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Rain, Cold Temperatures, Snow In San Diego’s Holiday Forecast, Water Shortage In Tijuana, Politics And Thanksgiving, And La Jolla Playhouse Presents ‘Cambodian Rock Band’

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A major storm is expected to dump 2 to 3 inches of rain in San Diego County through Friday, potentially disrupting Thanksgiving travel plans. Plus, Tijuana, a city of more than 1.5 million people, is dealing with a severe water shortage and it has led the city water utility to shut off water for days at a time. A new tool launched by the District Attorney’s Office allows people to report suspected abuse of students in school. Also, federal regulators are teaming up with hackers to address cybersecurity concerns. Plus, in a polarized America, the Thanksgiving dinner table could be a political minefield. A political scientist weighs in on how to bridge divisions this season. And, a new musical at the La Jolla Playhouse serves up a redemptive tale of a father and daughter finding each other amidst decades-old secrets and against the backdrop of Cambodian rock scene of the 60s and 70s.

Speaker 1: 00:01 Prepare for a rainy windy and even snowy Thanksgiving. And what led to the DHS new Web site to report student abuse. I'm JD Hindman and I'm Maureen Cavanaugh.

Speaker 2: 00:11 This is Kate PBS mid-day edition.

Speaker 3: 00:24 It's Tuesday November 26.

Speaker 4: 00:27 It will not feel like a San Diego Thanksgiving this year. If the forecasts are right. Rain cold temperatures and snow down to thirty five hundred feet in the East County will make this an unusual and possibly hazardous holiday and you won't be able to get away from the stormy weather by traveling around the country. Forecasters say multiple storms are expected coast to coast through most of the holiday weekend. Joining me by Skype is Dan Gregorio of the National Weather Service and Dan welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. When are we supposed to feel the first impact from this storm.

Speaker 5: 01:04 First impacts here in San Diego County will be Wednesday morning. The storm will be increasing in intensity and rain will become widespread. By Wednesday afternoon and that's when the brunt of the storm will be from Wednesday afternoon through Thanksgiving evening with with really appreciable rainfall totals and heavy mountain snowfall.

Speaker 3: 01:27 And how much rain is expected.

Speaker 5: 01:29 We're expecting for the coast in the valleys anywhere from one inch towards the coast. And the inland valleys could see two locally up to three inches towards the foothills.

Speaker 4: 01:41 And what about snow which areas may see snow.

Speaker 5: 01:44 So snow is a big aspect of this winter storm system. It's going to have a lot of cold air tapping in from the north. As you mentioned those snow levels will lower by Thanksgiving night down to about thirty five hundred feet. We're talking aerials from the crew MCAS Mount Laguna. Could see one to two feet of snow.

Speaker 4: 02:05 So if you were planning to visit friends and Julien say this Friday what would you be looking at.

Speaker 5: 02:12 Yes there will be some snowfall. One thing we're really mentioning with the storm system is this will have a high impact on the Thanksgiving travel period. A lot of people will be out on the roadways and we do expect our mountain roadways to be impacted by snowfall and it will be heavy as well. So this also includes travelers along I 8 through the San Diego County mountains.

Speaker 4: 02:38 Do you think people are going to need chains.

Speaker 5: 02:41 Yes no doubt about it. This is a very cold storm system for Southern California. So the advice if you're half the travel through the mountains carry chains with you and have an emergency supply kit.

Speaker 4: 02:56 This storm is also supposed to bring colder than normal temperatures to San Diego what kind of temperatures are we in for right.

Speaker 5: 03:04 Yeah. It will be very cold feeling like the holiday. Southern California style highs will only be in the 50s and lows will be in the 40s. Some inland valleys in the 30s and of course those mountainous areas will be very cold in the 20s.

Speaker 4: 03:21 Why are we getting such a cold storm at this time of year it's still more than three weeks away from winter. So where is this storm coming from.

Speaker 5: 03:30 It's coming from the due north. So the jetstream has been buckling and it's diving straight south along the U.S. West Coasts and that's what's going to deliver the storm here all the way down to southern California.

Speaker 3: 03:44 And what about when do we expect any strong winds with this storm.

