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tv   2019 LA Times Festival of Books  CSPAN  April 13, 2019 1:29pm-3:30pm EDT

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the campus of the university of southern california and book tvs live coverage of the los angeles times festival of times festival of books. this weekends lineup the politics, science and biography. you also get the chance to talk directly with several authors including the former homeland security secretary janet napolitano. the radio host larry elder and many others. for complete television schedule of our coverage this weekend visit book tv.org. they are now live at the la times festival of books. this is live coverage on book tv on c-span two. >> welcome everybody. this is a bright and sunny
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day. and as a wonderful time to be in an auditorium with these three people. this is the panel on exposing the truth. there will be book signings afterwards afterwards perhaps for continued and informal conversation but let me begin first by introducing myself. i am president of the alicia patterson foundation that funds independent journalism projects worldwide. our three finalists are here and one of them you may already know one was announced last night.
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let me walk through our introductions here. are far left is a journalist a veteran investigative journalist in an author. she writes essays and op-ed's for the new york times as well as magazines and radio. online journals in 2010 was a nieman fellow for journalism at harvard. in her first published book fab factory meant was a national best seller. her second book was also a national best seller and her third dealer's doctors and the drug company that depicted america. number six on the new york times bestseller list.
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and as we honor her today leslie was given the los angeles times book process for 200019. to her right and my left we are joined by eliza griswold a journalist author poet she is a distinguished writer which makes her my colleague i've only just met her face-to-face. she writes on occasion for the new york times magazine. they appeared in the new yorker. with the folk poetry.
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she too is a former nieman fellow. and her book which was the finalist for this competition and the prosperity one family in the fracturing of america and then to my immediate left i am pleased to be sitting next to mona a scientist activist. she is a pediatrician and researcher. and if we know about the crisis that is because of her work.
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the courage award by pen america. i named one of time magazines on there is a lot of competition for that. personal account with the eyes don't see was also a finalist for the la times book prize. these are all stories that infuse our lives they're all national crises they eliminate each illuminate each of these problems.
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so beth, just yesterday the city of costa mesa this ghost does not disclose that it was suing the pharma company that made oxycontin. i should just interrupt right here and say in the process of treating them. more than 247 losses had been filed and i was disconcerted to learn every day according to the national institute on drug abuse more than a hundred 30 people die after overdose
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how to care for chronic pain become a nationwide drug addiction problem. when i read the proposal. she said it your job is to impose hope in order on a to fad and chaotic story. i am based in ronna virginia. i told the story through three communities and i decided i would go deep into three communities i happen to live kind of central to all three of them. is the best and worst thing about being a supporter.
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i started by telling the story of the introduction of oxycontin in 1986 which coincided with the pharma funded campaign to make payne the fifth vital sign. for 100 years in this country we knew that they were addictive. when they released the oxycontin and hired an army of sales reps. and they play doctors with gifts and send them to resort to become paid speakers.
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about writing about the people the first responders that were fighting back. like mister rogers aside. i focused on the physician was the first to say but i had kids i immunized overdosing on the high school library. he helped the federal government to investigate. they double down on the
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marketing. i took up heroin in 2010 by writing about a cell of upper-middle-class users. as one mother put it it was like i do mentor from harry potter. when oxycontin got hard to get and was reformulated the pills got harder to get many of the kids were already addicted. also a group of women mainly of them trying to divert users. it's very difficult. it's about how this cavernous gap between treating people who had opioid use.
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criminalizing them in treating them like patients of the medical care. with heroin is like a farm town. lunch twice convicted drug dealer has landed. they told the story very simplified that he said turning about hand full of pill users almost overnight. my main character was a young woman i followed her story for two and half years. and she was a doctor's daughter. daughter of a hospital nurse. i just watched her fall through the cracks from the court system failing her. in the book course sort of ends with what happened to her. and to me it's very emblematic of where we are as a nation.
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still treating people as moral failures. not embracing what science says is the best treatment and hoping that people will take this message away and that we've got 2.6 million people addicted to opiates now. and plain drug dealer whack a mole is not going away. it will make it on a scale. let me bring you in for a moment. >> we will explore this some more. i want to turn out to eliza this is very current stuff. so yesterday we learned that chevron had is paying $33 billion in mobile he spent
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several years in from those of you that don't know this is our small town apartment. what is the cost of the energy. i spent seven years looking at people what it meant to live a few hundred feet one of these gas wells. i want to say thank you these
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two books my because been in book has been in conversation with them all year in the course my book because of what happened to people who live next door to this well. i don't think without mona they would have the confidence to do that. from the start they were like water contamination is a national issue and these people deserve to be heard. the book is named for two towns. in terms of opioid addiction looking at the human cost of
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energy production. and how that has helped set up this over simplified urban world environment. he is a pig farmer and very staunch trump supporter he absolutely opposes the federal government to many of us that sounds ridiculous. why does he think regulation is bad. the story he tells on his small farm jason's brother is
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a opioid addict and all jason has to do to get a prescription and drive 10 miles up the board he said to me what's kind of government regulated pigs more heavily than as human beings. if we want to wake up to what is happening in america now is to realize how stories are interconnected how are they going to address the multiheaded demon has many forms and names together. this is a lonely lonely tough work.
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these stories are connected. and if i may talk on the thread. let me ask you about this. i learn of a place where people are afraid. their public drinking water is no longer safe. pittsburgh, detroit milwaukee washington dc almost every small town in texas. people there are still drinking bottled water. now a sound science is the heart a of public health and environmental regulation it's
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the thing that links these three stories together as a checks and balances were being eliminated how did you confront this in flint. i think for a lot of us this was an inconvenient truth. in the history of the world 19th century london. we've come a long way in water treatment and really civilization are built on our ability to deliver safe drinking water.
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we are literally surrounded by fresh water. freshwater. we are surrounded by the largest sources of fresh water in the world. to this day we have a population of people who are predominantly poor and minority poor on bottled water and filtered water. the story of flint is is not an isolated story. that's one of the reasons i wrote this book. it's not about the crazy thing that happened to the poor city.
