Category

Education

Dr. Luke A. Nichter

By Author, Education, Politics One Comment

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, join us as we delve into the tumultuous year of 1968, a pivotal moment in American and global history, with our special guest, an esteemed historian and professor, Dr. Luke A. Nichter. He is a New York Times bestselling author or editor of eight books, including, most recently, “The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968,” which was chosen as the Best Book of 2023 by the Wall Street Journal. As an expert on presidential history, Dr Luke brings a wealth of knowledge about the seismic shifts that occurred during this era. He also mentioned that there is talk about using AI for transcribing historical recordings which could revolutionize our understanding of past presidencies by providing deeper insights than ever before possible.

This is such an enlightening episode filled with insights into one of America’s most dynamic years while emphasizing the importance of preserving our country’s rich history for future generations. Tune in now!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Be sure to use code “Gary20” to get 20% off your order!)

In this Episode:

  • Hear about the revolutionary nature of 1968, both domestically and internationally.
  • Discover how media coverage brought the Vietnam War and political unrest into living rooms across America.
  • Comparisons between past conflicts like Vietnam and more recent ones such as Iraq.
  • Explore Lyndon B. Johnson’s complex legacy as president during these transformative times.
  • Hear insightful conversations about whether John F. Kennedy would have escalated or withdrawn from Vietnam had he not been assassinated. 
  • Discover why the treatment of vice presidents has been scrutinized throughout history.
  • Listen to Dr. Luke as he shares personal stories and anecdotes while teaching history to college students.
  • Discover the role technology could play in transcribing historical presidential tapes for greater public access.

Quotations:

“Americans, we often put ourselves, we think we’re the middle of the world and there’s nothing else going on that’s nearly as important.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“Young people especially will surprise you by what they know, but also what they don’t know. And sometimes they know things very differently than you and I would.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“I think just kind of by definition, to reach the office of the presidency, you’ve got to be an interesting person.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“When I see a new political book, you know, on a shelf and I reach for it, you know, there’s that little voice in my head that usually says, well, what’s the author’s take? Do they have an agenda? Do they have a favorite?” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“I think we’ve lost so much historical empathy about history because we’re such in a rush to judge historical figures by our own standards that we’ve lost a connection with history and really what history is.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“These things in politics, while presented nobly, you know, are often driven by partisan concerns.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“Historians, we’re not supposed to care about counterfactuals, you know, or concern ourselves at all with what ifs.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“Often in history, you have two sides and I tend to come down somewhere in the middle.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“Early on in the Republic, the best path to becoming president was to be secretary of state, perhaps. And then there’s a phase where maybe becoming a senator is the way to become the president. You know, there’s a joke made that in the Senate, we have a hundred would-be presidents at all times. And then there’s a period that it’s the governor of a state, especially a large industrial, important state with a big population.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“Presidents have always desired to bypass the media, whether it’s print, whether it’s radio. whether it’s television and speak directly to the American people.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“I think there’s always been a degree of nepotism as long as there’s been politics. The two have always gone back together.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“On each side of the political aisle, you have about 20% that are activists that you gotta watch out for. And so you do get a student either on the right or the left occasionally who’s there to make a point.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“The bigger concern, I would say, now. is that students are afraid to actually say what they think in classrooms. Not because of me. They’re not worried about being judged by me. They’re worried about being judged by their peers.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“College should really be free for all of ideas. You should be going down the intellectual rabbit hole and learning about yourself and situating yourself in the world that you live in.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“I really try to be transparent with my reader. I mean, I really try to separate facts.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“One of the things I do as a historian is, if you’re gonna write about history, you better make friends with archivists.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“My goal is to drive the creation of new knowledge.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

“The more that I learn about history, the more I realize I have to learn about history.” ~ Luke A. Nichter

Bio:

Dr. Luke A. Nichter is a Professor of History and James H. Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman University. His area of specialty is the Cold War, the modern presidency, and U.S. political and diplomatic history, with a focus on the “long 1960s” from John F. Kennedy through Watergate. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan’s Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute, and a Hansard Research Scholar at the London School of Economics.

