Wednesday, July 15, 2009
PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk's new book is The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. It is being promoted as a "kinder, gentler" approach to helping animals in trouble. We ask her about the history of PETA, the controversy that continues to surround the organization, and what this new approach involves.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. So, maybe you don't want to picket a fast food restaurant or jog nude in Pamplona to protest the running of the bulls. Is there anything simple you can do to strike a blow against animal cruelty? Ingrid Newkirk, founder of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says yes. She's just written "The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights," which has hundreds of suggestions for armchair animal activists. But PETA itself has become a famous animal rights organization more for its outside activities. With a series of controversial ads, TV commercials and demonstrations, it has both raised awareness of animal cruelty issues, and turned-off potential supporters, depending on who you talk to. There is no dispute, however, that PETA is a powerful voice against animal cruelty. It has been successful in exposing animal abuse in laboratories, stopping car-crash tests on animals and has famously changed much of the fashion industry's use of fur. Ingrid Newkirk is both founder and president of PETA. And it's a pleasure to welcome you to These Days, Ingrid.
CAVANAUGH: I'd like our listeners to know that they're invited to join the conversation. Do you have a question about how to help save animals? Have you been involved in the animal rights movement? Give us a call with your questions or your comments for Ingrid Newkirk. The number is 1-888-895-5727, that's 1-888-895-KPBS. So, Ingrid, let me start out. There are probably a few people in the audience who are not terribly familiar with PETA, so could you give us, briefly, a description of your organization and what it believes in and what it does?
NEWKIRK: Yes. The organization, like the book, is geared for people who believe themselves to be kind to animals but who haven't, perhaps, had their eyes opened to all the myriad of ways in which animals are really terribly hurt and killed needlessly. And I'm encompassing in that the use of animals in laboratories and the clothing industry. Peter Singer, the philosopher, said something shocking. He said, most people actually meet animals three times a day when they eat them. And that jarred me when I first heard that. The use of animals in entertainment and dissection, even pest control, we don't realize that sometimes we're paying other people to do things to animals that we never, ever would do ourselves. So the organization, like the book, is geared to showing people what actually goes on because the advertisers won't tell you. It's not in their best interest. And then not having you be miserable and depressed but to show you the second part, which is what you can do to make a difference.
CAVANAUGH: And there is – PETA does have a slogan about what it wants – how it does not want to use animals, we'll put it that way.
NEWKIRK: We do have a slogan which is, animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use in entertainment, or for any other purpose. And I must say that that really is what woke me up to animal rights, is I'd always thought we should be kind but I thought that within the context of using animals and I hadn't thought for long, for many, many years, that maybe they aren't there as hamburgers on the hoof, or a purse that just hasn't died yet, maybe they have other cultures. And the more I've learned, the more I see that they have emotions. Of course, all animals have emotions. They're good mothers like this Peg and her baby on the cover. And they want joy in their lives, they don't want to be hurt. And we have this enormous power as consumers and just ordinarily in our lives to make sure that they don't suffer needlessly.
CAVANAUGH: Now your book, the publisher of your book, is describing it—and the name of the book is "The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights"—as a kinder, gentler approach to helping animals. I'm wondering why you think PETA needed a more gentle approach?
NEWKIRK: I'm not sure that we – I don't know that we've departed from anything that we have been doing or continue to do. It's simply that when you talk to people about PETA, they often say, oh, that group that throws paint on fur. And, actually, we've never done that. We have people give us thousands of fur coats over the years because they're too ashamed to wear them. They've figured out what happens to animals. And we will put – Some of those go to the homeless, some of those go to refugees overseas or to wildlife rehabbers. But some of them we will put paint on to symbolize the blood and then we will jump on a runway wearing them, we'll go out on the street and do tableau. But we've always said you don't have to jump on a runway and frighten Gisele Bundchen although when somebody did, she swore off fur forever. You don't have to lie down and you can – As you said, there are a million big things, small things you can do just every single day going about your daily life that will actually make it a kinder world. These are not inconsequential acts, they're – I always say, you know, you give maybe ten dollars or a hundred dollars to a humane society or to PETA in a year and that's very nice but it really doesn't make any sense if, when unwittingly you're going to the pharmacy or the grocery store or clothing store or entertainment, and you're paying thousands of dollars in a year to pay somebody else where you don't see to hurt animals in ways that you do find, in your heart, absolutely objectionable.
