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The Civil Rights Act; Sleight of Hand; Humor Around the World; Federal Debt

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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Politico senior writer and Vanity Fair contributing editor Todd Purdum looks back at the dramatic behind-the-scenes battle to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. Then, master of sleight-of-hand, Ricky Jay, talks about the many different sides of magic. Dr. Peter McGraw and journalist Joel Warner discuss their global quest to learn what makes people laugh. Former Houston mayor Bill White talks about the government and public debt.

The Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Journalist Todd Purdum, recounts the dramatic political battle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in his new book An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which details the legislative maneuvering and the larger-than-life characters who made The Civil Rights Act a reality.

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Sleight-of-Hand Master Ricky Jay

The sleight-of-hand man Ricky Jay explores the many sides of magic. He also discusses “Congress of Wonders, a Weekend of Entertainment and Edification,” in Rhinebeck, New York, July 11-14. It will feature in-depth discussions of sleight of hand along with talks highlighting the relationship of magic to theater, film, and psychology.

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These Men Searched the World for What's Funny

Turns out, everyone loves mother-in-law jokes. And Freud saw humor as a release of sexual tension. Isn't that hilarious?

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Fiscal Policy and the Federal Debt

Bill White, who served as mayor of Houston from 2003 to 2009 and was deputy secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, tells the story of federal leaders who imposed clear limits on the use of federal debt for nearly two centuries until 2001, when elected officials broke the traditional link between federal tax and spending policies. For the first time in history, the federal government cut taxes during war, funded permanent new programs entirely with debt, and became dependent on foreign creditors. In America’s Fiscal Constitution: Its Triumph and Collapse, White outlines practical lessons learned from the nation's five previous spikes in debt.

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