Is Hawaii the Bellwether for California?

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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 »

The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Landing a Job

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory made waves when he said on syndicated radio that he wants to encourage the funding of four-year programs that align with the job market — not those, like gender studies, that do little to help a graduate’s employment prospects.  read more »

Wall Street's Hollow Boom: With Small Business And Startups Lagging, Job Recovery Unlikely

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On Wall Street, even as layoffs mount, the upper echelons are clinking champagne glasses for good reason. The stock market is hitting new highs, propelled largely by Bernanke dollars and strong corporate profits. Big financial institutions like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan have announced record profits.

But on Main Street, for the most part, the mood is far more subdued.  read more »

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Chicago: Outer Suburban and Exurban Growth Leader

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Greg Hinz at Crain's Chicago Business congratulates Chicago for its nation-leading population growth. Heinz also notes that the far suburbs also gained population strongly, but there had been losses in the areas between the two. He asks: "the question now is whether the area can prosper with a thriving core but sinking neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs around it."  read more »

The Psychology of the Creative Class: Not as Creative as You Think

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"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower"
–Steve Jobs

Behind every sociological movement is a psychology. The ever-growing creative classification of America is no different. The following teases the psychology of the movement apart.

Why do this?

Because it is needed. The costs of blindly acquiescing to copycat community building are too great. These costs are not simply aesthetic, even economic, but are costs in the ability to distinguish creativity from repetition, and ultimately: truth from fiction.  read more »

Should California Governor Jerry Brown Take a Victory Lap?

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"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 »

New York Catholic Schools: Will Decline Spark Innovation?

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In a heart-breaking scene in the 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman, a young mother is crying in her Harlem apartment, which overlooks her daughter’s school. Bianca, her daughter, has been barred from attending graduation. The villain isn’t a union boss or a bureaucrat in Albany – instead, it's the Archdiocese of New York and its affable leader, Cardinal Dolan. Bianca hadn't misbehaved or been excessively tardy.  read more »

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New York City's Revival: The Post-Sandy Apple

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Although its manufacturing jobs are gone forever, New York continues to ride the crests of its paper-profits prosperity. Housing in once-notorious slums now costs more than $1.5 million. The waterfront is getting a green-space makeover. The city’s future depends on Wall Street’s ability to attract capital, be it from clients or bailouts. And the jury is still out how the rise and rise of New York reflects on the legacies of former mayors Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, and (soon to be former) Michael Bloomberg.  read more »

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The Real Winners Of The Global Economy: The Material Boys

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Something strange happened on the road to our much-celebrated post-industrial utopia. The real winners of the global economy have turned out to be not the creative types or the data junkies, but the material boys: countries, states and companies that have perfected the art of physical production in agriculture, energy and, remarkably, manufacturing.  read more »

Communities Need to Build Better Millennial Connections

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A remarkable, but mostly unnoticed, 2012 study found a powerful correlation between a community’s civic health and its economic well being. The analysis by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and its partners found that the density of non-profits whose purpose was to encourage their members’ participation within the community   correlated strongly with the ability of a locality to withstand the effects of the Great Recession.  read more »