Featured, Poetry »

newspapers, each one with terrible promises #poem

By | March 24, 2017

        After Yun Dong-ju
From the floor of my room in a foreign land. Morning breaks open
with newspapers, each one with terrible promises
of deportation and imprisonment and murder of my friend, a poet,
then another, until they are all gone.
I ran out into the streets though it was not enough.
I screamed out in horror though it was not enough. The sun began
to sink faster, …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

How the Bloodiest Mutiny in British Naval History Helped Create American Political Asylum

By | March 24, 2017

The United States has a special history, and thus bears a unique stake, when it comes to the flight of foreign refugees, particularly those seeking sanctuary from oppression and violence. Political asylum has long been a defining element of America’s national identity, beginning most forcefully in 1776 with Thomas Paine’s pledge in Common Sense that independence from Great Britain would afford “an asylum for mankind.” …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

How California’s Open Meetings Law Became a Gag Rule

By | March 23, 2017

The Ralph M. Brown Act, first approved in 1953, is celebrated for its supposed guarantees that we citizens have a voice in the decisions of all our local governments.
But today, it is little more than a gag rule.
Over the past six decades, the Brown Act—famous for its guarantee of a 72-hour notice for public meetings—has become a civic Frankenstein, threatening the very public participation it …

Headline, Nexus »

Why the Housing Crisis Won’t Get Fixed by Building Cheaper Homes

By | March 22, 2017

This time of year, the swallows return to Capistrano, and I return to my birthplace, San Francisco, for the city’s annual pre-budget finance conference. For the last few years I have kicked things off with an economic outlook for the coming year, replete with a discussion of risks. This being San Francisco, naturally, I had to talk about the high costs of housing as one …

Headline, Nexus »

Why Scurvy Is Still a Snake in Mankind’s Nutritional Lost Paradise

By | March 21, 2017

At some time in the evolution of the human organism, the gene that had allowed the body to synthesize vitamin C mutated, and the liver enzyme responsible for the synthesis ceased to work. The change had no known negative effect in humans, except when diets were restricted and fresh food was not readily available, as in famines, sieges, sea voyages, and polar explorations.
Then …

Headline, Nexus »

Why Extreme Moderation Is the Vital Alternative to Political Polarization

By | March 20, 2017

Last month, the Bulgarian-French intellectual Tzvetan Todorov died. A scholar on the history of thought, his writings influenced fields as disparate as anthropology, literary criticism, and history. His death was, of course, tragic for family and friends: Stricken by Parkinson’s, he was gone more suddenly than any of us had anticipated. But it was also tragic for readers and citizens who had never met him. …

Featured, Poetry »

you take me to the field’s heart #poem

By | March 17, 2017

& you take me to the field’s heart,
all golden & consumed, This is not
yours; you take me to the house
doubling over on itself; we wade
ditch grasses & overgrowth to push
a battered door; we walk wall
papered halls, the peel of peel, &
you run your fingers over chips in
railing, This is not yours; you walk me
down the gravel road, palms tight,
wind everywhere, & this?
 
Felicia Zamora’s books include …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The “Greatest Show on Earth” Enthralled Small-Town Crowds and Inspired Shopping Malls

By | March 17, 2017

When Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” rolled into American towns in the 1880s, daily life abruptly stopped. Months before the show arrived, an advance team saturated the surrounding region with brilliantly colored lithographs of the extraordinary: elephants, bearded ladies, clowns, tigers, acrobats, and trick riders.
On “Circus Day” (as it was known), huge crowds gathered to observe the predawn arrival of “herds and …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Welcome to the Affluent Central Coast, California’s Child Poverty Capital

By | March 16, 2017

Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine-and-wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them.
And not just because Nicole Kidman has thrown her star power into producing a TV series based on the premise that Monterey’s women might be murderers.
The past year has brought one calamity after another. Last summer’s Soberanes Fire burned a vast swath around Big Sur for 83 days, …

Headline, The Takeaway »

Globalization Doesn’t Have to Be a Winner-Take-All Deal

By | March 16, 2017

California has benefitted greatly from globalization—from cheap T-shirts, to leaps in technology, to proximity to Asia, to its agricultural exports. Why, then, is it disparaged by political leaders—as dissimilar as President Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders—as a boon to very few, at the expense of most? This was the question at the heart of a lively Zócalo/UCLA event entitled “Does Globalization Only Serve Elites?” before …

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