Monthly Archives: December 2009

good tidings

We are off to Macon, Georgia for the holiday. I am going to take a break from writing and reading blogs until next week. Meanwhile, today (Tuesday) is the official release date of my latest book, Reforming the Humanities: Literature … Continue reading

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an organizing strategy for civic renewal

There is no lobby for the kind of civic reform we need today, which would address both the formal processes of government (things like campaign finance and congressional procedures) and the capacities and organization of citizens. The earlier generation of … Continue reading

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different voices

On the Microdemocracy Blog from The Right Question Project, you can read comments by Dominique, a young woman in Philadelphia who is working on her GED and becoming involved in politics and community organizing. Meanwhile, Brett Campo is a member … Continue reading

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what hard looks like

Remember on Inauguration Day, when fans of Barack Obama felt admiration for the new president as a person–mixed with a foreboding sense that things would soon become difficult for him? That’s the sense I felt on the National Mall last … Continue reading

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the Census to measure civic engagement

The United States Census is about to begin measuring civic health in its annual Current Population Supplement. Census had already measured voting and volunteering; the additional measures will be added because of a provision in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve … Continue reading

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too much information?

Roger Bohn and James Short estimate that the average American consumes 100,500 words of written text per day and 34 gigabytes of data (most of which comes in the form of moving images). Their report, entitled How Much Information?, describes … Continue reading

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we’ve got problems; you’re the solution

I’ll be talking today to a bunch of Boston-area high school students who have been part of Generation Citizen, a program that “emphasizes grassroots community building strategies and effective advocacy” by youth. These are some notes toward my speech. … … Continue reading

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the most enjoyable novel of the 1800s

Having just finished Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone (1868), I want to report that you cannot have any more fun reading a novel from that century. (Which is saying a lot.) It’s a detective story with some initial elements that later … Continue reading

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civic engagement of non-college-bound youth

I am going to DC very briefly today for the launch of a new paper by Jon Zaff, Jim Youniss, and Cindy Gibson, entitled “An Inequitable Invitation to Citizenship: Non-College-Bound Youth and Civic Engagement.” The paper was commissioned by PACE … Continue reading

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Winter is icumen in

Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm, Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm. Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us, An ague hath my ham. Freezeth river, turneth liver, Damm you; Sing: Goddamm. Goddamm, Goddamm, … Continue reading

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