FROM Bruno Kaufmann
Exercising Is Tough, Voting Is Easy On this Halloween weekend, you’re probably thinking about costume and party duties, and not necessarily your civic duty this coming Tuesday. But Americans aren’t the most engaged people when it comes to voting, especially in off-year elections. And, alas, there are some important races that will be decided by a select few.
Is California's Initiative Process Out of Control? California's initiative process was designed 100 years ago by progressive Governor Hiram Johnson. The goal was protection of voters against the predatory practices of the so-called railroad barons, who controlled the legislature. It wasn't used much until 1978, when the Association of Apartment House Owners backed Proposition 13, which cut property taxes and said that they could only be increased by one percent every year, regardless of how much property values increased. Proposition 13, of course, is still with us, and the initiative process has become an industry, as next month's ballot illustrates with 11 different measures. NOTE: You can find more California election coverage and learn more about the issues and specific propositions at kcrw.com/californiaelections .
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?