Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Song of the year

One New Year's Eve, when I was a teenager in the 1970s, I got caught up in the excitement of listening to a radio station's countdown of the year's top hits, and decided to make my own list. That much is easy to explain; what is less easy to explain is that I've done it every year since. Anyhow I now have a considerable time series of my musical tastes. My early choices tended towards mellow songs ("Stop and Smell the Roses" by Mac Davis was the inaugural song of the year) or novelty records ("Convoy," "King Tut"). Since then I've gotten hipper, or at least less mainstream, but the choices have remained visceral. My criterion seems to be mostly what recording gave me the most pleasure that year, with perhaps an idea that the track would be the most memorable in the future. Often I'm wrong about that. Rare has been the song of the year that is clearly tied to that year. I imagine most of my choices are interchangeable, except that the musical styles might give them away as the product of a certain era.

For 2013 my song of the year is "Same Love" by the Seattle hip-hop artist Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty and his collaborator Ryan Lewis. It is a well-crafted track: Macklemore's spoken patter weaves in and out of the soulful singing of Mary Lambert. The chorus, "She Keeps Me Warm," was written by Lambert and has since been completed and released by her as a single in its own right (Spanos). Macklemore manages to maintain both a conversational tone and the rhythm of the piece. If they should choose in the future to collaborate on a track about national parks, or art museums, or the baseball trading deadline, it would be well worth a listen.

What sets "Same Love" apart from the 2013 pack, though, is the topic, as well as how the artists address it. Gay marriage is very much a topic of the current age. Ten (I hope) or at least twenty years from now, it will be so uncontroversial that songs about it will seem as quaint as the doomed inter-class romance described in the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," or the generation gap in "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band, do today. Twenty years ago, the song would have been too far ahead of its time. The only top 40 hit I can think of that dealt sympathetically with homosexuality was "The Killing of Georgie" by Rod Stewart, a ballad about a hate crime which hit #30 on the U.S. pop charts in 1977. (I can't remember: did Stewart openly say Georgie was gay, or was it just implied?) "Les Boys" by Dire Straits, a track on their extremely popular 1985 album Brothers in Arms, is openly sympathetic but the gay men he describes are goofy and alien. I have more examples of pro-gay folk songs from the 1990s, including "Home is Where the Heart Is" (Sally Fingerett), "Radical" (Catie Curtis) and "Oh, Baby I Love You So" (Ann Reed), as well as a line in Greg Brown's "The Poet Game," but these were hardly big-time pop hits. [I missed Melissa Etheridge's #8 hit from 1994, "I'm the Only One," which celebrates a gay relationship (McKinley)]. For the record, "Same Love" hit #11 on the U.S. charts this year (Caramanica).

It's also important to me that Macklemore's presentation is so straightforward and common-sensical. I can personally identify with his journey on this issue. He does not ape the confrontational style of, say, Glenn Beck. He's not looking to fight some culture war, just explaining his position. As the song progresses we see how his thinking evolved from his early fears to a recognition that there is more uniting us humans than there is dividing us ("Whatever God you believe in/We all come from the same one..."). That recognition is critical to sharing the world and creating community in the 21st century. And, with a nod to Parker J. Palmer, such unity comes from discussion and a willingness to empathize, not from slogans and shouting.


"BN Albums of 2013," http://public.coe.edu/~bnesmith/albums13.html

"Same Love" Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlVBg7_08n0


Jon Caramanica, "A Singer Whose Context is 'Love and Heart,'" New York Times, 12 November 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/arts/music/mary-lambert-breaks-out-on-her-own.html

"Macklemore Releases 'Same Love' Video in Support of Gay Marriage," Huffington Post, 4 October 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/macklemore-and-ryan-lewis-same-love-gay-marriage_n_1937384.html

James McKinley Jr., "Stars Align for a Gay Marriage Anthem," New York Times, 30 June 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/arts/music/stars-align-for-a-gay-marriage-anthem.html?_r=0

Brittany Spanos, "Mary Lambert on Critics of Macklemore's 'Same Love:' 'I'm Gay and Part of the Song Too!'" The Village Voice Blogs, 15 November 2013, http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2013/11/mary_lambert_qa.php

