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FROM THIS EPISODE

The American Independent Party boasts more registered voters than all other small political parties in California combined. However, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that most of its members joined the ultra-conservative party by mistake. Will that impact California’s presidential primary in June? California Virtual Academies is the state’s largest network of public online charter schools and a new report shows that it is actually run by a for-profit company and is failing its 15,000 K thru 12 students. And in retail news, Sports Chalet will be closing all of its 47 stores. What’s the state of sports equipment retail? Then, a conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen, who just won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel, “The Sympathizer.” Finally, Southern California’s latest food fetish: Filipino cuisine.

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Laura Swisher
Sarah Sweeney

The Accidental Popularity of the American Independent Party 9 MIN, 23 SEC

In 1964, Governor George Wallace ran for president as a Democrat. He planned to run again in 1968, but Democrats rejected his segregationist platform; and so a new, ultra-conservative party was created in California to put him on the ballot. It was called the American Independent Party and it still exists. In fact, it boasts more registered voters than all the other small parties combined. The problem is, according to an investigation carried out by the LA Times, most of its members joined the American Independent Party by mistake.

Guests:
John Myers, Los Angeles Times (@johnmyers)

California Virtual Academies: A Model of School Choice or Failure? 9 MIN, 29 SEC

Thousands of K-12 students in California go to online schools so that they can learn from home at their own pace, with one-on-one virtual instruction. The state’s largest network of online charter schools is California Virtual Academies, which boasts 15,000 students. They’re public schools, funded by tax dollars. However, the San Jose Mercury News reports that the network is actually run by a for-profit company called K12, based in Virginia, and that the company has reaped millions in public school funding by hiding behind non-profit status. The story also finds that California Virtual Academies is failing many of its students; fewer than half of the students who enroll earn diplomas.

Guests:
Jessica Calefati, San Jose Mercury News (@Calefati)

Sports Chalet Closes Up Shop 9 MIN, 41 SEC

After 57 years, Sports Chalet has finally reached its limit. Two years after being acquired by Vestis Retail Group, all 47 of its stores will close. This is the latest sporting goods retailer to meet its demise after Sports Authority closed its doors in March. Is the market for exercise gear and equipment what it used to be?

Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen 13 MIN, 48 SEC

Viet Thanh Nguyen was recently named this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel, “The Sympathizer.” Unlike almost all other American books or films about the Vietnam war, the novel’s main characters are Vietnamese, but the book’s protagonist is not clearly defined. He’s half Vietnamese and half European. He was educated in Southern California and is a double agent.

Nguyen himself was four years old when Saigon fell, and his family escaped and came to the United States as refugees in 1975. He was raised in Southern California and is now a professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC.

Guests:
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author, 'The Sympathizer'

The Sympathizer

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Southern California’s latest food fetish: Filipino cuisine 6 MIN, 11 SEC

There are 1.5 million Filipino people in California, but the food of the Philippines doesn't seem nearly as ubiquitous as other Asian cuisines like Chinese, Japanese or Korean food. That might be changing. Filipino dishes have been popping up on restaurant menus across LA.

Guests:
Katherine Spiers, How It Got In Your Mouth (@katherinespiers)

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