hatter. he was a silk hat and assured by
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trade. they used that to comprise so who knows how much of that he inhaled. >> so mad as a hatter refers to the mercury poisoning of an occupational hazard of being a hat maker. and boston corbett was not as a hatter. >> while we're at it i would ask all of us how has the internet changed your work and how is it affect in history? >> my first visit about 1913-14. there were two investigations. i had to live several hundred
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dollars to copies of those things nine years ago. you can go to google books and look at it for free. that has been a huge change to me anyway. >> i agree it's made a major change, a fundamental change. it started of course with printing press and added with the telegraph and telephone, but with the internet, it is almost like the world is connect did. so even though my topics tend to be back with there wasn't internet than i used archives in papers and letters and ulcers affect tv there's so much in the internet and you can call in an expert. i will e-mail you the expert on this particular issue that i'm dealing with when i am unpacking slavery. i'll go to the expert during the revolutionary. her of dealing with
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ratification. i can go right to pauline at m.i.t. and asked him a question. i sort of get the comparison is like the world is becoming one great ape brained and we can interact in ways -- we can collect -- it does collect the information. you're able to access so much more. i would have a long time getting through the library because i'm dealing with books out of copyright, so they are copied in there and i can pull them up right away. the consent ideas out and get feedback right away. that sort of networking is empowering just a working history. imagine in physics or engineering or other areas and it's able to speed out so
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tremendously our acquisition and development of knowledge to me as an historian who looks back it is almost frightening it must be working in poetry literature, and i think it is just an exciting time to be alive. >> it is below mind approach. when you google journalists you may not necessarily get the full answer. the danger of online research is to go to archives. the online stuff tells you where they are but you have to go and do the work. the danger of the internet is stopping google. >> richard, what about you? >> i will give it in and it showed. on the day at "the new york times" put its entire archive online i stayed up until
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3:00 in the morning. i was writing a book on a physicist, the great british businesses. the new zealand -- member of the british empire was very famous in his time. i don't know if he know if he's as famous as boston was. i sat there using his name from 1861 every time ernest rutherford was mentioned in "the new york times," read it job offers. i finally went to bed sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 at night. my wife said what have you been doing? i just did five months work. >> we have a few minutes for questions. it is for questions.
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that is an interrogatory statement rather than a declarative statement. we have microphones. you have the microphone back there? is there a question or over there? who has their hand up? here is one. >> just following up on the question about the internet. your book wouldn't have been possible if you hadn't taken the fellowship of mount vernon to be fair with the original document. that is a disconnect, right? >> absolutely. you cannot trust wikipedia for facts. but it can be tremendously helpful starting point. if you can send a check in on the internet and i internet and it disagrees come you've got to go a little closer.
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doing the source to work all three of us do we need to do interviews. we need to do the hard step of going in archives. what the internet can do with some of those documents, an increasing number are available on the internet. second you can directly contract contact other experts on the idea of sending a letter or making a phone call. you don't have a clear record talking on the phone. it has those advantages. i would not hurt -- i never used a quote from somebody else's boat. so if i read about another historian and they take a quote, i have to go back to the original source because i can't trust exactly how they quoted it. it's not a pejorative to them. they may have cut it out in some way. i always have to go back to the original sources but the internet can help you find the sources can't actually access some of them and can be drawn on
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as a political resource. it has speeded up how quickly i can do a book that i think is credible history. take the time cut in half. >> one thing about richard's project. if you're in just an experience of the people imprisoned, there are a few memoirs, they miss memoirs, but the great majority of the people are not found in print archives. out of the newspapers and for that you have to go someplace like the japanese museum where there is lots of handwritten diary entries and handmade photographs. >> there is also what was a history of white people who served in combat, the adult japanese rarely ever talk about what it had been, especially to their own children and
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grandchildren. ironically, it was the black civil rights movement which mobilized young japanese-americans to begin to ask their parents what did you do during the war daddy? at that point most of the work began -- most of the literature began at that point and it was interestingly it was largely memoir and there was largely done for young adults, including the most famous return which is required reading for students in california so that also when the japanese with getting their sense of pride and self-esteem and decided they would tell their stories. a marvelous organization called
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bend which was founded by japanese intellectuals and teachers and has done thousands of oral histories on videotape of those people and index them and that is the kind of resource that didn't exist before the internet and didn't exist before young people begin to say what happened. >> another question. right here. >> richard, i do question about attitude of the rest of the country towards the japanese and towards the hole in terms. i grew up in a neighborhood in the southside of chicago chicago with all japanese-americans. i found out later they were all for they were off the man's an hour and came to chicago to work. what was the general tenor of the rest?
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>> obviously was a west coast story. if you could find a job in another part of the country, you could move to that part in chicago, minneapolis and indianapolis were the three cities that most of the young japanese. they were young. nurses secretaries accountants. however among the people i interviewed was the wife of a couple who moved to indianapolis. he was a certified public accountant and she worked as a kind of chief clerk in an organizatorganizat ion. they lived in indianapolis for 25 years and she told me not a single person i talked to their friends were caucasian have heard of the internment.
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and of course if they did here the government maintained tight control and they kind of made in look like grossing her because they would censor all the pictures and words that came out. the most frustrating people, the great photographer and dorothea lange, another great photographer has two things frustrating them. the japanese always wanted to put their best face forward. the address. they would smile and the government censor the pictures to make sure the pictures that showed certain parts of actual life did not appear during the war. they didn't know this was happening. >> i'm glad you mentioned
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minneapolis. they invited st. thomas, all us. they didn't allow them. a lot of the japanese started as transfer students >> at this institution they were arkansas. ..
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the first thing they were told that they were putting into these camps to protect against the white population as they reach the camps finally reached the camps finally they realized the machine guns were not pointed out they were pointed in but they were in places where
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they could and between the two hours and independence in california and combined the population. even when the government just before they opened the camps gave the japanese permission to leave the western states and if they could get as california passed a s-sierra they could live as japanese in new york or chicago as free people. in each case they were met at the borders of chloride colorado arizona by the armed vigilante mobs which drove them back. no one would sell them food or water and they had to return to california in the camps. they hadn't been in the camps
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yet but there were no escapes and there were perhaps three dozen shootings the most famous of which was because a man that happened to be death, japanese men walking by the barbed wire inside the guard was yelling at him to stop, he was too close and then he didn't respond. at the guard was court-martialed and found guilty and penalized 1 dollar for illegal use of government in other words it would cost a dollar. >> i'm afraid our time is up i want to thank you. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> booktv live coverage of the 20th annual "los angeles times" festival of books continues on the campus of southern california. that was a panel talking about american history that you were listening to. coming up another panel on crime. so that's in about a half-hour. after that, radio talkshow host ben shapiro will be our guest for recalling. but right now is the
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editor-in-chief and not how the data collecting corporations are destroying democracy. who are they? >> weser under the privacy to the corporations which is fine as long as you know what you're doing. you buy a book come how far in the book can i read. i had about 100 times connected with what i read and watch. every government requires you to give your fingerprints every time you bought a book or watch a movie you would think that was
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the definition of the tub. government. we did it voluntarily because we've come to define freedom is the freedom to shop and have these ads pop up and we neglected to notice they indicated privacy like dress sizes come here coloring and everything else. that was kind of acceptable as long as we felt it was a private activity. but we learned from edward and a few others but really from edward it's not the private sector, its government and that happens to heavens to the fiber optic cables and has backdoor channels and has all this data so it is a different order of magnitude because our constitution and notion of representative democracy is you unique privacy.
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you can't rummage about your activities without a specific order and so this already opened the doorway to manage what's going on here. people all over the world and started asking wait a minute hour day getting pushback from europe and all over the world and that's why the companies are now leading the fight to rein in the nsa. there is the most profitable export that we have in the world. we are undermining the business model of the information
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companies. the american people are becoming more wary of what they are giving up and the issue is the brave new world or 1984 it hardly ever comes at the chat or that you're not having privacy you're doing self-censorship and we've been to the very dangerous world. >> host: first wine of the book line of the book we are talking with editor in chief of many books. >> guest: and professor. >> host: professor at the school of communication journalism as well. from the la times columnist for the you're going to put the numbers up talking about privacy, cybersecurity, those type of issues.
