Words on the Street

“Words on the Street” highlights the best New Urbs content we’ve encountered this week:

Penn Station, Reborn? | Catesby Leigh, City Journal

A decision to rebuild McKim’s station makes excellent sense on its own terms, but it also would provide the visionary, symbolic impetus that Gateway needs. Like Dresden’s glorious Frauenkirche, the faithful reconstruction of which was completed 60 years after the building’s destruction by Allied bombs, the old Penn Station was not architecture “of its time” but architecture for all time.

How Pittsburgh Can Take the Next Step | Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If one really wanted to bring this whole area to life in terms of transportation, instead of trying to keep Pittsburgh airport alive in the face of the whims of America’s fickle airline industry, thought should be given to building a new airport, midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, accessed by very-high-speed rail from both cities, with future options to link the new facility with Akron, Canton, Erie, Toledo and Youngstown, also by high-speed rail. Does anyone actually believe that the old Rust Belt cities benefit from parochialism? Where is the long-term regional planning? It certainly isn’t in Harrisburg or Columbus.

Why the High Cost of Big-City Living Is Bad for Everyone | Mark Gimein, New Yorker

New York, San Francisco, Washington, Miami: these have become international centers of commerce, issuing an ever louder siren call to the global élite. … The price of the creation of these imperial cities is that they actually provide decreasing opportunities for many of those who already live in them, or for those who move to them and are not already armed with resources, status, and education. Everyone living in New York or San Francisco understands the general contours of this. Artists get pushed out of the center, the middle class gets pushed into the suburbs, and bus riders are asked to make way (literally) for tech workers.

Vladimir Putin’s Walkable Streets | Maria Antonova, Foreign Policy

Almost all of central Moscow has spent the summer enveloped in green construction gauze as workers in orange jackets labor around the clock, digging trenches along historic avenues and sawing granite chunks, sending up clouds of dust. … Moscow architect Eugene Asse said the project to make the city walkable has been well-intentioned but poorly executed. “The city must be freed of cars in its historic center and create more democratic spaces for pedestrians,” he said. At the same time, the street revamp is a “rather monstrous operation with no anesthesia,” he added. “These projects were not discussed with anyone.”

How Big Can China’s Cities Get? | Adam Minter, Bloomberg View

“Adding more density to the cities won’t work anymore,” says Alain Bertaud, a senior research scholar at New York University who has consulted in China for decades. The problem, he says, is that those cities are increasingly fragmented. Housing in Shanghai and Beijing has become so expensive that non-wealthy residents have been pushed to the furthest reaches of the suburbs, where commuters often face extended waits just to …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Buycott over boycott: Let’s put our faith — and funds — in biblical truth

I have nothing against boycotts, and would never dissuade individuals from deploying them — it’s a free country after all. But sometimes our boycotts generate publicity and promote the very things we disagree with. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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What The Hell Is Wrong With The National Media?


Reader James C. writes from Europe:

Can’t believe the media silence on this story. Look at the screenshot of CNN’s home page. Not a single mention of the flood anywhere. We’re it not for your blog, I wouldn’t have known about it.

I checked the page just now on my smartphone, and the Louisiana flooding story is the 16th story on the page. You have to scroll way down to see it, and it’s below an underwear ad.

The sheriff of Livingston Parish is saying that over 100,000 people in his parish alone lost everything they own. But hey, on CNN, Adele’s not Beyoncé, a sportscaster is on TV in his drawers, and Donald Trump is hearing things. Haw haw!

It’s not just them. On the CBS News webpage as I type this, the lead story is the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Muslims in Queens. If you want to find out the latest in what is shaping up to be one of the nation’s worst-ever natural disasters, you have to scroll way down, past several Olympics stories (including an explainer of why the water in Rio pools turned green), a piece on Hillary’s promise to love Scranton, a piece about a California fire that destroyed 175 structures and left “dozens of families homeless,” and a piece about a New York woman who says her head felt like it was going to explode when she was struck by lightning.