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as a story that has happened all over literally you turn on the news and every week you hear about another city that is struggling with similar issues not just freaking water issues. the issues are bigger. flint lost democracy. the change in our water source was a cost-cutting measure. and the people at the table lost their voices which is no different than an effort that voter suppression and mass incarceration. it's a story of what happens and we don't invest in infrastructure. also a national story. and environmental injustice. where people who are poor and minority separate the burden from environmental contamination. just like in rural america in urban america. that's going on all over this country. for the purpose of this pl in this category. an egregious example of what happens when we disrespect science. our water wasn't treated
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properly. made it 20 times more corrosive than the water that we had been getting from the great lakes. throughout our government and our state it said that everything was okay and everything was in compliance. fourth-graders in flint can conducted experiments to prove to that the state that the water was corroded. this is an example of what happened when we don't see science. we are in the midst of so many climate desires. the important regulations that affect our health. it's not an isolated story. what has been amazing is they have brought that in terms of bringing awareness to these
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issues nationally. and most importantly opening the citizens eyes to what they can do to fight back. >> all of these stories are stories of public policy of science gone wrong all of you are telling the stories through the lives of people who are affected. and i wonder as writers and authors as people who are trying to frame an passage a crisis how do you go back -- go about building relationships with people that you're writing about and they go about people in crisis to characters. can you share with us a little bit about that. the process as an author. for this project i followed a family and their neighbors. i followed three families who were bringing this lawsuit there.
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for failure to help them in any way. this kind of journalism is emergent journalism. i embedded in these families for a long enough time that when they remembered i was there i went through many chapters of life alongside them. and i have the privilege. >> i was actually writing a book about crumbling bridges in our collective poverty was our last investment in infrastructure. in one day a biologist that worked there. we were looking at failing levees and dams. i'm driving down i'm going to hear from people with the only
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place they can meet publicly as the airport. they have taken over the morgan pass town airport for the day to talk about what it means to live next to this new fangled kind of oil and gas clinic exploration. she pointed out to me. can you see how that mountain flat lines flatlands that is mountaintop removal. the history is written on this landscape. so we got down there and i took a seat in the audience. ahead of me was a mom and a daughter. this daughter was in her pjs. she was complaining that she was hungry and her mom was scolding mama scolding her for not eating that morning. >> i reach into reached into my backpack and pulled out one of my health bars that i carry around and offered her to page and she wisely said no thank you. her mom got up and started to talk. this is stacy haney. she's a single mom and she's a nurse.
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a mother of two she knew that she and her kids have that in her bodies because she was a nurse at the local hospital she knew that her son had arsenic poisoning. she began tracing what have been killing the animals and the in the puppies and the horses. they have begun to put the story together. i went to her this is a place that longevity matters a lot and i said to her because i didn't have to file any kind of daily anything. could i come out to your farm. let's just spend some time together. if you don't want to go forward and see meagan that's no problem.
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the other thing that she is most nervous about. was that they were supplying her water. since her son got sick and they said that. they had been will start delivering water to you. she was terrified that if she spoke out publicly that they would take the water away. it is one way in which overtime and with a lot of integrity on her part the end of the book. how do you take people who are private people who are they are going to become public people how do you walk through that. in journalist we do not share written copies of what we are writing about. i went down and i spent three days reading a book aloud to her at the kitchen table. i know she is drug testing.
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does she understand what it's gonna sound like when i say her neighbors don't believe her. and she just sat there crying but listening and she thought her life that's why she did this. let me just ask you the follow-up question which is all of you. had grown close to the people that you're writing about in your books. i wonder for you were there moments where you felt like your objectivity was starting to slip into sympathy and allegiance and partisanship. >> what you do to balance that. >> the one time where i really didn't know what to do. i had been following test
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henry's story for almost a year and i had been driving around. recording the conversations at this point she is kind of in and out. she was largely homeless. she was starting to do some things. every word was misspelled. i had been doing my taxes and i just missed it. an hour later i said what should i do. i talked to my husband about it. i'm pretty sure she was at a drug house. i also read quotes and i find that in the last interview if you've done your job and
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you've spent a lot of time with folks. nothing will really surprise them. i know it can backfire. sometimes that's when they finally go that's what you're trying to do. i want to do a book about heroin. i know i'm going to learn a lot by following you. i hope you will never lie to me. at that point she had been struggling in her conviction for three plus years. and she just wanted to see --dash like people to see how hard it was. and honestly, she never wavered. patience is another big thing that you don't necessarily get when you're writing for the newspaper. he didn't think he had time to be interviewed. >> i said you have a saturday right. >> have a saturday and four months. and that says a lot about his
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character. another woman who had lost her son. you meet people where they are what about if i meet you at his gray. right next to the high school football field. the number 55 had to be on my license plate. she said that was a sign. >> these are all heart wrenching.
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from your standpoint did you choose this issue or did the issue choose you. >> you can't really plan your life and so much of what happened was serendipity. i think at a medical school to write a book. because i thought i would never be able to write again. it wasn't something anticipated. in front of the most emblematic. and they got obligations to put this towards. there is a crisis and very much the interactions of my patients. they have all been changed to
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protect their identity of course it wasn't something that i chose and sought after it was something that literally fell in my lap. there was no other option to do this work. >> it was a choice list choice. it was something i have to be done. i couldn't close my eyes not only to this issue but i also couldn't close my eyes to not sharing the story. it was everybody has to know the story. because it happened on american soil because it happened today and because of the indifference to the population. but more importantly the story had to be shared not to share the crime that happened happened but to share how everyday people that they came together and stood up and opened their eyes and said we have enough. that was the impotence of writing the story. it is almost like a playbook of how to be a resister and
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really resistor and really how to create hope in our communities and the is a story that we all need right now because of all of the issues that are happening. >> these are places that many of us when we think no one is listening this is what we call flyover country. >> i'm wondering from the three of you how the sense of place shaped your work each one of you has a talent in an area and a region that in fact his character. i wonder if you can share a little bit about that with us. >> is about a city of a quarter of a million. >> i've done most of my reporting in roanoke. the factory manager took place in our south. so i was a bit of a parachute or even though they knew my
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name because they had been reading my stories in the times for many years. i did have the entrée there. i'm not really roanoke is just after appalachia. but i have reported in and out of that for many years. i think this is a region since the 40s since cole first started declining in any place in our country where one or two industries takes over to the point of not letting other diverse industries come in. those are the places that are hurting the bus. so the overdose death. in purdue and others intentionally went to these places to sell their drug because they said these are the places with legitimate workplace injuries. they're already taking
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painkillers. if we target them we can get them to switch to oxycontin and said. and by the way we will pay your sales reps more money depending on the highest dosage. what some of the factory said. and just took advantage of people and using bad science out of date data and purely field -- fueled by greed. >> i started my career as a journalist and in a small town in the rural end of the shenandoah valley. and we looked to the bright lights of the big city of roanoke on the horizon. you however are not a native western pennsylvania. you did do not grow up in one of those you parachuted i
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parachuted from the hostile country of new york city. and one of my favorite moments was. there was a wonderful farmer who is also a local barber who ran a barber shop on his grandmother's land which have been sold to the coal company. one of the things is also history. one of the reasons that those living in coastal communities. how can these people sign these leases when they know how terrible it is. how could they say they care about their lands. >> if the coal company. it has been undermined. it's mean is lost most of its water because the kind of industrial coal mining has come underneath it.
