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City Journal's 10 Blocks

City Journal's 10 Blocks, a semi-weekly podcast hosted by editor Brian C. Anderson, features discussions on urban policy and culture with City Journal editors, contributors, and special guests. Forthcoming episodes will be devoted to topics such as: predictive policing, the Bronx renaissance, reform of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, homelessness in Portland, Oregon, and more. City Journal is a quarterly print and regular online magazine published by the Manhattan Institute.
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Urban policy and cultural commentary with City Journal editors, contributors, and special guests

Sep 4, 2017

On Labor Day, we honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers make to the strength and well-being of the country. It’s been more than 80 years since Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guaranteeing the right of private-sector workers to unionize and bargain collectively for better pay and working conditions.

Today, the NLRA still governs the relationship between organized labor and employers—but in 2015, less than 10 percent of American workers belonged to a union. That’s down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s. With economic competition from overseas and technological innovation changing the value of physical labor in the United States, maybe it’s time to rethink how American model of labor relations.

Oren Cass joins Brian Anderson to discuss labor unions, past and present, and to offer an alternative model for organized labor. This 10 Blocks episode is the third based on City Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come. The discussion draws on Oren’s essay, “More Perfect Unions.”

Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he focuses on issues ranging from welfare to climate change. Previously, he was domestic policy director of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Aug 23, 2017

Matthew Hennessey joins Aaron Renn to discuss the fading of the baby boom generation, the rise of tech-savvy millennials, and the challenge for those in-between, known as Generation X. This 10 Blocks episode is based on Matt’s essay from the Summer 2017 issue of City Journal, “Zero Hour for Generation X.”

While the baby boomers are finally preparing to depart the scene, “millennials could conceivably jump the queue, crowding out the more traditional priorities and preferences of the intervening generation—Generation X,” Matt writes. “If GenXers don’t assert themselves soon, they risk losing their ability to influence the direction of the country.”

Matthew Hennessey is associate op-ed editor at the Wall Street Journal and the author of Right Here, Right Now, to be published in 2018 by Encounter Books. 

Aaron M. Renn is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

Aug 9, 2017

Paul Beston joins Steven Malanga to talk about the history of the American high school and making high-quality career training central in today’s high schools. This Ten Blocks episode is the second based on City Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

In 1910, less than 20 percent of America’s 15-to-18-year-olds were enrolled in high school. By 1940, that figure had reached nearly 75 percent. The phenomenon became known as the American high school movement, and the impetus for it came from local communities, not from federal, or even state, government.

Today, however, high school diplomas poorly prepare students for finding good jobs. Despite automation and competition from overseas, surveys of businesses consistently show that hundreds of thousands of positions in manufacturing firms go unfilled.

One thing is abundantly clear: career and technical training in the U.S. hasn’t evolved to keep up with the transformation of the modern economy—and many schools have even slashed funding for vocational education.

Paul Beston is managing editor of City Journal and author of the forthcoming book, The Boxing Kings: When American Heavyweights Rule the Ring. His story “When High Schools Shaped America’s Destiny” appeared inCity Journal‘s special issue.

Steven Malanga is the George M. Yeager Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and senior editor of City Journal. His story “Vocational Ed, Reborn” also appeared in the special issue.

Jul 26, 2017

Tevi Troy joins the Manhattan Institute’s Paul Howard to discuss a dreaded scenario: a bioterror attack in New York City.

Gotham’s status as a cultural and financial center makes it a more desirable target than any other city in the world. Of all the threats the city faces, a biological attack may be the most terrifying. 

Due its size, density, and transportation complexity bioterror would present a significant challenge. Luckily, New York’s unmatched police and counterterror forces—along with federal agencies—remain ever vigilant to keep residents and visitors safe.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian, former White House aide, and former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services. His latest book is Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.

Jul 12, 2017

Henry Olsen joins Brian Anderson to discuss Henry’s new book The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

For nearly 30 years, the Republican Party had defined itself by Ronald Reagan’s legacy: a strong military, free trade, lower taxes, and most important, smaller government. When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president in 2016, many observers in the media and professional political circles asked a familiar question: Is the Republican Party still the Party of Reagan?

