Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Big Predictions

The Friday Before Spring Break Is The Third Greatest Friday in the World

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* Whenever I heard a word like “neuromarketing,” I reach for my gun.

* Neoliberalism! Greece told to sell off islands and artworks.

* Is Obamacare now a favorite to pass? My sense for a while now has been that both mainstream pundits and bloggers are (for different reasons) deeply exaggerating the extent to which health care is embattled. With the Senate having already cleared the highest hurdle, there isn’t any reason not do the Senate bill + sidecar reconciliation, no matter what happened in Massachusetts or what might happen in November. And Pelosi’s a good Speaker; I’ve never really doubted she could get the votes on this when she needs them. I don’t know that Obama will still get the ten-point popularity bump I was expecting when health care finally passes—they really let Republicans and Firedoglake diehards brand reform negatively—but I think it’ll pass.

* Mesofacts: those facts you don’t keep up with precisely because their rate of change is neither so fast as to be important nor so slow as to be newsworthy. Examples include the current population of the Earth, the number of known extrasolar planets, and the current suckiness of Pittsburgh.

* Glenn Greenwald is on fire talking about neo-McCarthyism in the media this morning. He already said it once:

I’ve seen some attempts to criticize Holder based upon clients he has represented while in private practice, most notably his defense of Chiquita Brands in a criminal case brought by the DOJ arising out of Chiquita’s payments and other support to Colombian death squads. Attempts to criticize a lawyer for representing unsavory or even evil clients are inherently illegitimate and wrong — period. Anybody who believes in core liberties should want even the most culpable parties to have zealous representation before the Government can impose punishments or other sanctions. Lawyers who defend even the worst parties are performing a vital service for our justice system. Holder is no more tainted by his defense of Chiquita than lawyers who defend accused terrorists at Guantanamo are tainted by that. 

* Noah Baumbach to work again with Wes Anderson?

* Bull Durham sequel in the pipeline?

* And Funny or Die has an advocacy ad about financial reform reuniting the SNL presidential impersonators. (They got someone shockingly famous to replace Phil Hartman’s Reagan…)

The Suburbs

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The question is not, as Ryan Avent asks while guest-blogging for Ezra Klein, whether high-energy prices will destroy the suburbs. It seems clear that they will, at least to some extent, and more importantly it seems clear that these energy realities exist in a context with other, perhaps more immediate trends that point in the same general direction: America’s cities are on the mend, and it’s the suburbs that now face decline.

The important question, then, is not whether all this will happen but how suburban America will react to the fact of re-urbanification, which will have dire financial consequences for those who have concentrated the bulk of their wealth in the prices of their suburban homes. To the extent that middle- and upper-class people, especially young people, increasingly choose to live in cities, prices will rise there and fall in the suburbs, which over time will essentially wipe out those people whose suburban residence is also their primary or sole investment.

These people will have every financial incentive to fight to keep the suburban lifestyle intact, no matter what the cost in money, energy, or sprawl. And they’ll vote, demanding pro-suburban incentives and policy counter to every consideration of sustainability or good sense.

This will be not only a geographic fight but a class and intergenerational one as well, and if you’ll allow me to make a Big Prediction for a moment I fully expect this to be one of the more highly contested divides in American politics as we face the end of cheap energy and the accordant, dramatic weakening of our automobile-centric culture.

UPDATE: There’s more of this sort of speculation at Freakonomics, Political Animal, and Matt Yglesias.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 13, 2008 at 4:02 am