Ho hum, incumbent Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayoral runoff over Jesus "Chuy" Garcia by a 56-44 margin. The story of Mr. Emanuel's re-election will be the money, though plenty of underfunded candidates used to win elections all the time, and can do so again, with superior messaging. And frankly, it looks to me like Mr. Emanuel's mea culpas before the camera worked (just as they did for Charles Percy in 1978!), and it also looks to me like Mr. Garcia let Mr. Emanuel define him before he defined himself, and I'm tired enough of that tale that I won't declare victory just because Mr. Garcia forced a runoff against a corporatist Democrat.
Nicholas Fitz at Scientific American reminds us that we, as Americans, don't quite understand how bad the income gap between rich and poor has become. Long story short: studies find that Americans think the rich have a much smaller share of American wealth than they actually do, that the income gap between CEOs and workers is much smaller than it actually is, and that upward mobility in America is much more common than it really is. The good news? Americans are good people, and would like a much less unequal society.
Wisconsin Republicans prepare their next attack on workers: a bill that would repeal the state's "prevailing wage" law for construction workers on state and local projects. That law ensures that governments would actually have to pay workers as well as similar local businesses do -- and would have to pay workers brought in from another locality as well as they'd be paid in their own locality. Instead, Republicans want government to use its power to drive wages downward. They really do love big government -- if they can use it to redistribute your income to their big donors.
Sen. Rand Paul is running for President, and John Nichols at The Nation reminds us that his populist/libertarian talk is just talk. We've gone over all the things he hasn't done -- like, that his supposed iconoclasm on drugs and war-making has yielded exactly bupkus as far as results -- but I did not know that he just about single-handedly derailed a bill that would have given Washington, D.C. residents more autonomy over their tax dollars (a small government sort of thing, amirite?) by attaching all sorts of amendments relating to guns, abortion, and "right to work." Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
The Washington Post informs us that "Many Indiana Residents Feel Embarrassed and Misunderstood" over all the controversies (not just the "religious freedom" law) concerning their state over the past few weeks. Well, stop whining, Indiana, and then stop electing knuckle-draggers to office, and if you do these things, the medicine might taste a little better.
Finally, Jay Walljasper at Yes! magazine describes how walkable Arlington County, VA, has become, and suggests it might be a good model for other suburban areas looking to reduce auto traffic and attract more commerce. Improved transit helped, but only around train stops at first; the real boons came when the county committed to an "urban village" planning model, with wider sidewalks, bike lanes, median islands, and walking tours (among other things) helping folks slow down -- because, as one local lawyer says, "(y)ou notice lots more things, like kids playing, when you’re living at 5 miles per hour." Good for them.