I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 24-31 July 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. In her Tuesday History & Politics Chat of 14 July, she discusses campaign funding- its introduction through the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 which actually established a civil service (as distinct from one that depended on direct political patronage and hence changed with each president), the establishment of a Federal Electoral Commission after Watergate ( and which Trump is trying to strangle by not making appointments) and the effects of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which allows unions – and more importantly – corporations to contribute to campaigns.  She then goes on to talk about the history of abortion as a political issue. Did you know that in 1972 the Southern Baptist Convention actually voted that abortion was a matter between a woman and her doctor, and for abortion to proceed for specified reasons (e.g. foetal abnormalities, the welfare of the mother, rape etc)??

In her History chat of 16 July, she talks about the switch in the Republican party where the progressives wrested control of the party and the idea of ‘liberalism’ changed from individualism to protecting the little man against big business.

The Thread This podcast series advertises itself as various strands.. woven together to create a historic figure, a big idea or an unthinkable tragedy. ” In recognition of Black Lives Matter, they are replaying a series about violent and non-violent protest. In Episode 1 The Pride and the Power, they look at the Montgomery Bus Protest and the early political life of Martin Luther King, who knew that non-violence had to attract media attention, or else it would be useless. He also relied on armed guards until he was convinced about non-violence by an older Quaker activist, Bayard Rustin, who is the focus of Episode 2 An Angelic Troublemaker. Barak Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, because he stayed very much on the sidelines during the 1960s because he was gay.

BBC The Documentary  Embankment Baby. In wartime London in 1942, a baby was found abandoned on the Embankment. Named ‘Victor Banks’ because he was found on Victoria Embankment, he was adopted and renamed Tony May. Now in his 70s, he has decided to look into the circumstances that led to his abandonment. He enlists the help of a DNA detective genealogist , who uses Ancestry and other genetic testing databanks to track down his parent.

Let’s Talk About Sects. This first episode looks at The Family, the Melbourne-based sect headed by Anne Hamilton-Byrne, who at that stage was still alive (she died in June 2019). What a far-reaching sect that was, with psychologists and doctors embroiled with it.

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