Radioactivity Thursday: Progressive groups challenge Biden on foreign policy; Nomadland, an underground American lifestyle

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April 1, 2021

Good Morning, welcome to Radioactivity.  I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up we’ll revisit an underground American lifestyle – low income workers who travel the country in their trucks and campers trying to stave off economic destitution. Later we’ll talk with a progressive leader this week who heads a coalition calling for President Biden to tamp down his rhetoric toward Russia.

In the highly acclaimed new film Nomadland, several famous actors play fictional roles among several of the real people that author Jessica Bruder depicted in her 2017 book NOMADLAND.  

Bruder wrote about an underground lifestyle– van and camper dwelling Americans making the best of economic devastation, mostly older people who, in the wake of the Great Recession, experiencing the dwindling of steady jobs, paltry Social Security payments, and the ballooning of housing costs, found themselves unable to get by. They took to the road, following seasonal gigs around the country, and became, for employers like Amazon – a cheap, disposable workforce. 

This is how Fern, played by Frances McDormand is living. She plays a widow in her early sixties, who has lost her job and her network of friends and neighbors in the small town of Empire, Nevada, to a 2011 plant closure, and now she travels the countryside living in a customized Ford Econoline, searching for work.

The film Nomadland is based on the book by the same name. I interviewed Jessica Bruder in 2017.

Watch the Nomadland trailer here:

Earlier this week a national coalition of progressive groups called on President Biden to tone down his rhetoric when it comes to Russian President Putin.  

In mid March the relations between the two largest nuclear weapons powers deteriorated. Biden called Putin a killer. Russia responded by recalling its ambassador from Washington for consultations.  

In response this week a coalition of 27 progressive groups called for both sides to tone down the rhetoric and engage in constructive bilateral talks. Yesterday I spoke with the leader of one such group- Norman Solomon of Roots Action. He is a co-founder of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and in 2012 he ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in California.

Read the full text of the joint statement here:

Listen to the full show here: