Spark: Can Women Change Politics? 1/31

Can Women Change Politics? The Life and Politics of Ann Richards

January 31 at 6:30 pm @ The Moody
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Texas Governor, mother and larger-than-life personality, Ann Richards had a lasting impact on the nation’s political landscape. Only the second woman to be elected governor in Texas, she possessed a strong will, and a determined spirit. Actress Holland Taylor, University of Texas Documentarian Paul Stekler, and Dallas Morning News Reporter Wayne Slater share their experiences portraying, documenting and covering Ann Richards throughout her life.

Holland Taylor, an Emmy-winning actress, has enjoyed a long and varied career, with respected roles on stage, in movies and on television. Fans will recognize her work from The Practice, The Truman Show, Romancing the Stone, Two and a Half Men and The L Word. Her play, Ann, about Governor Ann Richards, had its launch in May 2010 at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston and was also performed at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.

Paul Stekler’s documentaries about American politics have won numerous national honors including multiple Emmys, Peabodys and du-Pont-Columbia Journalism awards. His documentary work inncludes George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire, Vote for Me: Politics in America, Last Man Standing: Politics Texas Style and Frontline’s The Choice 2008. He is currently the Chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department at The University of Texas. He’s currently working on a film about New Orleans five years after Katrina, Getting Back to Abnormal.

Wayne Slater, Senior Political Writer for The Dallas Morning News, previously served as Austin bureau chief for The News covering national and state politics. He is a Fellow at the LBJ School’s Center for Politics and Governance at the University of Texas. He is a frequent guest on numerous network television shows and is co-author of two books Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential and The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream Absolute Power.

Be sure to join us on January 31st, for an insightful discussion about the role of women in politics as Holland Taylor, Paul Stekler, and Wayne Slater share their ideas on how women can play a valuable and influential part in the political world.

Spark: Thanks for a civil event 11/14

Thanks to everyone who attended the November 14th Spark at The Moody event. William Galston, Matthew Dowd and Mark McKinnon gave the crowd some valuable insight into how to make the political system better meet the needs of the public and to help have civil discourse on political issues. During the presentation, Galston and McKinnon referenced the No Labels non-profit organization that they co-founded. If you’d like more information on that group, the website is

The next Spark at The Moody event is on January 31st and features Holland Taylor, Paul Stekler and Wayne Slater discussing the life of Ann Richards. Details and tickets at

Spark: Why Can't We Be Friends? 11/14

Why Can’t We Be Friends? Fostering Civility in Political Dialogue

November 14 at 6:30 pm at The Moody
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In a world of fragmented media with a thousand choices for news, information and opinion, citizens can now chose to see, hear and read only what supports their position. With the media saturated culture of today, it is more important now than ever to learn how to take part in civil discourse. Mark McKinnon from Public Strategies, Matthew Dowd from Vianovo, Inc., and William Galston from the University of Maryland, discuss how to foster civility among Americans when political polarization is the norm.

Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and campaigns for CEOs, corporations, governments, candidates and presidents. Dowd was Chief Campaign Strategist for President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and was on the staff of a Democratic Senator and two Democratic Representatives. He has counseled scores of high-profile organizations – from AT&T to the NBA – on marketing, advertising, research, public issues, and advocacy. He is an analyst for ABC News, columnist for The National Journal and author of The New York Times bestseller Applebee’s America.

Mark McKinnon has been helping solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono. McKinnon has helped engineer five winning presidential primary and general elections. He has been awarded more than 30 Pollie and Telly awards, honoring the nation’s best political and public affairs advertising. He is co-founder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting more bipartisanship and civility in politics.

William A. Galston holds the Ezra Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, where he serves as a Senior Fellow, and is a College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. From 1993 until 1995 Galston served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy. Galston is the author of eight books and more than 100 articles in the fields of political theory, public policy, and American politics. His most recent books are Liberal Pluralism, The Practice of Liberal Pluralism and Public Matters.

Be sure to join us November 14th, for an insightful discussion about  fostering civility in a politically polarized society as Mark McKinnon, Matthew Dowd, and William Galston share their ideas on how we can better understand the benefits to creating an environment for civil discourse.

Spark: What Are The Costs? 10/19

What Are The Costs? Increasing the Value of Healthcare

October 19 at 6:30 pm @ The Moody
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As Americans continue to grapple with rising healthcare costs, professionals around the nation are exploring the most effective and efficient models of providing high quality healthcare at a lower cost to all. Dr. J. James Rohack and Dr. William Sage discuss the emerging healthcare models in Texas and the nation.

