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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.




NRA seems powerful but is disorganized and easily played: ‘Misfire’ author

The story of the National Rifle Association involves infighting and backstabbing, million-dollar corruption, and a red-headed Russian spy. Tim Mak chronicles it all in his book called “Misfire.” California Democrats are trying to pass new gun control bills. One would let private citizens sue manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of ghost guns and assault-style weapons. While coronavirus vaccines are good at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death, they may not shield you from...


Rabbi after Uvalde: Reach where you can, root out hatred and ‘othering’

After Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 19 students and two educators, LA’s Rabbi Steve Leder explains why there’s still hope in this dark moment. Democrats tend to push for gun restrictions and assault rifle bans, while Republicans say it’s better to boost school security and/or arm teachers. What would effectively curb mass shootings? George Carlin was known for his brash humor and political commentary. He’s the subject of Judd Apatow and Michael...


With COVID up, is it safe to fly and eat at indoor restaurants?

LA County saw more than 12,000 new COVID cases between Saturday and Monday. And over the past month, test positivity doubled and hospitalizations jumped by 80%. It’s all according to Barbara Ferrer. It is possible to create a beautiful and functional home garden during California’s upcoming drought-induced water restrictions. Online, #JusticeforJohnnyDepp has more than 15 billion views, while #IStandWithAmber has only about 8 million views. Musician Bobby Brown’s life has made tabloid...


Why LA Sheriff Alex Villaneuva could coast to reelection despite controversy

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is running for reelection despite being plagued by several scandals. Why aren’t there strong challengers in the primary election to take him on? Communities must be aware of new monkeypox cases, but shouldn’t be alarmed over them, says UCLA’s Anne Rimoin. A New Orleans-based federal court says an SEC judge violated the U.S. constitution’s right to a trial by jury. What does the case say about the power of executive branch regulators? Services like Klarna,...


Netflix might turn into the very thing it disrupted: Cable TV

Netflix is trying to reassert itself as a streaming giant, but it projects losing some 2 million subscribers over the next quarter. In the U.S., roughly two-thirds of people are against overturning Roe v. Wade, but most support some restrictions on abortion, according to a new poll. While wedding venues are now open in LA, many couples are paying more than $100,000. Affected by supply chain issues and COVID protocols, brides have to be flexible. Critics review new film releases: “Downton...


US women’s soccer pay equity could benefit other pro sports

The U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams will split pay and prize money in a groundbreaking new collective bargaining agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation. In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, who recently had a stroke, won the Democratic nomination for Senate. Doug Mastriano, who backed Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, won the GOP nomination for governor. It’s not true that corporations are orchestrating inflation because they see an opportunity to pad their bottom lines,...


Amid baby formula shortage, how can stressed parents feed infants?

It could take two months until grocery shelves are restocked with infant formula. A pediatrician advises parents on how to feed their little ones in the meantime. “Domestic terrorism” is what Biden calls the May 14 shooting at a NY supermarket. Federal lawmakers have said that the U.S. faces a great domestic threat from extremists motivated by white supremacy. Nearly 108,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2021, according to preliminary CDC data. Meth and fentanyl are driving the surge....


Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh always looked for human side of stories

This past weekend, six mass shootings rocked communities across the U.S. What’s causing the rise in gun violence? Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a 20-year-old campaign finance law that limits how much money candidates can loan to their own campaigns. Israeli police say they plan to investigate how the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh turned violent. Two journalists who knew her explain why she was so revered. Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, is out...


Cutting abortion rights could roll back women’s economic gains

Gov. Newsom’s proposed $125 million legislation would expand abortion access in California, budgeting for more than 1 million abortion seekers traveling to the state per year. Abortion access translates to big economic gains for pregnant people. How will that change if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Five of California’s largest law enforcement agencies have serious issues with bias, according to the state auditor. Some police trainers are tied to far-right extremists. Critics review new film...


How OB/GYN education could be affected by fall of Roe v. Wade

Starting this August, performing an abortion in Oklahoma will be a felony. KCRW checks in with Dr. Rebecca Taub, an OB/GYN who regularly travels to Oklahoma, and now Kansas, to relieve overburdened physicians. Nearly half of all U.S. OB/GYN residency programs are in states that could ban abortions if Roe v. Wade falls. But abortion care can be applied to other specialties. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been surveilling anyone living in the U.S., from immigrants to citizens, and...


