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Friday, September 25, 2009

What allowing cars to dominate your city gets you

Derelict factories in DetroitImage by LHOON via Flickr

This. Don't miss the photo spread.

King Midas discovered that you can't eat gold. We need to remember that it's true for pavement too.
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I shutter to think about what happened to spelling

spelling beeImage by sushiesque via Flickr

If you want to feel confident about the educational attainments of your fellow men and women, avoid Craigslist at all costs. Every time I visit, I find one or two new spellings that give me concern for our future. Today's happy coinage: "Shudders" for the objects that some people like to slap on their T-111 to make it look like there are cheap objects slapped on the T-111.

And I've long since lost count of the number of times that Craigslisters have "loose" and "loosing"where lose and losing would be correct. It makes me worry about what a looser I am for caring about such things.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not saying that people who misspell things a lot are all stupid. But I do observe that all stupid people misspell things quite a lot . . . or alot, as it usually appears these days. And why does it matter? Because words are tools. It's not required that you use big, complicated, unusual words . . . but if you can't spell the words you already use, it's like a carpenter who leaves the saw out in the rain to get dull and rusted. Respect for your tools means paying attention to the small differences that distinguish them and using the right tool for the right job. With words, those differences are especially important because they usually say something about the origin of the words, which is a real help to choosing the right one at the right time.)
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Now that the rich have captured the initiative & referendum process, what's left?

Oregonians were early adopters of the initiative and referendum processes, the highlight of the Progressive Era reforms, which were needed to break the stranglehold wealth had on state legislatures in the Gilded Age of the 19th and early 20th Century.

Now that we're suffering the aftershocks from the cataclysmic collapse of the Second Gilded Age, one with excesses that make the famous Robber Barons look like small-time grifters, we find that the same forces have captured the I&R game and turned it into their private preserve. If the bought-and-sold politicians show even the slightest signs of incipient vertebrate status, passing even the mildest of reforms and reducing the gains of the wealthy by something on the order of a rounding error in the third decimal place, they unleash their reserve army of desperately poor people with orders for them to go collect signatures against the interests of themselves and every other Oregonian (including the rich themselves, whose greed blinds them to penalty they pay for living in a two-class country with a hollowed-out place where the middle class used to be).

I'm not ready to do away with the I&R system. Yet. But if this repeal of the recent tiny tax hikes passes then we need to figure out whether there's anything "progressive" left of the progressive's signature reform or whether it's just another way for the corporations to shaft the people of Oregon.

More like this please -- and fast.

Example of w:Straw-bale construction seen in t...Isn't straw bale scary? Mattawa, Wash. public library. Image via Wikipedia

Straw-bale homes. The building code should be revised to make the performance of straw bale homes the standard (not the method, but the attainable performance). Then, if builders don't want to use straw, fine, but they have to build a house as well-insulated and tight as they could have with straw.

Nice straw-bale primer here.
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Candorville: How insurance companies work (deadly . . . accurate)