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you understand what's going on what we are talking about. first line in the book for democracy privacy is the ballgame. >> that was understood by the founders. our government is based on the idea of individual sovereignty. we see government power. after 9/11 we got this idea that somehow the government should have all the power and we should beg for crumbs off the table and that's not the way that it's supposed to be. we also have this idea. you need freedom. there is farewell address wondering about the pretended patriotism. it was the founders of the government that gave us checks and balances and the different
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parts of the bill of rights because even though we are going to be the government coming even though because you have to watch us power corrupts absolutely. you have to have a zone of privacy and individual space. i think that's the best position was on the case that but said if the police arrest you they can't crack the code and use that information that is a violation of the fourth amendment and that's exactly what the american revolution was fought about it. they can't come into your house. that's why the team was dumped in the boston harbor and we forgotten that notion into surrender that power and it is held by the agencies the cia has funded and there are no checks and balances. we have been lied to, the security of travis told the
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senate we were not getting this information he still has his job so we don't have accountability coming and my whole point is the word is not privacy of his sovereignty that's what the amendment was about. you have the right to your castle. and what they said is a there is more than there ever was in your home and you have to know that it's secure, your calendar medical information, think of all the things you have on your computer and the fact is this will probably be on people's mind watching this it didn't make us stronger when president obama was challenged where did this great haystack of information where did that make us stronger and there isn't one example they can come up with if
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you take the boston marathon, the bombing in paris, they were well-known to the police. you didn't have have to do with the information on everybody at the book festival to find the guys that did the bombing in boston you have to do old-fashioned police work. we are drowning in information. we have this notion that leads us nowhere. >> host: is google and facebook complex at in maintaining this information or getting the information? >> they were complicit in the beginning there is no doubt. this 29-year-old guy at the time i think of a clarity and bravery i don't know whether he is republican or democrat i hear he's some kind of libertarian but she did what anybody that takes enough to the constitution to do is inform us when the
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constitution is being violated. that's what he did. people that call him a traitor forget the obligation of citizenship which is to inform what's going on. and i would say the key thing is that there is no evidence. if anything it's made us more secure. the evidence is overwhelming it's made us more fearful that it intimidates the populations of people engage in self-censorship. they say what do i have to worry about and that means you don't think you're going to do anything pushing the edge. you're not going to trouble the government, while that's not what our government is about. we are supposed to challenge the government and and have wild thoughts. we are supposed to think differently and get together with our fellow citizens and to assemble in peaceful. at disturbing the disturbing the government is an obligation of citizenship. that's what we have forgotten
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and the fact of the matter is that this government let us down because it's collected all this data in house and made us more secure. where has this helped he came up with one example. he was on the radar and the agencies didn't even talk to each other. they had legal passports in saudi arabia. we didn't say what are they up to? he had already served time. he didn't have to give my underwear size and your reading habits. all you have to do is what the police used to do. what is he up to now? >> in the macular of the cow was let out of the barn where do we do here? >> this has come up here before
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9/11 you have conservatives and liberals and they say this is after the reverse. the richard nixon speechwriter he and ed markey they say we need to opt in and somebody is going to take the data you gave them your information coming they should have your permission to mine the data and market it and so forth. so yes no one should be able to use the data without your permission and get rid of the patriot act which gave the government a blank check to violate the fourth amendment. you don't hold the government accountable. hillary clinton tells us she didn't trust the state department with her e-mails. hillary clinton was running the state department and it didn't trust him with her e-mails so why should i trust the state
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department with e-mails or any branch when they don't trust themselves with their data. >> host: legislatively would would you like to see done? >> the patriot act not be renewed. that's coming up in june. that is a critical weapon. the guy that wrote that he read act is on record. the republican congressman. rand paul holds that opposition plenty of liberals have the position that people should be aware that the government was given a license to learn so much about you that you have no privacy and you will end up being a fearful human being. >> host: they know everything about you is the name of the book. robert is the editor in chief of truth, left right and center, longtime la times columnist and the first call comes from angela
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of new york. you are on. >> caller: hello. how do you do. i wanted to institute talking theoretical and wanted to tell you a personal story. i think one of the elephant in the elephants in the room is of course the court system into 50 were evaluated by what your monetary worth is in the judges make decisions based on that. i had a house at 66 >> host: i apologize you are not going to be able to get into your personal story today but what about the court system have they been supportive of privacy rights were the governments wanting to know? >> you should be the protection of individual rights into the
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constitution and our constitution is the document of human history but congress shall make no law. the fourth amendment is clear that general warren sort out. they've been sleeping all of this data as a general warrant. you have to have a specific reason for entering someone's home comfort having their phone, for following them. that is due process and the courts until this last court had been weak. we don't have the constitution to constitution to weaken us but to strengthen us. there are a lot of questions what are we doing and why did we want to overthrow the government? we don't question that information and the main thing is the courts have to step up and say we have this gift of the
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seventh and eighth amendments we need to protect it and both democratic and republican administrations have destroyed basically the key fabric of the constitution. >> host: in a >> host: methow cheyenne troy michigan you are on with booktv. >> guest: think thank you good afternoon. i just sat down a few minutes ago and i am intrigued by this. i was astounded last night i was listening to pbs radio and i must tell you that i am not very convinced with the electronics. but they said that facebook and twitter are able in the course of time to determine people's political persuasions and somehow they send the news to those people that is along their
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way of thinking to them. it's directed -- >> guest: that is what my book deals with. that's what the data mining was all about, manipulation. facebook will send more conservative news. it's tried an experiment that got harsh feedback where they try to send more cheerful information or depressing news. that should be the news that is important. and what's happening is the political academy, barack obama was aggressive in using the data mining but they are all doing it to target people with messages they want to hear and to
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manipulate the political process and they know as my book title says, they know everything about you. they can figure out how you voted, they can figure out what kind of relationship you have, they can figure out whether you've been divorced, they know your inclinations how far you read, what music you listen to and then the political messages could be targeted so there's no one there anymore. you think you are observing a natural process and you are being manipulated and every turn. manipulation is the turn of talk or see. transparency is the ally of democracy. it's that simple. >> caller: as you you mentioned that you ask your students about are you ever going to go near the edge. my concern is people say i'm not doing anything wrong but who knows when they are going to move the edge.
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>> guest: i would agree with you. >> guest: when this came about and they said there is a secret law i don't remember what it was about just the words stuck in my head how can you have a secret law lacks >> that is the big problem. how do you spot a traitor or a ticker risk. the libertarians libertarians a lot of them have relieved that. maybe that is the kind of change we need. we have the right to do something like that. maybe the president shouldn't have the power to send troops to war without a declaration from congress. that's what the constitution says. what is the edge's patriotism just going along with whatever you were told. and the whole idea is that we
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have to be informed and we can change the parameter. that's the idea of the experiments we can say it's not working well and we want to change the institutions. they can say he wants to get out of the federal reserve were served to develop a profile of the person and you've still got to prevent them from getting a job or a loan and make them a target of police and of suspicion and then you no longer have a free people. that's what the books 1984 in the brave new world were all about. so the entire societies make themselves palatable people and they do it through self-censorship. people don't know they are being manipulated. we are being manipulated in a very high degree now not just by
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our advertisers. you are reading and dan rather pops up and the ad pops up for shoes. how many are reading that article. you called a friend about it what does that say about your personality come and they take this information and there are people doing data mining can and we are not just talking about the u.s. government we are talking about any government in the world, north korea libya. we've shown the way. we've made it legitimate. but do we want to live in a world where the government and corporations and everything that's what they know now. they can collect this data and we need rules of the road the most important rule is that the free society of the government shouldn't be able to gather all
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of your personal information to develop profiles of you as a means of intimidation. we need a free people. we shouldn't be treated as if we are the terrorists, we are the enemies. we are supposed to be the governors. that's the whole idea of the constitution. we are the ones that are supposed to be empowered, not the government created the government should be looked upon with suspicion. how did you get us into this mess in afghanistan or celiac disease post here yet. those are the questions we have the right to ask and we shouldn't be treated as objects of suspicion which is the dual citizens. >> what do you think of the term freedom of information act? >> guest: what is disturbing about it let me just cut back a little bit. here is something great about the internet. it is a fabulous invention.
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i entered a publication. i have been technically savvy. we have the need to get up to speed. it's a great educational tool. it's being destroyed in the way of intimidating people and absorbing people. they should be able to use the experiments can read whatever you want think whatever you want to exchange your thoughts. you know, take risks with your thoughts. when you act on it, yes we have to respect other people and respect their rights. that should be unfettered. and to have information about what your government is doing and what is being done in your name and what is the war about that is the essential society of that democracy.
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look, those that gave us this protection of the first amendment and fourth amendment, they said watch us. madison, jefferson, we are going to be the government. but we know power corrupts absolute. they are going to grant you the right to challenge us. they won the war against the biggest power on earth and they knew they could come back and they did come back in 1812 and they knew if it went wrong they would be hanging from a tree but nonetheless, they built these protections for individual freedom like lex? because it would make us stronger. the truth would drive out the error. >> guest: dan from indiana u. r. wrong with robert. they know everything about you is the name of the book.
