Theories of change vary widely. Does progress arise from
countless participants, working in countless places and ways? Does it require
an organized movement? How critical are public, influential leaders? At what
point is there a need for precedent to be set from the top down?
Colleen McDannell confesses that integrating family history with scholarship is not for the faint of heart. In this valiant attempt McDannell tells the story of her Catholic parents in tandem with a discussion of the changes that were played out in the 20th century in the Catholic Church as a whole.
"Open conversation that leads to nothing." That's how Jon Stewart summed up his interview with popular right-wing historian David Barton. He was right: After 30 minutes of glib back-and-forth with Barton (ten of which made it onto TV), Stewart was flummoxed, worn down, unfunny.
A disturbing factor in the rash of police shootings of unarmed black people and of deaths in police custody is that many of the victims were apprehended for petty offenses. Sandra Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change, Samuel DuBose for a missing license plate, and Walter Scott for a busted taillight. A trend among municipalities is to issue fines as a means of generating revenue, and this onerous strategy falls disproportionately on people of color, many of whom are poor themselves. Not having the means to pay the fines can land them in jail, resulting in job loss and perpetuation of poverty—and increased distrust of law enforcement (Mother Jones, September/October).