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The Hippie Jesus Convergence


I picked up another hefty delivery of meat yesterday from one of the farmers I buy from. At various times during the year I order an entire lamb, a whole hog, or a side of beef. Today it was dozens of chickens and a few extra bundles of bacon and such. It all goes in to the freezers. The highest quality cuts become wonderful roasts or barbecue while the lesser portions are turned in to soups, stews, and stock that I pressure can in big batches. I really enjoy giving my money directly to the families that raise my food.  read more »


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Billy Graham and the Evangelical Origins of Organized Labor


When I heard over breakfast that Billy Graham had died, the news ricocheted around my mind and stirred up lots of memories. The counter of George’s Diner on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn was just the place to begin reflecting on the surprising connection between Graham’s legacy and organized labor.  read more »

California's Dense Suburbs and Urbanization


Many observers think California urban areas are more geographically expansive ("lower density" or to use the pejorative term, more "sprawling") then those elsewhere in the nation, especially the Northeast Corridor, which runs from the Washington DC metropolitan area through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Providence to Boston. This obsolete view is a leftover from the pre-automobile city of more than a century ago, when the largest American cities (metropolitan areas) had far higher urban densities, smaller suburban expenses, and no cars.  read more »

Is Mayor a Dead End Job?


We constantly hear that it’s the era of cities. Benjamin Barber wrote a book called If Mayors Ruled the World. Mayors are touted as pragmatic problem solvers who are taking on the challenges politicians at other levels of government are afraid to face.  read more »


California’s Housing Crisis and the Density Delusion

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Once seen as a human-scale alternative to the crowded cities of the past, California’s cities are targeted by policy makers and planners dreaming of bringing back the “good old days,” circa 1900, when most people in the largest cities lived in small, cramped apartments. This move is being fronted by well-funded YIMBYs (“yes in my backyard”), who claim ever greater densification will help relieve the state’s severe housing crisis.  read more »

Cronyism and its Scapegoats


Cronyism destroys trust and assigns the blame to scapegoats of its own creation.

Only a fiercely committed left or right-winger would fail to recognize that there is today a social and political divide that does not easily fit within the traditional mold of left vs. right. If, loosely speaking, the left leans socialist and the right leans capitalist, there is a third branch, cronyism, that is characterized by the rising power and wealth of rent-seeking industries and individuals.  read more »


Where Small Town America Is Thriving

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Big city America has long demonstrated a distaste for its smaller cousins. This sentiment has, if anything, intensified with the election of President Donald Trump, whose improbable victory was made possible by strong support in small cities and towns across the country.  read more »

Left and Lefter in California

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The California Democratic Party’s refusal to endorse the reelection of Senator Dianne Feinstein represents a breaking point both for the state’s progressives and, arguably, the future of the party nationwide. Feinstein symbolizes, if anyone does, the old Democratic establishment that, while far from conservative, nevertheless appealed to many mainstream businesses and affluent suburban voters.  read more »


Why We Should Fix It First with Infrastructure


My latest column is now online in the March issue of Governing. It’s called “A Tip for Infrastructure Builders: Fix It First.” Here’s an excerpt:  read more »