State of the Union

The Politics of Vaccine Safety on Fearless Parent Radio

TAC executive editor Pratik Chougule appeared on the Fearless Parent Radio Blog to discuss in more detail his article from last week, “Why the Kennedy-DeNiro Vaccine Challenge Matters.” Full audio of his interview is available at the link below.

“Is it a good idea to convene a presidential vaccine safety commission? We just finished reading a cogent, probing, and well-researched article: “Why the Kennedy-DeNiro Vaccine Challenge Matters” whose author says, ‘Yes.’

“Pratik Chougule, JD, executive editor of The American Conservative, eschews the usual trashing of advocates who challenge the government’s vaccine safety program. Curious about this compelling voice emerging from the fray of naysayers, we were eager to hear more from Pratik. Some the questions we’ll address include:

  • What are the historical origins of the American vaccine safety movement?
  • Why are vaccine safety advocates dismissed in the mainstream press?
  • How did Trump become interested in the vaccine/autism issue?
  • What factors will influence Trump’s decision to tackle the vaccine issue?
  • What political impact will a vaccine safety commission make?”

Listen to the audio at Fearless Parent.

Discussing the Greatest Presidents

Last week, TAC editor Robert W. Merry appeared on Boise State Public Radio to discuss how the American presidents have looked in the rear-view mirror of history. In conjunction with his article today, we are posting the audio from the segment below.

“Two hundred and twenty-eight years ago this April, George Washington took the oath of office as the first president of the United States.  Since then, 44 Americans have taken that solemn vow, most recently Donald Trump.  History has yet to judge our most recent presidents. But as we look farther into the past, which presidents have stood the test of time and are revered today?  And which ones are now viewed as less successful leaders, or even as failures?

“We’re discussing presidential performance with Robert W. Merry.  He is the author of Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and the Historians.  It’s now out in paperback.  Where They Stand  takes an in-depth look at what Mr. Merry calls “America’s favorite game,” rating the presidents.  In the book, Mr. Merry examines polls conducted over the years, as well as metrics developed to rank those who have led our nation. He also shares fascinating anecdotes and insights about our past presidents, including how and why perceptions about some of them have changed over the years.”

Source: http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/how-voters-and-historians-view-presidential-greatness-robert-w-merry#stream/0

Is TAC Too Easy on Trump?

Dear Editors,

I have greatly enjoyed reading your writings as of late. As a liberal it has been informative and challenging work, and I appreciate the depth of your understanding and your care with argument.

I do feel, however, that you have slacked somewhat in your duties to your readers. In particular, I think it is the responsibility of all press, but especially conservative press, to keep their readers on guard about some of the more alarming behaviors and historical analogues we see right now. It may be that Trump does not seek authoritarian power, but it may be that he does. His attacks on the free press and the judiciary make many of us nervous. If he does in fact seek more power, we all need to be watching for the historical analogue of the Reichstag fire.

He has stoked in all of us a fear of Muslims. He has prepared us to blame the courts, the press, and the liberals if and when an attack happens. An attack is likely to happen, just based on the world today.

It will be the responsibility of moral conservatives to push back against the fervor and blame that could destroy the American experiment. It will be your responsibility to remind your readers that the press is our protection, that liberals and Muslims are just as American and just as well-meaning as conservative Christians. It will be your responsibility to remind us all that our representatives’ first duty is not protecting our safety as they keep saying, but protecting our constitution and our rights. If nothing happens, nothing is lost by reminding your readers what an authoritarian will try to do. If something happens, having waited will be indefensible.

I believe all of you at TAC are moral and careful and have a deep love for the freedoms we enjoy. I believe, however, that you must put party loyalty aside (even more so than you have already done, which I commend you for) to remind us all of what defending freedom can entail. It will surely entail resisting the division and fear that have become so common on all sides. I know I sound alarmist, and I hope I am overreacting. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.

Thank you for your time,

Jacqueline Mauro


The Editor Replies

When a publication such as ours receives a letter such as that of Jacqueline Mauro, it generates a good-faith imperative for a reply. I’m particularly heartened by Ms. Mauro’s revelation that, as a political liberal, she doesn’t agree with us much but still appreciates our “informative work,” our “depth of … understanding,” and our “care with argument.” Particularly in times such as these, with the country rent so abysmally by division and rancor, Ms. Mauro’s measured and seemingly heartfelt complaint deserves an equally unemotional and respectful response.

Her central complaint seems to be that we have insufficiently raised the alarm about what she sees—and many others see—as President Trump’s tendencies toward authoritarian behavior, as manifest, in part at least, in his attacks on the news media, on judges, and on liberals. We conservatives, she says, have an obligation to push back against this rhetorical “fervor and blame that could destroy the American experiment.”

I’m not prepared to argue that she is wrong. No doubt we have passed over some of Trump’s most egregious flights of rhetorical brutality. At the same time, I’m proud that we have published some truly pugilistic attacks on Trump by our regular bloggers, Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison, who from the earliest days of the nomination process sought to expose troubling elements of his persona and agenda. Of course we ran those pieces alongside the commentary of Patrick J. Buchanan, one of our founders, who considers Trump a necessary corrective to policies of our elites that he considers destructive of the American future. That’s the great debate in America these days, and we aren’t inclined to short-circuit it.

Beyond that, though, our primary interest in covering Trump is to get beyond the man and offer interpretative insights into the state of American politics, with particular emphasis on how the country could become so riled up against its status quo leadership that it would turn to such a figure as Trump. Some argue that it’s a racist backlash to eight years of Barack Obama. Some say it is the “deplorables” consumed with fears and hatreds that Trump has exploited. Some even suggest obliquely that the American republic is disintegrating before our very eyes.

We reject all that, largely because we have faith in the collective electorate—and, having such faith, we harbor optimism also that the American people will find their way through these troubled times and emerge eventually into the sunlight of a new political coalition with a new political dialectic and new prospects for a unified polity.

Is Trump the man to pull this off? Perhaps, but it is looking increasingly unlikely. In the meantime, as that question hovers over our nation, The American Conservative will not join the chorus of those whose anti-Trump rhetoric places them in the camp of wanting to engineer the man’s failure. Our depth of understanding and our care with argument preclude such an approach.

