A Clash of Values

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Most American concerns with China revolve around economic issues, and, for some, the threat posed by that country’s expanding military. But China’s real existential challenge is not over market shares or submarines, but in a battle of values. Right now, it does not seem we are certain to win.

China presents the most profound challenge to liberal values since the end of the Cold War, a development that has caught our consistently lame political establishment by surprise. The leaders of both parties, and much of the corporate America, never saw it coming.  read more »

Will Garland-to-Ueberroth-to-Wasserman Work for LA’s Latest Olympian Effort?

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The name sounds like something a screenwriter might contrive – but not even Hollywood would buy a character as unlikely as William May “Billy “Garland.

Maybe that’s why so few of us have heard of Garland despite his role as one of the self-made SoCal aristocrats of the early 20th century who helped define the LA we inhabit today.

There’s a “truth-is-stranger-than-fiction” quality to Garland’s life story – from a New Englander with ailing lungs to omnipresent power broker in the City of Angels.

Or maybe it’s an “only-in-LA” tale.  read more »

Stomping On the Suburbs

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Our way of life is a miracle for this kind of world, and … the danger lies in thinking that of it as ‘natural’ and likely to endure without a passionate determination on our part to preserve and defend it.” — W.V. Aughterson, The Australian Way of Life, 1951

For generations, Australia has enjoyed among the highest living standards in the world. The “Australian dream”, embodied largely by owning a single-family home with a small backyard, included well over 70 per cent of households.  read more »

Expanding, Productive Mexico City: The Evolving Urban Form

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Much of the media has been fascinated by the growing number of megacities (built up urban areas with at least 10 million residents). Not only are megacities regularly covered but various reports have them becoming denser. They’re not, as has been demonstrated by Professor Shlomo Angel, who leads the Urban Expansion Program at New York University’s Marron Institute.  read more »

Unsustainable California

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The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population.  read more »

The California Exodus is Real

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Not unlike the Hebrews departing Egypt and the Okies exiting the dust and famine of the 1930’s Midwest, the number of Californians getting the heck out of Dodge—so-to-speak—is staggering.

Between 2004 and 2013—in just one decade--about five million Californians left the state. Roughly 3.9 million people came here from other states during that period, for a net population loss of more than one million people. The trend resulted in a net loss of about $26 billion in annual income.  read more »

Jews Could Swing the 2020 Election — and Why That's Not a Good Thing

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In our selfie-defined culture, it’s usually considered a good thing to get attention, the more the better. But it may not be the case for Jews, or for Israel, to be  caught in the firestorm that is burning through American politics in ways not seen since the Second World War. “That Israel is becoming a wedge issue in American politics,” notes author Daniel Gordis, “ bodes very badly for Israel’s future security.”  read more »

Scapegoating Ride Hailing

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Transit ridership in Chicago is declining. The city wants to tax ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft and give some of the money to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).  read more »

Why America’s Free Market Economy Works Better in Some Places than Others

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Is America’s free market system working as advertised? Mostly yes, but it depends to a surprising degree on where you live.

 read more »

Gov. Newsom Throws California's Interior Under the Bus

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has committed himself to look for ways of “unlocking the enormous potential” of the Central Valley, but in reality he seems more interested in slamming the door to its prosperity behind him.

In two critical moves the former San Francisco mayor has shown his incomprehension of how to address the needs of the vast California interior, particularly the over 6.5 million people in the 17 counties of the Central Valley.  read more »