An old organizing vehicle, the union, has recently come on the scene in a new guise that promises to shake up the political process. Specifically, it is a new union for the unemployed (and underemployed), known by its nickname, UCubed.
It’s been only a month that a union for the unemployed has come into existence through an ingenious grass-roots organizing campaign. In case you haven’t heard about it, the union’s name is “UR Union of the Unemployed” or its nickname, “UCubed,” because of its unique method of organizing.
This article originally appeared at Landscape, Joanna Guldi's blog.
When the geographer Peter Gould sat down to write his autobiography in 1990, he looked over a career of mapping the perceptual spaces of Swedes, Tanzanians and college students. Over that life, he had repeatedly claimed that his major contribution to knowledge had been primarily in the service of the state. Gould was the man who figured out how to draw a picture of the version of the nation in a given individual’s head: ask the person to name all the cities they can in the United States; map those.
The results remind us that human beings live in worlds of constructed of personal experience, not in atlases.
The Nobel Committee's surprising announcement that it will award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is a powerful testimonial to how much thoughtful people around the world appreciate Obama's basically progressive approach to foreign affairs.
The full citation reads: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
A recent CNN/OpinionResearch poll found that 41% of all Americans still believe that the current House health insurance reform bill contains language mandating death panels. This is despite pervasive publicity that it is not true and that death panels actually refer to an insurance company and HMO practice called reduction of medical ratio (I know- an HMO tried to do it to my mother in law when she had cancer).These kinds of denial of reality seem to a phenomenon that afflicts the Right when a Democrat is in office and which, for lack of a better term, I will call the conspiracy theory fall-back position or CTFP.
A friend just brought National Affairs magazine to my attention, with the guileless query, “…let me know what you think.” What I think, sadly, is that there are a whole lot of educated people in this country who need to tune up their crap detectors.
Looking at the About page of the new magazine, I recognized some of the names, particularly that of Bill Kristol, a well-known promoter of conservative philosophy via The Weekly Standard and FOX News. Look up the bios of the editors, authors and publication committee, and you’ll find connections to National Review, Hudson Institute, Manhattan Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, Pepperdine University, and other hotbeds of conservativism.
This commentary was contributed by Commonweal Institute Advisor Patrick O'Heffernan.
The liberal blogosphere has been buzzing about Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at the President last night during Obama's address to a joint session. A diary on dailykos accuses Wilson of adopting "tea bagger tactics" and calls on “kossacks” to donate to the campaign of Rob Miller, his presumptive political opponent. The Huffington Post featured an unflattering photo of Wilson and the headline, "A Muzzle for Old Yeller", plus an analysis of his allegation.
Peter Daou, highly influential blogger, netroots expert, and political consultant, recently published an insightful article with the Huffington Post on the political theory behind the health care debate. Daou discusses the theory of the Overton Window as a method of influence and control in the public debate on health care reform, one that is rather effectively swinging the debate from progressive to radical right. Daou extensively quotes the Commonweal Institute's very own Dave Johnson, and rightly so, as Johnson is highly versed on the mechanics of the Overton Window and its effects on debate and policy.
A shorter version of this article, of Op-Ed suitable length, can be found here.
Democracy's Gold Standard: Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated at Every Polling Place in America
Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.
In our April Newsletter, the Commonweal Institute put out a call to action asking you to send us your ideas and commentary on some of the issues the country is facing today. In May, Barry Kendall met Dave Finnigan while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in Washington DC. Finnigan, a consultant with a background in anthropology and health education, is the founder of two influential websites: Climate Change is Elementary and Two Years to Change. In June, Finnigan submitted an important article to the Commonweal Institute. The article summarizes the theory and methods behind creating successful and widespread behavioral changes that will lower carbon footprints, as well as push larger numbers within society to towards more sustainable, and less environmentally damaging lifestyles and daily choices.
As of tomorrow, the increasingly useless Washington Post will become more so. Dan Froomkin, one of the few journalists at the once-credible newspaper who bothered to do his job by investigating and asking the questions that mattered during the Bush Administration's historic gutting of America and so much of what it stands for, filed his final "White House Watch" column today. He described, today, what he does as "accountability journalism". We could use dozens more like him in the MSM.
His piece today echoes FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley's exposé on these pages yesterday, in his description of Bush as "the proverbial emperor with no clothes". He goes on to note how, after 9/11, "the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve."