Hello Hubsters! As karenatasha is away at a conference, I am here to present this week’s roster of guests. After what always feels like a lengthy break week, it’s always nice to get back into the swing of things. As you will see, we have a very intellectual week ahead of us, with an MIT professor, an illustrious political scientist, an actor who has adopted a very worthy cause, and a provocative Jewish author/blogger addressing issues affecting Israel. So without further adieu, away we go!
Monday, 3/25: Dr. David Page
Dr. David Page serves as Director of the Whitehead Institute and is a professor of biology at MIT. The Whitehead Institute describes its mission, according to its website, as providing “scientists with the resources and freedom to follow their scientific instincts, form novel collaborations and conduct high-risk research.” Dr. Page likens the Institute to a place where scientists, like an “artists colony,” can pursue their scientific ambitions, and “empower maximally creative—really wildly creative—individuals to realize their dreams.”
Dr. Page’s lab has pioneered discoveries about the human Y-chromosome, mapping the Y-Choromosome in 1992, and fully sequencing it in 2003, a process that took several years. Essentially he is the Y-Chormosome expert. As a result of his lab’s efforts, we have a better understanding of the human genome and the male chromosome, and its nature and tendencies, which has far reaching implications in our understanding of modern biology. For example, studying infertile men led to his lab’s 1995 discovery of “AZF deletion,” a genetic trait which we now know most commonly causes male infertility.
He is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. According to his bio-page on the Whitehead Institute website, he established the Whitehead Task Force on Genetics and Public Policy. He also co-edits Current Opinion in Genetics and Development and is an associate editor of the Annual Review of Human Genetics and Genomics.
Dr. Page received his M.D. from Harvard. Stephen is going to have hard time being “Stephen” for this interview, to be sure.
Tuesday, 3/26: Charles Murray
Prepare for fireworks. Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America: 1960-2010, argues that profound shifts are taking place in white America. The book observes statistics of decline amongst the white lower class in terms of marriage rates, illegitimacy rates, employment rates, and church attendance. He then compares two fictional neighborhoods, upper-class “Belmont” (which is, coincidentally, or maybe not so, the name of the town where Mitt Romney grew up) and the lower-class “Fishtown” to demonstrate the disparities and decline. Undoubtedly his assertions will rouse the Stephen! After all, USA number one. In everything.
The political scientist, pundit, and author has been a fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute since 1990. In 2009, he won the AEI’s high honor, The Irving Kristol Award. Of the libertarian persuasion, many of his books have dealt with the topics of welfare reform, libertarianism, and socioeconomics. His best selling 1992 book with the late Richard J. Hernnstein, The Bell Curve, attracted both critics and praise for its argument that IQ was a better determining factor of material success and overall personal outcome than one’s parent’s socioeconomic status or education. His 1984 publication, Losing Ground, is thought of as the inspiration for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.
Murray hails from small town Iowa, but graduated from Harvard in 1965 and received his Phd. in political science from MIT in 1974. He spent six years abroad, working for the Peace Corps in Thailand for four years, and for U.S. agency for International Development.
David Frum writes a thorough, five part review of Mr. Murray’s book on The Daily Beast here.
The Toledo Blade also provides an illuminating review here.
Follow him on twitter.
Things are about to get exxplosive. Hunky actor/director Mark Ruffalo is familiar to most of us for his work onscreen, but he is appearing on TCR to talk up Water Defense, an organization he founded committed to ending unsafe and immoral practices and promoting sustainable, environmentally friendly energy sources. Water Defense’s current objectives are to ban fracking in New York State and provide clean water to the residents of PA. Their website warns that “Water Defense will launch our new campaign to exxpose natural gas on The Colbert Report.” The mission is a personal one: Ruffalo’s home is located near the Delaware River, which may be fracked in the future.
