neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

Happy New Year!  What's the theme for the first month of 2013?
ENERGY

It's the first month of a new year, and it's time to get energized. This month, we'd like you to think of ways that you're going to gather energy to use throughout the year as well as stave off any energy drains by realizing what is taking away from your productivity. Of course, we'll also be doing a lot of daydreaming about superhuman powers -- for instance, the ability to never sleep... would you take it if it also meant the chance removed to ever dream? -- and how well we'd do with an extended power outage.
...
So start thinking about how to best utilize your energy and ways you can change the world in 2013.
Based on the description above and the prompts, the theme refers more to motivation and inspiration than it does to energy as I use the term on this blog.  Take today's prompt, for example. "From where do you draw your energy?"  When it comes to motivation and inspiration, it's my love of knowledge and teaching that knowledge so that people can improve their lives, along with my intense desire to perform and be appreciated.  But that's not how I'm going to treat this theme.  Instead, I'll take the part about "how well we'd do with an extended power outage" and run with it.

When I blog about energy this month, I'll write about how many calories of food I metabolize, how many BTUs of natural gas is burned on my behalf to heat my house, heat the water I use, and cook my food, how many gallons of gasoline and diesel move me and all the things I need to where I need them, and how much dirty coal and Uranium-235 it takes to keep the lights on, refrigerate my food and drink, and run all the electronics.  On top of that, where does all of this come from, how much does it cost, including all the hidden environmental and human costs, and what happens to all the waste that is produced.  Finally, is there a better way and, if so, how can we get there?

Of course, I'm subverting the monthly theme to mean what I want it to mean, and what I do here anyway, except in a more intense form than usual.  But that's OK.  As the theme description always says:
The theme and writing prompts, as always, are there as a guide if you want some structure to your month, though you can always sign up for NaBloPoMo and chart your own path.
...
NaBloPoMo is what you make of it. At its core, all you need to do is post daily on your blog. The point of NaBloPoMo is not to be restricted by the theme, but instead to either take it or leave it. If you'll do better blogging every day based on what's happening in your world, throw aside the daily prompts.
Fair enough, although I had enough fun subverting today's prompt that I might just do it again.

Crossposted from Crazy Eddie's Motie News.


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sustainability_spheres

In the previous digest, I promised "global and national environmental issues, local (Michigan and Metro Detroit) sustainability issues, and Tea Party screw-ups." I'll do the first one, as I just posted an entry on that general topic.

Next Media Animation on the Keystone XL pipeline

Next Media Animation on Thanksgiving food inflation

Phil Plait on saving Earth from asteroids

Nebris and I have a conversation

A video gift from a student

Yes, I posted that one before. It's worth seeing again. Besides, I'm an environmentalist; I recycle.

The village of Wukan, China, in open revolt

The situation in Wukan escalates

More paranoia about Agenda 21

You'll see this one again, as it's about Tea Partiers screwing up.

Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good

Next Media Animation on Canada leaving the Kyoto Protocol, plus a Rick Perry joke

With that last entry, the topics complete the circle, as the first and last are about Canadian tar sands.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)


Over at Crazy Eddies Motie News, I've posted a couple of entries about my experience both reading about food and eating new kinds of food during my two recent trips.

In Travel is broadening, even the reading, I describe two magazines for businesspeople noticing that eating local is becoming big business.

In Travel is broadening, especially the food, I discuss my particular experiences with eating an unconventional source of food for Americans while in Mexico and how I'm not alone. Not for the squeamish.

There will probably be more about my trips. If nothing else, I have to talk about the celebration of The Day of the Dead, which is like Halloween crossed with Mardi Gras, complete with drunken street parades in costume.

Also, stay tuned more more of my sniping at Objectivism.  I have two more posts on that topic up since my last update.
neonvincent: Lust for  for posts about sex and women behaving badly. (Bad Girl Lust)

Yeah, this one. It got picked up by Lex Kuhne's Daily Intelligencer, a paper.li site that compiles tweets, as today's top Michigan story. Looks like he enjoys reading drunken texts about sex, too.

In other news, I've been busy over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Labor Day and hurricanes to blame as gas prices rise sharply in Michigan

Preview of Arts, Beats, and Eats

Surf on over.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

In the comments to A dead cat bouncing on a rubber floor, I praised new commenter Narb Xorbian for his constructive criticism. He responded with "Narb likes pretty pictures. And jello." My comeback was "How about pretty pictures of Jell-O?"