Look, nothing against the lighting-strike lady or those dozens of California families who are without homes tonight. But guess what, CBS? In Ascension Parish, just south of Baton Rouge, 15,000 homes and business are underwater! That’s about 1/3 of all homes in a parish whose population is roughly 120,000 people. In Livingston Parish, 50,000 homes are flooded out — that’s 70 percent of all the houses in the parish.

Those are just two parishes. So many here in south Louisiana are in the same shape. And it’s continuing.

But hey, CBS, don’t let what’s happening to hundreds of thousands of coonasses and rednecks and black folks here in flyover territory take your eye off of green swimming pools in Rio, two murders in Queens, and 175 buildings in California (question: why are 175 destroyed California homes more important to CBS News than what will easily be more than 100,000 homes in south Louisiana?). Same with you, CNN. Same with so many of you people in the national media.

Honest to God, what is wrong with you media people? I know, everybody thinks what’s happening in their part of the world is the most important thing ever. I get that. But come on, these floods are of national historical importance in the United States of America. And you national media people may find this hard to believe, but south Louisiana is as much a part of America as is Queens, northern California, and Pennsylvania. We’re not friggin’ Bangladesh.

Please insult us, Donald Trump. That’s the only way to get the national media to notice …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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A Clinton Win Means An Expanded War in Syria

Kelley Vlahos reminds us why Clinton is likely to be very hawkish as president:

But every message coming from her surrogates in the media and in the Washington defense establishment has been that she will “lean in” harder in Syria, and whether you want to call it “added ground troops” or something else, everyone in her orbit is calling for expanded U.S. intervention—including personnel and firepower—in the region, even at the risk of confrontation with Russia.

We have good reason to believe this because Clinton and her supporters repeatedly keep saying that this is the kind of foreign policy her administration will have. Clinton has made no secret of her support for “no-fly” and safe zones in Syria, and she has chosen a running mate who shares her views on these issues. While Democrats overall might be divided on Syria policy, the Democratic ticket is not: both nominees favor a more aggressive, militarized U.S. role in the Syrian conflict. That is the policy a Clinton administration is very likely to start implementing next year if, as seems likely, she prevails in the fall. A vote for Clinton is almost certainly a vote for an expanded war in Syria, and the public needs to understand that this is what we will get by entrusting her with the presidency.

Clinton is one of the few candidates in the last century to campaign explicitly on a very hawkish platform while still being favored to win the general election. Even Lyndon Johnson, the last Democratic nominee with foreign policy instincts as aggressive as Clinton’s, knew he needed to portray his opponent as a dangerous warmonger while presenting himself as the responsible alternative. By contrast, Clinton has done almost nothing to allay concerns that she is too ready to resort to using force, because she sees no need to do so. She attacks Trump for being ignorant and irresponsible, but she can’t credibly paint him as more likely to get the U.S. into a war when that is precisely what she has done and is ready to do again. She is also so confident of victory in November that she doesn’t think she has to make any concession to her critics on the left. She is winning the support of many prominent Republicans because they have confidence in her desire to exercise American “leadership” by bombing other countries and otherwise meddling in their affairs, and their confidence is not misplaced.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative


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The Real Existential Threats of 2016

On September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.

With spending on the four biggest budget items—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense—rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion.

National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico, and Illinois.

Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.

Ernest Hemingway reminded us of how nations escape quagmires of debt: “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

“Debauching the currency,” Lenin’s depiction, is the way we will probably destroy the debt monster.

Hemingway’s second option, war, appears to be the preferred option of the war chiefs of the Beltway’s think-tank archipelago, who see in any Putin move in the Baltic or Black Sea casus belli.

What our Cold War leaders kept ever in mind, and our War Party scribblers never learned, is the lesson British historian A.J.P. Taylor discovered from studying the Thirty Years War of 1914–1945:

“Though the object of being a Great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one.”

