Monthly schedules

Program for Sunday, June 4, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

“Teddy bears working on new AI research underwater with 1990s technology” (AI generated)[1]

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has been in the news a lot recently. Capabilities that have been in research for years have recently become available to the public. Some people are afraid, others see bright future.

We will view video interviews of Eric Schmidt and Sal Kahn on these subjects from various viewpoints. Followed by discussion.

Eric Schmidt is former CEO of Google and comments on dangers as well as promise of AI[2]. Sal Kahn, founder and CEO of Kahn Academy, has set up an AI tutor for young students[3].

[1] Image credit: “Teddy bears working on new AI research underwater with 1990s technology” By Created with DALL-E 2 –, Public Domain,

[2] Eric Schmidt, Former CEO of Google: (Forbes), (Wikipedia). On Amanpour & Co. PBS: (first video).

[3] Sal Kahn: Kahn Academy,, about (Wikipedia). On Amanpour & Co. PBS: (second video).

Program for Sunday, May 28, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Death of Socrates, Jacques Louis David[1]

Informal Holiday Meeting

Welcome back to our UMKC meeting room for an informal discussion this Sunday, and enjoy the three-day Memorial Day weekend. (See directions below.)

We are quite happy about our new meeting space, but also have real work to do making the combination of Zoom and room space work together. We will also be happy to have visitors on Zoom this Sunday not only for conversation, but also as we try out some variations on how we set up the equipment for several scenarios. These include speaker at UMKC location, speaker remote by Zoom, Video, and room discussion with a full room that needs to be visible with Zoom participation.

[1] The Death of Socrates, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), 1787. European Paintings Collection of The Met Museum, public domain open access image:, Jacques-Louis David, Public domain, and also via Wikimedia Commons:

Program for Sunday, May 21, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Don Bell

A Journey: Certainty and Uncertainty

By Don Bell. Don was a Presbyterian minister for 30 years and has been a free thinker for many years. He is very well read and a insightful observer of the human condition.

(Also welcome back to UMKC space for our in-person meeting–see map below.)

NO Program for Sunday, May 13, 2023 – (Usually 2:00 to 4:00pm)

No Meeting — Next Sunday Meet at UMKC

No program this Sunday, as we prepare our move to new regular meeting space at UMKC.

(By the way — the testing of Zoom methods at UMKC went well. There was a very light echo detectable by the few that checked out our experimenting in the room, and that should get better with a few people present. Parking is just as excellent as it was in the past, and we are closer to the door but in the same building as several years ago.)

Program for Sunday, May 7, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Debt Ceiling Explained, J.K. Galbraith[3]

The Debt Ceiling, Once More with Feeling (video)

James K. Galbraith, economist[1], on the debt ceiling (video). Galbraith is author of a recent article in The Nation.[2]

It is in the nature of articles about the debt ceiling that no matter how often one tries to set the record straight, nothing ever gets through. Noting this after reading my most recent effort, a physicist friend chided me for using “facts and logic” against “what everyone knows.” This states the problem precisely. So here I go again, once more, with feeling.


As has happened many times in the past, a political battle over the “debt ceiling” is occurring between parties in Congress and the White House. Explore the consequences.

[1] Economist James K. Galbraith is chair in Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and is a former executive director of the congressional Joint Economic Committee and an economist for the House Banking Committee. and Wikipedia

[2] “The Debt Ceililng Explained. Once More, With Feeling…” The Nation:

[3] Image credit: Fair use partial image of Democracy Now interview[4] (1:15) using a fair use partial image of The Nation article from above[2].

[4] Democracy Now interview, J. K. Galbraith: Debt Ceiling: Economist James K. Galbraith Warns GOP Proposal Would Gut Social Safety Net. Galbraith interview only, and the full length Democracy Now April 3, 2023 episode Democracy Now website

[5] Books by J. K. kGalbraith (Wikipedia[1]):

  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (2016), Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300-22044-5.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (2014), The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1451644920.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (2012), Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-985565-0.
  • Galbraith, John Kenneth (2010), Galbraith, James K (ed.), The Affluent Society and Other Writings 1952–1967, New York: The Library of America, ISBN 978-1-59853-077-3.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (2008), The Predator State.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth; Berner, Maureen, eds. (2001), Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global ViewCambridge University Press
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (1998), Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth; Heilbroner, Robert LThe Economic Problem.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth; Darity, William, Jr.Macroeconomics.
  • Galbraith, James Kenneth (1989), Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future.

Program for Sunday, April 30, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Deficit Myth, Stephanie Kelton[6]

The Deficit Myth Stephanie Kelton (video)

Video presentation[3] David Cay Johnston interviewing Professor Stephanie Kelton on subject of her book The Deficit Myth.[1][2]

Vice-president Dick Cheney famously boasted, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” He was wrong.

Deficits do matter, but not the way we’ve been taught to believe. We’ve been told that China is our banker and that Social Security and Medicare are pushing us into crisis. We’re told the U.S. could end up like Greece and that deficits will burden future generations. These are all myths.

Deficits can be used for good or evil. They can enrich a small segment of the population, driving income and wealth inequality to new heights, while leaving millions behind. They can fund unjust wars that destabilize the world and cost millions their lives. Or they can be used to sustain life and build a more just economy that works for the many and not just the few.

Stephanie Kelton is a professor of public policy and economics at Stony Brook University and was formerly the chair of the economics department at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She was previously a research scholar at the UMKC Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and the Levy Economics Institute in upstate New York. Kelton is editor-in-chief of the New Economic Perspectives blog. In 2014, Kelton was designated Chief Economist for the Democratic Minority Staff of the Senate Budget Committee, and in 2016 economic advisor to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.[4]

David Cay Johnston received a Pulitzer Prize for New York Times articles displaying “exquisite command” of tax law. He is the bestselling author of Perfectly Legal, Free Lunch, and The Fine Print and two international bestsellers books about Donald Trump. Johnston is now editor-in-chief at and in his 10th year as a Syracuse University law school lecturer teaching the business, property and tax law of the ancient world and legal theory.[5]

[1] The Deficit Myth, Stephanie Kelton website

[2] The Deficit Myth, Stephanie Kelton, Public Affairs Books

[3] Stephanie Kelton: The Deficit Myth (with David Cay Johnston), YouTube interview of Professor Stephanie Kelton by David Cay Johnston:

[4] Wikipedia on Professor Stephanie Kelton:

[5] David Cay Johnston (interviewer), from the YouTube page:

[6] Image credit: Promotional book cover image, The Deficit Myth, Stephanie Kelton, Public Affairs Books

Program for Sunday, April 23, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

NOAA U.S. 2021 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters[1]

Climate Change Is Real–What Will Be Your Legacy?

A view on climate change and environmental action from someone who is not a climate scientist, rather a background in local engineering companies.

Charles “Chick” Keller worked for 15 years each at Sprint and Black and Veatch, rising to the level of Vice President at both companies. In 2000 Keller became a professor in the Master of Engineering Management program at the University of Kansas. He has a both a mechanical engineering degree and an MBA from KU and remains a registered engineer. For several years, Chick has been giving talks on climate change.

Chick’s message itself is a bit frightening, but the discussion should help open possibilities. There are a lot of things going on that most of us don’t know about.

This talk will develop the following themes:

  • Climate change is real; it is a bigger problem than the general public realizes.
  • There will be over $100 trillion dollars of economic construction and destruction.
  • We have a good plan to slow climate change down; but we are behind schedule.
  • There are massive programs underway to substantially reduce CO2.
  • Solution = New Technology + Adaption + New Regulation
  • Americans, while aware of climate change, are generally unwilling to change their lifestyle.
  • What contribution can you make? What will be your legacy.

[1] Image credit: From Smith, A., 2022: 2021 U.S. Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in historical context and new hazard and socioeconomic risk mapping. April 2022, AMS Washington Forum, Washington, DC., p. 5, accessed 2023-04-17 from “NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters”, (2023)., DOI: 10.25921/stkw-7w73

Program for Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, William K Black[4]

The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One

What modern bank robberies are having the most impact on our ordinary citizens, on the economy as a whole? Able to cause financial crises?