Robert W. Merry
Editor
The American Conservative

Summer 2017 Internship at TAC

The American Conservative is currently accepting applications for a summer editorial assistant position. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 3.

Editorial interns gain experience in all aspects of producing the website and print magazine. This internship offers real experience in all the moving parts of a media organization and exposure to both editorial and marketing projects.

Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing pieces for the web, writing headlines, curating images
  • Managing TAC’s presence on social media platforms
  • Contributing headlines and story ideas
  • Proofreading and fact-checking articles for print and web
  • Blogging for the web
  • Devising strategies for audience development and engagement
  • Helping with event planning and special projects
  • Clerical duties, such as answering the phone and handling the mail, are also involved.

All candidates should possess:

  • Eagerness to work tirelessly on a small but ambitious team
  • Superb writing and editing ability
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Love of considered, lengthy journalism as well as an appreciation of horse-race politics
  • Excellent news/culture/opinion judgment
  • A background in intellectual conservatism and keen understanding of The American Conservative’s sensibility
  • Past experience with a news or opinion publication is preferred, though not required.

Interns will join our team in Washington, DC, from May to August (with some flexibility for academic schedules), and will receive a stipend. We will review applications on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to submit their materials before the final deadline. College students or recent graduates who would like to apply should e-mail their responses as Word document or PDF attachments to [email protected] no later than March 3.

Required:

  • Résumé
  • Cover letter
  • A 500-word writing sample appropriate for our website, offering a fresh perspective, original analysis, and a clear, evidence-based argument. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit a link to a blog post or article you have published elsewhere that would have been well-suited for publication in The American Conservative.

Optional (Pick 2 or 3):

  • Propose three ideas for web articles (1-2 sentences each).
  • What are the two most interesting media accounts you follow on Twitter and why? (100 words max.)
  • How could we improve our coverage and analysis on the web? (100 words max.)
  • How could we improve our fundraising efforts on the web? (100 words max.)
  • Write two Facebook posts and two tweets about articles or blog posts that appear on our homepage today.
  • Which two contemporary writers have influenced your thinking the most? (100 words max.)
  • How would you describe the American Conservative reader? (100 words max.)

We also consider applications submitted through the Charles Koch Institute as part of their Washington, DC-based educational programs.

The Trump Challenge

This article from the March/April 2017 issue hasn’t yet been published online. For now, it’s just available to subscribers—to read it right away, subscribe here and access the digital edition of the magazine. If you’re already a subscriber, log in here.

The Best of TAC in 2016

The New Year inevitably gives us occasion to reflect on the old one. And this has been a fantastic year for TAC.

Here are the articles and blog posts you’ve read most. If you like what you see, please contribute to our year-end fundraising drive.

Articles
1. “A 2016 Foreign Policy Report Card,” TAC Staff
2. “Unlocking the Election,” Robert W. Merry
3. “Trump vs. the New Class,” F.H. Buckley
4. “Why Trump Wins,” Scott McConnell
5. “What the Oregon Standoff Is Really About,” Justin Raimondo

Rod Dreher Blog Posts
1. “Trump, Tribune of Poor White People”
2. “My Fellow Liberals, I’m Tired of You”
3. “We Have Been Warned”
4. “Hillbilly America: Do White Lives Matter?”
5. “SJWs Will Elect Trump”

Daniel Larison Blog Posts
1. “The GOP Is Finally Debating Bush-Era Failures”
2. “Flynn’s Warped Worldview”
3. “Why Did Britain Vote to Leave?”
4. “Bush Wrecked the GOP Long Before Trump Appeared”
5. “Cruz’s Preposterous Foreign Policy Team”

Pat Buchanan Columns
1. “When Trump Beats Hillary”
2. “The Rule or Ruin Republicans”
3. “When Fake News Leads to War”
4. “Republicans Reject Bush (at Last)”
5. “Ted Cruz and the Trump Takeover”

Noah Millman Blog Posts
1. “Why Donald Trump Will Lose to Hillary Clinton”
2. “The Incoherence of the Religious Conservative Case for Trump”
3. “Four Reasons Hillary Clinton Is So Unpopular”
4. “I’m Gonna Miss the President When He’s Gone”
5. “New S#!+ Has Come to Light, Man”

Urban Investment Beyond Vanity Projects

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

Whether Thriving or Failing, Cities Need Investment

[T]he same citizens who grabbed the electoral megaphone to voice their displeasure must now begin to rebuild their own places. … Thriving cities need to lift barriers to keep housing affordable; struggling cities need to remove obstacles that make it hard for people to create value. And any federal infrastructure money would be better spent on maintenance and on undoing the mistakes of past urban-renewal boondoggles, not on building new vanity projects in front of which politicians can cut ribbons and receive plaudits. [More…]

—Jonathan Coppage, National Review

Are the Burbs Really Back?

… [T]here are some serious limitations to using municipal boundaries to distinguish between cities and suburbs. A common practice is to treat the largest municipality in a region as the “city” and everything else as “the suburbs.” In some places–Phoenix, Austin, Jacksonville–great swaths of low density development are in the city limits of the largest city. Its also the case that in some metro areas, the largest city represents only a tiny fraction of the metro area–the cities of Atlanta and Miami are only about 10 percent of their respective metros, for example. ….

Cities have grown faster than suburbs in the 2010-2015 period; close-in urban neighborhoods have attracted a disproportionate share of young adults, and cities remain more diverse, in the aggregate, than suburbs. [More…]

—Joe Cortright, City Observatory

The Cure for Costly Housing Is More Costly Housing

… [A]ll the evidence points toward development restrictions being a big reason for high rents. Allowing more market-rate housing in large established cities is a good way to bring down the cost of living, not just for high earners, but for the poor and working class as well. Progressives should support higher density, not more restrictions, if they want to help the most economically vulnerable city-dwellers. [More…]

—Noah Smith, Bloomberg View

How to Get By-Right Zoning Right

By-right zoning is getting a lot of buzz these days as a needed tool to help solve the affordable housing crisis many communities are facing. For those unfamiliar, a zoning code is considered “by-right” if the approvals process is streamlined so that projects that comply with the zoning standards receive their approval without a discretionary review process.

