Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Curio: Bloggers, Boogeymen and Business

with 2 comments

I’ve been on a really busy schedule of laying out in my backyard by my parent’s pool. Working from home. Visiting grandparents. Trying to read Proust (preliminary prognosis: not a fan). Exciting things like that. This gives me lots of time to Read The Internet, which one would think would be conducive to blogging—but every day, there is too much, too much!, of interest, and then I give up. Blog paralysis by abundance! And so, the necessity of the Dreaded Link List. Oh yes. Here goes:

Virginia blogger jailed for annoying the police.

• Conor in the Daily Beast on “boogeyman euthanasia counselors” and the downsides of “comprehensive” health care reform:

Is Social Security facing long-term insolvency problems? Is our immigration system broken? President George W. Bush responded to those widespread beliefs by advocating sweeping, “comprehensive” reforms that failed largely because they freaked out too many Americans. Even worse, the policy problems he failed to address still exist, but are unlikely to be readdressed for some time—among the many downsides to comprehensive reform is that its failure renders every facet of an issue politically radioactive.

[…] Congressional effort is best spent taking small, discrete steps to reform any system, even if incremental changes aren’t the stuff of presidential legacies or televised ceremonies where parchment is signed with a fancy pen.

Why not take the approach that works better—and that scares my grandmother less?

• Joanna Robinson started a business during the height of the recession, in an arena she had no experience in, without relying on any traditional advertising. And it’s worked. I profile her for Doublethink.

• Ben Adler at Next American City on (a subject that has recently become near and dear to my heart) leaving Washington, D.C. (he lasted a year and a half longer than me) and the awesomeness of the neighborhood where he lived, Mt. Pleasant:

D.C. is, compared to New York, even today, a wholly owned subsidiary of chain stores. CVS and Starbucks have outlets that are often separated by just a block from the next one. Lacking the strong history of foreign immigration that shaped other East Coast cities, the stores that defined my childhood are generally non-existent: the Korean greengrocer, the Arab newsstand, the Greek diner, the Italian pizzeria or bakery.

But not so in Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant is home to a large concentration of Latino immigrants, mainly from El Salvador. As a result it has the gold standard for urban ethnic business: the bodega. It’s such a neighborhood that it has micro-neighborhoods: a laundromat at the southern end of Mount Pleasant, and one at the northern end, a mere four blocks away. Same goes for the dry cleaners, liquor stores and take-out Chinese.

Also at NAC: “Newspapers aren’t that great at preventing corruption; they are good at transferring ideas between the government and the people, in developing a collective conscious and in creating a historical record of a city.”

Reburbia: A suburb re-design competition.


Written by Elizabeth

August 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

Posted in Asides, Curio

2 Responses

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  1. I loved the Robinson profile and totally wanted to copy her business model, until she cited Rand…


    August 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

  2. Second on praise for the profile. I finally get how Twitter can be used!

    Tom Meyer

    August 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

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