Chart positions pre-2000 from Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Complete Chart Information about the Artists and Their Songs, 1955-2000 (Watson-Guptill, 7th ed., 2000).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A challenge to the Gazette on climate change

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, whose coverage of many issues (including the economy and health care) has been responsible, is creating a misleading impression of the state of debate on climate change. For years the predominant view among climate scientists is that human pollution is accumulating in the atmosphere, and that this accumulation has begun to affect the climate of the Earth. If unchecked, these changes will lead to irreversible damage to the ability of the Earth to support life as we know it. (This is popularly known as "climate change," or by an earlier and less accurate monicker, "global warming." 97 percent of climate scientists endorsed this view in this NASA survey).

The only scientific voices on this subject that I've seen in the Gazette, however, represent the small minority of skeptics. Last Sunday, the International Climate Science Coalition presented its third op-ed column since June by my (non-systematic) count, arguing that "the idea that we can cause [extreme weather events] and can prevent them from occurring is science fiction." Opposite them was a column by a North Liberty woman who has participated in the Great March for Climate Action and is a member of the Iowa City-based 1000Grannies.org. Her commitment to this cause is undeniable and admirable, and I find little to object to in her column.

I object to the impression created by the Gazette that hard-headed science is skeptical about human impacts on the climate, while environmental activists are pushing the view that we humans are playing a dangerous game. Seriously... scientists vs. grannies? This is not even close to being accurate.

So, my challenge to the Gazette: In your circulation area exist a nationally-known Research I university, another state university of considerable size, and at least three private colleges with highly-reputed science departments. The Gazette circulation area is, quite obviously, hip-deep in scientific experts. If there's a debate on climate science, we shouldn't have to go to Toronto to find one side of it. We ought to be able to find it here. Ask the scientists, and report what they say. Tell it like it is.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ending the war on Christmas

(photo by Jane, from nesmithfamilyblog.blogspot.com)

Once upon a time America was a Christian nation. By that admittedly vague and inflammatory term I mean that when I grew up, people where I lived assumed each other were Christian unless informed otherwise. (Then, depending on who you were, we thought you either exotic or wrong.) I started school in 1964, two years after the Engel v. Vitale Supreme Court decision on prayer in public schools. While we didn't pray in class, we sang Christmas carols, and prayed before various events. Apollo 8 astronauts celebrated Christmas in their spaceship by reading the creation story from Genesis 1 to an unsurprised nation. Whether going to stores or watching television, it was easy to get the impression that everyone worshiped in the Christian tradition, albeit with varying levels of devotion.

It's hard to say exactly when all that changed. The 1965 Immigration Act opened the national doors to people from non-European parts of the world who had other religious traditions. In those heady days of rights movements, various people more vocally asserted their rights to be free of government-sponsored Christianity. (Tired of the easy assumption that they didn't exist, they began to insist that they did too.) Public officials in some cases overreacted to court decisions. And the drive for profit crashed through restraints such as Sunday openings (extending this year to Thanksgiving evening), turning the season into a retail extravaganza.

It's not hard to understand nostalgia for the days when Christian messages dominated America, and you could glide blithely through the season without wondering who was who. Christians, particularly those with more traditional beliefs, feel something is slipping or has slipped away. I'm not sure that excuses what seem to me blatant efforts to exploit these feelings for political or pecuniary advantage, specifically what someone has declared to be the "war on Christmas." The war anecdotes I've heard over the years tend mostly to be rather arcane local disputes in faraway locations, with suggestions that the incident is more complicated than described, if indeed it actually occurred to begin with.

Yet Fox reporter John Gibson has a book out called The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse Than You Thought (Sentinel Trade, 2006). A brief search reveals other books on this subject by Sarah Palin, Brian Sack and Bodie Hodge. Fox News has an online tracker [http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/12/16/war-christmas] that follows stories on this war, and invites citizens to add their own experiences with anti-Christmas atrocities. They've decided already, it seems; it's left to me only to report. There haven't been many stories posted, though, and those that have been aren't self-evidently hostile to Christianity, such as the story out of Indiana where someone asked if Santa Claus could be black. Maybe this whole war on Christmas thing has played itself out.

