Recent blog posts by Andrew

The power of a spicy chicken sandwich, or, beyond good and evil there's a bug


If you've spent any time in the American south -- or at the food court in Burlington Mall, ten miles outside Boston -- you've likely gone weak at the knees at the mention of Chick-fil-A. The waffle fries. The sweet tea. And tops, the spicy chicken sandwich.

And you too may be conflicted about 1) Chick-fil-A's homophobia vs. 2) how good that spicy chicken sandwich is. (If this sounds like the Kenny Rogers Roaster episode of Seinfeld, it's not far off.)

So it came as a perversely pleasant surprise that the language associated with one of history's great homophobes, well, this happens:

My Introduction to Making, a Family Story

My mother's father was a machinist.

He had a stocked workshop, and I can't picture him without a blue jumpsuit on, speckled with the light-brown — a sugary scent — of machine oil.

Even as cigars browned his fingers and arthritis froze them, he worked with his hands. His father, an Iowa corn farmer, did too.

Dispatch from the Online News Association conference

A quick note pecked on my phone from the ONA conference in San Francisco...

At the end of this morning's "Business of Collaboration" session, I had the chance to ask a panel of editors, "Why have you only talked about how you collaborate with other news outlets? Are there particular ethical concerns about generating stories and data with non-profits, local governments, advocacy groups?"

I thought it would be a tricky question to answer, but it wasn't: "Yes, there are ethical concerns and they're not ones we can compromise on" (I'm paraphrasing ProPublica's editor).

I followed up: "So if a mayor in upstate New York asked Abrahm Lustgarten to analyze the fracking data the town couldn't, ProPublica wouldn't collaborate with the mayor?" His answer was accommodating but clear, that a journalistic outfit still has to remain removed to ensure impartiality, but they could cite the data and would still need to compare it to what the company doing the fracking would provide.

"Enhanced Delegation" Model for Participation in Local Governance

What if residents could allocate their town's spending like some people do their 401(k)'s?

I've been a homeowner for a little over a year, so for the first time I'm tracking town expenditures and, as important, listening to other residents' town-solvable needs and frustrations.

Arlington's issues can feel piddly. (The divisive issue this year was a leaf blower ban.) But dissatisfaction can grow faster than my crabgrass, and my own dissatisfaction doesn't have to do with present issues as much as the process we'll have to use when things really do get serious.