Is Hawaii the Bellwether for California?


California used to consider itself the leading state and the bellwether for the entire country. Now that the entrepreneurial initiative has mostly switched to Texas and other such places, and Texas’s infrastructure has pulled ahead of California’s in its quality (I lived in Texas in the 1970s, and it was not so then!), California is, at the very least, still thought of as a bellwether for the whole country, if perhaps a dystopian one. But there is a state that even Californians look to for popular cultural leadership, visit frequently, and admire.  read more »

Should California Governor Jerry Brown Take a Victory Lap?


"Memento Mori" – "Remember your mortality" – was whispered into the ears of Roman generals as they celebrated their great military triumphs. Someone should be whispering something similar in the ear of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quick to celebrate his tax and budget "triumph" and to denounce as "declinists" those who threaten to rain on the gubernatorial parade.  read more »

The Age of Bernanke


To many presidential idolaters, this era will be known as the Age of Obama. But, in reality, we live in what may best be called the Age of Bernanke. Essentially, Obamaism increasingly serves as a front for the big-money interests who benefit from the Federal Reserve's largesse and interest rate policies; progressive rhetoric serves as the beard for royalist results.  read more »

Gentrification and its Discontents: Cleveland Needs to Go Beyond Being Creatively Classed


“Indeed, we have the know-how, but we do not have the know-why, nor the know-what-for”—Erich Fromm, social psychologist.

The question of how you “become” as a city has been weighing on me lately. Is it enough to get people back into the emptiness? Is it enough to pretty the derelict? I mean, is the trajectory of Cleveland’s success simply a collection of micro-everythings, start-ups, and occupancy rates? That is, is Cleveland’s reward simply the benefit of being creatively classed?  read more »

Blue States Double Down On Suicide Strategy


Whatever President Obama proposes in his State of the Union for the economy, it is likely to fall victim to the predictable Washington gridlock. But a far more significant economic policy debate in America is taking place among the states, and the likely outcome may determine the country’s course in the post-Obama era.  read more »

This is Your Government on Crack


Forget about a fiscal cliff or the threat of sequestrations. Bernanke’s use of the term “cliff” in 2012 is based on the erroneous analogy that fiscal policy had been moving along some level road for a period of time and was just now approaching an “end” or “falling-off” point.  read more »


California Becoming Less Family-Friendly


For all of human history, family has underpinned the rise, and decline, of nations. This may also prove true for the United States, as demographics, economics and policies divide the nation into what may be seen as child-friendly and increasingly child-free zones.

Where California falls in this division also may tell us much about our state's future. Indeed, in his semi-triumphalist budget statement, our 74-year-old governor acknowledged California's rapid aging as one of the more looming threats for our still fiscally challenged state.  read more »

Is Urbanism the New Trickle-Down Economics?


The pejoratively named “trickle-down economics” was the idea that by giving tax breaks to the wealthy and big business, this would spur economic growth that would benefit those further down the ladder. I guess we all know how that worked out.  read more »

How Green Are Millennials?


Besides his history-making embrace of full equality for gays and lesbians, the most surprising part of President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address may have been the emphasis placed on dealing with the challenge of climate change. The president devoted almost three whole paragraphs, more than for any other single issue, to the topic.  read more »

Why Are There So Many Murders in Chicago?


After over 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, the Windy City’s violence epidemic continues – 2013 saw the deadliest January in over a decade – and continues to make national news.  The New York Times, for example, ran a recent piece noting how Chicago’s strict gun laws can’t stem the tide of violence.  read more »