1KNEVADA, April 14, 2014– The image above may well go down in history. We can all recall a time when a black woman named Rosa Parks defied law and won. No need exists to paint the picture. You already know it. You can already see her. Here we see a modern representation as Americans awaken to the insidious growth of our federal Creature. Over the weekend, a fierce standoff between Bundy Ranch militiamen and the Bureau of Land Management BLM came to an end– For now.
Economists really need to become an integral part of the comprehensive planning process. America’s infrastructure is crumbling. And there are fewer dollars to replace it all, all the while cities continue to expand their borders, annex lands, build ring roads and highways, widen roads, ad infinitum. The salary of an economist will be a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of implementing pie-in-the-sky comprehensive plans. Business owners, property owners, community stakeholders will need to shore up their resources and contribute to the maintenance and funding of new roads and bridges as their home cities grow.
A recent editorial in Atlantic Cities laments the regulations and policies that have, according to the author, driven up the costs of infrastructure investments in the United States.
Scott Beyer launches his investigation into the high costs of infrastructure with an acknowledgement of the difficult partisanship that has crippled infrastructure development in recent decades. Beyer’s insight into the gridlock: the political discord comes down to a question of how to operate the infrastructure once it’s been delivered.
The crux of Beyer’s examination is a list of policies, imposed by the federal government and, according to Beyer, strengthened by the Obama Administration. The list includes Davis-Bacon Laws, environmental reviews, and project labor agreements. After detailing the items on the list, Beyer poses the question of whether the secondary policy goals of employment and unionization should come at the expense of building or maintaining infrastructure.
Obamacare’s new mandated requirements killed New Jersey’s low-cost children’s insurance coverage plan, FamilyCare Advantage. The plan, offered by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, was designed for children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and offered medical, dental, and vision coverage for just $144 a month. The program, which was the first of its kind in the nation, was implemented six years ago and considered a model for others states seeking economical ways to provide quality coverage for kids from working class families.
Yet, since FamilyCare Advantage lacked things like mental health services, Obamacare deemed the children’s 1,800 plans illegal and the program shuttered last week.
Federal snipers with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trained guns on members of a family yesterday after they dared to stop and take video footage of cattle outside the bounds of a designated “First Amendment Area,” before arresting one of the men for non-compliance.
The cattle were being rounded up by BLM officers as part of a crackdown on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay “grazing fees” demanded by the feds as a result of a re-classification of 600,000 acres of federal land in northeastern Clark County which Bundy claims has been in his family for generations.
The Lone Star State can’t seem to stay out of the heat. In a new drought report by the Texas Water Development Board, the state saw worsening conditions that now affect two thirds of Texas.
About 25 percent of the state is suffering under “extreme” or “worse” drought conditions and two-thirds of Texas suffers from “moderate” or “worse” drought conditions.
Monday’s open enrollment deadline for ObamaCare, which, with its subsidies and tax credits, represents the largest expansion of government, is a good time to assess the total scale of government in the US.
Appreciating the full scope of the US government is difficult, because its activities are undertaken at the federal, state, and local levels. Adding all of this together, government in the US consumes more than $6 trillion a year. This makes the US government the world’s 3rd largest economy.
The Fez River winds through the city’s medina — Fez’s historic medieval center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heavily contaminated, almost an open sewer, it was covered over with concrete to contain the smell; it was all but forgotten in recent decades. For much of the past 20 years, architect and engineer Aziza Chaouni has been battling to restore it. Working with the city’s water department since 2007, she’s now restoring and reconnecting the riverbanks with the rest of the city, while creating open, green public spaces, allowing the medina to breathe again. At TED2014, we asked her to tell the story of this extraordinary task.
How did you begin the task of uncovering the Fez River?
The whole story actually started as my thesis at Harvard. My thesis advisor told me to do something “that you feel passionate about and that could make a difference.” For years, I’d seen the river in my hometown being desecrated, polluted…
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This portrait of a girl tells a story larger than the massive piece of vinyl it is printed on. Unfurled in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, “#NotABugSplat” was created by a collection of artists and activists, using TED Prize winner JR’s Inside Out campaign, to send a message to drone operators, who reportedly call their kills “bug splats” because they appear small and grainy on screen. The idea is to “create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators,” explains the project website.
Below, an image JR posted about this Inside Out project via Instagram:
April 5, 2014
Rep. Mike Pompeo will introduce legislation backed by powerful trade groups to prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods, according to reports. The bill is linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.
Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, The Hill newspaper reported, citing industry sources. Politico also reported on the impending proposal. Pompeo’s office would not comment on the congressman’s intentions for a labeling restriction.
The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, echoing powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such “right to know” labeling laws around the nation.
It was revealed in recent months that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were joining forces – under the name ‘Coalition for Safe Affordable Food‘ – to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.
In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. Many other states are now considering their own proposals to label GMO food.
to read more: rt.com