He is a New York Times bestselling author or editor of eight books, including, most recently, The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968 (Yale University Press). It is the first rigorously researched historical account of the most controversial election in modern U.S. history to have cooperation from all four major sides – Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, and George Wallace. Luke interviewed approximately 85 family members and former staffers, in addition to extensive archival research and access to new evidence that dramatically changes our understanding of the election. This work was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Luke’s last book was The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War (Yale University Press). It was the first full biography of Lodge – whose public career spanned from the 1930s to the 1970s – based on extensive multilingual archival research. This work was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Grant. He is also the author of Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World (Cambridge University Press), which was based on multilingual archival research in six countries, and is now at work on a book tentatively titled LBJ: The White House Years of Lyndon Johnson.

Luke earned his Ph.D. in History from Bowling Green State University, and lives in Orange, California and Bowling Green, Ohio.

Guest Contact Info:

Website: http://lukenichter.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-a-nichter-1190877/

Dan Levitt

By Author, Education, Science No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had a mind-bending conversation with Dan Levitt, the author of What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner. From contemplating his daughter’s vegetarian diet to delving deep into the history of scientific discovery, Dan took us on a ride from the Big Bang to modern biology. He also shares something enthralling about Robert Oppenheimer, Georges Lemaître, Fred Hoyle, Martin Kamen, Sam Ruben, Einstein, and all things geeky.  So, join us to hear more discussions about extensive research filled with fascinating stories that may blow your mind!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use code “GST” to enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your favorite shoes!)

(Be sure to tell them Gary sent you so you can save 20%!)

In this Episode:

  • How questioning Dan’s daughter’s vegetarian diet led to an intriguing path of scientific discovery.
  • The eye-opening revelation that every particle in our bodies originated from the Big Bang.
  • Hear stories and tales about science history, controversies, DNA discovery, tragedies, triumphs, and many more!
  • Discussion about the human complexity, mitochondria story, and challenges faced by scientific pioneers.
  • Reflections on life’s wonders and geological disagreements regarding evolution due to limited evidence but constant reinterpretation lead us closer to truth over time.

Quotations:

“History of science. I love it.” ~ Dan Levitt

“We are puzzle-solving creatures and the satisfaction of puzzle-solving drives us forward.” ~ Dan Levitt

“Many times the scientific breakthroughs don’t come with Eureka. They come with, oh, that’s weird.” ~ Dan Levitt

“No one had any idea how life could have evolved, and no one thought that you could even study it.” ~ Dan Levitt

“One of the things that is incredible that scientists have been able to do is reconstructing how we got here from the Big Bang—from this crazy, just random explosion of these tiny sub-subatomic particles and an energy package. Uh, it doesn’t necessarily explain why we’re here, right? Cause, you know, who knows what went before? Uh, but it certainly does explain why we’re here and it’s incredible—just incredible that we can do that.” ~ Dan Levitt

“One of the interesting things that I found when I was writing my book because I traced so many different kinds of discoveries is, you know, a lot of discoveries were brilliant insights like Einstein and relativity and Lemaître and the Big Bang.” ~ Dan Levitt

“It’s interesting because, you know, you have to also come up with new ideas and then defend it when people say you’re nuts.” ~ Dan Levitt

“That’s a large part of the scientific process, is, you know, coming up with an idea, and if you find the evidence and you believe in it, you know, you’re going to have a lot of skeptics, because scientists are trained to be skeptical, and that’s why science works because people are constantly saying, well, yeah, that sounds nice, but couldn’t it be this, or couldn’t it be this, or couldn’t it be that, right?” ~ Dan Levitt

“As our instruments get more powerful, we’re going to learn all kinds of things that we had no idea about.”  ~ Dan Levitt

Guest’s Bio:

Dan Levitt is the author of What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner. The book brings together a lifetime of discovery and research that led to a sweet spot where history meets science. He fondly recalls a chemistry kit his parents gave him when he was seven; he had a great time recording his results in a small notebook. He still misses those musty cards that he used to browse as he researched assignments as a student in Philadelphia’s public schools. In high school, his favorite class was chemistry, and that’s what he thought he would study, but then he found cognitive psychology at Swarthmore College.

In the Peace Corps in Kenya, Dan taught high school physics, biology, and world history in a remote village. Living close to Mount Kilimanjaro, walking by anthills as tall as people, and seeing snakes, hippos, and other wildlife gave him an intense curiosity about the natural world. He returned to Philadelphia to take a job developing exhibits and videos at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. That led to an interest in documentary filmmaking. After getting an MFA, Dan moved to Boston and started his career writing, producing, and directing documentaries for Discovery, Science, National Geographic, History, HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and others. His productions include films on dinosaurs; how Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Hawking made their greatest discoveries; the archeology of Custer’s Last Stand; and scientists’ efforts to uncover the cause of Malaysia’s Nipah virus. His work has received numerous awards, including two Cine-Golden Eagles, Emmy Award nominations, and the coveted Spur Award for scriptwriting from the Western Writers of America.