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>> about the freedom of the internet and basically should we worry about the government snooping on them? i have just become aware in the past week it wasn't the government snooping that criminal hackers broke into my computer and it took advantage essentially breaking into my bank account gmail accounts. what do you think about that freedom of the internet and if it wasn't the government i was attacked about criminal hackers that took advantage in the freedom of the internet. >> host: okay we got the point. >> one way is to have encryption
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and they say we have to integrate our e-mail account and the data and the head of the fbi and the nsa to offer the data protection. so i think the best way to present the activity and the government snooping and any violation. that is the issue. you have the right to encrypt the data and when these companies try to give it to you which is what google and apple and facebook are trying to do, the government shouldn't say no we demand the ability to break through that. that data should be served in the qualities which it is now and it certainly shouldn't be exchanged without your permission. >> so yes, data protection is essential in the good part a good part of what my book is
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about you would think that i was referring to the clichés. but if we need to protect your privacy and everyone else everyone else's comments are absolutely right and our government has offered a sorry example by saying they have the right to grant everybody in the world data, whatever the country they live in and do whatever the heck they want that isn't protecting your data. >> host: . >> it is an honor to speak with you. >> what about these leaks that go on have 80 million customers whose information has been compromised. everything is what provisions on the patriot act do we have to be
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careful. >> it was concluded in haste. it wasn't adequately debated and it was done in a climate of absolute fear and hysteria. i happened to be covering the washington and i would interview plenty of people in congress who would admit right off the back that they didn't know what was in it. it was a temporary measure. barack obama was unwise and using the plan while on a trip to extend it, but it should be
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allowed to have the time over and it's proven to be a disaster and i don't hear any arguments for it. it's just what they will do if the government will step in and say if you do that it's disaster. give us another year or two and that is the end of the debate. we don't want that renewed. if you want to have new rules of the road and think it through and have a comment on how they comment on it. >> we have been talking with robert they know everything about you how the data collecting corporations are stepping government agencies destroying democracy. as always, we appreciate you being on booktv. >> host: the festival of books continues. next up a panel on the issue of
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crime. and this will last for about an hour. after that we will be back here on the set for the conclusion with radio talkshow host and conservative columnist ben shapiro to take your calls as well. live coverage of the la times festival of books on c-span2.
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[inaudible conversations] >> welcome to the american crime section. keep a tight watch on your wallets and purses. i'm going to read a little bit
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here. please silence your cell phones and there will be a signing following the session is going to be located at the signing area number one wherever that is the volunteers in the green shirts will probably point you there. so welcome. we will start a discussion to my left. those of you that are from this area will recall the newspapers. at the newspapers he developed a propensity for taking liquid lunches and then came the fateful day when she met a character that the back into him. this spiraled him into an addiction that spiraled to
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washington, d.c. where he worked for the post covering the academic even as he participated in it. rubén has the distinction of being in the hotel the night that the former mayor was arrested for smoking crack cocaine and rubén himself smoked crack cocaine in this hotel that night with the fbi agents all over the place and that is a certain * in history. [laughter] despite this outstanding crime reporter that one of several journalism awards in the course of this come he kicked his addictions in 1992 and then wrote this book crack, murder and preemption in dc. said the "washington post" of the book he tells the story with admirable clarity and in the notable act of self pity this is the kind of book when i finished it i thought i want to meet this
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guy. to my left is the former reporter for the "los angeles times," former resident of mexico worked the international acclaim and is a graduate of the university of california berkeley where he lived in his own words to live a life of my own design. he worked for the orange county register the tribune and his books include true tales from another mexico the lynch mob and the bronx and antonio and built on zero's stream. when i took my first long driving trip in mexico i took only two books. one of them is the conquest of mexico 19th century classic and the other was sam's book and it was far better actually. [laughter] the latest is dreamland, the true tale of the opiate academic which tells the story of the
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terrible heartbreaking subterranean story of the rise of pain clinics in the united states and the heroine addiction that immediately followed and so this is the tale of the multilayered corruption to deliver the product like pizza as well as a big pharma. while reading the book i was unsure whether he was more angry at the heroine dealers or big pharma. to my left is the former national correspondent for the "los angeles times" which must have been one of the greatest jobs for. he won a 2002 pulitzer prize for the judges duty and justice beyond the reach. he is the author of the groundbreaking book on child abuse which tells the story of a
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biological mother tracking down the son she gave away only to discover that her son had been killed. this book changed the way that child adoption cases were tracked. a major shakeup in the minnesota system "the new york times" called it a working of force entering the value. his latest book is manifest injustice to true story of a convicted murderer and the lawyers that filed for his freedom about the man that was convicted of a double murder in 1962 almost certainly framed for it. and then on my left is fascinated with the vinegar regions of america most particularly the desert. i misunderstood lands and people to populate an. she writes vividly and sympathetically of the outcast seats constitutionalists, cowboys, dropouts, ranchers and the freaks.
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her books include destination t-tango, mustang the saga of the wild horse, 29 palms a true story that exposes the underbelly of one of the greatest military towns. i can tell you when i went through 29 palms i stopped at the museum and i went and asked them why don't you so the book and the answer i got was we didn't think much of the way she portrayed the town. which i view as a great compliment. [laughter] >> i didn't interview the characters in your book in the desert reckoning on the biggest manhunt which one the award for best western nonfiction and told the story of the fatal collision
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between the sheriff's deputy who was an aggressive petroleum and self educated rocket scientist and the tragedy that ensues. there is a turenne of savage dignity of the wonders that put out the show to the san gabriel mountains and the northward march. this is very vivid about the landscape that i think is easily misunderstood. that seems like a good place to begin. it comes with crime and nonfiction. the deeds that have been and the way that they are shaped and the geography, and since you introduced last i will begin with you can you talk about how it becomes a character in your book lacks >> that is a good question because it goes to the heart of my writing and also it takes me
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back to my childhood when i developed a friendship in the dub the league -- in the desert. in northeastern ohio my father used to read me at corral and -- edgar allan poe into some of you probably know the lines in sunshine and shadow. there began an escape out of ohio. i never really liked icefishing and nothing about being there. we were reading a part of the western writers getting to the
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native american theology and i knew i was going to write when i grew up and i was in the west and sure enough i found myself years later and a certain stories started to cross my path and through kind of a lifelong identification with outsiders and the people who were misunderstood i started hearing stories that they wanted me to tell them and people were calling me and they were shaped in every way by the desert. they had fled the cities or i
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will just leave it there because they didn't fit in. it was the original don't ask don't tell kind of place. it doesn't care who you are it offers other chances to start over. it was for everybody from jesus christ to timothy mcveigh. so it tells you we are lucky that we have this here in america because without it there is a whole lot of people that would have no place to go. >> is a description in the book about the sun coming down outside of the building on broadway and it is and actually heartbreaking description because of what is about to follow which is the beginning of
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your addiction. can you talk about the role that displays in your own work, i'm sorry, ruben. my apologies. >> a third of the way through the book. >> you would have been good friends. [laughter] >> the role of geography. yes well, my book is my story but my story is the engine. it's not the entire vehicle. it's also about dc during the crack at them -- epidemic and beyond. [laughter] >> i wanted to revoke a sense of place and time of the city look like and felt like and what the characters felt like. so why did that by describing
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what the streets were like what the drug dealers looked like when they hung out on the corner to sell crack or heroin. the central american drug dealers would look over their shoulder and look around to see if there were any lapd black-and-white or undercover cops around before they made their sale. in dc they didn't care very of they might as well have been selling apples. so that kind of description evokes what the place is like. it didn't rely strictly on my left was serious about time and what song would come on the radio what kind of clothes people were wearing.
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all of that description helps. to me that is all part of the geography. >> andersons at ranges all over the place and it's a complicated narrative that is the way from mexico to appalachia. >> it became very important to the book because it became the center of the pell-mell and the pills for money with almost no diagnosis. the football sized swimming
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pool probably the largest in america, one of the largest swimming pools in america and i was also struck by how important it was to the towns functioning. it was imported in fact life itself would revolve. it would be 3-years-old playing on the shallow end and by seventh grade you would be in the middle and by junior or high school you would be in the deep end showing off and then you would have kids and go back to the shallow end so if became the place people watched. it was like a community feel that took place around this pool and they called it dreamland which i took as the title of my book and it also became a stand-in for america and for
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what had happened to the country because it was turned into a large parking lot. now in that same metaphor for the country. the pool didn't provide this anymore.
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all of the people learn to sew heroine. as they declined they were on their way up and the houses, one of the things that struck me. they built the house is very slowly and they would build build rebar been to the rubes with the promise that whenever they got the money they built a second story. there were thousands of the villages all across the country and when i went to this town in the state.
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they would have a garage door openers and this kind of thing. if you actually came to the united states to work as a landscape of something legitimate even though you are here illegally it was looked down upon because you have to take ten years to build your house you would build in nine months and so the pool. the pool and the houses. it's really important. the best suntan and french fries i t. i lost my virginity at the pool and all this kind of stuff.
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>> it's the sort of abstraction of the legal system and you render it with precise prose and can you talk about the challenges. i've written a book on crime fiction and nonfiction. i know exactly what the story was i was going to tell i wanted
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to create an imaginary place on the central coast of california because i wanted it to be lost and combined. i just started walking the street and walking out in the sand dunes and something else and got a friend to talk me through the streets. what's going on is inside the
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courtroom you have two storytellers two competing narratives going on inside of the courtroom at all times between the defense and prosecution. then i come along and by the way, on both sides of that there is an absolutist blacklight yes, no, guilty or not guilty, i come along and every time i open the file of a major case where i see is ambiguity, contradictions no idea how either side could be so certain. so they are telling the story.
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it becomes a complicated challenge. you have to have your own take on it that goes beyond what either side of the storytellers are doing. these are all books about crimes you write about how the determined prison didn't come to you right out the inefficiencies
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and the maddening of the idiocies of the justice system. sam, you write about how one misinterpreted paragraph assured him the unanticipated revolution in the use of opiates and trading those for which they never should have been prescribed and in some sense as you were suffering the addiction at the same time you were writing to say journalists and certainly one of the most respected dalia papers in the country is a part of the establishment and a part of the system. so i wondering if we could talk about the role that these sort of establishment play in the crying narrative. >> the vagaries of the legal system. >> what goes on in the courtroom just isn't what happens.