Housing advocates and developers rightfully claim that discretionary review processes are contributing to housing crises across the country by increasing the cost and delivery rate of housing, and often directly preventing needed housing from getting built. [More…]

—Karen Parolek, CNU Public Square

Why Moviegoing Matters

My all-time favorite moviegoing experience took place at Le Champo about six years ago. I was not then living in Paris but my father was, having decided to spend his first year and a half of retirement within walking distance of the Seine. When my brother and I visited in December, the weather was uncommonly cold. It’s unusual for it to snow so early in the winter, and yet, a few days into our visit, we woke to find pale petals softly falling into the courtyard outside my father’s window. Expecting that it would melt right away, we were shocked, upon stepping out the front door, to discover that the city was swaddled in a blanket of pure ermine white. Fluffy, virgin snow powdered the conifers in the Champ de Mars, piled on the balustrades of the Quai Branly, and carpeted the Pont Bir-Hakeim. By evening, the three of us were chilled to the bone, and so we ducked into Le Champo to get warm, resigned to watch anything but thrilled to find that the theater was playing The Dead (1987), John Huston’s adaptation of the short story by James Joyce.

I mention these details because they are, for me, inextricably linked with the experience of watching the movie itself, a perfect frame for it. Never, in all my trips to the cinema, have a day and a movie been so impeccably paired. [More…]

—Graham Daseler, LA Review of Books

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Where the Middle Class Is No Longer a Majority

Pung / Shutterstock.com

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on cities we’ve encountered in the last week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

The Geography of Middle Class Decline | Richard Florida, CityLab

The large metros where the middle class is smallest are a combination of superstar cities, tech hubs, resource economies and poorer places. L.A. has the smallest middle class overall, followed by San Francisco, New York, and San Jose. Houston, Miami, Boston, Sacramento, New Orleans, and Hartford round out the top ten. That said, the places with the smallest middle classes are mainly smaller metros such as Monroe, Louisiana; Midland, Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo, and El Paso, Texas; Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, and El Centro, California; as well as college towns such as Auburn, Alabama; Champaign, Illinois; and Morgantown West Virginia.

Federal Regulators Will Let U.S. Railroads Run Faster, More Efficient Trains | Angie Schmitt, StreetsBlog

Why are American trains so expensive and yet so slow? One factor that rail advocates often point to is the Federal Railroad Administration and its rail safety regulations — rules that are finally on the verge of changing.

Antiquated regulations that date all the way back to the late 1800s (they were updated in the 1930s) compel American passenger rail operators to use trains designed like “high-velocity bank vaults,” as former Amtrak CEO David Gunn once put it. While European and Asian railcars became lighter and sleeker in recent decades without compromising safety records, FRA rules continued to insist on heavy, slow, outdated, and expensive equipment.

That finally appears set to change with the FRA’s release of new draft safety rules for traincars.

Why America’s Roads Are So Much More Dangerous Than Europe’s | Norman Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, and Hamed Ahangari, Vox

Much of the disparity seems to arise from how we build communities and the types of roads we design and construct. In the US, we drive more than any other developed country in the world, which goes some way toward explaining the higher traffic fatality rates. But even when we correct for vehicle miles traveled, we still have higher fatality rates. What we are learning is that the countries with the best traffic fatality records are different from the US in the following ways:

a) they live more compactly,

b) their road design favors more vulnerable users such as bikers and pedestrians, and

c) they have enacted laws and regulations that also favor these vulnerable road users.

Where Small Is Possible | Hank Dittmar, Brian Falk, CNU Public Square

A Pink Zone — an area where the red tape is lightened — is the locus for implementation of Lean Urbanism strategies and improvements,. The Pink Zone identifies a specific area where new protocols are pre-negotiated and experiments are conducted, all with the goal of removing impediments to economic development and community-building. It will be developed and refined in a series of pilot projects, and then released to the public. Yesterday Public Square ran an article on the first Pink Zone pilot project in Detroit.

Bright Lights, Small Government | Max Holleran, New Republic

[T]he great, unaddressed subject in Jacobs’s best-known work is gentrification. Specifically: Did her work, in part, serve as an economic and philosophical rationale for the wave of bohemian gentrification that overtook the West Village? If so, it would give new meaning to her much-lauded appreciation of street life: We would have to read Death and Life as the document of a neighborhood going through extreme economic change, with results that inevitably pushed some residents out. The West Village is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the United States today.

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Introducing TAC’s New Editor

The American Conservative is thrilled to announce the appointment of Robert W. Merry as its new editor. In this position Bob succeeds Daniel McCarthy, who has stepped down to pursue new endeavors. We thank Dan for his years of excellent service to TAC, and for doing so much to get TAC to where it is today, and are glad that he will remain associated with TAC as its editor-at-large.

TAC could hardly be more fortunate than to have Bob Merry take the editorial reins. Bob is the former editor of The National Interest and former CEO and executive editor of the Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review, among many other periodicals. Bob has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Newsmakers, and a number of other programs. His books include Sands of Empire: Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy, and the Hazards of Global Ambition; Taking on the World: Joseph and Stewart Alsop, Guardians of the American Century; Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians; and A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent. He is currently finishing a biography of William McKinley, which will be published by Simon & Schuster.

TAC’s influence and base of support have both grown substantially in recent years. The present political-cultural moment provides an opportunity for TAC to make an even greater impact on the public conversation. “Ideas over Ideology, Principles over Party” will remain our motto as we continue to contend for a more patriotic and restrained foreign policy, and to provide a voice for a more humane, realist, Burkean conservativism.

Watch Our Conference: ‘Foreign Policy in America’s Interest’

On November 15, 2016, The American Conservative gathered leading scholars, journalists, and policy experts to discuss the future of U.S. foreign policy in the wake of the 2016 election. Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb delivered a keynote address at the conference, “Foreign Policy in America’s Interest: Realism, Nationalism, and the Next President”, held at George Washington University in downtown Washington, DC. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a Congressional critic of unauthorized military interventions, also made remarks, while other political analysts and foreign-policy experts discussed what type of mandate Donald Trump will have as he takes office and how the new administration should handle relations with Russia. A final discussion with prominent historians and scholars reflected on what 2016 means for the country’s longstanding commitment to intervention and globalism.