More "pretty pictures of Jell-O" at This one's for Narb on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the previous installment, I described how Oak Park's "War on Veggies" went viral. The resulting brouhaha had the effect it intended--the prosecution against Julie Bass for her raised garden beds in her front yard--but Oak Park has found another way to continue waging war against her for daring to fight city hall. The video won't embed here, but it did embed at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, where it is larger than the version embedded at Oak Park Drops Charges Against Julie Bass and Her Vegetable Garden: MyFoxDETROIT.com. You can also read the Detroit Free Press article, Oak Park woman faces dog trouble after veggie case is dropped. Then come back here.

So the good news is that Julie Bass is no longer facing charges. All of you who raised a stink by reporting and blogging on the issue, commenting on blog and news posts, signing the petition, and sending in letters and emails to the city of Oak Park can pat yourselves on the back. Your efforts succeeded.

The bad news is that the way the story is being reported, not only in the Fox 2 Detroit clip above, but also in the Detroit News article and on Julie's own blog, indicates that the city dropped the charge by asking for it to be dismissed without prejudice. That means that that the city could reinstate the charge any time before the statute of limitations ran out. Note the coda of the report was that the city prosecutor was going to re-examine the language of the statute. If he figures out a defensible reading of the statute that allows him to go after Julie, he can file those charges again. As Julie herself describes it, it feels like her own Sword of Damocles hanging over her.

The ugly news is the city resuming their prosecution of Julie for her dogs. The sequence of events makes it look like the city is being, as Julie wrote in her most recent post, "malicious." Julie's lawyer Solomon Radner elaborated in this quote from the Detroit News, "This is really nothing other than a personal vendetta against the Basses either because somebody doesn't like them, or because they had the nerve to fight this unjust prosecution." I think the answer is mostly the latter.

Since I believe in closing circles, I think the good news is that Julie and her lawyer will appear in court on July 26th, present the proof that the dogs are licensed, and those charges will be dismissed. Even so, this entire affair has made the city of Oak Park look even worse in my eyes than it already did.
When my wife and I were looking for places to live in Oakland County, my co-workers who lived in Oak Park tried to convince me to move there. Unfortunately, when my wife and I looked at houses in the city, we were less than impressed. We got a very conformist, unfriendly, and not-at-all fun vibe from the place, so we decided to look in Ferndale and Royal Oak, which were more to our liking.
When I played the Fox 2 Detroit clip to my wife, she said that we were never going to live in Oak Park. She didn't care if we found the ideal house there at a perfect price in a great neighborhood, we won't move there. I completely agree.

Finally, stay tuned. This isn't over yet.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.



neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


Today, you get a two for one special: The Bard of Murdock on Julie Bass--two bloggers swimming against the stream.

With the permission of the author.
RE: The Oak Park Outlaw Poem

If you'd like to post my verse
At Crazy Eddie's News,
I say, "Why Not? Go Ahead."
For how could I refuse?

I ask for attribution
And with the poem a link:
thebardofmurdock.com
A fair exchange, I think.
Thank you, and done.
The Oak Park Outlaw

The scofflaw, Julie Bass,
Rejected trees and grass,
And took to life of crime
With parsley, sage and thyme.

Her crime is avant garde:
The beds in her front yard
Contain illegal greens,
Like peppers, peas and beans.

Thank God the planner saw
Within the public law,
A means to prosecute
Before she planted fruit.

The plaintiff, Kevin R.,
The Oak Park planning czar,
Will see the line is toed
By pointing to the code.

But folks can misconstrue
What’s ‘suitable’ to do,
So Kevin has deferred
To ‘common’ as his word.

And what is more unique
Than cucumber or leek,
When planted in a bed
Where grass should grow instead.

Uncommon as they are
Outside a mason jar,
She’ll need to clear her yard
Of broccoli and chard.

Then justice will prevail,
And Oak Park can exhale,
Devoid of squash and kale,
With Julie safe in jail.
Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I posted the following to unfunnybusiness on JournalFen, where it is awaiting moderation. It was adapted from Oak Park's "War on Veggies" goes viral on Crazy Eddie's Motie News. I'll be posting a different version on ontd_political on both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal shortly.