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one of the people in a many signees was to try to keep the coal companies out. that's not the story we hear very much. partly because the funding for local journalism is inadequate. there are a lot of people out there. so when i showed up on the farm. new york city was a good answer to that but i did think that i was born in philadelphia. i thought that would be much better. in one of the aspects underlined the urban rural divide is the history that dates back to before the revolutionary war of these communities as being frontiers people they did not get land rights to.
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and the story feeds through something called the risky -- whiskey rebellion. the little white hot pants everyone loves him. if you drive through the big time. when you drive down main street in washington pennsylvania and look in the window of the distiller you will see the portrait of alec -- --dash mike alexander hamilton hangs upside down. he passed that on revolutionary war veterans who already had it gotten gotten paid. all of the histories it is told by the victors. people who live in places of power. if your can understand people that are different than us.
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if we are gonna listen to people who are different than us. we better understand their history. that it's not all written by the victors. flint michigan as you teach us in our book is a place that is shaped by the history of general motors and not just in a physical sense but the science in the environmental controls that you are dealing with our shaped by this. would you share that with us. we are so good at closing our eyes to anything that is too dark or to put complicated. as with that's why there's so much history in this book. what happened and how the communities really came to be. and flint is all about place in history. it's really a place of extremes. really wear nationally is a struggle for equality played
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out. it was born in flint. it is the birthplace of the american dream. of the middle class in america. because of workers. that it is something called the historic sitdown strikes. that was the birth of contracts. the wages that were established there. the healthcare the great schools and infrastructure. at one point it was just so hard to believe. in the 1970s they have the highest per capita incomes in the nation. people of flint have made the most money in the nation and some of the best public health indices. but history that followed in this place was dark. and included this investment. the dark history of red
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lining. that really created a tax base that could not provide for the city. the birthplace of general motors created part of one of the greatest environmental ills and that was introduction of lead in gasoline. we hear a lot about lead recently. it's probably the most will studied toxins to men. in the strong theories of that. really interesting. in the 1920s general motors created that. despite the amazing science at that time that let it was led it was toxic and could hurt people. my favorite heroes. in the 1920s them foremost expert.
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she thought general motors with all her might. and they ridiculed her. very similar to all that is happening. that is all incredibly important to understand because if we want to understand. which is start by to start by looking back. i feel as a matter of physical foot note. that when they did offer her a faculty position. she never showed up at the faculty club. she was allowed to walk in the can management. now were talking serious
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hardship. but still she persisted. exactly. in a real way we had been here before. i wonder from the three of you and then if we have a few minutes i would like to open up the conversation to include you all we have some microphones and perhaps we could get some questions going. i wonder how you think of the authors in the books. as acts of civic activism. that we inhabit a kind of political in municipal and civic vacuum. are you consciously trying to
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fill this. i am teaching a class called reporters and resistance. i think it's an extra nearly important it may be a little bit more where we set as journalist it is extra nearly important to stick with the facts. and calling attention to social ills has a role. and for me that is what i'm doing. entrusting the day will keep talking to you. they are pro- fracking who made a lot of money although
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they suspected they would not like what they wrote. how do you write about that. you had millions of pages of lawsuits. i think at this time we are holding a really important line i am not an activist. i did not approach it like that. i really stayed away. there is a big community who oppose them. they had been very successful in some places. i really stayed away from them. i really wanted to approach this is factually as possible. i had struggled a little more
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from that. i'm probably becoming more than activists. as a speak about this. and i'm interviewed i had have this window where i've had all of this i feel like i have to i am addressing a group of doctors. i think any of you who took a free item should be morally compelled. it is the medication that they take. it kinda sounds like it's in the weeds but it's a huge thing. nobody wants to do it.
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they don't want addicts attics in their waiting room. so suddenly i the former newspaper reporter book writer works at a my kids spare bedroom in my house and like telling people what i think they should do. and one of the things i think we should tell them to do. because you thought it was wrong. because you thought it was treating a drug with another drug. it doesn't mean that it's not your job now. it's your job. i realizing it's my job to say that. i feel like i have this responsibility now. to do that. i'm a little uncomfortable with it. it's gotta be done. you come to the table as an activist.
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that is your role as a physician and it's certainly what brought you to our panel here today. let me flip the question these are overwhelming opioid addiction environmental position. >> do you offer us hope or do something new to worry about. i am this in eight optimist. it is the story of crisis but also the story of resistance and the hope that we had been able to bring. i went into this. i decided to become a pediatrician because i wanted to be and at activist. i'm an educator and i'm an activist and i was taught and i teach my medical students is
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your job to speak up for children. even before the flint crisis. because unfortunately they can vote this is always in our job. what i had been able to do has been blessed by writing this book. to really highlight the issues that children are facing. the story of flint is not isolated. they wake up to the same nightmares. we are tearing people apart from their parents at the border. the in action will make disaster. in the list goes on and on a what is happening to children
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to right now. and the point of the story is that we need to be woke. we need to open our eyes to these issues that are facing children very broadly. and that we cannot stay silent. we cannot continue to have the trajectory of the children really children really bound to zip code and date of birth. in school district. district. we need to really work towards creating those opportunities for all of the children. there is kids that wake up to nightmares with an american dream and it's not even a possibility. so we should not stay silent in that spirit i would like to give the audience a voice we have a few minutes here there is a microphone. in each aisle. just because of time i know it's tempting to make statements. please ask a question we had
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one down here. and then right next to you. let's go with that first. >> think you all for coming. i really enjoyed hearing you all. we are entering into a phase and this goes back to one of the questions you asked earlier where the media at least to the perception of those to consume the media is being politicized. i think it's fine but a lot of people i was just wondering i don't know if this is an impossible question to answer. how can we make people understand that just because the news in the facts seem to kind of go towards one
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statement doesn't mean how can we bridge that gap. i was wondering how we should. >> i feel like i always be weighed into that a little bit. especially for journalists among the people and there are remarkable number. i think of david wallace wells. others who are out there who have done careful fact-based journalism for many years that project they head in finished that and they cannot do anything but go out and speak about the desperate need to have that. i would just wanted to say that.
