Archive | July, 2011

Gowanus – Big Development Can Wait

31 Jul

Resilience at the margins. Check it out.

Artists and small businesses priced out of other neighborhoods have been taking up residence in the old warehouses. Nightclubs have popped up on streets that taxi repair shops and truck depots once dominated. Restaurants, bars and bakeries have all moved in, creating a scene that longtime Brooklyn residents compare to Dumbo before the multimillion-dollar lofts and Williamsburg before Bedford Avenue became a destination.

Why is it the artists that pioneer these areas? There’s something both obvious and deep there.

via Gowanus – Big Development Can Wait – NYTimes.com.

In the Middle of Glory

31 Jul

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Sure Cure for Debt Problems Is Economic Growth [Yeah, right! But…]

31 Jul

The super-rich: have got it figured out: How to keep their part of the economy, that part that feeds their bank accounts, growing. The neat thing is they can keep things growing in their back yard even when the overall economy is stagnant. Which means that,for the rest of us, the economy is shrinking. Back  in the old days, the economy grew for everybody: win-win. Now it grows for the rich, but not for us: win-lose.

And the rich don’t care. Why should they, they hardly even notice. Because it just doesn’t affect them.

“The basic issue is that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal track,” says Dean Maki, the chief United States economist at Barclays Capital. “From that point, none of the choices are fun.” The most obvious choices, Mr. Maki says, are to reduce spending (ouch), raise taxes (yuck), let inflation run (gasp) or default (thud).

We wouldn’t need any of that if we could restore economic growth. If that happened, Americans would become richer and pay more taxes. Et voilà! — we’d pay down the debt painlessly.

via Sure Cure for Debt Problems Is Economic Growth – NYTimes.com.

JOURNAL: Central Planning and The Fall of the US Empire – Global Guerrillas

30 Jul

The always interesting John Robb notes that Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of bad decisions made through central planning. Lots of resources were used badly. That wasn’t supposed to happen in market-driven USofA. Now it has:

The succession of market bubbles, the global financial collpse of 2008, and the recent US debt problem is prima facie evidence that gross misallocation has occurred for decades. The wealth of the West, particularly the US, is being spent on the wrong things year after year, decade after decade. We are now as fragile as the Soviet Union in the late 80’s.

What happened?

Central planning took over the decision making process in the US, both through the growth of government and through an unparalleled concentration of wealth.

The emergence of a class of the SUPER-RICH, Robb argues, has led to a form of central planning:

The concentration of wealth is now in so few hands and is so extreme in degree, that the combined liquid financial power of all of those not in this small group is inconsequential to determining the direction of the economy.   As a result, we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces.  A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth.  The result was inevitable:  gross misallocation across all facets of the private economy.

via JOURNAL: Central Planning and The Fall of the US Empire – Global Guerrillas.

RESOLVED: The Toyota Prius IS NOT a resilient car – Global Guerrillas

30 Jul

RESOLVED: The Toyota Prius IS NOT a resilient car

The Toyota Prius, and electric cars in general, are NOT resilient.

Some major reasons why:

1. Global manufacture. Exotic materials.

2. Replacement and repair. Cost is high and it requires complex methods/parts.

3. Conditional: If electricity isn’t produced locally, there is a dependence on a remote power source.

via RESOLVED: The Toyota Prius IS NOT a resilient car – Global Guerrillas.

Foul Use

29 Jul

‪Huey Long: Share the Wealth‬‏ – YouTube

28 Jul

Here’s a little old-fashioned politicking that’s sounding pretty good about now. Who’s talking like this now? Heck, who even thinks it?

The Rise of the Austerity Hawk Democrats | The Nation

28 Jul

The fact that Senate Democrats are trying to out-cut the cut-obsessed Republicans pretty much sums up the current political debate in Washington. “Harry Reid’s plan wins the austerity sweepstakes,” Adam Serwer wrote yesterday. “It’s the austerity party vs. the austerity party,” blogger Atrios tweeted.

President Obama has actively shifted the debt debate to the right, both substantively and rhetorically.

via The Rise of the Austerity Hawk Democrats | The Nation.

Obama and His Discontents – NYTimes.com

28 Jul

Obama has been much praised for the magnanimity he shows his opposition. But such empathy, unburdened by actual expectations, comes easy. More challenging is the work of coping with those who have the disagreeable habit of taking the president, and his talk of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” seriously. In that business, Obama would do well to understand that while democracy depends on intelligent compromise, it also depends on the ill-tempered gripers and groaners out in the street.

via Obama and His Discontents – NYTimes.com.

Radiation Mitigation – Miiu.org

28 Jul

This is about how to deal with radiation if your world gets irradiated.

In a globally connected world, the bad news is that we cannot “opt out” of radiation poisoning that comes to us via nuclear plant meltdowns or other means. So the question is not how to avoid radiation exposure but how to mitigate it. The good news is that there are some ways to mitigate radiation exposure and by learning about them and adopting some of them into our lifestyle we may find ourselves living more healthy lives even when we do have to ward off the damages of radiation. First, let’s consider the problem.

via Radiation Mitigation – Miiu.org.

While you’re there, check out the whole site. Good stuff there on resilience, localizing, and creating a whole new world “under the radar,” so to speak.