Politics

New Localism and Old Institutions

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Last week I posted an article talking about the maturity curve, or the lifecycle arc from incubation to growth to maturity to decline that applies to so many things. And this weekend my review of Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak’s book The New Localism was published in the New York Times Book Review. These two items are related.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

The End Of The ‘Libertarian Moment’

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The decision by Speaker Paul Ryan to leave the House reflects the failings of our current flawed political configuration. Ryan may have been personally a cut above his critics on the right and left, but he ended up the victim of his own ideology.  read more »

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Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

Nashville’s Hopeless Rail Transit Proposal

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Nashville is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the nation, having long since passed historic Tennessee leader Memphis. Nashville was the 10th fastest growing major metropolitan area in 2017. At the current growth rate Nashville will reach 2 million residents by the 2020 census and seems likely to pass slower growing San Jose soon after.  read more »

The High Speed Rail 2018 Business Plan – A Classic Model Of Deception

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The California High Speed Rail Authority has released its 2018 Business Plan. It portends to finally reveal the true cost for construction of Phase I of the project. The new cost estimate is at a base of $77.3 billion to a possible $98.1 billion dollars. Completion of Phase I is now projected for year 2032. Please remember the old promise to the voters was the project would be running by 2020 and the cost to California voters would be $10 billion (the rest of the $32 billions needed to build Phase I would come from Federal and private sources).  read more »

Constitutional Localism Will Heal American Democracy

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America is amid a period of intense stress on its political and governmental values and institutions. Two of the leading candidates for President in the last election said our politics was “rigged,” and one of them won.

A recent poll by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group found that nearly 30% of Americans would prefer government “with a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress and elections” or even “army rule” to our current constitutional democracy. For those of us who regard freedom and democracy as the cornerstones of American identity this is alarming.  read more »

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If the tech oligarchs can’t beat the bad press, they’ll just buy it

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What’s an oligarch to do? The putative tech masters of the universe now face unprecedented criticism from both left and right. The reasons extend from wanton privacy invasions of the people once described by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as “dumb f***ks” to President Trump’s typically hyperbolic assaults on Amazon’s success at tax avoidance.  read more »

Is This the End For the Neoliberal World Order?

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Whatever his grievous shortcomings, President Trump has succeeded in one thing: smashing the once imposing edifice of neoliberalism. His presidency rejects the neoliberal globalist perspective on trade, immigration and foreign relations, including a penchant for military intervention, that has dominated both parties’ political establishments for well over two decades.  read more »

The Hippie Jesus Convergence

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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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