Friday, September 28, 2007

Good News

It turns out that when I tried to transfer my university account e-mail to my GMail account last time, I did not anticipate that all of the 3000+ e-mails sitting in my inbox would come with it. Not realizing this until after my GMail account was flooded with hundreds of e-mails, I set up a filter to send all of the e-mails from my university e-mail account to the trash. Well, I had forgotten about this particular filter when I sent my e-mails over this time. The good news is that I found all of them in the trash and recovered all of my e-mails. The internet gods must be appeased.

In other good news, I found out this week that the paper I mentioned earlier this week got accepted! I am so excited, and my nightmares that I made some mistake in the analysis or used the wrong file for the output can finally come to an end (I've checked, double checked and triple checked and, absent one scare where I pulled up the wrong file but didn't realize it for a while, everything seems to be in order). Now I can actually put a line in my CV that says "Publications". Good news all around, particularly before the really good news of getting married to E. and having a week and a half to relax in Italy!

I Can't Catch a Break!

I cannot believe this - I must have done something very bad to the internet gods out there. After clearing out my inbox a couple of days ago (I went from 3300+ to 190 messages - not a small feat in five hours), I wanted to transfer all of my files to be read through my GMail account so I didn't have to use Outlook or check two separate webmail applications.

Well, in the process of doing that, I now went from 190 files to 36. Yup, that's right! Somewhere between my university account and my GMail account 154 of my e-mails are gone. And, of course, because I deleted the other 2000+ messages, I know that these were the most important e-mails.

Of course, now I am kicking myself for not checking the "Keep Messages on Server" box, which the gentleman at the university help desk kindly told me that I should have done (thanks, a little late for that suggestion) or backing up those messages in any format. There were several important messages that I had regarding getting paid, collaboration with other people and such that I lost in the process. My only hope is that somewhere the messages are on the GMail servers, but haven't shown up in my account yet.

Here's to hoping (and praying to the internet gods)!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Items to be Noted

The following are items to be noted. Feel free to comment, I am not sure whether I have the time or the energy to do so myself, but I need a break (see last item):

  • I have (finally) updated my blogroll to include new web-friends like Anomie and Andrew. I say finally, because this was part of my plan to "modernize" the feel of ye old blog.

  • As I typed out the urls to each of their websites, I now realize that Anomie and Andrew both have exactly the same number of characters in their urls (25) - a trait which they also share with Jeremy. That's weird.

  • I have not yet finished my blogroll (yes, I know what I just said...but, just because I improved it doesn't mean that it is done). It is not immediately obvious that if you click on each of the subjects under "Blogroll", then you can see the list. The fact that this is not immediately obvious is why it is not done yet.

  • The UAW initiated a nation-wide strike against General Motors yesterday, the first nationwide strike in 37 years. The strike is seventeen hours old and I am already tired of hearing or reading quotes from David Cole from the Center for Automotive Research, or C.A.R. (haha! isn't that funny...). He seems to be the "go-to" quote for this thing. His analysis that everyone wants to find out about? He says , "This is a fragile situation right now. If this thing got out of hand, it could be a serious issue for some union suppliers." That's right, it's all on the workers to go back to work without a guarantee that a) GM has to pay previously negotiated and guaranteed benefits and b) that management can, if they so decide, fire those very same workers they are claiming desperately need to come back to work now.

  • In other union news, the employees of the GAO filed for and won a union election this week. Stephen Barr noted the "online picket line" created on YouTube (I couldn't find that, but I could find this infomercial). They won by a 2-1 margin with 74% of eligible employees voting.

  • I am perpetually perplexed by one characteristic of the English language. When does one use the "-ical" ending as in "geographical" or "analytical" as opposed to the "-ic" ending as in "geographic" or "analytic" ending. I've seen people do it both ways, but I don't know if there is one way more appropriate than another... Any help would be much appreciated as I write a codebook for the project I work on. Talk about the most boring of boring things to write (and now you know why I am doing things like counting the number of characters in web addresses...)!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Part of my ongoing fascination with the implication of the internet is how a revolutionary new technology can have an impact on the non-virtual social world. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the impact of Wikipedia on the way in which existing social institutions, particularly the news media or academia, adapt to the proliferation of web-based reference material. squires pointed out that Wiktionary "is basically a recapitulation of whatever is already published about the topic"[1] and is not, therefore, really a new social form as much as a new medium through which traditional social forms exist. But another interesting question is what happens when those institutions are confronted with new technology and, potentially, forced to adapt.