If you missed the livestream, you can view the entire program in the videos below.


8:15 am  Welcome

  • Samuel Goldman, George Washington University
  • Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative

8:25 am  Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)


9:00 am  The Next President and the National Interest

  • Robert W. Merry, author of books on American history and foreign policy
  • Jim Pinkerton, Fox News contributor
  • William Ruger, Charles Koch Institute
  • Moderator: Scott McConnell, The American Conservative


10:15 am  Russia, America, and Great Power Competition

  • Nikolas Gvosdev, U.S. Naval War College
  • Daniel Larison, The American Conservative
  • Paul Saunders, Center for the National Interest
  • Moderator: Kelley Vlahos, The American Conservative


11:30 am  Keynote Address

  • Jim Webb, former U.S. senator and Secretary of the Navy

12:15 pm  Break


12:30 pm  What the Election Means for War and Peace

  • Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East
  • Christopher Layne, Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security, Texas A&M

1:30 pm  Closing Remarks

Where Millennials Live

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

Where Millennials Live | Robert Steuteville, CNU Public Square

The often quoted cliche that millennials are moving downtown is not quite accurate. The greatest share of young adults is choosing urban neighborhoods outside of downtown. Just over a third of millennials identified in this 2014 nationwide survey live in such neighborhoods—preferably the walkable kind where they can get around without a car. Only 13 percent live downtown, which tends to be more expensive.

In total, 48 percent live in cities—with another 13 percent living in dense, older, inner-ring suburbs. These older suburbs also enable reduced automobile dependence, which cuts expenses for folks who are still paying for higher education. Older suburbs are relatively convenient to jobs and activities—a quality in demand with this cohort. So 61 percent of this group are living in compact neighborhoods or downtowns—a higher number than previous generations.

More…

Helping Struggling Places | Adam Ozimek, Economy.com

The level of nihilism espoused by economists about what we can do to help struggling places in the U.S. is, quite frankly, strange. Whenever the issue of helping places is raised, critics jump straight to the most extreme examples, such as former mining towns. But the fact that some places need to shrink, and the costs of helping some places sometimes outweighs the benefits, is a far less powerful point than these critics imagine. Other places have survived the loss of major industries and gone on to thrive. Understanding why this happens sometimes and doesn’t happen other times, and what policymakers can do to help replicate the successes, are crucial policy issues that cannot be pushed aside by pointing out the impossibility or desirability of saving every place.

More…

Elite Cities Are Pushing Out the Working Class | Nicole Gelinas, New York Post

In a study highlighted last week by the Wall Street Journal, Trulia analyzed who moves away from the country’s 10 most expensive cities, all on the East Coast or in California.

Answer: disproportionately, the poorest — those making $30,000 or less. But they weren’t exclusively poor: People earning $30,000 to $60,000 also left in numbers that exceed their share of the population.

People making more money left, too. But they left in smaller numbers, far less than their share of the population. (The cities continued to grow because of immigration, including high-earning immigrants.)

More…

Jane Jacobs Predicted a Dark Age Ahead | Richard Florida, CityLab

Back in 2004, before the economic crisis, urbanists were celebrating the resurgence of the city. We didn’t think much about the rise of conservative populists like Trump or the late Rob Ford. But there was Jane Jacobs, arguing “caution” against a new dark age lurking right around the corner.

In Dark Age, Jacobs focused on the erosion of the key pillars of stable, democratic societies—the decline of the family, the rise of consumerism and hyper-materialism, the transformation of education into credentialism, the undermining of scientific norms, and the take-over of politics by powerful special interest groups, among others. Persistent racism, worsening crime and violence, the growing gap between the rich and poor, and increasing divides between the winners and losers of globalization provided growing evidence of the decay of society, she argued.

More…

Why Planting More Trees Is One of the Best Things a City Can Do | Brad Plumer, Vox

Trees can make a city sidewalk prettier, sure. But that’s not even their best trick. A growing pile of research suggests that planting more urban trees, if done right, could save tens of thousands of lives around the world each year — by soaking up pollution and cooling down deadly heat waves. In fact, as a fascinating new report from the Nature Conservancy details, a well-targeted tree campaign could be of the smartest investments a hot, polluted city can make.

More…

This post was supported by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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Live: Foreign Policy
in America’s Interest

Today The American Conservative gathers leading scholars, journalists, and policy experts to discuss the future of U.S. foreign policy in the wake of the 2016 election. Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb will deliver a keynote address at the conference, “Foreign Policy in America’s Interest: Realism, Nationalism, and the Next President”, held at George Washington University in downtown Washington, DC. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a Congressional critic of unauthorized military interventions, will also make remarks, while other political analysts and foreign-policy experts will discuss what type of mandate Donald Trump will have as he takes office and how the new administration should handle relations with Russia. A final discussion with prominent historians and scholars will reflect on what 2016 means for the country’s longstanding commitment to intervention and globalism.

The entire program will be streamed below. We encourage you to post your reactions and questions for panelists on Twitter using the hashtag #TACLive.

8:15 am  Welcome

  • Samuel Goldman, George Washington University
  • Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative

8:25 am  Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)

8:45 am  Break

9:00 am  The Next President and the National Interest

  • Robert W. Merry, author of books on American history and foreign policy
  • Jim Pinkerton, Fox News contributor
  • William Ruger, Charles Koch Institute
  • Moderator: Scott McConnell, The American Conservative

10:00 am  Break

10:15 am  Russia, America, and Great Power Competition

  • Nikolas Gvosdev, U.S. Naval War College
  • Daniel Larison, The American Conservative
  • Paul Saunders, Center for the National Interest
  • Moderator: Kelley Vlahos, The American Conservative

11:15 am  Break

11:30 am  Keynote Address

  • Jim Webb, former U.S. senator and Secretary of the Navy

12:15 pm  Break

12:30 pm  What the Election Means for War and Peace

  • Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East
  • Christopher Layne, Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security, Texas A&M

1:30 pm  Closing Remarks

Spring Interns Wanted – Deadline Extended

The American Conservative is currently accepting applications for a spring editorial internship position. The deadline for applications has been extended to November 11.

