David Bell looks at some myths about the French Revolution. Some are more interesting than others, but #2 was the most interesting to me.

Also interesting is the degree to which contraband smuggling might have been a cause of the French Revolution.

These 14,000 images of the French Revolution make me wish I was fluent in French.

NASA says we may be needing to say our goodbyes to Louisiana and Galveston.

Jason Kuznicki writers about how modern intellectual property law makes us feudal tenants

All major U. S. cities north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi have decreased in population from their peaks nearly 60 years ago.” (Except NYC and state capitals.)

Meltdown-Proof nuclear reactors? You have my attention…

Joe Carter asks why Black and Hispanic Evangelicals are more favorable to prosperity gospel.



The Dark, Haunted Joe Biden Center. “This table was just full of old alarm clocks and printed rules for the Biden Center.” I don’t know if I’d rather go there or to Dismaland.

It seems that 2013 was the first year that primary care physicians brought in more net revenue to hospitals than specialists. (PDF)

It seems like eventually we’re going to have to figure out where Asians fit in to the “whiteness” of tech.

Is excessive regulation of daycare hurting women in the workplace?

Uh, oh… are we looking at Peak Wind?

Freddie Armstrong writes about Dooce’s semi-retirement and the possible end of the mommyblogger.

Anne Continetti of the Weekly Standard and Anya Kamenetz of NPR look at a new book suggesting that the US is failing its brightest kids.

Category: Newsroom

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16 Responses to Linkluster Western Massachusetts

  1. Φ says:

    4. Finn and Wright analyzed results from the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, to show that the United States is exceptionally bad at producing low-income high achievers. For example, only 2.45 percent of low-income students in the U.S. score top marks in mathematics.

    5. This has nothing to do with innate ability, Finn and Wright argue, because other countries manage to do much better. Among the poorest students in Shanghai, for instance, 35 percent get top marks on the same math test.

    Oh! Oh! Let me do this one!

  2. mike shupp says:

    “All major US cities …”

    Sigh! The first city I actually lived in, as opposed to a suburb, was Dayton Ohio back in 1963-64, when I was a HS senior. Half a century ago, and Dayton's population, constantly rising over the years, was about 280-300,000 people. And as of 2014, according to Wikipedia, it's down to 141,000. Makes me want to cry, damn near.

    It's frigging criminal the way the US depopulated the interior portions of this country. I think if I were a God, I'd grab every happy content big city liberal and every patting-himself-on-the-back businessman from 2015 and drop them into the middle of the Rust Belt in the mid 1940s, and let them know the survival of their souls would depend on how they improved the world.

    Okay, I'm cruel and nasty. And I daydream.

    • Michael Cain says:

      If the article’s author, had chosen an earlier date, the list of cities whose population had declined significantly would have been much larger: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, Salt Lake City, and Seattle among them. The more interesting question, at least for me, is why the cities outside of the northeast quadrant of the country rebounded over the last 25 years.

      I’ve lived through Denver’s rebound. There are some things that happened that Dayton simply isn’t going to be able to reproduce.

      1) Isolation. Take a strip of the country 500 miles wide, centered on Denver, running from the Canadian border on the north to the Mexican border on the south. The only other metro area of comparable size is El Paso. Which suffers from the large handicap of being a red-headed stepchild in Texas, instead of the dominant metro area of New Mexico. That’s 15% of the area of the contiguous states, with no competition.

      2) Local circumstances. Denver had an oil and gas boom (and bust) in the 1980s because there’s oil and gas. Denver had a telecom boom (and bust) in the 1990s because (a) it has a unique geographic advantage for satellite operations and (b) a local billionaire bet big on long-haul fiber optics at the right time and in the right way. Dot-com boom and bust because big computer companies like HP and IBM put major software operations here earlier. Along the way, those boom-and-bust cycles built the infrastructure to be a start-up haven. Today, there’s a biotech boom going on.

      3) When the metro area boomed, some amount of it leaked over into Denver proper. It helps that the Denver area has had a fair amount of regional governance since the 1950s.

      Similar sorts of things happened across the West. One of the really dominant features of the region is this: 11 states, 8 major metro areas (9 if you split SoCal into SD and LA). Booms and busts, but each boom adding major human capital that doesn’t leave.

      • trumwill says:

        You should write a post!

        Denver, Atlanta, and SLC are double-exempt in Schuler’s analysis since they are state capitals in addition to being outside the zone.

        I am inclined to think that western cities are less gerrymandered and that has something to do with it, but Salt Lake City is a relatively small area city surrounded by a hundred municipalities (ditto Seattle), so that’s at most a partial explanation.