Professor William K Black, by video on the subject of his book The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One[1]. Updated in 2013, this analyzes the fraud that is at the base of the 2008 financial crisis and many other finance problems involving bank failures over the years. If you think that just one political party is the cause of these problems, you may think differently after watching Black.

We will watch Bill Black’s Ted Talk[2] “How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is)” on this subject. Also a short segment from “Understanding Recent Bank Failures” from UMKC Economics club[3].

Dr. James Webb will give some introduction on terminology to help prepare, and comments to tie these together.

Bill Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the UMKC Law School[5]. He was the executive director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He previously taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Professor Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement.

[1] The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, University of Texas Press, 2013. ISBN 9780292754188:

[2] TEDx Talk (UMKC): How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is): also on YouTube:

[3] Understanding Recent Bank Failures with Dr. Bill Black, Presented by the Economic Democracy Initiative (OSUN, Bard College) and the Economics Club, University of Missouri – Kansas City:

[4] Image credit: UT Press book promotional image The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, University of Texas Press:

[5] Professor William K Black, UMKC:

Program for Sunday, April 9, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously, Christopher J. Sullivan[3]

Reducing Crime by Improving Juvenile Justice

Video interview of Professor Christopher Sullivan discussing his recommendations for reducing crime by improving juvenile justice. Sullivan is a co-editor of Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and author of three books and roughly 100 technical publications in this area.

His two most recent books are:

  • (2021) Juvenile Risk and Needs Assessment: Theory, Research, Policy, and Practice[1]
  • (2019) Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously: Developmental Insights and System Challenges[2]

Professor Sullivan is also author number 65 of an article with 67 authors on, “A consensus-based transparency checklist“, which appeared in Nature Human Behavior, 4:4-6 (2020).[4] This article attempts to improve the quality of scientific research by making it easier for others to understand published work, access the data to do their own analyses, and attempt to replicate previous work while developing extensions.

We will watch the Radio Active Magazine video interview of Professor Christopher Sullivan by Spencer Graves.[5] Followed by discussion.

Video and description Copyright 2023 Christopher Sullivan and Spencer Graves, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License

[1] (2021) Juvenile Risk and Needs Assessment: Theory, Research, Policy, and Practice, Christopher J. Sullivan, Kristina K. Childs (Routledge).

[2] (2019) Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously: Developmental Insights and System Challenges, Christopher J. Sullivan (Temple University Press).

[3] Image credit: Amazon book promotional image Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously: Developmental Insights and System Challenges:

[4] “A consensus-based transparency checklist“, Nature Human Behavior, 4:4-6 (2020):

[5] KKFI, Radio Active Magazine, episode “Reducing crime by improving the management of juveniles”, length 29.13 minutes:

Program for Sunday, April 2, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate by Susan Haack[3]

Reason vs Religion: The method of science

“Puzzling out Science” by Susan B. Haack

Intelligence in looking at public and other issues.

Dr. James Webb, presenting. “Puzzling out Science”[1] is found in the book Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate: Unfashionable Essays[2] by Susan Haack.

(Readers may also be interested in her new book Defending Science-Within Reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism[4].)

[1] Article “Puzzling out Science” by Susan Haack is available in possibly modified form in PDF at:, from June 1995, Academic Questions 8(2):20-31 DOI:10.1007/BF02683186.

[2] Book Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate: Unfashionable Essays by Susan Haack, University of Chicago Press, 1998;

[3] Image Credit: University of Chicago Press promotional image for the book at:

[4] Defending Science-Within Reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism, by Susan Haack:

Program for Sunday, March 26, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Vote for better tape[3]

Rank Choice Voting for Kansas and Missouri

Elaine Stephen and Larry Bradley describe Rank Choice Voting and efforts to bring that to parts or all of Kansas and Missouri. Stephen is co-leader of Rank the Vote Kansas.[1] Bradley is Founder of The Center Strikes Back, where he works to bring “Instant Runoff Voting and other voting reforms to elections in all fifty states.”[2]

[1] Rank the Vote Kansas

[2] The Center Strikes Back

[3] Image Credit: Modified (crop) from Wikimedia image, By Tom Arthur from Orange, CA, United States – vote for better tape, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Program for Sunday, March 19, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm


Climate Change: A Little Discussed Product of Burning Fossil Fuels

Presented by Dr. Ken Schmitz.

A petition was passed around at the World Fest Rally in Washington D.C. to ban a substance that is the product of burning fossil fuels. This talk will discuss the properties and history of warnings, where it has been detected, its uses in industry and animal research, and effects on humans and the environment, and the lack of discussion on the topic. Other things will be discussed relative to the chemical industry and relevant protests.

[1] Image attribution: NASA “Vital Signs”,

Program for Sunday, March 12, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm Daylight Savings

The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets

Professor Matthew Connelly‘s new book, just released a month ago on Valentine’s Day, is entitled The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets[1]. Professor Connelly is also the founder and principal investigator of History Lab at Columbia University. They’ve been using text mining and artificial intelligence tools to analyze the corpus of all the declassified US government documents they can find.

Connelly notes that much has been done in secret to provoke a foreign power to do something that can be denounced as unprovoked to stampede the US Congress and the public into supporting counterproductive military actions on fraudulent grounds. Worse, he says that the secrets of the Manhattan Project were already known to the Soviets and the Germans. The primary effect of the secrecy of the Manhattan Project, according to Leo Szilard, whose letter with Einstein convinced Frankin Roosevelt to fund it, was to delay its completion by about 18 months — and delay the end of the war by close to that amount. The Hiroshima bombing was 1945-08-06. Eighteen months earlier was 1944-02-06, four months before D Day.

Spencer Graves and Dr. Doug Samuelson interview Professor Mathew Connelly[2] in a longer video interview, which will be edited for Radio Active Magazine show on KKFI.[3] Samuelson[4] has a doctorate in Operations Research, numerous publications in professional journals in that field and decades of experience in classified research for the Department of Defense and other organizations.

We will start the video (just at one hour) right at 2:00 PM so as to get through in time for questions. Dr. Samuelson will also join the meeting by Zoom.

[1] The Declassification Engine: WHAT HISTORY REVEALS ABOUT AMERICA’S TOP SECRETS, By Matthew Connelly. Penguin Random House, Feb 14, 2023 | ISBN 9781101871577. Book cover image credit: promotional cover image Penguin Random House.

[2] Professor Mathew Connelly — Wikipedia.

[3] Radio Active Magazine, KKFI. Episode March 14: Does US government secrecy threaten national security?

[4] Dr. Douglas A. Samuelson, bio on U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation.

NO Program for Sunday, March 5, 2023 – (Normally 2:00 to 4:00pm)

No Program This Sunday

Due to lack of either available location or preplanned program, there shall be no meeting this Sunday. Meetings will resume next Sunday at the normal location and time.

Possible events of interest this Sunday, as members may suggest:

  • PeaceWorks KC Annual Meeting: March 5, 2-4 pm (Link here)

Members may suggest other events of interest this Sunday by emailing secretary.

Program for Sunday, February 26, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

(Generic Board Meeting, Wikimedia [1])

Ad Hoc Board Meeting for Community of Reason

The in-person and Zoom meeting this Sunday will be an ad hoc board meeting of the Community of Reason KC.


(1) begin to collect dues sufficient to pay web, Zoom, and associated expenses

(2) set date for election of CoR officers.

All members and Community of Reason participants are invited to attend this meeting in person or by Zoom, but it will run as a Board Meeting not as a committee of the whole.

[1] Image Attribution: Areyn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons,

Program for Sunday, February 19, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm


The Revenge of the Ocean: Global Warming and the Fate of Humanity

Presented by Dr. Ken Schmitz.

Over the period of 800,000 years, the interconnected natural cycles on Earth achieved the condition of synchronized harmony. Then humans delved deep in the bowels of the Earth for crude oil as a source of energy to serve them. Unaccustomed to the intruding carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, the harmony between the natural cycles became entangled systems of chaos. The Oceans have been hit with a double whammy: warming and acidification. The changes in the Ocean affect humanity in many ways, including the weather, loss of deep Ocean currents, the seafood industry, and the loss of land due to a rise in sea level from the melting of glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica. These and other consequences affecting humanity will be presented.