Editorial interns gain experience in all aspects of producing the website and print magazine. This internship offers real experience in all the moving parts of a media organization and exposure to both editorial and marketing projects.

Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing pieces for the web, writing headlines, curating images
  • Managing TAC’s presence on social media platforms
  • Contributing headlines and story ideas
  • Proofreading, fact-checking, and editing
  • Blogging for the web and writing for the print magazine
  • Devising strategies for audience development and engagement
  • Helping with event-planning and special projects

Clerical duties, such as answering the phone and handling the mail, are also involved.

All candidates should possess:

  • Eagerness to work tirelessly on a small but ambitious team
  • Superb writing and editing ability
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Love of considered, lengthy journalism
  • Excellent news/culture/opinion judgment
  • A background in intellectual conservatism and keen understanding of The American Conservative’s sensibility

Past experience with a news or opinion publication is preferred, though not required.

Interns will join our team in Washington, DC, from January through May, and will receive a stipend. We will review applications on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to submit their materials before the final deadline. College students or recent graduates who would like to apply should e-mail their responses as Word document or PDF attachments to [email protected] no later than November 11.

  • Required: Résumé, cover letter, and a 500 word writing sample appropriate for our website, offering a fresh perspective, original analysis, and a clear, evidence-based argument. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit a link to a blog post or article you have published elsewhere that would have been well-suited for publication in The American Conservative.

Optional (Pick 2 or 3):

  • Propose three ideas for web articles (1-2 sentences each).
  • What are the two most interesting media accounts you follow on Twitter and why? (100 words max.)
  • How could we improve our coverage and analysis on the web? (100 words max.)
  • How could we improve our fundraising efforts on the web? (100 words max.)
  • Write two Facebook posts and two tweets about articles or blog posts that appear on our homepage today.
  • Which two contemporary writers have influenced your thinking the most? (100 words max.)
  • How would you describe The American Conservative reader? (100 words max.)

We also consider applications submitted through partner organizations—including the Charles Koch Institute and Collegiate Network.

Is Bad City Planning Making Us Lonely?

BABAROGA / Shutterstock.com

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

Loneliness, Urban Design, and Form-Based Codes | Steve Price, CNU Public Square

Humans are social, yet this primary fact of life is oddly absent as a core consideration in modern urban development regulations. To ignore the social needs of our species is to lose sight of one of the most positive drivers for shaping sustainable urban form. Providing for the satisfactions of community counters sprawl. Yet conventional land-use zoning disperses people and strips social life from the landscape. This is where form-based codes come in. They are the tool par excellence for guiding development in a socially sensitive way, configuring buildings and streets to enliven social life.

A remarkable and growing body of literature in contemporary social research is telling us that healthy, well functioning communities need face-to-face meeting, interaction, and communication among their members, something that electronic “social media” cannot replace. And it requires high quality physical space.

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America’s Hunger for Luxury Housing May Finally Be Satiated | Jeff Spross, The Week

Around 5,100 new apartments will be listed for rent in San Francisco in 2016, which is the biggest annual number in 26 years; Manhattan will feature 5,675 new units. And 2017 will probably blow 2016 out of the water, with projections showing San Francisco gaining around 7,000 more units, and New York getting 14,000 new units. In fact, back in July, 2016 already looked set to meet or break apartment construction records in the major markets across the country. …

Much of this booming construction is in the super high-end market — it’s telling that the “low-end” market in Manhattan is considered to be all housing under $2 million. And it looks like the population that could afford to buy or rent those sorts of luxury units is dwindling: The number of highly paid tech jobs in San Francisco is down from a peak earlier this year, and it’s mid-pay jobs in hospitality and health care that are seeing the biggest gains in New York City.

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Top-Down, Bottom-Up Urban Design | Elizabeth Greenspan, New Yorker

“[W]hat we need to do is think of the city as a more open system, which accumulates complexity, and in which those complexities have to be worked with, rather than simplified.” Take school buildings. In many cities, schools might be “built into factories, or into back rooms of housing settlements. And rather than see that there’s something wrong about that—this is what I mean about the break with the spirit of Corbusier—we should be working with making that kind of school better,” he said. [Richard] Sennett and his colleagues argue for city plans defined by flexibility, rather than by right and wrong answers.

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An Uncredentialed Woman: The Unlikely Life of Jane Jacobs | Howard Husock, City Journal

Robert Kanigel’s Eyes on the Street is the first full-length biography of Jacobs, a woman without a college degree who became one of the most influential urban thinkers of the twentieth century. Kanigel deftly links Jacobs’s life experiences to the development of her original ideas. Born Jane Butzner in 1916 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jacobs wrote for a living, and not always for glamorous New York publications. She began her journalism career as an intern at the Scranton Republican and then contributed to Iron Age, a trade publication at which she learned the nuts and bolts of the metals industry. She learned, for instance, that non-ferrous metals were vital to modern life and how the markets for them worked.  She worked briefly as a financial writer for Hearst and wrote an extended feature about Manhattan’s fur district for Vogue and another for Harper’s Bazaar about the crabbing culture on Maryland’s Tangier Island. She was, in other words, soaking up the details of how business, culture, and the urban environment worked together when done right—the very combinations she’d go on to celebrate in her breakthrough masterpiece, 1961’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

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New York, San Francisco, and the Real Rental Crisis | Jordan Fraade, Washington Post

Economists have traditionally defined “rent-burdened” households as those that pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent. The “severely rent-burdened” pay more than half. In all but two of the 11 largest metro areas in the United States, the share of low-income households that suffer from severe rent burden increased from 2006 to 2014, according to a March report by New York University’s Furman Center. Since 2008, rent burden has also become far more common among middle-class households, the combined result of stagnant incomes and declining rental vacancy. Pundits and demographers often hold up cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago as reasonably priced alternatives to pricey coastal hubs. But these “second-tier” cities are hardly immune from their own affordability problems. By 2014, a majority of all renter households in eight of the 11 largest U.S. cities, including all three listed above, qualified as rent-burdened.

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This post was supported by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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Will We Always Have Paris?