This has been brought to light in a thread at where the appropriateness of blogging the content of academic talks given at university seminars. The discussion has also continued to Jeremy Freese's Weblog. Jeremy has taken the position that "anything that is cv'able is blogable"—a position, which, in my opinion is very sensible. Jeremy has certainly taken some heat in the Orgtheory thread and feels that he is "staking out a lonely position" there. The main objection (and, indeed, the main thrust of the thread) is expressed by Ezra Zuckerman's position that early adapters to the blogosphere have a huge advantage if they can institutionalize blogging as an academic norm whereby late adapters and people who have higher costs (i.e. those that do not derive enjoyment from blogging) are forced to adapt. This, Ezra argues, cedes an incredible advantage to early adapters that, I perceive, he thinks is unwarrented[2].

This brings up several interesting sociological questions that I find really interesting, in no small part because sociologists are the subjects of a sociological inquiry (very postmodern). The first question to me is the role of institutional norms in the development of new technology -- a topic which I discussed in my Wikipedia post mentioned above. Ezra brings up one of my main points from that post when he says "the main reason I don’t do this is that I have no time." While, overall, I agree with Jeremy that public discussion is a positive for the discipline, I also recognize the externalities considered by Ezra. If academics are required to respond to online discussions about their work that they did not initiate, it represents a significant investment in time that is required for which one might not receive any formalized institutional recognition. Where does this work fit in the academic triumvirate of teaching, service and research — especially when we know that the last of those is prioritized the highest? If, as Ezra suspects, bloggers are able to transform the academic norms to require that professors respond to online comments, then some recognition of this responsibility needs to be recognized by departments and institutions. This is particularly true for non-tenured faculty members who give up valuable research time responding to blogs and is probably part of the reason why Jeremy keeps emphasizing that his ideas are most applicable to senior faculty.

The second interesting question presented by this discussion is the role of social norms and scripts. The general consensus over the course of the thread is that permission should be requested to blog about an academic presentation. Jeremy brings up the fact that there are two forms of permission: 1) a request for permission where the receiver of the request has a legitimate claim to deny that permission (i.e. a child asking his parents for an extra scoop of ice cream for desert), or 2) a request for permission that is a linguistic hedge to show deference where the receiver of the request is expected to oblige (i.e. asking someone to turn the volume down if one has a headache). There are legitimate reasons to ask for permission. The most important, in my view, is allowing the author to respond if s/he so desires. I think that Jeremy would agree that the goal of discourse is not furthered if the original author is not given a chance to respond. In fact, a lack of response would be antithetical to Jeremy's goal. It reminds me of a similar thread at Crooked Timber where academics place the request "Please do not cite or quote without permission" at the tops of papers. This is essentially a form of moderation to ensure that researchers citing the work have the latest version or that the authors know where their work is being used to contribute to an academic discourse. To me, this is the second sense of permission.

The other reason that I find it to be appropriate to ask for permission is because, as an author, I might have stronger or weaker confidence about particular conclusions. If I were a faculty member and Jeremy came to me and asked "Would you mind if I wrote about your presentation on my blog?" my response would be "Yes, please feel free. Let me make sure that you have a copy of the paper. I should tell you that I believe conclusion A to be very robust, but I am more hesitant about conclusion B. Therefore, I plan to do more work on that part of the paper - so you might want to keep that in mind when you are writing." (In my head, I would also be thinking, "Whoo hoo! Now the hundreds of people who read Jeremy's blog will read about my research!"). In this way, I am not restricting what Jeremy writes or limiting the benefits to the field, but am, in a sense, providing a guide to replicate the kind of fruitful discussion that can happen at academic seminars where constructive criticism is created to a wider audience than those who attend a single academic seminar at a single (or a couple) of institutions[3].

All of these questions bring to mind other important questions of sociological importance. The first, who is the academic "public"? Is is the "invisible college" linked instantly through the internet or the older, established community linked through the slower academic journals? This, then, is related to a second question. As sociologists look for a greater position for public sociology, then the role of the internet needs to be part of that discussion. On the one hand, academics are not journalists. Our discipline is marked by careful consideration of all available evidence and this mission might be undermined if we are pushed to discuss work much more quickly or frequently. Trying to do both the "journalistic" side of research (responding to blogs, posting about research) and the "academic" side of research (publishing in journals, writing grant proposals) means that there either need to be benefits for doing both (in tenure reviews, for instance) or that both cannot be done as successfully without requiring more time devoted to this work.

