Headline, Nexus »

In the Corridors of Power, Shadow Figures Are Stealing the Spotlight

By | April 17, 2017

Seconds rarely come first. If media coverage is a reliable indicator of public interest, however, seconds in command are currently top of the show, not the postscript but the story itself.
Those who advise, assist, check, and even, on occasion, usurp their leader have always captured our imagination: Octavian (who was to become the first Emperor of Rome as Caesar Augustus) had Gaius Maecenas, his …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The 1927 Mississippi Flood That Connected North and South

By | April 14, 2017

On May 1, 1927, The New York Times announced: “Once more war is on between the mighty old dragon that is the Mississippi River and his ancient enemy, man.” Illustrating the story was a reprint of an 1868 Currier & Ives lithograph called “High Water in the Mississippi,” to which had been added the phrase, “In Days Gone By.”
Through the curtain-like trees, the 1927 viewer—perhaps …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why Nevada Should Get Hitched—to California

By | April 13, 2017

Dearest Nevada,
Marry me.
My proposal may seem sudden, but ours shouldn’t be one of those late-night quickie weddings at a chapel off the Strip.
I, California, want a real grown-up marriage with you, Nevada. We both have reputations for being fun and youthful and wild, but who are we kidding? We’re both mature states that entered the Union in the mid-19th century.
And look how much we …

Headline »

Why Baby Boomers Need a New Script for Life’s Third Act

By | April 12, 2017

We know the story all too well: Baby boomers, that generation born between 1946 and 1964, experience a childhood heavily shaped by the cultural dynamics of the postwar era, and immerse themselves in the rebellion and hedonism to be had in abundance during the counterculture era. Let’s call that familiar tale Boomers 1.0, a version of boomers’ individual and collective lives defined by Cold War …

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To End Infectious Disease, We Must Cure Our Societal Ills

By | April 11, 2017

It once was stated that, “man’s weakness is not achieving victories, but in taking advantage of them.” Indeed, this is the case for global infection control. Throughout history we have so far eradicated only a single major infectious disease threat, a feat accomplished through the leadership of Dr. D.A. Henderson, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 87.
Beginning in 1966, Henderson led a …

Headline, Nexus »

Why the Ancient Greeks Saw Immigrants as Both a Boon and Threat to Homeland Security

By | April 10, 2017

Even though the United States is worlds away from ancient Greece, we still sometimes use the Greeks’ vocabulary for describing immigrants and our fear of them. Like the ancient Greeks, some of the more xenophobic among us decry foreigners as “barbarians.” The Greeks named non-natives barbaroi because foreign languages to their ears sounded like bar-bar-bar. The term carried a lot of baggage: Barbarians were ruled …

Headline, In the Green Room »

Photographer Jamel Shabazz Talks Fashion Statements and Brooklyn Neighborhoods

By | April 8, 2017

Jamel Shabazz is a fine art, documentary, and fashion photographer whose work focuses on the African American experience. Before taking part in a Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” panel discussion at the Getty Center in Los Angeles to consider the question, “Does Art Capture Reality Better Than the News?” he chatted in the Zócalo green room about Kangol hats, Kool and the Gang, and the pleasures of …

Headline »

“The Wire” Creator David Simon Talks Film Sets vs. Newsrooms

By | April 8, 2017

David Simon is an author, journalist, television writer, and producer, known for such acclaimed TV series as Treme and The Wire, as well as the 1991 book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets about his experiences as a Baltimore Sun reporter. Before taking part in a Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” panel discussion at the Getty Center in Los Angeles to consider the question, “Does Art Capture …

Headline, Poetry »

Announcing Zócalo’s Sixth Annual Poetry Prize Winner

By | April 7, 2017

Zócalo Public Square’s daily ideas journalism and free public events aim to shed light on critical issues that explore our shared human condition and ask questions about how we navigate the world we’ve made. We publish a new poem each Friday in the same spirit, and for the last six years, it’s why we’ve awarded a prize to the poem that best evokes a connection …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

It’s Time to Get on Board with Golden Gate Bridge Train Transit

By | April 6, 2017

If California is as serious about public transit as its urban leaders claim, why isn’t there a commuter rail service running over the Golden Gate Bridge?
There’s no good reason why our state’s iconic span must devote all six of its lanes to cars. For more than 50 years, engineering studies have shown that the bridge could accommodate trains.
And now would be the perfect time to …

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