Larry Rhodes hosts a one hour long secular radio talk show.
Topic: How to cope with day to day stress.
Call (865) 691-6816 for more information.
RET member, Michael Lance will lead this presentation and discussion.
The book for March is “White Trash: the 400 year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity. (480 pages).
RET member Shawn Grant will present a talk titled "The Joys of Backyard Stargazing". The presentation will concentrate on how to appreciate the night sky by naked eye and with binoculars that most of us already own. Tips will be given on how to identify constellations and planets. Meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, and eclipses will also be discussed together with a demonstration of phone apps that help to navigate the sky and to forecast interesting events. There will also be a strong focus on the upcoming total solar eclipse visible in East Tennessee on August 21, including the best locations for viewing and how to do it safely.
Understanding the features of the night sky is a good gateway towards scientific literacy that we should share with others, and Shawn will briefly discuss how fascination with this aspect of nature fostered his love of science and led him away from religion.
The book for April is “BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. Modern Medicine has transformed the dangers of childbirth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the face of death, what it can do often runs counter to what it should do. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Atul Gawande reveals the suffering this has produced. He examines the profession's limitations and failures as life draws to a close. And he shows how the ultimate goal is not good death, but a good life --- until the very end. (282 pages).
Elizabeth Corbett will be our guest speaker.
The book for May is “The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters” by Sean B. Carroll. One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated--there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar--there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. (280 pages).
The book for June is “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation” by Rebecca Traister. A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America, this “singularly triumphant work” (Los Angeles Times) by Rebecca Traister “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott) is “sure to be vigorously discussed” (Booklist, starred review). Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism. Exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister’s signature wit and insight, this book should be shelved alongside Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed. (352 pages).
The book for July is “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” by Rana Foroohar . Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate ALL American businesses, putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown. Thanks to 40 years of policy changes and bad decisions, only about 15 % of all the money in our market system actually ends up in the real economy – the rest stays within the closed loop of finance itself. The financial sector takes a quarter of all corporate profits in this country while creating only 4 % of American jobs. The tax code continues to favor debt over equity, making it easier for companies to hoard cash overseas rather than reinvest it on our shores. Our biggest and most profitable corporations are investing more money in stock buybacks than in research and innovation. And, still, the majority of the financial regulations promised after the 2008 meltdown have yet come to pass, thanks to cozy relationship between our lawmakers and the country’s wealthiest financiers. (400 pages).