Obama's Other History

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The coverage of President Barack Obama’s first days in office has been intense, to say the least. Yet it has still managed to overlook an historical comparison that is worthy of our consideration.

Obama took office just a few months after a stock market crash that left no doubt about the rugged shape of our economy. The ensuing decline has been swift and scary, leading some to talk about a possible fall into an outright depression.  read more »

Hollywood Tax Credits? The Shows Are On The Road

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If you were paralyzed with shock at the October $700 billion dollar Congressional bailout, you may have missed the inclusion of a $478 million-fine-print allotment to Hollywood for tax incentives. A month later, in the midst of California’s on-going fiscal crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed something called ‘the runaway production provision’, to utilize the bailout incentives to keep entertainment production in California and stimulate investment in motion pictures here.  read more »

Oregon’s Immigration Question: Addressing the Surge in the Face of Recession

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The men huddle outside the trailer, eyeing the passing traffic. Handmade signs stapled to telephone posts speak for them: “Hire a Day Worker!” The site, a fenced-in lot at Northeast MLK and Everett Street, was launched in 2007, a testament both to Oregon’s recent immigration boom and lack of federal reform.  read more »

Financial Crisis: Have We Hit Bottom Yet?

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These are not boom times for optimists. But I believe that – combined with knowledge of what has worked in the past – there are numerous signs that the economy may turn around faster than many think.  read more »

Memorialist of Suburbia

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John Updike, the bard of the suburbs, died this week. He was one of the first great American writers to revel in the opportunity, beauty and convenience that the suburbs have long reflected. His voice, first found in the sixties, acted as a reasonable anchor in the tempest of radicalism that swept through the country. He empathized with the American dream rising in the raw suburbs being carved from agricultural land.  read more »

New Survey: Improving Housing Affordability – But Still a Way to Go

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The 5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey covers 265 metropolitan markets in six nations (US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand), up from 88 in 4 nations in the first edition (see note below). This year’s edition includes a preface by Dr. Shlomo Angel of Princeton University and New York University, one of the world’s leading urban planning experts. Needless to say, there have been significant developments in housing affordability and house prices over the past year.  read more »

Obama, Fight The Green Agenda

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In his remarkable rise to power, President Barack Obama has overcome some of the country's most formidable politicians – from the Bushes and the Clintons to John McCain. But he may have more trouble coping with a colleague he professes to admire: former Vice President Al Gore.  read more »

Height of Power: The Washington Fiefdom Looms Larger Than Ever

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For more than two centuries, it has been a wannabe among the great world capitals. But now, Washington is finally ready for its close-up.

No longer a jumped-up Canberra or, worse, Sacramento, it seems about to emerge as Pyongyang on the Potomac, the undisputed center of national power and influence.  read more »

Infrastructure and Aesthetics

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In his 2005 book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape, Brian Hayes surveys the built environment with an undaunted appreciation of the vast networks of infrastructure systems in America. Hayes, a writer for American Scientist, argues that common understanding of infrastructure is just as important as an understanding of nature itself. Without the ubiquitous power lines, the oft disparaged garbage dumps, or the controversial mining industry, the United States would not have been able to achieve status as the paragon of 20th Century modernization – a pattern now emulated by the likes of China and India.

Yet it seems that ‘infrastructure’ has lost its fabled status in America.  read more »

George W. Bush: Welcome Back to Dallas, Sort Of

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Any moment now I expect to see the familiar face of our former President, George W. Bush, in the parking lot of our local grocery store. Maybe I’ll run into Laura Bush on the treadmill at the Cooper Aerobics Center where both worked out on trips to Dallas. Once they are settled into 10141 Daria Place, I expect her mailbox to runneth over with invitations from countless charitable organizations, asking her as a former First Lady to be honorary chair and spearhead fundraising. And if only I attended Highland Park United Methodist Church, I may even have the benefit of praying with both the former President and his wife in that venerable Dallas institution: Bible Study.

But the Bush family’s return to Dallas may not be as spectacular as they are hoping.  read more »

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