CAVANAUGH: Does it disturb you, does it hurt you in any way, to know that PETA is thought of in many quarters as this sort of extremist group?
NEWKIRK: No, because we carved out our role long ago. I mean, there was a time—we've been around 30 years—where you could actually just have a factual presentation. People would pick up a brochure. You could have a conversation and that was it. As you know, in journalism, that's almost gone. There's NPR, PBS, and basically that's it. It's all sex, conflict, shouting at each other. We have to be in that mix because we have a very important social message and we need to reach people, so we – it's our fault. We will go out there and make complete idiots of ourselves dressed in costumes, take our clothes off, do whatever it takes to make sure somebody's talking about it even if we're sort of like the car crash: you don't want to look but you have to. That's us. But on the other hand, we’ve decided you don't have to like us, just, please, dislike the messenger but absorb some of the message. And people do, and we see that from our website, people coming and watching the videos.
CAVANAUGH: I am speaking with Ingrid Newkirk. She is founder and president of PETA. We are taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727, that's 1-888-895-KPBS. What is it that you hope to accomplish with this book?
NEWKIRK: Well, we go—PETA goes—undercover into many different places that ordinary people never go to. I mean, how many of us have been to a slaughterhouse or into a laboratory where monkeys have cranial implants and so on? People just don't go there, so we do. We get jobs, we take undercover video, we come out, and we put it on our website, and millions of people a year actually watch that video. But it's not enough for us to prosecute. For example, we have just prosecute – got the first felony conviction on a factory farm two weeks ago of people who were picking up turkeys as if they were baseball bats and swinging them into the wall and doing other hideous things. It's not enough for us to prosecute because we can't prosecute all those people. What it comes down to, I think, is personal responsibility so what I hope to get people to think about is what they, as individuals, how powerful their purses are, how important they are as consumers, because it really is that the marketplace goes with whatever people want to buy. So if you want to buy soy milk instead of cow's milk because you don't like and you've suddenly learned what happens in the dairy industry to that little calf and to the poor mother who loves him, or you want pleather instead of leather, you want to try a vegetarian cookbook, the market will go with you. We no longer have, as you said, car crash tests on animals because the public spoke and people actually went so far, when General Motors wasn't listening to us and were still smashing those baboons into the wall, to donate their cars to us. And we destroyed those cars outside auto showrooms. They were donated cars. And GM suddenly realized people are this serious and so they changed. You have that kind of pressure even at the store.
CAVANAUGH: Let's start taking some calls. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. And Nathan is on the line from Ramona. And good morning, Nathan, welcome to These Days.
NATHAN (Caller, Ramona): Good morning. Well, I'd like to start out with the fact that I do support PETA both financially and ethically as far as treating animals with kindness and respect. But I would like to know how your guest responds to the allegations that the Silver Springs monkeys who were used to advance neurobiology, why they ended up more ill and transported so often and ended up in worse condition than they were when they were kept in the laboratory when they were cared for by PETA members.
CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you for that call. Maybe – Do you have any background on this to…
NEWKIRK: Oh, yes. I'm just very confused by it because it's off the mark. Nathan, thank you. There is actually a book written about this story, called "Monkey Business," by Kathy Guillermo. I was intimately involved in that case. It was the very first conviction of an animal experimenter for cruelty to animals, the first search and seizure warrant of animals coming out of a lab. It was never the case that the monkeys were in worse condition when they came out than when they were in. In fact, when we raided that laboratory, there were a series of barrels there filled with the bodies of monkeys who had died of everything from gangrene to just gross neglect. These animals, when they came out of the lab, had fingers missing on each of their hands from catching them on the broken cage bars, and they were suffering from malnutrition because monkeys have to have lots of vitamin C and they had been deprived of that. Under PETA's care, which was also with the acknowledgment of the National Institutes of Health, whose own veterinarians were present, the monkeys did very well. Unfortunately, some of them, a few of them, ended up back in government custody but under some more stringent conditions, and the majority of them went to the San Diego Zoo, off public exhibit, where they were rehabilitated. They had somebody work with them. They had sunshine. It was a very mixed bag case but it was a historic case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. And those monkeys, some of them were lucky to ever come out of that hideous little hellhole.