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essentially you have to competing narratives. a jury is listening to his competing negatives and finally decides which story it likes the best and that story then becomes the truth. inside of the case like manifest and justice.
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but they were all his lawyers during the client privilege and none of those lawyers were allowed to come forward in the confession. they said she had been out in the desert and watched him shoot a couple. but no one believed her or put her in that confession. 12 years pass, 12 years pass, no arrest or action on it. the strange wife comes forward the middle divorce and custody battle and she says that bill just now 12 years after the murders have confessed to her. she works for the the sheriff's department it is in trouble with the the sheriff's department for having some affairs and apparently taping some encounters and is trying to get out of trouble.
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they brought no tape recorder, no record at all. we don't know what happened at the end of the 16 hours he was a vested -- arrested. no warrior was about to come forward and report about the confession. this kind of thing -- this is part of how in the cases that i've studied and written about over the years, this isn't an anomaly. it goes over and over in the transcripts of prosecutions. first the baltimore there is a
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-- first there is a pharmaceutical industry dealing with the pill issue. and they pushed the idea that we should be using opiate painkillers for the manner of problems some of which were not in a massive wastepaper overprescribed for. wisdom teeth extraction for example is one thing i never understood why do you need an opiate to recover from that kind of thing. that's one part. i would say also that in the mexican side of course you have an entire area in a region where every young man who doesn't own the land, and some of them who do, is involved in producing
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black tar heroin and opium poppy and then transporting it to the united states to sell it delivering to the customer service delivery service for heroine that led them to go from the park to the 17 states around the country. that also happens in the complexity of the authorities and also with the active encouragement of a small town. and in mexico, i remember when i got onto this story i talked to a dea agent in columbus and he says we have these guys that are driving around and we arrest them and replace them immediately. it's very frustrating. in that town topeka is the
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capital city of about 300,000 people. when he said that i knew that wasn't true. i've been a long time in mexico and i thought this kind of thing happens, this system integration in general happens based on a small town and its data system that gives rise to something as i talk to people in jail and prison and they mentioned this one small town, which is where the center one of the biggest centers of production and all of america. ..
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was like the gold standard for mexican world menswear. the dealers that appear from this town figured out they could trade these balloons of heroin who are fantastic shoplifters for a pair of levi jeans appeared soon after becoming trunk was which they have been feel for them in certain size and colors and it became this way of transforming him one into kind of a king of the town where
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everybody wanted to participate because they saw i've got these ratty little genes people look down on this system in place for people who don't have them. pretty soon everybody had to have these genes. this is one of the reasons that push the system from the small areas where they were from san fernando valley across the country. it is a little bit of extrapolation. >> there is another system network, which is the u.s. pharmaceutical industry pushing a product called oxycontin which delivers a master burst of opiate and the complexity of that establishment. >> exactly. the idea is co-opting very quickly and easily and happily the idea that opiates are
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virtually non-objective are less than 1% of all patients get addicted when using this drug for pain and that is taken from a paragraph you refer to are they basically took a letter for the editor that the author had forgotten and similar it was not a study. no scientific background basis. they kind of ran with that. it allowed them -- it was an astonishing system that supposedly peer review allowed a complete dereliction of duty. that was one of the most astonishing things that stood out with me. rubin do you want to talk about the complexity of systems and allowing the crash to occur? >> in astoria rising i did write it back out -- in "s
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street rising" can i talked about crack it even if it is the most talked about the system in neighborhoods where some drug corners or blocks with marijuana or powdered relatively peacefully. they sell their product. they end up fighting each other for control of the turf in very quickly the subculture of violence involved. d.c. did not have a history of a lot of intimidation or killing of witnesses until crack -- everybody in certain neighborhoods had to have a gun. the book describes how the police were completely
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overwhelmed they would do things like operation clean sweep, where they send that sends her a couple hundred cops into a neighborhood for a couple days. low-level people or drug buyers and then leaves. that did not deign to get the guys who are calling the shots and doing the shooting. in terms of institutions, the newspaper i work for the "washington post," to its credit as the violence began the fifth try to cover it closely. when i was hired in 1989, the policy was try to write some thing about every homicide and we're getting more than 400 a year for a few years. in d.c. that was a challenge. but inevitably as time went on
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after three four years, the editors lost interest and there was much harder to sell them on doing a story about a triple murder in a certain neighborhood involving poor or middle class even black people. if you became much harder to get them interested in that. then it was all hands on. i remember being a police reporter at the "san francisco chronicle" and close to deadline for double murder comes across the scanner and editors as what is the address. i told him. he said he got a look on his face. just in the breeze. for me that was a vivid illustration. better than others. it becomes numbing after a
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while. i hate to use this word and i say this with respect, but it comes in some sense kind of uninteresting. the really good crime writing is the culture that emerges from it. the sense of why people make certain decisions that they do. something i noticed about all of the books was the role of risk from assertive using the jazz turn. you make this sort of startling shift in tone halfway through the book, where he began to talk about g warren hsu fell. those of you who know your los angeles-based remote note this is a black scientist who decides he is going to date near third and spring to find the tunnels dug by the lizard people. you know race of people 5000 years ago. i will confess to you or
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journalist of integrity, but when i read that i thought she's making stuff up. she is doing like an edward edward abby who concocted a scene like a literary device. i actually did a little police work. i looked up in the archives at "the l.a. times" and you are not lying. this happened. wow. [laughter] >> you can't make this stuff up your >> you cannot. it makes perfect literary sense why you made the decision. as you write about chicanery and violent and all kinds of stuff. the writer in taking a sidelight for a second to talk about something that doesn't seem to be related, but actually as. >> it is hard for me to talk about my writing process because a lot of it is really intuitive and comes to me in mysterious
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ways. the things i write about are things that i'm actually interested in whether or not i am writing. i am not sitting there consciously going, you know, time to talk about the lizard people. or maybe i am. apparently it was time. the story -- the story i tell has a broad concept. that is at least how i see them and how i see a lot of thing. everything is connected in our world and in our lives and the problem for me is when to stop talking about all of these things and where did these stories end. in terms of a specific theme that you mentioned and this engineer who is waging the excavation in the 1920s and 1930s and looking for the
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lizard people that sounds kooky, but actually he had heard from a hopi elder detail about the ancient hopi youth traveling from the deserts of the southwest to los angeles and buried some of their confirmation here in the l.a. basin underneath what later became the library and the myth has to do with and still has to do with shape shifting and all that goes with it. donald cook who is the main character, he has the hermit who kills his share of batumi had the back story to show up at his trailer one day looking for a trespasser and mary ann cook who is a paranoid fellow at that time comes to the prison system
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have been a long history of his own psychosis. he thinks that deputies are and then it's going to arrest for some housing violation and he will go back to jail. that would have been it for him. cook himself in my view was kind of a shape shifter. his best friends were wild animals. he command with bobcat and raised in and kept a rattlesnake in a bucket at the front door of his trailer like a personal valet. that is what he did. those are one of the things he did. because he knew that dancers so well in his creatures, he was able to outfox the seven-day mounted by the los angeles county sheriff's department and thousands of other cops or
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mother agencies in vehicles and choppers on foot on horseback. he knew how to hide in the desert. he knew behind me. he knew lizards and coyotes and he knew how to shape shift in my opinion. he knew the desert ways. the lizard thread running through as part of the broader context. to me, deep los angeles history but for sure does that come out of nowhere. >> and ruben you diverse from your narrative and go off not so much on a riff, but a subplot in the area of jim dickinson a minister that says that the church in the midst of it crack block. can you talk about why you made that merited decision?
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>> i wanted to write a story bigger than my l. and i wanted to do a story that would also tell about what the city was like during that era. a few years -- close to 20 years after i stopped using, i wandered back for the first time. i was curious about what it was like for this little church right in the middle of the block. but with alike in the middle to 24/7 zone and how did they survive? i knocked on the door that middle-aged guy let me end and i told him i was curious how that works. he said we are okay because of polity as if i would've known her that was. i didn't. i asked him louis polity?
