Inside the lives of homeless families who are staying at a Ramada Inn in the Colorado suburbs:
"At any given time, roughly 20 to 40 guests are staying long term. Since they pay by the week, they call themselves 'weeklies.' To score the cheap rates, $210 for individuals and slightly more for families, they must pay in advance. Residents sign a form that lists the activities that could get them kicked out (mostly involving drugs) and warns that they won’t get reimbursed if they leave early, no exceptions. Some families stay only for a few weeks, some for months, giving the hotel the feeling of a dormitory. A rotating cast of front-desk clerks sells candy and rations towels and washcloths. Though some of the clerks are kind and helpful, the guests think of them as enforcers, and the clerks tend to treat the weeklies less as customers than as undergraduates stealing toilet paper and sneaking in hot plates."
PUBLISHED: March 27, 2013
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7360 words)
A secession movement has been blossoming in the liberal state of Vermont:
"In Vermont, Bryan says, there is 'a commonality of people opposed to large distant bureaucracies telling them how to live their lives. It’s the decentralist commonality of the libertarian right and what I’d call the communitarian left. The right opposes big government, the left opposes big business. It’s really about governing on a human scale.'
"As Bryan notes, Vermont has radical genes, a history rife with alternative thinking. Ethan Allen fought against the British Crown as fiercely as he would fight the Americans. Vermont under Allen produced, in 1777, the first constitution in English to outlaw slavery and allow citizens without property to vote. Nearly two centuries later, Scott Nearing chose Vermont to escape what he called 'the American Oligarchy, the American Way of Life, the American Century, the American Empire.' When he published Living the Good Life in 1954, it became a touchstone for the first generation of the simple-living movement, the hippies and Luddites who in the 1960s flooded into the state to follow Nearing’s example. Vermont went almost overnight from a right-wing backwater to a leftist mecca that eventually put in office America’s only avowedly socialist senator, Bernie Sanders."
PUBLISHED: March 19, 2013
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5645 words)
A positive assessment of California Gov. Jerry Brown's achievements during his second time around:
"The testimony to Brown’s acuity for all things Californian is remarkable because the California that Brown now governs has been so radically transformed over the past three decades that it bears scant resemblance to the state he once governed. While Brown has lived his entire life in politics and has been a national figure longer than any current American elected official, he has often seemed impatient with, if not downright contemptuous of, the workings of both politics and government and many of the most basic tenets of American liberalism. Yet, California today is again a state, as it has not been for decades, where the future that liberals hope will be America’s is happening first, and Jerry Brown, for all his skepticism about politics, government, and liberalism, is leading it there."
PUBLISHED: March 7, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6033 words)
One of this year's nominees for the James Beard Awards
. Inside the lives, and calculating the wages, of farm workers in California:
"Compared with other recent tales of American farmworkers, Villalobos and Gomez might consider themselves lucky. In Florida, tomato pickers have been locked in box trucks under the watch of armed guards; in North Carolina, pregnant workers have been exposed to pesticides during harvest and birthed babies with missing limbs; in Michigan, children as young as six have been found laboring in blueberry groves. Those are marquee cases that garner national media, shining the spotlight on the most egregious abuses. In relative terms, suits like Villalobos are mundane, but they are also ubiquitous, filed with a frequency that suggests the most pervasive and insidious abuse faced by farmworkers is the kind Villalobos encountered: the blatant disregard of labor laws governing wages, safety, and health. This type of abuse is most typically seen in fields managed not by farmers but by farm-labor contractors, many of whom started out as farmworkers themselves."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 11, 2012
LENGTH: 23 minutes (5996 words)
Elizabeth Warren has energized Democrats in Massachusetts during her 2012 Senate race against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, but has also faced many difficulties as a first-time candidate. The race remains very close:
"Lydon brought up an anecdote he’d heard: Warren, while she served on the bankruptcy panel during Clinton’s presidency, had known the first lady, Hillary Clinton. Clinton had supported Warren’s work and opposed changes to bankruptcy law. But later, when Clinton was in the Senate, she’d turned around and voted for changes Warren opposed. Lydon quoted what Warren had said at the time: 'If she can’t take the heat, who can?' Later, Lydon asked Warren if she thought she could withstand the same pressures Hillary had sometimes caved to, or whether she’d just join the old boy’s club of the Senate. 'Nobody’s fooled about what I stand for,' she started to answer. He interrupted: 'No one was fooled by what Hillary stood for.' He was trying to raise, in a roundabout way, a concern that Warren’s fans had worried about since the race with Brown had begun: Was it possible to enter politics without being compromised? Warren knew what he was getting at. 'Oh, I think there’s a real question about what people run for,' she replied. She added that she got into the race to uphold her principles, 'not because this was a great career move for me.' The implication was that other politicians, including Clinton, were in it for themselves. It was a pretty harsh dig at a Democrat admired by many in Massachusetts, whether or not Warren meant it to be. Like Obama on occasion, she was trying to sound self-effacing but ended up being self-aggrandizing."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 4, 2012
LENGTH: 23 minutes (5911 words)
One man's personal account of going through "ex-gay" therapy as a teen—and how the movements associated with such practices have fallen apart:
"After our initial meeting, I spoke with Nicolosi weekly by phone for more than three years, from the time I was 14 until I graduated high school. Like a rabbi instructing his student in understanding the Torah, Nicolosi encouraged me to interpret my daily life through the lens of his theories. I read in one of Nicolosi’s books, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, that he tries to position himself as a supportive father figure, typifying the sort of relationship that he believes his patients never had with their own father. I indeed came to see him this way.
"We mostly talked about how my damaged masculine identity manifested itself in my attractions to other boys. Nicolosi would ask me about my crushes at school and what I liked about them. Whether the trait was someone’s build, good looks, popularity, or confidence, these conversations always ended with a redirect: Did I wish I had these traits? What might it feel like to be hugged by one of these guys? Did I want them to like and accept me?"
PUBLISHED: April 12, 2012
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5652 words)
How Kathleen Parker became America's most-read woman columnist.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 9, 2009
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2819 words)
Community colleges are being asked to provide everything from second chances to vocational education. Is America ready to help them succeed?
PUBLISHED: Oct. 26, 2009
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2044 words)
Forget the suburbs. Prosperous white Americans are settling in even more remote -- and homogeneous -- communities.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 12, 2009
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2656 words)