As an actor, he is a stalwart of the indie scene, and is best known and acclaimed for movies such as You Can Count on Me (2000), and, more recently, The Kids Are All Right (2010), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Ruffalo is also no stranger to tragedy: his brother, Scott, was murdered in 2008 in a still-unsolved shooting incident in Los Angeles. In 2002, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, which left him facially paralyzed for a brief time. He is fully recovered and in good health.
Sign up here to find out more about the big announcement on Water Defense’s website.
He appeared on TDS once in 2004.
Visit his website.
Like him on his Facebook page.
Follow him on Twitter.
Peter Beinart blogs extensively about Israel on Zion Square, a newly launched site on The Daily Beast, where he is also a senior political writer. The blog, of which he is chief-editor, focuses on issues affecting Israel, Palestine, Zionism, and the path going forward. He has written a book The Crisis Of Zionism, which argues that secular, liberal American Jews and the much more conservative Zionists are becoming further apart– a rift, although inevitable in today’s changing times, that can pose a great threat to the future of Israel. He first posited this idea in an essay in NYT in 2010, and is now bringing it to book format.
A week ago he wrote an essay on NYT exhorting American Jews to support boycotts of Israeli settlements for the sake of saving Israel. He is taking this stance as he believes in a two-state solution, and that the encroachment of Israeli settlements into the West Bank blur the line too much between the two entities.
Prior to writing for The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Beinart worked in various editor roles for The New Republic. He also wrote the book The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. A supporter of the Iraq invasion, it was a position he later recanted. His works have appeared in The New York Times, Time, and The New York Review of Books.
He is also Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at The City University of New York, and a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Born of South African immigrant parents, he attended Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Political Union. He was a Rhodes Scholar at University College, Oxford University, where he mastered in philosophy.
Read of a review of The Crisis of Zionism here.
Peter once appeared on TCR back in 2006.
Visit his website.
He’s got a Facebook page.
Follow him on Twitter.
And let’s check in with our good friend Jon Stewart!
Monday, 3/25: Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is a household name- the 7 ft. 1″ power center, who ranks 6th for the most points scored in the NBA, is hard to miss. In addition to being a championship, legendary basketball player, he has released four rap albums, and appeared on film and TV. After retiring from the NBA in 2011, Shaq can now be found commentating on Inside the NBA on TNT.
This clip with Shaq and Tracey Morgan on Jimmy Fallon always make me laugh.
He is pretty epic on the Twitter.
Tuesday, 3/26: Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington is an Australian actor who has starred in blockbuster films like Avatar, as well as Termination Salvation. He is now appearing Wrath of the Titans.
He is well known in Australia for his role as Howard on Aussie television’s Love My Way. He has appeared in several prominent Australian films, including Somersault (2004), for which he won the AFI Award for Best Lead Actor.
Check out his studly-looking website.
He has a nice fan site here.
Follow him on Twitter.
Wednesday, 3/27: Ahmed Rashid
This guest looks to be interesting, particularly because Pakistan is so much on the international news these days. Mr. Rashid is a Pakistani author, journalist, and commentator. His new book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, explores the current turmoil his country is experiencing, particularly in light of the Bin Laden debacle. He writes for the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Daily Times (Pakistan). He as appeared on CNN and BBC World. His best seller Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, has been widely translated and used as an authoritative treatise on the Taliban in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
Listen to him talk to Terry Gross on NPR about his new book.
His personal website is here.
Facebook page is here.
Thursday, 3/28: Rachel Maddow
Rachel needs no introduction, other than to say that in additional to being the host of MSNBC’s nightly The Rachel Maddow Show she is a huge Jon Stewart fangirl. She is promoting her new book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. In the book, she argues that American complacency about being perpetually at war is costing our nation dearly in terms of financial, human toll, and deviation from our core American values.
Buy her book here.
Visit her show’s site.
Follow her on the Twitter.
Well, happy viewing! Thanks for checking out this week’s lineup. We’ll chat later in the episode guides.