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KQED's Forum


Forum finds the most interesting stories about where we live, who we are, and charts where our region and world are headed. Hosts Mina Kim and Alexis Madrigal invite communities in the Bay Area and California to engage in meaningful conversation in a two-hour live show that informs and challenges listeners with big ideas and different viewpoints.

Forum finds the most interesting stories about where we live, who we are, and charts where our region and world are headed. Hosts Mina Kim and Alexis Madrigal invite communities in the Bay Area and California to engage in meaningful conversation in a two-hour live show that informs and challenges listeners with big ideas and different viewpoints.


San Francisco, CA




Forum finds the most interesting stories about where we live, who we are, and charts where our region and world are headed. Hosts Mina Kim and Alexis Madrigal invite communities in the Bay Area and California to engage in meaningful conversation in a two-hour live show that informs and challenges listeners with big ideas and different viewpoints.




Pandemic Strikes Hard at California's Nail Salon Workers and Owners

Eighty-eight percent of California’s nail salon owners do not have enough customers to meet business expenses and rehire workers, and most salon workers are now taking home less than $400 per week. That’s according to a new study from the UCLA Labor Center and the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, outlining the “tremendous emotional and financial strain” of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nail salon industry. California’s nail salons, which employ roughly 100,000 licensed...


How California Regulators Failed to Protect Outdoor Workers From Wildfire Smoke

Farmworkers in California work outside even during wildfires that fill the air with toxic smoke. California law requires employers to provide mask and safety guidance during those periods of dangerous air. But, an investigation by KQED and The California Newsroom found that state officials rarely enforce those rules putting roughly 4 million outdoor workers at risk. Despite those failures, Douglas Parker, the former head of California Division of Occupational Health and Safety responsible...


Sickle Cell Disease in Focus as CRISPR Clinical Trial Launches

First uncovered almost a century ago, sickle cell disease is a painful and debilitating red blood cell disorder that can lead to other medical problems like infections and strokes. It hits Black people the hardest, has historically lacked research, and patients have struggled to access basic care. We’ll hear about a promising new UCSF clinical trial using CRISPR gene editing technology on patients’ stem cells. And we talk with a patient about how the disease has affected her life and her...


What Would the Sierra Nevada Look Like with No Snowpack?

Sierra Nevada snowpack, a vital water source for California, could vanish within the next 25 years, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While scientists have tracked and warned about diminishing levels of snow covering the Sierra Nevada for years, the new research provided a more specific timeline about when California could reach a no-snow reality and what that means from a scientific perspective. The study’s authors, however, want their study to not...


First Person: Ajwang Rading Makes Homeless Past An Asset in Run for Congress

Ajwang Rading’s name will appear on the ballot for the first time next fall when he runs to represent California’s 18th Congressional district, which includes parts of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Having grown up in and out of homelessness, Rading has a different perspective when it comes to tackling housing and social service issues in Silicon Valley. We talk with Rading about his past and future as part of Forum's First Person series, which profiles local leaders and...


Ongoing Klamath Basin Water Conflict Fueled by Climate Change and Racism

Fish have a sacred role for the Klamath Tribes in the Klamath Basin, which spans part of Southern Oregon and Northern California. An 1864 treaty gives tribes the "exclusive right of taking fish in the streams and lakes,” but drought and poor water quality are killing the fish and causing a fight over resources between indigenous tribes and white farmers who were promised certain water allocations of their own. A new Fault Lines documentary by Al Jazeera called "When the Water Stopped,"...


Parents of Accused Michigan School Shooter Charged for Contributing to Crimes

The parents of a teenager accused of fatally shooting four classmates and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school last week were charged with involuntary manslaughter Saturday. Charges against parents in school shootings are rare. But Michigan prosecutor Karen D. McDonald called the actions of the parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, "egregious" based on evidence that they bought the gun for their son and kept it unsecured. We'll talk about parental criminal liability in...


'What Roe Could Take Down With It' if Abortion Rights End

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in what looks to be the beginning of the end of Roe v. Wade, according to legal scholars. If that is the case, and Roe is reversed, there stands to be a number of ripple effects beyond abortion rights, too. In a new article for The Atlantic, "What Roe Could Take Down With It," constitutional law expert Kimberly Wehle writes that "the logic being used against Roe could weaken the legal...


Electric Vehicle Future Brightens As Charging Infrastructure Set to Expand

With gas-burning vehicles the largest source of California's greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to clean energy sources in transportation is considered key to slowing climate change. In recent weeks California has been allocated a major boost in federal and state funds to expand the electric vehicle charging network. We'll discuss the plans and how much they might move the needle on e-vehicle adoption. We’ll also look at promising new technology to make EV's more attractive and...


