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Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.

Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.


Santa Monica, CA




Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.




Vaccine misinformation sweeps through Latinx community

Latinos make up less than 40% of the California population — but more than 55% of the state’s coronavirus cases. Just a quarter of all vaccines administered in the state have gone to Latinos. There’s lots of hesitancy in the community, driven partly by online and bilingual misinformation. Some of it has explicitly targeted Latinos.


California home prices hit record high, and buyers are moving fast

In the Golden State, the median home price is $758,990, which is up nearly 24% from a year ago, according to The California Association of Realtors. Prices have hit a record high due to an explosion of demand, and people are purchasing homes faster than ever, says Andrew Khouri, who covers the housing market for the LA Times. When prospective buyers come to their appointments to view properties, many arrive with a pre-approved mortgage letter in hand, he says. “A homebuyer explained it to...


How Caitlyn Jenner’s anti-trans comments are affecting LGBTQ community and her gubernatorial bid

Caitlyn Jenner, reality TV star and California gubernatorial hopeful, said over the weekend that she was against trans girls competing in girls’ sports. She suggested support for a growing Republican movement to pass laws prohibiting trans athletes from girls sports. “This is a political move,” says Dawn Ennis, managing editor at Outsports. “She has turned this political campaign now into a complete disaster. … She's running on a platform that doesn't even exist in California. California is...


Olympics will go on in Tokyo despite local COVID surge

The 2021 Olympics in Tokyo are slated to start at the end of July. But last week, Japan declared a coronavirus-related state of emergency. The country’s been hit by another surge of new cases. Movie theaters, department stores, and bars are closed until mid-May. So far, only about 1% of its population is fully vaccinated. It’s unclear what COVID-19 protocols the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will roll out for athletes, says Sally Jenkins, sports columnist for the Washington Post....


Kamala Harris’ first 100 days as vice president: How is she tackling the historic role?

Kamala Harris has been using her voice as a woman of color and former California attorney general to connect with the Black community after the Derek Chauvin trial, and to speak out against xenophobia after the spa shootings in Atlanta. She also has a bigger portfolio, which resides on earning the trust of President Biden.


Cut back on excessive sanitizing to save ‘good germs’ as pandemic eases, says scientist

More than a year ago when people knew nothing about how COVID-19 spread, hygiene theater was in overdrive. That meant wiping down everything, and even disinfecting groceries. That resulted in killing certain microbes and bacteria that protect the human body. From birth, humans coexist with bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and each has a different biological function, says Brett Finlay, microbiologist and immunologist at the University of British Columbia. He says they’re involved with how the...


Apple’s software update could eat into Facebook’s bottom line

This week, Apple released a software update that would let its device users decide whether to share their data and activities with apps and websites. The update could spell trouble for companies whose business models rely on ad revenue, like Facebook. “One of the dirty secrets of digital advertising is that a lot of these companies, and especially the big digital advertising companies like Google and Facebook, track us across the internet and across our phones,” says New York Times reporter...


India is now the COVID epicenter, US plans to send medical supplies

For four straight days, India has broken the global daily record for new coronavirus cases, but experts say the actual number of new infections could be much higher. The country’s health care system is collapsing. Hospitals are running out of oxygen and morgues are full. This is a perfect storm of multiple factors: a new double mutant variant in the country, surging superspreader events, and a sense of complacency among the Indian government. That’s all according to the Atlantic staff...


Whether schools and businesses can require COVID-19 vaccinations

The UC and Cal State college systems say they plan to require students and faculty to get COVID-19 vaccines before returning to campus this fall — but that’s only after the FDA approves the vaccines (on a nonemergency-use basis) and supplies are sufficient. Meanwhile, private businesses can also require employees and customers to be vaccinated, according to law professor Dorit Reiss.


Can LA house Skid Row residents by October?

U.S. District Court Judge David Carter has ordered the city and county of Los Angeles to offer shelters for people on Skid Row by October 18. The deadline is sooner — within 90 days — for women and children. Carter’s ruling comes at the heels of his visits to multiple encampments around the city, according to LA Times reporter Benjamin Oreskes. He says both the city and county are unsure how to make this court order a reality. Skid Row community activist Jeff Page says that after years of...