Speaker 5: 03:48 Yes we do. We've been looking at that aspect and from the coast to the valleys as a cold front moves across the area Wednesday afternoon and evening we could have wind gusts even at the coasts and valleys to about 40 miles per hour and isolated gusts to 50 miles per hour will be possible. And then another cold front swings and Thanksgiving Day and again gusty winds are possible to about 40 miles per hour and gust like that. Calm down tree limbs and even small trees. So it's something something to be on the lookout for.

Speaker 4: 04:24 I'm going to ask you about something that could be a silver lining in all of this stormy weather. There was a report last week that more than 81 percent of California is now reported as dry. So how much could this storm help in that regard.

Speaker 5: 04:38 This will help out any rainfall mountain snow that we get for the state is always a welcome sight. So we're abnormally dry. We're not in a drought here in Southern California. But as we know those can sneak up on us really quick. So this storm will help and there's a possibility of more precipitation for the state next week.

Speaker 4: 05:01 Will all of California get rain and snow out of this particular storm.

Speaker 5: 05:05 Yes the trajectory moving down the state will deliver rain even to northern California. They actually haven't had any appreciable precipitation this year so this will be the first significant rain a mountain snow for areas to the north.

Speaker 4: 05:22 Let's talk about travel out-of-state. What other areas of the nation expects dorms over the holiday weekend.

Speaker 5: 05:29 OK. Really. A large part of the U.S. Western states will have very hazardous weather conditions. And this storm system and a one ahead of it will deliver very heavy snow from the Midwest up through the Great Lakes region. So they're talking about maybe a foot or so of snow in that area.

Speaker 4: 05:49 Now when is this storm. Our storm is supposed to go away. When is it supposed to dissipate.

Speaker 5: 05:55 All right. So on Thursday night Thanksgiving night and Friday we'll still have showers around. Very cold air. The showers will wind down through the day on Friday and then we have a tranquil day on Saturday into Sunday and then we're looking for another storm system possible during the early middle part of next week.

Speaker 4: 06:16 Is that what you're seeing in this trajectory like we had a couple of years ago one storm after another storm.

Speaker 5: 06:23 Is that what you're seeing developing right now the way the jet stream is aligning it is favoring storm systems for California whether that's going to last through the winter remains to be seen. The forecast for the winter is actually below normal precipitation but right now the storm track is favoring rain and mountain snow for Southern California.

Speaker 4: 06:47 Well I have been speaking with Dan Gregorio of the National Weather Service. And I want to thank you so much. And I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Speaker 5: 06:56 Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

Speaker 3: 06:59 Even as the region gets some much needed rain this week Tijuana is dealing with a severe water shortage and it has led that city water utility to shut off water for days at a time. But Kate PBS is Max Rivlin Nadler tells us that long dry summer isn't what's behind the drastic measures to conserve water.

Speaker 6: 07:22 Water shutoffs aren't uncommon in the growing cities of Tijuana and Rosarito which are home to over one point five million people.

Speaker 7: 07:29 But they're rarely announced beforehand and they're often isolated to certain neighborhoods after pipes or pumps fail. Earlier this month however Tijuana officials announced that was planning wide ranging shutoffs for the next two months in an attempt to replenish a vital reservoir that is perilously low who's a Sanchez is a tech worker who lives in the warez neighborhood of Tijuana whose water was shut off this week. We have to just fill up buckets or. Those big barrels full of water and just. Try to.

Speaker 8: 07:59 Live off that for a couple of days.

Speaker 7: 08:02 Already blue barrels of stored water have taken up residence on the roofs of homes in the city. The shutoffs have been rotating around the city to different neighborhoods. The goal is for each neighborhood to have their water shut off for a 24 hour period once every five days.

Speaker 8: 08:17 So we can manage with no washing. This is maybe ordering more takeout or taking chow with friends and family like I do for example.

Speaker 9: 08:27 The vast majority of residents don't drink the water from the tap but the shutoffs have already impacted the water use habits of tea Juana Rubin village Vincenzo Alvarez who works as an engineer for the city's water utility explains that's part of the idea behind the citywide shutoffs stumbles on the point.

Speaker 10: 08:44 He says that residents are realizing that by making small changes to their lifestyles like taking shorter showers the city can make a huge change to its water use. He says it's already seeing results so modest BOLOs is significant. But after an especially wet winter why is Tijuana suddenly low on water. A few miles from water department headquarters lies the El carries a reservoir which supplies the city with the majority of its water vegetation marks. The reservoir is normal level which is now several dozen feet above the stagnant water below. Right now the reservoir is only at 15 percent of capacity more than 90 percent of the water in the coastal zone.