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the drug dealer who ran the block. he looked out for us. i knew right then i had this amazing story and i tried not to look too anxious. he put me on the phone with the minister, jim dickerson who i could tell was really weary because he wishes wary of journalists and outsiders in general. we had a couple of phone conversations and eventually a few months later for some reason i was hesitant to call them back. a few months later i left him a copy of a magazine article i had written for the post where he outed myself having used crack and then i called him after he read it and all of a sudden his tone was much friendlier and more open. in fact, he said everybody is in recovery from some thing. this gives you a lot more credibility with us. i ended up spending months meeting with him weekly and
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sometimes more than weekly getting the history of how he started the church in the early 80s, how he met baldy how they can start to the guys who work with them on the street to protect the church and look out for the church. billy the caretaker one day when three men broke into tried to rob things in the church, instead of calling the police went next door and put an end to that really quick. in fact these guys put some of the stuffed into a van and he ordered them to go win and bring it back. he did not tell them who it was. these guys knew who he was. so i did that hold a lot about the way -- i picked that as a
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block where he made most of my bias. it was interesting to learn about it because i also discovered that is where all my money went. thousands, maybe tens of thousands. i don't really want to know. i hope they all used it wisely. anyway i told a lot about what the city was like were certain parts of the city. dozens of neighborhoods east of the city had really good decent people having to be incredibly resourceful creating this alliance, even a friendship in order to survive. that is the only way his church and his congregation was able to make it and come out the other end. >> before returning over to questions and answers, i want to
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say one of the greatest temptations when writing about a crime is to swallow the prosecution narrative and not be inserted your baseline for separating church and reality. all of these books go much, much further and explore interrogate and often contravene the official story of what happens. it's really, really a laudable rating. with that, let's have some questions from the audience. i think we have microphone circulating. is that right? raise your hand right over here fifth row. if you want to do about the question, i can repeat it while we wait. [inaudible]
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>> do you write your books or do you wait until you write down and i will write my narrative. also, how are you received and what kind of reactions to u.k. compared with your time as a journalist? otherwise disabled former journalist and writing a book or in various cases -- [inaudible] what are the differences and reactions? >> whatever works. >> about the first one i don't know. my experiences all writers have totally different not theirs. i myself couldn't start writing until i finished it off because i don't know what the story is.
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i'm still finding these as i'm doing the research which is talking with interviews and often a lot of archival research. to write a story, you have to do an enormous amount of selection and the only way you can make decisions about what to include and what order is how to understand what story you are telling, what it's about. i just don't know how to do that until i finish the research. but while doing the research, and scrolling through through hypotheses in my mind about what might be the narrative line. i just don't put it on paper. >> dan, how do you identify yourself when you gather your material? >> hideaway introduced? >> i say that i am the writer and i try to have more of a
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conversation they had an official interview initially anything down the line, no matter how many times i talk to people. some of the people i write about do not want to be contacted by anybody in the media or in the desert. they just want to be left alone so i am very aware of that. usually i say send and like, just kind of whatever comes naturally in the moment. you might not want to talk with me perhaps being approached by a writer is not what you expected. for instance, when i was writing my book 29 palms about two girls killed by a marine after the call for i needed to approach the mother of one of the victims
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and i said -- i apologize. i said i know this is probably very painful but i know a little bit about what happened to your daughter and i would really like to tell her story. the well may not be interested in this at all because i am a stranger and why would you then want to tell your daughter's story and you don't know anything about their work. i gave her some copies of pieces from "the new york times," "rolling stone." a few other feel like talking please get in touch with me and maybe read these at some point. thanks for listening. about four or five months later i did get a call from her in that kind of went from there. that is in general how i approach it.
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i would much rather have conversations with the people i am writing about the infinite god into an official q&a. you know people have to trust me in order for me to write what i write. writing the kind of story that i do is not unlike life south. i tell this to my students all the time. it takes years to get to know people in the same thing happens with the people i am writing about. sometimes editors wonder why we've gone through geologic ages. it takes people a long time to tell me their stories and i am honored if and when that happens. it's a big deal. >> i want to go to another
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question, but first i want to ask sam. your book has numerous interviews of people who have been at it did to heroin and oxycontin. but mr. bedside in her and talking to them? >> e-mail, i think those folks are happy to talk about it. i never found any that were upset. so i honestly did not have any problems talking with those folks. the bigger problem was i really believe deeply in prisons and jails and i wrote to abide at the dealers who had had arrested and may deliver two different addicts and stuff. that was where the real problem came. first of all that is such a
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foreign idea that they would tell the story to somebody else. they are offering the same town. they all know each other. i had to deal with the prison system. the federal prison system is maddeningly difficult. the state system is wonderful. the wardens of the system are awful. always trying to stop you and they had the largest depository of mexican drug traffickers in the world and our prison system. the american public ought to hear their stories because it's a very important part to get that across in south carolina or someplace and west virginia is very difficult. i had the benefit of having written a book -- two books in mexico, one was published in spanish in the league chapter was about a guy by the name
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pacelli of charlie ana sanchez who was america's senior, kind of like a legendary guy in the mexican cartel world. kind of like the italian mob. the mexican cartels venerate chile no and even more so perhaps. i had written a story about him published in spanish. the way i got to them i wrote them a letter in spanish saying i am trying to do this. i know all about this so don't think i know about it. either way that kind of stuff. i was hoping for three or four people to say yes. in fact, ended a talking the talk that way. that was only the first hurdle. frequently it would be over the phone.
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a very difficult way to do your job because you establish some kind of rapport. they only get 15 minutes to talk. it is being listened to. there's a million reasons why it would be difficult. but i find the guys in prison are fed past it. they are so worth it because they spent a lot of time thinking about what it is they did and why they screwed it up. and why they were not gods the system brought in bakers and butchers and farmers. they were not killers. they were not batman. they didn't use these thugs. they use the pull of mexican labor and they had thought long and hard about what they were doing, selling drugs. so you have people who i've spent a lot of time thinking and a lot of times wanted to tell their story. that is how i did it.
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>> five more minutes. maybe time for two or three more questions. over there. [inaudible] >> the question is have any of the panelists written fiction. >> yeah, i have. three legal thriller novels. stop the nonfiction for a while. i had written a couple of nonfiction books. what happened is i got to a point where for a little violet leaves, real life is frustrating me. real life is messy. i always have quite the ending where the character is quite the character you want them to be. one particular nonfiction story
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and we used to have an "l.a. times" magazine. it was a death row case and i just couldn't get it where i wanted it to be because i was bound by the facts. so i remember flying home from new york. i was just thinking to myself, if i could've done this and if i could've changed that. so i pulled out a pad of paper and started scribbling on it about what i would have done and if i wasn't bound by the facts and the truth. this is actually the genesis for my first novel the perfect witness. i sketched it out and have written a couple more cents. i thought it was going to be just great experience where you
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can throw away six or 10,000 pieces of paper. we have to synthesize when we are writing a nonfiction story. i thought it would be liberated. i found that the empty desk -- the full desk is too. >> another question. guess, in the front row. >> what d.c. is the difference between a journalist as the difference between a journalist and a cargo for the paper. what do you see the difference in that? >> difference between a daily newspaper in some thing that takes up the space of a book. >> i think a crucial thing is you have to do far more emerging. you have to really spend time talking to the pastor numerous
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times over and over. i talked to several people a number of times. i did a story for "the l.a. times" about the cambodian donut king, the guy responsible for the doughnut shop entrepreneurs. that was for a long newspaper story. you need to keep going. and in answer to that question earlier, i write all the time. i do an interview. whatever and it still really hates me you know. next-line agassi the personnel probably have a bunch of questions. the questions, if writing and it is how i come that everyone has said they've got their own way. you do interviews you write and over a period of time it appears
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to you. that's how i did it. >> can answer your questions? two of my books began as magazine articles. twentynine palms was an article in los angeles and desert beckoning with a heavily fact check the role. [laughter] so i'm very well aware of the different phases and obviously books are longer, the something that comes into writing this kind of narrative nonfiction that we all do is be bringing a sense of place is as tomas is about earlier. they developed characters. we can bring in a broad cultural and geographic context and i get into prehistory in my book. there is just no room.
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you don't have 100,000 words. you can't do that. and the beauty of a book is that you can and i knew from the beginning with both of these stories that they needed to be a book someday and i didn't know what point i would have had. the magazine piece says boris stop along the way. there is they use their friends -- huge difference. if they demand or need a bigger canvas, you have to put the book. >> is very close, i want to ask this question. you are doing the stories written on 45 minutes notice. but all of these narratives, you bring yourself most into the book. couldn't talk about the two different styles that work there? >> exact way.
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-- [inaudible] >> exactly. .. a good example i think is how i wrote extensively though i never interviewed him and i won't spoil it for anyone that hasn't read the book but she went away to prison for life.
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he was captured and i wrote an effective scene describing the day that he was convinced by the federal judge to go to prison and how here he was this amazing kingpin of this remarkable alliance with the minister. he had protected the church and its people and was kind of a bunch of their figure of the neighborhood kids called him uncle baldy and they held block parties. in the courtroom courtroom there's like five people. there is him his lawyer the assistant state attorney, the judge, a couple of u.s. marshals and i did that by
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multiple interviews interviewing lawyers who were there and told me what the courtroom looks like and then this is something everyone has used with great effectiveness i pulled the court record and my training as a journalist was invaluable because i knew that somewhere in the courthouse even though this happened a long time ago there was a transcript and i got the transcript so i didn't have to rely on people's memories, i got the transcript and i got verbatim what he said so i was able to write to scene that described this figure with no public acknowledgment no reporters, nobody. just very quietly happened and that is something you wouldn't be able to do in a typical newspaper story. >> the mark of a scandal panel is it should be three times as long. but we are out of time so thank you for coming.