[1] I tend to find the same thing is also true in Wikipedia; however, what I notice more of in Wikipedia than in traditional academic published research is citations to mainstream media sources such as the Washington Post or New York Times. While this is still a very circumscribed list of potential citations, it does expand the understanding of some topics beyond their strictly academic research to at least include sources that have a much larger circulation.
[2] Of course any summary does injustice, but in the interest of providing background, I don't want to reiterate the whole thread here.
[3] By restricting the conversation only to people at particular institutions is also a way in which privilege is created and maintained. While early-adapters might have an advantage creating externalities to benefit bloggers, restricting conversations to academics in the ivory tower also creates externalities for those who would need to academics in those settings. The difference, I think, is that that kind of privilege is accepted while blogging changes the "winners" and "losers" of privilege and, thus, causes this much discussion. I think that this is the point that Dave made to my Wikipedia post.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Coming Up for Air

It feels nice to (finally) have a productive week! Paper submissions for the Population Association of America were due yesterday. I am sure that none of you can think of a more interesting conference than one full of demographers talking about fertility, moralitymortality and migration but I actually really enjoy these conferences. The PAA conferences are smaller than ASA and the papers in sessions are more tightly topically linked. Of course, that came to bite me in the butt when my paper didn't get accepted for a session last year because it didn't fit in any of the sessions.

I resubmitted that particular paper, investigating who would consider a redeveloped neighborhood and why, for consideration again this year. There are a few more relevant sessions this year (last year, it really didn't fit into any of the sessions very well). I am also submitting a paper with a friend adapting a statistical technique from environmental science to estimate social environmental factors. The final paper is an extension of a paper that I co-authored with a senior faculty member. We didn't have room for it in the original paper, so she asked if I wanted to submit this paper to the conference this year. It was exciting to submit it because we put quite a bit of work into this analysis before we realized that it wouldn't fit.

It feels nice to be done -- the last week has been kind of a sprint but it is cool seeing it all come together. There is something about looking at a paper with nicely formatted tables, figures and a real reference list to feel like I accomplished something. Hopefully some of these get accepted now!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What do We Pay You For?

In general, I hate conversations, expositions, soliloquies or any other form of communication that begins with "Our tax money pays for [INSERT ITEM HERE]." Both my father and mother-in-law (to be) are supported by the federal government and I know that most of the people who work for the federal government work their butts off. I think that Reagan, et al. have done such a good job beating in how "bad" government is and how we need to starve the beast that vital services are being cut (see Bush's attempt to eliminate child health care).

But, I seriously want to ask what the f*ck are we paying these people for? From David Kurtz at TPM:

Correct me if I'm wrong here. But by my calculation, more U.S. senators (72) voted today to condemn a newspaper ad attacking Gen. Petraeus than voted yesterday (56) to lengthen the time off troops get from the frontlines in Iraq, thereby reducing individual soldiers exposure to actual attacks. Am I missing something, or is that about right?

And, the Democrats couldn't even be sure to get a Barbara Boxer alternative passed. So, instead, they all caved and blasted their own base (MoveOn) at the behest of the Republicans while they wouldn't stand up and condemn the Swift Boat Vetrans. What the hell! No wonder no one thinks they can do anything, they can't even protect their own donors never mind defend habeus corpus, support our troops, or end taxation without representation!

UPDATE: I guess we don't need to pay our Senators, they make money the old fashioned way: bribes! I will miss the Incredible Hulk ties on the Senate floor, though.

It's John Kerry's Fault

I nominate Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist, his lackey correspondent, next to him for a prime profile in douchebaggery. At a John Kerry event at the University of Florida, student Andrew Meyer was tasered (see videos here, here and here, h/t The Bellman). Carlson and sidekick's loyalties were divided... On the one hand this student was arguing that the election results in 2004 were a sham so he's obviously some liberal punk who was probably "indoctrinated" by his UF profs (and TAs). On the other, he made John Kerry look bad at his own event. See how they manage this tightrope:

This line from Willie takes the cake, though:

He carried on and I think that might have been the most excited anyone's ever been at a John Kerry speech.

Of course, blaming John Kerry continued into Carlson's show the next day, when he said:

CARLSON: That is just—six cops on this kid. I don’t see what the excuse for that kind of behavior would be.

Here’s my point. This is how John Kerry responded. John Kerry, of course, was feet away at the lectern watching this. I don’t believe he couldn’t hear that, the kid being tasered.

Here’s his response. “In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption. But again, I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good, healthy discussion was interrupted.”