CAVANAUGH: You know, speaking of San Diego, San Diego has instituted, at least has been trying to institute, in the last years, a no kill policy for its county shelters and I – there is – We have a caller on the line and Dawn Danielson is Director of Animal Services for San Diego County. I wanted to hear the policy from her. Dawn, are you on the line?
DAWN DANIELSON (Director of Animal Services, San Diego County): I am. I am.
CAVANAUGH: What is our policy…
CAVANAUGH: …because I know that was in the news several years ago that the County shelters were going to adopt this no kill policy for animals.
DANIELSON: Well, first of all, we don't use that term.
DANIELSON: We don't like the term. It's very misleading…
DANIELSON: …to the public. And I think Ingrid's on board with us on this. We try to find homes for all our sheltered animals and we work with rescue groups. But the quality of life is very important too. We're not going to warehouse dogs and cats in our shelters that are so stressed, because a shelter, no matter how good it is, it's a very stressful environment. So when you use the term 'no kill' we have to keep the animals' welfare in mind, too. And sometimes it reaches a point it's just no longer humane to keep an animal in a shelter month after month after month. So if they're stressed out and not doing well, then, unfortunately, we do have to euthanize them if we can't find homes. But that being said, our save rate for dogs is in the eighties, which is one of the highest in the nation for an animal control agency. So we're very proud of that. That means in our three shelters, 81% of the dogs are either claimed by their owners or go into new homes. And with cats, it's about 55% because people still haven't gotten the message on spaying and neutering their cats early enough. But that's still one of the highest save rates in the country. Would you agree with that, Ingrid?
NEWKIRK: Oh, Dawn, it's music to my ears.
DANIELSON: Good, good, that's what I thought.
NEWKIRK: And I think we all try as hard as we can to make sure that every animal has a home…
NEWKIRK: …but it's impossible.
DANIELSON: That's right.
NEWKIRK: It's just totally impossible. And I know the lay public doesn't know that that's the case because they haven't, what we call, ridden the truck.
NEWKIRK: You go out into neighborhoods and you see these animals spending their lives on chains…
NEWKIRK: …having their litters under the porch, being passed around as if they're candy, and they never know which way is up.
NEWKIRK: Some of them aren't socialized. Some of them are old.
NEWKIRK: Some of them have disease. And everybody wants the cute puppy.
NEWKIRK: So, yes, thank you, thank you. I hate the words 'no kill' because they sound so good…
NEWKIRK: …and yet they mask the problem. And I take my hat off to any shelter that is brave enough to do society's dirty work…
NEWKIRK: …which sometimes does mean you hold those angels in your arms and you let them go from a world that doesn't want them. But, please, yes, in the book I talk about don't – just resist all temptation. Do not go to a breeder.
DANIELSON: Right, right.
NEWKIRK: There are no such things as responsible breeders.
NEWKIRK: That will make people angry but there aren't as long as there is one litter that is going to die in a shelter because of a lack of home. Go to the shelter.
NEWKIRK: And there – Don't go to the pet shop and plunk down that credit card. And, please, anybody listening, if you have spayed and neutered your dogs and cats, don't stop there. Go out into your neighborhood and see if anybody else needs help. That's cutting it off at the pass, the problem off at the pass. Thank you, Dawn.
DANIELSON: Well, we're very lucky in San Diego. We have a community that's very animal oriented and has gotten the message loud and clear about spaying and neutering, at least for dogs for the most part. Now, obviously, do we still have a problem? Of course we do. But it's getting better and better as we educate, and we have a spay and neuter bus that goes out into the community, SNAP, the Spay and Neuter Action Project, so we're a very progressive community and we couldn't do it without the community's help.
CAVANAUGH: Dawn Danielson…
CAVANAUGH: …Director of Animal Services for San Diego County, thank you so much for calling in. I really appreciate it.
DANIELSON: You're welcome.
