This is going to be a slam version of the famed Friday News Digest. Last night I went with Justin (of podcast fame) to see Dark Night Rises (second time for me - incredible show) and now this morning we are scheduled to head to a summer reading event at the library. Since I'm seriously winding down my Mountain Dew consumption, I've had to keep going on sheer will and, for better or worse, that is now depleting. Where's my pop?
Enjoy the slam version of this week's news.
- Thank you to Jon Geeting and everyone who has supported our fundraiser to bring the Strong Towns message to Pennsylvania. I'm working offline with a couple of people who want to make larger contributions, but it won't get us there. Please do what you can so we meet our goal.
- Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone had a fabulous story about an attempt to use the eminent domain process to stabilize neighborhoods. Everyone I spoke to about this over the past week thinks it is a terrible idea. I don't.
There’s been so much corruption on Wall Street in recent years, and the federal government has appeared to be so deeply complicit in many of the problems, that many people have experienced something very like despair over the question of what to do about it all.
But there’s something brewing that looks like it might eventually turn into a blueprint to take on the financial services industry: a plan to allow local governments to take on the problem of neighborhoods blighted by toxic home loans and foreclosures through the use of eminent domain. I can't speak for how well this program will work, but it's certainly been effective in scaring the hell out of Wall Street.
- Last week I included a quote from Richard Duncan. Here is an entire interview with him. His analysis is out of the mainstream (so am I), but it is provocative and challenges a wide range of dogmatic beliefs. Worth a listen or two.
- I spoke in Frederick, MD, last year and simply loved the place. Very sad to have this report of some desperate and highly speculative action currently underway to double down on the worst of what they've done when they should be building, without leveraged speculation, on the best and most successful.
Four commissioners Thursday voted to approve a plan to sell up to $40 million of county-issued bonds to fundroad improvements and off-site sewer construction for the Jefferson Technology Park. Property owners in the development will pay off the bonds, with its new residents shouldering hundreds of dollars per year in special taxes.
- The DOTs have got to be scratching their heads. They project higher traffic amounts, traffic levels off or declines yet a new report this week says U.S. traffic deaths jump. Their models must be going tilt, kind of like that scene from Matthew Broderick's Cold War movie, War Games.
Traffic deaths in the first three months of 2012 jumped 13.5 percent to the highest number since 2008.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday that its estimate of traffic deaths for the first quarter of 2012 show a 13.5 percent increase.
The estimated increase is the second largest quarterly jump in traffic deaths since NHTSA began tracking deaths on a quarterly basis in 1975 — and the biggest since 1979.
- After releasing the post on projections this past Monday and then seeing the comments on sites where it was reprinted like Streets.MN, DC Streetsblog and Greater Greater Washington, I have a renewed appreication for how lonely and frustrating Nassim Taleb's life must be at times. When you can see something so clearly, explain it in a variety of ways yet people zealously cling to the real estate their mind currently occupies, refusing to expand a sliver.... I guess we just need a "better" model, eh Neiderhoffer?
Enjoy your weekend, everyone.