In a thoughtful column, Lutheran religious scholar Martin E. Marty cautions that it's easy to get angry or snarky about this subject, whichever side you are on. So let us not. Let us instead take this season and its discontents seriously, and consider it from the perspective of our common life, which as you may have noticed is quite the thing on this blog.

Before there was America, before there was Christmas, long before Jesus came to Earth, people in the Northern Hemisphere celebrated this season. For early humans, the longer and longer nights must have been terrifying, not to mention they were doubtless very cold and very hungry. Once our species figured out the seasons, passing the winter solstice meant you were on the way to spring, warmth, and plentiful game. Oh joy! And who better to celebrate with than the people around you, because when it's dark and cold, and food is hard to get, people need to stick together.

That's the key word right there, friends and neighbors: together. But much of American social history is driven by people trying to get away from people they didn't like. The Puritans came to America, not so much for religious freedom as for the opportunity to create new communities untainted by theology they didn't like. The frontier was settled by people who didn't quite fit in the towns of their birth. Suburbs sprawled because people wanted to get away from dirty cities and the dirty people in them, and found that more space meant more privacy. Recent decades have witnessed the remarkable phenomenon of "geographic sorting," as people move to areas where their values are more common. And I, your humble blogger, will readily admit that while I love the people from the town where I grew up (especially if you've read this far), a key factor in my quality of life today was getting the h out of there.

Enclaves of monocultures aren't all they're cracked up to be... they're less interesting, and less resilient. I believe the American rush to enclaves has caused more problems than it has solved, and in the 21st century we'll need to find out how to get along with people not like us. Once we do, we will find our towns and lives more interesting, not to mention satisfying and prosperous.

So if our choices for this season of artificial light are (A) keep arguing and sell as many books as possible; (B) retreat to enclaves; (C) Christians rule and everyone else either converts or sucks it; (D) secularism rules and Christians suck on their memories; (E) no one says anything to anybody; or (F) find a solution that leaves everybody ahead... I choose "F." "Both-and" instead of "Either-or." That means:
  1. recognizing that we need each other all year round, but December's dark and cold most emphatically remind us of it; 
  2. showing "good will to men" and women i.e. meeting others joyfully as fellow humans whoever they are, not suspiciously as potential haters-of-our-values; 
  3. receiving good wishes from others in the spirit in which they're offered... or if they're being angry, rising above their anger.
I would like to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" whether they're Christian or not, because in my religious tradition it is about the warmest thing you can say to someone this time of year. If I can say it generously, without judgment and without snobbery, can non-Christians hear it in the same spirit? I wish Jewish people would wish me Happy Hanukkah, and Hindus and Wiccans and atheists would say whatever they want to me as long it's friendly, but especially if it represents the best of their respective traditions. We are fellow travelers on a small planet. Life is too precarious and too short to spend December being unpleasant. Blessed be.


Gail Collins, "Cultural War Games," New York Times, 4 December 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/05/opinion/collins-cultural-war-games.html?hp&rref=opinion

Todd Dorman, "War on Christmas Alert--This is Only a Test," Cedar Rapids Gazette, 8 December 2013, 9A, 12A, http://thegazette.com/2013/12/08/war-on-christmas-alert-this-is-only-a-test/

Martin E. Marty, "The War on Christmas," Sightings, 9 December 2013, http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6b2c705bf61d6edb1d5e0549d&id=64d0e51fb3&e=86dbd7e7a0

"War on Christmas," Fox Nation, 16 December 2013, http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/12/16/war-christmas

Andy Williams sings "Happy Holidays (It's the Holiday Season)," 1962,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2pQbphEipc

BBC Radio Scotland's "Out of Doors" program of December 22, 2013, includes discussion of solstice history and folklore at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03lzc0x

On geographic sorting, see Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart (Mariner, 2009)

On American social conditions of the 1950s and early 1960s appearing rosier in retrospect than they really were at the time, see Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (Basic, 1993)

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased!"
--LUKE 2:13-14 (ASV,
(because the NRSV translation is gender-neutral but otherwise seems to support the other view!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Judicial activism and gay sex

(Supreme Court of India, from en.wikipedia.org)

Politics and government are, for the most part, not that weird. Maddening maybe, scary arguably, but most people are used to people making rules and arguing, which is what the President and Congress mainly seem to be for.

