Ryan McCarl

Reading, writing, learning, languages, law, politics, etc.

How to Think About Politics

“How to Think About Politics,” my most recent essay, is being featured in the August issue of Fogged Clarity. I’ve also pasted it below. If you enjoy it, please consider linking to it, sharing it, or passing it along to others who might be interested. Thanks, as always, for reading. — How to Think About Politics Ryan McCarl First, question everything, beginning with the political ideas you inherited from your parents, family, community, church, and school. Read more →

The case for Facebook and social networking

Even though Facebook currently has over 200 million active users, many people continue to doubt the value of social networking in general and Facebook in particular. Critics argue that Facebook and other social networking and Web 2.0 tools - including blogs and Twitter - are symptomatic of the “solipsism” (meaning, in this context, the self-absorption of users) of the contemporary Internet. Indeed, Facebook can be an enormous time-waster and procrastination tool, as can any medium or Internet resource. Read more →

Farewell, Shaman Drum

Shaman Drum of Ann Arbor, MI, one of the best independent bookstores in the Midwest, permanently shut its doors today. It is a major loss for Ann Arbor and for book-lovers everywhere. Independent and used bookstores need your support. Shop at them. Go to their events. Buy their gift certificates as holiday gifts. Independent bookstores must fight back against the challenging economic environment by doing everything they can to improve their businesses. Read more →

For many in Chicago, driving is a necessity, not a luxury

My most recent op-ed, “For us, Mr. Daley, driving to work is a necessity, not a vice” (registration required) was published today on Chicagobusiness.com and will appear in this week’s issue of Crain’s Chicago Business. You can find the article here as well as reprinted below: — For us, Mr. Daley, driving to work is a necessity, not a vice Ryan McCarl It is exceedingly difficult for many commuters living on the North Side to find free parking after they return from work. Read more →

Readings on certainty, racism, and foreign policy

-Today’s Maroon column: “Certainty is a luxury none of us has.” Religious fundamentalists and secular fundamentalists are all-too-alike in their belief that they, and only they, have answers to the biggest questions in the human dialogue. What unites us all is doubt and searching. Read the article here. -Must-read: “Principal of Arabic School Says She was Forced Out.” This is what racist, nativist hysteria looks like. -From an Economist article on the new Fox Business Channel: Mr Murdoch apparently wants his channel to be more “pro-capitalism” than CNBC—which is hardly a pinko outfit—and, sure enough, there was soon a discussion about the pharmaceutical industry entitled “Capitalism cures cancer”, which—let’s be “fair and balanced”, as the Fox News slogan puts it—it does. Read more →