Speaker 11: 09:27 And that would be Rosarito and Tijuana and the cocktail comes from the Colorado River.

Speaker 9: 09:33 SD You Professor Paul Gansler has studied water use along the border for decades. The water first crosses into Mexico to the west of Mexicali where it's used mostly for agriculture and to reach the reservoir has to be pumped uphill through an aqueduct system over the Sierra warez.

Speaker 11: 09:50 It's that trip that has left to Juana dry so it's it's a thin lifeline. It's one that is.

Speaker 9: 09:58 Vulnerable to a number of things over the past few months a series of pump failures has limited the supply of water over the mountains to Tijuana. On top of that agricultural interests in the Mexicali Valley have upped their consumption of water during the hot dry summer.

Speaker 11: 10:13 As a result the water in the local reservoirs has dropped below a level where water can be efficiently process the normal intake is actually not at the bottom of the reservoir but up some distance above that in order not to shock and a lot of sediments and so on. So if they don't have water to put into the system they just they're stuck.

Speaker 9: 10:36 The water crisis in Baja coincides with a change in government from the conservative PAN party which had ruled the state for 30 years to the ascendant Morena party. Moreno officials laid the blame for the water shortage on the previous administration pointing out millions of missing pesos that were supposed to go towards improved infrastructure. JOSE SANCHEZ The tech worker who's filling up buckets every few days says part of the city's candor about the water shortage can be chalked up to not being directly responsible for the current problem.

Speaker 8: 11:04 People are angry at the situation. They're not yet angry at the new government. Maybe a year from now that's going to change with Tijuana continuing to grow.

Speaker 9: 11:12 Water conservation is going to become vital and if a rare wet winter can still lead to a shortage to quanta has little time to prepare for the West Coast.

Speaker 12: 11:20 Longer and more frequent droughts as part of our changing climate in Tijuana Maximilian Adler K PBS news there is a new online tracking tool available that allows San Diego County residents to report suspected student abuse in schools making sure that the gaps are closed and that there is not any situation where a you know a person who is harming kids is just moving around from school to school without real accountability.

Speaker 13: 11:59 That's district attorney summer Stephan unveiling the new program last week in a press conference. The rollout comes on the heels of an investigation by voice of San Diego into harassment and abuse in local public schools. Joining us now with the backstory on the new tracking system is Voice of San Diego reporter Kayla Jimenez. Kayla welcome. Hello. I want to talk about the day's new online tool and task force. But first I want to dive into what you've learned after spending two years investigating these issues. What are some of the systemic shortcomings you uncovered through your reporting. SAWYER So in our investigation over the past two years I think some of the big shortcomings we've found are.

Speaker 14: 12:41 That students and parents don't feel like they're being heard by schools when they're reporting abuse or suspected abuse and they feel like it's being downplayed or looked over. And we've seen that many times over various schools across the region. A big concern is also that mandated reporters who are teachers coaches anyone who works in a school are not reporting to the correct people so they usually go to a principal or school police when state law that they should be reporting to child welfare services or county police or local law enforcement department.

Speaker 13: 13:18 Can you highlight one or two of the cases that you wrote about.

Speaker 14: 13:22 Sure. So one of the major cases that we started with back two years ago with a la Hoya High School case of teacher. MARTIN teach worth and in. Our investigation we uncovered that this teacher had harassed groped many girls. There were many complaints over the years and local law enforcement told us that they had never received a complaint from a teacher or principal when school police had documented that there was even one case that could have been criminal and that never went to SD.

Speaker 13: 13:56 PD Mm hmm.

Speaker 14: 13:58 And so you said currently reporting is being made to school authorities how might reporting potentially change with the D.A. as new online tracking tool through the tool and some are stuffing told me herself that one of the main priorities of it is for anyone who suspects that there is someone who is a Monitor reporter who failed to report an instance of suspected child abuse which can range from a variety of things from grooming to actual crimes that any complaint or suspicion can be made through the website as well. And that would be handled internally by this new task force which the district attorney's office has put together. The D.A. emphasized that this is not a replacement for the mandated reporting this is in addition to. So it's still important for anyone who's a manager or reporter to follow those author report to the police department or child welfare services so mandated reporters would still need to report suspected abuse through proper channels.

