The Score: Space Cowboy, Whistle Blowing, Fairview Review, Film Festival
This week on The Score – What’s up for this year’s Virginia Film Festival? How should we assess Ronald Reagan’s space exploration policy? Did the latest Pulitzer Prize winner for drama deserve that award? Who are whistle blowers and how do they blow the whistle?
Reagan’s Space Legacy
Thirty-six years ago, President Ronald Reagan delivered perhaps the most memorable speech of his career, paying tribute to the crew of the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger. The Score has an excerpt to jog your memories.
President Reagan’s record on space exploration policy is the subject of a new book by retired George Washington University historian John M. Logsdon, who gave a lecture this past Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. That’s where I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his book, called Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier.
In addition to a long teaching career at GWU, where he headed the Space Studies Institute, and Catholic University, Dr. Logsdon served on the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board along with astronaut Sally Ride, Admiral Hal Gehman, and others. Books he has written include John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2013), After Apollo?: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (2015), and The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (1970).
It’s hard to pick up a newspaper these past couple of weeks without seeing a headline about a whistleblower. A whistleblower’s report is central to the emerging scandal involving the Trump administration and the Ukrainian government.
Veteran journalist Tom Mueller has written a comprehensive new book about whistleblowers and whistleblowing. It’s called Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud. I caught up with Mueller at the Cato Institute in Washington this week, where he had given a talk about his book. My first question: what is the origin of the term “whistleblower” and when did it acquire its current connotation?
In addition to writing for The New Yorker, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic, Mueller is also author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil (2013), which was a New York Times best-seller.
Fair Fairview Review?
This year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury for her work, called Fairview. The Score’s arts and culture critic Tim Hulsey saw it in performance at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington and found its acclaim rather undeserved.
Returning after a few weeks’ absence, Tim explains it best in his own words.
Virginia Film Festival
Speaking of the performing arts, the 2019 Virginia Film Festival opens later this month in Charlottesville, with more than 150 movies on the program.
These will include four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, in which he co-starred opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hawke will participate in a conversation will be moderated by PBS News Hour’s Elizabeth Flock. A screening of the 1979 Academy Award-winning film Breaking Away will be followed by a panel featuring one of its stars, Dennis Christopher.
The opening night film will be Just Mercy, the powerful and thought-provoking true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan. The centerpiece film, scheduled for October 26, is Harriet, which was filmed in Virginia and is based on the life of American hero Harriet Tubman.
And the closing night film on October 27 will be The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis. (Hopkins received the Virginia Film Award at the Virginia Film Festival in November 2000.)
On Thursday afternoon, I spoke to film festival director Jody Kielbasa about what we can expect this year. We were joined by assistant programmer Chandler Ferrebee for a lively conversation.
The 32nd annual Virginia Film Festival will take place October 23-27, 2019, at various venues in Charlottesville. The complete schedule is available on virginiafilmfestival.org.
From the Archives
The word “impeachment” is in the air and in the news this week. It looks like we will be hearing it a lot in the days and weeks to come.
Almost exactly a year ago, I chatted with Cato Institute Vice President Gene Healy about impeachment. He had just released a white paper on the topic, called “Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power.”
From the archives, in October 2018, comes this excerpt from my longer interview with Gene Healy about impeachment. It’s more timely now than it was then.