Cairns & Beacons

Finding our way forward…

Cairns & Beacons: Finding Our Way in a Post-Pandemic Society is for all who want to continue to learn and grow while forging relationships and building stronger communities.

Join us for lively conversations as we wrestle with powerful and sometimes curious ideas, connect with an invaluable community of others, and enjoy the journey together.

All sessions will be presented via Zoom, so may be attended virtually, or in-person at one of five partner Michigan libraries. In-person audiences in the Mason County area may join us at Ludington Library’s West Shore Bank Room, 217 East Ludington Avenue, Ludington, Michigan.

Cairns & Beacons Winter 2024 Series

The Supreme Court: Past and Present
Presentation: January 11, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: January 18, 2024, 7:00 pm

What’s Ahead for the Republican Party?
Presentation: February 1, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: February 8, 2024, 7:00 pm

What’s Ahead for the Democratic Party?
Presentation: Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: March 14, 2024, 7:00 pm

Testing “Guaranteed Income” Ideas Right Here in Michigan
Presentation: April 4, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: April 11, 2024, 7:00 pm

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons

All sessions are free

The Zoom presentations will allow audiences to either attend in-person at one of the five partner libraries or to view the presentations virtually via Zoom.

Cairns & Beacons: Winter & Spring 2024

Sessions 7: March 5 & 14 - What’s ahead for the Democratic Party?

After the 2020 election, four researchers observed a new phenomenon about Democratic voters, one that escaped the notice of other journalists and analysts. They observed that White urban affluent and Black rural poor voters shared interests — in a surprising alignment, unlike in past elections. A phenomenon missed by most analysts, political scientist Paul Pierson will share what he and his colleagues caught that others missed. Pierson will share whether this unusual coalition is likely to reappear in 2024 or disintegrate; and what the effects might be on Democratic Party success, either way.

Presenter: Paul Pierson, Ph.D., political science, University of California-Berkeley.

Author: Dismantling the Welfare State (1994), American Amnesia (together with Jacob Hacker) (2016), and Let Them Eat Tweets, 2020.

Presentation: Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 7:00 pm (Note the date change)
Discussion: March 14, 2024, 7:00 pm

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)

Further reading on this topic: Remarks on Executing a Modern American Industrial Strategy by NEC Director Brian Deese

Session 8: April 4 & 11 - Testing “Guaranteed Income” Ideas Right Here in Michigan

Like guaranteed income (GI) or universal basic income (UBI) programs elsewhere in the nation, programs here in Michigan have been slow to emerge, fighting an array of uphill battles. Still, ideas are being tested. Linh Song, Ann Arbor City Council member, will discuss the council’s mix of concerns and support for this controversial project. Song will share how the council determined the amount of financial awards, how participants are to be selected, length of the pilot, and terms of success. An overview of how GI and UBI programs have fared in other urban and rural locations in the country will be presented.

Presenter: Linh Song, Ann Arbor City Council, a member since 2020.

Presentation: April 4, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: April 11, 2024, 7:00 pm

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)

Session 5: January 11 & 18 - The Supreme Court: Past and Present

Our least defined branch of government has recently been in the news for the way justices are appointed, the possibly questionable ethics of its justices and – of course – for the cases it decides and laws it interprets. We will review what happened in 2023 and what to look for in the coming year.

Read the press release here.

Speaker: Steven L. Winter, Wayne State University Law School
Walter S. Gibbs Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law

Presentation: January 11, 2024, 7:00 pm
Discussion: January 18, 2024, 7:00 pm

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)

Session 6: February 1 & 8 - What’s ahead for the Republican Party?

In recent years, diverse Republican Party members and strategists have had varied responses to political issues and events. Some have chosen to remain solidly inside the party, while others are barely hanging on. Still others have disassociated themselves from the party, while remaining committed to conservative values and actions. As we head toward the selection of candidates for the GOP nominee for President as well as state offices, what are the range of possible outcomes?

