Jacobs -- who died in Toronto on April 25, 2006 -- was a true "public intellectual" who put her ideas into practice. She loved cities and urban neighborhoods. She was fearless and feisty. She was a moralist, who believed that people have a responsibility to the greater good, and that societies and cities exist to bring out the best in people.
Obama seemed to abandon his affinity for organizing soon after he entered the White House. Now, a new protest movement against racist injustice -- triggered by the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the failure of the criminal justice to indict their killers -- has propelled Obama to recall his community organizing roots.
Using public funds to build professional sports facilities is an ineffective, inefficient strategy for promoting economic development -- and, one might infer, an especially unseemly use of scare resources in a city like Milwaukee where 29 percent of its nearly 600,000 residents live in poverty. But in our new Gilded Age, big money has no shame.