April 15, 2014
At IISC we are orienting our selves towards the City. These are the places where most human beings will live. They are the theater of human struggle, and thus for liberation. And as Jen points out, they just might be the key to sustainability.
Inequality is tearing our society apart. Oligarchy’s global claw back has been relentless, and potentially self-destructive. We are governed by moneyed interests and the precariat have been abandoned.
December 2, 2013
|Photo by Kyle Rush|http://www.flickr.com/photos/29096781@N02/3595829253/in/photolist-6tKyL6-6TjYr4-782X3v-782XV2-7q8PFS-7u5XGi-dx4sDx-fiYNSv-h9SFrn-h9Rr2o-h9RoPt-h9RpoK-h9Rsbh-8qR2uC-7NDpGo-ejtUcJ-dLRMB9-dS8otP-dSdXNY-dS8nop-dS8o6K-dLRNpb-aJ8zJv-ejLpgh-dKmixn-9Puxw4-8qMV6i-dLLep2-dktHij-dkEShK-9QAw9M-hUhofe-8zZSjL-7LGYPJ-bWQ7K6-8nREdc-8nUPrE-dsPBnf-dsPC1h-byFSTx-byFdTn-byFaJK-bkLgEL-bkLjDb-byF8Ug-byF6P8-bkLnAA-byFeqM-hE7ndt-dWmQMj-aE4heE|
Much has been written and said in the past month about President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. I think the one important gift President Kennedy gave the country was a certain hopefulness about what people could do at their best and what government could do at its best. Listen (starting at 36:30) to an excerpt from President Kennedy’s inaugural address, read by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. He enjoins the listeners to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” In these days of Washington gridlock and partisan gamesmanship, it’s a message we can stand to hear afresh!
December 14, 2010
The “No Labels” political effort feels more like the work of well resourced spin doctors than an emergent political movement that can address the paralyzing institutional polarization that might bring our country to its knees. I was struck by this quote from a New York Times story focused on Bloomberg’s role:
In fact, though, the rise of the independents represents a movement in exactly the opposite direction — away from party organizations altogether… This isn’t so much a political phenomenon as it is a cultural one. In the last decade or so, the Web has created an increasingly decentralized and customized society, in which a new generation of voters seems less aligned, generally, with large institutions. MoveOn.org and the Tea Party groups, for instance, were born as protests against the establishments of both parties, and they empowered citizens to create their own agendas, rather than relying on any elected leadership. Read More
April 10, 2010
Friends — I am asking you to help build my capacity to build our capacity to create the change we seek…. from the grassroots to the grasstops, and every village and hamlet in between. Last week, I received an invitation to participate in a meeting in a few weeks on the federal government’s nonprofit capacity building efforts — at the White House! Read More
February 10, 2010
I’ve been thinking a lot about why people love to hate government, and why I just can’t bring myself to hate it, too. I hold tightly to the notion of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” and want to hold it accountable to serving its role to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
To the people who say (as I heard recently on the news) “I want government out of my life and out of my pocket!”, I say, see how far you get without roads, bridges, schools, water, sewer, fire and police forces, courts, public transit, public parks, libraries, and the like. To those who say (as I also heard recently) “I was raised that if you see something that needs to be done you just do it. No whining. No waiting for government. You just do it.” I have a few questions. Does that include paving a pothole? Educating a neighbor with special needs? Making books available to children and adults doing research? Building an extension to a road or transit system? Ensuring that the air and waterways are not polluted? Providing shelter, health care and other safety net supports for people in need? Making sure that everyone does their part to avert a climate disaster? You get my point. As a tax payer, I’m getting a pretty good deal for what I pay. It would take more than 80 years of paying our property taxes to exceed just the cost of educating three sons in private schools!
February 4, 2010
|Photo by nathanborror|http://www.flickr.com/photos/sketch22/3054286601/
With the dust now fairly settled from President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, I feel like it’s safe to offer a few comments here without being labeled an aspiring pundit. IISC friend and fellow network-phile Bill Traynor of Lawrence CommunityWorks captured some of my own feelings initially – impressed by the speech, on board . . . for now. Coming into that evening I was concerned about what I had been picking up as a big push of the “Obama brand”, leading me to ask along with Naomi Klein whether the man in the Oval Office is more about symbolic gesture than substantive change. Suffice to say that I don’t have the behind-the-scenes knowledge to confidently declare how much is actually getting done. But to the extent that anything in front of the curtain matters, and we know at least some of it does, I came away with some real adaptive leadership lessons from the SOTU Address.
September 8, 2009
It is difficult on this Labor Day 2009 not to worry and fret about our collective ability in this country to do what is best, even in our own best interest. The two major policy debates of the day – health care and unemployment – came together this weekend in a heap of statistics, misinformation and just plain rage that leaves me, like so many, wondering: how will we move in the right direction? What is right action?
Heartbreaking stories of financial ruin and despair from job loss and crushing unemployment caused by the recession or untreated illness and bankruptcy from the effects of a completely broken health care system. And, at root of both issues we find the profit motive and really bad policy choices over the last two decades. Read More