[1] Image attribution: NASA “Vital Signs”,

Program for Sunday, February 12, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Anderson on the Lincoln Memorial steps [1]

Marian Anderson Performs on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial

On April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson performed an Easter Sunday open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the capital. Ms. Anderson was a somewhat unwilling participant in events that were seminal moments in the beginning of the American civil rights movement. Years later, Dr. Martin Luther King would give his most famous remarks from the exact same square on those steps.

For those who wish a much more in depth examination of this story, the PBS American Experience documentary Voice of Freedom (1 hour 40 minutes, aired 12/21/2021) gives much of the back story and the continuation of the civil rights movement as well as her personal story, from this historic event. This documentary tells aspects that I certainly have not read in history books.

The 2022 PBS documentary Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands (1 hour 53 minutes) gives yet another view of her life, including more audio and personal details of her later life, but not quite as much context of the civil rights movement.

We will listen to the entire US National Archives recording of the event (about 30 minutes), followed by discussion.[4]

Introductions and discussion will be lead by Dr. James Webb and Dr. Barbara Johnson.

Department of Interior Artwork. “An Incident in Contemporary American Life,” by Mitchell Jamieson. Date: 1943 Dimensions: 148″ x 82″ Oil Painting. [2]

Portrait, Marian Anderson at Lincoln Memorial [3]

[1] Image attribution: By U.S. Information Agency – NARA image 306-NT-965B-4 / ARC 595378 (direct image URL [1]), Public Domain,

[2] Image attribution: By Carol M. Highsmith – Library of Congress, Public Domain,

[3] Image attribution: By Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist (NARA record: 4772241) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

[4] Marian Anderson Performs on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial: With an Introduction by Harold Ickes (29 minutes 43 seconds, audio only just black image),

Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior
National Archives Identifier: 1729137

This sound recording captures African – American contralto Marian Anderson’s performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The free open – air Easter Sunday concert was organized after Anderson was denied permission to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The recording also features an introductory speech by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, in which he decried prejudice in the United States.

Program for Sunday, February 5, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Lee, Samuelson

Modeling COVID and Assessing the Effects of Misinformation About Epidemics

Presenters: Eva Lee and Doug Samuelson

The spread of COVID-19 has been increased dramatically by the spread of misinformation about the epidemic. The confusing outpouring of conflicting messages, many undermining public health recommendations, has many sources but is at least partly consistent with other, well-documented efforts by Russian propagandists to undermine political and economic processes in western democracies. Widespread confusion and lack of collaboration about public health directives was identified as a major potential threat in a sweeping expert review of public health readiness, 2019, and largely predicted by a classic work on pandemic spread in 1994.


Center for Strategic and international Studies (CSIS) and Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) (Bulgaria) “”The Kremlin Playbook,” 2016

CSIS and CSD, “The Kremlin Playbook: Volume II,” 2020

CSIS, “The Kremlin Playbook: Volume III,” 2022

Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, Bush School of Government and Pubic Service, Texas A&M University, “Community Resilience, Centralized Leadership and Multi-Sectoral Collaboration in Pandemic Preparation and Response,” May 2019

Laurie Garrett, “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance,” 1994

Eva K Lee is a distinguished professor in the Health System Institute at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She has been a special advisor to Homeland Security and a collaborator with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on defenses against pandemic and biological weapons. She holds a PhD in computational and applied mathematics from Rice. (See Wikipedia link.)

Douglas A. Samuelson is the founder and chief scientist of Infologix, Inc., in Annandale, Virginia, and first vice chair of the advisory board for the Health Services Agencies of Northern Virginia. He specializes in quantitative policy analysis for both government and private sector clients. He holds a Doctorate in Operations Research from The George Washington University. (See US Presidential Scholars link.)

Program for Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Kahneman, Peirce, Dewey. [1]

Critique of Julia Galef and “Scout Mindset”[2][3]— a better alternative for effective inquiry  from the work of D. Kahneman, C. S. Peirce, and John Dewey.

Presented by Dr. James Webb

Effective inquiry into Social Problems (or any other objective) is better served by insights from these minds in establishing the basis for rational solutions to problems.

Charles S. Peirce “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”
Charles S. Peirce “The Fixation of Belief”
John Dewey The Quest for Certainty 1929
Susan B. Haack Defending Science Within Reason, Revised Edition

[1] Image attribution, edited from 3 images, from: Kahneman (1) By nrkbeta – IMG_4330, CC BY-SA 2.0,; Peirce (2) Public Domain,; Dewey (3) By Underwood & Underwood – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a51565. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons: Licensing for more information., Public Domain,

[2] YouTube Video “Soldiers and Scouts: Why our minds weren’t built for truth, and how we can change that”: .

[3] The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t on Penguin Random House:

On Amazon,

Program for Sunday, January 15, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

(Edited from: By ICAN-Australia – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW)

Spencer Graves, presenter.

Sunday, January 22, is the second anniversary of the Entry Into Force (EIF) of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).[1] This is the product of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN,[2] It was inspired by the observation that the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)[3] has NOT stopped nuclear proliferation: The five signatories to the NPT (the US, USSR / Russia, UK, France, and China) have contributed, whether accidentally or intentionally, to the addition of four other countries to the list of countries with nuclear weapons: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.[4] Further nuclear proliferation seems likely without aggressive action to reverse this trend. ICAN was founded in 2007. The TPNW was officially adopted by the United Nations 2017-07-07, and ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize that year for their contribution to that effort. The TPNW was scheduled to take effect 90 days after the 50th country officially became a state party. That happened 2020-10-24 when Honduras officially became the 50th state party. The TPNW Entered Into Force (EIF) 90 days later, 2020-01-22. However, the TPNW by itself may not be enough to push nuclear-weapon states to relinquish those weapons without strong action by countries without nuclear weapons. This could happen if, for example, enough countries imposed strong national security tariffs on trade involving products or intellectual property from nuclear-weapon states.[5]






Program for Sunday, January 15, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Just Talk, continued

This week we have no presenter, and still at least one member with Covid-19 (doing well and will join us by Zoom). But no in-person meeting this week. So join us by Zoom this Sunday.

Besides discussion of future programs, cooperation with other organizations, and raising membership, Luis suggests a topic relating to how well democracy is fairing. There was some discussion of prior programs with continuing interest.

Program for Sunday, January 8, 2023 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Christmas Party, Robert David Wilkie. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Just Talk

We have at least one member with Covid-19 (doing well and will join us by Zoom). But no in-person meeting this week. So join us by Zoom this Sunday.

We can talk about our Christmas and new year’s experiences, discuss the previous meeting about psychology, and talk about the future of Community of Reason.

Joint Party and Potluck
Friends of Community Media and Community of Reason KC
December 17, 2022 – 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Potluck 2-4 PM

The Christmas Party, Robert David Wilkie. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Friends of Community Media
Community of Reason KC

Holiday Party and Potluck

Doors open: 1 PM. (Saturday, December 17, 2022.)
Potluck: Start eating around 2, finish potluck by 4 PM but party until at least 5 PM.
Location: Oak Room at Oak Hall, 4550 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City, Missouri 64111 (Map: ) Spaces for guest parking are available at north end of building, as you drive in from Warwick street, then to the right. Sign in with the guard, then head down to the “Oak Room”.
Zoom: ( , Zoom meeting connection will be open from 1 to 5 PM for friends to drop in whenever they feel.)

We will be telling stories, showing history of the two organizations, talking about lost friends, pictures from the past, events and programs we have sponsored.

Friends will be dropping by by Zoom and in person. Invite a friend, we are recruiting for the two organizations!

If you can’t come in person, feel free to drop in via Zoom at any time, share stories, questions, get to know others, … . (If you aren’t feeling well or suspect you could communicate a contagious disease, we would love to see you on Zoom. Several of us have “at risk” family members to go home to, and need to be careful even though we are thankful to be able to socialize in person.)

At some points we will bring up the subjects of ideas for future programs and topics of interest to the two organizations, including …

Community of Reason wishes to recruit 20 "members" of the official non-profit organization, early next year, with paid membership of approximately $25 each. You certainly don't need to become a "member" to participate in our meetings, but we do have to cover yearly expenses. And to sustain the organization, people have to be involved in its operation.

