In Fighting the Imperial Presidency, California Is Creating a Monster

As It Battles the Federal Government, Sacramento Has Gained Power at the Expense of Local Communities

As California builds its capacity to fight the Leviathan that is the Trump administration, does it risk turning our state government into a Leviathan of our own?

This unhappy question—about whether regular Californians and their communities may get swallowed up by the state monster we’re creating to fight the federal monster—occurred to me while I was reading Gary Gerstle’s powerful 2015 history, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government. The book breaks new ground by examining the history of governance in the United States by putting our 50 peculiar …

How the US Military Taught Americans to Smoke | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How the US Military Taught Americans to Smoke

A 1918 Policy Devised to Calm Soldiers’ Nerves Sparked a Bad Habit That Was Difficult to Stop

Mention of the American military-industrial complex conjures up images of massive weapons procurement programs and advanced technologies: supersonic bombers, strategic missiles, armor-plated tanks, nuclear submarines, and complex space systems. However, …

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

San Francisco Has Never Been More Pathetic—or More Powerful

Vilified by Both Conservatives and Progressives, This Poor Little Rich City’s Problems Are Now National News

Dear San Francisco,

My heart breaks for you.

My eyes cry tsunamis when I think of you.

But I must stop weeping now, so I can summon the strength to offer …

Why Californians Secretly Love Earthquakes | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians Secretly Love Earthquakes

While Destructive, Tremblers Have Been a Force for Progress and They Give Our Lives Meaning

Of all the lies Californians tell ourselves, one of the biggest is that we hate earthquakes.

The unspoken truth is that we love earthquakes, as well we should.

Don’t give the beaches …