But there are weird parts of government, too... the vast array of bureaucratic agencies, for example. This is where vaguely-written laws are turned into specifically-written regulations so they can be put into effect. Yet start talking about the bureaucracy, and most people, including I'm ashamed to say me, drop into the blissful oblivion of deep sleep. The public comment period required for regulations is ignored by most of the public, except for the affected interest groups who raise a big stink and try to get them watered down or eliminated (see Dodd-Frank on financial regulation). The rest of us only notice the bureaucracy when something misfires, such as the first two months of healthcare.gov.

Even weirder, by my estimation, is the judicial branch. It was created, sort of, by the Framers of the Constitution. They spent very little time on it at the Convention, and very little language on it in Article III of the Constitution, which only creates the Supreme Court. The rest of the details they left up to Congress. It wasn't until 1803 when the Supreme Court itself decided its job description was to review the constitutionality of actions by the other parts of government, and to declare those actions void if they violated the Constitution. (The case was Marbury v. Madison, and the process is called "judicial review.")

Despite fulminations by President Thomas Jefferson, among others, the Supreme Court's power of judicial review came to be widely accepted, and has been adopted to some degree by other democracies. The practice of judicial review, on the other hand, remains controversial. Very few parts of the Constitution are self-defining, and less so as word usage changes over time. For example, what is an "establishment of religion," which the First Amendment prohibits? And did the widespread practice of Christian prayer and Bible reading in public schools constitute such an establishment? The Supreme Court said it did, in a series of decisions beginning with Engel v. Vitale in 1962, but it requires acceptance of a string of premises to get to that conclusion.

Those who feel the Court should refrain from complex paths to arguable conclusions, and defer to the elected branches except in egregious cases, advocate what's called judicial restraint. This approach was probably best expressed by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (served 1902-1932) who said "If my fellow citizens want to go to hell, I will help them. It's my job," because there's nothing in the Constitution that specifically forbids going to hell. On the opposite side of the argument were those who argued the Court, because it was not a majoritarian institution like the Presidency or Congress, should use its authority broadly to defend the rights of minorities (judicial activism). David Bazelon, a federal appellate judge from 1962-1978, said his standard was "Does it make you sick?" implying that if anything that came before him made him sick, he'd find a way to declare it unconstitutional.

Judicial activism is often associated with liberal causes, thanks in large part to a run of decisions in the 1960s and 1970s that struck down the custom of religious observances in public schools, expanded the rights of criminal defendants, and articulated a "right to privacy" that led circuitously to the famous 1973 decision that struck down state laws making abortion a crime. But judicial activism also has been used by the right, not only to strike down a number of New Deal programs in the 1930s, but in an earlier, appalling set of "freedom of contract" decisions that struck down a number of commercial regulations including child labor laws. More recently, conservative judges have articulated new doctrines on gun ownership rights (2008) and campaign finance regulation (2010) that reversed decades of federal and state laws.

The danger of judicial restraint is that it is too minimal, that it reduces the Constitution to use only in a few specifically-defined cases, such as the unlikely event that someone will pass an ex post facto law or a bill of attainder. The danger of judicial activism is that it turns the Constitution into the tool of whoever appointed the judges, with liberal judges using it to achieve liberal policy ends and to thwart conservative policies, and conservative judges doing the opposite. Too much of either threatens the Court's legitimacy and authority.

