The Roundtable

In The Once and Future Liberal, Mark Lilla offers an impassioned, tough-minded, and stinging look at the failure of American liberalism over the past two generations. Although there have been Democrats in the White House, and some notable policy achievements, for nearly 40 years the vision that Ronald Reagan offered—small government, lower taxes, and self-reliant individualism—has remained the country’s dominant political ideology. And the Democratic Party has offered no convincing competing vision in response.

Mark Lilla is a political scientist, journalist and professor of humanities at Columbia University. His newest book is The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others―including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

Jessica Bruder is a journalist who reports on subcultures and economic justice. Her newest book is Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

2/9/18 Panel

Feb 9, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, corporate attorney Rich Honen, and counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance.

Secret societies have fundamentally shaped America’s cultural and political landscapes. In ways that are expected but never explicit, the bonds made through the most elite of secret societies have won members Pulitzer Prizes, governorships, and even presidencies. At the apex of these institutions stands Yale University and its rumored twenty-six secret societies. Tracing a history that has intrigued and enthralled for centuries, alluring the attention of such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Skulls and Keys traces the history of Yale’s societies as they set the foundation for America’s future secret clubs and helped define the modern age of politics.

David Alan Richards, Yale alum and former 'bonesman,' is the author of Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale's Secret Societies. 

The story begins in 2007 when Deborah Campbell travels undercover to Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. There she meets and hires Ahlam, a refugee working as a “fixer”—providing Western media with trustworthy information and contacts to help get the news out. Ahlam, who fled her home in Iraq after being kidnapped while running a humanitarian centre, not only supports her husband and two children through her work with foreign journalists but is setting up a makeshift school for displaced girls. She has become a charismatic, unofficial leader of the refugee community in Damascus, and Campbell is inspired by her determination to create something good amid so much suffering. Ahlam soon becomes her friend as well as her guide. But one morning Ahlam is seized from her home in front of Campbell’s eyes. Haunted by the prospect that their work together has led to her friend’s arrest, Campbell spends the months that follow desperately trying to find her—all the while fearing she could be next.

Deborah Campbell is an award-winning writer known for combining culturally immersive fieldwork with literary journalism in places such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, Israel, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico and Russia. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, the EconomistForeign Policy, the GuardianNew ScientistMs., and other publications.

Her new book is A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War.

Lanny J. Davis is a lawyer who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and was a spokesperson for the president and the White House on matters concerning campaign finance and other legal issues.

In his new book, "The Unmaking Of The President 2016: How FBI Director James Comey Cost Hillary Clinton The Presidency," Davis puts forth his case for Donald Trump’s impeachment by showing how the actions of the FBI and Director James Comey in the months leading up to the 2016 election interfered with a fair, uncorrupt election.

Lanny Davis says his abuse of power since becoming president justifies initiating a serious investigation to impeach him or remove him for mental impairment under the 25th Amendment.

2/8/18 Panel

Feb 8, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Siena College Comparative Politics Professor Vera Eccarius-Kelly and Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

Listener Essay - Roots

Feb 8, 2018

Elisabeth Grace is a retired clinical social worker with English and Scottish roots, who shares her home in Columbia County with a demanding blue-eyed cat and a newcomer, a little brown dog named Lilah.

Roots

Anyone who has ever planted a garden, chopped down a tree or walked in the woods knows a lot about roots. I believed I did, until I began to consider the prompt our writing group had agreed to write on, and thought about one among other uses of the word roots. It was the meaning which spoke to me the loudest. Then, as one does these days, I turned to Wikipedia and discovered how little I actually knew.

At the back of my mind hovered another use of the word, particularly apt for anyone who aspires to write memoir; what are our roots, the source of our physical appearance, intelligence, personality traits, psychological make-up?  In recent years, particularly since the popularity of DNA testing, another element has become eminently discoverable; what country or countries did our forbears inhabit, contributing unsuspected ethnic strains to our 21st century beings?

Lois Lowry and Joe Donahue at Page Hall
Sarah LaDuke

Lois Lowry is a leading voice of children’s literature and the author of more than 30 books. She is known for work that explores such complex issues as racism, terminal illness, murder, and the Holocaust. She received the Newbery Medal for both "The Giver" and "Number the Stars." In 2007 Lowry received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her lasting contribution to young adult literature.

This interview was recorded at Page Hall as part of the "The Creative Life Series" created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Ali: A Life

Feb 7, 2018

He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us himself). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s most fantastic figures and arguably the most famous man on the planet.

But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, radically reshapes our understanding of the complicated man who was Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He conducted more than 500 interviews and uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. Collectively, they tell Ali’s story like never before—the story of a man who was flawed and uncertain and brave beyond belief.