What a wuss this guy is. I regret enormously that a good, healthy conference was interrupted? What about this kid got tasered for asking a question? What, he can’t say that? Is that like against the rules for...

I can't believe these people.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Poll Troll

Most of you know that I am a quantoid sociologist meaning, among various other things that I have been told, that I am a colonizer, I am not a real sociologist, I demean women and people of color, and take money that would otherwise be spent on better research done by qualitative researchers. Now, while being called/told these things are true, I also know that qualitative researchers get their fair share of shit thrown at them, too. Luckily, I see this needless division between quantitative and qualitative reasoning becoming less of an issue.

But, I bring all of this up because the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR) launched a new website that describes the basics of polling. Since cleaning, formatting and analyzing survey data is what I do all day, it is difficult trying to describe to people what I do or why surveys should be critically reviewed (such as surveys saying that political bias of professors is a problem[1]). It has an explanation of margin of sampling error, what makes a good sample and a bad one along with all other cool kinds of information. They also launched a free online class for journalists on the basics of survey methods. Just thought that I would pass it along for anyone who might be interested.

I think that it also describes fairly well what polls and surveys are good for and what they're not good for. If you want to know the amount of support for the president or the association between certain types of social and economic characteristics on residential preferences, they're great. If you want to know detailed information about very small or specific populations, you might have more trouble and they might not be the best way to go. If you want to know the nuance of how those social and economic characteristics are intertwined and paint a story of a life lived in society, they're awful. All of these things are valuable contributions to research -- but they all require that the research be done well and that is what this site is great for. I wish the ASA could do something similar: What is sociology? What is good sociology? What is bad sociology? Of course, it would never happen, but we can all dream...

And, for those who don't care about how it is done but love looking at the numbers, has some awesome graphs and analysis tracking the presidential primaries (nationally and by state - see image), presidential approval (spoiler alert: it's tanking), governor's races and all kinds of cool things that readers might find an interest.

* Graph via and created by Charles at
[1] See cjg's excellent analysis of the problems with the survey here and here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Richardson: Not Getting Labor's Vote

I have to admit. I am happy that Bill Richardson is in the race for the Democratic nomination, it gives me something to look forward to laughing at.

Now, this is the man who said that being gay is a choice then, blamed it on being jet-lagged and the one who, as I noted before, opened the AFL-CIO debate by saying, "I will continue to take your money." But, I think that in terms of pure embarrassment, this has to take the cake:

Bill Richardson to SEIU: "Thank you, AFSCME" (via TPM)

I would love to see that YouTube video. How do you screw up not one, but two, of your major constituencies?

Cautiously out of Purgatory

My exile to internet purgatory has been (at least temporarily) lifted by Time-Warner. I believe that, after spending three hours on the phone with them, being woken up by one of their service technicians on Saturday morning at 7:00am[1], a visit from a technician on Sunday two hours before my scheduled appointment time where this service technician told me that he couldn't get into the control room necessary, so I have the apartment's maintenance people call him. He never comes back or informs me that he is not coming back, prompting a call to the customer "service" agent who informs me that it is my fault that the technician could not service my cable because "They can't be chasing people all over the place" and "they can't be expected to call you if you can't be there when they are going to be there" and "they can't call you to let you know, you only get one chance or you have to reschedule, would you like to reschedule for Thursday(!!!!)?" I lost it. I lost my cool. I was so angry. I would have to wait for an entire week and a half and this person didn't seem to give one damn! I told her that I rely on my internet to telecommute and work - her response "Well, you have residential service, so you have to be on the residential service schedule. If you want to pay more for commercial service, then you can pay for that" desperate, I say fine, can you connect me? "No, this is residential, you'll have to call commercial back to connect to them." And, I might add, wait another 20 minutes to speak to someone. E. (who is always much cooler about these things as they happen) told me that what I should have told the woman is why would I pay more when you can't even provide what I am already paying good money for? She's so smart.

Luckily, the problem was building-wide so they sent a technician out this afternoon and, at least for now, it is working alright. I'm not giving up the appointment that I have tomorrow from 10am-2pm just in case it goes out again. But, damn! I can't believe that it takes this much trouble to get my internet connection working again. But, I now am way behind on my work so hopefully I will be reconnecting to all of you my dear readers, even if it is sporadic for the next while before my paper deadline.

