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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk: Why is PA's James Buchanan ranked so low?; Rotary promotes peace

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 18, 2014 2:36 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, May 19, 2014:

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James Buchanan is considered amongst the nation's worst presidents by historians. 

As a former Pennsylvania state representative, U.S. Congressman and Senator, U.S. Minister to both Great Britain and Russia, and the U.S. Secretary of State, Buchanan had one of the most extensive and impressive resumes of any president before or since he was elected in 1856.

So what went wrong?

In the years leading up to the Civil War, perhaps the biggest crisis in American history, Buchanan was thought to have southern sympathies and didn't act to stop slavery from moving into some territories or to stop southern states from seceding from the Union.

Even though Buchanan is Pennsylvania's only president, many Pennsylvanians don't know much about him, other than his low ranking amongst presidents.

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Dr. John Quist of Shippensburg University and Dr. Michael Birkner of Gettysburg College

Buchanan's story is a fascinating one that is told in the book, James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War.  The book's editors -- Dr. Michael Birkner of Gettysburg College and Dr. John Quist of Shippensburg University appear on Monday's Smart Talk.

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Rotary International District Governor Hector Ortiz and our District Governor Elect Dr. John Judson

Also, Rotary organizations are more than social clubs that meet each week in towns across the country.  In fact, District Local 7390 in central Pennsylvania promotes peace and conflict resolution throughout the world.  Two District officials are on Smart Talk Monday to explain. 

The education of girls and why it is so important was a focus of the district conference this weekend.  Watch this video that highlights the issue.

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Comments: 1

  • Bob img 2014-05-19 10:13

    It is ironic, is it not? Buchanan's policies prevent succession and Civil War, while Lincoln and the Republican Party's positions and policies result in succession and the worse destruction and deaths that the nation has ever experienced. Who is the worse American President?

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