Los Angeles

As part of our State of Metropolitan America project, we reported last week on the increase in public transit commuters from 2000–2008. While this increase is small (less than 1 percent), it’s the first time that’s happened in 40 years. As the map below shows, most transit commuters are concentrated on the coasts. But what type of transit saw upticks? One would assume that light rail or commuter rail would be responsible for the increases since system mileage increased by 67 and 40 percent, respectively, over the period. Nope.

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The United States may have missed its chance to play Spain in the World Cup final Sunday (and the Netherlands in the semifinal, and Uruguay in the quarterfinal), but similar battles take place every day on American turf, where the world meets for pick-up soccer games. There’s weekdays outside an MIT building in Cambridge, weekend mornings behind the White House, and barefoot on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. There are, in fact, times when the U.S.

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Over the past few years, large polluters have become pretty adept at blocking climate legislation in Congress. But there are still plenty of individual states out there trying to put limits on carbon emissions. So what's a poor oil or coal company to do? Why, bring the battle to the states, of course. Back in 2006, California passed AB32, a law that would set up a cap-and-trade system and cut the state's emissions 15 percent by 2020.

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Michael Hiltzik has an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times on the false promise of the Hoover Dam, that great symbol of the New Deal (even though, of course, the dam wasn't actually brought about by the New Deal—FDR had initially campaigned against Hoover's large public-works projects, and only changed his mind once in office). During the postwar era, the reservoir created by the dam helped transform the U.S. Southwest, allowing Los Angeles and San Diego to balloon in size and setting the stage for a major agricultural boom in the region.

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One of the only bad parts about being here in South Africa for the World Cup is missing out on Univision’s Spanish-language coverage. I should probably note that I don’t speak Spanish. Not fluently, at least. But I vastly prefer watching my fútbol en español. And being here, subjected to the dry and ramblingly irrelevant South African announcers on the local SABC and Supersport stations has reminded me just how superior the voices of Mexican television are on the global scale.

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Futurist/urbanist/cultural provocateur Joel Kotkin was back again yesterday on the WSJ op-ed page declaring that the “back-to-the-city movement is wishful thinking.”  His evidence: steep declines from peak in condo prices in a handful of big Sun Belt cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. That and the results of a few surveys indicating continued residential preference for suburban over urban environments. (The piece more than echoes a similar one he penned for the Journal in 2007.) But why look at these indirect data points when you can go to the source: recent city population t

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Last week, President Obama delivered a major speech on the need for federal immigration reform. He made his case to Congress, especially Republicans, to step up, put aside political posturing, and have the courage to get the job done rather than continuing to “kick the can down the road.” The federal lawsuit against Arizona’s recently adopted state immigration enforcement law, set to be filed today, may also add impetus for a federal, rather than a piecemeal, solution.

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The revelation that suspected Russian spies have been hiding in the suburbs of major U.S. cities has been regarded by some as a throw back to postwar Cold War novels replete with money drop-offs, hidden identities, and old school technology.  Perhaps the most telling aspect of these Russians’ retro status is their attempt to “fit in” with a suburbia that no longer exists. At least eight of these alleged spies were classic suburbanites replete with dogs, families, or suburban jobs which could be part of any 1950s “welcome wagon” contingent.

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For Barack Obama’s inauguration, Washington Dulles International Airport had to close a runway to accommodate private jet traffic. According to aviati

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Being Dunga

Anyone nicknamed Dopey-- or as the moniker quite nicely translates into Portuguese, Dunga--will be an easy mark for ridicule. Even Carlos Dunga’s most tender gestures, like wearing attire designed by his daughter to big matches, result in the commentariat doubling over in cruel laughter at his expense. But in this World Cup, he has cut an image that is more villainous than comic. He is cast as the heartless assassin of joga bonito, the mercenary who took a pillow and snuffed the élan out of the Brazilian game.

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