From the Reading List will be an ongoing feature at The Blue Review, chronicling a diverse set of good reads on politics, cities, the environment and the media, pulled from blogs, traditional news sources, essays, journals and even paper magazines, occasionally.
TBR Blog is a space for commentary, opinion and reports on research in progress.
Most of these links wend their way to this reading list via Twitter. We are highly susceptible to the power of suggestion. Send us links anytime via the comments below, @reviewblue, on Facebook, Google+ or anywhere else you find us, nose buried deep in the iDongle of the moment.
TBR contributor Justin Vaughn discusses the election on CNBC Asia, during a recent visit to Hong Kong.
Electioneers meet Facebook:
—From Charles Duhigg, “Campaigns Mine Personal Lives to Get Out Vote,” New York Times
The campaigns’ consultants have run experiments to determine if embarrassing someone for not voting by sending letters to their neighbors or posting their voting histories online is effective.
“I’ve had half-a-dozen conversations with third parties who are wondering if this is the year to start shaming,” said one consultant who works closely with Democratic organizations. “Obama can’t do it. But the ‘super PACs’ are anonymous. They don’t have to put anything on the flier to let the voter know who to blame.”
—From The New Yorker
“It’s very hard to prove a counterfactual,” he told the journalist Jonathan Alter, “where you say, ‘You know, things really could have been a lot worse.’” He was speaking of the bank and auto-industry bailouts, but the problem applies more broadly to the stimulus: harm averted is benefit unseen.
—From the New York Observer
Gov. Romney won the Republican Party’s nomination precisely because he is not an ideologue—and that is no small achievement. He persuaded enough Republican primary voters that the time has come to put aside dogma and inflexibility in favor of real-world solutions to the array of problems America faces at home and abroad.
U.S. presidential preferences in other nations:
‘Tis apple picking season, saucy season, cider season:
—From Christine Baumgarthuber, “Core Values,” The New Inquiry, the muse of this internet marginalia craze.
Apple trees grown from seed only produce fruit fit for cider. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century most apples were grown expressly for making this beverage.
—From Anna Griffin, “Keeping downtown Portland vibrant requires rethinking what it means to live, work in the central city,” planners say, The Oregonian.
More trips. The same pollution. Fewer miles.
“It’s a head-scratcher when you first think about,” said Andre Baugh, chairman of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission, the volunteer group that helps craft city development policy.
But the projections tie into what the experts say central Portland must become to remain the region’s economic heart: A city that feels more like … a city.
Are conservatives more moral?
—From George Scialabba, “Head and Heart,” Boston Review.
“If you are trying to change an organization or a society and you do not consider the effects of your changes on moral capital, you’re asking for trouble,” Haidt explains. “This, I believe, is the fundamental blind spot of the left.” Where liberals see individuals in need, conservatives see social structures at risk.
Western individualism, french fries and global cultures:
—From George Rupp, “Dreams, Dreads, and the New Global Community,” Reflections (Yale Divinity School)
Islam offers a final example, one especially apt, since so much of the most forceful resistance to Western secular individualism is anchored in Muslim conviction. Like other religious traditions, Islam incorporates enormous diversity – and is often quite public in its internal disagreements. In Islam as in other religious communities there are mystics who claim direct communion with the ultimate, with Allah. But for virtually all Muslims, the role of the community is indispensable to the faithful life. In repudiating Western secular liberalism, advocates of Islam are rejecting what they deem to be a corrosive individualism that undermines this indispensable role of the community.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University or the School of Public Service.