Friends of Community Media, along with other organizations including CoR, is discussing a possible "Kansas City Local News Conference", tentatively to be held around August, 2023. Join us for a good time and share your ideas about what you think might make such a conference worthwhile.
A formal planning meeting for the conference is scheduled for next January 21 (Saturday) 2 PM, Tom Crane's home, 3707 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111-2822.
A few slides with brainstormed ideas are available in Google slides at

Program for Sunday, December 11, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Julia Galef and Stewart Brand

Why our minds weren’t built for truth

Julia Galef’s “Soldiers and Scouts: Why our minds weren’t built for truth, and how we can change that,” is both a video[1] and book[2]. Steward Brand of The Long Now Foundation[3] and the Whole Earth Catalog[4] introduces Julia Galef in the video, which we will follow by discussion. Very short added notes will be presented on related positions by James Webb, and some book recommendations by James and others[7].

Galef’s book is The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.[2]

Julia Galef is the host of the popular Rationally Speaking podcast[5], where she has interviewed thinkers such as Tyler Cowen, Sean Carroll, Phil Tetlock, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. She is an advisor to OpenAI, works with the Open Philanthropy Project, and cofounded the Center for Applied Rationality. Her 2016 TED Talk ‘Why You Think You’re Right–Even If You’re Wrong’[6] has been viewed over 4 million times.”[2]

[1] YouTube Video “Soldiers and Scouts: Why our minds weren’t built for truth, and how we can change that”: .

[2] The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t on Penguin Random House:

On Amazon,, quote is from end of description.

[3] The Long Now Foundation:

[4] The Whole Earth Catalog, by Stewart Brand. Wikipedia: .

[5] Rationally Speaking Podcast: .

[6] TED Talk, Why You Think You’re Right–Even If You’re Wrong: . Now over 7.5 million views.

On YouTube:

[7] Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. On Amazon.

Program for Sunday, December 4, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

1,862 fewer years in prison

Participatory Defense

Described as “a community organizing model for people facing charges, their families, and communities to impact the outcomes of cases and transform the landscape of power in the court system”.

The website claims the associated movement has reduced incarcerations in numerous cases totaling at least 1,862 fewer years in prison.[1] The founder of this project, Raj Jadayev, was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2018.[2] There are now Participatory Defense hubs in 30 cities in the US, helping accused better manage their criminal defense.[3]

Gordon Elliott will moderate and Spencer Graves will speak based upon his personal experience, along with short videos and a Ted Talk from the movement.[4] Spencer’s wife was a an intellectual leader in this movement.




[4] Relevant Links and Videos (not all videos will be watched during the talk): Community-powered criminal justice reform | Raj Jayadev | TEDxBinghamtomUniversity “Mothers in Charge” (and other articles and videos) Meet the People Fighting for True Justice for All How community transforms the courts | Raj Jayadev | TEDxBinghamtonUniversity Ashoka Fellow Raj Jayadev on participatory defense. Community Organizer Raj Jayadev | 2018 MacArthur Fellow

Program for Sunday, November 27, 2022 – 1:00 to 4:00pm

After Thanksgiving Potluck (and special guest)

Doors open at 1:00 to get ready for potluck (probably start eating around 1:45). We will still be eating throughout the discussion period which starts at 2:00 as normal, but the Zoom meeting will be opened early.

(We expect at least two members with special medical needs, so we intend to mask and then distance while eating.)

Ryan Sorrell, founder of The Kansas City Defender news organization, has promised to join us in person. (The Kansas City Defender is an award winning “nonprofit digital startup producing news, digital tools and public services for Black people across the Midwest.” Mr. Sorrell was featured in the interview program last Sunday.)

Program for Sunday, November 20, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Kansas City Defender

Ryan Sorrell, founder of The Kansas City Defender news organization, will join us in a recorded interview by Spencer Graves for the upcoming Radioactive Magazine on KKFI. Ryan was not able to make the Sunday schedule, but may be invited back for in-person discussion some other Sunday. Meanwhile we can discuss the work his organization is doing, and put together a list of questions to further the discussion with Mr. Sorrell and his group.

The Kansas City Defender is an award winning “nonprofit digital startup producing news, digital tools and public services for Black people across the Midwest.”

Program for Sunday, November 13, 2022 – 1:00 to 4:00pm

(Excerpted from Wikimedia Commons, By Nehrams2020, CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Potluck! (and a discussion of the election)

Join us at the Oak Room for a potluck of Community of Reason participants, and commiserate or rejoice (whichever is your feeling) about the recent election.

Note doors open at 1:00 PM, and we will start the Zoom meeting as soon as we can get it going so those who can’t join us in person can still talk and nibble from home. The “official” commiserating starts at 2:00 as normal, but we will probably still be eating and a few latecomers might even arrive with new food to enjoy.

We may also continue the discussion of the future of Community of Reason.

(There is a small but complete kitchen off the Oak Room, so very limited steps could be done on site if arrive early, and we can wash up some dishes at least well enough to take home if necessary.)

Program for Sunday, November 6, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Future of COR

This is an important meeting, because we need to discuss the future of the Community of Reason KC.

For the Community of Reason to continue to produce programs, we need volunteers, because the duties of the organization need to be shared.

For the weeks of November 6, 13, and 20, we have reserved the Oak Room at Oak Hall in Missouri, which should be central for many who have not been able to come in person from the Missouri side. (And of course the Zoom connections will be open as well.)

In addition we are considering having a potluck before (and during) the program the week after on the 13th.

Program for Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Wikipedia: The Most Democratic Force on Earth

Spencer Graves of Friends of Community Media claims that Wikipedia is the most democratic force on earth. Almost anyone can change almost anything on Wikipedia. What stays tends to be written from a neutral point of view citing credible sources. Registered users can ‘watch’ Wikipedia articles, and if they all like changes, they stay. If one does not like a change, it can be “undone” or modified to hopefully make it better. Controversies are usually resolved by discussion on the “Talk” page associated with each article.

The presentation will have live demonstrations and tutorials. Be ready by picking articles on Wikipedia you might think can be improved.

There is much more to “Wikimedia” than just the encyclopedia pages. Wikipedia is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which sponsors other projects including Wikimedia Commons (for photos, videos and other material that might be used in multiple Wikimedia Foundation projects), Wikiversity (for tutorials and original research not permitted on Wikipedia), Wikiquote (for familiar quotations, citing sources), and Wikidata (for data like names and dates that can be easily shared between multiple Wikimedia Foundation projects). We can also discuss vandalism, paid editing, censorship, and other questions about Wikipedia, depending on the interests of the participants.

The presenter, Spencer Graves, has logged almost 25,000 edits to Wikimedia Foundation projects since 2010, especially on Wikidata and the English Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and Wikiquote, but also to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia in Spanish, French and German.

Program for Sunday, October 23, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

David Cay Johnston: The Big Cheat

We will watch a video of David Cay Johnston discussing his new book The Big Cheat, followed by discussion.

1“Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter and dean of Trumpologists David Cay Johnston reveals years of eye-popping financial misdeeds by Donald Trump and his family.”

We are starting the video at 2:00 PM so we get all the introductions, but you won’t miss much joining a few minutes late. Video link here on YouTube. From The Commonwealth Club of California, “the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum”, in conversation with Mitch Jeserich, Host “Letters and Politics,” on KPFA community radio in Berkley and Fresno.

2“‘Few people are as well positioned to write an exposé of the former president as Johnston’ (The Washington Post), and The Big Cheat offers a guided tour of how money flowed in and out of Trump’s hundreds of enterprises, showing in simple terms how a corrupt president used our government for his benefit, even putting national security at risk. Johnston details the four most recent years of the corruption that has defined the Trump family since 1885 and reveals the costs of Trump’s extravagant lifestyle for American taxpayers.”

3David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter and bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump and It’s Even Worse Than You Think. He has lectured on economics, journalism, and tax policy on every continent except Antarctica and is a former president of Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE). Johnston has been a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC, ABC World News TonightDemocracy Now!, and NPR’s Morning Edition, among other shows, and was a consultant for the Netflix series House of Cards.

1,2,3 Simon & Schuster: The Big Cheat.

