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Let’s Power Our Laptops with Kitty Litter

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 30, 2011 |

Optimism about technology is more or less a California trait, but it requires some discipline.

How to Learn Self-Control

  • By
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
August 28, 2011 |

Before she was a star musician, Amanda Palmer worked as a living statue. Standing perfectly still, she'd pose in the middle of Harvard Square, dressed as a bride, and through insults, lobbed objects, meddling drunks, and distracting jokes, she'd practice the art of nonreaction for hours on end.

'My Mommy Doesn’t Have Any Papers'

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
August 29, 2011 |

In the spring of 2010, Michelle Obama visited an elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the gym, with news cameras rolling, she called on an apprehensive second grader who had raised her hand. Why, asked the girl, was the president “taking everyone away” who doesn’t have papers to live in the United States? “My mom doesn’t have any papers,” she told the first lady.

The Intellectual Collapse of Left and Right

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
August 23, 2011 |

Democrats and Republicans alike are failing to convince the American people that they have the answer to their country's problems. Underneath, however, lies a deeper intellectual confusion. The two most plausible visions developed by the US centre-left and centre-right – the "knowledge economy" and the "ownership society" – lie in tatters, leaving a void in America's discussion of its economic future.

Making Low-Interest Auto Loans Work

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2011 |

Last week I wrote about the New England-based program More Than Wheels, which helps people get low-interest loans on new or good used cars, and allows them to save money on repairs, gas and financing. Most of the commenters — especially those who live in rural areas — liked the idea of the program, but there were a few persistent questions and issues:

Are cars necessary?

Free Ride by Robert Levine – Review

  • By
  • Evgeny Morozov,
  • New America Foundation
August 18, 2011 |

When Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting our Economy appeared in 2007, its subtitle was music to many ears. Short on facts and long on hyperbole, it wasn't very persuasive, but by then the growing fear that elite culture was capitulating to the vulgar ephemera of pokes and tweets had turned internet-bashing into something of a cult itself.

The Annotated Toffler

  • By
  • Parag Khanna,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Ayesha Khanna
August 17, 2011 |

Think you've heard it all about the global financial crisis, the Internet distracting us into stupidity, dysfunctional and self-destructive politics, the demise of the nuclear family, and degenerating cities? Well imagine having predicted, written about, and imagined the consequences of all of these postmodern maladies -- before they ever happened. Meet Alvin and Heidi Toffler, the accidental futurists who have lived to see so many of their foresights become our daily reality.

On the Road, and Out of the Red

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 11, 2011 |

In March 2010, Tammy Trahan’s 1993 Jeep Cherokee broke down on one of the New Hampshire back roads that made up her 90-mile daily commute. “I was in tears,” says Tammy, “I wanted to drive into the river.” As a single mom, the car was her lifeline, taking her to the job that kept her and her family barely afloat. But the car was also dragging her down. Because a bad divorce had left her with terrible credit, she’d paid such high interest rates that the car with a $9000 sticker price when she bought it seven years earlier ended up costing her $20,000 in payments.

Drawing a AAA-Road Map for Post-Downgrade America

  • By
  • Marc Goldwein,
  • New America Foundation
August 11, 2011 |

The S&P downgrade late Friday afternoon in Washington kicked off the most anxious and frenetic week in world markets since the Great Recession ended. The rating agency's observation that U.S. politics was broken might have seemed like old news to voters, but to outsiders it was a stunning confirmation that the recovery is all but over and Washington has no clue how to get it back on track. But the panic over the downgrade and subsequent sell-off has glossed over what exactly our AA+ means for the economy, our prospects, and the road back to a sterling rating.

Obama’s Era of Decline

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
August 8, 2011 |

The decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade America's credit rating marks the clearest sign yet that we have entered a new era in American politics.

In retrospect, the dominant political reality of the Clinton years was the culture war, a struggle over what kind of nation America would be once being anticommunist ceased being a meaningful national identity. Politics in the Bush years was dominated by the "war on terror," the right's effort to reenact the Cold War struggle and the left's recovery of its own antiwar tradition in response.

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