Presenter: Sheila Genter, Mason County Republican Chair

Presentation: February 1, 2024, 7:00 pm

Discussion: February 8, 2024, 7:00 pm – We will be joined by West Shore Community College Professor Seán Henne. We will talk about the presentation, experience some art related to the topic, and discuss the future of the Republican party with the art in mind. This is your chance to come and say what you think, and to hear what others have to say.

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Read the press release about the February 1st session here.

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons

Cairns & Beacons: Past Sessions

Session 1: September 14 & 21 - Thinking our way to a post-pandemic democracy

Why is thinking important? Which ways of thinking develop independence, creativity, and individual responsibility? Are these connected to ‘good’ acts? Is there a relation between not thinking and irresponsibility, “just following orders,” not wandering from status quo, and “keeping my head down”? Are there connections between these ‘bad,’ even ‘evil’ acts?

Presenter: Elizabeth Minnich – Philosopher, Author, Educator
Author of: The Evil of Banality: The Life and Death and Importance of Thinking

Watch the presentation: https://youtu.be/xDKY5nTpF2A

Presentation: September 14, 2023, 7 p.m.
Discussion: September 21, 2023, 7 p.m.

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)

Session 2: October 5 & 12 - Reimagining capitalism globally: what global "guaranteed income" projects have to teach us

Mason County District Library, together with Abondia Center, host the second presentation of the Cairns & Beacons: Finding Our Way in a Post-Pandemic World series, Guaranteed Income Projects around the Globe, October 5, 2023 at 7 pm, at the Ludington Library, 217 E. Ludington Ave.

For more than 10 years, the public giving circle GiveDirectly has provided guaranteed income to the poor in diverse countries. Rather than abusing funds, the global poor have put the funds to good use, raising their own prosperity while demonstrating values capitalist economies promote—personal responsibility, working hard, and building strong communities.

Dr. Miriam Laker, director of research for GiveDirectly and a physician with specialized training in research medicine and tropical diseases, will discuss how GiveDirectly has identified different approaches to guaranteed income that have been developed and tested. More significantly, Laker will discuss which approaches have demonstrated effectiveness and which ones have led to wastefulness.

Presenter: Miriam Laker – M.D., Director, Researcher
Board Member, CALP Network, research in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance

Presentation: October 5, 2023, 7 p.m.

Discussion: October 12, 2023, 7 p.m.

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons

Sessions 3: November 2 & 9 - Middle Out: The Rise of Progressive Economics and the Return to a Shared Prosperity

With contributions from both the politically Right and Left, the nation has begun an economic system that works for America’s poor and working poor. What’s being done? What are helpful results to date? What problems are emerging?

Read the full press release.

Presenter:
Michael Tomasky – Author, Editor
Author of: Middle out: The Rise of Progressive Economics and the Return to a Shared Prosperity

Presentation: November 2, 2023, 7 p.m.

Discussion: November 9, 2023, 7 p.m.

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)

Further reading on this topic: Remarks on Executing a Modern American Industrial Strategy by NEC Director Brian Deese

Session 4: December 7* & 14* - Free Markets: from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama

On December 14, 7-8:30 pm, the public series Cairns & Beacons: Finding Our Way in a Post-Pandemic World will host historian and author Gary Gerstle, “Free Markets: From Ronald Reagan to Barak Obama.” The series is presented by Mason County District Library (MCDL) and the nonprofit Abondia Center.

Read more about this presentation: Click here.

*Note: For this session, Discussion precedes Presentation

Presenter:
Gary Gerstle – US Historian, Author, Educator
Author of: The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era

Discussion: December 7, 2023, 7 p.m.

Presentation: December 14, 2023, 7 p.m.

For information, email the Mason County District Library at:
cairnsandbeacons@mcdlibrary.org

Or, if you are a patron of one of the libraries below, contact your home branch:

Delta Township District Library
Grand Ledge Area District Library
Holly Township Library
Howell Carnegie District Library

To join via Zoom, visit: https://bit.ly/CairnsAndBeacons (this is case sensitive)