Another existential threat, if Western man still sees himself as the custodian of the world’s greatest civilization, and one yet worth preserving, is the Third-Worldization of the West.

The threat emanates from two factors: The demographic death of the native-born of all Western nations by century’s end, given their fertility rates, and the seemingly endless invasion of the West from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Concerning the demographic decline and displacement of Western man by peoples of other creeds, cultures, countries, continents, and civilizations, there is an ideological clash within the West.

Some among our elites are rhapsodic at the change. Worshiping at the altars of diversity and equality, they see acquiescing in the invasion of their own countries as a mark of moral superiority.

Angela Merkel speaks for them, or did, up to a while ago.

To those who believe diversity—racial, ethnic, religious, cultural—is to be cherished and embraced, resistance to demographic change in the West is seen as a mark of moral retardation.

Opponents of immigration are hence subjects of abuse—labeled “racists,” “xenophobes,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” and other terms of odium in the rich vocabulary of Progressive hatred.

Yet, opposition to the invasion from across the Med and the Rio Grande is not only propelling the Trump movement but generating rightist parties and movements across the Old Continent.

It is hard to see how this crisis resolves itself peacefully.

For the hundreds of millions living in Third World tyranny and misery are growing, as is their willingness to risk their lives to reach Europe. And national resistance is not going to dissipate as the illegal immigrants and refugees come …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Louisiana 1927 2016


I’m not sure where that map came from, and if any of you know, please tell me so I can credit the source. It appeared on Facebook tonight. It shows the flooded parts of the City of Baton Rouge. Please understand that this is only Baton Rouge. The flooding is much more widespread than you see here. For example, 90 percent of the city of Denham Springs, pop. 10,148, just to our east, is underwater. To give you a scale of what this means for Louisiana’s capital city, in normal times, there is almost no blue on the image above.

Fortunately for me and my family, we are living on one of the “islands” on the map, nowhere near the water. We are not threatened. But none of it is very far away, and everybody knows somebody who has lost their house.

East Baton Rouge public schools are closed until further notice. Students had only been back in school for a week or so, but still, all the public schools in a city of 230,000 are closed indefinitely because of the flooding. I was talking today with a journalist friend from a national media source who is in the city to cover the flooding. She was speculating on the catastrophic economic impact this is going to have on Louisiana, a state that’s already poor, and whose state government is struggling with an enormous budget deficit.

My friend and former Dallas Morning News colleague Jacquielynn Floyd wants to know why the national media have been so slow to notice the magnitude of what’s been happening down here. Excerpt:

“I think it’s been a kind of ‘Hey, what about us?’ moment,” said David Wyld, a management professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. David and his wife, both Dallas-area natives, said their home in Hammond – about a half-hour east of Baton Rouge – is safe, but they’re shocked by the gravity of the crisis.

“It’s continuing to be a kind of rolling tragedy,” he said. “This has really been surreal.”

Wyld, who takes a thoughtful view of how public attention and popular media function and intersect, said he believes it was sheer bad luck that the disaster – an unprecedented rain deluge and fast-rising flood waters – struck late last week. A lot of us were distracted by the bizarre presidential campaign, and by the Olympic games, he said.

And then, he observed shrewdly, there’s the fact that this is a Storm With No Name.
“It’s not Katrina. It’s not a tropical storm; it doesn’t have a name,” he said. It’s just water – rising, spreading, devastating, stranding cars, homes, communities.

As some of you readers commented to me over the weekend, if not for this blog, you would have had no idea this was happening. A Facebook friend of mine here writes:

I’ve heard that the national media isn’t doing a very good job of getting across exactly how devastated Louisiana is right now.

Listen, we know floods. We are very familiar with water and storms. We’re not faint of heart, and …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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RIP My Faithful MacBook Air

Photo by Rod Dreher

Photo by Rod Dreher

Well, the Apple store is closed until Thursday, at least, so no Genius Bar appointment to save the lost stuff on my hard drive, which is in a coma, and to replace my MacBook Air. I hate to think of spending the money for a new MacBook Air, but I’m not going to think about going with anything else. I love the machine, and it has given me faithful service.

