Caseworkers get a bad rap on both sides of the political spectrum. On one hand, they are unpopular with people who receive public assistance. Recipients and welfare rights advocates accuse them of making judgments based on racial and class bias, treating clients like criminals, and acting as if public assistance dollars are coming out of … Continue reading Caseworkers vs. Computers
First lines often suck. A bad first line introduces the subject, but don’t suggest the stakes of the game. A bad first line begins the story, but doesn’t engage your senses or rouse your interest. A bad first line is like a host who invites you into the house, and then turns off the lights. … Continue reading First lines, First Days
While I am encouraged by attempts to stem the tide of the epidemic of gun violence in America, and welcome a vigorous conversation about how to support and provide resources for people struggling with mental illness in this country, I am horrified to near-speechlessness by the mental health provisions of the recent gun control legislation … Continue reading Cuomo Criminalizes the Mentally Ill
This winter finds me wrapped in a scarf of Dr. Who-ish proportions and immersed in archival research for my next book, The Digital Poorhouse: Computers, Public Services and American Citizenship. This month, I am looking into the design and implementation of the Welfare Management System (WMS) in New York State in the 1970s and 80s. … Continue reading Poverty & High-Tech Billionaires
On my most recent book tour, I spread out my readings so I would have a little extra time in each city to talk with social justice organizations, visit friends, and have some general fun. At each stop, I asked the locals I met, “If you moved away from [insert city name here], and you … Continue reading Other Things I Like About Detroit
A few days ago, I started writing a post called “In praise of disorientation: Wherein our hero goes jogging in a strange city without a smartphone.” It was in response to some of my wanderings in Detroit this week, and my strange but persistent urge to try to do a book tour without digital communications … Continue reading In Praise of Disorientation
I’m thrilled to be on the road touring the US Midwest behind Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age and talking to people about digital justice. One of the great things about being on book tour is that I get to spend my off time talking to people who are doing … Continue reading Adventures in Digital Justice, Detroit Edition
I’ve been thinking about technology policy in the United States in light of Mitt Romney’s May 17, 2012 comments that nearly half of United States citizens “are dependent upon government, believe that they are victims, believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, … Continue reading Welfare Internet
The amazing organizing and coalition-building going on around stop and frisk policies in New York City inspired me to write “Stop. Frisk. Double-Click.” for the MIT Press Blog yesterday. Stop and frisk is a controversial policy where officers detain and search people based on subjective evaluations of public behavior: furtive movements, “casing” a location, and … Continue reading Stop. Frisk. Double-Click.
About three stops into my spring 2011 book tour, I learned that I could ask, “Where’s my Radical Reference?” and a corner of the room would invariably erupt into waves and laughter. Yesterday, I was sponsored for a talk at Simmons College in Boston by the student group from the Graduate School of Library and … Continue reading Three Cheers for Radical Libarians!