Never mind the big-tent debate talk from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about how their respective politics will benefit all Americans. There’s a broader, ugly truth that as the last traces of purple fade from the electoral map, whoever wins will have little reason to take care of much of the country that rejected them. read more »
Within the handful of swing states, the presidential election will come down to a handful of swing counties: namely the suburban voters who reside in about the last contested places in American politics.
Even in solid-red states, big cities tilt overwhelmingly toward President Obama and the Democrats, and even in solid-blue ones, the countryside tends to be solidly Republican. read more »
So many Midwest places flail around looking for a brand image or identity. Not Chicago. In fact, the identity and stories of Chicago overflow the page. They are too numerous to be written in a mere blog posting.
Yet Chicago has in effect decided to jettison that powerful, historic brand identity in favor of a type of global city genericism. This, I believe, is a mistake.
One trend you can’t help but notice if you travel is the increasing homogenization of the urban culture and standard of urban development. Global markets demand standardized commodities that can be graded and traded. This includes cities. This forces cities increasingly into a standard model of what one expects. read more »
The New Zealand Green Party is perpetuating the claim that development beyond Auckland’s “city limits” imposes a high cost on ratepayers. A spokesperson claims that the current Auckland plan, which allows for some new development outside the current urban area, “will cost ratepayers $42b billion to 2042, an annual levy of $200 per ratepayer” according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. read more »
I was living in Pennsylvania, voting in my second presidential election when my mom asked me that question in the months leading up to Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Jimmy Carter: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Four-year-ago comparisons are tricky when the worst financial collapse in my lifetime occurred four years ago. Comparing the swing states not to their conditions four years ago, but how they might feel compared to the rest of the nation, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire appear to be “better off” than the average American. read more »
While the Democratic convention this week celebrates the party’s new coalition, Bill Clinton will no doubt try to recapture the white middle class that’s largely deserted the Democrats since his presidency ended. But it’s likely his efforts will be a case of too little, too late for Barack Obama—who will have to look elsewhere for his electoral majority. read more »
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just finalized its regulation requiring that new cars and light trucks (light vehicles) achieve average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon (MPG) by 2025 (4.3 liters per 100 kilometers). This increase in the "CAFE" standard (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) is the second major step in the Obama Administration's program to improve light vehicle fuel efficiency. In 2010, EPA adopted regulations requiring 35.5 MPG average by 2016 (6.6 liters per 100 kilometers). read more »
Much is said about class warfare in contemporary America, and there’s justifiable anger at the impoverishment of much of the middle and working classes. The Pew Research Center recently dubbed the 2000s a “lost decade” for middle-income earners — some 85% of Americans in that category feel it’s now more difficult to maintain their standard of living than at the beginning of the millennium, according to a Pew survey. read more »
A proposal by Senator Michael Rubio (SB 317) to loosen California's landmark environmental protection law commonly known as CEQA, has been shelved. The proposed legislation was intended to exempt the Central Valley rail construction project from CEQA requirements, thereby removing the threat of environmental litigation against the project. read more »