Here's a story I've been following on my blog since July 30th, when I posted Oak Park Woman plants vegetable garden; city objects. In it, I summarized the situation.
the Bass family of Oak Park lost their lawn when the sewer line running under their front yard was replaced. Instead of replacing it with a lawn, they replaced it with a vegetable garden. Their neighbors complained to the city and the city has cited them with a criminal violation of city ordinances. The Basses and the city have a court date on July 26th.
...
Mrs. Bass posted a more complete summary after I wrote (and she read) the above. Please read it.

As someone familiar with the area, I'm not surprised this is happening in Oak Park. )
Beginning Friday, July 8th, the number of hits on that post began climbing dramatically. When I investigated how that happened, I found out that Drudge happened.

A couple of days ago, Matt Drudge placed a link to The Agitator's post on his front page with the headline "Woman faces 93 days in jail for planting garden in front yard..." Since then, the story has spread like wildfire. Here is a list of the media sources I've found covering this story with links to their articles. )

As for how Drudge was indirectly responsible, he drove traffic to The Agitator, which drove traffic Julie Bass's blog OakParkHateVeggies, where she has a link to my post. Even from three steps away, Drudge increased my readership. Behold the power of Drudge.

In case you're wondering what you can do about it, there is a petition. 4,400 people signed it by Friday, less than a week after it was put up.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

It's been a full week since I last updated on Oak Park's "War on Veggies", so it's time to recap this week's developments.

First, I stopped by Julie Bass's house on Thursday just to see for myself what all the fuss was about.* I didn't have a camera, but Julie herself posted a photo of her front yard earlier that day, saving me the trouble. The images aren't embedding properly, so surf over to her blog to see for yourself.

Here's what the beds look like from the sidewalk (posted last Saturday).



Thanks, Julie, for posting those photos. I hope you don't mind my hotlinking borrowing them to illustrate this post!

Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with her front yard. In fact, I think it looks better than her neighbor's lawns, which the July sun has turned dry and yellow. While I think I know what the city of Oak Park's problem is, if I didn't have any preconceived notions, I wouldn't understand why they are objecting.

In other news, Sue Ann Reed from Care2 commented on my first post on the issue with the following.
Hello,

I saw your blog post about Julie Bass and the ridiculous idea that she is facing criminal charges and potential jail time for growing a garden in her own yard.

The folks from the Urban Homesteading Facebook page have set up a petition on Care2 and we would love your help spreading the word.

Here's the link to the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/oak-park-hates-veggies/
I promised to post that link the next time I updated on the issue, so, to quote the Emperor of Austria-Hungary from "Amadeus," there it is. Of course I signed, and I urge all of you reading to do so, too.

Other people besides Julie and I have started blogging about this issue. Julie herself published a guest post from Sundari Kraft of Eat Where U Live. Sundari had earlier published an entry to her own blog, Front Yard Gardens vs. a Lack of Common Sense the same day I first posted about Oak Park's "War on Veggies". Sundari agrees with me about the esthetics of the garden.
The vegetable are not unruly or untended — in fact, it’s one of the tidiest raised-bed gardens I’ve seen in a long time.
It's a great post, and you should read it.

Finally, the same day Julie published Sundari's guest post, Urban Homestead Diaries posted In Oak Park Michigan it is Illegal to Grow Veggies in your Front Yard, Seriously. As you read, they were the ones who set up the petition mentioned above. As of the day of the post, 500 people had signed the petition.

As for the rest of the story, read Julie Bass's blog. She has more to say on the matter than I could possibly summarize in a "brief update!"

*My commute takes me through Oak Park, so I didn't have to go far out of my way to do this.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


On Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, I passed on the following yesterday.
July's theme for daily blogging: SWIM. Hopefully the Southern Hemisphere will forgive the Northern Hemisphere for having swimming on the brain. But it's more than just pools -- when things are going well, we say they're going swimmingly. We can sink or swim. And of course there are always bloggers swimming against the stream. I think it's a theme everyone can dive into.
For today's example of "bloggers swimming against the stream," I present Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan, who blogs as OakParkHateVeggies on Wordpress. I wrote about her on Crazy Eddie's News on Tuesday in Oak Park Woman plants vegetable garden; city objects, which is the most read post on the blog this week. I guess rebels for sustainability are popular.

