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Chitown Kev

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Member since: Thu Aug 20, 2015, 08:59 PM
Number of posts: 2,197

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The Craving for Public Squares

This is a really good article in the NYRB.

The Craving for Public Squares
by Michael Kimmelman

The twenty-first century is the first urban century in human history, the first time more people on the planet live in cities than don’t. Experts project that some 75 percent of the booming global population will be city dwellers by 2050. Dozens of new cities are springing up in Asia, their growth hastened by political unrest, climate change, and mass relocation programs that have cleared vast swaths of the Chinese countryside. Much of the growth in countries like India and Bangladesh is chaotic and badly planned. In many growing cities across the Global South there are serious shortages of water, sanitation, and housing, along with increasing air pollution. The United States has some of the same problems on a smaller scale, while here urban development is also being stimulated by growing numbers of university graduates and empty-nesters who are rejuvenating downtowns and rejecting suburbia, the culture of commuting, sprawl, and the automobile.

Not that suburbs have stopped growing, but since the late 1990s, the share of automobiles driven by people in their twenties in America has fallen from 20.8 percent to 13.7 percent. The number of nineteen-year-olds opting out of driver’s licenses has tripled since the 1970s from 8 to 23 percent. Electric, self-driving vehicles may soon revolutionize transportation and urban land use. Meanwhile, deindustrialization, plummeting crime rates, and increasing populations of singles and complex, nontraditional families have reshaped many formerly desolate urban neighborhoods.

People are moving downtown for jobs, but also for the pleasures and benefits of cultural exchange, walkable streets, parks, and public squares. Squares have defined urban living since the dawn of democracy, from which they are inseparable. The public square has always been synonymous with a society that acknowledges public life and a life in public, which is to say a society distinguishing the individual from the state. There were, strictly speaking, no public squares in ancient Egypt or India or Mesopotamia. There were courts outside temples and royal houses, and some wide processional streets.

I especially love the historical overview of the concept of a "public square."

I also think that an article like this has some applicability for our "public squares" in cyberspace, as well.

Dear Sanders supporters

I am sick and tired of reading people who justify saying out-of-pocket stuff with the "you shouldn't be listening to what supporters say" excuse.

It's very weak tea.

At bottom, the very PRACTICE of politics is about communication and discussion in a community context.

The discussions we have here at DU (and other places) are every bit as valid a criterion as the discussion that take place in the agora, an inner circle of royal courtiers, or in a public square.

If many (I didn't say "most) of a particular candidates supporters says racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise inappropriate or stupid shit, chances are that it is less likely that I will support that candidate.

I'm not saying that's the ONLY factor, only that it might BE a factor.

There are an entire range of influence on a range of decisions that are made based on what someone else says or how they say it.

Political decisions are no different.

Evanston, Illinois and Cambridge, Massachusetts must have a LOT of low-information voters

Evanston, Illinois-
Hillary Clinton 13,147 votes
Bernie Sanders 10,977 votes


Cambridge, Massachusetts-

Hillary Clinton- 15,758 votes
Bernie Sanders- 13,689 votes


Maybe some of you can get these poor people the internet connections that they need to be adequately informed on things.

As long as the HORRIFIC Anita Alvarez lost the Cook County State's Atty. race tonight I'm satisfied

I was indifferent as to whether Hillary or Bernie won Illinois; having said that, congratulations to Hillary Clinton for winning the Land of Lincoln.

(FTR, I voted for Martin O'Malley)

Kim Foxx kicked Alvarez's ass even in the Cook County 'burbs...Foxx won by 18 points,


UPDATE: To put this in perspective

In Chicago, with ~98% of the vote in

Hillary Clinton has 359,877 votes.

Kim Foxx has 394,749 votes..

REMEMBER: ALL politics is local

Bernie attempting to tie Hillary Clinton to Rahm may...or may not work.

Remember that Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is ALSO on the ballot in Cook County.

It was Anita Alvarez that held off on prosecuting Jason van Dyke for the shooting of LaQuan McDonald.

It was Anita Alvarez that received that video two weeks after that shooting.

And it might be Anita Alvarez's name that makes Cook County voters think "Rahm Emanuel" and not Hillary Clinton's.

A gay man's view on Hillary's Nancy Reagan/AIDS comments


People say nice things about others at funerals.

Hillary's Clinton's comments about Nancy Reagan and AIDS today were ill-advised, tone-deaf, and stupid.

