Hillary Rodham on Saul Alinsky, Community Organizing, and Change

Montreal     I knew that Hillary Clinton, when still Hillary Rodham, had written her senior thesis at Wellesley College on Saul Alinsky and his work, and I had even talked to her about it briefly over lunch once in Little Rock in the early 1970’s, but I had never actually read it until the link was […]

Residential Segregation and Upward Mobility

New Orleans         Reports of a new study by economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence Katz looking more deeply at the earning records of millions of families who moved to different addresses found that “poor children who grow up in some cities and towns have sharply higher odds of escaping poverty than similar poor children […]

Art, Poverty, and George Orwell


Little Rock       In the New York Times, A.O. Smith, one of their critics who writes frequently about movies, wondered at length in the paper where our artists were when we needed them now to weigh in on the issues of class, race, and galloping inequality in the United States.  Where was a new John Steinbeck […]

Got to Root for the Pope, because He’s Rooting for Us!

New Orleans    I don’t know if Pope Francis sees himself as a community organizer or not, but if he doesn’t, I’m pretty sure he’s vying for a position as head cheerleader, and I swear I can see him waving an ACORN banner in the stands.   John Russo, professor emeritus from Youngstown State and co-director of a center […]

Population is Moving to Bigger, Poorer, and Warmer Cities

Delhi, from The Hindu

Kiln     United Nations population estimates for the next five to fifteen years make it clear that in this period of rapid urbanization and increasing inequality by 2030 we will see huge population centers dominated by larger cities with poorer populations in warmer settings.   By 2030 more than one-third of the population […]

Private Corrections Industry in League with Public Officials Bringing Back Debtors’ Prisons

Kiln     The law is clear.  The United States Supreme Court held in Bearden v. Georgia thirty years ago in 1983 that probation cannot be canceled nor can jail time be given, because a defendant is too poor to pay a fine.  Yet, increasingly in these times when the shrinking of the state greets us coldly […]