I bought it in the spring of 2011. In the five years I’ve used it, nearly every word you have read on my TAC blog was written on this machine. I wrote The Little Way of Ruthie Leming on it, and How Dante Can Save Your Life. I wrote the manuscript of The Wind In The Reeds, Wendell Pierce’s memoir, on which I was the collaborator, on the MacBook Air, and pages and pages of audio transcriptions of lengthy interviews with Wendell for the book. And I wrote almost all of The Benedict Option on the book, and was at the very end of the new and final chapter when it gave up the ghost.

That’s a lot of writing. I suppose I don’t have any right to feel hard towards the little thing for dying on me at the worst possible moment. Look at that snapshot of its keyboard.

Goodbye, little MacBook Air. You were a good friend, and traveled far with me.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative


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When did rioting become a legitimate response for grievance?

So, as we allow our elites to elevate the idea that dispute resolution cannot be expected of “certain” people, and that violence in all shapes is simply a just response to an unjust world – then we will rely more and more on quick, extreme rejoinders to all grievance. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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Karl Rove: A week of muddled messages and a refusal to change

Trump began Monday with an economic speech in Detroit, delivered from a teleprompter. Generally well received, he offered an outline of his jobs agenda and showed uncharacteristic poise when interrupted by protesters. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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‘The Administration Must Stop Enabling This Madness’ in Yemen

There aren’t many members of Congress that criticize the Obama administration’s support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, but Rep. Ted Lieu has been one of the few to do so consistently over the last year. He issued a statement in response to the report of the bombing of the school in Haydan over the weekend. Lieu is calling on the U.S. to halt its assistance to the coalition:

A Democratic lawmaker called on the Obama administration to cut off assistance to Saudi Arabia amid the country’s ongoing bombing campaign in Yemen, saying “the United States is aiding and abetting what appears to be war crimes.”

He went on to say that “[t]he Administration must stop enabling this madness now.” I commend Rep. Lieu for this and his past efforts to pressure the administration over its support for the war. The war has received virtually no attention in Congress, and U.S. policy has received even less criticism, so Lieu is doing a real service in continuing to object to our involvement in this disgrace.

Following the bombing of the school in Haydan, a nearby MSF-supported hospital was struck by another coalition airstrike:

A Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a hospital in Yemen’s northern Hajja province on Monday, residents and local officials said, killing at least seven people and wounding 13.

A Reuters witness at the scene of the attack in the Abs district said medics could not immediately evacuate the wounded because war planes continued to fly over the area and first responders feared more bombings.

This is the fourth MSF-supported hospital that the coalition has bombed in the last year, and it just one of the many medical facilities that coalition planes have attacked. Medical facilities are obviously protected under international law, and the Saudis and their allies have been disregarding these protections routinely. When they are forced to account for their repeated bombings of hospitals and other civilian targets, the coalition response has always been to blame the victims of the attacks, but more often they simply deny all responsibility for the results of their bombing campaign.

The campaign has other longer-lasting, more insidious consequences as well. The use of cluster munitions by the coalition is doubly dangerous to the civilian population. They are inherently indiscriminate weapons that are more likely to kill noncombatants, and they also leave behind unexploded bombs that maim and kill unwitting civilians, often children, who don’t recognize them as a threat. The AP recently reported on one such instance:

Screams rang out through the hilltop village outside Yemen’s capital after 10-year-old Youssef al-Salmi set off a bomb he had found in a field, perhaps thinking it was a toy.

He became the latest of several Yemeni civilians to be killed by unexploded ordnance from the country’s ongoing civil war, which pits Saudi and U.S.-backed government forces against Shiite Houthi rebels.

Leftover parts of cluster bombs are just one of the many poisonous legacies of this war, and they underscore why most states around the world have banned the …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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