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Past Events at CDHS 2009

This page lists recent lectures and events. It includes a brief description plus a link to a complete summary.



Sheldon Solomon- Democracy and Education, December, 2009

Our December program featured Sheldon Solomon- a Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College, specializing in the nature of self, consciousness, and social behavior. He is the author of several books, co-founder of the “World Leaders Project” – and a restauranteur (yes).



Ruth Pelham- Albany's Music Mobile Lady, November, 2009

Our November program featured Ruth Pelham, “founder and persona” of Albany’s Music Mobile, and her guitar. Ruth’s infectious good cheer and enthusiasm made this an inspiriting afternoon. The Music Mobile embodies the idea of “community music,” traveling through the city and reaching out with performances and programs, especially for children; one of the key elements is getting kids to participate in making their own innovative musical instruments.


Single Payer Health Reform- A Viable Alternative? October, 2009

Our October program focused on advocacy for health care reform, with a tandem of speakers: Dr. Tony Mason, Vice Chair of the Albany Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, a practicing physician and an Associate Professor at Albany Medical College; and Phil Steck, Albany County legislator and ex-Colonie Democratic Chairman (who ran for Congress last year on a single-payer platform).

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The Judicial Importance Of “Amicus Curiae” Briefs, September, 2009

Robert Magee is a 2009 Albany Law School graduate aiming to pursue a career in constitutional litigation – of which he’s already gotten a taste, by participating in the submission of “amicus curiae” briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, in two recent landmark cases. One was Safford v. Redding, concerning the strip-search of a thirteen-year-old Arizona schoolgirl (on suspicion of possession of that “devil drug” ibuprofen). The other was Ashcroft v. Iqbal, upon which Magee’s talk focused.


Sean Faircloth is named Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, August, 2009

At our July meeting we were treated to a presentation given by Sean Faircloth, who was named Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America in June. He is also a 10-year political veteran and was the former Majority Whip of the Maine House of Representatives.



James Howard Kunstler: “Problems Facing Industrial Societies in the Post-Petroleum Age.” July, 2009

At our July meeting we were treated to a presentation given by James Howard Kunstler on the future of America's energy useage. James Howard Kunstler is a Saratoga Springs resident who has gained notoriety authoring numerous books, including The Geography of Nowhere and, recently, The Long Emergency, extremely critical toward modern American society. His talk was titled, “Problems Facing Industrial Societies in the Post-Petroleum Age.”


“CFI's 12th World Congress” A Report by Dorothy Sager, June, 2009

At our June meeting we were treated to a report on the Center For Inquiry’s Twelfth World Congress, held in Bethesda, Maryland, in April. Our Co-Executive Director and Program Chair Dot Sager presented the overview, with some kibitzing from the sidelines by husband Carl Sager (both had attended).”


“Dr. Lawrence Egbert- The Final Exit Network, May, 2009

Dr. Lawrence Egbert is out on bail, having recently been arrested, along with several others, for allegedly violating a newly-passed Georgia law seeking to criminalize assisted suicide or anything like it. Egbert is a retired professor of anaesthesiology, and former Medical Director of Final Exit Network.


“Dr. Austin Dacey- “The Secular Conscience – Why Belief Belongs in Public Life April, 2009

Dacey began his Easter Day talk with a Bible reading: the story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham prepared to obey. Isaac was saved in the nick of time by an angel who said, “Never mind, it was just a test.” This story is usually read as one of faith and obedience.


“Dr. Hy Kuritz- “Citizenship: A Privilege or a Right?” March, 2009

Our March speaker was Hy Kuritz, a CDHS member, whose topic was “Citizenship: A Privilege or a Right?” He began with the observation that in modern society, the distance between citizens and government has increased, diminishing the role of the citizen, and making citizenship passive rather than active.


“ Dr. Heidi Newberg Discovering the Expanding Universe, February, 2009

Our February speaker was Dr. Heidi Newberg, a Physics Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, whose subject was “Discovering the Expanding Universe.” Dr. Newberg is a cosmologist (not cosmetologist), and perhaps the only cosmological songstress in the cosmos. She began with a guitar-accompanied song: “Where Have All the Free Quarks Gone?”


Larry Beinhart “The Place of Religion and Irreligion in Politics” January, 2009

Our January speaker was Larry Beinhart, author of several books including the famous Wag the Dog (no, it was not about a dog named Wag) and, most recently, Salvation Boulevard, “a thriller about death, faith, and God.” Larry was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford, has won numerous big literary awards, and has been a film director, political consultant, and ski instructor.


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[Past Events 2002]

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