Program for Sunday, October 16, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

The Kansas City Police Department and
Missouri Amendment 4

Our guest speaker, Lora McDonald of (MORE “Squared”, MORE2), will discuss the complex history of home rule for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, and address Amendment 4 which is on the ballot across Missouri.

Amendment 4 will allow the Missouri legislature to force Kansas City to increase its direct funding of the police department–and bills already passed would change the requirement from 20% to 25% of general revenue to the City. (Mayor Quinton Lucas and some civil rights organizations oppose the amendment, and rather support letting Kansas City return to local control. But all this will be the subject of the discussion…..)

McDonald has been organizing since 2008. She worked for the KC Crime Commission from 2008-2012, serving as the architect of the Second Chance Program and establishing the KC Reentry Coalition, to address public policies and systemic issues that created barriers to successful reentry. Since then she has been the Executive Director of MORE2, Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, “the leading force for criminal justice and police reform in the Kansas City metro region.”

Program for Sunday, October 9, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Friends of Community Media

Spencer Graves and Greg Swartz of Friends of Community Media will join us to talk about their organization and subjects we have in common.

FCM took on the mission to “promote non-commercial, community-based media of all types; to educate citizens on the nature of the media; and to encourage all media to be responsive to the public in coverage.”

Our current environment includes large groups of people who believe contradictory basic facts about physical reality with the combined effects of the new media technology landscape and divisive politics. The Nichols and McChesney proposals from a previous meeting, and last week’s focus on local non-profit media cooperation, lead to a continuing conversation of what can be done to improve the relationship of media and community.

Program for Sunday, October 2, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

KC Media Collective

Chris Lester, Managing Editor, Kansas City PBS, and also the lead contact for PBS/Flatland with the Kansas City Media Collective. Chris will join us to talk about the Kansas City Media Collective (follow link for the link for more information on the Media Collective). (Chris Lester bio.)

Previous programs have concentrated on issues of improving local news coverage (both nationwide and local KC area). The KC Media Collective has been doing just that, for example the Collective members support each other as in this Community Conversation on Reproductive Rights.

In our discussions we have tried to understand the changes in media over time, including the dwindling role of newspapers in the community, with severe cutbacks in local reporting. Chris’s background is not just in public broadcasting and the related media, but his experience includes 24 years at the Kansas City Star as both columnist and editor. I think we will have more interesting subjects to cover than time!


Program for Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Open Meeting

General discussion this week. Topics: All subjects in recent programs, suggestions for new programs (especially speakers).

Program for Sunday, September 18, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

Working Meeting: Improving Local News Media

Spencer Graves (President of Friends of Community Media) will join us to continue the discussion of how to improve local news media, including the Nichols and McChesney proposal. We have an opportunity to share a table with FCM at the PeaceWorksKC Local Art Fair next weekend, September 24-25, to build momentum for improving local media and promoting our organizations to the public. Spencer will share his flyer Reducing Conflict and Corruption by Improving Local News, we will examine local initiatives in the area, and discuss other ideas for working together and with other organizations on local news media issues.

Program for Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00pm

9/11 Legacy

Gordon Elliott and Michael Hoey, (facilitators). We will play the 26 minute Democracy Now video “Turning Point”: Legacy of the U.S. Response to 9/11 Is Terror, Domestic Surveillance & Drones. This is a summary and interview about the creation of the 5-part Netflix documentary Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror and opens a long list of discussion points. Then a short French video What the CIA did not tell about its War on Terror. Following Michael will highlight a list of Internet resources that show the history of the Arab region over the last century, showing alliances and actions by the West–which should give some background for understanding the Arab responses and how we got to today.


“Turning Point”: Legacy of the U.S. Response to 9/11 Is Terror, Domestic Surveillance & Drones (YouTube)

What the CIA did not tell about its War on Terror (YouTube)

Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11 (Pew Research Center)

Program for Sunday, September 4, 2022 – 2:00 to 3:45pm

Nichols, Steiner, McChesney

DISCUSSION: “The US journalism crisis is a democracy crisis,”

(An Interview with Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols on the Marc Steiner show)

Gordon Elliott and Michael Hoey, (facilitators) The discussion will focus on local media and how local media can be used to promote democracy.  (Link to interview:, )


Their paper To Protect and Extend Democracy, Recreate Local news Media (PDF)

Free Press fights to save Net Neutrality, achieve affordable internet access for all, uplift the voices of people of color in the media, challenge old and new media gatekeepers to serve the public interest, end unwarranted surveillance, defend press freedom and reimagine local journalism.



There will be an organizational meeting before the scheduled program

  • Where:  Neighborhood Café, 7531 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, MO. 64114
  • You can purchase and have lunch during the meeting.  Check the website for their menu (  Choose the Waldo branch location.
  • Meeting time: 1:00 to 2:00 pm., promptly followed by the scheduled program at 2:00 pm.  If you are late, you will miss the first part of the video.
  • The scheduled program will end at 3:45 pm instead of at 4:00 pm

Program for Sunday, August 28, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Charles Peirce

Critical Reason: Insights from Charles Peirce on Science — Relevance for Democracy

Dr. James Webb will discuss the relevance to democracy from Charles Peirce’s methods of establishing belief and other insights.

Program for Sunday, August 21, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Western Liberal Democracy Is Winning Over Autocracies | by Erik Engheim |  GEN

Political polarization: what can we do about it?

Political polarization has been growing and threatening democracy in many countries in recent years. This is not just a perception, a growing body of research supports this conclusion.

Spencer Graves from Friends of Community Media has been working on this subject for several years. We are privileged to be his guinea pigs for the debut presentation–at a time when the importance could not be greater. Proposals include changes to internet law, and increasing funding for local news in ways that strengthen democracy and resist polarization.

Spencer is not just PhD statistician, professional engineer, and president of Friends of Community Media. He is also founder of, devoted to researching the long-term impact of alternative approaches to conflict, and a program associate with KKFI (90.1 FM), associated with Radio Active Magazine.

Program for Sunday, August 7, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Western Liberal Democracy Is Winning Over Autocracies | by Erik Engheim |  GEN

What is Democracy IV?  Jesus and John Wayne:  Evangelicals and Politics

James Webb, UMKC, Ph.D., Economics

Program for Sunday, July 17th, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

What is Democracy I?  A Brief History of Democracy in Political Philosophy

Majid Shahbazkhani, political activist for liberal democracy in Iran

Program for Sunday, July 24th, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

What is Democracy II?  The Demos of Democracy:  An Abstract Paradigm

Greg Hodes, Ph.D., Philosophy

Program for Sunday, July 31st, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

What is Democracy III?  The Rise of Fascism in the U.S. and Europe

Gordon Elliott, physicist, electrical engineer, mathematician; and, James Webb, UMKC, Ph.D. Economics.

Program for Sunday, July 10th, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

DiEM25 – A “Radical” European Group’s Take on the Current Economic Crisis

The European political group DiEM25 had a video conference titled “The cost of living crisis – what’s causing it, how bad will it get, and how do we fix it?”. An edited version (less than 45 minutes) will be viewed, followed by discussion, led by Michael Hoey and Gordon Elliott. (This illuminates how the EU is going through very similar inflationary crisis, but with even greater difficulties than the US–G.E.)

Link to whole video for those who would like to watch it in advance (1 hour 15 minutes) Link to video

The group DiEM25 “A progressive movement for Europe”  promotes a green new deal. (See link.)

Moderator: Mehran Khalili, Activist organizer, political consultant, Chania, Greece.

Yanis Varoufakis, Economist and politician, former finance minister of Greece, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens..

Julijana Zita, co-founder of MERA25 movement in Germany.

Judith Meyer, Author in language learning and political organizer from Germany.

Dusan Pajovic, Psychology of Intercultural Relations, Animal rights activist, Green New Deal for Europe Campaign Coordinator at DiEM25, from Lisbon, Portugal.

Johannes Fehr, Organizer, specialist Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency, Germany.

Erik Edman, Organizer, subject Political Sociology. Was project manager, CSR Europe, The European business network for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. Brussels Belgium.

Amir Kiyaei, Policy Coordinator DiEM25, specialist Technology and Security Risk Services, and in sustainable development, peace building and environmental affairs, Hague Netherlands.

