Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich: I'm an Atheist, But Don't Rule Out "Mystical Experiences"

A Q&A with the author of "Living With a Wild God"

Barbara Ehrenreich wants you to take mystical experiences seriously, unless they involve a benevolent monotheistic deity.

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Soaking The Poor

I've written a lot about the push by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other conservatives to raise taxes on the poor for the express purpose of lowering taxes on the rich. Writing in the Nation, Barbara Ehrenreich points out that local governments have been soaking the poor for years. In some jurisdictions you can get charged for occupying a jail cell; in 2009 one homeless woman in Michigan was incarcerated for falling behind on her $104 monthly payment for her 16 year-old's incarceration and was thereafter required to pay jail fees for her son and herself.

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The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s once-spotless reputation is getting dirtier by the minute. First it yanked funding for Planned Parenthood. Then it changed its story about why it pulled the money.

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Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

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Stoicism and Us

Marcus Aurelius: A Life By Frank McLynn (Da Capo Press, 684 pp., $30) A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy By William B. Irvine (Oxford University Press, 314 pp., $19.95)   Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest book, Bright-Sided, offers a damning indictment of the ideology of positive thinking, which she sees as the fundamental flaw in American life.

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Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50)   “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.

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There's a first-person piece in today's WaPo by a reporter who spent a day working at Sam's Club to get a sense of what it's like to be a holiday retail employee. The unsurprising answer: It sucks.  All things considered, this particular piece is likeable enough: faintly amusing if not terribly enlightening. But more broadly, this genre of journalism is a pet peeve of mine. Yes, it's lovely that reporters want to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. But there's a big difference between pinch hitting for a day and working at something for even a couple of weeks.

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