Monthly Archives: February 2004

Helen Vendler

Because she’s one of my favorite critics, I just read Vendler’s new book, Coming of Age as a Poet (Harvard, 2003). It’s a study of the first mature and fully successful verse of four major poets: Milton, Keats, Eliot, and … Continue reading

Posted in fine arts | Leave a comment

“social capital”: political and apolitical

Robert Putnam is mainly famous for reviving the concept of “social capital.” As he measures it, social capital is the aggregate of certain habits and attitudes that individuals possess–especially trust for other people and membership in groups. There are two … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | Leave a comment

the press and respect (Part II)

If reporters showed more respect for democratic institutions (see yesterday’s post), they might also think about “balance” in a different way. Journalistic “balance” usually means quoting an equal number of people on both sides of an issue–an approach that’s sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in press criticism | Leave a comment

the press and respect for democracy

Jay Rosen has posted a brilliant and comprehensive essay about the poverty of political coverage in America. He ends with a long list of proposals for different attitudes and methods that reporters might adopt. Along similar lines, I’ve been asking … Continue reading

Posted in press criticism | 2 Comments

Ralph Nader, 1934-2000

Ralph Nader was a major figure. Along with John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, he was one of the leaders in a reform movement that reached its apogee around 1974. It was in many ways a revival of the … Continue reading

Posted in revitalizing the left | Leave a comment

Lord Mayor Peter Levine

I admit it–I “ego-surf” now and then. Searching for my own name last week, I discovered that the Lord Mayor of London is none other than Peter Levine. This eminent person (no relation) gave a speech in California entitled “We … Continue reading

Posted in memoir | 2 Comments

Brett Cook-Dizney: political artist

I heard a great presentation this morning by Brett Cook Dizney, a muralist/activist/hip-hop artist/teacher. He tells wonderful stories about his own “non-permissional” art works, like the time he erected big (illegal) murals of the police officers who beat Rodney King … Continue reading

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a free novel on this site

In 1995, I published a mystery with St. Martin’s Press, entitled Something to Hide. I then wrote another novel, a thriller called Tongues of Fire. I accumulated some flattering letters from publishers, but no contract offers for this second book … Continue reading

Posted in verse and worse | 4 Comments

deliberation book

John Gastil of the University of Washington and I are co-editing a book on deliberative processes. We have the chapter authors lined up and are about to sign a contract. Each chapter will describe a concrete experiment that involves citizens … Continue reading

Posted in deliberation | 2 Comments

youth voting, from various angles

The most interesting reading on this blog today are the comments and the link that others have contributed in response to my post on Howard Dean. (See yesterday.) On a similar topic: I spoke this morning to the National Association … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment