We Must Fill the Void Ourselves

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The topic below was originally posted yesterday, on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


Like millions of my fellow citizens, I am reflecting after the death of Ted Kennedy. Death is an egocentric experience for the survivors. Indeed, rituals such as funerals, wakes or in the Jewish religion "sitting Shiva," is really about nurturing the souls of those left behind. That is also true when it is a public figure or celebrity that has died. We may never have met them or knew them yet they touched us nonetheless. The Kennedy family understands this better than anyone and is well practiced in rituals that not only honor the dead but comfort the living.

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The Death of Why?: An Interview With Author Andrea Batista Schlesinger

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


The phrase "knowledge is power" is a cliché in our culture. Yet as often as we hear it from others or speak it ourselves, how often have we contemplated the process of acquiring knowledge? Is there a blueprint for obtaining knowledge and wisdom? Are we encouraging children to be intellectually curious or merely teaching them that every question has an instant and obvious answer?


In her book, The Death of Why?: The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy (Berrett-Kohler Publishers), New York City policy expert Andrea Batista Schlesinger writes that,

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The Ultimate Organizer: An Interview With ACORN's Founder Wade Rathke

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


It seems no matter which political party in America holds the majority, a Washington/Wall Street corporate centric axis dominates policy making. Indeed, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin recently observed that banks, "Frankly Own the Place." Among liberal-progressive activists like myself, this condition has facilitated a confrontational mindset.


Our experience suggests that the power and wealth concentrated in the hands of a few will not be voluntarily relinquished. Hence, everything from healthcare reform to bankruptcy protection for aggrieved homeowners is perceived by many of us as a high stakes pitched battle between struggling families and feculent corporate behemoths. Although activism has certainly facilitated important victories on behalf of working people, fighting for economic justice often seems analogous to climbing an endless wall.

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Living On $2 A Day: An Interview With Economist Jonathan Morduch

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


According to theWorld Bank, almost forty percent of humanity lives on a daily income of less than two dollars per day. Another 1.1 billion scrape by on less than one dollar per day.


How can anyone possibly survive or raise a family with such a meager income? In New York City, two dollars per day won't even cover my daily Brooklyn/Manhattan round-trip subway commute. Yet billions of low skilled people put food on the table, educate their children, grapple with unexpected emergencies and even save money.

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Billy Graham & the Rise of the Republican South: An Interview With Historian Steven P. Miller

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


In the age of Barack Obama, both the Republican Party as well as the South appear marginalized and out of step with the rest of America. Yet it wasn't so long ago that the South represented the foundation of America's conservative hegemony. Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, the Republican Party prevailed in nine out of the next fourteen presidential elections with a reliable Southern base.


Specifically, the Republican Party exploited white Southern resentment against the cause of civil rights and integration. The "Southern strategy" as it was later called, enabled Republicans to end the Democratic Party's previous domination of the South following the Civil War. A key figure in that realignment was the renowned evangelist Billy Graham.

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Investigating Torture: An Interview With Former Federal Prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega has recently made news urging that we don't rush into appointing a special prosecutor to investigate crimes of torture during George W. Bush's presidency. In a provocative April 20th post entitled "Of Black Holes and Radio Silence," Ms. de la Vega wrote:

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The Next Justice: An Interview With Legal Scholar Christopher L. Eisgruber

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


President Obama will soon announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. It's a critical nomination with long-term ramifications for civil liberties, executive power, management-labor relations, the environment and consumer rights. Hence, it is vital the public know whether the judicial philosophy and ideology of any prospective nominee to the court is compatible with their sensibilities and values. Ideally, all nominees would be forthcoming about their philosophy as the senate either confirms or rejects them with full knowledge of the sort of justice they're likely to be.

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The Democracy Index: An Interview With Law Professor Heather Gerken

PhotobucketThe topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.


On January 1, 2007, Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken  published a widely read article in the LegalTimes entitled, "How Does Your State Rank on The Democracy Index." Gerken argued that just as the Environmental Performance Index ("EPI") shamed countries such as Belgium to upgrade their environmental practices, a "Democracy Index" would embarrass state and localities into reforming their electoral administration through competition.

Since Bush vs. Gore in 2000, the debate about electoral reform has been dominated by anecdotes and overheated abstractions. Liberals like me have long suspected that states such as Ohio and Florida were deliberately disenfranchising minority voters sympathetic to Democratic candidates. Conservatives complained that voter fraud and urban political machines were allowing ineligible voters to cast ballots at the expense of Republican candidates. With her article, Gerken contended that a Democracy Index would replace a debate dominated by shouting with data driven arguments instead:

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Max Baucus Is A Corporatist Class Warrior

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The topic below was originally posted yesterday evening at the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

A personal friend and avid reader of my blog recently complained that,


"You're too tough on Democrats and Barack Obama. Since the election you've fired more rhetorical bullets at Democrats than Republicans."

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Come Home America: An Interview With Truth Teller William Greider

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

I first became aware of William Greider after the publication of his 1981 Atlantic Monthlyprofile of President Reagan's embattled Office of Management and Budget Director ("OMB"), David Stockman. At the time I was just a kid and the Reagan administration insisted they could simultaneously balance the budget, cut taxes and increase defense spending exponentially.

Greider's reporting however exposed that even Stockman, doubted the fiscal prudence of Reaganomics. After the article's publication, Stockman absorbed public humiliation when President Reagan took him "to the woodshed." I trace that article as a seminal moment in my own political awareness.

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