That's not to say Nancy Reagan's son, Ron Jr. is lying about the "quiet" (and very late in the game) advocacy that his mother may have done, but if that is the case, you sure need to be very very specific about that.

And why even mention it, Hillary? Nancy Reagan activism in stem cell research and her Just say No campaign (however it is that you feel about the WOD)is well known.

Opening up this wound about the Reagan's and AIDS was just stupid on Hilary's part.

No need to even go there.

Well Sanders supporters...name one wrong vote or policy that Sanders ever made or had?

Just one.

Does anyone else get as tired of Hillary Clinton's "black church" photo ops as I do?

I mean, I get it in that black church folks do vote...

But so do some of us non-churched heathen black folks like myself.

I mean, I have my own issues with the church, and that probably colors my view of this a bit..

But damn, sometimes I think that Hillary is ready speak in tongues and do the Holy Dance at any given moment.

NOTE: Some of the people that have already recced this post (5:52pm)...I see you and I don't want to play your game. That's why I posted this specific question in the AA Group.

UPDATE: Just wanted to say thank you to the AAGroup for allowing me to "let my hair down" a bit on this topic (the joke there being, of course, that I have no hair!).

I do appreciate BOTH the feedback and the criticisms.

Why isn't Bernie Sanders' economic message resonating in Michigan?

Here's an interesting read this morning.


Susan J. Demas
Why isn't Bernie Sanders' economic message resonating in Michigan?

His economic message should be a slam dunk in our Rust Belt state. Sanders inveighs until he’s hoarse against free trade agreements like NAFTA, Wall Street robber barons and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Sanders is playing to folks who have suffered through a decade-long recession and watched helplessly as thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas.

If the Vermont U.S. senator was going to win a big state, you'd think Michigan would be it.

But he’s still lagging well behind Hillary Clinton in polling averages. And it's not because Sanders has conceded Michigan. He's held a series of jam-backed, boisterous rallies and has blanketed the airwaves with ads.

Part of Sanders' problem is obvious: Clinton is a stronger candidate with deeper ties to the state. Her endorsement list is just about a mile long. I'm not a big believer that endorsements matter much, but it's worth noting when one candidate so thoroughly dominates the game. This belies the intense loyalty a lot of Michigan Democrats have to the Clintons –– relationships they've nurtured over several decades.

Contrast that to Sanders, who can boast of the quasi-blessing of eccentric Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Don Riegle, best known for being a member of the Keating Five.

I'm not aware that Sanders has spent much time in Michigan over the years, and apparently, his staffers haven't either. That was underscored by the campaign's recent announcement for a rally in "Anne Arbor." If you can't get the spelling right for the most liberal city in Michigan that's teeming with college students –– i.e. your base –– it's a pretty bad look for your candidate.

Sanders will probably continue to do well with young voters on Tuesday. But the question is: How many in this historically unreliable demographic will show up? It's also worth noting that Michigan has voter restrictions that hit college students particularly hard.

Sanders also can't seem to break through with African-Americans, who could be 30 percent of the state's Democratic primary electorate. Clinton is winning 70 to 80 percent of these voters in polls.

She was first out of the gate on the Flint water crisis, and her passion is appreciated by voters (who don't give a fig about Republicans whining that she's "politicizing" the situation). It's not that Sanders is ignoring Flint. He held a somber event there and has repeatedly demanded for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder to resign.

But Clinton is a known quantity. She's trusted. She wins on the electability question, especially with Democrats nervous about the unpredictability Donald Trump would bring as the GOP nominee and the specter of Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat remaining unfilled until 2017.

And Sanders has misstepped with stunts like tweeting out pictures of abandoned Detroit buildings with the caption: "The people of Detroit know the real cost of Hillary Clinton's free trade policies." Now there are myriad reasons for Detroit's blight problem, which started long before Clinton was running for president (or her husband). Democratic voters are smart enough to know that. That's why there's been a strong backlash.

Sanders may turn out be his own worst enemy. Rank-and-file Democrats in Michigan love his economic message –– especially union members. But time and time again, I've heard voters complain that they feel like the senator is yelling at them and hectoring them.

FYI- How Bernie Sanders (and future candidates) can better connect with black voters

Earlier today, my friend (and DK/Black Koseditor, actually) dopper0189 published a valuable piece essay titled "Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them)"

Earlier, I posted an OP in GD related to very general information on why black voters tend to vote the way that they do.

