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Past Events at CDHS 2017, 2018

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

Prior years' links are at the bottom of this page.


Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill:

"Why Theater?"
December, 2018

Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill is Artistic Director of Capital Repertory Theatre. Her talk was titled, "Why Theatre?"

So, what is theatre, anyway? Mancinelli-Cahill defined it as what happens between actors and an audience. Theatre is an art form that needs an audience. She traced its roots back to the Stone Age -- "all the world's a campfire" -- and the aboriginal human love for story-telling. She even acted out a battle story cavemen might tell.


Dr. Vivek Jain, PhD:

"The Big Bang"
November, 2018

Vivek Jain is Associate Professor of Physics at SUNY. His talk was about the Big Bang. We start from the fact that the Universe was created by God in 4004 BC. Oops, wrong talk. It was actually more like 13,800,000,000 BC (give or take a year or two). The event is called the Big Bang -- a name given by astronomer Fred Hoyle intended sarcastically -- and it was not an "explosion." Rather, if you take the laws of physics and run the tape backwards, you get to a point where the Universe is virtually infinitely tiny, dense, and hot.


Dr. Sue Parry, PhD:

"Domestic Violence"
October, 2018

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. So to celebrate it, we had another of our delightful cheery talks, titled "Understanding Domestic Violence," by Sue Parry. She is a CDHS member with a PhD in counseling from Michigan State University and served with the state Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence (DV).


Dr. Walter E. Little:

"Economics of Diversity - Collective Responses to Disaster in Guatemala."
September, 2018

Little explained that he has visited Guatemala annually for the last thirty years, mainly studying textiles, and his talk was originally supposed to be about textiles and fair trade. But during his most recent trip, on June 3, 2018, he happened to be in the vicinity when the Fuego volcano erupted, with considerable devastation, and several hundred apparently killed.


Susan Kayne:

"Saving the Thoroughbred Horses"
August, 2018

Susan Kayne is founder and head of the Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, aimed at saving throughbred horses from slaughter. She has hosted a TV show titled "Unbridled." Kayne said 154,000 horses live in New York State, thoroughbreds being the biggest segment, numbering 39,000. It's a $5.3 billion industry. She said she has been in love with horses her whole life, and was in the business of managing thoroughbred horses, typically 70-100 at a time.


Michelle Kelly CPA:

"Changes in the December 2017 Federal Tax Legislation"
July, 2018

Michelle Kelley is a CDHS member and CPA with 30 years experience handling tax matters. She reviewed the changes in the December 2017 federal tax legislation. The main thrust, she said, was to reduce individual tax rates, and give tax breaks to our neediest citizens. Then she corrected the latter, saying it was actually to give them to corporations.


Olga Porterfield:

"The Plight of Jewish Emigrants from Russia."
June, 2018

Olga Porterfield, a longtime CDHS member, spoke about Jewish refugees exiting the Soviet Union -- she was one of them, at age 20, in 1979.

She began with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. -- "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."


Dr. Eloise Briere:

"How the Richest Colony in the World Became the Poorest Nation in the Western Hemisphere."
May, 2018

Eloise Briere is a professor of various things French. This led her to mentor students of Haitian background (Haiti's language is French), and an interest in the country. Her talk was subtitled "How the richest colony in the world became the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere." People don't choose to be poor, she said, it takes a long time. In Haiti's case, 350 years.


Dr. Minita Sanghvi PhD:

Gender and Political Marketing in the United States and the 2016 Presidential Election: An Analysis of Why She Lost.
April, 2018

CDHS' April meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Minita Sanghvi, who is an assistant professor in the management and business department at Skidmore College where she teaches business, marketing, gender and politics in the United States. The presentation was based on Dr. Sanghyi’s research and forthcoming book, Gender and Political Marketing in the United States and the 2016 Presidential Election: An Analysis of Why She Lost. Dr. Sanghvi contends that Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election due to a combination of gender issues and political marketing tactics


Josephine Ryan PhD:

review of "The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia"
March, 2018

Josephine Ryan has a doctorate in public administration from NYU, a long past career in government, and calls herself an amateur historian. Usually she introduces our talks; this time she gave it.

It was based on a book by James Bradley, The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia..


Elizabeth Moran:

"Clean Water in Peril"
February, 2018

"Clean Water in Peril" was the title of our February talk by Elizabeth Moran, Director of Water and Natural Resources with Environmental Advocates of New York, which she described as a "green watchdog organization" engaged in advocacy and lobbying. Moran said her job mainly involves poop (both human and animal, vast quantities of which find their way into water sources).


Younus Samadzada:

"The Changing Character of Religion and Culture in Afghanistan"
January, 2018

Younus Samadzada is a CDHS member and native of Afghanistan. His talk was titled, "The Changing Character of Religion and Culture in Afghanistan;" it concentrated on the country's history. Afghanistan was part of the Persian Empire, history's first major empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, which flourished from about 500 to 330 BC, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. (You had to add "the Great" to your name to be sure of getting many "likes" on Instagram.) The Persian Empire's religion was Zoroastrianism, cooked up by Zoroaster. They worshipped the god Ahura-Mazda (not to be confused with Accura-Mazda, the god of chariots).


Blair Horner:

"Fake News in History"
December, 2017

Blair Horner was the longtime Legislative Director, and currently Executive Director, of the New York Public Interest Research Group. It's a non-partisan public policy advocacy organization, with a belief in representative government, directed by the best available evidence. Horner's focus was on democracy and voting in New York State. To establish a context, he identified a "dramatic drop" in voter participation and civic involvement over the last several decades.


