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The Death of Why?: An Interview With Author Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Photobucket The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

The phrase "knowledge is power" is a cliché in our culture. Yet as often as we hear it from others or speak it ourselves, how often have we contemplated the process of acquiring knowledge? Is there a blueprint for obtaining knowledge and wisdom? Are we encouraging children to be intellectually curious or merely teaching them that every question has an instant and obvious answer?

In her book, The Death of Why?: The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy (Berrett-Kohler Publishers), New York City policy expert Andrea Batista Schlesinger writes that,

"Why is the first question most children ask. With this question we express, to the delight and chagrin of our parents, our power.

In my life, questions have always been power. Asking them enabled me to overcome the challenges I faced as a young woman sitting at tables where I didn't automatically belong."

Although only thirty-two, Schlesinger has operated in the arena of policy debates locally in New York City and nationally for over a decade. Since 2002, Schlesinger has applied her background in public policy, politics, and communications to transform the Drum Major Institute ("DMI") into a progressive policy think tank with national impact. During her tenure as Executive Director, DMI created its Marketplace of Ideas series which highlights successful progressive policies from across the country and launched two public policy blogs that reach several thousand readers a day; and embarked on a national program to nurture careers in public policy for college students from underrepresented communities. Make the jump»

The Ultimate Organizer: An Interview With ACORN's Founder Wade Rathke

Photobucket The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

It seems no matter which political party in America holds the majority, a Washington/Wall Street corporate centric axis dominates policy making. Indeed, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin recently observed that banks, "Frankly Own the Place." Among liberal-progressive activists like myself, this condition has facilitated a confrontational mindset.

Our experience suggests that the power and wealth concentrated in the hands of a few will not be voluntarily relinquished. Hence, everything from healthcare reform to bankruptcy protection for aggrieved homeowners is perceived by many of us as a high stakes pitched battle between struggling families and feculent corporate behemoths. Although activism has certainly facilitated important victories on behalf of working people, fighting for economic justice often seems analogous to climbing an endless wall.

Veteran activist Wade Rathke has been steadily climbing that wall on behalf of working people for forty-years. As the founder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform ("ACORN"), Rathke has a unique perspective about what community organizing strategies work best to empower working people that are struggling to save and accumulate wealth. Rathke is also an assertive advocate for welfare benefits on behalf of people out of work. He's both won and lost more than his share of battles. Both he and ACORN have the battle scars of scrutiny liberals typically receive from standing up for America's poor and disenfranchised. In Citizen Wealth: Winning the Campaign To Save Working Families, (Berrett-Koehler), Rathke writes, Make the jump»

Investigating Torture: An Interview With Former Federal Prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-05-18 23:02:38 -0500. -- GH

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega has recently made news urging that we don't rush into appointing a special prosecutor to investigate crimes of torture during George W. Bush's presidency.

In a provocative April 20th post entitled "Of Black Holes and Radio Silence," Ms. de la Vega wrote: Make the jump»

The Next Justice: An Interview With Legal Scholar Christopher L. Eisgruber

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

President Obama will soon announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. It's a critical nomination with long-term ramifications for civil liberties, executive power, management-labor relations, the environment and consumer rights. Hence, it is vital the public know whether the judicial philosophy and ideology of any prospective nominee to the court is compatible with their sensibilities and values. Ideally, all nominees would be forthcoming about their philosophy as the senate either confirms or rejects them with full knowledge of the sort of justice they're likely to be. Make the jump»

The Democracy Index: An Interview With Law Professor Heather Gerken

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal. Make the jump»

Max Baucus Is A Corporatist Class Warrior

p>Max Baucus

  Make the jump»

Come Home America: An Interview With Truth Teller William Greider

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

I first became aware of William Greider after the publication of his 1981 Atlantic Monthly profile of President Reagan’s embattled Office of Management and Budget Director (“OMB”), David Stockman. At the time I was just a kid and the Reagan administration insisted they could simultaneously balance the budget, cut taxes and increase defense spending exponentially.