An interesting presentation by Yanis Varoufakis in 2919 about the DiEM25 group’s mission. (The Youtube video shows links to other presentations.)

(The presenters confirm the complexity of the causes of the inflation occurring in both Europe and the US, with their political take of course. For another view on the subject of recent inflation:)

Everything You’re Hearing About Gas Prices is Wrong (Time Magazine)

Program for Sunday, July 3rd, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Information Technology Education: past and present

Morehead State University :: Business Information Technology Education

Wading or Rowing in Deep Water:  the abortion issue

Poll: Half of voters support maintaining Roe v. Wade - POLITICO

Continued spirited discussion

Program for Sunday, June 26, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm


First hour: Information Technology Education: past and present

Majid Shahbazkhani, software engineering and application development (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Second hour: Wading or Rowing in Deep Water: The abortion issue

Greg Hodes, Ph.D. Philosophy


Program for Sunday, June 19, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

A freethought writer from Girard, Kansas: E. Haldeman-Julius (1889-2021)

Fred Whitehead, freethought historian, author, poet, grassroots activist

 Fred will give a brief history of E. Haldeman-Julius and his work (see E. Haldeman-Julius on Wikipedia).  E. Haldeman’s books are available for purchase (contact Fred Whitehead at P.O. Box 5224, KCK, 66119, or via email,, or call (913) 342-6379.

Program for Sunday, June 12

Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All the Brutes”

(a documentary, Episode 4)

Luis Flores, facilitator

In this final episode, … “Peck links the resurgence of white nationalism with the global history of fascism, slavery, colonization and Nazism.”


Program for June 5, 2022

2:00 to 4:00 pm


Argun Saatcioglu, Professor of Education and Sociology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence

The solution has to start with the real story” Raoul Peck

Program for May 29, 2022

Some Short Films

Fred Whitehead, author, poet, freethought historian.
Dr. Whitehead will show some short films he directed and produced.

Program for May 22, 2022

Where is Turkey Today? 

Dr. Eyyup Esen, Ph.D., (Higher Education), University of Kansas, author of Global Warming of Hearts! and I am not color blind” (2020).

Dr. Esen will speak about his views of Turkey and his experience as an asylee. One of his major goals is to depolarize the world.

Program for May 15, 2022

Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All the Brutes,”

(a documentary, episode 1) 

Barbara Johnson, facilitator

Program for May 8, 2022

The Process Party (continued) and Gerrymandering in Missouri

Greg Hodes, Ph. D. Philosophy and Dr. Barbara J. K. Johnson, community activist

Program for May 1, 2022

The Process Party: Political Reform in Desperate Times

Greg Hodes, Ph. D. Philosophy


Program for April 24, 2022

In-person meeting this Sunday as well as via Zoom

Where:  Central Resource Library.  9875 W 87th St. , Overland Park, Kansas 66212, Room 20

Fred Whitehead will briefly present something interesting to see how it all works out


Join in-person at the Central Resource Library (RSVP: or join us on Zoom

2:00 to 4:00 pm Sunday, April 24, 2022

Program for April 10, 2022

Continued CoR KC Planning for the rest of the year.

Program for April 3, 2022

CoR KC Planning for the rest of the year.

Program for March 20, 2022

“Killing of Political Prisoners in Iran in 1988″

Majid Shahbazkhani, an Iranian independent liberal democrat and human rights activist involved in the Justice for 1988 campaign (

Majid will speak about the mass killing of political prisoners in Iran in 1988, why it is ignored in the U.S. and the free world.  According to Amnesty international, Iran ambassador to UN in 1988 is accused of a crime against humanity because he aided in hiding the massacre of 5000 political prisoners. However, the ambassador is head of the religion department at Oberlin College and is known as “peace professor” there. 

Program for March 13, 2022

“Chaos and Reductionism”

(Lecture 13 from Robert Sapolsky’s Stanford Human Behavioral Biology Course:

Facilitators:  Robert Gaines, flâneur, retired Systems Technologist; and Luis Flores, social scientist.

“Professor Robert Sapolsky gives what he calls ‘one of the most difficult lectures of the course.’  His lecture focuses on reduction science and breaking things down to their component parts in order to best understand them.”


Everyone is welcome



For future programs, please check out our Monthly schedules page.


Mary Lindsay
League of Women Voters of Kansas City/Jackson, Clay & Platte Counties
P. O. Box 10416
Kansas City, MO 64171-0416
816-885-9996 Voice / Text / Voicemail

Program for March 6, 2022

Sociobiology: “The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst,” by Robert Sapolsky


Facilitators:  Robert Gaines, Technical Instructor, Research Technician, Engineer, Programmer, Analyst, manager and consultant in electronics, computer networks and systems; and Luis Flores, social scientist.

We will show a video of a talk given by Robert Sapolsky about the neurological and biological underpinnings of social cognition and behavior.   His talk is part of “…A joint project with the Laboratory for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology at Stanford University Medical School and the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies.” 


Everyone is welcome

Program for February 27, 2022

IRAN: Secularism versus Theocracy

Majid Shahbazkhani, an Iranian independent liberal democrat and human rights activist, who experienced the “Islamic Revolution” and the establishment of a theocracy in his home country.

Majid will take a sociopolitical view of the “Islamic Revolution” in Iran for about 20 minutes followed by questions, comments and discussion.

Program for February 20, 2022

“A compelling contemporary development,” discussion

Participants will choose an issue of importance 

Program for February 13, 2022

“Brave New World,” Original 2018 painting series by Ian Young

Ian Young, Kansas artist,  

Ian will display and discuss his visual interpretation of Aldous Huxley’s famous 1932 science fiction novel.

Program for February 6, 2022

CGELI KORZHEV (1935-2012): Soviet artist in the “Severe School”

Fred Whitehead, author, poet, freethought historian

 Geli Korzhev acerbically depicted the transition from socialism to capitalism.  Slides of his work will be featured.

Geli Korzhev (1935-2012), Soviet artist in the “Severe School.” who acerbically depicted the transition from socialism to capitalism

Program for January 30, 2022

CONTINUATION: “In the Age of AI,” (a Frontline documentary)

Robert Gaines, Technical Instructor, Research Technician, Engineer, Programmer, Analyst, manager and consultant in electronics, computer networks and systems

Robert will facilitate discussion of the documentary (  The documentary “investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society.”  It is a good starting point for discussion of the subject. 

See also:  The Past Decade and Future of AI’s Impact on Society by Joanna J. Bryson – University of Bath, UK

Program for January 16, 2022

Overview of Artificial Intelligence: “In the Age of AI,” (a Frontline documentary)

Robert Gaines, technical instructor, research technician, engineer, programmer, analyst, manager and consultant in electronics, computer networks and systems

Robert will facilitate discussion of the documentary. The documentary “investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow for the emergence of the surveillance society.” It is a good starting point for discussion of the subject

Program for January 9, 2022

Is Common Sense Common?

Kenneth A Schmitz, Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry and Environmental Studies, UMKC.

Typical trivia contests are about knowledge that one knows about a variety of topics. In contrast, problems that are directed to common sense involves reasoning. Those present will be given 22 puzzles that are solved by the application of common sense (as defined on the Internet). Solutions, along with a discussion and the reasoning, follow.

Program for January 2, 2022

Heading into 2022: What does the New Year bring?

Program for December 19, 2021

“The Safe Side of the Fence” a documentary about our nuclear legacy

Tony West, filmmaker/television videographer, editor

Tony will discuss the documentary about how massive number of workers were exposed to lethal amounts of radiation brought about by the need for uranium,   (pw: thesafeside15)

Program for December 12, 2021

Discussion: What the Hell is Going On?

Program for November 14, 2021

The November Mystery Celebration

Kenneth A Schmitz, Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry and Environmental Studies, UMKC.

What November is dedicated to but not generally celebrated.

Program for November 7, 2021

More about China and Other Concerns?

Open discussion

Program for October 31, 2021

Where are we with China?

Ian Munro, Professor emeritus at William Jewell College. He was among the first group of Americans to teach in China after the Cultural Revolution, from 1979-1981 at Wuhan University. He returned to China from 2010-2011, for a reunion with his students.

