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Q&A

Conrad: ‘Do what is in your heart and soul and spirit’

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During her lecture at 10:45 a.m. Thursday in the Amphitheater, Barbara Smith Conrad did what she’s always done best: She sang. The small woman on stage approached her friend, pianist Patsy Sage, to decide which song to sing. The words that escaped her lips were much more booming than her voice had been before — even with the aid of the microphone.

Lynch: Arts are an absolute necessity for the nation

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Robert Lynch’s career began with a lie. It was January 1975. He’d had his hand in the creation of the New England Artist Festival and Showcase, today called the New England Arts Biennial. The team of founders — including Lynch — marketed it as “New England’s largest gathering of artists, craftspeople, performers, poets and other creators.”

Landesman: The arts build better communities

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When Rocco Landesman was young, his uncle would give his brother and him $5 for every F they got in school. His uncle, after all, went on to found a personal management company, its motto being, “We take the sting out of success and put the fun back in failure!”

Woolsey: U.S. energy can be target of terrorist attacks

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During a summer storm in Cleveland a few years back, the conditions knocked branches from their trees — much like many storms nationwide. The result of this one was very different. Branches struck power lines, making a regular storm into something much worse. Fifty million people were left without power, some of them for days. By the end, the economies of the U.S. and Canada lost almost $10 billion.
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Riedel: Understanding al-Qaida is the key to its defeat

Bruce Riedel, former CIA analyst, presented a dilemma to the audience during his 10:45 a.m. lecture Tuesday in the Amphitheater. He asked the crowd to imagine being given pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. However, it can’t be certain whether the tasked puzzle has 500 pieces or 1,000 pieces. Either way, there are only 100 pieces at the moment. What’s worse: Not all of those pieces belong to that particular jigsaw puzzle, but it’s unknown which ones don’t belong.

Earnest: U.S. espionage has been present since revolution

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It’s thousands of years ago. Humankind is undeveloped, living practically naked in caves. Wealth is not measured in gold, but rather in nuts and berries — the only things that will keep your family alive. A neighboring cave houses another human, but you notice this human has better nuts and berries than you do.

Sandel: Equality is the key to the common good

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Smoking is popular in the Czech Republic. When the Czech government considered raising the tax on those cigarettes — the very ones that kill thousands of people each year — major cigarette corporation Philip Morris was very unhappy. Philip Morris presented a cost-benefit analysis on the effects of raising the tax on the national budget.

Olson: Constitutionality is a matter of common good

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Theodore Olson, former U.S. solicitor general, answered questions from John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John’s University and frequent Chautauqua speaker, on stage Thursday. Olson addressed a variety of topics, including his personal experiences with the Supreme Court, the 9/11 attacks and California’s Proposition 8.

Gergen: Millennials should learn from the World War II generation

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David Gergen, Wednesday’s morning lecturer, told a short story about Benjamin Franklin to illustrate his point that it’s up to Americans to decide the future. As Franklin was leaving Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, a woman approached him. She pointed to a chair, which was painted with a half-sun on the horizon.
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Purcell: In difficult, baffling times, remember where we have been

Bill Purcell remembers the first debate he experienced in 1986 as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. “Mr. Speaker, I rise to observe that the snack bar, which has for so long stood in the area outside this great chamber, has been removed, and I now call upon you, sir, to explain, ‘Where is our snack bar?’” a senior member of the legislature said as he stood.
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