How abortion became the only political issue that mattered in 1990s

Abortions were considered common in the 19th century. How did the medical procedure become so politicized today? How abortion plays out in the Supreme Court and California — and how Democrats respond to it — will drive voters to the midterm polls and inform their decisions, says Politico’s Jeremy White. Comedian Ziwe says her show is “uncomfortable conversations with iconic people.” She likes to “play up that chaos,” asking guests about race, politics, gender, culture, and class. A...


Smartphone apps could be used to prosecute abortion seekers

Some people use smartphone apps to track their menstrual cycles. If abortion is outlawed in certain states, is their data safe? Abortion would become a homicide and constitutional rights would apply “from the moment of fertilization” — if Louisiana passes a new proposed bill. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to discourage people from buying more things because supply is low. But when rates are too high, a recession can happen. The Spice Girls’ messages of girl power,...


Not enough water for basic needs: Black farming communities struggle amid drought

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the Ukraine-Russia conflict as a proxy war between Russia and NATO. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on that characterization. Critics review new film releases: “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “The Twin,” “Marmaduke,” and “Happening.” Want to do a taco crawl but not drive all over SoCal? Get Evan Kleiman’s taco trifecta from Mercado la Paloma, a food hall in Historic South Central near USC.


Residents of color feel left out of West Adams’ transformation

Long-term residents of West Adams, a historically Black and Latino neighborhood, say they don’t fit into one real estate firm’s vision for making the area trendier. Thirteen states have laws that would restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Utah would severely limit the situations where someone could get the procedure. Although countless people travel to California for abortion services each year, the state’s own residents don’t all have easy access to abortions. TV has...


If Roe v. Wade falls, what’s next?

Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson breaks down the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion draft leak on Roe v. Wade and the intentions behind it. While the leak is shocking, the opinion itself has been predicted since Justice Barrett cemented the court’s 6-3 conversative majority in 2020. California elected officials are proposing a constitutional amendment that could make abortion access permanent. Variants of COVID variants now exist, and the virus’ genetic changes...


Firefighter shortage hits US Forest Service ahead of grim fire season

The U.S. Forest Service is struggling to hire enough firefighters to handle what’s expected to be a brutal wildfire season. This summer, the Supreme Court will likely gut the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent or overturn it entirely. Democratic states are preparing for their own post-Roe reality. Tucker Carlson has strategically stoked the fears of white America to become the most-watched news show on cable TV. Danielle Ponder’s music reflects her time defending poor clients in court. She...


Rick Caruso wants to build 30,000 beds for LA’s unhoused

LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso wants to build 30,000 shelter beds for unhoused people and hire 1,500 police officers to combat crime. Moderna is asking the CDC to authorize a COVID vaccine for children under 6 years old. Meanwhile, kids are experiencing new hepatitis cases in Alabama. Critics review new film releases: “Memory,” “Hatching,” “Navalny,” and “The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe.” Japanese okonomiyaki and Korean jeon are satisfying pancakes, perfect for customization and...


Elite college admissions are tougher than ever, perfect grades don’t suffice

This has been a record year for elite college applications and rejection letters. That’s partly because many institutions no longer require SATs/ACTs scores, so more kids think they have a shot. The GOP will likely retake the U.S. House during the midterm elections. Democrats worry that the next few months will be their last shot at passing climate change legislation. Extreme drought is forcing millions of Southern Californians to cut their water use starting June 1. How could LA’s future...


Gina Viola: Defund LAPD and raise minimum wage to $39 an hour

Community organizer Gina Viola says she would abolish the LAPD and invest in communities to reduce crime, if elected as next mayor of Los Angeles. Twitter has accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the social media platform. What does it mean for the future of influential app? Actor Johnny Depp wrapped up his testimony in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, claiming he was the victim of her aggression and violence. The FX series “Better Things” stars Pamela Adlon...


Successful revolutions are slow and quiet, not fast and loud

The book “The Quiet Before” is about big social movements and what shaped them, from the 16th century Scientific Revolution to today’s Black Lives Matter protests. The Supreme Court considers a case about a football coach who led a prayer on the field, and Donald Trump is held in contempt of court for refusing to hand over business records. Emmanuel Macron has been reelected as France’s president. But far-right challenger Marine Le Pen got more support than in the 2017 race. Are voters...