Sacramento 2020

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Even in the best of times, Sacramento tends to be a prisoner to low self-esteem. The region's population and economic growth have been humming along nicely for the past decade, drawing ever more educated workers from overpriced coastal counties, but the region's leaders have often seemed defensive about their flourishing town.  read more »

Sacramento: A City on the Verge?

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Sacramento is a city on the verge. Over the last 20 years, I have watched it emerge from a "cow town" lassitude. This has been viewed as a well earned epithet by newcomers from either coast and a fond trademark to many long time Sacramento traditionalists. Although there was evidence of hyperbole in both camps, the city's lack of cultural and intellectual activities, its dependence on an economy driven by agricultural and state government has contributed to creating an often torpid local environment.  read more »

In Praise of Manufacturing & Industrial Zones

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My father made the huge piece of art that sits proudly on display at the entrance of the Daley Center Plaza in Chicago. Pablo Picasso designed this particular sculpture—or conceived it…or bent it with artistic vision…or however you want to put it.

But my father made it.

I’ve believed that since I was a small child. It’s a belief based mostly in filial pride, but there is some truth to it. Picasso, as I understand it, ordered the material for his untitled sculpture from the steel mill where my father worked at the time.  read more »

Urban America: The New Solid South

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

Ever since the 1930s, most urban areas have leaned Democratic. But in presidential elections, many remained stubbornly competitive between the two parties. As late as 1988, for example, Republican nominees won Dallas County and made strong showings in the core urban counties of Cook (Chicago), Los Angeles and King (Seattle).  read more »

Cities are Changing, But Urban Living Remains Optional

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Starting with the first oil crisis in 1973, it’s become de rigueur for the press to accompany every spike in energy prices with a spate of stories explaining how the higher costs will inevitably lead to the revival of the long declining industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest. But don’t count on a boom in Baltimore or Cleveland anytime soon.  read more »

Millennials: Key to Post-ethnic America?

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One of the most widely observed, yet least understood, attributes about the emerging Millennial generation is their ethnic and cultural heterogeneity. While they represent the most ethnically varied cohort in American history—far more than any previous U.S. generation—few social commentators actually agree on what this remarkable demographic detail really portends. Will Millennials usher in a new post-ethnic America—or simply reconfigure some different version of identity politics?  read more »

Millennial Values, Involvement, and Social Capital

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“American history carefully examined,” argued political scientist Robert Putnam in his notable book Bowling Alone, “is a story of ups and downs in civic engagement . . . a story of collapse and of renewal.” According to Putnam, the passage of the civic-minded World War II generation from American society has led to deterioration in social capital.  read more »

Millennials: A Quick Overview

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Perhaps nothing will shape the future of the country more than the emergence of the so-called Millennial generation. They have already put their stamp on the election, as Carl Cannon suggests in his insightful article in Reader’s Digest, becoming a key driver for Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential run.  read more »

Response to A Return to 'Avalon'

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It’s interesting that the authors of an article about the youngest generation (Generation Y or Millennials) title their piece “A Return to 'Avalon,'” a cultural reference that people born between 1982 and 2003 surely know nothing about. “Avalon” is a movie from 1990 directed by Barry Levinson (born in 1942) which takes place at the turn of the last century. I’m not sure whom the authors are writing for, but I’ve never seen “Avalon” and had to look up the plot on IMDB -- and I’m almost 40 years old!  read more »

A Return to 'Avalon'

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By Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais

In his autobiographical film, “Avalon,” Barry Levinson captured what he believed to be the impact of America’s suburban exodus on his large and fractious family. He suggested that the weakening of the ties that bound his previously close-knit family was due to its dispersal to the suburbs rather than the social upheavals of the 1960s that he captured so well in the other two films in his Baltimore trilogy – “Diner” and “Liberty Heights.”  read more »