Nancy Roberts and Thomas Palmer:

"Fake News in History."
November, 2017

Nancy Roberts and Thomas Palmer are both on the SUNY journalism faculty. Palmer is also a part-time Times-Union executive editor. Roberts reviewed "Fake News in History." She started with Jonathan Swift's 1729 "modest proposal" for dealing with Irish poverty by eating their children -- a satire which Roberts deemed a category of fake news. Another category is "atrocity propaganda," actually pioneered by Benjamin Franklin with a fabricated report of British-allied Indian outrages during the Revolution. In the 1840s anti-Catholic sentiment was whipped up by false stories of Catholics stealing and burning King James Bibles.." His focus was on what physics is all about, and how it developed.



Dr. Joseph Gulyas:

"Listening to the body in Chiropractic"
October 2017

Dr. Joseph Gulyas has been a practicing chiropractor, in Guilderland and Clifton Park, for thirty years. Chiropractic entails "manipulation therapy" using the practitioner's hands rather than any other instruments or medicines, focusing upon (but not limited to) the spine. (It was noted in the introduction that it is considered "alternative medicine" and has been called an "unscientific cult" by the American Medical Association.) His focus was on what physics is all about, and how it developed.


Leonard D'Arrigo Esq.:

Immigration and Employment
September, 2017

Leonard D'Arrigo is a partner in the prominent Albany law firm Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna. He specializes in immigration matters, and presented an overview of our existing system -- seeking to separate facts from myths.

D'Arrigo is particularly involved with employment-based immigration, that is, helping businesses bring in skilled personnel. A key myth is that firms like to hire foreigners, in lieu of Americans, because it is cheaper. It is not, D'Arrigo explained; to the contrary, given all the bureaucratic hurdles, the costs and fees, it is very expensive. Furthermore, government regulations apply to such imported workers, forcing firms to actually pay them more than domestic workers would earn.



Guenther Langner Ph.D.:

"Physics and Physicists and What They Do."
August, 2017

Our August speaker was Guenther Langner, a longtime CDHS member, who spent his life in science, with 47 professional publications and 17 patents in his name or with others. His talk was titled "Physics and Physicists and What They Do." His focus was on what physics is all about, and how it developed.


Mark Lowery:

"Hell and High Water"
July, 2017

Mark Lowery was educated in biology and is a 28-year employee of the Department of Environmental Conservation. He currently heads its Climate Change Office (New York has the nation's second largest), calling himself the DEC's "most depressing person." His talk was titled "Hell and High Water" -- it concerned the local consequences of climate change, and what can be done about them.


Mary Partridge Brown and Roberta Sandler:

Grassroot Givers:
June, 2017

Grassroot operates out of the former YMCA building at 274 Washington Avenue (near Henry Johnson Boulevard, renting space from the church that owns it). Its chief mission is to help poorer people and especially those "transitioning," e.g. from homeless shelters or prison, to living on their own -- mainly by providing material items they need, for independent living, such as clothing, pots and pans and other kitchen items, etc. Grassroot adheres to a policy of "respectful giving," making sure that what it hands out is good stuff tailored to need, not useless cast-off junk.


Dr. Frank Wind:

The Grand Canyon -- a Different View
May, 2017

Dr. Frank Wind's topic was "The Grand Canyon -- a Different View." That is the title of a book -- multi-authored and beautifully illustrated -- arguing for a fundamentalist Biblical take on the geological history. Fundamentalist Christians remain wedded to Bishop Ussher's17th century calculation, based on the Bible, that the Earth was created in 4004 BC (on October 23, to be exact). This is called "Young Earth Creationism" and of course it implies rejection of mainstream geology with an Earth billions of years old. So the Grand Canyon, they say, was not produced over many millions of years, but was a quickie.


Dr. Michael Brannigan:

"Ghost" Surgery
April, 2017

Dr. Michael Brannigan holds the enviable titles of Dean of Spiritual Life and professor in Ethics and Moral Values at the College of Saint Rose. His April topic was “Ghost surgery.” This might seemingly fit with his “spiritual life” portfolio. However, Dr. Brannigan was not actually talking about surgery performed by ghosts (nor upon them). Instead, the focus was upon surgical involvement by members of a medical “team” other than the lead surgeon himself, which Brannigan analogized to ghost writing; and what this means for the issue of informed patient consent.


Richard Berkley Esq.:

How The Public Is Being Ripped-Off By ESCO's
March, 2017

Richard Berkley is an attorney and Executive Director of the New York Public Utility Law Project. PULP advocates on behalf of utility consumers, especially low income consumers. It is approximately 80% funded with taxpayer money bestowed by the state legislature. His talk was about consumers being systematically overcharged by energy supply companies (ESCOs)


Peter Kelsey:

Peter Young Housing, Industries, and Treatment- Schuyler Inn
January, 2017

CDHS' January meeting featured a presentation by Peter Kelsey, who is the Executive Director of Peter Young Housing, Industries and Treatment (PYHIT). Mr. Kelsey has been with PYHIT for 34 years. He provided an overview of PYHIT and the volunteer opportunities at their Schuyler Inn facility in Menands, New York. PYHIT is a state-wide organization that receives funding from various Federal, State, and local sources to address the needs of the homeless and disenfranchised. Locally, PYHIT provides assistance and services via these three programs


[Past Events 2016]

[Past Events 2015]

[Past Events 2014]

[Past Events 2013]

[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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