Infrastructure investment in the United States is approaching a classic “line in the sand.” One side of the line, federal legislators believe big-ticket investments can only be triggered by the unspoken policy of “catastrophic resolution.” On the other side, our legislators stand with, “whatever my constituents want and need” as if they had other leaders.  The former is a vague plan for entering the tunnel, the latter is the source of most of the tunnel vision in the world.


Pesimist only sees the darkness in the tunnel.
Optimist sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
Realist sees that that light is in fact a train.
The train conductor sees 3 fools on the railroad track

Here is an example, in NYC there is a 100-year-old subway tunnel. If it crumbles, it could cripple the northeast economy for a decade and require a heroic response. In less dense areas support for rebuilding failing highways to struggling big-box shopping malls in order to keep voters happy, or less discontent is the way to go. Political;y, this is the kind of win/win concept deemed acceptable in legislative quarters and they are tragic.

In this form of federal leadership, infrastructure failures of any kind also have to get to a critical mass of some definition. It might be horrifying deaths or vast losses in general revenue due to a breakdown in goods transportation, unstoppable forest fires or floods. The central issue is the lack of a classification to designate a line in the sand condition.  This is the pornography of public policy – they will know it when they see it.

In Your Face

A grant from the National Resource Defense Foundation (NRDC) brought a video to the public in 2014 that sums up decades of advocacy by Joe Minicozzi of Urban3).  Take a moment to watch it.

There you have it, a basic set of facts about why density works. Getting leadership from local to federal to get it to work is the real problem. Without a policy toward a dense urban metropolitan framework over three-quarters of the American landscape is in peril.


A large group of urban developers from the general advocates of public well-being have solutions as environmentalists, scientists, architects, urban planners, real estate developers, and community organizers have solutions.  The first one is to eliminate the vague notion of what a city is and make the building of them a real issue.

Surging Tides and the Rising Seas

Will limiting development in a flood zone community improve resiliency? Not if it floods. Nevertheless, reducing the number of people displaced by major flooding, high tide events like Hurricane Sandy (October 2012) makes limiting growth a reasonable measure of resilience. Another measure is an improvement in estimates of “damage reduction” provisions for all the folks who refuse to leave the zone or take a buyout. Here are two examples.

East Shore Special Coastal Risk District, Staten Is. (N 170374 ZRR; C 170373 ZMR

Single-family housing districts in large low-lying coastal areas in New York City are addressing the reduced impact measure of resilience with special districts initially proposed August 9, 2107.

The Staten Island special district is roughly four square miles and addresses the surge area impact of Sandy’s 2012 super hurricane The district will allow new single-family development and the elevation of existing buildings. In this sense, the rezoning by a special district is also a challenge aimed at better design concepts.

Zones are toothless if the danger is short term. We shall see.

Hudson Yard Development plans are well known along the waterfront, but the question of growth goes in the opposite direction given the image above. The area affected by various water influx zones will change as atmospheric data sets change to predict areas of impact.

Similarly, the area now subject to the East Shore Special District can be examined using the map below. Zone 1 is most likely to flood to Zone 6 as least likely. Remaining aware of the variables associated with storm surge, sea rise, wind and rain remain the responsibility of the property owner and insurers.

IP Chill

If you openly don’t like 45 online, this guy wants your IP Address and the details of what you do not like.  The chilling details of the warrant in these two stories are worthy of following.

thanks for picking this one up….

the two-way WARRANT

August 15, 2017
DOJ Demands Files On Anti-Trump Activists, And A Web Hosting Company Resists

DreamHost is fighting DoJ request for 1.3M IP addresses of visitors to anti-Trump protest site

Rethink School

Rethinking School 
This NPR/TED “radio podcast” was released August 11, 2017, for parents and educators on concepts in education.  The lead in reads:
“For most of modern history, humans have placed smaller humans in institutions called schools. But what parts of this model still work?  What needs to change.” 

Apparently a lot...TED has a vast collection of short presentations by educators.  NPR’s TED Radio Hour introduces those that prompt system changes and if it interests you, you can go to the whole TED presentation.

TED has a vast collection of short presentations educators.  The NPR role introduces those that prompt change and if it interests you, you can see the whole TED presentation.

The first interview with Tyler Dewitt on science education and when he got a damning critique from a young student, he changed his style as an educator by working to de-formalize learning.  He is a strong over-the-top style that cannot be duplicated.  What can be duplicated is the idea that a teacher is free to try new things.

The interview with Sal Kahn about how Kahn Academy got started and how it works as a tool that teachers can adapt to their curriculum and focus on what the student understands as opposed to the what is in the book or likely in a test.

The other interviews introduce Andreas Schleicher who wreviews some European models and Linda Cliatt-Wayman a school principal describes her “So what? Now what?” experience in schools where the majority of students are in poverty.

Priority Issue: Money

We are developing a collection of presentations on corruption (e.g. pol-money) see Video  Bob’s list (above) pretty much covers it. There are lots of people working on how to end this mess we find ourselves in these days.  Have a look.

Establishing the link between corporate financial contributions to Congress and their voting patterns takes millions in nonprofit dollars just to figure out the good and bad of it with a sense of precision. The following is a rough summary from two years of analysis (2013-2015) and two years in preparation published by the Roosevelt Institute in 2017.  See 50 Shades of Green in the Shared Reading Section.  A very rough summary might read as follows:

  1. Congressional representatives are much more likely to break with their party and side with the providers of money.
  2. Analysis of the members of the House Financial Services Committee. far more likely to support banks on repealing elements (drip, drip strategy) of Dodd-Frank for money.
  3. Every additional $1,000 given to a Congressional person decreased or increased the odds of voting for or against a bill by more than 20 percent.

Conservatives and Progressives agree that speech is protected by the United States Constitution but differ when it comes to political speech.  The decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (link to pdf) extended the Constitution’s protections of speech to corporations (2010) as well as individuals.  Critics of the decision say “money is not speech” highlighted by the sticker that reads, “I’ll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.”    Proponents say a corporation has a right to develop and promote legislation.  Thus, the question should be about proof of balance and fairness instead of money. but the power to reset conditions in that direction continuously and with dedication.  How?  Make corruption illegal and I mean prison time illegal.

The wealthiest of the wealthy are able to buy up political power while ordinary Americans have functionally zero influence over their nation’s policy and behavior.  America is a corporatist oligarchy, not a democracy.

How many dollars (or hours) will it take you to capture the attention of your Congressional Representative and get the results you seek?

How Can the U.S. Change the Influence of Money in Politics?

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