Headline, Nexus »

Trump Is Right That the System is “Rigged”—and He’s Stacking It More

By | May 16, 2017

Pundits nearly always attribute Donald Trump’s success to right-wing “populism.” This conclusion is dangerously misleading. Trump’s rise is rooted firmly in his ability to make an old-fashioned word—“rigged”—work in surprisingly fresh ways. Trump correctly diagnosed a feeling among working people that the system was rigged against them, and then leveraged that against his seemingly more sophisticated and better-funded opponents in both parties. That he went into …

Featured, The Takeaway »

Mitchell Duneier Explains the Invention of the Ghetto, as Place and as Idea

By | May 15, 2017

When sociologist Mitchell Duneier was growing up in the 1960s, he said, “references to the word ghetto were references in my house and in my segregated Jewish community on Long Island to the Nazi ghettos.”
A half-century later, Duneier, a Princeton University sociologist, explained to an overflow audience at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles that the word’s meaning has become vastly different. …

Connecting California, Headline »

With Local Governments Crying “NIMBY,” Aggressive State Meddling Could Fix California’s Housing Crisis

By | May 15, 2017

All the debate about how to address California’s massive housing shortage is obscuring the big picture: a state takeover of local housing policy has begun.
That’s the real import of the more than 100 bills that have been introduced in the legislature to change housing policy in various ways. None of the current proposals is up to the task of getting the state to build sufficient …

Featured, Poetry »

I have seen the San Gabriel river/ from the 210 West #poem

By | May 12, 2017

This wistful and luminous wet is bright;
is eye-arresting in this courtyard,
demanding notice, coated in its own
slick skin of dust that drifts on water,
lit white by sunken lamps, obscured by glass.
You stand across the brushed-clean concrete
in conversation, words too hushed to hear but still
the spill of them is bell-sweet and
brilliant, almost as if
this fountain is charged,
full and flush with fire,
as I have seen the San …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Civil War General Oliver Otis Howard Was a Crusader for Ex-Slaves—and a Scourge of Native Americans

By | May 12, 2017

When God first visited him in 1857, Oliver Otis Howard was a lonely army lieutenant battling clouds of mosquitoes in a backwater posting that he described as a “field for self-denial”: Tampa, Florida. Howard had spent his life swimming against powerful tides. Ten when his father died, he had to leave his family in Leeds, Maine, and move in with relatives. Through constant study, he …

Featured, Nexus »

How Western Democracies, In the Kremlin’s Crosshair, Can Fight Back

By | May 11, 2017

The most dramatic development of France’s recent Presidential election was last Friday’s announcement by the Emmanuel Macron campaign that their email and account records had been the target of a massive hacking operation by foreign intelligence operatives. According to reports released in the week leading up to the election, responsibility for the attack lies with the same group that has been implicated in the hacking …

Headline, Readings »

The Ghetto’s Complex and Troubled Legacy

By | May 11, 2017

In 2017, we often hear the word “ghetto” come up in music lyrics and casual conversation, out of the mouths of politicians and activists. We know what it means; it needs no explanation. Yet beyond its negative connotations lie 500 years of rich—and relevant—history. Princeton University sociologist Mitchell Duneier, winner of the seventh annual Zócalo Book Prize for Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the …

Headline, Nexus »

Democracy Strikes out at Dodger Stadium

By | May 10, 2017

When Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley opened Dodger Stadium on April 10, 1962, his ticket price structure was simple, straightforward, and inexpensive: $3.50 for box seats, $2.50 for reserved seats, and $1.50 for general admission and the outfield pavilions. That was for every home game, regardless of opponent—whether it was the hated San Francisco Giants, with whom the Dodgers were engaged in an epic …

Headline, Nexus »

How California and Governor Warren Created a Road Map for America’s Interstate System

By | May 9, 2017

In June, Californians should be marking the 70th anniversary of the Collier-Burns Act. But you probably have never heard of it, even though Collier-Burns likely has an everyday impact on your life.
The Collier-Burns Act of 1947 created the California freeway system by substantially raising the gasoline and other motor vehicle taxes and earmarking the resulting revenues for highway construction. If you drive on freeways, …

Connecting California, Featured, Joe Mathews »

The Verdict Is in—California’s Dickensian Courts Are Failing Us

By | May 8, 2017

Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system.
California’s housing shortage, its poverty, its poor business climate, and its failing infrastructure all are explained in no small part by the failure of our underfunded, delay-prone courts to provide anything resembling timely justice. But in public narratives of what’s wrong with the state, we …

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