For the purposes of this forum, I will post the section of dopper's essay that specifically pertains to dopper's observations as to why Bernie Sanders continues to have trouble with the black vote.

Take it, leave it, cuss dopper0189 out, cuss me out for posting here, I'm simply passing it along.


So now on to the hot topic right now. Why isn’t Sanders message resonating with black voters? It’s not a lack of knowledge of him. If a message starts to resonate, people start to research the messenger AND spread that message, that creates a positive feedback loop. 24% of Twitter users are black, and Twitter if it’s anything is a viral message machine. The very fact black voters don’t know a lot about him AND aren’t trying to learn about him is an issue in of itself. The main reason Sanders message hasn’t resonated is, in my opinion, a communication problem. The candidate and the campaign’s answers to points that black voters raise about aren’t being answered correctly. Even worse the campaign and surrogates are often doing more damage than good with bad communication. What do I mean by not adequately addressing the questions being asked?

A) Why do black voters show more trust in Hillary than in Sanders? Is it because “Sanders comes from a very white state”?

This one issue is the most misunderstood by Sanders supporters. The TRUST issue isn’t that black voters think he is a liar, or won’t try to do what he says, it’s more a question of how he is going to face down the Tea Party Neanderthals? Blacks are expressing worries that he comes from a state that is both very progressive and very white. The majority of POC still live in redstates (55% of blacks live in the South and by the way ~50% of Latinos live in red states like Texas and AZ or purple ones like FL, CO etc.) so there is a fear that he hasn’t had to face down truly hardcore Tea Party Confederate loving conservative bigots. The feeling is that there aren’t many of them in Vermont, progressive white Vermont.

So even if many black voters thought Sanders’ policies are better, they haven’t been sold on how his “political revolution” is going to materialize. Obama won big in 2008 and he was obstructed mercilessly. There is a general feeling that it’s easy being a liberal in Vermont but arguing for those issue in the South (as well as the rest of the country) is very different where race colors every political discussion. The infamous John Lewis statement was aimed at the feeling that Sanders unlike the Clintons weren’t fighting the voting/Civil Rights battles in the South. Hillary registered Latino voters in Texas, she fought for blacks registering in Arkansas, and her and Bill both worked in Georgia. Bernie Sanders largely fought these Civil Rights battles in NYC and Chicago. Now it’s great to point out Sanders did fight those battles, and yes everyone is thankful he did it. But constantly raising that he did isn’t really doesn’t address the core of the misgivings, “how’s he going to fight these battle in the South?” is the question being asked. Many Sanders supporters are answering the direct question, and missing the fears behind the question. These supporters then feel frustrated that Sanders Civil Rights record is getting discounted. Its the wrong answer to the question.

If I was Sanders I would start talking about a return to the 50 state policy. But most importantly I would add in that I would personally make sure that I (Sanders) would personally work hard to make sure POC are part of that policy. Explicitly state that I want them part of my revolution. That would in my opinion be a more effective tactic. Yes, stop assuming that people will just invite themselves to “your” party, because it’s not working. Promise to get the party to find and nurture AND support more POC progressive to win in state capitals and in statewide races.

Battling over who did what in 1960 is beside the point, and it does NOTHING to actually address the trust issue.

B) Sanders’ campaign has done a poorer job selling how his policies will address the specific needs of black communities.

Let’s look at Sanders infrastructure plans...

Sanders talk a lot about infrastructure but he is ignoring the biggest infrastructure need in most black communities. This is the need to remove abandoned housing and buildings. One abandoned house lowers the value of the other houses in the neighborhood by 10%, 2-3 and the values drop by 25%. Black working class neighborhoods and to a frightening degree middles class neighborhoods have inordinate numbers of abandoned houses, this has helped stunt the housing recover there. These empty houses breed crime (mostly drugs and prostitution) and are a major issue in most black neighborhoods. Cities don’t have the money to removed most of them, and the GOP run states won’t help. You want “shovel ready project?” focus on this issue. Sanders has credibility on infrastructure issues. This issue of abandoned building predates the housing crash and continues to be a key driver of the racial wealth gap. Why hasn’t Sanders focused on this issue? With his general talk of infrastructure spending, Black middle class voters just don’t see his spending plans as having direct benefit to them. Yes indirectly black working class voters see it as providing jobs, but many black voters think the majority of money “will be going to big construction corporations” (and that doesn’t mean us). So why doesn’t the Sanders’ campaign sell directly the benefits of something like removing housing?

Let’s look at Sanders college tuition plans...

