“Needing My Neighbor”: Great piece by Matthew Loftus

“I’ve always wanted to help people.” My medical school application essay opened with those words, and when I came to Baltimore at age twenty to start my medical training, I was dead-set on helping people in Africa. After two years of attending church in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, though, I fell in love with the community, so my wife and I decided to move into the neighborhood in 2009. I admired the work my church there was doing to deal with the poverty, racism, and institutional negle … [Read more...]

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“Free-Market Labor Wins Wage Boost Victory”: Reason.com

via Jesse Walker: ...The Walmart agreement is the latest, the largest, and probably the most surprising win for C.I.W. in a decade-and-a-half campaign to increase wages and ease working conditions for Florida produce workers. For free marketeers the story is how the agreements were won: entirely without government certification, regulatory backing or legal protection. C.I.W.’s innovative use of protests, pressure campaigns and solidarity boycotts to win concessions from the world’s biggest food … [Read more...]

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Job-Seeking in Community, Not Alone: A BenOp Mitzvah

This strikes me as a great idea:...Next up on my end: I’ve been using the two questions “What do I do alone that I could do with others?” and “What do I do privately that I could do in public?” as prompts for BenOp-ish ideas, and, thus, I’m opening my living room sometime soon for a little salon for people between jobs to work on applications, get feedback on resumes, practice interviews, etc. Job applications always make me miserable, especially because the slew of rejections (or rather “So … [Read more...]

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A Critique of “The Wire” as an Outsider’s Tragedy Narrative

written by a Baltimorean and a fan of the show: The closest the show gets to presenting an autonomous Black solution to Black problems is Cutty’s boxing gym, and the fate of the young people who cycle through there frame the effort largely as a failure. more (via Loftus)--among other things, looks at how Simon's choice of genre (tragedy of institutions) locked him into a narrative where the important forces work on black communities from the outside.I agree w/Loftus that there's an u … [Read more...]

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“Why It May Be Impossible to Raise ‘Free-Range Kids'”: Michael Brendan Dougherty

writes: I live in a much safer neighborhood now than the one of my youth, and in an era that is almost incomparably safer according to crime statistics. And yet I never see children playing outside unsupervised. Who would my children play with unless I organized a play date? I'll probably never see another kid knock on my door and ask if my daughter can come out to play. Couldn't she have texted instead? more (and see also "Do They Know It's Halloween?") … [Read more...]

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“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp

have basically the same conversation I just had with a woman at the pregnancy center: ...While Robert Putnam and others have documented the increasing isolation of all Americans, the alienation and distrust that we witnessed in this working-class town seemed like an advanced form of isolation. Things that we took for granted in relationships with new acquaintances—asking questions and listening to the responses, returning phone calls and text messages, extending invitations to dinner—soon ear … [Read more...]

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“Did the Red Cross Let Its Fear of the Occupy Movement Interfere with Its Disaster Relief?”: Jesse Walker

at Reason: If you paid attention to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, you probably know that some of the centralized institutions charged with disaster relief, such as the Red Cross and FEMA, performed very poorly. You may also have heard about Occupy Sandy, an Occupy Wall Street spinoff devoted to helping people after the storm; by all accounts it performed very well. The latter group's effectiveness was recognized even by the Department of Homeland Security, an organization not ordinarily inclined … [Read more...]

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