While dreaming up films, Dan was seized by an idea for a book and decided to go for it. What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, from the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner, published by HarperCollins, is his first book.

He considers himself lucky that his career combines science, history, and writing, all of which he loves. He lives in Cambridge with his other loves: his wife, two kids, and their dog, Maxwell Smart.

Guest’s Contact Info:

George Maxe

By Education, Personal Growth, Professional Athlete, Sports No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, our guest George Maxe shares his 30-year career path filled with unexpected twists and turns that led him to his current role as the president and CEO of The First Tee of Silicon Valley, where he’s been making a significant impact for the past 15 years.

Listen in to hear more about George’s inspiring journey. He recalls memorable moments playing golf and how golf transcends being just a sport into a powerful tool for character development and social inclusivity. He also emphasizes making golf accessible to children from all backgrounds and creating balanced environments where they can learn from each other’s experiences.

This episode is sponsored by:

In This Episode:

  • The Unexpected Journey
  • A Swing to Remember
  • From Berkeley to San Jose 
  • Numbers Game 
  • Golf: A Social Catalyst 
  • Making Golf Accessible 
  • Balancing Act
  • The Power Within   
  • Unforgettable Encounters  
  • Women and Golf
  • The Art of Mentorship
  • Volunteering
  • Building Rapport Through Humor 
  • Golf Course Conversations

Quotations:

“There’s something magical that happens when two people click.” ~ George Maxe

“When you love competition, it’s gotta be so hard to let go of it when you think you have a chance to win again.”  ~ George Maxe

“One of the great things about golf is that we’re using it as a vehicle for character development.” ~ George Maxe

Guest’s Bio:

George Maxe is a dedicated and visionary leader who has made a significant impact on youth development through his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee of Silicon Valley. His journey with the organization began in 2008, when he assumed the position of Executive Director at The First Tee of San Jose. Over the years, his leadership and unwavering commitment have transformed the organization, leaving an indelible mark on the community, which revolves around nurturing young talent and enabling them to reach their fullest potential, allowing him to leverage his education, experience, expertise, and background to make a positive impact on young lives. Under his guidance, The First Tee of San Jose experienced remarkable growth and expansion. By early 2012, he had successfully extended the program’s reach to include not only San Jose but also Gilroy and East Palo Alto, effectively renaming it The First Tee of Silicon Valley. This strategic move broadened the organization’s service area, ensuring more young people had access to its valuable programs. He aims to serve 10,000 youth by 2020 and elevate that number to 18,000 by 2025.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Ralph Stokes

By Author, Education, Faith, Personal Growth, Philosophy, Sports No Comments

Growing up in a segregated Alabama, Ralph Stokes never imagined he would play for the University of Alabama. But when his all-black high school closed down, he found himself in a predominantly white school, facing challenges of integration. Through perseverance, teamwork, and respect, Ralph became a trailblazing athlete, carving out a path for future generations. This episode explores the lessons learned from Ralph’s journey and how his experiences prepared him for life beyond football. Join us as we delve into the unexpected twists and turns of Ralph’s story and discover how he transformed adversity into opportunity.

This episode is sponsored by:

In this episode you’ll be able to:

  • Discover valuable lessons from a pioneering football player’s journey
  • Understand the crucial role of respect in fostering successful team dynamics
  • Learn how to rise above discrimination and setbacks through respectful dialogue
  • Uncover how to apply football-derived strategies to excel in business and entrepreneurship
  • Gain insight into effective goal setting and teamwork inspired by collegiate athletics

Key Moments:

00:03:12 – Ralph Stokes’ Career,
Ralph Stokes talks about his current role as Vice President of Diversity Partnerships and Community Relations at the PGA Tour Tour Superstore, and his upcoming role as President of the Georgia State Golf Association.

00:06:16 – Ralph Stokes’ Experience with Integration,
Ralph Stokes shares his experience with integration, starting from when he had to move to a different high school after his all-black high school was shut down, to playing football at a predominantly white school and leading integration his way.