The kicker had to be, though, there is a story in this week's New York Magazine about Dick Parson, the chairman of Time Warner, and how he wishes that he could be Rupert Murdoch and "indulge in thinking long term" while he enjoys his villa in Tuscany and smokes his expensive cigars. And, he wishes that people wouldn't talk to him about fixing their cable or their AOL service. Ah, I feel so bad for the guy...he has to listen to complaints and worry about the here-and-now of his company. Maybe that's why Time-Warner is tanking!

[1]Now, I didn't have an appointment with a service technician for Saturday. I did have one for Sunday at 2pm.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blogological Silence

This silence is not self imposed or because I am trying to ignore the fascination of online procrastination (though this would probably be good for me). No, no, no, this silence is imposed on me by the fact that Time Warner cable can't get their shit together to provide a service for which I am paying. My apartment is without cable television and teh internets (again). Although this time, it is really gone. The version of cable that I currently get is a bunch of tiled images on the screen - it looks like I am playing Tetris while trying to watch anything. Sometimes they move, sometimes they don't. And, my internet just simply doesn't work.

The best part? Time Warner's phones are so backed up that I get a busy signal!!! I thought of the possibility that their service is so f*ed up that their phones, theoretically run on the same cable through which I am trying to receive my television and internet connection, are down and that they can't get any phone service, either. That thought amused me until I realized that it's my problem that I can't get to them, not theirs that they can't receive any calls.

On the plus side, E. and I spent a great TV-free evening together last night and I am due for a refund on the days of service that I couldn't get my internet connection. Of course that refund might pay for half of the cost of going to coffee shops in order to work.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wikipedia's Style Guide, Gender-Neutrality and the Future of The Internets

For those who might be interested in the topic, which I believe includes some readers of this blog, there is a rather heated debate on the gendered pronouns going on Wikipedia if anyone feels the desire (and has the time) to contribute.

I find the whole idea of Wikipedia interesting. If this had been a style guide published by a press, I am sure that this topic would (and has) certainly been debated, but it would have taken years on the turn-around time. One edition is published every two years, minor edits are made when people (probably in academia) object to the usage. Then, after edits are made others (again, probably in academia) would charge that standard usage shouldn't be changed so easily and the entire purpose of a guide is to use practice and, therefore, even if it might be gender-biased, we shouldn't revolutionize the world of style guides. The printed style-guides then might add that there are two acceptable ways to write with gendered pronouns.

Now, this entire debate has occurred in the process of six days going back and forth. And, while this is certainly more "democratic" than the discussions in publishing houses and academic journals, it now privileges people who can, if they desire, spend all day at the computer debating the ins and outs of usage or any of the other debatable topics on Wikipedia. If I miss a day or two in one of these discussions, or even more than a couple of hours, I might as well not participate.

It makes me think that there might be a whole new ethic of professionals that is going to develop who can do this for a living. I mean there are allegations that corporations manipulate Wiki entries and Wikipedia is often the first site someone goes to in an effort to get information on a topic on which they know nothing. We also already see professional bloggers, Markos Moulitsas, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Sullivan, etc. who have been able to give up their "day jobs" and convert blogging to those very jobs. But, if it requires constant attention to run a good blog and that blog can be converted to ad hits and the like, how long before we some kind of consolidation of the profession into large conglomerates?

I know that I am not the first to mention this, but it just seems interesting to me how the nature of Web 2.0 can change the dynamic to be both more and less democratic. It is also interesting to see if there are new rules to integrating empires including the role that blogs play in the dissemination of information. Will they continue to do a better job expressing opinions and analysis than the established print and television outlets, or will they evolve into news-gathering organizations with budgets to do the kind of investigative reporting that outlets like the New York Times, the major networks, CNN, Fox News, etc. are able to do (and, I might add, often do poorly)? Also, what will be the role of research in this world? Will academics begin to care more about Wiki entries in their topics and work on them? Will this require some kind of credit professionally (the same way one gets credit if one writes an entry for a subject encyclopedia or a textbook on a subject) and will this insertion of "experts" lead to fewer "non-experts" contributing to sites like Wikipedia? These questions bring up the democratic potentials potentials in the sense that participation is not locked to certain physical locations (e.g. newsrooms, universities, television stations). But, the ability to be able to participate in these discussions requires either a) an abundant amount of flexible time (usually associated with professional work) or b) that one gets paid enough to make a living to continuously contribute (and, therefore, creating a profession rather than a democratic "netroots" control).

