The Takeaway »

Dying Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle

By | January 21, 2016

Grandma’s dying.
She lived a full life, but illness is getting the best of her. Could be days, could be weeks, the doctors say—unless, that is, she tries one particular treatment. It’d involve some suffering on her part—needles, tubes, doctors checking up on her and all that—but, if it works, it’d buy her another few months.
The family’s divided: Her daughter says fight the illness, give …

The Takeaway »

Money Isn’t Corrupting American Politics

By | January 13, 2016

Money alone can’t win an election—but that doesn’t mean it’s not a huge problem in American politics.
That was the main message of Zócalo’s first event of 2016, a talk by Richard L. Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections. …

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Bankrupt San Bernardino is Rich in the Arts

By | November 18, 2015

The arts could help revive San Bernardino—its streets, businesses, neighborhoods, and urban core—by encouraging visitors, sparking new development, and giving the city new narratives.
That was the conclusion of a panel of local arts and civic leaders at a “Living the Arts” event co-presented by the James Irvine Foundation at the new San Bernardino Garcia Center for the Arts, which opened in an old water district …

The Takeaway, What It Means to Be American »

Openness Is the Mother of Invention

By | November 16, 2015

From the light bulb to the iPhone, America has a long history of revolutionary inventions. So what does this ingenuity spring from? What are the conditions that allow for our innovative spirit?
At a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” event, held at the National Museum of American History in Washington, Zócalo Public Square publisher Gregory Rodriguez moderated a lively, big-picture discussion about the nature …

Open Art, The Takeaway »

I Feast, Therefore I Am

By | November 12, 2015

We shouldn’t let today’s cultural obsessions with health and moderation diminish the pleasure of partaking in feasts that connect us to friends and family, panelists agreed during an “Open Art” event on gluttony co-presented by the Getty at the Redondo Beach Historic Library.
Those panelists—a historian, an author of a book on gluttony, and a well-known chef—argued that feasting helps define us as human. When the …

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 …