“How Foreign Private Equity Hooked New England’s Fishing Industry.” Will Sennott has an in-depth report on the ways the local owners and fishermen in New England are increasingly squeezed out by large capital investments from overseas corporations: “Blue Harvest and other companies linked to private equity firms and foreign investors have taken over much of New England’s fishing industry. As already harsh working conditions have deteriorated, the new group of owners has depressed income by pushing expenses onto fishermen, an investigation by ProPublica and The New Bedford Light has found. Blue Harvest has also benefited from lax antitrust rules governing how much fish it can catch.”
“Sarah Palin Has Long Been Ridiculed. I Wanted to Tell a Different Story..” T.A. Frank set out to write a sympathetic story of Palin’s campaign for congress. He recognized she had been treated poorly by the media, and he wanted to model a different approach:
Two years ago, I was researching the question of how to get Americans to unite on something as modest as a set of shared facts. During my reporting, it became clear that the problem was one of feelings more than metaphysics. As the philosopher Linda Zagzebski, author of the 2012 book “Epistemic Authority,” explained to me, “Emotional goodwill precedes the sharing of facts.” To put it another way, we don’t hate one another because we have a different sense of facts. We have a different sense of facts because we hate one another. Chip away at the distrust and animosity, and facts can be pooled once more. If we can tell a human story of Sarah Palin, maybe people can wish her victory or defeat instead of vengeful triumph or destruction. Maybe we can do that for all sorts of people, even when our gut hates the idea.
“Nationalizing Conservatism.” John G. Grove reviews Conservatism: A Rediscovery by Yoram Hazony and warns against the dangers that a centralized nation poses to local life: “Hazony’s conservative culture is attractive. But if anything resembling it is possible in the twenty-first century, it will come from revitalized local attachments that are seen as strong and responsible sources of authority—not from a romanticized national government.”
“What the Weeds Are Telling Us.” Ragan Sutterfield examines the human and ecological tragedies caused by chemical-intensive row cropping. And yet perhaps the superweeds threatening this system have a crucial message for us: “Whenever it is laid bare, plants like Palmer amaranth fill the gaps until the soil is fertile enough for other plants to move in. Until agriculture begins to work in concert with these processes, paying attention to the soil’s needs, weeds will continue to remind us to change how we treat the earth. Will we listen?”
“Genesee Life with Will Bardenwerper.” Lucine Kauffman talks with Bardenwerper about the book he’s drafting that looks at the role baseball—particularly minor or independent league baseball—plays in fostering community life.
“Find Brutal Friends.” James Mumford argues that we shouldn’t necessarily help a friend achieve what they think they want: “We should seek brutal friends, friends who refuse to accept us as we are. Friends challenge and coax; they don’t just help us realize our pre-established goals. They question whether our goals are the right ones in the first place.”
“Pursuing the Reunification of Home and Work.” In a lengthy and well-researched essay, Erika Bachiochi considers the shifting value of work and consumption and tries to imagine economic and cultural practices that could help women and children thrive: “If we are truly to help families flourish in the coming decades, we can no longer treat the industrial cleavage between home and work as a matter each family can manage on its own. A reconciliation must occur.”
“Inflation is Pushing the Cost of Food to Record Highs. Could Urban Agriculture Help?” Nick Pasion reports on urban gardening in Pittsburgh: “Urban agriculture, advocates said, may provide some respite from those high prices by offering neighbors free locally grown food, lessons on how to grow at home and community gardens on plots that neighbors can work together to build and expand.”
“From Farmland to Frac Sand.” Lisa Held investigates the ecological and communal costs of turning fertile farmland into huge mines for silica sand: “While the more immediate impacts of fracking on communities where the drilling itself takes place have been widely covered, silica sand mining has mostly remained in the shadows. Even on the ground, most residents and tourists visiting LaSalle County’s state parks cannot see the gaping, miles-long craters that extend across the landscape, hidden as they are behind man-made hills called berms, most planted with thick vegetation.”
“From Regenesis to Re-exodus: Of George Monbiot, Mathematical Modernism and the Case for Agrarian Localism.” Chris Smaje reviews Monbiot’s new book and asks some pointed questions about its analysis and goals: “If George’s vision comes to pass I think it will, contrary to his own aspirations, represent an alignment between progressive environmentalism and corporate-capitalist interests that will delay further, perhaps catastrophically, the need to create low-input agrarian localisms and ecological culture.”
“Security Flaws in a Popular GPS Tracker are Exposing a Million Vehicle Locations.” Zack Whittaker reports on security flaws in Chinese-built GPS trackers that “can be easily and remotely exploited to track any vehicle in real time, access past routes and cut the engines of vehicles in motion.” What could go wrong? Apparently these flaws “can be easily exploited to track and remotely cut the engines of at least a million vehicles around the world.”
“Why I Started Reading the Local Newspaper.” John Pattison makes a good case for unplugging from national news and picking up a local paper: “The problem with me getting my news only from distant sources was twofold. Let’s call them impotence and ignorance.”