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[applause] the authors will be@in area number one. >> [inaudible conversations] booktv live at the 20th annual "los angeles times" festival of books on the campus of the university of southern california. about 150,000 people have been on the campus to attend the festival. 500 plus authors have talked about the books and booktv has
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been quiet all weekend from just off the main square on the campus. you can see the statute was about a half a block from where we are and the c-span bus and we have been passing out bags and we have one more hour to go in our coverage and we are pleased to be joined with you by the best-selling talkshow host ben shapiro, the people versus barack obama coming out in paperback this month and we will talk about that but what's on your mind clicks >> the presidential race is on my mind. if i have to watch hillary clinton faked being a human for much longer i'm not sure that i can take it. in the animation business it is to say if you ever watch polar
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express, it is realistic enough that it looks like human beings but not realistic enough while you are watching. hillary clinton actually has an address and bought while jim her try to imitate human is slightly odd and you wait for the glitch to go off in her head and she turns in from star trek. on the republican side of the aisle it's watching them -- each other and not thinking about the race for a few minutes. >> how unique are you in los angeles, young jewish, conservative, pretty outspoken. >> the orthodox jews felt right so they tend to vote and the
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secular culture all the time as i am but it's alright. all right. i mean, i would go with -- certainly a statistical anomaly if we have to count the odds from los angeles ucla undergrad, i'm going to go with 99% before we get started. so this is the differentiating factor. they basically send me to the right. >> you recently wrote a call him on this issue by jews vote democratic. >> if it is how you were born then it's a meaningless statistic. it's the same thing as those that are born catholic if you are not a self identified catholic if you're somebody that doesn't practice but you're born into the catholic family, if you are a jew and you were born into the family but have no relationship with judaism and
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you don't do any of these things and call your self then at that point you are going to vote left. the jewish population is extraordinarily secular with high income you just described the white leftists they've just been born with a name like feinstein. >> is california a lost cause for republicans? >> yes. to be perfectly frank what i would see as the short road and long road in california. people suddenly wake up in the fact the state is bankrupt and the crimes are going up and they have no water because we spent our water on stupidity instead of infrastructure. why are the businesses moving out of state and the tax base is leaving. all of these things happen and nobody does anything about it. then republicans have to come back and clean it up like what's happening in michigan right now
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so that's going to take longer for that to happen but it seems like it is accelerating. they keep wanting to run which isn't going to be anything effective here if you want real democrats to vote for real democrats. it's the republican party nationally doing the same thing in the republican party. basically there are two theories. there's the theory that ronald reagan's pursuit which is i'm going to convince people they are on my side and then there's the theory i'm going to convince people i'm on their side. they want them to be successful and the one that republicans are pursuing is the one that tends not to be. we know you are on the left that we agree with you most of the time and they are trying to carve off the middle voter. we don't know anymore we are not in the united states. we are in the era of the turnout. they won the vote and lost by
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5 million. it's about getting the base out and finding the base and having them turn out in enormous numbers. >> who do you like at this point? >> it's hard for me. i don't know who i like at this point. i know i don't like jeb bush on the republican side. hillary is more formidable. it isn't about hillary it's about what she represents to the media that has decided that they are dedicated to the idea. on the republican side there are a lot of candidates that are very good, so ted cruz, great on policy, can come off as negative rand paul is very strong. they will have a hard time reaching out to the tea party
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and then you have marco rubio that would be the jack of all trades shifting wildly over the past 12 months. do any of them come onto the radio program? the >> i believe bobby jindal has been on the radio show before on the show that i did before. we had a lot of these guys. the people versus barack obama what is your criminal case. they bring the racketeering charges against the federal government which has shut down the government and i can deal
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with. for the different cases there are multiple accounts against the administration from the privacy violation of the civil rights and the fourth amendment and federal law and internal revenue service law with regards to the targeting of the conservative groups and everything from the failure to provide security at the embassy which doesn't amount to the voluntary manslaughter to the testing. scandal. there's a lot of criminal activity going on in this administration. the person charged with policing the criminal scandals certainly involved in the enormous scale of obstruction of justice they will get away with it and there will be no consequences and this is what happens when an executive is out of control.
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bill clinton was an executive out of control. this goes back to the 100 year history of the executives grooming and power by leaps and bounds. all of that is very frightening to the citizens or it should be which is why i call for something radical to sue the federal government and the injunction on the federal policy which is admittedly did the unthinkable. i don't know what the alternatives are. they can do whatever he wants even criminally speaking and given the fact that no one is getting engaged because he decided that this taboo there are no ramifications for a president that violates the law any more. >> host: the numbers are on the screen if you want to participate this afternoon
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20,227,488,200 for those of you in the east and central, 748-8201 if you live in the mountain or pacific time zone we will take your calls in just a minute. then ship your zero is a strong executive indirect relationship to the weak congress. >> they've delegated in an honest amount of power. it is pretty closely circumscribed and the fact is that it's grown so much the president of the unilateral will make the fact that president of the united states have talked about the taxes and wants to unilaterally put climate change
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via the executive branch agency and he wants to pass through. they fall in the purview. we now have a system in the united states i wrote my third-year harvard wall thesis on this actually. they do not match up in any real way of holding the power the president gains power with the american people believe that he exercises the power. congress gets popularity by basically not doing anything because of that right something goes wrong they can always say the president screwed up it
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wasn't me i said the president do good stuff we get re- elected, the the president of the united states can go out and be as active as he once thought to be particularly active and the supreme court as justice roberts stated. they are constantly striking down after the president of the united states lied justice roberts decided to rule the way he did on obamacare and there is only a political rationale for it. >> the patriot act renewal, what do you think lexus gimmick it needs to be circumscribed. it shouldn't be renewed in its current form. the fact is the patriot act allowed to the executive branch or has been taken that way and it needs to be closely monitored and curtailed. even the people that wrote the patriot act said he didn't think
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that they were going to do this come you shouldn't have written it that way. but it would be a good time to go back and write what you think is to monitor the communication because they don't need my data to find the terrorists. >> we just talked with robert earlier today and the newest book is called they know everything about you and prior to getting started it's why he's seeing a significant uptick in the popularity because the case that he's made that there ought to be. >> during the war on terror before they declared at the end to what victory is in the george w. bush administration they decided that we were going to basically take an enormous ounce of data to capture and catch come into that and growing and growing under bush. the threat is so great we need
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to trust you and it turns out no matter how much you think the federal government ought to be trusted it never ends well trusting the government is very rarely a good proposition and that's why we do need some significant limitations on what the federal government can and cannot do. >> paperback, any updates updates enough enough to click >> i don't believe so. >> your previous book bullies who are they click >> they are the folks on the left that are trying to say that anybody that disagrees is about human being into this is the entire thing. he did is costly to marco rubio it's fascinating hillary clinton is now a week and a half into the campaign she has been asked
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zero questions because she is away from the cameras and we get to talk about the order that was would you attend a wedding it the case in which no he is mean and nasty guy for not going to this wedding. it requires the federal government and the idea is if we agree on policy i must necessarily be about human being the next step is therefore i can bring the government out of the equation. this couple comes in and she's been serving them for ten years. they come in and say we want to buy flowers, they've now
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legalized marriage so what you provide the flowers and they say i'm a religious christian come here is the list that will provide you the flowers instead of just saying okay we have different opinions and we will go across the street and it turns out that some are days of the tiny flower shop. but instead of giving databases with her if she was forced to pay the fine and this is what it has now come to because then when indiana passes the freedom restoration act designed to protect the rights of religious people to act in accordance with the religion in indiana is called terrible and horrible and it's so far as to compare it to jim crow which is absolutely non-technical. it forces businesses not to associate. it's nonsensical in every level but the idea is that it's mean and nasty and cruel and they can do whatever they want.
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it's by virtue of their belief system they are horrible and nasty and they can be victimized by the government and putting a gun to their head and force them to do. >> so how do you think that he handled the indiana situation? they once came close to saying this. the truth is that in america you should have the right to refuse service to anybody that they you want and if you reserve service -- refuse service to somebody that does make you a bad person if you do that you will lose money and your business will go out of business. that's why they had to in the
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south because to enforce the regime it turns out that the capitalists and the only color they care about is green. it's not even a religious issue. it's idiotic. i am a religious person but if i were atheist and i decided it shouldn't be my responsibility. it's not my job to serve a ceremony if i'm anti-circumcision this is america we still have freedom. is it free for me does that mean i'm anti-jew, no i'm just anti-circumcision. we are about to have the freedom to choose in the country and it's amazing to refuse the consensual engagement is now considered an act of tierney. it's too what amounts to involuntarily serving you by definition. they were not going basic of the principal and ended up in this situation he was explaining the difference and it's true not serving the same-sex wedding and a person there is a difference. i can surf a person all day long
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and if i surf the wedding presumably i'm serving a prison that they are not equivalent. it's not the same thing. now the question is when did that become discrimination. >> ben shapiro is the guest coming a lot of issues on the table and a lot of calls on hold. your views are precisely right down to that one. on the situation you take the
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affect that would be with the obama boycott before congress. >> you will see an impact. it won't be as great as other people say the program, the vast majority don't actually care which is unfortunate. you did see the drop from the levels of support in 2012 they dropped from about 78% to about 65% in the traditional vote. you will see the draft if hillary clinton is the nominee and doesn't separate off from the policy you will see the continued drop but they will never vote and the majority because most have nothing to do with judaism so they are the ones that will vote republican because they care about it. >> washington, d.c., go ahead. >> you described hillary clinton
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as a robot and president obama as a perpetrator of involuntary manslaughter and then you critique the left for personal attacks. as a fellow law can you slow down. for example if i say you are a narcissistic adolescent and that is my political opinion i suppose that is using the techniques. i wish the best of luck with your mind as you grow up. it's a badge of honor for me as far as the insult.