NEWKIRK: I wish I lived in San Diego. Our – the PETA headquarters is in Norfolk, Virginia and we border North Carolina, some of the most impoverished counties. You would not believe you're in the United States, frankly, sometimes. They are shanty towns. And there, of course, we find animals just used to guard the few possessions people have, left out in all weather. We actually run a program all winter where we go out and find these animals. There are dogs, and it's hard to imagine now on a beautiful day, but when it sleets or it's snow, it's bitterly cold, thunderstorms, and they're just chained to a tree and they curl up in a ball so small and they just shiver their way through every night, every day, every night. And so we buy – we build doghouses, fill them with straw, and we ask people to sponsor those, a little shelter. It's not much but it's something for them. And then, of course, we will fix, we will sterilize those dogs if we're allowed to by the people who have them.
CAVANAUGH: I just want to ask one more question about the issue of euthanasia because I was surprised to learn that PETA is against the concept of no kill shelters. And is – has PETA – is that one of the controversial stances that…
NEWKIRK: Oh, yes.
CAVANAUGH: …you would say for PETA?
NEWKIRK: Yes, it's not so much that we're against them because I think that the – they perform a service. If you can take in 20 animals under decent conditions, not warehouse them in the basement or the garage, and not give them out to all comers without checking, but if you can take in 20 animals and really work diligently on finding them decent homes, that's grand. I really object to the terminology 'no kill' because it's used to denigrate the open admission shelters who do take in the sick, the tired, the old that no one wants. And I think the no kill has to be understood that the way we get to a no kill nation, which is very cute terminology, is by a no birth nation until we have stabilized the population of dogs and cats out there. But I don't like the fact – People will say to me, oh, I only give to no kill shelters. And I think, well, that's not fair because the others are doing far more dirty work than someone who can close the door when they've taken in their 20 or six or however many it is, and say, oh, well, we don't care. And I will tell you at PETA, we take in. We don't have a big adoption program, we don't have an adoption center, we refer everybody to people who do. But we take in, as a matter of policy, the really run-down animals who are on their last legs for people who have no money to go to the vet and euthanize them and we will then – our euthanasia rate is very high because that's basically the only animals we take in.
CAVANAUGH: I'm speaking with Ingrid Newkirk. She is founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We have to take a short break. When we return, we'll continue our discussion on These Days here on KPBS.
CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. My guest is Ingrid Newkirk. She is both founder and president of PETA. And we are inviting you to join the conversation and give us a call at 1-888-895-5727. You know, in this book that you are on tour all over the country promoting, called "The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights," you give a lot of advice on how to care for animals at home, dogs, cats, fish, birds, and you advise people never to let their cats outside, never let their dogs outside unaccompanied. And, again, I was a little surprised by that because there are some animal rights groups who don't like the idea of dogs and cats being, you know, just confined to a home. Why is that PETA's stance on the way you should treat your pets.
NEWKIRK: Well, I'll address cats probably because that's the one people are going, what?
CAVANAUGH: Yes, right. Especially in England, I know that you can't adopt a cat if there's no outside area that a cat can roam in.
NEWKIRK: Yes, and I think that there probably was a time when we weren't such a concrete jungle that this was all right. But I know from personal experience because I grew up, as you say, thinking, oh, you have to let the cat out. And I learned the hard way. Unfortunately, the ones who had to pay the price were the cats. I had one cat hit by a car in a cul-de-sac and I thought, oh, she never goes out of this yard. And it was a sizeable yard but she did and she – it took her two days to crawl home, while I looked for her, with her collapsed lung and what have you. This is not an unusual story. But when they're left outside, it's not only that someone – I was just in Las Vegas last night talking to a person who was overseas. Her cat got out of the door, somebody trapped her cat, the cat sat for a day in the sun in Las Vegas where it's about a hundred and something, then came into the animal shelter, was microchipped but bit the person who was examining her for the microchip and they euthanized the cat.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, yeah.
NEWKIRK: These things – Much worse, juveniles do awful things and I've seen it. There are people who just are driving too fast, there are diseases they catch outside not only from predating on other animals, which isn't good either, but they get parasites, they get feline AIDS, they get all sorts of things. It's much better to either build a run if you can for your cats or teach them to walk on harness and go out with them. Cats will walk along with you usually. Or sit in the yard with them. And give them a view, a room with a view, and lots of stimulation inside. Make sure that you don't – you're not a blur to your cats, you're not coming home, changing clothes, dashing out to a movie or dinner, but you're there playing with them and giving them a life.