Here's my summary of her situation.
[T]he Bass family of Oak Park lost their lawn when the sewer line running under their front yard was replaced. Instead of replacing it with a lawn, they replaced it with a vegetable garden. Their neighbors complained to the city and the city has cited them with a criminal violation of city ordinances. The Basses and the city have a court date on July 26th. Mrs. Bass has started a blog, OakParkHateVeggies on Wordpress, to record her experience.

ETA: Mrs. Bass posted a more complete summary after I wrote (and she read) the above. Please read it.
Those are the facts. For commentary, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

ETA: She now has a Facebook page up, Oak Park Hates Veggies.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the intro to part one of last week's sustainability news linkspam, I mentioned "a local sustainability issue that looks like just a zoning and development issue, but has turned into something else entirely" in passing. In the spirit of "a picture is worth 1000 words," I give you these videos from WXYZ-TV. Issues of sustainable local business and sustainable built environment pop up all through both videos, including a mention of Royal Oak's walkable neighborhoods and walkable downtown. Then, there's the accusations of corruption by a lobbyist for the convenience store competitors of the proposed Kroger. And you thought city council meetings were boring.







I have a lot more to write about this issue, including coverage from Royal Oak Patch that follows up on the meetings and the provides more detail and my personal opinion of this (it's a very local issue for me, as the site in question is within walking distance of where my wife and I live--she has an opinion, too), but I have to run an errand and go to work. Stay tuned!

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News here.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)
Mother Nature Network: Alton Brown ends 'Good Eats'
The cooking show host and author announced on Twitter that he's ending the show after 249 episodes.
By Robin Shreeves

According to Serious Eats, Brown made an announcement today on Twitter that "Good Eats has come to its end."

G.E. fans, I've decided to cut the half hour series at 249 eps. There will be 3 new 1 hour eps this year and that's it. But mourn not. New things brew on the horizon..."good" things.
...
"Good Eats" has been part of Food Network's lineup since 1999, and in my opinion it's one of the best shows that has ever run on the network. He explains the science behind what he does in the kitchen in an entertaining and approachable way. When he did a show on chocolate chip cookies, for instance, he didn't simply show viewers how to bake one recipe. He explained how different amounts of sugar in a recipe can create a cake-like cookie, a moist cookie, or a flat, crispy cookie.
Ironically, Alton Brown just won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best TV Food Personality/Host.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
April2011Badge

Crazy Eddie's Motie News: Earth Day Events at University of Michigan and Oakland Community College

University of Michigan: Earth Day celebrations planned at U-M

Oakland Community College: Back to Earth (PDF)

Oakland Community College: The Impact of Urban Farming on American Cities (PDF)

Oakland Community College: 1st Annual Sustainability Fair (PDF)

Details for the PDF-phobic and commentary at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

Another two for one.

Book recommendation: Stuffed and Starved



Stuffed and Starved
Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System

In this book, Raj Patel gives a piercing critique of the way global capitalism shapes what humans grow and eat, exposing many of the flaws in the food system that contribute to collapse and what can be done about it. It's also an entertaining and informative read and Raj Patel is a charming and compelling person who knows his gin.

Food News from La La Land

April2011Badge


From PoliticusUSA:

ABC’s Food Revolution May Have Prompted Change in LA Schools’ Lunches

This season “Food Revolution” is filming in Los Angeles, even though the Los Angeles Unified School District refused Oliver and his show access.
Much more, including a video, at the link.

Time to run. I have an event to go to tonight. Hey, I can't be all doom all the time.
neonvincent: For posts about food and cooking (All your bouillabaisse are belong to us)

April2011BadgeMichigan Stand Up and FightDetroit Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten


It's the weekend, which means it's time for me to select this week's news from midwestern universities about food and sustainability. Once again, Michigan State University has pride of place as the first Michigan university mentioned with the only two food stories.



Food

Michigan State University: MSU class building a better popcorn kernel

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A group of Michigan State University students is taking a course this semester that has the official title of “Science of the Foods we Love.” But most everybody knows it as the “popcorn course.”

That’s because in addition to teaching the students the finer points of scientific research, and how the worlds of science and industry come together, another result of the course might be a better kernel of popcorn.

