Which is counter productive. Here’s the op-ed I had in this morning’s New York Daily News.
An interesting new book arrived on my desk: “Roads Were Not Built For Cars”, published by Island Press and authored by Carlton Reid. He details the history which I have known in general terms, which is that the early roads in the late 19th century were built primarily for and because of the lobbying efforts of bicyclists, which had grown dramatically in number and influence in that era. The book is a comeback to those who say that roads were made for cars, and that cyclists and pedestrians should depart from them.
Great story this morning by my old colleague Denise Watson, in The Virginian-Pilot, where I used to be a staff writer. It was about what the story says is the oldest “British built brick building” in the new world, Bacon’s Castle in Virginia, not too far from where I grew up. It’s celebrating its 350th anniversary. The “castle” was named for Nathaniel Bacon, who didn’t own it or build it, but briefly took it over when he and a bunch of other malcontents, including indentured servants and slaves of various colors, took it over in the late 1600s.
When I was a reporter at The Virginian-Pilot, I frequently noticed that people are really thin-skinned about anything written about a friend or relative, particularly one who has departed. Of course, this is normal but people seemed inordinately thin-skinned.
I seem to be rare – famous last words – in realizing that a story written about someone is not that person, and can never be. At best, it’s a tiny sliver of the reality of someone.
I was quoted and written about a lot during our unsuccessful Brooklyn Cohousing venture. In general, I was far more accepting of the stories that came out than many of the other members. Here is one among many. The exception or two were those that seemed mean-spirited, but those were rare.
This is great news. Perhaps the corporate titans really can be challenged – and successfully. Perhaps the people and the politicians really can work together for the broad public interest.
The steps in that direction is President Barack Obama coming out yesterday in favor of publicly-owned fiber networks for broadband and other services. He spoke at Cedar Falls, Iowa within the headquarters of the town’s public utility, which gives its residents a gigabyte a second cheap. Here’s a story about it: http://www.kcrg.com/subject/news/president-barack-obama-pushing-expanded-broadband-in-cedar-falls-today-20150114
My main emotion when I read Pamela Druckerman is envy, because she is saying things, good things, that I have been saying and sometimes writing about, for years. Yet she is a New York Times columnist! And I’m not. Get over it, Alex. We can’t all be Times columnists. Good for her.
My envy bone was struck this week with her column about becoming a French citizen, and what that entails. She notes, with apparent surprise, that being French has always meant learning or adopting a set of common practices and cultural knowledge, from how you hold a fork, to poems you cite.
If you’re in the New York area and a fan of bridges, great journalism and interesting discussion, come see me converse with the masterful Gay Talese, about the 50th anniversary re-publication of his classic, The Bridge, about the construction of the Verrazano. It’s Monday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 pm, in Greenwich Village. Click here for info.
Okay, check out this quote about economics. Then guess who wrote it and when.
“It simply made no sense to us. There were no immutable ‘laws’ – or damned few – about it. Economics was not a ‘science’ at all; it was fruitless to treat it as such, and to study it as a special, exclusive field. It was all mixed up with politics, with sociology, with geography and a good many other things. Clearly the ‘economic laws’ of competition were a fantastic delusion, merely an elaborate effort to justify things as they were by the invention of supposedly unchangeable forces which men mustn’t attempt to interfere with. It seemed to us as much of a hoax as the medieval scholars’ explanation of kingly authority as something derived from God. The system did not work, and if it did not work in America it certainly would not work anywhere.”
Looking over the slide show here in this morning’s New York Times, I was struck by how similar the aesthetic was to the Greentree estate of the Whitney family on Long Island. I had the good fortune to spend a few days there earlier this year, and I wrote about it for a column here in Governing. Of course, there are reasons not to be surprised about the similarities of the two estates. Both the Mellons and the Whitneys were/are extremely wealthy families that loved the rural life and were really into horses. They must have known each other. Were they friends or enemies?
I used to cover former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, and I didn’t think he would ever corrupt himself for money. A jury thought differently last week. Here’s my memories and views of him in this Governing column.