Complex Emotions Find Names in 'The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows'

Have you ever felt "slipfast" (a longing to melt into a crowd and become invisible)? Or "scabulous" (proud of a certain scar on your body)? Those are some of the many words John Keonig has created for emotions we've felt all our lives but lacked words to describe. We talk to Keonig about why he says there are vast holes in our emotional lexicon and why it's important for humans to develop a richer language to describe our interior lives. Koenig's new book, more than ten years in the making,...


CalAcademy’s Lauren Esposito on Scorpions and the LGBTQ+ Scientists Changing Science

Scorpions might be terrifying to most people. But to scientist Lauren Esposito, they are the foundation of her career, which has taken her from a childhood in El Paso, turning over rocks in search of insects, to eventually land her at the California Academy of Sciences. In addition to discovering new species of these arachnids, she’s also become an outspoken advocate for queer scientists. An ongoing exhibit she curated at the California Academy of Sciences celebrates the contributions of...


High School Basketball Players Have Their Own Professional League Now

For decades, young athletes only had one major route to the playing professional leagues — playing for an NCAA Division I team. Today, however, talented basketball players have a chance to skip college and go professional in leagues like Overtime Elite, which pays its players six-figure salaries while prepping them for a professional career either in the NBA or abroad. Is this a positive trend that allows athletes to monetize their abilities or is it a youth sports culture taken to the apex...


Coronavirus Omicron Variant Arrives in California Amid Concerns Over Global Vaccine Inequities

On Wednesday, officials in San Francisco confirmed California’s first case of the coronavirus omicron variant. The patient in the case had recently traveled to South Africa, whose scientists first identified the omicron variant and tracked thousands of cases among its population. The emergence of the variant has reinforced concerns about low rates of vaccination in Africa and other developing regions, which have struggled to obtain and administer vaccines for their citizens. We’ll talk about...


High Prices, Low Stock, Dim Consumer Holiday Spirit

Retailers hope for a record holiday spending season this year, but for many Americans, prices rising at the fastest rate in 30 years may hamper holiday glee at the checkout counter. Even Christmas trees are up to 30% more expensive than last year. We’ll break down how prices and supply chain issues are affecting consumers, and get some tips on how to save money while beating shortages. And we want to hear from you: How are you changing your shopping habits this holiday season?


Roe v. Wade on the Line as Supreme Court Hears Mississippi Abortion Case

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday morning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case, brought by Mississippi’s only licensed abortion clinic, challenges a 2018 state law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Mississippi officials are asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirms the constitutional right to abortion. Meanwhile, abortion restrictions in states...


What Dorsey’s Exit Means for Twitter’s Future

On Monday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced -- in a tweet -- that he was leaving the company he co-founded in 2006. His successor, Parag Agrawal, started as a product engineer and climbed Twitter’s ranks to become Chief Technology Officer in 2017. We'll look at Dorsey’s legacy and discuss what the change could mean for the future of the San Francisco-based social media giant as it grapples with challenges like misinformation and finding new users.


Stanford Professor Jo Boaler Explains California's Proposed Math Instruction Guidelines

Earlier this year, California proposed an overhaul of its K-12 math teaching guidelines to address racial and economic disparities in math achievement. The draft proposal recommends de-emphasizing calculus, detracking some students and incorporating data science and equity and inclusion into math instruction. Critics say that the framework, which is an optional set of guidelines and not a new curriculum, politicizes math. We talk to Stanford professor Jo Boaler, a member of the committee...


New Season of 'Slow Burn' Examines the Roots and Legacy of the LA Riots, 3 Decades Later

Thirty years ago, white Los Angeles police officers savagely beat Rodney Glen King, a young Black man who had led them on a high-speed chase through the city. After a jury failed to convict four police officers, despite a graphic videotape of the beating, the city erupted into violence. This season of Slate’s Slow Burn podcast dives into the events of early 1990s Los Angeles and the decades of police brutality and injustice that led to them. We’ll talk with host Joel Anderson about the...


California Politics Roundup

We'll break down the latest news from Sacramento and other political headlines from around the state with guest host Marisa Lagos.


Scientists Scramble to Understand ‘Very High’ Risk Omicron Variant

The World Health Organization today warned that the global risk from the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, is “very high”. The variant, first discovered in South Africa, has now been detected in more than a dozen countries. We’ll talk about what we know so far about how contagious the variant is and how effective vaccines are likely to be against it.