ST. LOUIS — What started as a peaceful prayer vigil for Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was killed by Ferguson police, ended in an explosion of looting and destruction in the North County area surrounding where the tragedy took place – and beyond. Hundreds gathered at 8 p.m. for a peaceful candlelight vigil in the young man’s honor. Before 9 p.m. police would summon surrounding municipalities as the crowd turned aggressive. The Target parking lot of the Buzz Westfall Shopping Center was filled with dozens and dozens of police vehicles and the area of West Florissant from Jennings to Ferguson was blocked off. Helicopters and tanks –as well as vehicles from a host of area departments – descended on West Florissant as looting and vandalism got underway.
New book first to provide an in-depth look at why some civic organizations are better at attracting – and retaining – activists in the Internet age. In a time of rising inequality and polarized politics, civic and political organizations around the country are in a pitched battle for power over government. As these organizations mobilize for the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential elections in an atmosphere of declining trust in government, many are struggling to recruit and retain the activists they need to win. A new book by Hahrie Han, associate professor of political science at Wellesley College, offers an insider’s perspective on what makes some organizations better than others at this task.
The standoff between federal agents and armed supporters of a Nevada rancher earlier this year was a highly coordinated effort by far-right militiamen that has since energized volatile extremists who are increasingly targeting law enforcement officers, according to a new SPLC report released today. The report – War in the West – contains new details about the April standoff between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and militiamen sympathetic to rancher Cliven Bundy, which was seen as a victory within theantigovernment “Patriot” movement after federal agents pulled out despite Bundy owing more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines to the federal government.
The following is an excerpt fromThe Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City  by Eric Avila. Copyright © 2014. Reprinted with permission of University of Minnesota Press. In this age of divided government, we look to the 1950s as a golden age of bipartisan unity. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, often invokes the landmark passage of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act to remind the nation that Republicans and Democrats can unite under a shared sense of common purpose. Introduced by President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, the Federal Aid Highway Act, originally titled the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act, won unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans alike, uniting the two parties in a shared commitment to building a national highway infrastructure. This was big government at its biggest, the single largest federal expenditure in American history before the advent of the Great Society.
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