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>> why did you call that or compare that to your professors at harvard law. >> the truth is that went along pretty well with most of my professors. there are people who are known for not being particular and the other political viewpoint. one is a senator from massachusetts, but there were a lot of harvard law professors law professors i got along very well with. as long as folks have an open mind it's fun to talk with them. what i object to is when elizabeth warren, i does with her a little bit and she and i met at the top in la because she recruited me up the wall school
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at the time and our initial conversation she'd read my profile and she suggested there was no such thing, which is only discounted by every single poll ever donned a college campus and then she started ripping into rush limbaugh. when i asked if she ever was and it listened it got relatively heated which is an interesting way to recruit. it if elizabeth warren is a lot of fun. i always going to have conversations. it's how i got. >> have you ever been told before that you talk fast? >> i've been working on it for a long time that i will fall into the stereotype and my parents talk extremely quickly so everybody we sit around the table and it sounds like everybody is on fast forward and
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then we go back and time and i had to make sure that my parents met and i was born eventually. it was wild. [laughter] >> dickie is a missing augustine you are on book tv. >> i have read several of your works and i have heard you speak before in los angeles. i am a former republican and i'm so fed up with the party and the politics i wanted to ask you are we still able to grab defeat out of the victory this time around and are we going to fire lit up again and then we need to recommend the book freedom to choose. it's a great book about freedom of choice and i also want to mention talking about the civil rights that barry goldwater
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refused to sign the legislation because he felt that it deprives people of the freedom to associate with those they want to associate which kind of reflects back on this. anyway, are we -- >> dickie, before we get an answer from ben shapiro when you say that you are afraid the republicans are going to screw it up again in 2016 can you give an example of what you? >> as a former republican i broke my back for john mccain going door-to-door and also for mitt romney. they were such lovely gentleman but he ran campaigns and could not communicate with the american people of the level they needed to and i'm afraid it will happen again because we have people running on the republican ticket we just can't be as sharp as the democrats ..
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i believe conservatism to be a morally superior beliefs that impaired people on the right it will to articulate back and i will be a serious problem for them. is the republican party, are they going to be able to do any damage here? the republican senate is less than useful thus far appeared what they did passing a bill that allows president obama to new sanctions on iran was truly
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egregious. the bill allows president obama to lose sanctions unless republicans come up a 67 votes that will be an uphill battle. i think there are some who have started to learn about teaching moral language a very basic admin full-term people resonate to. unless they speak in moral terms on a routine basis they will try 57 tax plans and talk about everybody's marginal tax rate, i know my effect of marginal tax rate because they defend a big check to the irs because of it. most people don't know. that is your pitch for president come which by the way if your marginal tax rate or the highest tax bracket is 357 you will cripple the economy. that is not much of a page to be president of the united states. >> host: next book. what is it? >> guest: actually, i am working on a novel. i felt like changing it.
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as most conservatives are coming post-american novel. most think along the lines. i am writing something along those lines and it is fun to write. and then i was thinking along lines of a couple topics that would be interesting to write about and one would be the creeping tyranny of the american mind, this move towards i disagree with you dare forget to use the government to use what i want to do. that is truly frightening because there's plenty of things i disagree with. there are plenty of things i find distasteful and problematic and things i find gross and terrible. i don't think that gives me the ability to use the government forcing them to do what i want. unless americans return to the vision of government, the government is only there to prevent externalities of interpersonal action to protect third parties. we look. we look at ourselves into a lot of trouble. that is a libertarian
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perspective but we are becoming such a country divided by styles it will be difficult to remain one country in the long run unless we come to an agreement the government has to stay out of it and deal with each other in an interpersonal level. but in a religious community that it's nobody else's business in same thing if you live in an atheist community, christian community, you should be allowed to be left alone without freedom of movement which is very led and the fact that decided on a national level and it is happening right and left unfortunately that the federal government -- the one right you can use the power and nobody can love the power. this is why it is so fascinating. the government tried and have failed. for years i've been advocating the government get completely out of the business because it not like the government to do any good in the first place.
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get the government out of it let people of interpersonal contractual relationships. we have a tuba jewish veritable document. we have a jewish marital document. it makes no difference. and something had to register with the government. that was the way they registered nurse to do years ago, 3000 years ago. the idea that could agreement with one person how we live our lives seems a better system than having the government decide what is appropriate about is not appropriate that doesn't affect others. >> host: jim, caliente california. you are an old tv with ben shapiro. are you with us? jim is -- all right. let's move on to tailor in
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dover, delaware. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> yes. a couple of questions for him. one is on a personal level i wanted to know if he has ever served in the military or anyone in his family ever has. i would also like to know if he is so hell-bent basically on destroying the federal government, what government which you think we would need to have in order to stay in the united states of america. the other question is i don't understand the republican party right now because a lot of policies are coming from the ivorian institute, which is based on object of his own which is basically the most nonreligious coming in now, she was an atheist to begin with in
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the republican party just worships her, especially paul ryan had cancer but to everyone. >> host: with got it. i'll tell you why. why did you last the first question about the military? >> caller: but i get sick and tired of all these people that are pro military. my dad were shot down -- not shut down but shut down to survive two plane crashes in world war ii. my husband was in vietnam and died very prematurely because of that. i work with the united states government for 30 years and all of these people that have never served their government never served in the military, always gotten help military and they do not you know it is like they have never served in the military. >> host: okay, we've got the point. i appreciate that.
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we'll add that to the list. >> guest: i loved your addition of shake it off. as far as military service thank you prayer service at, thank you prayer service that does your husband. you asked me why i want to destroy the federal government and also bulk of the military. those are in complete opposition. i want to restrict the federal government to be taxed virtuous originally designed including national security and military defense. sr is the argument the chicken hawk argument that i didn't serve in the military number one, i am not a member of the police force i still get to vote on police policy. second of all when it comes to who defines military policy folks on the left, i'll make you a deal right now. we all agree the members of the military get to vote on military policy. are you happy with that? have a feeling that will go very poorly because members of the military agree with me on national defense and national
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security. as far as the ayn rand question objectivism. i point out the evils of collectivism. as far as the personal philosophy, the atheistic notion that selfishness is the ultimate value, most republicans don't agree with that. i like her description of capitalism and collectivism. if you asked most republicans, the answer is absolutely not. which is why the vast majority of republicans are actually religious. >> host: jocelyn is richer in los angeles. please go ahead. >> caller: yes i would like to ask ben shapiro, why he is so focused on the obama administration with regards to privacy and lack thereof when this issue was really accelerated with bush and the cheney administration and now that president obama is in office, it is a big deal. shouldn't his title rate the people versus bush and cheney?
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>> guest: that the privacy question. i call for prosecution in the book of people involved in surveillance programs. actually you make my case. i don't restrict barack obama. the obama administration did dramatically upscale because it's fascinating in light of the fact the obama administration is declared the war on terror and wind down mode. while ratcheting up the amounts of information about americans currently gathering. at least bush and cheney are trying to give us an excuse. we were trying to see folks are dangerous. they refuse to acknowledge folks are dangerous. we're in the middle of signing the nuclear deal even today they will not allow inspection of nuclear facilities. many say there is no threat i get little bit suspicious. >> host: cohost k. rla 870 los
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angeles, the warning answer. sln author of several books including his two most recent, always and "the people vs. barack obama." at 15 minutes left with ben shapiro. kerry coming back,, washington. good afternoon. >> caller: hi, how are you. i wanted to talk to mr. shapiro about the drought in california. i wanted to give him my suggestion that we at washington state that transferred after he graduated from college in california and my fellow mother was snow skiing. they have lots of water appeared. with thousands following on people. i am also a child -- i'm an army
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corps of engineers family kid. i grew up in australia all over the world for the army corps of engineers. they are third world countries helping people get their country is going anyway. i know how construction works and i was. >> host: where are you going with this? >> guest: >> caller: i want to know we are not doing something with dams and reservoirs coming all the way down. >> host: i am going to stop you there. let's talk about politics and more. >> guest: when it comes to the drought, it is clear environmental is done and they
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will build new reservoirs and a giant body of water right off our coast. they've somehow figured out since he's been $100 billion it doesn't exist. they provide fodder to people. as far as reservoirs and aqueducts from washington state. pat brown did a lot of these things. jerry brown hasn't done anything on this and now they have to restrict everybody shower land. the water use is going to agriculture and agriculture for this talk about how we create the fruits and nuts in the united states, in terms of actual first and not the fact is that accounts for 2% of the gdp of the state of california. 2% of gdp is taken at 80% of the
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water. jerry brown's plan is to reduce water usage in the state of california in urban areas. he's going to achieve 600 700 gallons every year. we made 11 to fill up only loss. here's the reality. 150 gallons of fresh water pumped in every year. another 250 are pumped out of there to help the salmon swim to their spawning places. we have to make sure they have usable water in san francisco bay. this is not exactly the best use of water. we are going to have to get over the old subsidies to industry as we like. i like farmers in central valley. beatty something incredibly worthwhile. the fact is if you are one segment of the population that represents 2% of gdp i may think almonds are more valuable.
