Is the Electoral College Obsolete?

Despite its prevalent role in the presidential election, the Electoral College system remains confusing and contentious. Robert Alexander, Chair of the Department of History, Politics, and Justice at Ohio Northern University and author of Presidential Electors and the Electoral College, and journalist Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, consider the relevance of the Electoral College today. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


Turkey’s Future: Democracy or Autocracy?

Cosponsored by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies

Turkey’s recent failed military coup and President Erdogan’s subsequent crackdown have threatened the country’s democracy. Asli Bâli, director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA, Max Hoffman, associate director for the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress, and Aaron Stein, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, discuss the political and global fallout from July’s tumultuous events. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


The Politics of Race in the 2016 Election

Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Ian Haney López, professor of law at UC Berkeley and author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, discuss the disenfranchisement of potential voters in November’s racially charged election. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


The New Movement to End Gun Violence

With Americans demanding increased action in the wake of multiple mass shootings, we explore a growing movement that challenges the gun lobby’s tight grip on Congress. Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, joins Saul Cornell, Second Amendment specialist and professor of American history at Fordham University, and Tom Diaz, author of The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


Predicting the Unpredictable: The 2016 Elections

As we approach the home stretch of the 2016 elections, two experts join us to assess the likely outcome of November’s vote: UCLA political science professor Lynn Vavreck—an expert on campaigns, elections, and political advertising—and American University political historian Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted every presidential winner since 1984. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, the Hammer Museum offers a variety of election-themed talks and screenings. Learn more about our Election Fever programming.


Justice in the Balance

Amid gridlock over a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, we examine recent decisions from an evenly divided court with Linda Greenhouse, lecturer at Yale Law School, contributing columnist for the New York Times, and coauthor of the recently published The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


Police and People with Mental Illness: Avoiding Tragedy, Achieving Solutions

Most American police officers are not trained as social workers, so when they encounter perpetrators and victims with mental illness, the consequences can be tragic.

We examine mental health, crime, and law enforcement with a panel of experts: Linda Boyd,
creator of the collaborative SMART team, which pairs law enforcement officers with mental health clinicians; Mollie Lowery, supportive housing pioneer and founder of the Lamp Community; and Detective Paul Scire, officer in charge, Mental Evaluation Unit, Case Assessment Management Program of the Los Angeles Police Department. Moderated by Jorja Leap, executive director of the UCLA Health and Social Justice Partnership.

LOS ANGELES POVERTY DEPARTMENT: 30 YEARS OF ART AND URBAN ADVOCACY

Founded in 1985 on Los Angeles’s Skid Row by the performance artist, director, and activist John Malpede, Los Angeles Poverty Department is made up principally of homeless or formerly homeless people and has been an uncompromising force in performance and activism for almost 30 years. LAPD makes artistic work to change the narrative about people living in poverty, aiming to create a community of compassion and inspire the next generation of artists.

Believing change is about exchange, LAPD blurs categories and confounds expectations, bringing together arts organizations, social services, activists, and homeless people to speak out on issues such as housing, mental illness, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration.


Populism Past and Present

The 2016 presidential election has been marked by populist surges on the right and on the left. We look at past populist movements with Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin, editor of Dissent magazine and author of The Populist Persuasion: An American History, and Michael Lind, the cofounder of the New America Foundation and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, the Hammer Museum offers a variety of election-themed talks and screenings.


The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

With the cop on the beat armed with military-grade hardware and the streets of America often resembling war zones, we look into what is driving the militarization of our police. Elizabeth Beavers, legislative associate for militarism and civil liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, works to roll back the Pentagon’s massive giveaway of surplus military hardware to police forces. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who now openly regrets the use of military-style policing during the infamous WTO riots of 1999, is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.

HAMMER FORUM

This ongoing series of timely, thought-provoking events addresses current social and political issues.

Hammer Forum is moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, author, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and host of the radio programs Background Briefing, Sundays at 11AM, and The Daily Briefing, Monday through Thursday at 5PM, on KPFK 90.7 FM.


Women in Combat: Changes, Challenges, and True Experiences

Two hundred years of US military tradition changed when women fought in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Retired Marine Captain Anu Bhagwati, the former head of S.W.A.N. (Service Women’s Action Network), speaks about the new reality for the United States armed forces. She is joined by combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient Sergeant First Class Jennifer Hunt, who sued the army to overturn the ban on women in combat, and Sergeant Kayla Williams, who served as an Arab linguist with the 101st Airborne in Iraq. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


The Watts Rebellion: 50 Years Later

On the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Watts rebellion, we discuss the past and present of race relations in the United States with historians Gerald Horne, University of Houston, author of Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s; Brenda E. Stevenson, UCLA, author of The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots; and Johnie H. Scott, CSU Northridge, co-founder of the Watts Writers Workshop, the Sons of Watts, the Greater Watts Justice Center, the Studio Watts Workshop, and the Mafundi Institute.

Join the Hammer Museum for our monthly series of free public events.

Hammer Forum host, Ian Masters, is a BBC trained journalist and host of Background Briefing heard locally on KPFK 90.7 FM.


Terror in the Name of Islam

Violent extremism and counterterrorism expert Richard Barrett and former jihadi and author of Undercover Jihadi Mubin Shaikh provide insight into why young Muslims in the diaspora join jihadist movements. Barrett is a board member of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism and the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation. He led the UN Monitoring Team concerning al Qaida and the Taliban from 2004 to 2013. At age 19 Shaikh, a Canadian, became a supporter of the militant jihadi culture. The 9/11 attacks prompted him to travel to Syria and study Arabic and Islamic Studies but Shaikh eventually relinquished his violent interpretations of Islam and volunteered with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to fight terrorism.