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i think there is not one kind of story to be told. i do gets really think it's really important to understand that. i am part of a tradition that really roots in this and this idea of objective truth. i do say to my students. that is not a health helpful term. we are seen crossing lines of difference is what journalism is. they are related to science. that does not mean it's the only story that can be told.
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maybe not the oil and gas industry themselves. we can't and for -- afford to do it independently. i owe my life and education to flint michigan. you are here.
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how do we manage to hold together a broadening coalition how we manage and create and hold together a coalition of these issues especially in an election year. the not your job. some issues how do we hold that together. >> this is kind of the advocacy question. you just give us a very stirring response.
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she said at the beginning of this. i thought it was can gonna be too hard and too depressing. it's not your job to solve the opioid crisis. >> your job is to make people care. in the way you make people care is your story. bring people alive makes you care about someone that lives in eastern kentucky. show them what they don't see because the regional media doesn't go there anymore because they don't have the bureaus in the world rural area. that's our job to go out there and go interview people with all kinds of zip codes. there is no national standard for water quality testing.
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it seems like it was a collapse of the government. but they weren't testing for lead or corrosion. i don't know what happened in the fracking case. it appears that no one was really testing for the chemicals getting into the water. is there a community or state or anybody doing good testing is their movement to try to improve that we include that. >> what has opened my eyes is the inadequacy of our federal regulations that govern the drinking water. it is wholly inadequate. it's really driven by industry standards. and it's not science nor health base. they recently said when i can take up at this. the standards have not caught up with science.
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because of federal in action we are now seen leadership at the local and state levels. we need stronger regulations. we need stronger health -based science regulations. not driven by industry i don't think that is can happen in this current administration. so we are seen at the state level. those are the folks that we need to elect at all levels it did not start four years ago. and because you have a little bit of environmental overlap.
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you are dealing with a kind of medical pollution. where is the person in the white coat. the person who's stamp is approved from the fda that says they have never done it before. it was believed to reduce the liability of addictions in abuse. in the person that stamped it guess where he went to work when he retired purdue pharma. >> we had time for one more short question and you sir had been patient i would like to hear from you if we can do it. with literally two minutes. congratulations on the book.
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it seems now it's very clear-cut on who is the that the lawn and the victim. is any point where that wasn't so clear that there was another side to the story. it begins with me going to have them in prison. they did not have the spirit the horrible person and the one of course that helps that. whose dad was a heroin addict. in my job was to bring humanity to every person they spent their whole life in prison it's just the system of mass incarceration.
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it is my sad duty to draw this to a close. there will be book signings please join me [applause]. [inaudible conversations] .. ..
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching book tv on c-span2, los angeles festival of books held on campus at the university of southern california. coming up in half an hour, you will hear authors talking about political history and one of the authors usa today susan page, barbara bush and the making of american dynasty, that's coming up in about half an hour, right now here on the campus we are pleased to be joined by egor, here is his book called guns down.
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how do defeat nra and build safer future. who is mike? >> mike, yes. i had the opportunity to go out west and visit a really big gun range. i took a really intense 2-day handgun course. if i was going to write a book about guns i better know something about guns, i better know something about sun culture and after 2 days of lectures, i had an opportunity to sit down with the proprietor of this great range because it had a real mix-bag experience. i saw people who took firearms very, very seriously who took safety very, very seriously who valued the gun, but i also experienced some of the darker sides of gun culture, so, for instance, somebody made a joke during a lecture about killing hillary clinton and the whole room laughed, another lecture
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talked about the threats that people faced every day of their lives and she put on screen, picture of those threats, pictures of 6 men and they were all either black or brown, and so when i had dinner with mike on the end to have second day and i asked him, why do you use this kind of fear when you know the truth is you're much more likely to use the gun against yourself, particularly rural white men that commit suicide at such astronomical amounts than intruder coming in and he said, you're right, we shouldn't do that, that surprised me. towards the end of the conversation, i asked him why wouldn't you support raising the standard of gun ownership in america, somebody chooses to buy a gun, they should be able to prove to neighbor and their community that they can use it
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responsibly and peter, to my surprise he agreed to me and that's how i opened the book, optimistic note because as i traveled the country writing it and researching it i actually found a lot of common ground. >> host: did you go into this gun training exercise with them knowing who you were? >> guest: i was accompanied by a friend of mine, gun enthusiasts and he knew my point of view, in the beginning of our dinner he really put on a great charm offense that he had done research on me. he knew exactly who i was. so, yes, they certainly knew and i was very open about it. >> host: why is this issue important to you? >> guest: well, you know, i really fell into this issue quite by accident. it was december 2nd, 2015 when the san bernardino shooting
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occurred in california and i was working on a whole host of different issues tat center for american progress, came back to my computer at the end of that day and saw lawmakers tweeting thoughts and prayers over and over again which they do all of the time but what struck me that day, peter, many of those lawmakers were doing all of that tweeting voted against expanding background checks in the aftermath of newtown and so here they were trying to convince their constituents that they care about this issue but, of course, when they had tennessee opportunity to do something about it, they voted against it, they demonized the measure and as someone who grew up in union briefly who had to flee the country because of just anti-semitism i'm very sensitive to politician who is say one thing and then do another because we were told in the soviet union that we were all
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equal and we all had equal opportunity and everything was great and the reality for me and for my family was really quite different, on this issue and all the issues that i talk about and i work on, i really try to close that gap and as soon as we close the gap the more lives we will save. >> host: igor, guns down is the name of the book, number on the screens, 202-748-8801 for those in mountain and pacific time zone, subtitle of your book includes the nra, how many people belong to the nra and what is their influence among gun owners today? >> the inra claims that it has about 6 million members and influence is quite vast so going back to our friend mike, i asked
