April 23 - How America's Elite Dominate Our Politics; Putin's Takeover of Russia's Facebook; "Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers

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Full Program



Part 1

We begin with the recent study “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” that finds the U.S. is dominated by a rich and powerful elite and that the majority of Americans have little influence over the policies our government adopts. The co-author of the study Martin Gilens, a Professor of Politics and Princeton University whose research examines representation, public opinion, and mass media, especially in relation to inequality and public policy, joins us to discuss how, if the economic elite support a policy change it has a 50/50 chance of being enacted, while if they oppose a policy, its chances of becoming law are less than 20%.


martin gillens


Part 2

Then we examine the takeover of Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, VKontacte, by cronies of Vladimir Putin, forcing its founder Pavel Durov to flee Russia and declare that “unfortunately, the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment”. Steven Wilson, a doctoral student in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin who teaches Russian politics and foreign policy, especially the effects of the Internet and new communications technology on Russian politics, joins us to discuss Putin’s move to first have friendly oligarchs buy up the Internet then for the State to totally control its content as the Chinese do.



Part 3

Then finally Jesse Katz joins us in the studio. He is a former Pultizer Prize-winning journalist with the Los Angeles Times who is now a contributing writer at Los Angeles magazine where his latest article is featured, “Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig’s Untold Journey to the Dodgers”. We discuss the dramatic odyssey of the LA Dodgers’ star baseball player’s fifth and final escape from Cuba, into the hands of Mexican smugglers with ties to the murderous Zetas cartel, to Puig’s $42 million dollar contract with the Dodgers, a financial home run that many colorful characters involved in this shady saga are now laying claim to.