Great Lakes all over the place

Much of my writing so far in this blog has been broad scope – meaning national. But I hope to, over time, focus more on the Great Lakes region and its progressive values and community.

Today is a good day to start. I imagine it’s mostly because of the Wisconsin primary today and the upcoming Ohio primary, but today I found all kinds of Great Lakes news to point out.

First off, I’ll start with this. It’s a basic AP articles on the Wisconsin race, but the second half provides some good information on the people who make up the Democratic electorate.

This next “Chicago Sun-Times” article gives a good history of the progressive history of Wisconsin, but it also points out a familiar divide in Great Lakes states – rural “red” areas with urban “blue” areas. I’ve lived in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, and this article could be written about all three states. I imagine Indiana would play out much the same way.

From “The Nation”, John Nichols has an interesting article on how trade issues play out in Wisconsin. The Great Lakes economy has taken it on the chin for years, and it looks like liberal-leaning, progressive voters want to reevaluate international trade deals. Personally I’m a supporter of fair trade more than free trade, but it’s also helpful to remember that autoworkers and farmers want people overseas to buy their automobiles and crops, so outright slamming of trade doesn’t necessarily make good sense. Also, just in case China is brought up as a source of cheap labor, it’s important to remember that when Electrolux chose to close plant in Michigan a few years ago, it moved the jobs to Mexico, not across an ocean. It’s also important to remember than there has been plenty of growth in auto jobs in recent decades, but it’s all taken place in southern states that are hostile to unions – again, not across an ocean.

Moving away from Wisconsin, the “Wall Street Journal” has a profile of working white male voters, and the impact they’ll have in Ohio. Again, this is an article that could apply to all of the Great Lakes states.

Here’s an article from the “Chicago Tribune” on the latest efforts by the Great Lakes states to manage their water resources. I’ve written before about how I’d like to see more unity among the people of the Great Lakes. They share a common history, common economy, and common values. Water has always been one of those unifying issues, but it can still be tough to get agreement.

One part of that common history I mentioned before is the legacy of the great industrialization of the Great Lakes region. Here’s a report from the Center for Public Integrity about a big federal study of environmental hotspots in the Great Lakes region that the Center says has been blocked from publication for months.

And lastly, more on history, here’s an interesting “Wall Street Journal” story about how high oil prices has people looking for oil again in western Pennsylvania. Usually when I focus on the Great Lakes, I mean Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. But you can easily throw in western PA. I can tell you from visiting there often as a kid and as an adult, that it’s more culturally and economically linked to the Great Lakes states than it is to the eastern seaboard. There’s a whole mountain range in between there, for crying out loud!

That’s all.

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