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him, why don't you talk about this, because as i was saying endorsed for instance gun licensing, firearm licensing which is something the nra supported back in 1934, by the way, as i write in the book but certainly doesn't today. and he said, because the nra is the loudest voice in the room. despite the fact if you look at polls, if you talk to gun owners, they actually agree that if you're going to own a gun, you should do so responsibly, they would agree with some kind of federal standard, some kind of licensing law, but there aren't gun rights organizations that advance that because the nra really eats them up and the reason for that, peter, is because even though they claim to represent gun owners, what they actually represent is the gun industry and they're much more interested in keeping markets open where that industry
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than they are in as they claim protect the rights of gun owners. >> host: you advocate liability for gun manufacturers. >> guest: i argue that if you're going to have a gun, you have to have insurance. another mechanism to make people more responsible and to also create pot of money from which you could draw to cover the astronomical financial costs that gun deaths on suicides but also gun violence and homicides have in the country. >> host: what about the argument that if guns are restricted only the criminals will have guns? >> guest: yeah, well, that's really an argument against any kind of law. there will certainly a small number of vims or small number of criminals who are determined criminals and are going to do
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whatever it take to murder, drid drive, despite having laws against that, people still launder money even though money laundering is illegal. it's truthly -- absolutely true that they'll be criminals that do what it takes. but it's true from what other countries have done and other states with tougher gun laws, if you change the environment in which guns are bought and produced, you make that environment safer for everybody, for the overwhelming majority of americans and that's really how we should be making laws. >> host: let's look at chicago which has strict gun laws as city, but there seems to be so many shootings. >> guest: well, part of the problems that all guns are coming from indiana where guns are so much easier to get which is why i call for raising the
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standard, having a much tougher federal standard in all 50 states, what we also know about chicago and baltimore and philadelphia, some of the cities that really struggle with gun violence is that a lot of that violence, peter, is really contained to individual blocks, individual streets, just the small group of individuals perpetuate all of the violence and there are programs out there called community-base violence intervention programs that work with violence interruptors from within those communities. those interruptors know who perpetrates most of the violence and they work with them to change community behavior, to change community norms so that if you and i have some kind of spat or disagreement, i no longer use my gun to, you know, to make good, that we are able to channel that energy and resolve conflict without a firearm. so programs have been incredibly
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successful and in the book i argue we need to really fund them significantly. >> host: let's hear from marie calling from alabama, marie, you're on book tv with author igor volsky. >> yes, i have a question concerning the fact that in the state of alabama there's a issue of trying to have people have guns without having a permit and i'm afraid that this is becoming a thing that's going around nation, what is your suggestion on keeping -- having guns without a permit? >> guest: yeah, well, what we know is that in areas of the country where guns are easier to get, areas of the country that have looser permitting laws, you
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have more gun deaths, you have more gun violence. and so i -- i share your concern, i your concern about the liberrization -- liberalization and making it easier for people to carry guns in public spaces both intimidating for people and they think it causes a lot of confusion for police and in terms of what you could do, i mean, i think it really starts with advocating your neighbors, educating your community about the reality of having too many guns and the fact that it leads to a lot of gun deaths and i also recognize that in a place like alabama that might be easier said than done. >> host: 390 million guns are sold in the u.s., 340 of people in the u.s., what percentage of
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population owns a firearm? >> about 30% of households have firearms, that's a shrinking number and that creates a lot of problems for the gun industry because we are a country as you point out that has more guns than people and so the industry has to constantly produce new products to calm overly saturated market. that's why by the way early 90's, the building to start producing military firearms, designed for military for civilian market and that's part of the reason why we see assault weapons, militarized semiautomatic pistols and the issue there, peter, we are now seeing in inner cities and places like chicago people dying from gunshot wounds that they were surviving from past generations of firearms, so the
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firearms themselves have become deadlier because the industry is is constantly trying to come up with new products and new marketing schemes to sell more guns. >> host: hi, marnie from wisconsin, hi, marnie. >> caller: my comment, i used to come from rather rural area in wisconsin, has become more developed now, the people in my life are basically all farmers and none of them had a gun except maybe shooting -- they were not hunters and they didn't enjoy hunting, they didn't go through the woods, and the problem is as far as i see it this has become a big thing where people say, oh, we enjoy hunting, i don't know many people around here that enjoy hunting where i live in wisconsin, maybe up north, you
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know, all of this nuance animals , it isn't a big deal around here, but the idea i would like to say too is obvious congressmen and people, women, men who -- who are for gun rights, i would like to ask them, have you ever seen someone who has been shot by a gun, murdered by a gun, the damage to human body and have you ever been confronted by someone with a gun, and how would you like to walk around to see people with guns strapped do their hips, i don't see that in wisconsin, but issues really disturb me because, fine, if you really hunt with it, if you really -- we have friends that hunt, they go up and they get deer and they can go up in farm and get a
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deer, they do it. >> host: all right, thank you for calling in. igor, what's your comment for her. >> well, look hunting itself is as a sport is regulated. there's a hunting season, all kinds of restrictions about how that -- how many animals you could kill when you hunt. i'm simply arguing that we also need to regulate access to firearms in the same way. i'm not -- i don't have a problem with people who hunt, i believe a lot of hunters, gun owners are responsible, i'm just saying we need to take that responsibility, create a new national federal standard for firearm ownership and really frankly redefine what patriotic gun ownership is. it's not about guns everywhere for everyone, it's about being
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able to meet a certain standard in order to prove to your community that you could use the firearms responsibly. >> host: we referenced indiana a little bit earlier. debbie calling from indiana, hour and a half from chicago, go ahead, debbie. >> caller: hello, i was wondering your opinion on what i could do as a single person, one person to help educate people about our indiana laws, how they are so loose about gun control? >> host: debbie, before we get an answer on that, have you ever considered buying a gun for protection? >> caller: i considered it but i think it was out of fear that wasn't real. it was fear -- >> host: thank you, ma'am. thank you, ma'am.
