The Roundtable

Weekdays, 9 a.m.

Credit Peter Steiner

 WAMC's The Roundtable is an award-winning, nationally recognized eclectic talk program. The show airs from 9 a.m. to noon each weekday and features news, interviews, in-depth discussion, music, and much (much) more! Hosted by Joe Donahue and produced by Sarah LaDuke, The Roundtable tackles serious and lighthearted subjects, looking to explore the many facets of the human condition with civility, respect and responsibility.

The show's hallmark is thoughtful interviews with A-list newsmakers, authors, artists, sports figures, actors, and people with interesting stories to tell. Since hitting the airwaves in May of 2001, The Roundtable has interviewed the likes of Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou, Madeleine Albright, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Bob Dole, Bill O'Reilly, Steve Martin, James Taylor, Stephen King, Melissa Etheridge, Lin-Manuel Miranda and lots of other really cool people. Plus, Wilco does our theme song. What more can you ask for?

If you would like to be on the show email us at roundtable@wamc.org

Send your comments or questions for The Roundtable Panel to panel@wamc.org

10:25 - The Writer's Almanac
11:10 - Earth Wise
Book Picks lists are here.
You may also hear Pulse of the Planet and Sound Beat on The Roundtable.

Dr. Reza Mansoor
Gabe Simerson / WNPR

On Saturday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation will present an inter-faith event featuring Imam and cardiologist Dr. Reza Mansoor. 

The presentation shares a title with Dr. Mansoor’s memoir - Stigmatized, From 9/11 to Trump and Beyond -- An American Muslim Journey. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Reza Mansoor is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology and practices as a Cardiologist at Hartford Hospital. He is a past president of the Islamic Center of Connecticut and Islamic Council of New England. He is actively involved in the inter-faith community and provides ongoing didactic presentations on Islam.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Dr. Mansoor watched with dismay as attitudes and stereotypes about Islam and about Muslims living in the United States hardened. In an effort to build understanding, Dr. Mansoor wrote his memoir Stigmatized: From 9/11 to Trump and Beyond – An American Muslim Journey.

 

Today's Book Picks come from Jim Havener of Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, NY.

List:
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
House of Names by Colm Toibin
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
God's Red Son by Louis S. Warren
Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi
House of Lord and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson

Joan Marcus

Innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is the American musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask is a genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances which tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.

Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig And The Angry Inch played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway and now is in Schenectady for performances tonight and tomorrow at Proctors.

Hannah Corneau plays Yitzhak in the production. She is graduate of Shen High School.

Rail safety has been a focus in the Hudson Valley in recent years.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th district, concludes his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

G-Man By Stephen Hunter

May 16, 2017

Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter joins us this morning. His 10th book in the Bob Lee Swagger saga, G-Man, finds Bob uncovering his family’s secret tommy gun war with 1930s gangsters like John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

Hunter is the author of twenty-one books and there are over two million Hunter novels in print. He is the retired chief film critic for The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. He has also published two collections of film criticism and a nonfiction work, American Gunfight.

USA Network adapted Hunter’s Point of Impact for its highly-rated TV series Shooter, featuring Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger. Mark Wahlberg, who starred in the 2007 movie of the same name, is the executive producer of the series. Again, the new novel is G-Man

5/16/17 Panel

May 16, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Editor of the Daily Gazette Judy Patrick, and counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance.

For more than a decade, Daniel Connolly has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for news organizations including The Associated Press in Little Rock, and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. The winner of numerous journalism prizes, he has received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists and the Fulbright program.

In his new book, The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America 18-year-old high school senior Isaias Ramos plays in a punk rock group called Los Psychosis and likes to sing along to songs by Björk and her old band, the Sugarcubes. He’s so bright that when his school’s quiz bowl goes on local TV, he acts as captain. The counselors at school want him to apply to Harvard. But Isaias isn’t so sure. He's thinking about going to work painting houses with his parents, who crossed the Arizona desert illegally from Mexico.

America's Needless Wars: Cautionary Tales of US Involvement in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Iraq approaches the history of U.S. foreign policy by examining three unrelated conflicts, all of which ended tragically and resulted in the deaths of millions on both sides. By analyzing what went wrong in each case, the author uncovers a pattern of errors that should serve as a precaution for future decision makers contemplating a conflict abroad. 

David R. Contosta is professor of history at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA, and the author of twenty-three previous books, including Rebel Giants: The Revolutionary Lives of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Contosta has been a Fulbright Scholar to France, a visiting scholar at Cambridge University in England, and most recently a visiting professor at Pyeongtaek University in South Korea.

The Moth is a non-profit group based in New York City dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Founded in 1997, the organization presents a wide range of theme-based storytelling events across the United States and abroad along with a weekly podcast the national public radio show, The Moth Radio Hour, which won a 2010 Peabody Award.

The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown features stories carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, All These Wonders features 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages. The book celebrates The Moth's 20th anniversary and we talk about it with Catherine Burns, editor of the book and Artistic Director of The Moth.

2016 was a bloodbath for Democrats.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th district, continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

William Kunstler was an American radical lawyer and civil rights activist, known for his politically unpopular clients. He was an active member of the National Lawyers Guild, a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the co-founder of the Law Center for Constitutional Rights. Kunstler's defense of the Chicago Seven from 1969–1970 led The New York Times to label him "the country's most controversial and, perhaps, its best-known lawyer."

