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Greatest Country, Leading Some, Trailing Many

New Orleans        The conservative weekly news magazine from the United Kingdom, The Economist, publishes a “Pocket World in Figures,” ranking countries across the globe in areas large and small. Celebrating the US Declaration of Independence and our oft repeated claim by politicians that the United States is the “greatest country on earth,” it seemed like […]

Skype Magic and Mayhem on International Reports

Montreal     Every year, as the ACORN International has its annual staff and leaders meeting for all who can make it, we come to a point we both welcome and fear: video Skype reports from our organizers around the world. In some ways, this annual trial by fire was the best. Only our team in Nairobi, […]

Make No Mistake, India’s Modi is Not a Progressive on Any Score

Vinod Shetty of ACORN Foundation of India and the Dharavi Project

New Orleans    In one of those rare and marvelous coincidences, I had foregone my annual trip to Mumbai, because Vinod Shetty of ACORN Foundation of India and the Dharavi Project was amazingly going to be in New Orleans when I returned, giving us days […]

The Street Vendors Act 2014

Delhi               After eight days on the ground in India and two days in the air and endless discussions of the formally named THE STREET VENDORS (PROTECTION OF LIVELIHOOD AND REGULATION OF STREET VENDING ACT, 2014, which has become our primary organizing tool since formal passage and enactment on May 1, 2014, it was clearly time […]

Beautification, Fisher Folk, and Coal in Chennai

Suresh and Nity

Chennai      I had met Nityanad Jayaraman briefly in New York and promised to track him down and find out more about his work, so Suresh Kadashan and I began our day traveling across Chennai to find him.  As the auto rickshaw made its way, the police detour took us in a long […]

Riding the Rails to Chennai

Bengaluru train station

Chennai           Railroads are serious transportation in the giant expanse of India.  The trains are old, but reliable.  The amenities are not bare, but nonexistent, many of which are filled by hawkers jumping on from station to station selling tea, coffee, chai, samosas, hot tins of food, heaping buckets of food, purses, knickknacks, […]