This controversy has been around awhile, as you can see. In October 1991, as the Senate debated President George H.W. Bush's nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, my college hosted P.N. Bhagwati, formerly the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India. (Justice Bhagwati, pictured at left in 2011 [swiped from firstpost.com], was personally acquainted with Dr. Ramakrishna Vaitheswaran, an economics professor at Coe.) Bhagwati related several instances of how "creative and imaginative judicial interpretation" of the Indian constitution had expanded human rights in that country. Later I asked him what would prevent later creative and imaginative judges from undoing human rights jurisprudence. He said nothing would, which is why the appointment process needs to take into account a person's judicial philosophy.
I recalled Bhagwati's talk this week as the Indian Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision from 2009 that had struck down the criminal law against homosexuality [See, for example, Gardiner Harris, "India's Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex," New York Times, 11 December 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/world/asia/court-restores-indias-ban-on-gay-sex.html?_r=0. The article also lists some recent, remarkable instances of Indian judicial activism]. The government, controlled by the BJP, is clearly hostile to gay rights, and Indian public opinion isn't particularly supportive. The lower court decision was activist, the Supreme Court decision restrained. India is not the United States, and the time may not be ripe for such a decision. Heck, it might not be ripe in America, either. But where minorities lack political power and public support, how else do their rights get protected?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Urban images from Arcadia

Arcadia cover
Arcadia is a recent novel by Lauren Groff (Voice, 2012). It is the story of Ridley "Bit" Stone, raised on a 1970s commune in upstate New York, and his life afterwards. It's an interesting psychological study, and her writing is justly praised for its lyrical qualities. Here are two short passages that bear on the urban project.

As an adult Bit gets a graduate degree and takes a job teaching photography at a university. Late one night, he walks through New York City, and stops at a diner:
He imagines snapping his fingers, making all the people in the diner stand, at once, and become their better selves. The woman with the cragged oak-bark face throws off her hood and shakes her hair and her age drops off of her like bandages. The man with a monk's tonsure, muttering to himself, leaps onto a table and strikes music from the air. Out of the bowels of the kitchen the weary cooks, small brown people, cartwheel and break-dance, spinning like upended beetles on the ground and their faces crack into glee and they are suddenly lovely to look at, and the dozen customers start up all at once into loud song, voice broken and beautiful. The song rises and infiltrates the city and wakes the inhabitants, one by one, from their own dark dreams, and all across the island, people sit up in bed and listen to it lap around them, an ocean of kindness, filling them, making them forget all the evil leaching out of the world for a very long moment, making them forget everything but the song. (p. 203)
Later he confronts his father, who is trying to build a new version of paradise in a Western wilderness area.
Abe, he says, it wasn't the country that was so beautiful about the whole Arcadian experiment, don't you see? It was the people, the interconnection, everyone relying on everyone else, the closeness. The villages are all dying now, small-town America is dying, and the only place where the same feeling exists now is here, in the city, millions of people all breathing the same air. This, here, now, is more utopia than utopia, more than your pretty little house out in the middle of the forest with only woodchucks for neighbors. Can't you see? All of we kids are here, almost all of the kids from Arcadia, are here in the city. We've gone urban because we're all looking for what we lost. This is the only place that approximates it. The closeness. The connection. Do you understand? It doesn't exist anymore anywhere else.  (p. 208)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gentrification in the Mission District

(mural in San Francisco's Mission District, swiped from nytimes.com)

One of the key principles of the new urbanism is neighborhood diversity, defined by Peter Calthorpe and William Fulton (The Regional City, 2001) as "mix[ing] different kinds of people and activities in close proximity and provid[ing] places for them to interact" (ch. 2). (Their other core principles are human scale and preservation.) Neighborhoods containing people of different races, social classes, occupations and sexual orientations have more vitality throughout the day, a greater sense of community, and more public involvement. Randolph T. Hester (Design for Ecological Democracy, 2006) urges designers to overcome "shortsighted interest-group divisions" so cities "can be formed as wholes rather than balkanized" (ch. 7). Balkanized, as opposed to diverse, neighborhoods lead to concentrations of poverty which are dangerous and constrict opportunity, and enclaves of the well-off which lead to social isolation and ecologically-damaging car dependency.

