To say what you mean
Mean what you say
– Jimmy Buffett
I have to have a small operation, so, it’s time for a re-run. This is from 2008.
Anyone who’s written a book has heard it from someone: “You need to get rid of a few clichés”. What? I can’t have any of those, I avoid them like a very contagious disease!
This is a repeat from 2015, with a minor update.
Cities are coming back across the US for many reasons. The unsafe, dirty urban core of legend is being replaced by funky, hip neighborhoods with character and charm. Life in the city can be good, now that the perma-haze of pollution has been tamed. Transit helps make life more relaxing and even cheaper. Young people in particular find revitalized cities to be affordable and great places to meet their mate and then raise kids.
The movement owes a lot to New Urbanism, junking the old industrial model for cities as centers for jobs and emphasizing attractive, functional places to live. We’ve learned a lot. But if there is one flaw in this model it’s the constant emphasis on higher and higher density. There’s always a place for high density in the urban world, of course, but it doesn’t work everywhere.
A better way to look at what makes cities great is a model based on the density gradient – a gradual increase towards the core that is economically and aesthetically sustainable.
So far, approval ratings for Trump are staying in the 35-40% range no matter what happens. We have an identification of his solid base, and it’s quite large. Larger than many of us would like to see, and large enough that removing him through impeachment is going to be traumatic unless something changes.
The media concentrated on economic issues through the election and beyond, but it’s clear that they have little to nothing to do with the situation. They are excuses, code words, and easy answers for the media who assumed we were in ordinary times, but that’s just plain wrong.
So who are his supporters? What motivates them? I’m going to take a stab at this based on what I have seen in the media which appeals to them (ie, Fox Breitbart, et al) and their general response to events. My purpose in doing so is to help us through the coming impeachment, and I do think it’s coming. The nation is divided enough, and if we don’t at least understand each other things are only going to get worse.
Long before there was “fake news” there was the National Enquirer.
It’s not as though obviously false stories written for entertainment, and to make a buck, were anything new. The Enquirer, however, gave the form a brand name. Anyone stuck behind a person with a full shopping cart came to know Bat Boy, Lobster Boy, Bigfoot, and a parade of celebrities doing awful things. It was a chuckle usually wrapped around a sneer – “Who reads this stuff?”
Though this rag was known for publishing nearly anything, what it deliberately didn’t publish turns out to be much more interesting.
Sometimes it is best to judge a nation by its worst moments, not its best. Only through trials do we learn the strength of its commitment to law, its character, and its compassion for healing. My nation is only beginning that test.
After the conviction of Trump’s campaign manager and new accusations by his personal lawyer, the end is coming quickly. As a wannabe mafioso, Trump has always surrounded himself with gangsters. While none of them wanted to be the first to “rat” to the authorities, there will now be a rush to not be the last. It’s typical behavior, and we can expect it.
Lost in all of this is the future of our Republic. How will we get through this? What will come after our darkest hour? Like all history not yet written, it’s up to us. But make no mistake – history, and the world, is watching.
The long list of calls settled itself into the monotone of routine. “Hi, my name is Erik, and I’m calling for Jim Scheibel, your DFL candidate for Mayor of Saint Paul.” The 1989 election was going to be close, so Get Out The Vote (GOTV) calling to loyal Democrats was important. But just as I let the script propel my calls with their own momentum the soft gravely tone on the other end split the evening open.
“Oh, dear, you don’t have to remind me to vote. I’ve been voting ever since they let us.”
We’ve been “letting” women vote for 97 years, ever since Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920 by just one vote. The anniversary of this landmark event, “Women’s Equality Day”, is a good time to reflect on how young and precarious this precious foundation of democracy is for half the population.
When things become chaotic, the need for original sources on the ground becomes even more important. Without direct accounts of what’s happening everything comes down to some kind of spin applied at a distance. Writers don’t always deliberately set out to misinform, but a world changing constantly is a world where information at a distance is probably outdated at best.
The problem with original sources is that they can be very hard to understand. Leaving aside other languages and pretending that google translate can handle that adequately, everyone has a different perspective. Every culture has its idioms and biases. Some things simply do not translate well.
Here is just one example of a “nearly original” source and how to read it.