The Working Poor

(Note: This interview originally aired back in September.) Our guest is the writer Jeff Hobbs, whose latest book closely follows four Los Angeles high school boys as they apply to college. These four teens are seniors at two very different high schools in L.A. -- one in Compton, the other in Beverly Hills -- and by telling their individual, personal stories, Hobbs reveals what our nation's young people (across all socio-economic backgrounds) are now confronting at home, at school, among peers, and throughout society.

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Our guest on StudioTulsa is Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who will deliver the next TU Presidential Lecture on Wednesday, April 7th, at 7:30pm. It's a free, online-only lecture; to register for this talk, or to learn more about it, please visit this page on the TU website.) Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, known to many as simply Dr. Q, grew up extremely poor in a rural Mexican village before he -- while still a teenager -- climbed over an 18-foot fence in order to enter California.

In the first two decades of the 21st century, New York City has experienced a terrorist attack, a blackout, a hurricane, an historic recession, widespread social injustice, and, of course, the current pandemic. How has all of this affected the lives of New Yorkers? Our guest is the bestselling author Craig Taylor, whose new book draws on years of interviews with hundreds of NYC residents in order to render an indelible group portrait of the city. As per Publishers Weekly: "[This is] an engrossing, multihued 'oral portrait' of New York City as told by the people who live there....

(Note: This interview first aired back in October.) We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her latest book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty.

Despite the pandemic-triggered federal moratorium on residential evictions, evictions do still happen in certain cases here in the Tulsa area. Why? Our guest is Prof. Roni Amit, who's with the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic at the University of Tulsa College of Law. This clinic, per its website, "addresses access to justice for marginalized communities in Tulsa, with a particular focus on the intersection of legal needs within these communities.

Our guest is the author and doctor Michael Stein, who's also a professor of health law, policy, and management at Boston University. He tells us about his new book, which presents the many various moving, sobering, genuine, and often heartbreaking accounts of his patients about money...and about having (or not having) enough money to simply get by in the U.S. today. "Broke" gives us the words and thoughts of those now facing the reality of having to choose between getting medical treatments or paying their bills. As was noted of this book by Dr.

On this edition of our show, we listen back to an interview from 2018 about a book called "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century." This book is the basis for a forthcoming feature-film starring Frances McDormand. Our guest is the author of the book, Jessica Bruder.

We welcome Sarah Smarsh back to StudioTulsa for a discussion of her new book. It's a collection of essays that all focus on a certain country-music icon who also happens to be one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton. Smarsh talks with us about how Parton has, for decades now, both embodied and emboldened American women who live and work in poverty. Few other musical artists, the author argues, seem as truly **genuine** as Parton, and few can match her gift for telling powerful stories about life, love, men, family, hard times, and surviving.

Our guest is the writer Jeff Hobbs, whose new book closely follows four Los Angeles high school boys as they apply to college. These four teens are seniors at two very different high schools in L.A. -- one in Compton, the other in Beverly Hills -- and by telling their individual, personal stories, Hobbs reveals what our nation's young people (across all socio-economic backgrounds) are now confronting at home, at school, among peers, and throughout society.

Our guest is the author and foreign affairs expert, Sarah Chayes, who has worked as the special assistant on corruption to Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She's also advised David McKiernan and Stanley McChrystal (commanders of the International Security Assistant Force) and has been a reporter for NPR.

We welcome to our show Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He was appointed health director of Detroit, Michigan, at age 30, and he was formerly a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. El-Sayed's new book, which he tells us about, is "Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic." As was noted of this book by Bill McKibben with 350.org: "This is a very important book.

On this edition of ST, we're talking about State Question 802, the Medicaid expansion initiative that Oklahoma voters will cast ballots for or against on Tuesday of next week. This measure, per ballotpedia.org, would "expand Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. It would provide Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults between 18 and 65 with incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

When "America: What Went Wrong?" originally appeared in the early 1990s, the book got a lot of attention, and became a bestseller, because it documented, in a sound, thorough way, the causes behind the shrinking of the American middle class. Now, the authors of that groundbreaking book, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele -- "two of the most talented investigative journalists in U.S. history," per The San Jose Mercury News -- have put out an updated edition of their text. Mr. Steele is our guest on ST today.

The current pandemic has brought keen economic hardship, of course, to a vast number of individials and families within various levels of American society. Given that so many folks who rent a house or apartment in our community now require extra time to acquire their unemployment checks and/or federal benefits, the Tulsa City Council voted unanimously last night to ask Gov. Stitt for a statewide moratorium on evictions. In addition to this, Tulsa County has historically had one of the highest rates of eviction in the country.

Our guest is Devin Fergus, the Strickland Distinguished Professor of History, Black Studies, and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. He's written on politics, policy, and inequality in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Guardian, and so forth. He joins us to discuss his latest book, which is just out in paperback: "Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class." This book exposes the effects that fees have on wealth redistribution, from the poor and the middle class up to wealthy corporations.

Our guest is Michael Brose, the longtime Chief Empowerment Officer at Mental Health Association Oklahoma (or MHAOK). Brose joins us to discuss this important nonprofit's ongoing work to secure permanent housing for the homeless throughout our city and our state. Per the MHAOK website: "The Association's statewide work is dedicated to promoting mental health and the equity of access to mental health care through advocacy, education, research, service, and housing. Since 1955, we have worked toward this goal.

