Programs for Apr 1-30

April 1, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Jack Nagel, professor emeritus of political science at Penn. His topic—The Struggle for Voting Rights: Will National Reforms Prevail over State Rollbacks?

The pandemic spurred historic liberalization of voters’ access to the polls in 2020, and now state legislators across the nation have introduced nearly a thousand bills affecting voting rights. Most of these would expand access, but about 250 of them would make voting more difficult, especially in battleground states such as Pennsylvania. Two major pieces of federal legislation would block many of these restrictive measures. H.R.1, the For the People Act, has already passed the House on a near–party line vote. H.R.4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, has yet to be introduced in the current session, but a previous version passed in 2019. Senate passage of H.R.1, and probably H.R.4 as well, depends on elimination or reform of the filibuster. Prof. Nagel will give an overview of major state and federal proposals, and then provide background on the filibuster and how it might be abolished or curtailed—along with predicting likely outcomes and consequences.

Jack Nagel has studied electoral systems in depth, including alternatives to single-winner plurality elections, which predominate in the U.S.; the effects of plurality elections on three-party competition in Britain; electoral reform attempts in Britain and Canada; and the mixed-member proportional electoral system adopted in 1996 by New Zealand. His articles on electoral subjects have appeared in political science journals and edited volumes in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Britain, and Europe. He has given testimony on electoral reforms to legislatures and courts in Pennsylvania, Quebec, and Minnesota. And he has written op-eds on electoral matters for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He advises FairVote, a nonpartisan national reform group, and assisted them in defending ranked-choice voting against legal challenges in Minnesota and Maine. At Penn, he chaired the Political Science department and was associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. He holds a B.A. with highest honors from Swarthmore and a Ph.D. from Yale.

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April 5, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Matthew McGovern is our Quarterback.

April 8, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Paula Marantz Cohen, dean of the Pennoni Honors College and a distinguished professor of English at Drexel. Her topic—King Lear and the Marginality That Comes With Age.

Prof. Cohen will read and discuss a chapter from her new book, Of Human Kindness: What Shakespeare Teaches Us About Empathy (Yale University Press, 2020).

Paula Marantz Cohen is the author of six nonfiction books on literature, film, and culture; and her six novels include the best-selling Jane Austen in Boca and a thriller based on the James family, What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper. Her essays have appeared in The Yale Review, The American Scholar, The Times Literary Supplement, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She is the host of the TV interview show, “The Civil Discourse,” broadcast on PBS stations across the country, and a co-editor of the Journal of Modern Literature. She is also the proud spouse of Innmate Alan Penziner.

New Capability: To see a recording of this presentation, click on Play Event. Click on the play button at the bottom left of the screen that comes up to see the presentation. Put your computer into full screen mode to get the best image.

April 12, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Dick Goldberg is our Quarterback.

April 15, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Thom Nickels, well-known Philadelphia author and journalist. His topic—Religious Cults in Philadelphia, is based on his book, From Mother Divine to the Corner Swami: Religious Cults in Philadelphia.

Religious cults have marked every society since the beginning of time. Some have an audacious presence, while others seem to be the very soul of respectability. From Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement with its connections to Jim Jones of Jonestown infamy, to Krishna Consciousness, Scientology, and Anton Szandor LaVey’s Church of the Process and its missionaries in Suburban Station, to Philadelphia’s assorted New Age marketers and pop-up gurus, Thom followed a long-standing curiosity about religious practice beyond the mainstream to write his newest book on religious, and some secular, cults in Philadelphia (Arcadia Publishing, 2020).

Thom Nickels is the author of fifteen books, including Philadelphia Architecture (2005); SPORE (2005); Literary Philadelphia: A History of Prose & Poetry in the City of Brotherly Love (2015); and Philadelphia Mansions: Stories and Characters Behind the Walls (2018). Nickels’ essays on his years as a Vietnam War-era conscientious objector were published by The New Oxford Review and Oklahoma Humanities Magazine. He was the recipient of the 2005 Philadelphia AIA Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism, the theater critic for ICON Magazine and a columnist for Philadelphia Magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He currently writes for the Philadelphia Free Press, Delaware Valley Journal, Philadelphia Irish Edition, and City Journal (New York).

April 19, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Roberta Kangilaski is our Quarterback.

April 22, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker TBA

April 26, Zoom Quarterback Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Gresham Riley is our Quarterback.

April 29, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable on Zoom – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker TBA