According to Henry Olsen, Trump’s election actually gives Republicans their best chance to “re-Reaganize” the GOP.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. From 2006 -2013, he served as Vice President and Director of the National Research Initiative at the American Enterprise Institute. He previously worked as Vice President of Programs at the Manhattan Institute and President of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Jun 28, 2017

Edward L. Glaeser joins Brian Anderson to discuss the great American domestic crisis of the twenty-first century: persistent joblessness, particularly among “prime-age” men. This Ten Blocks edition is the first based onCity Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

In 1967, 95 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. During the Great Recession, the share of jobless prime-age males rose above 20 percent. Today, even after years of economic recovery, more than 15 percent of prime-age men still aren’t working. Technological changes, globalization, the educational system, and government policy have all contributed to the problem. “To solve this crisis, we must educate, reform social services, empower entrepreneurs, and even subsidize employment,” argues Glaeser in his article, “The War on Work—and How to End It,” in the special issue of City Journal.

Edward L. Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University, a City Journal contributing editor, and the author of Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.

Jun 14, 2017

Seth Barron joins Brian Anderson to discuss New York City politics, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first term, the relationship between de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, and the controversy surrounding this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.  

“Surging tax revenues and the continued peace dividend from 20 years of vigorous Broken Windows policing have given Bill de Blasio a relatively easy first term in the mayor’s office,” notes Seth Barron in a recent story for City Journal. Indeed, as his first term in office winds down, de Blasio is an overwhelming favorite to win reelection this November. But for many New Yorkers who lived through Gotham’s worst days two and three decades ago, de Blasio’s election was a troublesome sign of how fragile the city’s success might be. His likely second term in office might expose more of that fragility.

Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal and project director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute. He writes primarily about New York City politics and culture.

May 31, 2017

Heather Mac Donald joins Brian Anderson to discuss the state of policing today, the “Ferguson Effect,” former FBI director James Comey’s defense of proactive policing, and the recent protests against conservative speakers on college campuses.

Since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014, public discussion about police and the criminal justice system has reached a fever pitch: activists claim that policing is inherently racist and discriminatory, while supporters say that public pressure has caused officers to disengage from proactive policing.

President Trump’s promise to restore “law and order” in American cities upset many progressives, but with violent crime on the rise in cities across the country since 2014, Trump was right to raise the issue.

Read Heather’s piece in the Spring 2017 issue of City Journal, “How Trump Can Help the Cops.”

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race relations. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesThe New Republic, and The New Criterion. Mac Donald's newest book, The War on Cops (2016), warns that raced-based attacks on the criminal-justice system are eroding the authority of law and putting lives at risk.

May 17, 2017

KC Johnson joins Seth Barron to discuss sexual assault and college disciplinary procedures on campuses across America. 

In 2011, the Obama administration ordered all campus disciplinary offices to use a lower “preponderance of evidence” standard when charging a student of a sexually related crime. Today, colleges are under intense pressure from both activists and bureaucrats to punish students accused of rape. And with the political climate growing toxic on college campuses, school administrators know that there’s little to gain from defending the accused.

KC Johnson is the co-author, with Stuart Taylor, of The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities. Johnson played a prominent role during the Duke University lacrosse rape case in 2006-2007, disseminating facts about the case and calling out the media for presuming guilt of the students involved. He is a professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal and project director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute. He writes primarily about New York City politics and culture.

May 3, 2017

DJ Jaffe and Stephen Eide join Howard Husock to discuss severe mental illness and the deficiencies in mental health services in New York City and across the country.

DJ Jaffe is the author of an important new book, Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He is executive director of Mental Illness Policy Org., a nonpartisan think tank, which creates detailed policy analysis for legislators, the media, and advocates.

Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of a recent report, Assisted Outpatient Treatment in New York State: The Case for Making Kendra's Law Permanent. His piece featured in the Spring 2017 Issue of City Journal, Failure to Thrive, dissects New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature mental health initiative, Thrive NYC.

Apr 19, 2017

Adam J. White joins Brian Anderson to discuss the “administrative state,” often described as the fourth branch of the federal government. Under the Obama administration, bureaucratic agencies were aggressivelyutilized to bypass congressional hostility to the progressive agenda.

In 2014, President Obama declared his “pen and phone” strategy: if the Republican-controlled Congress was unwilling to act on his priorities, he would sign executive orders directing federal agencies to enforce new rules or ignore existing ones. Environmental regulations, immigration reform, and Internet neutrality were just a few areas where the Obama administration directed agencies to make substantial policy changes.

Adam White is an attorney, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a contributing editor of City Journal. His story “Break the Bureaucracy” appeared in the Winter 2017 Issue.

Apr 5, 2017

Peter Cove joins Brian Anderson to discuss his new book Poor No More: Rethinking Dependency and the War on Poverty.

Declaring the War on Poverty in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson stated that the goal was to “cure poverty, and above all, prevent it.”