CAVANAUGH: Let's go to the phones. Tim is on the line and he is calling from San Diego. Good morning, Tim. Welcome to These Days.
TIM (Caller, San Diego): Yes, good morning. Thank you. Yes, I have a question. Basically, as the internet has transposed and made really more exponential the ability for communication, I just wonder what Ingrid's position is on cyber-victimization in different direct actions, meaning, you know, defamation, harassment, and that kind of thing. The other thing is, is has the group ever been affiliated or donated to any more extremist groups, maybe ones who, you know, have actually committed crimes or anything like that.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you for those questions, Tim.
NEWKIRK: Well, we're a 501-C3, which means that, like all 501-C3s, you're pretty intensively scrutinized for every nickel that anyone gives you so I think the IRS could tell you that we're squeaky clean there. This victimization, I imagine you're talking about in California, I believe you may be talking about experimenters, animal experimenters who have said they're harassed by people posting their photographs and their home addresses on the web. And if that's the case, to me it's like child abusers or child molesters, whatever the law says you can do, I think you can do. I'm not sure that people who experiment on animals, if they're proud of it, they should not care if their neighbors know about it, and I believe that they should be open. Instead, what we have is laboratory fortresses. No one from the public, no matter how benign their interest, is allowed to see inside. We've got institutional animal use and care committees that are sewn up by these universities. They only put people who experiment on animals or who are friends and relatives of them on them. And they have fought tooth and nail not to reform, even give painkillers in painful experiments. The highest class of painful experiments that the USDA categorizes is – the experimenters fight not to have to comply with that. I will say, starting with the Silver Spring monkeys, every lab that we have been into where one of our people has obtained employment—and, boy, do they try to keep them out. They even ask, are you a vegetarian on the hiring application. We always find that the labs themselves are breaking the law and we have actually managed to get the federal government to require that laboratories return federal grant funding for misuse, for using animals without any permission whatsoever in invasive surgeries, you name it.
CAVANAUGH: And as awful as those practices are, it would seem to me that one of – the only reason to post names and photographs and addresses of people would be so that they are harassed. They do that to people who work in choice clinics as well. And I just – I'm wondering if this is really the – I think that there's a criticism sometimes of PETA for, in some ways, valuing animals more than people.
NEWKIRK: Well, we don't do that ourselves. I just don't know where the law stands on it, and I think that's my point. But I do believe that there should be more openness from the labs. And what happens, I think, JFK said it. You know, if you can't bring a—I'm here paraphrasing—if you can't bring about peaceful change, you expect a revolution. I think there are a lot of people, particularly young people, who see what is happening in the labs, they read the descriptions, they see the photographs, the videos, and they see, for example in the case of Covance, which is the world's largest user of animals in testing, we have undercover video of them taking them, the monkeys, out of the cages, slamming them back in against the metal, jamming things into the animals' mouths, shouting at the animals who are petrified, and stuffing them into plastic tubes, which must be to them as claustrophobic a thing imaginable. And there's not a grain of respect. I think when people see that, and they have the right to see it, then they get angry. And when they try to pass some tiny basic thing that improves the welfare of animals in the labs, they get just turned down. It's defeated. Then they get angry and then they want to harass these people. So I believe that, as I say, there are always a million legal things that a person can do and that's what PETA is always about. Don't buy the cosmetics, don't buy the floor polish that's tested in rabbits' eyes or down beagles' stomachs or whatever. Don't give your money when you're asked. You know, is it March of Dimes? No, March of Dimes still uses awful experiments on animals. But you can give for the same cause. Easter Seals, for example, a great charity, doesn't use animals, it uses 21st century technology. It actually helps people. It's making those informed choices that will steer people away from – and require that they be free with their information. It's supposed to be an open society. We're supposed to not have any shame in what's happening behind those lab doors.