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>> guest: and that's really the reality of it, the notion that you need a firearm for personal protection is really a fairly new notion that just came about 20, 35 years ago as a result of nra propaganda, if you look at polling on this, it's quite fascinating. in the 1950's and 60's most americans believed that having a firearm actually makes things more dangerous and it wasn't after the nra had an internal revolution in 1977 and, of course, since then that those opinions began to change and that's part of the marketing of the nra, but i get this question, peter, all of the time about what can i do, what can i do, i think that it's incredibly important by my organization is dedicated to finding ways to plug into the movement. we just launched a campaign
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that's going to push that is pushing 15 largest banks to stop doing business with industry until the industry reform, you can go is your bank loaded.org to be a part of it. >> host: guns down america.org is the website if debbie wanted to find more information. >> guest: that's right. >> host: jason, georgia, you're oh on book tv. >> caller: i have to disagree. i don't like guns, but i had to get guns. a medical professional, i lived in georgia, 90% of the gun crimes are in atlanta where it's strict, when i went to get a gun, i was there for about an hour, id's, they called the fbi database, the government or somebody shoots your gun when you get, i had number on it.
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people wearing guns on the hip, they haven't had murders in 25 years and downtown atlanta has had 2. all sorts of crimes in atlanta, that's when i had to get a gun, i worked and deliver money to atm's in atlanta and twice between 2008 and 2012i had my gun on my hip that i'm sure prevented carjacking or atm robbery where one person actually got out of the car. >> host: so thank you for sharing that story, we will get an answer from mr. volsy, what would you like to see done if anything when it comes to gun laws in the u.s.? >> caller: well, i'm rational, i don't think anybody needs 30 round magazines and things like that. i think people if they go to a course or they legally get a gun which the other ladies, if
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you're legally able to carry a gun, you have gone through an extensive background check. i do think there needs to be one extra step of gun training, all the gun training i got was at the range because i'm fearful of guns i technically learned how to take apart my gun and do everything before i went to range and shot it. i owned my last gun for 3 years and i know how to shoot. but i haven't shot since 2015. >> host: all right, thank you for calling in. appreciate it. >> guest: i think it's common ground. i agree that if you choose to own a gun you should meet a higher requirement for knowing how to use it. there's a great model in massachusetts that says, if you want a gun, you have to go to a police station, you have to get fingerprinted, written tests, field tests, a much more
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comprehensive background check than the system which we know is incomplete, there's a waiting period and then you could go and get a gun and have to register. that kind of system has significantly reduced not just homicides but also gun suicides because what we know that those suicides happen during a short period of personal crisis and if you could extend the amount of time between when you want a gun and you can obtain a gun you could really save a lot of lives. host host i'm sure there are people out there listening that heard you say you go to the police station, you get fingerprinted and registered. it's almost in our dna here in the united states not to want to do that. >> well, machine guns have been registered since 1968, we have about 100,000 machine guns in circulation. when was the last time about a machine gun being used in any kind of shooting?
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you have to register machine gun, there's all kinds of fines if i just give you my machine gun. so all i'm saying, we really know what is issue, this isn't the climate issue, for instance, where we don't really know how to change course. we are trying a lot of things and we are thinking about a lot of different policies but nobody really has solved it. that's not the case on gun, you have nations around the world that have great licensing and registration systems and all kinds of buyback programs, they have worked. those same things have worked here in america in the states that have them. we know what to do, the american people actually support things like licensing, 79% of americans support licensing, it's up to us to make sure the politicians catch up where we are. >> host: are you allow today own a gun in russia? >> guest: it's very restrictive in russia. >> host: next call is kara in
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california. >> hello. my question for mr. volsy is what is being done about regulatory process on gun manufacturers in the country? where it's manufactured, what is being done as far as restrictions, how many they can manufacture or is there anything >> host: thank you, ma'am. >> guest: this is critical and i where in the book that any kind of approach that builds a future with fewer guns really has to start with the big fish, has to start with the manufacturers because currently we are in a situation where there's no federal agency that regulates the products that the industry
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produces, so, for instance, teddy bears, toy cars are all regulated for safety and you hear all of the time about them being recalled because there's some kind of problem, that's not the case with firearms. and so that's why, again, you have these assault weapons of all different kinds that are causing so much havoc in our communities, so in the book, i talk about changing this regulatory structure, ensuring that the product that the industry produces are regulated and also making sure that a 2006 law called placa that prevents people from holding gun manufacturers accountable for the products that they produce that that be repealed. >> host: few minutes left with our guest uigor volsky before we go to next author panel. coming up next is chris, chris is in oak park, illinois, chris, we are listening.
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>> caller: well, i i have to say that the previous caller stole my thunder as did the authors, the regulation of the manufacturer of these things, you pointed out that the manufacturer started making military-style weapons in early 80's and 90's, yes, regulating that may be an answer, you know, can't buy those guns, you can't by lightbulb anymore because manufacturers weren't allow today make it, they are going to led. can the onus be on the manufacturers so guns don't get sold to public at all but they can't be made and thank you for your book, i guess i will have to buy it and look forward to your answer on tv, thank you. >> guest: yeah, it's really a combination, you're absolutely right. regulating the manufacturers is so incredibly important so they can't produce new militarized
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weapons, but the other question that i really struggled with in guns down is, what do you do with the firearms that are already in circulation, and so that's why i propose a much stricter system with the licensing, the legislation and the insurance policy and i add to that voluntary buyback programs all around the country, they are probably going to have to be state-base, poll physical examination they choose, can sell the guns that they are not using or sell the militarized weapons that are so dangerous, but the point here is that it's really a comprehensive solution but you're, right, it has to include the gun right industry. >> host: let's hear from niel. >> caller: hello, sir, i live in seattle washington, i do not own a gun.
