NGVideo: East St. Louis (Part I)

The first in a series of videos about the economic, political, and cultural history and future of East St. Louis, Illinois.  read more »

Wall Street Brain Drain May Not Be All Bad

President Obama’s recent executive compensation plan comes on the heels of the revelation that Wall Street firms awarded over $18 billion in bonuses last year. The plan will create a $500,000 pay cap for executives at companies receiving substantial taxpayer bailout money.  read more »

More than Two-thirds of the Nation Still Lives in Their Home State

In which states do folks tend to stay home? Here's a look at Americans still living in their birth states. New York and Louisiana top the list. Upwards of 82% of the US-born residents living in New York and Louisiana were born there. Looking at the map, you can see that the highest numbers reside in the rust belt and northeast. The most transplants tend to live in natural amenity rich western states, except for California.  read more »

A (New) Place to Call Home

A recent survey by Pew Research finds that nearly half of Americans (46%) "would rather live in a different type of community from the one they're living in now," with those living in cities expressing the highest desire to live elsewhere.  read more »


MC Bailout

Thanks to Steve Bartin for pointing out this hilarious bailout video, which then led me to The Daily Bail, a new site looking at the lighter side of the financial crisis. Stockbroker thuglife? Good stuff.  read more »


Even the Super Bowl Can't Defend Pittsburgh From a Recession

Somebody call the New York Times. The national economic meltdown has finally come to Pittsburgh, a city-region where you’ll want to be on the day the world ends because you’ll still have several years to live.

Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the mighty Steelers and the upstart Arizona Cardinals – teams representing regions going in exactly opposite socioeconomic directions since 1950 – has eclipsed all non-sports news coming from Pittsburgh.  read more »

LAPD Getting it Right

Though California state government may be truly dysfunctional, one much-maligned institution has managed to reinvent itself and flourish this decade: the LAPD.  read more »

Housing Price Shifts Vary by US Region

Here's a look at the monthly Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight monthly housing price index by US Census Region. The OFHEO index gives us a little different geographic cut than the popular S&P Case-Shiller Housing Index. We can see the extreme fluctuations in the western US, especially in the Pacific states. These are seasonally adjusted numbers current as of October 2008.  read more »


Laughing During 'Gran Torino'

Recently, I saw Clint Eastwood’s extraordinary new film, 'Gran Torino' in Hollywood. Set in a declining Detroit neighborhood, the movie chronicles the unlikely relationship retired auto worker Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) forges with his new Hmong neighbors.

Walt is cranky, surly, and bigoted while still possessing a certain rough-edged charm. His dialogue is laced with racist terms and stereotypes that would mandate a lengthy “sensitivity training” seminar if he came of age in a different era.  read more »

Calling Pittsburgh Depression-proof is a Journalistic Felony

A guest-post from Bill Steigerwald in Pittsburgh:

If the New York Times went to Berlin in 1936 to write a story about how that city was "Depression-proof," would it forget to mention that Germany was being run by a bunch of Nazis? If it went to Pyongyang tomorrow would it go ape over that city’s tidy orderliness without noting that North Korea was a totalitarian hellhole? If the Times bureau in Moscow reported on wheat production in Ukraine in 1933, would it overlook the government-designed famine that was killing - oops, sorry, let's not go there.  read more »