Wandering Eye: Baltimore's growing number of young people, Ebola panic, and a defense of Obama

Of the nation’s 51 metropolitan areas with a million or more residents, Baltimore is boasting robust numbers of young, college-educated people who choose to live in the urban core. This is according to a new report, called "Young and Restless," put out by a new think tank, City Observatory (CO), and covered today by the New York Times. Written by CO economist Joe Cortright and based on recent U.S. Census data, the report finds that the number of 25- to 34-year-old college graduates in Baltimore increased from 121,500 in 2000 to 160,500 in 2012, a 32-percent jump, making them nearly 6 percent of the overall population, and that the number of this group choosing to live in the urban core (within three miles of the main central business district) grew 92 percent, from 13,000 to 25,000. This is good because, as Cortright explains, "talented young workers are both economically important in their own right—playing especially important roles in meeting the labor needs of fast-growing knowledge-based firms—and also as a kind of indicator of the overall health and attractiveness of a metropolitan area." (Van Smith)


Rolling Stone has a long essay by NYT columnist (and Nobel-winning economist) Paul Krugman, and it's worth a read for anyone who wants to see how a well-credentialed outsider transforms into a Very Serious Person. For about six years, Krugman has been one of President Obama's most trenchant, even-handed critics. He has pointed out how the President's economic stimulus package has been helpful but short of the need. He has derided the administration's unwillingness to prosecute criminal bankers. He has written intelligently about the structural inequality of our economy. While giving credit to the president and nuance to his arguments, Krugman has heretofore been an Obama skeptic. But in this article, he 180s. Obama, Krugman now assures us, "has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history." As always with Krugman, there is much "to be sure" hedging. But as Thomas Frank notes in Salon, "Krugman's approach in Rolling Stone is to take a look at these things and announce that the glass is half full, rather than half empty." Why would he do this? Maybe because Princeton is seeming a little small these days. Krugman has made his reputation, and his best arguments, pointing out that those regarded as "Very Serious People" are most often the most worldly, reasonable, certain, and wrong. VSPs share many traits. They are consistently tapped for  cabinet positions, corporate boards, Ivy League presidencies, and spots on the Federal Reserve Bank's board of governors, for instance. But the most important VSP commonality is this: They don't publicly criticize one another with too much honesty, and they always perceive the glass as half-full. Welcome to the fold, Professor Krugman. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


The Eboal virus seems to be on everyone's minds lately, and it turns out it's causing a panic spreading faster than the virus itself. Here's a few examples, courtesy of the WaPo: A hazmat crew raced to the Pentagon after a woman was seen vomitting in the parking lot, a Carnival cruise ship was turned away at a Mexican port because a passenger was carrying sealed blood samples from U.S. Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, and one of the Post's own Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers was disinvited from a panel discussion after returning from covering the story in Liberia. But, as Michael Kinzer, a medical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes, "There’s a reason it’s not everywhere. It's just not as easy to transmit as people think." Which is to say all the extreme measures listed above are as nonsensical as they sound. Perhaps it's important to remember, as the World Health Organization notes, that "Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have had 9,191 cases and 4,546 deaths." (Brandon Weigel)

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