Greider’s reporting however exposed that even Stockman, doubted the fiscal prudence of Reaganomics. After the article’s publication, Stockman absorbed public humiliation when President Reagan took him “to the woodshed.” I trace that article as a seminal moment in my own political awareness. Make the jump»

Bipartisanship No, Working Majority Yes

Originally posted 2009-02-14 15:35:16 -0500. Promoted. -- GH

Republican demanding bipartisanship

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

In the grown up world, honorable and reasonable people may initially disagree but eventually compromise upon a collective review of empirical evidence. It was in this spirit, that the nascent Obama administration reached out to Republicans with respect to their proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which finally passed both houses of congress yesterday. Unfortunately, most Republican politicians are neither honorable nor reasonable. Instead, most Republican politicians are predatory conservatives dedicated to establishing a permanent corporate theocratic plutocracy. As far as they're concerned, the 2008 election is merely a temporary setback and attempting bipartisanship with this crowd resulted in legislation far less bold than most economists hoped for. Make the jump»

Reinventing Our Relations With the Muslim World: An Interview With Former CIA Analyst Emile Nakhleh

originally posted 2009-02-08 20:30:11 -0500, bumped by carol



The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Building consensus within America’s body politic and national security establishment for a new way forward with Muslims worldwide is a formidable challenge. Many Americans still don’t appreciate the complex nuances of Muslim society and remain stubbornly Islamophobic almost seven and half years after 9/11. Equally formidable is earning the goodwill of Muslims worldwide following the Iraq War as well as American atrocities perpetrated upon Islamic detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Hopefully, President Obama’s historic election has finally opened a path for constructive conversation about how America can most effectively engage the Muslim world. Make the jump»

America, It's Time To Say Goodbye To Wall Street: An Interview With Author David Korten

Photobucket The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal..

"We face a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in the U.S. Congress or the corporate press. The hardships imposed by temporarily frozen credit markets pale in comparison to what lies ahead. Even the significant funds that the Obama administration is committed to spending on economic stimulus will do nothing to address the deeper structural causes of our threefold financial, social, and environmental crisis. On the positive side, the financial crisis has put to rest the myths that our economic institutions are sound and that markets work best when deregulated. This creates an opportune moment to open a national conversation about what we can and must do to create an economic system that can for work for all people for all time.”

Internationally renowned social scientist and historianDavid Korten wrote those words in the introduction of his new book, Agenda For A New Economy: From Phantom Wealth To Real Wealth, scheduled to be released by Berrett-Kohler Publishers tomorrow.

Some of you may have previously read Korten’s 1995 international bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World. Longtime readers/listeners of the Intrepid Liberal Journal may also recall my August 2007 podcast interview with Korten about his book, The Great Turning: From Empire To Earth Community. You can learn more about Korten’s background by clicking here and reading the introductory text to that podcast. Make the jump»

When America Burned After the King Assassination: An Interview With Author Clay Risen

Photobucket The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Tomorrow, America honors the birthday of heroic civil rights activist Martin Luther King. Americans revere King across the political and ethnic spectrum for his wisdom, idealism, courage and practice of non-violent civil disobedience against the forces of racial oppression. Thanks in large part to the trailblazing efforts of King and his followers; America inaugurates its first black president the very next day when Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20th. Yet even as Americans celebrate the historical arc from Martin Luther King to Barack Obama, the scars of racial injustice remain woven into our country’s fabric. Make the jump»

Reclaiming The Word Liberal In the Age of Obama

Promoted.  Image adjusted (shrunk) by GreyHawk to preserve page space.

 

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The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Words matter. Labels matter. Although it has become vogue to say, "Voters are tired of labels" they remain powerful. How we define the meaning of those labels is critical. Those of us who call ourselves "liberal" have learned this the hard way. As a liberal activist who slogged, blogged and endured, I find myself reflecting about the word "liberal" and the abuse it's absorbed with Obama's inauguration less then three weeks away.

It seems like only yesterday I volunteered for the Dukakis campaign in college as my candidate defensively denied he was a liberal. At the time voters associated the word "liberal" with convicted rapists. In the last days of the '88 campaign, Dukakis finally declared himself a liberal and attempted to define it on his own terms. Alas, it was too little too late.

From 1968 through 2004, predatory conservatives successfully defined liberalism to mean unpatriotic intellectual elites living in ivory towers, spewing hate America first diatribes while celebrating permissiveness over responsibility, trashing God, empowering welfare recipients over those who work and advocating surrender to America's enemies. In other words, to be a liberal was to be un-American. This past year, liberalism wasn't necessarily made "cool" but the right wing's ability to distort it was undermined following eight years of George W. Bush's reign of indecency. Make the jump»

Replacing the Cultural Ethos of Predatory Conservatism

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal. Make the jump»

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