President Joe Biden opens 10 field offices in North Carolina, none in a rural county
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1d ago
As reported by Axios, President Joe Biden has opened ten field offices in North Carolina, a crucial battleground state that could decide the 2024 Presidential election. The Biden campaign has focused its efforts on urban and suburban voters, believing that they represent a constituency that could give the incumbent President the state and its 16 electoral votes. Biden only lost North Carolina by 1.34% (or 74,483) votes, and it was the only state that Donald Trump won while also failing to win over 50% of the vote. However, the decision to focus solely on urban and suburban voters represents th ..read more
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Literary Ruralism (Part XLVI): American Spirits
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1d ago
Reviewers have been mostly positive about Russell Banks' last book, American Spirits, which was published posthumously a few months ago, and  I recently got around to reading it and found the insights regarding rural folks, including their attachment to place and to the land, quite compelling.  The book is comprised of three stories, each set in Sam Dent, a fictional small town in New York's Adirondacks. This excerpt is from the first of the book's three stories, "Nowhere Man," which involves a man, Doug Lafleur, who, with his sisters, sold their interest in the land they inherited f ..read more
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How vouchers are decimating Oklahoma's rural schools
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1d ago
This story by an Oklahoma television station caught my eye on Twitter, where Jennifer Berkshire, a podcaster writing about education and politics had posted a link with this quote and comment,  *If it’s not any better than this year, I think our rural schools will cave,” she said. “I think that’s probably the purpose—that if we have less schools, then the monies can go to privates and charters.* Incredible reporting from Oklahoma. Interestingly, Heather Cox Richardson, the historian, had retweeted the Tweet (which is how this matter actually caught my eye), with this comment: This is an a ..read more
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Two hard-hitting critiques of "White Rural Rage"
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1w ago
I wrote about Thomas Schaller and Paul Waldman's new book, White Rural Rage, in February, just after its publication.  I followed up with this.  The first, by Tyler Austin Harper, was published in The Atlantic yesterday under the headline "An Utterly Misleading Book about Rural America."  An important part of Harper's attack centers on definitions of "rural," but he also does a deep dive into how the authors of White Rural Rage committed what he calls academic malpractice.  Here's a key excerpt:   White Rural Rage illustrates how willing many members of the U.S ..read more
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"Spotlight on rural California" (Part II): Defying rural stereotypes
Legal Ruralism Blog
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2w ago
I wrote last week about the Public Policy Institute of California's "Spotlight on rural California" event, and I am circling back now to provide more information about what was discussed there.  I want to highlight how the rural politicians who participated in these events defied certain rural stereotypes--in particular the stereotype of buy-in to conspiracy theories, complete antipathy to the federal government, and denial of climate change.   James Gallagher of Yuba City, the Assembly minority leader who has made himself a vocal foe of Governor Gavin Newsom, for example, was ..read more
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On spatial inequality in Maine's juvenile justice system
Legal Ruralism Blog
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2w ago
The New York Times today published a second story in a series on Maine's juvenile justice system, this one expressly calling attention to differences in rural and urban:   "For Young Offenders in Maine, Justice Varies by Geography."  Journalist Callie Ferguson reports as part of a year-long investigation into the system, as part of the Times Local Investigations Fellowship.  Here's an excerpt leading with the nature of Aroostook County, the legendary county in the state's far north:    Aroostook County, in Maine’s far north, is the largest county east of the Miss ..read more
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Politico reports on California's new legislative leaders, both with rural roots, representing rural districts
Legal Ruralism Blog
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2w ago
The headline is "Rural California can finally claim both legislative leaders as its own," and Camille Von Kaenel reports on the topic I took up here.  She does so, however, with the resources of a journalist who has more time to gather details of the symbolic meaning and possible real-world consequences of Robert Rivas' ascension to chair of the California Assembly and Mike McGuire's recent taking the reins of the California Senate.  For the first time since 1969, both of California's legislative leaders are from rural-ish areas.  Indeed, both also rose from modest means.&n ..read more
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"When you say 'California,' rural is not one of the adjectives that comes readily to mind."
Legal Ruralism Blog
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3w ago
That is one of the most memorable comments from today's Public Policy Institute of California's event, "Spotlight on Rural California."  It was made by PPIC executive director Tani Cantil-Sakayue, former Chief Justice of the State of California, and it's one I appreciate given how difficult it seems to be to draw attention to rural issues, rural people, rural needs here in the Golden State.  It's an issue I've written about occasionally here on the blog, but more commonly ranted about verbally to friends and anyone who would listen.  One problem with people not thinking about th ..read more
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Right-wing political movement losing ground in California's rural-ish north state
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1M ago
Hailey Branson-Potts and Jessica Garrison report for the Los Angeles Times from Shasta County, California, a recent hotbed of election denialism and similar conspiracy theory madness.   (You can read some related past posts here, here, here, here, and here).  The headline is "One far-right leader ousted. Another barely hangs on. Is Shasta rejecting MAGA politics?, and the gist of yesterday's Times story about the March 5 election results follows:     Shasta County voters have booted from office a key figure in the county’s hard-right shift, even as ..read more
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My Rural Travelogue (Part XXXVII): New Cuyama and California's Valley of Enchantment
Legal Ruralism Blog
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1M ago
Cuyama Valley from New Cuyama (c) Lisa R. Pruitt 2024 I had the opportunity to visit the community of New Cuyama, California (population 542) last month, in northern Santa Barbara County.  The area is known as the Hidden Valley of Enchantment.   (c) Lisa R. Pruitt 2024 I first learned of the Cuyama Valley about a year ago when a student wrote this post about Harvard University buying up land there.  I was excited to be passing through the region (ok, well, it was a bit out of my way) and to have the opportunity to visit there myself.   While t ..read more
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