Monthly Archives: October 2009

Istanbul melancholy

The theme of Orhan Pamuk’s autobiographical book Istanbul: Memories of the City is hüzün. That is a Turkish word for melancholy, but it doesn’t mean a private sadness that causes one to retreat by oneself. It is a communal sadness, … Continue reading

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Congress considers civic legislation

From my inbox recently: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed House Resolution 769 in support of the National Learn & Serve Challenge. “The resolution publicly recognizes the benefits of service-learning in helping youth become stronger students in the classroom … Continue reading

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upcoming panel on community organizing

2009 marks both the centennial of the birth of Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky and the inauguration of another Chicago community organizer as President of the United States. “Alinsky” and “community organizing” trigger very strong negative responses among conservative activists … Continue reading

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the right way to do a town meeting

Last summer, Democratic Members of Congress fanned out across the country to conduct “town meetings” on health care. They already knew which policies they supported, so these events were not actually the public deliberations that the term “town meeting” implies. … Continue reading

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an alternative history of 20th century liberalism

From the 1940s to the 1960s, American liberalism had everything that an ideology should: millions of active adherents, heroes and leaders, supportive organizations (from the AFL-CIO to the ACLU), legislative victories and an unfinished legislative agenda, empirical theories and supportive … Continue reading

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the romance of production

This is a tiny scene from the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, which I visited last week with my 10-year-old. The museum contains 27,000 square feet of model train layouts, the largest collection in the world. The tracks and dioramas … Continue reading

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the separate conservative base

While I was away last week, Democracy Corps published a study based on focus groups of core Republican voters in Atlanta and Independents in Cleveland. The core or “base” Republicans held several beliefs that really separated them from other voters. … Continue reading

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progress on building a Boston civic network

I am in DC and heading for California for several days of family vacation with our college kid. I’m going offline–no blogging or Facebook notes until about next Thursday. Meanwhile, my Tufts students and I have been mapping the civic … Continue reading

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what makes high quality service?

(Washington, DC). I am here for the annual grantees’ meeting of Learn & Serve America, the federal program that funds community service as part of education (“service-learning”). In my own Tufts class last week, funded by L&SA, I asked my … Continue reading

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you’re a parrot

From Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg (which I’m not reading, but my wife Laura is): The students occasionally took Alex to the washroom, where there was a very large mirror above the sinks. Alex used to march up and … Continue reading

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