My youngest daughter (2 yo) got her first haircut today. I was at a meeting and could not make it, but received a picture on my phone of her in the stylist's chair (I would say "barber's chair" but, with two daughters, I am learning the language of the fairer sex). I got home and checked on her and there she was, sleeping, with her bangs trimmed instead of in her eyes. She looked so much older, it breaks my heart. I'm looking forward to catching up this weekend.

Here is this week's news: 

  • The NY Times wrote an article this week on a stimulus-induced road project outside of Houston and how it was impacting some rural areas. I was surprised, but heartened, that they pointed out the tragic irony in the situation: 

The road exemplifies an unintended effect of the stimulus law: an administration that opposes suburban sprawl is giving money to states for projects that are almost certain to exacerbate it.

  • How many small town governments would love to have land that holds its value in a tough market while requiring little in terms of government services? My guess is: most. Funny how these things work out, isn't it?

This isn’t to say that government doesn’t have a role. But the public sector is most effective when its policies act indirectly to encourage spontaneous enterprise: keeping barriers to entry low, allowing businesses to grow without excessive regulation, and making a region attractive for newcomers. Rather than the top-down visions of planners, such modest, commonsense policies are the best kind of place-based innovation strategy. 

  • If you are interested in pondering why the cul-de-sac should be abandoned as a design strategy, check out this article about a community that banned them. 

  • I was told last week that I was "washed green", which I understand to mean I can speak the "green agenda", but inside I am some type of planet-hater. I have to confess that thoughts like that make clashes like this even more entertaining. 

  • I have to admit being a spectator, and admirer, of British politics. If you ever get a chance to catch the questioning of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on CSPAN, do it. (Wow, that was perhaps the most geeky thing I've ever written, but I'm serious). For of nation of people who enjoy mostly boring sports, their politics is engaging. The debate is open, free-flowing and responsive. And intelligent (I know Brits would disagree, but have they watched the ridicule that is the US Congress for comparison?) That brings me to this video, which I came across Wednesday. Before you watch this, imagine it is a Republican in the House of Representatives speaking to Barak Obama. Or, if you prefer, a Democrat speaking to George Bush some time over the prior eight years.  

Wow! Much closer to something you would see at a township annual meeting than anything we call politics on a national level. Much more honest, in my opinion, than the closed meeting followed by the childish press conference we have come to expect.