Starting later this week, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA will present The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler starring Jeff McCarthy in the title role. The show will run on BSC’s St. Germain Stage through June 10th. It is directed by Meagen Fay.

Jeff McCarthy is a Tony Award nominated actor and Associate Artist at Barrington Stage and he joins us.

5/15/17 Panel

May 15, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, and political consultant and lobbyist, Libby Post. 

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Among Dr. Diamond's many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by Rockefeller University. He has published more than six hundred articles and several books including the New York Times bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The 20th anniversary edition of Guns, Germs, and Steel features a new afterward by Diamond.

Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth grade dean at The Athenian School, where he also teaches history.

Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.

Mark recounts their experience in My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir.

Many members of Congress hold town meetings — but usually in their own district.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th district, speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission by Barry Friedman tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives were torn apart by policing -- by the methods of cops on the beat and those of the FBI and NSA.

Driven by technology, policing has changed dramatically. Once, cops sought out bad guys; today, increasingly militarized forces conduct wide surveillance of all of us.

5/12/17 Panel

May 12, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, author and activist Barbara Smith, and Director of the Journalism Department at the University at Albany, Rosemary Armao.

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of thirteen previous novels, including the best sellers Bad Monkey, Star Island, Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and five best-selling children’s books, Hoot, Flush, Scat, Chomp, and Skink. His most recent work of nonfiction is Dance of the Reptiles, a collection of his columns from The Miami Herald.

In his most recent novel Razor Girl, now out in paperback, Merry Mansfield specializes in kidnapping for the mob. Her preferred method is rear-ending her targets and asking them for a ride. Her latest mark is Martin Trebeaux, owner of a private beach renourishment company who has delivered substandard sand to a mob hotel. But there's just one problem: Razor Girl hits the wrong guy. Instead, she ends up with Lane Coolman, talent manager for Buck Nance, the star of a reality TV show about a family of Cajun rooster farmers. Buck Nance, left to perform standup at a Key West bar without his handler, makes enough off-color jokes to incite a brawl, then flees for his life and vanishes. Now a routine promotional appearance has become a missing persons case.

Will Pullen and Khris Davis in Sweat
Joan Marcus

Playwright Lynn Nottage made history last month as the first woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her play Sweat — her first to be produced on Broadway — was awarded the honor. She received her first Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Ruined, which was produced off-Broadway.

Sweat first premiered and was co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. After a sold-out run at off-Broadway’s prestigious Public Theater, the play moved to Broadway where it is now running at Studio 54 and is nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Directed by Kate Whoriskey, Sweat takes place in Reading, PA and features characters whose way of life is falling apart after the decline of the manufacturing, steel, and coal industries. They work together and they drink together - and when layoffs and picket lines begin - they find themselves fighting each other in the hard fight to keep going.

We are joined now by actors Khris Davis and Will Pullen - they play best-friends, Chris and Jason in Sweat. (To learn more about Davis and Pullen - their bios are below.)

Positive Train Control is still being delayed.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat from the fifth district, concludes her discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard? Because it challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish.

Astonishing teachings emerged two thousand years ago through the work of a succession of Chinese scholars exploring how humans can improve themselves and their society. And what are these counterintuitive ideas? Transformation comes not from looking within for a true self, but from creating conditions that produce new possibilities.

The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life is written by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh. 

Our guest is Michael Puett -- the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. He is the recipient of a Harvard College Professorship for excellence in undergraduate teaching and is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

5/11/17 Panel

May 11, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond. Today we did the show with a live audience at the Times Union's Hearst Media Center.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Editor Rex Smith, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, and Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao.

Albert Einstein and the people around him — many of whom shaped science history — are getting a fresh look on the new National Geographic series Genius. The new show, which premiered in April, jumps back in forth in time, focusing on the physicist’s early school days and young adulthood and his middle age experiences fleeing Germany. Samantha Colley plays the brilliant thinker Mileva Maric, who would become Einstein’s first wife. She has also appeared on stage and in the series Victoria.

Nancy Isenberg’s bestselling book: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America is now in paperback with a new preface covering the 2016 election.

Nancy Isenberg said the following about the political climate years ago surrounding Sarah Palin, “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win.” And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters that put Trump in the White House have always been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

In White Trash, Isenberg looks to obliterate the myth of America as a land of unbounded opportunity and social mobility and makes the case that while both class and identity politics matter, neither are sufficient alone to define categories of voting behavior. Again the name of the book is: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America. 

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Kander and Ebb’s classic Tony Award winning musical drama, Cabaret, is at Proctors this week. This touring production was directed by Sam Mendes and co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

To set the stage:

1930s, Berlin: The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret, a place of decadent celebration. The Klub's Master of Ceremonies, or M.C., is joined by the cabaret girls and headliner-of-sorts, Sally Bowles.

In a train station, Cliff Bradshaw arrives, a young American writer coming to Berlin to work on his new novel.

At Proctors this week, Jon Peterson plays the Emcee and Benjamin Eakeley plays Cliff.

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