In Winner-Take-All Politics, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson explained how political elites have enabled and propelled plutocracy.

Now in American Amnesia, they trace the economic and political history of the United States over the last century and show how a viable mixed economy has long been the dominant engine of America’s prosperity.

  Stop the presses: we’re approaching another funding standoff in Washington. 

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut representative Joe Courtney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that holding the government hostage is the wrong way to make political points.

  Barton Swaim, a native South Carolinian, attended the University of South Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. From 2007 to 2010 he worked for Mark Sanford, South Carolina’s governor, as a communications officer and speechwriter.

His book, The Speechwriter , is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words.

  The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together?

In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link - corruption - in her book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

  Forty years ago, a majority of Americans were highly engaged in issues of war and peace. Whether to go to war or keep out of conflicts was a vital question at the heart of the country’s vibrant, if fractious, democracy. But American political consciousness has drifted. In the last decade, America has gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while pursuing a new kind of warfare in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan. National security issues have increasingly faded from the political agenda, due in part to the growth of government secrecy.

Journalist and lawyer Scott Horton shows how secrecy has changed the way America functions in his book, Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare.

  Former politician, actor, author, naval veteran, and former professional wrestler who served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003 - Jesse Ventura - joins us to talk about his new online shows and weighs in on a plethora of issues concerning our nation and world.

    In their runaway bestseller Game Change, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann captured the drama of Barack Obama’s improbable victory over the Clintons, John McCain, and Sarah Palin.

With the same reporting, unparalleled access, and narrative skill, Double Down picks up the story in the Oval Office, where the president is beset by crises both inherited and unforeseen—facing defiance from his political foes, disenchantment from the voters, disdain from the nation’s powerful money machers, and dysfunction within the West Wing.

  Twenty-five years ago when Mathew Burrows went to work for the CIA as an intelligence analyst, the world seemed frozen. Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union; suddenly, unpredictability became a universal theme and foresight was critical. For the past decade, Burrows has overseen the creation of the Global Trends report—the key futurist guide for the White House, Departments of State and Defense, and Homeland Security.

In The Future, Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action, Burrows has expanded the most recent Global Trends report into a full-length narrative, forecasting the tectonic shifts that will drive us to 2030.

    With insights gained from original scholarship and an unusual breadth of experience in finance and government, Bill White distils practical lessons from the nation's five previous spikes in debt. America's Fiscal Constitution is an entertaining and objective guide for people trying to make sense of the current and most dangerous debt crisis.

Philip Shenon is an investigative reporter formally with the New York Times, and author of the best selling book on the 9/11 Commission. His new book is an exposé on the warren commission in the aftermath following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago.

Ultimately it’s a work that begs the answer- what have we learned from the years between Dallas on November 22, 1963 and September 11, 2001 about communications between our most powerful government agencies.

His new book is A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.

There’s no denying the heat of resentment that prodded America’s colonial rebellion to its ultimate break with British rule and the formation of a new system of governance, controlled and administered by an elected body of its citizens.  In retrospect, however, and given the passage of several centuries for calmer contemplation, this should not condemn every aspect of the British system to infamy and avoidance.  In fact, a thorough and unbiased study of our current system of governance, shows it lacking a mode of service not completely available within any of the three traditional branches of government into which ours is divided.  Closer scrutiny reveals a glaring need for its addition.  A Management Branch could well re-revolutionize the current United States triumvirate system of three governmental branches, all of which are held hostage to the insidious influence of the continuous cycle of elective politics.

Voting Booth Next Step for Pittsfield City Charter

Aug 23, 2013

When Pittsfield residents head to the voting booths in November, there will be an item on the ballot voters haven’t seen in the city in more than 80 years.

    Journalist, Joshua Kurlantzick, joins us to talk about his book, Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government.

      Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Nick Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.

His book is Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

    As President Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, set out to repair America's image around the world—and her own. For the four years she served, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage. She tells the story in The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power.

What do you make of the sequester?

Government Might Be Given More Leeway in Clemens Trial

May 1, 2012

The judge in the Roger Clemens perjury trial may be on the verge of letting the government show the former pitcher's largely baseball-ignorant jury just how widespread steroids and human growth hormone were in the sport.

The move is one that Clemens' lawyers would like to avoid, but may have brought on themselves.

Clemens is on trial for allegedly lying in a 2008 congressional deposition and hearing when he said he never used steroids or HGH.

States Scaling Back Worker Pensions to Save Money

May 1, 2012

State governments have long lured workers with the promise of lucrative pensions that provide nearly the pay in retirement that employees earned on the job. But after years of budget crunches, nearly every state has revamped public retirement benefits in an effort to shrink the long-term obligations that are billions of dollars short of what is needed to cover benefits.

The moves have triggered a legal and political battle over whether states are reneging on their promises to millions of public-sector workers.

The current framework for Pittsfield’s city government dates back to the 1930’s. 1st term Mayor Dan Bianchi is asking the city council to approve measures to appoint an independent, non-partisan review commission to update and modernize the charter.

Bianchi said that he would like the commission to take a look at the structure of city government.

The mayor stressed that he wants to panel to include active members of the community and wants to take input from the public and the president of the city council before any selections are made.