Ideas. Cities. Social Innovation.
This chart, courtesy of The Atlantic, shows how rapidly natural gas has grown as a share of the United States’ energy system.

This chart, courtesy of The Atlantic, shows how rapidly natural gas has grown as a share of the United States’ energy system.

Good question:

Then there is the American anti-government predilection. We look at government as something outside ourselves, rather than a reflection of us. So a fancy new City Hall building can become a symbol of waste, rather than something everyone can be proud of. Politicians pick this up, and while they like their names on public works, some have become loath to spend any of their constituents’ money on anything that makes a structure look good. Architects and civil engineers have told me of something being cut out of a public project because it “looks expensive.” Sometimes one of these features might even save money, but that doesn’t matter.

Interesting perspective:

Are the new Plans 2.0, projected to end chronic and veterans homelessness in the next handful of years, going to succeed? It depends on what our definition of “success” is.

Creating a plan to end homelessness is a roadmap on how to literally end this sad human American tragedy by showing this country that we have the capacity to actually accomplish it. Whether our leaders, both locally and nationally, have the political courage to fund and implement such a plan is another issue.

Have these plans successfully created a path toward ending homelessness in this country? A resounding yes.

Perhaps this decade-long initiative to end homelessness has taught us a lesson. Perhaps we should not be counting years. Ten years. Five years.

Instead, maybe we should be counting homes. Like the latest, most innovative national initiative, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, that is counting the number of chronic homeless neighbors who are being permanently housed.

This has been a major issue in the United States, and an emerging one in Canada as veterans return home from Afghanistan:

She doesn’t look homeless. She doesn’t look like a Canadian Forces veteran, either.

Yet she is both.

Her story is complicated, not unlike the predicament of the faceless, anonymous veterans who can be found living lost lives across the country, largely on the periphery of society and help.

But only if you look for them. And that’s the rub: In most cases, no one is looking for them. And in most cases, neither do they care to be found.

Some sort of retraining/rapid skills development program is needed to meet rising demand in the manufacturing sector:

Strange as it may sound, America’s manufacturing companies are struggling to find enough qualified workers. In fact. over the last two years the number of manufacturing job openings in the U.S. has more than doubled.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 264,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector at the end of last year, compared with approximately 100,000 two years ago.

I’m wary, and have concerns about the environmental impacts of fracking and other methods, but this would be quite a remarkable story if it happened:

"This is really the classic success of American entrepreneurs," he says. "These were people who saw this coming, managed to assemble the capital and go ahead."

Small energy companies using such controversial techniques as hydraulic fracturing, along with horizontal drilling, are unlocking vast oil and natural gas deposits trapped in shale in places like Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Texas. North Dakota, for instance, now produces a half-million barrels a day of crude oil, and production is rising.


"The submerged state" is Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler’s term for  the slew of government policies that most Americans don’t know exist or  don’t realize are government policies. As part of her paper — gated, sadly — exploring how these invisible programs affect the  politics of social policy, she designed a study asking people first  whether they’d ever used a government program and then later whether  they had ever taken advantage of 19 specific programs. The percentage of  people who didn’t think they used government programs and then admitted  using government programs is shockingly large.

So, yeah. Contrary to popular rhetoric, government does good, and people benefit.
I’d love to see something like this for Canada, in advance of our upcoming austerity budget.

"The submerged state" is Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler’s term for the slew of government policies that most Americans don’t know exist or don’t realize are government policies. As part of her paper — gated, sadly — exploring how these invisible programs affect the politics of social policy, she designed a study asking people first whether they’d ever used a government program and then later whether they had ever taken advantage of 19 specific programs. The percentage of people who didn’t think they used government programs and then admitted using government programs is shockingly large.

So, yeah. Contrary to popular rhetoric, government does good, and people benefit.

I’d love to see something like this for Canada, in advance of our upcoming austerity budget.

Food stamp rolls exploded during the downturn, which began in late 2007. Even after the recession came to its official end in June 2009, families continued to tap into food assistance as unemployment remained high and those lucky enough to find jobs were often met with lower wages.

“It looks like—you’ve got $21 billion on this side, $100-something billion over here—the scale is actually suggesting that the marginal benefit of regulation is quite a bit bigger than the marginal cost, at least over the sample,” Syverson told about 40 people gathered in a campus lecture hall.

The finger-pointing game is a fun one to play, but it’s a little like drugs – you have to keep taking bigger and bigger doses in order to get the same high.