With the help of a gift from ConAgra Foods, the maker of, among other things, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, the class is studying different aspects of popcorn (e.g., explosivity, hull thickness and kernel size distribution) as they relate to the overall quality of a popped bag of microwave popcorn.

Later this month the class will travel to ConAgra headquarters in Omaha, Neb., to present their findings to the company’s scientists.
As I wrote in one of my early linkspam posts:

The flip side of Purdue's concern with food is that it's very much in the pocket of industrial agriculture, and this article shows that relationship in unapologetic detail. Honestly, I find Michigan State University, where there is a program in organic agriculture that was created by student demand, to have a more progressive perspective, and MSU is also a land-grant agricultural college.
They may be more progressive, but they are still strongly connected to industrial agriculture.

Michigan State University: Oxygen sensor invention could benefit fisheries to breweries

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Monitoring oxygen levels in water has applications for oil spills, fish farming, brewing beer and more – and a professor at Michigan State University is poised to help supply that need.

The concept of oxygen sensors isn’t new. The challenge, however, has been manufacturing one that can withstand fluctuations in temperature, salinity, carbon dioxide, phosphates and biological wastes. Ruby Ghosh, associate professor of physics, was able to overcome those obstacles as well as build one that provides real-time data and is relatively inexpensive.
...
Constantly testing dissolved oxygen is critical in industries such as:

  • Aquaculture – where fish are raised in oxygen-rich, high-density environments.
  • Beverage manufacturing – which constantly monitors dissolved oxygen levels during the fermentation and bottling processes.
  • Biomedical research – which could use probes to further cancer research by detecting changes in oxygen dependence in relation to tumor growth.
  • Petroleum manufacturing – to monitor ocean oxygen levels and detect/prevent oil leaks in rugged, saltwater environments.
...
To test her prototypes, Ghosh and her students worked with Michigan’s fish farmers to see how they would hold up in a year-round, outdoor environment.

“My lab focuses on solving real-life problems through our technology,” Ghosh said. “Raising trout for recreational fishing is economically important to Michigan, and our prototype proved that our sensor performs well in the field and could help that industry thrive.”
Since the most read posts this month so far has been Detroit Food and Sustainability News for 4/4/11 and its popularity has been driven by Google searches for people searching for the news story about Russ Allen of Seafood Systems in Okemos and his proposal to raise shrimp in Detroit (Let's see what that phrase does for this post's Search Engine Optimization--muahahahahaha!), I decided to put this story about aquaculture above the fold as a food story.

More news stories about sustainability, science, economy, politics, and law at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

Mo' Food Panel

There are advantages to being a fan of Model D Media on Facebook. One of them is getting invitations to their events, such as this one.

Model D Speaker Series: Mo’ Food: Creating a New Local Economy

Model D Speaker Series: Mo' food panel in review

Sounds like a great evening. As I wrote yesterday, exciting things are happening here in Detroit, and I wouldn't miss living here for the world.

For details, read the full report at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
Detroit Where the Weak are Killed and EatenApril2011Badge

Whole Foods to be an oasis in Detroit's Food Desert

If you had asked me last week which major supermarket chain would have been the first to come into Detroit, the last chain I would have expected would have been Whole Foods. Looks like I was wrong.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Crazy Eddie's Motie News: Detroit Food and Sustainability News for 4/4/11

Detroit Where the Weak are Killed and EatenApril2011BadgeMichigan Stand Up and Fight

Detroit Free Press: Indoor shrimp farming could grow into big industry for Michigan

To ramp up the automotive industry in Michigan, Henry Ford built the Rouge Plant -- a manufacturing infrastructure that could produce everything needed, from glass to steel, to make cars.

Today, Russ Allen is looking for a way to build a shrimp Rouge Plant -- a pollution-free, recirculating facility that could breed, grow, process and ship a million pounds of shrimp a year.

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Allen, who spent 23 years establishing outdoor shrimp farming in Central and South America, has been raising shrimp indoors in Okemos since 1994 at his Seafood Systems research facility.
...
"This could be the start of an entirely new industry for Michigan, a clean industry, with new jobs," he said -- if he can find the $10 million he needs to build a commercial plant.
There is a photo gallery.

