Neil Peirce asks whether mayors from around the world might create a united urban voice around issues that affect cities. One such issue: the US’s lax control over guns:
The “extremely violent” Mexican drug gangs, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon reported, are getting 85 percent of their weaponry from transfers across the U.S. border. (The method’s simple — the gangs simply recruit straw buyers who can flash a U.S. driver’s license at a gun shop, walk out with scores of firearms, many of them assault weapons, and then transport the lethal cargo into Mexico).
This is an interesting idea. Ten years ago, I would have said “no chance.” But recent inroads in global environmental enforcement of things such as environmental assessment suggest otherwise.
I warn you: this is a laundry list of financial misery.
via Andrea Hricko
The Washington Post has the following story on the VTech professor Mark Edwards. Though the heroes’ journey tone of the article is a bit heavy, it is a good example of what research and scholarship is for, and the necessity for scientific accountability within agencies like the CDC. Here’s the full story:
In a master stroke of entirely meaningless, chump-change budgetary politics, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor has instituted the YouCut program.
I’m not linking, and you can’t make me.
Representative Cantor has this idea in mind: using the entirely scientifical methodology of web polls, he will put the top-vote-getter up for cuts in the House budget.
What are these programs? Here’s one: the HUD Dissertation Fellowship Program. Here’s Cantor’s write-up:
HUD Program for Doctoral Dissertations ($1 million in savings)
Recently, taxpayers have financed research on media strategies for housing policy and the use of eminent domain for urban redevelopment. Why should families who are struggling to pay for their children’s college also being asked to fund stipends from the government for those who want to write their dissertation on certain government-preferred policies? At approximately $200,000 in grants per year, terminating this program would save $1 million over five years.
A million over 5 years!! That’ll clear up the deficit in no time. Swell! I don’t even know what he means by “government-preferred programs,” but I’m for cutting whatever the government prefers. You can have governments go around preferring things. Now you might think that if the government preferred that people study these things, the government would manage more than $225,000 a year to support it out of a $3.6 trillion budget, but that just goes to show you how ineffectual government is at the same time it’s evil.
The only problem: this write up doesn’t go far enough. He should have gone on to explain how these PhD students, having gotten their $15,000 cut of the big pork that is the HUD dissertation fellowship program, just fling that hard-working taxpayer money away on such fripperies as “food” and “rent.”
Keep up the good work, Chief Deficit Buster.
Note: this doesn’t mean the deficit doesn’t scare me. It does. That’s what makes this kind of rannygazoo all the more irritating.
Astrology, as practiced by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus, which taught people about geography, direction, and navigation. No, it’s not about your sign. Pictured is Ptolemy.
The lateen sail, which improved over square sails used by Roman and other dominant navies. The lateen sail allowed us to manipulate sails according to wind direction, rather than having to wait for a wind going the way we wanted to and having to sit around if that fickle wind changed on us. It allowed for translatlantic crossing, int particular, because with a triangle sail you could slide from Europe down towards the equator, pick up the trade winds; return by sliding up the east coast of the new world (now peopled by a strange tribe of individuals in suits with magic devices they click all the time) and catch the western trade winds.
The compass, which is apparent enough.
I am very fond of and have great respect for my colleague Richard Green. He is witty, urbane, infinitely generous to young scholars (and old scholars, for that matter), interested in many things, and, though I am hardly one to judge, a first-rate economist. (Other first-rate economists tell me he is.)
Do you know what this means? This means Richard officially tops the Most Interesting Man in the World in terms of being the Most Interesting Man in the World.
Here’s the Most Interesting Man in the World, according to Dos Equis:
Who’s more interesting? NO CONTEST.
A little more seriously, in Richard’s case, he does a nice job of laying out the problem except for one thing: his caveat that he tries to be respectful of other people’s viewpoints. Strictly stated, in pluralist society, he’s not required by principle to respect viewpoints. He’s required–if we’re thinking about Locke or any of his followers, to respect other people and their right to have different viewpoints. You don’t have to respect, like, or indulge other people’s views. You do have to respect other people and their entitlement to difference. But you don’t have to treat their opinions like they are made of glass, or something special, particularly if you have heard them out and made a genuine attempt to include, listen, or understand.
Freedom of speech means that yes, you can voice an opinion, no matter how ignorant or repellent. But freedom of speech also entitles the rest of us to point out how wrong, ignorant, or repellent that opinion is.
I may just go back to bed with a bowl of food. I find this video utterly irresistible, particularly the wee sloth that grasps the giraffe toy and tumbles over, asleep.
Those of us who are old remember when country music wasn’t entirely a place peopled by whites. DeFord Bailey passed in 1982, when I was quite young, but I remember one of the country stations playing an hour-long set of his unfortunately few recordings.
What has he got to do with sustainable cities and transport? Well, he’s one of those people that captured train music. This is him doing the Pan American Blues:
The Pan-American ran between Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, and New Orleans from the mid-1920s until 1971. It had the full passenger train package: sleepers, dining cars, observation areas, etc.