Jonathan Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. His newest book is Ali: A Life.

A timely second edition of the classic text on transgender history, with a new introduction and updated material throughout.

Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of The Transsexual Phenomenon, and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-'70s to 1990-the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the '90s and '00s.

Susan Stryker is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, as well as Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies.

2/7/18 Panel

Feb 7, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois, Berkshire Eagle Reporter Jenn Smith and Political Consultant Libby Post.

  The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation partnered with WAMC in the 2018 Winter Fund Drive to donate support to Joseph’s House and Shelter in Troy, NY. 

Executive Director of Joseph’s House Kevin O’Connor, joins us.

The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation partnered with WAMC during the 2018 Winter Fund Drive to donate diapers to families in need through the The Food Pantries for the Capital District.

To tell us more, we welcome the Executive Director of the Food Pantries for the Capital District, Natasha Pernicka.

Mountain One Bank Community Dividend Program partnered with WAMC during our Winter 2018 Fund Drive to help Berkshire Food Project.

Dick Alcombright, Mountain One Community Dividend Program VP of Local Business and Customer Relations and Kim McMann, Executive Director of Berkshire Food Project join us.

There was a recording mishap with this live interview. It begins with Kim McMann describing how Berkshire Food Project started.

Women Against War will present International Coordinator for Women Cross the DMZ, Christine Ahn, at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany on Saturday, February 10 at 7 p.m. Her talk is entitled "Defusing the US-North Korea Conflict: Building on the Olympic Truce."

Ahn organized the 2015 Women’s March across the Korean DMZ, including Nobel Peace Laureates, women from North and South Korea and peace activists from across the world-including Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright from the US. Participants continue to advocate with global policy makers for a peaceful settlement. She is now leading a women’s peace delegation to the January 16th Forum of Foreign Ministers from 20 Countries in Vancouver, Canada.


  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of conversations about quoting, sampling, borrowing in music listening to Johann Sebastian Bach's Choral: Es ist genug and a portion of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto.

Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have collaborated on the book "Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life."

Their daily experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taught them valuable lessons about how to work productively with people from different walks of life and points of view. These Washington insiders share what they’ve learned through first person examples of their own glamorous (and sometimes harrowing) moments with celebrities, foreign leaders and that most unpredictable of animals - the American politician.

2/2/18 Panel

Feb 2, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, and Siena College Economics Professor Aaron Pacitti .

Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and speaker whose work on race has been featured in The Guardian, New York magazine, xoJane, Jezebel, and more. She is also an editor-at-large at The Establishment, and Seattle magazine named her "one of the most influential people" in Seattle.

In "So You Want to Talk About Race," Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Mamrie Hart is an actress, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author who established a presence in the pop culture zeitgeist with her hit YouTube channel, You Deserve a Drink.

Reaching more than three million followers across her social media channels and more than eighty-four million views on YouTube, Mamrie's influence as a creator earned her a position on Variety's annual list of Hollywood's New Leaders 2016 and a spot on The Hollywood Reporter's 2017 Digital Disrupters list.

Mamrie’s new essay collection is "I’ve Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery."

2/1/18 Panel

Feb 1, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Siena College Comparative Politics Professor Vera Eccarius-Kelly and Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

Jake Bernstein was a senior reporter on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that broke the Panama Papers story. In 2017, the project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. Bernstein earned his first Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for National Reporting, for coverage of the financial crisis.

In "Secrecy World," Bernstein explores this shadow economy and how it evolved, drawing on millions of leaked documents from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca ― a trove now known as the Panama Papers ― as well as other journalistic and government investigations. Bernstein shows how shell companies operate, how they allow the super-wealthy and celebrities to escape taxes, and how they provide cover for illicit activities on a massive scale by crime bosses and corrupt politicians across the globe.

This year’s Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY is Saturday, February 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Using historic tools, children and adults can walk out on the frozen mill pond to cut and maneuver blocks of ice. The ice blocks are pushed up a ramp and then loaded onto sleds, which are hauled to a traditional ice house.

Ice harvesting will take place all day, and visitors also can take part in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Hanford Mills Museum’s Executive Director Liz Callahan joins us.

It’s hard to imagine a country without Medicare, Medicaid, public television and radio, voting rights, integrated schools and hospitals, federal funding for K-12 education, environmental and consumer protections. Yet, according to our next guest, this political inheritance is today under siege.

In his new book, "Building The Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House," Politico Magazine contributing editor Joshua Zeitz shares how Lyndon Johnson and his White House aides built the Great Society and what can be lost in throwing it away.

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