Some good notes from the American Conservative:
Auto-based development patterns follow a now familiar cycle of growth, stagnation, and then rapid decline. During the growth phase, when everything is shiny and new, the affluent move in and enjoy the prosperity of a place on the rise. But as those random failures emerge and things start to decline, those with the means to move on tend to do so, leaving behind cities of dwindling wealth. As the decline steepens, local governments borrow money in the hopes that their revenue problems are simply a temporary cash-flow crunch. The result over decades, however, is an insolvent city with huge debts serving an impoverished population poorly situated to bear the financial burdens of an auto-dependent existence.
Source: Cities for People—or Cars? | The American Conservative
Utah would be wise to look into building plants of this type, especially as a solution for disposing of spent fuel from conventional nuclear plants.
Commercially, a $2 billion dollar 520MWe power plant can meet the needs of utilities facing only gradually increasing demand as well as those whose service area doesn’t require the 1000MW plus size of a conventional reactor, or those wanting to replace fossil-fueled load-following or baseload coal plants. Build time is estimated to be 36 months. The plant does not require any source of cooling water – the molten salt fuel liquid acts as its own coolant as it flows thru the primary loop, transmitting heat (but not radiation) to an intermediate loop. The lack of any requirement for cooling water dramatically increases the number of potential build sites. In fact, its inherent safety characteristics would allow for these reactors to be sited near large population centers, avoiding lengthy transmissions, reducing costs due to power losses and transmission line construction.
via A Universally Acceptable and Economical Energy Source? | Watts Up With That?.
What happened? Hathaway and Litan shrug their shoulders after finding that these trends held steady across all states and metropolitan areas. Clearly, “business dynamism and entrepreneurship are experiencing a troubling secular decline,” they conclude, but “our findings stop short of demonstrating why these trends are occurring, and perhaps more importantly, what can be done about it.” However, the chart itself suggests one answer in particular. The decades involved in this study saw a significant and accelerating expansion of federal regulatory power, which only had one period of significant reversal – the Reagan era. That period shows the only significant return to a higher rate of business births in the last thirty-five years. The consistency of the decline across regions and states also bolsters this interpretation. Some states and regions have better economic growth rates than others; Texas Governor Rick Perry has recruited major employers from California on that basis, most recently Toyota’s US headquarters and its 5,000 jobs. Despite a friendlier tax and economic climate, though, Texas still has a lower business birth rate than it did thirty years ago, and so does every other state, and every metropolitan area save one unnamed.
via Overregulation Is Killing America’s Can-Do Spirit | The Fiscal Times.
I hesitate to quote Karl Marx, but he was surely right when, in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,” he wrote: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”
This truth, however, which is so obvious that it ought to be, if it is not, a cliché, does not mean that choice does not exist. The inevitable existence of circumstances does not mean absence or abrogation of choice. To know the circumstances of a man is not also to know his future actions.
via To Have or to Be? by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Spring 2014.
I don’t begrudge anyone the good fortune of right place/right time, take your money and run, but first drop a knee and be humbled before God reflecting soberly on the knowledge that you didn’t deserve it. I love getting paid, do whatever you can do to get paid, but do not let the money whisper to you that you are worth it, it will be lying and you will believe it. You hold a fetish of value and not actual value.
via The Last Psychiatrist: Who Can Know How Much Randi Zuckerberg Is Worth?.
President Obama showed off his grooviest ‘dad dancing’ on Tuesday night as he got down to the best of Memphis Soul at a White House show.
The President enjoyed a star-studded concert celebrating the sound of Soulsville as he and wife Michelle belted out the classics performed by artists including Queen Latifah, Booker T. Jones, Cyndi Lauper and Justin Timberlake.
He was also joined on the front row by daughters Malia and Sasha who giggled and shook their heads at their dad’s dance moves.
Timberlake leaned in and serenaded the first couple from the stage with his version of the Otis Redding classic (Sittin’ on) ‘The Dock of the Bay accompanied by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper.
via Obama busts out his best ‘dad dancing’ and is serenaded by Justin Timberlake at White House soul concert | Mail Online.
Though the Iron Lady is recognized for her vast political and economic impacts, her culinary contribution to the world is less known.
As a chemist for food manufacturer J. Lyons and Co. in the 1940s, Thatcher was part of the British research team that made soft-serve ice possible, according to The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey, citing a 1983 New Scientist article.
Thatcher, and colleagues, invented a way to add more air into the ice cream so that it was less dense and used less ingredients, which also made it more cost-effective.
via Margaret Thatcher Helped Invent Soft-Serve Ice Cream – Business Insider.
College of the Ozarks, which was rated the best education value among Midwestern regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report, no longer cooperates with students or banks in covering costs of attending college with a loan, Davis said.
For instance, a bank may contact the school to certify that a student is enrolled there, he said.
School officials said 99 current students would be affected by the change because they received private loans to help offset boarding or other costs.
“This college has a very low percentage of students graduating with debt, but it has come up a little and we just don’t think that is a good idea,” Davis said. “This a work college, not a debt college.” The school years ago stopped taking students who wanted to get public loans.
At College of the Ozarks, nicknamed Hard Work U, students work across campus in cafeteria, housing, maintenance, landscaping, agricultural and other jobs. The school has working hog and cattle farms, gardens, lodging and a restaurant.
Students work part-time during the school year and most hold 40-hour per week jobs during summers to cover the cost of room and board. Some also work in nearby Branson, a major tourism draw that specializes in music and theatrical shows.
via Missouri college no longer accepting students who take out loans | Reuters.
Retailers are preparing for a triple whammy as the restoration of the payroll tax, surging gas prices, and stagnant employment and wages take a bite out of consumers’ disposable income, leaving them with less cash to spend on clothing, groceries, and eating out.
What does the federal government do with your money? Take our taxes quiz.
Payroll tax cuts may boost the economy more than you think
Time to say goodbye to the payroll tax cut? It’s looking that way.
Wal-Mart’s profits can indicate how the nation’s economy is doing. Recent reports forecast lower spending at the retail giant this year.
As a result, more than three years after the recession officially ended, American consumers might be preparing to downshift again, if only slightly, with low-income consumers hit the hardest. Sensing consumer trepidation, retailers are scrambling to adjust.
via Why is Wal-Mart worried? Payroll tax could cut consumer spending. (+video) – CSMonitor.com.
“I like seeing people with their children, because they have their special bond, and that’s really sweet, but it’s not something I look at for myself,” says Tiffany Jordan, a lively 30-year-old freelance wardrobe stylist who lives in Queens in a rent-stabilized apartment and dates a man who “practically lives there.”
Jordan and her friends are part of a rising tide. Postfamilial America is in ascendancy as the fertility rate among women has plummeted, since the 2008 economic crisis and the Great Recession that followed, to its lowest level since reliable numbers were first kept in 1920. That downturn has put the U.S. fertility rate increasingly in line with those in other developed economies—suggesting that even if the economy rebounds, the birthrate may not. For many individual women considering their own lives and careers, children have become a choice, rather than an inevitable milestone—and one that comes with more costs than benefits.
“I don’t know if that’s selfish,” says Jordan, the daughter of an Ecuadoran and an Ohioan who grew up in the South Bronx, explaining her reasons for a decision increasingly common among women across the developed world, where more than half of the world’s population is now reproducing at below the replacement rate. “I feel like my life is not stable enough, and I don’t think I necessarily want it to be … Kids, they change your entire life. That’s the name of the game. And that’s not something I’m interested in doing.”
via Why the Choice to Be Childless is Bad for America – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.