Karl Marx wrote, "History repeats ... first as tragedy, then as farce." Nothing better describes how California, with its unmatched natural and human riches, has begun to morph into what the premier California historian Kevin Starr has called "a failed state" – a term more usually applied to African kleptocracies than a place as blessed as the Golden State. read more »
When President Obama takes the oath of office for the second time, he will also usher in a new era in American power politics. Whereas the old left-wing definition of “who rules” focused on large corporations, banks, energy companies and agribusinesses, the Obama-era power structure represents a major transformation. read more »
Washington may be a left coast “blue” state, but the geography of the voting well illustrates the national phenomena of intensifying polarization. The division may be among individual people, but also expressed in geographies down to precincts and census tracts.
The Washington 2012 elections provided ample data to assess this political and geographic divide. I review here the two most polarized races, for president (Obama vs. Romney) and for R74, to reaffirm the right to same sex marriage. read more »
California's current economic recovery may be uneven at best, but things certainly look better now than the pits-of-hell period in 2008. A cautiously optimistic New York Times piece proclaimed "signs of resurgence," and there was even heady talk in Sacramento of eventually sighting that rarest of birds, a state budget surplus. read more »
The Progressive wing of the Democrat Party sits at the left end of their spectrum. JFK’s liberal positions would be regarded as moderate today. Progressives have a unique vision of what a blue state utopia would look like that begins with clean air, clean water, and green energy. Over the last twenty years, with the backing of the public employee unions that control the political process in California, the Progressives have managed to neuter the Republican Party and turn California Blue, owning every elective office in the state. read more »
Here’s a list of the most popular pieces from 2012 here at NewGeography, our fourth full calendar year. Thanks for reading and happy 2013. read more »
Recent reports of America’s sagging birthrate ‑ the lowest since the 1920s, by some measures ‑ have sparked a much-needed debate about the future of the American family. Unfortunately, this discussion, like so much else in our society, is devolving into yet another political squabble between conservatives and progressives. read more »
Progressives may be a lot less religious than conservatives, but these days they have reason to think that Providence– or Gaia — has taken on a bluish hue.
From the solid re-election of President Obama, to a host of demographic and social trends, the progressives seem poised to achieve what Ruy Texeira predicted a decade ago: an “emerging Democratic majority”.
Virtually all the groups that backed Obama — singles, millennials, Hispanics, Asians — are all growing bigger while many of the core Republican groups, such as evangelicals and intact families, appear in secular decline. read more »
In the fall of 2010, as part of a book project, ex-newspaperman Bill Steigerwald retraced the route John Steinbeck took in 1960 and turned into his classic “Travels With Charley.” Steigerwald drove 11,276 miles in 43 days from Long Island to the top of Maine to Seattle to San Francisco to New Orleans before heading back to his home in Pittsburgh. In “Dogging Steinbeck,” his new e-book about how he discovered “Charley” was not nonfiction but a highly fictionalized and dishonest account of Steinbeck’s real trip, Steigerwald describes the America he saw.
"No change since 1960." read more »
On November 6, eight days after Hurricane Sandy’s surge waters flooded the streets, I started volunteering in the Rockaways, where I stayed for much of the next three weeks.
On that first day, I joined an ad hoc group of volunteers and took a school bus full of supplies donated by my Brooklyn neighbors out to a church on Beach 67th Street. read more »