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To the Point


A monthly reality-check on the issues Americans care about most. Host Warren Olney draws on his decades of experience to explore the people and issues shaping – and disrupting - our world. How did everything change so fast? Where are we headed? The conversations are informal, edgy and always informative. If Warren's asking, you want to know the answer.


Santa Monica, CA





A monthly reality-check on the issues Americans care about most. Host Warren Olney draws on his decades of experience to explore the people and issues shaping – and disrupting - our world. How did everything change so fast? Where are we headed? The conversations are informal, edgy and always informative. If Warren's asking, you want to know the answer.




1900 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-450-5183


Nicholas Kristof on good news in a bad world; Steve Lopez on aging

Despite war and pandemic, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof finds good news in a “stunning” decline of worldwide poverty and “extraordinary” improvements in child mortality. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez examines retirement options for an aging population as he finds himself getting older.


For the first time in Iran’s history, women are leading a counter-revolution

Writer and author of The Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Robin Wright says that after weeks of protest on the streets of Iran, “for the first time in human history, you're beginning to see a counter revolution ignited by women. ” Later, despite the failure of the UN’s leadership conference on climate change, New York Times science reporter David Wallace-Wells says, “we're moving much faster than most analysts projected a few years ago,” and says the climate crisis is not as bad as he thought when he wrote,”The Uninhabitable Earth” five years ago.


Can the news media help save democracy?

Former New York Times and Washington Post Media Critic Margaret Sullivan says America faces a threat to democracy. In her new book, “Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life,” she says it’s time to move on from “objectivity” and make reporting a form of activism. And, Scott Galloway says America is not yet lost, but it has gone adrift, and that’s the title of his latest book. In “Adrift,” he talks about income inequality, polarization, and failing young men. But he says, “I think they can be undone … the ills that plague us are fixable.”


Will Trump run for White House again, can PG&E keep lights on?

Will Trump run for the presidency again? And in the aftermath of California’s deadly wildfires, can the state’s largest utility, PG&E, mend its ways?


Diablo Canyon: Can the nuclear plant work safely for 10 more years?

What are the risks of keeping the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant open? And an atheist and Muslim agree on what happens when people find religion through politics.


Is catastrophic news coverage fit for human consumption?

Does the news really have to be all that bad, or does our addiction to catastrophe drive outlets to deliver what sells? How might today’s media be fixed?


SCOTUS strikes down concealed-carry law. Is gun control in danger?

What to expect of the Supreme Court’s decision to ease conceal-carry restrictions, Biden’s new gun safety law, and the Sandy Hook lawsuit? Then, does it matter if Russia leaves the International Space Station?


Baby formula crisis reveals dangers of too little competition in US economy

Why does America’s baby formula shortage continue? Also, Norm Eisen’s new book traces corruption from the Trump White House to the rest of the country.


UN won’t end Russia-Ukraine war, diversity can threaten democracy

The United Nations can’t stop Russia’s war on Ukraine. And author Yascha Mounk says more diversity is a threat to democracy, but he’s still hopeful.


Ukraine faces ‘bloody stalemate’ — and 4 other scenarios

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is the most destructive event in Europe since World War II, and though it’s hard to determine how or when it might end, a team from Foreign Policy magazine came up with an assessment of what might be in store for Ukraine.


Will sanctions against Russia make Putin more volatile?

What does the first week of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine say about the likelihood of a cyber and nuclear war? While the West imposes heavy sanctions, Russian forces encounter fierce Ukrainian resistance on the ground.


Why protesting at politicians’ homes may help undo climate change

An environmental activist is calling on like-minded advocates to build an “adamant nonviolent movement” to rapidly reach zero emissions.


California is no longer climate change leader, says assembly speaker

California is losing its leadership position in the effort to mitigate climate change, and politics and other disasters may be to blame, according to a state lawmaker. Also, while two probes into the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election results are underway, some have intensified their efforts to normalize the insurrection.


California breaks promise to clean up radioactive pollution from nuclear meltdown

A nuclear meltdown near the San Fernando and Simi Valleys was kept secret for 20 years. Despite a cluster of rare childhood cancers in nearby communities, California officials have not kept the promise to clean up radioactive contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site.


Sports superstars increasingly refuse to ‘shut up and dribble’

Celebrity athletes are shaping American politics and culture, says Jane Coaston of the New York Times. And even before this month’s UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, wildfires, droughts, and floods have been increasing Americans’ belief in climate change, according to Anthony Leiserowitz, who directs the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication


Abortion and climate change: What will upcoming decisions mean in the long haul?

When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop a draconian new Texas abortion law, especially since Roe v. Wade is already on the high court’s caseload, Slate’s legal affairs correspondent Dahlia Lithwick says she was “stunned, numbed, and frozen.” Also, Vox reporter Umair Irfan describes the five potential scenarios outlined by the world’s top scientists for next month’s World Climate Summit in Glasgow.


The recall in California goes on as nation building in Afghanistan comes to an end.

California’s recall makes sense, but the electoral system as a whole needs reform, according to columnist Joe Matthews. Also in this episode, author Rajiv Chandrasekaran says Afghanistan once had an American-style suburb in the 1950s until the Soviet Union took over. Meanwhile, Colonel Andrew Bacevich calls America’s latest intervention in Afghanistan “preposterous” and insists the U.S. needs a new role on the global stage.


Fighting the Delta variant and California’s drought

Andy Slavitt, who was President Joe Biden’s former COVID advisor, talks about the recent Delta variant surge and best safety practices. The second part of this episode looks at how historic water wars could worsen California’s drought.


LA’s 1970s pop culture affects today’s politics. Plus controlling wildfires with fire

CNN’s Ron Brownstein says LA was so creative with music, movies, and TV in the 1970s that it’s still shaping American politics today. He writes about that in his new book “Rock Me on the Water.” KCRW also hears how California firefighters are updating an ancient Native American practice despite the risk of being sued.


Supreme Court could outlaw abortion once again

For most of American history, abortion has been legal, outlawed only from 1867 to 1973. Now the U.S. Supreme Court might outlaw it again by overturning Roe v. Wade. Also, young activists blame governments for climate change.