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i have never fired a gun all of my life. i wouldn't even know how to fire a gun and thought you were honest and you turned out causes and i felt like you had agenda behind it, so i was very disappointed. i mean, the way you talked about the gun violence in chicago being local, hundreds of people being killed and also the fact that the guns, guess what, i don't see how you can ban guns from people who are legitimately scared. another thing is i think that part of the problem is that the laws have been very relaxed. i know i could tell you just very truthfully in seattle they are trying to decriminalize everything and all kinds of crazy people running around
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beating up bus drivers and not being dealt in criminal justice system. >> host: all right, we will have to leave it, niel, in seattle. 30 seconds to answer a pretty profound question. >> i think i was honest about what is happening in chicago, there's a lot of gun violence there, that violence is being prerp pated by a small in your opinion of people and programs in chicago that have been working, now, is there still a problem, yes, are a lot of the guns coming from indiana, yes, do we need a federal solution to this problem, we do. >> host: igor volsky, guns down, how to defeat the nra and safer future with fewer guns. >> thank you for having me. >> host: coverage from the los angeles times festival of books, in about an hour our next calling opportunity with author,
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most recent, not that bad, it's about sexual assault, that's coming up in about an hour, right now panel on u.s. political history, one to have authors featured is miriam, written about the brown family here in california, susan page with new book on barbara bush also participating, live coverage on book tv on c-span2. .. .. >> before we get started i need to type that you should
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silence your cell phones please personal recording is not allowed. >> after the session each of the authors all will be it's a mass in your festival program. we have three terrific books. to the far left. john ward book. the fight that broke the democratic party. my former los angeles times colleague.
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as someone who is about to turn 75 i lived in a great number of the events described in this book. as i was saying to miriam just before the program started the first event i remember is as a high school freshman in 1958 a great year for the democratic party in california was a big democratic sweep. the voters of california were wise enough to reject an anti- union right to work law. with that as a start. tell me a little bit about what makes the brown family distinct. >> there are so many pieces of that but i will try to focus on a few of them.
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the democrats who have not held power in california for a very long time to think of california as a very blue state now. gavin newsom was only the fifth emma craddick governor in modern times. pat ground their symbol of the party that your was a broom. it is a major change in the politics of their state. for me i'm a new yorker five birth. don't hold that against me. i made the wise decision to move down here. it was very clear to me how fascinating california as.
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and the things that make it very special. there are some new ways in which the family of the browns really speaks to that. in the book is a story that focuses there. on honesty of governor. it really goes back for generations to start with the great-grandfather august shackman. and speaking of places that people don't know much about. but when i met jerry brown he was in the process of building what would become his retirement home on the land in colusa. in the 1850s. the ark of the family in so many ways parallels the history of the state of california and they are
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perhaps they are so passionate about california and the exceptionalism and has had such a profound impact on the state. and through them it was a way for me to really sort of talk about the things that made it california exceptional as a land of immigrants. there's so much that happened in the early history. as a hotbed of innovation. they were immigrants and the women in the browned family
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and something i read a lot about. they don't get a lot of attention when you think about the browns as a dynasty. but from the generation of jerry's grandmother who was a very smart interesting self educated woman it was a very precocious you get it. but have a life as a wife and a mother. and the first lady. to kathleen brown. she was state treasurer in a very bitter race. the family really speaks to a lot of those core issues about the state. >> i think one of the most enduring legacies. they have just finished for terms of governor. as the environment. i think one of the things that is striking about when you're seen. that the rebels in california is that pat brown used to go
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and take the kids to yosemite and other places and he felt his known as this garrulous guy who would stop every truckstop to talk to people but also he have an incredible appreciation of the state's natural beauty and water and so on. talk a little bit about jerry and the environment in the family. when he climbed the half dome he mentioned at some point. i said my father did it so i figured i should too. the browns pat and bernice who were not wealthy when they have four children they took their kids every summer and that made a very big impression.
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he worked for many years in the environmental movement. the environment he may know that. he is very much still a jesuit. and that's an important piece to him. he talks about the environment and the absolutes of it. being in some ways in the past. both of his terms was very very --dash mike early in car admissions. in the standard for the country in that. >> as an advocate for climate change in the last eight years where he really used the pulpit of california to affect change on not just the state
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but the international level. when i talk to people from new york and i tried to explain california. the environment and the outdoorsman of the natural world our something that are so important for people here it's not that the weather is a joke it shapes how people live in their lifestyle and also the economy. so the whole family's commitment to the outdoor world and the fondness for were was a way to talk about a lot of those issues. when jerry brown was governor of the first time he could not see the mounts here because of the smog. it's also been a bipartisan issue in california in a lot of ways. as president the anti- environmental actions as governor was a very strong environmentalists. and because he claimed of the last demagogue. there's a lot of ways in which
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the environment has been over times something that has allowed them where they got the republican votes for one of the cap and trade provisions. >> and talked about some very good things that he thought he have done. a strong alliance between them. in the energy commission. he interviews --dash mike intervenes. just one other quick question about jerry and his father. climbed the half dome. and definitely in that direction. and that has impact on his first governorship.
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a lot of it philosophically. there are aligned. but their personality could it be couldn't be more different. they shook hands with their father. it could not be more different in those ways. some of his campaigning pat was incredibly old cell politician. every time he ran for election starting when jerry was five years old he would have a photograph with his kids. when he filed his papers. they were paraded out. jerry talked about that later. never wanting to put his family through that he would not march in parades. when he was governor the first time refused to send autographed photos to schoolchildren he thought it
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there are all of his papers from high school on and their hundreds of boxes of his archives that i went through many of them. there are the great legends. he have the exchange with the school child when jerry was governor who had gone 49 governors to send him back. and really wanted that. somehow appealed to pat brown. i told my son that he should do this. but children frequently don't listen to their father. >> one of the things that we've learned in recent years in politics and other spheres of life or that women are underrated. you've written about an underrated woman.
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tell me about some of the things that barbara bush did that they only have a different awareness appeared. >> this is the first time i've been at the la times book festival. what a fantastic event it is. i want to thank the la times for sponsoring it. >> one of my visions was no one would show up. and will be we'd be sitting there talking to one another. i had covered the last ten presidential elections really my only job skill in seven of those ten elections. they played a personal role. i think you'd be hard put to find someone in american history who played an intimate role in so many presidential elections and in american politics and yet in covering those elections people almost
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involved in variably liked barbara bush. they saw her as kind of a motherly figure who could be funny. that's not untrue but that is really incomplete when you think about barbara bush because she was also sharp and caustic and she could you be kind of mean there was a time when i was covering her husband that she was mean to me she was important advisor to both her husband and her son sometimes when they wanted heard her advice and sometimes when they did it. and she lived a life of real consequence. i think you're quite right. she was underestimated throughout her life. she was born in 1925 that's five years after women got the right to vote.
