Surreptitious Agriculture

MJfarmWay back when, a friend would occasionally stop by our apartment near the University of Oregon campus. He’d pull some marijuana out of his pocket, roll up a joint and share it with us. Everyone feeling relaxed, we’d make the purchase: twenty dollars for a baggie. It was all very friendly.

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Robert Moses and the Mt. Hood Freeway

I have recently written about urban renewal and the consequences for those in its way. Here is twelve-minute film celebrating the never-built freeway through a southeast Portland neighborhood and the subsequent change of direction in the city’s planning. It’s from 2006, so you won’t see the homeless who have since set up camp in Waterfront Park.

A Hundred Years of Hot Dogs

I was not quite nineteen years old when I first visited New York City. I rode a bus from the Port Authority terminal to Staten Island, where my father’s WWII buddy lived. He put me up for the night before I met up with my friend who was to arrive the next day. My father’s friend and his teen-aged son took me on a brief tour of the city that evening. The highlight was Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island. He bought me a hot dog and a glass of beer. (The legal drinking age in New York at the time was eighteen.) I stood at an outside counter with my hot dog and beer. I felt pretty cool.

The story of Nathan Handwerker is pretty cool, too.

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Race and Self-Deception

Nicholas Kristof grew up on a farm in Yamhill, Oregon. He works for the New York Times, traveling the world, reporting from wherever there is human suffering. In 2005, when pundit Bill O’Reilly was promoting his annual “War on Christmas,” Kristof offered to show him what war really looked like.

“If you want to do something journalistic, come along with me on my next trip to Darfur. You’ll have to leave your studio and deal with people who, if they don’t like you, will shoot you in a moment. But you’ll also have the chance to take a genuinely important and overlooked story and bring it into people’s homes. So come on, Bill. What’ll it be? More ranting from your studio? Or real journalism?”

Mr. O’Reilly did not take him up on the offer.

Mr. Kristof recently published a piece on a timely subject: race and white delusion.

“My hunch is that we will likewise look back and conclude that today’s calls for racial justice, if anything, understate the problem — and that white America, however well meaning, is astonishingly oblivious to pervasive inequity.”

Read it here.