Recently on Town Hall Journal
One’s a former Secretary of State, a Stanford Scholar, an accomplished pianist – and a Republican. The other’s a noted civil rights attorney, named one of California’s top ten most influential lawyers – and a Democrat. But they’re cousins, sharing a family history that dates back to slavery days, as well as a passion for social justice that transcends party lines. This week on Town Hall Journal, Condoleezza Rice discusses her new book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, with her cousin, Constance Rice. In the book, Dr. Rice shares her childhood memories of growing up in the Jim Crow south, as well as the family experiences and values that shaped her journey to the White House. Don’t miss this lively, insightful and intimate conversation between two very extraordinary women. Speakers: The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State, author of ‘Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family” Constance Rice, Co-director of The Advancement Project Town Hall Vault Speaker: Senator Bill Bradley (D-New Jersey)(1992)
Any kindergarten teacher can tell you that children who have had the benefit of preschool enter their classrooms ready – and eager – to learn, to interact, and to achieve. And studies show that students with the early education advantage are less likely to drop out, to need special education, to end up on welfare or even in prison. Those critical ‘First Five’ years lay the groundwork for a student’s entire future – and by extension, the future of our society. But in this country, there’s a wide gap between those who can afford preschool and those who can’t. Half of California’s low-income children arrive in kindergarten to find they’re already behind their peers – and unlikely to catch up. Why is it so difficult for us to give our children the head start they need?
Los Angeles has seen a string of colorful characters heading up its police department, with as many different philosophies on how to run the squad. Police brutality and an ‘us vs. them’ mindset of the Bill Parker era paved the way to the Watts Riots. Daryl Gates’ ‘circle the wagons’ attitude following the Rodney King beatings brought down the wrath of the Christopher Commission; that approach then gave way to the kindler, gentler hand of William Bratton and the advent of community policing. Our newest top cop, Charlie Beck, a 35-year veteran of the force, promises to take that tradition further and instill the culture of cooperation all the way down through the ranks. What challenges does he face as he shepherds the LAPD into the next century? Speaker: Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck Town Hall Vault Speakers: Police Chief Daryl Gates (1981) Police Chief Willie Williams (1992) Police Chief Bernard Parks (2002) Interview: Joe Domanick, author of To Protect and to Serve: The LAPD’s Century of War in the City of Dreams
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created in 2009, is a 10-member, bipartisan panel charged with the task of examining “the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” The commission conducted over 700 interviews and sifted through millions of documents in their search for the truth. What they found reads like a John Grisham novel – back room Wall Street dealings, bank executives treating mortgages like poker chips, financial products sliced and diced, bought and sold without regard to risk and all the while, government regulators turning a blind eye to the obvious red flags. Their report was delivered to congress and the American people in January. In a Town Hall Los Angeles preview last fall, the commission’s Chair, Phil Angelides, offered a peek into the economic shenanigans that led to what he calls “one of the greatest financial cataclysms of our times.” And warned that, if we don't learn from our economic history, we're doomed to bail out again. Town Hall Speaker: The Honorable Phil Angelides, Chairman, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Town Hall Vault Speaker: James D. Robinson III, CEO, American Express (1991) Interview: Jason Yancey, Director, Operation Hope
Today’s economy – and our nation’s future – depends on the next generation of minds. Creativity and critical thinking skills will be essential tools for that generation, but are our schools equipped to prepare them? And how best to measure success – with standardized tests, or with the sight of enlivened classrooms, filled with engaged, productive students? Town Hall Los Angeles recently brought together some of the brightest minds in education and business for a two-day summit on the future of education. Tonight’s program presents a compelling conversation between Dr. Bill Smoot, author of Conversations with Great Teachers, and MacArthur Fellow Amir Abo-Shaeer, whose radical approach to teaching physics has high school students designing and building robots. And we’ll hear from the late Jaime Escalante, whose belief in his students was key to his recipe for success. Town Hall Speakers: Dr. Bill Smoot, Author, ‘Conversations with Great Teachers’ Amir Abo-Shaeer, Director and Teacher, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and, MacArthur Foundation Fellow Town Hall Vault Speaker: Jaime Escalante, Educator (1990)
When Wayne Clough, secretary of The Smithsonian Institution, came to Town Hall Los Angeles recently, he was greeted by crowds of protesters. The reason for the uproar? The Smithsonian had recently made the decision to remove a controversial work from its exhibit “Hide and Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” in response to pressure from religious groups. Artists and free speech advocates across the nation decried the move, branding it as censorship. Before launching into his planned talk on The Smithsonian’s newest outreach developments, Clough addressed the controversy and its outcome. But art, by its nature, has always inspired vigorous debate. The argument over so-called obscene imagery goes back to the 16th century – as our Town Hall Vault segment recalls. Where to draw the line in publicly funded art?