Individual accountability won’t solve systemic racism in policing, says USC professor

On Tuesday, the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin was deemed guilty on all three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Retired LAPD sergeant Cheryl Dorsey says lots of change must come next, and there must be consequences that are equal to an officer’s misconduct. “Every division has somebody like Chauvin who nobody wants to work with. You put him on morning...


LA’s $1 billion proposed plan to fight homelessness

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s so-called “justice budget” for the next fiscal year includes nearly $1 billion to fight homelessness. That money would go to renting, buying and building more housing. It would fund programs to keep housed residents from slipping into homelessness. The mayor also proposed giving some low-income families $1000 to $2000 per month for a year — no strings attached. The City Council still needs to approve the proposal. KCRW reporter Anna Scott says the new proposals are...


Analysis: Derek Chauvin chooses not to testify in his trial, and the defense rests

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin elected not to testify on Thursday in his own defense — in the trial over George Floyd’s death. After his decision, the defense rested its case. Closing arguments are expected to start Monday, and then the case heads to the jury. Judge Peter Cahill has said jurors will be sequestered while they deliberate. Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams...


How crime patterns have changed, and why Californians are buying more guns

This year kicked off with an alarming rise in shootings in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD’s public stats. Homicides are up, robberies are down, rapes are down, car thefts are up. And people looking to buy guns broke records after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. “What we were seeing was a collision of COVID-19 and this country’s long-standing gun violence problem, with data suggesting that 2020 had more incidents in which four or more people were killed or injured due to guns than any of...


How can an officer confuse a firearm for a taser?

Former police officer Kim Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center last weekend. He was pulled over when driving, then a scuffle ensued, and Potter pulled out her gun and shot him. She resigned afterward, and said she thought she was using her taser. But how is it possible that an officer can confuse a gun and a taser? “When you grab a taser, it feels like a handgun. It's got a...


Johnson and Johnson vaccine is paused. Don’t panic, says doctor

The federal government decided this morning to pause Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Officials are looking into six cases where women who got the shot developed a serious and rare blood clot. Governor Gavin Newsom also announced today that California would temporarily stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “It’s a little overkill to pause, as opposed to what the EU did with a similar side effect with AstraZeneca, which is just for now restrict it to using among older people. Just...


California green lights indoor concerts. But venues face a challenging path to reopening

California is allowing indoor entertainment events to resume this week at reduced capacity. However, the summer is written off at Pomona’s the Glass House, an independent, all-ages venue known for booking local acts early in their careers “Whatever happens over the summer, we're not going to open. … We're hoping to reopen in September. … We have 25 to 30 shows booked, starting in September, but we'll see. … We're not going to open until we're 100% capacity. And then I think that we're...


Amazon workers vote against unionization in Alabama. What does this mean for the online retail giant?

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama voted against unionization on Thursday night. It was a big win for Amazon, the second largest employer in the U.S. after Walmart. The vote drew national attention as organizers pushed to create the first union at an American Amazon facility. However, the head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union plans to file a formal complaint, alleging Amazon aggressively campaigned against the union and used intimidation tactics...


Eating disorders are up among teens during COVID. How adults can spot red flags and help

Eating disorders jumped in the last year as more young people spent time on screens, according to new research from UC San Francisco. Hospitalizations at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital doubled since March 2020 — for eating disorders such as binging, bulimia, and compulsive exercise. Jason Nagata, professor of pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, says some teenagers have gained weight during the pandemic due to overeating or a more sedentary lifestyle. And it’s led to...


Long Beach to shelter migrant kids

The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously last night to make the Long Beach Convention Center a temporary shelter for migrant children. The move follows a surge in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border. The city follows in the footsteps of San Diego, where city officials started housing hundreds of kids at its convention center last week. But things aren’t going well in San Diego: there are reports the facility is almost at capacity and some kids have tested...