Weekend Reading List

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

For this weekend’s reading list we have articles on contraception and gender equality, how the safety net helps those in need, the lessons we can learn from the success of schools in Finland, the dangers of fracking, and what needs to occur in Afghanistan as our troops start coming home next year.

If you have comments on any of these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know below or at the Winning Progressive Facebook page.

 

10 Facts About Contraception (and How It Changed the World) – a good overview of how contraception has helped increase gender equality throughout the world

Contrary to ‘Entitlement Society’ Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Households – deconstructing the conservative myth that social safety net programs are somehow destroying the work ethic in the US

Schools We Can Envy – an overview of education success in Finland, and how it contradicts the testing and anti-teacher union agenda of education “reform” advocates here in the US

Why Not Frack? – a review of two books and a movie about the dangers of fracking and the impacts that the natural gas industry is having on local communities

Beginning of the End – a good overview of things that need to occur in Afghanistan as we prepare to begin bringing our troops home.

 

Are We Teaching Our Kids How to Earn…or How to Think?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

(By Joanne Boyer, cross-posted at Wisdom Voices)

The important role education plays in our society is slowly creeping back into our national and political conversation.  One example is President Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Michigan, urging colleges to stay focused on the task of offering students affordable education.

Educating and training the next generation for jobs in today’s global market place is indeed one of the goals of higher education.  But I have always believed in and was raised to appreciate the concept of education for education’s sake.  That phrase was drilled into my head by my father.  Education, he always said, was something no one could take away from you. He was raised in a time when a liberal arts education meant the training of the mind to think and reason…and to reflect upon history.  All were important aspects of education.  He passed that ideal down to his children and grandchildren.

That’s why I am delighted the book Why Choose The Liberal Arts? by Professor Mark William Roche was recently named winner of the 2011 Frederic W. Ness Book Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  The following is from the review of the book:

In his book, Roche develops three overlapping arguments for a strong liberal arts education: first, the intrinsic value of learning for its own sake, including exploration of the profound questions that give meaning to life; second, the cultivation of intellectual virtues necessary for success beyond the academy; and third, the formative influence of the liberal arts on character and on the development of a sense of higher purpose and vocation.

To educate the mind and the soul is an important part of education too often overlooked.  How many Fortune 100 companies or multi-national corporations today ask: “Does what we do give meaning to life?” or “Does what we provide to the markets develop a sense of higher purpose?”

Kudos to Professor Roche for having the courage and wisdom to remind us: “If we reduce the purpose of education to that of getting a job, we have failed to adorn it with higher meaning. Even more than awakening a deeper meaning in work, a liberal arts education gives graduates a direction for life.”

As I look at the economic world around us today, I wonder how and why we let the importance of a liberal arts education fade. Certainly, there is more to life than “stock holder value,” “return on investment” and “short term gain.”

More “Liberal Arts” Reading

If you’re looking for other books that will refresh your mind and soul and probably offer you little on how to invest your money, how to increase your stock portfolio, or how to worry about whether you’ll have enough money when you retire, may we suggest the following?  All of these books are authored or edited by the “wisdom voices” we have been fortunate to interview over the past year.  They make for great reading anytime, especially during these months when the winds of winter force many of us into bouts of cabin fever.

Healing the Heart of Democracy, by Parker J. Palmer

The book examines ways to restore the infrastructure of American politics and offers us a way to reclaim democracy for “We the People.”  Palmer points us to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of creativity and courage.  At this critical moment in American life, Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good.

All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons, Edited by Jay Walljasper

Reading this book will help inspire you to see the world in a new way. As soon as you realize that some things belong to everyone—water, for instance, or the Internet or human knowledge—you become a commoner, part of a movement that’s reshaping how we will solve the problems facing us in the twenty-first century.

Check out the link for details on current specials available on All That We Share.

Playing Bigger Than You Are:  A Life In Organizing, by Stewart Acuff.

The passion of author Stewart Acuff is wonderfully articulated in his look back over 30 years of activism.  In the book’s foreword, Senator Bernie Sanders trumpets the work of one of the union movement’s strongest voices by saying the following:

“Playing Bigger Than You Are is above all a story of hope’s triumph against all odds. At this challenging time in our nation’s history it is a story we can learn much from.”

A Persistent Peace:  One Man’s Struggle For A Nonviolent World, by John Dear, S. J.

This autobiography invites readers to follow the decades-long journey and spiritual growth of a nationally known peace activist, and to witness his bold, decisive, often unpopular actions before government officials, military higher-ups, and even representatives of the Church.

 

Weekend Reading List

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

For this weekend’s reading list we have a collection of documents by and about Dr. King, an evaluation of coming demographic and economic changes in the US, and reports on why Finland’s schools are successful, US schools are increasingly criminalizing childhood behavior, and why we ignore the civilian victims of American wars.