J. James Rohack MD, senior staff cardiologist at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, is actively involved in patient care and serves as the director of the Center for Healthcare Policy. He is also medical director for system improvement of the Scott & White Health Plan and a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Rohack served as president of the American Medical Association in 2009-2010 and was the spokesperson for the AMA during the national debate on American healthcare reform.

William M. Sage, MD, JD, is Vice Provost for Health Affairs and James R. Dougherty Chair for Faculty Excellence at the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves on the Fellows Council of the Hastings Center on bioethics and the editorial board of Health Affairs. In 1993, he headed four working groups of the Clinton administration’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. His edited books include Medical Malpractice and the U.S. Health Care System and Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care.

Be sure to join us on October 19th, for an insightful discussion about the increasing value of healthcare as Dr. Rohack and Dr. Sage share their ideas on how we can better understand the challenges of developing an effective and efficient plan for our country.

Spark: Great evening with George Friedman

Thank you to everyone who attended the September 8th Spark at The Moody event featuring Dr. George Friedman. Here’s a video wrap-up of the evening.

The next event takes place Oct. 19 and focuses on health care. Tickets
are for sale online at

What Are The Costs?: Increasing the Value of Healthcare
As Americans continue to grapple with rising healthcare costs,
professionals around the nation are exploring the most effective and
efficient models of providing high quality healthcare at a lower cost
to all. Dr. J. James Rohack, MD, Director of the Scott & White Center
for Healthcare Policy, and Dr. William Sage, Provost at UT School of
Law, discuss the emerging healthcare models in Texas and the nation.

Spark: Where Does America Stand?

Where Does America Stand? America’s Role as Empire Republic

September 8 at 6:30 pm @ The Moody

Tickets onsale now. Get yours today
Post a comment between now and noon Wednesday, Sept. 7, for a chance to get two free tickets to this event.

The major events and challenges that will test America and the American President over the course of the next decade are many. Dr. George Friedman, CEO and founder of STRATFOR, takes geopolitical intelligence and forecasting to the next level and presents ideas from his most recent book The New York Times bestseller “The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been … and Where We’re Going,”

In this bestseller, Friedman discusses how he sees the need to rebalance America, and suggests a combination of foreign policy decisions and national realizations that must ensue in the next ten years. In the Author’s Note of the book he writes,

“I am addressing my greatest concern, which is that the power of the United States in the world will undermine the republic. I am not someone who shuns power. I understand that without power there can be no republic. But the question I raise is how the United States should behave in the world while exercising its power, and preserve the republic at the same time.”

Friedman currently presides as CEO of his company STRATFOR, which is a respected, global intelligence company founded in 1996, here in Austin. It follows a subscription- based model where they publish daily intelligence briefings to their subscribers. Their client list is confidential, but the company has garnered public respect, and includes subscribers from Fortune 500 companies and international government agencies.

Get your ticket now to join us on September 8th, for an insightful discussion about America’s Role as an Empire Republic as George Friedman shares his ideas on how we can better understand the global and political challenges we may face in the next ten years.

Spark: KLRU's Engaging Speaker Series

Spark, KLRU’s Engaging Speaker Series, is back and has a new home at the downtown Moody Theater. Exploring some of the most relevant questions of our time, Spark @ The Moody takes a thoughtful look at health care, politics, education and more. With a focus on innovative thinkers from Austin and beyond the series is more than just a presentation of concepts — it’s a search for real solutions in our community. Each event includes a lively dialogue with experts followed by an opportunity for audience questions. Get your Spark series subscription today

Topics for the speaker series include:

Spark: How Do You Get To Sesame Street?

How Do You Get To Sesame Street? Education in America
April 24 at 6:30 pm @ The Moody
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For more than forty years, Sesame Street continues to stand out as the most thoroughly developed and researched preschool television program. Beyond television, the Sesame Street Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms and develops initiatives to help children and families gain critical skills and build emotional strength. Miles Ludwig, Managing Director of the Content Innovation Lab at Sesame Workshop, will the share how Sesame Street keeps evolving to meet the needs of today’s child.

Miles Ludwig oversees creative production for interactive and digital initiatives at Sesame Workshop. He has led the design and development of interactive educational experiences and educational software titles for every significant technology-based platform of the last 15 years, including product lines for Mattel, V-Tech, Hasbro, Electronic Arts, Jakks Pacific, Scholastic, Nintendo, and Sony. Miles heads a team that has been awarded Emmys, Webbys and a Peabody Award for Sesame Street’s broadband website.

Be sure to join us April 24th, for an insightful discussion about education in America as Miles Ludwig shares his ideas on the impact of shows such as Sesame Street in aiding to develop children’s critical skills at a young age.