00:11:15 – Football at Robert E. Lee High School,
Ralph Stokes talks about his first day at Robert E. Lee High School, where he and other black players were outnumbered by white players and faced a giant Confederate flag in the gym. He shares how they were able to bring the team together and succeed in football.

00:15:28 – The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion,
Ralph Stokes emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion, and how it benefits everyone, whether it’s in sports, business, or society. He shares his hope for a better future where people are judged by their character, not their skin color.

00:16:50 – Learning Respect for Each Other,
Ralph Stokes shares a story about how he learned respect for his white teammates during his high school football career. He explains how this respect helped them build a strong team and emphasizes the importance of respect in any organization.

00:19:07 – Ralph’s College Recruitment,
Ralph talks about his college recruitment process and the numerous scholarship offers he received from various schools, including Notre Dame, Southern Cal, and Alabama. He explains how he never wanted to play for Alabama due to their lack of black players and how his mother influenced his decision-making process.

00:25:13 – Meeting Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant,
Ralph’s mother initially refused to let him play for Alabama due to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s racist remarks. However, Coach Bryant went to Montgomery to meet Ralph’s family and apologize for his statements. Ralph’s mother asked tough questions, but ultimately allowed Ralph to play for Alabama.

00:32:27 – Coach Bryant’s Promise,
Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant promised Ralph and his family that he would treat Ralph fairly and be like a father to him while he was away at college. Ralph emphasizes the importance of having someone to look up to and how Coach Bryant fulfilled his promise to him.

00:34:39 – Priorities Beyond Football,
Ralph Stokes shares how his mother’s priority wasn’t just about football, but about her son’s future. She asked legitimate questions and allowed Coach Paul Bear Bryant to answer. They found common ground with respect and had a conversation.

00:36:51 – Coach Bryant’s Response,
Coach Bryant responded positively to every issue that addressed the four questions Ralph Stokes had. He was an outstanding coach, but an even greater man.

00:39:46 – Business School,
Ralph Stokes wanted to go to business school but was denied. He insisted he wanted to go, and they told him he had to talk to Coach Bryant. Coach Bryant allowed him to go to business school after listening to his reasons. Stokes graduated in four years and later served on the board of directors and was honored as one of the outstanding alums.

00:44:23 – Blessed with a Brain,
Ralph Stokes felt blessed to have a brain and wanted to challenge himself to use it to do the best he could. His mother instilled the importance of education, and he and his siblings were driven by a set of parents that valued education.

00:48:16 – Responsibility of Results,
Ralph Stokes talks about the importance of taking responsibility for the results of your actions. He uses golf and the stock market as examples of places where results are based on actions and not discrimination. His mom instilled the value of education, which she believed was the road to their future.

00:50:49 – Background and Decision Making,
Ralph Stokes talks about his decision not to accept the scholarship offered to him by legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant and his reasons for taking a break from school. He also talks about his friends’ decisions to go to law school and play football.

00:52:49 – Paul Bear Bryant’s Legacy,
Ralph shares his memories of the day of Paul Bear Bryant’s passing, the huge impact the coach had on the state of Alabama and the outpouring of support from former players and fans. He also talks about attending Bryant’s funeral.

00:54:11 – The Procession,
Ralph describes the procession from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham for Paul Bear Bryant’s burial. He talks about the incredible turnout of people and how it felt like the passing of a president.

00:55:30 – Future Episodes,
Gary asks Ralph to come back for future episodes to talk about his business life and college football. Ralph agrees and teases stories about his experiences in insurance sales and presenting to the Klu Klux Klan.

00:56:38 – Closing Remarks,
Gary and Ralph thank each other for the conversation and Ralph expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to share his story. They look forward to future episodes together.

Bio:

Ralph Stokes, a former University of Alabama running back who made history as part of the first black recruiting class. His incredible personal journey serves as a testament to the power of determination, integrity, and the unwavering drive to succeed against all odds. From his early days playing football at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Alabama, to joining the historically white Robert E. Lee High School, Ralph’s story showcases the lessons learned on and off the field that continue to inspire countless others. As a respected executive in the golf industry, Ralph demonstrates that with resilience and dedication, anything is possible.

Check out Ralph Stokes’ book One of the First and consider sharing it with others.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralph-stokes-01b73526/
https://www.amazon.com/One-First-Overcoming-Challenges-Integration-ebook/dp/B098LP8QJY