The Unwinding and the New America

Missoula     Unwinding is kind of a funny word. You know what it is, something unraveling, rope or wire coming off the spool. It takes a while for it to sink in as a concept or in George Packer’s sense as a statement of the modern condition of the politically and economically fractured America in his [...]

Congress Declares Truce with ACORN – Finally We Hope!

Missoula    There may be signs of a thaw in the blood war that Republicans in Congress have been waging against ACORN’s corpse in the United States. According to the best count by the Huffington Post there were thirteen times that ACORN was banned from receiving any support from the government after leadership and management [...]

Memphis Airport and Woody Guthrie’s Revolutionary Mind

Missoula          Out here off-the-grid with my grown son, we pass for each other’s adult supervision.  We still keep an eye over our shoulders though.  All of a sudden he grabbed a broom, and he swept the Airstream yesterday with the comment that his mother “wouldn’t have been happy looking at these floors.”  It rained in [...]

Doorknocking is Scaring People Around the World

Dallas          I was teamed up with Maude Hurd, an ACORN leader from Boston and teaching my 4-year old daughter to door knock in 1988 at a stop along the route in Mitchellville, Arkansas during ACORN’s Caravan for Justice to increase voter participation when Rev. Jesse Jackson was running for President. We made up a little [...]

Ralph Nader’s Convergence, Billionaires, and Participation Nonprofits

Kiln       Ralph Nader understood a huge amount about building self-sufficient operations.  His original public interest projects were financed by the settlement he won from General Motors and his book, Unsafe at Any Speed.  The Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) established in numerous large publicly funded universities shrewdly created capacity for consumer advocacy by winning [...]

Reading the Chief Organizer Reports in Tehran and Around the World

Chicago     A little more than a decade ago, Azar Nafisi, an Iranian professor, author, and now ex-patriot, wrote a very enjoyable book called Reading Lolita in Tehran:  A Memoir in Books.  It was a memoir obviously so it was about her own experiences before, during and after the revolution and what it was like to [...]