People talk a lot about Detroit as a center for urban agriculture, but this is the first story I've seen about urban aquaculture here. Honestly, I have to say I find this one to be a complete surprise to me. As for his idea, it will most likely work (he already raises 25,000 pounds of shrimp a year in Okemos), although I wonder how sustainable it really is. Shrimp are tropical and require a lot of heat.

Associated Press via Detroit Free Press: Environmental rule on large factory farms upheld

For various reasons, I don't quote AP articles. However, I will link to them if I find them worth reading. This one is, as it describes how factory farms have to abide by water quality standards.

And now, someone worth watching, or keeping an eye on, depending on your perspective.

Detroit Free Press: In Detroit, urban farming waiting to take root

When Detroit's city council approved the sale of 20 parcels of land to the proposed Hantz Farms project this month, it looked like commercial urban agriculture might be about to start in the city.

But the council imposed restrictions on the sale of the land, which lies behind a warehouse owned by businessman John Hantz at 17403 Mt. Elliott. Hantz Farms, a subsidiary of the larger Hantz Group of financial service firms, cannot grow crops or sell any produce from the site without the city's permission.

Instead, Hantz Farms will beautify the roughly 5 acres of blighted land behind the warehouse with landscaping, either with grass or some small plants, as a demonstration of how it can clean up an abandoned site, said Michael Score, the president of Hantz Farms and a former Michigan State University agricultural extension worker.

Hopefully soon, Score added, the city will allow Hantz Farms to farm the site and others in the city.
Last year, my neighbor showed me a newspaper clipping about Hantz and asked me what I thought about him and his idea. I think the idea has merit, but I'm not sure about him. The article mentioned that he was inspired by the ideas of Ayn Rand. I really don't care for Rand or her followers and think anyone who thinks favorably of her could be real trouble.

There are 99 comments on this article. I suggest you read them; you'll get a good idea of the controversies around this project, and the range of agendas and concerns that people have about urban agriculture.

Video reports on Hantz Farms and the non-profit organization Urban Farming along with news about Detroit's water system and municipalities in metro Detroit coping with the economic crisis at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

April2011BadgeMichigan Stand Up and Fightsolidarity wisconsin

Crazy Eddie Motie News: Weekend News Linkspam--Midwest University News

By virtue of having a week's worth of news as green as its school colors, Michigan State managed to have yesterday's linkspam pretty much all to itself. Now, the rest of the Midwestern public research universities get their turns.

University of Michigan: The Population Bomb: How we survived it

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon face a major population crisis.

"In spite of 50 years of the fastest population growth on record, the world did remarkably well in producing enough food and reducing poverty," said University of Michigan economist David Lam, in his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America.

Lam is a professor of economics and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The talk is titled "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons from 50 Years of Exceptional Demographic History."

In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb," triggered alarm about the impact of a rapidly growing world population, growth rates were about 2 percent and world population doubled in the 39 years between 1960 and 1999.

According to Lam, that is something that never happened before and will never happen again.
I think someone is being too optimistic. Then again, it's an economist saying this, not an ecologist.

University of Michigan: Personal income up, but are we better off?

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Although U.S. personal income per capita has risen 5.7 percent since 2000, an increase in tax-exempt benefits provided by the government and employers accounted for all of the income growth in the past decade, says a University of Michigan economist.

Thanks to these nontaxable transfer payments, which include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance, unemployment, welfare and disability benefits, inflation-adjusted personal income per capita rose nearly $2,200 since 2000, despite America's worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

But when growth in transfer payments and employer-paid benefits are excluded, U.S. taxable income per capita actually decreased 3.4 percent from $32,403 to $31,303, says economist Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Economics, and the Economy.

"Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released preliminary personal income statistics for all states and the data shows that personal income per capita in the United States increased," Grimes said. "But, why don't we feel better off? Because the personal income per capita data includes 'spending' that we don't recognize as contributing to our economic well-being.

"Most people are not going to feel better off if their employer has to pay higher health insurance premiums, even if to government statistics experts it is the appropriate way to measure our well-being, which strictly speaking it is."
See this graph from Calculated Risk for personal income minus transfer payments:

PersonalIncomelessTransferFeb2011

No, we're not back to where we were before the recession.

News from Wisconsin, Purdue, and Ohio State at Crazy Eddie Motie News.

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