CAVANAUGH: Well, from this very serious issue to something that's somewhat silly, a lot of people ridiculed your organization when they – it was reported that PETA criticized President Obama for that famous Ninja fly swat that he did. Did PETA criticize him and why?
NEWKIRK: No, we didn't actually. It was quite funny. Now, Paul McCartney, the other day, said why did – The press made up the story that he was expecting to get the rights back to the Beatles' songs when Michael Jackson died. And then the press reported that he was upset that he didn't when they – And he said neither story was true. And I felt a little bit like that. Our office was just inundated with calls from the press. We had Canadian TV parked outside. We had everybody there saying, well, do you – are you really angry at the president? Are you miffed? Are you mad? All the adjectives. And we said – Our exact statement was, he's only human, he's not the Buddha, it was a reaction. However, after that, people said, come on the talk show, address this, so we did. And then someone would say, I have ants in my kitchen, what can I do about it? And we would say, well, you could use cream of tartar. And someone would say, but, you know, if I don't want to be mean to the spider in the bathtub, and we'd say, well, that's nice, put him outside. And in the first 20 hours, we sold 116 of these devices on our website called Catch-A-Bug, which usually we sell maybe three a month to a child's class somewhere. They went like hotcakes.
CAVANAUGH: Let me take a call from Derek in Del Mar. Good morning, Derek, and welcome to These Days.
DEREK (Caller, Del Mar): Hey, there. I was actually calling more philosophically, I guess. I've been a vegetarian for about 20 years but, you know, I'm always curious about these debates with the NRA or with, you know, PETA, for example, on, in particular, the religious aspects and the objections to PETA. And there seems to be a belief from some of the fundamentalist religions, which I won't name, that says that animals are on the earth solely for their use and possibly abuse. And I guess the sum of my question is, is, you know, what's the end game for PETA. Is there, you know, an attainable goal given the inherent philosophical difference? And, also, how do you fight a religiousness of thought as opposed to, you know, an openness to new ideas? I mean, obviously, when I talk about vegetarianism people automatically assume I'm crazy until you explain to them that everything that can be cooked with meat can be cooked with vegetables and then some. And it's just a – it's almost a blockade of – an unwillingness to hear the options, and how do you combat that, I guess.
CAVANAUGH: Derek, thank you for that call. And I really would like to emphasize part of his question and that is what is the ultimate goal for PETA?
NEWKIRK: The ultimate goal is a kinder world. I equate it really or make the analogy with the peace movement. We'll never have peace on earth and people will never stop being mean to each other or to animals. But you can do the best you can and try and make as many inroads as possible because that's not the kind of society you want is a warmongering, aggressive, nasty society. There is a book written by Matthew Scully who actually wrote Sarah Palin's nomination acceptance speech. It's called "Dominion," and I think it's a very useful book to promote vegetarianism in fundamentalist Christian communities. There also is a movement in certain Christian communities that started in the south to be environmental Christians, to be shepherds of the earth, not simply to have this philosophy that you can use it all up and then there'll be, you know, the end of the world will come and it's fine, God'll take care of it. There is that shift. And I would like to see that happening with animal consciousness because I think all the great religions of the world were based – I mean, they've all drifted a long way from where they began, but they were all based on do unto others, on being kind to others. And if there is anything that Jesus or Buddha or – would not wish, I think–and everyone should be able to agree to that—it would be to go into a factory farm and say, yes, this is exactly the kind of cruelty I envisioned. And go into a slaughterhouse or – or say, yes, kill my creation for any frivolous reason that you wish. This dominion argument, I find it sorely misused. It was used, of course, throughout history to justify the Crusades or people going into Africa and other places and decimating natives of those continents. It was used to justify slavery. It was used to oppress women. It's just been used as a traditional way not to do anything that's inconvenient to you, which would mean you have to change your behavior. And I think that dominion can have several meanings and one of those meanings should be stewardship, caring, being decent to, and not just mine for the taking.
CAVANAUGH: Ingrid Newkirk, founder and president of PETA. Her new book is called "The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble." And she will be appearing tonight at 7:30 at Barnes & Noble at the Mira Mesa Market Center. And, Ingrid, I want to thank you so much for joining us today.
NEWKIRK: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
CAVANAUGH: You have been listening to These Days on KPBS.