Today’s Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks

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All the talking heads scrutinizing the whole wikileaks “scandal” are, to me, missing the point, as well as an incredible opportunity. What’s my naive, idealistic solution? Don’t say anything behind closed doors you aren’t willing to say in public, and be willing to say in public whatever you might say behind closed doors. Are honesty & integrity and diplomacy really so mutually exclusive? Rather than glad-handing in public and defaming in private, why couldn’t diplomats respectfully express their concerns in equal terms to all concerned parties?

Barack Obama calling David Cameron a “lightweight” achieves nothing. If President Obama has concerns about Mr. Cameron’s fortitude, why couldn’t he express them to the man, in person, respectfully? Apparently, referring to Iran, “King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly beseeched visiting American officials to ‘cut off the head of the snake!'” Such wanton hyperbole has no place in positions of leadership, regardless of how passionate an individual’s opinions might be.

The biggest failure here, to me, is the seeming inability of world leaders to recognize that in a world of truly pervasive globalism—a world in which industry in China can melt glaciers in Greenland and flood islands in the South Pacific—we are all on the same team. Aren’t nationalistic paradigms focused on borders and competition instead of interconnectedness and collaboration doing more harm than good at this stage of the game?

Returning to my original point, my moment of idealistic naivete, why are people in the mold, to varying degrees, of Gandhi, or Lou Gehrig (or even of many of the characters of Gary Cooper, who famously portrayed Gehrig), of those who consider honesty a requirement not subject to convenience, dismissed as quaint? Why can’t Mr. Smith go to Washington once again?

Posted in Culture, How We Live, How We Think, Josh Grigsby, policy, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ending the War on Drugs

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Watching the news this morning I caught a short segment on a Mexican drug cartel hitman recently nabbed by police while trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border. After admitting to having already murdered four people, he admitted to being only fourteen years old. Yikes. A graphic then came onscreen declaring that 28,000 people have died during the Mexican drug wars of the past three years.

So. I did a little googling about how to end the drug war and came across article after article (including this pretty good one from Esquire) advocating total legalization, accompanied, of course, by regulation. I know legalization isn’t exactly a new thought, but as these wars continue and people die and families collapse and billions of dollars achieve little more than stasis, shouldn’t a new tack finally be taken?

Would legalization of drugs end the war? I don’t know. There is plenty of common sense logic supporting the idea. The question makes me think of the HBO series The Wire. Remember when Stringer Bell got involved in real estate development? Suddenly, pushing drugs didn’t seem so appealing. More money could be made with less risk to life and limb by going “legit.” Sure it was still crooked, and no, it didn’t end well for him, but for all the shady business behind corporate capitalism murders aren’t exactly the norm. Besides, could legalizing drugs really make a situation that claims so many lives, costs so much money, and destabilizes entire nations any worse?

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The Most Walkable Cities in the World

Lucca, Italy {photo by me}

Frommer’s recently came out with their list of the top 10 most walkable cities in the world (check out this article that includes pictures). Lists like this are never exhaustive, so what cities would you add? I agree with one of the comments that Venice is a fine city to walk, as are smaller historic cities like Lucca and Bruges. Where have you most enjoyed walking? What, besides compactness, makes a city walkable for you?

Posted in architecture, Auto Independence, How We Build, How We Live, How we Move, human scale, urban design, walkable | Leave a comment

It’s Where We Live

Home, by Yann-Arthus Bertrand. A stunning photographic exploration of our own backyard, a surprising amount of which I felt like I was seeing for the first time. The whole movie is here…

Posted in Climate Change, Culture, education, History, How We Build, How We Live, How we Move, How We Think, Journalism, Livability, Science, Sustainability, technology, thinking, What if? | Leave a comment

Can Cities Feed Themselves?

Urban agriculture fascinates me, so I thought I’d share links to a few articles in case anyone else is also fascinated…

{image is from third article)

From Warehouses to Urban Farms

The history of urban agriculture should inspire its future

Vertical Farming in High-Rises Raises Hopes


Posted in architecture, Culture, How We Build, How We Live, How We Think, land use, Livability, Science, Sustainability, technology, thinking, Urban Agriculture, urban design, What if? | Leave a comment