On this edition of ST, we get to know photographer Dan Farnum, a Tulsa Artist Fellow who also teaches at the University of Tulsa School of Art. Originally from Michigan, Farnum now has a debut photography book coming out. It's titled "Young Blood," and it profiles children, teens, and young adults growing up amid the economic strife of Michigan's auto towns. Note: There will be a free-to-the-public book-release gathering for this volume at Magic City Books on Friday night, the 25th, beginning at 6:30pm.

Our guest is the journalist Sarah Smarsh, whose book, "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth," is now out in paperback. It's a far-reaching account of her coming of age in smalltown Kansas that sharply explores matters of poverty, class, family, income inequality, Midwestern values, personal ambition, faith, womanhood, and other key social and economic concerns.

On this edition of Medical Monday, as the Oklahoma Legislature has just recently completed its annual session, we offer a detailed review of whether and how our state's lawmakers have addressed various medical and healh-related issues. Our guest is Carly Putnam with the non-profit, non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute, where she serves as Policy Director and Health Care Policy Analyst.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing court fees, court fines, collection costs, and other court-related expenses, which, all told, make up somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the budget for the State of Oklahoma's court system. Therefore, and quite regrettably, our state's jails are by now brimming with people whose only "crime" is being unable to pay such costs.

In the immediate wake of Governor Stitt's State of the State Address, and as the 2019 legislative session gets underway in OKC, we welcome back to StudioTulsa our longtime colleague David Blatt, who's been the Executive Director of the non-partisan, non-profit OK Policy think tank since 2010. Blatt chats with us in detail about what lawmakers at the State Capitol might attempt or accomplish regarding education, criminal justice, health, economic opportunity, taxes, and the state's budget.

Photo by Valery Lyman

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that first aired in May with the photographer and filmmaker Valery Lyman, who has a striking show on view at Living Arts in downtown Tulsa called "Breaking Ground." This show -- which actually closes today, the 12th -- aims to travel, per the Living Arts website, "through the American psyche and landscape....

(Note: This interview originally aired in January.) For a number of different -- and often unsettling -- reasons, issues of race and racism have by now come into focus in American life in a pervasive manner that we, as a society, have not seen in decades. Or maybe, actually, we as a nation have never been as racially aware, or as racially alert, as we are at this moment. Thus we're discussing an important textbook in this regard; "Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice" first appeared back in the 1990s, and it has just been published in a new (fourth) edition.

Photo by Valery Lyman

Our guest is the photographer and filmmaker Valery Lyman, who now has a striking show on view at Living Arts in downtown Tulsa called "Breaking Ground." This show, per the Living Arts website, aims to travel "through the American psyche and landscape. Documentary artist Valery Lyman has been photographing and recording audio in the Bakken region of North Dakota over the course of five years, documenting the rise of the oil industry there and the substantial migration that went along with it.

Our guest on ST is Ren Barger, the founder and CEO of Tulsa Hub, which is, as noted at its website, "a syndicate of volunteers on a mission to change lives through cycling. It is the only nonprofit in Oklahoma providing certified bicycling-for-transportation education, refurbished bicycles, safety gear, and follow-up support to people in poverty, people with physical and mental disabilities, and people who are otherwise disenfranchised in our community.

This coming Friday and Saturday, the 30th and 31st, the Helmerich Center for American Research here in Tulsa will present "Dislocations and Migrations," an interdisciplinary symposium of academics, activists, archivists, curators, librarians, and other experts -- all of them exploring ideas of displacement, departure, arrival, relocation, removal, escape, and so on. Our guest on ST, the journalist Jessica Bruder, will be the keynote speaker at this upcoming gathering.

On this installment of ST, our guest is Cameron Walker, the Executive Director of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity (or THFH). This crucial nonprofit recently received a $6.7 million grant from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, and therefore, as we learn on today's program, THFH is transitioning from building 25 to 30 houses per year (which is what it does in the Tulsa area currently) to building 150 houses per year (which is what it aims to be doing four years from now).

On this installment of StudioTulsa, with the Oklahoma State Legislature set to begin its new session on Monday of next week, we check in with David Blatt, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. This non-profit public-policy think tank recently posted a detailed list of legislative priorities for the new year at its website. Blatt reviews several of these goals with us today: from Budget and Taxes to Economic Opportunity and Security, and from Education and Criminal Justice to Health Care.

For every six Oklahomans, one is hungry, according to the latest data. And as the U.S. Congress looks to potentially address a $1.5 trillion projected deficit, many domestic programs face an uncertain if not bleak future -- including food-assistance and hunger-relief programs -- both here in the Sooner State and nationwide. On this edition of ST, we are discussing these matters with Effie Craven, who is the State Advocacy and Public Policy Director for both of the Oklahoma Food Banks (i.e., the Regional Food Bank in OKC as well as the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa).

On this edition of our show, an interesting chat with Ali Noorani, who's the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum (an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration) as well as the author of "There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration." Mr. Noorani will be giving a free-to-the-public, immigration-focused address tonight (the 28th) on the TU campus; his address, titled "Beyond the Headlines," begins at 7pm in Tyrrell Hall.

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