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Works in Progress

Limits and possibilities of healthcare in rural areas

The national discussion about reforming our health care system is all about ending Obamacare (or not), adopting a “single payer”approach, or leaving things to the “marketplace.” No part of that discussion addresses the reality that we hardly have a healthcare “system” at all. Instead, we have big insurance companies, private…

With apologies to the Apostle John and Boots Riley

I. The common good, and what happened to it? In the beginning there was the world, and nobody owned the world, and the world was with humanity, and humans lived in the world under egalitarian social relations based on common interests—common good. Now, a few thousand years later, were we…

Help rebuild our jail library

The Thurston County Public Defense Office and the Thurston County Jail are collaborating on a project to replace the depleted accumulation of worn and torn books now stored in the jail library. A jail without a library is like a bookshelf without books! From now through December 10, 2018 you…

Reviving civility and civic life

Eric Klinenberg is an optimist. His book, Palaces for the People is dense with stories about communities that have managed to be resilient in times of stress and disaster. Klinenberg weaves occasionally complex background information together with narrative, explaining context and theories such as the histories of a demographic shift,…

SW Olympia: Where neighbors defend and create priceless social spaces

Olympia has a number of active neighborhood groups that bring residents together. Perhaps because it is my home, I am struck by the uniquely strong bonds within the Southwest Olympia neighborhood as a model of Klinenberg’s positive social infrastructure. The persistent activism of neighbors has kept this community from being…