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“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

“We’ll Always Have Paris”? | Mary Campbell Gallagher, Architecture Here and There

When the masked thugs of ISIS swing their sledgehammers through Iraq’s museums and dynamite Palmyra, the world gasps and screams. But what if the vandal is a chic Parisian woman wearing high-heeled boots and talking like a visionary? What if her target is the world’s most beloved and most-visited city? Does the world gasp, or does it not even hear what she is saying? “We’ll always have Paris,” Rick tells Elsa in “Casablanca.” Yet now, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says she will “reinvent” Paris. Without putting it to a vote, she will replace the uniquely harmonious city we know with something “modern” and “contemporary.” She will pierce the low horizon with a dozen skyscrapers, replace classic stone facades with rivers of glass, and bury the famous zinc and slate rooftops under new construction. Mon Dieu! Doesn’t anyone get what Paris is doing to itself?

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Why Cathedrals Are Soaring | Simon Jenkins, The Spectator

Something strange is happening in the long decline of Christian Britain. We know that church attendance has plummeted two thirds since the 1960s. Barely half of Britons call themselves Christian and only a tiny group of these go near a church. Just 1.4 per cent regularly worship as Anglicans, and many of those do so for a privileged place in a church school.

Yet one corner of the garden is blooming: the 42 cathedrals. At the end of the last century, cathedrals were faring no better than churches, with attendances falling sometimes by 5 per cent a year. With the new century, everything changed. Worship in almost all 42 Anglican cathedrals began to rise, and it is now up by a third in a decade. This was in addition to visits by tourists, who number more than eight million. There are more visits to cathedrals than to English Heritage properties.

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Hartford’s Big Dig | Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

Every large city in Connecticut has at least one arterial highway slashing through its heart. Some have multiple elevated highways meeting in massive steel-and-concrete interchanges. The drive along I-95 from New York to Boston affords commanding views of Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven. Spend a little time on the surface streets of these cities, however, and the civic devastation wrought by their highways is hard to miss.

In Connecticut as in the rest of the country, massive interstate construction projects followed President Dwight Eisenhower’s signing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Cities like Hartford were then suffering massive traffic congestion problems, as rising postwar incomes spurred a boom in individual car ownership. In 1949, several major insurance companies asked the engineering firm Andrews and Clark to compile an “Arterial Plan for Hartford” under the direction of New Haven native Robert Moses. “Doctors, we are told, bury their mistakes, planners by the same token embalm theirs, and engineers inflict them on their children’s children,” wrote Moses in a cover letter. It was an oddly prophetic warning from a man blamed by many for ruining New York City with his car-dependent infrastructure projects.

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The Disposable Post-War Suburb | Johnny Sanphillippo, Granola Shotgun

Back in the 1950’s Colerain Township was the recipient of a wave of respectable prosperous families who were crossing the municipal line out of Cincinnati. They drove through Mount Airy Forest and left behind high taxes, high crime, lower quality public services, old unfashionable buildings, and poor black people. If you couldn’t afford a brand new home and a car… you clearly didn’t belong.

The schools were new. The shopping centers and office parks were new. Tax revenue poured in. Police, teachers, and administrators were hired. Parks were created. Libraries opened. Life was very good.

Fast forward sixty five years. Everything that used to be shiny and new is now aging – not all of it well. There are now decades of accumulated salaries, pensions, and health care obligations for municipal workers, past and present. The roads, water pipes, lift stations, sewerage treatment plant, and public buildings are all in need of expensive maintenance. Tax revenue is in decline. This town like nearly every other town of its vintage is functionally insolvent.

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Art Deco Los Angeles | John L. Dorman, New York Times

Several of them have been razed, and a few of the surviving ones are underused or vacant. Tourists gravitate toward the Bank Tower, which has an observation deck, or Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. But before being literally overshadowed, these Art Deco treasures were once icons of downtown Los Angeles. And they still should be.

Most of the Art Deco buildings are smaller than the modern skyscrapers rising in the area, but they still soar. To explore them is to witness a grandeur that inspires you, unlike many skyscrapers, which merely surprise you. Because they arrived at a moment of economic expansion, they suggest the sense of endless possibility that permeated the city. I set off to get a glimpse of what those architectural dreamers were able to accomplish.

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This post was supported by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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Words on the Street

Eisenhower Memorial Commission

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

One More Inglorious Pile on the Mall | Edward Rothstein, Wall Street Journal

The news that the Eisenhower family has dropped objections to a modified version of Frank Gehry’s vision for a $150 million proposed memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Mall in Washington means that in a few years we will probably be subjected to something only marginally less kitschy and overblown than Mr. Gehry’s earlier vision: a four-acre extravaganza featuring three statues of Eisenhower—as Kansas farm boy, Supreme Allied Commander and president—with a 477-foot-wide woven-metal tapestry depicting Abilene, Kan., suspended from eight-story-tall limestone columns.

The architect will now alter the tapestry’s subject and may skim off some bloat, but enough of the original idea will surely remain to allow it to fit right in with the many other mediocre monuments that have been crowding the Mall and other public sites during the past 25 years.

Want Affordable Housing? Legalize Main Street | Jonathan Coppage, Washington Post

In a sign that market solutions for the United States’ growing housing affordability crisis are beginning to earn bipartisan support, the White House this week unveiled its “Housing Development Toolkit,” which encourages state and local policymakers to undertake a number of long-overdue reforms.

The tool kit draws on some of the best and most up-to-date research on housing affordability and cites such respected researchers as Harvard University economist Ed Glaeser. But for such reforms to benefit smaller and distressed communities, Washington needs to undo its own role in distorting the housing market. In short, the Federal Housing Administration has to relegalize Main Street.

Lean Streets, Small Blocks: the ‘Good Bones’ of Strong Communities | Robert Steuteville, Public Square

A body without good bones will fall apart. And as many of us have come to realize, streets are the bones of communities. A community that lacks good streets will suffer—in its economy, its social well-being, and its health.

When people who study cities and towns say that a place “has good bones,” they mean that it has a connected network of small blocks and “lean” (not overly wide) streets. The blocks probably hold at least a few fine old buildings, though some of them may have been neglected, since the last half of the 20th Century was often unkind to old places. Urban renewal and parking policies led to the loss of many buildings.