Speaker 13: 14:59 Right. As far as the task force goes who will be involved with this task force and what will their responsibilities be.

Speaker 14: 15:06 Right. So the district attorney has said that this would be internal law enforcement task force. STEPHEN MARQUARDT who's the deputy district attorney will be leading it. And there will be prosecutors and a victim advocate on the team you point out that back in May.

Speaker 13: 15:21 District Attorney summer staff and said neither her office nor the city attorney's office has ever received or prosecuted a complaint of a mandated reporter like a school administrator or teacher for example failing to report child abuse has her office said Why that's the case.

Speaker 14: 15:37 They said they have never received a report where there was a case of failure to report. And I think this is one of the avenues that they're trying to hopefully fix that is where complaints can come through this one channel and they'll have a record of any suspicions that someone failed to report.

Speaker 13: 15:55 What did the parents you talked to said have they said that they've taken and elevated their complaints to the DA's office.

Speaker 14: 16:01 Oh yeah. Over the course of the two years I've heard over and over again that they've taken them to the schools haven't been heard and then some have gone and taken them to the district attorney's office which I think is kind of what sparked this is that now there's more cases and complaints coming forward to the D.A. the eighth office what kind of feedback have you heard from the community or victims on how effective they believe this new reporting system might be. I think there's a lot of questions on whether this will help. And I think that reasonable because a lot of victims that I've spoken with have been not so happy with the way the process has gone what they've reported and they feel neglected and their complaints aren't being heard or trusted. So I think there is the question. And San Diego Unified itself has had a few child abuse task force. They implemented another one a few months ago and there's questions about whether this Loxley help. So there is an outlying question from the community about whether this will do anything.

Speaker 13: 17:06 So how can people submit complaints into this new online tool.

Speaker 14: 17:09 Mm hmm. So they go online and there's a pretty clear form to fill out just there's an option of whether you're going to report suspected abuse or feel it's a mandatory report and then you felt the form. I haven't done it myself but anyone who does it and has a reaction would be good to hear from them.

Speaker 13: 17:26 I've been speaking with cable news reporter with Voice of San Diego cable thanks so much for joining us. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 17:44 Hospitals and the technology inside them are increasingly vulnerable to hackers. Hey PBS science and technology reporter Selena Chubb Loni says federal regulators are welcoming some hacks to learn how to keep patients safe.

Speaker 15: 17:59 Eight years ago Marie Moe woke up on the floor. The Norwegian cybersecurity researcher had suddenly passed out. It turned out that it was my heart that taking a break most heart wasn't getting enough oxygen so she needed a pacemaker to keep her heart going at the right rate. Very quickly her cybersecurity senses kicked in.

Speaker 16: 18:18 Can my heart be connected to the Internet. And. I wanted to know. How this is implemented.

Speaker 15: 18:26 Is it secure. Turns out her pacemaker was connected to the Internet. So Mo asked her graduate students to investigate. She was surprised at how easy it was to buy a number of used pacemakers online and take them apart. Moe also bought a pacemaker programmer for just 500 dollars off of eBay.

Speaker 16: 18:45 The same programmer that is used in hospitals to to change the setting of my pacemaker.

Speaker 15: 18:54 A programmer can change pacemaker settings the ones that determine whether her heart beats at the right rate. A hacker with the right skills would be able to access those settings now. The problem isn't really that individual medical devices can be hacked it's that entire medical systems are at risk. In fact in 2017 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom were temporarily shut down due to a ransomware attack. A hacker had infected computer systems with the virus and demanded payment to remove it. But Mo says cyber threats and hospitals and further technologies inside them can still seem theoretical. Industry data shows hospitals spend just around 5 percent of their I.T. budgets on cybersecurity. That's why Moe is just one of many cyber experts trying to raise awareness.

Speaker 17: 19:40 He said Oh sir you're there. Okay let's jump on the chance and help in here please. Okay. This patient has just rolled into a UC San Diego campus emergency room. His heart has stopped and Dr I will name names and structure his colleagues who administer a shock. Go ahead Chicago. Okay. Don't be alarmed. This patient is fine because well he's a talking dummy.

Speaker 15: 20:03 Nay is a real doctor. But right now he's just acting because this isn't an emergency room. It's a simulation at UC San Diego's Simulation Training Center. And what these doctors and actors are recreating is a ransomware attack a patient's health hangs in the balance and people downstairs are watching in an auditorium.