I am sure that Squires and the folks at Orgtheory would have a much more elegant description of this process and its potentials, but I think that it represents a fascinating intersection of language, organizational theory and markets that still has many potential avenues along which to develop and, potentially, to influence that development. Who knows, it might even affect the progress of mankind humankind...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Law and Order Republicans

I thought about writing about this with regard to the Scooter Libby pardon commutation, but refrained. Partly because there was already so much about it on the tubes and across the airwaves, partly because I was lazy. But, with Larry Craig's recent troubles with the law, I feel compelled to write about this insanely unjust hypocrisy. The same "law and order" Republicans[1] who not only support the death penalty, but claim that the number of appeals should be limited, argue that the rules are different when they are caught. President Bush, who wouldn't bother to consider pardoning, commuting or otherwise even seriously considering the cases before him regarding the death penalty in Texas all the sudden finds that it is alright to pardon Libby. Meanwhile, Craig is looking into the possibility that he will try and reverse his plea in the Minneapolis court.

Hilzoy, at Obsidian Wings has a great analysis of the Craig saga. While she recognizes the pain that it must take to be closeted, she loses sympathy for someone who consistently votes against the rights of gays and lesbians in this country. I feel the same way about these legal shenanigans. While I think that they are important, particularly for the indigent and less educated defendants, I can't find sympathy for Craig. First, the man took an oath to uphold the Constitution and should know his Constitutional rights. If he wasn't guilty, don't say anything! Of course, he was hoping that this would go away without any attention being called to it.

But, second, supposing Craig gets off, I can only suspect what he will do next. I am pretty sure he is not going to (re)find religion, or question his old one. He will give his mea culpas to the people of Idaho and potentially get re-elected. He won't question the criminal justice system that railroads defendants into plea bargaining. I imagine that he will go on with his "law and order" ways trying to limit the ability of trial lawyers and defendants to use the same expertise that he was able to buy.

Maybe it won't happen. Maybe he will resign. Maybe he won't and will get re-elected and realize the error of his ways. I don't know. But, if he doesn't—I hope that there is a special place for him in whatever religion he chooses to find after this ordeal.

[1] Speaking of laziness and Law & Order Republicans, I can't wait for Fred Thompson's snub of current candidates by airing his first ad right before a debate among the other 10 jokers in the field.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The More Things Change

One of the more interesting (and readable) books on the urban environment is Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place by John Logan (currently at Brown University, formerly at SUNY-Albany) and Harvey Molotch (currently at NYU). I was reminded because of this article on Atlantic Yards Report about the New York Times' inconsistency between its "tough analysis of the post-Katrina recovery" versus that covering the Atlantic Yards Project. As Logan and Molotch note in their introduction, the ideas in Urban Fortunes are the combination of Logan's ideas on social stratification in the urban sphere and Molotch's ideas of power and politics in urban development. The latter's ideas on the growth machine politics are particularly instrumental to the AYR article.

Molotch argues that the goal of "growth machine politics" is to increase the size of cities through strategic alliances and contests between different actors so that each can try and capitalize on the maximum exchange value for their land over the use value of current residents. The "growth machine" is particularly powerful because it often contains some of the most powerful political actors: developers, real estate agents, building trades unions, etc. Those opposing the "growth machine" (i.e. those whose use value is greater than their exchange value) are only successful through the organizing necessary to oppose the growth machine coalitions.

But, for Molotch, newspapers play a particularly important role in the development of the growth machine. For them, the ultimate goal is to increase the size of the entire metropolitan area (thus, increasing both readership and the importance of the city to gain more national prestige) and they arbitrate disputes between actors at the local level to encourage the best plan for the development of the entire area. Thus, Logan and Molotch write:

Although newspapers may express concern for "the ecology," this does not prevent them from supporting growth-inducing investments for their regions. The New York Times likes office towers and additional industrial installations in the city even more than it loves "the environment." Even when historically significant districts are threatened, the Times editorializes in favor of intensification. Thus, the Times recently admonished opponents to "get out of the way" of the Times Square renewal, which would replace landmark structures (including its own former headquarters at 1 Times Square) with huge office structures (New York Times, May 24, 1984, p.18). Similarly, the Los Angeles Times editorializes against narrow-minded profiteering that increases pollution or aesthetic blight—in other cities. The newspaper featured criticizm, for example, of the Times Square renewal plan (Kaplan, 1984:1), but had enthusiastically supported development of the environmentally devastating supersonic transport (SST) for the jobs it would presumably lure to Southern California. [pp. 72-3]

Logan and Molotch go on to talk about how the two papers then fired two columnists that were too critical of interests in their own cities.

Maybe it would be better to direct the information to the Los Angeles Times to try and get critical information of the Atlantic Yards project published!