The goal for lower-income neighborhoods, such as Mound View, Wellington Heights and the Taylor Area in Cedar Rapids, not to mention downtown, ought to be what I call "gentle gentrification"--attract jobs and people of means to these areas without pushing out the people who already live there. Andres Duany and colleagues (Suburban Nation, 2000) cite some "time-tested" methods of diversifying upper-middle-class neighborhoods, including row housing, mixed-use buildings, granny flats and "location-efficient mortgages," while distributing public or affordable housing as sparsely as possible (ch. 3). Hester notes resistance to such integration, mostly but not entirely from the well-off, and urges planners to "arm the citizenry with an understanding of the critical importance that increased diversity plays in making human habitation resilient" (p. 199). Our fate is collective, suggest these writers, however much we might want to buy our way out of it.

Where gentrification has occurred, however, it has rarely been gentle. When well-off people rediscover an urban neighborhood, the influx tends to drive up housing prices such that it becomes no longer affordable for less well-off people to live there. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests that the classes mix uncomfortably, if indeed they do at all. The latest tales are from San Francisco, which seems to be the new Silicon valley. Well-paid employees of high-tech companies like Google and Twitter are moving into urban neighborhoods like the Mission District (Gonzales, Goode and Miller). Stories abound of residents impacted by the new arrivals, most touchingly a 97-year-old woman who received an eviction notice because the apartment building in which she lives is going to be converted into upscale condominiums. There are other complaints about the newly-arrived acting rudely, and rowdily disrupting the neighborhood's annual Dia de la Raza parade.

At its simplest level, what's happening in the Mission District is an illustration of how economic marketplaces work. In a free market, the price of any good reflects (1) how much demand there is for it and (2) how much of it is available. When demand for a good increases, as happens when a residential area becomes trendy, the price goes up to the point ("equilibrium price") where there are just enough willing buyers to purchase the available supply. Others who want the good but can't afford the new equilibrium price now find themselves "priced out" of the market, even if, as in some of the San Francisco cases, they've lived in the neighborhood for many years.

The San Francisco example is complicated by a number of factors that may not apply elsewhere.
  • Rental prices are controlled, though in California controls can be evaded if the property is removed from the rental market and offered for sale. 
  • The City of San Francisco is unusually crowded. 
  • One of the letter-writers to the print edition of the New York Times referred to a metropolitan growth boundary, which would have the effect of constraining supply of housing; according to the law of supply and demand that would put upward pressure on prices, not to mention limit options for people priced out of their old neighborhood. However, it's not clear to me how strong the growth boundary is. Calthorpe and Fulton, while advocating and defending steps taken by Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle (ch. 6), list San Francisco among those "superregions" struggling with regional issues (ch. 7; see also Hester ch. 9). There has been regional planning since the 1950s, they say, but it has been "ad hoc, decentralized and incremental."
  • Very few cities have to deal with a sudden influx of millionaires, while about 1600 San Franciscans entered that charmed circle when Twitter went public last month.

New urbanists argue that there are public interests in neighborhoods that are vibrant and diverse, not to mention relatively stable, and in restricting metropolitan sprawl, sufficient to justify some government policy action. University of Southern California Professor Kevin Starr notes about San Francisco, "There has to be some kind of public support to make sure you don’t just have a city of the very wealthy, but people to make the city run.... You can’t have a city of just rich people. A city needs restaurant workers, a city needs schoolteachers, a city needs taxi drivers” (quoted in Goode and Miller).

The experience of San Francisco and other cities raises disturbing questions of whether market forces, social forces, and unintended consequences of public policies conspire to make those goals unattainable. If that's so, the poor lose out no matter what's done.


Peter Calthorpe and William Fulton, The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl (Island, 2001)

Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream (North Point, 2000)
Richard Gonzales, "As Rent Soars, Longtime San Francisco Tenants Fight to Stay," npr.org, 3 December 2013, http://www.npr.org/2013/12/03/247531636/as-rent-soars-longtime-san-francisco-tenants-fight-to-stay

Erica Goode and Claire Cain Miller, "Backlash by the Bay: Tech Riches Alter a City," New York Times, 24 November 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/us/backlash-by-the-bay-tech-riches-alter-a-city.html

Randolph T. Hester, Design for Ecological Democracy (MIT Press, 2006)

Do bicycle boulevards need a purpose?

I was surprised last weekend to find the place where we were staying was on a bicycle boulevard. A bicycle boulevard is "a street ...