The urban fabric may be tattered. Traffic engineers may have widened the travel lanes, converted many streets to one-way, and cut down trees. Nonetheless, in good bones there is the potential for renaissance. The essential elements—lean streets and small blocks, a characteristic praised by Jane Jacobs—are resilient.

Is There Too Much Parking? | Nate Berg, The Guardian

“As parking regulations were put into zoning codes, most of the downtowns in many cities were just completely decimated,” says Michael Kodransky, global research manager for the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. “What the cities got, in effect, was great parking. But nobody goes to a city because it has great parking.”

Increasingly, cities are rethinking this approach. As cities across the world begin to prioritise walkable urban development and the type of city living that does not require a car for every trip, city officials are beginning to move away from blanket policies of providing abundant parking. Many are adjusting zoning rules that require certain minimum amounts of parking for specific types of development. Others are tweaking prices to discourage driving as a default when other options are available. Some are even actively preventing new parking spaces from being built.

Urbanism, Texas-Style | Joel Kotkin et. al., City Journal

Of the cities I’ve called home, Austin has the most aspirational culture. People move to Washington, for example, to change the world, and often do so—for the worse. People come to Austin to build something new, earn their success, and have fun. Visit any one of the city’s coffeehouses, and new rounds of funding and pitches are in the air. Drive or bike anywhere on a weekend, and you’ll likely run into a festival that you had no idea was happening. Our zip code has more bars per capita than any other in the nation. Many are indoor-outdoor, which gives Austin a festive, public feel. Voices, music, and faces are all integral to the urban landscape here.

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Death By Chain?

CNU New England

New Urbanism has long been concerned with promoting vibrant Main Streets, corridors with local retail and small businesses that keep jobs and capital in their communities.

The American Conservative is partnering with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) New England chapter and the R Street Institute to bring together leading voices on this issue. Join us in Providence, RI on October 20, from at 5:00 to 8:00pm at Aurora, 276 Westminster St., Providence, RI. More information is available here.

If you’re in New England and care about strong communities, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to meet:

  • Cliff Wood, Executive Director of Downtown Providence Parks Commission
  • Kip Bergstrom, former Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Margaret Bodell, a Connecticut-based art center consultant with experience repurposing storefronts
  • Anne Haynes, Director of the Transformative Development program at MassDevelopment
  • The discussion will be moderated by former TAC editor Jonathan Coppage, now visiting scholar at the R Street Institute.

General admission to the event is $20, but The American Conservative has a limited number of free tickets for our readers. If you wish to receive one, please RSVP with your full name and address to [email protected], with the subject line “New Urbs event.”

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Words on the Street

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

Street Cred: What Jane Jacobs Got So Right—and What She Got Wrong | Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

Her admirers and interpreters tend to be divided into almost polar opposites: leftists who see her as the champion of community against big capital and real-estate development, and free marketeers who see her as the apostle of self-emerging solutions in cities. In a lovely symmetry, her name invokes both political types: the Jacobin radicals, who led the French Revolution, and the Jacobite reactionaries, who fought to restore King James II and the Stuarts to the British throne. She is what would now be called pro-growth—“stagnant” is the worst term in her vocabulary—and if one had to pick out the two words in English that offended her most they would be “planned economy.” At the same time, she was a cultural liberal, opposed to oligarchy, suspicious of technology, and hostile to both big business and the military. Figuring out if this makes hers a rich, original mixture of ideas or merely a confusion of notions decorated with some lovely, observational details is the challenge that taking Jacobs seriously presents.

Trains Built Roanoke. Science Saved It. | Colin Woodard, Politico Magazine

How did a small city in a disadvantaged region four hours from a major metropolis—one that had seen its signature industries atrophy or depart, that lacked so much as a branch campus of a state university—transform itself from the forgotten stepsister of the Appalachians into a formidable rival to Asheville, North Carolina? The answer has lessons for small, out-of-the-way cities everywhere: Roanoke’s people did it largely by themselves, in small steps and with an eye to assets and alliances in the wider region around them. … And it all happened in what would seem the most unlikely of places: a city created, built and controlled for most of its history by the distant investors of that most controlling and rapacious of Industrial Age corporations, the railroad.

Occupy Broad Street | John Massengale

Slow Streets don’t invite suburban drivers to bring their cars to the city, as our urban highways and one-way arterials do. Slow Streets favor pedestrian and urban life. When we remove all the striping and signs that mark the streets as machine space, it becomes easy to make streets where people want to be. Before the automobile, we even put stone monuments and fountains in our streets. Temporary monuments like the original Washington Arch, which was originally in the middle of the street, marking the beginning of Fifth Avenue, were common. New Yorkers felt free to step out into the street as they do in Amsterdam. That’s the essence of Shared Space.

Big Cities Can Learn From the Landscapes of Small-Town America | Josh Stephens, Planetizen

Who cares about buildings? Anyone with enough cash can commission a life-size sculpture, plop it down on a vacant lot, and call it great architecture. Truly great architecture—as opposed to great “design”— is that which responds to and enhances its context. Some of that architecture is avant grade, and some is as anonymous as you and me. … The fixation on architecture-as-object persists, most recently, and predictably, in Architectural Record’s Top 125 Buildings. … AR lists the usual suspects: early innovators, the CIAM crowd and other high Modernists, a few postmodernists, some Brutalists, and contemporary starchitects. Many of their structures will make you numb with their visual beauty, or at least their visual complexity. Indeed, many of them look like they were made to sell magazines. They look amazing in photographs; what goes on beyond the edge of the frames is often anyone’s guess. The trouble is, no one teaches cute in architecture school. I suppose the New Urbanists have tried. Everyone else is too busy teaching phenomenology, parametrics, and deconstructivism, which is, to be honest, a pretty terrifying theory on which to base a building.

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Words on the Street

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Post tips at @NewUrbs.

The Nation’s Major Metro Areas Show Uneven Progress Against Poverty in 2015 | Elizabeth Kneebone and Cecile Murray, Brookings

In most of the metro areas that saw poverty rates fall (27), the number of people living in poverty also decreased. But for seven Sun Belt metro areas—including regions like Houston, Phoenix, and Orlando, Florida—declines in the poverty rate reflected a fast-growing total population, rather than a shrinking poor population.

