February 2010 Archives
An over-broad definition of blight (it includes "underutilization") allows cities to condemn land and buildings that aren't blighted at all. (Oklahoma has the same problem, which undermines our state constitutional protection against government seizing land for private use. "In the 1930s...'substandard' and 'unsanitary' meant 'families and children dying from rampant fires and pestilence' in tuberculosis-ridden firetraps. In 2006, by contrast, the UDC's consultants found 'substandard' conditions in isolated graffiti, cracked sidewalks, and 'underutilization'--that is, when property owners weren't using their land to generate the social and economic benefits that the government desired."
"Without phosphorus, the world cannot grow food. Yet only three countries control 73 percent of the world's remaining known reserves of phosphate rock.... Phosphorus cannot be destroyed, but it is becoming dissipated in the environment... 'There's a whole industry that needs to be invented to capture phosphorus. We need a new way of growing crops that keeps it in the field instead of letting it run down into the Gulf of Mexico. We need plants that are more efficient at getting phosphorus.'" (Via Ace of Spades HQ.)
A great collection of scans, mainly of the city insets of oil company road maps of Texas, from 1942 to 1970. Some street maps (Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston). A resource for finding the pre-freeway routes of highways through cities.
Thanks to Scott Brown's win, Massachusetts Republicans are coming out of the closet and getting organized. Let's hope the party oldtimers, used to being big frogs in small ponds, don't throw too many obstacles in the path of the enthusiastic newcomers. (By the way, the headline illustrates why the Republican Party should never have allowed CNN's map to define red as its color. The Red Army was the army of the communist USSR. In every other country, red is for the socialist/left-leaning party, blue is for the conservative party.)
Some of these are pretty funny. Reid and Pelosi: "We crafted this Valentine's card behind closed doors." Obama: "I've saved or created millions of valentines." Algore: "I'll charter a flight to bring you this Valentine's card in person."