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute – the Institute, based at Stanford University, has a comprehensive online collection of speeches, papers, and research by and about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority - United for a Fair Economy’s 2012 report on Dr. King’s legacy focuses on demographic shifts that are projected to make people of color the majority of the US population by 2042, but how corresponding changes in policy are needed to ensure that current economic disparities between whites and people of color are not further exacerbated.

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? – an examination of  how Finland’s public education system has become the envy of the world without following the marketplace competition and standardized testing approach that is so much in vogue about education “reform’ advocates in the US.

The US Schools With Their Own Police – a report on how school districts in the US are increasingly criminalizing what we previously considered to be just typical behavior from school children.

Why Do We Ignore the Civilians Killed in American Wars? - a look at the reasons why we tend to ignore the approximately six million largely innocent civilians killed in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Weekend Reading List

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

For this weekend’s reading list we have articles on marriage equality and President Obama, an essay about how immigration can help reinvigorate Detroit, the story of a man recently freed from death row,  a book review about how taxpayer bailouts of the financial sector keep getting bigger, and an analysis of how successful states are in providing educational opportunity to low-income students.

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

Obama and Gay Marriage: Runaway Bride? – An argument that while President Obama should now stand up in support of marriage equality, there were important strategic reasons why he did not do so previously.   Winning Progressive’s letter urging President Obama to publicly support marriage equality is here.   

Immigrants Add Luster to Metro Detroit - an essay by Steve Tobocman in the Detroit News echoing Winning Progressive’s view that increased immigration could be an important tool for reinvigorating Detroit 

The Case of Cory Maye - The account of an African American resident of Mississippi who was sentenced to death row for shooting a white police officer after a large number of police officers mistakenly raided Mr. Maye’s house in the middle of the night.   Mr. Mayes’ death sentence was recently vacated and he is now returning home. 

The Busts Keep Getting Bigger: Why? – a review by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells of the Age of Greed, by Jeff Madrick, which discusses the history of federal taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street, where the collapses keep getting more dire and the bailouts keep getting bigger

Some States Still Leave Low-Income Students Behind; Others Make Surprising Gains - a ProPublica report on how Florida has done a good job of extending educational opportunity to low-income students, while states such as Kansas, Maryland, and Oklahoma have not

Weekend Reading List

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

For this weekend’s reading list, we have articles on how Sweden and Denmark show that higher taxation doesn’t hurt economic growth, how conservatives are crashing England’s economy again, the sustainability of historic buildings, how GOP budget plans would prevent action on climate change, and an interview with education advocate Diane Ravitch.

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

Is Heavy Taxation Bad For the Economy? – At his interesting blog Consider the Evidence, Lane Kenworthy examines taxes and economic growth in the U.S., Sweden, and Denmark since 1960s and finds no evidence of economic harm from the higher tax rates in Sweden and Denmark

Old Buildings Combine Sustainability, Preservation – why re-using old buildings is as good, or even better, for the environment as is constructing new “green” buildings.

A Weekend Interview with Diane Ravitch on Teachers, Testing, and Florida’s Progress – a newspaper editorial board interview with Diane Ravitch, a noted critic of standardized testing and other education “reform” theories being pushed by charter school advocates

Global Spending Cap Would Make It Virtually Impossible to Enact Climate Legislation – Another bad result that would be created by conservatives’ efforts to slash government spending that they do not like

U.K. Economy Returns to the 1930s, IMF Applauds – A helpful warning from England, where recently-enacted conservative austerity measures have sidetracked economic recovery and created a double-dip recession.

Weekend Reading List

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

For this weekend’s reading list, we have articles on how public relations has overtaken journalism, biased television news coverage of climate change, why Elizabeth Warren would be good for business, how Germany has achieved economic success while maintaining strong unions and efficient government, and the close relationship between charter school magnates and Ohio’s Republican leadership.

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

True Enough: The Second Age of PR – A report from the Columbia Journalism Review about how the public relations industry has overtaken journalism and continues to grow.

Opponents of EPA Climate Action Dominate TV News Airwaves – A Media Matters report about how biased in favor of the conservative anti-science view television “news” coverage of climate change is.

The Warren CourtHow the consumer protections that Elizabeth Warren fights for are good not only for consumers, but also for business and the economy as a whole, as a well-functioning economy requires that consumers are well-informed

The German Example - A New York Times essay about how Germany, with its strong labor unions and efficient government, is outperforming the U.S. economically

House Cozy With Charter School Lobby - a Columbus Dispatch investigation about how a charter school magnate who gives big campaign contributions to Ohio Republicans is helping to write Ohio budget provisions that benefit his charter schools