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i may think that is more of a value to the united states. guess what, free country. i should go to pay for the water. the reason it's happening is the state of california. people in urban and agricultural areas. you would've thought competition for the water and water usage would have gone down. you go to the store. has anyone ever run out of bottled water? no. nobody ever wants out of coke. they produce more and it comes in the next ship them. when it comes to water because it's artificially deflated, and by the states and local government, that means the water has been running for a long time because how we decided to give you that. >> host: what is the argument against desalinization? >> guest: you have to use particular enzymes. this chemical is used in order to make sure that happened in a lot of the chemicals are supposedly dangerous although
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israel never had a problem and it is very expensive. it is extraordinarily expensive. they should certainly be pursuing it now. >> host: there's a new plant opening. >> guest: they need to really ratchet up the water production. >> host: charleston to west virginia. this is booktv on c-span2. >> caller: hello, great to talk to you. the question i have is that possible for states attorneys general to possibly bring prosecution charges against the obama administration, and the members of congress who thumb their nose that citizens of the constitution by sitting back and turning heads away while we are flooded by illegal aliens. i'm not afraid to use the term. that's what it is. i am scared because what i see
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happening is with giving the back taxes for the past three years for these people, the free college educations, the housing and everything, to me that is buying votes for the next election. what is it going to take to finally have others in congress besides ted cruz and michael lee, the great pastries they are, what will it take to get these people to stand up to the administration and tell them to pretty much are thumbing their finger at the american people. >> guest: as far as my own stamps, there is no welfare state. and totally open if there's no welfare state. come in coming to work. in fact if you want to work i will trade you. if i working which i am fundamentally opposed. i would trade the illegal immigrant who wants to work and
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the guys have been on welfare. it's not your place of origin. the problem is we have the entire system of benefits we are giving out to people and that draws people here. everybody inherently have selfishness. we are all taking benefits from the federal government. everybody take something from the federal government. until we stop offering these things in the first place the answer is to watch it happen right now over president obama in the amnesty program temporarily put on hold. we'll see if it goes to the supreme court or not. as long as it is more palatable to the hispanic vote and the media by pretending you have a plan that doesn't end with closing the border and at least doing something about the folks who are here illegally, you don't have a solution. both right and left it is
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cynical. they want cheap workers for the corporation. no one is in favor for the individual. everyone in the country illegally will not say everybody ought to be deported. everybody ought to be assessed and we had to determine whether they are in a state for -- went to the united states and on an individual level whether they get to stay or go. it is bewildering how the irs goes to 100 million tax cuts down to what i ate for lunch six months ago at a kosher restaurant and whether his business lunch or not but they can't track down 14 million people and decide whether it be good for them to be in the country or not. >> host: ben shapiro from charleston, west virginia. seems like a fan of yours. if she wants to listen to you read you what is the best source? >> guest: truth is one of my websites. you can check there to pray partners. if you want to listen kr l.a.
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every morning, 19 and on the east coast. afternoon i do a second radio show. my second radio shows 3:00 to 6:00 in seattle. you can google in bothell. >> host: you also tweaked. >> guest: as you know i'm rather volatile on twitter. it is@ben shapiro. political debates extraordinaire as well as bill clinton's 1970s kinship. if you've ever seen what bill clinton looked like in the 1970s, there is a picture hillary clinton and bill clinton next to one another. i sent that out with we are home. >> host: eli will attend california. >> caller: eli actually
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different gender. >> host: i apologize. angered enough an ipaq. >> caller: no problem. i don't want to spend my time correcting that. obviously gentlemen i want to print out his name. it is quite intelligent. it is unfortunate enough. i am jewish and i have to so strongly object to is trying to portray his own misguided attempts at politics and talking fast. not all jews talk fast and promote stereotypes. he does a great disservice to jewish people all over the world. and he is laughing matter, which i find -- i hope what he's doing.
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i just came from a wonderful jewish film festival and saw the film the jewish card all. this man and a catholic polish clerics did far more when they smartened up and had a little more compassion for people than this guy has. as far as -- >> host: politically do you disagree with ben shapiro when it comes to his politics as well? >> caller: i'm sorry. >> host: do you disagree with ben shapiro when it comes to his politics as well as some of the things you've mentioned? >> guest: i do disagree with his politics quite a lot. but it is a separate issue to promote stereotypes against jewish people.
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>> host: terrific. let's get a response. that is at least in wilmington north carolina. >> guest: i didn't realize the grim reaper of the sense of humor was on the lease today. the worst stereotypes about jews is that we speak quickly. i am going to worry significantly more about the president of the united states and a president of the united states who has leaked israeli national security information democratic partisan republican parties to sign off and that i will worry more about that and less about whether jews talk quickly. >> host: hollow -- [inaudible] >> guest: back in 2007 he was already talking about how he wanted to create distance between himself and israel. the fact is the president has been radically anti-israel since he began running for president. there is staffed by people negotiating with hamas whose
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radically anti-israel. general mayor mick p. coos said new york city is still around foreign policy and united states. he spent his entire life associating anti-israel, anti-semi. he is a palestinian liberation organization terrorist advocate. he was a close friend of president obama. it is a radically different church. i have been in the synagogue since i was 11 years old. if at any point the rabbi had got not been started speaking about black people the way they spoke about jews white people in america, would've been out there so fast. don't tell me they didn't believe any of that. the president is acting out his
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system in real-time and has has real ramifications for real people. you watch it happen in egypt where he cuts off military shipment to a secular regime. he is busily going again the regime. i'm not a fan of the saudi's but they're a lot better than the ukrainians at this point. the president has single-handedly turned a rainy as this is part of a broader policy. both anti-american and anti-israel and anti-western of them personally. >> host: john san francisco, good afternoon. ben shapiro is our guest. >> caller: pleasure to talk with you. i want your take on something as they tiscali responsible lesser government kind of guy. it makes my blood boil somewhat. the propensity of the u.s. to take billions of dollars of taxpayer money and put it towards a national and down that for democracy and other such
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ngos that view of foreign policy and it seems as if what they do is something we would not expect here is interfering within the internal politics of countries. you can see it manifested in the ukraine where victoria newland had spent $5 billion over a period of time to achieve the regime change and you can see a follow-through with the constant propaganda against the people in the east of ukraine who were more or less against the my.movement from the beginning and were culturally russian and it was not then who attacked the western ukraine. >> host: john? hey, john, where did your interest in this interest in these issues are just discussed come from? >> guest: well it is a history. a bit of a history buff going back to world war ii. to understand the ukraine it is
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a complex country in the situation is very complex. i think the facts have not come out in the united states about what is really coming on. >> host: let's hear from ben shapiro. >> guest: not familiar with the project he's talking about come as a he's talking about. the american policy has been egregious. the united states led on the ukrainian revolution under the assumption we would defend them and that we didn't defend them when the russians came. no big shock it was happening. the president has so far sold out every potential or real ally in favor of people he would prefer to woo. poland czechoslovakia all of these countries in favor of a russia he basically signed off on sending missiles to iran. the president of the united states is actively oppose and someone will fill the gap in the
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people who fill the gap are the worst people on the planet. >> host: helen, palo alto, california. you might be the last today. >> guest: perfect. i will use my time well. i find it so egregious that he would calm and conflate so many slogans and all this information that jeremiah wright of the republicans always call up something from obama's past. anyway, my biggest issue is how the republican party if you are aware that both the congress and all of the republicans they are are all creation and the republican party in congress -- excuse me, the gatekeepers hold the purse strings and we have no clue about the budget. and did you know about $22 billion go to faith-based funding and we don't even know who or what is going there.
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most of them are christians and how the money for the faith-based funding and it's almost impossible to get the information without suing for the freedom of information act to get the information and a lot of the money is funneled. >> host: you know what, we are going to leave it there. ben shapiro final comment. tesco government involvement is significantly more dangerous for religious or could it issues to be about than not. the strings are always attached as far as the federal government, i would recommend people look at where the money is going because a lot of the time it goes towards adoption projects and house building for the homeless. i object to that on the grounds i don't think the government should be involved. that is nothing to do with the money being spent on an attempt as an issue. i'm not worried about that in the united states.
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>> host: ben shapiro, best-selling author, editor at large at breitbart "the people vs. barack obama: the criminal case against administration." his most recent book is coming out in paperback. thank you would be on booktv from "the l.a. times" book festival. >> guest: thank you for having me. booktv will continue in a moment. everything will re-air on booktv@the span to. today from l.a. thank you for being with us. we will thank the folks at the l.a. book festival and the folks at usc for the hospitality. it now continues. >> here is a look at upcoming book fairs and festivals.