As our long time readers know, it's Friday. It's snowing here. I'm pumped.

Enjoy this lightening version of the news.

  • And on that bridge, we estimated in 2010 that a toll would need to be $5.74 just to cover the debt. Now KARE 11 reports that Mn/DOT is considering a $3 toll to cover half the cost plus operation/maintenance. Why would we (further) subsidize the commute of ultra-exurban property owners from a totally different state when we have thousands of vacant, developed, exurban properties in our own state that won't be developed for decades (if ever)? Those aren't Tea Party values.
  • If a free-market company like Best Buy can acknowledge that they have overextended themselves horizontally, can our cities do the same? Substitute the name of your local city for "Best Buy" and substitute "infrastructure" for "stores" in the following quote and that's solid analysis.

"There isn't that continuing demand for the amount of space they [Best Buy] have," said Dave Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence at the University of St. Thomas. "If they can shrink their stores by 10 percent, you have to wonder if that is far enough."

  • Every small town should have a patch of open space dedicated to mountain biking. It is so cheap to build and has a really strong draw, it is almost a no-brainer. Here's one really great example from a local town here in Minnesota.

  • It is easy to get your Orwell on when you read an article like this. I get the idea of an hedonic adjustment, but there is a fox-guarding-the-hen-house quality about a system where the government, which is massively assisted by a low inflation rate (largely at our expense), can decide that a shirt that costs 10% more is actually 20% better in quality and thus prices have dropped by a net 10%. I don' think it is a conspiracy, I just think we continue to develop ever more effective ways to lie to ourselves.
  • Kind of hard to lie about this one, though. It is inevitable that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) along with others will move away from the dollar. Unfortunately, it appears that will be one of the primary methods whereby we start living "within our means". I say "unfortunate" because a steeply declining dollar will be very painful for Americans. (As a side note, why BRICS? Why not CRIBS. It sounds so much better. Who wouldn't want to hang with the CRIBS?)
  • Finally, while I've nearly completely given up on pop culture and I don't drink (oh yes, I'm tons of fun), I really like the song in this Heineken commercial. The singer has such a baby-doll voice and the entire rhythm, along with those sweet twinkling keys, makes we want to dance. The commercial even overlays a flute, which the original tune - Sing it out loud by The Asteroid Galaxy Tour - does not have. Thought I'd share so you can dance a little too.

Have a fantastic weekend. 

 

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