Bernie talks a lot about making college education affordable, very little about strengthening HBCUs. Making a college education free doesn’t address the quality of schools. Public schools are free, and many inner city schools are bad.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. Hillary has been all over this issue for a reason. When people talk about reparations, people imagine black voters wanting direct cash payments from the government. In fact most realist black voters are thinking of redressing tangible injustices like this. Jim Crow governments intentionally underfunding these schools means they have far smaller endowments (and poorer alumni networks) than comparable schools. There is a reason only 6 of these 105 schools engage in major R&D (also cutting down on the number of black entrepreneurs). If I was advising Sanders I would have him take a look at this.

Let’s look at Sanders college tuition plans...

Bernie talks a lot about making college education affordable, very little about strengthening HBCUs. Making a college education free doesn’t address the quality of schools. Public schools are free, and many inner city schools are bad.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. Hillary has been all over this issue for a reason. When people talk about reparations, people imagine black voters wanting direct cash payments from the government. In fact most realist black voters are thinking of redressing tangible injustices like this. Jim Crow governments intentionally underfunding these schools means they have far smaller endowments (and poorer alumni networks) than comparable schools. There is a reason only 6 of these 105 schools engage in major R&D (also cutting down on the number of black entrepreneurs). If I was advising Sanders I would have him take a look at this.

So what would be my overall advice to Sanders?

Sanders should more specific on how your plans can directly address the specific concerns of black communities. Black voters have often felt that large programs billed as “universal” have often overlooked their own communities. Being too broad is seen as ignoring them. So tailor your message and your programs to specific issues within the black community. Talk about removing abandoned houses, helping to adequately fund HBCUs, enforce stronger regulations against banks charging higher rates to buy homes in minority neighborhoods, etc. These issues are all in Sanders’ “wheelhouse”. He could and should speak to them with conviction, purpose, and authenticity. Sanders should change tactics on how to do events in black neighborhoods. Sanders normally does large energetic rallies, to do well in black neighborhoods he needs to do more small listening tours. There are hundreds of Tweets and post showing Sanders holding rallies on historically majority black universities and churches where the vast majority of the audience is white. This is a bad graphic. These images feeds a feeling that even when Sanders comes to black neighborhoods he isn’t coming to address black voters and their specific needs. Sanders needs to hold much small events, speaking to small groups of black voters. Making them invitation only events if necessary (you can still have the larger rallies later that day). Make sure that these as billed as listening events. Make these not the rallies, your top event of the day. Yes, I’m sure Sanders has done some of these, but he needs to do a lot more, and make them more visible. He also needs to be seen as doing more listening and less talking. When you haven’t built up strong relationships, speaking too much comes across as “preaching” not learning.

Sanders also needs understand that while the Black Live Matter movement is a very important issue to black voters but it’s still just A single (very important) issue. #BLM activist are an important part of his “revolution brand” but having them on board, shouldn’t be confused with him doing black outreach. It should be noted some activist like Cornel West actually hurt him with a majority of black voters (especially active black Democrats) with his attacks on Obama. Obama is the THE most popular political figure with black voters, and especially with black Democratic primary voters. Sanders needs to figure out a better role for Mr. West if he wants to win over black Democratic primary voters.

Finally I want to speak directly to Sanders online supporters. There is no polite way of saying this, stop with the skewing of polling data. It’s one thing to advocate for your candidate, it’s another to try and fire up your supporters; but by misleading people into think there isn’t a messaging and communication issue with the Sanders campaign and black America directly hurts his campaign. It clearly wasn’t a “they don’t know him” or we’re “winning younger African American voters” from the data. When you don’t acknowledge you have a problem you can’t work to solve it. Furthermore when voters are expressing misgivings, and you don’t address them there is a negative reaction. Campaigns are about advocating for your candidate to voters. When a campaign has a communication issue a good advocate works to bridge that gap, not pretend it doesn’t exist.

As I have written for some time Sanders is a great candidate, with great ideas, but hampered with a bad campaign strategy to reach black voters. Fixing that gap in his campaign is the difference between competing for the nomination and coming in a strong but distant second.

That’s my two cents on the subject.

You can surf on over to the above link and read dopper0189's entire post and his suggestions.

I'm just a messenger here.

Thank you.

FYI: I was aware that Senator Sanders does have a specific financial plan for HBCU's. I will link to Sanders' specific plan in a few minutes.

I will also add formatting (bolding, links, etc.) as needed.

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