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she was underestimated by her teachers. and looking at her high school transcripts. her iq was 120 which is pretty smart. and yet she was a thoroughly undistinguished student. the only a she ever got high school was in physical education. she was underestimated at her husband who initially did not seek her advice on running for president on moving from the east coast to odessa texas. when he came and said to her i decided were to move to texas she said i've always wanted to live in odessa texas which is something no one has ever set ever. as their marriage went on. as opportunities and expectations were on. her role changed from being the helpmate to be in a real
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partner for george hw bush. and you ask about some of the things she took a groundbreaking role in addressing the hiv crisis that was exploding in america and have been largely ignored by the reagan administration. and the actions that they took towards that. and her own actions in for instance visiting grandma's house during the first hundred days and picking up a 6-month-old boy who had aids. it was a message across the country that was incredibly powerful. what a powerful statement that was. he did make a speech did not scold anybody. just brought new photographers with her. and demonstrated that you can hug them and have them and pick them up worked beside them and not be afraid of that. >> there is another thing that she was conjure versatile
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about. in the negotiations. to end of the cold war. you may remember that nancy reagan had a very frosty relationship. publicly basically feuding with each other. i do not blame nancy reagan for this. she lectured everyone on the system. the fact that she and nancy reagan had disappeared was not helpful for the negotiations that were going on between their husbands. barbara bush told me she looked at that. and thought that was stupid. not because she didn't understand because it was so unhelpful to her husband into the nation. they wrote a letter to her brother scott the day before she was going to him for the first time.
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and she said i'm going to love her no matter what she does. and she cultivated her for years. i remember once i was covering one of the summits that they have and she walked out of the summit holding hands. women from right new york. and she walked out holding hands and looking like she was totally delighted to be holding hands in i was trying to research whether it mattered. the prime minister of canada and the foreign leader who was closest to george hw bush. and he said it made a huge difference to head him. the voice he trusted most to
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have her feel that the american president and first lady were treating them with respect. a conversation between helmet pole that was in the chancellor of chancellor of west germany. and they talked about barbara bush. he was a woman of consequence and importance. not only by her family and their teachers in some cases by her husband and i think some cases by herself. >> you are just mentioning the end of the cold war.
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there's another one and like you to talk about. the acute political sophistication. in 1991. they made a visit to moscow. it was in the process of disintegrating. and boris yeltsin was basically trying to create all of the things he could. it have not yet happened. so they go to this reception and all of the other leaders have arrived and gone into the grand hall where the sinner has been held but not yeltsin. this raises some suspicions on the part of the other leaders on whether he was trying to do something tricky as he often did. so he finally arrives. and says let me escort you
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into the hall. walking into the hall on the arm of boris yeltsin would send a message to everyone in that dinner and people are watching around the world that yeltsin was in and gorbachev was out. so she turns and says that gorbachev was going together. and she maneuvers it so that three of them work in together. the united states is not taking sides. in the friction in the dispute between yeltsin and gorbachev. this is a split second decision. there was no one to advise her.
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it was her own sense of the moment and her sophistication that enabled her to handle that in the way that she did. >> one of the other things i thought was very striking about the book and you bring it out there was an incident perhaps well-known incident at the time they have invited alice walker a renowned author and writer maybe the most famous color purple. you would really like them to come. i want to have you talk about that a little bit.
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i remember very distinctly. i remember one saturday it was a sunday morning i met with my mother-in-law at her house in san diego. this is the day after barbara bush had spoken at wild sleep. i just want to read a passage and then had susan talk about the incident. >> in the context is everything is changing for women in this time. and some women felt like she was not the best role model. that her own ideas and she stood up for her own ideas and she said something i just want to read. at the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, we need one more verdict were not closing one more deal you will regret type not spent with a husband, a child a family or
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friend. i need to pay attention to this woman. over the objections of the chief of staff. they would not be friendly to her. some of the graduating seniors. they started a petition drive. sane and she was not an appropriate role model. her fame was derivative from the man's she had married. that was not the message that they have earned in four years. >> this became an international controversy. it was a time they were trying to sort out how do you balance job and family. what are the appropriate roles
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for women. it became a lightning rod for a debate that was going on in our culture. and i was hugely will need to her. in her -- and public in her diaries which to my astonishment allowed me to read. she was hurt. it was part of her complicated feelings towards the women's movement because in my view she acted like a feminist. she have her own views. she felt strongly about things. she never talked the talk of feminism. in one of the five interviews that i did with her. i tried to get her to say she was a feminist. and we we went around and around.
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i think that is because she thought the women's movement have dismissed and diminish women like her who had chosen to stay home she dropped out of smith after her freshman year. never held what people would call a traditional job. some of these we've now sorted out as a culture. at the time she was mocked. the depiction of barbara bush during the 1988 campaign. i had forgotten that they pretrade her. it could not had been a less physically appealing version of barbara bush. the one sketch where a pretty
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accurate depicted. and then the interview returns to barbara bush and it says and i hear you are making a rug. >> in fact she was. i said to her. by the way you are sitting on the rug. she gave the speech. she was respectful for people with other opinions. but defended the choices that she have made in her home. they told me that they were to hold this up when she came back even if it was a catastrophe.
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it was a triumph. and she came back to the white house. and barbara bush who cried less than the other pushes have tears in her eyes. so in 1980. when jerry brown was in the middle of the second term as governor they were contemplating running for president against ronald reagan. in the democratic party in it was something that was happening that was very characteristic of the democratic party. one would be hard-pressed to find an event where in a comment was not since teddy roosevelt. running against ted kennedy.
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our carter presidency was having a lot of problems at the time. he should be running for president for a long time. he would be hard-pressed to find two people that were more different. another one who didn't even have indoor plumbing until he was nine years old. they did not like each other very much. >> think you for the introduction. thank you for all of you who are coming here. and to the la times for holding this. it is a great presentation. i do see that miriam won the sticky note contest. both johns and susan books are available and audible. that was the way that i consumed their books because i have to do a lot of driving in southern california.

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