Humorist Jim Hightower to Speak at UT Friday

Jim HightowerAuthor, humorist and radio commentator Jim Hightower, known as an advocate for "just plain folks," will speak at UT tomorrow, Jan. 11.

His lecture — entitled "Democracy Is Not a Quick Fix!" — begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Shiloh Room of the University Center. A reception and book signing will follow.

The events are free and open to the public.

Hightower’s appearance is being sponsored by UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the AFL-CIO Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council.

The late political columnist Molly Ivins once said, "If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell, with a sense of humor."

Raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business owners, tenant farmers and working-class people, Hightower graduated from the University of North Texas. He was twice elected as Agriculture Commissioner for the state of Texas.

Hightower’s daily radio commentaries are carried on more than 100 commercial and public stations, on the Web, on Armed Forces Radio, Radio for Peace International, One World Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. His newspaper column is carried by more than 75 independent newspapers, magazines and other publications. He is the author of several books, including the forthcoming, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." He also publishes a monthly newsletter, "Hightower Lowdown," which has a circulation of 135,000.

His Web site, www.jimhightower.com, describes Hightower as a crusader who "has spent three decades battling the ‘Powers That Be’ on behalf of the ‘Powers That Ought to Be’ — consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses and just plain folks."

The Baker Center is a nonpartisan center that develops educational programs and promotes research to further the public’s understanding and knowledge of our system of governance, critical public policy issues and the importance of public service and civic engagement. The center embodies a genuine respect for differing points of view, and it serves as a forum for discussion, debate, education and research. For more information about the Baker Center, see http://bakercenter.utk.edu/.

Parking for the Hightower lecture is available in the University Center garage at a rate of $2 per hour.