Original Proposal

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Original Proposal

Post by johnkarls »

The following proposal was received from Ted Gurney who is a long-time regular participant and a retired U/Utah Biology Professor. Unfortunately, he forgot his bulletin-board password and, as it happens, we appear to be using an obsolete version of our bulletin-board software which prevents us from re-registering him.


I propose we read “Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America” by Bob Herbert (Doubleday 10/7/2014) -- hardcover $21.13 + shipping from Amazon.com -- 253 pages sans notes).

Bob Herbert was a twice-weekly OpEd Columnist for the NY Times 1993-2011, focusing on politics, urban affairs and social issues

Per Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and author, inter alia, of Globalization and Its Discontents, and of The Price of Inequality --

“In a series of haunting portraits, Losing Our Way is an unforgettable reminder of the struggles facing America’s middle class today. Herbert has given us a sweeping picture of what has gone wrong in America—how we have underinvested in infrastructure, let corporate policies dominate the education debate, and fought needless wars that resulted in a tragic waste of life. A brilliant and devastating portrayal that explains how our priorities and policies have gone awry, Losing Our Way will make you angry and determined to put our country back on course.”

There are also glowing reviews in (1) The NY Times by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, a journalist who specializes in marginalized members of society (children living in poverty, prostitutes, women in prison, etc.), and (2) The Huffington Post by Prof. Diane Ravitch, NYU’s Research Professor at its School of Culture, Education and Human Development, a past U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, and the author of two books on which we have focused (The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010) and Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (2013)).

I also saw Bob Herbert interviewed vis-à-vis his book by Bill Moyers on 10/9/2014.

Losing Our Way has 13 chapters with the following headings --

1. Falling Apart (on decaying infrastructure such as highways and bridges)
2. Falling Apart II (more of the same)
3. Jobs and the Middle Class
4. War and its Aftermath
5. Understanding the Costs of War
6. Poverty and Inequality
7. The Public Schools
8. Poverty and Public Education
9. War’s Madness Runs Deep
10. Hurricane Sandy and Other Disasters
11. Cashing in on Schools
12. Mistreating the Troops
13. Epilogue, Looking Ahead

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The Bill Moyers Interview to which Ted Gurney referred

Post by Pat »

Restoring an America That Has Lost Its Way
October 9, 2014

Reading Liberally Editorial Note: Bill Moyers does NOT appear to provide transcripts for his past shows. However, his website offers the following description about the 10/9/2014 interview of Bob Herbert regarding his new book and a videotape of the entire interview is available at billmoyers.com/episode/restoring-america-lost-way.

Three years ago, reporter and former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert took to the road and traveled across the United States to gather research for his new book, Losing Our Way. In it, Herbert tells the stories of the brave, hard-working men and women he met who have been battered by the economic downturn. He found an America in which jobs have disappeared, infrastructure is falling apart and the “virtuous cycle” of well-paid workers spending their wages to power the economy has been broken by greed and the gap between the very rich and everyone else.

He tells Bill: “[W]e’ve established a power structure in which the great corporations and the big banks have allied themselves with the national government and, in many cases, local government to pursue corporate interests and financial interests as opposed to those things that would be in the best interests of ordinary working people… Once you do that, you lose the dynamic that America is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be an egalitarian society, a society of rising standards of living, a society of a vast and thriving middle class. And we are getting farther and farther away from that ideal.”

As for solutions, Herbert says, “People need to start voting against the excessive power of the great moneyed interests. But more than that, we need a movement, a grass-roots movement that will fight for the interests of ordinary men and women…”

Herbert is a senior distinguished fellow at the public policy and analysis think tank, Demos. He is also a board member of the Schumann Media Center, from which he is presently on leave working on a major documentary.
Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Sikay Tang.

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