What Happened Last Night? Notes from the Presidential Primary and Other Political Races

The day after Super Tuesday, we’ll dig into the numbers, discern trends, and survey the political landscape ahead from Democratic, Republican, and independent POVs with three political analysts: Ed Kilgore, managing editor of the Democratic Strategist; Republican strategist John Thomas; and Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


Greening the Gas Tank

Three experts who have proven their dedication to reducing our carbon footprint tackle the political, technological, economic, and manufacturing issues involved in getting more non-polluting vehicles on the road. Hear from Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court, environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., and leading automotive journalist Paul Eisenstein. Moderated byIan Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


The Migrant Tide from Syria

With millions fleeing Syria for safe haven, how should and how can Europe, and for that matter the United States, address the crisis? Jana Mason, Senior Advisor, External Relations & Government Affairs at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dr. Orfan Chalabi, CA chapter president of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and Dr. Max Sawaf, Syrian American medical doctor active in refugee field hospitals and raising funds for food supplies, speak with Ian Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.


Project Fatherhood

In 2010 the activist Big Mike Cummings invited Jorja Leap to bring her internationally recognized expertise in postwar settings such as Bosnia and Kosovo to Los Angeles’s Project Fatherhood. Based in Watts, the organization supports men determined to build their role as fathers. Leap’s new book follows the men’s struggle with the pain of their own losses, chronic poverty, and unemployment as well as their drive to do better. Dr. Belinda Tucker, UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, moderates a conversation with Leap and Cummings.


Barney Frank: The Elections One Year Out

With the November 2016 presidential election one year away, Barney Frank, who served Massachusetts in the United States Congress for more than three decades, joins Ian Masters in conversation. Frank cosponsored the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, passed in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street crash, and served on the House’s Financial Services Committee. The first openly gay US congressman, he is as knowledgeable about the politics and issues facing candidates as he is outspoken. Ian Masters is a journalist, author, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and host of the radio programs Background Briefing, Sundays at 11 a.m., and The Daily Briefing, Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m., on KPFK 90.7 FM.


9/11, The Saudi Connection with Senator Bob Graham and Robert Baer

The United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia is complex and opaque. Suspicions persist that powerful Saudis funded Al Qaeda and some of the hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks. Senator Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, and co-chair of the Joint Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, visits to shed light on the 28 pages of the 9/11 report that remain classified. Joining him is former CIA veteran Robert Baer, who was portrayed by George Clooney in the movie Syriana.

Moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, author, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and host of the radio programs Background Briefing, Sundays at 11 a.m., and The Daily Briefing, Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m., on KPFK 90.7 FM.


Recent Rulings by the Supreme Court

The legal scholars Tobias Barrington Wolff and Elizabeth Wydra examine important rulings on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. Wolff is a professor at the University of Penn­sylvania Law School and an expert on constitutional law, LGBT rights, and civil litigation. Wydra is chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center and has frequently participated in Supreme Court litigation.

HAMMER FORUM

This ongoing series of timely, thought-provoking events addresses current social and political issues. Hammer Forum is moderated by Ian Masters, journalist, author, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and host of the radio programs Background Briefing, Sundays at 11AM, and The Daily Briefing, Monday through Thursday at 5PM, on KPFK 90.7 FM.

BIOGRAPHIES

Tobias Barrington Wolff writes and teaches in the fields of civil procedure and complex litigation, the conflict of laws, federal jurisdiction, and constitutional law. He is co-author (with Linda Silberman and Allan Stein) of Civil Procedure: Theory and Practice (Aspen, 3d ed 2009) and his recently published articles include Civil Rights Reform and the Body (Harvard Law & Policy Review), Redeeming the Missed Opportunities of Shady Grove (with Stephen Burbank) (University of Pennsylvania Law Review), and Federal Jurisdiction and Due Process in the Era of the Nationwide Class Action (University of Pennsylvania Law Review). Wolff has served as counsel or counsel for amici curiae in many civil rights cases seeking equal treatment under law for LGBT people. He won the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course in 2009.

Elizabeth B. Wydra is Constitutional Accountability Center’s chief counsel, representing the Center as well as clients including preeminent constitutional scholars and historians, state and local government organizations, and groups such as the League of Women Voters and the AARP. She frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and her legal brief writing has been recognized as “exemplary” by the Green Bag Almanac & Reader. Elizabeth has also argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals on a range of issues, including immigration law, habeas corpus, and sovereign immunity. She joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in San Francisco, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice. Previously, Elizabeth was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center appellate litigation clinic, a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and a lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a law firm in Washington. She has appeared as a legal expert for NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, Current TV, and NPR, among other outlets. Elizabeth has been quoted extensively in the print media and is a regular contributor to the ABA’s Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, Politico, CNN.com, Slate, and on numerous political and legal blogs, such as Huffington Post, SCOTUSblog, and ACSblog. She has also published in the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Syracuse Law Review, The Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law. Elizabeth is a graduate of Yale Law School.


Saving Afghanistan’s Art and Cultural Heritage

Archaeologist Laura Tedesco and Abbas Kamwand of the U.S. Embassy discuss efforts to save Afghanistan’s art and culture. Tedesco serves as the cultural heritage Program Manager for the U.S. State Department where she works with the Afghan National Museum on its preservation efforts.

Join the Hammer Museum for a wide variety of public events.