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Past Events at CDHS 2013

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


Gail Myers-

When I'm 64.....Health and Economic Security Challenges facing Older New Yorkers
December, 2013

Gail Myers is Deputy Director of the New York Statewide Senior Action Council, which she described as “left leaning but nonpartisan.” She has also been the Governor’s Special Assistant for Community Affairs. Her talk covered a range of concerns relating to health insurance and senior citizens. She began with the 1960s “War of Poverty” and creation of the Medicare program, followed decades later by the addition of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

[more] [video]

Carl Strock-

From D’burg to Jerusalem: The Unlikely Rise and Awful Fall of a Small-Town Newsman
November, 2013

Carl Strock is the former editor of Asian Golf News. But (thankfully) that’s not what his talk was about; rather, his book, From D’burg to Jerusalem: The Unlikely Rise and Awful Fall of a Small-Town Newsman. Carl did start his journalistic career in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, working for the AP and also as editor of the South China Morning Post. When he returned stateside and needed an income, finding work as the Rotterdam area reporter for the Schenectady (later Daily) Gazette felt like a big come-down. This was aggravated when he had to cover a dismal Duanesburg town board meeting, whose main agenda item was painting the town garage’s roof.


Dr. John Delano-

October, 2013

John Delano is a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Associate Dean at SUNY-Albany. He spoke about NASA’s search for habitable planets orbiting other stars. “Astrobiology” is a multidisciplinary science aimed at understanding the origin and distribution of life in the Universe. Some of the key questions: What is life? Is the Solar System typical? Is complex life common? Is intelligence inevitable?


Jennifer Lemak-

Southern Life, Northern City: The History of Albany’s Rapp Road Community
September, 2013

Our September speaker, Jennifer Lemak, is a Senior Historian at the New York State Museum. Her talk was titled, Southern Life, Northern City: The History of Albany’s Rapp Road Community. The community in question is a tract in the Pine Bush, off Washington Avenue Extension, populated by black families whose roots derive from the small Mississippi town of Shubuta and its environs. This was part of what’s called the “Great Migration,” prominently chronicled in a wonderful book by Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns – the migration of blacks from south to north between about 1915 and 1970.


David Persons-

The Jesus Story as A Myth
August, 2013

For humanists, the word “heretic” comes up a lot, often employed loosely. But our August speaker was the genuine article – having been formally charged with heresy by the Presbyterian church, after 33 years as one of its pastors in the Western New York area. David Persons gave a talk that mostly recapitulated his life story, and his personal journey in matters spiritual and religious.


Dr. Janet Spitz-

Sex, Beer, and Spirituality: Return of the Beer Witch, Ale-Wife, and Brewster

July, 2013

Dr. Janet Spitz is an economist at the College of Saint Rose. Her talk was titled Sex, Beer, and Spirituality: Return of the Beer Witch, Ale-Wife, and Brewster. And you thought economics was dull. Dr. Spitz began by displaying some herbs (including wormwood, which she said is a good substitute for mothballs). This led her to talking about a role of women in prehistoric times, that of the herb maven, wise woman, healer/adviser, and bootlegger. Beer was indeed one of our earliest “processed foods,” whose preparation required a knowledge base about the right ingredients, and a lot of fastidious care – i.e., not the forte of the male of the species.


Tom Stebbins-

New York’s Litigation Culture
June, 2013

Tom Stebbins is Executive Director of Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY). His talk was titled “New York’s Litigation Culture.” Another phrase for the issue is “Tort Reform.” A “tort” is an injury, for which compensation is sought (theoretically from a party responsible) in a civil lawsuit (as opposed to criminal proceedings). While many people (of leftward bent) consider this a “conservative” pursuit, Stebbins rejected the idea that it’s ideological. Indeed, he said, the money wasted on unnecessary litigation is money that could otherwise be devoted to pursuits beloved by liberals.


Michael Sattinger-

Review of a book by Joseph Stiglitz, "The Price of Inequality"
May, 2013

Michael Sattinger is a Professor of Economics at the State University at Albany. He presented a review of a book by Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz is a Nobel-laureate economist and former World Bank official.


Steve Trimm- "President Grant reminisces about President Lincoln" - an enactment
April, 2013

Our April 1880 speaker was Ulysses S. Grant. For those with short memories, General Grant, as he is usually known, commanded the Union forces in the recent unpleasantness with the southern states, and subsequently served two terms as president.


Rosemary Armao- "Media Ethics in Covering Controversial Issues" March, 2013

Rosemary Armao is a journalism professor at SUNY Albany, and also works as an investigative editor in Eastern Europe and other foreign locales. She is a regular panelist on WAMC’s Media Project. Her talk was titled “Media Ethics in Covering Controversial Issues.” It was an interactive presentation, with much back-and forth with audience members.


February 19th- SNOW DAY!

Dr. Alice Green- "Mass Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System" January, 2013

Alice Green has a doctorate in criminal justice, and in 1985 founded the Center for Law and Justice in Albany, which she still runs. She is also an adjunct professor at SUNY, and has long been a vocal advocate on the issue of African-American incarceration. To explain what she does, and why, Dr. Green cited three major influences.


[Past Events 2012]

[Past Events 2011]

[Past Events 2010]

[Past Events 2009]

[Past Events 2008]

[Past Events 2007]

[Past Events 2006]

[Past Events 2005]

[Past Events 2004]

[Past Events 2003]

[Past Events 2002]

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