Nicole Gelinas and Aaron Renn join Seth Barron to discuss recent developments in New York and Chicago.

In the first week of April, both cities marked milestones: Manhattan got the nation’s first congestion-pricing plan, courtesy of the state legislature, while Chicago elected its first black woman as mayor.

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Joel Kotkin joins Seth Barron to discuss China’s urbanization, class tensions in Chinese cities, and the country’s increasingly sophisticated population surveillance.

Rapid migration from China’s countryside to its cities began in 1980. Many of the rural migrants arrived without hukou, or residential permits, making it harder to secure access to education, health care, and other services. The result: the creation of a massive urban underclass in many Chinese cities. Rising tensions in urban areas has led Chinese officials to look to technology for alternative methods of social control, ranging from facial-recognition systems to artificial intelligence.

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Steven Malanga joins Seth Barron to discuss expanding efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use, a movement helped along by extensive misinformation about the drug’s supposed health benefits.

This year, at least eight states are debating laws that would permit recreational pot. Marijuana advocates claim that the drug is therapeutic and that legalizing it will end the unjust imprisonment of casual users, especially in minority communities. But as Malanga writes in City Journal, “Even as the legalization push gains momentum, scientific journals report mounting evidence of the drug’s harmful psychological effects and social consequences.”

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Rafael Mangual joins Seth Barron to discuss the disturbing leftward trend among urban prosecutors in major cities and the consequences of undoing the crime-fighting revolution of the 1990s.

In recent years, cities like Philadelphia and Chicago have elected district attorneys dedicated to the principles of social-justice and the goal of “dismantling mass incarceration.” The shift away from proactive law enforcement has opened a rift between police and local prosecutors and points to more trouble ahead for many cities.

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City Journal contributing editor Howard Husock joins associate editor Seth Barron to discuss the Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Awards, which recognize outstanding nonprofit leaders who develop solutions to social problems in their communities.

History has shown that free markets are the best way to organize economic activity, but a healthy society relies on charitable and philanthropic enterprises to help those in need and prepare citizens to realize their potential. To support these goals, the Manhattan Institute established the Social Entrepreneurship initiative in 2001, now known as the Tocqueville Project.

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Hoover Institution fellow and award-winning historian Victor Davis Hanson joins the Manhattan Institute’s Troy Senik to discuss the presidency of Donald Trump and Hanson’s new book, The Case for Trump.

Hanson argues that our 45th president alone has the instinct and energy to upset the balance of American politics. “We could not survive a series of presidencies as volatile as Trump’s,” he writes, “but after decades of drift, America needs the outsider Trump to do what normal politicians would not and could not do.”

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James B. Meigs joins City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga to discuss the limitations of renewable energy and the need to expand nuclear technology as a source of clean and reliable electricity.

For nearly four decades, environmental activists have opposed nuclear power in favor of “green” energy. But as Meigs writes in the Winter 2019 Issue of City Journal, “nuclear power is finding new pockets of support around the world.”

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Ray Domanico joins City Journal associate editor Seth Barron to discuss charter schools in New York City, the growing protests by education workers across the country, and Democrats’ weakening support for charters.

In teachers’ unions protests from West Virginia to California, activists claim that the growth of charters has come at the expense of district schools.

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Daniel DiSalvo joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. ASFCME, in which the Court ruled that public-sector unions’ mandatory “agency fees” were unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Unions provide an important source of financial support for politicians—primarily Democrats—around the country. In a new report for the Manhattan Institute, DiSalvo finds that blue states are taking steps to shield their public unions from the full consequences of the Janus ruling.

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Glenn C. Loury of Brown University joined Jason Riley to discuss the persistence of racial inequality in America. Their conversation took place at a Manhattan Institute event in New York City entitled “Barriers To Black Progress: Structural, Cultural, Or Both?

Professor Loury, who has also taught at Harvard University and Boston University, is a professor of economics, with a focus on race and inequality. He’s published several books, including The Anatomy of Racial Inequality and Race, Incarceration, and American Values.

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Aaron Renn joins City Journal associate editor Seth Barron to discuss how some big public universities are expanding their tech departments to major cities to maximize their economic impact—creating new political battles in their states.

