The Takeaway »

Why Do Russians Put Up With Putin?

By | November 10, 2015

From annexing Crimea to dropping bombs in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has led his country down a path for the past two years that worries many Americans. Given his aggressive tactics and long history of iron-fist control, why is Putin still in power? Why do Russians put up with him?
Wall Street Journal International Security Reporter Julian E. Barnes opened a Zócalo discussion with “Morning …

The Takeaway »

Learning in the Midst of a Humanitarian Crisis

By | October 23, 2015

Europe’s current refugee crisis offers many good examples for how to better deal with the 19 million refugees around the world—and a host of hard lessons about mistakes to avoid, said panelists at an event held by Zócalo Public Square, Democracy International, and NPR Berlin before a live audience in Berlin and simulcast for an audience at New York Public Radio’s The Greene Space.
The panelists, …

The Takeaway »

There’s Hope for Fresno

By | October 14, 2015

In 2005, the Brookings Institution released a depressing statistic about Fresno: The landlocked Californian city, about 200 miles southeast of San Francisco in the state’s Central Valley, had the highest concentration of poverty of any city in America.
This stat was referenced frequently in a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event held at Frank’s Place in downtown Fresno. Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd, four panelists—Fresno Mayor …

The Takeaway, What It Means to Be American »

The 1965 Immigration Act That Became a Law of Unintended Consequences

By | October 2, 2015

“It’s complicated.”
This might be an appropriate way to characterize via Facebook the legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act, one of the biggest changes to the flow of people into America.
At a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” event on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, a panel of scholars tried to explain how a piece …

The Takeaway, What It Means to Be American »

Hawaii—Where Everyone Is Your Aunty

By | September 17, 2015

A melting pot. A bento box. Chop suey. Wontons with chips.
Hawaii is such an assortment of races, ethnicities, and cultures that it’s hard to pick just one way to describe its unique mix. So what can it teach the rest of America about how different people can all live together?
In front of a lively full house at the Kaka‘ako Agora in Honolulu, a panel moderated …

The Takeaway »

Who Can Afford Organic Kale on the Minimum Wage?

By | July 30, 2015

It’s no secret that how much money you make can affect how healthy you are. At an event co-sponsored by the California Wellness Foundation, the audience in a packed auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue learned the difference in life expectancy between people living in Los Angeles’ richest and poorest neighborhoods is a jaw-dropping 10 to 12 years.
“We associate this type of disparity with third …

The Takeaway »

How Water Scarcity Shaped America

By | July 29, 2015

Water, when scarce, has split the nation into warring factions. But it has also united fractured regions. Water can both release the demons of war and stir the better angels of our nature.
We hear so much about California and the drought there. But consider the whole West—and the Continental Divide, also known as the Great Divide. This spine of the continent splits North America—and the …

The Takeaway, Thinking L.A. »

There’s a Difference Between Riots and Rebellion

By | July 13, 2015

From the Boston Tea Party to the recent protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Americans have a long history of using violence to combat oppression and push for social change. But what are the sparks that set off urban riots? Who are the people who get involved, and do they ever actually make a difference?
In a packed room in the auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue, Washington …

The Takeaway, Thinking L.A. »

Homelessness Is Not Inevitable

By | June 30, 2015

Ten years ago, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez attended what he refers to as a “dog and pony show” on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Its topic: the plan to end homelessness. “And yet,” Lopez told a standing-room-only crowd at a “Thinking L.A.” event co-presented by UCLA and Zócalo at the Plaza on Olvera Street, “homelessness is still going on.”
Lopez moderated a panel on why, …

The Takeaway »

Does a Transit Boom Have to Lead to a Real Estate Bubble?

By | June 24, 2015

Los Angeles is in the midst of a housing crisis. At a panel discussion co-presented by Metro in front of a standing-room-only crowd at MOCA Grand Avenue, Joan Ling, an urban planning policy analyst, pointed out that the city needs more than 4,000 affordable new homes every year to accommodate low-income residents. But it builds only 1,000—and loses 3,000. “It’s one step forward, three steps …