The Call Up

The best of the internet as curated by me. Put me in coach.

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June 24, 2012 9:56 am
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Of course, Chocolate Cities aren’t perfect. I do not accept responsibility for Mr. Thomas, who represented me on the City Council and went to jail for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from youth programs. He does not represent black people any more than the disgraced Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich represents white people.

But that’s what segregation does. It allows problems like corruption, dysfunction and poverty that are really historic, social and economic (and just plain old individual bad behavior) to be cast as a “black thing.” Segregated communities effectively quarantine all the American hurt, all the pain, all the history, and give it a “chocolate” label. Today, as the quality of life improves, there is a subtext to change, that in order to make progress, black people must be pushed out of the way.

"

This is a supremely well balanced piece.  The pace of change in DC is truly unparalleled—whole neighborhoods have essentially been overtaken by entirely new and oblivious demographic groups in under five years time. 

Here’s the thing, DC housing is in limited supply and the population is growing.  The people looking for a place to live aren’t interested in the color of the people they’re pushing out or the overall racial makeup of the city.  But the people getting pushed can’t help but notice that they’re overwhelming being displaced by white folks. 

So here’s the thing…is the problem that black people in this country don’t largely belong to the same economic class as white people and are therefore displaced by them, or that the prosperity that comes to a city comes at the expense of its black residents and in spite of them, rather than carrying them along?  Or both…

(Source: The New York Times)

May 7, 2012 10:57 pm
"We’re not ‘in it for the money’, we’re in it to do something really important. We’re a venture fund, and one way to measure this is financial success. Companies that are financially successful tend to be those that make the biggest impact."

Google Venture’s Bill Maris, on why our best and brightest go to Silicon Valley and not Washington, D.C. (via theatlantic)

Ok I have to call foul here. DC is losing the young idealism game because it’s not young and idealistic. It’s a cesspool of cynicism and maneuvering. If you can say anything about Silicon Valley, it’s chock full of idealism and positivity. I personally think the libertarian, world-changing Ayn Randism is a lot of ego stroking nonsense. It’s very self-serving to believe that the markets have greater capacity for societal improvement when those same endeavors are lining your pockets. These people do amazing and impressive things—that does not equate to doing good and important things necessarily. But that attitude is certainly a lot more attractive than what’s going around DC. And come on, the money helps.

(via theatlantic)

February 7, 2012 9:38 am

The design shows Eisenhower as a youth gazing out at images of his adult accomplishments against a  backdrop of the Kansas plains. But the Eisenhower family objects to the  design and is attempting to delay approval of the project in a dispute  that has pitted a leading American family against one of the country’s  most recognized architects. The family says Mr. Gehry should portray  Eisenhower as a man in the fullness of his achievements, not as a callow  rustic who made good.

Monument design is such tricky business.  Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial was hated at the outset.  Same with the WWII memorial.  Yet both are two of the most popular on the mall because people interact with the design and form personal connections.  And while I like the FDR memorial, I found it confusing — should I be observing this from a distance or getting involved with it?  Where does it start, how am I supposed to experience this?  The most successful monuments are ones which either bowl you over with grandeur (Lincoln, Jefferson) or bring the immense down to an individual scale to make it more personal (Vietnam, Korea, WWII sort of).  This design seems to be trying to walk the line…expanding the Ike legacy into a sprawling design, but bringing the humble alongside the grand.  I think the family has legitimate complaints — this doesn’t celebrate the legacy Ike probably wanted for himself as leader, soldier and hero. But it does celebrate a legacy people might connect with.  For a decorated general and president, you would imagine or more Lincoln-esque treatment, but it’s Ike…

The design shows Eisenhower as a youth gazing out at images of his adult accomplishments against a backdrop of the Kansas plains. But the Eisenhower family objects to the design and is attempting to delay approval of the project in a dispute that has pitted a leading American family against one of the country’s most recognized architects. The family says Mr. Gehry should portray Eisenhower as a man in the fullness of his achievements, not as a callow rustic who made good.

Monument design is such tricky business.  Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial was hated at the outset.  Same with the WWII memorial.  Yet both are two of the most popular on the mall because people interact with the design and form personal connections.  And while I like the FDR memorial, I found it confusing — should I be observing this from a distance or getting involved with it?  Where does it start, how am I supposed to experience this?  The most successful monuments are ones which either bowl you over with grandeur (Lincoln, Jefferson) or bring the immense down to an individual scale to make it more personal (Vietnam, Korea, WWII sort of).  This design seems to be trying to walk the line…expanding the Ike legacy into a sprawling design, but bringing the humble alongside the grand.  I think the family has legitimate complaints — this doesn’t celebrate the legacy Ike probably wanted for himself as leader, soldier and hero. But it does celebrate a legacy people might connect with.  For a decorated general and president, you would imagine or more Lincoln-esque treatment, but it’s Ike…

January 2, 2012 7:45 pm
"But things are different in Washington. It’s not that everybody you talk to is aggressively hostile to any idea that might faze their well-tendered lifestyles; they’d just rather not think about it. And there is no sense of life in the Underculture. On the national reality spectrum, Washington’s Doper/Left/Rock/Radical community is somewhere between Toledo and Biloxi. “Getting it on” in Washington means killing a pint of Four Roses and then arguing about Foreign Aid, over chicken wings, with somebody’s drunken Congressman."

My god this is scarily accurate. One insight about DC that is gained upon moving away is just exactly how buttoned up it is. And how little perspective there is. Alternative lifestyle in that town is working somewhere that doesn’t require a tie. HST has some of the best observational commentary on DC I’ve ever read.
September 9, 2011 11:21 am
"Washington, D.C., has always been two cities. Washington spills out of downtown Metro stations at 8 A.M.; D.C. huddles on crowded buses at 6 A.M. On Sundays, when Washington goes to brunch, D.C. is in church. Washington clinks glasses in bars like Local 16 in its leisure time, while D.C. sweats out its perm at dance clubs like Love or DC Star. Washington has health-insurance benefits, but D.C. is paying out of pocket. Washington just closed on a condo; D.C. is in foreclosure. Washington is making money. D.C. never recovered from the 2001 recession."

Perhaps oversimplified, but not without merit.

(Source: prospect.org)