Speaker 18: 20:21 We imagined what would happen if you were in a hospital and you needed to take care of someone who had a heart attack or someone who had a stroke but you couldn't access the very technologies that you rely on on a regular basis.

Speaker 15: 20:32 This scene is part of the cyber med conference. Jeff Talley who's both a doctor and a hacker is one of the organizers. He says he hopes to show the real impacts of a potential cyber event to medical and government leaders.

Speaker 18: 20:44 So this is something that we found is very much visceral and very tangible and that's people who are previously sort of removed from the bedside understand that this could have those types of implications in the real world.

Speaker 15: 20:57 This willingness among cyber experts to collaborate is something the Federal Drug Administration has noticed FDA very much believes in the idea of bringing the community together. That Suzanne Schwartz with the FDA Office of Strategic Partnerships the FDA is responsible for clearing and approving consumer medical devices over the last five years it's partnered up with hackers and cybersecurity researchers. The FDA even organized a so-called We heart hackers challenge this year where Schwartz said manufacturers volunteered over 40 devices to be hacked.

Speaker 19: 21:28 It created a sense of safe space for the manufacturers who otherwise may be reluctant to participate in something like this.

Speaker 15: 21:37 And the researchers with a government presence as well at the 20 19 Def Con hacking conference in August. Hackers attacked real medical devices at a pretend hospital.

Speaker 19: 21:47 Plenty of hospital representatives really got a lot out of seeing the interactions that were happening within this device hacking lab.

Speaker 15: 21:58 The FDA also shares lessons learned with the Department of Homeland Security. Schwartz says ensuring patient safety requires collaboration not just among regulators but also with experts who can show where those vulnerabilities may lie. Selina Charney K PBS news.

Speaker 3: 22:14 Joining me is K PBS science and technology reporter Charlene Chad Loni and Angelina welcome. Hey glad to be here. How is it that hospitals haven't paid more attention to the threat of hacking because the idea of having your medical treatment interfered with by some hacker is is really terrifying.

Speaker 20: 22:33 Yeah I think that it's safe to say now hospitals have been paying more attention. It's just that logistically it's really hard to incorporate something like cybersecurity into your infrastructure your security plans when it's a relatively new concern that's come about. There was a 2018 article from The Journal of Medical Internet Research that says a potential breach can cost one hospital around seven million dollars. It's costly. So I think hospital providers are paying attention but their logistical challenges are you know think about how much technology you have. A lot of it is old. Some of it is new and it's hard to come up with the framework to secure all those things when all the technologies you have are so vastly different.

Speaker 4: 23:20 Well what happened during the 2017 ransomware attack on England's National Health Service.

Speaker 20: 23:26 How did England handle it so the attack that happened in England really shows the extent of the cybersecurity issue because it wasn't just England that experienced this attack it was a malware type virus called want to cry. And it actually impacted hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries England just happened to experience a number of hospital providers and under the National Health Services experience this. This malware ransomware intrusion and so what happened was that a lot of these hospitals had to temporarily shut down and cancel thousands of appointments. The National Health Services was really criticized for this later on after the attack happened because they had done surveys about whether their hospitals were cyber secure or not. And there weren't really protocols in place to deal with that because a major attack hadn't really happened and they weren't used to it. So what ended up happening actually is that there was a 22 year old blogger hacker who ended up finding this euro with the virus and figuring out how to stop it. But the giant organization ultimately was kind of scrambling when this occurred.

Speaker 4: 24:41 Now can you tell us more about what happened when you see San Diego simulated a cyber attack. How did the medical personnel respond to that.

Speaker 20: 24:49 Yeah. So what was so interesting about the simulation and Dr. Jeff Talley is one of the organizers I asked him about this. He said it it's not just that the people in the auditorium downstairs are learning it's that the actual doctors in the room are learning as well. And so the doctor that you heard in the feature that was the first time he knew any of this was happening and he even said afterwards wow I learned so much I don't know what to do in a situation where I can't see the brain scan of the patient it's hard to make a call on what to do with the with the patient when you don't have access to the tools you're so reliant on.

Speaker 4: 25:28 Now is the FDA review of how medical devices could be hacked is that now a standard part of its approval review.