Only two of the top 100 metro areas saw poverty continue to grow in 2015. Both the number of poor residents and the poverty rate rose significantly in the Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, regions over the course of the year. In the end, the poverty rate registered no significant change in almost two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas in 2015.

Pittsburgh Seems Cool, But Its Numbers Aren’t So Hot | Justin Fox, Bloomberg View

One inevitable reality that a Rust Belt city such as Pittsburgh has to contend with is that the nation’s population has for decades been shifting to the South and the West, and is still shifting that way. Before 2008, according to Christopher Briem, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh, more people had moved out of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area than moved in almost every year since World War II. The result is a metro area population that skews old (17.2 percent of the population was 65 or over in 2011, compared with 13.2 percent nationwide) and is among the country’s least diverse.

Lone Star Quartet | Aaron M. Renn, City Journal

[U]nlike California, whose cities have refocused on elite priorities at the expense of middle-class occupations, Texas offers a complete spectrum of economic activities in its metros. Another key difference is that Texas cities have mostly embraced pro-development policies that have kept them affordable by allowing housing supply to expand with population, while California’s housing prices blasted into the stratosphere due to severe development restrictions. Texas cities also benefit from favorable state policies, such as the absence of a state income tax and a reasonable regulatory and litigation environment. These factors make Texas cities today what California’s used to be: places to go in search of the American dream.

A Glorified Sidewalk, and the Path to Transform Atlanta | Richard Fausset, New York Times

ATLANTA — Could this traffic-clogged Southern city, long derided as the epitome of suburban sprawl, really be discovering its walkable, bike-friendly, density-embracing, streetcar-riding, human-scale soul?

The answer is evident in the outpouring of affection that residents here have showered on the Atlanta BeltLine, which aims to convert 22 miles of mostly disused railway beds circling the city’s urban core into a biking and pedestrian loop, a new streetcar line, and a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization.

The Ugly Choice American Cities Face | Emily Badger, Washington Post

[I]t will be very difficult for cities to grow denser in the coming years, despite rising worries about the environmental costs of sprawl and the individual toll of commuting. … [C]ities produce new housing in proportion to their rate of outward expansion. Metros that spread out the most add the most housing, and have kept their housing costs in check as a result. Metros that have resisted sprawl (like Portland, which has an urban growth boundary, or San Francisco, which is hemmed in by mountains and water) haven’t built much.

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Words on the Street

Mark William Richardson / Shutterstock.com

“Words on the Street” highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week. Send tips to @NewUrbs.

How Britons Are Saving Their Village Pubs | Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Spectator

In one village after another across the country, pubs are closing, as many as 25 a week by some counts, and this is accepted with English fatalism. But the people of South Stoke, near Bath, chose not to accept the loss of the Packhorse mutely; the locals decided to save their local. And in the process they may have demonstrated that ‘community’ and indeed ‘local’ or localism are not merely empty rhetoric.

When Will New York City Sink? | Andrew Rice, New York

The latest scientific findings suggest that a child born today in this island metropolis may live to see the waters around it swell by six feet, as the previously hypothetical consequences of global warming take on an escalating — and unstoppable — force. … The life span of a city is measured in centuries, and New York, which is approaching its fifth, probably doesn’t have another five to go, at least in any presently recognizable form. …

The deluge will begin slowly, and irregularly, and so it will confound human perceptions of change. Areas that never had flash floods will start to experience them, in part because global warming will also increase precipitation. High tides will spill over old bulkheads when there is a full moon. People will start carrying galoshes to work. All the commercial skyscrapers, housing, cultural institutions that currently sit near the waterline will be forced to contend with routine inundation. And cataclysmic floods will become more common, because, to put it simply, if the baseline water level is higher, every storm surge will be that much stronger.

Life at the Nowhere Office | Miya Tokumitsu and Joeri Mol, The New Republic

Wherever you are, you respond to the most urgent requests and make sure to nowhere yourself by deleting your “sent from my iPhone” signature. You could be at your desk already, right? No one needs to know that you are two blocks away. You don’t want to convey that you are on the run and not giving them your full attention. So with some digital camouflaging you say: I am in a place where I can give you due consideration. At no point are we on the train, in a cafe, in bed, in the restroom. Except of course we are.

Many of us recognize this morning routine. It might seem mundane, but like any regime, it is has an aesthetic. In fact, this vignette reflects the ideals of het nieuwe werken, a Dutch term meaning “the new way of working,” a reorganization of the office that promotes flexibility and “efficient” design, combining the fruits of a digitally-connected world and organically-formed social structures.

Gentrification on the Big Screen | Aaron M. Renn, City Journal

The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, two seminal 1980s comedies, both set in Chicago, foreshadow the profound changes that would soon sweep over some of America’s big cities. Made just six years apart, they present strikingly different visions of Chicago. …

Watching these films today, viewers under the age of, say, 45 would be struck by how alien Jake and Elwood’s Chicago seems and how familiar Ferris’s Chicago has become. The vibrant working-class culture, tough old nuns, SROs, and Maxwell Street Market of The Blues Brothers have all either disappeared or survive only as shadows of what they once were. With a bit of cultural updating to cars, hairstyles, fashion, music, and phones, however, Ferris Bueller’s Day Offcould be remade today, virtually shot for shot. Modern proto-hipsters might well still skip school to visit Wrigley Field, the lakefront, the Sears Tower Skydeck, or the Art Institute. Three decades after Ferris Bueller played hooky from the suburbs, the triumph of the gentrified city is complete.

One City, Nine Months: Stand By For Chicago’s 3,000th Shooting Victim | Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune

Chicago is but a few days away from its 3,000th shooting of the year. At 2,930 and counting as of Labor Day, the first grimly inevitable milestone will be 2,988. That’s the number of people shot here all of last year. Soon after will come No. 3,000.

Tribune crime reporters keep a detailed spreadsheet, which shows 546 shootings since Aug. 1. That works out to be nearly 15 people shot every day — the majority on the West and South sides. Summer is always the most dangerous season in Chicago, but the violence this year is worse than it’s been in two decades. The city’s homicide total: about 500, most of them on this roster of shooting victims.

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