Dr. Munro will talk about how attitudes towards China have changed from the 18th century, but mainly over the last 50 years. Dr. Munro will address how the media has manipulated “popular opinion” in the U.S. about China. Dr. Munro’s talk is based on a paper, “American Attitudes Towards China,” and on a talk given at Wuhan University in 2011.

Program for October 24, 2021

Remembering Harlan Bonar (1950-2021), “The Michelangelo of Missouri”

Fred Whitehead, freethought historian, poet, writer


Program for October 17, 2021

Random Distributions and Probabilities: Visualizing Solutions to Problems with Constraints by Means of Images and Diagrams

Dr. Kenneth S Schmitz, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry and Environmental Studies, UMKC


This presentation was inspired by the 3-Couple Seating Problem presented by Quintin Welsh. Also included are casino games, the three-door Monte Hall Problem, the distribution of siblings of the Smith and Jones families; and, also bar seating, and competition of oxygen and carbon monoxide to hemoglobin sites (a popular method of writers is the closed garage door with a running car engine)

Program for October 10, 2021

“Economics as Scientific Inquiry: An Antidote and Alternative to Neo-Liberalism,” (continuing discussion of September 5, 2021)

James Webb, UMKC Economist


There is a tradition of institutional economics going back to the late nineteenth century which critiques neoliberalism and provides an alternative analysis that incorporates C. S. Peirce”s views on scientific method and includes T. Veblen, John R Commons, J. M. Keynes, J. Robinson, Lester C. Thurow, J. Stiglitz, Randy Wray, Stephanie Kelton as examples of institutional economists

Program for October 3, 2021

Book Review: Phobias (2021) by Michael Young

Michael Young, renown Kansas Artist, notably known for “Brown vs. the Board of Education, that hangs in the Capitol Building at Topeka.  Go to for more of his work.  Fred Whitehead, freethought historian, will interview Michael about his life and work. 

Program for September 26, 2021

Can U.S. Foreign Policy Ever Get It Right? What Afghanistan Teaches Us About Honduras

Judy Ancel, Cross Border Network, (


Program for September 19, 2021

Redistricting: The Most Influential — Yet Overlooked — Undertaking in Missouri Politics

Mary Lindsay, League of Women Voters of Kansas City, Redistricting Committee (


Program for August 29, 2021

Golf is a Four-Letter Word

An Informative and Entertaining Discourse on Golf-Play

Dr. Kenneth S Schmitz, Ph. D., Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry and Environmental Studies, UMKC.


Program for July 11, 2021

This presentation will focus on people-to-people interactions including the present audience.

Program for July 4, 2021

Program for June 27, 2021

Dr. King will discuss what biases are, how they can cause harm even when we don’t intend it, how we develop biases over our lives, how they lead to microaggressions, and of course how to mitigate their harmful impact.

Program for May 23, 2021

Speaker: Dr. Barbara J. K. Johnson

Program for May 16, 2021

Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade: A Curriculum for the Future

HOST: Quintin Welch

Program for March 28, 2021

In 2019 the Cross Border Network organized a delegation of solidarity activists from across the U.S. and Canada to tour Honduras and inquire why thousands of Hondurans were leaving either alone or joining with others in “caravans.” What they found was published in a report released just before COVID shut us all down. Even during COVID, caravans attempted to make it to the US border, but, of course, Trump’s “Safe Third Country” and “Remain in Mexico” policies made it very difficult to enter the US. Now that Trump is gone and Biden has announced the end to those two policies, Hondurans are coming again, with two hurricanes and COVID pushing them out as new reasons to flee. Why does the Cross Border Network take the position that the surge in Hondurans seeking asylum in the U.S. will not stop until the U.S. changes its foreign policy?

SPEAKER: Judy Ancel, Cross Border Network | Click here for the Zoom link

Program for March 21, 2021

Communards and supporters at a barricade in the rue de Charonne, Paris. Photo: Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images

SPEAKER: Fred Whitehead, freethought historian | Click here for the Zoom link See Vive la Commune? The working-class insurrection that shook the world 


Program for March 14, 2021

SPEAKER: Dr. Barbara Johnson | Click here for the Zoom link

Program for March 7, 2021

To purchase an autographed copy, please email:

Bill Tammeus, Columnist  (The Presbyterian Outlook,, Former columnist (National Catholic Reporter), KC Star Faith Matters blog: , , Twitter: @BillTammeus, Latest book: , My Amazon author page:

Program for February 14, 2021

SPEAKER: Quintin Welch

Program for February 7, 2021

(Part 2 of Jan 24 Program) SPEAKER: Greg Hodes, Ph.D., Philosophy

Program for January 31, 2021

SPEAKER: Darnell Hunt

Program for January 24, 2021

SPEAKER: Greg Hodes,  Ph.D., Philosophy

Program for January 3 and 10, 2021

Please read this book in advance.

Program for December 20, 2020

Program for December 6, 2020

Everyone is welcome.  Join us with passion and reason

Program for November 1, 2020

The choice of words and organization of phrases can sway opinions and beliefs. Discussed in this presentation is how science deniers in politics use the little lie to mask the big lie on two important issues in the forthcoming election: climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

Program for October 18, 2020

Time: 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Program for October 11, 2020

SPEAKER: Max J Skidmore, Ph.D., University of Missouri: Curators’ Professor of Political Science and Thomas Jefferson Fellow

Program for Sept 27, 2020

CorKC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Program for Sept 20, 2020

CorKC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Program for Sept 13, 2020

SPEAKER: Gordon Elliott (physicist, electrical engineer, mathematician)
CorKC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: Sep 13, 2020, 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 

Program for Sept 6, 2020

Mike Hoey, 
(grassroots activist), will discuss the book and show a video interview with the author about his book

Program for Aug 30, 2020

You are invited to a live ZOOM planning/organizational meeting.
We hope to discuss and decide our meetings for the next 4 to 8 weeks. 
Please come, help and participate.

Program for Aug 23, 2020

Modeling the coronavirus spread in a community (a very short preview of my August 30 presentation)
Gordon Elliott, physicist, electrical engineer, mathematician

How the suppression of scientific information and an audience lacking scientific understanding has led to the politicization and subsequent spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States
Kenneth S. Schmitz, Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies

How capitalism, globalism, and climate change are responsible for humans’ contracting novel viruses, and what we can do to reverse this trend (summary of a presentation by Dr. Shiva can be found here.
Darnell Hunt, retired Navy Nurse Corps officer, community activist/organizer, and occasional political candidate.

An open discussion will follow the above presentations – everyone is encouraged to join

Program for Aug 16, 2020

Greetings friends of Community of Reason KC.
You are invited to a live informal virtual gathering to visit, reconnect, and just talk
amongst ourselves (formal dress optional). How have we been? What do we want?
Where do we wish to go? If you can’t join us and even if you can please let us know
what you think COR ought and could do.
Please email these ideas to

For more detailed instructions on how to join the zoom virtual meeting, click here.

Program for March 22, 2020

Karen True, Deputy Chief, Kansas City Police Department

Program for March 15, 2020

Donna Maize, Fire Chief, Kansas City, Missouri

Program for March 8, 2020

a film about Hypatia of Alexandria during 4th Century Eygpt
Cristian Wade (discussant), member of the Greater Kansas City Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Program for March 1, 2020

Alissia Canady, Managing Attorney, Canady Law Firm, (former Kansas City councilwoman)

Program for Feb 23, 2020

Kenneth S. Schmitz, 
(discussant), Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies

This documentary is relevant at a time when treaties are meaningless and rollbacks on environmental protections are not slowing down by an administration that believes human-induced climate change is a hoax.

Program for Feb 16, 2020

Jamie Jackson, an activist for Palestinian human rights with “Citizens for Justice in the Middle East” (CJME).  CJME and CoR KC are co-sponsors of this event.

This documentary follows the story of four young Palestinians who have been detained and imprisoned in the military system, providing us a lens into a key structure of oppression in the occupied territories.  On average 500 Palestinian children are detained every year.