Speaker 20: 25:37 I'm not sure whether it's a part of the approval review but I do know it is a part of the premarket analysis that goes in when they have to submit submit a medical device to be reviewed. But that's to say that the onus is pretty much on the manufacturers. They're the ones that will have to update the software they're the ones that are going to have to make sure that they're complying with federal security regulations. The FDA did put out a white paper that sort of explains what their protocols are and they are looking into it but it's also hard because at the point at which a device gets to you the framework has already been developed. You get computers for example with a set of hardware and then you download the software to figure out how to secure it. So it's kind of a hard not to crack I think for the FDA and that's why they've been putting out a lot of guidance is to hospital providers and manufacturers to say hey this really needs to be a part of creating your device before you even get it to market.

Speaker 3: 26:41 And it sounds as if though from your feature that they're reviewing these devices individually when it comes to security. Is there anyone who's looking for the bigger picture picture back to your first answer about how difficult it is to have a big picture of security when it comes to so many individual devices that can be hacked in a hospital situation.

Speaker 20: 27:01 Yeah I mean you've really got the idea that there's you know the FDA is out there reviewing consumer medical devices and that's their job but they aren't out there making sure that hospitals have the right cybersecurity protocols hospital systems and the technologies inside them are so complex you could have one hospital with a lot of money that's able to put in all of the safety requirements make sure that you know even all of their employees understand Don't open that email that might be dangerous. It comes down to those small things. But what about the hospital that doesn't have the resources and then they accidentally end up sharing patient data with another hospital that's that has you know malware attached to it. These things are very hard. So I think what's happening now is that there's just a larger conversation among regulators and people in the cybersecurity community about how do we inform people broadly how do we inform hospital systems broadly that this needs to be a part of how they're planning of their emergency protocols.

Speaker 3: 28:09 This is very interesting. Thank you so much I've been speaking with PBS science and technology reporter Charlene Chad. Loni thanks again.

Speaker 21: 28:16 Thank you.

Speaker 3: 28:22 Some members of the House Intelligence Committee will be working through the Thanksgiving holiday to review the testimony in last week's impeachment hearings. And many of us may feel we're also reviewing that testimony as discussions and arguments come up during our Thanksgiving holiday. It's been said that the political polarization in America now is more intense than it's been since the Civil War. So how did it get this way. And is there a way back. Joining me is Darrell West vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. His new book is titled divided politics divided nation hyper conflict in the Trump era. And Darrell West welcome to the program.

Speaker 22: 29:06 Thank you. It's nice to be with you.

Speaker 3: 29:07 Given today's polarization do you think political discussions should simply be off limits when families with divided politics get together over the holidays.

Speaker 22: 29:18 Well this Thanksgiving certainly is going to be a challenge for many families because in the course of doing my research for divided politics I found many families across America are divided by Trump and certainly now by the impeachment proceedings and in just the lead up to the 2020 election so people face lots of different options. One option is just simply avoid the topic. We all know sometimes a little good comes out of political conversations when people feel intensely about a subject. And so avoidance is the classic way to deal with that kind of polarization.

Speaker 3: 29:55 Now your book is part memoir part analysis. You come from a family that's divided along party lines. Tell us more about your background. Because you say it's sort of a microcosm of the nation.

Speaker 23: 30:08 It is a microcosm of a Polarized America because I grew up in a rural Ohio community. I was very conservative in terms of its leanings. My two sisters still live there they married local farmers. They are Christian fundamentalists and Trump supporters. My brother is a liberal. And like myself we're not big Trump fans but our family has been divided for 40 years on politics even going back to the Reagan era. So we agreed a long time ago to agree to disagree. And so we actually do talk a lot about politics but we don't do so with the aim of persuading the other person. We've given up on the hope of converting. Our siblings to our own point of view. And that actually makes conversations easier.

Speaker 3: 30:58 And you also make an important point there you write that today's hyper polarization predates President Trump. How did the country get to this point.

Speaker 23: 31:08 It certainly is right that Trump is not the cause of it although he probably has made the polarization worse than it was before. But if you look at the 40 year history from Reagan to trump you can see that the polarization got more extreme almost with every presidency. I mean at the time I thought Reagan was a polarizing figure but yet you know he supported a pathway to citizenship as part of the immigration reform bill that passed during his administration. He agreed to raise taxes as a way to balance the budget but the country has changed dramatically since then as and as we went through the Clinton presidency. Bush Obama and now Trump the hatred of each side seem to grow more intense. Today we've reached a point. Where people define their political adversaries as enemies. People to be beaten. And so we've kind of lost the hope that you can actually sit down talk with other people who have a different point of view somehow and negotiate the differences. That seems no longer possible in America.