  3. mike shupp says:

    Same topic, but more seriously. Back when I was a kid,. 50 years ago, it was generally assumed that cities in in the Midwest tended Democratic because of large black and immigrant populations but Republicans were strong in the countryside. Still true today, but my impression is the R-voting counties are much more Republican than when I was a teenager, and the D-leaning precincts are much more Democratic, and that you can separate Republicans and Democrats basically by asking who are the white Christians and who isn’t.

    I don’t see this as a healthy development, no matter what people who make a living as professional Republicans or Democrats think.

    I’m also inclined to think the racial-political divisions in this country are highly tied to the de-industrialization and depopulation of the middle US, that sensible sane politicians who actually cared about the country would concern themselves with these ills — and that such politicians don’t exist in either party.


    • trumwill says:

      What do you think about Snyder’s idea of using refugees to bolster the populations of some of those places?

      • mike shupp says:

        Works for me. One drawback I see is that in the nature of things, I’d expect that most of those refuges would huddle together inside a handful of cities, and we’d have Syriatowns in Chicago, Ethiopiatowns in Cleveland, Sunnitowns in Cincinatti, etc.

        This isn’t inherently evil. San Francisco has had a Chinatown for over a century; Los Angeles has had a Chinatown and a Koreatown for many years; Orange County in California has had a raftfull of Vietnamese immigrants since the 1970’s. and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone much these days. Back in the distant 1960’s, you could point at a map of metropolitan Dayton and say “Here’s where the Negros live. Here there’s a bunch of Greeks. The Jews mostly live in these areas. There’s a batch of Polacks up there. And these regions are pretty much white.”

        There’s a long history of ethnic separatism in the US, I’m trying to say. And on the one hand, it fits with the melting pot notion of American nationality — I was at a school with some of those blacks and those Greeks and those Poles and a bunch of those whites and it worked reasonably well, thank you

        And on the other hand … I sometimes read webpages from folks who live in that part of the country, where everyone you meet for miles on end is white and Christian and low to middle middle class and the rest of the country just looks like an alien distant [;ace filled with strange people who can’t speak English and the taxes are high and where it’s just going to hell. And they like living where they are, living as they do, and they really don’t want government to screw things up.

        So on balance, I’m highly in favor of bringing in refugees and settling them in the Rust Belt. I’m not so sure about settling refugees in the deep South. And I think just bringing in refugees and dumping them without some sort of plan or regard for local sentiment would be a Gawdawful mistake.

        • trumwill says:

          I would assume that there would be a fair amount of self-segregation and a cultural hub, but such things do pass with time. There may always be a “Syrianna” part of town with Syrian pride days or whatever, but as part of the larger fabric.

          I am a bit conflicted on the prospect of bringing in large numbers of Syrian immigrants, but I read a couple arguments that at least moved me out of opposition. And if we do, I think the midwest would be great.

  4. mike shupp says:

    We could probably bring in EVERYBODY from Syria, except the people who enjoy fighting there, and that’d be … hmmm… 18 million people, or about 6% of our current population. So yes, they’d all fit, though trying to accommodate them in the space of one year might be a financial pain.

    And yes, in the long run, they’d be an asset. And numbers wise, they’d just about balance out against the portion of the population that would die of heart failure at the thought of admitting so many non-Christian immigrants.

    • trumwill says:

      I was initially pretty skeptical, but was sold along the way mostly on account that Syria is historically a relatively secular nation, and an educated one. Making the lead time before they add to the ledger less, and minimizing risk at least a little bit. Basically, if I think about what kind of refugees I want, they check a lot of boxes.

      My main hesitations is that we can’t exactly call up Damascus and ask for records to indicated that this individual or that one is in fact a Civil Engineer with no criminal record or ties to bad organizations. Or, for that matter, that they are Syrian citizens at all. I suspect the vast majority are citizens in good standing or at least not people we need to worry about if they fudge, but it doesn’t take many otherwise. And I worry a bit about a negative cycle where we turn some that aren’t into some that are, and that a negative public reaction creates an especially antagonistic environment. The “religion” checkbox as “Muslim” makes more of a difference here than there.

      On the other hand, we’ve had remarkably little difficulty in this regard (compared to some European countries), and we (along with Canada, perhaps) have the best assimilation machine in the world.

      Which leaves me uncertain, neither advocating bringing a lot of them in nor opposing.

  5. mike shupp says:

    One of the “pluses” of the 20th century is that we got lots of practice at fitting in immigrants, and the main thing seems to be good steady economic growth and employment. If the fellow at the end of the block is starting up a machine shop in his basement and needs two men who are handy with lathes and he’s just hired you as one of them, you probably aren’t bent out of shape if the other guy is Polish or a displaced refugee with German forbearers who’s been kicked out of Russia or a local hausfrau mit kinder whose husband is in a POW camp.

    And I’d certainly like to think we’ll have an improving economy for the next six to a dozen years!

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