Program for Feb 9, 2020

David Burnham,
 Paleontologist, University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, returning from celebrated recent discoveries (e.g., New Yorker Magazine, CBS Morning Television, KC Star newspaper)

Program for Feb 2, 2020

Rick Randolph
, M.D.  retired U.S. Army Colonel, Chief Medical Officer, Heart to Heart International (, worked with WHO (World Health organization), tracked epidemics: cholera and Ebola in Africa (Liberia)

Program for Jan 19, 2020

Joyce McGautha, President of SANKOFA and former director of Urban Community Leadership Academy

Program for Jan 26, 2020

Robert Stewart, editor of â€œNew Letters” magazine; poet, essayist
 Robert will read selections from his latest book of poems, Working Class (2018, Stephen Austin State University Press)” 

Program for December 1

Kenneth S Schmitz, (discussant)
Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies. 
It is suggested the audience take notes on the material in the documentary

Program for December 8

Kenneth S Schmitz,(discussant)
Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies. 
It is suggested the audience take notes on the material in the documentary, to compare the effectiveness of the two documentaries: “An Inconvenient Truth,” and “An Inconvenient Sequel.” 

Program for December 15

Cecilia Belser-Patton, organizer with Missouri Jobs With Justice (
 Using art and activism as tools for teaching self-actualization, Cecilia uses artivism to create the just and open world in which she wishes to live in.

Program for December 22

Kenneth S Schmitz,(discussant)
Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies. 
After 30 years of crystal-clear science on global heating, the general public seems unconcerned about the real consequences, positive as well as negative, of the failure to act. Confusion is not only fed by climate deniers and special interest groups, but also by the focus of scientists solving the problems associated with effects rather than causes. 

Program for December 29

SPEAKER: Fred Whitehead (convener), poet, author, and freethought historian
What are the lessons of the recent past; and, prospects for 2020.  All are welcome to participate

Program for November 22

SPEAKER: Harvey Williams, KC Melting Pot founder and executive director (

Program for November 10

SPEAKER: Michael Caddell, Radio Free Kansas
(call-in talk show, noon to 2 pm daily, CST: 6:45 &:16 8652)

Program for November 17: A documentary film showing

Kenneth S Schmitz, (discussant)
Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies

Program for November 24

Max J Skidmore, Ph.D., University of Missouri: Curators’ Professor of Political Science and
Thomas Jefferson Fellow

Program for October 27

James Webb, Economist
 Kuhn’s theory of scientific change has been very influential. What can we say about scientific inquiry in
light of the tectonic revolution in geology (and other episodes)?

Program for October 20

Jim Haas, Ed.D., is a retired public school teacher, principal, and university director, a Milken Family Foundation National Educator, and a National Scholar in the Humanities.

We’ll take a trip back in time that paints our culture’s roots in the European Middle Ages using
a humanities palette and a broad brush helpful in understanding contemporary issues
from the Middle East to Constitutional government.

Program for October 13: Film Showing

The film will explore the two most important questions of the Trump era:
How did we get here and how do we get out?
Open discussion: everyone is invited to participate

Program for October 6

Layla, BADIL Worker and Jaime Jackson, member of
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East
(KC group advocating for peace and justice for Israel and Palestine)
BADIL’s Vimeo Page:
Here are links to the two films:
“The Sun is Due to Rise”: [duration 16:43]
“Forcible Transfer in the Old City of Hebron”: [duration 5:48]

Program for September 29

Fred Whitehead, poet, author, grassroots historian.

Program for September 22: Film Showing (Documentary)

Kenneth S. Schmitz, Emeritus professor of physical chemistry and environmental studies
That art and science are manifestations of the same thing is the theme of the documentary in which four prominent scientists explore their views from their scientific fields of expertise on the “Circus de Soleil” production of “Mystere.”  A discussion follows the documentary.

Program for September 15

Lewis Diuguid, Author, Journalist, Editor, formerly with Kansas City Star, Harvard University’s
Lois M. Lyons award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism; and,
Bette Tate-Beaver, Executive Director National Association for Multicultural Education ( ), a 100% Volunteer Driven Organization

This paper was presented at Seoul National University at the Korean Association for
Multicultural Education Conference (see NAME website for details)

Program for September 8

Judy Ancel, President of
and other delegation members
This summer, a delegation of Americans sponsored by “Cross Border Network” visited Honduras to investigate why so many families with children were leaving and making the long trek to Trump’s border. 
We’ll discuss the results of this investigation.

Program for September 1

Luis Flores, Cognitive Psychologist,
Ken Schmidt, UMKC Professor Emeritus of Biophysical Chemistry
and Environmental Studies Faculty,
James Webb, Economist

Program for Aug 4:

Click on our Essays section to view a copy of Barbara’s presentation which includes a bibliography

Program for Aug 11:

The historical fiction film “The Imitation Game” about Alan Turing won an academy award. But, nothing in the film actually happened. This history lesson focuses on the forces that shaped the invention of the computer and the intellectual and mathematical effort that was hidden from the public for decades, but almost certainly won World War II, and ending with a discussion of the origins of “Artificial Intelligence.

Program for Aug 18:

Gordon Elliott, Consultant
(background in Physics, Engineering and Computer Science)

Program for Aug 25: Film Showing

Jamie Jackson (Discussant), a local activist with Citizens for Justice in the Middle East (CJME).  
CJME and CoR KC are co-sponsors of this event.

This documentary was the last chance for many Israelis and Palestinians who lived the event to share their riveting and moving personal recollections. The film reveals the shocking events surrounding the creation of one state and the expulsion of a nation. (go to for a discussion guide)

July 7:

July 14:

July 21:

There are two main parts that comprise the presentation. The first part is a Trivia section on the history of Bridge. Participation is optional. The second part deals with Audrey Grants “Bridge at a Glance” which summarizes the criteria for opening bids at designated levels. It is shown that all of the elements can be faithfully generated by a natural system based on the understanding of two general concepts: 1) the distribution of cards, and 2) the philosophical view that “above average quantities” play a central role in Bridge.

July 28:

Fred Whitehead, Writer, Freethought Historian
Mike Hoey, Grassroots Historian

June 2: 

SPEAKER: Don Bell, former Presbyterian Minister, Biblical scholar

June 9:  Film Series

Open discussion: Everybody is welcome to participate

June 16:

The Problem is False: Religion is the Issue

SPEAKER: Don Bellformer Presbyterian Minister, Biblical scholar

June 23: Open discussion

Mike Hoey, (Discussant)

June 30: Open discussion

For the video of the talk, click here
For the description about the book, click here 

Mike Hoey, (Discussant)

May 2019

May 5:  “Heading For Extinction and What To Do About It”

Lee Gum, Local Facilitator for Extinction Rebellion

May 12:  “Pets Helping Those in Need: Pet Therapy”

Sharon Woodrum,  Program Director, Pets for Life.

May 19:  “Cooperatives: Democracy At Work”

Darnell Hunt, community activist/ organizer

Comparing cooperatives to the current capitol-driven workplace.

May 26:  “American Educational Reform: Ill Effects of High-Stakes Testing”

Argun Saatcioglu,  Associate Professor of Education and Sociology, K.U.

April 2019

April 7: “A Look at the Green New Deal – It’s Beginning and Future”

SPEAKER: Mehdi Shariati, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Sociology, and Geography

April 14: “Medical Marijuana/Hemp and Tilapia – What Ties Them Together? … Dre Taylor” 

SPEAKER: Dre Taylor, Sustainable Agriculture

April 21: “Organizing for Housing Justice: Eviction, Homelessness and Public Policy in Kansas City – A Community Discussion”

DISCUSSANTS:  Tara Raghuveer (, organizer of KC Tenants, a grass roots group dedicated to empowering renters: Tiana Caldwell is a leader in KC Tenants Union: Jordan Young, is health director of MO Jobs with Justice – a panel discussion led by Ian Munro, William Jewell College emeritus professor of English

Tara’s research on eviction and poverty in Kansas City was featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, Guardian, among others, and was cited in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Evicted by Mathew Desmond, (Penguin Random House, N.Y., 2016).  In November 2017, she spoke on eviction before the City Council of Kansas City, MO (

April 28:  â€œIn Conjunction with the Greater Kansas City IWW Labor Film Series: Norma Rae (1987)”

DISCUSSANT: Christian Wade, member of the Greater Kansas City Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  

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