Speaker 3: 32:15 Well are there though some solutions to this divisiveness that could make a difference or be effective.

Speaker 23: 32:21 I think there are solutions that would make a difference in my divided politics book. I actually end with an optimistic note by basically arguing that to reduce conflict we have to address the root causes of polarization which in my book is a combination of geography and economics the geography component is much of the American economy today is based on the East Coast and the West Coast with not as much economic activity taking place in the heartland between the coasts. The people who live there feel left behind. They feel like the system is rigged against them and they have grown really resentful and they are the people who helped elect Donald Trump president. And so the combination of geography and economics. If we can deal with that in the sense of having an economy that works for everyone that is more inclusive in nature regardless of where you live or what you're doing or what your background is if we can bring more people into the economy people will feel better. They will not be looking for scapegoats to blame for their poor economic fortunes.

Speaker 3: 33:33 Now as Americans prepare to come together this week you say that in your family you've tried not to convince each other anymore you know that you're poles apart when it comes to politics. And that's just the way it is. Is that the advice you would have for other families who face the same situation.

Speaker 22: 33:52 Well if people can do that I think that actually is a great outcome because in a polarized world I do think it's important for people to understand the opposite point of view. And as a political analyst I've actually found it very helpful to talk to my sisters over a long period of time just to understand where they're coming from.

Speaker 3: 34:13 So the best we can hope for now is just to try to listen and learn.

Speaker 22: 34:17 We can do that but you may also get lucky in your family in the sense that there are 10 percent of Americans who actually are undecided about Donald Trump and you know going into the 2020 election this 10 percent although it's a very small number. These are the most politically powerful people in America right now because they're going to decide who wins that upcoming presidential election. So if you're fortunate enough in Europe. Family dinners to actually find someone who is ambivalent about Trump hasn't quite made up his or her mind on how they're going to vote or they're going to support Trump are they not going to support him. You should actually really engage with that person and try and put facts on the table tell stories explain your point of view because if you can actually persuade that person that it could be a major benefit down the road.

Speaker 3: 35:10 I've been speaking with Darrell West vice president director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. His new book is titled A divided politics divided nation hyper conflict in the Trump era. And thank you so much.

Speaker 24: 35:25 Thank you very much La Hoya Playhouse.

Speaker 13: 35:31 Just opened the Cambodian rock band by UC San Diego graduate Lauren Yee. The play serves up a redemptive tale of a father and daughter finding each other amidst decades old secrets and against the backdrop of the Cambodian rock scene of the 60s and 70s. K PBS Arts reporter about the commandos speaks with music director Matt McNally about the role music has in the story and in Cambodia's history Matt I got interested in Cambodian pop music because of a documentary called I don't think I've forgotten.

Speaker 25: 36:05 So what is Cambodian rock band about. Are you going to get to hear some of this Cambodian pop music.

Speaker 26: 36:12 Absolutely. So Cambodian rock band is loosely based on the works of a contemporary band called dengue fever. They are located in Los Angeles Long Beach area and they play the music of the style of that genre you're speaking about of the early of the 1960s early 70s Cambodian pop music which is sort of a psychedelic surf rock genre of music which is interesting. Cambodia at the time was very Western influenced the Prince of Cambodia was educated in France. He was him and his father and the whole family were very much interested in the Arts Theatre Opera traditional Cambodian music and then contemporary Western style music which was starting to trickle into Cambodia both through colonial roots in France and through the Armed Forces Radio in the Vietnam War. So they were getting some American music some French music traditional commercial music that was all coming together and sort of this beautiful hodgepodge of rock and roll and all that music has sort of come together and Dengue fever is playing that music of that style in a contemporary time. So we took some of that music that they play some of the traditional my tunes are also in the show as well that we've arranged on our own but we've put all of that together to kind of make our own band that's in the show called The Sea close.

Speaker 25: 37:34 Now in addition to the music being amazingly fun it also is tied into some very nuanced cultural and political elements from the country because the music was essentially kind of censored by the Khmer Rouge coming in so how does this come into play in Cambodian rock band.

