In The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.

In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.

  "Whoever said you can't get sober for someone else never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas, I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most."

So begins this astonishing memoir ― by turns both darkly comic and deeply poignant ― about this native Texan's long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality. The book is listed as “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s bestselling The Art of Memoir and was a Book Chase Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2015.

1/8/15 Panel

Jan 8, 2015

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post and Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld.

Scheduled discussion topics include: Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Texas abortion rules, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's message on the middle class; Antibiotic news.

1/7/15 Panel

Jan 7, 2015

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, political consultant Libby Post, and WAMC newsman, Ray Graf.

Topics include: Shootings in France at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and in El Paso at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System's clinic, Gay Marriage in Florida, Robert F. McDonnell sentenced to two years in prison, Boehner beats dissent.

  In June 2013, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis was introduced to the world as a hero to women and the men who love them. Davis stood and spoke on the floor of the state senate for nearly thirteen hours to run out the clock on a sweeping bill that aimed to close all but five women’s health clinics providing access to abortion and lifesaving healthcare in Texas.

During that time, she wasn’t allowed to eat, drink, sit, use the bathroom, speak off-topic, or lean against any furniture. When it was over, everyone from the White House to young women in small Texas towns shared her story. With calls, rallies on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Twitter, Facebook and a host of social media, Wendy Davis—with her pink sneakers—suddenly became a national household name.

9/2/14 Panel

Sep 2, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain & Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
NATO Response Force
Texas Abortion Law Update
Obama: Equal Pay
Joan Rivers
Nude Celebrity Photos Leaked
Bad Blue Light

4/3/14 Panel

Apr 3, 2014


  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, University at Albany professor and Investigative Journalist Rosemary Armao and Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus, Ira Fusfeld.

Topics include:
Fort Hood
SCOTUS Political Donation Cap
Campaign spending polls
ACA Numbers
Texas Abortion lawsuit

3/28/14 Panel

Mar 28, 2014


  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, newsman Ray Graf, and Investigative journalist, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
New Search Area for Flight 370
Christie Review
Turkey Twitter Ban
Texas Abortion Law
Lawmaker Stipends

1/21/14 Panel

Jan 21, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao and Times Union Associate Editor, Mike Spain.

Topics include:
Christie Troubles
Wendy Davis - Texas
Cuomo Budget
Aging Study
TU Stories

  Texas may well be America’s most controversial state. Evangelicals dominate the halls of power, millions of its people live in poverty, and its death row is the busiest in the country. Skeptical outsiders have found much to be offended by in the state’s politics and attitude. And yet, according to journalist (and Texan) Erica Grieder, the United States has a great deal to learn from Texas.

She joins us to speak about her new book, Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.