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Utne ReaderUtne Reader

Utne Reader Fall 2018

Since 1984, Utne Reader has been the vanguard of the alternative press, celebrating independent news and views from across the political spectrum. With ideas, trends and solutions you won’t see in the mainstream media for months or even years, those who want to know what’s happening next, read Utne Reader first.

United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
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access_time2 min.
‘real american’ empathy

LAST YEAR, my wife and I embarked upon a fascinating journey of self-discovery. No, we didn't spend a week at a silent meditation retreat or anything like that—we bought a subscription to Ancestry.com. What started out as a curiosity and a tentative two-week trial has now turned into a full-blown hobby for both of us. We’ve since purchased DNA kits for our parents to confirm or deny some murky family tree connections. We’ve recognized the necessity to upgrade our subscription to include global records in languages we can’t read. We’re even starting to plan vacations to walk around cemeteries and photograph vacant lots where family homes once stood. In short, we’ve been bit by the genealogy bug. The oral history passed down to me always suggested a pretty ho-hum American story: German…

access_time4 min.

RESPONDING TO “EVERY DAY’S A BIRTHDAY,” (SUMMER 2018) My recommendation for every birthday is: CELEBRATE!!! Celebrate being alive. Celebrate everything that is right in your life. Ignore what annoys or troubles you, at least for this one day. Forty is SO young! You’ve probably got at least as many years left to live as you’ve already lived, and for the first few years of your life, you weren’t as functional as you currently are. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to enjoy birthdays. Every year, people give me gifts and cards, spoil me and celebrate my life … what’s not to like? The first time it felt ominous was my 70th birthday. It’s hard to ignore that it’s downhill from here, that one has (if one is lucky) 20 years left to…

access_time10 min.
we’re not on oxycontin anymore, toto

Perry Solomon is used to people extolling the virtues of medical cannabis. Dr. Solomon is the chief medical officer of HelloMD, a website that bills itself as one of the nation’s largest online medical cannabis communities. Over the past five years, the site has issued more than 70,000 recommendations for patient cannabis use in the state of California alone. And 65 percent of those recommendations, Solomon says, have been for pain. “Just yesterday, my cell phone rang, and it was a gentleman whose wife was using Vicodin for her fibromyalgia, and he wanted to know how to get her off of it,” Solomon reports. “We get questions like that all the time.” So last year, HelloMD and the University of California, Berkeley, decided to conduct a survey of HelloMD patients to see how…

access_time6 min.
dreams deferred

When we study racial inequality, we tend to consider factors that affect people while they are awake. Differential access to safe neighborhoods with good schools, decent jobs, and unbalanced treatment by police and the courts surely have much to do with the stubborn disparities in wealth and well-being, in particular among blacks and whites. Yet it may be just as important to consider what happens when we’re asleep. Race shapes our sleep, a relationship that has surprising roots deep in our national past. African Americans suffer from a “sleep gap”: fewer black people are able to sleep for the recommended six to nine hours nightly than any other ethnic group in the United States. Compounding matters, a smaller percentage of African Americans’ slumber is spent in “slow-wave sleep,” the deepest and…

access_time15 min.
beating luxury developers at their own game

It was late spring 2017 when Aeon president Alan Arthur got the call from Richfield City Councilmember Maria Regan Gonzalez. A tenant had contacted her because he was worried that his apartment complex would soon be sold to a luxury developer, forcing out 400 working-class families and 250 school-age children who could not afford luxury-level rents. Not too long ago, the same scenario had occurred at a 700-unit apartment complex in Richfield, an inner-ring suburb of Minneapolis. Aeon, a nonprofit founded in 1986, had developed around 2,800 units of affordable housing at that point, some of it new construction, some rehabbed from older stock. Like thousands of nonprofit affordable housing developers across the United States, Aeon had come to rely on low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) to finance its work. Using…

access_time7 min.
there are no castles here

“You have made your way through this terrible sugared lands cape, overcoming every obstacle—every gnarled step, every labored breath.” It begins with a fever, congestion in the throat. Most of the world won’t have symptoms at all, but already you are special—the sort of special that creeps its way out of your lungs, up through your spine, and into your motor cortex. You feel so sick that you crawl into bed, and it isn’t until several days later that it occurs to you that you can’t crawl back out. It seems as if things couldn’t get worse, at least until your body forgets how to breathe. IT BEGINS IN 1948 with a diagnosis, with your condition getting worse. You’ve always felt invincible, but now you are starting to question yourself, this unrefutable…