Speaker 27: 37:54 Yeah it goes even far beyond censorship with the Khmer Rouge when the Khmer Rouge came to power. They took anyone who was an artist was an intellectual people with college degrees people who wore glasses and they took them away into either on good circumstances they would take you to sort of a farm where you would be you know we think of it as reeducation in the communist system but essentially you'd be put on a farm and all of a sudden you had to start you were a rice grower or you would you would make poem rope or some sort of some sort of task like that because of this agrarian utopia that the K we're trying to make that's on a good day on a bad day you were put into essentially a concentration camp where you would be eventually forced to confess to a crime that you probably didn't commit and then put to death.

Speaker 27: 38:40 And so all the musicians were taken out of the capital or wherever they were and put into these places and slowly wiped off the map. So the surviving music it really is America miracle do we have any of this music nowadays and even further miracle that the guys in dengue a fever went over there in the 90s and found some of these records and brought them back and then decided hey this music's kind of great let's play this and let's put our own twist on it and let's honor the traditions of this music. I find this play to be very much a miracle that we have inherited this tradition that could very much be gone.

Speaker 25: 39:17 And Lauren he is the playwright for this and the story focuses on a young woman.

Speaker 26: 39:23 Yeah. So the lens of the story goes through the eyes of a young woman named Neary who is a first generation Cambodian American.

Speaker 27: 39:30 She decides to go back to Cambodia in 2008 to work on a war crimes trial against a certain man named Doig who ran one of these camps I was speaking about a camp called s 21 and sort of put him on trial for this which has its own complications in Cambodia with the fact that the case are not everybody disappeared from the case. They're still there. And so there's these complications that arise about this trial in Cambodia. So here father comes over and essentially says hey why don't you just give up on this once you come back. And slowly we learn throughout the play that her father has led on much less of his involvement in specifically this trial and the play the lands of the play is very unique because it speaks to sort of intergenerational traumas that we feel that we might feel that we might not even know even if our parents tried to keep something from us it may still kind of live within us and we may still sort of know about it without knowing about it.

Speaker 27: 40:27 So the play does a really good job of talking about you know identity and obligations familial obligations but also as much as you may try to protect someone. The truth will come out the truth will kind of set you free and the power of music to heal. If I may you know as the music director I suppose I should say that. But what what the power of music has. Music plays a really important part in this play obviously. But when the music is present it plays a part but also the absence of music in this play really does something unique. And when it returns it's also very triumphant and wonderful. So Lauren's very smart she's a very very good playwright as we already know. And so it functions beautifully within this piece as does sort of the lens of it. Well we've kept people from hearing the music long enough so let's have a little clip from one of the musical numbers in Cambodian rock band.

Speaker 25: 41:37 So this music kind of gets under your skin and makes you want to kind of almost get up and dance and be a part of it. What is the appeal of this music because it's something that I feel is kind of like it's exported from the U.S. to another country. Kind of re imported redone you know changed and then exported back out and it goes through all these kind of transformations.

Speaker 26: 42:00 I think you hit the nail on the head there. I think it very much is a musical tradition that will be familiar to audiences from any background. The the equipment in the band will not surprise anyone it's a keyboard a guitar a bass you know all the things a drum kit the things we might expect from a rock band. So it sounds both familiar and yet exotic and a lot of ways to folks who might have never been to Southeast Asia or Cambodia but through it's very accessible to Western ears and yet at the same time like I said this if when we get folks who might be of Cambodian descent or folks who even survive the car when they come to the show in the last song comes on they know every word and they stand up and sing which I'll just encourage here please stand up and dance at the show. We love that.

Speaker 27: 42:48 But yeah it's it's a tradition that the rock and roll that we all know rock and roll and we all know sort of surf Rocky tunes and it will feel both comfortable and I think a little bit new to everyone sort of through a new lens. So it's a lot of fun.

Speaker 25: 43:09 All right. Well I want to thank you very much for coming in and talking about Cambodian rock band. Sure absolutely. Thank you. And let's go out with some more music from Cambodian rock band. The.

Speaker 13: 43:22 Kennedy. That was Beth commando speaking with music director Matt Mak Nelly. Cambodian rock band continues at La Hoya Playhouse through Dec. 15.

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KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.