A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal, Aaron Renn writes on economic development and urban policy in America. “The Tech Campus Moves Downtown,” his article examining recent expansions of universities into city centers, appears in the Winter 2019 issue of City Journal.

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James R. Copland joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss President Trump’s impact on the federal courts, the appointment of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and the diversity in conservative judicial philosophy emerging today.

The director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, where he is a senior fellow, James Copland has written and spoken widely on how to improve America’s civil- and criminal-justice systems. “Toward a Less Dangerous Judicial Branch,” his article (coauthored with Rafael A. Mangual) assessing Trump’s court appointments, appears in the Winter 2019 issue of City Journal.

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Milton Ezrati joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the Trump administration’s trade negotiations with China and the “Green New Deal” proposed by newly elected Democrats in Congress, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Proponents of a Green New Deal claim that the plan will prevent damage from climate change. The scale of the proposal is massive: its goals include expanding renewable-energy sources until they provide 100 percent of the nation’s power and eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions for industry and agriculture. To pay for it, Ocasio-Cortez recently suggested a 70 percent income-tax rate on top earners, which Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman described as “reasonable.”

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Nicole Gelinas joins City Journal associate editor Seth Barron to discuss Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City address, his aspiration to run for president in 2020, and his attempts to position himself as a national progressive leader.

“There’s plenty of money in the city—it’s just in the wrong hands,” de Blasio proclaimed in a speech loaded with tax-the-rich rhetoric. Since his first mayoral election in 2013, de Blasio has tried to position himself as a revolutionary. But in practice, Gelinas notes, he is “more old-school, big-city Democratic pragmatist than new-school, Democratic Socialist of America.”

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City Journal contributing editor Howard Husock joins associate editor Seth Barron to discuss problems at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

With some 400,000 residents, NYCHA is the nation’s largest public housing system. In recent years, news reports have documented extensive corruption at the agency along with chronic problems at NYCHA properties, including heating outages, broken elevators, high lead-paint levels, and vermin.

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Christopher F. Rufo joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss an urban struggle with street homelessness and the political fight around it in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city.

Known as the “Emerald City” because its surrounding areas are filled with greenery year-round, Seattle has recently seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and drug addiction. Municipal cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from the streets, and tent-villages have become a regular presence.

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Heather Mac Donald discusses the decline of the university and the rise of campus intellectual intolerance, the subjects of her important new book, The Diversity Delusion How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. She spoke at a Manhattan Institute event in autumn 2018.

Toxic ideas that originated in academia have now spread beyond the university setting, widening America’s cultural divisions. Too many college students enter the working world believing that human beings are defined by their skin color, gender, and sexual preference, and that oppression based on these characteristics defines the American experience. In The Diversity Delusion, Mac Donald argues that the root of this problem is the belief in America’s endemic racism and sexism, a belief that has spawned a massive diversity bureaucracy, especially in higher education.

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Naomi Schaefer Riley joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss how family court in New York fails vulnerable children and how reforms could improve child-welfare.

In the New York Family Court System, judges adjudicate cases ranging from custody disputes to child abuse. As Riley reports, though, the whole system can feel like an agonizing series of hearings, trials, and meetings—often without any resolution. The process can prove detrimental to a child’s emotional well-being, in addition to draining money and resources from parents.

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John Tierney joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss what the debate over prescription drugs gets wrong and the cost that government-imposed price controls could have on one of the world’s most innovative industries.

The business practices of the pharmaceutical industry—or “Big Pharma”—are one of the most divisive political issues of our time. Leaders from both political parties, from Bernie Sanders to President Trump, regularly denounce drug companies for profiteering and call for lower drug prices. But as Tierney notes in City Journal, “of every dollar that Americans spend on health, only a dime goes for prescription drugs. The lion’s share of health spending goes to hospitals and people in the health-care professions.”

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Nicole Gelinas joins Seth Barron to discuss the chaos that commuters and tourists endure on a daily basis in midtown Manhattan—especially during the holiday season.

Every year, city officials are criticized for their poor handling of holiday crowds and the traffic that fills the streets. This year promises to be even worse. As Gelinas has documented, tourists visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center are being funneled between police barricades and concrete bollards, while cars move freely down the wide avenues.

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