The Roundtable

  Singer songwriter Josh Ritter performs along with The Royal City Band tonight at The Egg in Albany in support of his new album Sermon on the Rocks.

Two years after Beast in its Tracks, an emotional breakup album, the singer-songwriter is back with his eighth full-length album. Sermon on the Rocks 12 songs were recorded over two weeks at New Orleans’ The Parlor Recording Studio.

As its title suggests, the album is Ritter's foray into what he calls "messianic oracular honky-tonk." We were thrilled to have Josh Ritter join us at The Linda. 

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we're checking in with the New York Council about the topic of one of their Democracy in Dialogue Town Halls. This event will be held this Tuesday at The Linda, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, and will address issues related to gender-based workplace discrimination - including questions of unconscious bias, the history of workplace inequality, and how the skills of the humanities can address these issues.

We are joined by Sara Ogger, executive director of the New York Council for the Humanities, Barbara Smith, one of our frequent guests and a panelist at the event.

  George W. Bush, the forty-third president of the United States, almost singlehandedly decided to invade Iraq. It was possibly the worst foreign-policy decision ever made by a president. The consequences dominated the Bush Administration and still haunt us today.

In Bush, Jean Edward Smith, demonstrates that it was not Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice, but President Bush himself who took personal control of foreign policy.

7/22/16 Panel

Jul 22, 2016

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

  By now, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard or read something about a little musical about a "ten-dollar Founding Father without a father" played or transcribed somewhere (everywhere).

Hamilton: An American Musical is ubiquitous and its reach far exceeds the confines of Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. The excitement created by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterwork bursts the fandom of the musical into a genuine interest in American History for many people.

So, if you were a museum in Albany, New York - a city where the Founding Father and first Treasury Secretary spent more than a little time -- what would you do?

If you answered put together a show about General George Washington's aide-de-camp and right-hand-man, you’d have had the same thought as The Albany Institute of History and Art.

A small exhibition exploring Alexander Hamilton’s time in Albany is currently on display. Curator, Diane Shewchuck, joins us to tell us more.

  The new film Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now will be seen Thursday night at 7PM at The Linda: WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio in Albany.

Narrated by actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, the film is a direct appeal to President Obama as he shapes his environmental legacy, but it is also a very loud shout-out to every elected official in the country to carefully consider the growing evidence that proves that leaving fossil fuels in the ground is the only reasonable energy path forward.

The film is written and directed by Jon Bowermaster.

  History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy’s enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s.

In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure.

7/20/16 Panel

Jul 20, 2016

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

  In his new book, Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior, Jonah Berger explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat.

Without our realizing it, other people’s behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous occasion. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions: our attitudes toward a welfare policy shift if we’re told it is supported by Democrats versus Republicans (even though the policy is the same in both cases).

  To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a care-free paradise, yet it's also known for its perils - alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few. It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its man-made fantasies.

Craig Pittman's Oh, Florida! explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state. It is the first book to explore the reasons why Florida is so wild and weird - and why that's okay. Florida couldn't be Florida without that sense of the unpredictable, unexpected, and unusual lurking behind every palm tree.

 

This week's Book Picks come to us from Emily Crowe at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA.

List:
Return by Aaron Becker
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Speak by Louisa Hall
Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
Murder on the Quai by Cara Black
Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

  The Northeast has several competitive House districts, which is unusual.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that that fact makes him work even harder for his constituents. 

  PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill along with NPR host Rachel Martin are anchoring the special coverage from the GOP National Convention in Cleveland each evening from 8-11 here on WAMC. 

PBS NewsHour Correspondent Lisa Desjarsins joins us from Cleveland to discuss the national political conventions and what the conventions say about the candidates seeking the presidency.

7/19/16 Panel

Jul 19, 2016

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

  We will be honest, we had two very successful mystery writers booked to be on this morning’s show. But, after what happened in Baton Rouge yesterday after what happened over the past 10 days, we became uncomfortable with the idea of talking about police and crime as entertainment. We will have both authors on in the days to come – but this morning – we wanted to talk with Dr. Frankie Bailey instead.

She is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany. She studies crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. She is also the author several mysteries including two police procedural novels featuring Albany police detective Hannah Stuart. 

  Ever since Donald Trump entered the presidential race—in a press conference attended by paid actors, in which he slandered Mexican immigrants—he has dominated headlines, becoming the unrestrained id at the center of one of the most bizarre and alarming elections in American history.

It was not always so. In 1996, longtime New Yorker writer Mark Singer was conscripted by his editor to profile Donald Trump. At that time Trump was a mere Manhattan-centric megalomaniac, a failing casino operator mired in his second divorce and (he claimed) recovering from the bankruptcy proceedings that prompted him to inventory the contents of his Trump Tower home. 

In Trump and Me, Singer revisits the profile and recounts how its publication lodged inside its subject’s head as an enduring irritant—and how Singer (“A TOTAL LOSER!” according to Trump) cheerfully continued to bait him.

  In his new book, The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, challenges us to grasp the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA)—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white Christian nation.

7/18/16 Panel

Jul 18, 2016

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

  It’s 1942 and the Nazis are racing to be the first to build a weapon unlike any known before. They have the physicists, they have the uranium, and now all their plans depend on amassing a single ingredient: heavy water, which is produced in Norway’s Vemork, the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance. Under threat of death, Vemork’s engineers push production into overdrive.
 
For the Allies, the plant must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth?
 
Based on a trove of top secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skies, perilous survival in the wild, sacrifice for one’s country, Gestapo manhunts, soul-crushing setbacks, and a last-minute operation that would end any chance Hitler could obtain the atomic bomb—and alter the course of the war.

  After completing her MFA program in non-fiction, Hannah Tennant-Moore set off on a two-month sojourn to Sri Lanka to examine her longtime interest in Buddhism before beginning the next chapter of her professional career.

Immersed in the culture of the country and surrounded by the fascinating people that she got to know, she began to connect the threads that would form her new novel, Wreck and Order.  The result is a novel of ideas that looks at spirituality, sex, life, friendship, and the eternal quest for fulfillment in life and love that drives us all. 

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about the political impact of millennials and about a public lecture happening in August in Charlemont, MA, on the profound demographic transformation happening today, as characterized by the Millennial and Boomer generations.

We are joined today by Pam Porter, of The Charlemont Forum, and by Paul Taylor, who is the former Executive Vice President of the Pew Research Institute and the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown Paul will be speaking at the Charlemont Forum in Charlemont, MA, on Wednesday, August 10th. 

  But What If We’re Wrong? visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past.

Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

7/15/16 Panel

Jul 15, 2016

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

  Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Eric Jay Dolin's book, Brilliant Beaconstraces the evolution of America's lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation's hardscrabble coastlines.

Beginning with "Boston Light," America's first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses.

7/14/16 Panel

Jul 14, 2016

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

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