50 years later, most people would agree that the signature campaign of the “Great Society” has shown mixed results, at best: Despite spending over $20 trillion on anti-poverty programs, the official poverty rate has barely moved.

Peter Cove is the founder of America Works, the nation’s first for-profit, welfare-to-work company that has placed nearly 1 million people into employment. Peter first became involved in the fight against poverty when he moved to New York in 1965 to join the Anti-Poverty Operations Board, where he helped write federal grant proposals and managed local programs.

Find out more about Peter Cove’s book on Amazon.​

Mar 22, 2017

Katherine Kersten joins Brian Anderson to discuss how public school leaders in St. Paul, Minnesota abandoned student discipline—and unleashed mayhem—in the name of “racial equity.”

In January 2014, the Obama administration’s Departments of Education and Justice issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to every school district in the country, laying out guidelines to local officials for how to avoid racial bias when suspending or expelling students. Equity proponents view “disparate impact”—when the same policies yield different outcomes among demographic groups—as conclusive proof of discrimination.

But nearly half a decade before that order was announced, the superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools had already embarked on a crusade to dismantle the purported “school-to-prison pipeline”—with disastrous effects for teachers and students.

Read Katherine’s piece in the Winter 2017 Issue of City Journal, “No Thug Left Behind.”

Mar 2, 2017

Michael Totten joins Brian Anderson to discuss the issue of homelessness in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.

 
Portland is often called the “City of Bridges” for the many structures that cross the city’s two rivers. Underneath many of those bridges are homeless encampments complete with tents, plastic tarps, shopping carts—and people.
 
Oregon’s Supreme Court has blocked efforts to regulate homelessness in Portland, leading the city’s political leaders and nonprofits to explore new options as the situation has worsened.
Feb 14, 2017

Robert Poole (of the Reason Foundation) joins Aaron Renn to discuss the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Port Authority was originally founded to manage the region’s transportation infrastructure, but the agency has long been plagued by politicized decision making, money-losing facilities, and declining financial viability.

Poole is the author of a new report commissioned by the Manhattan Institute, Reinventing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Check out City Journal’s coverage of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey below.

Feb 1, 2017

Victor Davis Hanson joins the City Journal podcast to talk with Aaron Renn about the 2016 election, the divide between rural and urban America, and how a life-long New Yorker came to lead a movement of “deplorables” all the way to the White House.

Read Victor's piece in the Winter 2017 Issue of City Journal, "Trump and the American Divide."

Jan 18, 2017

City Journal editor Brian Anderson and contributing editor Kay Hymowitz discuss her new book, "The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back," which chronicles the history of New York City's largest borough and its remarkable transformation from a symbol of urban decay by the mid-20th century to one of the most valuable and innovative environments in the world.

Jan 4, 2017

City Journal senior editor Steve Malanga and contributing editor Judy Miller discuss some of the issues with the Port Authority Police Department, including a secret review of the department’s security readiness and the contentious relationship between Port Authority leaders and the police union.

Read Judy Miller’s full piece from the Autumn 2016 Issue of City Journal, “The New York Police Force That Doesn’t Work.”

Dec 21, 2016

City Journal associate editor Matthew Hennessey and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce discuss the possibilities for the domestic energy industry under Trump, the state of American nuclear power, the Left's push for all-renewable energy, and more.

Dec 14, 2016

​City Journal associate editor Matthew Hennessey and contributing editor John Tierney (formerly of the New York Times) discuss the politicization of science and how the Left's dominance in universities and the scientific community actually threatens progress.

Dec 8, 2016

City Journal associate editor Matthew Hennessey and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Paul Howard discuss the state of Obamacare, Republican options for reforming the health care system​, and legislation in Congress designed to overhaul the FDA and improve drug development.

Dec 1, 2016

City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson and contributing editor Heather Mac Donald (author of the New York Times bestseller "The War on Cops") discuss law and order in the Donald Trump administration, how the left's anti-police narrative contributed to his victory, and Trump's choice to head the Justice Department.

 

Nov 22, 2016

City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson and contributing editor Aaron M. Renn discuss Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential race, the popular discontent that led to his rise, and the future of the Trump administration.

Nov 1, 2016

City Journal editor Brian Anderson and senior editor Steve Malanga discuss the GOP’s new generation of pragmatic, problem-solving mayors that have helped turn ​around some of America’s struggling cities.

From Steve Malanga's piece for the Autumn 2016 Issue of City Journal, "City Hall GOP."

Oct 20, 2016

City Journal editor Brian Anderson and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Nicole Gelinas discuss how New York City saved its subway system after decades of decay and rampant crime from the 1960s to the early-1990s.

 

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